Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 - A year in review

I am taking the opportunity to relax and reflect while staying here in New York.  I had a stress-free week and I'm thankful. Of course, I would not let the year pass without recalling all the blessings and highlights of the year for me and my family, here goes:

1. My sons turned 12, 7 and 5. They grew up so fast.
2. Lito was transferred to Ministry of Health.
3. I was given an opportunity to do another role in Learning and Development.
4. Mama and Dadilo extended their stay in Canada, went home in September.
5. Winter - toured around New York City via circle 42 bus without the kids.
6. Spring - Saw the beautiful tulips in Ottawa, visited Kingston and Montreal.
7. Endless Summer - camping in Finnegan lake, Moffat and Sibbald Point.
8. Bonding with Tita Josie, Jo and the Ochoco family at Marineland and Fallsview Waterpark.
9. Reunion with former office mates from SGS and RFM.
10. Lex receives a band to do big kids slides when we went back to Fallsview Waterpark in Niagara.
11. Workshop with the SCM YUNIC at Sibbald Point. A major milestone for my Christian life and ministry.
12. Bonding with my high school closest friends and barkada RAJGILC online, planning for a Florida reunion next year.
13. My kids went to DVBS - daily vacation bible school at Church on the Queensway.
14. Kyle went to music school and learned how to play the piano, while Aloysius plays the trumpet in school.
15. We continue to learn and grow in the knowledge of The Lord. Our cell group is increasing and the  victory of God over our life's challenges, problems is evident. We are grateful for the Lord's workers for making it happen.

Thank you Lord for 2013 and we look forward to more blessings, protection and guidance in 2014.

Friday, 27 December 2013

From Empty to Full

How time flies, it's the year end and I couldn't even add more posts to this blog. I still want to capture and share valuable information here. I just remembered what we discussed during the last bible study. Pastor asked us what is the happiest and saddest Christmas celebration we had. My answer was the time when we didn't celebrate it. This happened when my dad just started to work as a temp and I had  only one sibling. I was very excited when he came home on Christmas Eve because I thought that he brought food and gifts. But he came empty-handed, I asked, "Paano na ang pasko? (How are we going to celebrate Christmas?) My mom just told me to sleep, "Matulog ka na! Walang pasko." So I was disappointed and asked dad, "bakit walang fried chicken?" This is his reply, "kahit walang handa, may pasko, ipinanganak si Hesus." (even though we didn't have food on the table, Christmas is still here, Christ was born).

He was teary-eyed when he asked us to pray and the prayer goes something like this. "Dear God, sana po Eto na ang una at Huling pagkakataon na wala kmi pag Pasko.  Salamat po sa inyong anak na si Hesus." (Dear God, let this be the first and last time that we won't have any at Christmas. Thank you for your son Jesus Christ).  Before I slept, I cried because I didn't have any gifts, but I also learned at a very young age how to be full when you're empty. I think that's the first time that I prayed hard too, from my heart. I believe that God comforted me and I was able to sleep. When I woke up, I have a Christmas stocking with chocolate coins in them. I think a neighbour gave it. That simple gesture made a small girl happy.  I knew that my prayer worked and that God is really true.

Indeed, my dad's prayer was answered. The following year, blessings upon blessings arrived in our household.  Mom gave birth to a very cute Wendy,  Dad was hired full time at United Laboratories (a very progressive and generous company) and on the Christmas Eve of that year, Dad brought a very big Christmas basket with lots of goodies in it like ham! cheese! chocolate, spaghetti everything you need to complete a Noche Buena feast. My wishes came true and God granted our prayer because we never had an empty table on Christmas ever since. God was very good because more blessings came not only that year but year after year until now.  God is really faithful to our family and we are forever grateful.

So if you think you are empty, do not lose hope. God will make it full. Just believe.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas Greeting 2013

May the gift of Faith
The Blessing of Hope and
The Peace of His Love
Be yours this Christmas and Always.

From our family to yours. Merry Christmas!

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Are you a selfie?

I learned that Paris Hilton is being pursued by a dictionary company to let them define the word "SELFIE" that apparently she created. I'm not sure if any of this is true but I know that many people have used the word including myself. From what I learned this is how most of the people define the word - a photo of yourself or taking a picture by yourself usually with a mobile phone when no one is around to take it. I hope I'm right because that's what I see in captions of photos of my friends I see in Facebook. The recent and most significant one is President Obama doing the selfie while at the Nelson Medela memorial event.

Even before the cameras and mobile phones were invented, the word although in a different form already existed. The root word is SELF pertaining to self - focus on one's self, "it's all about me", "Me First" or "Only Me" attitude. They all mean the same thing - SELF-CENTERED.

As I am writing this, it dawned on me that this topic leads to a deeper root cause analysis on why human sin.  It is really about being focused on yourself instead of God.  If we go back and think about what could have happened if Adam and Eve didn't focus only on themselves, then there won't be any unhappy human being.

What about Christmas?  It is just around the corner and one of the elements is gift - giving.  When we give gifts, we also think of receiving gifts. I admit that I also think the same.  There are times that I only wanted to give to certain individuals because I know I will receive something from them.  We wanted to receive the expensive or biggest gift.  The word "wish list" was invented because we wanted to receive the gifts that we like, we will use, the gifts that are attached to "brands" or the "IN" thing (USO). These gifts we will brag about the next day because we only think about ourselves and what we recently acquired.  For some people, they think that the more gifts they receive, the more important they are. It goes back to - ALL ABOUT ME, MYSELF and I.

