Takeaways: Getting Grit + year end reflection 2017

As we close this year, I was reminded of the things that I did and experience.

One of my goals during the last quarter of the year was to read a book every 2 weeks. As a business/inspirational/self help genre kind of a person, it is not so difficult for me. The hard part is applying the lessons that I learned or asking the question, “so what now?”.

Every book or experience that I encounter, I try to ask the following:

  1. What is God telling me?
  2. How should I react?
  3. What should I do now that I know this truth/fact?

Through Caroline Miller’s Getting Grit, I realized that:

1. I am not that strong.

It was my first time to be hospitalized this year. It was unexpected and a part of it was because of my own folly. Everything seems to crumble. I couldn’t think clearly as well. I panicked and gave up easily. I doubted if my decisions were right.

2. Our culture isn’t motivating us to get grittier.

We are used to living a comfortable life. We want other people to make us special. Everything seems easier. We are paying attention to endurance less and less.

This is evident in our food choices (mostly quick & easy food which leads to fast food or restaurant delivery), transportation choices (hello uber/grab) and leisure time (internet 24/7). Sadly these choices lead us also to higher turnover rates in offices and several career shifts in a span of 3 years! A little pain and we want to get out right away!

3. We need to cultivate the right kind of pain.

What I experienced is a stubborn type of pain. The one that I should have avoided have I taken caution.

What we should experience is the right kind of pain. Growth pain is obtained as we strive to push harder. This type of pain will enable us to achieve many things. This type of pain is the kind of pain that athletes obtain when they train for a marathon. It will be the one that will enable us to stretch our limits.

4. We can only cultivate growth pains if we are passionate in what we do.

It all goes back to our purpose/ mission in life. What do we truly care about? Answering the question “What am I here for?” Or “What is my purpose in life?” Will definitely make us ponder.

Without passion, it is too hard to connect with others about the importance of your mission and convince them to help you get on board. – Caroline Miller

When we don’t know which way to go, we are less likely to persevere. We tend to waste more time on leisure and unimportant stuff. We are also less likely to influence other people.

As I’ve shared previously, it is important to seek God and learn His will for our lives. That is always the starting point!

5. We need to make a conscious effort to develop grit.

Now that we know our mission, we need to work hard to guard it! Have a “mastermind group” where you can share your learnings. In turn, they will also share their experiences. Surround yourself with “gritty people”. You want to head in the same direction–and that is you want to grow and become better in your craft and spheres of influence.

Be consistent. This life is not a sprint. We are in a marathon! Develop good and healthy habits!

Success doesn’t come overnight. More so, the world’s kind of success is different to what God says.

I realized that it is difficult to measure progress and yet as I moved along, things seem to get clearer.

Last August, I was challenged to write, share my photographs and thoughts. I started posting articles on this blog despite the imperfection.

I also climbed Mount Pulag for the first time!

I learned that we should be comfortable with being uncomfortable!

I hope as we end this year, we will think of ways on how we can become grittier. We don’t have to do a lot of things to make a difference. We just need to do the right things that are in line with the way God created us.

As we start another year, let us strive to pursue worthwhile goals and make the most of our lives.

Happy New Year’s eve!



Takeaways: Meaningful Christmas

Have you ever celebrated an occasion for the sake of just getting by traditions? For years, we celebrated Christmas as if it was about us.

Being in the retail business, Christmas season is always our busiest time of the year. My parents are always tired come December 25th. So we usually stay at home and just have lunch together.

In 2014, I proposed that we make our Christmas day meaningful. I wanted to really make it different so Chelsea and I came up with game ideas and activities.

It was truly one of the most memorable Christmas celebrations because we had fun while playing games! We had a game where the players need to memorize a bunch of words.

Through the games, I sensed everybody’s excitement especially my mom!

As always, we still wear the customary red shirts.

We also wrote letters to each other. Chelsea painted these greeting cards.

My mom was silently writing as we played music.

At the end of the day, we prayed as a family and sang worship songs. It was a very memorable time! I led the discussion about prayer and asked my dad’s help.

We got a bit emotional as we shared God’s faithfulness in our lives!

I realized that spending the Christmas season with God and loved ones can be meaningful. As long as we know the reason why we celebrate, we find a deeper meaning behind all the traditions.

I also realized that it is important to be mindful of the activities that we do to celebrate. We should always ask “Is it drawing me closer to God?”.

Lastly, make it fun and memorable!

Merry Christmas,


Thoughts on giving

When I was a kid, I look forward to birthdays and Christmas because of the gifts. As I grew older, my mom would assign us to buy gifts to families and friends.

I realized that thinking of the things or experiences to give to other people is not as easy as it looks like.

