Arielle will pursue her passion in Animation and Kayla is pursuing her passion in golf.

 

What I am about to write is greatly inspired by two things: (1) Kayla’s best score in her golf tournaments, so far and (2) this video I recently saw and shared in Facebook.  Last weekend, Kayla joined The Junior Golfers League’s tournament at Southlinks Golf Club.  Despite the brief moment of stress AND panic Kayla and I experienced when we got lost in finding our way to Southlinks (Actually, it was not brief.  It was like an hour of being lost even if we were using Waze the entire time!) and finally getting to the place just 15 minutes before the tee-off time of 10:30 a.m., Kayla scored 88 last Saturday (her lowest so far!) and 89 yesterday.  I saw how Kayla was slowly losing her motivation and was on the brink of giving up and not joining the tournament anymore.   But as I was praying out loud to God behind the wheel and made it to the golf club by 10:15 a.m., I knew that I couldn’t and shouldn’t be a discouragement to Kayla.  Before she got off the car, I made sure that I lifted up her spirits by telling her to forget the getting-lost-part that just happened, that there was a purpose why it happened and that I think God was teaching us both character that moment.  I remember sitting in the car for a few minutes after Kayla went to register.  This time I was getting teary-eyed with mixed emotions of relief and feeling the tiredness for driving for 4 hours, and again saying a prayer to God and lifting up Kayla for her tournament.  It was clearly another moment of offering and surrendering to God.

I am really so thankful that Kayla found her passion before her Ate (older sister) Arielle leaves for Hong Kong for college this September.  They are close to each other, more like best buddies.  If she didn’t rediscover her passion in golf, I think there’s going to be a big hole of emptiness in her when her Ate leaves because of the close relationship they have.  So I believe that golf will keep Kayla focused and will be a confidence and self-esteem booster for her.  I can only thank the Lord for His perfect timing on what’s happening in the lives of our daughters!

So what really happens when kids find their passions?  From my personal experience as a homeschool mom to Arielle and Kayla, this is what I think and have observed so far:

  1. They know who they are.  They know what they can do and what they do best and is not struggling to fit in.
  2. They are driven to learn more about their passion and take initiatives to become better at it.
  3. They appreciate the people who teach, coach, and inspire them, which also teaches them about humility and gratitude. (And that includes appreciating the parents 🙂 )
  4. They have focus.
  5. They learn to be disciplined.
  6. They learn time management, making priorities, choices and decisions.
  7. They persevere.
  8. They become more patient.
  9. They accept failures and setbacks not as failures but as opportunities to do better.
  10. Their faith in God and in themselves become strengthened.
  11. They believe in themselves.
  12. They get tired and frustrated but they get back on their feet to train harder, learn more, be better.
  13. They become resilient, learn how to bounce back, and move on with life.
  14. They are encouraged to dream and dream big.
  15. They give their all in order to go for their dreams, but if their dreams don’t happen, they know that they’ve done their best and that is what matters.

 

My parting message to you parents is…explore and let your kids try different things so you and they themselves can see where they are most comfortable at, confident in, and wired to do. Once they have found “IT”, give them full support and doses and doses of encouragement. And that is important even if the passion they have found for themselves is different from yours or something you don’t know anything about (just like me, with golf! ).  

Be by their side as they go through the discovery and exploratory process.  Once they have found their passions, there’s no stopping them and you will soon see them fly with the wings you gave them.  And what’s even better and gratifying is they will come back to you after a couple of months or years, seeing that you only not gave them wings to fly with but also roots to know where they should come back to.


 

It’s the 1st day of April (no, this is not a prank) and we have less than 5 months until Arielle moves to Hong Kong for college.  Up to this day, after 8 years of homeschooling her, I still can’t believe that this baby of ours is now all grown up.  The saying “Time flies” has been ringing in my ears since she like turned 10 years old!  Can you imagine the emotional parenting journey I’ve been having since?  It’s a tug-of-war between holding on and letting go, believe me.

