Two brothers began rehearsing their acrobatic act. They jumped, and one landed on the head of another. They jumped again, and the one below now landed on the other’s head. They jumped another time, did a high-five in the air, and landed on the ground with a pose. Then they practiced their tightrope routine, balancing and even jumping, then landing on the rope flawlessly. What an amazing feat!
Prior to that, the main performer practiced his magic tricks. He had lots of tricks to wow the crowd, one of which was turning a yellow blanket into a Golden Labrador dog. The magician’s name was Thelé. He was an elephant.
These scenes were part of our playtime a few days ago. My son and I play a whole lot, especially with stuffed toys, and the theme that day turned out to be “circus.” The playtime included rehearsals, the actual circus show, and a meeting of the circus producers with a couple of business partners who wanted to bring the circus show to five places — Hong Kong, China, Japan, India and Russia. They struck an agreement with a handshake and a photo, and talked about logistics and how to make it happen. (The “circus producers” were two Grover stuffed toys, and the “business partners” were a dog and a bear.)
That was the end of that playtime, and it looked like this was “To Be Continued.” True enough, yesterday’s playtime was the continuation. We went from contacting the travel agency to acquire passports and to secure visas at the Japanese embassy (including singing and rapping while stuck in traffic in an “Uber” bus), packing and preparing stuff for the trip, checking in at the airport, and boarding the first flight. Whew! It was a whole lot of fun!
I was reflecting on this yesterday, and what came to me was FOCUS.
I admit, I can easily get distracted by so many things. But I decided years ago, that when I’d have playtime with my kid, I’d be ALL IN. I’d be fully PRESENT — whether it was just 15 minutes or one-and-a-half hours (like yesterday). There were no leaks in terms of attention, no distractions (read: no gadgets!), just pure enjoyment!
Merriam-Webster has these definitions for “focus”:
a center of activity, attraction, or attention
a point of concentration
Focus is like having this box or block of condensed energy with one purpose — it’s full, complete. It’s got clarity because one’s vision is sharpened. In my playtime example, my son and I had fun because we were both into it. Our purpose was to play. I didn’t have anything else at the back of my mind, shifting my attention and saying, “You gotta do this or that.” It was 100% in.
This goes for other things, too. I realized that when I eliminate unnecessary distractions, I get a whole lot more done with more joy and less stress. There’s a certain flow. Others call it being “in the zone.” The Bible calls it being “wholehearted.” I’m beginning to realize that it also has to do with excellence and giving our best for God. Check out these different versions of the same Bible verses:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV)
Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men. (Colossians 3:23, AMP)
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work. (Colossians 3:22-25, MSG)
When I learned more about how to focus, I realized it was possible to accomplish those things I had been procrastinating about. Of course, reaching the finish line was such sweet victory, but even gaining momentum and the process itself boosted my happiness!
So I encourage, dear friend, to FOCUS. It’s still the first month of the year, and you can decide. What are the main things you will focus on and improve? Your health? Your relationships? Your walk with God? Then take the necessary, intentional steps. You’ll be surprised at your progress!
If you want personalized support to help you focus and follow through on your resolutions, then I invite you to sign up for “Get Your Happy into Action!” — a 4-week one-on-one coaching program that will help you gain momentum towards your goals. Check out the video and poster below:
It’s a new year, a fresh start, a clean slate. There are blank pages waiting to be filled. Ah yes, we can begin again.
I’m truly grateful that the new year brings new blessings and new opportunities. I mean, who doesn’t like something new?! And the great thing about it is God Himself proclaims:
“See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:19, NABRE)
This is a wonderful season to be in. So to help us become more intentional in having a fresh start, here are three ways to welcome the new in 2018:
Start with God’s Word.
Let me share with you a practice that we’ve been doing in our community every year. Many of us do this minutes after the clock strikes midnight of the New Year. Others do it later in the day of January 1, or any time in January.
