BEFORE 2016 ends… (Part2)

BEFORE 2016 ends… (Part2)

Let’s be grateful…

Let me share 12 wonderful blessings, lessons, surprises and many more things of 2016 for me and my family. Even as many of us are anticipating and looking forward to a new year, it’s good to sit down for a moment and reflect on God’s faithfulness for the entire year.

1. Family is a gift 
2016 has been a year of reminder that family is always a treasure. We have been blessed to have wonderful moms and sibs that supports me and my husband’s family goals. Our communication with our parents and sibs and of course with our baby has gone more stronger this year too. 
This has been the year where God taught us the value of being together and to really plan something about our future so we can be reunited with our baby girl in one place. And though money is important there is no replacement for the time we can spend with our inica hija. 

  

2. Stewardship 
And because of lesson number 1, that re-aligned our goals and objective this 2016. We learned to be thrifty, to save more, so we can achieve all our financial goals. This year we have grown maturely in handling our finances, we managed to save our emergency funds and etc. This also inspired us to work diligently and productively so we can easily reach our targets. 

3. Redefined Goals, Consistent Execution and Never give up attitude
For the past years, we would always put a lot of stuffs piled into our “goals-list” and when the year ends – we will get a little disappointed because we did not achieve as much as we planned. But 2016 is different, we have become more strategic, laser-bullet focused on our targets. 
We were so inspired to meet our goals of being able to provide a better future for our daugther. The Lord taught us to be humble and to submit our plans to Him and hear from Him, so we can be guided. When we look at it now, we could not help but become overwhelmed for what God has caused us to accomplish. 

4. New Home Acquisition  

Yes, 2nd quarter of 2016 was an awesome and exciting time for the Sagums. We were able to sign a contract of purchasing a new home. Not in our wildest imagination we could imagine having our own house. We were blessed by the Lord for He gave us a home we can call our own. All the savings, the hardwork, the tiring weekdays has paid out and it turned out to he something that has more value. God gave us a wonderful place to stay, somewhere we can raise our daughter and maybe future son too, a place that is inviting. We couldn’t believe it for ourselves, but yeah, God told us to obey and honor Him, He removed our doubts then He honored our dreams too and He came through. 

5. Promotion for my husband & New Commision structure for me – Increase! 

  
While we were in the Philippines for a short vacation during the house acquisition, my husband received a call from a company he never applied to. And yes, it was a surprise employment offer, something that we cannot resist. God gave him a new job with so much better compensation. God knew what we needed even if we didn’t ask for it, the procedures were super swift and the transition was very peaceful. God’s word is true that when He blesses He won’t add some troubles to it. It was sweet, swift and worryfree transfer. 

My blessing came when my boss approached me and asked me about our commission structure. She then told me to dontye draft for the commission. At first I was surprised because it’s not in my job description, but now looking back I realized that it was God’s way for me to get an increase.

My colleagues said that it is impossible for the management to approve such an ambitious request – but – it was approved! 

That paved a way for me to have an extra-income on top of my basic pay. Well, nothing is impossible to God anyways! 

6. Spiritual Growth and Leadership

  
This year, God also entrusted 5 wonderful couples under our discipleship group. People who are so different from us, people who are way older than us (by age and experience). God gave us strength and courage to nurture and guide them through, in studying God’s word. 

We learned so much from them too, we were able to establish a consistent bible study meeting every friday evenings. We have grown together and we love hearing how God is doing with their families too.

7. New friends and healthy relationships

  
Friends can sometimes be a downer, but this year God surrounded us with wonderful people, we can call healthy relationships. 

They are the same group whom we can learn, get inspired, pray with and hang out with. They are the source of our enjoyment too, especially when we feel homesicked. They are good encouragers, they pray for our family and they definitely support us too. 

8. Rejections means Better Plans
Our application for PR has been denied. Rejected. My work does not allow me to approve dependent pass for my baby, as well as with my husband. 

What’s next then? 

We were left with so many different advises from all different people with different experience -but what did God say? It was easier when we asked that question, what did God say again. We understand that our plans may have not worked because God has better plans for us. 

With that simple question – peace suddenly kicked in. It was easier for us to grasp the wisdom God provided because we trust Him. Rejections means better plans. 

9. Healthy Lifestyle

  
One of the most productive thing that has even happened to me and my husband is our weight loss. This year we were successful with our goals, there are still some more to work out on, but all in all, we learned to eat healthier. We were able to establish a routine of running and the discipline of self-control. There has been no sickness this year which we really so thankful to God for. The protection He gave us, myself and the whole of our family members is something that we are really grateful for. 

