On a mommy duty…and loving it! ❤

On a mommy duty...and loving it! ❤

With my cup of Vanilla Latte at my favorite coffee shop writing a blog while waiting for my youngest son who is still in class, and as I accompany my other son study for final exams. Meeting up with my daughter in a while who is finishing a school project with classmates. Then finally home bound.
All these plus a cup of my favorite Latte… oh, the perks of being a driver… to my kids. ❤

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Good Deeds for Lent

Image“I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little SaintsTruly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”

“Love makes sacrifice easy, and perfect love makes sacrifice a joy.” – St. Augustine

I love that quote from St. Augustine.  And so perfect a reminder in this Season of Lent.  True that at times, we find it easy to give up something for someone, for a certain intention, or for whatever reason we may have. But most of the time, it is not easy at all.  Especially if it is giving up something we truly love or like having, something we are used to. Hard because it will take us away from our comfort zone. But remembering that quote from St. Augustine somehow helps us to rethink and refocus. Mortification is giving up something with the right intention and for the right intention. It requires action. Someone once told me that mortification is to deny ourselves of something. It may be as simple as giving up eating your favorite ice cream, taking the bus instead of a cab, or even getting the wing part of the roasted chicken instead of the legs (if your favorite is the leg part). There are a thousand ways of doing mortification. Simple or grand. But the important thing is the intention and the attitude.

Just a few days before Ash Wednesday,  I came across this calendar from Brother Richie Yap‘s site. And I was so thankful to have found it. Sure we can have our own list of deeds, but sometimes it is also good to get help from someone or something. And it is all up to us how we do it.  It was just timely as the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, on our way home after attending mass, my daughter started mentioning to us what she plans to give up this Lent. And that started our conversation inside the car. My two sons were also thinking. My husband and I gave some suggestions as we also told them what we ourselves also plan to give up. These things we always get to discuss as a family.  I am so thankful that my kids are open to this kind of thing and family discussion. And seeing the calendar that Brother Richie posted on his site, instantly made me print it. It is a calendar of good deeds that we can follow for the whole season of Lent. Of course these are just suggestions, but I find it very helpful as it can serve as a guide to our family. Each one can follow it at his or her own situation. And I am sharing it here, maybe you can also take a look at it and see if you can use it as a guide as well.

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Source: Brother Richie Yap

I have printed this calendar and pinned it in our bulletin board for everyone to see.  Everyday, each one of us takes a look at it and decide for ourselves how we will be able to follow it or apply it depending on each one’s situation. We are free to change it, add or deduct. Nobody is forced to follow it. But we try to encourage and support  each one.

We also have this tradition in our family when we do Visita Iglesia  on Holy Thursday. We pray as a family in front of the Blessed Sacrament that is exposed in each of the seven churches we visit.  We have been doing this since our kids were small and I intend to keep it until they grow up and pass on this tradition to their own families as well. We also invite their cousins to come with us. And we have been doing the Visita Iglesia with their cousins for the last three years. This is one activity that they  always look forward to.

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My kids with their cousins during our Visita Iglesia last year

There are different ways to prepare for Lent and different activities to do during the Lenten Season. But whatever we do, however we do it, the important thing is to do everything for Love. Always remembering  the true meaning of Lent.

“The Church’s Lenten discipline is meant to help deepen our life of faith and our imitation of Christ in his paschal mystery. In these forty days may we draw nearer to the Lord by meditating on his word and example, and conquer the desert of our spiritual aridity, selfishness and materialism. For the whole Church may this Lent be a time of grace in which God leads us, in union with the crucified and risen Lord, through the experience of the desert to the joy and hope brought by Easter.” – Pope Benedict XVI

Few days back, I have written about my Lenten Reads. You may want to read it, too.

How about you, what family traditions and activities do you do during the Season of Lent? Would love to hear from you.

