By Louise of Mommy Practicality
I am a woman and proudly so. I celebrate being a woman and mother every single day. I wouldn’t trade them for anything else. I am at a point in my life where things are not perfect. Where I am is not ideal, but I am happy, contented and at peace.
It wasn’t like this a decade ago when I had a beautiful mistake in my life: I got pregnant out of wedlock, I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have contingency plans. That time, I was climbing my way up the corporate ladder, I was starting to help my aging parents, I was only beginning to enjoy my independence, and I abused it. The only beautiful thing I could think of was I was chosen to bear a child. To bear a child is in itself, a miracle. I was chosen to be a mom.
That was all I had, everything else was a mess.
It was a process and long but sure one, coupled with a lot of prayer for guidance and strength to get to the more intentional and more peaceful state my life is right now. Again, not perfect, not even normal, but a better and steadier one. There were eight simple personal disciplines I consistently reminded myself to live by which helped my life pick up from being broken, to being whole again.
1. Follow Your Dreams.
When I was down, all I had was myself, my son and my dreams. I decided to not give up. I decided to keep that dream burning and stand up from the fall. Slowly, from being a jobless and a depressed mom, I looked for work, to support myself and the little life depending on me. But I didn’t settle for just any job, I looked for a job that I wanted. The job I wanted kept me busy and happier because I was doing what I love. I gained new friends. I brought back my self-confidence. I finally had money for myself. I was better than my jobless self. I just had a dream and I just intentionally fulfilled it. Everything got better.
2. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others.
To each her own. Back then, I was struggling as a new mother, a newbie in the workplace, but I survived. My eyes were “on the prize,” that is, my life goals. I was focused.
Admittedly, there were moments I compared my life to my batchmates who were more successful, who were happier, and instead of doing better for myself, I self-pitied. I went back to zero. When that happened, I refocused. I realized comparing myself to others will not help me become better. I started to believe in myself more, motivated myself to reach my goals, and realized that we are all unique individuals and God was, and still is, still molding me to be the person He’s planned for me to be. I have a different path, a different life to live, a different set of challenges. I should not strive to be better than others, because there will always be people better than I am.
What I did do is strive to be better than my old self and just keep on getting better at what I thought was already my best. (I still do this now.) This motivated me to live the life I intentionally want for myself and my son.
3. Prioritize What Matters.
When one part of my life was a mess, every area in my life was crushed and scattered all over the place, too. Just like a bunch of flowers that have fallen out of a basket, I had to pick up the stems one by one and put it all together. But this time, I had to choose the flowers that still had a chance to bloom. I left the wilted ones.
You know what I mean? It’s similar to how we prioritize things in life. I asked myself: Will this or that bring value to my life? Will choosing to do this make things in my life better? If the answer was “yes,” I went for it. If not, I would delay it or not do it at all. The end in mind is to reach my dreams and attain the life goals I had for myself. I cannot do everything at once, I had to choose, and make better choices… which now brings me to the next part…
4. Learn How To Say No.
In choosing better, there were things I had to say “No” to. I used to be a “Yes” person, because I thought if I decline an offer, an invitation, an opportunity, I might be saying “no” to myself too. I might be giving up a chance to make things better for my life. I realized, while tempting opportunities do not always knock twice, there are also opportunities that may not always be right for me and the intentions I had for leading a better life. Some opportunities may bring more money or fame, but will stress me more and take me away from my family. Some opportunities may be smaller but aligned to my dreams and how I want my life to be led. I say NO to anything than doesn’t lead me to a happier, stress-free, and more peaceful life.
5. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff.
This became my daily reminder because a lot of activities happen everyday which may affect our moods, our stress levels and the way we relate to other people. Along the way, I learned how to let go of things beyond my control and pay more attention to matters that I have control over.
Now, when there are projects that have been executed in ways I had not planned, I examine what went wrong and see which part I could remedy and immediately do it. If I cannot, I don’t punish myself by blaming myself for the disaster. At work, my motto is, tomorrow is another day. In parenting, I say, if the mistake is not life affecting or life threatening, I just talk to the kids about the lessons and forget about yelling and punishments which may have worse effects on their lives.