We wanted to achieve more next year, we are just grateful that God has always been our strength. 

10. Clearer Vision and Directions
Towards the last quarter of the year, the more God’s instruction is getting clearer. We were not affected by the many NZ, AUS, US and Canada migrations despite the many news and invitations we have been receiving. The direction of the Lord going back home for good is quite clear and the more we humble ourselves to God, the more we desire to walk through it. We are captured by the thought that God has already prepared something new for our family to embark next season. 

11. Preparations and Logistics
It isn’t easy living overseas and because of the “going-backhome for good project”, we needed to pack our things. So this time of little separation from our little one gave us ample of time to prepare everything as we embark to a new set-up for 2017. Seriously, we have no clue on how to navigate 2017 but just like over the years we always see God’s hand moving for us through and through – that’s why we are not afraid. The tedious months of packing, sending courier home, the amout of effort checking what do we need for the home, saving up so we can buy what we want and all those worked together for our good. And thank God for His infinite wisdom who always lead us into triumph. 

12. Grateful and Hopeful Heart 
Through all the series of our ups and downs, rejections and sadness, we learned the greatest lesson for this year and that is to TRUST GOD completely. Planning is one essential thing to look forward for what’s coming, but the process may sound a bit different. But our hearts were steadfast for we know that the God we were serving will always come to deliver and He will never fail. This year He thought us the greatest lessons of obedience, quiet-time and trusting His character alone. It doesn’t matter what people say, it doesn’t matter where we are, or how the world defines success – what matter is the truth that if you are holding on to God’s hand – everything will be okay. 

This coming year, my husband and I is really excited for God has already gone ahead of us. He has already prepared the things we need all we have to do is just listen to His instructions. What we prayed for, what we hoped for, what we wished for all came to life. Maybe some were a re-routes but it turned out to be better. We will spearhead the upcoming year grateful yet hopeful for the many surprises, lessons, gifts and blessings – and come next year-end I will write wonderful stuffs again and again and again! 

“The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him; And the desire of the righteous shall be granted.” ~ Proverbs‬ ‭10:24‬ ‭ASV‬‬

BEFORE 2016 ENDS…

BEFORE 2016 ENDS…

Let’s declutter! 

One of the steps to start our new year right is review all the stuffs we accumulated throughout the entire year. Stuffs we bought, we received as a gift and stuffs we acquire, through this we can estimate the trend of our spending for the year.  Review all the things that has been piled up in our cabinets. Check if we have bought stuffs impulsively and see if we have been good stewards of money this year. 

  
We started with our closet space. As I have been sharing previously in my blogs, we are soon migrating back home for good, in a couple of months since then it has been non-stop packing and organizing task for me and my husband. Just in time before the new year comes, our stuffs will all be sent home and we will literally be clutter-free. 

My goal in 2016 is to live under our means, to be minimal in all things so to have more space for the new things. And this coming 2017, we will pursue to achieve more by having lesser of the uncessary. (Stuffs, relationships, problems and etc…)

CLOSET STORY

  
Renting an apartment in Singapore is a challenge, specially that we have to share with some housemates to ease the financial load of renting a full space, which is really expensive. So that means my husband and I rents a bedroom space in the house. That also means that we have to make sure stuffs fit in the closet provided to us. One closet for the two of us! Yes, for the two of us! 

My husband loves to play sports, that means having different kinds of jerseys, running tees, gym clothes, work-out clothes plus his daily clothing at work, at home and on weekends. That’s only his, what about mine? Well, honestly I’m not that typical girl that has a lot of clothes. I’d like to keep a handful of modest-comfortable clothes that I can wear day in and out. If I feel that Im no longer going to wear it, I keep it away in a box so I can later on give it away. It’s always easier to keep a few than to have a lot, piled up in our closet. (Im very meticulous when it comes to clothes organization). 

PACKING STORY

Alright, after sorting and sorting – we manage to pack more than 5 bags of old, unused, worn and out of style clothes. Which we are about to donate and give away to charities or to some friends. (Which makes more sense, right?) 

  
It was not that easy to choose which one to remove and which one to keep, (specially my husband, whose bery sentimental) but altogether it was a fulfilling experience, seeing our space getting more organized. It feels lighter. And it’s definitely going to be easier for my husband and I to move things (from now) while he stays in Singapore when I leave. 

PRACTICAL TIPS

So for some who maybe having a hard time with their closet space, I guess it’s good to re-visit your closet this coming new year. To re-start and have a fresher perspective in oganisation, it must start somewhere, right? They say that to give space to the new, we must clear some space too. And here’s how we did it.

