So finally, I’m back! :) (Did you miss me? :P )

After over a month (1 month and 5 days, to be exact), I’m here again… though I don’t know for how long I will ‘stay.’ As you can probably tell, I’ve been ‘neglecting’ this online ‘home’ of mine, but have been trying very hard not to neglect my real home (though, if you were to surprise me with a visit today, you’d probably think otherwise, with the baskets of unfolded laundry downstairs, and the messy, cluttered play/storage room upstairs!).

A month and more… how time flies!

Yes, it’s been a month and more since I’ve been here, but I have been elsewhere: here, here (a re-hashed post!), here (in case you haven’t read this post about how to homeschool even if you don’t feel like it).

I’ve also been writing my contributions for Make It Blissful (have you congratulated Martine yet? :) She’s preggy and I can SO relate to her latest post about it! I felt that way A LOT when I was pregnant with Anne!)… and Upside Down Homeschooling (coming soon!).

Credits to nonicknamephoto | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Credits to nonicknamephoto | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A lot of my time for work has been spent on editing here, writing/editing for this magazine and this homeschool provider‘s monthly newsletter, doing PR/social media work, and helping promote one of my blog partners — among other things. I prepared for and gave a talk on ‘Caring for Your Elderly Parents’ too, and attended a few blogger events, somewhere in between.

Of course, the majority of my time has been spent with my family… and I wouldn’t have it any other way! :)

Family time and time with others: The best reason for slow blogging ;)

Since my last post here, we’ve been ‘busy-but-not-so-busy’… learning from life, trying to keep up with chores, organizing our homeschool space (not really a schoolroom!), doing ‘formal’ learning, celebrating Father’s Day, attending community events, relishing time with extended family… just trying to ‘be’… which is not a very easy thing to do for ‘busyholic’ me!

Credits to Stuart Miles | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Credits to Stuart Miles | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We were also blessed to spend some time in Cebu last week — me, the kids and my parents, while Anthony was at the Hillsong Conference in Sydney (one of the blessings of being part of the Kerygma Conference team!). It was a great #familyfieldtrip, and we had lots of fun bonding with my parents!

Bonding with Lolo and Lola during our #familyfieldtrip to Cebu! :)

Bonding with Lolo and Lola during our #familyfieldtrip to Cebu! :)

We were there to attend a dear friend and sister-in-Christ’s wedding; she is also our former mission teammate (oh how I miss our Timor Leste days!) and Rysse’s ninang (godmother). It was fun catching up with her and other dear friends, and celebrating Rysse’s birthday too, in a way (we didn’t celebrate on her actual birthday because it was our friend’s wedding day, we ended up celebrating for almost the entire week afterwards!).

The 4 of us all ready to go to Karen's wedding! Tim and Rysse were part of the entourage. When I posted this photo on FB, a few people thought I was pregnant! Ha, ha! :) Can you spot sleeping Anne?

The 4 of us all ready to go to Karen’s wedding! Tim and Rysse were part of the entourage. When I posted this photo on FB, a few people thought I was pregnant! Ha, ha! :) Can you spot sleeping Anne?

While in Cebu, I also got to meet up with Mylene, a friend and the hardworking mompreneur behind Moringana, and two fellow homeschoolers (*waves to Mommy Martha and Jenny!) — it was so nice to finally meet these moms, my online ‘friends’ for what seems to be so long, in person! :)

With homeschool moms from Cebu — thanks to Mommy Martha for arranging this meet-up (photo credits go to her, too!)

With ROCKERS  from Cebu — thanks to Mommy Martha for arranging this meet-up (photo credits go to her, too!)

I’ve also experienced being majorly disappointed lately… which was a very humbling experience for me. In the end though, it all turned out for good. I must confess, too, that we’ve been eating too much ‘junk food’ lately — time to reboot with more fruits and veggies! ;)

The REAL reason for not blogging

Having said all that (sorry to ‘dump’ everything on you all at once, LOL!), I MUST confess the REAL reason why I haven’t been blogging lately… You see, I’ve been getting a lot of comments from people about how I am a ‘supermom,’ how I can ‘do it all,’ and how ‘inspiring’ I am because I work at home, homeschool, care for three kids sans a yaya/helper, etc. etc.

