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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dear 16-year-old Liv

Dear 16-year-old Liv,

     How are you doing? Guess what? You're in your 30s now and you are nowhere near where you thought you would be. But here's one good news, you are finally happy. It took a while to get there. You have made a lot of mistakes in your youth but by God's grace, he lead you down this path to a life that is correct.

     You know what though? You could have hastened this process if you had only learned your lessons early on. I thought I would try and save you the unnecessary pain by summarizing the lessons life has thrown my way:

  1. Be patient. Know and understand that there is a certain ebb and flow in life that every stage in your life is meant to teach you something. Don't rush into things. Don't try to grow up too fast. You have your whole lifetime to be an adult. Enjoy being a student, a teenager and a daughter first.
  2. Be humble. You are not as smart as you think you are. There are people smarter than you , prettier than you, richer than you or more qualified than you are. These are not things that set you apart from other people. Look God has blessed you with a lot. But this is not something that you have to boast about. As Jeremiah 9:24 states: "Rather, let the one who boasts, boast in this: that he understands and knows me, " that should be your focus. Know that you have to treat people better. Know that often times you would need the help of other people. 
  3. Pray. Yes I know you're a teenager and you can't imagine ever being weak or needing anything you can't achieve. You are so lucky to have had a blessed childhood.You need God in your life. It may seem cool and smart to dabble in tarot and to be an atheist but look inside your heart and you know what you really believe in. 
  4. Benefit from the wisdom of the people around you. This is related to being humble. Know that the people around you are put there by God to bless and guide you. Soak in everything they can teach you. Learning from their experiences and their mistakes will save you the pain of having to go through. This includes your parents, specially your mom...listen to your mom. 
  5. Cultivate relationships. There is nothing sadder in life than being alone. We were meant to reach out to others, to touch other lives and to be touched by other's lives as well. This is how we grow, this is how we bloom. 
  6. Don't compare yourselves to others. You cannot and should not look at what others have or what others have achieved unless you want to make sure that they have enough so you can help them. You are unique. Your experiences, your life, your journey cannot be compared to others. Don't try to keep up with others as well. Live within your means. 


31-year-old Liv


Blogger friends feel free to write your own 6 things to say to 16-year-old you. =)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Mom 24/7 2014 Planner Review

I am a planner fiend. I don't know why but I am just irrationally drawn to them. I have dozens of apps to help organize my life on my iphone but when push comes to shove, nothing beats having a solid planner and pen to help me get my thoughts in order.

I find that the older I get, the more picky I become with planners and the more specific my requirements become. For my 2014 planner I went with Mommy Mundo's Mom 24/7 planner. I am quite happy with the option (I should be as I literally went to 6 bookstores, and took 5 weeks to choose the planner I really wanted).

Let me start by talking about the things I absolutely loved about the Mom 24/7 planner.

  1. The size. It fits most of my purses but at the same time it's 6*8 size lets me write comfortably per page. 
  2. The binding. It uses a high quality ring to bind the pages letting me fold the pages back completely without damaging the planner.
  3. The paper.  It's high quality paper that lets me use gel pens without the ink bleeding through. I also love that the paper is not glossy like some planners so I can use any kind of pen without worrying about smudging.
  4. Lack of excessive ads. Another widely popular planner in the Philippines has just an insane amount of ads spread out amidst their planner pages. I appreciate the need for ads as I know it drives down the cost of the planner but I really do not wish to dig around for my planner pages. 
  5. The cost. I was surprised to find that this high quality binder comes at a very reasonable cost. 
  6. The features. This is just chocful of features useful for moms. (I'll go into more details later)
  7. The design. The design looks fresh and modern and very hip. Even the inner pages have great typography and is clearly well conceptualized. 
*I am going to talk about some things which are my personal ideas of what would make a planner superb. This does not mean in any way that I think the Mom 24/7 is inferior, I just have very specific preferences as to how I like planners to be laid out. 


Monthly View - This planner has a monthly calendar on one page with enough for some small notes on the side. I use this feature to plan out trips in advance, put in special events and birthdays. The design of the monthly calendar is very clean and modern looking. I think it would make it even more special if the month is laid out in 2 pages to have more room. 

The beautiful dividers - I know this isn't really a huge feature but it really makes things easier for me. I am able to go from one month to the other much more easily because of these dividers. They're really pretty to look at too. 

To-do List - This was actually the selling point for me. I loved the full page to-do list with so much room for an avid list writer like myself. I was so disappointed  when I saw though that the to-do list can only be found at the beginning of the month of January. I thought there would be a to-do list for every month =(

Weekly Calendar - I love love love the weekly calendar. I love the fact that you can factor in the schedule of your kids. I think you can include the schedule of up to 3 kids. I only have on daughter so I am using one row for my homeschooling schedule and another for expenses. I also love that there are goals for the week and even a little bit for notes, thoughts and reminders.

Pages and PERKS!!

I love all the extra pages. I still have to figure out how to use a lot of them but I'm so excited to start using them.

Child's Info Sheet - there were 4 pages of these (which seems weird considering there's only room for the schedule of 3 kinds on the weekly calendar) and I think these pages would be so helpful. I specially love the spaces for the shoe sizes.

I think I'm going to use the extra pages for nephews and godchildren.

Kids Health Record - this is another thing I love. I love being able to take note of illnesses, medications, prescriptions in one page. Awesome. Strange that this time there's space for only 2 kids. (It doesn't affect me though since I only have one kid).

Immunization Record - My child is already on the stage of boosters so this is not as useful to me. But if I have another child I'm sure I'd be all over this feature.

Menstrual Tracker - another wonderful thing to have. 

Parents' Health Record - YAY. Finally someone remembered that we parents get sick too. I love that there's also space for my husband's record

Gadget Tracker - this is one feature I'm not sure I'll be using just because I'm not that much of a techie to begin with. 

Household Staff File - This is just heaven sent. I've been telling myself I should start taking note of this and voila here it is. I have no more excuse. 

There are other features of this planner that I didn't include which you may enjoy. I highly recommend this planner for all moms out there. 

(I bought this planner with my own money.)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

In Everything Give Thanks

2013 was a roller coaster of sorts. I feel like I had such great highs and I ended on a spiritual low. I just somehow drifted away from God. I knew the fault was in me. I knew God was constant and I was the one who closed my heart. I vowed to draw near him again in 2014.

2014, 1:00 am - My daughter Sabrina has 38.8 degree  fever. I looked at my husband and said "What a way to start the year huh?". Then the story of Job hit me. I'm complaining about a fever? I'm already losing faith and feeling sorry for our family because of that? The verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In everything, give thanks..."

I closed my eyes and prayed. I thanked God that I am home and able to take care of the fever. I thanked him that we had money to buy medicine. And I said "Lord I don't understand why Sabrina needs to get sick but I know that you are in control and that if you want to you can heal her at any time. But if you don't, then I trust that you have a plan for us and I thank you for that".

We went to bed and I set my alarm for 3:00 am so I could monitor her fever. It was gone! It's been over 24 hours now and we've remained fever free. I haven't ever heard of a 3-hour fever so I'm amazed by this recoveryy.