The Importance of a Schedule

I want to share a little thing I learned from a productivity expert about the importance of a schedule in our lives.

In my last post, I shared about To Do Lists — and how important it is for some of us who needed to hear that. (Yes.) 

While I was reading that post, I told myself, “Wow, that was really a no-brainer tip, I mean — I think everyone knows it already.”

But as I reflect upon my life and how challenging it is to stick to tasks lately, I looked at my post with fresh eyes and assured me: “Someone, somewhere out there needed to hear that.” (Chuckles.)

Trophy of a Productive Person
The Importance of Schedule

Now that we’re done with To Do Lists (which you can have in your gadgets, too), what’s next?

Let’s talk about the importance of a schedule. Today, I will be scheduling. Tomorrow, you will be scheduling. Till kingdom come you will be scheduling. I guess we all have to do it efficiently then.

I have friends who are really good at this but I am in the process of learning as much as I can and executing the best way possible these suggestions from a great productivity material by Douglass & Douglass:

“Schedule your time every day to make sure you accomplish the most important things first. Be sure to leave room for the unexpected and for interruptions. But remember that things that are scheduled have a better chance of working out than things that are unscheduled.”

Pin image of 2 Chronicles 26 verse 5
https://biblehub.com/2_chronicles/26-5.htm

The Importance of a Schedule: Routines and Rhythms

For me, I wake up before everybody in the house (at least I try to, everyday), and then sit at the Lord’s feet. I play my song (today’s was “Shepherd of my Heart by Sandi Patty), and then I read the Scripture selection of the day (I use the SOLO by Navpress, among others) and do a little notetaking/journaling.

Sometimes I get interrupted by a crying toddler, so I don’t always finish my morning devotion in one sitting. But I make sure that the first thing I do is to talk to God, dedicate my day to Him, and launch with confidence.

We have been talking about To Do Lists in the previous post and if you are like me, meeting alone with God at daybreak is the number one thing I do everyday. The next is saying “Good morning!” to my husband before he starts working at 6 AM and enjoying a cup with him.

And that simple routine makes a grand difference to my day.

Then, I do the rest in my To Do List.

I walk with my son. (I made it a point to stroll with him after breakfast (sometimes before) just so he could visit the koi fish in the manmade pond in our community. Their movements make him smile that sweet smile of his.)

Surfing Dreams

I supervise my daughter’s studies (we have been homeschooling even before the pandemic).

And then sometimes we meet with lovely biking friends. It is indeed a wonderful opportunity to be with them and enjoy God’s blessing of a new day.

I hope you can get a little bit of sunshine every day, like we do.

I get to see the importance of a schedule when activities with friends add up! 🙂  


Grabbed from Patsy Clairmont’s Twitter. She’s always a darling (carrying the sword of the Spirit and lots of wit).

Heart to Heart:

When They Talk About You (Yes, You)

Once upon a time, there was a woman who heard her neighbors talking outside. She was about to wash the dishes when she heard her name.

She turned off the faucet and tilted her head towards the window. “They are talking about me…” she thought.

And in all her life, she’s never done the dishes more silently.

She put a cup slowly on the dish rack. She scoured the spoons gently. 

She shushed the gushing water and stifled a sneeze.

“The family that lives there? Oh, they are (number). The dad (…), and the mom is a (…) But their children don’t go out. They just stay in their house. (She compares the children she babysits here.) They have one boy and one girl. The boy is …. The girl is ….”

And then at that point the voices at first crisp and clear became barely audible. The decibel level became very low that the dishwashing woman couldn’t gather anything from the whispers.

“What are they saying about us now?” she wondered nervously.

She went to her door, turned the knob quickly and surprised her neighbors.

Hello! Good morning girls,” she said. “What’s the buzz today?

The busybodies stopped talking, blushed, and went inside their unit.

aquarium drawing
My daughter’s artwork when she was 7.

Okay, that didn’t happen.

What really happened was this, when the voices became soft she knew God shielded her ears from what she did not need to hear.

And though in the past she would be the kind of person who will go out there to tell them to mind their own business, she knew better than to entrust what other people think of her family to the Lord.

But that’s not all. She also knew she needed to hear what other people are saying (especially the people who love her family) because maybe, just maybe, she needs to.

And she decided she needed to hear that. She had peace, so much peace about it, that she wrote about it and shared it with friends whom she loves and might need it.

And she lived happily ever after, safe and secure that God knows and loves her family more.

THE END.

I’ll end the story right there because there is nothing more to add.

Yes, I confess. 

I was that dishwashing woman, and the helpers of a neighboring unit were talking about (spying?) on us and I was eavesdropping.

Oh dear.

biking and walking kids

I wasn’t able to hear more than what I already heard. I think they heard the spoons as I adjusted them in the dish rack and went scat.

I had several realizations after this. And I think you will be surprised about how this would end.

If you go back to the beginning of this post, I told you that I have made it a point to take my son to walk outside in the morning whenever I can.

Do you know what encouraged that decision?

I guess you do. (Wink!)

Indeed, all things work together for good, and I will surely be walking and getting that sunshine not because of “them”, but because I need to.

More stories in my next post!

Love,

Ruthie

P.S. You might want to start your decluttering adventure today. Read this post.

A To Do List Might Help

If you’re working on several projects at a time, you need a To Do List. Seriously.

To Do lists are extremely helpful for ladies who have several pots cooking on several stoves, because admit it — we do that!

So how do we make sure we don’t burn any of them (we do that, too) and not lose focus while overseeing what’s cooking in there?

Hmm.

No Brainer To Do List

A To Do List is easy to make. If you’re the printable kind of girl, you can go to your laptop, design your own, or download a template, and start writing your list.

If not, you can pick up a piece of paper and write down what you need to do for the day. Stick it up where you and family can see so you will be accountable.

I have a lot to share with you in the coming days but I’ll stop here for now. Make that To Do List and see you next time.

productivity tips

Find a Mother (If You Don’t Have One Already)

One of the greatest gifts of having a mother around is to have her comfort and embrace when things are going tough. 

