Talking to Your Child About Death

When we first learn that this world is not an immortal reality, it begs questions from us about what comes next.  Do you remember your first encounter with death?

I recalled my siblings had a zoomed picture of my mother when she was in the coffin.  My mother died because of rabbis from stray cat bite.  How creepy it was for my young mind to fully appreciate why a need to kept that piece of memory.   Another memory that I had was when my uncle died (my father’s brother), the elders gathered my cousins and I and lifting us over the casket before the entombment.

 

How Your Child May React to Death

Our three-year-old daughter, Abigail was playing with her Lego blocks when I shared to her the passing of my sisters-in-law’s sister few weeks ago because of breast cancer. When I told her that somebody died, that Ate Nica’s Aunt died (Nica is Abigail’s cousin) she looked at me with teary eyes, and throw a piece of Lego block from her hand and she said, NO!

Our daughter is a joyful young lady as the meaning of her name is “fountain of joy”.  But as we observed her, she easily gets affected and becomes emotional whenever she sees people crying and is easily get sad whenever she is hearing something about death from movies.

The reason why I shared the sudden news to her was because that day we were visiting the funeral service, and she was coming needing to come with us.

It is a practice in our family to always inform our daughter of our current family situation and schedules whether going to a doctor’s appointment, meeting friends, and even travelling.  The primary reasons are to engage, to train her character, and to prepare her to envision what kind of situation we will be facing as a family so she may know our expectation.

 

Words that Console

Abigail didn’t have any close relationship with the person who died.  She didn’t even meet her face to face when this woman was still alive and well. But when I saw her reaction (the throwing of piece of Lego block, and teary eyes) in my heart I knew immediately that was the appointed moment, an open opportunity to talk to her about death and hope in Jesus.

When Joshua had one psychotic episode, I never sugar coat our situations to our daughter.  I looked her directly in her eyes, and told her that Daddy needs to go to the doctor, and that she needs to stay with Papa (my father) because mommy needs to be with Daddy to see a doctor for Daddy to get well.    Though she became sad for a moment that she wasn’t be with us at the doctor, my explanation of our current situation was truthful and left her an assurance of hope.  That Daddy and Mommy will become more better parents for her and that we love her so much.  That Jesus loves our family.    I believe that the time we invested to our daughter since the day she was conceived and all our loving and teaching moment made her become confident in our words.

So, let’s not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. -Galatians 6:9 NLT

I immediately told Abigail that death is natural, it will happen to everybody.  In my words to her, I told her that her cousin’s aunt died.  That her physical body died, but her spirit is with Jesus in Heaven.  That when she was alive, she trusted Jesus.

My niece, told me how her aunt accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and last year, when she was still well and recuperating from cancer, I had the opportunity to talked with her over the phone, and from her story, I heard how she gladly found her hope in Jesus, and how her faith to Him sustained and strengthened her during her trying times.

 

Attending Funerals

When we arrived at the funeral, the coffin was open.  Though we didn’t have a closer look at it, we had a good glance of the body from the corner where we were seated.  We had a good opportunity to explain more to Abigail about what she was witnessing.  She uttered numerous time, “Ate Nica’s aunt died!” And correctly addressed what she was noticing.  When she said, “Ate Nica’s aunt is sleeping.” We simply and directly explained that, yes, she is dead.

The question of is it okay for a child mostly a toddler to attend a funeral service when a loved one dies? Well I believe each child is unique and different.  They have their own way of coping behavior and characters to project.  In what we experienced with our daughter, communicating thoroughly with her our family’s plans and what Joshua and I agreed together works best for her.  Her being on the same page as we are allowing her to envision the same blueprint we are looking at as her parents.  It helps us too to focus on our agreed purpose and enjoy it with the same pace as she is.

For example, at the funeral there were also some kids that wanting to play with Abigail, and likewise with her.   But since we clearly communicate with our daughter the purpose why we were there at the funeral, by God’s grace she patiently waited until the funeral practices of the family of the deceased ended.  Afterwards, she met those kids.

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Use Scripture, and Reaffirmation of Spiritual Truth

There is a story from Abigail’s My Treasured Bible that she always wanted me to read with her. It’s a story about four faithful friends who brought their lame man friend to Jesus and its entitled “Through the Roof to Jesus – (Mark 2:1-12)

One-day Jesus was inside a house filled with people.  A lame man had four friends that wanted to bring him to Jesus so he could be healed.   But it was impossible for them to bring their friend close to Jesus.  Instead, they climbed up on the roof and made a hole in it.  Then they lowered their lame friend down right in front of Jesus.  He looked at the man and said, “Stand up!  Take your stretcher and go home.”  The lame man was healed, and he stood up and went home with his friends.

The story speaks how the faith and perseverance of the people that surrounded the lame man helped him to encountered Jesus, and how the four-friend’s faith influenced the situation of the man with a dead body for he was paralyzed for him to be forgiven to his sins and be healed by Jesus.

It gives me encouragement whenever we heard Abigail uttering the line, “Get up, pick up your stretcher and go home.”   Just like the four friends, it’s equally important for us as her parents for her to have her own personal encounter with Jesus daily even in her young age, and it’s essential how she will deal with death and for us to teach the truth about death and life in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

There were times that she was waking up from bed, crying and being afraid.   Our encouragement for her is to remember this, “whenever I am afraid, I will put my trust in Jesus.”

I have cited here from BSF Home Training Lesson 15 some elements of truth that we can remember in talking to children about death:

  • There is sadness at death.
  • An explanation is given of the physical death.
  • The aspect of eternity is reinforced.
  • Confidence in God is expressed.
  • Loving memories are encouraged so it does not seem we are forgetting all the loved one’s life meant to us.

 

 

Infancy to Toddler, Learning to Love Books

One of the main things Joshua and I discussed even before we got married is that our future children’s learning will primarily start with us at home.

We started educating our child early from infancy, and one of the educational materials we are still using until now are books.  We started introducing her to children’s board books, and training to love it through scanning to each page.  Thankfully, Abigail’s first set of board books was easy to access since it was generously provided monthly by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

As she aged, and her learning increased, we started introducing paperback books, hard bound books and even Amazon eBooks.  The good thing about it, the perks of doing book reviews broadens our connections for accessing children’s books.  In addition, our family’s side trip to community libraries, book stores and even bazaar helped us to find educational and informative reads.

I have short listed here some of the books that our 3 years old loves to read to her again and again and which are good references for education, character building, and establishing faith in Jesus.

 

IMAGINATION LIBRARY’S BOARD BOOKS 

 

Infancy to Toddlers Learning Materials (8)

Infancy to Toddler Educational Materials (137)

 

FILIPINO CULTURE BOOKS 

 

CHRISTIAN VALUES BOOKS 

Ang Pinakamasayang Biyahe ni Karen by Eugenia C. Martin

Ang Pinakamasayang Biyahe ni Karen by Eugenia C. Martin

 

FICTIONAL & FAIRY TALE BOOKS

Infancy to Toddler Learning Materials (2)

Infancy to Toddler Educational Materials (106)

 

Disney Princess Story Book Collection

Disney Princess Story Book Collection

 

Infancy to Toddlers Learning Materials (10)

 

SCIENCE, INFORMATIVE BOOK

 

 

BIBLE STORIES, FOR CHARACTER TRAINING AND ESTABLISHING FAITH IN JESUS 

My Treasured Bible by Karin Juhl

My Treasured Bible by Karin Juhl

My Treasured Bible by Karin Juhl

My Treasured Bible by Karin Juhl

My Treasured Bible by Karin Juhl

My Treasured Bible by Karin Juhl

 

AMAZON CHILDREN’S eBOOKS

 

 

Journey to Our 4th Wedding Anniversary

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9 NLT

2011 God answered prayers.

  • Joshua and I met in an online communities of Christians, Muslims, Jewish Mysticism, Atheist and of other beliefs.
  • Joshua traveled from Henderson, Tennessee to Manila, Philippines and found his wife, Me.

2012-2013 We experienced God’s faithfulness.

  • Joshua’s petition for I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance(e) were approved and  received my K1 visa and flew to USA and got married.
  • Joshua underwent a 6 months treatment for  Hepatitis C, which resulted the viruses in his blood undetected.
  • My green card application was denied.  It wasn’t good but not that bad. Being card less made me restricted in some ways.  Like denied to have a permit to work; and denied in application for drivers license; but looking back though it restricted me in paperwork permits, it didn’t prevented me to gained the privilege to always traveled with my husband everywhere I went.  My lover and my best driver was with me EVERY TIME in the road.  Yes, night and day, in all of my weaknesses my husband was my knight and shining armor. That’s God’s blessing in our marriage.
  • Met people that helped us and blessed us in numerous ways.

2014, We experienced God’s abundance of blessings, favor and provisions; healing and  deliverance. 

  • Our joy was conceived, and Abigail was born.  We also transferred to our first low-cost apartment.
  • We started our small family business, Herblend Teas Holistic Health and Wellness
  • Experience our first setbacks together in a short period of time due to relapses in Joshua’s mental condition.

2014, 2015, We experienced God’s forgiveness, healing and continuous restoration.

  • A highly destructive event causing our family to experienced severe pain, severe shame, that crushed not just our hearts but our spirits.
  • I experienced minor depression and downward spiral outlook in life.
  • Marital blame and shame

2015-2017We experienced God as our fortress, our strong foundation, our peace, Our Shepherd, Our Healer, Our Friend, our Father.

  • September 01, 2015 we migrated in the Philippines and being hopeful to received favor from the government in becoming a pioneer in importing our Herblend product CBD Rich Hemp Oil to helped the Filipinos who needs it.   Prior to our traveled date, we communicate our desired in importing the oil to some authorities of the government sectors.
  • We had a privileged to be connected and met faced-to-faced with non-government organization supporting the legalization of medical marijuana.  Behind this organization are lobbyist and the strong parents of children’s who are hopefuls to accessing the medical cannabis legally.
  • Our request to import the CBD Rich Hemp Oil product that we had stocks at Chester County were denied by Food and Drug Administration Branch at Alabang, Muntinlupa, Philippines.  Which resulted our business in Chester County to be forced stopped.  The decision was based from the DOH and PDEA issue advisory against the use of hempseed oil.

JOINT PDEA/DOH-FDA ADVISORY PROHIBITING THE USE OF HEMPSEED OIL OR THEIR VARIETIES AND DERIVATIVES FROM CANNABIS OR MARIJUANA IN CONSUMER PRODUCTS AND ITS AUTOMATIC SURRENDER TO PDEA OR FDA DATED SEPTEMBER 8, 2015

  • Our daughter accidentally ingested some pieces of Haloperidol tablets, an anti-psychotic drugs which brought her to emergency room, and made my husband suffered from emotional anxiety.
  • Migrating from Tennessee to Philippines from Bulacan to Sucat-Alabang to Imus, Cavite opened another door for us to started a short term outreach which we called Teach Them Well, an interactive workshop reaching out to our neighboring communities.  Our mission to raise the quality of life family to family, community to community, building with Pray, Care, Share.  Through Teach Them Well, we met parents and their children, government officials, librarians and teachers, and even non-government organizations who helped us and supported this short term cause.
  •  Father’s Day of 2016,  we woke up noticing that our house had been robbed.
  • Met people from SIPAG or Simula ng Pag-asa. Its a 12-week recovery program launched in cooperation with the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), and in partnership with local churches, various business sectors, NGOs, the PNP and LGUs across the nation. (Cited: SIPAG)
  • In between all of these, Joshua’s mental health extremely suffered causing him to had a severe relapse that brought my husband one psychotic episode triggered by stress in processing immigration papers, and trip through the emergency room last September, 2016  (which led him to another diagnosis of Bipolar and Mood disorder).
  • In our consultation with Psychiatrist we met patience and faces of supportive   families.
  • November, 2016 my application for B1/B2 for emergency medical purpose of accompanying my husband together with our daughter to go back in USA was denied by the consul of USA EMBASSY MANILA
  • With the mighty acts of God, we had a one day relaxation outside the Philippines.  Our family flew to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia for a purpose of availing again a year of visa less stay in the Philippines for a foreign passport holders like my husband, Joshua and our daughter Abigail through Balikbayan Program.
  • March, 2017 my husband’s petition for me for I-130, Petition for Alien Relative through Direct Consular Filing (DCF) was approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or (USCIS)-Manila.
  • May, 2017 we received the Affidavit of Support from USA signed by precious people whose favored bestowed to us since then.

With the Lord’s graciousness and compassion, this May will be the completion of my medical examination and following this is our family’s interview with the Immigration Consul.

I would like to commend the commitment of my husband  “To Hold.”  He strongly refused the idea of  going back in the USA earlier than I, and once my paper works are done I will follow them.  Though many times he was given a numerous opportunity to traveled back in the USA with Abigail (with my consent), firmly he stood his words.  His action showed how he prioritized and valued his strong commitment to me to always be available physically and spiritually even in times of testing.  He is valuing and protecting our marriage to bringing us more into one body.

I am thanking God, because he stood the test of time and flee the temptation of leaving me behind.

Yesterday, we decided to had a simple lunch at Rosemary’s Kitchen.  They offered a buffet lunch for a very affordable price.  Our daughter Abigail was with us and we took this as an opportunity in sharing with her the reason of our gathering.

Our goal is for her to understand that in each phases of joy, pain, tears, obstacles, downhill, sorrow, brokenness, failures, and triumph  her parents experienced together in our relationship, with all of our imperfections, sins and flaws there is a God who look after us.  That there is He who showed His faithfulness, forgiveness, blessings, and protection to us  in all of the series of fiery furnace we’ve been through together as husband and wife.  That Jesus got us.

Let us all remember, even in the darkest forest, a tiny firefly will bring light.

Today, our encouragement is  “So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!” -Psalm 31:24

Our prayer is for us to understand all the events that took place in our lives.  And to not missed His calling.

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Whiteness on the Boarder: Mapping the U.S. Racial Imagination in Brown and White (2016)

…notes from an Identity and Conflict Analysis class

Introduction
In the scholarly accounts of The Genealogy of the Mexican Other found in Lee Bebout’s 2016 text Whiteness on the Boarder, what I find most intriguing is that the identity of the Mexican Other is largely made with “depictions of Mexican-descent people [as images] within specific historical moments and thus [it] implicitly reinforces an emphasis on change over time” (Kindle location 982 of 6139).  I understand that boarders between nations to have become little more than imaginary lines in the ground drawn with fiat monies, lawful value by unlawful representation.  This schism in the human psyche creates a false and unnecessary sense of competition between peoples.  Economic competition is then radicalized and sensationalized with Hollywood images such as the typical Mexican, of whom writing like de’ Leon script as thematically indolent, morally defective, un-American, and savagely violent” (Kindle location 1032 of 6139).
Shelly Streetby, as the book proclaims, later links those Hollywood images however to the U.S. expansion and political propaganda that influences in and beyond the American people.  According to Bebout, Streetby readings alongside the like of Nericco, confirm my suspicions suggesting the all-too-common sense tropes can be expanded upon in every-which-way imaginable as they are resituated beyond the visual.  They become, as Bebout suggests, “deployments of a vast symbolic reservoir” (Kindle location 994 of 6139).
This symbolism puts, at least in my view, the oppressors of the Mexican Other at the center of the studies while the Mexican people are seemingly marginalized.  I say this because these studies do what they can to identify the source through which the image of the Mexican Other is viewed, which is, in these cases, almost exclusively the non-Mexican, especially Anglos and white persons.
Some questions that I believe these studies leave me, for example, are how far back in history do the implications of prejudice verses favoritism go?  It seems they are largely centered only around the Mexican-American boarder when the Spanish conquistadors have a just as large if not larger an influence on the identity of the Mexican Other as does their relationship to the white community.  According to Sarah Horton in a work published with The Public Historian entitled Where is the “Mexican” in “New Mexican”? Enacting History, Enacting Dominance in the Santa Fe Fiesta, (2001, p. 41), “there appears to be no consensus among public officials or historians on how to best commemorate the history of the Spanish empire,” as is the case even in communities that were known for having a particularly Spanish legacy.
The discourse on the Mexican Other has largely underwritten Anglo actions as well as being somewhat biased in making its contrasts.  I can see how this makes it more challenging to bring the studies together for a clear comparison unless we were to throw out the concept of “the Other” altogether in sort of an anti-racialized, cross-cultural analysis.  Such an analysis would be more honest foundationally as economic and climatic conditions will highlight the cultural conditions more equally.

