What Have I Learned From Pope Francis's Homily?

via: http://nafconusa.org/2015/01/nafcon-hopeful-to-work-with-pope-francis/
Warning: Long Read.

If I were living in Manila, I might have been part of the crowd, cheering and welcoming Pope Francis's during his 5-day pastoral visit here in the Philippines. But unfortunately, that was not the case. However, I was able to observe several events on TV which involved the Pope. The social media and other news had also kept me updated.

Though I noticed some hurtful criticisms and comments thrown against him (which are expected naman). One of them is calling him anti-Christ and false prophet. Some of the comments are against the concept of apostolic succession, and the like.

Nevertheless, I didn't bother reacting on the negative comments. I rather chose to see the positive sides instead of judging and striking the haters back. After all, only God has the power to judge us at the end of the day regardless of our beliefs.

What matters most is how the Pope has gathered all the Filipino people as one family in Christ. As a matter of fact, he urged all Christians not to pray to him (Pope) but to Jesus Christ Himself.  The Pope truly radiates humility, simplicity, and godliness that each of us must emulate.

Anyways... Long Story Short..

Since I didn't watch everything on TV of what was happening then, I ensured not to miss out the most important part of the liturgy, the homily. He said a mouthful and the messages he delivered have impacted many lives including myself.

I was completely touched and enlightened of what he relayed to us, Filipinos, though I could barely grasp some of his messages. Glad to know there were Filipino priests and newscasters who expounded what the Pope meant in a separate panel discussion on TV.

So here are some of the calls and challenges by Pope Francis which are addressed to every Christian. And I just wanted to point out the important messages that hit me as a person.  I would like to share with you my feelings, thoughts, reflections, and the things I need to do as a Christian.


1. Always take time out to pray every day. 

To be upfront with you, it hits me like a ton of bricks. As a home-based and hands-on mom, I was so caught up with responsibilities that I tend to forget praying to God. I can rarely slow down, reflect, and re-examine of what has been transpired throughout the day. After what Pope said, I came to realize that with God in silence, we can pour out our problems and frustrations. It is also the great opportunity that we can be grateful of  all the blessings he has bestowed upon us.

2. Just focus on what really matters. 

I recently listed down my goals for this year to focus on. Goals that are attainable and doable which can contribute to our over-all health: mental, social, spiritual, financial, and physical. Unlike last year, my mind was diverted into many attentions (actually less important stuff) , which drained me physically and mentally. Now I learned to entrust all my plans and dreams to God, and allow His grace to work.


3. If we don't learn how to cry, we cannot be good Christians. "Our response should be silence or a word that is borne out of our tears. 

Seeing the girl cry while sharing her tragic experiences with Pope during the "Youth Encounter" at UST, caused my tears to drip. Though, I tried to hide my emotion secretly because I was ashamed to do so in the presence of my mother and husband who were also watching closely on TV (hehe).

True enough. When we acknowledge our weaknesses to God by shedding tears, we immediately feel His comfort.  We are relieved instantly. We feel that we are not alone. That means we always need Him during the lowest moment of our life.

4. Protect the Family. 

I am fortunate for having a complete family. Husband and I are working home-based where we can keep our eyes to our daughter. What I can do more is to strengthen our relationship by giving quality time to each other. That's why I seldom see myself in social media (**ex. facebook, online games**) as we know how these culprits can steal much of our time, thus can be a source of dispute.

With all our might, let us care and protect our family for it is the foundation of our society.

5. Love the poor. 

As a product of a poor family myself before, I couldn't help but pity those people whom I happened to pass by in the street warmless and foodless. This is a big challenge to all of us of what we can do to help these people. However, we don't need to go far. We may have neighbors, too, who suffer the same where we can lend our helping hand.

