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!


 

Placing 4th in the Interschool Golf Tournament

 

Kayla went back to golf January of this year and she has been taking it seriously.  She would wake up a little past 5 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday for her training at Camp Aguinaldo and would also play with her Papa in Batangas during weekends. She’s been training for almost a year now with Coach Jun Cedo and she has greatly improved over the past months.  I don’t play golf.  I don’t totally understand how it’s played and the terms used in the sport. And to be honest, I’d rather stay in bed and get some more hours of sleep than wake up really early and be among those driving on the road and going through the morning rush.

But I do believe in Kayla’s potential and giftedness in golf.  I believe this is God’s gift to her and it is her area of strength.  If Arielle is gifted in the visual and performing arts, Kayla, being a kinesthetic learner,  is gifted in physical activities and has found golf to be one of the fields where she’s most comfortable at and physically designed for.  I remember I was starting to get frustrated and worried around 2 to 3 years ago, not clearly knowing what Kayla is inclined to do.  It was easy and so obvious with Arielle but with Kayla, I had no clue.  Her interests kept on changing, after letting her try different things like theatre, swimming, cooking, baking, and her on-and-off interest in golf.  So I started praying to God, asking Him to show us where Kayla’s strength lies and what she was made for.  God’s answer did not come right away which I believe was teaching me all along to trust in our Lord and learn that there is a time for everything.

Well, God’s answer came clear this 2015 as He revealed to us that Kayla CAN actually PLAY GOLF and she has a very strong potential in the sport.  Now that Arielle is already going to SCAD-HK for college in Fall 2016, I am so thankful to the Lord for now showing me how I should guide and support Kayla.  After Arielle, it’s now Kayla’s turn to carve her path.  God’s timing is always perfect! He just knows that it’s now time for me to focus on Kayla after I’ve homeschooled Arielle.

Kayla still has lots to learn in golf but she’s off to a good start, now that she’s serious about it.  Golf is definitely giving her the focus and the drive to perform better, not only in the sport but also in her studies. Her improvements in her swings and distance over the months, placing in the tournaments she has joined so far, and even the discipline she is now showing to balance her academics, trainings, and tournaments are already small victories worth celebrating.  They are blessings I am really thankful for!

First Runner-up in Class B Division

First Runner-up in Class B Division

 

May this be a reminder to all parents, especially homeschooling parents who feel pressured by family members and friends that:

  1. Each child is unique and has his/her own strengths and talents.
  2. Each child will naturally learn and grow at his/her own pace.
  3. Progress is more important than perfection.
  4. God’s timing is always perfect.
  5. There is a time for everything.
  6. We are not to conform to what everyone else is doing, if we really want our child to happily and successfully live a life specifically designed for him/her by God.

 

Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Just like the objective of a golf game, which is to get the ball into the hole with the least amount of strokes or swings of the golf club, it is my goal as a homeschool mom to help Kayla focus and reach her target, her life goals, her life calling, by equipping her with the skills and training in order to play the game of life well and successfully.

I pray that as parents, we may all be able to discern God’s will and purpose for each of our children, and that when it is revealed to us by the Lord, we will have the strength, love, and faith to give them the guidance and support that they need.

 


 

I feel my brain is being squeezed to the max.  Too much thinking.  Intense planning.  Can’t-help worrying. Since Arielle graduated from high school last April, I’ve been helping her out during this gap year of hers.  Daily animation workshop for ten weeks, internships, other workshops, portfolio preparation, resume making, online chat sessions with SCAD-HK, home management and chores teaching.  And I thought we could take everything really slow and relaxed during this gap year.  It turns out this gap year is more serious and more intense!

