Mother’s Day

I dreaded for this day to come since January this year. I used to love this day and do something special for my mother. I live thousands of miles away from her so I ask my brothers or sister to give her flowers or eat out using the money I send to them. This year, I didn’t greet her (heck we haven’t spoken for 3 months now), post any Mother’s Day greeting on Facebook, or text her. I just couldn’t. But I asked my brother to give the money I sent to her so they can go out and celebrate.

My husband, daughter and I went to the Philippines for a vacation January this year. I have been excited months before to be reunited with my family. I envisioned us spending quality time, making special happy memories, relaxing in the beach… it didn’t happen. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. I have been so stressed and unhappy the entire time – it was the worst vacation ever. There were other big factors that contributed to that nightmare of a vacation but I guess the fight with my mother was top 1 in the list.

We were having breakfast and talking about the repairs needed for the house – my mother’s father’s house which I bought from her siblings. I mentioned that I won’t be doing a lot of repairs yet because I will use the money to pay the 100K pesos balance I still have for the house. (Initially, the deal was for me to only pay 700K pesos to them, since there were 8 of them and I wouldn’t have to pay for my mom’s share. But then her brothers and sisters changed their minds and now they wanted me to pay 800K but my mother will still not have any share from it).

Mother said not to pay them anymore, that her siblings already got their share and that they didn’t even give her any. So I was offended, in my mind, what I heard was that I should give her the money instead (later she clarified that what she meant was that we can use the money to buy a car they can use to go to the farm). So I asked (in an offended voice and rather irritated tone), ‘So you still want to get your share? You and the family are the ones living in this house, why do you still want to get your share?’ And she started to yell, saying, ‘I will not live in this house anymore! I will take the kids (my sister’s 2 kids) to the farm right now! We will live there so I don’t have to take part in paying for this house!’

I was so deeply hurt by her words I started to cry. It hurt because I have been paying for this house so they can live in a nicer house (our old house felt like it would give in any time). Yes, I am making decent money but it’s just enough for our small family of 3 to live comfortably. I am being very frugal that is why I am able to send money to pay the house and help them when someone is sick or needed money. I choose not to buy myself expensive clothes, always going to a thrift shop to buy a 10 to  15 dollar dress so I can spare some money to send to the Philippines.

It hurt because I didn’t want her and my father to live in the farm, so far away from my brothers and because they are getting old, they don’t have to travel far if they get sick.

It hurt because I only see them and be with them physically every 2 years or so and she’s threatening me that she’s leaving after my family arrived in the house only the night before.

It hurt me really bad I almost couldn’t breathe.

I cried. My brother comforted me and asked my mom to stop. In my anger, I said that she has a horrible attitude (which also hurt her bad, she said that if she was horrible, she wouldn’t give her life for us to have a good one), but what I really meant was that the words that come out of her mouth are like poison to me. She never thinks first before saying anything, not caring how much she can hurt, she would just say anything as she pleases.

That was the 3rd time my mom and I had a big fight. The first was when I was in 1st year college – but that was my fault for being jealous of my adopted sister. The second time was only about 3 years ago, when she suddenly Skyped me. I was happy and excited to see her and then she started ranting and saying I should just forget about her and that I should think that she’s dead. I didn’t even know what I did to her, later I found out that she was mad that I didn’t give her dollars and I gave my cousin 20 dollars for taking me to the airport!

I love my mother. I do. And I know she has sacrificed a lot for our family. I commend and thank her for giving birth to me, taking care of me when I was a child, and sending me to school. I could never repay all my debts to her. That is why I helped in sending my brothers to college. That is why I send them money when they need it. That is why I bought that house for them.

I always thought I was a good daughter, but maybe I’m not who I thought I was. I always wanted to give them a more comfortable life, but it seems that is not what they want. Now that she’s retired, I wished she would be able to travel more, relax, and enjoy the fruits of her labor. Instead, she is taking care of my sister’s 2 boys in the farm, without electricity, where they have to fetch water from the underground river in the cave, maybe 200 feet away from the farm house. She has to wash clothes with her hands, cook using wood, and endure not having TV for entertainment.