Yes, I have a handsome and totally wonderful husband to give me love sweet love, and beautiful children to make me smile.

But when you go through something that touches your female heart (as I did last month) you go seek your mother, or if that’s not possible, seek someone motherly.

I go through tough times now and then, and where do you think I run (with my husband’s blessing) when that happens? Mother’s house, of course! 

Mother hugging child
We all need a mother, or someone motherly. Don’t hesitate to reach out to people who can be like a mother to you at a given time. They can pray and listen to you. Love them back. Then pay it forward.

My mother is such a blessing to me because there are those times you find it hard to do anything due to physical weakness or sadness of heart.

But the entire time we were in her home, she took care of our tummies. But that is not all she did. That’s not all mothers do.

The children have their grandma to baby them, and I have a mother to mother me with her presence.

Because when mothers look at each other, they get each other instantly.

And sometimes, no words need to be spoken. (My mother can be laconic.) We just go to the kitchen and watch her make something, or sleep on the comfy bed she prepared.

In a few, I was up on my feet, ready to face the world. Ahh, it always works.

When going through a tough time, it is good to take a rest, receive counsel from faithful sisters, and reach for some people who are motherly (if your mom is not there anymore) and receive God’s love through them.

I could go on and on about my mother’s many virtues, but I will just leave this here: she raised, fed, guided, taught, and loved nine children. And by God’s grace she’s still mothering. 

I wrote a shape poem in the past and talked about my love for my mother. I am never too bold when I am not writing, — so I took the route of the poem (reposting from my old blog) to give her love:

Mother

dear mother, how can i fathom

the dearness by which I am loved?

the nearness by which our souls stand?

can i out-love my giver of life, whose heart

beats with me, revealing this transparent soul

with every borrowed minute of this fleeting life?

how this shortness is recompensed by lasting eternal

affection,  how in your bosom God  has cradled my body,

how through your tears, i’ve bloomed even in the darkness

And now blossoming towards the light, and flourishing; how

can one understand the way your touch can bring back the silent, 

stifled memories of infancy and want, those moments when in 

utter vulnerability i had a shield, and nothing can quite

possibly go wrong when your gaze hovers over me,

lighting my future with your gentleness and kiss

from the first day. How the eagle soars 

through a howling storm, nobody

asks. But how some flowers 

bloom in unlikely places

that’s a wonder —

like the pure

love of my

Mother.


Bible verse about slander

Feeling stuck with unmet expectations, tiredness, and seemingly insurmountable difficulty? May this old post minister to you.

I don’t know why I wrote it before, I don’t know what I was exactly going through.

What now remains of a turbulent event is the grace of God and the harvest He always promises. Hang in there, dear sister.


Coming soon:

Working on this one. Stay tuned!

“God gave you your voice, so why not lift it up to Him in praise?”

xxx,

Ruth

P.S.

If you want to read my previous post, here’s a link to click. 🙂 Bye for now!

Decluttering Tips & More

Homemaking is an adventure, and part of what makes it amazing are the decluttering tips we pick up along the way.

As moms, it’s part of our lives — learning. Let me share something about how I am taking care of the mess and to give myself a sort of rest in this leg of my journey.

It’s been a busy week and I have only began getting back on track on my blog today. So glad to see you here!


I want to make my home Instagram pretty for a solid ten minutes when I am with my children. But unless they are sleeping, something will be spilled, disarranged, or make a bang sooner than you think.

I am pretty much (or I try to be) a minimalist when it comes to my home because more stuff around means more to arrange, declutter, and organize. The goal is to give my child the freedom to move without restrictive words all the time —

“Don’t touch that!” “Don’t break that!” “Don’t move that!” Nooooooooo!

decluttering tips
Today’s feast: Decluttering Tips, Milk Powder Yogurt Recipe and Tips on Feeding a Picky Baby.

Toddlers, Pictures & the (Harsh) Reality

Surely, he will touch, break and move things for this is his stage of exploration and making his first marks (watch out walls and floors)! So for the sake of sanity, I try to give him enough space when I can.

My friend saw a picture of my boy with a basket of books and a box of toys beside it. “Wow, that’s tidy!” she said, and praised my organization skills.

Tidy is an ideal, a desire I have everyday, but… you know what happens seconds after that pristine photo.

Oftentimes, the big picture tells a different story.

Oh yeah…

Decluttering Tips Go a Long Way (if you try them)

I thanked her for her words of encouragement but I also had to admit to her that most days, all I have is controlled chaos. I told her about the things that are not in the photo, you know, the things we won’t share out there.

Eek!

Today, I have minimized and decluttered some more, so my house is a lot “better” than before. And I heard my friend has been decluttering daily, too. I also heard she’s letting go of some things to regain more space.

Celebrate with us!

Your sister,

Ruth

Do you want to have a gentle home organization system that will help you sort through your home? Try mine and see if it works for you! Read here.



15-Minutes-a-Day Decluttering

I love Emilie Barnes. If you can get hold of a copy of her books in local bookstores, you are blessed. One of the books I have which I are my go to for homemaking is More Hours in My Day.

Another favorite book which I still have (and will not drop in the Give Away Bag) is Survival for Busy Women.

decluttering tips
Tackle your home’s “painful areas” like closets, dressers, under the beds!

Barnes says fifteen minutes a day is all you need! What? Hmm, apparently, it works — over a period of time, that is. It has to be a habit!

She wrote her books in the 70s, 80s, yes, before Marie Kondo was born, so she didn’t have the sophisticated smartphone we have now, and uses the oven timer!

A friend of mine asked for some tips about decluttering. She said she just needed a little help in the department. Guess what! “It works, she said!” I agree!


Time to Feed the Baby (or Toddler)!

Not all babies will respond very well to feeding time. In my quest to answer my friend’s questions (and mine, too), I found a really nifty piece (and really old) to help us feed that picky baby.

“Your toddler will very quickly sense your anxiety. he will soon realize that by being difficult at mealtimes he can become the center of everyone’s attention. He accepts all the rewards and bribes you offer him. And he goes on playing with his food — and dawdling. Mealtimes may become a battle, but remember that he can always be the winner by simple, stubborn refusal, and a wise mother will avoid a head-on clash of wills.

Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Food fads are almost invariably due to food forcing, and can lead to lifelong dislikes. But they rarely develop in families where there are several children and no one has time to notice what the toddler eats. If he has genuine likes and dislikes, they can be respected and substitutes found for the unpalatable foods. If he refuses meat, for instance, he can make up his proteins with eggs or fish or cheese. If he won’t eat his greens, he will come to no harm if he has extra fruit to make up the vitamins.” (Source: Frankly Feminine (edited by Eileen McCarthy) by The Grolier Society Limited, London, 1965, page 357.)

Speaking of alternatives, you may add yogurt to your child’s diet! Here is a very easy recipe to make yours! It’s easy to do, and cheap, too! You will never buy store yogurt ever (if you make it a habit to keep a “mother” every time you make a batch).

Here’s all you need, plus time (yes, you’ll have to wait!)

Photo from https://www.yummytummyaarthi.com/milk-powder-yogurt.
  • 1 cup of milk powder
  • 3 cups of water &
  • 2 tablespoons of yogurt

It’s so easy you can picture it in your mind! So get that yogurt done today!


Are You Burdened?

We’re done with the house (as a whole), and the door (last time), so today, we go to the receiving area of the home.

I love the drawings that Karla Dornacher made for her book. The text was also written literally, yes, by hand, by the author and artist herself. I will just post pages 16-17 here of Love in Every Room by Karla Dornacher.

“Keeping a home, nurturing others, and facing life’s daily challenges can easily leave you tired, weary, and burdened. Jesus is waiting to give you rest for your soul.”

“Jesus has sent you a personal invitation… “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. Accept His invitation today!

“Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
What a picturesque way to be reminded of God’s promises to the burdened soul!

At the end of the day, we all sit back and enjoy the work of our hands, and glorify the Lord from Whom all blessings (including our work at home) flow.

Hope you have a fruitful day,

Ruthie

What’s in Your Bucket List?

Have you written your bucket list?

A bucket list is defined as a “list of things that a person would like to do or achieve before they die.” Source

Bucket List for 2021

I am not enamored by the idea of a bucket filled with the things I want to have or achieve.

So this year, instead of a bucket list, I want to start having a teapot list.

As I go along life’s highway, I might discard a thing or two — just as I do all the time.

I mean, there used to be things I’ve been wanting oh so much which, given the seasons in my life that came and went, I had peace to live without.

Do you have those things, too?

A teapot has two openings — the top, and the spout.

I guess I will try by God’s grace to be getting in as much of the good desires as the Lord permits but I will also be ready to pour when needed without turning my world upside down!

And that can mean letting go of things that don’t match the beautiful vessel that the Lord has given me when I trusted in Jesus as my Savior.

It can mean letting go of treasures, dreams, and aspirations without bitterness or resentment in your heart.

Why Think of Bucket Lists

I began thinking about the “bucket” phenomenon because it is closely associated with the “yolo” thinking that millennials are often accused to have.

One preacher I heard once asked the listeners to rethink the “bucket list” phenomenon by asking: “Bakit ka my list? Instead of having your own list, ask the Lord through His Word kung anong gustong niya sa buhay mo.”

(Translation: Why do you have a list? Instead of having your own list, ask the Lord through His Word what He wants out of your life.”)

Have you asked the Lord lately what He wants your new year or for that matter, your life, to be filled with? What we fill our lives will definitely come out in some way, that’s for sure.

I need help in this aspect. I need a teapot that’s full with heavenward desires that the Lord wants me to have. (Wink!)

And please don’t get me wrong — it’s not a sin to enjoy what the Lord gives, whatever it may be. (Proverbs 10:22).

Oh, and by the way — since I am feeling so happy with my teapot metaphor, I want to add that pouring a teapot is much more graceful.

And at the end of the day, when a teapot is tired pouring, it’s not the end for the lovely vessel. It may very well be just the beginning!

Mlhynes, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Mlhynes, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sisterly love,

Ruthie

Matthew Henry says:

What we count the ills of life are often blessings in disguise, resulting in good to us in the end.


I wrote a little bit on generosity here, and choosing to be thankful here. Or maybe you need to declutter now! You might find time to read my posts. 🙂


Book Already in my Bucket List!

Love in Every Room by Karla Dornacher is a book I found in a thrift store (you must know I love thrifting). I treasure the beautiful art inside and the lovely words written there by Karla Dornacher. Here are some:

“You stand at the door, hesitant to knock. You have a list of challenges you’re facing as keeper of your home, but you don’t know what to do.”

***

“God does not want you to stay outside the porch and face your struggles alone. His welcome mat is always out and His door unlocked. He invites you to come in and share your heart with Him. He has promised to help if you just ask; He will care for you as a shepherd cares for the sheep.”

***

“Knock and the door of God’s love and blessing will be opened to you. Enter into His presence for there you will find refreshment and rest for your soul, and the light of Christ to guide you through your day.”

***

“And what about those who are knocking at your front door? As the keeper of your home, you have been called by God to be hospitable. Take time to put out your welcome mat and open your heart to those who knock at your door: family, friends, neighbors, even those you do not know. Invite them in to share in your life and the blessings you have been given.”


Quotes I Love

First is by Ruth Beechick, the beloved author of such treasures as The Three Rs and You Can Teach Your Child Successfully:

I also love this next one, by Ms. Beechick also:

If you’re raising and reading to a child day in and out, you’ll find these quotes really useful. Share them, if you must!

Song of the Day

This one is usually sung as a lullaby. But this is for anyone who needs to hear a lullaby sung to them. This will remind you that the God who holds the stars up in the sky, holds you in His hands — do not be afraid. <3

By the Gettys, from the album “Facing a Task Unfinished”.