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Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013! We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.
Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow!
Equipping CatholicFamilies: Keep LOVE in LENT
Call Her Happy:40 Simple Lenten Activities for Kids
Lenten Love: Little Acts of Love
Building Rocks
Grow the Roses: Keep Love in Lent
Family At The Foot Of The Cross: Loving Service
Catholic Homeschooling Joy: A Lenten Activity
JOY:Keep the Love in Lent
Twenty Tuesday Afternoons: Tuesday # 11: Pancake Tuesday / Keeping Love in Lent
Campfires and Cleats: Why a Failing Lent Really Isn’t
Harrington Harmonies: Make a Lenten Holy Hour
A Mommy of Three:Good Deeds for Lent
Loving the Semi Country Life: Lent:special time to reflect and keep the love in lent
Written By the Finger of God: A 7 Step Lenten Plan
Mommy Bares All: Giving Up and Making Space for Love this Lent
The Irish Lassie Shop: Seek God Everywhere
Hand-Maid with Love: Living Lent, Loving Lent
Words On Heaven: IN THE DESERT FOR 40 DAYS
On The Way Home: Keeping LOVE in Lent
Homeschooling with Joy: Keep Love in Lent
Mountain Grace: Keep Love in Lent
Eyes On Heaven: I am Choosing to Live
Joy Alive in Our Hearts:”God’s Love at Work”
Life of Fortunate Chances: Love is Fun: Keeping Love in Lent
Fifth of Five: Keep the LOVE in Lent
I Blog Jesus: for Praying our Loud!
Overflow: Loving Lent with Little Ones
This Cross I Embrace: Keep LOVE In Lent
Sole Searching Mamma: 15 Ways to Experience a More Meaningful Lent
Catholic All Year: My Biggest Lent Fails and How I Learned Mortification…
Four Little Ones: Keeping Love in Lent
Gaels Crafty Treasures Keeping Love in Lent
Bear Wrongs Patiently: Lent for the Scrupulous
Rosary Mom: Keeping Love in Lent
LoveLetters 7.10: Teacups {Keeping the Love in Lent}
Little Saints in the Making: Keep Love in Lent
Blessed with Full Hands: Keeping love in Lent- Praise Him
Normal Chaos: Our Own Personalized Lenten Journey
These Little Blessings: Gifting Love this Lent
The Cajun Catholic: The our Father; a lenten reflection
Truly Rich Mom: Keeping Love in Lent… Even When It Is Difficult
GATHERING GRACES:Keeping LOVE in LENT
SaIsa Pang Sulyap – Fullness Of His Love
LiturgicalTime: Keeping Love in Lent – Finding Balance
Grace Loves Iggy: love in lent
Sacred Oysters: Empty (Keeping LOVE in LENT)
Tercets:Make Heart Rosary Decades to Pray for Others
The Diary of a Sower: Our Lenten Prayer Tree
A Living Garden — Giving for Others with Love: Keeping LOVE in LENT
Homegrown Catholics: Motivated by my childrens’ activities {Lent}
MyBroken Fiat: Keeping Love in Lent… Barely
Journey to Wisdom: Keeping Love in Lent: Bands of Love
Softening My Heart: An Anniversary Lesson duringLent
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Love for L♥ve

My love for watercolor painting   +   my love affair with washi tape   =

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My Valentine surprise for my forever L♥VE , my kids! ☺ My work is pretty simple and I know that there is much more to learn (and practice is a big must for me), but this piece of art is definitely done with love for love. :)

Applying what I’ve learned from Alessa‘s Basic Watercolor Workshop and HeyKessy‘s Washi workshop inspired me to make this one. Now, all we need is to have this framed and display in their room to remind them of how much love I have for them. ♥

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My Lenten Reads

“We don’t need to have just one favorite. We keep adding favorites. Our favorite book is always the book that speaks most directly to us at a particular stage in our lives. And our lives change. We have other favorites that give us what we most need at that particular time. But we never lose the old favorites. They’re always with us. We just sort of accumulate them.” — Lloyd Alexander

I like reading books. Though I wouldn’t really call myself a bookworm. But back in Grade School, I would read the Nancy Drew series.  I also remember reading some of those paper back books dealing with teenage lives and sweet love in High School (which I totally can’t recall the titles of those as of this writing :( ).  When I reached my twenties until before getting married, I would occasionally read novels. But when I got married and started having children, I found myself more drawn to reading magazines on parenting, cooking, and a little of fashion.  And slowly started reading and buying  self help books, inspirational books, cook books, parenting books, and the like.  Oh well, must be the age, or perhaps the change in status. But yes, I am now more inclined to reading those type of books. And I do enjoy it whenever I get to read them and have my “Me Time” whether it be at home, at a bookstore, or coffee shop.