Five months! Five months to teach her some more skills like banking, budgeting, safety, and especially cooking and laundry.  That’s what’s on my to-do list for her as her mom.  The feeling of “I have not taught her enough” continues.  And it’s also five months to enjoy being with our eldest daughter!

But what does she have to say about this new chapter in her life?  Here’s the third of this interview series with Arielle on going away for college.  In case you missed the first and second interviews, click here and here.

Let’s hear it from Arielle.  Her raw, unedited, honest (and funny!) answers.

How does it feel to be going to college…and in a place far away from home?

What are the top/strongest feelings you have about going to college?

What are your greatest fears?

What are looking forward to the most?

What do you think should we do in the coming 5 months?  What skills, DIYs, or hacks should I teach her? I would love to hear tips and great pieces of advice from other parents!


 

For those of you reading my blog for the first time, I will be posting a series of short video clips where I interviewed our eldest daughter. Arielle, who is a homeschooled high school graduate.  For this second interview with her, she talks about the following:

What will you take up in college?

Who or what inspired you to take up Animation?

What did you do to learn more about art, in general, and Animation?

 

I hope that with the short video clips that we will be sharing, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of:

  • the kind of homeschool activities we interspersed with our learning
  • the steps we took to make our learning experience more intentional and individualized
  • how the pieces eventually created that tailor-fit education and growth experience which really made Arielle more prepared, confident, and happy with “school” and her growing up years.

 

 


 

With the main objectives and tasks of Arielle for her gap year over and done with, as far as college application is concerned (More posts about gap year here, here, and here):

  1.  her college application at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

–  transcript of records

–  English proficiency test

–  (2) recommendation letters

–  certificate of funds (bank statement)

–  application fee

–  enrollment and housing fee

 

2.  Achievement Honors Scholarship application

–  art portfolio (maximum of 20 best works) uploaded to SCAD’s Slideroom

–   resume

–   500-word essay on academic and personal experience, why she would want to go to SCAD, her goals, and how SCAD will be able to help her in her aspirations

–  mock interview

 

3.  International Student Scholarship

–  500-word essay on how an international education would influence her artworks, goals, and

experiences

 

4.  Final Interview and Decision on Scholarship

 

I decided to do a series of short interviews with her on the following topics:

  • college and scholarship application process
  • taking up Animation in college
  • going away for college
  • gap year
  • homeschooling
  • plans after college
  • parting words

 

To start the interview series, I asked her first HOW IT FEELS AFTER HER FINAL INTERVIEW LAST MARCH 3.  (Excuse the quite noisy background and venue.  I wanted to catch her in high spirits after her interview and I took advantage of the time we had before going to another SCAD event.

And so, for this and my next blog posts, I hope you’ll enjoy hearing from the homeschooler herself, for a change 🙂

 

 


Right after Arielle’s interview and art portfolio presentation w/ SCAD-HK’s executive director of admissions, Arielle is officially a SCAD student with scholarships!

 

 

It’s been a hectic end-of-the week since Thursday and capping it off with the SCAD Student Reception Day today. I AM TIRED physically and mentally but I cannot go to bed without writing about God’s faithfulness and encouraging everyone to JUST PRAY ALWAYS (ALWAYS!!!) and OFFER EVERYTHING YOU DO FOR GOD’S GLORY. I thought we were already immensely blessed with how Arielle’s college preparation, scholarship application, and gap year are turning out but today we were affirmed even more of God’s goodness. After today’s in-depth Q&A session between parents, students, and SCAD (and me already feeling VERY TIRED AND ALL), God assured Arielle and me that He has really gone way ahead of us and has already prepared the path for Arielle’s college and career. Our eyes and ears were opened…that there’s MORE to the blessing of being accepted at SCAD and awarded scholarships.