Consider the Stars by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Consider the stars in the sky;
Look up and wonder, can you count their number?
Consider the stars in the sky;
Umbrella to hide in, a dance floor of heaven.
Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
Consider the stars in the sky;
When it is darkest they shine out the brightest
Consider the stars in the sky
In every anguish, Oh, child take courage
Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
He who made all of this, and who holds all of this,
Holds you in his hands
Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
Consider the stars in the sky;
Diamond in a ring. Over the Child King.
Consider the stars in the sky;
Grace He had promised, coming to find us
Do not be afraid
Do not be afraid
He who made all of this, says “You’re worth more than this, “
And holds you in his hands


Whatever you’re going through, dear Momma, God holds you in His hands.

Sisterly love,

Ruthie

A Totally Different Christmas

This year, how different is your Christmas? In the wake of everything that surprised us in 2020, isn’t it a good idea to have a different kind of celebration this year?

A Christmas Tree displayed in Papemelrotti’s shop window.

Several years ago, I wrote an article about holiday gift ideas in a newspaper circulated for a time in Metro Manila. Check it out here https://issuu.com/porma/docs/porma_vol1_no3 (see Page 8). 

While I was looking at my article entitled Pamaskong Regalong Pasok sa Budget Mo, more tips came to mind. But I am not talking about material gifts.

And this year, that makes everything different.

A Different Gift Idea No. 1: Building Bridges for Christmas

I prayed to the Lord to lead me to people who are out there helping others, and He did build not only a bridge for me, but many bridges. This December, I dedicated my life to building bridges, and opening doors.

In the first place, I began to tear down walls and build connections with people who love the Lord and love His people.

While still maintaining and visiting old roads with lovely friends who are like minded, this year, especially towards the end of it, I began to intentionally open up to new friends and old friends with communication has stopped, slowly, and my, how the Lord has blessed this effort!

My family has gained new friends where we live, dear friends who love to pray for, encourage, and bless my family.

Thus, in building the bridges, it was necessary to tear down walls of self-doubt, insecurity, and selfishness, and just give, give, give what we have freely received from the Lord. Time, talent, testimony — all have been used by the Lord to reinforce the bridges.

There’s a poem I love about building bridges. Read it here.

Here are the stones of God’s faithfulness in my bridge-building activities this last quarter:

  1. A lady from Australia gave me money for donating to any charity I like. Here’s the recipient, who will in turn use the money to help a family whose house was damaged by Ulysses.
  2. I asked some moms from my community if they had some clothes to spare for the Ulysses victims. Without hesitation, they gave me two bags of clothing. We were able to drop them off at a church center.
  3. A generous mom messaged me and asked me if she could help a church she knew I was praying for. She gave clothes, books, toys, and cash to a small village church in Pangasinan that is in need. She also donated toys to a church planting effort in Masbate.

Note that I had been praying before all those blessings arrived and were channeled through me. Isn’t it amazing how God answers according to His will? 

Building bridges with good materials is hard, but it is worth it. 

Remember the bridge that was made when our Lord died 2000 years ago? It is worth it. I promise you. Sacrificial giving is worth it when done in Jesus’ name. I wrote about sacrificial giving at the end of this post: https://everythinghappyhome.com/5-day-study-on-focus-psalm-274/ 

A Different Gift Idea No. 2: Mending Broken Things

Now there is something in your home that needs to be mended, I’m sure. Why don’t you move past the procrastinator in you and finally get on with it?

I have a quilt that needs mending, but somehow, it has become the least of my priorities. I have a box that needs taping, yet my mind constantly came up with excuses not to do it.

Since we don’t buy a lot nowadays, we use things until they’re broken and worn out unless they are given and donated to people. So every single thing in the house has been there for a while, and need to be mended ASAP when broken or torn.

Things that can be mended are:

Toys that your children love that have some loose screws or broken parts, especially those precious wooden, hand-me-down toys that last for generations. Consider mending them and gifting them to your children’s children.

Books that you love to keep in your family library forever, like Bible reference materials that need TLC. Put that tape to secure a loose leaf, or use glue to repair the binding. The constant wear and tear shows it is being loved, but don’t love it to pieces. Rescue!

Quilts, carpets, and heirloom objects that survived your decluttering adventure. I know this to be true for declutterers — whatever remains from your decluttering adventure (that fifty year old towel with your mother’s name on it) is so precious you’ll mend it again and again if you have to.

These are just some things I have on my list. How about you? What precious thing do you have in a box or bag or closet which needs TLC? A few stitches here and there and you can prolong their lives.

Gift yourself with something mended, and I promise you, the satisfaction equals receiving something new! And my daughter was watching me mend that old quilt. What do you think is the message to her?

A Different Gift Idea No. 3: Returning Things 

I have several things that need to be returned, which I shouldn’t have kept for a long time. In November, I lost something I should have returned eons ago because I mistakenly put in a bag for donation! 

Thankfully, my friend forgave me (she’s a generous spirit who is willing to give and has actually given more for her love for Jesus) but that thought tormented me for an entire day, as I looked for ways to break the news to her. 

These books need to go home to their owners, whom we love and miss!

So do you have something to return? I know I have. If you can’t go personally to make the delivery, there are ways to do it via the various couriers we have who will do it for a fee. 

Here are things you may need to return:

  1. Clothes — I have to return clothes I used for a video recording and some bling blings that the friend was kind enough to lend to me.
  2. Books — I have books to return, oh my, how I loved those books but they are not mine and so they must go to the kind owner ASAP.
  3. Food containers or bags — Among neighbors who share food and stuff, you might have something in your cupboard that belongs to another mom. Return that with something good inside, if you like. 🙂 

A Different Gift Idea No. 4: Supporting Friends’ Businesses

I have several friends who are doing business. Local businesses are flourishing nowadays because of friends and family who lift them up.

And because local businesses are usually family-owned, there is something special about their products that I love.

It’s love! They are lovingly made. They are thoughtfully made. 

One for each family member. Cookies with flax seeds and brewer’s yeast for me.

I wish I can put all the pictures here, but soon, I hope to do an update on this post and display them all.

A Different Gift Idea No. 5: Receiving Gifts from Declutterers

Now I am a declutter but I also have some stuff in my bucket list. A friend of mine who is practically decluttering an entire house has blessed me and my family with the things we need! I got a shelf, a scooter, preloved clothes, toys, and books from her.

Now that is a great help to someone living frugally like me! 

