Order in the World of a Toddler

Any mom can attest that order is a luxury when you have a toddler. I have been in constant search of the perfect schedule or some sense of steady continuity from the time I gave birth up to now. I didn’t realize that what I was looking for was contradictory to the nature of this season of life which is UNPREDICTABILITY. From repeatedly waking up in the middle of the night to feed the baby to constantly keeping an eye on an exploring infant to the running around and wrestling with a very active toddler, all of these have spur of the moment activities, accidents, and everything in between. It’s crazy but (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) it’s fun!

The joy of being a mom is unexplainable. It’s like a combination of having an adrenaline rush and sugar overload with all your senses heightened every single day. You’re always on third gear, full throttle ready to go from the time you wake up. You need to match the energy of your child otherwise you’ll miss out on a lot of things. I love seeing Timmy explore and discover stuff on his own. I love hearing him appreciate the basic colors and shapes he sees in nature. He’s always fascinated by the moon and stars, things that I don’t get to appreciate as often as I should. He sees grandeur in the little things. His sense of awe and wonder is contagious! :)

Now, that is not to say that everything is easy breezy in our home. It’s not. This is why I’ve decided that we need to have a schedule to follow daily. We have already established the basic routines like prayer time, meal and snack time, toothbrush time, afternoon naps, and all that. However, it’s those dead periods in between that can completely drive you nuts especially when you have other things to do. The most challenging part is Timmy’s attention span. You really can’t keep a toddler still for hours unless you give him a gadget, which has become a go-to toddler pacifier. We do let Timmy use our phone or tablet but in intermittent periods of time. He’s allowed maximum of one hour a day and that’s it.

His bustling energy and short attention demands one activity after another. He needs to be constantly engaged and entertained. I know that Timmy loves personalized stuff so I decided to create a schedule that will make him more aware of our routine. God reminded me one time that parenting should be intentional. We should make an effort to nurture, discipline, and train our child. I’m awful at scheduling and this is something I don’t want to pass on to Timmy. I’m blessed to have a husband who needs to plan because it complements my always-on-the-go mindset. :) Yesterday, I finally finished my DIY project. Thank You, Lord! :) It was officially launched and used on August 22, 2014. Haha!

 The materials I used are:

  • red cartolina (because Timmy loves red)
  • magnetic Cars characters
  • craft foam for embellishment
  • silver metallic pen
  • Sharpie colored pens
  • wooden letters
  • black cartolina
  • illustration board (to mount the cartolina)
  • star puncher
  • felt paper
  • scissors
  • double-sided tape
  • glue
  • velcro

It’s so heartwarming to see Timmy appreciate his personal schedule! He kept reading the things he needs to do, he counts the remaining squares with velcro that still needs stars, and he likes getting his star medal! :) Last night I told Omar that the schedule helped me, too. I was able to keep Timmy busy, I got to finish my work, and enjoyed my time with them. Sure there were still gaps because you can’t really ask your toddler to settle down and let him finish tons of activities. Plus, I wouldn’t want to bore him. Everything in his schedule should spell FUN. Our day was more manageable, less crazy, and it went by with ease. Unbelievable. Haha!

Let me explain our schedule a little bit. We have storytelling three times a day because we really want him to grow up loving books. The best part is, Timmy is not content with one story. He would request a minimum of three for each session. If he thinks you’ll still indulge him, he’ll get more! :) If you’ll notice, we do it twice—when he wakes up in the morning and after his nap—and once before going to bed. This is because we don’t want him to associate books with sleeping. I want him to see books as something that energizes him once he’s awake! It’s funny because his favorite book now is “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed.” Heehee! :)

We do homeschooling twice. This involves fine motor activities, reading sessions (we’re at long vowels now), and pre-writing exercises. This is 30 minutes tops. I don’t want him to feel that homeschool is boring or burdensome. We even use his stuff toys to show them how it’s done and he enjoys it! Free play is his I-can-do-whatever-I-want time. This could mean blocks, cars, dinosaurs, letters (he loves all sorts of letter toys and he sometimes thinks that spelling time is play time!), numbers, and basketball. Of course, clean up means keeping all his toys and getting praised for doing so. :)