I remember someone asked me what to give to a person who is rich and only wanted to receive branded or expensive gifts.  He even looked down on him because his gift was wrapped from the store he bought them from.  "Sa SM mo lang binili?" was the remark.   I advised him not to give anymore if he thinks his gifts are not appreciated. Isn't Christmas supposedly about Christ and pleasing Him and not men?

This is God's word on gift-giving:  "For if you give, you will get. Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over.  Whatever measure you use to give - large or small - will be used to measure what is given back to you." Luke 6:38

The reason why we are celebrating Christmas is because of CHRIST.  He is the perfect illustration of selfless giving because of God's love for us (He loved us so much -> John 3:16).  Now when we look at where he was born - it was in a simple manger.  The times have changed at how Christmas is celebrated and how gift-giving evolved but when we look back it's really that simple - no fancy ribbons, no expensive gifts, it's not about the size, or quantity, not even brands.  We just need to honor our Saviour.  It is about HIM, His gift of Love, Joy, Peace and Salvation to us so that we will be with Him.  He wanted us to be selfless and be filled with His Spirit. 

Philippians 2:4 says "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."  It's very clear - do not be a "Selfie",  not SELF-CENTERED but GOD-CENTERED.

Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

My youngest is now 5 years old

I can still recall the scene before I gave birth to Alexus.  I knew I was already 6cm dilated when we went to the clinic.  Yes, I gave birth to a lying in clinic because I am hospital-phobic, if there is such a word.  With my first 2 pregnancies and deliveries, I didn't want to spend time in bed while in labor.  Just lying there makes me feel the pains more,  I wanted distraction and movement.  So when I was doing Alexus, I was watching TV while standing up.  I remember the doctors and nurses were already calling me to lie down on the bed and I said, "Sandali Lang Doc, tapusin ko muna ang CHIKA MINUTE" (Please wait a minute, Doc. I just need to finish a showbiz news).

They were laughing and said, you are about to give birth and you are prioritizing showbiz news? After a few minutes I was lying in bed and pushed till I heard my youngest and biggest child (weighed 7.5 lbs) cry. Thank God for the safe and simple delivery. Now I can just laugh at the thought of the moment before Alexus came out. CHiikaaaa minute! No wonder he is a very talkative boy.

How time flies. Where did the five years go? My OT-OT is not a baby anymore. He is turning into a good looking heart throb boy. No more cute, but guapo! Hehe. Happy 5th birthday Alexus Mitchel Castillo.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Emergency Preparedness for the whole family

It was heartbreaking to see what happened to my Filipino brothers and sisters in the recent strongest typhoon Yolanda / Haiyan that hit central Philippines.  It could happen to anyone, anywhere.  So it will be helpful if we have something like a plan to activate when "emergency" happens.

So what is an emergency?  I told my children that when you hear me or daddy says "Emergency!", they will do what they have been told and practiced.  In our list, here are their keywords for Emergency:

Other natural disasters
Power and communication outages
Industrial disasters (we are in the ammonia spillage zone from Molson)
Transportation disasters
Alien or zombie attacks (just remembered World War Z)
"The Rapture" in case there will be remnants in our family (Please read the Post Rapture Guide)

I was part of the ISO 140001 (Environmental) and ISO 27001 (Information Security) planning and implementation team. Both of these international standards included ERP (Emergency Response Plan) and Disaster Recovery Plan. I remember it would take approximately 72 hours for the rescue team to reach you so your plan should be able to cover this 3 days to survive.

What to do before?
1. Put a copy of all important information in an offsite location (or in a USB drive). These can be scanned  government forms /ID, photos of each member of the family (in case, one of you got lost ), bank or investment documents, insurance documents, list of all passwords /access codes, list of all contact information (emergency numbers of government agency/disaster recovery command centre,  relatives and friends), money or jewelry (bank).

2. Prepare and practice an emergency exit plan / route. Aloysius won last year's cover page for the Molson calendar and his entry was entitled "Remember where the emergency exits are."  The drawing showed all possible exits in a school bus, in school, in the house, in malls or other public places.  Identify the safe meeting place.

3. Prepare an emergency kit and tell all members where to get them.  I have an old backpack where I put the following:

Canned food (have yet to discover efoods)
Can opener/knife
Gloves and scarves
Pen and paper
Swiss knife
Match and candles
Mirror - to use in sending signals
Small Bible
USB Drive of your information backup
I'm still looking for a battery operated radio

What to do in an emergency?
1.  Stay calm and be alert so that you will not forget about the "Plan". The kids will lose focus when they see you panic. If there is still an opportunity, pray together. Remind them about God's love, comfort and protection.

2. Direct the kids and remind them about the plan -- get the kit, follow the exit route and run to the safe place. Bring the phone, car /house keys, wallet/money and Go. 
Depending on the situation, sometimes you need to wait for the signal to leave the house. Keep communication lines open. 

3. Take an extra kit. I told my kids that if there is still a chance, they can fill another bag or bags up with all the ready to eat food and water they can get from the cupboard. Take biscuits, cookies, fruits, bread.  I learned from a survivor / blogger that they only packed chocolate bars but they survived 2 days of walking before they reached an evacuation center in Tacloban. The chocolates were not just handy but also energy packed.

4. Bundle up - if the emergency happens on a cold weather, wear all the necessary clothes, footwear and headgear. if there's no opportunity, just grab your blanket or tower and run.

5.  If needed, like in a case of fire, they must run and save their own lives. No turning back! The important thing is for them to be safe.The kids should know where to go in case they are the only survivors.