Chapter 2 of Bebout’s book Whiteness on the Boarder: Mapping the U.S. Racial Imagination in Brown-and White (2016) reveals very significant historical accounts of what happens when cultures collide.  These moments in time, as this class’ professor Angel mentions, form “a basis for collective experiences to become what they are and how they wish to continue to be.”  If, in the U.S. imagination, all weapons and biases thrown down, “unassimilability” (Bebout, 2016, Kindle location 1611 of 6139) of ‘so-called’ non-American identities should no longer be necessarily un-American as they are called.  The tropes have been fading in terms of severity.  However, the clash comes when the fear and paranoia about colonial history repeating into some endless, downward spiral of Mexican governmental aggression and “radical Latino” (Ibid.) politics.  However, sometimes, there have literally been tunnels dug to override what I will call legal propaganda spoken in coded languages.  I point out here that lawful and legal are not the same things but respectfully, express verses implied connotations.  This is where the written word facilitates the exchanges in very particular ways.
In textual-accounts, in general it is legalism that any name or phrase spelled in ALL-CAPITAL-LETTERS is considered yelling and is somehow improper.  However, patterns can show us how any incorporated entity into capitalism will usually spell its’ name like so and will spell living-peoples’ names all it caps too, assuming they are or want to enter into contract.  It is a subtle in acceptability and a revealing example of how territorial rights and property laws have been morphed into some neo-genesis of artificial intelligence, so everything that is not black and white becomes a shade of grey.
The language differences in sensuality might also be an indignation to those considered to be “Others.”  The language of love and kindness is a universal sign of honor and appreciation.  This is echoed by characters like the Latin lover like Don Juan DeMarco but paralleled in Anglo-cultures by the likes of the skunk, Pepe Le Pew from Warner Brothers.
Etymologically, English is a sharp and perhaps broken mixture of all previous languages.  It is much more seductive and cunning in elusiveness.  The Anglo supremacists have certainly, even today, profited more off of their neighbors, again due to inherited, semi-hedonistic conditioning.
The multi-media conglomerates that began with word of mouth was recorded, and this is what now fashions the mainstreams of conscious awareness.  Critical to erasing dissonance as collective responsibility is awakened is the media, I suggest, to make the color-blindness of white-saviorism more apparent.  White is a however symbol of purity, and such a weaving together of cultural conditions presented in this chapter is difficult to respond to with anything other than awe and wonder, given to an intentionally pro-unity symbol.

References

Bebout, L. (2016).  Whiteness on the Boarder:  Mapping the U.S. Racial Immagination in Brown and White New York University Press.  New York.

Horton, S. (2001). Where is the “Mexican” in “New Mexican”? Enacting History, Enacting Dominance in the Santa Fe Fiesta. The Public Historian, 23(4), 41-54. doi:10.1525/tph.2001.23.4.41

effects of immigration capital

Photo Credit: Antioch University Connnected

The World of Rhythm

Introducing global musical instruments for Abigail’s home learning becomes easier with the aid of The World of Rhythm  children’s book.

The World of Rythmn

Photo Credit:  Amazon, The World of Rhythm

We are thankful to Author Patrick Adams Patrick’s World of Travel, LLC for his effort of sending us a digital copy and sharing this story with us.

Inspired by his youngest daughter Rhythm who was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms, but by God’s grace and healing she’s seizure free with the helped of medical cannabis.

This book is very educational for toddlers ages 1-4, and the art works illustrated by our very own Filipino Artist and musician, Joey Dimaguila (Rhythms grandfather) are fantastic, and lively. The illustrations are clear, and goes well with the text. With repetition, it enhances our child’s photographic memory, and instruments familiarity. We are thinking to have a family visit at musical instruments museum for an outdoor fun learning time.

The story line showed how Rhythm used the various instruments and performs in front of the crowd. We love the part in which Rhythm is playing the Violin outdoor with friends.

When we asked our 2-year-old what instruments she likes best, she said she wants to play Saxophone.

The story is simple, yet educational.  Once again, another “AHA!” moments was added in our memories. Through this book, us together with our child became fascinated and aware about the existence of bagpipe, a wind instrument that using enclosed reeds, (thin strip materials which vibrate to produce a sound on a musical instrument) fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of bag. Source: Wikipedia

We are suggesting this book to be considered by parents, educators, and librarians as a reference for an early educational introduction to musical instruments of different cultures.   The World of Rhythm is available both in kindle and paperback.

Book Reviews

Reading is Teaching

For International & Local Publisher, Author and Book promoter, we continuously accept book reviews whether it’s ebook, paper back, hard bound or board books.  kindly message us here.  Salamat!

For our dear parents and online neighbors, please feel free to share your experiences in reading books with your children and if you have any suggestion where to outsource good board books (used and new) for kids please let us know.  Hanggang sa muli.  🙂

Earth 3D: Interactions and Intellectual Advancement

Joshua discovered this amazing application as suggested by windows 10 store.   Its called Earth 3D.  Its been installed in his laptop a couple of months, and explored it a little bit when he was thinking about our plane trip to Malaysia to avail the Balikbayan Program.

Exif_JPEG_420

Earth3D was developed as part of a diploma thesis of Dominique Andre Gunia at Braunschweig University of Technology to display a virtual globe of the earth. It was developed before Google bought Keyhole, Inc and changed their product into Google Earth. Earth3D downloads its data (satellite imagery and height data) from a server while the user navigates around. The data itself is saved in a Quadtree. It uses data from NASA, USGS, the CIA and the city of Osnabrück.  Source:  Wikipedia

Paraphrasing Gunia’s statement from http://www.earth3d.org,

“during the program’s first release the features it offers were: viewing the earth as a whole, zooming it until countries, cities and even single houses becomes visible (which at that time was limited only to the city of Osnabrück, Germany for the limited maps he had on his hands, and the other feature was embedding external data like current earthquake positions or cloud data.”

Quite genius right?

Right now, the application is free to download from windows store, android play store, and google play only with limited educational features such as:

  • You can zoom 3D earth on your phone.
  • The auto-rotate feature and the user can rotate the 3D earth.
  • 3D earth and Google Maps can be viewed in conjunction.
  • You can see the borders of the country on the 3D earth.
  • If you touch the flag of searched nation, you will see many information of the nation.
  • You can set the live wallpaper of earth.

Joshua already introduced this to Abigail months ago, and yesterday.  Since we are currently journeying on her book called 1000 Things You Should know About Wild Animals,  last night we decided to let Abigail used the Earth 3D of course with our supervision.

1000 Things You Should Know About Wild Animals

In this newest version of Earth 3D that we are using the Animal World (add-on) is included. Joshua only paid a minimal amount of $1.99, and we can access and zoom-in the various types of animals in 3D form like Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Huge and Monstrous Sea Creatures.

Just like us, Abigail was fascinated seeing those 3D images of animals in its 15x zoom.   We let her hover across the globe, while her Daddy was reading the description of each animal she was pointing on the surface.   As Abi summarized what she learned, we asked her to choose three animals that she likes best.   She enumerated elephants, turtles and bears.

Animal World -Earth 3D-Haltom .jpg

Photo Credit: Earth 3D, African Elephant 3D and its description

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Photo Credit: Earth 3D, African Elephant -more photos

This will be a very educational tool to use for Abigail’s  home learning .  It teaches (so far)  geography, zoology, social studies, and astronomy. Like the relief model of the earth, World Political and Physical Maps, Day/Night Cycle with the City Lights, Real-Life Night Time Sky, Time Zones, More than 2,100 geographic objects, More than 500 wonders of the World, More than 2,000 photos, and the add-on: Animal World, and Sky Map (which we don’t have yet)

Earth 3d World political and physical maps

Photo Credit: Earth 3D, World Political and Physical Maps

Earth 3d Full description of any object or point on the surface

Photo Credit: Earth 3D, More than 500 Wonders of the World

Earth 3d Sky Map

Photo Credit: Earth 3D, Sky Map (Add-on)

The continuous development and upgrades in our technology, can help us to set our child to an accelerated learning path at an early age.  And together with her, we are learning too.  In times like this, Interactions and Intellectual Advancements (IIA) are applicable. Learning at home, like this is a thing we didn’t even have access until we were adults ourselves.

Imagine when every home is equip with this kind of learning capacity, learning together with our kids, experiencing together those “AHA!” moments, and us ourselves guiding them to know which path they might want to choose themselves.  Our daughter, at this age, is emboldened by knowing that her voice is being heard in her development, letting her to start to make decisions.

 

Abigail and the Sahara Adventure

Re-published: 

I go for a 5 Star Rating for this children’s book Abigail and the Sahara Dessert, another work of author Tali Carmi.  Though the story is simple story but clearly conveyed the act of Kindness well. Also, the graphical and colorful pictures are artistically done and will surely enjoy looking by our little one.  For parental screening and story familiarity,  I read it first before reading this with our daughter whose name is also Abigail.

According to the book Teach Me to Do it Myself, us reading the story first will not just enables us to check for suitability, but will prepare us to introduce the story well and draw our child in before we will start reading to our kiddos.  You know those background knowledge… 🙂

The story of Abigail and the Sahara Adventure begins when our favorite character named Abigail found the magical bike in her grandparents old house which brought her to Sahara which is Arabic for “The Great Dessert”.

In this magnificent dessert, she met Jasmine (the tribe girl).  She also learned that Jasmine needs to bring water for her family but there was nothing to drawn from their well, she immediately shared what she discovered while she was flying with the magical bike. Abigail mentioned to her the large group of trees she saw and the idea that there might be a water nearby. In her kindness, Abigail didn’t even hesitate to talked with the tribe leader and even led the tribe to the oasis when she was asked by the tribe leader. In responds to Abigail’s kindness, Jasmine’s father gave Abigail a pita bread and sweet tea plus a friendship bracelet.

Abigail and the Sahara Adventure.jpg

Photo Credit: Amazon

This remind me of the passage from the book of Galatians regarding doing good thing and harvesting the fruit of that goodness in proper time.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do-Galatians 6:9 New International Version

 

Because Reading is Teaching, I will suggest this book to be read by parents, teachers and mostly homemakers to their little ones.  Abigail and the Sahara Adventure is now available in kindle and Audible (unabridged) format.  To God be the glory.

book-reviews

Reading is Teaching

For International & Local Publisher, Author and Book promoter, we continuously accept book reviews whether it’s ebook, paper back, hard bound or board books.  kindly message us here.  Salamat!

For our dear parents and online neighbors, please feel free to share your experiences in reading books with your children and if you have any suggestion where to outsource good board books (used and new) for kids please let us know.  Hanggang sa muli.  🙂

Karen’s Most Enjoyable Excursion

We are very surprised receiving this package from Lampara Publishing House, Inc. and Precious Pages Corporation.  We’ve been expecting this last November 2016, but it comes near Christmas. A perfect timing for our family’s encouragement.
 karens-most-enjoyable-excursion-haltom-family
karens-most-enjoyable-excursion

Photo Credit: Lampara Publishing House, Inc

 

This book entitled Ang Pinakamsayang Biyahe ni Karen, (Karen’s Most Enjoyable Excursion) was provided generously by the publisher with the kind effort of Ms. Aiko. Clarizza Buduan-Salazar.  It was shipped directly to us in support to our cause called Teach Them Well-Barternihan.  The story is written by Author Eugenia C. Martin and illustrated by Ar-Ar T. Peñaflor.  Its a fictional-paperback book.

It’s a story of a little girl named Karen whose long train-travelled-time to attend her grandmother’s birthday turned into  a  joyful  experience, learning  with her mom by her side.  She truly enjoyed this moment starting from their home, with her mom’s holding on her hands, down to buying ticket up, to all the scenes she witnessed, and observed while at the train, up to getting-off the train.

As I mentioned in my intro, receiving this book encouraged our family. It was a rough 2016–if in case few of you were aware of Haltom Health & Well Being. So when Abi was opening the package, her Daddy and I felt her excitement, which excites us also.  She said, surprises, surprises!  This is mine?!  When we started journeying this book, Abi wasn’t much engaged with the story.  What I did is that I introduced Karen with her, pointing Karen’s picture, and encouraged her to say “hi” to Karen.  Just like Karen, our little one is always fascinated in seeing and riding in a train. She even screamed her lungs-out when she was seeing train. So, that’s one point of making her engaged in reading this story, yes using the train images.  The illustrations of the safety triangle holder inside the train, Karen’s circular eyes, the train viewing windows made her more familiarize with shapes.  And she also like Karen’s red-colored dress, and cute skirt.  The rain-like graphics at the background stirred her imagination that it was raining.  And she said, Karen its raining, go inside.  And yes, she became familiarized with Karen’s name.

Tip: In introducing a new children’s short story book to read with your little ones, parents and educators, my suggestion is first to, or along the way, introduce your children to the names of the different character’s in the story. In this way, they will become more familiarize and engaged in reading book.

The story of Karen reminds me of how our 2-year-old daughter, Abigail always wanted to be held, mostly when we were doing errands. I noticed every time we were surrounded by many people, and she can’t see what’s in front of her because of being blocked by adults ahead of us, her constant words were, “Mom, Abi! Get me! and extending her arms upward. She basically meant, mom pick me up!  There were times that I told her no and explained to her that my hands are pull, be patient, but often ended with her father saying, “it’s okay!”  For the affirmation that mom is just here beside her. Reflecting back, I missed the thought that she might wanted to be comforted by me, and being overwhelmed that she was surrounded by giants in the front of her.   In Karen’s situation whose mom is always almost doing work outside, she truly enjoyed the physical gestures of her mom’s such as, hugging, kissing her, firm embrace, gripping her hand and held on tight to her hands which she truly enjoyed. In fact, in this story, the words held on tight to her hands and the words used with similar meaning was mentioned eight (8) times.  Right?

My husband Joshua is also now reading a similar book entitled Be a better Dad Today by author, Gregory Slayton.  One of the topics mentioned there is Physical Support.  It is mentioned how, research has proven the huge benefits of babies and young children with appropriate physical affection (in fact the gruesome Nazi experiments of World War II proved that babies without physical affection can possibly shrivel-up and die even if they were given everything else they needed) The human need for physical support is a basic human need.  Like food and water, we cannot live without it.  So let’s not withhold from our kids something that they cannot live without. 

One more thing we can learn from reading Karen’s story again and again is the importance of our physical presence to the development of our daughter.  We are thankful to God that both of us spent so much time with her, and being around her but knowing more about becoming more affectionate to her, and even to Joshua is a priority that we all need to put deeper our hearts, as everyone is really in life together.

This book is appropriate to read for toddlers and up, to be read by parents, educators, and even book authors.   Bring your kids with you, and get a paper back copy of Karen’s Most Enjoyable Excursion at any children’s leading book stores or order it online at Lampara Publishing House, Inc.. To God be the glory.

book-reviews

For International & Local Publisher, Author and Book promoter, we continuously accept book reviews whether it’s ebook, paper back, hard bound or board books.  kindly message us here.  Salamat!

For our dear parents and online neighbors, please feel free to share your experiences in reading books with your children and if you have any suggestion where to outsource good board books (used and new) for kids please let us know.  Hanggang sa muli.

 

 
 

A Letter to Congressman Marsha Blackburn, 7th district of Tennessee

How is your preparation for this special day going on?  Is it becoming more festive and full of colors?  What about your gifts for your children, are they already set under your giant Christmas Tree and waiting to be opened?  We sure hope so.  God gave us these for his glory.  So he has commanded us, “Be of good cheer.”  Be cause Christ has overcome the world.  We have learned as a family that our contentment shouldn’t be limited by anything of a fallen world.  That is why Christ has come to give us life and life more abundantly.

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Our Family, by God’s grace enduring together all together no matter how many storm will come. 

Jeremiah 10
2
Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

3For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

Dear Congressman Marsha Blackburn,

Good day, honorable Congresswoman.  My name is Lady Lyn Erenio Calderon-Haltom of the Haltom Family, Joshua Haltom (my husband and a US Citizen), and our 2-year-old and very engaged and active daughter, Abigail Exodus Haltom (also a US Citizen).

Joshua and I got married on May 19, 2013, in Henderson, Tennessee.  Prior to that year, my husband filed an application for me to be issued a fiancé visa which was granted year 2013, and was issued to me in USA EMBASSY IN MANILA.

After our wedding, my husband immediately filed the application for permanent residency for me, including the permit to work last September, 2013. Though we complied to all the requirements and policy set by USCIS to the best that we can, and the processing fee amounting of $1070, my application was denied due to the reason that my husband didn’t meet the income requirements.  At that time, asking people to sign an  affidavit of support, a federal document  on my behalf was hard to tarry plus the fact that for my husband and I, our intercultural marriage was new and the first in the Haltom clan.

Though we communicated in the letter that we sent to USCIS, the needs of receiving a permit to work for the primary reason of helping my husband, by finding a job which I could use my almost 6 years in finishing my degree in Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering, and years of working in Healthcare Industry for me not becoming a burden to the society, still it was denied.  The thing was I sounded so arrogant in that letter, to the point of becoming proud.  My sincere apology for USCIS for that.

Also, in the letter that we sent to USCIS year 2014, and the reasons we provided to process the motion for reconsideration,  we were trying to explains the situation of my husband as a student, a person who is receiving disability benefits because of his mental condition: Traumatic Brain Injury, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, Social Anxiety, and a committed husband and a very loving father who was trying to work a part time job to provide for our young, and optimistic family but to no avail, the motion was again denied.