Well, let me come clean with y’all in the spirit of keeping it real (because, after all, that’s what being ‘truly rich’ entails too, right?) — I am NOT a supermom. I am not a perfect mom either. I’ve confessed before (and have recently confessed again, on Facebook) that I don’t love on my kids as much as I should and instead chew them out a lot more often than I should!

There is only one 'supermom' in my book — and that's Mama Mary! :)

There is only one ‘supermom’ in my book — and that’s Mama Mary! :)

 

I yell, I’m a mean ‘monster’ mom A LOT of times (which is why my kids almost always include, “Please Lord, help Mama not to be angry today” in our morning prayers), I’ve even used my hands to ‘harm and not to help’ before (yup, I’m confessing this here, on the blogosphere!). Our homeschool days can be such a mess (on the days we do homeschool formally, of course!).

Our apartment is a mess (a somewhat organized mess, but a mess just the same!). I nag my husband (*blows Anthony a kiss) more often than I should and sometimes neglect his needs in favor of the kids’. I feel like I don’t spend enough time with my parents and siblings, and that we don’t spend enough time with my in-laws too, especially my mother-in-law (and she’s just across the street from us!).

One of those rare days when our apartment isn't in a HUGE mess and the kids are busy playing with their blocks and manipulatives! :)

One of those rare days when our apartment isn’t in a HUGE mess and the kids are busy playing with their blocks and manipulatives! :)

I haven’t been spending time with my friends either, especially my still single or still childless friends. (I don’t think socializing on Facebook counts, do you?) Thank God for friendships that last because of His grace!

So what am I really saying here then? Why all the ‘confessions’?

All of this imperfection.. this ‘messiness’… That is mostly why I haven’t been blogging.

I’ve been feeling too ‘unworthy’ to blog. I didn’t think that my life — the ‘real’ me, my ‘real’ life with all its sin — was inspiring. Actually, I didn’t want to deceive anyone. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite and make you think that, “Wow, she’s got it all together, man!” when the reality is, I don’t.

Why I’m back

To be honest with you (and thank you, by the way, for reading this post up to this point — don’t worry, I’m almost done!)… I didn’t really feel like coming back here to blog. I didn’t know where nor how to start.

But then I read this post.

Image credits to Blossoming Joy

Image credits to Blossoming Joy

It’s as if Melody was speaking/writing directly to me! These are my favorite lines from her post:

“I have my blogging blinders on. I have a firm purpose which I worked out with much thought and prayer while on sabbatical. I am committed to that purpose and to fighting the tendency to blog someone else’s vision. I am also no longer in high school… and I refuse to allow likes, dislikes, accolades, links, awards, pettiness, or any one person to define my major actions or my purpose.

So… do you blog? Because if you do, I want you to read those posts when you have a moment. You may find that you know what these lovely gals are talking about.

And then I want you to repeat after me…

I am a uniquely gifted woman of God. My beauty lies not in how much my blog looks like anyone else’s, but by how perfectly I am responding to His holy will for my life. “

And these lines — so, so, so true!

God wants great and good things from you and perhaps you are having trouble listening over the noise of blogging.

In addition to the blessing of being available for God’s plans, I promise that you will learn two things:

1) That you have (in some measure) an unhealthy attachment to the blogging world.

2) That almost no one truly cares if you blog again or not.

Especially #2! I realized this during the month and more of my unintended blogging break. Almost no one truly cares if I blog again (except for those of you who sent me messages, thanks again for your love!) — and that’s OK!

So why blog again then?

Because of this:

Screen shot 2014-07-13 at 7.19.01 AM

I want to be one of “those who bring [the] good news”… In my imperfection, despite my sins, in spite of my weaknesses, faults and failures.

It doesn’t matter to me if I have 1 or 1,000 followers.

It doesn’t matter to me if no one leaves comments on my posts (but please do if you want to, I promise I’ll reply! ;) ).

It doesn’t matter to me if my posts get “Likes” or are Tweeted or +1′ed.

What matters most is that I am doing God’s will. (Or trying my darndest to!)

And, for now at least, that includes blogging.