So what we do is we pray for God’s message for us for the year. With Bible in hand, we say a prayer for God to lead us to the page or pages where His message is for us, to lead our eyes and finger as we open the Bible. As we sense God’s peace in our hearts, we prayerfully open the Bible and point to a page. Then we begin to read the words. And if something strikes us or touches us, we stop and reflect.
Sometimes, the message is an instruction to be obeyed. Other times, it is a promise to claim and receive. At still other times, it might even be a warning of what to avoid. But always it is an encouragement and assurance that God actually cares to communicate with us.
More often than not, understanding it will not come in one go; it is a process of discovering more and more the treasures that are in that particular passage. Go ahead and try it out!
To declutter means to “remove things you do not need in a place, in order to make it more pleasant and more useful” (Cambridge Dictionary). It’s to remove what’s unnecessary or doesn’t serve a purpose anymore.
I propose we declutter, not just externally, but also internally.
Externally has to do with physical spaces. So I started decluttering our room some days ago, and it felt so good! Such happiness to finally see more areas without stuff! It’s like there was more room to breathe. I am not done decluttering, but just starting and seeing some progress already helps in welcoming new possibilities!
As for internal decluttering, this has to do with letting go of such things as mental baggage and negative attitudes. I remember sometime ago when I was tempted to replay some negative memories in my mind, I would tell myself, “Don’t go there.” Because I knew that if I did, it would only stir up the same negative feelings, and possibly I could begin to think bad of others. So that’s never a good idea. Best is to cut off all that negative weight to have a fresh start.
When we declutter, a sense of peace and order ensue. There is a calm. And a clearer mind. And the decluttering also makes room for greater fruitfulness, as it says in John 15:2 (NLT):
“He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
A goal is something that you aim for. It is your target. It is your destination. An interesting definition from the Merriam Webster Dictionary says that a goal is “the end toward which effort is directed.”
Ergo, a goal gives us direction, so that we don’t allow life to “just happen.” Consequently, goals help us become intentional. Of course, it also implies that effort has to be exerted. And that’s how goals position us for growth. The painstaking process of going from point A to point B is a victory. Each little step forward is a win in itself.
So go ahead and welcome all things new, and position yourself for an exciting year!
You might also want to watch the replay of a short video I did entitled, “Designed for newness — some thoughts on Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing!” Click here to watch it.
If you’re a busy mom who needs positive support in your life when it comes to achieving your goals, then read on…
Many people start the new year with “New Year’s Resolutions,” and it’s all good. It shows that people want to live better lives. Unfortunately, many are not able to follow through. After a few weeks, they either give up or forget about their resolutions altogether.
I know for us busy moms, we, too, like a fresh start. We might already have our goals in place, or maybe we’re still in the process of formulating them. But I’m sure we’d all want some support to help us follow through on these resolutions and goals.
Which is why I’d like to help you at the start of this year to help you gain momentum so you can follow through, and not just set goals, but to actually achieve them.
So I’m opening a few spots for my 1-on-1 Coaching Program called —
GET YOUR HAPPY into ACTION!: Gain momentum to achieve your goals in 2018
Get Your Happy into Action! is a 4-week 1:1 coaching program for moms who need support in following through on their goals. The aim is not just to set goals, but to position oneself to actually achieve them.
This 1-on-1 coaching program will help you:
Identify and address the obstacles in achieving your goals
Reduce overwhelm by gaining clarity in knowing what to do next
Focus and take action on your most important goals
Gain momentum (win after win) so you become unstoppable in achieving your goals for the rest of the year
In this program, you will receive
4 one-hour coaching calls with me (once a week)
Email accessibility during the 4 weeks
Worksheets (with guide questions)
Power Verses (depending on your goals or circumstances)
Option 1: One-time payment of P5,000
Option 2: Two payments of P2,500 (one before the first session; another before the third session)
So if you’d like to be one of those who get personalized support from me with regard to taking action on your most important goals at the start of this year, then I invite you to sign up for this program. The investment in yourself will truly be worth it. And I would love to serve you and help you on your journey.
If you’re ready to take up your “mission challenge” to finally believe what’s possible and take action towards the goals God has put in your heart at the start of this year, then click here to avail of the one-time payment.
