Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Our Dadilo's and Mama's True Legacy


Now that they are both gone and went with the Lord, I remember many things about them, all the wisdom and advice I've heard and the good practices I've seen. One of the most impactful memories I stored in my heart is their huge faith in God. I can vividly recall when we prayed on one Christmas Eve because we didn't have any food or gifts at that time and they claimed that that will be the last time we celebrate Christmas with nothing because God will provide, which eventually happened; we were blessed and prospered the year after that and year after year. Another is their belief and hope for a better tomorrow. It was from them that I always hear "tomorrow is an opportunity to get better, strive harder, exceed, excel, be a better version of yourself." It was from them that I heard, "stop complaining, the pain will be gone tomorrow." It was from them that I always look forward to something better, more rewarding, results of hard work. Dad said, that is not good enough. "HINDI PWEDE ANG PWEDE NA!" The standards keep on getting higher kaya when when we reap the rewards, it was always sweet victory. Mahirap pero sulit. Ganun ako pinalaki. Not dependent, not complacent, not mediocre. Ako lang ata sa aming magkakapatid ang maagang naexpose sa hirap kaya ganun na lang din ako naging ka-ambisyosa. Imagine, ang bata bata ko pa, ang dami ko nang ginagawang chores mula 8 years old, mamalengke, mag igib ng tubig, magtanim ng kangkong, kamatis, mag alaga ng baboy, manguha ng kohol, maglaba at mamalantsa ng lampin, maghugas ng plato sa dilim hahaha. Ang hirap na masaya kasi kapag natapos ko lang ang mga yun chaka ako nakakapaglaro, so dapat mabilis kumilos para me reward, maglaro sa bukid. Ang saya saya! Mahirap pero rewarding. Daddy and Mama trained me to be independent, to strive more, accomplish more to have a better life. Work, play, study - cycle repeats. By the end of my elementary days, I knew the hardships paid off. But that didn't stop me from striving, setting the standards higher. It went on until high school, college, working part time while schooling. By this time, my high standards were established and mama and dadilo wanted it re applied with my siblings. I hoped and prayed that whatever they saw in us, they will continue. We started on the right path we all worked part time while in school, we finished and got our degrees and worked. Eventually, we started our own families, had our own children.


Why am I saying this now? What is it for me, for my children, nieces and nephews and the younger generation? True, past is past but we can learn from it. There were so many good learnings from the past that we can use and follow. Maybe it was the thought that I don't want them to experience what I had, I let the children live comfortably. I am having those regrets, I wanted to continue what Mama and Dadilo started in me with my children, my nieces and nephews because I believe and could still hear Dadilo saying "Hindi pa pasado yan, magaling ka, believe that you can do better than that!" It is true, we can continue with their legacy - to be an achiever, not to quit but to work harder, to accomplish more, to find how and become a champion. We are all blessed with skills and talents that we don't want to get wasted. I hope the younger generation - our children will realize this that even if they can afford not to do chores, or be happy with the grades they've achieved, they will do more, be more, be of significant value. I hope my children while imagining me in the middle of rice fields carrying water containers, will realize that Mama, Dadilo and I worked hard to be where we are today, that they will continue the legacy of faith, hope and belief in hard work and growth mindset. Not complacent, mediocre or no drive at all. That is not what God wants us to do. He has great plans for us, plans to give us hope and a future. Only then, we can truly say that we are Mama and Dadilo's offsprings because we are achievers and always aim to be the best versions of ourselves.
 
To you my beloved: "Are you making Mama and Dadilo proud with what you have or accomplished right now?"

Monday, 31 August 2020

There is a time to live and a time to die

We had snow storm before mama died, last Saturday when we went to the beach there was gusty winds on a supposedly hot summer day, yun pala that was a warning. My Dadilo passed away yesterday, he just stopped breathing. Not Covid-19 but he had brain tumors and seizures and was bedridden since my mom died 18 months ago. Up to last week, I try to chat with him every once in a while and tell him stories and make him feel good by telling his jokes again. We had beautiful moments together in his last days even if sometimes his eyebrows would meet because he probably forgot the name I'm mentioning. I prayed with him and read bible verses with him.

