Goal

Before you can score you must first have a goal.  -unknown

Goal.  Goal.  Goal.  Okay what is the purpose and benefits of setting a goal? These past days, Joshua my husband asked me to send him a list of 10 achievable goals from top priorities to least.  The reason of doing this is because for him, I kept on telling  that he isn’t paying attention of the plans we all need to prioritize. That was his own perception but on my part, I felt of his lack of support of my ideas, a lack of enthusiasm. The good thing, the synchronicity is, Joshua’s psychology just this week also encourage him to list a goal of the things he is working toward to accomplish. “Working not just looking.” Very timely.

So what is goal? According to the passage from Luke 14:28

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower, will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?

From this passage, I can say that:

  • Having a goal is having a vision. An achievable idea to output.
  • Having a goal requires planning and a process involved in starting and up to achieving it.
  • Having a goal doesn’t just teach us to learn about the principle of budgeting but applying it, and progressing to becoming effective on it.  Estimate the cost of investment & the needed time to achieve it.

Goal_Haltom Family 2

Goal_Haltom Family

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Wooden Stacking Board Games Blocks for Kids – 60 pieces

Aside that we believe it’s  a more THRIFTY-PRACTICAL way to invest resources to something that we can use for a long time as a tool for our family to be more relational and just have fun and laughter like the Wooden Stacking Board Games Blocks for Kids-60 Pieces.

According to http://www.naeyc.org, there are also Ten Things Children Learn From Block Play and these are:

  1. Continuity and permanence. Block play engages spatial sense and motor abilities; it can be a solo or a group effort; block creations can stand for an indefinite period-of-time.—Lawrence Balter

The first time we introduced the Colored Blocks to our daughter, she was only 2 years old. The primary reasons why we decided to buy these blocks was to supplement our family routine with a more engaging family game time, and for our daughter’s benefit, we chose a colored inspired Jenga blocks for her easier adaptability since the only requirement to play this game with a dice is familiarity with colors, and mind maneuvering. At times that we weren’t playing as a family, our daughter herself finds it useful for building and structuring house and towers.

Infancy to Toddler Educational Materials (125)

Infancy to Toddler Educational Materials (123)

Infancy to Toddler Educational Materials (118)

Infancy to Toddler Educational Materials (124)

Infancy to Toddler Educational Materials (126)

Infancy to Toddler Educational Materials (113)

Infancy to Toddler Educational Materials (127)

2. Creativity. Blocks and other loose parts can be moved freely by children, to be combined and recombined in countless ways.—Angela Eckhoff

3. Imagination. Children can follow their own plan, or they can share a friend’s vision and work together to create something they never dreamed of.—Karen Cairone

That’s the beauty of having a wooden blocks as a tool for our young one’s learning, she can explore and express more her own creativeness and imaginations in a countless way.  Like she managed to create a house for her miniature toys.

Wooden Stacking Blocks.jpg

4. Development in all areas. Block play requires fine and gross motor skills. Blocks enhance children’s problem-solving abilities, mathematics skills, and language and literacy abilities. And constructing “creations” builds self-esteem and feelings of success. —Linda Taylor

Whenever our daughter successfully piled the last piece of the wooden block on the top of the tower she was building, after herself figuring out why it kept on collapsing, and several times becoming frustrated, celebrating, she called us and showcase with us the product of her small hands and hard labor.

Wooden Stacking Board Games_Haltom Family (1)

Wooden Stacking Board Games_Haltom Family (2)

5. Mathematics. Important concepts and skills are practiced and strengthened through block play, including length, measurement, comparison, number, estimation, symmetry, balance.—Kristen Kemple

6. Problem solving. Sometimes it is intentional: “I want to build X. How do I do that?” Other times it is in-the-moment: “To go higher and add to one side, what can I use?”—Peter Pizzolongo

7. Science. Blocks offer opportunities to test hypotheses and build scientific reasoning.—Gayle Mindes

It’s an all-in-one thrifty-practical tool that we are using for almost a year in training our little one in risk-taking familiarization and application; practicing logical reasoning, decision-making, strategizing, verbal and calculation. Concepts introduction, and motor development including quick reflexes, steady hand, and fine-motor control.