6. Surround Yourself with Positive People.
Misery loves company, so when you’re feeling a bit off, don’t turn to people who feel the same way. Instead, seek advice from people whom you know had overcome similar situations. Be in a company of successful and inspiring people so you would be motivated to rise above the challenges you go through. Surrounding yourself with positive people will propel you more to live a more intentionally successful and happier life.
I was able to achieve this for myself when I became one of the Martine’s Blissmakers here on Make it Blissful. I was surrounded by talented, inspiring, successful, positive, and empowering women and I always feel good knowing I am part of this group of like-minded women who doesn’t see each other as competition.
It’s important for a woman, a mom, a career person, a businesswoman, a super mega busy lady to go back to her elements, to relax, to breathe, to unwind and to recharge. She’s a delicate, fragile, precious, woman who deserves to be treated well, and loved much.
You have to do this for whatever life stage you’re in. If you’re single, don’t rely on another being to make you happy or make you whole. Respect and love yourself enough so others will see your value. If you’re in a relationship or married, don’t feel guilty about making time for yourself, about treating yourself once in a while to a massage, a hand and foot spa, a facial or hair treatment to feel good and cared for.
I learned through the years that paying attention to myself and being able to get what I need without depending on others felt really good. When I feel good, I come out to be a more positive being. When I’m in my in touch with all my woman elements, I think more clearly, I am kinder, I am more empowered and I live my life more intentionally, just how I want it to be. And lastly, and the most important of all is to…
God provides. God knows all our pain, cast it upon HIM and He will give us rest. God knows the desires of our hearts. God listens to everything we tell Him in prayer. This is the most powerful aid in helping any woman, any mother, any wife, any sister, any daughter in living a life happily, peacefully and intentionally. I lived by ORA et LABORA, prayer and work. In order to reach my dreams, my goals and my life intentions, I have to couple my prayers with work. And when you also do, you’ll see beautiful and intentional things unfolding before you.
From zero, I’ve gone far better, not perfect, but my life is now more intentional. I’ve learned a lot as a woman, as a daughter, as a mom, and as a wife by living life simply and following these eight intentional things. These had made me stronger and more empowered to do the things I love doing, to choose the things that add value to myself and my family, and to live life just the way I want it.
How about you? Have you gone through a major life event? How were you able to rise above it?
By Tina Santiago Rodriguez of Truly Rich Mom
Have you ever heard of the phrase “Your thoughts can become things”?
I first encountered it when I was still working fulltime for a local publishing company. I had to proofread a book by bestselling author Bo Sanchez, titled How to Turn Your Thoughts into Things, and I ended up learning so much about the power of positive, intentional thinking! (Yup, one of the perks of my job then!)
The book was a truly inspiring read, and it made me realize that positive thinking can really make a difference in one’s life — and even in the lives of others.
On a personal note, I’d like to believe that it’s positive thinking that has helped me on the journey to finding my “bliss.” While I have to admit that I’m not 100% there yet, I know that—by God’s grace—I’ve come a long way from where I used to be.
It’s only been a few years since I’ve started being more intentional in what I think, say and do, and where I am now—making a living while making a home, and striving to live meaningfully no matter what—is definitely a “blissful” place. 🙂 (Though there’s always room for more bliss, of course!)
So how did I get here? And, more importantly, how can positive thinking actually help you find your bliss? Here are three ways:
1. It activates the law of attraction.
What is “the law of attraction,” you may ask? I’m not going to expound on it in detail here, because there are other sites that you can visit for more information, like this one and this one, but basically, the “law” states this:
“We attract whatever we think about, good or bad.” — Source. (This is a good read, too, by the way.)
So, if you think only positive thoughts, more likely than not, you’ll be surrounded by all that is positive and good. You’ll be able to “make it blissful,” as we like to say over here, and get closer to everything that can become part of your bliss.
Of course, as a Catholic Christian, I also believe that God sometimes allows us to experience trials and hardships—like my family and I did in 2013—for reasons only He knows, but that’s for another post altogether! 😉 What I can say for sure, though, is that thinking positively (plus lots of prayer!) definitely helped me through those tough times.