Why am saying this? I just wanted to remind everyone that life is short and we all have little time so we make sure we spend that time with our precious loved ones because we never know when we or they are leaving. Leave all the worries or pagkakasamaan ng loob behind and make each day significant for them lalo na sa mga oldies. Kahit na zoom or facetime or tawag basta makita at marinig ka at mga apo nila malaking bagay na yun. Let us live and love as if today will be our last.

Today, i wanted to be reminded and for you to know about hope and God's promise at a time of death. Let us all believe.

 “... If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2b-3 NIV)


Many believe death is the end of life, but Christians know it is the portal to eternal life. When Christ died on the cross and rose again, he went on ahead to prepare a place for us. I take great comfort in knowing my Daddilo who is a believer in Jesus is with him in a real place called heaven. Instead of mourning because I’ll never see him again, I can look forward to spending eternity with him and mama in the presence of Jesus.

Check out my other post: https://irmee.blogspot.com/2018/02/are-you-ready-to-die.html

Monday, 6 April 2020

"Kumain ka na?" (Have you eaten? ) - a post about true nourishment

I was able to see my mom who was in critical condition before she passed away last year.  After the long-haul flight and the terribly slow traffic in Manila, I thought that I will miss the visiting hours. Good thing,  I made it before they are about to close, just 10 minutes.  I have mixed emotions as I finally saw her - excited, happy, sad, anxious, tired, burdensome it was heavy on my heart. When she saw me, she was smiling and asked for pen and paper (she was intubated) she wrote - "Kumain ka na ba?  (Have you eaten?)


I couldn't control the tears falling down my cheeks.  Here she was, very sick and lying on what could become her death bed but all she could still think of was me - her 50 year old daughter not nourished.  You cannot take that away from your mom - the "pangangalaga" (the love and caring of parents - I realized later on that I also ask the same question to my children when I come home late or they arrive from school or somewhere).


She wants to ensure that I'm well and nourished before her own needs. I really feel loved at that moment.  Nobody loves you more like your mom does and that makes me miss her terribly.


Why? What is it with Food?  Food gives us nourishment, strength, keeps us from being sick, makes us grow.  Food gives that comfort, rest and sense of fulfillment. It's like a goal achieved. Do you feel that satisfaction especially when you burp? Most of us, that is when we say - "Salamat sa Diyos"  (Thank you Lord)


I remember my mom and her question because in my devotional today, I read about the last supper when Jesus ate with his disciples. Luke 22:19-20 in the bible says -

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.


Jesus' words at the last supper were symbolic of what was about to happen in His death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus was soon to become the true Passover lamb who would be sacrificed for the sins of the people. This would be the last Passover meal in a long history of looking forward to the Messiah.

What is happening today makes the world ravenously hungry for answers. The COVID-19 pandemic cannot be stopped at this point and whether we like to admit it or not, we are hungry, we are longing for some answers, satisfaction, we are weak.  We need not just physical but also spiritual nourishment.  Do you know that you are a child of God and just like my mom and every parent, He wants us His children to be nourished? He thought of you more than His own Son who suffered on the cross.


Deuteronomy 8:2-3 emphasizes to Israel and now to us that the source of spiritual nourishment is more important than the nourishment itself. If we have the right source, the nourishment will be good. Otherwise, the situation is hopeless. Our source of nourishment must, of course, be God



May you find peace and comfort in the presence of God this week.  May you partake in God's nourishment and think about it the next time you are asked - "Have you eaten?"

Friday, 16 August 2019

Giving Thanks in Everything

Dadilo is celebrating his birthday today but he is sick, bedridden and in the hospital for quite some time. Mama passed away early this year and I heard an unexpected news that I couldn't accept because I thought it was all set and laid out perfectly for me.  This has impacted the plans I've made for the financial difficulties we've had with Mama's and Dadilo's health conditions. 


