Of Koalas and Kiwis

I had been busy these past couple of weeks working on the joint event of Austrade and New Zealand Trade. Apparently, I learned from my first work-from-home experience and I took on another project.

I was very close to saying "no" to the project as my presence is required at the food expo and reception. Of course, my priority is taking care of Javi. Then my wonderful husband urged me to take the project and he will go on leave and take care of our son for four days. Miracles of miracles, his leave was immediately approved.

And my earnings from this project could finally buy me a Wii Fit Plus AND the Wii console. Off we go!

It was a delight working with colleagues I have worked with a few years back. This project was shorter than the first one I worked on. And I learned from my mistakes the first time, I was more focused now. There were not too many late nights except on the first weekend when I had to send out invitations.

That weekend was chaotic. As I had to fax the invitations out, I needed a fax machine. I went out to buy one and I went home with this - a fax machine, printer, scanner, and copier.

An HP Officejet J4660 All-In-One Printer

Alright, so I have a new toy, but the clincher was I had to learn how to use my new toy right away as I had a deadline. I also had to re-learn how to mail merge, use Outlook to open my work Gmail, send HTML e-mails, etc. I miss Jerry!! He used to do all these things for me at the embassy.

Things have changed now that I am a mother. I brought Javi with me when I had to pick-up the lamb which was used at the reception from the airport and deliver it to the chef. At the food expo, I brought my little boy with me while Jed had to run an errand.

With Javi at the lobby of the Waterfront. Note that he is wearing my badge.

I never thought I'd be working on a food show again.

It's like I never left the embassy. Coordinating food shows and reception are probably in my blood stream by now. I missed it. I am happy I had this chance to work on the same things again, and with the same people. I couldn't help but remember my golden days at the embassy when food shows and reception were still enjoyable.

I couldn't be any happier that I was surrounded by cheeses. I've died and gone to cheese haven. And kiwi fruit, too! These are the products that Canada do not bring in to the Philippines so it's all new to me.

Meet Zespri's kiwi mascots

To my utmost surprise, I was even offered a job towards the end of the show plus the likelihood of coordinating future events in Cebu for New Zealand Trade. When my only objective was to earn enough to buy my Wii/Wii Fit. I'd have to think hard about the job offer.

I could not thank my husband enough for his encouragement, support and the time he put in to take of Javi. We all know it's not easy to be left alone with a baby. My cup overflows. I am so blessed with Jed.

Now it's back to wife and mommy mode for me.

The Land Down Under & the Lord of the Rings

Goodbye Canada, for now.

I have another opportunity to work from home. My colleagues from the New Zealand Trade and Austrade offered me to coordinate their joint-event here in Cebu.

While I almost said no due to not having time, my supportive husband encouraged me to take on the project. He even filed for leave on the days when I would need to be at the event. I am so blessed with a husband who is willing to look after our son while I work. He felt my excitement when I read the tasks I had to do. He knows I miss the kind of work I used to do for the Embassy. I am grateful for a husband who makes sure I still have a life other than being his wife and a mother to Javi.

Reading the small change #2 actually helped me decide to accept the offer. This is an opportunity to practice prioritizing and putting order in my life.

I will be busy the next couple of weeks. Let me put what I learned from the first two small changes to practice.

Order Your Life (Small Change #2)

As a wife and a mother, I look up to and aspire to become a Proverbs 31 woman. She's the perfect woman. Question is how do we become like her?

We begin by putting order in our lives. We need to know our priorities.

Priority One is to Put God First

The first thing I do in the morning is reach out for my Bible and read the scriptures. There are days when I would wake up late and would instead rush to the bathroom to take a shower. Because if I don't, my husband will be late for work.

Now I have to keep on reminding myself to wake up early to have time to read His word. My schedule for the entire day is usually packed so this few minutes after waking up is critical.

Priority Two is to Serve Others

My first order of priority is Jed. My son comes after Jed. Not the other way around. This is where most people often make a mistake by putting the children first before the spouse.

Then the rest follows - mother, siblings, friends, other people in my life.

Priority Three is to Take Care of Myself

At the end of the day, I have to make sure I have not forgotten myself. This means eating right, proper grooming, and getting enough sleep.
"Tending to yourself, however, enhances and strengthens your service to God and others."
I fail with priority three. It's overwhelming to be a homemaker and stay-at-home mother; I rarely have time for myself.

Small change #2 somehow provided answers on why I am a complete mess most of the time. I do not know how and what to prioritize. It's not about maintaining a schedule. When you have a baby, sticking to a schedule or routine doesn't work. I have to learn to be flexible. This is challenging for me as I am obsessive compulsive and a sucker for routine.

I am also reminded to eliminate non-essential activities. It's so easy to be lazy and to just sleep when Javi sleeps. And of course, there are the time suckers such as Facebook, Twitter and all other social media sites.

While it is difficult to keep a fixed schedule, I now know how to plan my day according to my these priorities - God, Jed & Javi, and myself.

Then I am on the road to become a Proverbs 31 woman.

Ask for Wisdom (Small Change #1)

It actually makes sense why asking for wisdom is #1. We probably make decisions every second of our life.

What to do next? What to eat? Where to go? Should I say yes or no?

In order to have a better life, we need to make sound decision. We have to be wise to choose what is right for us. We need to ask the Lord for wisdom. And everything else will follow - better marriage, the right parenting skills, people skills, productive day at work, the right priorities, more savings.

Now here are the steps to take to ask God for wisdom --
  • Desire wisdom - We have to want it!
  • Pray for wisdom - Ask God for it.
  • Seek wisdom - You will find insights on wisdom in the book of Proverbs.
  • Grow in wisdom - It doesn't stop after receiving wisdom, we have to keep living and growing in it.
As my task for the day, I had to pick a verse from a chapter in Proverbs, write it down and carry it with me throughout the day.

This is what I picked --

For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;

but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm."

- Proverbs 1: 32-33 (NIV)

Small Changes for a Better Life

Small Changes for a Better Life is a book by Elizabeth George. She is one of my favorite inspirational/Christian authors.

This is not a book review as I have not finished reading the book yet. Since it takes me a longer time now to finish a book and my epidural-laden memory, it is harder for me to write a book review.

My first encounter with this book was at my very first small group meeting. Sam was going through the book and the time I attended she chose to discuss small change # 10 (Invest in Your Marriage) as the attendees were all married women. I truly miss going to a small group meeting.

That was two years ago. I am finally reading the book...slowly. Chapter by chapter.

As I read Small Change #1, I had this urge to blog about what I think and feel about each of the 18 changes. I want to write down and share what I learn from each of them.

I hope it affects my life as much as yours.
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