At first, I wrote down his schedule on a sheet of paper and tried following it. Then I realized that it’s not as effective as getting him involved in the process. Kids love looking forward to things and a schedule gives them that. It also gave me a semblance of order in our day. I’m so grateful to have a supportive husband who even got his wrist a bit injured when he was trying to get the illustration underneath a heavy pile of boards. He also helped me mount the poster and cut the board. Praise God for awesome husbands! Most of all, I thank the Lord for His convictions and gentle reminders about intentional parenting. It’s hard but He shows and affirms to me that it’s rewarding. :)

Just when I was about to give up on my search for the ideal schedule, God reminded me that He is a God of order. From the time He created the world to His plans for mankind, everything was set ahead of time and accomplished according to His plan. He made me realize that there is no such thing as a perfect, foolproof toddler schedule but I can do something to make our day and our household more manageable and less chaotic. :) This DIY project imposes that I follow it, too, and be consistent in keeping order in our home. After all, that’s one of my main roles as a homemaker. I hope this encourages every overwhelmed mom to take a step back, breathe, pray, and see how you can make your day more predictable and organized. The craziness will always be there but at least you have a fallback routine to follow after a potty accident or a temper tantrum. :) There’s order in a toddler’s world when there’s someone drawing the line for them. :)

Why we’ve decided to homeschool our child

Up to now I still get blank stares and awkward smiles when I tell people that I’m homeschooling Timmy. A lot of parents are unaware of homeschooling—what it is, how it’s done, or if it can be done at all. Coming from a traditional school, I didn’t know about it until high school when I found out that some of my friends from church were homeschooled. Since then, my interest for homeschooling grew and I’ve decided that I will go that route when the time comes. And here I am many years later about to venture into the wonderful, whimsical world of homeschooling. :)

Our little homeschooler :)

Most people think that home and school are two separate locations meant for different things. My husband and I believe the opposite. For us, home is where teaching, learning, and mentoring take place. It’s the fertile ground for values formation, character molding, and individualized learning. Omar and I both went to traditional schools and he is a teacher by profession. We have seen and experienced what it’s like to be on that side of the fence. We’re also non-traditional learners so it was a no-brainer that we’re going to homeschool Timmy. :)

Our son is three years old and he’s been having informal homeschool from the time he was born. From the songs we sing to the daily activities we do, we incorporate fun and learning at home. Most kids his age are already in school particularly in Nursery. Apparently, this level is not required anymore by the Department of Education (DepEd). Their age requirement for kindergarten is five and for first grade it’s six. We’ll start formal homeschooling in a couple of years and he’ll be at the same grade level with the rest of the kids who started early. He will graduate at the same time, too! So, why did we choose homeschool? :)

We want to build our son’s CHARACTER first more than anything else.

Toddler years are the child’s formative years. We want to instill obedience, respect, and discipline in Timmy more than academic excellence. Sure we want him to get good grades and all that. We know it will come if he has developed certain disciplines and when he is obedient to do school work. All these involve character formation. We’re raising a man, a future leader of his home and we know that a lot will be expected of him. Through homeschooling we know we can instill and prioritize godly values that will prepare him when he goes to a normal school and onto adult life.

Matthew 19:14

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Deuteronomy 11:19

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

In addition, we feel that his confidence is best developed when he gets constant love and attention from us. You see, Timmy is a shy boy but he is slowly coming out of his shell. :) He can now easily talk to someone he has just met. Just recently he has been sharing his toys to other kids even those he doesn’t even know! :) He will extend his arm and say, “Want to share my letters.” Usually it’s toward the kid in the other table or someone just passing by. He does it to kids he knows, too, but he’s still too shy to give it so he puts it down on the floor beside his friend. Haha!

Putting him to a nursery would terrify him but since we’re able to build his confidence and teach him at home, he’s now initiating to reach out to other kids and socialize. I could picture him crying everyday in a day care had we opted to enroll him there. Even in his weekly homeschool playdate, Timmy has adapted really well. As parents, we know the personalities of our kids and we need to be sensitive to situations where they can best thrive. :)

Timmy’s Homeschool Playdate :)

We want our son to ENJOY learning and not be stressed by it.