1. Put all your clothes out

This will help us see all the stuffs hiding inside the closet. Out in the open, we can easily identify how much clothes do we own, how much are being used and how much have we hoarded and kept and not use. 

2. Sort it out

Once its out, then it’s time to see which ones are the ones useful and the others that can be donated and can be given away. Those that can’t fit anymore, those that are too old to use and those that are out of season. Some linens, blankets and bedsheets too. (We managed to empty our boxes after sorting it) 

  

3. Clean up and Pack it up

Once everything is sorted, it will be very easy to fold and hung clothes altogether. Those clothes that had been sorted  – can now be placed into packs or bags so we can easily transport to give it away.

MORAL STORY

Year in and year out, we easily spend money over stuffs that we don’t really need. It’s a good habit to do some checks and balance, to account stuffs, to evaluate ourselves and see where did much of our spending and priorities went. 
Clothes are a necessity, but everything too much is also not good. We are called to be good stewards of money and it matters how we take care of it. 

This year, we didn’t spend so much on these stuffs, that’s for sure. Becausen of our house project and migration project – so I think we manage that successfully by the grace and help of God. Hopefully we can keep up and be more better next year. 

CONCEAL, DON’T HEAR 

CONCEAL, DON’T HEAR 

CONFESSION TIME

I have been around people, many different characters and one that makes me cringe are some “friends” I know, who love to talk about the lives of other people. When I am caught in the intensity of “comment-exchanging moments” “personal opinion and review of someone’s life discussions“, I feel like my ears are brooding. 

I can’t help it, I cringe. 

It can’t be helped, some people find “talking about someone’s life or business” a past time or a hobby to fill moments of silence or when it’s quiet and there is nothing to talk about. But out of the multitude of words that comes out from our mouths, there comes conceit, envy and pride, we are much closer to sinning when we say a lot. That is why it’s better to keep it shut. That one song has a line that says true about speaking”You say it best when you say nothing at all“. True isn’t it? 

I was once a victim of gossip. I accidentally shared to a friend what I saw from a distance, something that I was not so sure about. My purpose of sharing is to confirm of whether what I saw is something real or on-going, I didn’t get any response from that friend but then it spread like a wildfire the next day in the office. I remember that I felt so horrible during those times and no one came in aid to help me. And that person whom I thought can be trustworthy to conceal a matter, failed. The worst part is, the person involved confronted me in defense. I really felt bad. 

There were also a moment that I can recall when I was caught in a situation when a person would share something and ask me about my opinion on a certain matter or person then come next day it will be out there. It’s as if I invited myself to trouble, the story will be different saying that “I heard you said this and that to this so and so“. 

Well, it happens to many of us, some may even be worst than mine. How many friendships went to ruins because of such incidents, how many reputations were destroyed with such idle chit-chat. It’s not only unproductive, it’s also very dangerous.  
Lately I realized my problem, that is me, myself and I. I don’t know who my friends were and Im always very curious all-the-time. I trust everyone around me. I don’t filter my conversations and I am not careful. I learned my lessons. 

So how to deal with these kind of people? What if you don’t have any choice but to hang out with them? I mean they are nice people you can hang out with, they can be a friend, an acquiantance or a colleague but they just can’t stop talking about other people’s business – they love gossip and they love to gossip. What do I do with them? 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

 – Proverbs 1:7


Lately I have been disconnected with social-media platforms like FB/IG/Youtube and Twitter. I did it purposely so I can filter information that comes in my thoughts.I just update my blog everyday for the purpose of building consistency in writing. I have been spending much of time reading and studying the bible and the more I read c the more I learn. Actually, it pointed out a lot of stuffs, baggages, characters that I need to change. 

BIBLE LESSONS

One of the many great lessons I learned is about the tongue. In the book of Proverbs – king Solomon gave lots of practical advises on how to tame the tongue, how to behave, how to value silence, how to stop gossip, how to detect people who have perverse mouth, how to choose your friends and be discerning and so on. One topic that keeps on hovering in my head is His reminders about checking the people you choose to hang out with. One way to control your tongue and discipline your speech is to understand the people around you, too. 

  

SITUATION


There were many different occassions when you’ll be in a group of people chatting when suddenly a person would raise a topic out of the blue, about certain person, an incident or a scenario. You would hear these people dissect every single details of such topic, proven or not, then the conversation would go on and on. They would even ask you for comments on how do you think about the topic and if you are not careful, you would fall into the trap of “gossipping”. Yes, gossip. 