6. Contact others or the disaster command center and let them know your whereabouts.  if you can, go to the evacuation center

7. If you are stuck somewhere and help is nowhere to be found, do not lose hope. Pray, read the bible. Praise and worship God.  He will save us.  

Emergency Preparedness Plan is a must for every family.  You should have one.  

BTW, this plan should be reviewed and communicated to all family members every year. 

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Teaching kids to be responsible early

Photo from found on facebook.

I'm proud to say that my kids remember their goals / targets.  I applied what I learned and used in my work at home to set KPIs (Key Performance Metrics) and to achieve them.  We only have 3 so that they won't forget:

1.  Feed your Mind (Soul)  - meaning to do all activities that will enrich the mind and nourish the soul - reading, math exercises, studying, reading the bible, praying, listening to worship songs etc.

2. Feed your Body - eat healthy food, drink plenty of water.  Limit sweets and salty food. No soda pop.

3. Cleanse your Body - taking a bath, brushing and flossing teeth, wearing clean clothes, washing hands, playing clean toys or games.

These activities are in order of priority.  They have to finish all three or complete one before doing another activity.  i.e.  Wash Hands first before eating or brushing teeth before going to bed.  They can play only after all 3 have been completed.

They are asked to do small tasks like setting up the table, tidying up toys and school or art supplies everyday.  Once a week, they help in the laundry by sorting their own clothes and storing them in their respective drawers.  They also water the plants indoors and outdoors during summer.  They also help in mowing the lawn using the manual type.  I remember this last summer, they helped me in the garden by removing all dandelions, raking the leaves and putting them in the bin.  I make it a point that every once in a while they wash the dishes.  Aloysius and Kyle work as a team with one soaping the dishes and the other one rinsing and storing.

Anything that hinders them from achieving these tasks are identified as time-wasters, and they need to stay away from it. Talk about efficiency and achieving the targets in our home.  I hope they will continue to develop good habits of doing something of value at an early age.  Striving for excellence will not be hard if you have started to achieve your set goals, you can outperform or overachieve and be hungry for more.

God will bless those who work with their hands.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Rajgilc's reunion is finally happening

RAGJILC - These are my high school friends.  Please read my previous blog post about how exciting our teenage lives were. The recent vacation of one of our dabarkads in London where 2 in the group met made most of us envious.  The FB comments included -how come kayo Lang? Or next time sa US naman etc. These prompted us to push through with the plans of having a grand reunion, as in GRAND! So we started reconnecting thru Viber chat and calls, Skype, FB and emails as some of us are not techy (asking help from daughters to install the APP LOL!).

Anyway, it was decided that we will all go to Florida so that everyone will travel by land or air.  There are lots of beaches, theme parks and other attractions in Orlando. If time and budget permits, we can go and try a 2-night cruise to The Bahamas. With our families in tow, we need variety of activities that our children can be busy with while we spend time together in our vacation home.  Yes, we have already made a reservation and the room assignment is completed.  We are all very excited, keeping in touch with each other everyday thru Viber text and calls for updates.  This alone is something that we missed, talking to each other endlessly. You could just imagine how our chat in Skype sounded like when everybody wants to talk at the same time, it was like the old times in our hang out - Masanga, only now global na!

I hope that others will keep in touch and join us in conversations, now the topics are more of value and not just friendly chatter.  Sometimes, we just laugh and exchange silly stickers or icons just to keep us sane from the daily chores and stress from work. Looking forward to spending time with you my dear friends. It's going to be one of a kind gallibonding!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Our days are numbered, what do we do?

"LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered--how fleeting my life is."  Psalm 39:4

I don't want to sound morbid but reality bites. So while we can, we live our life to the fullest. How?

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Number our days 
Is it money? or number of houses?  Cars? women? Cities you have travelled? Luxury bags or apparel? Achievement or awards?  God will not look at these numbers.  How do we get the numbers?  Let us think of these:

How many years have you live?

How many years have you been -
As a daughter or a son?
As a sibling?
As a parent?
As a worker?
As an employer?
As a student?
As a Christian? (Have you learned about and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour?)

So after determining the numbers, let us think of the past and present so that the outcome will guide us on how to live our future or until our brief time on earth ends.

1.  Blessings - in all these numbers, have you thought of how faithful and good our God is, even if we have not been good and faithful?  Have we been thankful?

2. Relationships - let us go back to each of the stages in our life and think about how fruitful and meaningful the relationships were. If there were not good or broken or even superficial, we might as well reconnect with them, say sorry and make up before it's too late.  There is a reason why  we were there in their lives, if there is an opportunity to start over again, do it and share God's love. It might be that our long lost friend is troubled and need God right now.  Let us be the channel.

3. Spending time with and for the Lord.  Going back to the questions above, in all the years you have been on this earth, how many hours have you spent with The Lord - Reading and meditating on His words, praising and worshipping Him, doing what pleases God and not men. Sharing your blessings, spending time, resources and talent for His ministry. To bring others to Christ and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).  Going back to number 1 and thinking about God's love and faithfulness, isn't it about time that we give back by numbering our days right?

I know it's difficult or we're probably in denial on how life should be lived because we are so caught up in the busyness of life and our web of worldly treasures. But they are all fleeting.  God is just waiting and we just need to respond quickly before it's too late.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Parent is the child's first and best teacher

The title of this blog entry is a quote from my favorite homeschooling blogger Mariel of The Learning Basket.