Year 2014 when we started Herblend Teas Holistic Health and Wellness, a small family business which we registered at Chester County.  And with the desire to visit our family here in the Philippines, for them to meet our daughter, and at the same time importing CBD Rich Hemp Oil in this country, year 2015 three of us flew back here in Manila, Philippines.   We also planned to directly processed my immigration paper here at US Embassy Manila but less fortunately when we got here most of our plans didn’t materialized.

Our request to import the CBD Rich Hemp Oil product that we had stocks at Chester County were denied by Food and Drug Administration Branch at Alabang, Muntinlupa Philippines.  Which resulted our business in Chester County to be forced stopped.

Last November 29, 2015 our daughter accidentally ingested some pieces of Haloperidol tablets, an anti-psychotic drugs which brought her to emergency room, and made my husband suffered for emotional anxiety.

This past Father’s Day here in the Philippines (June 19, 2016) we woke up noticing that our house had been robbed.  Until now our family is experiencing extreme hardship in processing our immigration papers that brought my husband one psychotic episode triggered by stress in processing immigration papers, and trip through the emergency room last September 30, (which led him to another diagnosis of Bipolar and Mood disorder)

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Joshua at the emergency room after receiving amp 50 mg of dipenhydramine shot, and Haloperidol amp 5mg

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This smile is worth a trillion.  Our beautiful mind.

followed by another series of episodes brought by the death of his grandmother last October 10, 2016, and deep depression because of being far and not able to attend the burial.  Because of this our family suffered an extreme emotional hardship because of my husband’s mental health and situation.

Just this November 18, 2016 my application for B1/B2 for emergency medical purpose of accompanying my husband together with our daughter to go back in USA was denied by the consul of USA EMBASSY MANILA because of the reason that he said that he was doubtful the way I represent the reason for travelling back in the USA.  The same time of my interview my husband and our daughter were waiting for me in the waiting area and both of them having emotional breakdown:  My husband which that time was trying to calm down while experiencing mental disorientation kneeling in the floor, was wanting to be with me inside, and our daughter yearning for her mother’s care which was trying to provide by my husband but he simply can’t because of his mental condition that time.  It was really a heart breaking moment.  People there of different races, and skin colors witnessed this dramatic moment.  Hearing the wailing cried of my daughter broke my heart terribly.  The embassy official even pulled me from the long line and placed me next to the window to be interviewed earlier just for me to attend to the needs of my husband and daughter.  But still, the consul wasn’t convinced on my words. He didn’t even look at the supporting documents I brought.  Immediately I went outside to the waiting area to pacify my daughter and comfort my husband.  We tried to seek assistance from the US CITIZEN SERVICES but the official who were Filipinos wouldn’t want us to give a number even if walk-in was allowed.  Their reason was, my B1/B2 VISA application was already denied so there was no reason for my husband to seek help from the US CITIZEN SERVICES.  I verbalized our concern, with tears and so much pain for my husband’s situation.  In my words, I said to them my husband and my daughter are both US CITIZEN why they did not want to help them. People were looking, I saw those empathizing looked in their eyes, and guards talking over their radios. I said my husband needs help.  But we didn’t receive any assistance that day.  Would you envision so much stress and traumatizing experience this cause to my husband who is suffering with TBI, and once again another rejection for our family to bear?

Right now, if you will ask us we are so much great full to God for sustaining our family.  And giving all the glory and praises to Him alone for all His plan for us.  We will always be thankful for our situation and no matter how hard it looks like, we will never become discourage.

Our assurance is God’s words.

But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.” 

 2 Chronicles 15:7  (NLT)

My husband is still finishing his Bachelor’s degree with Antioch University in Human Resource Management, and by God’s grace this coming Spring season, he will have finished it. Though many times he had experienced manic episode with seizures triggered by stress in processing our immigration papers, still we are blessed to say that God indeed sustain us in all the trying times. And I would like to really take this opportunity to ask an apology for the letter we sent year 2013-2014, and for being so bitter towards USCIS in refusing my green card application, my permit to work, my B1/B2 VISA APPLICATION for medical emergency reason of my husband.    Forgive me.

My husband saw a Psychiatrist here in Manila, though she was confident that medicines are available here to help his mind to stay leveled, and be functional in what today’s society is requiring from family like ours, still she recommended that it is healthier for my husband to be back in his homeland of TENNESSEE.  Being far made him suffer greatly.

Including in this letter is the brief summary of the processing we did, all the case number, years and even the responses of USCIS.  Our prayer is that you will find encouragement on this. Our family’s plea is may you extend your helping hands on our situation.  This coming January, 2016 we are hopeful to file the FORM I-130 at USCIS, USA EMBASSY MANILA.

With the present medical condition of my husband, which until now is not yet fully back to his normal competitive self but slowly getting there, we agreed to once again process my immigration documents with United States Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) and this time the plan is to apply for an immigrant wife visa.  To lessen the occurrence of much stress which is not healthy for Joshua and our family, the plan is to stick together as a family and part of it is to process the papers here at USCIS MANILA which is located at USA EMBASSY MANILA, PHILIPPINES. Their complete address is:

USCIS MANILA

Nox 1 Room 247 2th Floor 1201 Roxas Boulevard

Manila, Philippines

The form that we are going to use is I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.  Normally for US Citizen living outside the USA, this form is directly courier to USCIS Chicago Lockbox Facility but with exceptional circumstances they mostly grant the request to locally file it here in Manila.  Circumstances like medical related situation of petitioner and applicant as cited below:

“Medical emergencies: A petitioner or beneficiary is facing an urgent medical emergency that requires immediate travel. This includes the situation where a petitioner or beneficiary is pregnant and delaying travel may create a medical risk or extreme hardship for the mother or child.”

With medical circumstances like my husband who is needing to receive regular medical care like medicines and doctor’s monthly consultation are the benefits he is receiving from his insurance in USA with the diagnoses written in the document we showed to you. We also not wanting to separate our family.  The relatives in USA desired for us to come back together as a family.  Their words are for Joshua’s condition not to be put to the edge or “crash” as said his family doctor, Rick Rickard, now retired.  With these reasons, we are looking forward that they will allow us to file the papers here, and even expedite it.  Your recommendation will be a big help for Joshua and our family, and hoping this will give you the information you are needing for the letter.

Honorable congressman, if you will check our immigration records we mostly never failed to complied on what USCIS was requesting from us only the affidavit of support which was already beyond our circle of control.  My husband is trying his best, we just need an opportunity for our family to have a fresh start. We just need favor and be free from the oppression of processing the immigration papers.  An opportunity for us to break free from the insanity of this world, and not be separated as a family.   Also, my husband’s situation as I mentioned above is needing an immediate medical assistance.  Our daughter, she deserves to be free from all of this stress.  If you will happen to visit our family blog, you will see some of community contribution God allowed us to experienced here in the Philippines.

Here is the link of our family blog:    http://www.haltomfamily.wordpress.com

May you help us in this immigration issues.  God bless the work of your hands, and to God be the glory.

Sincerely Yours,

Lady Lyn Calderon Haltom

-Haltom Family

Happy Home 1: Coming Home

It took a long time for me to finally sit down and re-read again this Christian values children’s book entitled Happy Home 1: Coming Home written by an award winning author, Grace D. Chong.  

This book was actually provided by OMF Literature Inc. for book review along with LaLa Burara (Messy LaLa). Its an imprint for Hiyas.  

It’s a paper back book with 32 pages, part of a series, and each page is rich with colorful illustrations by Leo Kempis.  Kudos for your work, Mr. Kempis.

Happy Home 1: Coming Home for me is a story that projects the happy, loving and secure family of Atty and Mrs. Zambrano.  Their children Abi and Sam, typically joyful and healthy children, portrays the character of a well nurtured family having a comfortable lifestyle. That is, until one day, the brother and sister’s normal comfortable living was interrupted by the unexpected presence of a kin who lost his whole family to a fire in the slums. Who seemingly creates an awkward feeling between siblings and kuya Ped.

The first time I introduced this book with our daughter, the first thing she noticed was the old-rugged shoes printed in the cover.  She said, “Daddy’s Shoes.”   We read it together before her afternoon nap time, and since the name of the young girl is also Abby which is exactly pronounced the same as our daughter’s nickname, she easily found a connection.  At her age of two years old, I noticed that her focus wasn’t so much the story line but the images printed on every pages.  She can easily relate with the books with family images (She’s a visual learner).  Like, when she saw Atty. Zambrano she would simply ask “Where is Daddy?  Then point her  finger on the image followed by “Where is Mama?”  And so forth.  With her doing this, I concluded that our daughter is fond of stories that talks about family, and her concept of family is quite established as having Daddy, Mama, Brother, Sister and Baby (thanks to the finger family songs).

The character that was modeled by Atty, and Mrs. Zambrano explicitly valuing love for others.  To the point of cancelling their family planned night out just to give way the welcoming for Ped, a relative that was really a complete stranger.  I remembered one time,  our family was about to have lunch when suddenly a young boy called outside our gate, and asking for a glass of water.  He was looking thirsty, sweaty, and with a strong sun smell.  We decided to invite him and shared our food with him.  We found out that he was the youngest among  his brothers, his father was always outside working, and his mother passed away when he was only 5 years old.  Since then, once in a while this young boy called outside our gate and asking for a glass of water.   Giving him a glass of water doesn’t required so much effort on our part but what  Zambrano’s did was greatest by offering their house, their resources, their care, their time, their family and even themselves.  Amazing.

3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. -Philippians 2:3-4

I praise God for He uses this story to personally minister to me, revealing the condition of my heart. These past days, I’ve been questioning the agenda of people towards our family.  In my mind I concluded they  just know us if they need something from us.  Those people who gave importance to us if we can offer our arms to them, but without these arms… my perception was that to them, we don’t exist.   I even questioned my husband’s heart in helping others whenever he mentioned he was doing it to help the people.  I said, help our family first before them.  A selfish statement of mine.  I thank God for this story, this made me more reminded of the good characters Ive witnessed from my husband and my previous boss.  A characters that echoed, “do not let the blessings die in your own hand.  Share it.  Give it away, use it to give comfort to the people.”  That is the love of Jesus. 

To all the parents, educators, and neighboring community if you would like to learn more about the heart of caring for one another, and modeling it to the children of today… you can grab a copy of this book for only PHP 80.00  to any OMF Literature Book Shop or shop at  OMF Online.

Special thanks to Mr. Chino Camacho for entrusting this book with us and the LaLa Burara (Messy LaLa).  To God be the glory.

book-reviews

For International & Local Publisher, Author and Book promoter, we continuously accept book reviews whether it’s ebook, paper back, hard bound or board books.  kindly message us here.  Salamat!

For our dear parents and online neighbors, please feel free to share your experiences of reading books with your children, and if you have any suggestion where to outsource good board books (used and new) for kids please let us know.  Hanggang sa muli.  🙂

Celebrating the Life of Bonise Smith Haltom

Minnie Bonise Smith Haltom was born May 14th, 1929.  She had five siblings named Ruby, Irene, Harold, Glenn, and Joe.  In her story during those precious days that we were privileged to live with her under one roof, she shared that they were descended from the blood line of William the Conqueror.  Bonise had 6 children named Pam, Kathy, Tammy, Steve, Jeff, and the 6th son, David, had passed-away as a baby.

The younger generations in the Haltom family called her grammy and even my husband, so I myself also called her Grammy.  I remember the first time I met her was through Yahoo Messenger.  Joshua back then was my fiance.  He introduced me to Grammy through a Yahoo chat with the aid of the camera.  She was warm and smiling even if I was a complete stranger to her.  I remembered, when I first came to the United States it was about to turn Spring season.  The weather was freezing cold for somebody like me who was coming from the tropics.  But when I stepped inside the Haltom’s ancestral house,   I didn’t have any awkward feeling with Grammy as we first saw each other face to face.  In fact when I first stepped inside Grammy’s old house, she gave me a very warm hug.  She was always smiling at me.

There were many wonderful, edifying talks I was privileged and blessed to have had with Grammy, a few of these are so-very remarkable to me that I will never forget.  When we were preparing for our wedding, Grammy said to me again, that “You don’t have to be crazy to join the family, but you will be.”  True enough, I can attest that now I am 101% crazy.

When we were still living with Grammy in her old house, at night we always had a favorite thing to do for entertainment.  We always spent time at the living room with Grammy just watching Joshua’s favorite comedy shows, Stephen Colbert and John Stewart.  Those times were fun to remember because Joshua and I always had this neat thing with Grammy, almost just teasing her.  She would be in the zone, watching TV, so focused, and then Joshua and I would count 1-2-3  in the same beat, and then called her name, “Grammy!” adding the gesture pointing our index fingers towards her, accompanied by the click of our tongue, and as simple as that she would just smile and chuckle each time.  It wasn’t hard for us to made her smile because she was naturally appreciative and jolly.

Grammy  was also a very observant of us, and that made Joshua and I accountable of our actions in front of her.  One night at the living room, she said she had never seen Joshua and I fighting, so she was wondering if we ever fight.  For us, it was statement that doesn’t require an answer but actually we had some couples of arguments inside our room (Haha).

For me, she was a very influential lady.  I started watching the Little House on the Prairie, because she constantly watched it.  To the point of me watching all the scenes, and even had a days marathon just for me to see all the taped scenes uploaded online.  Can you imagine that?  Her taste of movie was really good one of these was the The Waltons.  And, she liked several others too but those were the most frequent.

She valued her own mother’s story very much too.  Almost every time, she loved sharing about her remarkable moments had with her mother and siblings.

According to her, one time when they went to the Pentecostal church (on a lark), for they were much used to going to the Primitive Baptist Church.  Once, when they had gone into a Pentecostal service, everybody began shouting and speaking in tongues.  Her mom became astonished and overwhelmed of what was going on around her.  With a shout of her own, in shock, her mom instinctively threw her purse in the air, and all of her mom’s things inside things of the purse scattered all over the floor and even under the pews.  She related her having to pick up all the coins and stuff from her mom’s purse herself.  Grammy was usually laughing as she told this story, and she never got tired sharing this again and again to the point of Joshua’s memorizing it.

In our home, I make sure that the doors are locked, and remembering Grammy’s practice every night, before she went to sleep, she also made sure that the front door and kitchen door were locked.  The reasons she locks the doors is because she had seen a “hoodlum man” who had broken inside their kitchen.  She said that she told him to leave and he left.

She also loves Apple-sauce cobbler.   Here is why:  she shared the story of days that the local Primitive Baptists group she was used to going met on the first Sunday of every month–and everyone was asked to bring foods–a potluck.  She brought an apple sauce cobbler that her mother had taught her to make by accident.  They were used to eating a peach cobbler, but there were no peaches on the trees at this time.  However everyone loved it even more with Apple-sauce instead.  From then on, she brought it every first Sunday at to Primitive Baptist, and the pastor especially loved it.  This potluck idea was also an idea to attract the tired and hungry who would sometimes come just for the delicious foods.

I remembered when she was already experiencing Alzheimer, in one of her sundown syndromes, she became uneasy and moody.  I was reminding her about how Jesus was, and then she told me straight to my face that I’m not really so kind.  That I’m “not true.”  When I heard this from her, from an old soul who doesn’t have any reason to lie, nor to say good, sugar-coated words just to be liked… I was rebuked.  I was wondering she probably saw something bad in me that didn’t reflect God’s kindness.Grammy loved to tell stories. One time she mentioned about the story of her old house.  She said that her husband, Leland, who worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority, had paid to have it built.  The only request she made was that she would love to have a big front porch and the bathroom not being straight-across from the living room.  But the house was built with it having a small front porch and bathroom designed just right across the hall from the living room.

Our family, God willing is planning to be back in the US to spend time with Grammy and be rejoined with the family there by Thanksgiving this coming November.  That is the fourth Thursday.  Though no matter how we planned things and how good the intention is, its always God’s purpose that will prevail.

You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.- Proverbs 19:21
(New Living Translation)

We had learned that Grammy passed away during her sleep last night here, morning there.  At first glance, it wasn’t a good report for us to receive knowing my husband just had one near psychotic episode triggered by the stress in processing immigration papers and a trip through the emergency room.  I was more concerned of Joshua’s condition and his being diagnosed with Bipolar and how he would handle this news about his beloved Grammy. Just like before our assurance is not depending on each other, nor any human but God’s comforting words.

I remembered the passage from the book of John, when Jesus Brings Lazarus Back to Life.

Lazarus was a close friend of Jesus Christ.  Actually the passage tells that when Jesus was informed about Lazarus sickness, his importance to Jesus Christ as his friend was described as, the one you love“.

