Challenges, Changes, and Choices

Starting my new year will not be complete without looking back at the highlights of the previous year. For the record, the challenges and changes we faced in 2012 had nothing to do with the end of the world as the Mayans predicted. Haha!

2012-2013

Early Challenge

To kick off 2012, I was confined in the hospital for pneumonia. In fact, I was sick during the entire holiday season of 2011, which eventually ended in the confinement around first week of January. This was very challenging for me because it was the first time that I was apart from my baby for four straight days. My hubby even took my video so he could show it to him to assure him I was fine. Truth be told, I think I was the one who needed the assurance back then. Haha! That separation anxiety was gnawing inside of me! However, I knew I really needed that rest. I felt that God had to yank me out from all my home and work responsibilities just so I could rest and spend time with Him. πŸ™‚

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When you’re a new wife and a new mom, things can be overwhelming at times. One of the things that gets neglected but you desperately need is some down time. Yes, I was sick at the beginning of the year but I had the best quality time with my Father. He allowed me to have four straight days of down time with Him. You see, being treated for pneumonia just involved expectorating and having intravenous injections of third-gen antibiotics. Other than that, you could do anything like eat, sleep, read, journal, and prayβ€”which were the very things I did. πŸ™‚

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Difficult choices

By the end of the first quarter, my husband Omar and I were faced with a decision regarding his career. It was clear that God’s direction to him was to leave his teaching job and pursue more flexible freelance jobs. This would mean not having a regular income from him, though we still had my consultancy job to keep us afloat but not enough to pay off our more than half a million debt from my complicated pregnancy two years ago. By faith, we made a choice to follow God. πŸ™‚ There were many opportunities that opened up but many also did not materialize. Until one day the option came for Omar to teach art to home school kids! The schedule and flexibility it offered was perfect for us!

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However, Omar knew deep inside that this job was not enough. We both knew that this was something temporary. For the next six months, I partnered and labored with him in prayer for more job opportunities. When we were doing our year-end thanksgiving review last January 1, he told me that one of the things he was grateful for was that I didn’t nag him to just take on any job out there. He appreciated the fact that I respected his decision by choosing to wait and pray until finally God gave him the breakthrough job that could provide more than enough for us. It wasn’t easy, though. Early on, God made me realize that my husband has a specific skill set and he works best with his strengths. Sure he can do a lot of things but he won’t be great in those other jobs. By God’s grace alone, He gave me the patience to wait on Him. I trusted Him and my husband completely. πŸ™‚

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Major changes

Around the third quarter of last year, our new neighbors introduced us to oDesk.com. I already had an account with them years ago but I didn’t really pursue working in that platform. Back then, I felt that their rules were too restrictive for me. Much to our surprise, our neighbors told us that its webcam-must-always-be-on policy is not there anymore! It was the very reason why I didn’t like it back then. Filled with much excitement and renewed interest, my hubby and I created our profiles and took the skills tests needed. Omar then got hired for his first job for a Christian website and he also referred me to his employer afterwards. After that, he got his second job from a missionary group looking for help in a Bible Study curriculum and then his third job from an online school working on its US accreditation! God gave him the jobs that were tailor fit to his strengths and expertise! πŸ™‚ Since the school needed more writers, he even got me some writing gigs from his employer, too!

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Before the year ended, we got news from the online school that they were officially absorbing him to the company! Praise God that all his hard work and staying up late paid off! πŸ™‚ He was given the job title, job description, and official email address all at once! His employer didn’t even ask if he wanted to join or not, he just assumed Omar would agree. And most resolutely agree, he did! πŸ™‚ It was so amazing to see how God worked out everything for us. He gave my husband a job that’s work from home, has a flexible schedule (that is not even in conflict with his art classes), and provides well for our family. πŸ™‚

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This career change was also very timely as our nanny/helper also left around the third quarter of last year. She, unfortunately, didn’t leave on a good note. I was traumatized, to say the least. We decided that we wouldn’t get any helper for the meantime. I told my hubby that we started our life with the two of us and I’m sure we’ll be fine with starting over with just the two of us again. Little did I know that I had no idea what I was talking about. Of course it was a whole lot easier when we were still newlyweds when we used to split the chores and all that. πŸ™‚ Taking care of a grown man is entirely different compared to taking care of him plus a little man running around, climbing stairs, poking at sockets, and so many teeny tiny explorations he could take on. Whew! Boy, was it tiring! πŸ™‚

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Juggling wife and mommy duties along with my other freelance work as a consultant and writer was crazy. I had to pass up on most of my “me time” just to get things done but it seemed like there were so many things that were still left to be done. A part of me wanted to do those “me time” activities again such as journaling, reading, blogging, and other outlets for my creative juices. I needed my morning down time with my heavenly Father just reading His Word and journaling my prayers to Him. I needed to catch up on my personal reading again aside from reading children’s books to Timmy. πŸ™‚ I needed to write for myself through blogging so I can hear my voice again. When you are commissioned to write, sometimes you go auto pilot and write in whatever tone or style guide is expected of you. God knew all these things and slowly He allowed me, in partnership with my husband, to adjust to the new dynamics in our family. Before the year came to a close, God allowed me to establish certain routines that involved a balance between my daily responsibilities and my personal down time. God also helped me face the challenges at work when there was just too much to do over the last quarter of 2012.

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Overall, the year that was showed me the faithfulness of God once again. He held me steady and secure, making sure that I didn’t fall into pieces and held my Lupus back from flaring up again. Despite the changes and challenges we faced, God prevented the stress from getting the best of my health, allowing me to have a flare-free 2012. πŸ™‚ Praise God indeed! This year also challenged my homemaking skills, which I admit got rusty when we had a helper. When I became the hands-on home manager again, I learned to rely on God even more from the most basic chore to the complexities of cooking. I’m still far from my mom and mother-in-law’s homemaking skills but I’m slowly getting there by God’s grace. I have an entire lifetime to live by “practice makes perfect!” Haha! My husband encouraged me and said it best a few days ago, “we may have a disorganized house but we have a well-organized home.”

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I truly praise God that we share a great friendship and a drama-free marriage. πŸ™‚ We are still in the process of making an organized house with toys, books, and colored mats as our home’s main attraction. One thing I know for sure, there’s more to life than the creative mess in our household. πŸ™‚ I am beyond grateful to have a Father whose unending grace sustains me, a husband whose unconditional love overwhelms me, a baby whose joy fills me, a wonderful set of grandparents whose reliable support makes our lives easier, and a great mix of family and friends whose encouragement and prayers uplift us. πŸ™‚

Without further ado, allow me to embrace 2013 with great expectations at our great God who will once again take us to awesome adventures, thrilling surprises, and faith journeys with Him. πŸ™‚

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