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The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.  Inquirer Moments by F. Jerry M. Orbos, SVD. The Mustard Seed by Joseph Galdon, S.J.

These are some of the books that have been with me for a long time. And so glad that I was able to keep them. All were given to me by people close to my heart. I treasure these books. And each one has helped me in different ways. I don’t get tired reading them again and again.  They’ve kept me sane, grounded, positive, productive and prayerful. And this Lenten Season, they will be part of my daily reading as I do my daily reflection.

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I DECLARE by Joel Osteen. My Prayer Book from http://www.god-answers-prayers.com. Keeping Life Simple by Karen Levine.

Another set of books from last year and this year. One was given by my husband and the two were from friends. God bless their generosity and thoughtfulness. And these will also keep me company in this Season of Lent.

I don’t really mean to read all of these books only because it is Lent. And I know that I will not be able to finish each book all in the span of 40 days. But I know that whichever book I will be able to read, it will help me to slow down, be reminded of the true meaning of Lent, to stay focused and not lose sight of who I am and to listen to whatever He will gently whisper to me as I read a book or two.

How about you, what are your Lenten Reads?

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Project Journal- A collaboration with my daughter. ♥

Project Journal- A collaboration with my daughter. ♥

My daughter loves typography. She likes to do lettering. But doesn’t like coloring. While I find joy in coloring (watercolor specifically) but I am not much into lettering. So, why not join forces together?
She does the lettering, I do the coloring. Solved! ☺
This is our first craft project together.
My daughter did the lettering on the blank and plain cover of her journal. And I water-colored and washi-fied it. I also put tabs on each month using washi tape. ♥
A fun project. And more to come!☺

** I am still learning the art of watercolor painting. And this is one way also for me to practice it more.

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What a WAHMtastic Day! ♥♥

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ” – C.S. Lewis

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One of the freebies in the workshop was this tote bag, among many others.

“What workshop is that again?”  “WAHM what?”  Oh, those were the two questions my husband kept on asking me whenever I would tell him about the workshop I was going to attend to.  Up until the day when he was already driving me to the venue where the workshop was going to be held.  Not that he wasn’t interested.  In fact, he is  my cheerleader and the one who constantly encourages and supports me in whatever I do.  But it was just that, he kept  on forgetting the name of the workshop, thus he kept  on asking.  No big deal to me at all. ☺

The workshop I was talking about was  the WAHMderful Life: Real ways to be a WAHM.

“WAHM stands for Work At Home Mom. Just as we also have SAHM for Stay At Home Mom.☺

As explained in the  Manila Workshop’s  page,  “A WAHMderful Life: Real Ways to Be a WAHM is a one-day workshop for moms who want to find their bliss working from home while making a home. This is for stay at home moms, moms who want to start a home-based business, moms interested in working from home via outsourcing or telecommuting, women who are interested in starting an online business ... or anyone (single ladies, even dads!) who want to know more about starting a work-from-home career.”

The workshop was organized by Manila Workshops and Dainty Mom.  And it was held at  Studio SnR in Ortigas last January 26, 2013.

The room was packed with 69 participants including 2 Dads. Yes, Dads(why not)!☺   It was a kind of workshop that was both formal and informal. Formal in a sense that we were all provided with name tags, folders (with the program and some notes), Powerpoint  presentation and a Certificate of Attendance. Informal at the same time as the group was lively. We were given a chance to introduce ourselves (though we didn’t finish it because of lack of time). And I had a great time just listening to other moms who shared a little bit of something about  themselves.  And most of them were really  jolly and very spontaneous. Several times, me and my friend (who also was my seatmate), Racquel, would comment as we listen to them, “I like her!” ☺

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My notes (and sticky note), copy of the program, my Certificate of Attendance, Indigo Baby's calling card, and vouchers/flyers from some of the sponsors.

