It’s Our 2nd! :-)

Ha! I’m the first one to do the goofy pose this time (for a change). lol 😀

I am squeezing in this article despite my pending tasks for today as part of our 2nd year wedding anniversary celebration. Yes, 2 years down the marriage lane and by God’s grace, I can thankfully say we are getting better, stronger, and deeper with our relationship with God and with one another. (Awww Tin, sniff, sniff.) 😀

Seriously though, I am also sharing two awesome articles which I found over Fb news feed shared by a friend and the other was advertised. One is about grace and the other one is about how to keep your marriage intact. These articles are a huge help to all those who are married and even to those who are single but are planning to enter the married couples department.

Here they are:

In contrast to the article I have written for our first year wedding anniversary, I won’t delve into nitty gritty details about our year as a married couple for 2017. The start of this year has been more like the ‘calm after the storm.’ If you’ve been reading my blog posts since the start of this year, you’ll know why. 🙂

I told hubby dear that I don’t want to celebrate this year’s wedding anniversary with lavish dates and extravagant gifts because first, receiving gifts is not my love language and second, we are saving financially (I can be very kuripot too fyi. lol). The fact that we’re still together after all that we’ve been through is enough gift for me. In fact, it is the best gift that I always thank God for every single day. ❤

Ah yes, to the single sisters and brothers in Christ reading this, you’ll understand when you get married and go through yourself the chapters of the married life. But for the married couples, I know they all agree (including me) to what our pastors in church would always reiterate – “marriage is hard work.”

I told hubby that our first year wedding anniversary deserves that much of an emphasis because it’s the most crucial year for any newlyweds. It’s that year when you’re starting to get to know each other in an extremely deeper level like what ticks him off when he’s at home, what are my routines, etc., and adjusting to living together under one roof.

For the first few months after our first year wedding anniversary, we’re still experiencing ripples of that adjustment period and honestly, even now, we are still adjusting to one another. My Mom actually advised me that it indeed takes a lifetime to know your spouse. She added that she and my Dad (both in their 70s now) are still making those adjustments even after 44 years of being married.

But don’t interpret this in a way that the married life is far too burdensome. Although I might have to add that at some point in your married life you would feel that way, I assure you that for the greater part, it is an awesome journey holistically. It will nourish every aspect of your life and every aspect of who you are.

Personally, being married made us grow deeper in our walk with God. I must admit that our faith was extremely challenged to the point wherein we felt like we’re too exhausted to fight it out, and yet, by the grace of God, you will “indeed soar with wings like an eagle” and fly like never before.

To put it in another way, this article has no meaning if I won’t say that it was all God who made our marriage the way it is now. Our own efforts are useless – if and only if they are the only things that we hold on to every time challenges of all sort come our way. It was all about God, all about our prayers every single night, all about finding ways to attend and listen to the Sunday preaching, all about hearing out from spiritual mentors, and all about our trust in Him every single day, in every decision, in every thought, in every action, just literally everything.

Everything is about God and that is the bottom line of it all. Remove God in the husband and wife equation and it sure will fail. No amount of human effort can save a failing marriage except by the loving grace of God. 

Believe me, I have been through very tough circumstances but I never gave up on my husband because I know God will never give up on us for as long as we keep the commitment – our marriage vows. I know that my husband is not perfect and neither am I that’s why it is a given that we will both fail each other through the entire course of our marriage. But it is not in ourselves that we rely on for hope, instead, we put it in God.

Well honestly, I can’t help but cry a tear or two (yes, I counted them. lol) while typing this and I looked back at every single moment that my husband and I went through. Through the good and the bad times, God was always there. I felt Him, I heard Him but it took me my COMPLETE trust in Him as well.

There were moments wherein imagining now, I know my husband and I wouldn’t be able to make it through, and you may indeed call it as the worst of the worst. But I held on to my faith. I trusted blindly to the point that I just surrendered everything to God.

Yes, our human frailties will require we REALLY let go of some things. Instead, let God take over, let God fix what needs to be fixed, ask God to give you wisdom, clarity, and instructions – HE WILL NEVER FAIL YOU.

If I cry now while I type this, that’s because I am overwhelmed by the fact that all three of us made it all through – God, Brian, and me. If you are reading this and you’re going through the toughest times in your marriage, I encourage you to NEVER GIVE UP. Never give up on your spouse and most definitely, never give up on God. HOLD ON TO HIS BEAUTIFUL PROMISES.

Pray that God will soften hearts; pray that God will heal gaping wounds; pray for restoration; pray for reconciliation; pray for forgiveness; pray for a change in you and a change in your spouse; and most of all, LISTEN TO WHAT GOD HAS TO SAY.

Never let your emotions drown the voice of God. Calm yourself and calm your spirit by immersing in the BIBLE day and night. Your bible will be your guide, it will be your weapon when the enemy starts to fill in your thoughts and your heart with lies.

What are these lies? Let me just share a couple of them and they are the usual thoughts:

  • your husband/wife doesn’t love you anymore
  • you are not worthy of love
  • you will not change
  • your spouse will not change
  • there is no hope for both of us
  • the damage has already been done
  • the damage is far too great
  • he/she will be happy with someone else
  • he/she is not the right one for me
  • I am a failure

Counterattack these lies with these TRUTHS instead:

  • my husband/wife will always love me no matter what
  • I am worthy of the greatest love Jesus died for me on the Cross
  • I will change by God’s grace in God’s time according to His plans
  • my spouse will change by God’s grace in God’s time according to His plans
  • there is ALWAYS HOPE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR SAVIOR
  • we all make mistakes BUT we are also given CHANCES
  • NOTHING is too damaged or too broken for God to heal and restore
  • I can make my spouse happy
  • my spouse is God’s best for me (claim it in Jesus’ Name)
  • I am a work in progress and God will see to it that “whatever work He’s started in me will be brought to completion in His perfect time”

Lastly, claim God’s beautiful promises for you and your spouse and fight for your marriage. Look at the bigger picture and don’t be too absorbed by the small things or the stumbling blocks in front of you.

Instead, THANK GOD EVERY DAY IN EVERY WAY.

And always look at your end goal as a married couple by keeping these vows you made in front of God latched in your heart safe and secure:

“Through thick and thin, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part…” 

P.S.

I’d like to thank my spouse for keeping the faith, for not giving up, for redirecting me to God during the times that I felt so weak, for praying with me always, for the many chances to change, and last but not the least, for loving me beyond my imperfections. ❤

Oh and also, for being so patient with me like in the photo above during one of our photo stints last Sunday for a project. 😀

I love God and I love my husband. Nope, it’s an understatement – I LOVE BOTH OF THEM SO MUCH – God first, my husband next. 🙂

To cap off this cheesiness, do watch this awesome cover of “Say You Won’t Let Go” by Moira dela Torre. 😉

Understanding a Young Professional

 

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Indeed, August is understanding – understanding the will of God, understanding yourself and others. 🙂

At my age of 31, I can say I have been through all seasons when it comes to job opportunities in search for the one that God says as “the right one.” These decisions aren’t easy to make because I also need to value what my spouse thinks on what is best for us both.

These seasons brought me to short term employments, some even lasted for just a week, some brought me to a standstill for a long while and some lasted for a couple of years. I always seek God’s counsel on these matters because let’s admit it, giving up a job and hopping on to the next is crucial.