2. It helps you focus on your blessings, not your burdens.
Thinking positively can help you see the good things in your life with more clarity. Positive thoughts usually translate to positive actions and words, and help you see the blessings that you already have, plus anticipate the blessings that are coming your way.
Focusing on your blessings helps you find the “bliss” in everyday living, which can be quite mundane sometimes. Thus, positive thinking helps make life more blissful.
3. It helps you see the opportunities that every day brings.
Part of finding our bliss is being able to see—and seize—the opportunities that come our way. This is what I have been trying to do for quite some time now, especially after I resigned from my fulltime job in 2013. I was unsure of the future then; although I was blessed to still have part-time editing jobs, the income I got from them weren’t enough for our family’s needs.
Still, I claimed God’s blessings after my official resignation, and thinking positively really helped me to see the many job opportunities that came my way. (Of course, there were times when I would be full of doubt and fear—keeping it real here—but I’d try to shake off those feelings with positive thoughts!)
Just a few months (three, to be exact) after resigning, I was hired for a fulltime home-based job, in charge of PR & Special Projects for a company that aims to help parents—especially mothers—be more intentional in their parenting journey. I also got an additional editing job for an international-based parenting publication (which I have recently given up, as part of my intentions for this year).
Did positive thinking alone help me land those jobs? Of course not. But I do believe that it helped me position myself strategically, such that it was easier for me to get hired. It can do the same for you, too. I know it.
If what I’ve written about here is kind of hard for you to swallow, try reading about scientific evidence that shows the power of positive thinking: You can start here, here and here. (You’re welcome. 😉 )
So if you’re in a rut now, or having difficulty seeing the goodness that you already have in your life, believe that things can change for the better. Take the first step to making it so—by choosing positive thoughts now.
What are your thoughts on positive thinking? Let’s get a discussion going in the comments!
source | By Denise Rayala of ROYAL DOMESTICITY
We’ve all faced this situation: Being neck-deep in things to do and not knowing how and where to start. You are not alone, girl. I deal with that every single day as a servant-less, geographically single mom slash sexually-deprived army wife slash struggling mompreneur slash blogger slash social media addict.
These days, it’s trendy to be a multi-slashie, you know. One doesn’t want to just be a writer or a wife or a mom. She also wants to wear many other hats. No big deal. We women are wired for this stuff, to be natural multi-taskers. We all know that it’s tiring as it sounds, too!
Personally, I used to be the type who wanted to finish everything at once, disregarding the fact that I yelled at my daughter, got into a fight with my husband or eventually got sick. I would want things done on my own and pronto. Obviously, it didn’t make me happy. Sure, I finally emptied three baskets of dirty laundry or got to bake six dozens of muffins for delivery but you see, I’ve neglected the more important
things people in my life.
When it dawned on me (after meltdowns and mayhem), I realized what I got to do.
Fervently wishing to practice what I’ll preach — here are the Four Ways to Lighten Your Workload — and yes, feel great about it.
If you know your priorities, this should be easy. If you don’t, try sketching the people and things close to you a la Hierarchy of Needs. Whatever goes to the biggest part must always, always be prioritized first. No matter the circumstances, never skip to the next big part. You know how strong the impact of its consequences if you do.
I remember a post from our foundress, Martine, some years back when this site was still known as Dainty Mom. She told us in her blog post that she won an award but she didn’t make it to the event because her son Vito got sick. Some can easily say that she could have left her sick child to her husband and attend the awarding ceremonies — after all, it was just for a few hours. But she blissfully chose to stay beside her son. Truly, she’s a mom first, blogger second.
As for me, in my daily self-proclaimed royal domesticity, my priorities revolve around food. I always make sure no one’s starved at the beginning and ending of each day. We can’t function well when we’re famished, right?
Ironically, though —
Why, in the middle of your long list of to-dos, should we include this? But we should, and it doesn’t have to be expensive and exhausting. Trust me when I say that a simple 30-minute walk (to wherever) can clear your mind and help you get to gather your thoughts so you would know where and how to start. Honestly, I don’t exercise regularly but I consider my trip to the market as one. And that leads me to my next tip.