To Him be all the glory, now and forever! :)

So, how have you been during this month and more that I’ve been ‘gone’? Don’t worry, you need not leave a comment, but please do know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers! :)

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on July 13, 2014 · 4 comments · blogging, Catholic, Life in General

50 Days of Amazing Grace is an annual series {of short, to-the-point posts} that aims to inspire and empower you to live as an ‘Easter person,’ i.e. one who is joyful and ‘sent forth’ to proclaim the wonder of Jesus’ Resurrection. It is inspired by the Easter Season, which, for us Catholics, lasts for 50 days. (You can find the first and second series of posts here and here respectively. For this year’s series of posts, click here.) 

It’s finally over — the Easter season, that is! And while we are a bit sad that this official season of rejoicing in Jesus’ Resurrection is over, we continue to be joyful because we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ Apostles and Mama Mary at Pentecost!

As a family, we’ve been trying our best to live liturgically, and even if we didn’t get to do a lot of the ideas that I myself suggested in my previous post, I praise God that we were able to celebrate Pentecost in our own way. Last night, we were able to attend Live Loud 2014, which started with the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist — anticipated Mass for Pentecost.

Photo from the Live Loud FB page

Photo from the Live Loud FB page

I was in tears during the Consecration — to my surprise, my son knelt on the floor of the venue (we were at Ultra in Pasig) even without being told. He even looked like he was really praying fervently! It may not seem like a big deal to other people but it is to me, for many, many reasons which I shall not bore you with.

Anyway, praise God for that! The Live Loud concert was also very inspiring — all of the songs used were originally composed by CFC Youth for Christ or Singles for Christ members. The testimonies of the different sharers were also quite moving, especially that of Ellish Maigue, who bravely shared about how she had an abortion — how her life changed because of it, and how she found forgiveness, healing and grace in Jesus’ embrace.

ellish

Praise God for His redeeming love and saving grace!

I’m so glad we went to Live Loud! :) Thank God indeed for the gift of His love, our faith and our Church!

Today, Pentecost Sunday, we just celebrated in a simple way — by spending time together as a family, de-cluttering our home a bit, donating the toys, clothes and shoes we gathered to our parish, and having a simple ‘Pentecost Party’ at my parents’ house.

pentecost

We had dinner, prayed together, sang the ‘Happy Birthday’ song for our Church before eating our Pentecost cake (a store-bought one because we don’t have an oven), and then prayed a decade of the Rosary together (The Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, of course!).

It was a simple but sweet way to celebrate one of the most significant days in our lives as Catholics. :) Praise God for His amazing grace! Come, Holy Spirit, come!

Source: CatholicCompany.com

Source: CatholicCompany.com

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful,

grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise

and ever enjoy His consolations,

Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

God bless, everyone! :)

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on June 8, 2014 · 5 comments · 50 Days of Amazing Grace 2014, Advocacies, Catholic, God, Living the Liturgical Year, Truly Rich Reflections

50 Days of Amazing Grace is an annual series {of short, to-the-point posts} that aims to inspire and empower you to live as an ‘Easter person,’ i.e. one who is joyful and ‘sent forth’ to proclaim the wonder of Jesus’ Resurrection. It is inspired by the Easter Season, which, for us Catholics, lasts for 50 days. (You can find the first and second series of posts here and here respectively. For this year’s series of posts, click here.) 

You may (or may not) know that I’ve been having a lot of ‘bad’ days lately, especially as a mom. People who see my Facebook posts or read this blog may think that I’ve got it ‘all together’ — some have even called me ‘Wonder Woman’ or ‘Supermom.’ Please. Don’t.

I’m no supermom. I’m no Wonder Woman. I fail my God, my husband, my kids (especially my kids!) every day. I tend to let my emotions (and frustrations!) get the best of me, and when I do, I end up saying and doing things that I regret wholeheartedly.

It’s times like these then, that I am grateful to God for always (as in ALWAYS!) reminding me of my mission and my ministry. At least, what they are supposed to be. Usually, He does this through my own reflections and writing.

Just like yesterday. I wrote my reflections for Didache (a daily devotional published by Shepherd’s Voice Publications) last year, and I don’t even remember what I said in each reflection anymore. So when I received my daily email from KerygmaFamily, I was surprised to see that the reflection for the day was mine. It was perfect timing — God’s perfect timing — because I was feeling overwhelmed again by all the things that I feel I need to do as a wife and mom.

Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 6.14.49 AM

You can read the whole reflection here, but let me share with you the part that struck me the most when I read it yesterday:

Screen shot 2014-06-04 at 6.41.16 AM

 

Ouch! I feel like I haven’t been being true to my ministry — especially to be the Proverbs 31:10 wife. It’s also been really challenging to raise my kids to be people after God’s own heart — especially since I myself struggle to be a woman after His heart!

Still, I am glad that God reminds me that every day is another opportunity to do the mission He’s called me to, and minister to others, especially my family. Despite my brokenness, failures, faults and weaknesses.

It’s the same for YOU, my friend. God has a ministry and mission for you. He has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). I pray that you’ll be able to discover what it is so you can live a truly rich and full life! :) And, if you already have discovered it, I pray that you’ll find the strength and grace to keep doing your mission and ministry!

Reflection: You are God’s creation and He has a wonderful plan and purpose for your life. Believe it, claim it and live it!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, may my life speak only of Your love and grace every single day. Amen.

P.S. Since Pentecost is coming up real soon, I’d like to share a few links to sites that can help give you ideas on how to celebrate the birthday of the Church in a more meaningful way. You don’t have to feel pressured to do something BIG for Pentecost, but I encourage all of us to do more than ‘just going to Mass’ — although Holy Mass is already a grand celebration in itself, of course! :)
pentecost
If you have younger kids:
On Catholic Inspiredhttp://www.catholicinspired.com/2014/06/pentecost-activities.html
On Catholic Icinghttp://www.catholicicing.com/pentecost-crafts-songs-activities-and-more/
On The Catholic Toolbox:
http://catholicblogger1.blogspot.com/2009/04/lesson-plan-pentecost.html

If you have kids who are tweens, teens and up:
http://dce.oca.org/assets/files/resources/Pentecost-Activities.pdf
http://www.rethinkingyouthministry.com/2010/05/pentecost-ideas-for-youth-ministry.html
http://www.smp.org/resourcecenter/category/Pentecost/17/

(Photo credit: HolySpiritInteractive.net)

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on June 4, 2014 · 1 comment · 50 Days of Amazing Grace 2014, Advocacies, Catholic, God, Truly Rich Reflections

50 Days of Amazing Grace is an annual series {of short, to-the-point posts} that aims to inspire and empower you to live as an ‘Easter person,’ i.e. one who is joyful and ‘sent forth’ to proclaim the wonder of Jesus’ Resurrection. It is inspired by the Easter Season, which, for us Catholics, lasts for 50 days. (You can find the first and second series of posts here and here respectively. For this year’s series of posts, click here.) 

It’s been almost 2 weeks since I’ve been here. I don’t know if you’ve missed me (ahem! ahem!) and/or my posts but I have certainly missed blogging, although not as much as I thought I would. I find it ‘freeing’ actually — to not feel ‘pressured’ to update this blog so often. I know that others may consider that ‘blogging suicide’ — not posting at least 2-3 times a week.

Still, like I said in my last post, I believe that this blog and my life in general are meant for so much more. I’m still figuring out what that is for sure, but I’ve started jotting down notes about what I think HE wants for this online space.

In the meantime, I continue to be grateful for His calling me to this life, this work, this ‘mission’ if you like — of inspiring, or at least trying to inspire, at least one person to grow closer to Him.

To be perfectly and painfully honest with you, the past days have found me in a rather sorry state at times. I’ve been a ‘monster mom’ again too often — which is one of the reasons why I didn’t feel like blogging. I mean, what could be less inspiring than being a mean mother to your kids, right? (And, a mean wife to your husband too!)

But today, the first day of the month of June, which is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I’m ‘back’ here to tell you (and remind myself), that God always, always, always gives us second chances. Thank goodness He does!

Image from SacredHeartDevotion.com

Image from SacredHeartDevotion.com

So, if you’ve been feeling like a failure lately, or if you’ve been thinking hopeless thoughts, call on Him. Trust in His Sacred Heart. Open your heart to His Love Divine. And together, let us see His miracles in our lives!