She had so much to share that I was also able to spill/reach out (make bridges) to people who are ministering to children in Pangasinan and Masbate. (See No. 1 above.)

Several months ago, another friend of mine let go of some items and again, the Lord connected me with people in San Mateo who benefited from her stuff.

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Taniegra, the kind mom who distributed the items to her neighbors.

These declutters are such generous people they don’t want us to think us highly of them. They always say — “You don’t have to thank me. I thank you because when you received my items, I have regained more space in my house.”

Amazing people — and of course, they don’t want to be mentioned. 🙂 

A Different Gift Idea No. 6 – Collaborating

So this year, I received the tremendous blessing to be reunited with my college choir. You can visit our YouTube channel here: 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClse2kMOEe7EgMaDzhocVjw

I also collaborated with my Ninong who holds a very important position in the rehabilitation of Marawi City. As we speak, they are rebuilding what was torn down by hate. Here is a short video clip that shows their laudable efforts to engender peace in the community. Thank you for your service, dear soldiers!

And in line with this activity, with the help of my enthusiastic friends, I rallied homeschoolers to create their posters or cards to encourage our dear soldiers who are in Marawi. Here is my daughter’s work:

The same children also recorded Payapang Daigdig together. I coached the children, my sister played the guitar for the background music, and my brother did the mixing in his studio. Here is the final output, just in time for Christmas!

Payapang Daigdig sung by my daughter and her friends.

A Different Gift Idea No. 7: Walking Away From Toxic People or People Who Think You’re Toxic and Don’t Want to Be Bothered

Now this is a gift you can give to yourself and to others who are dodging your messages. Just let them go.

Really.

There are people who want to bother you because they want you to suffer. Tell you what, it’s okay to walk away. You are better off investing your time and life on your calling, not wasting your time thinking about what they are up to.

There are people who think you are toxic and are dodging your efforts to make peace or reconcile, or your efforts to love them. Don’t feel guilty about letting them be — it could help them cope if you left their friends list. If you are triggering their stress hormones, let them go — it’s a matter of survival.

There are people who are so treacherous and deceptive that they will try to get you to believe they want to be friends with you but the truth is, they just want to share their toxicity and shift some blame for their sorry experiences. Report them to authorities, warn people about them, and walk away.

I came across two videos several months ago from Focus on the Family. These videos will help anyone struggling to live Christ-like even when surrounded by toxic people. And it also reminded me that I could be toxic to others, and to myself, too! 

Watch the videos, here are the links:

If a person’s toxicity is done through the sending of emails, comments to your blog, or through social media, read this post to be enlightened:

https://acg.pnp.gov.ph/main/29-security-bulletins/263-acg-cyber-security-bulletin-no-132-understanding-the-risk-of-cyberstalking

Conclusion

For some families, I know it may be difficult to give gifts this year, unlike the previous years. 

But do you know what is amazing? That gives us the tremendous opportunity to have a counter-culture, intentionally DIFFERENT Christmas.

And this year is one of our joy-fullest Christmas to date! There were no frills, just faith, family, and friends. A group of loving Christian families welcomed us in their community and helped us get by with the feeling of loneliness. 

Add to that the fact that my child is enjoying the friendship of children who are homeschooling just like her. I hope she will learn to be a good friend to them and cope with the challenges that companionship, friendship, and camaraderie with peers bring.

I also appreciate the fact that this year, I met women from different walks of life and different seasons, too. Joining them in several Bible studies had been very helpful to my soul. 

When giving gifts, I suggest thoughtfulness (prayerfully give), share your time, talents (be creative), and truth (encourage). And whatever you have given, the Lord will bless. 

But so far, the most wonderful gift that keeps on giving is the reason why we are giving in the first place. It’s Jesus. He is the ultimate gift. He is THE GIFT we received. We are blessed we had much of Him this advent season. 

Soon, the baby who came, lived a sinless life, died on the cross and rose again, will be the King who will receive His own and reign forever. That would be the day. All our attempts at meaningful celebrations of Him will pale in comparison to the grandeur of that day.

I want to leave you with that thought. 

Merry Christmas, dear friend in Jesus,


Ruthie

Do you Love Sunflowers?

When I was a little girl, I lived in a mountainous region north of Luzon. The mornings were dewy, so the grass and shrubs and trees were moist in the morning. Some (if not most) days, they were wet, because in Baguio City, it rains a lot.

I remember looking forward to the time when it would be dry in the morning and we could go to school without getting our shoes drenched. If you’ve lived long enough in Baguio City you would know that morning and afternoon showers become frequent the month of May. 

But the rains begin to lose their power when November arrives. And that’s around the time when something wonderful happens on the hills facing my windows.

When the air is cooler and drier, you’ll need a lip balm and moisturizer and layers before going out. But there’s something else you’ll need — your wow, because sunflowers begin to bloom!

Oh, I love sunflowers! One moment they’re not there, and another — the giggles of yellow buds are heard from the hills! The mornings are never the same when there’s the sun with a bouquet of her favorite blossoms to remind me and my family that the rainy days are over.

The season of sunflowers adorns the celebrations I love. My sister’s and father’s birthday, Christmas, and the New Year. Living in a place where there are so many sunflowers is a treat — you don’t need to buy flowers from the marketplace (although you can do that too) because the flowers are ubiquitous.

Look around the neighborhood and find the bougainvillea, hibiscus, santan, lantana (bangbangsit, as we call it), dandelion, wild rose, spiderwort, kalachuchi, anthurium, etc. I have a friend who’s got an amazing garden and I wrote about it here.

I look back at my childhood and remember how I loved sunflowers. My mother however does not want us to take sunflowers home because for her, sunflowers are best outdoors (she doesn’t like their smell, I think). 

People we love send us flowers on special days. Everyday, beginning the month of November, the sunflowers are sent by God to remind us that life won’t always be stormy and wet. 

If you’re sad today, it won’t always be that way. There’s a time for everything, wrote King Solomon. I believe that whatever you’re going through, you’ll have to hang in there, and wait. The season of sunflowers will come, you’ll see

UNIT STUDY SUGGESTIONS

Picture Book:

The Bad Seed by Jory John with illustrations by Pete Oswald. Watch it read aloud here.