We all need money to survive. Getting rich, however, is a different story and something I do not fully support. Money is the root of all evil if it becomes your god and your life revolves around it. This includes anything that makes you “great” as well. It will destroy this hierarchy of priorities mandated by God:

  1. GOD
  2. Spouse
  3. Children/Family
  4. Career
  5. Ministry

How? When we don’t find the right answers to these questions:

  • When was the last time you opened and read your bible consistently?
  • When was the last time you took a quiet time, prayed, and made it a habit?
  • Do you have enough time for your spouse on a regular basis?
  • How about for your children?
  • When did you last visit your parents or talked to them?
  • How about your siblings? When did you last check up on them?
  • When was the last time you attended church? 

We’ve always been reminded to never place any idols before God and that anyone who disobeys will face the consequences:

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,…” – Exodus 20:3-5

Are our possessions our god? Are our finances our god? Are our careers our god? Are our achievements our god? Are our children our god? Is our ministry our god?

If we fail in even one of the things I have mentioned above, we know that we are guilty. We always have to be on our guard because the enemy is always in the corner prowling around looking for that next victim to deceive. Everything may seem to be smooth sailing but little did we know that we are already heading towards destruction. If everything is going smoothly in our lives, we should already wonder.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

There may not be any external atrocities happening on the outside but the enemy is already going for the most vulnerable spot inside you – your heart and your soul.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23

As the adage goes, “A river that is quiet usually has looming falls at the end of it.”

Your heart and your soul may have remained placid but they were not given the opportunity to build a shield which is the armor of God and strengthen your faith.

The Whole Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” – Ephesians 6:10-18

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5

Don’t be tempted to get that next promotion or for that next “big thing” to add to your resume or attach at the end of your name right away. Don’t be tempted to sign that 6-digit salary or the millions that you’re being asked to take without confirming the responsibilities attached to it. Don’t be tempted to say “yes” to any promise of a better life other than the gift of salvation.

No, don’t be tempted with these things. That next promotion might be a temptation to spend less time with your spouse and family or a temptation to sacrifice your own health and wellness. That 6-digit salary might tempt you to drown yourself in the physical pleasures of this world which equate to even more worldly temptation. That promise of a better life might be masked in the form of easy money and the black market.

Review your priorities instead (single or married), ask for God’s leading, seek His counsel, and pray for discernment towards the right path.

If you will ask me why, then consider the following:

  1. Why is quality time with God important? The Scripture will guard your heart against any temptation. This will prepare you for any trial you’ll go through. Thus, it is the #1 priority.
  2. Why is quality time with the spouse important? Marriage is a holy matrimony, it is also a room for the enemy to attack you or your spouse with temptations. Communication is important between a married couple. If you are too tired to even ask what went on in your spouse’s day, it might be too late when you realize your spouse is drifting away from you and eventually leads to a divorce.
  3. Why is it important to spend time with your kids? Your kids will only be young once. They will appreciate the time you’ve spent with them more than the toys or gadgets you gifted them when they grow older. The percentage of depressed teens are getting higher every year. You don’t want them to end up growing up a teenage rebel or being with the wrong group of friends just because their parents are always “absent.” It is as important to your child that you become his/her first best friend other than just being a parent.
  4. Why should you not place money as the top priority? Money is the root of all evil. It sparks jealousy, greed, selfishness, death, among all other negative things.

I am not a licensed counselor but I have learned these nuggets of wisdom from mentors who went through the same thing and shared their experiences, combined with my own personal experience as well as knowledge lifted from my graduate study which is special education.

You might add that they are all a case-to-case basis but consider this verse:

“What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.” -Ecclesiastes 3:15

If you are to ask me why, this might suffice as an answer:

“And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear Him.” – Ecclesiastes 3:14

Going back to all those career shifts, I can say that I have met wonderful people who have touched my life. I’ve learned a great deal of wisdom from them and formed a special bond through the memories and experiences we’ve shared which I am forever grateful.

On the one hand, I have touched their lives as well one way or the other and continue to influence as they add me on social media, check out my profiles or read my blog articles (oh, it’s you). 😀

I never viewed it as a waste of time, this shifting of careers, though it brought me to a slight and temporary instability in my priorities, marriage, finances, etc. as seasons change.

But no, I remained steadfast because I am clinging to a Rock and I know I have a God who is forever faithful. I viewed these instead as a time of GREAT TESTING.

How? It is only in times of drought and famine that your faith in God is truly tested. It will answer the question “how far are you willing to trust God with your whole life?”

So much of this testing didn’t test my character alone but it also built the foundations of my marriage and refined the characters of the people around me too. They, too, have learned to rely on God along the way.

I have always relied in the TRUTH that God is the ONLY ONE who provides for all our needs from finances to material things; who gives us a career; who provides our salaries; who closes one door of opportunity and opens another; who keeps things steady though everything may be shaky; who keeps my marriage intact; who binds the relationships I have with others; and who reminds me of my priorities.

What matters is we stayed obedient to His instructions, obeyed His laws, and pursued His will and plans for our lives all throughout.

As I write this journal entry, all I can ever see are the lives of those great people recounted in the bible who withstood all trials because of their unwavering faith even to the point of death: Daniel; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; David; Joseph; Job; among many others.

They say it takes fire to yield a beautiful sword ready for battle. Without fire, the sword will be blunt – ineffective and of no use. Yet it also takes the time to forge a sword. It takes effort and a great force to yield it. On the other hand, too much heat will cause it to melt.

As a young professional, you’ll receive so much of this fire which could either destroy you or mold you. Choose, however, to consult God’s plans over your life more than being dissuaded by what this world expects and wants from you.

Do not break away from the vine, cling to it. Let God use the fire to mold you for a better purpose. But never let the enemy use it to consume you and head for destruction.

In the end, it is important to keep in mind that even when you have to close a hundred doors and open a thousand, it still is God who decides what is the best door to keep open. You’ll never really know in which seasons will God forge you to become one of His mightiest swords. But, learn to trust Him instead. 🙂

Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

As my spiritual mentor and Victory group leader said with her life verse and God’s promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

For this article, here’s a video from Hillsong that’s one of my all-time favorite Christian songs:

freelancer

Be Protected as a Freelancer

(Photo credit: StockSnap)

Since I have given you opportunities about doing remote work, teleworking, telecommuting including freelancing, I believe it is also my responsibility to provide a list of websites from my research on how to protect yourself should you decide to be a freelancer aside from having your full-time job.

I found these articles very helpful. But just in case I encounter similar problems in one of my (future) freelancing stints, I believe I would need to sit-in in one of the Torts and Damages classes of my brother-in-law who is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines (Diliman) College of Law. 😀 He used to work as a company lawyer for Baker and Mckenzie, a multi-national law firm, and it would indeed be a privilege to learn from him given the opportunity. 🙂

The following are the articles which you could read if you are a freelancer or just planning to become one:

However, if you’ve already experienced any drawback from your freelancing stint though you did the right thing, took the necessary steps, and followed the agreement, don’t be discouraged but take this verse by heart:

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.” – Hebrews 4:13

Just pray, let go, and let God take the lead from there. The battle is not yours anymore but His to take. Be fearful of God and not of men – let God be the judge and be the one to give justice. 🙂

The Digital Age: Remote Work and Telework Defined

The Digital Age: Remote Work and Telework Defined

Hurrah to those who are planning to be stay-at-home Moms or are stay-at-home-Moms already! 😀

This is really good news to me too even though I am not a Mom yet but also transitioning from being a corporate/office employee to doing remote work or work-at-home setup.