A friend of mine messaged me in Facebook expressing her concern for her daughter’s preschool curriculum. Her daughter knows a lot of things already but what she’s about to learn can be pretty advanced for her age according to my friend. Another friend shared her frustration to her son waking up too early and being picked up too early by his school bus. These are the very things we don’t want Timmy to experience. We want him to enjoy every learning stage he goes through. We want him to have a stress-free learning experience so that his sense of awe and wonder will always be there. :)

I also wouldn’t want to have the stress of dragging him out of bed and forcing him to study when he’s not in the mood to do so. We have to establish a schedule for his homeschool and a specific room for that and I plan to involve Timmy in the process. We’ll create his daily schedule together, fix the room together, and plan our activities together. That way, he feels engaged and not forced to do things. :) We want to give him the flexibility of learning using different methods and not being limited to textbooks. Through guided exploration, we want Timmy to discover and learn things in a dynamic way. :)

We want to focus on his STRENGTHS and manage his weaknesses.

As parents, we know the strengths and weaknesses of our kids. Timmy’s good with letters even at a young age. He has shown interest in books early. He looks forward to story time and initiates it, too! Seeing that inclination, we invested on books and all sorts of letter items because he loves forming words, spelling them, and reading them. It’s also the reason why he started to read early. :) He’s also an auditory and visual learner that’s why phonic sounds were easy for him to remember and imitate. Timmy mastered his phonics at two and started reading when he turned three.

On the flip side, he’s not into writing. I know that he’s not yet ready, too. Girls are more patient with coloring and writing. Timmy gets bored with pencil. I got him to write/color when I gave him colored pens. I noticed his love for colors and focus when he uses colored pens. He still doesn’t write and it’s okay. :) We’re still working on his fine motor skills. :) In the meantime, we will hone his creative mind and let him use as many art materials as he can. They may be random doodles and strokes but it’s a start. I don’t want him to “hate” writing by pressuring him. I know he’ll learn that eventually.  :)

We want him to EXPLORE different learning tools and not be limited by textbooks.

I already mentioned it earlier about utilizing diverse tools to enhance Timmy’s learning experience. When I was teaching him phonics, I made a Powerpoint presentation since he likes to tinker with my laptop. So I gave him a good reason to do so! I will open the file and let him read it. :) I also made some letter pops, reading cards, and a reading book for beginner words. I didn’t buy any phonics books because I know that my son loves visually stimulating materials. Not only that, the internet is full of resources that parents can use and most of them are free! :)

Another Motor Skill Activity :)

I’m sure that when Timmy learns how to Google, he can access all the information he needs. As a parent/teacher I can closely guide him in his internet use. We can use technology and traditional methods hand in hand. We can present the facts in a fun and digestible way that will spark his interest even more. I think this is the advantage of one-on-one homeschooling because you’re able to tailor your instruction to your child’s interests, strengths, and learning style.

The adventure is just beginning

There are many questions as to how homeschooled kids can survive or even thrive in a normal school. Personally, I don’t think it’s a problem because at the end of the day it’s all up to the student. There’s this teen who went from Homeschool to Harvard. This infographic compares homeschool and public school in the US while this infographic shows how homeschooled kids measure up. This TED Talk from a homeschooled boy is also very powerful. The flexibility and diversity that homeschool learning provides gives way to a multi-faceted education for any child. :)

Timmy participating in an arts and crafts and storytelling session :)

These are just some of the main reasons why we’re homeschooling Timmy. Of course there are others such as protection from bullies, cost savings (no uniform, school bus, exorbitant fees, etc.), and many more. I have to admit that at first I was terrified because I thought Timmy will not learn anything from me. Then I realized that as parents we are our child’s best teacher. No one knows them better that we do. We’re also not alone in this. God is our partner. The One who created our children will help us mentor our little ones. :)

Whatever Timmy’s learning so far, I can only attribute it to God’s grace and wisdom. All the ideas come from Him, even my patience comes from Him! He alone can prolong Timmy’s attention span when we’re doing activities together. And with each milestone, I can only praise and thank God for allowing me to witness it and for the privilege of being a part of it. :) Although we haven’t formally enrolled Timmy in a homeschool program, we are enjoying what we’re learning at home.

WE’RE A HOMESCHOOLING FAMILY! :)

There’s no such thing as a perfect day with a toddler but it’s always a grace-filled day. :) I’m grateful that Omar works from home, too, and we’re partners in educating Timmy. At the end of the day, we’re only but stewards of our son and God expects us to be faithful. We’re foremost parents before teachers and raising him in the knowledge, fear, and love of God is more important than getting perfect scores. I look forward to our homeschooling adventures—the lessons, challenges, and the awesomeness of it all. :) It may not be the traditional route but sometimes we have to take the road less traveled to make a difference. :)

Even Superheroes Bleed

When I look at my husband Omar I see someone strong and invincible. He’s our leader, protector, provider, defender—everything you could expect from a real-life superhero. So when I saw him wincing in pain about three weeks ago, my heart was filled with dread and anxiety. We were about to have dinner when Omar said he needs to go to the bathroom. Almost 20 minutes later, he came back saying that we need to go home immediately because he was having extreme stomach pain. I could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t doing well.

