Isabella's Dance Anthology

Click on the photo to watch a video of Isabella's dance journey

Isabella's Dance Anthology from when she started performing as a dance troupe member at CDMA beginning in 2007 (at 8 years old) to her performances at Joffrey Ballet and in Panama in the summer of 2010. We hope you enjoy. Thanks for watching.

Getting to Know Me

One of my spiritual mentors and angel on earth, tita Rose, is a contributor for St. Paul United Methodist Church newsletter. In her segment, Getting to Know You, she asked to feature my story for the month of December 2010.

Here are my answers to her interview questions:

1.Tell me about your family.
I’m a blessed only child to amazing parents. Most of you probably know my dear mom, Mila Sebastian. My beloved dad, Arnulfo Sebastian, went home to be with the Lord in 2001. In 2009 we welcomed my stepdad, Dennis Magcale, into our family.
I’m also a blessed full-time stay-at-home mom to 4 wonderful children (Phil 23, Immanuel 21, Ian 18, and Isabella 11) and wife to a loving husband (Russ) of 24 years.

2. I'm aware that you're privileged to be a stay-at-home mom. Do you have regrets about this arrangement?
I indeed consider it a great privilege and awesome gift being a stay-at-home mom. There are so many wonderful blessings brought about by full-time motherhood. I am very grateful for all the precious memories of our children’s growing up years that I was able to fully partake team mom in baseball, assistant to my husband as den leader in cub-scouting, taekwondo coach, and ballet mom. Full time motherhood allows me to take Isabella to her daily training at SF Ballet, attend and volunteer at Nutcracker shows and accompany her at summer programs. All these are made possible because of the blessing of full time motherhood. Being a stay at home mom also enables me to fully guide my children in realizing their full potential. I am very proud and grateful to say that they all excel in their own respective callings. Best of all, they are all loving children, beautiful inside and out. So I can honestly say that I do not have any regrets.

3.Tell me about one life-changing or unforgettable moment in your life.
We all know that every person has his/her own stories of trials that make way for a change in one’s life. Some call these moments as “wake-up calls”. I like to call them “opportunities for transformation”. Mine came in the form of financial difficulty. Prior to my personal relationship with the Lord, I led a “trying-to-do-it-all and have-it-all” lifestyle. We kept up with the worldly standards of accumulating material wealth. We even moved several times in search of the better and bigger home. Then in 2004 came my opportunity for husband lost his lucrative contract, our main source of income. To make a long story short, we were forced to sell one of our homes in 2006(the big one which I thought was my dream home). Though it was a very difficult decision at the time, I realize now that it was our amazing Lord God Almighty rescuing me from my superficial and exhausting lifestyle. Not only was I released from the chains of unsatisfying way of life, it was the best course of action (I’d like to call it “Divine Appointment”). We sold our home for so much more than what it would have sold in the economy that followed. And not only that...because of it, we were able to purchase a home in Pismo Beach close to Cal Poly. Amazing, don’t you think? Just exactly the way we know only God would and can do...the way He operates...amazingly perfect.

4.What's your favorite biblical passage and how does this impact your life?
I have a lot of favorite scriptures. But in line with my story of financial difficulty as my “opportunity for transformation”, Matthew 6:33 comes to mind: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
I also use this verse in my daily tasks. It reminds me to put God first as my top priority and a lot of unnecessary things just seem to naturally fall off my to-do list on their own.

5. How do you make use of your time?
This question brings to mind Proverbs 31: 27 - She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. As a veteran home manager, I was able to establish daily/weekly routines that I try to follow in order to “watch over the affairs of our household”. I have to say that solitude is an important part of my daily rituals. It is logged in my schedule as “time with God”. I found that when I start my day with God, my entire day has direction. If I start feeling overwhelmed, I know I somehow neglected to include God (or if I forget, my angel daughter would sweetly remind me). I realized that the busier I am, the more I need to make time for God. The discipline of solitude enables me to make the best use of my time each day and is yet another blessing I’m grateful for.