Ginger Arboleda of Manila Workshops,  who also is a certified WAHM,  gave the Welcome Remarks. She organized the workshop well.   I remember her  ushering  me to the room as I arrived (I was one of the first). And her smile and beautiful aura will make you instantly  say, “I am at the right place.”

The talk on Finances by Mr. Gus Cosio was very informative. And also a reminder for us to always save.  Save first, before spending.  And not the other way around.  Honestly, I knew about it. I “somehow” practice it. But it also was good to hear it again and remind myself to practice it more.

INCOME – SAVINGS  = EXPENSE

The talks given by Martine de Luna of Dainty Mom, Marge Aberasturi of The Happy Wahm and Jennifer Tan of The Techie Mom, were all interesting, informative, and fun.

I could very much agree with Martine in all the things she said. One is that to be a WAHM is an intentional decision.  And that women are naturally relational, nurturing beings. And we thrive in community. Thus the WAHM group is a sisterhood. A support group.  It is all about supporting one another in each one’s personal decision.

Her story on how she became a WAHM was very inspiring. Her journey and lessons learned were  worth listening to. The tips she shared I will always remember.

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Martine giving the talk on WAHMderful Life: Support Through the WAHM Sisterhood.

Marge and Jennifer gave the talk on Virtual Assistance. Which was one of the Break out Sessions.  I learned a lot from their talk. And I must say that these two are perfect partners. Perfect duo! ☺

Their presentation was truly informative and very helpful.  I now  have a  correct grasp of what a Virtual Assistance is.  And what it takes to be one.  These two know what they are talking about.

Oh, and their ad libs were very entertaining. One of a kind! ☺ I can also relate to some of their everyday activities.  Just like Marge, I also don’t have a help at home. So her stories on how she manages her home and family life, were very much relatable.  I was laughing when she said about the adobo thing because that’s what I do, too!

Jennifer’s lifestyle was also an interesting one. I somehow can relate to her when she shared that her car is practically her office. She works in the car while waiting. In my case, I also do some stuff in the car while waiting for my kids finish their sports training or whatever activity they have. Not the kind of work that Jennifer does though. But that’s when I say my rosary, open and check billing statements, compute, make my to do list, fix our schedule  and sometimes make appointments via text. And most of the time, that’s also when and where I do some “thinking” ☺

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We didn't want to disturb the other participants while somebody was giving a talk. So me and my friend (my seatmate), Racquel, would communicate to each other by writing our questions/comments  using this sticky note. ☺☺☺

Denise Gonzales of Indigo Baby also shared the story behind her online business and how she became a WAHM. An inspirational story most especially to young moms like her.

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The WAHMderful moms. Photo courtesy of Ginger of Manila Workshops.

Friends, you and me... you brought another friend... and then there were three... we started our group... our circle of friends... and like that circle... there is no beginning or end.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I am so glad that I  was given a chance to attend the workshop.  And the workshop didn’t just help me learn about the possible work I can venture into,  but it helped me embrace my chosen career (to be a SAHM) to the fullest.  And maybe, eventually,  a WAHM.

It  is so refreshing and encouraging  to know that there are a lot of Moms whom you share the same vision, the same lifestyle, the same joys, the same struggles, and the same stories with.

The WAHM group is not just a sisterhood. It also is a support group.

And indeed, the workshop wasn’t just WAHMderful.  It was  also WHAMtastic!♥

If you want to know more about the workshop and other upcoming workshops, you may visit Manila Workshop's and Dainty Mom's websites here and here. :)

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Simply to SIMPLIFY

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Is it February yet?  Heart shapes  ♥ ♥ ♥  have been popping all over the net now. How time flies. But just not yet. Still a few more days before we get to the month of hearts, love, or Febru♥ry that is.

And before the first month of the year ends, I would like to do my post on my ONE WORD FOR 2013.  And I am linking this to One Word 365 Community.