This word existed long before me, but I’ve only lovingly used it when I met my husband. Any military wife can proudly tell you about how we can stretch a day into numerous of activities for our family. You don’t need to marry a man in uniform to do that, of course! Say, Monday is errand day — paying the bills and grocery-shopping — but the line is freakin’ long in establishment #1! Relax! How about checking your emails using your smartphone while you’re in line? Or finalizing your grocery list? If you’ve tried all and you’re starting to get pissed because an errand is taking so much of your time, it’s best to get distracted. Does Plants vs Zombies entertain you or is it Clash of Clans?
Smile + eyes = “smize”, a term supermodel Tyra Banks coined for her show; ergo, smiling with your eyes. When all’s been said and done, do this. You think it’s a joke? Nope, we’re not vying for the Top Models title here to do it perfectly, but it works to get your mood up. Get a mirror and smile. Smile genuinely that it’s shown in your eyes. Smiling amidst the chaos can’t help you finish your tasks but it sure can brighten your mood so you can work happily.
YOU do the work so you have the power over it. Have you felt drowned with work lately? What did you do to overcome it? I would love to learn a thing or two from you. Please share it with us in the comments!
I’m writing this as a general response to the questions I get via email, which ask, “What exactly is blog coaching, Martine?” I explain the inclusions in my mentorship program for bloggers, but I felt that a blog post would best express what my work is really about. So here goes!
Why did you get into “blog coaching”? What is it?
“Blog coaching” is what I call my system of helping women become the editors-in-chief of their blogs and online platforms. When I started doing blog coaching, my intention was to do something in my free time that involved blogging and helping people. I also wanted to venture into freelancing, and decided to mentor people who wanted to know how to craft and launch a blog that would help them live out their passions, but also be a platform to live their best lives.
I then created a system to teach a kind of blogging style that would make blogging systematic, yet natural, enjoyable for the blogger, while at the same time helping them get better traffic and more engagement for their blogs.
I currently have three levels of Blog Coaching:
- Digital Platform Launching (where I mentor you in creating a website or blog for your brand);
- Blog Therapy (my most popular service, where I guide you in revamping the brand, content and visual identity of your blog); and
- Blog Critique (a once-over, one-time evaluation of your blog, in 10 steps that you can carry out right away)
I want to blog about my passion. Can I be a successful blogger?
Not really, no. When I take on a blog coaching mentorship with a new blogger or someone who’s been blogging for a time and needs a new infusion, I always, always dispel the myths around blogging. The biggest lie that any coach or consultant can tell you (in my field, that is) is to “just blog with a passion, and people will follow.” They won’t.
Why? The real deal is that people don’t follow a blogger just because of the blogger’s passion. They follow a blogger because that blogger has an X-factor that makes her unique and compels people to be drawn to her, her stories, her ventures, even her business if she has one. The blogger’s passion shows up in her excellent efforts, maybe even her work or her business, and in the way she lives out her authentic self.
While is is true that passion is essential in starting something meaningful, passion cannot sustain anything on its own. Creating an income, a service, or a community with your blog depends less on passion and more in applying successful systems and processes that deliver results, whether those be sales, more readers, and a growing following.
So what do you do exactly when you coach a blogger?
A good blog coach will help a new or existing blogger to create action steps towards achieving their blog goals, instil confidence in a blogger, and teach that blogger how to nurture a following around her blog. This is my goal for each woman that I work with in blog coaching. I teach bloggers how to create balance between their passions and their plans.
My training process for bloggers includes these three “C’s”:
- Teaching a blogger how to think about and craft their brand (Clarity)
- Teaching a blogger the art of basic blog management and content creation, for their blogs and social media channels (Content)
- Guiding a blogger on how to think visually for their brand, by creating an inspiration board that expresses who their brand is, as a blogger (Creative Activation)
Now what bloggers do after they’ve completed my program is really their responsibility. I can teach using these tools; I can help answer their questions; I can help provide insights on their issues, concerns and blogging dilemmas, but the outcome is always based on the blogger herself.
Will I be a successful blogger if you coach me?
I can’t give guarantees to success. Success is relative. What I can tell you and assure you off is that if you have a passion to make your blog journey work and you put the processes to work — the strategies we take up in our mentoring and training — then you can certainly experience success along the way. I taught myself how to do all three: gain clarity about my brand as a blogger; create content that helps my blog sustain itself as a brand and platform, and use my creativity to create income streams that make my blogging profitable.
