Counting down to 2017 with 7 blessings

2016 has been an eventful year for me personally, as well as for the whole family. Here are 7 things that I’m particularly grateful for.

#1 I reinvented myself as an educator.

It all started when I heard mummywee was starting an enrichment centre with a difference, a.k.a. The Little Executive. It focuses not on teaching content, but on teaching skills, growth mindset, and positive learning habits. I got employed on a part-time basis, and I’ve been on an exciting learning journey there for about half a year. Not too long after, I also embarked on an educational therapy course, harbouring hopes of helping kids with special needs find a stronger footing in this world, emotionally, socially, and cognitively.

It’s been…scary. I’m thankful for the people who believe in me, and who continue to push and encourage me. But it still is scary. Many times, I start to doubt myself, and my choices. But I remind myself that any change will take time, and that it’s okay to start from ground zero.

I read this article about finding that intersection between what you’re good at, what makes you feel appreciated, and the belief that your work is improving people’s lives for the better. It spoke to me, and if you’re in a similar position, I hope it helps you find courage too!

#2  I registered my first company and grew my freelance writing business.

I remember starting out 2016 worrying about how and where to kickstart my writing gig. The work came alright, but in dribs and drabs. It was rather demoralising. But I’m thankful to the hubby who was patient and supportive. By the time we reached the halfway mark of 2016, things were looking more positive. My writing gigs got more regular and the projects I had were also more diverse – ranging from corporate storytelling to travel writing to social media management. All without much hustling on my part, so I am very grateful.

It’s taken me a while to embrace this WAHM thing – the most difficult part was in carving out a workable routine amidst caring for the kids, playing with them, and helping them through various learning stages and challenges. I also realised that I needed me-time more than over, just to stay sane and keep all the balls up in the air. The flexibility has been good, but the downside is the uncertain paycheck at the end of the month. That is something we have chosen to live with for now, so it’s back to simplicity – less holidays (maybe short getaways), less buying, less hoarding – but we are at peace with this choice.

#3  We went on our first church camp to Malaysia as a family of five.

villas on water at sunset

The bus ride to /from the camp site was a tad long and challenging with 3 young kids, but we made it, and was able to enjoy the beautiful and comfortable resort, and listen to and learn from God’s word. The kids made a really good friend along the way, and she turned out to be our villa-neighbour for the next few days – what can I say, God’s grace works in awesome ways…The kids even managed to have a sleepover together, making a long-time dream of theirs come true.

#4  We moved house and settled in quite seamlessly.

room

brothers playing together

kids on bicycles at the park

Things happened really quickly, everything worked out like perfectly fitting pieces of a puzzle, and we moved in a matter of weeks after settling on our home of choice. It almost feels like we’ve been living here for ages. The boys will be starting school soon at the kindy nearby, so I really hope they’ll settle in just as well as they have to our new home.

#5  Vera adjusted well to primary school.

I’ve shared a little about our primary school journey here and here. By and large, Vera has settled well, made a bunch of good friends, and learnt to take charge of her own learning and responsibilities. This has made such a difference to our journey as first-time primary school parents. I found that I could keep my nagging to a minimal and just provide the support she needed at various junctures. There are still gaps, that’s for sure, and I wrote about that too, but I tell myself she’s growing at her own pace too – for me, I just need to watch out and remind her when it’s really needed. Sometimes when we step back, the child seems to take on more and learn more in the process – do you see this too?

#6  JJ found an awesome sports coach.

jj-sports-class

Now this one gets me really excited. JJ has always shown an affinity for sports, not least because he’s quite a movement junkie and has sooo much energy to release. When my friend recommended me this sports class (that is also affordable), we jumped at it. He learns so much from this awesome coach, and is constantly stretched – not just physically but mentally as well, because this coach doesn’t let things go without prompting and challenging the kids to think and strategise and plan. Now that I’m an educator myself, it is just AMAZING to watch. I learn even just by sitting through the 1.5 hour class.

#7  Josh turned Terrific Three!

mum_josh

Ahh, my dear Josh. You turned three and I know all that newfound independence is getting to you and sometimes makes you really cranky. But you know we love you, even if you’re screaming the roof down at the moment. You bring so much joy to our lives…more than you’ll ever know or realise. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you, and grow in you a heart of wisdom, love, and obedience.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Come 2017, and I am still learning. To leap, not blindly but knowingly, into the arms of a very real and invisible God. To embrace uncertainty with a child-like faith. He is a loving God, a God who is ever-generous with His people, a God who always provides…

Every morning, God’s generosity greets us in at least a dozen ways, but we barely recognize it as we frenetically prepare for our day. When we lay our exhausted heads down at night, we often fail to look back on the many gifts that dripped from God’s hands into our little lives…This Thanksgiving season, will you remember to remember the generosity of God? Remembrance produces upward worship, inward humility, and outward generosity. – Paul Tripp

Blessed 2017, friends. May His love and peace shine brightly in your lives always…

happy boy in sports class

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Creating memories and family traditions – The Thanksgiving Tree

We haven’t had a Christmas tree in the house since Vera was born. We toyed with the idea of getting one this year, but decided to wait it out. So, Vera and I put our hands together to do up this cork board Christmas tree, which doubles up as a thanksgiving tree!

Here’s what we used:

  • green coloured paper (plus a different colour for the trunk)
  • tall cork board (we got ours from IKEA)
  • washi tape with festive coloured polka dots
  • multi-coloured butterfly card paper (to write the items of our thanksgiving)

As you may be able to tell from the photo above, we used two A4-sized green sheets to cover the widest part of the tree. We cut out rough triangles to make the slant. Tip: you can re-use some of these triangles for the upper sections of the tree. At the very top, I re-used two triangles.

Stick the paper edges down with washi tape. You can secure the overlapping pieces with some double-sided tape. I cut out some squares of the washi tape and made them into rough circles. Vera enjoyed pasting these all over the tree!

But we’re not done yet…

For the “finishing touch”, I got Vera to pick a few colours of the butterfly cards. I wrote down an item that we wanted to give thanks for. (I asked Vera and she wanted to give thanks for the Christmas tree, hehe!) Well, we finally decided to write LOVE as the first item, and we stuck it down together.

Love. A very apt thanksgiving item for Day One.

We’ve got 6 butterflies to go, so this activity will last us one week. Each day, we will share an item of thanksgiving and write it on one butterfly card! A simple way to remember to give thanks, don’t you think? 😉

By the way, Focus on the Family has got a special treat for you. Just hop over to their facebook page and post a pic of a family tradition you practise in your home – it could be hanging up Christmas tree decorations together, gift exchange, a weekly movie night, practically anything you love doing as a family! The winner will walk away with a family photo shoot worth $450 by d’ZIGN FOR YOU! Go on, give it a shot, and I hope you win!

Focus on the Family

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