Just a thought

When I am overwhelmed (and I feel too blessed to even think about complaining), I take it one day at a time.

When I cannot imagine how to finish (or even start) a big project,  I take it one step at a time.

When I am faced with problems that push me to just quit everything, I stop thinking and ask God for help.

I have accepted the fact that as much as I would want to be as positive as possible, there are people or things that will make me (almost) fall apart. And there’s only one thing that will help me go through them and go on with life… FAITH IN GOD.

I thank God because however difficult my day has been, I survive it with my loved ones.

It never fails.

2011 as God had planned it

If I have to live the year 2011 all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I have learned so many things and proved once again that I can do more than I can imagine. I am a businesswoman, tutor, driver and a student while being a full time mom and wife. Best thing about all these, Gary and I are ‘growing-up’ with our kids.

God has blessed us tremendously, not just with material things and travel opportunities but more importantly the difficulties and challenges that came our way. For one, having a business does not guarantee a regular income. Clients come and go. If I would think about the future, it would be too scary. But I did not allow those future worries affect my present, on the contrary, it made me more thankful of what I have now and just live each day at a time. It’s not easy but it can be done. Looking back, I haven’t faced yet those things that were causing all my worries and I don’t think I ever will because of God’s perfect timing.

Now 2012 looks even brighter. May the Lord continue to bless, teach and use all of us to fulfill His will.

Let’s do good and live a good life.

Thin line between being PROUD and CONCEITED

According to my dictionary, the word PROUD connotes two things, it can be positive or negative. Proud can be defined as a feeling or showing justifiable self-respect. Likewise, it can also mean being filled with or showing excessive self-esteem. Sadly though, when dealing with self and others, it’s hard to draw a line between the two.

This bothers me because I personally don’t like conceited and arrogant people. More importantly, I don’t want to be branded as one. I know a lot of people who share a lot of things about themselves; their success, purchases, travels etc. but I don’t find them conceited. On the contrary, the more I look up to them. There are people, on the other hand, who would mention something and it sounds to me like they’re blowing their own horn. Maybe because some things are too obvious and better left unsaid, or maybe its the way they say it, the timing or maybe because I don’t know them too well.

All these bring me to one question, am I conceited? I know people close to me won’t think that way because it’s not really my nature. I just wish other people who can read my writings, blogs, tweets or see the pictures I post won’t think of me that way. I just love to share things about me especially those that made me and is making me happy even to the point of influencing them to do the same. But just in case I’m bordering to being conceited, though honestly not my purpose, I hope someone would tell me so.

TRUST is a big word

My son and nephew enjoy our spelling game. They usually spell the words correctly while I correct those they missed. Sometimes my nephew would say, ‘I can’t spell it, it’s a BIG word for me.’ So I’ll just give him another one to spell.

When I started reading the ‘Secrets of the Millionaire Mind’ I realized that I have my own set of big words as well. It’s not about spelling of course (though I’m not really fond of it hehe), but words that seems so hard for me to handle. TRUST for one. It’s the main reason why I want to be in control of things and doesn’t want to entrust my life to anybody 100%. I finished my education, got a job and did good with my profession because I want to have a fall back whatever happens. I don’t think it’s wrong of course, but I realized that I did it for the wrong reason. Fear (of the future) is my strong motivation which should be/have been happiness and fulfillment. Even the time I quit my job, I know the business can sustain us or else I wouldn’t risk it. I can talk endless about my trust issues but I guess I have to deal with it myself.

I just want to share a story from the book I’m reading because it made me smile.

It’s about a man who is walking along a cliff and all of a sudden loses his balance, slips and falls off. Fortunately, he has the presence of mind to grab on to the ledge and he’s hanging there for dear life. He hangs and hangs and finally yells out,”Is there anybody up there who can help me?” There’s no answer. He keeps calling and calling, “Is there anybody up there who can help me?” Finally this big bellowing voice calls back, “This is God. I can help you. Just let go and trust. Next thing you hear: “Is there anybody else up there who can help me?”

Wapak! Hit me big time. With this, I want to remove worry and fear from my vocabulary and replace it with risk, growth and more faith. They’re equally big words but I am willing to learn.

Getting what I want

Oprah_World tweets “You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.”