A gossip betrays confidence

So avoid anyone who talks much       Proverbs 26:20



SOLUTION

The bible gives practical tips on how to deal with such people or occassions like it; 

  • GUARD YOUR TONGUE

Make sure that you dont participate in any of the commenting, slandering, gossipping and etc. Keep your mouth shut. If it’s not uplifting, encouraging and purposeful then bury it. If it ruins one person’s reputation and personality then bury it. 

In the multitude of words sin is not lacking 

But he who restrains his lips is wise

Proverbs 10:19

It sounds clichè but it’s still true “if it’s not something nice that you wanted to say then don’t say it”. Mind your own business and live a happy life. We should not be meddling with the affairs of others, nor envy their lifestyle or question about their lives. We are accountsble for every words that comes out of our mouth. 

  •  GUARD YOUR EARS 

Do not allow sinful thoughts come in through hearing some gossips or unconfirmed information and unwelcomed conversations . 
As person of wisdom we must discern when the topic is already leading to gossip and rumours, we must learn to refuse and say no to topics as well. We cannot allow ourselves to listen to these idle talks and allow the person who speaks to sin further. 

A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

Proverbs 11: 13

If we are also not willing hearers, tale-bearers and gossipers will be out of business. But as long as there is someone who listen, gossip goes on. We can not allow ourselves to become accomplices to sinning because we listen to this ungodly conversations. Guard your ears. 

  • BE DISCERNING

The bible teaches us ways to discern people around us. If we want to pursue righteousness it would right to obey God’s instructions. Wise people know and can sense the kind of people who only gossips and spread rumours. Get away from them. Don’t get associated with them. 

  

A perverse person stirs up conflict, 

And a gossip separates close friends

Proverbs 16: 28

Filter every conversations and be wise when speaking. One slip of the tongue can lead to many topics. Choose the people you spend our time with, if it’s not constructive and contributing to our self-development, don’t associate with the topic. Topics that are destructing, malicious and shady are not to be entertained. If they are your friends and someone close to you rebuke them and stop the conversation. But it’s a stranger to you or an a colleague, walk away from it. 

REMINDER

We are living in a very fragile world. We are always one step away from danger and if we are not guided and we don’t seek God’s instruction we will definitely loose sight of the right path. True wisdom comes only in knowing God deeper. If we spend our time learning it, day and night, night and day we will soon adapt to what God has really called us to become! GOD ALWAYS LOOK INTO THE INTENTIONS OF OUR HEARTS. We don’t live to get the approval of man, dare to be different and be that source of encouragement in the sea of confused people. 

Be wise and walk in the knowledge of God!

Be constructive and don’t join the critics.

Be encouraging, be the light that lits up when it’s dark. Be an inspiration. Don’t give up and don’t give in! ❤

Conceal, don’t hear, don’t let them know- let go! Put a stop to gossips! May it start with you! 

Lessons and Today

Lessons and Today

UPDATE

After Christmas break, Im finally back to work but Im still on the festive mode. I can’t seem to figure how to ignite my mind and my will to start working productively today. However, there had been so many things that transpired since morning.

I came to talk to a handful of clients this morning and most of them are quite rude and still on the holiday mood too. 

One particular client of today really upset me. He seems to be that particular person who acts and speaks like he knows everything, even the financial product that I was proposing to him. I can sense on the other line that he is trying to intimidate me and he even pretended to be a “so-so” of a certain industry that I am in – to appear that he thinks he knows the product better, the terms better and even the wordings in the policy. 

   

So I respectfully gave him that benefit, that maybe he really knows what Im about to present to him, so I just let him speak and I listened carefully with no judgments. Honestly, I really like clients who raise concerns and questions, to prove why our product should be beneficial for them, that challenges me to present better and convince better, but this client is different. 
As I have listened to his statements, I learned that he is not from the industry that he said he was from and that he really got no clue to the topic that we were discussing( beauty of listening more, quick to listen and slow to anger)  The more the comment he makes, the more I can prove to myself that he really does not have any idea at all. He just want to prove something to me. I felt that I am wasting my time listening to his pretentions and arrogance. I wanted to simple hung up but I have to observe proper discourse. He is our potentional client. 

In my defense, as he is the client, he has all the right to reject the proposal if he finds it unsuitable which I would definitely understand. But he chose to intimidate and reproof me with no regard. Then I decided not to talk anymore and just let him finish whatever he is saying and I just said goodbye to him. I got upset, for the reason that he missed the benefits of the plan we were proposing because he chose to be arrogant and prove to know even if we have not presented anything at all. He didnt even had the chance to at least know what is was the presentation all about.

REALIZATION
I realized that what we read in the bible is true. Foolish people despise wisdom and understanding, but the those who fear the Lord will gain wisdom. Oftentimes we can encounter people like this in our lives. Difficult people. How do we respond to them?