I have not considered homeschooling an option because I want my children to enhance and develop their social skills in a regular school. They need that because of their introvert nature.  But I think I could use the freebies to further help my children in mastering the lessons they learn in school.  The idea of homeschooling still appeals to me because you will have control and you will know the progress of your children through the activities and evaluation/tests that they will undergo. I know it's going to be hard to find time to do this now that my parents went home, but I will try my best to juggle my work and home front and do my version of homeschooling (teaching them when they are home).

I found many sites on homeschooling and some of them are the regular sites that my children visit even without asking them. is their favourite. I have come up with links to my favourite homeschooling resource and blogs.  This list is also for my sister who will relinquish her successful career to become a full time mom to Candy and Carlisle when they go to the US next year.

Homeschooling Resource and Freebies:
Free Homeschool Deals
IXL Learning
Thinking Blocks
Life of Fred Mathematics
Time for Learning
Vocabulary Spelling City
Kids numbers

Here are my favourite moms whom I respect and admire for their dedication and hardwork in homeschooling, managing the home fulltime (something that I can't do without being insane) and updating their blogs regularly to keep me inspired and entertained.

Homeschoolers Blogs:
 The learning basket
Teach with Joy
The Mommy Journey
Our Family for His Glory
Filipino Homeschoolers

There are more sites out there but the above list are those I have tried using as my reference in my "homeschooling".

Next, our other favorite activity: Reading

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Book Review: Tops and Bottoms

My kids love to read and I also love reading to them. It gives us both quality time and added knowledge on the books that we read even if they are for kids.  The latest book that we read is called TOPS and BOTTOMS by Janet Stevens.

The book is both for young and old as the story can happen in real life.

The story revolves around a rich but lazy Bear who owns a big land and poor but clever Hare. It shows how life can be turned around if you are lazy even if you are very rich. The Hare gives hope to those who are poor but are hardworking and smart.

Because Hare has a big family and Bear owns a land but only sleeps anyway, he asked Bear to become his business partner.  Hare proposed that his family will plant on the land and they will split the harvest based on tops or bottoms. The choices that Bear made between tops and bottoms were not  wise because at the time he is being asked, he is always sleepy. In between the pages of this book are nice illustrations that depict the story and sent my children to boisterous laughter.

I told my children that the story shows how you can be tricked when you are not focused and want only to enjoy life.  Life is not only about having fun and letting time pass without accomplishing anything. We are supposed to work and plan before play and enjoy.  I hope you will find a copy of this book and read to your children. Enjoy TOPS and BOTTOMS by Janet Stevens.

Pensive thoughts on blogging

I admit that I thought of removing my blog from the Internet.  This blog was not regularly updated it couldn't even pass for the word blog which means web log, a daily log of activities.  But then I thought that I will erase my digital footprint and I could still use this site to bring good news. Well, I started this blog with my stuff, activities and happenings, then my family's and I realized that I could use the journals for my kids to go back to and for my scrapbooking (another neglected hobby of mine).

My temporary absence in the blogging world does not mean there's nothing going on in my life.  It's been very busy actually that I didn't find time to put them in writing. My apologies to my followers if you are still out there. I hope I can still go back and blog the significant events of my life. I want to thank those who have visited this site.  I still find visitors to this site from all over and I hope that my entries have been helping in whatever you are googling about.

I promise to keep this blog updated and bring you the information you need or will be interested in.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Landscaping Issues and solutions

I am a frustrated gardener. I do not know if it's the scorching heat of summer or my purple thumb which makes our garden slowly dying. the Cedar trees that Lito planted are now turning brown and the lawn grass too. The only spot that has still green grass is the area inside the fence. Well, there is a shade there and the big tree from the neighbors are protecting that part of our garden. Lito surprised the kids with a fountain to make the garden a little exciting.

Anyway, I am copying an article from a home sale magazine on how to make your garden and landscaping a beautiful one without spending a lot. Here are some of the common landscaping issues and how to correct them:

Sparse, Brown lawn

If the lawn is looking sparse and brown, likely the culprit is thatch. Thatch is the layer of dead grass, leaves and stems that block the water and nutrients from reaching the roots. To revive the grass, remove this layer and prime the lawn for strong regrowth. a power rake is the easiest way to get rid of the layer of thatch. then use an aerator to poke holes in the dirt so that nutrients, air and moisture can get to the roots.


No single method will eliminate all weeds. Here are some tips on the most common weeds and how to get rid of them:

Dandelion - it's important to dig the dandelions before they go to seed. Spot treat dandelions with a broadleaf weed killer.
White Clover - This weed can quickly spread on undernourished lawns. Combat by watering regularly and applying nitrogen fertilizer. spot treat.
Crab Grass - If it's early in the season, consider applying a pre-emergence crabgrass herbicide. Because crabgrass thrives on shorter lawns, set your mower to a higher setting, about 2-3 inches.

Overgrown hedges , shrubs and trees

Trimmed hedges and trees make a yard look perfectly manicured. A tree trimmer, chainsaw are some of the tools used but is safer and more economical to just have it done by professional than having it done all over again.

Wilting and dead plants

If the outdoor plants are turning brown or wilting, it's likely that they need water. Or it's easy for plant novices to overwater -which can kill the plants just as easily as under watering them. Watering during peak sun hours will cause most of the water to evaporate and little will reach the plants roots. Water during the early morning or late evening hours.