Everything I teach in my courses is based on mistakes I’ve made in the past and the successes I’ve experienced as I learned from those mistakes. So I believe that if you are teachable, humble and you are willing to do what it takes to learn, then YES, you can be a successful blogger with me as your coach!
I don’t have good blogging habits. Can you help me?
I can only help you if you help yourself. If you do my coaching programs and then don’t put the strategies into practice, then I am not accountable for your bad habits. Laziness and an undisciplined approach to blogging: That’s not part of what we take up. I hope that in giving you tools to work with and in helping you create a blog philosophy to go by, I can awaken a part of you that finds blogging an enjoyable, doable part of your life. What you do with the things we take up in our mentorship is up to you. After all, “making things blissful” is all about taking action, “making” and doing and activating and putting things to work, isn’t it?
So, did I answer these questions well enough for you readers? Hit me up in the comments if there’s something else you want to know!
Behind the scenes: Acie Fores (makeup artist); Michi Calica (designer), and yours truly. (Not shown is Jamie Espadilla, naturally, because she took all the photos!). This was a photo shoot collaboration between friends, fellow moms, and women of bliss!
For my third trimester, I wanted a different type of maternity shoot, one that wouldn’t take up my whole day. As you all know, I normally work from home, but on occasion I love meeting up with the women I work with. Since I wanted a shoot that was very “me” and would still help me get my work done, I decided to collaborate with two of my clients: a fashion designer (Michi Calica) and a makeup artist (Acie Fores), whom I meet with regularly to discuss their blogs and businesses.
We set the shoot in the home-atelier of Michi Calica (whose blog I made), whose shady garden provided an excellent backdrop for the naturally-lit, day time shoot. Don’t you love her studio?
My makeup artist for this shoot — Acie Fores (whose blog I also made and manage) —, specializes in taking looks from day to night (which is what she did for this shoot). She made three looks for this concept, which took me from a casual day look to a simple but fab evening look. (Yes, “Fores” means she is related to one of my other favorite women, Ms. Gaita Fores of one of my fave trattorias, Cibo. They are in fact cousins.)
I selected Jamie Espadilla of Jamie & Baby Lifestyle Photography, through the recommendation of another friend and co-blogger, Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio. I loved her work with Rica’s maternity shoot! When I contacted Jamie, she was able to “get” my concept of a very unstyled shoot, one that worked with the things I already had on hand. You’ll see what I mean in the photos below!
The other “props” we used(like this gorgeous daybed) were just old furnishings around Michi’s house, as well as some gifts I’d received from friends and family these past few months. Jamie didn’t bring anything, save for some accessories like bangles and shawls. I’m not a fan of highly-contrived photo shoots, so she understood all I wanted for this shoot: Make things “blissful”, doable and beautiful, with whatever we had. No shopping necessary!
Here are the photos I chose for this post. Special thanks goes to Arielle Guevara, my interim virtual assistant for some of my layout projects while I’m on the last stretch of my pregnancy! I’ve not been able to stay seated for a long time in front of my computer, so her layout and editing capabilities have been a blessing to me.
I’m wearing MiCHI’s ready-to-wear Sacque Dress here in red. It’s perfect for preggies like me, but it’s not a maternity dress. For inquiries, email michicalica.com/contact
I’ve been working with Michi for a year now, helping her set up her blog site and also giving her tips on how to manage her digital life! Our meetings are always fun an filled with laughs. I wanted my shoot to capture me at work, because I love the work I do! I want my baby to understand that moms can do what they love, too.
For my attire in this set, I’m wearing a casual wrap dress, also from the RTW line, MiCHI. Available at Bonne Bouche in Greenbelt 5.
In this set, you can see Acie’s signature day-look for women on the go. I love how she made my eyes come out, which I’ve learned are one of my assets (ha!).
For my last look — an evening-inspired look — I wore a new dress from Michi Calica’s holiday line: a lovely take on a sexy little black dress. I have to admit, I rocked it. Haha! It’s not a maternity dress, but like many of Michi’s clothes, this dress fits any body type, in any life stage.
