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!


 

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!


 

(Photo from colorful.bigbangfish.com)

(Photo from colorful.bigbangfish.com)

 

They say that Christmas is the time when everybody goes back home to their families.  Well, I had the chance to feel this heart-tugging moment with our two teenage girls a couple of weeks ago, way before the month of December had set in.  I didn’t have to wait for Christmas.

Arielle went to a dinner party with some old friends and I was expecting her to be home past midnight.  She doesn’t go to parties often and I thought that this would make up for all the parties she missed as a homeschooler.  I was having a bad, bloated tummy that evening, was tossing and turning in my bed when I finally decided to get up and find something to eat to hopefully make me feel better.  That was around midnight.  To my surprise, I saw Kayla AND Arielle, both lying down on the sofas and awake.  Kayla was apparently waiting for her Ate to come home so she could open the gate and door for her.  Arielle greeted me and asked if I was surprised to see her home early.  I actually was. So I asked her how the party went as I was preparing myself a bowl of cereals with milk.  Then, both my girls joined me at the dining table and Arielle started talking.  I was waiting for a non-stop storytelling session…with all the animation…and excitement.  But to my surprise, it was the total opposite!  She shared with me how disappointed she was.  She was disappointed seeing how her old friends were not able to carry a “smart” conversation.  How “shallow” they were in their ways and thinking.  How they preoccupied themselves with selfies!  She honestly felt that they just didn’t connect anymore and that she felt she had matured and grown up faster than most, if not all, of them.  What I didn’t expect to hear from her was this:  “Ma, see???  Eating cereals with you now is so much better than the party!!!”   AWWWW…my HEART!!!!!

That moment with Arielle and Kayla at the dining table.  Past midnight.  In my jammies.  In Arielle’s party clothes.  In Kayla’s casual, don’t-care clothes.  With a bowl of Koko Crunch and milk.  The three of us gathered around the dinner table.  THANK YOU, DEAR GOD, FOR THIS MOMENT!!!

Here’s more.  The next day, when we went to church to hear mass, in our family huddle-time prayer, Arielle made sure she spoke up with a prayer to the Lord, thanking Him for FAMILY.  That she has her FAMILY to always run to…where she can be herself…and a FAMILY to always have and keep.

As I write this, my HEART is FULL.  FULL of LOVE.  FULL of WARMTH.  FULL OF GRATITUDE. THANK YOU, LORD, for my FAMILY and for this WONDERFUL AFFIRMATION that we are doing the right thing for and with our children all for your greater glory!

May God bless your families and homes for your children to always come back to…not only during Christmas season but everyday of the year and everyday of their lives, no matter what they go through and how old they become.


 

The past two days have been celebrations for our family.  Last April 24, Arielle graduated from high school and the eight years of her being homeschooled was a REWARD and an AWARD in itself!   A REWARD because of the many, many memorable moments we had together in this journey as a family that we would not have experienced had she been in a traditional school.  There are just so many experiences that enriched and strengthened us individually and as a family unit.  Too many to count!  An AWARD because SHE DID IT! And I, as a homeschooling mom, did it, too! 🙂  Then, yesterday, April 25, was Kayla’s 14th birthday!  Gosh, the girls are just growing up way too fast, I want to stop time and keep them as my babies forever!

I’ve been on a blog hiatus for the plain reason that there are just too many things going on that I literally do not have that extra time to sit down and start writing. The 8 hours, even 12-14 hours, in a day, doesn’t seem enough for me to accomplish what I both need and want to accomplish for my family and for myself.  We currently do not have any helper in the house (again!) which makes that an added role for me to fulfill, aside from being the girls’ driver, secretary, home manager, and homeschooling mom, of course.  We are also currently going through some house renovation where the flooring on two floors is being changed, leaving our house in a mess!  And being the super-organized mom that I am, seeing the state of our house now is giving me OC (obssessive-compulsive) attack.  I tend to grumble and complain everyday, disliking the endless chores that I need to do, day in and day out.

But something happened yesterday which taught ME (Yes, me, the homeschooling mom!) a lesson just this morning during breakfast.  Nepal was hit with a 7.5 magnitude earthquake leaving over a thousand dead (as of this writing) and almost 5,000 injured and so many buildings and homes destroyed.  When I saw pictures from a fellow homeschooler based in Nepal of how they are there now, and more pictures of the aftermath, I was humbled.  And CORRECTED.  I told myself that I didn’t have the right to complain about dirty floors, unkept rooms, dust all over, washing the dishes, and all four of us temporarily squatting and sleeping in the master’s bedroom.  I HAVE NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN AT ALL!  Instead, I ONLY have to be THANKFUL for our home which is standing up and not in rubbles.  We have an ample supply of food in the refrigerator and pantry cabinets.  Our faucets and showers are working.  We can afford to turn on the aircon.  There are workers willing to offer their service for us in order to change our flooring!

With this, I am also reminded by this article I came across very recently.  I should have known that this was already a lesson God was trying to tell me amidst my complaining and questioning on why I do not seem to be doing enough.  It is really time for me to change the question I keep on asking myself, from “Why can’t I seem to do enough?” or “Am I doing enough?” to “Am I doing what’s mine?”  or “What is it that I’m supposed to do at this very moment?”   I must admit, my brain works on a fast-forward mode.  I do have the tendency to think of EVERYTHING that’s going to take place in the future like during the week, in the next two weeks and even month, instead of focusing on the now.  That’s how I put order in my life.  That’s why I get overwhelmed and feel disappointed with Mike and the girls when they don’t seem to be working and even thinking in the same pace as I do.

It is a lesson that I am now trying my best to learn.  To BE IN THE MOMENT and BE THANKFUL, most especially when things are not running “on schedule” as I want them to be.

As I end this, I AM thankful for the time God gave me to put this piece of writing together.  It was a good and quiet time for me to slow down and assess my life right now.  Our house may be a mess but I wouldn’t trade it for the situation the Nepalese are in right now.  They are in my prayers and trust that God will also make this disaster an opportunity for them to receive and see unexpected blessings.

This is WHAT’S MINE NOW:  To appreciate and love Mike, Arielle, and Kayla and celebrate their uniqueness even though they may be the exact opposites of who I am, to keep things simple and uncomplicated during this temporary moment of our house being in a mess and our household being maid-less,  to make sure I stop and listen to the girls when they are trying to converse with me or show me something, to continue to support Mike in building a HOME, and to continue homeschooling and parenting Arielle and Kayla based on God’s standards and not the world’s.

To appreciate and enjoy a full life, one must really be able to BE IN THE MOMENT and BE THANKFUL!  How about you?  What’s YOURS right now?