I was ready to shut down and go to bed BUT this is THE message I got from all that has happened these past 2 days with SCAD:

Deuteronomy 31:7-8 — Then Moses summoned Joshua. He said to him with all Israel watching, “Be strong. Take courage. You will enter the land with this people, this land that God promised their ancestors that he’d give them. You will make them the proud possessors of it. GOD IS STRIDING AHEAD OF YOU. HE’S RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry. (The Message version)

I still have ALL MY WORRIES about this whole college life ahead of us but after hearing God’s message through the (SCAD) people He placed in front of me yesterday, I am just privileged and really blessed to know that even after having gone through this entire application process step by step painstakingly and seriously, we have found a really good school as our partner who has the track record of having graduates and alumni successful in their chosen fields.  With a 97% employment rate to beat, SCAD has MORE NUMBERS and FACTS BACKED UP BY STATISTICS and TESTIMONIALS to proudly boast of!

I really have nothing else to say except that I am truly overwhelmed with this blessing!  I feel 100% assured and comforted that Arielle is where she should be.  I believe that she is where Mike and I dreamed and hoped she would be.

I give thanks, honor, and glory to God…Mama Mary…the Holy Spirit…Padre Pio, St. Therese, and all the angels and saints for being by our side ALWAYS.  Amen!


 

Zootopia

 

I’m finally able to write about the movie “Zootopia”, which Arielle and I watched for the second time yesterday.  It was our mother-daughter prize for finally completing and submitting her portfolio to SCAD Hong Kong.  Of course, Arielle, our daughter who will pursue Animation, had to watch it again.  And I won’t be surprised if the second time won’t be the last time!

As always, Arielle had a different motivation and intention when she watched this Disney film.  She was looking forward to see the technical side of the animation plus the story.  I, on the other hand, decided to see it (after much convincing), as a break for me and for pure entertainment.  I had no idea what Zootopia was all about!

I will not give the plot summary of the movie.  You can find it here. What I’d like to share instead are the life lessons that I personally picked up from this beautifully animated film.  I have twelve:

1. Anyone can be anything.   

   No to stereotyping.  Just keep on trying.  As the movie said, be a TRYer, one who always tries.

2.  A positive attitude makes a big difference.

3.  Do your job or tasks well, no matter how small they may seem.  

     As St. Therese of Lisieux said, “Do small things with great love.”   Go an extra mile.

4.  Support and encourage your child in his/her dreams.  It matters a lot to them.

5.  Understand others.  They may have a past that needs to be understood.

6.  Everyone is different.  Everyone is unique.  

7.  There may come a time in your life that you just have to prove your worth.  Show them who you are and what you can do.  Show them what you’ve got. 

8.  You have to learn how to think and put pieces of information together.  Problem-solving is an important life skill.

9.  Prejudice, discrimination, racism, greed, over-confidence, and being a crook have no place in society and in this world.  It does not at all do any good.

10.  Let us all live in harmony and peace, respecting each other, and celebrating each other’s differences.

11.  We must protect the environment, God’s creation, in order to maintain its natural balance.

12.  Just as we need to protect human life, we need to protect animal life as well.

 

The movie is already on its second week and I hope you and your kids can make this a family movie date.  If you miss it, then I encourage you to watch out for the DVD copy and get one for a movie night at home.

 

 


 

This is going to be a short post.  Just to share with you that we are done and ready to submit to SCAD-HK Arielle’s best artworks (19 to upload, maximum of 20), resume, and two 500-word essays for two more scholarship applications.

This is what we’ve been working on since September 2015 and after 5 months of detailed and intentional planning, brainstorming, thoughts and ideas processing, revisions, edits, improvements that felt endless, we’re ready to submit everything we’ve done.  Deadline given to us was February 28, 2016 in preparation for Arielle’s March 3 interview and I feel it would be better to submit everything a few days early and not do it last-minute.

I must say that this whole process was INTENSE.  I decided to throw Arielle a few questions  and check on how she feels about this.