8. Self-expression. Blocks offer many ways for young dual language learners to explore, express themselves, and demonstrate what they are learning across languages.—Karen Nemeth

9. Self-esteem. Children discover that they have ideas and that they can bring their ideas to life by creating, transforming, demolishing, and re-creating something unique.—Holly Bohart

10. Social and emotional growth. Blocks help children learn to take turns and share materials, develop new friendships, become self-reliant, increase attention span, cooperate with others, and develop self-esteem.—Kathleen Harris

Yes, one of a good tool for character development like,  developing patience in playing solo and even in a group set up.  In-fact this is our 2nd set of Wooden Stacking Colored Blocks. The first one was we left the dice at a friend’s house so we decided not to bring the whole set when we migrated back to US.

If you have your own story of THRIFTY-PRACTICAL way to invest resources mostly in educating your children, please comment below.  God bless 🙂

 

 

Halloween Again!

There is a Halloween mania in the air.  Everyone’s mouth keeps on mentioning it in all the conversation we heard.  As I observed, most of the commercials marketing the Halloween super hero’s costumes which I will not deny too cute-or-not to look at both for adults and children are colorful and very much enticing.  Personally, if I am not too careful, I’ll shop online and get our daughter one of those fancy princess outfit.  Okay I don’t find anything wrong with parents who decided to dress their kids with such detailed costumes. It’s their prerogative.  Our daughter can wear one colorful princess outfit, but I don’t see the dire need for her to have one.  With or without fancy or colorful outfit, we are training our child to believe that she is a blessing, precious on her own, a princess for she’s a gift of God for us. Our training is for her to be grateful for who she is.  As Abigail Exodus Haltom, princess.

At 12 noon we are allowing our daughter to have a structured viewing of Paw Patrol. Though it’s a kid friendly show, it’s not free from promoting Halloween and all those ghostly stories as an observance for the approaching yearly adapted tradition.  There is a temporary way for her not to see all these ghostly definitions of what the medias definition of Halloween and that is by restricting her not to have access to television. But this is temporarily.

Our mission is to lead her in a direction, and have choices narrowed down for her so that she will have a better understanding of making good and right choices, building a lasting value, character, and a strong faith in God. We believe, with constant prayers and training, with God, these are all possible.

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

According to http://www.childstats.gov, a forum on child and family statistics, the projected number of children ages 0 to 17 years old in the United States is 73.8 million.  Envisioning the numbers of costumes and candies to be sold just for the observance of this once in a year traditional night. Wow this is a big income generating business.  But this is not really my concern.  I am more concerned of how our daughter’s will view, process this tradition and how she will handle this year after year.

I’ve been hearing the conversation between our little one and her Daddy, Joshua, my husband.  In one of their conversation, Joshua was asking Abigail what costume she wanted to wear on Halloween? Abigail responded saying, “I don’t want to wear costume, I wanted to be Abigail.”  It doesn’t stop there, it was a constant Halloween related question and answer segment between these two. And I am hearing the same respond from our daughter.  “I don’t want to dress up, I want to be Abigail.”

I wanted to know why a father and a parent like Joshua was so eager to ask his daughter about the same question again and again.  Was he trying to impose something or what?  Was he trying to become “chauvinistic,” and insensitive of his daughter’s firm stand about the matter? Was he just teasing her trying to change her mind?  What about our daughter, was she just wanted to not to agree with his dad or what?  Why she doesn’t want to give up and just agree with her father?  Where is she coming from?

Finally, I got an answered to why Joshua was so assertive towards Abigail dressing up on Halloween and do the trick and treat thing.

He said that as far as he remembered, he felt outcast for not wearing a store-bought Halloween costumes and just being the same “vampire-do-it-himself-look” with a blood on his mouth or cuts on his face as a zombie year after year. I know that my husband loves our daughter very much and when I said very much, he will do his very best just to let our daughter know that he loves her not just in words but mostly in action and his 100% support is for her.  One-time Joshua decided to helped Abigail to get rid of her shyness. He boosted Abigail’s confidence by involving himself to the ballet routine in one of our daughter’s ballet class. He walked tiptoed back and forth with Abi and the girls, and even bent his knees. He did it all in front of us mothers just for his love for Abigail until she was fully assured of her Daddy’s support, and did the routine by herself and us just watching at her in the corner. From where he was coming from concerning his childhood experience, his desire is to protect our daughter’s emotions which is one of his primary role as a father.  To provide emotional support.  His thought was all the kids outside will be dressing up with their own Halloween costumes while Abigail may feel left out.  In his mind, the outcast pattern, as he processed it, will be possibly prevented by conforming and wearing costumes.

