When I stumble upon a blog that I love, I enjoy feeling like I know the blogger behind the screen. While it’s nice to read about tips and tricks or the latest promos on brands, it’s also interesting when the blogger is vulnerable and shares her own struggles, experiences, and stories with us. It creates “me, too” moments that allow us to relate and connect with the other person. Isn’t that one of the best feelings?
That being said, today I felt like bringing back something that I used to publish on the blog: a life update. I always enjoy reading this type of posts from my favorite bloggers so I thought I would share with you what I’ve been up to and a few plans for the near future.
My daughter Macey
School is almost over for Macey. She’s still struggling with her Filipino subjects but I’m glad she’s trying. She had her exams last week and she did well in all subjects except for Filipino. She didn’t understand the instruction. She tried to ask her teacher what the word “guhitan” means but her teacher refused to answer and said that she would not translate the word in Filipino because following instructions was part of the exam. I was behind her while she was taking her exam because that was part of the school’s protocol to have one parent or guardian behind the student while taking the exam via Zoom meeting, but I was not allowed to teach or assist her. My task was only to take a photo of her papers after the exam and send it immediately to her teacher’s email in front of the camera to make sure no changes will be made after the student answered the exam.
After I emailed her papers, I immediately checked her answers in Filipino and found out that none of her answers was correct. I told Macey calmly how she did in her Filipino exam and I hugged her tightly. She cried buckets after knowing that she didn’t do well in Filipino but I tried to explain to her that it was okay, that I wasn’t mad at her, and that I completely understood why she didn’t answer it correctly. We prayed about it and I told her that it’s okay to make mistakes because it will motivate her to do better and to practice more. I shared stories of successful people and characters in the bible who did well and became successful after they failed.
I praise God for giving me the wisdom to handle the situation positively. When her teacher said that she will not help her with the instruction, my initial reaction was “how inconsiderate!”, but I prayed about it immediately and asked God for forgiveness for feeling and reacting that way. And instead of getting mad at Macey for not doing well with her exam, I was convicted in my heart to be calm and understanding.
To help Macey in Filipino, we’re now trying our best to communicate with her in Tagalog at home and I try to spend more time reading Filipino stories with her.
My husband John
My husband, John, is still unemployed. It’s been three months since he lost his job and even if he’s been actively sending in his applications to different companies and recruitment sites, he has not found a new job yet. Despite that, I thank God for His provision and protection for our family. I also feel more motivated to work harder and smarter, and as a result, my online revenues are slowly increasing. Praise God!
Sometimes, John feels hopeless and disappointed, but I always pray for him and encourage him. I’m beyond grateful that God inspired us to have our daily family bible study before bedtime because it helps us to trust God more and to surrender all our burdens, worries, and fears to Him. God knows everything that we’re going through and we know that He has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).
It’s been a year since I started my new habits and I thank God that I’m still doing most of them, most of the time. These habits include:
- Waking up at 5AM
- Quiet Time with God: praying, meditating, reading the bible, and writing on my journal
- Exercising/walking for at least 30 minutes a day with at least 5,000 steps on my Mi Fit app
- Listening to Faith building and motivational talks (usually while exercising or doing chores)
- Reading books
- Writing and reviewing my goals
- Creating Content for The Pinay Investor blog, YouTube Channel, social media, etc.
Recently, I also started working on my communication and public speaking skills after watching several TED Talks and Toastmasters events on YouTube. I’m hoping to be a better public speaker, so I took the 77 Day Video Challenge of Darren LaCroix, the 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking, to post one video a day for 77 days sharing an inspiring message or experience on any platform. I started this a month ago, and I’m so happy I’m on Day 32 now!
To be honest, it’s not easy! I’m a very shy person and I rarely post something on my social media account nor appear on my videos on my YouTube Channel. But I wanted to improve my public speaking skills. So, I had to get out of my comfort zone and start sharing my message. It’s very challenging, but I did it anyway. Not only do I feel more comfortable now in speaking in front of the camera, I’m also happy that I have developed the habit of being disciplined and consistent. I’m not perfect, but I think I’m improving. I’m making progress everyday.
As John Maxwell says,
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret to your success is found in your daily routine.”
Even if I started exercising last year, my eating habits are still the same. I still eat a lot and I care less about the food I eat – sweets, chips, coffee, milk tea, cakes and breads, and of course… rice or kanin (lots of it) with ulam!
I’d like to believe that during the past year, I’ve become disciplined in my other habits except for one thing: my eating habits. No doubt I’m still obese and I still don’t feel confident about myself.
Last month, however, after reading Joyce Meyer‘s book entitled, Start Your New Life Today, I was convinced that our bodies are a precious, marvelous gift from God, and we should respect them and take good care of them. I totally agree that if we let our bodies become shabby or sick, it will be a constant distraction. How can we fulfill the work that God has called us to do if we don’t feel good about ourselves?
Jesus wants us to enjoy our lives, and that is very difficult if our bodies are run-down. To do the work we were meant to do, we need to keep our bodies in shape to allow us to operate most effectively for Him.
I may not be able to change my circumstances, but I can change my habits with God’s help. I cannot do it on my own. I tried to lose weight and change my habits many times in the past, but I haven’t been successful. When I fully surrendered my desire to be healthy, God made it easier for me to break my old bad habits and make new ones.