3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for Godʼs glory so that Godʼs Son may be glorified through it. -John 11:3-4

Hearing these words from the Son of God and not being moved of what he heard,  Joshua instead proclaimed a glorious good news that the sickness of Lazarus will not end to death but for the glory of God.  It made our hearts become still, and we received the message of eternal assurance that Grammy  is not just in much better place now, but she is in the glorious presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It’s amazing how the Lord Jesus handled the news of Lazarus sickness.  For the second time, in this writing (John chapter 11) it described the love that Jesus has for these siblings.   John 11: 5 says, Yeshua loved Martha, her sister and Lazarus.  Even when he was told about Lazarus’ condition, he remained still.   John 11:  Yet, when Yeshua heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two more days.  This made me think what kind of strength Jesus had, and his important reasons not to be with the one he loved.  What amazed me more was right after two days, he told his disciples to be back in Judea.

John 11:7 Then, after the two days, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”  8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, not long ago the Jews wanted to stone you to death. Do you really want to go back there?” 9 Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day don’t stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10 However, those who walk at night stumble because they have no light in themselves.”11 After Jesus said this, he told his disciples, “Our friend Lazarus is sleeping, and I’m going to Bethany to wake him.”12 His disciples said to him, “Lord, if he’s sleeping, he’ll get well.”13 Jesus meant that Lazarus was dead, but the disciples thought Jesus meant that Lazarus was only sleeping. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 but I’m glad that I wasn’t there so that you can grow in faith. Let’s go to Lazarus.”16 Thomas, who was called Didymus, said to the rest of the disciples, “Let’s go so that we, too, can die with Jesus.”11 After Jesus said this, he told his disciples, “Our friend Lazarus is sleeping, and I’m going to Bethany to wake him.” 12 His disciples said to him, “Lord, if he’s sleeping, he’ll get well.”13 Jesus meant that Lazarus was dead, but the disciples thought Jesus meant that Lazarus was only sleeping. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 but I’m glad that I wasn’t there so that you can grow in faith. Let’s go to Lazarus.”16 Thomas, who was called Didymus, said to the rest of the disciples, “Let’s go so that we, too, can die with Jesus.”

In this passage I realized how great Jesus love for Lazarus was.  He knows what kind of threat he might be facing once he go back again to Judea, and even confirmed by one of his disciples but instead of being overcome by fear, his desired to pass through the shadow of death just to bring life to Lazarus was more profound and overflowing.

John 11:17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. 18 (Bethany was near Jerusalem, not quite two miles away.) 19 Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother.
20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. Mary stayed at home. 21 Martha told Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask him.”
23 Jesus told Martha, “Your brother will come back to life.”
24 Martha answered Jesus, “I know that he’ll come back to life on the last day, when everyone will come back to life.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the one who brings people back to life, and I am life itself. Those who believe in me will live even if they die. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe that?”
Today, I will remember again the words I described when I saw my husband, Joshua when  we found about our daughter’s gender,  the time when smiles and tears kissed his hazel colored eyes.  I once heard an old woman from the Pentecostal Church where we were married saying that a couple of things can move a man’s heart, they are the death of nearest kin or a birth of new baby.”
With all of the intense storms God victoriously rescues us from, and tears He wipes from our eyes, knowing the pain of my husband missing his Grammy, and the fact that we can’t be there to give comfort is a painful truth we will have to bare.  But in all of this mourning and great distress we confidently believed that the great comforter is ever present both here and there.  Miles away, He is ever present in so many ways.  Jesus will never leave us without a comforter.
 

John 11:33 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to Jesus. 30 (Jesus had not yet come into the village but was still where Martha had met him.) 31 The Jews who were comforting Mary in the house saw her get up quickly and leave. So they followed her. They thought that she was going to the tomb to cry. 32 When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who were crying with her, he was deeply moved and troubled. 34 So Jesus asked, “Where did you put Lazarus?” They answered him, “Lord, come and see.”35 Jesus cried. 36 The Jews said, “See how much Jesus loved him.” 37 But some of the Jews asked, “Couldn’t this man who gave a blind man sight keep Lazarus from dying?”38 Deeply moved again, Jesus went to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone covering the entrance. 39 Jesus said, “Take the stone away.”Martha, the dead man’s sister, told Jesus, “Lord, there must already be a stench. He’s been dead for four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you would see God’s glory?” 41 So the stone was moved away from the entrance of the tomb. Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. 42 I’ve known that you always hear me. However, I’ve said this so that the crowd standing around me will believe that you sent me.” 43 After Jesus had said this, he shouted as loudly as he could, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out. Strips of cloth were wound around his feet and hands, and his face was wrapped with a handkerchief. Jesus told them, “Free Lazarus, and let him go.”

As mamma Tammy (Joshua’s mom) related, “No one can ever really tell everything there is to say about Grammy.”

Revelation 21:4
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

 

Finally, to end this brief online-devotion to Grammy, we want to remember how Grammy until her last days would relate and recite the 23rd Psalm, that she and all her class were required to memorize in the 6th grade.

PSALM 23
1 (A Psalm of David.) The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

grammy-plus

Tammy Leigh Askew — Grammy is a fighter. Still a lot more…here..than a lot of people give her credit for that’s Grammy,always surprising us !!!

 

How to Write Children’s Book Review

In our family, we started doing a book review for some children’s book authors from United States, UK through Amazon and recently here in  the Philippines.  When our family was still living in the USA, our daughter was receiving a monthly free books supply from Imagination Library.   Here in the Philippines, as far as we know, no similar program exist.  So,  we started the Barternihan, which another story I would like to share these coming days.

For now, what I would like to share is some tips in writing children’s book reviews.  My husband criticized most of my online article (in an attempt to  educate and improve my writings).  He said that I always love to share too much information in just one story.  So, as much as possible I will become on point in my tips here, and hoping this guidelines will help some newbies, and if you are already a professional, please share your expertise.

Here are my guidelines:

Acknowledgement & Details of the Book In the beginning of the article for book review, I always mentioned first the main details of the books such as the title of the book, author, illustrator, and publisher.  You can also add what type of book  you received for reviews, you can share if its board, or paperback book.  Or even indicate the categories of the book like, Christian values, Bible stories, or Fictional books.

Marketing Story of the Book– I called it Marketing Story of the Book because in my work, we help the author to market their story using the system of barter to other mom’s like me who love to educate their children through reading books.  This part is where you will share your brief knowledge of the book or the heart of the story .  In common term, its called the summary of the book or, in business term I will call it the selling story of the book.

Learning Experience- Since our main objective in accepting book reviews is educating our little one, I never published my work without sharing what can my daughter learned in reading the books we have for reviews.  For example, when we were journeying the paper back book of author Ms. Reni Roxas, entitled Ay Naku!  I shared this, “Journeying on this book with our daughter, made her more exposed not just to the 65 simple Filipino verbs and everyday dialogue that is benefiting for her brain plasticity, and bilingual development but also to Filipino close familial culture.”  In addition, she also became familiarized of the tagalog expression Ay Naku and with the name of the child BotBot.

My Personal Experience – In my previous book review, I intentionally shared my childhood personal experience, current relatable character development or even educational learnings to put emphasize in the story of the book.  For example when I wrote my book reviews for Lala Burara,  I cited this. “In this book, I will not consent on how Lala’s mom’s always pulled her ungracious reactions.  When I was a child, people that surrounds me including of blood relation always tagged me as Negrita or even ugly.  Growing up, hearing those words made me to believe it and then I became inferior. I am praising God for  his gracious love and in revealing to me my beautiful identity in Christ Jesus.”

Take Home Reminder–  This is where the part I am sharing what I am reminded of in  reading the story of the book.  This part is where I make conclusion .  For  example, I will use my take home reminder from reading LaLa Burara: “The story for me is a gentle reminder to all of us of our tremendous influence that we can exercise daily in our children’s lives in teaching them life skills and building their character using the words we speak to them.  I will end this by saying, Redeeming grace is way better than command and control.  Redeeming grace is way better than scolding.”  Please take note that this is not always applicable to all book reviews.  Take Home Reminder part is only applicable mostly to Character stories type of Books or Christian Values.

Suggestions- This part is where I make suggestion to what type of readers the books is appropriate to share or read.   Most of the time, I suggested the books to parents or my dear homemakers, teachers, and educators.

Where to Shop– Of course, to make the exchange easily to happen between the possible readers like parents  and the authors and publisher, we give  directions where to get a copy of the book.

That’s all and I hope my sharing of guidelines in writing book reviews will help your task easier and focus.  Thank you so much and God bless you all.

Book Reviews

 

 

 

 

My priority at 34 years

Priority at 34_Ladies Birthday

It’s already quarter to 12 midnight… and a few minutes more another year will add to my age.  Yes I’m turning 34 years old but guess what I don’t feel like one that age.   I noticed the more I age, the less expectation I have for my self but the greater expectation I have from myself in being a wife to Joshua, a mother to Abigail, and to the kids we met through Teach Them Well; a daughter, a sister and to top all of these being a follower of Christ. In this season of my life, I also become more sure of what I need to prioritize.

I prioritize to seek God first.  Why?  Because in Him everything that I need will be provided.

Seek the Kingdom of God  above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.-Matthew 6:33 NLT

In His presence there is fulfillment.   In His presence there is an outpouring joy to serve others, and He holds everything together.

He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together. -Colossians 1:17 NLT

Another valid reason why I need to seek Him first is because I have my sinful nature.  I’m Headstrong, Weak in the flesh and Inconsistent.  I would be hypocrite if I say that I am always kind to others… well, I am not.  A few days ago, I had this heated talked with a telephone operator of Dangerous Drug Board.  To help Joshua, I volunteered my self to speak with the people he was persistently following up regarding the email response he was waiting towards the status of Industrial Hemp in the Philippines.  The thing was, when the phone was with me, numerous time the transferred call for the persons we were looking for kept on returning back to the phone operator which we later found out one of the guards of the [said] agency.   Since I sensed that his tone was changing and becoming a bit agitated, I requested politely to just give me the direct number of the two people we need to talked with for him not to be disturbed but he started to raised his voice and became unkind.  That was trigger for me to became reactive towards him instead of being responsive which resulted to a heated exchanged of words between the two of us.  I even said bolder words to him like… you were there to serve us because it’s the tax of the people that is paying you!  I even cited a foolish statement that an older man like him shouldn’t be respected at all by me because he never respect a woman like me  by raising the tone of his voice and become easily agitated.  When I confronted him,  at first he denied it but I mentioned that even if you deny it God will surely know the condition of your heart in the way you do.  I said all of these with a very escalated and angry tone of voice.  I demand an apology, but he gave it with so much arrogance. It didn’t stopped there, I made sure I hold the operator accountable of his wrong doing by reporting him.  But at the end, I was convicted with my unkindness and asked Joshua’s counsel if I need to apologized of the way I raised my voice.  Since he witnessed and heard everything, he told that everything I said were just right but the way I said it made me wrong.  After we prayed, I was humbled to called back the operator and apologized the way I talked with him but I wouldn’t apologized for speaking the truth.  And that his job as a telephone operator was very important because he connect people.  True enough, both of us were corrected.  He also apologized for himself and even mentioned that blind spot couldn’t be seen without others bringing it out in open.  He also said that there is a God that is looking after the way he work.

The LORD is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.-Proverbs 15:3 NLT

Before we experienced a Father’s Day Robbery, I though my heart was just right in God.   Free from anger, bitterness, and fear but I was in denial.  All of it was revealed right in front  my eyes when  I started to question if there is anything good about people.  In my distress I found encouragement not from people but directly from His words alone.

It helps me so much to know how King David build back his hope in God’s assuring presence in most of the Psalms He wrote of his trials and tribulations but remains certain, trusting in the Light of the Creator.

Example:

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
    for the Lord holds them by the hand.

 Once I was young, and now I am old.
    Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
    or their children begging for bread.
The godly always give generous loans to others,
    and their children are a blessing.

Turn from evil and do good,
    and you will live in the land forever.
For the Lord loves justice,
    and he will never abandon the godly.Psalm 37:24-28 NLT

 

Teach Them Well at San Juan Families

Another fulfilling Non-Toxic Clay workshop happened in San Juan, San Ildefonso Bulacan Day Care by our collaborating with teacher, the beautiful soul, Ms. Vanessa Concepcion together with her students and their ready and attentive parents.

Joshua shared for about 20 minutes some Biblical words of wisdom projected onto the blackboard.  That was after some praise in song lead by sister Veronica Calderon, and, of course, prayer.  Joshua notes how his not really knowing much Tagalog hindered his sharing, and so, he now has planned to take some language classes with a local, certified teacher.  But, even beyond his broken Tagalog and the projector being unplugged in mid-presentation, the focus on pray, care, and share was well received.

Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at
home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed
and when you are getting up. -Deuteronomy 11:19 (NLT).

Afterwards, we asked the parents what they learned from the words, and one spoke about the importance of intentionally teaching our children at home, that she learned a new application of responsibility.

Quality and quantity time, support, love, encouragement are vital to a child’s social and emotional stability.

Another mother said she understands that the main thing for us in life is to show our children the meaning of salvation in the love of Christ holding all things together.  Now these kids will surely remember that “We are the clay, and He (Jesus) is the potter.

But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father, we are the clay, and Thou our potter; And all of us are the work of Thy hand. -Isaiah 64:8 

We are all truly great full for the success of this outreach-workshop.   Seeing those clay being formed in their little hands  with the guidance and support of their mothers, teacher, and all the local volunteers/fathers who helped in lifting and kuya louie for fixing electrical wiring to ventilate the room/for Ibee capturing videos and most of all to God for bringing us together in this wonderful experience in raising the quality of life family to family, community to community, building with Pray, Care & Share.

Special thanks to Museo Pambata for their book donations, a few of which were also given to the Day Care.  Bayanihan, to God be the Glory.

Photo Credits:  Teacher Vanessa & Sis Veronica

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Museo Pambata Book Donation

Last June 18 of this year, we traveled to Museo Pambata Foundation Inc., to pick up their books donation.  We were blessed to have received two boxes of diverse children’s books from Ms. Charlot Cachuela and Director for Program Ms. Noreen Parafina supporting our Teach Them Well project that our family was prompted to start in our local community.

Museo Pambata Teach Them Well Book Donation

This is a fantastic first donation from the before-mentioned group to engage and develop our community to reading, connecting, and learning.

Museo Pambata_Haltom Family (2)

 

Committed Volunteers of the Foundation Program Department busy preparing their materials…

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“Opened in 1994, Museo Pambata is the dream come true of Nina Lim-Yuson, an early childhood educator and mother of four, who once brought her young children to the Boston Children’s Museum in America. They had so much fun with the museum’s hands-on exhibits that she wished there was a similar place back home where her kids – and the millions of Filipino children – can learn and have fun at the same time.” Continue Reading…

And not just that, before we left we were given a complimentary tour and  explored the Aklatang Pambata as well as the rest of the facility of the Museum.

Museo Pambata_Haltom (3)

Museo Pambata_Haltom (4)

Museo Pambata_Haltom (6)

Museo Pambata_Haltom (7)

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Museo Pambata_Haltom (10)

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Some of the children in our community benefiting from reading the donated books…

Museo Pambata_Haltom Family (1)

 

Our gratitude to the wonderful-kind key persons and the rest of the staff for the quick response to the small beginning of Teach Them Well community Reading and growth.

 

If you are prompted to support this community development and you would like to donate books, we say a big thank you and please get in touch with us here.  To God be the glory.

Four Faces of Spiritual Poverty

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Yeshua.”-Romans 6:23

 

All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him? -Psalm 35:10

“Darkness hovered upon the face of the deep” … “and God said, “Let there be light, and there [it] was.” -Genesis 1

  • Some hide themselves as a people who live a life of richness, luxury and materialism.  Who can afford of everything–good houses, nice cars, beautiful clothes, pictures of themselves eating at expensive restaurants, luxurious travels–but are really facing a humungous amount of credit card debts.  They live a life of possessions, possessed by possessions but really own a false identity.

 

  • Some hide themselves as a people who are always ready to say YES to others who are asking monetary helped and never say NO.  These are the type of people who doesn’t have expectation from others.   They don’t know how to stop giving to the point of giving even their whole selves, nothing left to be.  They are experiencing poverty by shouldering the poverty of others plus themselves.   Themselves being in debt because of the debt of others.  They don’t practice the 6 letter word, “ENOUGH” !

 

  • Some hide themselves as a people of can’t afford, who are always wanting, who keep saying that they don’t have enough.  These are the people who never recognize their obvious blessings.   It’s easy to identify them through the words that coming out of their mouth.  “I don’t have money for ___,” when they make it not their place.  They are the energy suckers.  They just keep the blessings, ignore the potential within themselves, and they don’t share; they let it die in their hands.  Another characteristic of this type of poverty is seen as they put pressure on you to do something for them, projecting themselves in very desperate situation and making you feel guilty of not helping them.  But they aren’t aware of it.  They are inside of this mask that they themselves don’t even notice.