Today when the topic of Halloween came across again in our conversation, Abigail’s made her final statement:

Daddy keep on saying Halloween again and again.   She turned to her Daddy and said, “Daddy looked in my eyes.  I don’t want Halloween and I don’t want to dress up.”  When we asked her why, she responded with a very decisive word. “Because its spooky and Jesus doesn’t want me to dress up.” 

Our daughter is only three years old, but just like us adult she is not free from feeling of being pressured mostly when she already expressed why there’s no need to be doing what she’s not persuaded of doing.  When she finally gave her reasons to why she doesn’t need to dress up for Halloween and just wanted to be herself, her expectation as a child just like us adults is to respect her believe, to receive encouragement from us her parents and adults surrounding her and go easy (if can’t be avoided) on the criticism, and to support her decision not to restrict her unnecessarily.

Alright, on the article that I wrote Jesus is not here, she expressed her fears of Jesus and doubt about Jesus not being with us.   By God’s grace, her doubt was addressed.  Praise God. When she reasoned that Jesus doesn’t want me to dress up I am pretty much convinced why she is clearly making that stand.

In the article that I read, parents and adults are being reminded why we shouldn’t sell children short.  “Children’s faith may be simple, but it is often real and profound.”  Our three-year-old saying, Jesus doesn’t want me to dress up is a pure message she wanted to follow and to deliver to us and its giving light to why she wouldn’t be liking the idea of dressing up for something portrayed as spooky (scary, frightening, ghostly, unnerving, and mysterious).  Her young mind clearly received and processed the messages of two opposing views.  God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.   Isn’t this something us her parents need not to carefully considered about?

5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. -1 John 1:5 NLT

The other night when everyone was resting, and our daughter was already sleeping.  I heard her scream.  I checked on her (she was sleeping on her cot), and when I knew that nothing was wrong with her, and she was sleeping tight, I went back on our bed. But after a few seconds, I heard her screamed again and this time louder. I was deeply concerned because it was the very first time I heard her screamed at sleep.  I woke her up, and asked her if she had a dream.  She nodded and said that a vampire was trying to bite her.  My constant encouragement to her whenever the shadow of darkness cast fear on her young mind, is to remind herself to pray and put her trust in Jesus. As her parents, we ought to train her to walk in truth. The truth that leads to peace.  That The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of Holy One is understanding. –Proverbs 9:10 NIV and not the fear of darkness projected to Halloween.  We aren’t some perfect parents, but our desire is becoming a transitional generation parents to recover from the sins of the past and not to repeat it.  We wouldn’t like to twist our own statement between faith on Jesus and His words and fellowship towards darkness that corrupts the light in our child’s mind and frightened her leading to a divided heart.

During my Elementary days in the Philippines, as far as I remembered my sister and I never experience Trick or Treating, but I remembered that most of the retail store sold some cheap vampire teeth fangs and monstrous paper mask.   I bought those vampire fangs since its cheaper, and most of the kids were buying it.   My intention was to scared my sister, but I ended scaring myself, and didn’t want to be alone.  I even had some nightmares like being followed by ghostly characters.  I didn’t had peace.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. -1 John 1 NLT

Halloween Philosophy & Fact:

  • Halloween projects a day fear
  • Those who observed the human traditions most probably spend on spooky costumes or dress up like a super hero’s.  A day of commercial seasonWhich according to National Retail Federation (the world’s largest retail trade association) ” this year, consumers are expected to spend $9.1 billion, up from $8.4 billion in 2016.”  The top costume for children is reported to be an action hero or superhero, while the top pick for adults is a witch. Pets will not be left behind, with 10 percent of consumers dressing their pet as a pumpkin.  (Source: National Retail Federation) 

Our resolved are the following:

As a family, we need to be perfectly united in mind that our fears are for God alone, it’s called reverence. So, we don’t need to terrify ourselves or others.

  • We don’t need to spend our pennies to create a spooky atmosphere, not even to dress up ourselves with a scary costume to fit in, together as a family we will represent ourselves with the image of who we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We believe it’s  a more THRIFTY-PRACTICAL way to invest resources to something that we can use for a long time as a tool for our family to be more relational and just have fun and laughter.  This Wooden Stacking Board Games Blocks for Kids-60 Pieces will arrive tomorrow.