 1.  So, which is the most difficult part in what you did?

Compiling all the info in the resume!

2.   How about doing your artworks?  How did you find it?

It wasn’t that bad.

3.  Even if you had to produce at least 10 and a maximum of 20?

I think the hard part is choosing which ones to let go and which ones to present and submit.

4.  How about writing the essays?  How was it for you?

What’s tough was trying to get your thoughts across but you have a 500 word-count to keep in mind.

5.  Which did you find more difficult, the resume or the essay?

Resume

 

I’m actually surprised with her answers here. If you were to ask me, it was the essays that were the toughest to do with her since I had to make sure that it would be her words, not mine, that will be put in there and my role was really just to help her process, organize, articulate, and bring out her voice on the essay topic on paper.  ESSAY WRITING WAS BRAIN-DRAINING FOR ME!  I also thought that she would also show some difficulty in coming up with artworks since she had to come up with as much artworks and show her BEST ONES, but apparently, it was easy-peasy for her.  It just goes to show that if you really like what you’re doing, then it wouldn’t be considered as “work” for you.

That’s the latest update on our college application, more of scholarship application. The next big day will be next Thursday, March 3!  Please continue to pray with and for us?  I will share with you news from Arielle’s interview day as soon as it’s done…and I’m breathing 🙂

 

 


 

My BFF from Virginia (Yes, mommies need and have BFFs, too!) was in town recently and we met up to have our usual girly-mommy chat.  Of course, we never miss to talk about our kids and update each other about them.  We’ve been friends since Grade 7 and so, we practically grew up together from the teenage years to motherhood.

After asking how her aunt’s passing, wake, and funeral went (the reason for her trip), we talked about Kayla and Arielle.  Kayla first.  Where I plan to transfer Kayla by next schoolyear, Grade 10. How different senior high school here is from the U.S. (Junior High School is Grades 7 and 8; Senior High School is Grades to 9 to 12) and most especially, how SERIOUS and EARLY they do career planning over there as opposed to how we’re trying to implement it here only in the last two years of high school under the K-12 program.  (It really makes we wonder if the Department of Education will be able to successfully implement the program and really prepare the students in the fields of their strengths or choice.)  Her daughter is in 7th Grade and they’re already carefully planning courses she will take now so she can start getting high school credit.   HIGH SCHOOL, not COLLEGE!  My friend said that choices in high school are overwhelming her and she herself has so much to learn about how high school works!  Her daughter’s school (and I believe, all U.S. schools) has a database where each student has a record, an inventory of strengths and goals, career explorations, documentation of activities, volunteer hours, and most importantly, they already begin to identify courses they may want to take in HIGH SCHOOL (again, HIGH SCHOOL, not college yet).  All these so they can do a goal-setting and a learning plan IN HIGH SCHOOL so by the time they enter college, they are all set;  they are prepared; they are focused and they know what they want to do. How amazing is that!  It just MAKES SO MUCH SENSE, right?

That’s why I am taking a conscious effort now to really find out Kayla’s strengths and interests.  I plan to let her take an assessment with Career Direct (just like what Arielle took where art was an obvious result of the assessment) this coming May or June after she turns 15.  Hopefully, we would be able to clearly identify what careers she will really thrive in and be successful at.  I’m also praying that her golf would open doors of opportunities and more specific options for her.