  

As a salesperson, the objective of my every conversation is conversion. I must turn every opportunity into a sales opportunity. Wasting no valuable time and making sure that everything that comes out from my mouth is a benefit and some more benefits. There are too many cases that out of urgency and lack we will pursuade a person until his “no” becomes a “yes”. There are ways. There are a million of techniques to apply. But What I did with that particular conversation is totally different. If my boss would hear it, I would definitely get a scolding “could have probe to know more” “could have said this and that”… but hey, there is always an exemption. 

APPLICATION
That moment I was with that client, I knew that I am not gaining anything even if proceed to fight for the benefits of my product. His objections were all out of the line and there is no way that I can pursuade this client. 

There are instances in life when we meet difficult, arrogant and unreasonable people and the bible gave some practical tips to handle them. 

Taken from this proverb from the wisest King who wrote many proverbs. 

He that correcteth a scoffer getteth to himself reviling; And he that reproveth a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scoffer, lest he hate thee: Reprove a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: Tearch a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom; And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, And the years of thy life shall be increased. If thou art wise, thou art wise for thyself; And if thou scoffest, thou alone shalt bear it.” Proverbs 9:7-12

What to learn from this proverb? 

1. Do not correct the scorners

He that correcteth a scoffer getteth to himself reviling; And he that reproveth a wicked man getteth himself a blot. (V7) 
Yes, not everyone deserves to receive a correction and not all are willing to accept rebukes. Some people are obnoxious that they should be left alone. If we are wise, we will be able to discern if one person is deserving to recieve instruction or rebuke. We must be able to weigh the probability of which one would accept the rebuke or reject it. 

Who are the scorners? These are the mockers. They resent corrections, they laugh or deride their teachers. They have an arrogant attitude, conceited and would never listen to advise of others. They live life at their own peril, they are too adventurous to slow down, they are driven by their own will. They are disobedient to their parents. They see themselves high above others. They are not only stubborn but they are head-strong, disrespectful individuals. They hate to be corrected because they always think they are right. 

2. Discern People

“Reprove not a scoffer, lest he hate thee: Reprove a wise man, and he will love thee.”(v8)

Wise men should be able to determine who are wise and the scorners. God wants us to be wise in choosing the company we hang out with. Not all people are wise, some are also scorners. God wants us to have a blessed, peaceful life. 

Avoid scorners, for they will hate you and destroy you. Teach the wise men and they will thank you and love you. 

Testing my own character. Am I a scorner or a wise man? The difference is huge. Scorners resent rebukes and corrections. But wise men loves to be corrected, their hearts and their character responds positively. 

FINAL WORD 

We cannot control the surroundings but we can choose our reactions. We can be upset but we cannot sin. The Lord looks into our hearts and choose not to disregard His commands. Don’t waste time on those unnecessary things. Things that can only eat up our energy and cause us to stumble. Often it’s not about their attitude but it’s about how we react to it. 

I still have a full day to go but I am determined to finish well. 
How about you, how’s your day going? 

Christmas Eve and Updates

Christmas Eve and Updates

I need to do a lot of catching up on this blog. 

It has been two days since I updated my blog, I guess I should give myself a little break from my “forming a habit project” – since it’s Christmas Season. 

My husband and I had a wonderful Christmas celebration with some of our closest friends. We missed our daughter but like I say this will be the last Christmas we are goin’ to be away. Praise God! 

Couple of things, our Christmas this year has been a wonderful time of reflections and we are constantly reminded of God’s love even as we look back on each day we spent our 2016. (I guess were kinda maturing in this sense) 

2 DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS

It was really busy. 
We thought of not buying gifts for anyone this Christmas, but we kinda change our mind, last minute. So I had to sort out the names of our friends who made it to our “gift-list” and rush down to the malls and do the hussle. We have received a whole lot of gifts this Christmas from friends and maybe we thought yeah it’s good to also bless them. Successfully, we managed to have all gifts wrapped, to do errands for our Christmas eve menu and buy the materials for our “advent wreath” tradition. 

CHRISTMAS DAY

It’s the most wonderful day of the year., indeed!
There is just something about Christmas that makes the environment super happy. I guess this is one way of Jesus making Himself known to every one regardless whether they believe Him or not. It is just so evident. 

Morning, we had various overseas phone calls to greet our love ones back-home. Although, there is to timezone difference between Philippines and Singapore – we still have to catch them early before everyone gets busy specially that Christmas is quite a biggie backhome. First things first. 
Honestly, I felt a bit sad seeing my baby through facetime, but we just have to shrug it off and choose to be grateful because everyone is doing okay and happy, thats for our consuelo. And we just want to look forward to our soon best days – a couple of months to go and we will soon can make up for all the lost times.
  