  • We will prepare ourselves to give our service to kids by sharing candies, and tell them that Jesus love them. Our daughter rarely joined with her cousins with their school schedules and stuff so it’s a perfect time for her to enjoy them, and to develop and invest a good relationship and friendship not in a spooky way but in a replenishing relationship to build up each other in a very fun way. Playing.

All this God willing.

Abigail’s final reservation for now regarding Halloween, is that she will share candy with the other kids, like the young boy share to Jesus his bread and fish.

“There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”  10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) -John 6:9-10New Living Translation (NLT)

Today,  as she joined us in our prayer, she thank Jesus for the Rolo Chewy Caramels  that her Daddy shared with her yesterday, and expecting for a more to come.

 

 

Jesus is not here…

Jesus is not here…these are the words that our three years old used to cut me off while I was encouraging her to remember a comforting verse from the bible, remember whenever you are afraid…(paraphrase from psalm 56:3) then that four words came out from her mouth without warning.   I am not prepared.  How in the world I will address her innocent rebuttal?   Do I need to wake up my husband to help me explain with our daughter that Jesus is with us, and there’s nothing to be afraid of?

As of now our daughter was sharing bed with us. This is just temporary.  We are still deciding what bed we need to get for her. But she was used of sleeping by herself, she was only 8 months when we started training her to sleep on her own bed, in a separate room, and a few steps away from our own room.

Because of the transitions we had faced these past months (migrating from one country to another), she became used again of sleeping with us, and with the comfort of skin-to-skin.   So last night, after praying with her, bed stories, and with my hand wrapped around her, I was assuming she already fell asleep.  I slowly moved my hand away from her, and scoot myself down from the bed aiming to finish some online task.  But she suddenly turned to me, and said “Mama, I need you.”   As a mother, this sounded good to my ears but I also sense that our daughter was being fearful.  With her body gestures not wanting to leave any space between me and her, and wanted me to hug her so tight.

Every time we sense that she was feeling afraid, our words for her was to remember that whenever she was afraid, she can put her trust in Jesus.  And after we prayed with her, she peacefully went to bed.

But last night was different.  So, I stayed with her, hugged her tight and I decided to be quiet.  I felt like my tongue was cut short that time! ‘’Jesus is not here.’’  That was the very first time I encountered those words, and the hardest part was, it came from my daughter.  I didn’t take any apologetics class.  I wasn’t prepared to answer such statement.   I CAN just pretend that I didn’t hear it, go back to sleep and forget that online task.  It’s okay.  But in my heart, I knew the abrupt need to address Abigail’s doubt.  I silently prayed, and asked God to give me wisdom to properly address Abigail’s doubt about Jesus not being with us.  To enlightened her young and innocent mind that faith in Jesus is not measured alone by physical senses but found in spiritual senses.  

Praise God for the ability to remember things.  One morning (few days ago) when we were having breakfast, we were talking about the story of the four friends and how they intentionally brought their lamed friend to Jesus by climbing up the roof and made a hole in it, and lowered their friend in front of Jesus who was lying in a stretcher and unable to walk.  (Luke 5:17-26)   When Abi heard that story again, she said to me confidently that “Jesus like this house, (Grammy’s old house).  Jesus is coming here.”   And she even repeatedly said that Jesus was in her heart.  

 So, I told her.  “Remember, you said Jesus like this house, that Jesus is coming here.”  I told her that Jesus might not be here physically, but he is in your heart. His spirit is with us.   “Remember you said, he is in your heart?”

And one of the good example that Jesus is here is remember whenever you see daddy and mommy had some arguments, and it wasn’t good but, when we ask forgiveness and said sorry to each other and love each other, that is Jesus working in us.  Because Jesus loves our family.   And Jesus loves you, He is in your heart.   And, immediately she said, “Mom, we will wait for Jesus.”      

Years ago, when the gospel was first presented to me, and what Jesus did on the cross for my redemption my friends who shared to me the love of God didn’t use eloquent words to speak the truth to me.  But the two things that they did that up to now inculcated in my heart, my mind, soul and spirit were:  their intentional heart to pray with me and  their faith, how they claimed boldly by faith in Jesus  that I would received healing, and turned away from my sins.

The revelation of your words sheds light,
    gives understanding to the simple.

