A Dollar from the Envelope

When we returned from our long flight from the Philippines, there was a pretty good size container filled with mails that was waiting for us.  So, I volunteered myself on opening all the letters.  Most of it were notices from providers for the next doctors appointment, Insurance updates, Ads, pre-approved credit cards, classified envelopes, magazines and news papers offers.  But one of them came from Nielsen, and it has a dollar bill enclosed with it.

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Nielsen Consumer Survey_Haltom Family

So what is Nielsen and what are they doing? 

The Nielsen Consumer Survey is a national media research study collecting over 200,000 surveys per year in over 120 local areas like yours. We gather information about radio listening, newspaper and magazine reading, television viewing, leisure activities and shopping habits. The information is used by local radio stations, television stations, newspapers, magazines, advertisers, and retailers to understand what consumers are listening to, reading, viewing and buying.- Source: www.nielsensurveys.com

Enclosed in the envelope was a survey form, a return envelope paid by them and a mailing instructions.

The gist: 

Once the roughly 10 minutes Consumer Survey Booklet is completed, and mailed back to Nielsen using the enclosed pre-paid envelope, they promised to mail back another small token or a CASH GIFT as appreciation for each successful participation in their Consumer Survey or a $5 bill.    So basically, they are willing to pay you a total amount of  $6 bill for giving them the information of your most watched channels, answering questions like favorite restaurants, and shopping habits.  There were few personal questions like age, common language you speak at home, household size, race, and yearly income range.   In the last page, they asked you to sign it to verify that all the answers you provided are true.  And of course, you don’t want to sign it if the answers aren’t true!

Once I completed the survey form with Joshua’s help, I immediately placed it in the mail box.  My expectations was so high, after three days, I was thinking I will received my other $5 in the mail box.   But, one week had passed and followed by another week,  Nielsen envelope didn’t show up!  I was getting impatient, and felt like double-crossed.  Why not? I invested my time, effort, and my mind in it.  I was even tempted to call the 1800 hotline! But, thank God, I didn’t call them.  The third week, I finally give in.  I prayed.

One morning, I acknowledged that God is the source of everything, and if it His will for me to receive my payment from the work I did for Nielsen,   IT WILL BE DONE ACCORDING TO HIS PLAN, AND HIS TIME.

The moment I surrendered my rights of being paid, instantly my heart was filled with peace.  I no longer expect if Nielsen will get back to me, not even had a bad thoughts towards Nielsen like they weren’t true to what they promised, that they were a fraud.  Yes I confessed, that was an awful thought.   I even stopped checking the mail box daily, and let others did it!  HA!  BUT THE GOOD NEWS, that same day in the afternoon when the mail run,  Joshua came back with lots of envelopes in his hands.  I was VERY surprised when I heard from him, there’s a letter from Nielsen. When I opened it, Mr. Abraham Lincoln say hello to me.

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Change of Heart

I didn’t had any expectations.  My main goal was to checked our mails and made sure that we didn’t miss any immediate letters.   When I was opening the letters, and found the dollar bill, I was amazed.  Why? It didn’t happen everyday.  It’s different to find a dollar in the envelope. I knew some people who needs to work a long time, and spend an hour just to earn an amount less than that!  On my part, its not a hard earn labor, but a BAIT!

Even before Nielsen, I was pretty occupied of the thought of working and earning at home.  There is no dire need for me to do it,  Joshua, my husband, is not even forcing me, BUT I feel like I need to start doing it now, as a preparation for my desire in homeschooling our daughter.  I need to discipline myself, and investing ample of time to re-established myself again, use my acquired skills, and as Joshua advised to me grab the opportunity that will across my way.  In my heart, I’ve been praying for this.

Success is a ladder that cannot be climbed with your hands in your pocket-unknown

So when the Nielsen envelope showed up, I got excited. For me, it’s an opportunity that I shouldn’t waste.  It’s a work that I can perform at home.  I thought its an answer to my prayer.  But, the actual answer to my prayer is me being reminded the actual condition of my heart–that my sufficiency and peace will not come from the Nielsen envelope after they recognized my work in answering that survey form, and I will get paid.  That my peace is not worth an Abraham Lincoln (No offense to President Lincoln).  That my peace and sufficiency comes from our Lord Jesus Christ.   Citing this quote from the book of Larry Burkett, “Success comes from having the proper aim as well as the right ammunition”.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. -Psalm 139:23-24












Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library FREE Quality Books

Our daughter’s newest set of character,  fictional, and imagination-enriching educational books comes from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library’s.  It was piled-up for several months, and we are glad that kaki (Joshua’s aunts) kept it all.  Most of the books Abigail was using and included from her Infancy to Toddler, Learning to Love Books were left behind on the other side of the world (Philippines).