I haven’t considered this thought of working at home until circumstances compelled me that working in an office or a classroom is not part of the option. Back in 2002, the concept of working remotely isn’t that unfamiliar anymore. But during that time, only a few companies promote the work-at-home setup to its employees.

Modern technology and its rapid advancements made all this sudden switch from the office to home possible. The increasing trend on social media marketing, for example, challenged businesses in their advertising strategies from print ads to what we call now as ‘digital marketing.’

I have conducted ‘extensive and intensive’ research about the options to work at home and a lot of websites are offering work-at-home opportunities which suit my qualifications, work experience, skills, my interests and more importantly, the working hours. I have highlighted in my previous blog post that the reason why I have decided to make the shift is partly because I intend to prioritize family time and health issues.

Praise God, after how many months of browsing and waiting for the right opportunity to come along, it did come. I was hired by a company and went through the normal hiring process by taking an exam and having an interview. I underwent training and currently in a probationary period.

I am a freelance writer for the first 1-2 months or until I finished 25 articles. Then I will be paid per article submitted but when I transition to staff writer (if I pass company’s standards), which is a full-time position, I’ll be receiving regular pay given every 15th and 30th of the month. The company also offers SLs and VLs for the employee but it still depends upon the work load. The work schedule is still 8 hours a day everyday or a total of 40 hours per week.

The Digital Age: Remote Work and Telework Defined

But before you decide on making that career shift to become a remote worker too, do read this article written by our Editorial Manager. It’s a very insightful read. 🙂

Making That Career Shift

So are you decided to make that career shift now? If yes, I’ll share these websites which are a great help in knowing what kind of remote work is best for you.

Most of these articles which I lifted from different websites were written starting year 2016 until now. Take note that this was the year wherein a lot of articles about home-based jobs were published. I actually would like to conduct even further research as to the cause behind the boom in remote jobs which, I am guessing, has a lot to do with not just the digitization of almost everything from books to learning but how businesses are making the general shift as well. I thought it would be nice to come up with an in depth explanation that will showcase the development and how they were all interrelated.

But it is going to be business marketing. I should take another course for that. lol I am actually interested to take a short business course but I just have one concern, is it possible to study business marketing, economics or finance without having to deal with numbers? Haha I think that is not possible. I love to learn the concepts and ideas but I am not sure if I’ll be able to do all the Math, if you know what I mean.

Lately, business marketing has expanded enormously in different arenas. Even the fields of education are mashed up with businesses and online marketing. Distance learning used to be just a simple video conference call among students and professors mimicking the traditional classroom setup but this time the opportunities became endless. Now, this teaching setup was transferred to homes and students are given the option to hire a professional online teacher who can assist him hands-on with the subject.

Ah yes, there are countless possibilities bound to happen in the years to come and who knows, sci-fi movies about everything being turned virtual are not far from becoming a reality.

So How Did I Explain This To My Family

The generation gap is harder to bridge than I thought. My now 72-year-old Mom who’s sharper in mind than ever and I, a 30 something young wife, find it hard to make these gaps meet career wise. The only technology that my Mom is adept in using is a regular cellphone, not the smartphone. 😉

My Mom doesn’t know anything about social media, digital marketing, etc. Every time she asks me why I did not take the traditional classroom teacher job though I have taken master’s degree units, I am a licensed professional teacher and started explaining about the work-at-home job opportunities, I know she is completely lost in translation. 😀

It is the social stigma attached to working at home which is less dignified, less professional, less fulfilling if you are a career-oriented person, etc. that ate among the few and common misconceptions towards any transitioning corporate employee to a remote worker. To make it short, these types of jobs were typically looked down as something inferior compared if you work in an office.

I guess the only way to clear these misconceptions is by stating the very definition of what remote work/telework/telecommute means. But I am just grateful though that when the right opportunity came, my family, including my husband, gave their full support in this endeavor. Ah yes, praise God indeed.

What is telework or remote work?

  1. It is synonymous to telecommuting and though their definitions may be closely related, there is still a difference between the two. Here are a couple of excerpts from Wikipedia’s definition of telecommuting but I suggest reading the entire article. I gained a lot of insight from it more so because this kind of working environment is also new to me.

“Telecommuting, also called remote work,[1] telework, or teleworking,[2] is a work arrangement in which employees do not commute or travel (e.g. by bus or car) to a central place of work, such as an office buildingwarehouse or store.

All types of technology-assisted work conducted outside of a centrally located work space (including work undertaken in the home, outside calls, etc.) are regarded as telework. Telecommuters often maintain a traditional office and usually work from an alternative work site from 1 to 3 days a week.[4]

As a broader concept than telecommuting, telework has four dimensions in its definitional framework: work location, that can be anywhere outside of a centralized organizational work place; usage of ICTs(information and communication technologies) as technical support for telework; time distribution, referring to the amount of time replaced in the traditional workplace; and the diversity of employment relationships between employer and employee, ranging from contract work to traditional full-time employment.[7]

Some organizations adopt telecommuting to improve workers’ quality of life, as teleworking typically reduces commuting time and time stuck in traffic jams. As well, teleworking may make it easier for workers to balance their work responsibilities with family roles (e.g., caring for children or elderly parents). Some organizations adopt teleworking for environmental reasons, as telework can reduce congestion and air pollution, as it can reduce the number of cars on the roads.

Telecommuting is also called “remote work”,[1] “telework”, or “teleworking”.[2] A person who telecommutes is known as a “telecommuter”, “teleworker”, and sometimes as a “home-sourced”, or “work-at-home” employee. A telecommuter is also called the “telecommuting specialist”, as a designation and in a professional context. Many telecommuters work from home, while others, sometimes called “nomad workers” work at coffee shops or other locations. The terms “telecommuting” and “telework” were coined by Jack Nilles in 1973.[11]

telework allows employees to better manage their work and family obligations and thus helps retain a more resilient Federal workforce better able to meet agency goals.

Telecommuting individuals, or more specifically those in “work from home” arrangements, may find that it improves work-life balance, reduces their carbon footprint and fuel usage, frees up the equivalent of 15 to 25 workdays a year (time they would have otherwise spent commuting), and saves thousands of dollars per year in travel and work-related costs.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommuting

Here are a couple more websites to help us understand better what telework encompasses and how different it is to freelancing/telecommuting. Although I do get the notion now that if you are a teleworker and still doing other jobs on the side, then you are a teleworker who is also a freelancer. 😀

Forbes magazine has this feature article on telecommuting as the future of work. Do you agree? Yes, I totally agree that it’s going to be for the betterment of every telecommuter/teleworker/nomad worker. 🙂

If you’ve been reading my previous articles, it’s been my constant prayer to God to lead and equip me in fulfilling His will and His plans. I always ask for His instructions over my life, my decisions, and my choices. I cannot boast about my “superwoman” abilities because it was all God from the very start. With the flexi time that remote work/telework offers, I can squeeze in errands for my family, help out friends, spend quality time with hubby, and do ministry work while earning at the same time.