My post on this might be a little late, but my One Word  is not. Last year, I already had in mind my One Word.  And in fact, I already started applying it during the Christmas Season. And I would like to continue with it for this year. And that One Word is, Simplify.

According to the Dictionary, Simplify means to make less complicated or complex; make plainer or easier.

And exactly what I want to achieve. To make things simpler, less complicated. Applying that in everything that I do. In how I think. In how I live. And I believe that with this goal, everything follows.  LESS stress. Less expenses. Less complications. Less frictions. Less negative vibes. And MORE time. More freedom. More relaxation. More Love. More space. More positivity. More smiles. And so on.  Because indeed, LESS IS MORE (to read my previous post on this, please click here).

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To simplify also means to slow down and breathe.

Christmas Season of last year, I made a conscious effort on being minimal and simple in our celebration. I said “NO” to a lot of things. No to unnecessary spending. No to last minute shopping. No to “some”  Christmas parties/Get-togethers. No to expensive gifts. No to fancy celebrations. No to everyday checking of Facebook :). But YES to Savings. Yes to more family time. Yes to handmade gifts. Yes to simple but meaningful celebrations. Yes to priorities.  And I can honestly say that last Christmas was one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had.

Moving forward, I hope and pray that my ONE WORD  will carry on until the end of this year, and the years to come.

To simplify also means to slow down and breathe. And by doing so, we will be able to renew, to recollect, and to focus on what really matters most.

Because to have a truly happy life is simply, to SIMPLIFY.

How about you, what is your ONE WORD for 2013? Come share it and link up to ONE WORD 365 Community.

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Buona Vita Ristorante Italiano

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Good Life. As what Google Translate says of Buona Vita.

When we were thinking of where to dine after our son’s confirmation, Buona Vita Ristorante Italiano was on top of our list.  And sure glad we did choose that place.

The servers were attentive to our needs. The place was cozy enough to have a good conversation with  my son, my husband, and our son’s ninong. The food that we ordered didn’t disappoint us. And I must say that overall, we had a good dining experience.

Try visiting the place if you are in Alabang area. And experience good food at Buona Vita.

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We were served with a complimentary  basket of assorted bread. My son finished all the bread sticks. And they gladly refilled our basket. :)

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The bread comes with pesto sauce  and chopped tomatoes.

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The Pasta Marinara (Mixed Seafood in Tomato Sauce) was good. You can actually see and taste the shrimp, squid, and the clams (unlike in other restaurants where you only see a piece of shrimp on top and have to dig deep to just find another piece of squid). The sauce wasn’t overpowering. Just right for me.

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My son ordered Pollo Alla Valdostana (Chicken breast stuffed with ham and mozzarella cheese). I didn’t get to taste this. But my son enjoyed his meal and said that the chicken was tender. My husband, being a cheese lover, adored it!

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They also have Spanish Cuisine in their menu. And we heard that the former staff (including the chef/cook) of Minggoy’s Restaurant are now with them. My husband is a fan of Minggoy’s so he ordered their Paella Marinera.  I was already full (having finished my plate of pasta) but the aroma of the Paella was so inviting. I tried it,  and true enough, it tasted like Minggoy’s Paella.  It  was so delicious!  The individual serving was even big enough to share with two more persons.

We left the restaurant with happy tummies.  We’ll definitely be back and their pizza will then be in my “to order” list.

Buona Vita Ristorante Italiano is at the Molito Lifestyle Building in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

You can visit their Facebook Page here.

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♥ Imagine, Stick, and Create! ♥

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♫♪ Isn’t she lovely ♫♪ Isn’t she wonderful ♫♪ Oh, I can go on singing this song while looking at these tapes. And they are no ordinary tapes, they are WASHI TAPES!

My love affair with these tapes started fourth quarter of  last year (2012). I so adore them that they were one of my best buddies in my crafty life during the Christmas Season.  I’ve used them in most of the stuff I did for my Christmas gifts. And to even nourish my love for it, I attended a workshop organized by   Craft Mnl  entitled, Giftwrapping session + Washi jewelry making.  The workshop was conducted by Mansy of  Hey Kessy.