Add to that having no helper for three months now. That means more duties for me: menu planning, grocering, doing a freezer inventory, cooking, washing the dishes, pots, and pans, sweeping, and cleaning-as-you go (which I feel takes all day!).  I’m just so thankful that our helper back home in the province is doing our weekly laundry and ironing of clothes.  But my duties do not end there.  I am also the driver of Arielle to her Monday to Thursday workshop from 8 am to 12 noon and of Kayla to her Tuesday and Thursday golf training from 8 am to 11 am.  That means having to wake up everyday at 5 am to prepare our breakfast and make sure we are out of the house by 7 am to avoid the morning rush, (but end up in one almost everyday).   Most of the time, I don’t go back home anymore when I take the girls to their workshop and golf training. I wait for them at a nearby Starbucks or at the clubhouse and try to be as productive as I can be with my laptop, iPad, or art materials.  By the time we all get back home in the afternoon, I go straight to the kitchen marinating some dish for dinner or cooking rice already.

This week, I decided to ask our academic consultant if TMA, our homeschool provider, will be offering Grades 11 and 12 to homeschoolers, after hearing some news that they won’t be allowed anymore by the Department of Education with the new K-12 program being rolled out already to the education sector. Well, I got my answer.  She said that for now, TMA can’t offer homeschooling for Grades 11 and 12 because of “the technicalities in the requirements of DepEd.”  It wasn’t further explained to me and I didn’t bother to ask more questions.

I honestly am not 100% confident with the K-12 implementation by DepEd.  Well, that’s my honest opinion.  So when I found out where TMA stands in the K-12 program, I immediately posted a question in our Facebook group and searched online for homeschooling programs that Kayla could switch to.  She has told me several times that she likes to continue being homeschooled and would not want to go back to traditional school.  All the more now when she herself said that she would like to give golf another chance and take it more seriously in preparation for college.

I haven’t found a program yet for Kayla for her Grades 11 and 12, in case we do have to transfer her somewhere else.  I’ve found a few sites online but I still need to read more about them and send initial inquiries.  For now, we would like to continue our current set up where we could choose our own books and materials and Kayla to work at her own time and pace. All we need is support and professional record-keeping in terms of grades, transcript, and college preparation and application.

I think you can clearly imagine what my brain has been going through lately.  It’s not only about college but also, Kayla’s homeschool path particularly for Grades 11 and 12!  Brain-racking, isn’t it?

If only I could see the future and tell as early as now if we would really be able to send Arielle to SCAD-HK…

If only I could already know if Arielle will be granted scholarships…

If only I could find out as soon as possible if DepEd would allow TMA to continue their homeschooling program until Grade 12…

If only I could see Kayla excelling in her golf and doors of opportunities opening up for her in the sport…

It’s really been physically taxing and mentally vexing lately.  God knows the planner and organizer that I am.  Thinking about the girls’ future feels like being in a tunnel and seeing a ray of light at the end, but in order to eventually see and be in the light,  I have to go through the dark.  Oh!  IF ONLY!

In my prayers, I ask God to SHOW me clearly where Arielle is going to end up for college.  Where and how Kayla will be in the next four years of her homeschooling.  I keep on asking God to guide our steps to make sure we don’t miss out a step, a deadline, or an opportunity.  I continue to make plans and do my best to be intentional in our parenting and in the education of our girls. But in the end, I can only do so much and it is still God’s plan that would prevail:

Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

I just hope that as I do all these planning, our plans are not far from what the Lord wants us to do.  Or if in case they do stray from His plans, we would be quick enough to realize them and realign ourselves with God.


 

I don’t even know how to start this post.  I am still high on adrenalin and even if I couldn’t sleep last night and wasn’t able to have my 8 hours of sleep, my energy level is high.

Arielle called me up last night (She went home to Batangas for a few days) to tell me that she got accepted at SCAD Hong Kong.  She received an email from them last night congratulating her for being accepted for enrolment to their bachelor’s degree program.  AND… that the committee is considering her for Honors Scholarship.  WOW!!!  Just WOW!!!

I only wanted her to get accepted.  I was just asking God to show us if SCAD is really an option for her to pursue her dream to be an animator.   If she makes it, then my next step was to pray for provision.  For the finances to fund her college.

We only submitted the minimum admission requirements to SCAD and have not even submitted a portfolio of her artworks yet.  Even her official IELTS (English proficiency) test hasn’t been released yet.  Arielle was only able to find out how she did in her IELTS test taken last May 9 AFTER receiving the good news of acceptance from her admission advisor from SCAD.