Our Superhero :)

Our Superhero :)

Prior to our dinner, he had a speaking engagement and was not able to drink much fluid before and during the talk. When we got to the mall, he went to the grocery and bought two glasses of gulaman (sweet drink with jelly) to quench his thirst. Half an hour later, his started to feel stomach spasms. So we hurriedly asked the waiter to pack our food and went home immediately. I was so worried because he was breaking into cold sweats and was clearly in pain. I offered that we call my father-in-law to drive instead but Omar insisted that he could do it. While driving, he was perspiring and taking short frequent breaths similar to what pregnant women do when they’re about to give birth. Timmy and I prayed for him and even after we ended I continued praying in my head.

We came home and Omar rushed to the bathroom. The things is, he’s neither constipated nor experiencing loose bowel movement. There was nothing coming out it was just piercing pain and all I could do was watch him. :( It wasn’t the appendix either because the pain was on the right side. I gave him Yakult and antacid which helped a bit but the pain kept recurring. I asked him if he should go to the emergency room but he said no. After almost two hours of agony, he went to the bedroom and curled up in a fetal position. I kept praying for him in whispers and in my head, stroked his hair, tucked him in, and watched until he fell asleep in that position.

We love our Daddy! :)

We love our Daddy! :)

The next morning, I was so relieved to see that he’s okay. Praise God! :) It was Sunday and we were going to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday. I was pretty excited to get last night’s incident out of my head. We were just beginning to eat lunch when Omar’s stomach started acting up again. It was the same pain and it was terrible to see him go through it again. This time, he readily agreed to see a doctor. Good thing there was Healthway in Alabang Town Center and he immediately went there. We finished our lunch quickly and followed him.

When I opened the emergency room door, I saw him in the same fetal position again, grimacing in pain. That’s tough to see when you’re so used to seeing your husband up and about. I’m used to being cared for because I’m the perennially sick member in the family. It was a blessing to have my in-laws with us to take care of Timmy while I attend to my ailing superhero. Finally, the doctor came and gave him and examined him. He was given pain relievers and was asked to have a urinalysis done. An hour later, we got the result with all the wrong things in it. He has calcium oxalates, red blood cells, and pus in his urine. Simply put, he has kidney stones. :(

Kidney Stones

If you look it up in the web, having kidney stones is one of the most painful experiences any person could go through. That explained the inexplicable stomach pain. Omar’s not new to this. He already had a bout with calcium oxalate stones 10 years ago. He was drinking calcium supplements at night and it formed into stones. This incident is practically the same except that it’s not as painful as his first episode. At that rate it was not even equal to the previous attack! I can only how imagine how bad it was the first time, poor baby. :(

Answered prayers

I didn’t like the result, not one bit. However, I’m grateful to God for answering our prayers by giving us accurate results. Despite his sickness, now we know how to manage it better. We can take steps that will lead him to a fast recovery. And what a quick recovery he had! After drinking his antibiotics for one week and some pain killers, his repeat test showed none of the previous elements! Sure there were times when he would tell me about certain discomfort he was feeling but it wasn’t that bothersome. Praise God for His quick healing! :)

We also saw an urologist so that we have a go-to specialist if in case it recurs again. The doctor told us to have more tests done to better manage his health. Those tests will show if he’s a stone former or if there are teeny tiny stones that were still not detected in the previous. This doctor is very thorough and despite his seeming pessimism on my husband’s health improvements, we understand that he wants to make sure that Omar receives the best medical care. He has seen far too many kidney transplants and kidney failures and he wants none of those to happen to my hubby. From that standpoint, I’m all for more tests and lifestyle change. :)

Love my boys!

Love my boys!