It was my first time to attend a  craft workshop of this kind.  And I must say that it was a good first.  Mariel of Craft Mnl was so accommodating. And Mansy was just perfect to be a workshop facilitator.  It was my  second time (the first was just a Hi/Hello sort of thing) to meet her but I easily felt comfortable talking to her. Such a pleasant personality she has. Very organized and you can sense her dedication to her craft. I arrived at  the venue a little early and the place was already all dressed up.  And as soon as she saw me, she welcomed me with all smiles and we started sharing and exchanging notes.  I felt the sincerity in her.  Something I am very particular with whenever I talk to a person. It wasn’t the typical  “sweet personality”  that is just temporary because she is selling or advertising something. I felt and would like to believe that she is inherently good and with no pretensions at all.

The workshop was very casual.  The participants were all in a long table side by side with the organizer and the facilitator.  As soon as Mansy finished explaining some stuff, all of us were easily transported into a world of “creativity”.  Everybody was busy. And with  soothing music playing at the background, some chit-chats with one another, and snacking on yummy cheese balls (I didn’t get to take photos of the food..aarrgh! but they were good…promise! ☺) , creative juices just kept flowing.

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Photo courtesy of Craft Mnl

Long table with all the craft materials scattered for everyone to use

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Photo courtesy of Craft Mnl

That’s me consulting talking to Mansy ☺

Photo courtesy of Craft Mnl

Photo courtesy of Craft Mnl

Group picture after the workshop

It truly was a wonderful afternoon.  A crafty moment  to end the year 2012 sticking together the washi way!

Here are a few of the stuff I’ve made using washi tapes.  So many uses. Just use your imagination and the possibilities are endless! Crafty, crafty December it was for me. And I absolutely had fun!

Feel Beautiful coaster Not a paper cup coaster Coasters in sets of five. Gave them as Christmas gifts to friends.

tags Gift tags

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pendants

Pendants

There are no rules. Just Imagine, then start Sticking, and you will be Creating in no time. Go on, try it, and you will see how fun it is to be sticking the washi way!

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I DECLARE

IMG_9420I DECLARE.  Two words.  Very short, yet powerful.  And those words just hit me at the right time.

I’ve heard about the book. I know the author. But never did I bother to check on it. Not until that day I was in a  relaxing mood and was just hanging out with my husband having coffee in a café  inside the bookstore. The kids were with us too sipping their favorite smoothie and reading. I saw the book by the window. Curious and looking for something to read, I got it  and started browsing.

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Wow, first words in the Introduction page and it already hit right through me…I got hooked. I continued reading. Understanding and appreciating the words. And after reading the last paragraph in the Introduction page, I told myself, “this is it, just what I need.”

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You are one of a kind. You are a masterpiece. You are a prized possession. When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror instead of getting depressed, instead of saying, “Oh, man. Look how old I look. Look at this gray hair. Look at these wrinkles, ” you need to smile and say, “Good morning, you beautiful thing, Good morning, you handsome thing, Good morning, you blessed, prosperous, successful, strong, talented, creative, confident, secure, disciplined, focused, highly favored child of the Most High God.” Get it on the inside. Speak faith over your future!

Coincidentally, it was the first day of the month. And it was New Year’s Day.  And so I read…

IMG_9426Explosive blessings are coming my way. This is my declaration.

Isn’t it amazing how God works. Touching our hearts wherever we are. Whispering wonderful words into our ears even while eating, chatting, doing ordinary things. And using a book such as this through its author to give encouragement.

I left the bookstore with a smile on my face. With a new aura. Feeling the positive vibes around. And all that with the help of one book.  Happening when I least expect it. And what better way to start the New Year.  My husband got me a copy of the book. I read DAY TWO the following day.  And I’ve included this to my 2013 goals.  Specifically in the area of Spirituality. Everyday, I spend a few minutes reading this book before starting my daily activities.  And yes, it is something I look forward to every morning. And having this as my morning fix, everyday becomes a beautiful day, and that, I DECLARE!

“Our words have creative power. Whenever we speak something, either good or bad, we give life to what we are saying.”

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