Yup! You read it right. God answered my prayer this time in having a ministry to serve with through the communications team of Minkah Ministries Inc. I am just loving their advocacy which is all about reaching out to the communities (not the usual community we live in) and share about faith. Moreover, Minkah‘s founder Tita Beth also shared another good news – the organization has been now officially approved by the SEC as an NGO.

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w/ Minkah Ministries Inc. founder, Tita Beth and Communications Lead, Jam. 🙂

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Minkah Ministries Inc.

I’m like, “wow, Lord” indeed it is all you. I just can’t believe everything that’s happening right now wherein they’re all aligned perfectly just the way they should go. Yes, not a coincidence but all orchestrated by God for the fulfillment of His plans and His will. And yes too, all glory to God as always. ❤

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

“Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3

Part of my research at work also brought me to watching these great videos of famous entrepreneurs and I was agreeing the whole time to what the speakers have shared. Please do find time to finish watching the videos, I am sure you’ll be inspired by the end of it. 🙂

 

Here’s Bill Gates‘ Harvard Commencement Address in 2007:

 

The video below is Mark Zuckerberg‘s Harvard Commencement Address in 2017:

 

So I will just end this article with this awesome two-liner from Mark Zuckerberg and a bible verse quoted by Bill Gates both in their Harvard Commencement Speeches.

“To create not progress but purpose – a sense of purpose….The greater successes come from the freedom to fail.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-Founder

“…When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” – Luke 12:48 (As shared by Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder)

P.S.

I will be writing in another article about the necessary things needed to process your change of employment status at the BIR, SSS, Philhealth and Pagibig should you also go for remote work or work-at-home setup. For the health card, hubby suggested that he’ll enroll me under his health card so I need not apply a new one.

That’s it for now. 🙂

*Feature Image Copyright: Shutterstock

Consumerism These Days

I am currently hooked on business practices and everything related to it and after I did a couple of research here and there, one thought got stuck all throughout which is the word ‘consumerism.’

Business Dictionary defines it as:

1. Organized-efforts by individuals, groups, and governments to help protect consumers from policies and practices that infringe consumer rights to fair business practices.
2. Doctrine that ever-increasing consumption of goods and services forms the basis of a sound economy.
3. Continual expansion of one’s wants and needs for goods and services.

Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/consumerism.html

I’d like to explore items 2 and 3 but first, I’d like to raise a question:

“Is consumerism a negative thing?”

I primarily view this thought as somewhere in-between. I see consumerism as something good as it addresses our needs in order to make our lives convenient and easier (insert innovations in technology here as the forerunners). The downside of it though is accumulation or hoarding to the point of getting more than what is necessary, as far as materialism is concerned.

However, for as long as there is a consumer, there will always be a production of everything that a consumer will need and enjoy. Every one of us is a consumer from the clothing we wear to basically everything else we have. Businesses were put up for this very sole purpose. Just imagine if the production of diapers is put on hold and you have twin babies. That sounds like a whole lot of mess and hassle to deal with.  😀

I just can’t imagine myself living in the Stone Ages. Promise, I’d barely survive. Although the thought of how it all started with our ancestors sounds very intriguing. The Survivor game show just sparked my interest on this and other survival shows such as Man vs. WildMan, Woman, Wild; Naked and Afraid among others. These shows only portrayed how living can be like devoid of all the things that make living easier by reenacting how our ancestors have made it through from the vastness of the wild to civilization.

Consumerism emerged from these needs and eventually more and more innovations and products will come out in the following years as more ideas sprung up out of the need for a convenient lifestyle.

Let’s say for one, the computers. If you were born in a generation like my parents (The Baby Boomers), most likely you’ll view this with a slight contempt (love you Dad and Mom, I’ll teach you how to Facebook 😀). Demands during those times are far different from the demands of today’s generation. But for me who was born in a generation where I saw how it all started, I do get to appreciate how things are running now from how it was before computers got in the scene. Imagine typewriters (no errors, or else, you’d pretty much regret it), a huge waste on paper (let’s save trees!), everything stored manually (oh dusty library catalogs) and other traditional system disadvantages.

If, however, we decide to stick to what is ‘old,’ can we still go on living just like the old days? Yes, we may choose to not be at par with all these changes, but we must also consider how this will affect majority of how we do things from paying bills, buying stuff, etc. as every system will align itself to what is the common trend or what is more convenient.

But if you are to ask the older generations, the traditional methods of doing things helped them mostly in two things: endurance and patience. Does this mean though that today’s generation is more impatient, out of focus and unwilling to endure? Personally, I believe every generation has its own fair share of ups and downs and it is all just a matter of bridging those generation gaps. There are those who totally oppose and will continue to oppose these changes though and for sure they have their own valid reasons why. I am, on the other hand, always on the lookout for what is new out there to learn. These new ideas, innovations and discoveries were not meant for the destruction of mankind anyway.

Although I might have to add that in everything, striking the BALANCE is ALWAYS the key in making sure everything is getting and turning out to right where they should be. As they say, too much of everything is not just good for the holistic well-being of mankind. In the Christian context, the same can be applied. The bible has a lot to say about it actually. 🙂

P.S.

I am currently in a new season career wise and I am praying for sustenance, guidance and instruction in order to meet deadlines, work cooperatively with team mates and provide an excellent output that will honor my God and the organization I am affiliated with. ❤

Yes, we are all workaholics and we work hard but PRAY HARDER. Lastly, always KEEP THE FAITH. 😉

“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command:  If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

And to the man He said,

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree

    whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,

the ground is cursed because of you.

    All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.

It will grow thorns and thistles for you,

    though you will eat of its grains.

By the sweat of your brow

    will you have food to eat

until you return to the ground

    from which you were made.

For you were made from dust,

    and to dust you will return.” – Genesis 3:17-19

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” – Colossians 3:23

[Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.”] – Exodus 20: 8-11

Throwback sa Buhay Kolehiyala sa Peyups: A Letter to the Graduates

Hindi man makabagbag damdamin ang aking karanasan sa kolehiyo bilang iskolar ng bayan, nais ko rin itong ibahagi nevertheless bilang pagpupugay sa mga magsisipagtapos ngayong darating na Linggo and because I went through a similar battle some 10 years ago. 🙂

It took me 2 years to finish my undergraduate thesis. Sabi ng iba mahirap daw makapasok ng UP at ‘di hamak na mas mahirap daw ang lumabas. Kasama na ako sa porsyento ng mga isko at iska na sumasangayon sa paniniwalang iyan. Ngunit ano pa mang karanasan ang danasin nyo sa unibersidad, alalahanin na the university was just there to prepare you for the outside world. In my case, muntik man akong naging dropout at na-delayed ng 2 years, naintindihan ko ngayon na will pa rin ng Dios na grumadweyt ako. Pero kung sakali mang hindi, alam ko rin na God has better plans for me na Sya lang ang nakakaalam – not my timeline but God’s; not my plans but His’.

Ika nga, “Many are the plans of man but it is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail.” – Proverbs 19:21

This is just one battle that God has used to test our faith and yet there will be more battles in which the world will ask you to conform to its patterns and standards and deviate from your faith. Your heart will be put to a test between what is right and what is wrong sa mata ng Panginoon, you will rise and fall along the way, your priorities will change as seasons shift, you will weigh opportunities that could’ve made you look great in the eyes of the world but with a corrupted soul and you will be torn between pleasing this world or pleasing the Lord your God.