6. You know how to give but you have not yet learned how to receive. Become a beggar. 

What the Pope means here left me hanging to be honest. But in my opinion, it tells us to be beggars of knowledge, wisdom, humility, etc. We must be always 3/4 cup full, allowing ourselves an extra space for improvement. We must also learn to accept our mistakes, lend our ears when someone talks,  and most of  all learn to receive humility.


Let me know your thoughts about Pope's visit and homily.  Always feel free to ask questions or you may leave your comments below. I am always up for chit chat.


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First Getaway of the Year at Camp Holiday

Disclaimer: It is a non-paid post. 

If my memory is right, I have been to Camp Holiday for the 5th time around including this getaway. I especially like this place for some reasons:

First, it is the nearest resort from Davao City where we reside. You can immediately see Camp Holiday once you get off from the barge that transports anyone from Davao City to the Island of Samal .

Second, in fairness to their entrance fee, it is much cheaper compared to other resorts nearby that offer similar amenities as Camp Holiday. Theirs is only 100 pesos per person while other resorts collect a minimum of 150 pesos or higher.

Third, Camp Holiday has some free amenities that the family will surely love (swimming pool, children's playground, beach, and many more ), considering the cheaper entrance fees.  

I assure you this getaway is less expensive, yet it nourishes our relationship as a family. If you didn't get a chance reading my goals this year, I've mentioned there, creating happy memories with my family. I know our mini happens too early but we just maximize the Christmas break we have had. 




Hotel 

Children's Playground
Kid's Pool
Hub Area
Free Use of Cottages
Dining Area
Recreation

I would love to hear from you by writing your comments below. I am always up for chit chat. Thanks for stopping by.

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Things I Should Prepare for this January

Hello January and hi everyone!

It's been a week since the New Year has formally started. And sadly , my two-week-vacation leave is also over. This means I have to go back to the reality like you do: regular routines and work. Though, I don't feel getting back to work yet,  but I have to, so I can make up from the expenses incurred during the holidays.

By the way,  how did you start your New Year? For me/us, when January comes, a bunch of preparations are lining up and to be prepared/worked for. Want to ask me why? Here they are:

1. Chesska's Birthday

We all know how holidays have left us nearly bankrupt, but then, we have already set aside something for Chesska's 3rd birthday. But this time, we choose to prepare a simple, less expensive, yet meaningful 3rd birthday.

Since she's no longer timid, unlike last year, we plan to hold it at home and invite her friends her age from the neighborhood. The birthday theme is Chesska and her friends themselves.


2. Bills 

In addition to birthday preparation, it is also the first month of the year where we are piled up with bills and other expenditures including car registration, insurances, property tax, among others. But long before this month, I have already the budget laid out intended for these priorities.


3. Goals  

It's been said, "Start the Year Right". I mentioned my goals  in my last post, which keep me motivated and on track in life. Without goals, I think, life would have no direction.

As soon as I can, I will work on saving and investing smart but not hard. I guess, it would be a smart idea to invest money in stocks than engage into networking business which is risky and hard.


4. Self

It is also first week of the month that I return to work.  Though I don't feel working yet because of the nature of the project, I just think of a million people who are jobless or underpaid by their employers, then I get relieved right away.  I feel grateful for still having a 5-hour job, yet still get a substantial income.

Join me not to procrastinate during work hours. hehe


photo credit: http://www.colormebrave.com/2015/01/start-your-year-off-right.html

What about you? What do you prepare for when January comes?

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Goals for Year 2015

It's just a few hours away before New Year.  For most of us, it's both a success and a relief because we have just surpassed this year's challenges. Yay!

And tomorrow will be 2015. For many people, New Year means a brand new start plus another set of New Year resolutions to make.

However, I no longer make New Year Resolutions because I can hardly keep them. So I've come to the point of listing down my goals in place of New Year resolutions. I believe, there is a huge difference between doing something that is attainable and doable,  than just vaguely aiming or wishing for something under the shooting stars.
via: http://goingbanhannahs.com/BlogLifestyleBodybuildingMentalmind/goal/

After all, our Lord God still takes charge of everything so His plans certainly work best than ours. But I am positive He will still bless my goals for year 2015. Here they are:

Note: My husband contributes his part in some goals stated below.

