Nights Like This

I hate nights like this

When i lie awake in the dark with tears streaming down my face thinking about you

Remembering what once was and reminiscing how you held me tight and kissed me slow

I hate nights that turn me blue

When my heart hurts a little bit more and my head hangs low knowing I am not ever missed

Remembering how you loved me then and understanding that it will never be again

I hate nights like this

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HOMESCHOOLING… A BETTER PRACTICAL CHOICE? 

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#homeschoolingPhilippines

With the degradation of the Educational system in the Philippines as I have witnessed first hand after having to deal with my kids previous mentors in the recent years and the belief of homeschooling founders and promoters in the change and benefit a child can get from being homeschooled, why then is it made exorbitant and out of reach to the working class?

More and more mothers, especially those who are raising a household on their own are getting a chance of having remote jobs or home-based jobs that allows them to give their children’s needs more attention and consideration. At this point the idea of homeschooling makes more sense but if it is as expensive as I have come to realize it is then what these institutions claim of it being a better solution and an avenue to raise better children are still nothing more but entirely revenue oriented.

 

Your thoughts? #homeschooling

Small Money Talk

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Saving money is a matter of priorities. Most of the time being able to save is not reflective of your arithmetic skills but your ability and will power when it comes to knowing your goals and setting boundaries between needs and wants. People often trick themselves into believing that they will start saving at a certain level of achievement like after buying the latest cellphone or after the much-awaited midnight sale. Whether we like or not the one-day-millionaire mentality is embedded in our culture. Most Filipinos are brought up in households where we waste our excess at every opportunity like buying things on sale not because we need it but just because we think it is quite a deal. It could probably be Madonna’s fault that we live in a material world, but the roots of spending unwisely go deeper than we imagine.

The millennial’s have this huge responsibility of changing society’s outlook on handling money. This is our time to alter the view of our generation as entitled and irresponsible. It is high time that we see the value of saving for the rainy days as we witness our parents retire, without so much as a bank account with ample savings, and rely entirely on their monthly pension which is, in the Philippine setting is not very much. We were not taught about the value of investments and setting something up early on while we are still young and able, making us end up with piles of bills that gets out of hand as we get older. It is not too late to set our priorities straight and learn from the mistakes of the past generation. Money is not an issue if we know how to live within our resources while taking into account the foreseeable future.

Financial literacy is now being turned into a profession and we need to take advantage of every help we can get. We need to change the way we look and understand investments. The opportunities nowadays are aplenty for people who are intent on making money work for them and not the other way around. As we mature and as our needs grow it becomes harder to start saving or putting something aside. Each small step we take at securing our future counts but starting early gives you an added advantage. Each avenue that we can come by that can help us make the most out of our money should be welcomed and taken into consideration. Let us forget the schemes that promises us to be millionaires by the end of the year, easy money is always a gamble and more often than not always ends up a disaster or a big loss.

Let’s start from the small things like keeping loose change in a fish bowl or piggy bank, setting 10% of a month’s salary to go directly to a passbook account, giving up 2 cups of Starbucks coffee, taking the bus or car pooling with a friend instead of taking the cab 3 times a week, cutting down on electricity by turning off the water heater – small things that in a years’ time could sum up into something significant. There are so many ways where we can find a way to make the most out of our financial capabilities if we just start to drive ourselves better at it – saving, investing and securing tomorrow. Let’s start today.

 

#ADULTING

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As a single mother of 3, budgeting both my time and finances is a skill that I have to master. Adulting, as a lot of people paying bills and making ends meet call it, is not joke. To call it easy would not only be funny but absolutely absurd. Although not prevalent in the Philippine setting more and more providers are embracing the culture of having multiple jobs just so they can put their family in a decent position. For people trying to build a family and for all those with growing ones, no matter how much we deny it, money runs our lives. I once read about the 50/30/20 rule where 50 is due for your needs, 30 for your wants and 20 for savings.  However, no matter how easy it sounds to follow such simple rule it seems that there always isn’t enough. There are times when I would sit alone in the dark after all the kids are put to bed and dreadfully think about the future, about expenses, tuition fees, utility bills and even those little things that can make a child’s life a little more colorful like a day at the pool, Sunday lunch out or just a pint of ice cream.

So how do we make ends meet, or better, how do we allow a breathing space where we don’t worry too much about the next months due payments? It is a cliché and we probably have heard it a lot of times but living within our means base on my experience actually works. A few months ago I chance upon a Netflix documentary about Minimalism. It talks about how when we purchase or make a decision about owning something, we think about the value that it will add to our lives and if it doesn’t, if our lives will move and go on without it that it is never worth it. Consumerism though has been ingrained in our minds. The quote that said humans are insatiable is there to let us feel some sense of pride in meeting our wants and even wanting more. I am not saying that buying things other than our needs is bad, we as providers, as humans trying to exist in this world run by money, we have to do our part and cut corners where we can cause having that emergency fund in times where we are in the most need is essential for every adult.