Psalm 120:1 says, “I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.” God really held my hand throughout this ordeal. I really didn’t know what to pray for during those weeks except “please heal my husband.” It was a repeated cry from a wife’s heart and God faithfully answered. :) During those moments of helplessness, God proved to be my only help. He is my refuge and source of strength. He showed me that as much as I love my husband, HE LOVES HIM MORE. He can take care of him and comfort him far more than I could. :)

Grateful for family :)

Grateful for family :)

Now, Omar’s back to his old self. No more pain, no more discomfort! He still needs to have those tests done but I am confident that it will turn out normal. J It’s good to see my best friend, my superhero looking invincible again. God has been so gracious to give him to us. Timmy and I are so blessed to have Omar as the leader of our home. He is more than what we could ask for. I know that there will be days when we will see him exposed to a different kryptonite and be vulnerable again. However, I also know that God, our real HERO, will come to our rescue. :) He’s not flashy, He doesn’t come with a mask or a cape, He doesn’t even make headlines but HE NEVER FAILS. God’s track record is perfect and His love for His children is so great. That love alone is more than enough assurance that we can face anything as a family. God is not only love personified but also love in action. He answers our prayers out of love, delivers us because of His love, and sustains us with His unfailing love. :)

Accomplishments and A Freak Accident

I never thought that I would experience one of the most exciting and terrifying moments in Timmy’s life all in one day. Two weeks ago, we spent four days attending his first ever Vacation Bible School. This summer activity is for kids ages 3 to 8 years old (i.e. Nursery to Grade 2). Basically, what they do is learn about God and the Bible in a fun and interactive way.
VBS First Timer :)

VBS First Timer :)

Instilling faith in today’s generation can be quite a challenge with so many distractions that can easily sway their views about life. At first my husband and I were hesitant to enroll him because that would mean having to wake up early for four consecutive days. In the end, we’ve decided that the exposure he will get from this event will help him both spiritually and socially. :)
Accomplishments
It was a joy to see Timmy overcome his shyness and participate in class. He loves to read because words excite him. So when it was time to memorize their daily verses, Timmy was fully engaged. He memorized each verse and would review them at home. :) Up to now, he still remembers his four verses!
VBS Day 1 :)

VBS Day 1 :)

Timmy also enjoyed crafts time. He likes to put glue (and I mean lots of them) and stick all sorts of stuff in his work. :) He’s not that patient with coloring and I noticed that with all the boys in his class. The girls were more into it and they would really pick and choose nice colors. Meanwhile, the boys would color in haste just to get the work done. Haha! He had one classmate, though, who was really good and he’s a boy. So I guess it really varies from one kid to another. :) The fact that he was committed enough to finish his work was a big thing because I knew he was trying his best to obey me. :)
The little boy enjoying crafts time. :)

The little boy enjoying crafts time. :)

When it came to games, my little trooper outran everyone! He just wouldn’t stop running! Good thing that the games for his age were all relay-type and it involves a whole lot of running. :) Timmy didn’t even bother to listen to the instructions. When he saw the open space, he saw something he could conquer and so his Forrest Gump stretch happened every single day. :) Their team didn’t win in any game mainly because in the 3-year-old age group he’s the only who was sprinting while the rest of his teammates were running at a normal toddler speed. Haha! For Timmy, it didn’t matter if they win or lose. As long as he was able to run and expend all his energy that was a feat for him. :)
VBS Day 3 :)

VBS Day 3 :)

Singing and dancing was something that Timmy enjoyed at home. :) Meaning he would just stare and listen during class while everybody was belting out and showing some moves. He was memorizing the lines and the steps and would later on show it to us when we got home. :) He’s very selective when performing. He wants an audience he’s comfortable with. I guess it comes with him being shy. :)
Good job, Timmy! :)

Good job, Timmy! :)

Graduation came and we were so surprised that Timmy received three awards! He got Best in Memory Verse, Best in Crafts, and Highest VBS Points in Nursery! Praise God! :) Timmy had no idea what those certificates meant but he enjoyed holding them and pretending to read its contents. :) If the recognitions were any indication that he enjoyed his time in VBS then I could really say that he had a blast. :) With the day going by so well, what could possibly go wrong?
The Accident 
The stage was almost cleared, all the props were nearly packed up, and we were having our final photo op at the beautiful backdrop that the Children’s Ministry Team had designed. Timmy and his friend Kael were on the stage and we were about to take a picture when Timmy took a step back and fell off the stage. When I tried to grab him, he was gone already. I was late by a millisecond. He fell into a more than 5-feet deep structure beneath the stage. No one knew that there was a gap between the stage and the wall. Hearing Timmy wail constantly crushed every nerve in my body. I rushed down to the right side of the stage to see if there was an opening but all I saw a thick concrete.
Graduation Day highlights. :)

Graduation Day highlights. :)