 

  • The fourth face of poverty are those people who are the most hated by today’s society.   People who are hidden in darkness.  They are the dark (night) walkers or criminals.    Poverty lurked in their souls, feeding on it.  They are in a deep pit of darkness that conceals the light of their souls swallowing it in a shadow, which is DEATH.  They feed themselves and their children through the blood of their victims.   They become trapped in an unending of stealing, killing and destroying.  They are the robbers, murderers, liers, thieves, and idol worshippers, adulterers??? Their only resource is to take their own lives (really the light) as easily as they can but are keepers only of themselves.

And as we have reported in this blog, we have seen these faces, these masks, being used by the enemy to control people.  The accuser makes it seems like an economics calculation, but really, it is a spiritual battle.  Our resolves remain the same, that as ambassadors for the Kingdom of Heaven, we are called to do the will of God as proclaimed in the book of Isaiah chapter 61.  If you are reading this, know that you too are hereby equipped to lift up life from right where you are right now:
 1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

mirrormake wordPhoto credit : GOOGLE IMAGES + MS Word Crop

Beginner Yoga

How are you all doing beautiful homemakers? Its been a while after my last chat with you.  Our previous days were like a roller-coaster ride, plus we welcomed a family guest but as always my husband and I reminded each other…the good thing about it is God is in control.  Anyway, I just want to update and at the same time follow-up you all. Remember, the post I wrote the Seven Commitment of a Homemaker, and one of the commitment I made was to be Be healthy Physically. Well the latest update was,  I recommit myself to restart Yoga phase. I found this Beginner Yoga Workout Video by Exercise TV and believe me, it is much easier to follow and relaxing to do.  I actually like how the trainer Meaghan Towsend (athlete) explained clearly and give an example in doing the pose properly in a more fun way.

Joshua and I became hooked with Yoga since the last quarter of 2015. He was diagnosed to have a lumbar levoscoliosis with compensatory thoracic destroscoliosis  on his lower back. His Physical Therapist suggested this exercise for him to at least train his muscle to become more flexible, and for him to develop a good posture not to cause greater damage in his scoliosis and to manage it.  As for me I like doing Yoga because it actually helps me to manage my sciatica and helps me to become more flexible given that we are not getting any younger anymore, and mostly I sweat while doing it for about 18 minutes daily.  Not bad ha?

Haltom Family Yoga Map

Haltom Family Yoga

Haltom Family Yoga Fitness

And wait there’s more health benefits to reap in doing Yoga.  According  www.osteopathic.org some of these are:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased muscle strength and tone
  • Improved respiration, energy and vitality
  • Maintaining a balanced metabolism
  • Weight reduction
  • Cardio and circulatory health
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Protection from injury

I also noticed that, while doing the stretching and sweating, I experienced a deep sense of mental relaxation.  Managing stress well is one of the top priorities in our home. Since I was born and grew up in the Philippines, one of the way I cope up with stress is socializing with our families and friends.  Joshua, who was born and grew in the USA copes with stress through music therapy and self-medication.  Developing a healthy habit like yoga is part of us becoming more accountable to each other as we become healthier, creating a blissful home not just for us but also to our daughter.

Haltom Yoga

I found my encouragement from the passage of Hebrews 10:24-25 which says,

Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

I will say again what I said before, ladies let’s encourage and empowered ourselves.  Exercise with me, and please if you can, link me to the list of your healthy food menus that is easy to prepare, and budget wise achievable.  Let us help each other. We are not meant to be alone, but instead we were created to be in a community. God gave us one another for our protection. The small group is a venue where God wants us to be a blessing. –CCF

 

 

 

Ay Naku! By Tahanan Books

This book, Ay Naku! together with Kumilos Tayo Kuya! and Kumilos Tayo Ate!  were generously shared to us for book reviews by Ms. Reni Roxas, author and publisher at Tahanan Books.   We personally chose it to introduced the Tagalog language basics to our 2 years old daughter.

Ay Naku talks about a realistic day story of a young boy named Botbot whose clumsiness frustrate the whole family and made them expressed the phrase Ay Naku!  Ay Naku is a common Filipino expression used to convey disappointment, exasperation, or surprised dismay. -Reni Roxas. 

Journeying on this book with our daughter, made her more exposed not just to the 65 simple Filipino verbs and everyday dialogue that is benefiting for her brain plasticity, and bilingual development but also to Filipino close familial culture.Ay Naku!

The one-to-two word per page is very suitable for story telling to toddlers, and a good choice in dealing daily parenting issues with our child feelings and us, parents emotions.

I can relate in Botbot’s unintentional clumsiness.  This is classic, I remembered when I was a kid, I accidentally broke the figurine filled with water placed at the top of our television.  I truly can’t forget this incident, it damaged our television picture tube that made my brother insanely MAD! Haha 🙂

Also, Mr. Sergio Bumatay did a good job in presenting the story in an artistic-clear illustration in every pages.  The only thing I observed with our toddler, each time we reached the folded page in the middle where Botbot was hiding beside the arm chair, our daughter freak-out and tried to skipped the page.  All in all, we enjoyed it!  🙂

Ay Naku! is available both internationally and locally.  You can get your paper back copy at Amazon or visit their online store at http://www.tahananbooks.com.

Once again, thank you for visiting us online neighbors.  Hope this helps you in selecting books for your kids.  Let us know your thought, please comment below. Hanggang sa muli!

 

Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read. –Charles Spurgeon

 

Seven Commitment of a Homemaker

1. Do it all for the glory of God

As humans born in a fallen world, our tendency can be towards moments of selfishness and temptations to grab at the spot light that belongs to God. If my heart is not right before Him whenever I get up from the bed without me reminding myself of the very purpose why I still breath, I failed to perform with joy in my heart.  Let’s face it, any job entrusted in our hands has a big possibility for causing us to be exhausted.   How much more a full time job without being paid, working 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week?  And without the right motivation and intention, can possibly cause us to be burned-out.  It can be mind-blowing.  There will be a chance that all our efforts are accounted for and being noticed.  But I love how Charles R. Swindoll put it in words, “…ask yourself,  Who’s getting the glory in this ministry?” You see, if we do ministry OUR way, it won’t be for His glory, because our ways are not His ways.

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.-1 Corinthians 10:31

2. Wake up early.  

This is my battle ground because I’m not an “early to rise,early to bed” woman.  It takes a ton of effort for me to wake up early in the morning.  I even admired and get jealous to those mom’s who got up earlier and starting their day the moment the rooster crow (hats off to all of you). The fact is, most of the time our daughter gets up earlier than me.  She’s my human alarm clock. Praise God for Abi.  But, I have a great desire to break this cycle with my initiating a much better habit.  There is an old saying that good intentions don’t move mountains; bulldozers do.  I established the mission and plan; and I believe these are all good intentions.  And I need one big bulldozer, or a strategy to convert these hopes to accomplishments.  Please pray for me on this. 

I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words. –Psalm 119:147

She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. –Proverbs 31:15 NLT

haltom family

3. Be healthy Spiritually, Physically, Mentally, & Emotionally. 

        Spiritually, Devotion/ Down Time

Larry Burkett, author of Women Leaving the Workplace says, [he] finds personally that without some daily devotion time I tend to run down spiritually.  Personally, since I usually woke up a little later than Abigail, the tendency was that I rushed myself.  Instead of having my devotion time, I became busy preparing breakfast and starting the day working, working, working, working and working.  The result is disaster, I exhausted myself, and losing the joy of serving my household.

19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.-1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NLT

Physically, Lately, I found myself not fond looking at my own reflection.  I even disgust myself whenever I had hard time finding clothes to fit me. Imagine how big I became, from 110 to 176 lbs? A possible candidate for sumo wrestler!

Lady Lyn Haltom

haltom family

There was an instances that I couldn’t forget, we were supposed to meet friends but the meet up didn’t work even if one of them already saw me, but wasn’t sure if I was that.  I blamed it to my fats.  But praise the Lord, because my husband is so gracious in styling and encouraging me.  Numerous times, he went home surprising me with pieces of outfit.  So Ladies, let’s encourage and empowered ourselves.  Exercise with me, and please if you can, link me to the list of your healthy food menus that is easy to prepare, and budget wise achievable.  Let us help each other. We are not meant to be alone, but instead we were created to be in a community. God gave us one another for our protection. The small group is a venue where God wants us to be a blessing. –CCF

Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25

Mentally.  Borrowing the words of Charles Spurgeon, a British Particular Baptist preacher. Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.  Though I failed to have devotion time early in the morning, I found comfort in reading God’s words in the Bible. It’s  the words of my strength and wisdom from above.  It’s my true weapon in performing my service at God’s work.  Reading fiction and non-fiction books helps us also, my husband and I to expound Abigail’s language development and her perspective towards the world at large.  I just learned to love reading and doing Book reviews.

Emotionally. Lately I found myself venting out to Joshua. My sentiments were trying to say, I don’t have friends.  I don’t have mom’s friends whom I can constantly and physically in fellowship with to share my emotions as a mom and new discoveries about our toddler.  Teaching techniques.  Home-makers whom I can share with tips in cooking, to visit us, and to bring their kids in our place and play with Abi.  A wife friends to have a coffee with, and talk about our husband’s forgetfulness.  Just kidding?  Of course, we need friends to pray with, who are also committed in nurturing their marriage.  I honestly wondered where my friends are. Or do I really have friends?  Or did I really become a friend to them? There was even a time, that I just mentioned to Joshua that its better to go back in Tennessee at least being there, there’s no expectation since I wasn’t born there.  These petty things that made me so emotional.   I have a prayer, but I acknowledge that The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.  I praise the Lord for my husband who is always be at my side through thick and thin.  No matter what, he’s always with me.  I give glory to God, that together Joshua and I can always count on His Sovereignty, and be our friends forever and amen.  But I have a plan.  God willing, to connect and invest time with people, growing with our families, friends and meeting new mom’s.  To be part of small group, or discipleship group.

Fruit ful update

Kamusta beautiful homemaker, I’m joyful to tell you that I recommit myself to do Beginner Yoga

 

4.  Intentionally respecting my husband, submission, and appreciating his work in providing for our family needs, and protecting our welfare.

When we attended one session of Saturdates, it was discussed the 5 Love Languages.  One of my husband love language is appreciation, and when I asked him how can I blessed him more, his only request was.  “Make sure that you don’t opposed on what I’m saying because you always did.”  I’m guilty of this, and I admit that I’m still lacking in areas of respect and submission.  Maxwell Malta, a plastic surgeon in 1950’s concluded, These, and many commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.  It takes practice, disciplined, commitment and prayer to do it.  By God’s will I believe I will become more gracious wife towards Joshua.

 22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. –Ephesians 5:22-23

haltom Family

5.  Be joyful to my daughter. A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength –Proverbs 17:22. These past days, we’ve been noticing that our two year old daughter easily gets frustrated when she was having hard time to accomplished things and she was prideful to accept help from us even if we willingly offered it to her.  One instance was, whenever she needs to put her shoes.  She stopped receiving help from us.  She would like to do it herself.  I must say, at her age she learns faster and I praise God for that.  The thing was, after she put her right shoes on…and had hard time putting her left shoes on, she started crying.  And throwing herself in the floor.  She refused our help.  Maria Montessorri, the founder of Montessori Teaching Method came up to a conclusion through closely observing children,  that children have needs and two of those are:  the need to be independent; and the need to be respected and listened to.  Using these principles, instead of reacting to our daughter’s frustration when she failed herself…I slowly learned to acknowledge her weakness as a child.  Yes there was still a time that I easily get irritated when she frustrates herself out of small thing.  In my mind,  it was just a simple thing that she was crying.  But instead of focusing on her crying, I just simply observed her, listened to her, explain to her that she can do it, and encourage her that its okay to receive help from Mama and Daddy.  Another technique that I was using is to remind her the story of Kumilos Tayo Kuya! and Kumikos Tayo Ate! These are books in which the older sibling guides the younger child to accomplished things together.

 

6. Work with my hands.  Serve them with love and be fruitful.  This is my commitment first to God, to myself, to my household, and our communities.  I believe that everything about me is of God, and everyone I’m connected with is of Him.  Psalm 24:1 says, A psalm of David. The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.  The world and all people belongs to Him.  So, its my duty to serve them and be fruitful in my service.  My practical approach on this is to educate and equip myself; to enhance more my skills as a home maker not just learning recipes,  but also attending trainings and social educative gatherings to further my skills and boost confidence as a woman so that I could also share the learnings that I learned from committed homemaker not just to my family but to the nearby community of women.   Even though, I wasn’t able to use my Agricultural Engineering degree and be good at it by God’s will, in partnership with my husband we will able to use the skills that we acquired to serve, to educate and encourage others through Teach Them Well.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.  –1 Peter 4:10 NLT

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7. Pray and seek the Lord of His will on how will I will bless my husband and daughter in everyday of our lives.

Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7 GW

Kumilos Tayo Kuya Kuya! By Tahanan Books

Abigail, our daughter is  enjoying her ‪Kumilos Tayo Kuya‬ her first Tagalog book wrote by  award winning-writer Ompong Remigio and Illustrated by Bunny Vivero.

This children book was published by Tahanan Books in collaboration with Save the Children Philippines. It was one of their first board books that was released year 2014.

kumilos tayo kuya

 

Ompong Remigio’s real life name is Maria Corazon Paulina.  She has been elevated to the Hall of Fames Philippines Creative Guild, won book awards after including the National Book Award for Children’s  Lit plus  MTV awards and others for songwriting.  She also survived a serious bout with Rheumatic Heart, Borderline Cancer and saw the light for 3 minutes.  She came back to do more ads and to raise more kids. (Source: New York Festivals World’s Beat Advertising)

At Abigail’s age of 22 months, reading books with her plays a vital role in her mastering her fine motor skills.  Fine motor skills for growing child are the abilities required to control smaller movements of the hands and fingers, such as picking up small objects and tying one’s shoes and even turning pages of books.
This book entitled “Kumilos Tayo Kuya!” aids us parents to nourish and educate our Filipino-American children to be exposed in basic Tagalog words and made them aware on learning to read by means of pag “pantig” or its equal use “the syllable” in English.
Though this is the first Tagalog Books we read with Abigail, its not foreign to her at all the culture and Filipino practice told in this book. Ompong Remigio did a brilliant work in including “Nagmano” or “Blessed” in English equivalent in which made our daughter more engaged in looking in each pages because she found a common ground. She actually smiled and turned to me each time she passed to the “Nagmano” page.
Author Remigio and illustrator Vivero never failed to use both Expressive and Referential style in this book to meet the Individual Variation in Language Development of children.  According to Steinberg, the Author of the book Life Span Development: Infancy through Adulthood:

*Expressive is a linguistic style hallmarked by nearly vocabularies that have relatively more verbs and speech that uses social routines to communicate feelings and desires such as tumakbo (run), Sumipsip (suck), and Lumukso (leap).  While, *Referential is a linguistic style hallmarked by vocabularies that include a high proportion of nouns and speech that provides information and refers to things in the environment such as illustrations of Pusa (Cat), Manok (Chicken), Bata (Child), Kuya (Brother) and more. “As a mother, I highly recommend this Genius, Full-Colored Board-Books, and Relational Creation of Remigio and Vivero entitled Kumilos Tayo Kuya. Aside that it is educational, and cultural, it promotes siblings Relational Cooperation to achieve Language Development for Children ages 0-4 years old.

Their other must read children’s book are “Kumilos Tayo Ate” by Ompong Remigio and “Ay Naku!”by Author Reni Roxas.  Book Reviews to be published soon. 🙂

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We would like to extend our gratitude to Author Reni, Ms. Fran and Ms. Meg of Tahanan Books.

To get your child a copy of this book, please visit them at www.tahananbooks.com or call them at (632) 813-7165 (Manila Line) or (425) 773-7465 (Seattle)

Home Made Non-Toxic Play Dough

Direct your children onto the right path,
    and when they are older, they will not leave it. -Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)

Educating our child’s at home in a most convenient, practical, safe and enjoyable way is always on top of our priority list as parents.

Helping Abigail to master the basics that she would need in life like the ability to read, comprehend, communicate clearly, and do critical thinking and problem solving are the essentials we would like her to develop.  But there is a minor problem, and if not address properly will snatch-away the time that we must intentionally spend to our child and that is the busyness of this world.  Plus us unknowingly giving her to become hypnotize by easy-to-access modern gadgets powered by high-speed internet technology like android phone in which you will be amazed that even a toddler like her can easily operate.

The truth be told, there is an alarming negative side effects on letting our child to be a “gadget child”.  Yes a gadget in her hands might settle her at the corner of our house and become busy watching you-tube videos like approved to general audience “finger family” or playing a game-app in which lessens their time to be clingy with us.  But come to think of it, this gadget on our child’s hands actually interferes with the talk time between us and our daughter that might result “according to study and research” to a language skills deficit or delayed language skills as commonly called by others.  So, the good thing was during Abigail’s Bible Study Fellowship Class, one of their teacher brought her home made non-toxic play dough and  let the toddlers played with it.  I found it as a good alternative for our child to develop a new habit of learning in an enjoyable way.