With Arielle, it’s another kind of planning.  My friend and I first talked about how her scholarship application with SCAD is going and then, we eventually ended up with the topic on how she will eat while in college!  You see, Arielle will be staying in a residential unit in Hong Kong with two roommates and she will be in charge of her meals (and laundry).  Since SCAD-HK is just a building, not a campus, it has a small cafeteria which doesn’t really offer much or offer meals on a regular basis.  That only means one thing: she has to cook.  She can’t buy her food all the time.  That would not come out budget- and health-friendly (the MSG in Chinese food!).  And this is exactly what Arielle and I have been working on these past weeks.  Skills in cooking, food preparation, and meal planning.  It always makes me so happy when my BFF and I are always thinking about the same thing.  We call each other “my other brain” because we help each other process each other’s thoughts and we think of the same things 99% of the time!  You see, I feel that Arielle doesn’t seem to understand my point when I tell her that she has to P-L-A-N her meals AHEAD of TIME.  She just can’t go to the kitchen 10 minutes before mealtime, thaw frozen meat that can take hours, prepare the ingredients and cook.  It just doesn’t work that way. I’m just glad my BFF and I were on the same page and she started talking as if I was the one talking to Arielle.  Her mommy talk was just what I needed.

And that brings me to another point.  An important one: why it’s highly recommended for homeschool parents to meet up and do activities or fellowship.  Because the meetups and gatherings are not only venues to get out of the house, relax, but more often, it is a venue to exchange notes and tips on what works with you and what works for the others that could be worth-trying.  Just like meeting up with my BFF for lunch and dessert, the face-to-face encounter with other homeschool moms and dads brings a different personal interaction (as opposed to FB or Viber groups, although they have their own benefits and advantages) which I believe becomes a soothing therapy, and a much needed encouragement and inspiration.

So, the talk on meals then reminded me of a pin I recently saved in my Pinterest.  It was about meal planning using Post-Its and a binder.  Ok, who doesn’t love Post-Its???  I knew Arielle would need this and with the colorful and easy-transfer Post-Its, Arielle will survive college!  It’s also making me think now to redo my recipe binder into this one!

After showing her how this meal plan binder works, I told her to make a spreadsheet of all the recipes she knows how to cook or wants to cook.  Categories were:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Pasta/Noodles/Rice/Oats
  • Eggs
  • Soup
  • Smoothies (If she can’t always cook vegetables, then she has to drink them!)
  • Dessert (her favorite!)

After creating the file, we were able to see visually what she lacks (more recipes on fish!) and what recipes she needs to learn and practice some more.

Plus, we also realized that she not only has to learn how to cook but what would help her save time every morning before she leaves for school are:

(1) make-ahead meals

(2) freezer meals

(3) one pot or one skillet meals

In order to complete her menu planner binder, Arielle still needs to do the following:

(1) type out all the recipes she will put in the binder

(2) print out the menu planner printables

(3) assemble/put them together in the binder

(4) make categories for the Post-Its (green for vegetables, yellow for beef, blue for pork, and so on)

(5) and start doing a mock-up/sample menu plan for a week

(6) plus, make a list of pantry/kitchen ingredient staples

 

With a lot more to do and teach about menu planning and cooking, Google and Pinterest are now my new best friends 🙂  They will not only make teaching more fun and visually appealing but it will also make life much easier for a homeschool mom like me with a college-bound, visual-learner daughter who will be living on her own overseas.

How do you plan your menu and organize your recipes?  I would need all the tips I could get!


 

I just want to take time to pause and say that our year 2015 to 2016 has been great!  I am really so glad that we took that leap of faith (again! next to homeschooling) to take a gap year after Arielle graduated from high school.  I just feel a whole lot more prepared WITH and FOR her, as a mom and a parent-teacher.   I honestly can’t imagine how my life would have been like if we decided to go straight to college.  I am sure my days would have been all panic, rush, and stress, given not ample time (well, that’s how I feel) to prepare well enough for college testing, application and my daughter’s life to be.

Although I know that going on a gap year does not guarantee a total preparation for Arielle’s life ahead, it has given us the time to prepare for all the things we could.  Aside from building an art portfolio, a 500-word essay, designing her own resume and business card, Arielle has learned how to cook, attend to a few home repairs, manage her time, is learning how to budget her money, drive a stick shift car, and choose meat cuts in the grocery.  She knows the basics of laundry with the use of a washing machine, but I think I will let her learn that chore herself in Hong Kong.  With ironing, I honestly don’t think she’ll have the time to iron all her clothes and so, one of the two things in my To Buy list in Hong Kong is a good steamer and a blender so she can still have her veggies and fruits smoothies, even if on-the-go.

