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.

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!

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!


I can’t believe it.  It’s the last weekend of 2013 and in a few days, the whole world will be ushering in another year!  How was 2013 to you?  To be honest, I had a couple of bumps here and there in my relationships with my family and with myself, but overall, 2013 was a year of blessings and God’s faithful provision for our family.  We had more than what we needed, enjoyed so much of life, and was even able to share what we have with others. 

Now that 2014 will soon be here, my family and I will be doing the activity we’ve started doing in 2011.  Every January 1st (or during the 1st week of January), we all sit down with blank sheet of paper or page of our new planner/journal and coloured markers.  We then think, think, think about our goals for the coming year and put them in writing, mindmap, or some artistic doodle.  

To show you how we did it for 2012 and 2013, look here.  We all did mindmaps that allow us to see the big picture at one glance.  That makes it easier to keep each one of us motivated and to keep our eyes on our goals.  As an added challenge to myself, last year, I thought of my One Word for 2013 to keep me even more motivated and focused on the activities I was going to engage myself in for the year.  

In a few days, we’ll be doing the tradition again.  Arielle, Kayla, and I already have our 2014 planners, pens, and markers ready!  New Year, New Goals, New Plans!  What I’m also looking forward to, before we start making our goals for 2014, is looking back at what we’ve all written as our goals for 2013 and see how much we’ve actually completed or achieved!  Then after we have set, written, or drawn our goals, we offer all of them to God and pray that He blesses them.

For those of you with younger kids, doing a mindmap might not interest them yet and they might find it difficult or intimidating and end up being discouraged.  That wouldn’t be a good way to start a new year, right?  Here are some of my suggestions to help them set a “bigger goal” for themselves:

1.  Help them think of their One Word for 2014.  Something that is do-able for them.  Make that one word a verb or adjective.  My One Word for 2013 was Grow.  How about…Learn…Serve…Give…Listen.   Adjectives such as…Friendly…Obedient…Caring?

2.  Or you may prefer to prompt them with questions like “What was the favorite thing you did or made last year?” … “What was your most memorable experience?”  Then, follow it up with “What would you like to do this year?” … “What would you like to see, do, or learn?”  

For older kids, like tweens and teens,

1.  Doing a mindmap of their goals is a great way for them to map out their plans.

2.  Writing their top goal or top three goals and pinning it on their bedroom wall or cork board where it is highly visible would be a great encouragement.

Okay, this is not for 2014 but Arielle had already pinned down her ultimate dream in life and this is her target.  I do hope and pray that she hits the bull’s eye someday.  Who knows? 😉

3.   I saw these pins on Pinterest and these might tickle your tween or teen’s fancy more than a mindmap or a note of what they want to achieve this 2014.

2014 New Year's Resolution

2014 New Year

2014 New Year

2014 New Year

A mindmap, a list, a note, letter to himself or herself, or doodle.  It doesn’t really matter which style you would do.  What’s important is the exercise of goal-setting, probing of oneself, and doing a self-evaluation.  And remember…goals must be S-M-A-R-T (To find out what S-M-A-R-T means, click here)!

How are you welcoming and preparing yourself for 2014? 



I just made my personal goals for 2013 and so did every member of my family.  I’m doing a step further by thinking of that one word to represent the direction and focus I’m taking for 2013.  One word to serve as an umbrella for my goals this year.

This 2013, my word is GROW. Not grow physically, although gaining a few healthier pounds would be something I’d welcome, but grow by 

  • becoming more the person I am called to be, 
  • doing more, 
  • learning more 

in the BEST of my abilities, with the time and resources I have, and NOT AT THE EXPENSE of my physical and emotional health.  It’s not going to be easy since I already am juggling tasks every single day. (That’s another growth area I need and want to work on.  Time management, as you’ve seen in my goal mindmap.)

I feel that I’ve somewhat plateaued these past years, taking care of my family and the girls, and it is now time for me to grow. A personal experience that’s uniquely for me and by me. It excites me and I’m really hoping that 2013 will bless me with new opportunities and challenges which I’d successfully face and overcome.

So now, before I say, do or commit to something or someone, the question I must ask myself is “Is this helping me grow?” 

How about you?  What would be your one-word for 2013?


How was your Holidays?  As for me and my family, I can say that we were able to really keep it simpler this year.  Less stress, more down time 🙂 How about your 2012? How did it go?  To me, it just went by so fast!  Even if I did try to slow down a bit more, it still felt more like 240 days instead of 365.  (Well, you know what I mean).

Now that 2013 is about to give us that BANG! in a couple of hours, it’s that time of the year again for our family to set new goals.  



It was only last December 2011 when we started doing goal-setting and I think I’ll try to do this as a family activity every time a new year is about to begin. It’s not really making New Year’s resolutions but more of:

  • putting more focus on our energies and efforts, 
  • identifying priorities, and 
  • setting a clearer direction for the year. 

Last year, we did a mindmap on the different things we were thankful for the year 2011 and our goals for 2012. This was the simple visual guide I gave to each one in writing down their goals, which involved the Heart, Hands, Health, and Head.


Photo Source:

This is what each of us came up with last year:

He’s really not into colored pens when he does his mindmaps 🙂
Heart: Relating > Conflict Resolution / Caring > Nurture Relationships
Hands: Giving > Leadership / Working > Self-Motivation
Health: Being > Self-Discipline on Work, Exercise, Food Choices / Living > Healthy Lifestyle, Choices, Food
Head: Thinking > Learning to Learn / Managing > Wise Use of Resources, Projects
Others: Bike > Compete / Work > Create Biz, Look for Projects / Housing > Light Steel




It’s not clearly seen but her left bottom page says “I want to read more books, be more disciplined, responsible, make sure I return things where they belong, learn more recipes, be more obedient.


You can see here that Arielle really has a lot of ideas and wants to do all of them!
She has admitted that one of her fears is getting bored!

When I was thinking of how to go about our goal-setting for this coming 2013, I thought of only two things, (1) Character (2) Skills, and I identified these specific areas where to apply the two:

1.  Myself
2.  My Family
3.  My Faith/Church community
4.  My Country
5.  The World

Here now are our 2013 goals:





I like the way Kayla’s becoming more focused and specific.


Like last year, Arielle’s mindmap shows the many things she wants to do!

I’ve read that when you write down your goals, it has the greater chance or possibility of being achieved or becoming a reality.  Looking back at our 2012 goals, I think we achieved most of them.  If we may have missed some, we can always look back and decide whether we are ready to work on those again this year or some other time.  As for our 2013 goals, I offer and lift them all up to God.  I really pray that He blesses me and my family with wisdom, guidance, and the spirit to work on each one of them TO BETTER OURSELVES and BE THE CHANGE that our family, church community, country and the world so desperately need these days. 

Finally, my wish and prayer for all of us is that we may all LIVE OUT our UNIQUE PURPOSE and DESIGN in GOOD HEALTH and with COURAGE, FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE every single day of 2013.  Individual purposeful living and yet, one and together in achieving.    Cheers!!!