1. Maintain healthy lifestyle.

Yes, I have been a semi-vegetarian for almost 7 years now.  I cook veggies and fish most of the time. I seldom prepare or eat meat. I occasionally drink soda, that is when invited for the party. I don't eat junk foods. I can only count with my fingers I eat hotdogs and noodles. I don't eat processed foods often. And so does my husband. But the fact that we did not totally get rid of some toxic foods, then I wouldn't consider our eating habits healthy.

Our goal beginning next year is to completely eliminate meat, processed foods, soft drinks, and oily foods (fingers' crossed ).

We want to stay as healthy as we are now until we reach 50 - hopefully - so we can still enjoy the fruits of our labor, which I mention in goal no. 2.

2. Continue investing and saving. 

Investing and saving requires time, hard work, and above all self-discipline towards spending. And good to know we continue to develop those habits. We would like to add more savings for emergency funds - as you know the nature of emergency - and open a new account in COL Financial, a stock market,  in addition to our some other investments.

By the age of 50, which is our planned retirement age, we'd hopefully enjoy the money traveling, and share some of it to the charity and needy.

3. Read lots of books and refresh the grammar lessons for self-improvement. 

One of my favorite pastimes is reading books which I was deprived of way back teaching years. I usually read inspirational books, but I have changed my taste a bit now. I am more inclined to read fiction or novel books just for a change (lng). I aim to read from start to finish at least one book per month.

On the other hand, I would like to refresh my memory back about grammar lessons which are my flaws sometimes - I can't deny that .  That's why I downloaded numerous grammar lessons, and planned to study them over during my leisure time.

4. Be more patient with Chesska. 

Like most toddlers, Chesska throws a fit that is sometimes hard to deal with.  I'll work harder to extend my patience a little bit longer.  Also, I constantly pray for more wisdom, patience and understanding.

5. Create happy memories with my family.

The reason why I chose home-based job over my previous profession so I could devote my time with my family. And I'd like to take that time to create happy memories that last. No, this shouldn't come expensive like dining out often or vacationing. What I mean is to start at home first. 

I would allot at least 1-2 hours daily playing and homeschooling Chesska, though sometimes, I don't seem to enjoy the former much, but I will try to (hehe). I'll try to have a cheerful, happy, and appreciative presence in my family circle. I believe positive qualities are contagious.

*Set a monthly date with my husband. (husband insists this hehe)
*Travel once a year. (this too)

6. Buy a new domain, migrate my old site into a new hosting, and freshen up my blog. 

This blog has been my outlet to air my feelings out,  so this is included in my list too.

I would like to rebrand and re-optimize my site by entirely changing the domain and look-and-feel. As much as I want my blog to stay in the free hosting (blogger), it has limited features where I couldn't do everything I wanted (unlike WordPress).
 
7. Start mapping out a business.

I have lots of things in mind what type of business to put up. When I've already made up my mind, I would tell you the details. But for now, I do need to educate myself all about entrepreneurship, and of course, save for a start-up capital.

How about you? What are your goals for 2015?



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How Will You Spend Your Christmas Bonus or 13th Month Pay?

We were at Abreeza mall last Sunday. And I can tell the spirit of Christmas is felt in every corner - pretty Christmas decors, huge Christmas tree, and people bustling around such as shopping and selecting on-sale items, which makes me think "perhaps they already receive their Christmas bonuses or 13th month pays."

In fairness to my job, I do receive 13th month pay as regularly as those received by other employees working in a government or a private company. That is one of the perks I get as a WAHM (work-at-home mom).

Excitingly, I have already laid out plans how to spend it.  How about you?


Since I can no longer wait of your responses about my question, then I'll try to answer this question myself. Now, how will I spend my 13th month pay?

