Be faithful in the little things

I asked God to give me a focus for the year, for both family and work.

The phrase “be faithful in the little things” popped into mind and lingered.

Everywhere around us, most people are rushing to achieve the bigger and the better. There’s nothing wrong with having big dreams and ambitions, but don’t overlook the small, daily habits that may help us live a more meaningful life in the long run.

So I thought about the specific ways I want to be faithful in the small.

  • Training the kids to say their please and thank you’s.
  • Teaching them to say grace before meals.
  • Teaching them to show appreciation to those who serve and help us.
  • Giving them opportunities to give to others.
  • Training them to do little chores around the house (they already help out but we need to be more regular and consistent.)
  • Teaching them to consume less and make the most of what we already have.

For myself too…

  • To be thankful for even the smallest projects or jobs I secure, and to do them wholeheartedly.
  • To say “thank you” and “I love you” often to my spouse
  • To start a weekly devotional time with my fast-growing tween
  • To keep the Sabbath a day of rest (and a gadget/social-media-free day)
  • To marvel at God’s tender love and mercies that show up in mundane everyday things, in the coffee I drink, the air I breathe, and the clothes I wear.

be faithful in little things

What are the things you’d like to be faithful in this year?

“Do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” – Luke 16:10

Mums, are you tired and in need of an energy boost? Here’s MetaboliX Plus

I first heard about MetaboliX Plus before the December hols. Honestly, I was a tad unsure of taking on a new supplement. After all, things have been working well with my regular doses of probiotics from iHerb and the occasional fish oil supplement.

But, I have also been struggling with low energy levels for some time. In between managing my freelance work and taking care of the family, some days the responsibilities do feel too heavy to bear.

When I heard that MetaboliX is safe, and helps to support energy production in our bodies in a way that only boosts the production of a co-enzyme that naturally occurs in our body, I jumped at trying it out myself.

What the supplement does is promote the body’s production of NAD+ (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), a co-enzyme that is present naturally in every cell of our body and is essential to life.

It is known as the molecule of youth due to its role in cellular energy production and its ability to regulate the genes of aging. Unfortunately, as we grow older, the NAD+ levels in our body decline. MetaboliX Plus contains nicotinamide which is a precursor of NAD+.

I road-tested MetaboliX during our recent family holiday in Melbourne. As we took the red-eye flight and I knew I’d have trouble sleeping during the flight and be like a zombie the next day, I popped MetaboliX Plus supplement upon arriving at Melbourne airport in the morning.

red-eye flight

The Results

I didn’t feel a surge of energy like that of a sugar or caffeine boost (which also typically precedes a crash.) Rather, it just felt like my energy was sustained over the entire day. Although I had close to zero sleep, I survived the first day without much ado (though I did take a power nap and that helped too.)

I continued to take the supplement throughout the trip and found that it easier to get through the entire day of activities and travelling, not to mention dealing with cranky and irritable kids on occasions.

Because I wasn’t battling tiredness, it became a lot easier to hold it together and stay calm even when one or two kids were fighting or throwing a tantrum. (This, to me, is the real impact of taking this supplement!)

Metabolix Plus by Entity Health Metabolix supplement by Entity Health

MetaboliX Plus has an added ingredient – Boswellic acids – that helps reduce joint inflammation and pains. As I don’t have any major problems with this apart from the occasional neck ache, I will probably stick to just MetaboliX (without the “Plus”) from now on.

Discount code!!

From now until 30 June 2018,  use my promo code “MWPS10” during checkout to enjoy 10% discount on all health products on Entity Health’s website

Find out more about MetaboliX or MetaboliX Plus now and kickstart 2018 on a strong note!

PS. I was sent a bottle of MetaboliX Plus for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions and stories shared here are my own.  

Done List, 2017

Many people are busy planning for the new year; new resolutions, fresh to-dos, bold and brave plans.

But have we looked back at the year that is fast coming to a close, and acknowledged ourselves or others for the things already done?

Instead of working on a to-do list, I compiled my done list over the weekend.

What have I accomplished this year? On the work front, my freelance work has found a stable footing. I was really stoked (and totally surprised) by an opportunity to write for a local news site, focusing on education and parenting — issues that I’ve always felt passionate about. I also started to take on cases in special needs and educational therapy. It’s a steep learning curve for me in this new field.

At home, the younger boys settled into their new kindergarten and adjusted to new teachers and friends. JJ also graduated at the end of the year, and is (almost) ready to start primary school as I type this!