-Psalm 119:130 New American Bible (Revised Edition)

Jesus is not here_haltom family (1)Jesus is not here_haltom family (2)Jesus is not here_haltom family (3)

 

 

 

 

Seeds Family Worship, ‘ALL OF EM SEEDS TEN PACK’

Year 2015 when Joshua was looking for a song with a bible verse on it.  He came across with Seeds Family Worship song entitled Romans 5:8; 6:23.  For the year to follow,  we would be finding several different tracks of seeds songs from scriptures on Youtube.   One of seeds song that we used for kids outreach in the Philippines is The Good Song (Psalm 34:10).

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

For our family, its one of the best resources for memorizing scriptures both for kids and adults.   The songs are written with talents and melodic skills.  WE LOVE IT!

TODAY, and up to the succeeding days, we would like to give thanks to Ms. Linda Houser and the entire Seeds Family Worship Team for providing our family a digital copy of ALL OF ‘EM SEEDS TEN PACK’,

This pack includes all 10 albums with over 110 songs to word-for-word scripture. Our modern worship music is performed by the Seeds Family Worship team and award winning guest artists like Matthew West, Jared Anderson, Tiffany Lee (Plumb) and others. Seeds music makes it fun and easy for kids and families to learn, memorize and store God’s Word in their hearts. Sing! Learn! Memorize! Hide God’s Word in your heart! –Source: Seeds Family Worship, Album Description. 

Its a good scriptural songs for family worship, devotions and even teaching your kids at home.

SEEDS OF COURAGE

SEEDS OF FAITH

SEEDS OF PRAISE

SEEDS OF PURPOSE

SEEDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT

SEEDS OF CHARACTER

THE CHARACTER OF GOD

 

THE WORD OF GOD

THE JOURNEY

 

WHEN YOU LIE DOWN: LULLABIES & SCRIPTURE SONGS

 

SEEDS OF CHRISTMAS EP

 SEEDS OF EASTER EP

ALL OF ‘EM SEEDS TEN PACK’

CD_10-Pack_Resized

Photo Credits: www.seedsfamilyworship.com

A Dollar from the Envelope

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

Nielsen Consumer Survey_Haltom Family 1

Nielsen Consumer Survey_Haltom Family

So what is Nielsen and what are they doing? 

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

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

The gist: 

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

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

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

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

Nielsen Consumer Survey_Haltom Family 2.jpg

Change of Heart

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagination Library Books

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

Our hearts are full for your good works.  Thank you so much Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for your gifts.

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

 

Meet Me at the Moon

Meet Me at the Moon

The Mine-o-Saur

The Mine-o-Saur

Following Papa's SONG

Following Papa’s SONG

Corduroy

Corduroy

All of baby nose to toes

All of baby nose to toes

Maple

Maple

Read to Tiger

Read to Tiger

Pouchy!

Pouchy!

ABCers

ABCers

Home for a Bunny

Home for a Bunny

Little Poems for Tiny Ears

Little Poems for Tiny Ears

The Ginger Man Loose on the Fire Truck

The Ginger Man Loose on the Fire Truck

Dolly Parton I am a Rainbow

Dolly Parton I am a Rainbow

Truck Stop

Truck Stop

King Jack and the Dragon

King Jack and the Dragon

Pretend

Pretend

Just One More Solo Uno Mas

Just One More Solo Uno Mas

Max and the Tag Along Moon

Max and the Tag Along Moon

Tamie dePaola's Mother Goose

Tamie dePaola’s Mother Goose

Abuela

Abuela

 

Little Owls Night

Little Owls Night


 

Hongkong International Airport, 13 Hrs Layover

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

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

Hongkong Airport_Haltom Family.jpg

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

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

Hongkong Airport_Haltom Family (21)

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

Hongkong Airport_Haltom Family (22)

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

Hongkong Airport_Haltom Family (21)

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

Immigration 

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

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

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

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

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Abigail looking exhausted, she was coughing bad the entire trip

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

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

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More un-occupied seats waiting to serve travelers like us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The USB slots are also provided in their Charging Points

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

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

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Universal Adapter we bought from SM Hardware

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Charging Points at Terminal 1

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

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

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Terminal 1 huge and comfortable waiting area for passengers

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HongKong Airlines Check-in Counter

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

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Children’s  Free TV Lounge

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…and same with us.

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Comfortable Bean Bags at the Kid’s TV Lounge

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

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Hongkong Airport are equipped with accessible Drinking Fountains.

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

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 rabies 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