1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  I know what Paul is saying, but I am not sure how I can possibly do this.  Maybe if it said, "In good things give thanks."  I'd know exactly why we should obey this command because it makes perfect sense. But when we consider the phrase "in everything", we begin to question whether all -encompassing gratitude is even possible.


Life includes many painful experiences - loss of loved ones, financial downturns, illnesses, natural disasters, accidents, and broken relationships are just some of the possibilities.  How in the world are we supposed to thank God in the midst of all these?


It's in the whole counsel of His Words that we learn to know who He is and what He does. Then we'll understand why we should be grateful and how we can give thanks in everything, even those that don't seem worthy of gratitude at all. We don't have to  look around at our circumstances and think that we are helpless victims of fate or evil. Every event and situation that comes our way has first passed through the hands of the loving heavenly Father. Although we may not understand what He is doing, we can find peace in knowing that He is in control.


Gratitude is not dependent upon good circumstances but is based on our confidence and trust in the Lord and His promises. It's the evidence of submission to Him and dependence upon Him, and the result is peace that transcends comprehension, a relationship with Christ that is steady and unwavering, and a powerful witness that influences those around us.


If you are a child of God through faith in Jesus, He is with you in whatever situation you are facing today.  Although you may not be able to see the good He's working at the moment, can you trust that He is?  The most priceless good He brings comes in eternity; therefore, our greatest gratitude in every situation is for the salvation of our souls.  After we've received His temporal benefits, unimaginable blessings await us in heaven, let's be faithful and thank Him today. God will use your witness of gratitude in everything to touch the lives of those around you who are struggling with hardships, loss or pain.


Thank you Lord for Dadilo's life, for our families and lives filled with blessings, struggles and hope.



Thursday, 18 July 2019

Life is what we make it


I am turning 51 today and I am so thankful for the life I'm blessed with. Thank you Lord for my life. One of my birthday wishes is for our family to continue to serve the Lord. This was fulfilled this week as we volunteered for the kid's camp (vacation bible school) at Church on the Queensway.


Only Alexus is participating in the camp and both Aloysius and Kyle are volunteering as audio video tech staff for the kindergartens. I am so proud and thankful.


"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 6:14 "

I have another wish, that my service offering will become truly meaningful if I have asked and have been forgiven by those I have wronged or felt wronged.  To you, you know who you are, I am really sorry. I admit I have said hurtful words in the process of interfering with your causes or have not done what I am supposed to do but have no control over. I can only pray for God's supernatural power to restore our relationships. I hope that you forgive me and that we will continue to live and love as how God intended our lives to be - free from anger, hurt, worry, grudges but only love, kindness, joy, peace, forgiveness.


I pray to God that you will give me that chance to be reconciled with you so we can live our lives in the way God designed and we can both live happily and peacefully. 


Life is too short to be negative. The outcome of our life is the result of how we view and live life - if it's full of anger, hate, regret, envy, complaints then the result will be the same. If it is full of love, hope, faith, kindness, joy, gratefulness then it will produce the same, the cycle continues. Wouldn't it be more productive to live in the latter? God will add and multiply. I hope that one day you will also see life as how I am seeing it now. We never know how much longer we have in this life so we make it worthwhile, make a difference, be an instrument to spreading love - It is what the world needs now. I'm sure when we reach the end of our tunnel, we can smile and anticipate God's telling us "Well done."


My other wish is to share a song to you, something that I heard our Pastor sing and is also very close to my heart :


My life is in You, Lord, my strength is in You, Lord
My hope is in You, Lord, in You, it's in You
My life is in You, Lord, my strength is in You, Lord
My hope is in You, Lord, in You, it's in You.

I will praise You with all of my life
I will praise You with all of my strength
With all of my life, and all of my strength
All of my life is in you.

Happy Birthday to me. Checkout I'm 51.