My photographer collaborator Jamie Espadilla was such a pro. We had never met prior to this morning shoot, as it was a super busy time of the year, so everything was coordinated via SMS and iMessages! She had a clear idea of a very unstyled shoot that I wanted, so we didn’t bring any props to use. I highly recommend her for being able to style with what’s on hand!
Love these shots of me sketching! I carry my sketchbook around with me, and I am usually very shy about my amateurish doodles! Jamie captured some of my doodles, though, such as this one, which I am turning into a print for my baby girl.
The shoot was short and steady, so natural and effortless. It was truly a collaboration of blissful women! Thank you so much to Michi Calica, Acie Fores and Jamie Espadilla, who are all ladies living out their passions through beautiful businesses that help other women. I am blessed to be their collaborator in this photo shoot! Please do visit their links (see Credits below) and leave them some love if you enjoyed this shoot.
To view the complete photo set by Jamie & Baby, visit the Make it Blissful Facebook page Album here: A Working Mom’s Blissful Bump Shoot
Credits :: Apparel by MiCHI of Michi Calica (michicalica.com) :: Makeup by Acie Fores (aciefores.com) :: Hair by Rikki Suarez :: Photography and styling by Jamie Espadilla of Jamie & Baby Lifestyle Photography :: Photo layouts by Arielle Guevara (spaceshiptoinfinity.com) :: Location: Atelier Michi Calica, New Manila
By Ginger Arboleda from Mommy Ginger.
I value results. Results that often come from drastic changes. Changes that occur when a person takes one thing for example and transforms it into something greater or something better than what it is. Society has coined a term for that — Productivity.
According to my Google, Productivity is defined as:
- the state or quality of producing something, especially crops;
- the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input;
- the rate of production of new biomass by an individual, population, or community; the fertility or capacity of a given habitat or area (in ecology).
Most of us define productivity as something related to working, oftentimes related with the second point above. When we give out effort, we get ‘results’. We think we are productive if we get to identify a moving part of the process and if we see an output from that process or effort. Oftentimes, we need to see the effort in order to say that someone is productive.
For example, the traditional mindset of handling employees is you think you ‘need’ to see them in order to assess of your employees are productive. Being absent of being late is often equated with being unproductive. The result that most traditional companies or bosses want to see is perfect attendance.
But most of us know better. We know that working-from-home or working away from home may event prove to be more beneficial and more “productive” than going to an office and sitting there for 9 or more hours every day.
What I want to share in this article though is a realization. It’s this:
Productivity cannot be present without stillness.
Most of us, including myself, think of stillness or a time where we don’t do anything as something “unproductive”. Looking deeper into what I do on a daily basis (thanks to Snapchat!), I have noticed that I am the type of person who becomes irritable when nothing is going on in for a moment in my day. I feel like my schedule needs to be full. I hate it when meetings are suddenly cancelled, because I then have to look for something else to do.
But I recently I watched a video on meditation with Russell Simmons. He is an American business magnate who co-founded the hip-hop music label Def Jam and created the clothing fashion lines: Phat Farm, Argyleculture, and American Classics. He had some great words about meditation.
He said that everything that we do, if you think about it, is geared towards quieting the mind. Everywhere we go, we are bombarded with noise, that we look for ways to shut down or ways to dull our senses to make us immune to the noise around (i.e. People result to drugs, etc.). Listening to him made me realize that a part of being productive is squeezing in some time for stillness into our lives.
It is when we experience stillness of the mind that we find clarity.
Stillness for me doesn’t mean that we don’t do anything and lie completely still, but stillness for me is being attuned to your surroundings. It’s mental rather than physical stillness that I think is hard to achieve. The world that we live in is beautiful and things bloom at their own pace. We cannot rush it, but we can be there to witness it as its beauty unfolds. That is called being present. We need to learn how to be present, and to see the value of taking it slow once in a while.
I’m guilty of speedily living my life. Just right now, I was annoyed by the fact that I could not concentrate and I could not keep still because of the quietness of everything. Now, I see this quietness as a blessing, as essential to a meaningful life, and a whisper of great ideas that I am about to craft into better things.
What are some misconceptions you’ve had about being productive? How are you “stilling” yourself? Let’s talk about it below, shall we?