In case you’re interested to know what documents we submitted to SCAD-Hong Kong, they were the following:

  • Transcript from Walkersville Christian Family School, The Master’s Academy’s partner (We enrolled for an international accreditation for her and Kayla only last schoolyear, SY 2014-2015, and for this schoolyear, SY 2015-2016).
  • Transcript from The Master’s Academy (Philippine transcript)
  • High School Course Syllabus (all subjects taken and books used with ISBNs from 1st year to 4th year) – It’s a good thing I was able to keep a record and recall all the materials we used and still kept most of the books!
  • Certification of TMA Home Education Program
  • Certification of English Proficiency
  • Recommendation/Reference Letter of Academic Consultant fr TMA

 

This is truly a testament of God’s faithfulness to our family and our homeschooling journey.  He has been our guide and provider, and I believe that He will continue to be by our side, every step of the way. Not only for Arielle, but for Kayla as well.

I’d like to end with these truths:

  • Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
  • Proverbs 16:9 – The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
  • Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
  • Matthew 7:7 – Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
  • Matthew 21:22 – And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
  • Hebrews 13:21 – equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

All things are possible for one who believes!

I am still overwhelmed with the turn of events, and my eyes are welling up again as I think of how awesome God is and how unworthy I am to be receiving so many blessings from Him.

May this serve as an encouragement and inspiration to all homeschooling moms, children, and families reading this.  I have wanted to give up homeschooling so many times but God didn’t give up on me (Oh no, I am crying again).  No matter what, it is always God’s plan that prevails and He equips those He calls.


 

The recent visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines has affirmed our decision and chosen lifestyle to homeschool our girls.  What a grace to hear and be touched by the words of our Holy Father!  He gave a number of homilies and memorable quotes during his 5-day visit here, but what I’ll remember most and keep in my heart are these:

  1. “It is important to dream in the family.  All mothers and fathers dream of their sons and daughters in the womb for 9 months.  They dream of how they will be.  It isn’t possible to have a family without such dreams.”
  2. “We too need to protect, guide, and encourage our young people, helping them to build a society worthy of their great spiritual and cultural heritage.”
  3. “Protect your families!  See in them your country’s greatest treasure and nourish them always by prayer and the grace of the sacraments.  Families will always have their trials, but may you never add to them!”
  4. “When families bring children into the world, train them in faith and sound values, and teach them to contribute to society, they become a blessing in our world.”

 

Just this week, we started to look deeper into Arielle’s college options and realistically identified which schools would help her pursue her dream to be an animator.  I’ve sent a request for assistance from our homeschool provider, given the fact that she will be taking a gap year this 2015 after she graduates in April and will concentrate on preparing herself for college in 2016.  This headstart of preparations is actually giving me anxiety attacks and making me nervous! For instance, one requirement for international school application given to me by our academic consultant is to list down all the books Arielle used in high school with their ISBNs, in order for WCFS (Walkersville Christian Family Schools) to prepare and process the document we would need for international application.  I panicked upon receiving the email last Thursday and immediately went through our library of books and listed them all down!  In a matter of hours, I had completed most of the books Arielle used from 1st year to present, but my state of panic would not go away until I’ve gone home to Batangas where the rest of the books were.  Now that I’m here in Batangas, I’m just glad and thankful that I’ve kept 99% of the books and materials of Arielle with the intention of passing them to Kayla, more than anything.

This DREAM of Arielle to become an animator, a Disney animator, has been a childhood dream.  Mike, Kayla and I are together with Arielle in praying for this dream to come true!  As a family, like what Pope Francis said, we have always been together in dreaming!

Amidst the fear and stress, a Bible verse timely spoke to me this week, which left me humbled and speechless.  It was only two days after that I was able to write down my reflection on it.  So, I’d like to share with you an honest-to-goodness prayer of a homeschool mom.