Striped lawn

If you have alternate lines of green grass that alternate with yellow of brown stripes, like the cause is uneven fertilizer application. The trick to fertilizing evenly with a drop spreader is overlapping wheel tracks by an inch or two. This will ensure no area gets missed and any potential for stripes is eliminated.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Korean glass noodles

Happy birthday to me!

korean glass noodles – jap chae/chap chae recipe

Serves 4-6 as part of multicourse meal
1/2 pound dried Korean sweet potato noodles
2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon cooking oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 stalks green onions, cut into 1″ lengths
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced (shitake, wood ear)
1/2 lb spinach, washed well and drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Fill a large pot with water and boil. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again and toss with only 1 tsp of the sesame oil. Use kitchen shears to cut noodles into shorter pieces, about 8 inches in length. Set aside.
In bowl, mix soy sauce & sugar together. Add the cooking oil in a wok or large saute pan on high heat and swirl to coat. When the cooking oil is hot but not smoking, fry onions and carrots, until just softened, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, green onions and mushrooms, fry 30 seconds. Then add the spinach, soy sauce, sugar and the noodles. Fry 2-3 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Turn off heat, toss with sesame seeds and the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil.
*rehydrate your mushrooms if you are using dried

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Balik sa pagkabata (back to childhood)

I am posting here the regular Thursday Qs from my naw egroup to lighten up the midweek. It is so fun to reminisce. Here goes...

Balik sa pagkabata!!!

1. What was your favorite game when you were a child?
PATINTERO, Tumbang preso, dodgeball, siatong

2. Who was your best friend in pre-school? In grade school? In the
neighborhood? (At naalala ko yung commercial na... Sino best friend mo
doon? LOL!)
Grade school - Grace Fe Canlas - a Pastor's kid, siya nag introduce sa kin about being a true Christian.

Neighbor - si Tina, she's a Japayuki before, I wonder where she is now. She's the one who always saves me pag naglalaro kmi ng dodgeball.

3. Lumalabas ka ba at naglalaro sa kalye? Kwento!!!
Yes, we live in a tiny neighbourhood, but there's a wide open area at the end of the street that we call bukid. They put a fence there but we still manage to climb the wall and play there until the sun sets.

4. What was your favorite childhood chichirya?
CHIPPY. Yung nakalagay pa sa plastic na bote. At yung Texas bubble gum.

5. What was your favorite TV show when you were a kid
VOLTES V at CANDY CANDY (inbot ba ninyo to???)

6. Share childhood memories that stand out (oo, kahit ilan, wag lang yung
aabutin ako bukas kakabasa).

1.minsan habang naglalakad sa daan na me naglalaro ng mga bata, nakapulot ako ng Beinte singko, tapos ask ko yung mga bata Kung kanino, walang sumagot, so siyempre, finders keepers, tpos nung mag 6 pm na, me dumating sa Harap ng bahay namin na bata kasama yung magulang at kinukuha yung napulot kong pera, ask ko siya Kung San Niya nawala or naiwan di naman siya makasagot, tapos nagalit yung nanay sa kin at Sabi " lintek kang bata ka, iBigay mo na pera ng anak ko", so ang ginawa ko, di ko alam Kung out of fear or inis, tinapon ko yung pera sa kanila tpos biglang Sara ng pinto para di nila Makita ksi madilim na...hahaha, very vivid yun memory ksi feeling ko eto yung first time that I stood up for myself khit bata pa ako, mga 7 cguro.i know what I did was bad pero nainis ksi ako dun sa nanay, di ba dapat bata sa bata Lang para fair at dapat makiusap silang maige.

2. I was the eldest at ang rule sa kin dati, bago ako maglaro sa labas dapat na tapos ko na homework, at gawaing bahay (Hugas Plato, walis, Minsan plantsa ng lampin at Pakulo ng bote), I learned the value of time management at reward system that early, at khit na pagod e sobrang na appreciate ko yung playtime sa labas. Yung mga laro nung Araw develop our strategic thinking, pinagpapawisan ng sobra kaya talagang physically nakatulong, pati na rin teamwork at pagtanggap kapag natalo. Kaya Lang Minsan bitin ksi me curfew nung Araw at dapat pagkagat ng dilim NASA loob na ng bahay.
Isa pa palang di ko nakakalimutan na ginagawa ng nanay ko pag naglalaro kmi, pinapapunta Niya sa bukid yung kapatid ko para isumbong sa kanya Kung taya ba or balagoong ako, ksi ang Gagawin Niya pupunta siya dun kasama pa yung baby kong kapatid para tawagin ako, Minsan me pagalit or papengot effect pa, pero ang talagang reason is para maalis na ko sa pagiging taya. Most of the time, yun na rin ang time para matigil na ang laro at uwian na mga bata ksi kulang na sa players, at lahat sila magagalit sa nanay ko. Hahahaha.

3. I played boys games, like text eto yung parang komiks in little cards, me favorite pa ko dun sa deck of cards na yun to make PATO, yung GOMA or rubber bands at labanan ng mga gagamba or spiders na nakalagay sa matchbox. I remember magaling ako sa mga larong Ito ksi, box box ang mga nakokolekta ko na text, GOMA at gagamba, at natigil Lang yun nung muntik nang magkasunog sa room Kung saan nakalagay ang stocks ko. Pinagbawalan na ko maglaro ng boys games at tinigil ko na rin ksi binilhan na ko ng palayok na lutu lutuan.