Saturday, 1 December 2018

My Disney World Trip VOP Project - VOC Rides and Shows (Part 4 of 4)

VOC or Voice of the Customer is the term used to describe the stated and unstated needs or requirements of the customer.  The objectives of a project depend on what the customers requirements are.  In this case the customer are my kids, my main stakeholder and project sponsor is my husband.  All of their “voices” need to be heard. Before the trip, I asked my children what rides they wanted to do, shows they wanted to see or even characters to meet.  Since they are all in tweens and teens, their memory of the Disney Channel days is dim so we had to watch the Disney movies again so they will be familiar with the stories and characters.   Our trip went well, based on the three constraints (cost, time, energy) although not 100% in the scope were done.  


Liked Best


It took a while before I can complete this post (this is part 4 – previous parts link above)

because my kids just handed me their feedback today, 2 weeks after the trip.  Well, they said it was hard to choose their favorite rides, attractions and shows from all the 4 parks. I only asked 5 from each park and rank per level of likeness (ranked by all 5). Here is the verdict:

Magic Kingdom

  1. RANK #3 Splash Mountain - they remembered that 50-ft drop
  2. Space Mountain – the dark rollercoaster ride that really scared me
  3. Big Thunder Mountain – the drops and fast turns were exciting
  4. Pirates of Caribbean – they liked all the animatronics rides but this one stood out
  5. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – the kids were not thrilled anymore after experiencing all the mountains, but they all liked it anyway
  6. Astro Blasters – shooting is our favorite
  7. Monsters – “we were already laughing but Mom is still staring at the screen” (slow or couldn’t get the joke, or just needs to be ready to be focused on camera LOL)

Hollywood Studios

  1. Fantasmic Show – because this is included in a dining package at Hollywood and Vine, we were in a good spot and walked in a VIP lane
  2. Star Tours
  3. Toy Story Mania
  4. Indiana Jones
  5. RANK #4 Jedi Training and meeting all the Star Wars Characters

EPCOT

  1. RANK #2 Soarin
  2. RANK #5 Mission Space
  3. Test Track
  4. Frozen – only Mom liked it. This is where Alexus asked, “How come this is called Fastpass lane when the line is slow?” he was so loud that the cast members heard it to say this is a popular ride and new.

Animal Kingdom

  1. RANK #1 Avatar’s Flight of Passage
  2. Kali Rapids
  3. Festival of Lion King

I used Fastpass to book most of these rides and shows but for some of them we rope drop or line up as soon as we arrive.  Definitely, FOP, Slinky Dog, Soarin, Test Track and all roller coasters for me are worth the fastpasses.  Shows and meet and greets, you can rope drop or wait for  low wait times.  I’ve observed that during lunch time and when there is a parade, the wait times are shorter so check MDE app often.

Liked least

In as much as I liked meeting the characters up close and have a photo with them, the kids didn’t like it.  We lined up for Cinderella and Elena meet n greet near the Castle because it says on the My Disney app that it only takes 10 minutes to wait but it ended up 60 minutes. Of course, my Alexus complained. “Why are we lining up this long?” “Can we not use a Fastpass for this?” “Who is this character we are meeting?”  Meeting Star Wars characters was a different story.  The kids didn’t mind waiting and the area where we are standing in queue are all decorated with Star War’s elements and Storm troopers are walking around so I think it kept them interested.

What would you do better or try next time?

The following are the rides that we really liked but were not able to go to. We either missed it during our FP schedule (we are only given a 1-hour window), we didn’t get a FP reservation (all schedules were taken) or it broke down while we were already lining up:

  1. Slinky Dog – Hollywood Studios
  2. Rock n Roller starring Aerosmith – Hollywood Studios
  3. Everest – Animal Kingdom
  4. Navi River – Animal Kingdom
  5. Mission Space (Mars) – EPCOT
  6. Tower of Terror – Hollywood Studios
  7. Beauty and the Beast live – Hollywood Studios
  8. Dinosaur – Animal Kingdom
  9. Illuminations – EPCOT
  10. Watch the March of the First Order in full – Hollywood Studios

Notice we missed rides and attractions at Holllywood Studios because of too much time waiting in line to meet and greet Kylo Ren, BB-8 and Chewbacca.  This means that there is a need to go back after the Star Wars Land is completed and more rides are available.  I hope the Project Sponsor /CFO will agree to the Phase 2 of the Project LOL!