We recently went to Melbourne for a holiday and had a blast, although traveling has always been iffy for us, particularly with kids who don’t cope that well with change. But Melbourne has a special place in my heart; it was my spiritual home during my undergrad years, and it felt special to be able to catch up with family and friends there. The farmstay was the highlight of our trip (will share about that in a future post!) I think we all grew a bit through the process and experienced God’s grace even in managing the more difficult moments and meltdowns.

Bay of martyrs besties at Geelong

We actually managed to take a family pic in front of the café where the hub and I met. (So epic!) The kids were not impressed though, as the café had already closed down…we ended up having a coffee at the one that popped up right beside it.

family pic at crema

Apart from that, we’ve been taking things real slow this December. Last weekend, we brought our tent out on a whim and enjoyed a relaxing experience outdoors. Suffice to say that we’ll be doing this more often in 2018.family in a tent

It’s been a year of growth for me in different ways. I learned a few things about connection, kindness, and authenticity this year. Through books such as these:

  • Wonder by RJ Palacio. As well as Auggie and Me. This series made me cry and opened up a new chapter of kindness and empathy in my own life.
  • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. Reading this was like giving a gift to myself; it reminded me to stop seeking after / creating a picture-perfect life, but to live an authentic and connected life, more in tune and less judgmental.
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. An all-too-famous book on how to find meaning and purpose in life. A must-read in one’s lifetime.
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Also known as the one through which I bawled my eyes out many times over. This book taught me to cherish everything I have.
  • Madeleine L’engle’s A Circle of Quiet. Her writing makes me laugh, and through the guffaws provides a serving of strength to dream about writing more seriously for myself.

Reading (and crying through) those titles made me realise that if there is only one way that I experience beauty, it is through the written word.

I also benefitted from these books on parenting:

  • The Dolphin Way by Dr. Shimi Kang. I love her insights; a back-to-basics type of book with lots of practical tips and how-tos with regard to parenting in a social, connected, and gentle way. (A great read for parents looking to curb their tiger-mum instincts.)
  • The Explosive Child by Ross Greene – A must-read for anyone who is grappling with an easily frustrated child. (A friend sent me the e-book and I’m grateful to her to this day.)
  • Loving our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk – I’m only halfway through this, but am enjoying its focus on parenting from and to the heart, looking beyond just managing behaviour and all the external stuff.
  • The Happy Mom by Doreen Wong – A book filled with godly wisdom and insight. Read the review here!

Through 2017, I think I saw more compassion rising within me, towards the kids and even myself. Not perfect, but progressing.

The parts of the year that I enjoyed most were the ones where we were able to connect with other like-minded families and friends, be it through the simple play-date, a prayer gathering, or the coffee break with other moms. It was on some of these occasions where I felt most alive, most vibrant, and most in tune with God and his creation. I really thank God for the community He’s given to us.

2017 is also the year where we got to go on date nights without feeling much guilt (if at all!) It’s a sweet place to be, but I’m looking forward to the new year and all that it has to bring. By His grace, so sweet and sufficient, I’m going to embrace our lives–imperfect as it may be–and enjoy the ride.

Blessed 2018 to you and your loved ones! xoxo

no one ever told her
about this thing called “mothering.”
maybe because it was a journey
of discovery –
her greatest work of art –
her biggest lesson in letting go…
where she’d learn to nurture a “self”
to shine bright
and find her own self in the process.
no one can tell you that.
you have to live it to know it.
and when you do,
it changes you forever.

– Terri St. Cloud

Letter to my son: You’ll find your place in life

Dear son,

You’ve graduated from kindergarten! As you danced on stage with your classmates at your graduation concert, I couldn’t help but swell with pride and delight.

You’ve only been in this kindy for a year…Transitions aren’t your forte and sometimes you have reactions that nobody can fathom, not even your dad and I, but we saw that what you needed was time — time to settle in and get used to the new kindy environment, friends and flow. Eventually, you did and you said you enjoyed your new school, particularly the computer “lessons” that you have every Tuesday.

The same way you found your place in this new school, may you also find your place in life.

finding your place in life

Parenting is tough to do. Parenting you has also been quite an intense experience.

Many a time I have faltered, many a time I failed to show you the gracious and loving face of our God, and for those, I can only repent and say I’m sorry.

Sorry for being harsh when I could have been understanding.

Sorry for being impatient when all you needed was time.

Sorry for being only half-present and preoccupied with my work and worries when all you wanted to do was to share about your day.

(I’ll try my best to do better; because of you and your siblings, I’m also growing every day, to be a better mum, and to parent from a place of enough.)

Yet you stick close to me. You’re the one who calls me when I’m out running errands or doing stuff for work. You’re the one asking when I will be home.