Barrowing the line from Joyce Meyer:

“One of the ingredients of forming good habits and breaking bad ones is focusing on what you want to do and not on what you want to stop doing”

After asking Abigail’s teacher about the ingredients of this home made play dough, I immediately mentioned it to my husband.  And started making our own.

Aside that its easy to make, all of the ingredients can be easily find even in your pantry.  So what are you waiting for, make your kids their own play dough too.  Here are the ingredients and procedures to follow:

non-toxic-play-dough-haltom-family

A mixture of 2cups of all purpose flour &
1 cup of sea salt

non-toxic-play-dough-haltom-family-2

       Dissolved Food Color in 1/8 cup of Water (each bowl)
Food Color : Choco Brown,  Green,  Blue,  Egg Yellow

                                                                                                                                                                                           non-toxic-play-dough-haltom-family-3

Mixed 1/2 cup of dry ingredient with the wet ingredients mixture

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Mixed Thoroughly with a Spatula

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Dusting

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Kneading, Kneading,  Kneading!

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Kneaded Play Dough Balls

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Finished Product, Non-Toxic Home Made Play Dough

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Use Ziplocked Plastic Bag to Preserve the Elasticity
and Freshness of the Play Dough

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Ready for our little one

Terry Treetop and The Lost Egg

This is not the first time we recieved a free ebook from Author Tali Carmi through Nave of EBookpro. Our first time meeting this adventurous boy named Terry, was his encounter with the dolphin entitled, Terry The Tree Top Saves The Dolphin.

His new adventure entitled Terry The Treetop and The Lost Egg brought us to another path of learning, and regaining a “kid heart” within us. This ebook surfaced the kindness, and showcased Terry’s faith to persevere as he helped the lost egg to reunite with its mom. Even though he had faced numerous failures in attempting to find the mother of the lost egg, he never stopped believing that it was possible to reunite the right mother to the lost egg.

The line that Terry uttered after saying goodbye to Sandy the turtle inspired me a lot. He said, “I promised to bring this egg back home. I promised I would try.”  I believe when he said this, he was encouraging himself to resist feeling discouraged. He declared a commitment not to quit, exercising patience and remaining focus on his goal.

Trully, this journey was filled with excitement, fun and mostly meeting new friends like Sandy, Ally, Fergi, Mother Betty…The Hen, and Pipi, the Parrot.

I personally love the simple flow of the story, and the colorful visual presentation of the characters, and the places they journeyed. This helped my 22 months old daughter in knowing and identifying colors.  I will leave with you the Bible passage that the story of Terry Treetop and The Lost Egg made me to reflect after reading.

“Let us not lose heart in doing, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” – Galatians 6:9

God bless to the readers.

Terry

 

Andee The Aquanaut Trilogy Book 1: Guardian of the Great Seas

I’m not a book writer, I’m just a reader and a mom to 21 months old baby girl who loves to listen to a story during her nap and bed time. So for the sole purpose of giving back to Author Simon James House the effort of sharing his “Andee The Aquanaut: Guardian of The Great Seas (Andee The Aquanaut Trilogy Book 1) free-of -charge to us, I would like to share our own experience in journeying in this first book of the trilogy.

Andee The Aquanaut

 

First, what I love about “Andee The Aquanaut” was the author’s broader mind and exquisite ability in bringing us the reader to a new world my imagination hadn’t reach before.

Like:

The Chapter 3, Andee and the Wise White Dolphin. In this chapter, House helped me to enhanced more my visualization skills through the way he described Andee’s first encounter with the Wise Dolphin. “But this dolphin was different; this one was white in colour from nose to tail with golden and turquoise eyes. Andee gasped as the Wise White Dolphin began to speak.”

The Chapter 18, Light to Dark in which House brought our imagination through Andee’s journey to an under water experience of prehistoric marine animals which he called underwater monsters or dinosaurs. He even described it as, “a very different ocean compared to the ones he’d (Andee) seen before. Enormous plants rose up from the seabed. It was like a forest, but underwater – with strange tree-like coral and plants as big as houses.

Second, it expanded my vocabulary. I’ve read numerous kindle version of children’s book with my daughter but this was the very first time I encountered a kindle version of book with word wise. It helped me to define to my daughter and also helped me to understand some of the challenging words that were used, and the emotions the author was communicating in each scene through the help of the word wise app. Not sure if it is because of the setting of this eBook or my kindle…anyway it helped me to enjoy more the story plus a good application to teach new words to my daughter. She can even use this herself when she learns to read.

Third, each chapter of this first book never failed in awakening my interest. It simultaneously engaged my mind and attention. It actually got me excited to know what will happen next.

Fourthly, the book itself as I perceived it is not only to present a story, but to encourage a broken and a contrite spirit.  There were lines that directly touched my heart and lifted my spirit.

Like:

Andee The Aquanaut

 

And,

Andee The Aquanaut

Also, journeying into the book gave me and my daughter more knowledge about marine life, and made us interested about marine biology. The colorful illustrations had my daughter more engaged while I was reading it to her.  It enhanced her visual learning

Reviews With Lady

We are looking forward to reading the next book which is All Great Things Start With Small Beginning.

You can get your kindle version of Andee The Aquanaut  through Amazon for only $1.99 or the Paperback copy for only $23.99.

Ideal Vision, Ideal Service

Joshua had his glasses frame replaced at Ideal Vision located at the 2nd Floor of Festival Mall Alabang.  He accidently broke his old one when he slept on it, and found it underneath his body when he woke-up.

The week before he broke his frame, we had already gone to that store. We were looking for a glasses case to house his eye glasses.   When we went inside the store and inquired if they had an available case, the sales person whose name we latter found out was Mercy promptly assisted us and handed Joshua a new case.  When we asked how much it cost us, she said, “its free!”

Ideal Vision

Free Eye Glasses Case

My husband and I were both amazed of her kindness.  We actually didn’t expect such generosity.  Joshua even said, “I was willing to pay a couple of hundred pesos for it!”

And because of the kind service that was shown to us by Mercy, Joshua decided to pay it back with a loyal attitude of availing their service.  Good thing that when we came back, there was an on going sale.

This time around, I decided to approach Mercy and remind her about how thankful we were towards her kindness.  For a second, she couldn’t remember what I was telling about,  but when I refreshed her memories and mentioned to her how her gestures blessed us that day, for giving us a free glasses case…she smiled and recalled Joshua.  She said, “Oh, Si Sir.”

Aside of the kindness that was showed to us, I would like to commend the good and quick service that Ideal Vision staff had given to us.  Mostly the following:

  • They show flexibility and humanity in customer relation.  Just like Mercy treated us (the first time we came at the store) her action verified the meaning of her name.
  • Quality service and economical.  They work with you based on your budget.  We disclosed our budget and how much we were willing to pay, and they delivered.
  • Swift Service.  It took only 30 minutes to replace the damaged frame.  So instead of staying at the store we managed to run some errands and finished our grocery shopping.
  • Valued New Client Engagement.  The Assistant-Officer-in-Charge, Dr. Kristia Carbonell commit to us that the next time we come back there, we can still avail the discount for having his vision tested and the lenses upgraded and replaced to put on the frame Joshua already bought.
Ideal Vision Frame 2

Ideal Vision Case and Eyeglasses Frame

Since the frame worth PHP 995 only,  it is thinner and lighter weight than Joshua’s previous frame.  But it has more fashionable design at the side of the frame.  

Ideal Vision Frame

Wearing his Ideal Vision Frame

 

Ideal Vision

For your eyeglasses needs, you can contact them at 850-3745/ 850-3747 (Festival mall, Alabang Branch) and look for Dr. Kristia Carbonnel or Mercy.

Sanicare baby Wipes: Cetylpyridinium Chloride Corrected

 

Hi Mom’s! Reviews with Lady is back to the main stream again.  Yes its been a while.  These past weeks, our family became busy from transferring from one country to the other, and thank God everything is back to normal.  YES!

Today  I am going to share our experiences in choosing an alternative products to replace the products we previously used back in Tennessee.  One of these is our baby wipes.   Since Joshua (my husband) and I are becoming more meticulous  in choosing products that promotes the goodness of nature with the tastes of life, we also made sure that even the baby wipes we are going to use for Abigail (our 18 months old daughter) will meet this standard.

We are glad that it wasn’t hard for us to find a baby wipes in the Philippine market that support the same cause that we promote.   We found Sanicare Baby Wipes!   Continue reading

Beardsmen Spirit Premium Mustache Wax and Premium Beard Oil and Conditioner Reviews

Beardsmen Spirit Premium Mustache Wax and Premium Beard Oil and Conditioner are Reviews with Lady’s Feature products for the month of May.  It was provided to us as a complimentary products by the company Beardsmen Spirit.

Beardsmen Spirit Premium Mustache Wax

Premium Beard Oil and Conditioner

Beardsmen Spirit is committed in producing a premium line of beards oils and beard care products for men. Their products is made of only using finest ingredients that will leave the user feeling and looking best.
Before, I always heard my husband saying, “I need to shave my mustache” or either asking me “Can you trim my beard?” For a long time, I haven’t seen him using any oil or moisturizer to manage his hairy face. So when these Beardsmen Wax and Oil was offered to me, I immediately accepted it.

Another thing that fully convinced me to accept these products was that it is 100% Natural Mustache Wax and 100% Natural Beard Oil. It is formulated with natural oils like Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Cedar Wood Oil, Pine Needle Oil and Jojoba Oil (mixture of long chain monounsaturated liquid wax esters). He loves the calming effect and earthy smell of it. And it goes with what my husband and I advocate, which is the goodness of nature with the tastes of life!
He said he would likely recommend these products because most of the men don’t really treat their beard special, it just grows wild. Actually, before he used this products I always teased him about his beard. Believe me, even if he trimmed it after a week it grew back and it was sticking out everywhere. But ever since he started using this Beardsmen products (specially the Premium Beard Oil and Conditioner), his face became more beautiful looking, neat, and smelling natural.

• He even said that it made his beards and mustache shiny and I agree with it.
• Another fact is that, the number of times he trimmed his beard and mustache became less-it is more orderly now. How do I know? Our sink speaks of it well–daily left behind trimmings visibly reduced.
• His mustache became softer from being lifeless. Before the application of this product, his mustache was like a blade in my face.

The only thing he wasn’t comfortable of using was the mustache wax. He said it was too thick and hard. He hardly used it. But when he learned directly from the founder that its consistency was just fine and the mustache wax is supposed to be hard he tried to follow on what the founder suggested. On his email he said, “Let your husband know then scrape off a bit with the back of his fingernail and then warm it between the fingers and then apply it. It is hard until you warm it up.”
Also, the cap top of the Mustache Wax container was tightly sealed and was tricky to open. Hint how to open it: just twisted it and you don’t need to struggle.

You can get your Beardsmen Spirit Products at Amazon.com with a sale price of:

For Premium Mustache Wax Sale Price (2 oz)  $10.95 & Premium Beard Oil and Conditioner (4 fl.oz) $16.95

100 Naturals Thyroid Rite (Advanced Thyroid Support)

As part of our daily lifestyle, my husband and I are so much involved in knowing and ingesting supplements that are formulated naturally that boosts our own health.  So when I received an email from 100Naturals marketing officer and asking if I was interested to do a product review for some of their products including 100 Naturals Thyroid Rite (Advanced Thyroid Support), which is now available in Amazon with a sale price of $35.00 plus free shipping of course I immediately agreed with my husband knowledge.  

Thyroid Rite

When we received the complimentary product, the first question I asked was, If Thyroid Rite, is also advisable to take by a person who doesn’t have any thyroid abnormalities?”

Which was verified immediately by 100Naturals personnel. Her responds to my inquiry was,

“Yes. The supplement can be taken by a person without any thyroid abnormality because it is an all-natural product it should not have any side effects. The supplement may improve the general health wellness.”

Same answered as what my husband told me.

In the research I made, Thyroid Rite was formulated with numerous herb powder like Schizandra, Ashwagandha Root, Bladderwrack, Cayenne Pepper, and kelp. Sounds unfamiliar?

What are the health benefits of these herbs?
Of course, aside of what the product labels says we also made personal research about the ingredients added to the supplement. The first herb powder that we looked to was the Schizandra.

Schizandra according to WebMed, is a plant. The fruit is used as food and also to make medicine. It is used as an “adaptogen” for increasing resistance to disease and stress, increasing energy, and increasing physical performance and endurance.

What is Adaptogen herbs?

Adaptogen herbs is one of the most important groups of herbs to take into the 21st century. Adaptogens not only increase the resistance to the adverse effects of long-term stress yet the majority are also a tonic, immune-stimulating and increase general sense of well-being. A multitude of other actions also exist for individual adaptogenic herbs. (Cited: http://www.womenlivingnaturally.com)

Why are they called Adaptogens?
The reason for naming these herbs “Adaptogens” resulted from the scientific discovery, which proved their effectiveness in helping the human body to “adapt” or to “adjust” to strains and changes of daily living. By adapting to changes in the environment, mankind has survived. Scientific studies have shown that both humans and other organisms that are able to adapt best survive longer. In fact, these herbs have managed to survive harsh environments for centuries due to their unique composition of biologically active substances. (Source: http://www.adaptogens.org)

I know these are all healthy and overwhelming, we are just talking about Schizandra but do you know that this plant/herb classified as adaptogens are considered entirely safe, plus it increase the body’s non-specific resistance by providing valuable support to the human body in coping with the pressures placed on a wide range of its functions by both the internal and external environments; and, also this plant normalizes the functions of the bodily system and these are all according to Dr. Israel Brekhman. A highly decorated and internationally renowned scientist from the former Soviet Union.

The next on our list is the Ashwagandha root which is also known for having an adaptogenic benefits.

According to the Tillotson Institute, the root is used to strengthen the immune system, support the adrenal glands and nourish the thyroid glands. It also increases energy while also strengthening the nervous system. (Source: http://www.livestrong.com)

The medical researchers have been studying Ashwagandha for years with great interest and have completed more than 200 studies on the healing benefits of this botanical. Some key examples of the healing effects of Ashwagandha are: Protects the immune system, helps combat the effects of stress, improves learning, memory, and reaction time, reduces anxiety and depression without causing drowsiness, helps reduce brain-cell degeneration, stabilizes blood sugar, helps lower cholesterol, offers anti-inflammatory benefits, contains anti-malarial properties and enhances sexual potency for both men and women. (See more at http://www.chopra.com)

The other herb powder in which this supplement was formulated is Bladderwrack. According to http://www.herbwisdom.com this herb is a form of kelp (seaweed or algae belonging to the order Laminariales) that has been used medicinally for centuries. The main use of the herb has been for the stimulation of the thyroid gland as a treatment for obesity and cellulite. The high iodine content of the herb stimulates thyroid function which boosts metabolism. Only, careful considerations are needed to practice before taking any supplements formulated with Bladderwrack for it has side effects.

Bladderwrack Side Effects
Iodine can help only for the type of hypothyroidism caused by iodine deficiency. If your iodine levels are not low, taking extra amounts of iodine may lead to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Please, also understand that levels of iodine can vary widely among bladderwrack products. Bladderwrack extract preparations may worsen acne and decrease iron absorption. Finally, Bladderwrack like other sea plants, can concentrate toxic heavy metals such as arsenic from the surrounding sea water. One case of kidney failure was reported, because the bladderwrack product used contained a high heavy metal content. Some people use seaweeds as food. In general, the side effects of bladderwrack are mild or even unnoticeable at recommended dosages. (Read more: http://www.zhion.com)

My husband took Thyroid Rite for 10 days, two capsules a day as suggested. He said that while he was on it, his energy level was noticeably raised. But he immediately stopped, when we noticed a bruise in his biceps of unknown cause. Since he doesn’t have any thyroid problems, we just decided to keep this in our supplement cabinet. On my part, I am still breast feeding and my gutt told me that I don’t need it so its okay.

What about the Cayenne Pepper?
I grew up in a country ( Philippines) that is easy to grow and abundance of Cayenne Pepper. This kind of pepper is hot and very much spicy. But history showed that it has been used for a variety of ailments including heartburn, delirium, tremors, gout, paralysis, fever, dyspepsia, flatulence, sore throat, atonic dyspepsia, hemorrhoids, menorrhagia in women, nausea, tonsillitis, scarlet fever and diphtheria. (Source: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com)

Aside of these powerful adaptigenics herbs, Thyroid Rite also contains Five Essential Minerals: Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Manganese and Molybdenum.

Besides of knowing our periodical table, we also need to know what are these minerals do to our bodies.