There will be times when, as much as we try to keep ourselves or our family healthy, sickness will happen to us and when sickness comes especially if the one who got sick is the head of the family we fail to see the value in trying to get better and we skip taking medicines or having ourselves seen for the fear that we will not have enough for the month. They say prevention is better than cure but in this generation where we all get by eating instant food and live such sedentary lives sickness is always by the door just waiting for the right moment to strike. For employees without health insurance or a medical representative for a friend we skip buying ourselves the proper medicine or vitamins to get healthy and well thinking that these drugs are what we can cut from our budget instead of that shoes on sale or a new pair of jeans. How about if you are given an opportunity to buy those prescription drugs to fully get well or buy those vitamins to keep fit and still be able to save money? Won’t it be a great thing to have? Having boys wanting to grow tall and as a breastfeeding mom I spend more than a thousand pesos each month in pharmaceutical products for me and my little ones and to be given a way to get some sort of cashback no matter how small it is, for a budget conscious woman, is already like winning the lottery.

I am sharing this experience to every Filipina mother out there knowing that through my experience every chance we get to save a few bucks is always a welcome treat. I don’t usually give reviews or write blogs about products, much more if it is an app that I just happened to come across online but I will make an exception for the fact that I know a lot of you out there will greatly benefit from having this one. When I first came across CheqRx in my new feeds I never thought much about it but as I rid my wallet of old atm and debit card receipts I came across 2 receipts from my recent trip at Watsons and gave it a shot. Here I am after 3 months of uploading pharmaceutical receipts ready to make my first cash out. To some of you this amount may not be much but this 200 pesos can go a long way. Imagine if I had been doing this for a year or so. I would highly recommend this to every mom especially to those who are or who have immediate families maintaining medicines. Each opportunity to save should be grasped and shared and I would be happy to know if two or more of my friends gets to start saving with me.

A Tropical Country’s Summer Clothing Etiquette

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With the recent news about Kirsten Stewart taking a stand and walking barefoot at the Cannes festival as a sign of protest for women not being allowed to wear flat shoes, who am I to be talking about dress codes and what not’s in a society that celebrates “Freedom of Expression” and being “comfortable in your own skin”. I for one, agree that women should be entitled to wear anything that they deem fit for the occasion, chose their hair color as they please and that we should all celebrate each others style and be accepting of each others cultural and personal differences. However, with all the “anti sexism”, “anti rape culture”, “anti discrimination”, “feminism”, “gender equality” and “freedom to choose” considerations that we are all fighting for is there a thin line that draws between acceptable and outrageous? or is it, to each man his own rules, no questions asked?

Why the sudden interest on how one clothes his or herself in public? I just feel that as human beings, correction – as sane human beings, and not to be prude or judgmental, we have a responsibility to dress in a way appropriate where we feel comfortable but also do not leave even the most tolerant of people surrounding us in an awkward position. I understand that the Philippines is a tropical country, and yes it is blazing hot during summer but do you have to wear your skimpy swimsuits at the mall? or do you think its funny to swim in your white “sando” sans underwear and expose yourselves to children who then give their parents questioning and sometimes horrified looks?

How hard is it to consider that there might be parents who’ve work hard in teaching their children a certain level of decorum? How hard is it to be appropriately clothed without having to feel that your rights has been stamped upon? and how tolerant is tolerant enough with peoples choice? I actively fight for the removal of breastfeeding from societal taboo, I strongly believe that the sexualization of  a woman’s body should never hinder the next generation from getting the best start in life and although I breastfeed in public when the need arise I try hard to consider other peoples disposition and comfort by being as careful as I can and making sure that I am never fully exposed. I understand where breastfeeding advocates are coming from but I also understand the sensitivity of other people from seeing a woman shove her bosom to a child’s mouth.

With that as an example what I am trying to say is that we are all fighting some cause to get some form of freedom to express our selves through our own gender and beliefs however while you are fighting for your right to be naked someone is fighting his/hers for a decent society where no one walks the halls or sidewalks clad in almost nothing but some strip of invisible cloth, we are all aiming for the same goal which is to spread the love so why don’t we meet half way where we are both tolerant and conscious about what each side is fighting for?

PS. So yes, your bikini bottom belongs to the beach and not in the mall while you old lady must know that a pool is not some kind of wet t-shirt competition where toddlers are your spectators. (LOL!)