JEREMIAH 17:7 (NLT) – BUT BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO TRUST IN THE LORD AND HAVE MADE THE LORD THEIR HOPE AND CONFIDENCE.

Lord, the reality that Arielle will be graduating from high school AND homeschooling soon is beginning to scare me!  Choosing colleges, preparing for entrance exams and applications, and praying that we are doing the RIGHT thing every step of the way and not missing any detail, info, and deadline are stressing me out!  I honestly feel that this is MY measure of success or failure as a homeschool mom.  I need You now more than ever!  You were with us from the beginning.  I TRUST, HOPE, and am CONFIDENT that You will see us through.  AMEN.

 

Can I ask you to pray for and with us, please?  Your prayers would mean so, so much!  Thank you!

 


 

It was the unusual rainy day of January 1st, New Year’s Day, the warm coffee Mike and I ordered at Starbucks and the milk tea drinks that Kayla and Arielle were enjoying that pulled us all together to think of our one-word for 2015.  I’ve been thinking of mine since the last week of December 2014, but the words that came to mind didn’t feel “the one”.  I thought of SHARPEN. HONE.  FAMILY. EMBRACE.  Each had a special ring to it but they didn’t totally capture what I was feeling in my heart.

After we had all sat down around our table, I threw the question again, “So, what’s your one-word?”  Then, just like that, one by one, they said it.

Arielle:  Since it’s going to be my gap year, my one-word is ADVENTURE!

Kayla:  Sports and Art…SPARTS!

Mike:  Opportunities

I said to myself that maybe, my one-word should be EMBRACE.  To embrace Mike’s opportunities, Kayla’s interest in sparts, and Arielle’s adventure in her gap year.  But a better and more apt word came to mind.  It’s OPEN!  That’s it!  This 2015, I will be OPEN to opportunities that will come our way in terms of business ideas and means of living.  I will be OPEN to Kayla’s rekindling interest in sports, particularly golf, and her developing skills in art.  I will be OPEN to Arielle’s adventures while she’s on her gap year…her new discoveries and new experiences to prepare her for college!  Lastly, I will be OPEN to new connections that I will be making as I go through my 2015 journey.

http://www.beyondbooksandwalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/IMG_7712_zps0bca8f36.jpg

Since 2013, thinking of my one-word every start of the new year has been a yearly tradition for me and it’s been a powerful motivator.  It has helped me to stay focused when I get distracted or discouraged. 2013 was GROW, and 2014 was FAITH.  Last year, I also declared my INTENTION which was another great inspiration to have side by side with my one-word.

It just feels GREAT to have that one-word to guide me this year.  That one-word to remind me to be optimistic and keep the positivity. But a greater reminder for me would be the unchanging TRUTH that God has a plan for me and that whatever happens, I should live each day of the year trusting that all is part of God’s great plan and unique purpose for me.  Ultimately, I should be OPEN to God’s mysterious ways and handiwork in everything!

http://www.beyondbooksandwalls.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/IMG_7711_zps35abea4e.jpg

As I end this, here is a perfect prayer with my one-word for 2015:

God, I’m excited to see what You have planned for me this year. Whatever I face, I will not be intimidated. I will begin this year by seeing myself as You do — happy, healthy, and prosperous. Thank you for the gift of another year. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen

Happy New Year, Happy New Beginning, everyone!  I would love to know what your one-word is for 2015 and why!


 

It’s almost New Year’s Eve and we will all soon be saying goodbye to 2013 and welcoming 2014!  A HAPPY NEW YEAR to my family and friends, near and far!  

Like what I’ve written in my last post, we’ve been doing a New Year’s tradition to prepare ourselves for the coming year.  Arielle and Kayla did their goal-setting this morning and it didn’t take long for them to write down what they want to achieve in 2014.  Their planners had pages dedicated on goals and those instantly served as prompts for them to put in writing what they intend to carry out.

I didn’t want to call mine “New Year’s Resolution” because it just didn’t give me THE motivation.  I came across another word which just feels so right for me and more personal. The word is INTENTION.  I also wasn’t planning on writing a long post on this simply because I was able to create something that I feel says it all. 