Right now, Arielle is finalizing her artworks for her portfolio, after receiving tips from a SCAD professor when SCAD-HK had their Information Session here in Manila last November 2015.  Having that practice round of interview and portfolio presentation was really helpful, giving us a feel of how it is going to be like for the real thing this March 2016.  That gave Arielle the time to improve on her artworks before she would finally submit/upload them to SCAD’s so-called SlideRoom before March.  She is not as stressed as before when she was doing everything from scratch and my prayer these days as she completes her SCAD scholarship requirements is for her to see who she really is, her strengths and gifts, who ultimately gave those gifts to her, and how she should use those.  That this whole process be a revelation to her by God of who she ultimately is, her purpose and unique design.

Meanwhile, Kayla is also doing well with her golf.  So far, she’s been placing in tournaments she has joined.  Yesterday, she brought home this:

Kayla's trophy!

Kayla’s trophy!

 

We are sooo proud of her!  The very first thing I did when Kayla told me on the phone that she has a trophy was immediately thank the Lord for an answered prayer.  I really am praying that 2016 would be  HER year and that God will bless her with good opportunities in golf and in her studies.  I know that she’s been thinking of what it is really that she wants to take up in college, what she wants to do in her life and that it hasn’t been very clear to her.  I’m praying that golf would somehow give her some answers or clues.

After sharing the good news with Kayla’s golf coach, he congratulated and then reminded me to work on her Curriculum Vitae or Biodata on her golf achievements.  That brought me back to my role as a homeschool parent-teacher to do the important task of record-keeping.  So, as early as now, I am making sure that I will record Kayla’s golf achievements and other activities worth including in her resume.  That way, I have a file of her various homeschooling activities, especially golf, as they happen and I won’t rack my brain in trying to recall what she did and when, when it’s time to submit those college applications.

So this post is actually a tip and a friendly reminder to homeschool parents and kids out there.  Start recording and/or keeping a file of your child’s activities and achievements.  Have a notebook for it, if that’s what’s going to work for you for now.  Or start creating a Word or Excel file.  That’s what I just did.  I had to backtrack and think of Kayla’s golf trainings, golf coaches, and when she had them.  I went as far back as Grade 6 which was 4 years ago and I was already having a quite difficult time remembering dates!  The other activities she joined would be easier since most, if not all, of them are the same activities Arielle had and they are already on record.  Plus, aside from keeping a file of their actual certificates from workshops and camps, I also keep a folder in my email per schoolyear and in there goes their academic and extra-curricular records, notes, activities, including flight details on out-of-town camps, for instance.

I wish I had done this record-keeping even before Arielle took her gap year.  Believe me, starting it early is going to make things easier for your college-bound students.  So, for the record, one way to organize your homeschool life is to record your child’s achievements, activities, and involvements.


 

It’s Christmas Eve and now that I actually HAVE a break and AM enjoying one, I’d like to look back at what 2015 gave me.  Each year has its own story to tell and blessings to be thankful for and 2015 is no exception. Here’s my 2015 story:

  1.  A homeschool high school graduate – Arielle finished 8 years of being homeschooled, from Grade 3 to 4th year high school! 8 years!  It may have been a tough ride but no regrets!

2.  A gap year –  After graduating from high school, we decided to let Arielle have a gap year before she moves up to college.  And I must say, that this is one of the best decisions we’ve made (next to homeschooling, of course).  A time well-spent preparing Arielle’s whole being for college, and not just mentally or academically.

3.  A golf pursuit – After years of worrying about and guessing what Kayla’s life path or at least, college  opportunities would be like, we finally got our answer.  She is gifted in this sport and so far, golf is giving her the focus, the drive, and determination to do everything she can to do and be her best.