If we were given wisdom, it is not for the sole purpose of just gaining knowledge. If we were given power and influence, it is not for the reason of proving how mighty and popular we can be. If we were given provisions, it is not so we can be secured with our future. They were not given so we can use them according to our ambitions and wants but they were given so we can glorify God’s name, His will and His plans.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” – James 3:13 

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.” – 1 Corinthians 3:18

“Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord,
and humility comes before honor.” – Proverbs 15:33

UP, in all its diversified community and culture, has taught me the early doctrines of freedom by being a nonconformist and yet it is faith which molded me that it is God whom I should please by not conforming to the patterns of this world.

Thus, through the bittersweet memories with our UP Naming Mahal, I took an oath to serve God, serve my family and serve the country not through the standards of this world but of God’s. 🙂

Lastly, why God?

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit for APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.” – John 15:5

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” – Matthew 16: 26

As you embark on yet another season in your life, may you not depart from the greatest wisdom of all time even greater than what the academe has taught you – His Word. 🙂

Praying with you in faith,

Christine Lailani G. Ginete-Rome ❤

GradPhoto

BA English Studies major in Literature, College of Arts and Letters, UP Diliman (04/28/2008)

Gifted: Extraordinary Trying To Be Ordinary

It is one thing to be great and yet it is another thing to be happy and fulfilled. Which of these two are you after? 🙂

Hubby and I watched the movie “Gifted” starring Captain America’s Chris Evans. I was captivated by the movie’s portrayal that not all individuals who have the potential to be “great” are subjected to society’s dictates that they be the next Albert Einstein or Bill Gates. It depicted how parents overlooked the fact that greatness is not equated to a life well-lived but only if the child be given the chance to live life by his/her own choosing – a great life or a life lived otherwise, simple and normal devoid of titles.

The story was set in a small town in Tampa, Florida and revolved around the life of 7-year old Mary Adler (McKenna Grace) who’s been living with her Uncle Frank (Chris Evans). Mary’s remarkable talent in Math was discovered by her 1st grade teacher and raised this concern with the school’s principal who then proposed to Frank that Mary be sent to a school for the gifted. However, this setup changed when a battle on custody between her uncle and grandmother took place. Mary’s grandmother intended on giving Mary full access on all resources to maximize her potential while her Uncle Frank, on the other hand, wanted to fulfill the request of his late sister (Mary’s mom) that Mary should experience a normal childhood. The story ended with the court’s decision that Frank be granted custody over Mary and Mary taking regular classes in a public grade school in the morning and taking high level college courses in the afternoon.

Special Education gave way in addressing these problems regarding special children or children with special needs. I was very curious regarding this branch of education back in 2008 when I worked as a communication assistant for the deaf and mute which then prompted me to pursue a graduate study in this field. My eldest sister graduated with a degree in Special Education also and I’ve heard her recount stories and experiences in dealing with special children.

Out of my curiosity to understand them better and the dire need to alleviate the challenges they go through, it led me to finding out that there are actually more of these children who are trying to live ‘normal’ lives out there. It is not only a constant challenge to these children but to their parents as well who try all the best they could to give them a normal life.

Nowadays, the idea of Special Education is not so new anymore in our society. For those who haven’t been truly exposed in what Special Education is all about, the general objective of it is good in all aspects. However, as practitioners of this branch of education, there are some challenges that Special Education still has to address in which researchers are currently exploring. This ranges from teacher competencies to the after-school support programs because education for these children doesn’t end in the four corners of the academe.

The demands are greater – demands for better understanding on a holistic sense i.e. emotional, social, biological, intellectual, behavioral, etc. Indeed, their education is referred to as “special” because they are not regular students who fit more or less in a standardized curriculum. With these children, however, the Individualized Educational Plan addresses their needs best, academically speaking. But there are other needs that should be met as well i.e. emotional, social, and behavioral development in which a Special Education school with special students alone may not be able to cater.

As with the case of Mary, she is intellectually gifted. But if we will focus on just unleashing her full potential just like what her grandmother wants, she truly may miss a lot most especially her childhood. It was portrayed in the movie that Mary’s mom committed suicide which, I assume, has something to do with her low emotional quotient though considered as a Math prodigy. This low EQ, I believe, has been sidetracked as the school for the gifted she attended focused more on improving the technical side of her intellectual giftedness not taking into consideration the other essential factors needed in order for her to function fully and normally as a human being.

This movie is an eye opener most especially to parents either of a special child or a normal one. Though we all have dreams for our children to have the best in life and give them the best opportunities around, what matters still is not the achievement nor success (worldly definition) they could have in this life but to live it according not to our standards as parents nor of this world’s but that of God’s. God knows His plans for our children. We just need to trust in Him that He will give us, parents, the right instructions to raise them well according to His plans.

And what does God say about gifts? My previous article will answer that. *wink* Or better yet, watch the entire movie. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer of the movie below. 🙂

 

Good Stewards of God’s Gift

This is a very quick article as I’ll be preparing for an exam and I am looking forward to busier days with (prayerfully) writing and teaching. In whatever case, all glory to God as always and may His will be done over all my plans. 🙂

To set the right tone for this article, allow me to share this bible verse first:

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10

I consider writing and teaching as gifts wherein God has called me to serve Him and fulfill the mission He has tasked me to do. It has always been my all-time prayer that if God will give me a professional career, it will cater both the fields I am passionate about – writing and teaching.

I may not know how it will come about but my constant question too is how I could glorify His name in these fields. This blog supports my passion for writing and contains my testimonies about faith and been ‘teaching’ about it one way or the other.

But it also contains all the things that I am passionate about from hobbies, advocacy, quality time with people I love, movies, literature, cooking, etc. I am pretty sure you’re familiar with the term “hobby hoarder”  and I must confirm being guilty of that. 😀

However, it is not my intent to be a “jack of all trades, master of none” but it is out of my passion for learning too that’s why I became interested in learning these crafts. Some of them I may have acquired as a skill, some as a talent, and some out of diligence in being able to create something for someone.

The latter, I believe, is what 1 Peter 4:10 is all about. It’s never about the many things you can do and never a matter of glorifying self but how can you help others with what you have or what God has given you. Think of Albert Einstein or Bill Gates and other “gifted” inventors who contributed so much for the convenience and betterment of the human race and society. Though their achievements were recognized, I believe the “geniuses” in them aren’t just about being born lucky with it but that it has already been predestined by someone more genius than anyone else He created the entire universe with all its intricacies. But even if gifted with such great talent, it still depends entirely on how God will use that talent according to His plans.

In my previous article, I mentioned that it was my brother who inspired me to play the guitar as a hobby. He got the inspiration from my Mom most likely and out of his passion to learn the craft, he has learned the art of music by playing the guitar good enough to inspire someone like me.

I got influenced and had the same willingness to acquire the skill so he passed on the trade by giving me my first guitar and allowed God to teach me what I needed to learn along the way. Now married, it was my husband who showed his interest in learning the craft through me and so came the birth of his very first guitar. *wink* 😉

I believe it is a question of who do we serve with the gifts/talents that God gave us with.