Meanwhile, Omar inserted half of his body in the gap and tried to get Timmy. He was still crying non-stop and it was driving me insane. Finally, I saw Omar lifting up Timmy with those little arms extended up high. A surge of relief washed over me seeing that my son was now safe in his daddy’s arms. When I looked at him and wiped his flowing tears I saw his mouth and teeth bleeding. He had a nasty gash on his chin and a wound on his nose. He had huge bump on his forehead so we needed to put ice on that and stop the bleeding in his mouth.
IMG_20140511_155014
It felt like an out of body experience for me. All I was thinking of was administering the first aid, comfort my baby, and distract him from the pain he was feeling. I talked to him the whole time, while giving him ice cream for his bleeding teeth and lips. Omar was carrying him to hold him still while I dabbed Betadine on his wounds and placed cold compress on his mouth. A million things could’ve gone wrong with that fall. He could have hit the back of his head and be unconscious. Instead, he rolled over despite falling backwards.
Our irreplaceable firstborn.

Our irreplaceable firstborn.

We knew that God was there the whole time protecting our son. We were so blessed to have a doctor and a dentist in the scene who observed Timmy and looked at his wounds. Another friend lent us extra shirt for Omar and shorts for Timmy. The structure was damp so when Timmy got out of it he was all wet. We only had an extra shirt for him and good thing we were able to borrow shorts from our friend’s son. After changing Timmy’s clothes, I carried him and prayed for him. We praised and thank God for protecting our son and sparing him from the worst case scenario.

God rescues us.

I was trying to hold back the tears the whole time. I knew that my child needed me to be strong, to have that calm, reliable voice that assures him that things are fine, and to be whole because he was feeling broken at that particular moment. My heart was just overflowing with thanksgiving and praise to our God for sparing Timmy from further harm. Sure he was hurt but not hurt to the point of hopelessness.  I prayed for his healing, with my voice shaking, asking the Lord to remove all the pain he was feeling. I felt his breathing calm down and body relax as we prayed. I knew that God was also working in him and comforting him at that moment.
Our precious boy.

Our precious boy.

Later on, Omar told me that when he saw Timmy lying face down he asked him to stand up so he could pull him out of there. My heart broke into a million pieces thinking how hard it must be for our little one to stand up in the dark after being hurt from the fall. With his sight blurry from tears, he held on to his daddy’s promise, “Daddy will get you, Timmy.” He trusted that his daddy will come through for him even if he’s hurting and he could barely see anything. I’m in tears writing this because this is exactly how God rescues us in the midst of our darkest circumstances.
Our little miracle. :)

Our little miracle. :)

He extends His hands to us, telling us to trust in Him that He will bail us out despite the seemingly hopeless situation we’re in. If Timmy didn’t obey his dad and simply continued lying down there, it would take longer for us to move the heavy stage before we could get to him. Instead, Timmy stood up despite all his fears knowing that when he extends his little arms, his loving dad will grab him and rescue him out of that darkness. I am amazed and extremely thankful for the courage God had given Timmy to tune out all the pain and focus on his daddy’s voice.
That accident was a vivid illustration of how God promises to deliver us in times of trouble. He is our lifeboat, the rope we can hold on to, and the only way out when everything seems to be a dead end.
Our little boy recovered pretty fast and he was back to his old self by the time we got home that night. Now he’s all well except for the wound on his chin that’s still healing. Otherwise, our active trooper is back to his normal self. :)
I’d like to thank everyone who prayed for Timmy and those who were there to help us in every way they could that afternoon. The Church immediately took action and had the gap covered. The whole building was also inspected by an engineer to check for accident-prone areas. We are so grateful for all the love and support we received from our family and friends. God’s promises became more real than it could ever be in that situation.
Psalm 107:6
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
2 Samuel 22:2
He said, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer…”
20140510_111659
For all the joys we had and the tears we shed that time, we praise You, Lord. :) Thank You for being our fortress and our deliverer. This experience will not stop Timmy from being part of next year’s VBS. We know how much he enjoyed it to the point that up to now he still thinks we’ll go back and attend his classes! :) Everything’s back to normal but this experience will always be a part of me as a mom. I will constantly remember God’s mercy and deliverance. I will keep in mind that it pays to obey the Lord even in the most difficult time because He will always come through for us. His hand will hold us steady and His love will forever keep us secure. :)

The Writer Tag

writing-week-writer-tag-banner
I was tagged by my good friend Tina of Life’s a Beach and boy, was I so glad she did! :) My blogging backlog is too shameful I can’t even remember how many drafts I have. I have all these topics floating around inside my head like jellyfish waiting to sting if I don’t let them out. So this writer tag is really timely because it forces me to take a break from my usual writing projects and do some leisurely writing. YAY! :) Let’s roll!
1. What type of writing do you do?
I’m a copywriter and most of my writing assignments involve content writing such as blogs and web articles. I basically do the same for other freelance writing jobs I take on. I also write book reviews in my book blog although I need to be more consistent in doing that. :)
2. What genres and/or topics do you write about?