1. I will spend 25% of it into a house project.

True enough. Once you have a house of your own, you and your spouse will keep planning what needs to be improved or what else to buy for the kitchen or for the living room or for the bedroom. Relatable? So each year we always make sure we see something tangible with our money. That is a house project.

2. I will invest another 35% of it into stocks (COL Financial in particular).

Though we have already started investing into mutual funds (actually joint account funds), but my husband is the one who manages them. What I would like to know is how to invest money in stock market on my own.

Frankly, I am not knowledgeable enough about stocks, but since I am fortunate to have a champion partner, I thought of relying on his expertise of what steps I should take.

3. I will tithe 10% of it into Church.

Shameful to say that we didn't tithe 10% of our actual income to God yet. Yes we do offer money regularly (every Sunday during the mass), but not as much as what the Bible says, tithing. Keep in mind everything we own emanates from Him.

“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30).  The tithes and firstfruits belonged to God, and he assigned the Levites to receive them on his behalf (Numbers 18:12-132124). They could keep 90 percent of what they were given, but had to give 10 percent as an offering (verses 26-32).

4. I will spend 20% of it to buy gifts and help those who are in need. 

Christmas is all about giving and sharing, isn't it? We have less-fortunate fellow men out there who really need our help and generosity. Why not spare a little amount to make them happy.

Likewise, my god children and family have been anticipating my yearly presents, so a fraction of my 13th month pay would go directly to gifts-giving.

5. I will spend the remaining 10% of it for myself. 

I have been working so hard for the past 12 months, I guess, I would give myself extra treat and pampering. I would love to have a hair and body spa for a new, energizing, and refreshing look this coming holiday.*ehem*

That's surely my plan as soon as I receive my 13th month pay (just got a confirmation from my employer this week). Haven't you noticed a large amount of my money goes directly to investment? As a queen of delayed-gratification, (husband is the King), I ensure that I prioritize saving over buying or spending. I would definitely love to see my money grow rather than to start a new year broke (bankrupt) or indebted.

How about you? How would you spend your bonus or 13th month pay? I would love to hear from you by leaving your comments below.

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It's Christmas Time Again!

I can hardly believe we're almost nearing the most awaited season, the Christmas season when Jesus Christ was born. Twenty-three Twenty-four days to go from the day I wrote this post.


I awoke this particular morning (December 1, 2014) with a feeling of excitement and joy, knowing that December is my favorite time of the year where my family and I observe everything we enjoy during holidays - from gifts giving, to Christmas decorating, to cooking, and to family gathering.  As I pondered today about what has been left in my Christmas-to-do list, looks like 50% is ready.

Christmas Tree. Check!  


We use the same Christmas tree and decorations every year, but I just add a new set of balls and ornaments this year as fillers. As you may see, the tree is filled with gold decors which symbolize GOLD itself. As Christians, we know that gold was a Christmas present offered by wise men during the birth of Jesus Christ. Gold also represents wealth and prosperity. Yes, I am hopeful and positive that 2015 will bring more prosperity and wealth to my family, of course with God's grace.

Christmas wreath hung outside. Check! 


The red ribbons with balls and the Merry Christmas thing were old stuff but I reused them. So that they would look new and refreshed, I attached a wreath behind them. So embarrassing, I am clueless what wreath symbolizes until I found today that it has a significance meaning. The circular shape represents eternity.  It also represents the thorn on Jesus Christ's crown when he was crucified. (noted)

House Makeover. Check!



Oh oh, Chesska started messing up the Christmas tree. Check!



Earlier I mentioned I have done 50% of my to-do list, and the remainder 50% would be sharing our blessings to the needy, attending mass but I can't promise simbang gabi , meeting and visiting families and old old friends hehe.

However, let us be reminded that the core of this celebration is not only focusing about the material things such as gifts, party, bonus, new clothes, whatsoever,  but also preparing ourselves spiritually by inviting Jesus Christ in our heart to lead and dictate our life.  Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God. He sent Jesus to us because of His unconditional love.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16. 