NEVER should the talents be used to glorify self nor fulfill our own desires because it will root in on pride, selfishness, greed and discontentment. Pursuing ambition by means of talent can never be the case as well. Again, if God’s gifts were used solely to satisfy our own selfish needs, then we are not maximizing what God originally intended those gifts for – for the benefit of all.

For it was written,

John 3:30 “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”

Luke 9:24-25 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”

Luke 9:23 [Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”]

Denying ourselves pleasures that only us will benefit makes us obedient to the calling that God has called us out. For it is only in the act of doing things out of love to our gift-giver can our talents and skills have complete meaning by aligning them to their purposes and roles according to God’s plans.

These two sketches are a request from hubby for his family which I was very hesitant to do at first as I feel inadequate in meeting their expectations. But I finally had the courage to do it because of God’s grace, my husband’s encouragement and my life verse which is, “For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13.”

Honestly, I hate to part with each of my art work as I feel a part of me has been embedded in every piece. lol Yes, I believe I really am that sentimental.

BUT it is of greater joy and complete happiness knowing that you are using what God gave you not for your glory but for His glory being good stewards of His grace – again, 1 Peter 4:10. 🙂

P.S.

I believe everyone has been gifted by God with something and it is not only through the hobbies in which one can serve the other.

If you are unsure what God may have given you and where He is calling you to serve Him and others, I encourage you to volunteer in one of the church ministries. The ministry may not be exactly what you had in mind as the avenue for you to completely use your gift in serving others but it might serve as the instrument in knowing completely where God wants to put you.

Of course, prayers mean a lot. I did mention in one of my previous articles that I was asking for God’s guidance and clarity in what He wanted me to do with the gifts He has given me.

I am praying you’ll find the right turf where you can serve others too may it be at home, at work, in school, abroad or in your homeland. 🙂

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Bro-in-law (9″ x 12″ Pencil Sketch)

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Parents-in-law (12″ x 18″ Pencil Sketch)

Resting in His Saving and Amazing Grace

“Do one thing: Live the life you always wanted to live. Avoid criticizing others and concentrate on fulfilling your dreams. This may not seem very important to you, but God, who sees all, knows that the example you give is helping Him to improve the world. And each day, He will bestow more blessings upon it.”

– Manuscript of Accra, Paulo Coehlo

I can see the cursor blinking in and out like an ellipsis….

So many words and yet so many ways to tell, undecided…

….how do I begin? 🙂

Yes, how do I begin testifying to a series of events that piled up already and yet I couldn’t find the “tugging” to post them until just now? *wink* Honestly, I still don’t have the slightest idea how to arrange the thoughts which have been sitting as a draft since February here in WordPress and share them. Yet I can only trust the Spirit’s leading on how the wordplay will come about in this post.

The posts in this blog for the past 2-3 years have been about nothing else but faith. This was how God intended it to be. Though for the first year of this blog I was grappling on what to write about, now, it is the other way around – I am battling with time for the numerous pending posts that I needed to write and post.

For March, it’ll summarize what went on from February until March. My January post summarized what transpired in the months of December and January. The month of March was about marching forward and yes, the character trait for March is CLARITY. As for February, it was AFFECTION  (do read January post for this one.) 🙂

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February: AFFECTION

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March: CLARITY

This might explain why I was missing in the blogosphere for the month of February and why this post is super long (sorry about that, friends). February was the month of settling things – again, not a coincidence, but I have learned to rely on God’s plans all along even though some are hard to accept, some are hard to understand, and some are impossible to achieve. But then, that is one tough responsibility of a Christian and that is everyone’s calling too – live by faith and not by sight.

Last December, everything was unraveled. It was a moment of choosing among a multitude of choices and tough decisions. Every flaw, every need and every concern were brought out in the open. I have thought for that moment it might seem such an endless feat of emotional roller coaster and yet God had been faithful enough.

Fast forward to January, the start of 2017 was also the start of the turnaround of events. When seasons change and the comfort zone is no longer part of the next plans, it could be daunting. But as it was written, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

February was a month jam-packed of events. When you are caught in a whirlwind of events, oftentimes a “soul check” may come as the least of your priorities. But in faith, it is the other way around – a “soul check” is necessary and should be the top priority before everything else. That was what happened in the last few months, a question of am I doing it God’s way or not. I’ll just mention a few and most of them actually were answered prayers – prayers that I never thought I have prayed and yet silently in my heart, I did. Only God sees our hearts, anyway.

Maybe that is the reason why fulfillment in those answered prayers never really came from receiving the actual answer to the prayer per se but more about how God listens and how great He is to provide even the most impossible. It was all about God in the end, never about our desires but a satisfied desire on both our end and God’s that thru this fulfillment, we have established a kindred spirit and a deeper and personal relationship with our Creator. It is all a matter of communicating between Him and you alone – the ONLY thing that He asks from us.

So let’s begin the long journey of disclosing in this online journal what traversed in my moment of hibernation in the blogosphere starting February.

The incident:

A convo between my husband and I took place wherein I asked him what is it that he wants best in this life. His answer made me smile and speechless at the same time making me wonder where he could possibly be generating all these answers. My best guess – the heart. Who really am I to judge, indeed? I don’t see the heart, God does. 😉

“I don’t want material things but eternal rest.” 

We came to that point wherein we had that (serious) husband and wife contemplation about priorities, the future and life in general. I can say that throughout the moments since I got saved, I did not regret any decision I have made which included my decision to marry. It is only through the entire duration of our years together as a married couple did I get to see why God gave me my husband in particular – I had so many answered prayers through my husband. It is either an answered prayer to that change I have been rooting to do internally but don’t have the guts to discipline myself or the big and small things that I have been wanting in my heart but never expressed them openly.

But God, once again, proved Himself faithful all throughout.

I have always wondered what if I married another man. Will he be patient, understanding and forgiving enough as my husband is right now to me and my circumstances? I oftentimes ask my husband how he feels regarding our situation and ask him to be patient with me as well and what I am going through. His answer was always a gentle, “I understand.” Though he would always say that, I know that he is sacrificing so much for both of us and as his partner, I have felt this inadequacy when it comes to fulfilling my role and my duties as a wife.

Starting the month of January until now, this was personally, for me, a season of instability. Firstly, every married couple gets to deal with financial difficulties and this season, my husband and I are going through with our own fair share. We have decided to finally move out from the apartment that my sisters and I have been living in for the past 20 years though it was only me who lived in the place for the last 7 years. We have decided to relocate near his workplace as it is more convenient for him and he gets to rest right away after work.

But this posed as a problem since I have no work when we both decided to move out and we are relying on my husband’s income alone for our daily expenses. If you’ll do the numbers from bills to necessities plus all the home stuff that we have to buy, the total suggested more funds. I did get a job. It was a convenient one but, unfortunately, it was not from my field of expertise and ironically, my water loo too – finance. Yes, it has something to do with numbers and money.

If you are wondering how I ended up in that job, I don’t know too. 😀 But I know God has a reason why because I got that job just 3 days after we moved in our new apartment. We were able to buy some of the basic stuff that we need at home. But as you all know it, I had to let the job go. I will not be able to give my best if it is something that I am not familiar with or is not my cup of tea. Numbers make me cringe and the fear of committing a mistake when it comes to computing plus the fact that it deals with money just proved that I might regret it later if I stayed longer.  Another thing too, the worry of it all just took the better part of me and stress replaced what used to be a hopeful and positive attitude – I first thought I should give it a try. Employment equates to stress but when I started having stomach problems, difficulty sleeping at night and puking for no reason at all, I know I have to make a decision.