I so enjoyed doing this! 

2014 Intentions

Here’s my 2014 Declaration of Intention, which contains my:

One Word for 2014…FAITH

and my

Verse for 2014…Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).

My 2014 Declaration of Intention

My 2014 Declaration of Intention in watercolor

2014 Intention

More specific intentions of mine
as I tried out my calligraphy dip pen for the first time!

 

Have you thought about your 2014 Intention(s)?  How about your One Word or Verse for 2014?  Do share!  It’s the perfect time to start anew and be inspired to make things better this new year!

 


 

A Milestone in Homeschooling

A Milestone in Homeschooling

Last Friday, October 11, it was TMA’s 2012-2013 Commencement Exercises.  Yes, TMA holds their graduation ceremonies twice a year, one in April and the other in October.  Since I felt that joining the April batch would be too hectic for us and we would only end up rushing as we close our schoolyear, I decided to let Kayla join this October batch of graduates instead.  Kayla graduated from elementary (Grade 6) and that makes it six years of homeschooling her! It is truly a milestone to celebrate!

The day, despite having a storm signal in Metro Manila and in some provinces, started well with my morning devotional which was perfect for the occasion.  I couldn’t help but post it as a status in Facebook.

After having our usual early breakfast, from Alabang in the south, we headed to our first stop in Mandaluyong and I didn’t expect the traffic along the Skway to end up looking like EDSA!  The girls and I had a quick makeover at the parlor, which I felt was the perfect way to de-stress me from that morning traffic…UGGGHHH!!!

The ceremonies went well with prayers, brief talk by key speakers, and the graduates’ marching and walking up on stage.   There were a total of 45 graduates from pre-school, elementary, and high school.  Three things I particularly like about TMA graduation ceremonies are (1) toddler and homeschooling photos flashed as a presentation for each graduate, (2) the Character Trait award given by the parents to their child, instead of the honors based on grades that I have been accustomed to, (3) letter by the graduate to their parents which each of them read up on stage. For me, it was really a momentous occasion to remember both our triumphs and defeats as we made learning more personal for our children and personally, go beyond books and walls.  Looking back, it was really a challenge for me to homeschool Kayla whose kinesthetic learning style is so opposite of mine and my teaching style!  Having been able to graduate Kayla after six years is no doubt, a milestone!

Proud of our graduate!
And thanks to Ate Arielle,
the designated photographer of the event 🙂

My parents, who came all the way from Batangas, joined us to celebrate this homeschooling milestone. They weren’t actually for it (totally not for it!) when we started out but I believe that with God’s hand at work through the years, they somehow have accepted and now respects our decision.  They probably still don’t understand how this whole homeschool thing really works but if there’s a blessing I will never forget, it’s them witnessing how Arielle and Kayla have grown to bond and love each other as if they’re BEST FRIENDS and not sisters.  Those were the words of my dad (my conservative, traditional dad!)

Best Friends :)

Best Friends 🙂

By 4:30 p.m. (The ceremonies started a bit before 2:00 p.m.), we were all starving!  After a few more photo ops, from St. Francis Square, we immediately headed to Shangri-la Mall to eat at this new resto I wanted to try on my birthday.  It was, unfortunately, packed with customers that time and so, we opted to make reservations as a celebration of Kayla’s graduation, the week after.  We ate at Green Pastures, which turned out to be a super-duper late lunch for my parents and a super-early dinner for all of us.  

Overall, I would say that their food was good!  Something to really try and worth going back to a couple more times!  Since we were all very hungry, I don’t think I’ll be able to give an objective review of our orders.  Anything tastes uberly delicious when one’s starving 😉 But from someone quite particular and meticulous with the food she eats these days, I can say that the food and beverages in Green Pastures really taste more natural and organic, with less hint of the seasonings you would taste in the food other restaurants serve to make the flavors more pronounced. I just wished though that their pasta and bread would also be the more healthful kind, and I also forgot to ask what kind of sweetener they use.  Something to take note of when we go back. 