If you’d rather do the 2-payment option, then email me at email@example.com so I can give you further details on the payment process. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or concerns as well.
I look forward to working with you and helping you gain momentum towards achieving your goals!
“I’ll make my heart a Bethlehem….” So goes a chorus of one song I learned many years ago. It talks about preparing one’s heart to receive Jesus again at Christmas.
I was thinking about this song recently. And usually what comes to my mind is having the home of my heart all spic-and-span. But this time, something else came to mind. And it wasn’t a magical or majestic picture, one we so often see in holiday greeting cards.
It was about stink. And mess. And not being ready…sort of.
(Obviously, these are not the top-of-mind words when we hear “Advent” or “Christmas.” Let me explain.)
Stink (read: animals)
Mess — I don’t think this stable would be featured in a home magazine under the “Organization” category…and imagine all that dust and dirt…
Not being ready — Perhaps the stable was caught off guard… What?! The Messiah is going to be born here?! Um…er…I don’t even have a bed! Oh wait…here’s a manger…
Doesn’t that make you wonder why God chose such a place for royalty to be born?
Could it be that He’s telling us that we don’t have to have it all together for Him to be born anew in our hearts? That He comes to us in the messiness and imperfection of our lives? That even if we’re not 100% ready, He surprises us by accepting whatever little we have to make Him feel at home, and makes us realize that His presence is enough to bring that holy warmth to our souls?
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we don’t make any effort to prepare the best way we can. But it reminds us that even with imperfect preparations and less than ideal circumstances, Christ can still be there. Christ in Christmas — that’s what it’s all about.
Need some room to breathe and encounter Christ amid all the busyness of the season? Then I invite you to a free online Advent Retreat that I’m hosting on my FB page. Click here and request to join so I can add you. 🙂
This post is related to the previous one. If you read it, then you know how important it is as a busy mom to take charge of your happiness. So I made a follow-up video below where I share with you 5 ways you can do so.
Truth be told, I was planning to post this a few days ago, but I didn’t realize how long it would take to edit the video! (Plus recording this video also got delayed.) So I’m just keeping it real.
OK, some funny things happened. Since the video and the editing software had different specs (if that’s what you call it), the top of my head got cut off, haha! And I’m not sure if I could actually adjust it (if you’re an expert video editor, then please educate me!). And I didn’t mute the notifications, so at one point it kept on ringing. 😛 Anyway, I really just wanted to get the message out in spite of all them imperfections.
So please watch this short video I made for you (pretty please???)…I know it will give you a little more perspective on how you can increase your happiness meter.
Plus, a cameo appearance of a superhero comes out at about the 2:49 mark. 😀
To summarize, here are 5 simple ways you can take charge of your happiness that I mention in the video:
Find ways to help others.
Have some “me time.”
Get creative and have some fun! <– some superhero appears at this point, haha
Also, as I mentioned in the previous post, I will be opening the doors soon to an online coaching program entitled “Get Your Happy: Take charge of your happiness (so you can have less stress, more peace and more fun!).”
If you are interested — even in the slightest degree, like .05% — then let me know if you would like a little taste of it in a free Facebook group that I could set up. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with a “YES!” in the email, along with your FB name. And if there are a number of you, then it’s a go. 🙂 (I’ll also be giving out some freebies in the group.)
Several weeks ago, I attended a homeschool conference. There were plenary talks as well as breakout sessions. One of the breakout sessions was about “Carving Me-Time for Homeschooling Moms.” That piqued my interest, because if you have been reading my emails for some time now, you probably know I do encourage busy moms to be proactive about their happiness.
So off I went to look for the room where the talk would be held. When I entered, lo and behold, only a few of us mommies were there. Meanwhile, we could hear the noise from the chitchat going on in the other rooms, which were filled. Topics in the other breakout sessions were about various ways to teach and engage children; this was the only one about taking care of oneself. When one of the organizers (a man) entered the room to check on us, our speaker/facilitator said something akin to how we, moms, tend to put ourselves last as we serve everybody else.