To the Guy who turned me into a Single Mom

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To the guy who turned me into a single mom;

Life has blessed us with something so precious, so valuable and fragile that we both need to hold it delicately and with conscious care. It was birth from a love that felt right from a time not so distant but then we are not living in some fairy tale dreamland where true loves kiss and happily ever after happens. Ours took down a sordid path where we both were each others destruction. But despite the negatives, she came all innocent and smelling so sweetly that it was impossible to not see her as life’s most wonderful gift. You think that like some movie or novel a child can glue two people together but this is real life, it is so much different and I wouldn’t dream of raising her in a regular family if it means she has to grow in an environment where love is overrun by hatred or abuse, psychological or otherwise. Where indifference and sadness might surround her ever impressionable being. She will grow in a home, no matter dysfunctional,  filled with respect and compassion, where she will learn what it means to love and be loved, where kisses abound and tension is almost non existent, where she will only hear words of affirmation and not disgust. In that regard I need a stronger me to be able to provide her with all that and to be strong I need a time to heal from the devastation that our falling apart has caused. I thank you for wanting to be a part of her life, for trying to be present no matter the distance but I need you gone from our lives for a time being cause I have so much to deal with when you decided to leave me and make a single mother out of me. I have to plan our future, hers and mine, and I need a clear head and a steady heart for that. I need to process my emotions to rid myself from pain and sorrow and hearing you talk to her, seeing your face smile at her will only cause me to go down a dark horrible path of self pity and illogical hope. I hope you understand my decision to close our communications cause I couldn’t be the mother she deserves if I fall apart, you must know that it is driving me insane. Looking at her everyday is breaking me to pieces, like I am shattering over and over again. One day I will come out of this stronger, without hatred and with full understanding as to why everything did not fall into place. Rest assured that she will grow up knowing forgiveness and love and she will one day understand why there was a time in her life where you were not around. I will own up to those missing months or years but for now please let us go cause it was not even my choice to be placed in this position and I guess I deserve to be given the space and time I need to rebuild my brokenness.

Painfully yours,

Single Mom

The COMMON Goal in the midst of CHAOS

The horror of corporate DIVISION

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Each company have their own vision and mission set in order for everyone to be streamlined. Although compartmentalization is a must so that each department can work to the best of their ability, everyone should, at the end of the day, be one in the goal that they are aiming for.

In the thousands of articles and books ever written by business moguls and researchers, of those who has been tested through time and has known the ins and outs of the Business World one goal that is similar across all is delighting customers. Hearing the words ‘Customer is always right’ seems to be such a cliche’ but whether we want it or not customers are always right. They are at the very least the reason why we exist and the reason why we would continue existing. They pay for our goods and services, provide us with free marketing by word of mouth and sometimes some will be disappointed with what we have provided them. Customer is always right. Not that their claim is always completely true, its human nature to exaggerate, we all get carried away by our emotions and by that we sometimes use words that are bigger than our problems to get our point across. However, no matter which side we look at it, they, the ones who paid, the ones who decided to hand us their money – they are right.

Every complain, as what I have learned from working with Australia’s biggest telco, has an amicable settlement. It has an in between where both the company and customer can meet and consider a win win, however no matter how agreeable and reasonable a settlement is if everyone does not believe in it – it is sure to fail. For those who are working desperately hard, the negotiator, those who break their backs trying to arrive to an understandable ground (missing my Telstra Complains Resolutions Manager colleagues) it is mentally draining to be able to pacify and let someone agree, even though you are obviously at fault and even more draining if the rest of the gang just won’t run along your side and say, hey I have your back on this one, we are in this together.

What I am trying to say is, every business has a learning opportunity, there will be stumbling blocks along the way, we will fail and disappoint people but we will learn – for tomorrow, for the betterment, as long as we work together, no matter which department we are from and try to listen to ideas and be open for change. There will be times that tenure is going to be of no use. Empathy knows no age and relevant experiences, (experience being almost synonymous with time) can come from people who has been exposed to varying circumstances. Resolution will only work if we believe in the process being offered. A company will only grow if everyone has everyone’s interest in mind.

Define LOVE (by Josh Mcdowell)

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In the world where every question is answered by Google and in a time where the generation following us is more inclined to ask the world wide web than someone like his or her parents, do we leave the definition of love for our children to seek elsewhere?

What is love? Like any other Christian I would often refer to 1 Cor 13 which says love is patient and kind, does  not envy, isn’t proud not self seeking and all that but I just learned this Sunday through a powerful message by Josh Mcdowell during CFC’s service that those are not the definition of love, those are acts of love; what you would do when you love someone but how do you really know when you love someone?

We often hear people say and quote Mark 12:30-31 where we should love God with all our heart and soul and then love our neighbors as we love ourselves. In Ephesians husbands are commanded to love their wives as their own body. With these examples we know that God wants us to be able to love ourselves first so we know how to love others. How we treat US is our guide in knowing how to be able to treat other people. So what is the definition of love? According to the message that I actually had to watched over and over again for me to be able to fully understand and grasp, it says LOVE can be defined by 3 simple words. PROVIDE AND PROTECT!