Everything non-fiction so that covers anything that’s real and experiential. I like writing about things that people can relate to. I love writing about my family, faith, and personal interests. I also like the writing I do at work—the blogs and all that research-rich articles—mainly because I learn a lot from it, too!

3. How long have you been writing?

Oh, wow. I don’t know. Probably since 6th grade. I was into poetry, believe it or not, when I was in high school. Haha! I have all my poems compiled in a notebook. Looking back, I think my poems would’ve worked out well if I used them as lyrics. I think those were a bit Taylor Swift-ish. Haha!

In college, I did some creative writing in my Literature course. Right after graduation I started doing freelance writing jobs alongside my full-time job. Now, it has become my main job and I’m extremely happy about it. :)

4. Are you published?

The blogs I write for my company are published in our site. Although the most recent ones have been changed to the company name already for SEO purposes. In terms of print, my haiku was published in an anthology when I was in college.

5. What was the first story you ever wrote?

I wrote it during my freshman year in college and it was a fictional retelling of my own life story about having Lupus. I remember getting an A for that in my English class. :) I also sent a copy of that story to my doctor who now lives in the US.

6. Why do you write?

I write because it’s the best way I can express myself. :) The words I verbalize sometimes fall short of what I really want to say. Writing gives me the freedom to chronicle my thoughts and emotions without any form of censorship whatsoever. :)

7. How do you find time to write?

Wow, that’s a tough question. Since I got married and had a baby, I’m not able to do personal/leisure writing as much as I used to. Lately, the writing I’ve been doing has been all work related. If ever I do get to find some time, it’s usually in the morning while the boys are still asleep or in the afternoon when the boys are asleep again. Haha! :)

8. When and where are the best times to write?

I’m a morning person so I would have to go with that as the best time to write. Place is not an issue for me when it comes to writing. :)

9. Favorite food/drinks while writing?

Not really particular with what I eat or drink  when I write. I’m more concerned with crumbs that will fall on my laptop’s keyboard. Haha!

10. Your writing playlist?

Don’t have any. :) I can write in silence or with loud music or with the TV on. My husband will often tell me that I have the ability to completely tune out and focus on my writing. And yes, that includes people! Sometimes I don’t even hear him talking!

11. What do family/friends/loved ones think of you writing?

I’m so grateful that they love what I do. My parents didn’t need much convincing when I told them that I want to take up Literature. They knew I wanted to write and that course would help me become a better writer. :) They’re so supportive!

I could say the same with my husband who really encourages me to write more. He praises and critiques my work. :) Whenever he says that it’s good, I’m pretty sure what I wrote was badass good. :)

12. Parts of writing you enjoy the most?

I love staring at a blank page and the thrill of writing that first sentence. When I get that first line right, it’s easy for me to get rollin’. :)

13. Parts of writing you find challenging?

I guess this is more on a topical basis. By that I mean turning a dead boring topic into something interesting and exciting. I must admit, though, that accomplishing this is very fulfilling. :)

14. What do you write with and on?

I often use my laptop. I also write regularly on my journal and I use colored pens. It has to be multi-colored all the time. :)

15. How do you overcome writers block?

I step away from my laptop and do something else. It could be anything from reading to watching TV, eating, or playing with my baby. :)

16. How do you motivate yourself to write?

I just write. I think it’s pretty much the same with other disciplines. Artists paint or doodle even if they’re not inspired. Athletes practice even if they don’t have a game. I write because I need to write.

I also pray before I write especially when I’m running out of ideas. :) I acknowledge that God is the giver of all wisdom. He’s the most creative being there is and He never runs out of brilliant ideas. :)

17. Authors who inspire you as a writer?

Top of mind would be Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo. I’m sure there’s more but their works have the most impact in my writing career. :)

18. Books that inspire you as a writer?

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and “Recuerdo” by Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo. :)

19. Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer?