Evening, was fun. We had lots of dishes prepared for the Christmas Eve celebration. We had the traditional “pinoy-sweet style ham” imported from our dearest homeland. I cooked some spanish stuffs, the usual “noche buena” menu that has been passed on to me by my mom and lola which I now do for our family and friends. 

  

We started doing our traditional advent at 11pm. It was a solemn moment, a time when we just simple gathered and talked about the reason of Jesus coming down for us. It was a good time of reflecting on Jesus being our light of hope, peace, love and joy. It was a good time hearing all that He has done for the lives of everyone. It was a sincere moment when I really felt that God loves us tremendously. We went to every chapters in the bible that describes God’s lovestory for us and it was really heartwarming. 

GIFTS

We received a lot of gifts. It has been 2 years since I have been practicing to live as simple as we can. Focusing on what is really a need versus the wants that leads to a very expensive, sometimes wasteful lifestyle. 

Christmas is a time of giving and receiving. And most of the time, we may be receivingn some gifts that are not really necessary. But since it’s free and it’s given, of course you gotta keep it. However, over the past few years – I realized that some gifts turns into rubbish if kept for too long, if not consumed or used and worst of all – we may forget it’s even there in the first place.

So for the past 2 years, I have been doing some “re-gifting” process to make sure that the stuffs given to me will be put into use. It may sound a little bit ungrateful but it’s better to give than to keep it, hoard it and eventually throw away. 

Some of these gifts that we normally recieve and re-gift were;  

1. Body Wash Liquids 

2. Perfumes

3. Facial Wash

4. Wallets 

5. Miscellaneous Items



Imagine having 10 body wash liquids of different flavors of different brands. How long can a 100ml body wash last? Definitely not less than a month, it may take 2-3months to finish the entire bottle. So the others will just get piled up in the cupboard then later next time you wake up it’s Christmas time again. So instead of wasting it, I regift it. 

Some may like this idea or others may not – but I am all for practicality. And I guess this one works specially in eradicating the excess in our lives and living only to what we need. As we always hear “less is more”..  leave some space so we can always welcome the new…. (Maybe I should write something about this?!) 

AFTER CHRISTMAS

Its our rest-day but my husband and I decided to continue our “packing”. We have been very busy for the last 4 months packing our stuffs back home. It’s like we have sent half of our bodies in the Philippines and most probably our stuffs are somewhere in the ocean travelling, because we kept on packing and sending our stuffs in preparation for our homecoming/migration. What can you expect from living overseas for over 10 years – accumulated stuffs! 

We already have sold some of our stuffs, donated and gave away some. But we definitely have a lot of things to send. Our kitchen and cuttleries, our bedroom items and linens, our personal things, electronics and a whole lot more. We are slowly buying some new house needs too from Singapore to bring home to our new house. We have decided to do a “scandi-minimalist style home“, so most of it are bought from Ikea because they are exactly that, plus it’s quite affordable too and flexible. Besides we wanted to save more money – furnitures would definitely cost a lot backhome. 

Good thing I found time to write and update this blog. Just took a quick break from my clothes sorting activity today. Tomorrow, I will definitely write more. 

Celebrations and Christmas

Celebrations and Christmas

 EXCITEMENT

There is no room enough to cater my joyful anticipation as we get closer to ending 2016 and to the upcoming year and to the next years cause there’s just too many good things that’s about to come, favors that are in-stored for us, as a family. I am so excited!

I still remember the day my husband and I sat down to talk about celebrating Christmas in a home we can call our own with our baby, together as one family. Emphasis on the word -together. 

SENTIMENTS 

For almost a decade, my husband & I had been celebrating Christmas away from home. It is not a wonderful feeling but we learned how to get along with it. But, this year, will be the very last Christmas we are going to celebrate away from home. 

As usual, we are going to celebrate this year’s Christmas eve with friends. 

Normally, before the clock strikes 12, it’s that time we skype our loveones back home, to greet each other, check what is on their Christmas Eve menu and so on. 
It’s all okay but not when you have a baby daughter away from you. So this will be the very last we will not be together. The future is really looking bright! 

And though, there is, this incompleteness because of the distance – we are looking forward to the upcoming days. Sure, our baby may not have an idea what these celebrations is all about, yet, for us, her parents, we know that we have to be together and create our own little family traditions – very soon! 


