Keep Calm and Give Yourself a Break

No one in our family likes it whenever I go out of the house for a break on a weekend.

Not Elmer. He prefers that I’m at home since he is out most of the week and that is the only time we can spend the whole day together.


 Not the kids. Although they somehow understand the need for me to take breathers, they find it hard to spend their time in the house without me. They think Mommy is one of the furniture.

I am always there.

Pio even pulls a show stopper by puking just to stop me from going out.

crying babies

But there are times when every part of me is screaming for a time-off. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family but much to their dismay I still leave. As much as I adore our house, I can’t be in my workplace 24/7.

Time to smell the roses.

Where to?

My top of mind destination: CHURCH.

(You should have guessed that by now. Wink!)

If I want absolute serenity to clear my head and unburden my tiredness, I head to the closest church. Unfortunately, few churches are open most of the day in Melbourne unlike in the Philippines or Singapore.
I am never the same whenever I leave the house of God. In there, I always regain back my joy of living, my peace of mind.
I’m ever more convinced that the solution to every problem is spiritual.

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I also love going to the library to devour those cook books.
Instant Entertaining. World Recipe. Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute meals. Nigella’s Feast. Mastering the Art of Baking. Movida. Julie Le Clerc’s Favourite Cakes. Andy Allen’s The Next Element.

Then I plan our coming week’s menu.

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I also love looking at interior design books and magazines. I get ideas from those.

Easy elegance. The Relaxed Home. A Well Kept Home is Not Worth Living. Romantic Style.
I love to write and keep on writing while I’m by myself. No baby to chase or students to teach or floor to clean up.

Just the sweetness of silence creamed with dreamy words.

I always thought I was meant to be in Melbourne, the coffee and cultural capital of Australia. The warmth of a good coffee, the laziness of Saturday afternoons and a great book are what you just need to clear off your mind of anything unessential.

Reset. Recharge. Refresh.

We cannot live a constant state of hyper vigilance. We need a break.


Cafes are a great place to be by yourself and to be yourself.

Me + Cappuccino = Delight.

Why not? Retail therapy works when you are looking for items which are on sale and could be used in the future. Thanks to Rafela Sim, I’ve learned to buy clothes for the following year at end of season sales. Of course, that’s the time when most people are not interested in those items any more. Items can go as low as 70% off. I just get the next bigger size.

Elmer wouldn’t complain either if I buy anything I like as long as it 50% off or more.

Melbourne is so blessed with vast and luscious land. Everywhere you go, you can end up in a park. You will be strongly drawn by the beauty that surrounds you. Nature wants to please you. God wants to be with you.

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Taking in and appreciating all these natural landscape is a delicate therapy for your worn-out soul.

The second hand market in Melbourne is just happening. I’ve never seen anything like it.
I never dare to buy furniture, clothes, toys, decorations again from the mall if I can buy them from Vinnies, Salvos or other second hand shops. I learned painfully that children have no respect for whatever you bought expensively in the house.

I love going to vintage shops because you will never know what you will find. There is always that excitement from finding something uncertain and vintage yet useful and artsy. The goods are cheap but not necessarily used or worn down.

By the time my time-away from home is over, I feel like a different person. I miss my life, my husband, our children.

Quality rest really takes out an awful amount of burden from you. You cherish your life again, you are inspired to be a better person. You see your children as blessings again not as chaotic burdens. You revive your commitment to live with a deep sense of purpose, a life pleasing to God.

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I never fully appreciated rest until I had five children in a country without helpers. The intensity of joy I derive out of it is immense. I think this is God’s way of lovingly rewarding us.

When the body is rested, the soul sings.