Sunflower Poems:

If you’re into poetry, you might want to read poems by poets like William Blake here.

Sunflower Facts:

Scientific name: Helianthus

Higher classification: Heliantheae

Order: Asterales

Rank: Genus

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Sunflowers_(van_Gogh)

Sunflower Article:
Visit a lovely sunflower farm in Benguet. Entrance to the sunflower fields is Php 120 for adults and Php 100 for students, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens. (Source)

Trivia: 

Sunflowers typically have between 1,000 to 1,400 florets, and potential seeds, per head. Source

Draw a sunflower with the help of this tutorial.

Health:

Amazing benefits of consuming sunflower seeds. (Source)

Activity for Children:

Create a diagram of your dream garden. Make a list of your favorite flowers and vegetables. You can write down names of trees and shrubs you want to be part of it. What are the plants that need more space than the others? Will you add rocks, pebbles, or a log to decorate your garden? How about a trellis? Have fun creating that dream garden!

Pages of books with sunflower images
Just some of the books we have about flowers.

Kitchen Activity for Kids:

Do you know that some flowers are edible? Plan your garden salad, or create a menu with a salad. Ask mom or dad for a diy dressing from what you have on hand.

This post is a work-in-progress. I wrote this for my daughter and I’m sure it will grow. But I hope this one helps you learn more about sunflowers or better yet, encourage you to plant one!

Do you live in Baguio City? This is what I remember from my childhood. There, sunflowers are never planted in gardens. They just grow. And they just thrive and send beauty to all who will behold them.

Postscript:

I saw a friend of mine post a sunflower yesterday! So I sent her a message and thanked her for sharing her photo. Here’s our conversation:

Me: Just what I needed today. Thank you po!

Friend: I found out today that my sunflowers are starting to bloom. Praise God! I will send you three pictures of it kase tatlo nakita kong bulaklak.

Me: Pwede ko po ba ipost sa blog ko yung pics? Thanks po!

G.M.: Sure. It is fine with me. Actually I was moved to take pictures because I was waiting for the flowers to come because I normally see them bloom in November. Gusto ko na matapos walisin ko kahapon sa bakuran pero nanghihinayang ako sa opportunity na mapicturean ko yung unang sibol ng mga bulaklak. Tapos tatlo pa kaya parang ang message sa akin ay “I love you.”

Me: Wow, ang cute naman po. Gift ni Lord sa inyo. 🙂

What makes me happy was the fact that I’ve been praying for sunflowers for days. But I couldn’t find one where I live right now. The Lord comforted me and sent me flowers from Bulacan! It’s amazing how God answers our prayers, even the tiny ones.

I’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts below. 🙂

Love, 

Ruthie

Homeschooling and the Approaches Available to You

Homeschooling parents are kind of revolutionaries, one way or another. I mean this with good intentions, but I also know that the statement need to be explained lest we offend some.

When one decides to homeschool his children, it would seem that he will have to prepare to swim against the current.

That act is revolutionary because the current goes a certain way — and homeschoolers (not alike in degree) will often feel like they will have to do things differently a lot of times from the norm.

But homeschooling, like regular schooling, can either be fun, fluffy, or frazzled.

Fun, when the child is engaged and soon, he or she learns independently (which I think is often the goal down the line).

Fluffy, when the child is stuffed with non-essential information or methods, which are made “necessary” by some person, group, or school.

Frazzled, when the child and the parents are pressured to meet a certain standard, or meet a certain expectation that has little or nothing to do with truth, goodness, beauty, nobility, and the building up of character and faith.

These can apply to all homeschoolers no matter what approach we follow.

Your Homeschool Non-Negotiables and Essentials

When one homeschools, you have to agree with your provider in the non-negotiables. Every homeschool provider has non-negotiables — have you thought them through?

Question is, what are the non-negotiables for you?

It varies from one parent to another, one family to another, but for me, a Christian education is the way to do it.

I know some parents who are Christians but they have chosen secular material and are studying ideologies that have departed from the Christian faith and practice because these are endorsed by their provider either directly or indirectly.

There are also secular homeschoolers who have signed up with Christian homeschool providers and are studying the basic precepts of Christian faith and practice and are reading the Bible as ordinary literature because their provider requires reading of the same.

There is nothing wrong when you are a parent or family who fall in the categories above but in the end a choice must be made whether or not in your day to day homeschooling new ways to adapt or adopt must be made in order to feel less tension in your beliefs or convictions.

After all, homeschooling parents need to deal with beliefs, convictions, and life questions. As we teach life skills, the academics, and character, the issue of your presuppositions always comes up.

Waldorf, Trivium, or Charlotte Mason?

Having said the above, I did a little bit of research on some of the famous approaches of education to get an idea how they do it.

Waldorf

Waldorf schools offer a developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically rigorous approach to education. Music, dance and theater, writing, literature, legends and myths are not simply subjects to be read about and tested. They are experienced. Through these experiences, Waldorf students cultivate their intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities to be individuals certain of their paths and to be of service to the world.” (Source)

If you are a Christian and you want to consider the Waldorf approach, you might want to ask about anthroposophy, and what made Rudolf Steiner decide to make it the core of the Waldorf method. Rudolf Steiner sought to develop a spiritual path and formulated six basic exercises to do this.

Classical (Trivium)

According to the Greek philosopher Plato, grammar, logic, and rhetoric were essential to a classical education. According to Susan Wise Bauer: “It is language-focused. And it follows a specific three-part pattern: the mind must be first supplied with facts and images, then given the logical tools for organization of facts , and finally equipped to express conclusions.”

Surely, the Greek underpinnings of this approach may make you think that there’s no way for it to be “Christian”. But do listen to Christopher Perrin and Susan Wise Bauer if you are considering this route to hear another perspective.

