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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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Toddler Tasks: These little hands can do big things!

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

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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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Timmy Learns to Read

Timmy is officially a reader! I want to share his reading journey to other moms out there who want to get their babies started on this reading habit. 🙂 My husband and I are both avid readers. So when Timmy was born we knew that the perfect toy for him would be books! Haha! So geeky! Anyway, he had a cloth book, bath book, foam books, board books, and anything with pages on them. 🙂

Exposure

We would read to him a lot. I would use different voices to make it livelier. 🙂 I’m the more animated storyteller between my hubby and me. Haha! We also encouraged him to do whatever he wants with his books from biting them to sometimes ripping the pages accidentally. We would just tape his books so he could use it again. Usually, the more battered the book is, the more frequent Timmy uses it. We also make sure that Timmy sees us read. He knows where daddy and mommy’s books are. We have different shelves so that he knows which ones belong to him and which ones are classified as untouchables. Haha!

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He also developed an early liking for letters so we bought letter toys and blocks and exposed him to colorful letter flash cards. By the time he’s around 16 months old, he already knew the alphabet. Just like any new mom, I really don’t know how to teach reading. All I know is that consistent exposure to books and letters would be helpful. This approach is time consuming because it’s guided teaching. I needed to really spend time reading to him and teaching him about the alphabet. Unlike with gadgets, you can leave your kid and he’ll be fine with educational games. But with reading, you need to sit down and be extra animated to lengthen their five-second attention span. 🙂

Phonics

So I did what other modern moms do, I googled. Haha! Yup, I googled “how to teach your child to read.” Tadaaaah! Phonics! Of course, it’s phonics! I realized that as adults, reading comes so naturally to us that we tend to forget how challenging it was when we were starting. I honestly don’t remember how I learned to read. All I have are images of our bookshelf and the hardbound story books that my mom completed (and repaired) for us over the years. I remember reading them repeatedly, too!

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One of the things we noticed about Timmy is that he learns better and faster with songs. So, I did again what other 21st century moms do, I went to YouTube! Haha! I typed, “phonics songs for kids” and voila! A buffet of phonics videos appeared on my screen! The key now is choosing the right videos. What better way to test a video’s effectiveness than by letting Timmy watch them. I initially picked three videos and observed his response. He ended up liking the videos from KidsTV123. 🙂 We downloaded the phonics videos that he liked and sang them together wherever we go (even without the actual video)! 🙂

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In a few months, our little boy already mastered phonics through phonics songs! We also had an alphabet video customized for Timmy. 🙂 When we’re out, we try to look for things that begin with A along with the rest of the letters. At 24 months, we we’re ready to combine phonics sounds. 🙂 I searched and tried different sites and copied their techniques. Some were really good but Timmy couldn’t seem to grasp the idea of combining phonics sounds just yet. He was even honest enough to say if he didn’t like the phonics technique I was using and I won’t mention where I got it because it’s actually a good site!

Bottom line, I didn’t force it. I allowed him to just practice and master his phonics sounds and alphabets. We sang and read together until finally God gave me a brilliant idea. 🙂

Making it personal

Over the past three years, I’ve learned to understand my son’s learning preferences. He likes to learn when it’s personal and when you do it together. So, I channelled my former corporate girl self and made Powerpoint presentations for him! The first slide for each presentation says TIMMY LEARNS TO READ. 🙂 That alone made him excited and giddy. And yes, if you want a copy of the Powerpoint I can email them to you. 🙂 We started to read them together and combine the sounds together and I was surprised that he got it almost immediately!

I guess it helped that he mastered the individual sounds first and used it in different words. 🙂 Since he already understood the concept of using the “A” (ah) sound, it became easy for him to combine the rest of the vowels with consonants (e.g. ba, be, bi, bo, bu). We mastered it for three months before moving to three-letter words. 🙂 Here’s a video of Timmy reading them. I’ve also learned that repetition is always good because it makes it easy for your child to transition from one stage to another once there’s already mastery of the concept. 🙂

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To make reading even more enjoyable for him, I also made letter pops and reading cards for him. I got the letter pops idea from Pinterest while the reading cards were mine. 🙂 It’s heartwarming that Timmy looks for them and actually uses them! My letter pops actually became puppet pops because he likes it when I hide the letters first and make them come out slowly before he reads the word. 🙂 Haha! Soon we’ll be moving to four-letter and multi-syllabic words and I have a pending customized project for him. 🙂

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Humbling the mommy

Teaching Timmy is a very humbling experience. I had to set aside the way I want to do things so I can observe him and see what makes learning easy and enjoyable for him. God has been teaching me that it’s all about Him and His work in our child and I’m just but an instrument. If a certain technique doesn’t work then I need to look for something else and not force the “seemingly effective” one on him. I have so many fears with homeschooling—the greatest being Timmy not learning anything from me. My husband is a teacher so I’m sure he can teach Timmy anything. I don’t have those trainings and qualifications which make me feel unqualified.