Meet and Greets to do

Because the kids didn’t like to wait in line for the meet and greets, the next time will need to include character breakfasts or dinners to meet them and get more personal interaction.  Dining plan is a must in the next trip because each character dining will make you fall off your chair after seeing the bill. This is something for the CFO to consider.  

  1. Winnie the Pooh and Friends – Crystal Palace
  2. Cinderella’s 2 sisters – Back of the Castle
  3. Princess Jasmine and Aladdin – Morocco
  4. Mulan - China
  5. Belle and Beast – book dinner at Be our Guest
  6. Rapunzel and Flynn Rider – Trattoria Al Forno
  7. Ariel and Prince Eric – Trattoria Al Forno
  8. Or dinner at Akershus to meet all Princesses – I hope he agrees because he liked the encounter with Cinderella– kinikilig pa nga eh hahaha


Overall, I would say since the kids enjoyed and were happy, we are all happy – project was successful.  Our experience was not the same as how younger kids would describe it. Yes, we can call it fantasy land but we have a more mature outlook now that the kids have grown. There is a certain experience that I couldn’t put in words but earns my respect and admiration for Disney.  All the theming, processes, planning, communication geared towards ultimate customer satisfaction.  Service was impeccable – every cast member is knowledgeable, helpful and ensured that we are safe, informed, satisfied, served right.  One of my sons who has an entrepreneurial spirit told me that “Disney is very good Mom, all the shops are in the right locations – after each popular ride to keep the guests buying stuff. I wonder how much Disney earns daily.” The Disneyworld experience is an eye opener for us. I know we already tried our best to make it memorable and maximized our investments, but we gained more. The Innovations stirred our creative minds, new plans and upcoming attractions we saw opened our eyes to how vast and endless possibilities there are.  Disney gave us insights more than the fantasy.  Magical if you would say, yes, we had a Magical Disney Experience.

We thank the Lord for this answered prayer.





Wednesday, 21 November 2018

My Disney World Trip VOP Project - Saving Time and Energy (Part 3 of 4)


I like planning. It's my second nature. A carefully planned and organized strategy is needed to accomplish the specific objectives. For this project, we wanted to enjoy the trip, to try and experience most if not all the activities or attractions that Disney can offer.  I know there are people who will just go with their instincts without any plans at all, I don't see anything wrong with that but it's just not my thing.  Even with little plan, I believe I'm going to achieve my objectives.

Human factor
Like any DMAIC projects, the only way to ensure that your plans will work is if you have all the stakeholders informed and aligned to the plans for the day. No room for tantrums, or other plans. Their own preferred rides need to be told and included during the planning stage. Our Epcot day was the only day our 2 families got separated because Carlisle didn't feel like going to the park that day but he decided going later but that meant they were behind us for an hour and we didn't see each other at any of the rides. The good thing is, they were able to go back and repeat the rides they liked and enjoyed them. VOC is important.

Other essentials - people thirst, get hungry, get tired or grumpy. You need to stop once in a while and let the kids and adults drink water, have some snacks and rest for a bit. This is the perfect time to go to no lines, stationary rides like people mover or the trains or watch shows or hang around gift shops to take a breather so that energy levels go up again. The magic bands shown above are your personal link to all Disney related stuff, your room key, your entrance ticket, your fast pass, your photo pass ticket, sometimes it works like wallet too so ensure that these bands are always on your wrist and your children's. By the way, they always think that they are doing a fast pass when the magic band is scanned.

TIME and ENERGY constraints
Saving time is linked to saving energy and motion. If you noticed in my previous post, my plan started with the rides, the fast passes and getting around the Magic Kingdom park per area (in one direction). The intent is to always save time and energy.