Classical (Mason)

Charlotte Mason, said: “The fact is, children require knowledge just as they require food; and, absolutely necessary as is the teaching of science, it is still true that “The proper knowledge for mankind is man,” a knowledge to be got out of history, poetry, tales, travel-books — so written that they are literature: “Sinbad the Sailor,” “Waverly,” “Robinson Crusoe,” and, travels of St. Paul, and the Gospel narratives.” (Source)

Mason fans will immediately notice that the term “living books” coined by Ms. Mason is being defined above.

Let teachers believe that knowledge is the sole concern of education, that knowledge is life, and that the knowledge of God is eternal life, and education will advance by leaps and bounds, personality will develop, and the children we bring up will be, as we would have them, greater and better than ourselves.” (Source)

Struggling with the Non-Negotiables

Since I am a Christian, I have to continue to struggle a lot as I become intentional to be counter-culture.

Who am I? Who is my daughter? Who is God in my life as a wife, mother and a teacher? What is the role of the Word of God in my life?

For me, those questions are important because they remind me to go back to my non-negotiables. Oftentimes, they help me soar, and sing, and smile. Knowing your why in homeschooling in light of who you are is truly liberating. Regardless of the difficulties you will encounter along the way, your non-negotiables will help you go back to what matters most for you.

How about you? What are your non-negotiables which you cannot part with?

Write your thoughts in the comment below. Or better yet, ask me a question — and let’s get the conversation going!

Love,

Ruthie

Pumpkin Soup for the Rainy Days

Pumpkin/squash soup for rainy days? Why not?

The vibrant orange of this vegetable gives life to an otherwise monotone-ish pinakbet. The texture also adds variety to many dishes, like soups!

Contrary to popular belief, squash by itself already makes the soup creamy (try it), but some people incorporate milk or cream or half and half just to add a smoothness to it. Either way, with milk or cream or simply pumpkin, you can enjoy your soup on rainy days. Or just because.

Okay, pumpkins and squashes come from the same family so I find myself using them interchangeably all the time. If you are the infinitely curious and want to know the difference (comes handy to satiate an equally curious child), this article will help you.

From Fruit to Pumpkin Soup

But if you want to go straight to work with this amazing fruit (reading it from a botanist’s perspective), here is a really quick way to eat it without chewing it!

PEEL and CHOP the pumpkin.

Don’t worry if you’re making big chunks.

CHOP the onions and garlic.

Don’t cry — they will make you smile later!

WHAT ABOUT THE BROTH?

If you’re the bouillion adding type, add according to taste. If not, you might have some leftover broth from the chicken you boiled not too long ago.

MILK OR NONE?

You can also add cream. Or milk and cream. It’s really up to you. You can skip them, but if you want a milkier look and silkier texture (lighter orange) — go for it. Kids love this.

ADD BUTTER.

If you’re the buttery type.

So dump them all in there: PUMPKIN, ONIONS, GARLIC, BROTH and WATER in.

Bring them to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes until EVERYTHING gets mushy.

Blend the pumpkin and others till smooth.

Now add your milk, cream, or half-and-half. Add butter, if you prefer and stir with the mixture until completely dissolved.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Now you can top this with your favorite topping — toasted garlic, chopped celery, or leeks. Or any of the Italian herbs, or none, which is perfectly alright.

Pumpkin Soup Storage and Hacks

Pumpkin soup can be stored in the fridge. Use a wide-mouthed mason jar, or any jar for that matter. Keep it where you won’t forget where it is! It adds a luxurious touch to a simple meal. Heat it when you’re feeling hungry in the evening, and eat it alongside your favorite crackers or breadsticks.

What I like about getting pumpkins when they are cheap is I can prepare one big batch of soup and keep them in the freezer until I need them. It’s easy to put them back in sipping shape when you are running out of food ideas. You can also add it to macaroni soup for added flair to the humble dish.

My Pumpkin Patch Childhood

I remember the first time I saw a pumpkin patch. It was near our home in Baguio City, when, back in the day, there were still no roads (only earthen pathways) and practically everything around your house was your garden.

The neighbors would pass by and pick up flowers and fruits as they please. I don’t remember now what my mother thought about that. Back in the day, we went to our neighbors to get sweet potato tops or sayote tops and fruits, and we would not pay anything.

A lot of Baguio residents would survive because of this practice when the killer earthquake of 1990 hit the City of Pines. People shared what they had and gave what the neighbor lacked. When we needed sayote, we go to our neighbor, or pick our own.

Communal Gardens and Friendly Neighbors

When my brother was a playful and often naughty little boy who spent too many hours outside playing with his friends in the rolling hills or just the neighborhood playground (just a patch of land that the DPWH would later pave into a road), he knew he would be scolded for sure. But at the tender age of five or six, he learned how to appease my mother, for he would come home with a bundle of sayote tops or sweet potato tops. Sometimes it was sayote fruit.

As for the pumpkin, I believe it was planted by my father, and we had our supply of pumpkin fruit/vegetable and flower. Pumpkin flower (sabong ti karabasa) by the way cannot be underestimated. It is delicious, and if you’re thinking it’s weird eating flowers, you might check out this post. You’ll be amazed they ate chrysanthemums, roses, and hibiscus!

Things Change But Memories Remain

A house was erected where our pumpkins used to grow. We were saddened, of course. But later, the family that lived there became our very good friends, and we even attended the same church. Where the pumpkin used to be, flowers of friendship grew. Growing up, we (neighborhood children) would go to their home, eat their food, and watch from their big screen TV.

A lot of things in the neighborhood would eventually change as we grow up, but memories don’t change. We often forget if we don’t want to remember. As for me, I will relish my pumpkin soup for the rainy days not only because it is sumptuous, but because it brings back all those memories when life was simple, and neighbors were almost always friends.

Quick Preparation Breakfast Ideas

If you want to save time, energy, and effort (with only one pan or pot to use) this post is especially for you! Use your time wisely by learning these quick preparation breakfast ideas.

(But I think you know these already, you savvy mom! If that’s the case, like this post and share! I’m glad to have you here!)

Quick and healthy breakfasts are not difficult to make. You just have to keep in mind that you need a little bit of all or some of the good stuff covered.

Quick Preparation Breakfast Ideas and Tips Before You Go

Are you a Busy Mom with No Helper?