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In the end, God has taught me to be totally dependent on Him. He made me realize that being Timmy’s mom is my qualification. Knowing his character, temperaments, interests, and inclinations is my advantage over teachers in regular schools. Homeschooling allows me to tailor fit Timmy’s education so that he will always find learning fun and enjoyable. God also gave me a wonderful husband whose expertise helps me manage which tools is just right or too advanced for Timmy. I can’t believe I’m getting teary-eyed writing this! I guess relinquishing control to God over anything will always be an emotional thing. 🙂 And seeing our son’s first academic achievement (i.e. reading) is a milestone I’m privileged to be involved with. 🙂 Knowing that I have Him as Timmy’s principal keeps me grounded. He allows me to charge every mistake to experience and every triumph to a testimony so I can help other young moms like me. 🙂

Read on, Timmy

I know there are more things that we need to teach Timmy. Reading is just one of them. Soon he will read the Bible on his own and know more about the God who loves him. 🙂 Deuteronomy 11:19 says, “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.” I’m excited to learn with my little man. And I know that God will teach me a lot of things in the process. 🙂 Meanwhile, read on, Timmy! Enjoy every word and every page. I’m pretty sure you’ll even be a better a storyteller than mommy when the time comes. 🙂

Benefits of Instore Radio

Music affects us on different levels. From our mood to decision making, music is processed in different areas in our brain. This is the reason why when we listen to a certain song we can tap our foot or dance, we can recall an event related to that music, we can understand the emotions conveyed in the song, and we can even memorize the lyrics! Businesses are now actively integrating music in their stores through “Instore Radios.” Instore radio is a marketing tool that involves the use of music to promote brand awareness and enhance customer experience. Let’s look at some of the benefits of using instore radio.

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Photo courtesy of styleandrelax.blogspot.com

Add-free music. Compared to local radios, instore radios have no unnecessary commercials. Some radio stations have advertisements that do not match your brand image and target market. They may have good music and great DJs but their annoying commercials could be the deal breakers for your customers. Instore radios have no advertisements unless intentionally placed by the company.

Controlled content. This is probably the best thing about instore radio. You can choose the songs you want to play and brand-related commercials you want your customers to hear. Some local radios have themes for certain days of the week. So if you’re stuck on the day when they play 60’s songs, you have no choice but to play it or turn the radio off. Whereas with instore radio you can tailor fit your music to your target market and brand image.

Increased brand awareness. The music you play reflects the kind of store you are. With instore radio, you can have a playlist that matches your brand identity and store ambience. For example, if you’re a high-end retail store you can go for something jazz and instrumental. If you’re a retailer for teen clothes, pop music would be consistent to your brand. The things you promote in your instore radio also increase your brand awareness from your promos, events to other marketing efforts.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Strengthens customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is achieved when a customer is consistently satisfied with your products, service, and overall experience. Instore radio can make shopping enjoyable for your customers. It can brighten their mood and move them to buy more. When you’re able to create an ambience that makes your customer feel good about being in your store, you can be assured that they will come back again and again.

Improves customer experience. When customers walk into your store, they need to be engaged at every level. From the products they see, to the fragrance they smell, and even the music they hear. All these things make for excellent customer experience. Music enhances that all the more. You can make customers relaxed with the songs you play, you can make them groove to upbeat music, or simply smile with the catchy tunes in your instore radio. This enriched customer experience will influence them to stay longer and ultimately, purchase from your store.

Instore radio is best utilized when done right. You need a team who can help you come up with radio content that is consistent with your marketing direction and brand image. Give your customers what they need to know when they’re in your stores. Try incorporating instore radio and see how it impacts your business.

WAV Atmospheric is the leader in instore radio services. With clients such as Rustan’s Supermarket, Ayala Malls, JCO, Shopwise, Wendy’s, and a whole lot more, WAV atmospheric has perfected the art and science of instore radio marketing. For more information on their services visit http://www.wavatmospheric.com or call (+632) 519-0001 and (+632) 519-0205.

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This is a sponsored post.