Hotel room location
If you can, try to request for the room near the lobby, the food court or the bus station.  Some resort complexes are so big that if your room is located at the far end, you will need more time to reach your room or the bus stops. I saw families with young children and I could feel their frustration when these children who are tired becomes grumpy or will cry a lot on the Bus and on the way to the hotel room - the farther the room, the longer the agony.  The farther room locations I saw were Little mermaid building of Art of Animation and 90's building of Pop Century resorts.  These 2 resorts have buses directly coming from and going to these destinations so guests have an advantage. All-star hotels share the buses so they will need to pick up and drop off guests from all the 3 all star hotels. That is something you need to consider when choosing the Disney hotel you're staying at. These are the value resorts I'm referring to, there are other moderate or high end resorts where waiting is minimal, but the cost is more. The choice is yours.

Matching shirts have advantages
It is easier for us or any family member to see who is missing or how to catch up when we know what they are wearing. Wendy and family wore bright coloured matching shirts so we see them easily if someone got lost in the crowd. Another way that worked was when Alexus had to go to the washroom and they had to leave the line, they were able to spot us right away when they returned because of the matching shirts that Wendy and family wore that day. They also look good in pictures.

"Why do we have to line up everywhere?"
My youngest Alexus is very expressive of his thoughts. These were his comments each time we line up for something. It starts from the bus stop at the hotel, then at the security check, entrance at the park, before you pose for photo pass, meet a character, watch a show, order food, ride or even a fast pass ride. He even told a cast member that the line was not supposed to be called a fast pass because it is slow.

Waiting game strategies:
1. At the Bus stop leaving the hotel - wake up early, eat breakfast at your room or eat the sandwiches while lining up. Check the park opening hours. The objective is to get on the bus early so you could "rope drop" and go to the ride you didn't save fast pass for without waiting that much.

2. Security check- do not bring too much, a back pack should be enough. There should be only one person per family lining up at security and those without bags can go through the line and go straight ahead the park entrance. They can go to their first ride or character meet and greet while those who went thru the security check catch up with them.

3. Watch a show - always check the show times on the app and just line up on stand by lane at least 5-10 before the show starts. Everyone will be able to sit just make sure that your party are on the same line.

4. Order food thru the mobile order app. - you will be able to see the food on the menu, click and order then wait for your notification while sitting at your table. You will only need to be at the counter when the food is ready for pick up.

5. Ride- try the single rider so you don't have to line up as a group, we did this at Test track in Epcot. Sometimes if the line is short you are allowed to repeat the ride to fill up the space, we did this on the Kali Rapids ride. While waiting at the stand by line plan for your next ride, use the app for the wait times, have a back up in case the ride breaks down or the weather acts up.

6. Take advantage of "Extra Magic Hours". Onsite disney hotel guests are given extra hours to get into the park and avail of shorter lines. We were able to do this and finish all the rides at EPCOT before entering the Pavilion and complete the 11 countries visit in no time. We arrived early before 8:00 am and was able to leave the park at 4:00 pm completing everything we planned for the day. With the extra hours, the kids were able to go swimming at the hotel pool. You could also use that extra time to do hotel activities like scavenger hunt, watch movies outdoors, do s'mores, check out Christmas decorations at fancy hotels by resort hopping or joining activities at other resorts. When we went to Polynesian they have a great show - activity for kids. That gave us time to explore the high-end resorts and ride the monorail gong to Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian hotels.  This is also an opportunity to go to Disney Springs if you haven't included it in your plan to do some shopping or eat  there.

Of course, you and your family would want to spend more time together in your rooms and hang out while resting your tired feet and review how the day went to repeat the good and forget the bad. It's fun to reminisce the reaction to the rides, shows and character meetings while mumbling on your favourite snacks and watching TV. At the end of the day, you will realize that you maximized the time and enjoyed most of Disney, getting ready for another fun-filled day.