Just feast your eyes with these!

Farmhouse Salad

Farmhouse Salad

Combination of Ricotta and Stracciatella Cheeses (fresh cow and carabao's milk)

Combination of Ricotta and
Stracciatella Cheeses (fresh cow and carabao’s milk)

Their version of Salpicao named as Sloppy Cow

Their version of Salpicao named as Sloppy Cow

Crab Meat and Sea Urchin Pasta

Crab Meat and Sea Urchin Pasta
(Mike’s adventurous taste)

Spicy Organic Tripe

Spicy Organic Tripe
(My dad’s choice; at least it’s organic)

Grilled Blue Ribbon Burger with ground wagyu blend

Grilled Blue Ribbon Burger with ground Wagyu blend

80/20 Burger (80% Wagyu, 20% organic pancetta)

80/20 Burger (80% Wagyu, 20% organic pancetta)

Homemade Ketchup

Homemade Ketchup

Organic Melon Green Tea

Organic Melon Green Tea
Mike also tried their Kombucha Tea,
a detoxifying and probiotic drink.

Strawberry Banana Almond  Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Almond Smoothie

Salted Caramel Smoothie (Salted Caramel seems to be the new flavor being offered by different restos and cafes these days!)

Salted Caramel Smoothie
(Salted Caramel seems to be the new flavor being offered by different restos and cafes these days!)

 

* One dish I failed to take a photo of was their Organic Mushrooms with house made ricotta on toast.  That was YUMMM, too!

What started as a surprisingly stressful morning ended with a relaxing afternoon until evening. After our tummies have been filled, my parents braved the rush-hour traffic and the rains and arrived home in Batangas safely while we stayed on in the mall to watch a movie 🙂

This was one happy and blessed day to celebrate a homeschooling milestone.


Now that it’s back to school season again for us and the rest of the traditional schools here, it made me ask myself:  Which do I prefer, homeschooling for 10-11 months of the year or being on 2-month summer break?  School or summer?  

I, of course, LOOOVE taking a break and hitting the beach or travelling to some new place, during the months of March, April or May (or anytime of the year, for that matter!).  By this time of the year, I am already feeling the need to drop all our books.  Get away.  Have fun.  Simply breathe. But this past summer has been unusually tiring for me.  Even if we were able to spend a good 4 days at a beach resort in Palawan, I was immediately back to house chores after that.  I had to do a major summer cleaning.  The girls went for the first time, on a marine and wildlife camp in Bacolod (a province in the next major island), which also turned out to be a semi-vacation, semi-chaperoning for me and Mike.   I spent extra hours planning and preparing for this schoolyear.  I had to figure out (well, just like every year in the previous years) what kind of routine and schedules we would follow, moreso now that our girls are in high school.  And I also had to take my sister to different places while she’s in town for a few weeks.   

Yes, summer can mean less structure, less boundaries, no set bedtimes and no alarm clocks (at least, for most of the days) and more opportunities to go to new places.  You have activities left and right only available for the kids, tweens, and teens during the summer which we try to take advantage of.  That means having to deal with a change of set-up, logistics, and dynamics within the family.  In our case, I notice that it resulted to being a bit more lax in discipline areas which I focus on during our homeschool months.  And that brought about a bit of tension (disappointment and frustration on my part) in the home and in our relationships. 

On the other hand, officially homeschooling for a schoolyear calls for a whole new set of routines and disciplines.  The areas which require focus and full attention are different.  There are more details and requirements to work on since we are learning multiple and different subject matters in our homeschool.   Days are much, much longer and can be more structured and rigid for us but at the same time, it can spell out a better or smoother flow of activities.  Hence, it is more predictable. 

So, which do I like better?  School or summer?  The flexibility of homeschooling for 10 months or taking a summer breather for 2 months?  Predictability or spontaniety?  Structure or anything goes?  