6. How did you learn the discipline of solitude?
I was able get the training of the discipline of solitude when the Lord brought us to Pismo Beach. Little did I know that our move to Pismo Beach, which was then full of uncertainties, would become an essential part of my journey toward spiritual maturity. It was a beautiful place by the sea showcasing the grandeur of God’s creation thereby inviting daily contemplation and repose. It was there where I got the chance to get closer to the Lord. Away from the busy city life, I got the chance to cultivate the habit of not only starting and ending my day with God but also including Him in all I do. Talk about God’s amazing divine plan in turning what appeared to be a trial into an opportunity for transformation!

7. What makes you happy and what makes you sad?
My personal relationship with the Lord makes me happy and also all the blessings He has given me...full-time motherhood, family, friends, health, my bible study group....
When you have a personal relationship with the Lord, your perspective on sadness is I said, I like to call them opportunities for transformation. But to answer your question, it makes me sad when my personal relationship with the Lord is not right because of something I did or did not do for His glory.

8. Who is a wise person in your life? Why do you think so?
The person(s) I consider wise are those who have a deep personal relationship with the Lord. And in my life, that would be the ones who brought me and continues to bring me closer to the Lord....tita Rose Agana and ate Lolit Flores, my spiritual mentors, angels, and bible study leaders. They are indeed wise individuals whose relationship with the Lord is not only personal or private but also communal as they share their wisdom and blessings to everyone they meet.

9.How do you want to be remembered by people around you?
I would love to be remembered by the people around me as someone who reflected the love of Christ. Someone whose smile, hug, words, welcomed them home to God’s love. It would be delightful to hear my children thanking God for a mother who lived the virtues she wanted to see in them.

Easter 2011

We're already well into the month of May and I'm just now posting our Easter 2011. I did post this on my Facebook page. The convenience of Facebook sometimes takes the place of blogging. OK, I guess I'm just justifying my lateness.

Isabella and I left for Pismo right after I picked her up from school, Friday, April 22nd (no ballet class at SFB). We stopped at Cal Poly to pick up Ian at his dorm.

As soon as we got to the house, Isabella and I posed for a photo-op in the backyard while Phil was barbecuing.

Then it was pure relaxation at our home sweet Pismo Beach home.

The following day, Russ and I had the pleasure of watching Isabella at CDMA's company class from 9-11am. It was a great treat for Russ and I as we don't really get to watch Isabella during classes at SFB. We were very pleased and proud of her progress not to mention the joy and passion that shows through her dancing. We're so grateful.

Then we were off to pick up the boys to head to the Easter Egg hunt at Dinosaur Caves Park. We got there at the tail end of the hunt. The website said the hunt for her age group starts at 12:10. We got there at 12:00 but the hunt had already started. It's so funny because in the previous years, we had trouble with the Easter Egg hunt. Last year, I made a mistake of taking her on a Sunday when it was on a Saturday (Easter 2010). Then in 2008 or 2009, we were trying to go to 2 hunts and we were just in the nick of time arriving at the Grover Beach hunt. The problem was that the hunt area was closed off from where we parked and we couldn't run in to the already in progress hunt. Phil made a comment that at least this year we're closer to the actual time. Anyway, Isabella still managed to get 3 eggs:).

After the hunt we went for lunch at Pierside Cafe by the beach

Mr. & Mrs. Duck

There is a Mr. & Mrs. Duck who comes and frolics in our pool once in a while in the morning. Isabella and I took pictures while watching them during breakfast before she left for school one sunny April morning. They normally just stay for about 5-10mins and then they fly away. Isabella called daddy and told him about it and daddy said maybe they're celebrating their 25th:)

Quotes of the day

Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind.
-Dr. Seuss-

Learn how to be happy with what you have
while you pursue all that you want.
-Jim Rohn-

Blessed are the flexible
for they shall not be bent out of shape

Scrapbooking Days

I came across these photos of our old home back in 2005 when I turned our third garage into a sscrapbooking/hobby room.