I agree. I remember Gary telling me in Venice that my dreams have been fulfilled already. Those dreams don’t have to be big dreams, they can be simple and ordinary to some but fulfilling for me. I told him with wide grin that it only means one thing, I have to create another set.

Just recently I was thinking that it would be nice to spend a birthday or holiday in one of Discovery Suites’ big rooms. I did not push the idea. Days after, an agent called me up offering me Discovery Suite membership with numerous perks. I prayed, “Oh God, that was fast!” It was simple yet sweet.

Big or small, I encounter these answered prayers everyday. Of course I won’t see them if I let worries, fear and problems overcome me. I count my blessings. Contrary to what Gary said, I still have a number of dreams waiting to be fulfilled, not to mention those I’ve added on the list. Just a reminder, when an answered prayer comes, it doesn’t usually come in the form you’re expecting. In those times, also pray for wisdom and understanding.

So how do I get what I want, here’s a list.

1. When I ask God, I’m specific.
2. I hold on to my dreams because, unimaginable as it is today, it can really happen in the future. I don’t know how, but God makes it happen.
3. I always remind myself to be generous, kind, considerate, humble and thankful.
4. I pray wherever and whenever I feel the urge… for whatever reason.
5. Despite all the negative things happening around… I keep the faith.

The rest is up to Him. God will either answer it immediately, delay it for the perfect time or give me something better. What more can I ask for?

The story behind zero LV

When we went to Paris I was almost 100% sure that I’ll buy myself a Louis Vuitton bag. Well, why not? It’s really a lot cheaper there plus I believe I deserve one. And mind you, Gary was even PUSHING me to it. But when I was at the shop already, guess what? (don’t hate me for this) I decided not to buy anything at all. I realized that I may have saved a couple of bucks but still I’m going to spend at least 1,500 euros. For that amount I really have to WANT that thing for myself. So I asked myself, why would I want an LV bag? Is it to have my picture taken in front of an LV store holding an LV paper bag? To wear that one-and-only precious bag on special occassions and show other people that I can afford an LV bag? To be able to buy something from the trip. Ahhh too shallow for a reason.

Unlike travelling which may have cost us a fortune (with a not-so-decent savings), but we did it because it gave us fulfillment plus we really want our kids to be exposed to different cultures because it would give them an edge. We don’t travel to give an impression that we can afford a european trip and we’re living an easy life.

So I told myself that I’ll only buy LV if I reached the social status that would allow me to buy 2-3 LV bags at the same time without batting an eyelash. If I wouldn’t reach that lifestyle, I wouldn’t mind not owning one at all.

An LV replica is neither an option. I’d better use something nobody knows yet people would be wondering about.

Be Still

Do you remember the time when you were asked to sit still or stand in the corner because you’ve been a handful all day? When we were kids, we don’t understand why our parents would give us time-outs when all we could think about is to run all over the place, jump, scatter toys, draw, ask questions, laugh boisterously… endless.

At 33, I feel that way. It feels like God is asking me to stay still when all I could think about is move. I want to take up programming, learn something new, finish work and do more, visit our satellite office, go to places, travel more, gym, facial… endless.

What’s stopping me is for one Lia doesn’t have yaya. I have to baby sit all day. In between I would fetch the kids from school, do errands, help kids with homework and prepare food. It wouldn’t be too hard if I don’t have work to do. Another thing, since we just came from a vacation, it’s not feasible to just plan for another travel even if I want to. But you see, travel for me is addicting. Not shopping but travel. If money is not an issue, I would love to go to Singapore-Thailand-Malaysia and Australia this year. Then next year we’ll be back to Europe to perhaps visit London again (Zach and Lia’s first time) or another Euro trip to Amsterdam, Spain and Greece. Dream… dream… dream.

As of now, not that I’m naughty, I decided to be a good child and follow what God wants me to do… stay still, relax, think, wait and enjoy the company of my family full time.

Overdrive

I’ve always wanted to drive. I don’t like the idea of me at the back of the car with a driver on the wheels because I want to be the one driving. So imagine how excited I was when finally I enrolled myself to a driving school 3 years ago, even if I was pregnant with Lia. Learning to drive manual wasn’t easy. It came to a point when I was about to accept the fact that my driving will be limited to short distances. But because Gary was becoming too busy to drive for me and my need to go to places was increasing, not to mention the need to bring/fetch the kids to/from school, I made an extra effort to really learn how to be a good driver. And (I think) I became one.