I love coffee, but I love it more when paired with a slice of cake, suman, or bread. I also love red wine, but I love it more when paired with chips while binge watching on Netflix. I know I had to make changes if I wanted to be healthy. So, in January, I made a decision to stop drinking coffee and wine to lessen my cravings for sweets and chips because I know that they’re not good for my body. By God’s grace, I haven’t drunk coffee or wine since then. I still eat sweets and chips sometimes and I might also drink coffee or wine on some occasions, but I don’t crave for it anymore like I used to and as much as possible I don’t want to go back to that old bad habit again.
In April, I made another decision to stop eating rice or at least have one cup a day. But God made it even possible for me to not eat rice at all for the last 29 days. I’ve also tried fasting by not eating dinner most days of the week. Almost one month into these new habits and I’m feeling so much better and lighter now. I’m actually surprised that I’ve already lost 3 kilograms off my weight. Praise God!
I’m nowhere near my weight goal but I am really happy that I made the first step to becoming healthier. I also follow this affirmation that Joyce suggested and I say this as often as possible.
I am responsible for my own life. No one can take charge of it but me. If I am unhappy or unhealthy, I know I have the power to change. I have all the help and knowledge I need, and with God’s hand today I will start becoming the person of excellence I have always known I could be.
TPI Updates (Blogging & Vlogging)
It was during the start of the ECQ lockdown in March 2020 when I got inspired to relive my The Pinay Investor (TPI) brand. I can’t believe it’s been a year already and so far, I’ve been able to publish 58 new blog posts and 58 new videos from March 2020 to April 30, 2021.
Yes, I took the time to count my content and I’m surprised that I’ve published the same number of content both on my blog and YouTube channel during the past year.
I’m glad I had the discipline to continue publishing content even if I have too much on my plate. I’m determined to work even harder this year to reach and serve as many people as possible with God’s help.
I’m planning to create and offer budgeting template printables, ebooks, and courses to my audience! Last month, I started giving away free budgeting templates to grow my email list, and as of today, I already gained 100 subscribers.
I have also started accepting speaking invitations and brand partnership opportunities that are aligned with my brand and core values. This month, I’ll be speaking to college students from the University of Santo Tomas about personal finance. I’m excited to share my message and hopefully make an impact in their lives.
I’m not comfortable posting on social media, but I’ll try to get out of my comfort zone and start sharing my content on various social media channels including on Instagram and Facebook Page.
I’m also considering taking the Registered Financial Planner program to upgrade my knowledge in financial planning. I was surprised when I received a message from RFPI inviting me to join the program and offering me a good deal after I shared my write-up about their recently held Financial Fitness Forum 2021. RFP Batch 89 will start on May 15 and I have a few more days to decide if I should enroll or not. Will let you know soon.
Health Issues Among Family Members
Last March, my brother, who is based in Qatar with his family, had Bell’s Palsy. During that same month, my brother-in-law tested positive for Covid-19. A week before he tested positive, he came to our house to pay a visit and to attend my sister-in-law’s birthday. Everyone in our household had a close contact with him. When he told us that he was Covid-positive, we immediately followed a “self-imposed quarantine” at home while my brother-in-law isolated himself in his condo. In our family, we decided that John will stay in the other room, while Macey and I remained in the master’s bedroom. We strictly followed social distancing at home and wore face masks all the time.
By God’s grace and favor, after two weeks of quarantine, no one in our family and in my mother-in-law’s household showed symptoms of Covid-19. My brother-in-law has already recovered from Covid and is doing better now. My brother in Qatar has also recovered from his Bell’s Palsy after two weeks of rest and medication.
It has been a challenging month for both sides of my family, but God taught us to put our trust and hope in Him alone and to do our part by taking care of our bodies, by always wearing face mask and face shield and observing social distancing whether at home or outside.
I pray that you and your family are well and safe.
Faith and Ministry
God called me to serve in the ministry during the Holy Week in April. I attended a 3-day online retreat and volunteered as a facilitator during the breakout sessions. I’m still attending my old fellowship group every Saturday, but I have recently started facilitating a bible study group every Friday and I also started leading a discipleship/fellowship group with other moms every Tuesday. It’s been a humbling experience. I praise God for giving me the opportunity and ability to serve others through this ministry.
Xian, my 8-year old nephew stayed in our house for two weeks last April when their house was being renovated, and he joined our regular bible studies before bedtime. I also gave him a new journal/notebook and encouraged him to start writing his favorite bible verse of the day and the 5 things he’s grateful everyday.
He and Macey have since been doing that consistently and even when he’s back at their house now, we continued with our daily bible studies on Zoom Meeting every 8PM. He and Macey added that schedule in their Google Calendar, and I can’t say no. 🙂 What a blessing and privilege to teach these kids about Jesus!
I’m Turning 35!
Yes, I’m turning 35 on May 6th, God willing. I love my birthday. It is, without question, my favorite day of the year. More than Christmas, New Year, or any other holiday, I look forward to my date of birth more than any other day on the calendar. And no matter how old I live to be, I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow the internal excitement I have for my birthday.
And secretly, part of me enjoys the attention that comes with someone wishing me a happy birthday. 🙂 What’s funny was many of my Facebook friends greeted me in advance last March when I updated my profile picture (after not updating it for more than two years.) One of my friends posted a happy birthday comment and everyone else posted the same greetings on my wall. It made my day!
As part of celebrating my birthday last year, I made a challenge for myself to publish one post a day for the entire month of May. Even though I only published 13 blog posts, it was quite an amazing experience and it paved the way for me to publishing more content on my blog. I’m thinking of doing a similar challenge this month — not 30, but maybe 10 new blog posts and 10 new videos. Hmmm.. Let’s see! 🙂
How about you? What have you been up to recently?