4.  A visit to SCAD-Hong Kong –  A trip to Hong Kong to visit SCAD started the clear path towards Arielle’s college.  The campus and residences tour, the application, the acceptance, the assignment of an admission advisor to Arielle (I still can’t get over this.  How I wish all colleges and universities do this!), the 24/7 support and assistance of SCAD’s assistant director of admission.  What a bundle of blessings one after the other!

5.  Acceptance to SCAD-Hong Kong – Two months after our visit to SCAD-HK and submitting basic requirements, Arielle got in! When we found out the good news, it was one big answered prayer!  Although Mike, Arielle, and I couldn’t decide (to the point, it became stressful and divisive already!) whether Arielle should still take the entrance exams of the local universities or not, her acceptance to SCAD gave us the opportunity to really ask ourselves: what we want, think about long-term plans, and where we should put all our efforts, time, money, and most importantly, FAITH, in this college journey of Arielle.

5.  An Academic Honors Scholarship grant – Thank you, Lord, for this scholarship!  You know that we DO NEED all the financial help we could get and this is another answered prayer.  We are still praying for another scholarship, Achievement Honors Scholarship, to be awarded by SCAD in March 2016, and we put our trust in You.  You, O Lord, has always been our Provider!

6.  Internships and Basic Animation Workshop – This gap year gave Arielle internship opportunities that helped her learn work and life skills which I believe, is a very good training ground in preparation for college life and the workplace.

7. Golf Training and Tournaments – I am really thankful for the opportunities Kayla has been enjoying since she decided to take her golf seriously.  Her golf coach, who happens to be the brother of my high school batchmate, is one good one and I just feel Kayla is in good hands.  And for someone who’s been training for less than a year, placing in tournaments is indeed a good sign of her potential in this sport.

8.  Summer Vacation in Siquijor – Something not related to homeschool this time.  My family and I were able to go on our yearly family beach trip (minus our usual travel companions from the U.S.) and last April, it was the enchanted island of Siquijor.  To this day, I still can’t believe that Arielle and Kayla want to go back to Siquijor when asked which of the places we’ve been to they’d like to visit again.  To think that the wifi signal on the island was very spotty and none most of the time, actually!  I’m just glad that our girls do appreciate simple living and can actually live their lives off the grid.

9.  My One-Word for 2015 came alive! –  My word was OPEN: O from the word Opportunities… P from the word I made up, sParts (Sports and Arts)… E from the word advEnture … and N from the word coNnections.  I can’t wait for my one-word for 2016 to be revealed to me!

10.  A new home –  It’s been a year and 8 months since we moved to Manila.  I totally do not enjoy the traffic in the metro and the house repairs and maintenance that I still have to take care of, but having our own home in Manila made our homeschooling life and activities so much easier.  I believe this blessing from God came at a right time for Arielle and Kayla.

11.  Possibly, a new “career” path for Mike – Coming from a political family, I avoid being involved in politics as much as possible.  But it looks like, I cannot totally run away from it.  Mike is running for councilor and all I can do is pray for this decision he made.  I know my husband.  And I know that this is one major decision he prayed about, and as his wife, I must give him all the support that he needs.

12.  Lastly, a better health for me – If there’s one, just one, thing that I always pray for myself, it’s good health so that I would be able to do what God called me to do.  And God gave it to me this year.  My slightly elevated test result for a tumor marker in the ovaries is now normal, and I praise God for being my faithful Healer!

What a year this was!  I feel this is the most challenging year I’ve had.  But as shown always by God, I would not have been able to overcome the challenges that came my way, if it weren’t for the love and faithfulness of our Lord to me and family.  God is good.  All the time.

How was 2015 to you and your family?  I’m sure there are things to be thankful for.  All we really need to do is look harder and be grateful for the simple things we already have.  A MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS from my family to yours!