“Read more so you can write more.” This advice was given to me by my Literature professor. :) I wanted to take up journalism but he said that technical writing is easy. Writing with substance is difficult. He said that building that substance is more important if I want to have a career in writing.

20. Writing goals this year?

To blog more and get that children’s book done for my baby. :)

I tag:

Anyone who loves to write! :)

A Letter to My Savior

Dear Jesus,

It’s Holy Week and I admit that it’s only around this time that I get to meditate on your crucifixion and resurrection. It doesn’t come naturally for me to recall what You’ve done. And for that I’m sorry. :( I know that a sacrifice like that deserves more than just a few days of recollection. It deserves a daily expression of gratitude. When I opened my Bible today, I asked You to highlight something for me about Your journey to Calvary and Luke 22:42-44 seemed to jump right out of the pages.

Luke 22:42-44 NIV

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

gethsemane

I tend to forget that You were as much human as we are when You came here on earth. You are both God and man. I admit that I have trivialized Your human side. The very thing that made us common, at least for a short while. Being human is hard, I can attest to that. I have never experienced a perfect life nor seen a perfect world the way Adam and Eve had. You know what it feels like to be pristine, pure, and perfect. Yet You chose to be dirty, filthy, and wretched like the rest of us.

I’ve had my own share of pain, suffering, and betrayal but not in the magnitude that You had Yours. Seeing what the future holds at that moment might have been a curse after all and not a blessing. You knew what You will go through. You could feel the stabbing betrayal of Your trusted friends, the seething pain of scourging, the tormenting anguish of being deserted by Your father, and the blinding darkness of death. You begged and cried for one last time for God to bail You out. Your plea was so intense that instead of beads of sweat, drops of blood fell on the ground.

portrait-of-jesus

Yet in that moment of bargaining, when You had every reason to give up, You yielded to Your Father’s will. You showed me that part of using Your free will is choosing to finish what You’ve started. It’s not about giving up in the middle of the battle. It’s about pressing on and going against fear, doubt, and hopelessness. It’s about seeing the victory at the end and not letting the blood and bruises stop You from fighting.

And You were fighting for us. You were fighting for me. You were thinking about my name and my future with You. You knew that if You walk away, we will be lost for good. Hope will never be a part of our vocabulary. We will never see the sense in saying “things will be better” because it will never be. It was a make or break negotiation for You. You had the option to impose Your will and say, “I can’t.” But You didn’t. You resolved in Your heart that You’d do it regardless.

Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for not giving up on mankind. Thank You for dying for us. Thank You for defeating death by coming back to life. Thank You for showing us that we have victory over sin and death because You did it for us. The cross and the empty tomb remind us that we are forgiven and redeemed. Your triumph gives us confidence that we can surpass anything because You’re alive and You’re with us.

stained glass heart

I may not say it that much but I want You to know that I’m very grateful for Your sacrifice. I know I’m one of Your far too many delinquent children and I’m humbled and up to now still baffled by Your encompassing love. Thank You for Your grace that never ends. Thank You that I can face each day full of hope because of who You are and what You’ve done. Thank You that You love with no questions nor limitations. And most of all thank You for giving Your life for me even if I don’t deserve it.

I love You, Jesus. I may have failed You so many times but this frail human being before You loves You with all her broken pieces. By Your blood You have restored all my shards, making a beautiful stained glass depicting a portrait of a redeemed life. Thank You, Jesus, for being my Savior, my Lord, and my everything. :)

Your Child,
Ivy

 

Toddler Tasks: These little hands can do big things!

Ivy San Diego-Guerrero:

So inspired by this blog from my good friend Diane. :) Lots of tasks for tots! Can’t wait to let Timmy try them! :)

Originally posted on whenhippostalk:

When you live a busy life, sometimes it’s easier to do things yourself. You get things done quicker and just the way you want it. Juggling between nursing and caring for a newborn and running around after a toddler, it’s easier for me to finish the chores, put away the dishes, fold the clothes and clean up the toys while the kids are napping instead of waiting for my 22 month old to wake up and help me. But by doing everything myself, what am I teaching him?
What if I actually waited for him to do it? It shows him that mommy trusts him to do big tasks. That she believes that I can do it by myself and that I am able! Oftentimes, I’m tempted to put away the dishes from the dishwasher so when my son wakes up, we can read a book or play or do…

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