At dahil so far lahat ng Thurs Qs ko end with a letter...
*Sorry, alam ko ang lapit sa mahiwagang salamin but I think this is a
really good thing to ask ourselves.*

7. Knowing what you know now about life, if you were to talk to your
childhood self, what would you say?
Life is hard and your childhood is different from other kids ksi sila mayaman, maraming laruan at me katulong na nagaalaga sa kanila, Hindi ung Ikaw na bata pa rin Ay nagaalaga din ng mas maliit pang kapatid but don't be sad, whatever you are experiencing now will equip you to a better life someday. Enjoy hardwork and the rewards that comes after every task. Mas feel kapag ang Oras Ay ginugol sa makabuluhang bagay. Bawat Oras Ay mahalaga, magbasa, maglaro, tumulong, me mas malaking reward ang naghihintay sa yo.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Mother's Day message from a mom

Every year I receive gifts from my children and they keep on surprising me on Mother's Day. I will not be able to give back the gifts they gave but I want to post here what I would like to tell them every year and when the time comes that they will be adults and become parents too.

Here goes the Mother's Day message from a mom:

I've traveled paths you've yet to walk 
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom in my life
I'm blessed to share with you

Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad

Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side

Walk softly when you're angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter's power is immense!

Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don't shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold

Keep God's words right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it's near, you'll find a way

Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart

The world is far from perfect
There's conflict and there's strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life

And so I'm so blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my child
And I believe in you

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

More lyric videos to enjoy

James 3:1-10

WORDS by Hawk Nelson featuring Mercyme's Bart Millard.

Hello my name Matthew West

Saturday, 4 May 2013

MUST HAVE skills to a successful career

You may be wondering why there are schools charging high tuition and matriculation fees in the Philippines. Popularity? No! Proven track record? Maybe.

According to my friends from these schools, this is because these institutions cultivate and develop the needed skills of an individual to become successful not only in his chosen career but also generally in life.  My friends didn't divulge these things but I have seen and experienced working with successful people and I learned a lot from them.  I wanted to share this so that parents and children alike will start working towards developing these skills as early as now even without going to these schools. For those aspiring new graduates who are finding a niche in the corporate world, these are some of the skills that an employer is looking for in the candidate.

1.  Critical Thinking - this is the ability of the person to process information right and fast (so alam nyo na ibig sabihin pag SLOW?) Critical thinkers are able to see where the gaps are, determine the problem and provide ways to solve it.  He is also able to find answers to what if situations. I just noticed in my son's math homework, they are always asked to look for the equation in a problem before they solve it.  If the problem is understood in another way the answer is already wrong. Comprehension is important.  If you have learned math in a straight forward manner for example: 512 x 4876,  try to solve word problems and develop the habit of  finding the equation yourself before solving it. For little children, try to ask them questions that cannot be answered by yes or no. Let them explain why they chose that answer. Explore more on the book he read by asking your little one how it relates to him.

2. Leadership - those whose temperaments are Sanguine and Choleric will not find it hard to "lead".  But its not impossible for the Melancholic and Phlegmatics to lead in the future if they at least participated or gave support to the leaders in a school organization or joined extra curricular activities. The experience will help them build the confidence to lead later. If you are a student now, don't just focus on the academics, the extras will come in handy and will help you achieve more. Remember, this will teach you how to manage time and prioritize things.  A skill that you will need to master and you will use for the rest of your life. The more projects or teams you handled, the more opportunities for you to climb the corporate ladder later faster. Now if you didn't know what the four temperaments are and which one fit yours, you better research on this and learn how to maximize your strengths and work on the weakness.  A good reader becomes a good leader because he knows how to store and use information to his advantage. Sabi ng Journalism teacher ko, para daw makabuo ako ng magandang article para mailagay sa school paper, kailangan magbasa ng magbasa. Knowledge is power.

3. Communication - what do you think happens to a person with the above skills but without the communication skills?  Learn to develop this very important skill because even if you are the most intelligent person in your school and you can't even express yourself, there's no way you can show the first 2 skills.  As early as a preschooler, have your child recite poems in front of siblings and parents. If you are in the school age,  participate in activities where you will be asked to talk a lot, volunteer to speak in the group's behalf for a project, or do the presentation. The more exposure you have in talking to different kinds of people, the more confident you become. Expressing yourself will become a natural chore. Second, learn how to listen and be sensitive of how others receive your message. If  there is a need to stop to get their attention, do it. Be aware of body movements, facial expression and other non-verbal reaction.  Don't just talk about something, choose your words, make the report meaningful and noteworthy. Think of it this way, "what is the impact of this. How will it add value to them?" People will draw near to you if what you say will benefit them.  Learn how to write too. Watch out for wrong grammar, use of punctuation and special characters. Font size and style matter, when you are composing an email even sending a private Facebook message, check spelling before sending. Make it a habit to write right. What you say in print will tell a lot about you.

4. Initiative - another skill that is lacking in most employees nowadays is this one. Initiative is going the extra mile in order to reach the target.  It is not only completing the project but making an effort to make the project stand out. In short, "kinareer" (not mediocre or pwede na but excellent). It is doing something without being told. It is being cognizant of the next step and planning of doing it before the current task is not yet completed.  Thinking ahead and adapting to change, engaging in something that is unknown yet essential for the job. A classic example of this is when the teacher asks for volunteers for a community project. The ordinary student will look away or not pay attention, but the success-bound student will raise the hand and do the task. Why?  Because he is SIPSIP? No but because he wants to add to his already long list of "experience" that will equip him for his future.
I urge the readers of my blog to help spread this. The tips I shared here are beneficial in training our children towards excellence. With early training and developing the habit of mastering these skills, success is inevitable.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Don Moen's music and my early Christian life