It was interesting and funny at the same time. But it’s true. It’s natural for us to care for and nurture our loved ones. God wired us that way. But many of us need help on the self-care spectrum. We can easily neglect ourselves, whether incremental or to the extreme, to the point where we can be on the side of all the negatives. And trust me, it can get ugly. The ugly rears its head in many forms —complaining, blaming, comparison, envy, discontent, impatience, self-pity and sadly, even yelling at your kids. And when these are your companions, guess what? You think you’ll be happy? Nope.
How do I know? Well, I’ve been there. One of the major changes in my life caught me off guard. When I relocated several years ago, I was uprooted from all that was close and familiar to me. This uprooting was painful, and I struggled immensely, crying out to God through my tears. Two weeks in, I made a decision that began to help me take charge of my happiness.
I remember it well. I was wearing a bright green sportshirt, with a white collar and thin, white stripes. It was morning, and my husband had gone off to work. I was sitting on the couch, all alone in the living room. And while hearing the whiz of vehicles passing in front of our apartment, I prayed to the Lord and told Him that I would be grateful, that I choose gratitude.
Gratitude was the first decision I made regarding my situation. It was simple yet powerful.
Only later did I realize that this was a step in taking charge of my happiness. Because it made me see what I had instead of what I didn’t have. I came to appreciate the blessings that surrounded me instead of harping about the blessings I wish were mine.
It has been a long process, and I’m still journeying. But I’ve learned so many lessons along the way, and I’d like to share this with you.
I’d like to help you break out of just going with the flow of your circumstances to being intentional and taking charge of your happiness.
I know, I know, there’s that mommy guilt. You feel you might be selfish. Or maybe you think you’re not worth it. Or that you’re too busy so there is absolutely no time to spend on yourself. Or it seems there is no way you can do that, above all your commitments and responsibilities. You might even describe your life now as “toxic” or you keep telling others, “I’m swamped.”
But has it ever occurred to you…
To actually commit toyourself?
To recognize that your happiness is important?
To become a better version of yourself?
Why, you ask? When you are a happier you, and a better version of yourself, then you will be able to serve others in a better way and fulfill, in a better way, the responsibilities God has entrusted you with in this season of your life.f
So here’s an invitation…
I am looking to welcome, serve and journey with 10 moms in a 4-week online group coaching program. The program is entitled —
Get Your Happy!
Take charge of your happiness
(so you can have less stress, more peace and more fun!)
This program will be in beta version, and if you choose to enroll, you will be one of the founding members. Your input will also be invaluable for the next version.
OK, now you might be thinking…
Whaaat? 4 Weeks?! I can’t even get a few minutes for myself. Are you kidding me?
This is one of the busiest seasons of the year. I am waaayyy too busy, and putting this in my to-do list will just add to more overwhelm.
Why should I even spend for a program when I can spend it on more important things…like Christmas gifts?
Let me help you dispel these concerns:
The time frame for the program is 4 weeks, but the training will come in bite-sized portions, and will only require several minutes each day. They will be delivered via email and a private Facebook group. (If you are used to scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or other social media platforms each day, then no need to worry — you will have time for this.)
I think we’re all in the same boat of busy. Which is why this program is designed for busy moms like you. Instead of adding to the overwhelm, it will actually help you stop and give you room to breathe. It will help clear your mind. And oh, just to put it out there — when you join, you’ll also get my “Stress-free Christmas mini-course” for free!
About spending on more important things…what about considering yourself as important?How about giving yourself a Christmas gift? Maybe it’s time to invest in yourself…the ROI being a less stressed, a more joyful, peaceful and fun you…a HAPPY YOU! [Not to mention happier loved ones because things are happier when you’re around. ;)] <– This matters, right?
I will be posting more details in the coming days. In the meantime, ask yourself this question:
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, where are you now when it comes to taking charge of your happiness?
Hi, I’m Mich! I’m a wife and homeschooling mom. In this online space, I hope to encourage and inspire you with the lessons of faith, hope and trust that I’ve learned on my journey thus far. Blessings! :)