MOVING FORWARD

Christmas would be more exciting and we could not stop visualizing putting up our own Christmas tree in our own home while having our baby running around. Definitely something to look forward to. We will Decorate our own place with Christmas ornaments like the nativity scene, christmas flowers, wrapping our gifts, welcoming the carolers – in our own home. We also look forward to reunions, parties and celebrations. Wow!

  
Yeah, finally in the next few months we can look forward in celebrating many seasons as one family – we can spend cold Christmas mornings with hot chocolate and teas, having our parents visit and catching up with our siblings, would be totally fun! Our daugther finally meeting her cousins and reassuring her that she have her parents with her. 

I can definitely list a whole lot more… but the best of them all, is the thought that for the first time in forever – we will be reunited with our baby! I am ecstatic! 


CELEBRATIONS
Recently, there had been too many invitations for Christmas Parties from different groups of people we get acquiantef to. It can be fun but sometimes it can bring a lot of stress too- specially if you have to prepare some presents, food, entertainment. Unline many other countries, my husband and I lives in a country where its always “business as usual”, so preparing can mean lots and loads of efforts. 

But this year my husband and I decided to mellow down a bit. After we sat down to evaluate our family goals we understand what our main priorities should be, we are running as fast as we can to meet our financial goals come year-end. 
As Ive said in my previous blogs, the Lord taught us some valuable lessons on stewardship one of them includes finances and wealth. And we realized that even though Christmas is gift-giving time, we don’t have to give everyone. If one person is no prepared financially to be gifting everyone – it can definitely stretch a whole lot on your bank accounts. Stewardship teaches accountability, responsibility and discipline. We cannot afford to spend a whole chunk this Christmas pleasing everyone else, then later on regret the overspending and the results of it. 

This year, we chose to be more strategic. We categorized the people around us, those who we consider most important to us. Those who had been with us throughout the years makes it to our gift-list. Yes, that way we can figure who really are our friend. It was tough, especially for me, because I am used to pleasing people – which by the way is not recommended. 

We have learned to say “no” so we can say “yes”to the bigger things. 


LOOKING FORWARD

This Christmas Eve my husband and I will lead the Advent Wreath to one of our Christmas Dinner host. It’s a good Christmas tradition my husband learned from his family when he was still part of the Methodist Church. We thought it’s good to practice it as well and share it to some friends so we can set the tone of celebrating the real reason for the season – Jesus! 

We improvised the flow a little bit to make it more personal and assigned some of our friends to participate by discussing the topics assigned to them. 

We did the Advent Wreath last year and it was heartwarming and life-changing. We are hoping for the best this year too. It actually put our hearts back on track, we realized that aside from the foods we share, the gifts we bring, the fun we do together – the most important thing is to honor Jesus, the One who came to save us all from our sinful nature. He is definitely the ultimate reason why we are happy and joyful on Christmas Day! 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Definitely I’ll share some stories after we do it and I am sure it’s going to be fun. But for now let me do the final preparations. 


GREETINGS 

greeting card c/o google images
 
Advance Merry Christmas! May the good Lord bless and keep you all! 

Transitions, New Year and Revelations 

Transitions, New Year and Revelations 

There is no exact phrase to explain my excitement counting down the days to 2017. Our 2016 has been a wonderful year of blessings, surprises, re-alignment, re-purpose, teachings, revelations and changes. We also have some seasons of sadness, realizations, separations, building relationships, reunions, promotions, financial stewardship and many more. And with these series of ups and downs, the Lord never left us walking alone in the entire journey. He has been our faithful provider, teacher and Father all throughout this 2016 journey. It’s as if He has been there overseeing our responses to almost every situation we face. 
  
One of the biggest highlights this year was when He dropped to me and my husband about our “family-situation”. What we thought is just okay and and it will come to pass-season, is the very thing that really matter to Him. 

Our situation is very common in the Philippines, parents migrating overseas as professional workers to have better career opportunities and compensations, leaving our children for a while and entrusting the childcare to our parents during our absence is always the condition. Although, it’s a nationwide accepted situation, our government even call us heroes for choosing this path and contributing to our country’s economic growth – we still found ourselves uncomfortable with it. Some of our other nationality- friends could not comprehend the reason behind this decisions of many Filipino- families leaving their children. But that’s what we call glimmering hope for many of us coming from a 3rd world country. Hoping to make our family live better, to be able to give something different from what our country offers. And though, we are blessed with good education, Philippines with it’s poor and corrupted governance over the years has resulted to this massive overseas working phonemenon. 

We are blessed because Singapore is close to home and we can plan our visits backhome (as much as we want) and if we can bring someone with us to look after our baby, then we can at least spend 2months together in Singapore – at most.  This has been the situation since the day she was born. 