I learned that we have five love languages and giving according to the other people’s language can be better appreciated. It will also make them feel loved.

To start off, it is best to observe them. You can also ask them and validate it as you go along.

Some people like to give and receive personalized greeting cards. Words mean to them. Others like to show affection through hugs and kisses. Still others would better appreciate it if you are with them to enjoy a cup of tea and have some talk. Some like to give and receive favors from others like helping them out in the organization of the home. Lastly, others would like to give and receive gifts.

Through the years I learned that giving shows that we are concerned for other people. When we spend our time, energy and resources for others, we invest in their lives.

I also learned that it is best to keep it simple. It maybe just a simple note or a pat on the back but it goes along way!

Most importantly, we give because we are stewards of God’s resources. We give not just if we have an extra savings. We give because we have faith that God will supply our needs in the days to come.

Start with what you have and make others feel loved!


Field trip: Dapitan Market

Last September, I visited the Dapitan Market along Dapitan Street, Manila. I didn’t know it was that close to Suki Market where one of my uncles buy fresh food. My dad asked us to visit Suki before to buy fresh ingredients that were not usually sold in Pio market.

I accompanied Kn’s househelp in order to add variety to their meals. Kn stays near that area for schooling.

Christmas decors were already put up! In the Philippines you might thought it’s already December in September.

Some decors hanging on the ceiling over looking the street.

We went there around 9 in the morning so there were only few cars passing by.

I fancied this basket. I like its color and style. When we asked where it came from, the vendor told us it’s from my home town! I wonder where I could find it.

Another weaved bag in a different shape. They used abaca here. The other bag is dyed.

Some doorpost planks for decor. I would love to post one of these to my wall!

More decors and weaved baskets at a cheap price. There were also some catering essentials like plates, glasses, spoons and forks.

Wood chopping boards!

These straws can be used to create other crafts. I would like to use them in my future projects!

Although I didn’t buy anything from the market, now I know where to find these stuff when I need them.

What are your current discoveries so far? Feel free to comment them below.

Stay inspired,


Musings: dark & rainy days (Part 2) + theater visit

Hi everyone! I’m sorry to greet your December 1st with silhouette & gray photos but I hope these will inspire your winter season. I also hope you’re having a blast as the Christmas season starts. How are you going to celebrate Christ’s day?

Sun set in Ayala Center while waiting for my friend

Antique clock that my aunt bought for my parent’s engagement

Construction site on the look out.

In contrast with the silhouette photos, I want to share the set in the recent show I watched with my cousin. It was actually her requirement in school and I just tagged along.

I am amazed of the lights and how the props were creatively used.

Lights can totally add to the drama!

These people were doing a wave dance before the audience!

Liza Macuja-Elizalde shared some imagery that ballerinas use to convey meaning. I wasn’t able to get the context fully but the introduction helped.

Stay inspired,


Happy Monday + Updates 11.27.17

How are you all? It is already the end of the month. I was just reflecting last week if I made use of my time wisely. I was reminded that sometimes progress cannot be measured especially in terms of our relationships with other people.

This week I was challenged to spend quality time with the people I value the most.

It meant doing some errands with my dad despite my headache and sleepiness. Chinese food is his comfort food and he really enjoyed this mini snack time in between work.

My college best friend also had a post birthday celebration. Her cravings for coconut pie was satisfied with this!

I read in a book that the most difficult thing to do in life is to find balance in all areas of our life. I think it is true but with the help of Jesus, who was able to do it while He was on earth, we can also do it.

I hope we will not regret at the end of our lives that we weren’t able to spend quality time with the people we love. Start taking action this week.

How will you spend quality time with someone this week?


In the kitchen: home cooked meals (Part 3)

In this series I’m posting some dishes that I would like to bring to my parent’s table. Hopefully I can convince my aunt to cook these for me.

Shrimp sautΓ©ed with broccoli, corn bits, and mushrooms. We also added garlic and onions of course.

Coated shrimp. I love its sweet and crunchy taste!

Steamed veggies. Any will do as long as they’re not overcooked. I like my veggies half cooked. How about you?

Steamed fresh fish with tomatoes. In my parent’s home we rarely eat fresh fish. I just learned to appreciate them because of Teaz.

Fried fresh fish. I love the variety of fish! I hated eating this before because I need to debone. I guess we all need to grow up in terms of expanding our palettes.

My dad used to say, God has given has a variety of meat, fish, seafood, vegetables and fruits. God gave them all for us to enjoy! Let us appreciate the food that He has given us but let us not forget to thank Him. After all His creation points everything to Him.

Before this post ends, I challenge you to eat one type of food that you don’t normally eat this week. Let me know if you have taken part of this challenge by typing your comments below.

Stay inspired,