We just came from a Don Moen's concert entitled "God will make a way: An Evening of Hope".  My friend Joy with her husband Dom joined Lito and I.  It feels good to watch a concert. Just like the old days with Joy at ULTRA.  But this time it's different because the artist is not mainstream. It all came back to me, the songs reminded me of the Thursday night services at ACCM in Makati (Word for the World Christian Ministries).  While we were singing along, I realized how Don Moen's  music made a great impact in my early Christian days. The lyrics of his songs inspired and attracted me to worship The Lord. I remember jotting down the lyrics in the handouts during the service. Some of my favourites include "Lord I offer my life to you", "Great is thy faithfulness", "Thank You Lord", I believe there is more" and many others....
As I was listening and reminiscing, scenes from my past flash and I couldn't help but cry and be thankful because it dawned on me that God never left me in my happiest and saddest days. His promises are true. God is good all the time. Even when I turned away and got "busy", He answered the prayers of those who cared for me and lifted me up to the Lord.  I know my true Godly friends included me in their prayers and now I want to thank them through this song.  To the people who introduced me to God's love and salvation, those who encouraged me, those who rebuked me, those who never gave up on me, those who inspired and keep on inspiring me, those who "showed" and not only talked about being a true Christian - Maraming salamat!
Enjoy the song....

let's keep on praying for each other.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

It's about time, I update this blog

My friend featured me in her blog and I feel good. It's nice to see someone's perspective about you and Marri's post was exceptional. I love it!  I know she wrote only nice things about me. Those are all true except that it's not all bright and sunny. There are dark areas in my life too and I'm a normal person experiencing the ups and downs of life. The only difference is that when I'm in my darks and downs, I have God with me to strengthen and uplift me. Once again, thanks my friend. Read on...

The new Me, Myself and Irmee by simplymarrimye

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Bird nests in trees- the real fruit

I only remember posting this now but it was already on my mind towards the end of Fall last year when I saw this tree.  Only when the tree is stripped off its leaves, you will see the true beauty of it. The trunk, the branches, the shape and structure - from the roots to the thickness of the trunk, the branches until you see the thinnest stem from where the leaves used to be attached.  I noticed that most trees have nests in them, but there's this tree that has lots of nests in it.  Amazing!

I used to be attracted to trees because of its size, shape, the color and shape of the leaves.  The drive to countryside during fall will make you crazy because this is an opportunity for you to see all kinds of trees and colourful leaves. My eyes were attracted to these trees with enormous trunks, wide branches and fall coloured leaves. I used to believe that a tree is good when it's fruits are delicious, and abundant or when the form and structure is above the rest.  Until I noticed the nests attached to the branches of the bare tree.

Pensive mood indeed when you wonder what qualities of a tree do the birds look for before it starts building the nest.  Will the look of the tree matter?  Could it be the branches, the wide trunks or the roots from where the tree gets everything to grow and bear fruit? Could it be the strength of the tree, to withstand all the elements? Will the tree be able to sustain the nest, even after the strongest of storms, so that the bird can come back and lay eggs again after the young birds have started to fly? 

Now I'm raising the level of my thoughts of the tree from the Purpose Driven Life book by Rick Warren.  It still holds true that a tree rooted to The Source will bear fruits but I firmly believe now that the tree with nests on it rooted to The Source, has more value.  The fruit after it is consumed is gone but the nests become a witness to the strength of the tree and more birds will come and make it home. 

So going back to the tree with more than one nest, I wonder, what kind of tree is it?  How many birds are happily chirping when they stay in that tree, or come back in Spring?

And what about us? What kind of tree are you? When you are stripped off your leaves, will God find nests there? Or Are we just beautiful outside? 
Only God knows.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

My sons version of Angry Birds

I am so proud of my children. Their playing Angry Birds has paid off, now they were able to create their own version. My son Aloysius wants to go to Etobicoke School of the Arts and he needs to come up with a portfolio of his drawings. My 7 year old Kyle is also inspired by his brother, he came up with his own. I want to show off my sons talent in art and hopefully their interest will continue. May the talent that God bestowed upon them be used for His glory.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Enjoying snow on Family Day

It was a bright sunny winter morning and what a nice day to spend the family day in the park. We went tobogganing at Centennial Park and we were the second family to arrive at the bunny hill.  he kids went crazy while riding the sleds. We had to borrow a longer one because ours can only fit one. They went down on a race, sometimes on their stomachs but most of the time, they were shrieking and all smiles. It was really a fun family day. We had to leave early though because other families have started to arrive and the place just became too crowded for tobogganing.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Tips in taking care of children's teeth