Let us look the new year this way, then we'll have an everlasting joy and a Merry Christmas!


via: http://www.crosscards.com/






Celebrating 4th Wedding Anniversary at Malagos Garden Resort


We hit another milestone. Yay! Ronan and I used to celebrate anniversaries far away from home. Far away from chores. Far away from responsibilities. And for this, we thought of spending this eventful occasion at Malagos Garden Resort since we have never been to this place. Ever!

Interestingly, it was not a typical wife-husband date, but a kind of group date where my mother and some friend joined in. As the old saying goes, "the more, the merrier", isn't it? Actually, we already make this out-of-home celebration a family tradition yearly. Just last year we went to Eden Garden in Toril, and this year we settled into Malagos Garden after our deliberation, (lol) . And hopefully at Pearl Farm next year. (Ronan take note, wink...)

Back to Malagos...

Malagos Garden Resort is 45-minute drive from Bago Gallera where we live. Ronan drove the car. The trip was smooth, no traffic at all. We got there safe at noon, just in time for lunch.
Welcome Signage
Reception Area for Guests

At a very affordable price of 2, 400 per night, we stayed at Standard Room (Medenilla) which can accommodate a family of five. The cottage is air-conditioned, provides hot and cold showers, has 4 bedrooms and closet, lobby for TV viewing, and a little veranda with overlooking on the nature that gives a delightful ambiance, making us forget the daily worries and fast-paced lifestyle in the city. The room rate is inclusive of breakfast, use of swimming pool, plus a free watch of Bird Interactive Show.

Standard Room

The Interior

Little Veranda
Lobby 
Free Use of Pool 
Children's Playground
Children's Playground
Giant Chess
Being raised in barrio for most of my childhood years, I must admit I haven't ridden to kalesa yet, so we seized this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Kalesa ride. For 50 pesos each, it wouldn't harm our pockets. We were being ushered by this horse (of course with the tour guide, lol) to round the Malagos garden for 10-15 minutes. An awesome experience, indeed!

Life is short. Don't miss opportunities to spend time with people that you love. -John Osteen-

Kalesa Ride
Ring
Jump Shot at Soccer Field
To be one with nature once in a while is one way to improve our quality of life. It gives us happiness, inner peace, and harmony. It will also help us reflect that we are connected with nature, without them our life is not balance.

Treat the earth as if your life depends on it. Genesis 2:15

Malagos Garden
With loved ones
Just Me

Orchids

Blooming Flower

One of my favorite aspects during the trip was the INTERACTIVE BIRD SHOW, designed to entertain guests through spectacular birds tricks, and educate everyone as well about birds' habitats and behaviors, and how global warming has impacted their existence. Don't miss to watch it, otherwise you'll miss half of your life.
Ducks Evacuation Scenario 
The amphitheater was filled with audience including students and day-tour guests.
Birds Performing Tricks

Picture taking after the show. 
The foods offered make our taste buds happy. Though pricey, but worth trying. What I liked most was the sinigang where they used batuan (freshly picked from the garden), to make the soup sour. The sourness has distinct taste and it's heavenly.

Free Breakfast
Lunch consists of sinigang na malasugi, garden salad, calamares, and fresh juice
Dinner includes kinilaw, chicken coup, fresh fruits, pork BBQ, sweet and sour fish.
Mama and close friend at Koi's Cafe
Koi's Cafe

Souvenir Shop

Contact Information:

Malagos Garden Resort 
Barangay Malagos, Calinan, Davao City
Telephone (6382) 301-1375
Fax (6382) 301-1533
Mobile 0917-700-8583


Malagos Garden Resort Davao Sales Office
Bolcan Street, Agdao, Davao City
Telephone (6382) 221-1545
Mobile  0917-625-2467

Disclaimer: This is a non-paid post. 

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