Driving an automatic was a piece of cake. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to last long. Now I drive a manual (SUV) again.

I find freedom in driving. I prefer city driving, though, than long drive perhaps because of the trauma I had from the accident. The idea of driving to bring my loved ones to where they ought to go (even Gary for meetings) and fetch them excites me.

Maybe its the joy of being the one in control of the wheels while singing my favorite song on the radio that makes all the effort seems effortless.

As the line from Eraserhead’s famous song Overdrive goes… ‘magda-drive ako hanggang… buwan!’

Embracing my OCness

I have an Obsessive-compulsive disorder. No specialist confirmed it but I think that my control-freak attitude is enough evidence already. I am not much of the ‘house should always be in order’ type of OC. With 3 children around, I am just thankful I’m not. But when I work or study, I want things around me arranged and fixed accordingly before I could start anything. Problem is, I tend to control things and even the life of my loved ones. As much as I would want to protect them, I realized that they need to go through the process and not block them from experiencing life.

They say that people with OCD feel strong urges to do certain things repeatedly — called rituals or compulsions — in order to stop the scary thoughts or to try to ward off the bad thing they dread, or to make extra sure that things are safe or clean or right.

Based on the site www.helpguide.org, most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder fall into one of the following categories:

1. Washers are afraid of contamination. They usually have cleaning or hand-washing compulsions.
2. Checkers repeatedly check things (oven turned off, door locked, etc.) that they associate with harm or danger.
3. Doubters and sinners are afraid that if everything isn’t perfect or done just right something terrible will happen or they will be punished.
4. Counters and arrangers are obsessed with order and symmetry. They may have superstitions about certain numbers, colors, or arrangements.
5. Hoarders fear that something bad will happen if they throw anything away. They compulsively hoard things that they don’t need or use.

I am a washer because I want to wash my hands most of the time because clean hands give me a sense of satisfaction. I am also a doubter because I feel that when I’m not on top of things, something bad might happen and I have myself to blame. I also have the tendency to be a hoarder because it’s so hard for me to give up some things I should be throwing already. But above all, I think I strongly fall into number 2, the checker, for the following reasons:

1. I excessively double-checks things such as locks, appliances, and switches. Also, important documents and possessions. Yeah, weird, but true!
2. Repeatedly checks on loved ones to make sure they’re safe. For this I thank the person who invented cellular phones and internet.
3. Wants to be on top of things to be sure that loved ones and belongings are protected.
4. Needs re-assurance

I need to know all these because embracing my OCness makes me feel normal despite my abnormal actions and feelings.

Life began at 30

My life has changed significantly. Being an employee a couple of years ago (even in a multinational company having a position one step away from managerial level), I was struggling to make ends meet. Putting together our salaries as a couple, I could only balance compensation and expenses with the aid of loans and credit card. I must say life was hard then. We were renting an apartment and no car or any asset to feel secured about.

At 32, I manage an IT business with my husband. He does the marketing and technical stuff, I do the risk management and accounting. Funny how we discuss family concerns and then shift to business operations whenever we had the chance. Also, both of us enjoy family time every single day. We adore our kids. Our marriage has never been better. There are times when we feel ovewhelmed with all the responsibilities we have to perform but we never complain. We have received so much blessings already and the year has just started.

Modesty aside, our family’s buying power has improved a lot. We could eat whatever we want anytime anywhere, buy signature items and gadgets, throw parties, plan for travel, pamper ourselves and invest more without batting an eyelash. Best of all, we can now extend help to those who are in need and so happy to be a blessing to others.

I can say that we’re not yet rich but we are well provided. We don’t have much but we are not scared to spend money to enjoy life and provide help.

Lessons learned over the years:

1. Life is not perfect and not a fairy tale but it is fair.
2. Don’t hold on to your money (or any material things) because God provides more than you can imagine.
3. Let tomorrow worry about itself.
4. Karma (good or bad) is fast.
5. Blessings are meant to overflow to others.

My life definitely began at 30.