I wanted to go back to teaching. It was actually the very reason I stated when I resigned. The calling of being a teacher is greater. But then again, we all know that a teaching job is even more challenging when it comes to classroom management, multitasking, time management, etc. Again, no employment is ever easy and stress-free. But then again, I did want to try it out. Here came the opportunity – I had everything carefully and perfectly planned out so I’d get the job. But here came unprecedented circumstances which for the first few, I was able to gain control over but it required my husband and me to stay up until past midnight. I was able to pull it off. The next day I woke up with my estimated schedule. Everything should be smooth sailing until news came that the MRT 3 broke down and became operational only at 8am. I didn’t give up. If commuting was not an option then I’d go for the GRAB car – I was wrong. Since majority of the stranded commuters chose other alternatives of commuting, traffic was inevitable and it was worse than the usual. I decided by then that I had to let the opportunity go because it only means that it wasn’t intended for me. If I still pursued it then most likely I’ll be going against the grain of fate and will meet more unfortunate events along the way.

I am well aware of the idea to keep on swimming ahead even if the vision before you is hazy or the waters seem to be too deep and troubled or the shore is nowhere to be seen, figuratively speaking. But I am also well aware that from what I have experienced so far, if everything seems to be failing even if you have tried all possible attempts in getting things right, it only means it is beyond your control and God has intended a different plan for you. It could be God’s way of preventing you from any future loss/failure, future pain, even more hassle and inconvenience than intended.

So I asked God why I can’t have a regular office job. That moment of quietude with Him and me asking all these sort of questions trying to make sense of what has happened and what is happening came to a final halt – a matter of life and death.

I have already mentioned this a couple of times in my previous blog posts and health wise, I know I have nothing to fear. In the recent medical checkup I came clear but if I am not cautious enough i.e. check my lifestyle, sleeping patterns, food intake, physical activity, etc., and all these accumulated through the years could mean my ending up in a hospital bed earlier than expected.

I have to be cautious with everything.

I am not claiming it but I know it as a fact that I am a carrier of cancer genes. It was a generational curse – it didn’t skip a generation starting from my great grandmother (we don’t know if it started even way before her generation) to my grandmother then to my Mom. They were all breast cancer survivors. Most likely you’ll tell me I will survive too. 🙂

Yes, by faith and by God’s saving grace I know I will. But then it should not be reason enough for me to be complacent. My great grandmother, grandmother and Mom spent most of their lives in the province – a laid back lifestyle, pure simplicity, a fresh and clean environment and less complicated than city life. I spent half of my life in the metro starting college which was the opposite.

Again. I have to be more cautious.

If you will notice, I referred to breast cancer in the past tense because I am declaring that starting from my generation, not one among my 3 sisters and I will have breast cancer how many years from now and that the future generations of our family will be free of this generational curse.

There’s another generational curse too that I am declaring for my family and relatives and the future generations in our blood line to be free from starting with our generation but due to its sensitivity, I chose to keep it confidential.

These generational curses have no cure – ONLY God can deliver us from these curses. Not even the fields of medicine and science have the capacity to provide a lasting treatment/solution.

But,

“We can face the reality of our own mortality because we trust in God.” – Our Daily Bread

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Another thing too, my husband and I have been trying to have a child but time declared we can’t have one as of yet. We did talk about it and he told me that whatever God’s will is, he is happy and content either way.

That, I absolutely and unquestioningly agree upon. I did tell him though that as much as I’d want to have a child, I wouldn’t want to raise a child and let him suffer in this world or be punished for the mistakes that his parents did or bear the generational curse passed on to him. If part of the sacrifice that we have to make in order to break the generational curse is to be childless, then we have to honor it.

But then again, it entirely depends on what God’s will is and what His plans are. Indeed,

“As you do not know the way the Spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” – Ecclesiastes 11:5

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

The generational curses and the current situation my husband and I are going through both have one thing in common – stress as the triggering factor.

Looking back to what I had to give up, they were standards that this world dictated as what should be accomplished and yet it all equated to stress. When I gave up my graduate study, I asked myself if it is worth it especially when my eczema attacks started showing up again, I had to deal with black spots in my legs which lasted for how many months and I experienced tension headaches/migraines which lasted for 3 days twice a month. I also had to give up the liberty and privilege of working in the corporate world or in my field of expertise.

Do I have regrets? Certainly not. My decision to not conform to the terms of this world won’t rob me of my dignity and make me less of a woman, will it? My identity no longer is attached to those titles that this world offer but to the title that God has given me – His princess and His loving daughter.

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

My situation now? God showed me other alternatives. I know God did not give me skills just to see them all go to waste until I die and not be able to contribute to this world and help humanity in any way – it’ll make Him unhappy. 😀 I told my husband he need not worry because there are a lot of home-based jobs available for me in the fields of teaching and writing, my two best fortes, if I really need to get a professional job as a means to get an income. There are so many of them actually in different fields of expertise and if I will be “takaw tingin,” I’d prefer having at least 2 since their schedules are usually flexible. BUT, God will definitely say “No.” 😀

In addition, I have witnessed a lot of female friends who shifted from being corporate employees to staying at home, being a full-time Mom and housewife with a home-based job, stressed also but FULFILLED receiving the same salary that she gets if she works in the office spending energy and time commuting, coming home extremely exhausted and has no time for her family.

Yes, fulfillment makes all the difference, right? Even if you are paid triple of what a regular wage earner gets if the fulfillment isn’t there, work will just be equated to work per se in all technical aspect of the term. Aside from that, “whatever it is that our hearts value, there our treasure will be also.” The bad thing about this is if we’re putting our hope on treasures that are temporary and will eventually fade away. Building relationships with people I love are important to me – quality time is my love language. I want to invest more in it – being with my family.

What else?

As of the late, my husband asked me if I could do commissioned work for my sketching hobby after I posted the sketch (next blog article) I did of him during his birthday last May 4. He told me that one of his Mom’s friends asked if I could do their family portrait and his Mom and brother also requested the same along with a few of my relatives and friends ever since I posted some of my previous sketches. My answer was an unsure “let’s see.” 😀

If God gives us a talent as a gift, He has a very good purpose behind it all and honestly, I am not yet confident enough to take my sketching hobby to a higher level. 😀 It’s been 15 years since I started this hobby out of my need to have an outlet when things and times get rough. I am not confident as well to tag a price in each of my art work. I intended to give them for free actually and make the recipient of the art work happy – my ultimate goal as an artist. But if God instructs I have them paid, then I believe I should. Now this, I need to really pray hard as I don’t want to disappoint those who have requested to have their sketches done and there are a lot of them pending requests already. I just need more time to pray to God about it and wait for His answers. *insert wide smile here*

Another opportunity also came about my putting up a restaurant/café after hubby and I made this special burger recipe and his brother insisted we make it as a business as he knows someone who can be our supplier.  I told him we talked about this option but we have chosen my hometown in Bicol as our business location – yup, you guessed that right, too far. My 3rd sister and I have actually planned about this already and came up with the concept for the café and went through the basics of business analytics and management and the only thing she said was that it won’t materialize if I am not there with her to get things started and to keep them running. One of my hobbies is cooking and experimenting with different recipes but eating the food I cooked is not part of them. lol I believe I am to blame if hubby gained a lot of weight after we got married. Ooops, not my real intention there though. 😀 I just want to cook for other people and it makes me happy when they are happy with the dishes I serve them. Again, this is another prayer for my prayer line when it comes to wisdom, guidance and instruction.