We just took the kids to a pediatric dentist in University of Toronto and found out that we are going to be charged thousands of dollars for the dental treatment Kyle and Lex are undergoing. Thanks for the insurance because we cannot afford the costs. I know we all love chocolates and candies but Kyle had traumatic experience in a dental chair before and Lex had so much caries from drinking from the bottle while sleeping when he was a baby. They will undergo treatment while sleeping.
If I had known we will go through this, I could have not offered them desserts, baked too many cakes and cookies and stopped giving them candies. I learned my lesson and this blogpost is timely. I'm now sharing tips on how to prevent dental caries for children (and sweet tooth like me):
If you can, do not buy or give your children sweets. They can have these from other places, parties or as treats from relatives but not from your own home.
1. Chocolates or anything with chocolates- chocolate covered biscuits and nuts.
2. Fruits are healthier option but there are fruits that are also high in sugar. Dried fruits are better options but stay away from sticky ones. They can get easily stuck in the grooves of teeth, potentially causing cavities. It's best to treat dried fruits as candies and provide them accordingly.
3. Sticky candies, such as toffees, caramels and fruit chews are especially hard on teeth. Sticky candy can stick on the grooves of teeth as well as fillings and dental work, and can be difficult to brush away. Hard candies, candy canes, lollipops are loaded with sugar and sucking on these can coat teeth with sugar.
4. If possible, replace sticky and hard candies with fresh fruit, nuts, pretzels, ice cream because it is easier to remove these foods when brushing.
5. Cookies, baked goods and sugary drinks should not be part of a child's diet. If these cannot be avoided, try to ensure they are eaten with or after a meal. This way, your child may not be as hungry and he or she may be less likely to eat a lot of sweets. Also, saliva production is better with a meal resulting in better protection from cavity causing bacteria.
6. Teeth need fluoride to stay strong and fight decay. Use fluoride toothpaste and drink fluoridated water. Bottled water does not contain fluoride so if your child drinks bottled water, tell your dentist so he can prescribe fluoride supplements.
7. Baby teeth affect permanent teeth. They save space for adult teeth to grow in straight. Losing them early due to decay can cause pain and crooked teeth.
8. You should floss for your child everyday. Flossing removes plaque brushing may miss. Your child should be ready to floss alone when he reaches age 8.
9. A plaque attack happens every time your child eats or drinks. Each attack last 20 minutes and can cause tooth decay. The only beverage that doesn't cause a plaque reaction is water so let your child drink water frequently to spare vent "sweet cravings".
10. Brush teeth every after meal and every after eating sweets.
Share these tips so we can all have pearly white and healthy teeth specially our kids.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

My kind of music

I am a music lover but I found out that music for and from God is sweeter in my ears and heart. Here's one of those songs that I am listening to. I like the beat but the lyrics really what attracts me. I hope you check it out and read through the lines, truly God wants us to be something else but it is not on our own, it must be Him and His goodness. Enjoy this.

Friday, 25 January 2013

How not to be depressed

I'm a normal person, I experience the same as what other people feel, yes even if you are the richest man here on earth, you also feel depressed. I've reached the highs and lows, and lately is more of lows but because I'm a child of God, He finds a way to talk to me. Today I heard a timely message on the radio and read many passages online. I miss my friends whom I can talk to anything under the sun, those who have time for girly and mushy stuff, asan na ba Kayo, khit online di ko Kayo Makita, hahaha..When I came here, my alternative was retail therapy, but I don't want to splurge because I don't have anything to spend. I don't know if it's the weather (yeah, it's also -13'C here) and the sun is not shining or the early part of the year is always the time you get anxious...what will happen this year? Will my goals be reached? I always think about so many many that it eats my time to pray and read God's words.

 The message that I heard today is about how not to be depressed:

1. Stay closer to God by reading the bible or hearing it in church.
2. find true friends to talk to,
3. brush any negative thoughts,
4. keep busy, do fun and worthwhile activities.

 I really thank God and for those praying for me and my family, that I'm no longer in my lows. Last night, I found a feel good movie to watch and right from the very start, I was already amused because the main character looked like me when I was still young. I hope you can find the resemblance in Irmee and Nam...LOL! I hope you will smile now.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

10 Tips for Raising a Reader

I wanted to share what I do (at least most of them) to make reading a habit for my children. I found this from Scholastic.

1.  Read to your child right from the start. Even babies love books!
2.  Read every day. Set aside a special time for books.
3.  Make a comfortable spot for reading - in a cozy space, with a selection of favourite books.
4. Bring a book along. Reading can happen anywhere, and books on CD are great for the car.
5. Keep reading to your child. Even after your child can read on their own, reading aloud is a special time together.
6. Become a family of readers. Let your child see you reading, too: books, magazines, newspapers, recipes and more.
7. Read where you are. Point out the words on cereal boxes, street signs, license plates and other text around your child.
8. Let your child choose what to read - at home, at the library, and at the bookstore.
9. Make reading fun! Read with expression and re-read favourite stories, encouraging your child to join in.
10. Have your child read to you. Let your child take a turn reading or telling stories, and praise their skills.
Read everyday. Lead a better life.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Highlights of 2012

In the past year (2012).... 1. What was the best thing that happened to you?
My mom and dad coming back to Canada and bringing them to New York City. Careerwise, level up from 7 to 12. The kids did great in school, Aloysius graduated with honors and best in French.

2. What was the worst thing that happened to you?
Almost got lost in Times Square with my two kids before New Year, thank God nagkita rin.

3. What was the most emotionally-stimulating (either in a positive or negative way) event?
The bible studies we did weekly. I continue to know more about God.

4. Who is the best friend that you met/made?
My cell group.
5. What was the best movie you watched?
Courageous and The Vow

6. What was the best book you read?
Old Testament Heroes (what bible characters did to become Leaders) Connecting-leadership essential both books by John C. Maxwell

7. What was your biggest life change, or biggest life-changing decision?
When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour and to try my best to live the way that God wants, a fulfilling life with Him and for Him.

8. What favorite restaurant did you find?
Imperial and Mandarin buffets, hahaha Asian pa rin siyempre
9. What favorite new hobby did you take up? Actually, nawawala na ang time ko for this, dami ko pa scrap booking and blogging tasks to do, hopefully I can start again. My sons said I have another hobby - Facebooking LOL!

and here's a totally useless question: 10. At last count, how many pairs of black shoes do you own? :) 5- 2 boots, 2 flats, 1 wedge haha dami na pala.