See the garage on the left? That's the one I decided to convert into a craft room because of its arched windows only to find out I felt so detached from the rest of the family. We sold this home in September of 2006 in favor of what I call our "smaller with bigger soul" home by the beach.
Old images of this home is available here. There is a wonderful story behind our finding and selling this home....but that has to wait until another post. I have to do another activity for my "luxury of solitude for myself" day.




What's Your Decorating Style?

I try to reserve Sundays as my "doing nothing" day or should I say the "luxury of solitude for myself" day. You know, things like curling up with a good book and a cup of tea, or listening to my spiritual mentors listed under my featured links, or even dancing (today I had fun dancing with DD, Isabella, using Michael Jackson's This is It video:)), and now taking a fun online quiz and blogging about it:).

I took this short and fun quiz at Home Goods and it came very close, if not spot on, with regards to its description of my decorating style.

Here's the results of my quiz:

Imelda, you are a GLOBAL CASUAL

Your home is warm and inviting, and expresses your curiosity and zest for life. You have wide-ranging interests, and an appreciation for many different cultures and ways of life. You bring a sense of the far-flung world into your home through its d├ęcor through unique or artisan-made treasures. Objects in your home tend to reflect your personality, your passions, your values, and your eclectic interests. This gives your home a sense of intrigue and comfort.

You value creativity. You are stylish and fun loving, and can be an inspiration to others. You have a natural sense of drama, and you know you have to be willing to take risks—whether with colors, finishes, furniture choices, or ideas—for your home to stand out. Your home can be happy and lively and the place all of your friends want to be.

I think my friends and the people who have visited my home would agree with my results (you can click on the tab "Our Homes" and see if the descriptions sound like me). You can try it too and see how close the results will come out for you. I think you'll have fun trying it. It was certainly fun for me and I also like the styling tips it offers to make your home a little happier. Here are the tips for me:

Putting Your Style to Work!
With your style and needs in mind, here are a few tips that will help you make your home a little happier.

1. Your Design Challenge: EXPERIMENT
The last mile in decorating is the hardest, because that is when you really take the risk in expressing yourself. As with fashion or jewelry, one bold piece can set the tone, and the others complement the look. Don't be afraid to experiment, drag stuff around and make mistakes. Use what you're passionate about to inspire your home, whether it is a love for patterns, travel, gardening, family or the sea. Consider a collection of books, pictures or objects on your passion. Giving yourself parameters helps you choose things in keeping with your true style—which is precisely the point of HomeGoods StyleScope. But also think of colors, a country, a movie or words you love when you're shopping, so that you can check that these pieces match your unique sensibility before you bring them home.

2. Your Happy Place
The more serene your bedroom feels, the happier you will be. A pretty coverlet over a big duvet makes the bed look smooth—and not all duvet-lumpy! And, a blanket folded at the foot of the bed breaks up the big expanse of fabric. Euro shams—those big square pillows—are great for reading in bed, and a few decorative pillows can also be a nice touch. Consider adding a basket or a small occasional table near your bedside table for books, papers, lotions, linen spray or whatever you'd like.

3. Be Party-Ready All the Time!
Scent: The first thing you notice about a home is how it smells. Use naturally fragrant cleaning products. If you find a scented candle or fresh potpourri you love, stock up on it. Any scent you like, whether perfume or linen spray, can be used on upholstery, bedding or just spritzed into the air.

Mood: Nice, flattering light makes us feel good. So nix the harsh, direct light from overhead fixtures in favor of the softer glow from floor and table lamps. Also, stock up on some votive candles and a couple of hurricane lanterns for setting around the room.

Food: Devote space in your pantry or on a shelf for go-to party essentials: crackers, dip, chips, nuts—whatever you like to serve. Keep on hand a collection of attractive bowls and cocktail napkins, and you'll be able to set a spread—instantly!

Drink: The simplest and chicest thing is to have a drinks tray or table always set up. Include a mix of pretty glasses, an ice bucket, a lovely pitcher, and bottles of soda and water. When the bell rings, just add ice and limes.

Thanks to The Inspired Room for sharing this quiz.

If you do decide to take the quiz, have fun with it and please let me know what your style is.