Reflection: Dear Lord, help me to trust in You and in Your Sacred Heart, wounded for me, only for me. Thank You for Your Divine Love.

Prayer: 

O Sacred Heart! O Love Divine!
Do keep us near to Thee;
And make our love so like to Thine
That we may holy be.

Heart of Jesus hear!
O heart of Love Divine!
Listen to our Prayer;
Make us alway Thine.

O Temple pure! O House of gold!
Our heaven here below
What sweet delight, what wealth untold,
From Thee do ever flow.

Heart of Jesus hear!
O heart of Love Divine!
Listen to our Prayer;
Make us alway Thine.

O Wounded Heart, O Font of tears!
O Throne of grief and pain!
Whereon for the eternal years,
Thy love for man does reign.

Heart of Jesus hear!
O heart of Love Divine!
Listen to our Prayer;
Make us alway Thine.

Ungrateful hearts, forgetful hearts,
The hearts of man have been,
To wound Thy side with cruel darts
Which they have made by sin.

Heart of Jesus hear!
O heart of Love Divine!
Listen to our Prayer;
Make us alway Thine.

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on June 1, 2014 · 4 comments · 50 Days of Amazing Grace 2014, Advocacies, Catholic, God, Truly Rich Reflections

50 Days of Amazing Grace is an annual series {of short, to-the-point posts} that aims to inspire and empower you to live as an ‘Easter person,’ i.e. one who is joyful and ‘sent forth’ to proclaim the wonder of Jesus’ Resurrection. It is inspired by the Easter Season, which, for us Catholics, lasts for 50 days. (You can find the first and second series of posts here and here respectively. For this year’s series of posts, click here.) 

Yesterday, articles I wrote for two different websites went live online — the first was for Make It Blissful, about my take on meaningful living, while the second was for Catholic Mom, where I shared 5 simple ways to honor Mama Mary (since May is her month and all).

I’d like to believe that both articles are connected somehow — that they both reflect what intentional blogging means to me.

You see, when I started blogging over five years ago, my main purpose was to earn money. Someone had mentioned to me that you could earn money by blogging, and since we were living on a lay missionary’s budget that time, I figured, “Why not try it and see if I can really make some moolah?”

Little did I know though that it wasn’t (and still isn’t!) as easy as some people make it appear to be. Yes, you can earn income through blogging but it takes a lot of work to do so.

Photo c/o stockimages | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo c/o stockimages | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I first started blogging, I thought I wanted to do what other ‘mommy bloggers’ do — you know, attend events (and blog about them), do product reviews, etc. BUT at the same time, write about my faith and family, and use my blog as a platform for my ‘mission’  in life.

Fast forward to the present day.

I still attend events, but very rarely now.

I still do product reviews, but more for other sites than on this blog (though that still depends on whether or not the product/brand/place is aligned to my blog).

I blog more about my faith and family now (and homeschooling!) so, in a way, I do hope I’ve been using this place as a platform for my life’s ‘mission.’

You see, I’ve learned along the way that while we are still living here on Earth, and yes, even in blogging, we are meant for SO much more. We were made for so much more.

Colossians 3:17 says:

“…whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

This is what I hope to do — to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.” To write, to blog, to parent, to breathe… in the name of Jesus! :)

Image c/o Sira Anamwong | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image c/o Sira Anamwong | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been praying about a new direction for this little online home of mine, and I feel more and more that God is leading me to it. The question now is: When will it come to fruition?

To be honest with you, part of me is a bit ‘scared’ of losing readers. But then I go back to the verse above. It doesn’t matter what other people think — what matters most is that “whatever I do, in word or in deed” is for Him.

Reflection: We are made for so much more. This blog is made for so much more. YOU are made for so much more, dear friend. It’s time to discover what that ‘so much more’ is!

How? Just open your heart to Him today. You’ll be surprised at what He’s got in store for you! :)

Prayer: Dear Lord, please lead me to the ‘so much more’ that You have prepared for me. I trust in Your perfect plan for my life. Amen.

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on May 20, 2014 · 12 comments · 50 Days of Amazing Grace 2014, Advocacies, Catholic, Truly Rich Reflections