When you do everything you can to be able to provide and protect for someone, that is LOVE but first you must be able to provide and protect yourself. A good example given is that time when a flight attendant would tell you as a parent to first put your mask on before you put your child’s in care of emergencies. Why? Because we have to be alive and well in order for us to care for others. When we make sure that we keep ourselves wholly fit, that means we are emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually healthy then we are able to give out love to others. It actually does makes sense, as a mother, how would I be able to love my children when I’m sick or emotionally unstable? Then the message goes on to teach us that we should be where our children learns of LOVE’s definition. He challenges the fathers to love the mothers as he would himself cause that is where a child learns how to treat others. When a boy grows into a man how he treats women will depend on how his father treated his mother and vice versa. What about those with single parents? Then our kids will learn the definition of Love by how we love ourselves and how we treat other people.

So loving then means:

  • Provide yourself with what you NEED in order for you to grow emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically then
  • Protect yourself from what can damage you emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically.
  • Love your children by giving them a true model of LOVE.
  • Provide them with a good example and Protect them from what can stain their character.
  • Treat your spouse as you would care for your own body and treat others the way you would treat you.

PS. Self love is not bad, it is essential for us to be able to love others. A guide and a requirement.

Life101

I hope there was a manual for relationships, marriage and parenting. That one manual that every person is required to have when they enter adulthood, like a life 101 and an obligatory seminar where you’d be taught the hows and whys, the what nots and the what to dos. unfortunately life, #adulting, is more like those Choose Adventure Books you have when you were a kid. The worst thing about it though is that when you get tired or get lost and somewhat don’t like the outcome, you can’t just close the book or go back the previous chapter to reevaluate and change your course by choosing differently. Life has consequences and most of the time the consequences that comes with it is permanent or irrevocable.

You would often hear people wish they were back to being kids, I for one have wished it more than once and if time machines could be invented, it would be a commodity that everyone would want to have. To undo wrong decisions, to go back to a much finer time and to bring back the old. When what we are aiming for is a brighter tomorrow, sometimes it just seems to get gloomier. What I’m trying to say is, life is a journey taken one step at the time, filled with decisions and outcomes, outcomes that are sometimes beyond our control eventhough it is triggered by our actions or inaction, by words spoken or not spoken.

Today we could all look back a year ago, some years ago or a decades past and see how many failed choices and wrong turns we’ve made together with good choices and great outcomes. Life is like that. It is filled with both good and bad. On melodramatic days I can think of so many things I wished I’d done differently. So many words I hope I did or didn’t say and so many actions I hope I did and did not do.

Sometimes when I think of the yesterdays I think most of all about the people I have lost and people I have gained and it breaks my heart to realized that this past year I seemed to have lost more than I have retained. Moving on, I can only wish to make sounder decisions to veer myself away from heartbreaks and from causing people pain but we can only try one day at a time and no matter how much we learn from the past we can never guarantee ourselves and others that we know how to make the best decision all the time. So yeah I wish I had that manual so that I can only look back with smiles and joy and not tears and heartaches.

Raising KIDS without LOVE

Anything outside of being a “normal” family is still somewhat considered a taboo in today’s society where single moms are still faced with criticism and divorced or separated mothers and fathers are left to feel guilty about their choices to raise their kids with only one of them present. In a perfect world, we all imagine a stepford mom and a responsible, successful dad with straight A kids living in some suburban neighborhood with as little problem to face like which vacation destination to take next or what movie to watch on Saturday night. But, we are far from living in a perfect world and as much as we want to deny that it is happening a rising percentage of the generation today will be raised in a not so conventional setting.

Saying so, I do not believe that the generations to come is doomed should we all see past the dysfunction and find means to make the present circumstance work. We, humans, have adopted quite well in every era and have survived slavery, wars, famine, dictatorship and many more and adopt we must, lest we plan to raise a generation that will make way for some other form of zombie apocalypse – a world full of emotionally incapable human beings, with blank and empty stares, devoid of humanity.

I read an article earlier today that in order for us to raise emotionally stable kids that could survive every social situations with a sound mind and heart, parents should learn to show affection towards each other in front of their kids. That children should witness love between mothers and fathers but how about those that are raised by single moms or dad or those who are from broken homes? Are we to automatically predict a life of turmoil and mental issues from them? Little boys and girls will learn to treat others from how their parents treated each other, but being raised in an unconventional family setting should in no way be a hindrance for them from learning how to grow up decently.

Some of us will have to raise kids on our own, or we will have to share the responsibility with an estranged someone. If love is not available and affection is something that we cannot show towards each other in front of the little ones then lets show respect and kindness instead. When there is a lack of love lets treat each other with decency instead of hostility, patience instead of anger and understanding instead of contempt. Looking past differences is hard but it is a sacrifice that parents must do their children. Let us never teach our kids to harbor hate and unforgiveness nor shall we show them indifference and resentment.