I know as a busy mom, you’ve got a lot on your plate all the time! It’s good to have a special meal at the end of the day — if you wish, but not for breakfast. Save the major production for dinner — for breakfast, nice and easy is the key.

Again, this depends upon your season. But if you’re the hands-on, homeschooling, home-working kind of mom, and you don’t receive help of any sort from a nanny, cleaner, or secretary, this is for you.

Quick Breakfast, Easy Preparation

I love fresh and quick prep breakfast dishes. When I can’t do them, I check out my refrigerator and see ready-made recipes I have done during the weekend. And for inspiration, I also go to this website over here. They’ve got tons of ideas to snag!

But there are just those days when you are craving for something you don’t have at hand. And there are just those days when you’re wishing for a freshly prepared breakfast number that is simple and quick to make.

I am sharing my quick preparation breakfast ideas for those days. Think fresh, right out of the stove, and delicious recipes that we remember our grandma and mama makes without fail! I hope you like them, as much as I enjoyed making them for my family — and sharing them with you!

Easy Breakfast Ideas for Busy Moms

We will use ingredients that are already in your pantry, so there is nothing to fear. You will be ready to feed your family in no time as long as your pantry and refrigerator have the basics.

No specific measurements are given for these quick preparation breakfast ideas — according to your taste and preference we go but make sure to go easy on the sodium!

Humble Egg and Rice Recipe

Quick Breakfast Idea
  1. Fry your egg in coconut oil.
  2. Stir fry some garlic, add vegetables of choice, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with hot rice.
  4. Coffee or tea? Or maybe chocolate?

Ham and Egg with Veggies Brekkie

Quick Preparation Breakfast Ideas and Tips Before You Go
  1. Fry egg, ham, tomatoes, and onion.
  2. Fry the amount of rice you need (and on hand, maybe leftovers in the refrigerator).
  3. Vegetables, surely you can add greens on the side.
  4. Serve with hot coffee or tea, or cup noodles.

Oriental Beef My Style Recipe

Quick Preparation Breakfast Ideas and Tips Before You Go
  1. Fry the beef.
  2. Fry the cauliflower, garlic, ginger, onions.
  3. Combine Number 1 with Number 2.
  4. Add water, oyster sauce, simmer.
  5. Top rice with the dish and add onion rings or chopped spring onions.

Korean Style Breakfast Recipe

  1. Fry garlic, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers in pan. Set aside.
  2. Stir fry string beans, carrots, and cabbage in pan. Set aside.
  3. Fry pork slices, when fragrant, add soy sauce, gochujang and soy sauce and sugar.
  4. Add the cooked rice, and the rest of the cooked vegetables. Mix well.
  5. Serve with kimchi and choice of drink (coffee, tea or juice or water!)

Filipino Style Breakfast Favorite

Quick Preparation Breakfast Ideas and Tips Before You Go
  1. Fry egg, dried fish, onions, tomatoes (if you want the latter two fresh, so be it).
  2. Fry the amount of rice you need (and on hand, maybe leftovers in the refrigerator).
  3. Vegetables, surely you can add greens on the side.
  4. Serve with hot coffee or tea, or cup noodles.

Quick Preparation Breakfast Ideas and Tips Before You Go

  • Cut up vegetables ahead of time and store them in the ref. That way, you can throw them in the pan when you need them.
  • Spin some leafy greens after washing and store them in the refrigerator, too. You’ll see how easy it will be to pick and go and serve!
  • Since for breakfast a lot of frying was involved here (simpler brekkies will be shown where no cooking will be involved — soon!), use coconut oil. Go easy on the ham (if your family eats ham), and danggit or tuyo or dilis — once or twice a week will do (due to high sodium content).
  • For beef, opt for thinner strips so you can cook them easily.

Morning momentum is important, but you might lose it if your prep time takes too long because your dish is complicated! Personally, I don’t go overboard with breakfast — that’s a quick tip. The bedrock of breakfast preparation is simplicity. It is meant to launch you into your day, not get you stuck.

Simpler breakfast ideas (and healthier) are coming soon — yes, simpler than these! I hope that gets you excited!

How about you? Do you like quick and easy breakfast ideas, too?

Comment down below and share your favorite go-to breakfast when the to-do list is long and it’s only you in the command center!

Love,

Ruthie

September Scripture and Prayer Calendar

How is your walk?

It’s September! As a small gift for this new month, let me share with you something that can encourage you and uplift you — a calendar with daily Scripture suggestions!

In our times, more and more people are riding the productivity train. I wonder, how do you stay productive?

Do you have a cluttered life? I think it would be nice if you could take a look at your space once again and ask yourself — “Does it need a little bit of TLC? Is my design not working for my season right now, or do I need to get rid of stuff?”

Like our physical spaces, our lives as Christians need to be aligned with the design of the Lord and decluttered from the cares of this world.

I know things are getting crazier outside, but in the Lord, we have hope for this life because Jesus has got it all covered.

God gives peace, He delivers strength, and provides a good future. We can trust in Him to carry us through every difficulty as He orchestrates events that will help us be more like Jesus Christ.

“When life gets too cluttered, we neglect the important things.”
― Emilie Barnes

Does this resonate with you? Is your schedule cluttered? I know right. I am often guilty of this.

But what is the MOST important thing?

Commit your work to the Lord,
    and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3, ESV)

We say yes to things that clutter our lives but have no eternal significance. Often, we commit to activities that rob us of joy because everyone else is doing it.

And there are times when we find ourselves entangled with time-wasters.

I created this month’s calendar in the hope that before we dive in, we will remember to dig in God’s word, the Bread of Life.

God’s Word offers hope for the frazzled wife, mom, and teacher (Are you homeschooling?) There are so many things on our plates, yes, but we don’t have to feel overwhelmed.

Let me encourage you to take a daily Scripture and prayer challenge with me.

Before you start your day, bend the knee and ask the Lord to bless you as you do the rounds. I am pretty sure it will take about ten to fifteen minutes (or more, if you can) but I tell you, it will be worth it to be with Jesus before you face your family or answer your emails.