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school, no matter their family’s income.

“Inspiring kids to love to read became my mission. In the beginning, my hope was simply to inspire the children in my home county but here we are today with a worldwide program that gives a book a month to well over 1 million children. -Dolly Parton

No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them. -Genesis 50:21 NLT

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are catering United States, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Canada, and Australia.

So we encourage you, if you are a parent or legal guardian, and you want your children to participate and received these free books, you can check the availability of imagination library in your area, click here.

Our hearts are full for your good works Ms. Dolly and team.  Thank you so much for your gifts.

Here are some of the books Abigail has received:

Meet Me at the Moon
Meet Me at the Moon
The Mine-o-Saur
The Mine-o-Saur
Following Papa's SONG
Following Papa’s SONG
All of baby nose to toes
All of baby nose to toes
Read to Tiger
Read to Tiger
Home for a Bunny
Home for a Bunny
Little Poems for Tiny Ears
Little Poems for Tiny Ears
The Ginger Man Loose on the Fire Truck
The Ginger Man Loose on the Fire Truck
Dolly Parton I am a Rainbow
Dolly Parton I am a Rainbow
Truck Stop
Truck Stop
King Jack and the Dragon
King Jack and the Dragon
Just One More Solo Uno Mas
Just One More Solo Uno Mas
Max and the Tag Along Moon
Max and the Tag Along Moon
Tamie dePaola's Mother Goose
Tamie dePaola’s Mother Goose
Little Owls Night
Little Owls Night


Hongkong International Airport, 13 Hrs Layover

Thank God, after almost 30 minutes of turbulence and bad weather by God’s grace, protection and experience of the captain, our plane landed safely at Hongkong International Airport (HKG).  Whew!!! That was the very first we’d experienced that.  And I will admit, that uncomfortable feeling in my gut scared a mother out of me. When I looked at my husband, Joshua who was looking calmed and our daughter who was seating comfortable in our middle, I tried to compose myself.  I even reminded myself through telling Abi that whenever we are afraid we can trust in Jesus and wrapped it with a prayer.

It only took us 2 hours and 20 minutes on air to traveled from Manila International Airport to HKG.

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Daddy is Spiderman, our daughter said.  I think he is MORE than Spidey!  Thanks Veronica for this eye mask.

Our family arrived and departed in different airports but so far Hongkong Airport amazed me most.  The Automated People Mover, their free In-Terminal Transport made our transport from arrival area to immigration (I will update more this article about our immigration experience as transient passengers) and baggage claim quicker.  It was an unexpected experience for us.

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Going down to the people mover train.  Excuse this low quality shot.

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You see their covered train down the left side of escalator?

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It only took us 2 minutes of waiting for the next train to arrived. The computerized signage is such a big aid for first timer in HKG.


The Visitor’s VISA issued in Hongkong is upon arrival.  The immigration officer that assisted us didn’t asked much questions for transient passengers like ours. As the standard procedures, we just presented our passports together as a family, and after that he checked for our connecting plane tickets, and snapped our individual photos and that was it.  For US Passport holders like my husband and our daughter, they were granted a 3 months Visitor Visa eligibility or until November 29 of this year. While for Philippine Passport holder like me, they granted me a visitor permit for only 2 weeks.   We didn’t experienced any hard time or confusions at the immigration kiosk, the only thing we noticed was the long line, and the first immigration officer that assisted us was replaced by a new one probably a shift change.

We arrived at Hongkong an hour delayed our scheduled time so we missed one activity that our daughter was looking forward to. We told her that we can visit the Children’s Playground at the airport.  We never get to any one of it.  Our luggage arrived late too so we needed to stay for a couple of minutes at the baggage claim area.

Right after it, we strolled  to Terminal 2 and immediately find the Subway (thank you Kaki) which is located at Level 5.  We tried to bring Abi to children’s place but we were told by some personnel we approached  with that the children’s place was about to closed.