After giving it much thought, I have to say that I am really a left-brain kind of person to help me get things done.  I work best with schedules and lists (even when we plan for our vacations or trips).  I need organization and systems in place. BUT, BUT, BUT!!! I do have the right-brain side of me which I cannot and must not ignore and need to be taken care of.  I do need to feed my artsy self by doing something creative, working with my hands, or simply being in a more relaxed, more flexible, and leisure state.  

I guess what I have to keep in mind really is to learn how to put the different areas of my life in balance.  There is a time for everything as Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 says.  After all, that is the beauty and blessing of this lifestyle we’ve chosen.  Homeschooling.  We manage and are in control of our time and we are actually learning how to be good stewards of our time, resources, and even our physical bodies which enable us to work and have fun 🙂 Something to be really thankful for! 

 


 

Photo Source: http://www.thebettermom.com/2013/05/when-you-need-god-to-be-just-a-little-bit-closer-learning-to-pray-on-the-hours/

Photo Source: http://www.thebettermom.com/
2013/05/
when-you-need-god-to-be-just-a-little-bit-closer-
learning-to-pray-on-the-hours/

 

Okay, so I’ve been feeling frazzled lately and I’m not supposed to!  In my last post, I’ve shared that we’re supposed to start our schoolyear already but would have to delay it a bit due to family priorities.  We are on an extended summer vacation and that is supposed to give me more time, right?  More time to relax and take care of my health and well-being (I have hypothyroidism, by the way, and feeling tired most of the time is one of its symptoms)  To finally have some tv time for me (When I turn on the tv, I usually just watch the news and it is true that news can be depressing.  Not a good idea after all?).  To make and drink more fruit and green smoothies.  To exercise at 8:00 in the morning and not at 10 or 11:30ish when it’s too hot already (From the the time I wake up which is around 6/6:30 a.m., that’s how long it usually takes for me to finish my morning routine and finally do my exercise. At least 3.5 hours! I’m sorry but I’m just not the type who can wake up at 4:00 am everday).  To read my books (How’s 5 books to catch up with my reading?) and e-books (Oh, I have lots of them!).  To finally work on something from our collection of arts and crafts materials.  To pin more stuff in my Pinterest boards 🙂  No matter how I keep on telling myself “Slow down, Racquel, slow down. Take it easy.”, I still find myself rushing every morning, not able to wake up earlier than 6:00 or 6:30 a.m. (Sigh. I always feel I need to sleep some more), putting away books or slippers, turning off switches (even if I’ve reminded Mike, Arielle, and Kayla a hundred times!), sorting out this and that, stitching a hole on a bag, cleaning up, replying to a text message or emails that really need my immediate attention, moving “to and fro” as my old playmate would put it, etc., etc. (The etc’s can be endless!)   And we haven’t even started another homeschool schoolyear!  Hey, I’m supposed to be on summer vacation.  Am I feeling more relaxed?  Honestly? No!!!  Why do I feel as or even more exhausted when I know I shouldn’t be.

Well, what do you know!  I received this email from The Better Mom and it seems that the author of the post, Brooklyn McGlothlin, and I are in the same predicament.  We both want more time for ourselves, to rest, AND actually…what we really need is more “quiet time” with God.  

For those of you who may be struggling like me (We moms all have different kinds of “craziness” in our homes), then this wonderful advice by Brooklyn McGlothlin could be the answer.  Please read on

PRAYING ON THE HOURS. I think this is God’s loving way of reminding me to ALWAYS put Him FIRST before moving to and fro and multitasking as much as I can.  It’s His way of telling me that it is time exclusively spent with Him that will give me the grace and strength I need to be able to have the time that I’m asking for in the first place.  What do you think?

Matthew 6:30-34 —

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers –

most of which are never even seen –

don’t you think He’ll attend to you,

take pride in you,

do His best for you?  

What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax,

to not be so preoocuppied with getting,

so you can respond to God’s giving.  

People who don’t know God and the way He works

fuss over these things,

but you know both God and how He works.  

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.  

Don’t worry about missing out.  

You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Give your entire attention in what God is doing right now,

and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  

God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.  

(taken from The Message, The Bible in Contemporary Language)