  

We have been praying over the years since our daugther came, that we could be together in one country as a family. (Of course, when I say country, we mean not the Philippines.)
We tried everything that we could out of our human abilities to do something about our plans and as far as we can hold-up to the situation, we didn’t succeed.  It’s tough. So we decided to just let the situation fly-by while we work things out for us, but, it’s tiring. Bringing our baby back and forth, to and fro to the Philippines & Singapore for a 2 years has been a bitter exchange for our desire of earning more sustainable and acceptable compensations to provide for what we dream for our family. Our Permanent Residence application was rejected. Our employment passes doesn’t permit us to bring her over. Hence, going back home abruptly is also something scary. 

  

So we sit down one day, talk to God. And everything change. The first thing He did was dropped the bomb in our hearts asking a question “Do you trust me?” “Who is your provider

  
As I ponder on this, my heart seems to reject God’s instructions, but still we trusted Him. He first removed our blinders by giving us the truth of the situation. He then re-aligned our priorities by highlighting some of the things we are neglecting that is; 

  1. Looking into how much is in our savings? 
  2. Our timeline to how long do we see ourselves separated from our daughter? How long do we want to work overseas? 
  3. Career Development? 
  4. In all these years of working where did all the money go? Travels? Parties? Food? Giveaways? Gifts? 
  5. Do we have debts to pay?
  6. Do we even have our own shelter, car, insurance or 1year emergency fund? 
  7. Proverbs 22:6? 

  

When all of these pointers come up, my husband and I started to really review our lives. And yes, our priorities aren’t right, in fact we are clueless. Then that’s when we felt God’s divine wisdom pouring out on us, on how to do things for our family – His way. 

  1. He worked out on our confidence in Him. He introduced Himself as someone that we can definitely rely on in and out of season. He slowly gave us glimpse of hope and guidance on how to slowly get out of our ignorant-clueless situations. We trusted His ways.
  2. He then taught us how to save. How to be good stewards of money. How we can be trifty. What to prioritize and put importance on. 
  3. Then He surprised us with new career offers, giving much stable and higher compensations able to help us finance the things that we really need. 
  4. Towards the Second quarter of the year during our 4th anniversary, God helped us buy a wonderful-unexpected home in my husband’s hometown. We were given lots of favors acquiring that house, swiftly and hassle-free transactions. It was a beautiful reward from God. 
  5. God also took care of our worries, our families & even our relative needs He took care of it. 

Then slowly, our desire to stay in Singapore is slowly fading away, for better reasons. 
Suddenly our hearts were excited to hear where God’s bringing us. Suddenly we are open to accepting the fact that it’s not at all bad going home. That our identity is not in our careers, or how much money can we provide for our baby or how stable a country is. But its about how much do we trust that God takes control of any situation, if we give it to Him. That His plans for us is more perfect than what we dream of. That His ways are limitless. And His blessings is not dependent on which country you are in – it’s all about knowing Him, His character, His words and promises and obeying Him. 
Later on, our closest friends got to know about this decision and of course they questioned; they say “where is your faith?”, ” You havent tried it all” “I know someone who did this and that”…  
Some even offered suggestions on how to talk to this agency and that, trying to help us. And though we know that their intentions were good, this brought some confusions about our current plans – I guess it’s all part of that “transition-period”  
What if what we wanted is not what God really wants? The more we realized that we have to stick with God and don’t be swayed by the many opinions of others. Our family situation is a known matter to God and He had this first in mind before us. We are left with the re-assuring promise of God that He is going to be with us all the way. 

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. – Philippians 1:6

2016 demanded a lot of humility and acceptance. It also put us in a place of wonders and amazement. As to any transtition season it can get messy sometimes, it can also be confusing, it may demand some cleaning up and movements – but it teaches us to focus on the goal. Transitions gives a whole lot of space for us to grow as a person, adjust and accept, let-go, recalculate, dispose and decide on what to really matters. 

  

And that is what God has been doing to our family lately. We have trusted God more this year than ever. We understand that He is altogether good and kind, keen to every details of our lives, because He cares for every little matters of our hearts. 

As of today we are still in the season of transition maybe until the next two-years. But we like what we are seeing, cleaner path, lesser distractions, clearer goals, audible directions, confirmed promises, new visions, breakthroughs and learnings and a whole lot more. 

We are soooooo excited for 2017, 2018, 2019 and the future is brighter! Definitely brighter! 

The hope of the righteous shall be gladness; But the expectation of the wicked shall perish.

Proverbs 10:28 

And a quote from Corrie Ten Boom;

Never be afraid to trust your unknown future to a known God!