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Free Baggage Trolley.  By the way not ALL airports offered this kind of feature.  Some is requiring the passengers to swipe their debit cards, and will charge $5 just to stroll the trolley to a limited area.  KUDOS to you HKG.

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Abigail looking exhausted, she was coughing bad the entire trip

Taking the insight of the customer relation officer, Joshua decided for us to stayed in the less crowded waiting area of Terminal 2.  The waiting area offered a comfortable chair and unlimited WIFI.

In the previous article that I wrote which entitled Hong Kong International Airport 13 Hrs Layover, What to Do? I shared some options we can choose while waiting for our next flight.  So, we decided that Plan A, Stay Inside the Airport made more sense economically and in terms of security and assurance of not being late for our next flight.

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More un-occupied seats waiting to serve travelers like us

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The waiting area at terminal 2 are equipped with cleaned,  less crowded toilets and huge enough to do personal hygiene for a long time without being rushed.

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This young lady had a long- comfortable sleep in her car seat.

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Their unlimited WIFI was a big help for communications and Joshua’s online work.

Joshua is a certified coffee lover, and with our previous travels, we learned that signature coffees sold at the airports were pretty expensive.  So this time, our solutions we brought packs of instant coffees (as given by my sister, and Tita Cora), and energy-chocolate powder mix.  My bad, I lost both our plastic water bottles container but the good thing, we saved the emptied cup noodles (we snack it while on our flight with Cebu Pacific) and for the HOT WATER, 7-11 generously supplied it for FREE so thank God.  We just NEED to be RESOURCEFUL all the time!

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Hongkong Airport_Haltom Family (2)

For your long lay over, make sure to bring a sheet for comfortable sleep

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We said we will kissed in every airport, and glad we had one goofy one in Hongkong :). Every time our daughter witnessed us doing this, she ignorantly ask, “Mom, Dad are you married?” Another good opportunity to address her inquisitive nature which is another story to share.

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Story behind this photo: I asked him to take a picture of mine IF and whenever I fell asleep!!! 🙂

We transferred to Terminal 1 at around  3 a.m, and we stayed in front of Hongkong Airlines check-in counter.  We were advised that they will open at around 5:00 a.m.

TIP: Their online checked-in-do it yourself kiosk opened around that time, BUT the one operated with humans open at around 5:30 a.m.  So if you are flying with Hongkong Airlines and have your printed boarding pass with you, you can drop your luggage at the airport around that time.

By the way for this trip, we appreciate Hongkong Airlines and airport customer relation officer for providing our family one of the most comfortable flight in terms of food, services, quick response to our numerous emails, and live customer chats.

Right there,  we also found a comfortable waiting area which was near the charging points, toilets, and a walking distance to the drinking water fountain.

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The USB slots are also provided in their Charging Points

TIP: Research the type of electrical sockets (outlets) used in the airport or country of your destinations. Get yourself  a Universal Adapter.                                                                  

The last time our family traveled to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia to availed again the Balikbayan Program, our battery were emptied at the airport.  They had different shape-outlet which was not compatible in our charger. So weeks prior to our flight, Joshua bought a universal adapter for less than $5. The type of  outlet used in Hongkong Airport is the Type G, Great Britain Grounded or ” British BS-1363.  But no worries, USB slots are also provided in their charging points.                                   

Universal Adapter_Haltom Family

Universal Adapter we bought from SM Hardware

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Charging Points at Terminal 1

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Charging our Laptop, Mobile Phones and Power Bank from My sister,  Ate Beejay

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These baggage trolleys had been very helpful in carrying our luggage and for carrying our little one while sleeping in her car seat.

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Terminal 1 huge and comfortable waiting area for passengers

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HongKong Airlines Check-in Counter

At the departure area, our daughter had the chance to experienced their edgy and comfy Children’s TV Lounge for a long hours.

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Children’s  Free TV Lounge

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…and same with us.

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Comfortable Bean Bags at the Kid’s TV Lounge

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Free Computers and Internet access for passengers situated at departure area.

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Hongkong Airport are equipped with accessible Drinking Fountains.

This trip wouldn’t be more comfortable without the help of our families both from Joshua’s side and mine. Thank you so much for all your support and love for Joshua, Abi, and I.  We will remain grateful for all the countless help and assistance you have given and extended for us.  We love you and thanking God for all His provisions.