Magnesium: is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in your body. It provides energy, helps keep your cells healthy and strong and enables your cells to communicate with one another and enhance optimal functioning. Magnesium also helps regulate blood pressure, keeps your bones strong and prevents insulin resistance and migraine headaches.
While Zinc is critical for keeping your immune system strong. It fights infection, making you less likely to catch a cold or flu…(read more at http://www.self.com)

The other trace elements like copper, molybdenum, selenium and manganese are equally important in keeping our bodies healthy and functioning well. Copper prevents damage to cells due to its antioxidant action, and as a component of many enzymes it helps in production of energy from carbohydrates, protein and fat. While selenium is necessary for normal functioning of insulin, a hormone that maintains blood sugar levels. Manganese not only helps in the formation of enzymes, but is also necessary for their activation. It works as an antioxidant, helps develop bones and heals wounds by increasing collagen production. While molybdenum helps activate some enzymes and enables normal cell function.
As we always told to our clients, enjoy the goodness of nature with the tastes of life! Only everything in moderation.

 

Sun’n’Fun Broad Spectrum SPF30 Sunscreen for Kids

Re-published:

Our daughter, even my husband and I are enjoying our KIDS Sun’n’Fun Broad Spectrum Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30 from Sweetsation Therapy.

Abigail, having fun outdoor with Sun’n’Fun

We received this sunscreen as a complimentary product for review and is currently being sold online at Amazon.com

Whenever we need to enjoy the beauty of the environment and doing some outdoor activities, all we need to do is to squeeze our Kids Sun’n’Fun sunscreen with SPF 30, apply it generously to our skin and Voila, no worries from damaging effect of the long and short ultraviolet rays from the sun.

In fact, our daughter always love to carry the colorfully designed tube with her and you can’t just take it away from her.  Mind you , she will cry.  She loves it.

I’m ready to go now with my Sun’n’Fun Kids Sunscreen

Another good thing about this KIDS Sun’n’Fun Suncreen, it was formulated specially for the Kiddos.  It is Light and non-greasy, it moisturize well, plus with hydrating benefits for the skin, and it is also soothing for kids delicate skin.

It is not just a baby sun screen, it’s a state of the art skin care pampering treatment – with sun screen. Water resistant. It’s been designed with delicate and sensitive baby’s skin in mind and addresses not only protection from the harmful UVA and UVB sun rays but also helps to care for dry skin and eczema while hydrating and soothing. PABA-Free, chemical-free mineral based (NON-NANO) hydrating and moisturizing Sunblock SPF30+ provides high UV protection for your baby. Organic Marshmallow, Grapeseed and Raspberry rich with vitamin C and antioxidants fights skin damage and cellular oxidation ( that are causes of aging. Yes, aging starts the day we are born), caused by excessive free radical activity. It also contains excellent anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea, thought to be 200 times more powerful than vitamin E for neutralizing free radicals and has a protective role to play here as well. Kelp and Cucumber contain abundant non-essential and essential amino acids and are highly moisturizing, soothing and hydrating. Rosehip oil, rich in Omega-3,6 and 9 Fatty Acids, Vitamins C, E, and Lycopene promotes healing and nourishing, leaving skin glowing and healthy looking. Tamanu oil contributes to the formula with it’s strong anti-inflammatory properties and helps with dry skin and eczema. Combination of Cocoa and a hint of Vanilla create that yummy chocolate scent, that’s achieved naturally, as well as have moisturizing and healing properties. 

This product was created for babies but grown-up friends can use it too.  It’s highly addictive.

Abigail and the North Pole Adventure

Our family would like to personally appreciate the effort of  Author Tali Carmi and Ebookpro for sharing with us once again one of your amazing children’s book Abigail and the North Pole Adventure.

I enjoyed reading this to our daughter whose name is also Abigail.  I read this to her twice in a day, during her nap time in the morning and  in the afternoon.  Though the story was fictional it comes with educational and character learning.  Like how the author incorporated the way of life living in North Pole, the type of clothing they wear, the seals, the igloo that really awakened my curiosity to the point that I researched about it and discussed it with our 10-month-old baby girl. The part  when Abigail and her new friend named Siku team-up and helped each other, and used their skills and rescued the cub bear emphasized team-work.  It actually made me signed up with National Geographic Kids just to fully understood the nature of this animal and shared it with our little one while she was breastfeeding.

As a mom, children story like this encourage me to go beyond my educational back ground, equip myself to better nourish our little one towards the world at large.

Updates:    Abigail and the North Pole Adventure are now available in kindle, paperback (Large Print) and Audible (Un-abridged).  Yehey!

I will recommend this book to mom’s and educators who are committed to go beyond traditional learning in educating their children.

You can check  Author Tali Carmi’s work and list of her Abigail’s Adventure Books here @Goodreads.  And for your families additional educational resources, visit National Geographic Kids @ www.kids.nationalgeographic.com

book-reviews

Teaching is reading

For International & Local Publisher, Author and Book promoter, we continuously accept book reviews whether it’s ebook, paper back, hard bound or board books.  kindly message us here.  Salamat!

For our dear parents and online neighbors, please feel free to share your experiences in reading books with your children and if you have any suggestion where to outsource good board books (used and new) for kids please let us know.  Hanggang sa muli.  🙂

Hepatitis C, unmasking deception!

Re-published:

Thinking how to express my deepest gratitude to God for everything he is allowing my husband and I to experience including all the daily blessings, all of the answered and unanswered prayers that made us to seek and put our confidence in Him.  There are no suitable words that I can write to bring back my thanks to Him for the guidance He is giving for our family, in re-polishing our plans and making it happened, in sustaining us in our monetary needs, our health, for our pregnancy, and surrounding us with people that entrusted their stories of faith in God to us.  People who underwent and shared with us their physical pain and past-aches that made them more closer to God knowing that only by His grace and love can sustain them with strength to combat the agony of physical pain, and filled the void in their hearts.  Their stories encourage us to love Him more.

Almost everyone knows that we just got married, but being newly weds does not mean that we are excused from undergoing situation that is worry free.

Haltom Family_hubbyandwifey

With the permission of my husband, I will unmask some happenings in our lives as
a couple that made our love for God increase deeply,  and commitment with each other and to our marriage salted greatly  . Last September 19, my husband supposed to start his preliminary treatment for the Hepatitis C (I will continue the story).

Months before the schedule, we were advised by his primary care nurse physician that he needs to start the treatment as soon as possible for the reason of viruses in his blood increasing to an above normal level.  This added pressure into our relationship, though my husband became honest about this matter the first day we met still I felt worried thinking how serious it might be and the effects of it towards his health.  Joshua remained calmed outside, but his action in being healthy confirmed that he is taking it seriously but with less worries. It was like a doomsday for us the first time we talked with his doctor who had specialization with Infectious Disease.   The doctor was like dropping a bomb every time she discussed the side effects of the medicines to combat the virus.  Well what will you think if you heard these statements:  “The worse side effects might be, depression and fatigue.  Depression that might lead the patient to think, “his  best friend will kill him or worse he will kill his best friend.  I actually thought of these, “Is she just trying to scare usDoesn’t she have any good news to say?” At first, Joshua was hesitant and not bold enough to share this story not even to our closest friends.  There was a fear of receiving judgement that haunted him.  I fully understood him, it was not something to be proud of nor to flaunt with.  This was a consequence of the sin his flesh had indulged when he was still wondering in the wilderness (which is another story).  But the moment he humbled himself and confessed it during our prayer time with the Church and lifted it to God, we were encouraged.  The deception of satan, the accuser was unmasked. It also helped when we started to educate ourselves on how to be prepared for the treatment.  All of our fears were replaced with right and positive attitude for we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.-Romans 8:28.  

For the deeper understanding, Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of liver disease, and is the leading indication for liver transplantation worldwide.  Identified in 1989, HCV was originally named post-transfusion non-A non-B hepatitis.  By the time the virus was identified, millions of people had already been infected, many of whom had advanced stages of liver disease.  (Cited: An Essential Guide for Nurses And health Care Professionals by Suzanne Sargent. 2009).

Myths and facts about HCV:

  •  The Myth: Hepatitis C virus can be transferred by using the kitchen utensils of person carrying the virus such as cutlery and crockery specifically cutting instruments, spoon, fork, drinking glasses and plates.  Fact:  Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infection and is not transmitted on household items where there is no blood-to-blood contact.  However, items that may be possibly contaminated with blood, particularly razors, nail scissors, and toothbrushes is strictly shouldn’t be shared.   (In our case, Joshua have his own nail cutter and our toothbrush are color coded).
  •   The Myth:  The virus can be transmitted through saliva or semen.   Fact:  As I mentioned earlier,  only through blood-to-blood contact the virus can be spread from the body of virus carrier to other body.  The risk of sexual transmission is low but not zero.  In monogamous relationships, couples should be reassured.   But high risk with multiple sexual partners.  Hepatitis C virus cannot be transferred from casual smooching, hugging, sneezing, coughing, or either food or drink sharing.  (In our case, hepatitis C virus test performed to me during the series of pregnancy laboratory exam found to be negative, PRAISING GOD for it).
  • The Myth:   There is a high percentage of transferring the hepatitis c virus from an infected mother to newly born baby.  Fact: The risk of transmission of infection from HCV- infected mother to newborn is low, particularly in women with low levels of virus.
  •  The Myth:   HCV is transmitted through breast-feeding.  Fact: Breast-feeding is not thought to transmit infection as long there is no bleeding from the nipples of infected mother, and the skin is not cracked.

Part of the preparation we did was the self-awareness and knowing the information needed before using INCIVEK, the treatment Joshua was supposed to have.  According to the brochure and study aid provided to us, INCIVEK is a hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3/4A protease inhibitor indicated, in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin, for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C (CHC) in adult patients with compensated liver disease, including cirrhosis, who are treatment -naive or who have been previously treated with interferon-based treatment, including prior null responders, partial responders, and relapsers.  Joshua’s doctor suggested this medication because on his first diagnosis, result shown he has Hepatitis C-genotype 1.  The first time it was introduced to us, the doctor didn’t mention the possible negative effects towards pregnancy.

But when we did our own study about it and watched the DVD provided to us it was repeatedly mentioned that Ribavirin may cause birth defects and fetal death in female patients and in female partners of male patients.  This became our main concern, not to mention the other side effects we were about to face once Joshua undergo the treatment.  Both of us needs to team up with God for us to be prepared, not to worries and combat the unforeseen effects of undergoing the treatment.My husband became hesitant towards the treatment.  The first option was to start it after the pregnancy, he wanted to be okay physically and not experiencing fatigue (he was advised that the treatment will be as serious as chemotherapy) once our baby is delivered.  I can only imagine as a novice father how he desire to be strong in attending all the needs of our first born child.We know what to do, to treat the possible spread of the virus but what we were not sure about was if we are making the right decision towards it.  As the doctor mentioned, it depends upon how Joshua’s body will respond to the treatment.  The only thing that we are sure about is God will take care of us, he will take care of my husband body and our future.   Even if we equipped ourselves and yes it helps a lot to know what we are facing still its not enough.  Its not by our might nor to our own power, we don’t know what the future has for us but God knows.  To him we entrusted everything. We eliminated the first option, in our prayer we lifted all of our concerns with a thankful hearts to God. One morning we received a call from the physicians office informing us that Joshua’s doctor transferred to other place and the change was he have a new physician regarding hepatitis C.  They asked him if he still wanted to start the treatment and he agreed.

September 19, the day of the treatment.  Silently, I prayed inside our room and my devotion was the verse in Exodus 14:14 says, The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.  Then I shared it with my husband.  We met his new doctor, he informed us that he reviewed the test done to my husband and calmly he mentioned that my husband hepatitis C virus is not genotype 1 but genotype 3.  He also explained that INCIVEK in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin is clinically tested for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C with liver damage only.  In Joshua’s case, the new medicines for genotype 3 will come out on December, 2013 and his liver is doing good. Praise God.

He gave us two optionsFirst to start the treatment using INCIVEK but with lower percentage of cure in the type of genotype he has.  The second option was to wait for the new medicines that just right for the hepatitis C-genotype 3.  It was an impromptu decision,  Joshua looked to me, hold my hand and turned to his doctor and said, “We will wait.  When the doctor left the small room, I asked him, “Are you sure we will wait?”  He firmly said, ” Yes”.  Outside I asked him what was the basis of his decision, and he said,” God said, we shall hold our peace”.   We perceived the illness us one of the ugliest thing that could happen to an individual but God don’t.  In his power, he can turn beautiful things out of the dust.   He can turn beautiful things out of the viruses in my husband’s blood.  We will hold our peace.  We will keep our faith to the healing power in Jesus name, we will lift our hands to praise and give thanks to God for what we have and what we are going to be in his presence to our lives.  Your prayers will help us in this.  

Hong Kong International Airport 13 Hrs Layover, WHAT TO DO?

Weeks from now, our family once again will be flying miles away from where we are.   The season is changing, so we are migrating again!!!

My ever-patient husband, Joshua gifted me with a flight ticket back to USA, an approved IR1 and tons of sacrifices for me and our 3 years old.   And yes, all praises to Jesus because Joshua never gets weary of waiting for me even if it caused him one psychotic episode because of immigration processing.  Yes literally!!! So, for now, we are done with that processing. Finally, I can scream my heart out loud again and again.

One thing that excites and challenge me is our long 13 hours, and 35 minutes lay over at Hong Kong International Airport.  I’ve been doing some research and asked few travelers about their flight experiences to HKG, asking suggestions on what to do during our stay with the fourth-busiest airport in Asia.

So, I come up with plan A, B, C which I already discussed with Joshua and with his approval, one from it we can decide to do to maximize our stay in a foreign country, and at the same time be prepared as a family to achieve a STRESS-FREE FLYING AND LAYOVER.

I actually love the goal of avoiding stress, aside that it didn’t do good to our health, brains and hearts, it also triggers auto-immune disease and worse turned some of my black hair to gray. As much as possible, our family needs to manage it well because if not, it can easily back fire on us.

One thing I learned about our family’s path of life, planning the transition makes it whole a lot easier before leaving from one country to another.  Planning ahead of the appointed time, makes life easier and less messy.

 

These are all after the arrival procedures including the immigration process:

If we decide to stay at the airport for the long 13 hours and 35 minutes stretch and we arrive at around 6:40 PM, we can choose to do the following:

 

PLAN A, STAY INSIDE THE AIRPORT!

  • As advised by our booking agent, we will need to collect and recheck our baggage between all flights. This is because we will be travelling with different airlines.
  • Grab a Baggage Trolley, and securely chained our baggage and bring it with us. Or,
  • From Terminal 1, we will stroll with our baggage to the Level 3 of Terminal 2, and have an option to avail the Baggage Counter Daily Rate of Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) 140/piece. This add on will instantly cost us HKD 280!
  • Dine inside the HKG Airport. I read in a blog that Terminal 2 offers a more affordable and more varied choices of meals.  Though, when I checked the HKG Airport website, Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 both offers Western Restaurants, Bars & Coffee Shops, only Subway is situated in Terminal 2, which Joshua’s and I have been craving for a year.
  • Tour our young one to Children Play Areas and TV Lounges situated in Terminal 1 in which according to HKG website they offered colorful Children Play, many toys and games. This must be a sure hit for Abi. We probably exhaust this option till she gets tired and ready to sleep.
  • Find a comfortable waiting place with a charging points (near drinking water facility, toilets, and smoking lounges) in which we can safely park ourselves and securely fastened our baggage, while having a movie marathon. Or,
  • Avail Pay-in Lounge, which offers a wide range of relaxations, including hot showers, all day food and beverage, beauty and massage services. This luxurious Airport Add-on, I think, is a must try. Transient travelers like us have a choice of 2 hours at the cost of HKD 580/adult passenger and Children aged between 2 to 11 can enjoy 30% discount on the Lounge Use Package. GOOD THING, this is just an OPTION!
  • Now I am imagining myself witnessing my husband trying to do his best to catch up with our daughter’s energy, and playfulness. And in between these, will constantly check and secure our baggage and belongings, AND making sure that we are all comfortably resting in our chosen place. Joshua and I might alternately take our turns to sleep until our boarding time the following morning comes.

If we opt not to choose the Pay-in Lounge, and Baggage Counter add-on, this plan I think is the inexpensive one, less adventure, more mind-numbing, and packed with more accountability.   So pray for us that will be able to use our time well inside the airport, and God willing, we can do some heavenly witnessing.  🙂 

 

PLAN B, INSTANT TOURIST AT KOWLOON 

  • Exit from HKG Airport with our checked baggage, purchased a Same Day Return Ticket from the Airport Express Train to Kowloon Station.
  • Avail our airlines complimentary In-Town Check-in Service for our next day flight, and simply check in our baggage and collect our boarding pass as early as one day in advance or as late as 90 minutes before our departure. As confirmed by our airline customer service, their exact close-out time is 12 midnight so we still have ample of time to travel to Kowloon, check-in our baggage, and do some side trip.
  • Dine-out and explore KOWLOON via Airport Express Complimentary Shuttle.
  • Return to Kowloon station via Complimentary Shuttle.
  • Head back to the airport with our Same Day Return Ticket but comprises a free return journey.  YIPPEE!
  • Stay at the airport and wait for our next day flight.   Since we are travelling as a family, I think the Airport Express Service group or family ticket is applicable for us which according to hongkong.net website, provide discounts up to 40% and valid on the day of issue only. To compare to individual total price of HKD 225, it will only cost our family a fare from Airport-KOWLOON of HKD 190.