Soon you will move on to primary school, then secondary, then college and university. Soon you will be a teenager – will you still want to share with me excitedly about your day? Will our relationship be strong and open enough for you to deposit your thoughts into my mind?

I can only hope and wait for you, my son. Wait for you to strengthen your wings and heart and mind. Wait for you to ready yourself for flight. Wait for you to fly.

Whichever route you choose to take, however long it needs for you to get where you want to go, know that you can take your time. Go at your own pace, learn to love at your own time.

The speed at which you grow does not define you. Nor do the achievement and results that you attain. At the end of the day, God looks at your heart, and who you are. I pray that you will bear fruit for His glory.

Your mother too has taken quite a few roundabout routes in life, and through them learnt many things. Maybe it was only through those meandering journeys that she grew to be who she is now. (Only God knows.)

So, take your time, my darling. I will do my best not to worry and hurry you, and instead trust that you will find your sweet spot, that special place in life that God intended for you.

Love,

Mummy

happy boy and mom

How To Find Joy in Motherhood {Book Review of The Happy Mom}

Think of it this way: Motherhood is like pottery. First, the potter throws a lump of clay on the table several times. This rids the clay of the air bubbles trapped inside. If the potter doesn’t do this, the clay will crack when it’s put into the hot kiln later on.

In the same way, when you start off as a mom, you’re like a lump of clay. You’re raw material that needs to be molded.

Remember your purpose as a mom. It’s not to be popular with your children; it’s to nurture them so they’ll be independent, responsible and resilient. As a mom, what matter is how you go through the fury of the fire. With the right mindset, you’ll become a person of greater patience, wisdom and love.

The happy mom book

I tucked into The Happy Mom book with much anticipation. The author Doreen Wong is a dedicated mom to three grown kids and grandmother, and has deep experience in and passion for parenting. (I have also met her son Daniel Wong, author of The Happy Student, whom I interviewed some years earlier for this post.)

I thoroughly enjoyed the read. The experience was akin to sitting down and enjoying a cup of coffee with a mentor figure, listening attentively as she downloads her years of parenting wisdom into my life.

In her book, she admits that even after 37 years of motherhood, her goal remains the same: To strengthen the bond with her children.

Wow…I have been a mother for eight years. In another 30 years, I hope to be reminded of what she said. Even in different seasons of parenting, the challenge of motherhood remains constant – to love our children as they are.

 

Here are 5 of my favourite aspects of The Happy Mom book.

  1. Doreen asks provocative, hard-hitting questions, like:
  • Do you fill your children’s lives with the things that you missed in your own childhood, whether your children want them or not?
  • What will your children remember you for?
  • Are you driven by self-centred ambitions? Or are you driven by a desire to make a difference in your family and the world?
  1. She also offers many gems of wisdom. This one spoke to me the most:

“As you journey with your children through life, integrate rather than segment the various aspects of their experience. See each child as a complete whole as you identify their personalities, passions and talents. This will help you ensure that your child gets everything they need in a holistic manner.”

And this:

“Don’t be anxious if you’re unclear about the vision you have for your children. There’s no rush to create this vision over the next few days. It will come to you over time. But if you already have such a picture in mind, impart it to your children. Impress upon them their worth and purpose. Believe in them. Know that all things are possible. Don’t lose sight of your vision as you walk beside them and dream with them.”

  1. She offers plenty of actionable steps that we can apply, such as using positive language in the home, declaring powerful words over our children’s lives, and guiding them to embrace timeless values and principles. 

Here are some particularly inspiring snippets:

  • In achievement, be yourself – Encourage your children to be the best versions of themselves.
  • In behaviour, act the same even when no one’s watching – Teach your children the importance of integrity, authenticity and consistency. 
  • In education, love learning – Help them to think through the what, how and why of new ideas. 
  1. She reminds me about the importance of trust, specifically about trusting our kids.

“[My mom] gave me confidence because she often showed that she trusted me…I didn’t hide any secrets from her, and she didn’t have to nag me about anything.”

I think trust is one of the things we often forget we can give our children especially in today’s context where the tendency is to hover and micro-manage life for our kids. We need to give them the practice in exercising their judgment, to trust them to make small decisions, gradually and age-appropriately, but steadily.

  1. She offers helpful dos and don’ts in a chapter-by-chapter summary of the book. Here is an example.

The Happy Mom dos and donts summary

My conclusion: this is a book that will inspire and empower you to find joy in motherhood. It will also equip you with wisdom to help you discern what is really important, and to help you help your children thrive.

Moms, if you want to raise your children to lead purposeful and significant lives, do not miss out on this book. Order your copy now.
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