Honestly, I was never after the money nor the recognition – getting compensated for the things I love to do and the things that God has gifted me with in terms of talents and skills. I’d like to contribute and share them to society and be able to make every individual happy and fulfilled or if what I contributed could help them in any other way regardless if I’d get anything in return or not (awards, recognition, money, etc.). I only needed money for survival and for now, that is what my hubby and I needed – for our daily needs but never to satisfy our wants and live in excess.

Moreover, I told my husband that if time comes God blessed us with more than we needed, I will retain the kind of lifestyle I have now and would still prefer the same living conditions – not a lavish nor grand lifestyle but a simple, minimalist one. Again, by having only the things that I need and never the things that I want.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Mark 10:21

But as we all know it, I can plan so many things, have so many choices and wonderful opportunities to choose from and small and big decisions to make and yet, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” – Proverbs 19:21

Thus, I rest my case. 😀

For all the generational curses, the lifestyle check, the shift in opportunities, the continued pursuit of God’s will in my life – they were not because I live in fear but because I have fear in the Lord and if obedience is what He requires of me in this season so He can usher me towards what He desires for my life, then I should, by all means comply, stop figuring out this life on my own and rest in His saving grace.

Solution? Pray harder and trust God and His plans even harder.

[In prayer we call on God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”] – Ephesians 3:20

Oh and I think I forgot to mention that in my Paulo Coehlo planner-turned-spiritual journal, April’s character trait is COOPERATION and May is FAITH.

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April: COOPERATION

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May: FAITH

Did God say, “Tin, you must cooperate with me and have faith?” I think He just did that’s why I wrote this. *insert wide smile here again* 😀

“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” – 2 Corinthians 7:1

P.S.

For the first quarter of year 2017, my life/planner went from having TOLERANCE (January), giving AFFECTION (February), to achieving CLARITY (March), giving COOPERATION (April) and last but not the least, having FAITH (May). 🙂

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm for God can be trusted to keep His promises.” – Hebrews 10:23

“God can be trusted to guide us.” – Our Daily Bread

“…the challenge is to trust (in) God’s ability to lead rather than in our ability to follow.” – Genesis 12:1

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Sweet Groanings of the Heart in The 4th Year Anniversary Special

Before anything else, I’d like to share this insightful article from Forbes especially for the young professionals:

“The Top 5 Regrets of Mid-Career Professionals”

So my Mom and I had a serious heart-to-heart talk about some things especially about my graduate study. It’s been taking far too long years are passing by fast and it seems I haven’t done anything productive at all nor made significant improvements not just in it but in my life in general.

So questions like what are your plans, what do you want to do now, where do you want to be when you get older, etc. came popping up.

Truth is, I wasn’t totally pleased with how my life has faired throughout these years. To most people it seems like I have wasted 6 years to nothing. But I think I am going to take back that word “displeased”  because doing a self-assessment, I am happier in those 6 years wherein I am in a limbo and in shambles or I thought I was.

First and most importantly, I found God along the way – I was born again. Second, I found love in this world and my better half unexpectedly – I got married. Lastly, a lot of changes happened internally – major heart reconstruction. These 3 are now my priorities which I was called to serve first.

So my Mom went on, “As parents we only wanted what is best for all of you and your siblings, a better and more successful life.”

I do appreciate this kind of love from my parents. I know when I become a parent I wanted what is best for my kids too.

She continued, “If you wanted to have a simple life though, nothing is wrong with that.”

Now this I loved from her even more. So I smiled and agreed:

“Yes Mommy, that is all I ever wanted in this life. I actually wanted to go back home in our province and raise my family there if God wills it. We wouldn’t have these ideals and values in life if it wasn’t for the humble beginnings of you and Dad in which you have raised us all. City life has far too much temptations and is way complicated.

I want my kids to have the same values and ideals in life too and I think I won’t be able to do that if they will grow up seeing that Brian and I pursue what this world offers as the meaning of success like wealth, possessions, achievements and titles.”

A “higher”  and more successful position/career requires more time at work and more work load. This is practically what graduate studies are for – promotion at work and/or career advancement. I may be earning much and I now have a title that society declares as prestigious but I have less time with my family because either I am too tired when I get home, I am bringing work at home or I have longer working hours in the office. My kids will only be young once and my husband is my top priority next to God.

Then memories of the day I had my altar call which was during the Singles’ Getaway in church back in year 2012 reminded me once again about what Pastor Dennis Sy discussed regarding priorities. He shared an experience between him and his wife who wanted to pursue her dream to become a medical doctor.

What he said made a mark in me as well (paraphrased already),

“Your degree/profession won’t be able to hug you in times that you are sad nor will it be beside you in times of trouble. But I can.”

She chose to let go. Priorities-wise, when we are called to be married and have families, they are to be on top. Indeed, these are the sacrifices that born-again spouses and parents have to make when it comes to priorities. I have read an article (I couldn’t exactly remember the title) by Mrs. Marie Bonifacio, wife of Pastor Joey, regarding the hierarchy of priorities: God, spouse, family, career and ministry.

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A great reminder. ❤

I love God, I love my spouse and I love my family – these are what matters in my case now. My career will have to come next and maybe my other ambitions will have to fade away. I am still seeking for God’s direction in this area though, a period of patiently waiting and enduring.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:34

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

There are those who were called to a life of leadership and excellence in the corporate world and professional industry among men and women alike. There are also those who were called to serve the ministry. There are those too who were called to serve their families. These are just some of the areas we were called to serve and we all fall in either of those categories one way or the other.

I believe this is the season that God is slowly clearing the view from obstacles so I could walk the path straight and yet asking me to get even closer and more in tune with Him. I trust God that He will guide me and my future family according to His plans. It may mean denying myself what this world offers at this point going against the norm and maybe going against the wishes of many which can be heartbreaking but I know in the end it will all glorify God.

I am, in fact, happier where God has put me now as long as it gives Him all the Glory and Honor He deserves. 🙂

“Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:6

P.S.

This might be my last post for this year or for a couple more years even (only God knows) because I am planning to do a social media hibernation in most of my social media accounts for I don’t know how long as part of my personal prayer and fasting. There is so much I need to pray for in my life including my current health condition, my family, my country and this world and I need to seek for God’s will and instructions without distractions and temptations just like what Jesus did.

So I am temporarily ending my 4-year activity in blogosphere and passing on the baton to the new generation of faith-based bloggers. Today’s the 4th year anniversary of this blog too and I got this notification the other day about reaching 500 readers who stayed patient enough in reading this faith-based blog. Kind of a great way to end a season, eh? *wink*  I believe this particular season has come to a temporary halt and God is calling me to a new season, a new task. Who knows, I might be back in just a week. lol 😀

( To God be all the Glory!)

But I am definitely sure I will be reconnected with you all again in God’s perfect time. So ciao for now my dear readers. Keep praying, keep on blogging and keep the faith always! ❤ 🙂