This plan will give our family a broad window to experience some life outside the airport, access and use complimentary transportation, to socialize and go beyond as a tourist and take pictures at Kowloon, and THE MAIN BENEFITS OF CHOOSING THIS PLAN, WE CAN LIGHTLY TRAVEL AROUND THE PLACE and transient to the airport not needing to look after our baggage.  I am talking about managing STRESS!!!

 

PLAN C, HOTEL CHECK-IN

  • Go out the airport with our checked baggage, head straight to Kowloon Station via Airport Express. Only,  we need to purchase an Airport Express Round-trip Tickets worth HKD 160/passenger.
  • Avail our airlines complimentary In-Town Check-in Service for our next day flight.
  • Check-in at the nearby hotel at Kowloon, dine, tour around, shower, and rest.
  • Get up early, and catch the first train to Hongkong International Airport

This plan is according to the collated suggestions of frequent travelers at Hong Kong.  By far, in my perception the most comfy and less inexpensive in comparison to Plan A with Pay-in Lounge add on, but the riskiest one in terms of waking up early, and at least be at the airport 2 hours before the departure time.  Considering the shuttle bus and Airport Express schedules, AND me not able to sleep to constantly check the time.  Now, Joshua needs to make a smart decision.

A few people asked me if our plans to migrate back is for good, the only answer I can certainly give for now is that we need to go back, and apart from it my knowledge to know what tomorrow can brings to our family is very limited. In this case planning ahead, will not assure that we will have the best and comfortable 13 hrs. and 35 mins lay over, but one thing we are certain about we have options and precautions that we can consider pulling out if the PLAN that we choose will not materialize.   Our security is that we can laid out these plans to our Lord Jesus Christ in prayers, and receive the peace that He will direct our path and  constantly remind and gird ourselves of these words:

Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established” -Proverbs 16:3

 

Balikbayan Program

Last Sunday, February 19 our family flew to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia for a purpose of availing again a year of visa less stay in the Philippines for a foreign passport holders like my husband, Joshua and our daughter Abigail through Balikbayan Program.  So, you may ask how it is possible, and what is Balikbayan Program?

BALIKBAYAN PROGRAM 

Before I proceed, allow me to express my disclosure on this.  I did my researched to pulled-out a most reliable sources of articles defining this program.

According to www.lawphil.net, Section 1 of Republic Act No. 6768 or popularly known as Balikbayan Program.  A Balikbayan Program is hereby instituted under the administration of the Department of Tourism to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos to come and visit their motherland. This is in recognition of their contribution to the economy of the country through the foreign exchange inflow that they generate.  

The program allows visa-free entry to the Philippines for a period of one (1) year for foreign passport holders, with the exception of visa-required nationals.

 

THE TERM BALIKBAYAN DEFINES

• A former Filipino citizen with foreign passport and members of his/her family. The term “family” shall mean the spouse and minor children of the balikbayan (who are not balikbayan in their own right) who are travelling to the Philippines together with the balikbayan
• A Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one (1) year from the date of last departure and their families
• A Filipino overseas worker   (Source: Embassy of the Philippines)

 

SO HOW IS THIS APPLICABLE FOR OUR FAMILY? 

This program first benefited our family the first time we flew back from United States of America (USA) to Philippines as a family last September 1,  2015.  Since I stayed in USA for almost 2 years, I was qualified in the program and technically considered as Balikbayan, and a  Filipino Citizen.

A Filipino citizen who has been continuously out of the Philippines for a period of at least one (1) year from the date of last departure and their families

Joshua and Abigail that time received a visa-free entry stamped in their passports to the Philippines from the immigration and its good for a period of one (1) year which was effective until August 31, 2016.

The only requirements we needed to complied to benefits from this program, and received a visa-free entry is travelling together as a family.

A Foreign passport-holders family members such as spouse and children needs to travel together with a Filipino Citizen or former Filipino Citizen and MUST present themselves together with the Immigration Officer at the port of entry and declare the desire of availing the privilege of Balikbayan Program.  

 

IT DOESN’T MAKES SENSE, WHY GOING OUT IF YOU ARE ALREADY IN? 

Well the gist is to avoid visa extension fees and fines. As I mentioned earlier their first BB was effective only until August 31, 2016 and before it expired, our plan was to exit to neighboring Asian country and be back in the Philippines while processing my papers with US Embassy.  We thought we had a perfect plan even before we left USA.  But most of our prior plans didn’t materialized on our own projected time frame.  So before their BB expired, we applied for them a tourist visa which was valid only for one month or till September 30, 2016. Tourist visa extension was costly, and most of the time stressful. Joshua even had a stress-triggered psychosis-type episode, an emergency room admission, and re-occurring episodes while processing another extension for the month of October 2016.   WWhichhich we failed to finished because of all the commotion that happened in the immigration.  The third time we went back, we settled all the immigration late fees covering four (4) months of expired visas and a month of approved extension which is valid only till February 28, 2017.  The results of our paper works with US Embassy will come out between 30 to 90 days from February 3, 2017.  With this it is  more practical for us in terms of monetary and more stress free to  depart the country once again, and returned and availed the BB Program.

Today their passports are stamped with BB and that they can stay in the Philippines visa-free until February 20, 2018.

balikbayan-benefits-haltom-family

WHY NOT APPLY FOR A PERMANENT RESIDENCE?

Somebody asked us about considering a permanent residence application for Joshua and Abi in the Philippines.  Our response was, its not on our radar.  No future plans for it yet.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT? 

In our experiences, we concluded that immigration laws are different in every country so, expect the possible unexpected situations and questioning.  The first time we attempted to availed the Balibayan Program, we experienced some sort of questioning not in the Philippines but in China.  Our connecting flights were from Los Angeles to China, and from China to Philippines.  At the Guangzhou Airport during our boarding at China Southern, the questioning begun.  Since Joshua and Abigail are both US passport holders, the boarding officers asked us to provide a copy of their return tickets to USA.  They were enforcing a standards verification procedures.   Since our plan was to stayed in the Philippines for a matter of year and be worry free from immigration fees through Balikbayan Benefits.  But the boarding officers weren’t aware about the Balikbayan Program so we needed to explained it to them, and asked them to check the Philippine Immigration website about the existence of the program.  It took us 15 minutes of explaining ourselves to the boarding officers and supervisors. With the helped of some appropriate supporting documents, at the end we were allowed to proceed and board the plane.

 

WHAT ARE THE APPROPRIATE SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS? 

  • For foreign spouse, bring  an original copy of your marriage certificate.
  • For foreign children, bring an original copy of their birth certificate
  • For adopted children, bring an original copy of their adoption papers.

Understand that these boarding officials and immigration officers are just doing their job so the tip is to satisfy their questionings with factual explanations supported with black and white documents.  If you aren’t sure of what you are doing, before travelling make sure to do your research, talk with appropriate class to apply those information with confidence.

 

EXITING NEARBY ASIAN COUNTRY

It took a while for us to made a trip outside the Philippines to the nearby Asian Country because of some uncontrollable situation our family faced during the last quarter of 2016.  I’m referring to the Haltom Family Health and Wellness. We were planning this trip for a long time but due to uncontrollable situations like family emergencies, Philippine Immigration expired visas, and budget it didn’t push through.  So once we addressed it one by one, we were able to planned our one day trip to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.  Thank God for the provision.

The moment we pulled out everything, and recieved unexpected funds, we set a workable budget, look for a place to visit, booked our round trip plane tickets with Air Asia, and  researched an affordable hotel with airport pickup and returned.  The goal was to exit the country, and returned together as a family to once again availed the free visa less stay for a year stamp at the immigration for Joshua and Abi.

 

DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL-PHILIPPINES & KOTA KINABALU, MALAYSIA

Both the immigration officers in the Philippines and Malaysia were accommodating during our departure and return. The process was quick.  As expected, the departure immigration officer at Ninoy Aquino International Airport asked us about the Emigration Clearance Certificate or ECC.  But when she realized that we benefited from Balikbayan Program and calculated the time of our stayed in the Philippines from the date of Balibayan stamped arrival and expiration, she didn’t asked us anymore questions.  One by one took our pictures, stamped our passports and  were good to depart.  When we arrived at the Malaysian airport, and faced the Immigration Officer at the port of entry, he just asked our passports, identified us by names while looking on our individual passport then stamped our passports with arrival date with maximum number of permitted days to stay for visit.   For American Citizen, Joshua and Abi they both received a 90 days social visit. While for me, Philippine passport holder only 30 days.

 

EMIGRATION CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE

A few days before our scheduled flight, I came a crossed to an article in the internet which stating that Philippine Immigration is mandating an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) for all foreign nationals passport holders who have been in the Philippines for a matter of 6 months and longer.  The requirement is to apply for it in the Bureau to avoid departure problem.  I honestly freaked out a little bit because we just had a workable budget, and wasn’t expecting it. I was calculating that we’ve been staying in the Philippines for a matter of 1 year and almost 6 months.  We just paid a humongous amount of pesos for the late fees for five (5) months of tourist visa extension for Joshua and Abi which accumulated for long period because of us not able to addressed it during Joshua’s emergency and episodes.  We decided to go at the Philippine Immigration and inquired about ECC, but the good thing about it we made a phone call first and asked them about ECC and explained our situations that we just went there amount ago, settled our fines and fees, and more payments.  When I asked them why the processor didn’t issue as an ECC, the woman over the phone started calculating our stay and according to her explanation we came in the Philippines with a free visa less one year stay through BALIKBAYAN BENEFITS, and counting from our BB expired, we are only running 5 months and few weeks.  Technically, not yet 6 months given that the number of days in a months differs. Make sense?  That day, as she said our family were good to go without ECC. The following day, just to confirmed that the information we received was factual and dependable, once again I called the Philippine Immigration, and with explanations on my part, the immigration personnel over the phone, after he made his own verification and calculation  he stated clearly that we were good to go and no need to apply for ECC. Praise God.

 

DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL:  KOTA KINABALU, MALAYSIA AND PHILIPPINES

On the day of our departure at Kota Kinabalu, the processed we had encountered with the Immigration officer was quick and easy.   We handed our passports.  Take note of this.  Every time we go to the immigration officer, we go as a family.  Again asked our names, took our pictures, and placed our index fingers at the bio metrics.  When we arrived at the Philippines, again together as a family we presented ourselves and handed our passports. The processed was the same, identified our names, and one by one took our pictures even our 2 year old daughter.  We over heard the lady beside us that she was   declaring her desired to avail the Balikbayan Benefits for her family.  So, we did the same.   And the gracious Immigration officer stamped Joshua and Abi’s passport with an acronym BB which stands for BALIKBAYAN BENEFITS.  He reminded us that we can avail it anytime only my husband and our daughter needs to traveled with me and presents ourselves together with the immigration officer.

 

OUR LEARNING

1.  Planning ahead.  Never Procrastinate.

We learned that planning ahead will help us to established our goal straight, and establishing our strategies how to achieved it.  It will also help us Joshua and I to focus ourselves together in the same path.  The plan of exiting to the other country was set even before we left USA.  The thing was we lacked in prioritizing it.   With the continuous coming of funds, we procrastinate it. With the family emergency which started last quarter of the year, it was completely set aside.  Planning ahead, will discipline us more to adjust ourselves to one-income budget.  To become more realistic but with definite time frame, building a cash reserve, and workable budget and the most important developing a more harmonious relationship with Joshua and avoiding friction as a result of being unprepared.  We thank God that we booked a cheaper round-trip plane tickets with Air Asia, found an affordable hotel with an airport pickup and returned, and enough budget for our food.

“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? -Luke 14:28 New Living Translation

2. Trusted Source of Information

That was the very first time our family visited to Malaysia and first time we flew with Air Asia.  Haven’t we received reliable source of information like an option to pay Air Asia through Bayad Centers, I was struggling to booked the tickets for 1/2 days using online payment option.  Good exchange of emails with the hotel management helped us to had advance information from the hotels such as its distance from the airport, corrected our reservations from two (2) adults to two (2) adults with child, and even arranged an airport pick-up which we truly enjoyed.  We felt so privilege.  Internet information is always good but not all of it are applicable to  a given situations like us not needing to have ECC, so talking with the right people are more advisable.

20 Get all the advice and instruction you can,
    so you will be wise the rest of your life. -Proverbs 19:20 New Living Testament

3. Family Fun while Pressing Towards the Goal. 

This one day exit to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia helps our family to refresh, getting out of our daily routine, build memories together, helps us to trust one another’s company, and cracking the seriousness of life to a more fun ways.  This travel also help Joshua and I to renewed our confidence with each other.  When we were in Malaysia,  unexpectedly Joshua told to me that he would do his best again, and pray to God to bring back my confidence in him and in his leadership just like when we were living in USA.  When we migrate in the Philippines, our situation changed.  In USA, I was fully dependent on him in every little things.  New culture, new people, new system, new language, and different style of living. In the Philippines, he experienced all of the things I experienced in USA in a very extreme way.  It was more harder on his part because he experienced anxiety, stress-triggered psychosis-type episode, and a series of relapse.  Because of his traumatic injury during younger years, he was diagnosed with several and serious mental conditions.  In USA, it was managed well, and his life was easy.  Though there were challenging times, he always come out  strong.    In the Philippines, he somewhat lose his confidence in expressing himself, he experience tough times and setbacks, that made his symptoms worsen. He had several relapses which led him to emergency admission.   That one day trip in Malaysia gave us both a freedom from each other’s shadow.  His confident to expressed himself came -out again without fear of being prejudiced.  It was a selah from our fears.  Over all we enjoyed it as a family.  Our daughter surely witnessed the strength and weakness of her parents and how we worked things out together.   It was a joyful experience.

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. -Philippians 3:12-14 New Living Translation

 

Additional Source of  Reading:

An Act of Instituting A Balikbayan Program                                                                                              Balikbayan Program, Embassy of the Philippines in Netherlands                                     Republic Act 9174, an Act No. 9174 Republic An Act Ammending Republic Act Numbered 6768, Entitled “An act Instituting Balikbayan Program”                                                        Balikbayan Program, Embassy of the Philippines

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Kids Station at Ninoy Aquino International Airport

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Eminent Hotel

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Local Neighborhood, Restaurant Community Plaza nearby Eminent Hotel

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Eminent Hotel

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Kota Kinabalu International Airport

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Kota Kinabalu International Airport

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Kota Kinabalu, International Airport

Be a Better Dad Today!

For an outside day in Manila not too long ago with my wife Lady and her niece, Nica, together with our daughter Abigail, I was gifted a book by Author Gregory Slayton entitled, “Be a Better Dad Today!”

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I can honestly say that I haven’t been able to get too very far in the book yet, besides the occasional glimpse.  The only reason I can think of is that Abigail is both of our first daughter and she is just about to turn three-years-old.  One might think that they wrote the book on manhood until they decide to name their daughter Abigail Exodus.  I am very proud of us for doing that.

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The book opens with a favorable review from former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush (1999-2007).  And today, we see many changes facing the American landscape.  In 2016, America has been blessed enough to have a 45th President, a Republican named Donald Trump.  Fatherhood is not like politics though.  It is also not so different.  Fatherhood is not like gambling either, and neither is it so different.  The story of Peter and Paul from the New Testament can tell us that much.

The book is divided into three sections:
1. The Journey of a Lifetime
2. The Ten Tools of Fatherhood
3. Special Situations

These multi-facetted concepts seem to break the mold of freedom and liberty, and they do.  But then again, prayer changes everything.

After these three sections are a Men’s Study-Group Guide, Acknowledgements, Suggestions for other Reading, and Footnotes.

We see today, in every type of media, people are praying from their own angles on the state of the world and how they wished that this story will turn out for us.  I haven’t read very many books cover to cover, but this one was endorsed by the Library of Congress, so how bad could it be, right?  I am sure every father of the 21st century could benefit from reading about these immensely beneficial tools geared directly to and from the Word of God.

As I reflect on the meaning of this book for myself, I am reminded so much, but particularly, the story of Zacchaeus from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 19v1-10, as it is written, “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. Now a man named Zacchaeus was there; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to get a look at Jesus, but being a short man he could not see over the crowd.  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, because Jesus was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, because I must stay at your house today.”  So he came down quickly and welcomed Jesus joyfully. And when the people saw it, they all complained, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”  But Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, half of my possessions I now give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone of anything, I am paying back four times as much!”  Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this household, because he too is a son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.””

For several days, Abi kept saying as we would wrestle on to bed, “You are NOT my hero” but just last night, she told Lady that her hero is her daddy.  That made be very proud.  I sure do need a lot of prayer.  With my being a little bit absent minded already at my age, words for fatherhood are difficult to express, but with Abigail becoming even more bright-eyed each day, I can say, it is getting easier, one day at a time.

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