She hasn’t spoken to me. She hasn’t tried. They didn’t Skype me on my birthday . Well, we sort of “patched up” 2 weeks before I left but it was never the same. She did live in the house while I was there. But ever since I got back in Texas, we never spoke. Of course I am used to not seeing or talking to them because I have been living by myself since I was 13. But we Facebooked and Skyped every couple of months and it’s different now. I have resentment in my heart because I am also a mother now. I thought she would want to see my daughter. I hurts me that she could bear not seeing her and while we were there, she didn’t really give much attention to her, not the way I expected, at least. She was too busy taking care of the 2 boys. Maybe I expected way too much from her. Or maybe she was also hurt by what I said. It goes both ways.

Anyway, it will take time but I know we will be able to fix our broken relationship. Just like any mother-daughter relationships, ours is not perfect.


So what do I want to change?

1. I want to be a more loving wife. Sometimes when I’m very tired, I get upset and I take it out on my husband. 😦 I need to keep in mind that aside from being a mother and a career woman, I am also a wife and I want to be good at being a wife too.
2. I want to learn how to be a great mom to Myka, and that includes knowing how to give tough love because I don’t want her to be spoiled rotten. And I could be a pushover so I don’t want her to learn to manipulate me.
3. I want to take care of my body, my soul, my well-being. I haven’t been taking care of myself. I have gained weight, I haven’t been feeding my soul, and I feel like I don’t have a social life anymore. That needs to change. How should I start fixing it? Start planning meals, work out, and do this nightly reflections.
4. I want to continue to be awesome at doing my job. It’s been very, very hard to even make 8 hours every day. What with taking care of Myka and driving to and from work plus taking care of a house.
5. I want to keep my connections with my family and friends

Thinking about my progress

Work-life integration – My life has revolved around my job lately and I feel I haven’t been able to manage my time well these past few years. Ever since I got this job onshore, I have been working harder than ever. Sometimes looking for a new job crosses my mind. It’s just harder to look for a new job because I am still not confident with driving. Hopefully when I get my green card, it will open up more options for me.

Establishing a second income stream – My mother-in-law and I have been working on setting up our very tiny business of handicrafts (hair bows, fridge magnets, coasters, etc). Last December we ventured into making hair bows and we were able to make some really cute ones. I haven’t worked on it again this January because I’ve been very busy with work. Hopefully I can carve out some time and commit 1 weekend to working on our business. I really love the idea of having a second income stream and hopefully it grows slowly but surely until I would have an option to work on it full time when I retire when I’m in my 40s.

Work – I have lots of responsibilities at work. From managing the Offshore team, reviewing their technical document and code, analyzing defects, fixing defects myself, answering questions from other teams, submitting status reports, organizing team activities, etc. I feel that I still haven’t achieved my goals in terms of improving and expanding my current technical skills. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself but I think because most of my time is spent working with people, I have very little time left on learning new stuff. I hope this project will be successful and be on schedule so that I can move on to other projects where I won’t have to manage people Offshore – no more waking up at 5:30 am to review code at 6am or 7am! But this is my job, and it pays the bills, I am still very grateful for having it. Besides, I have learned a lot on managing virtual teams and my communication skills – both verbal and written have greatly improved as well.

30 Questions I’m Asking Myself This New Year’s Eve

I love having quiet times for reflections. Especially on New Year’s Eve and birthdays. So here goes my Q&A with myself. Questions were taken from

1. What did you do this year that you’re proud of? Learning to drive, volunteering to speak for 30 mins in a training as a guest speaker

2. Who did you meet this year that inspired you? A team lead from another project who is a really good and effective leader. And Karen, the Test team’s senior manager. I like the way she handles her team.

3. What did you read that you think bettered you? Leadership Fundamentals

4. What are songs that you will always hear and think of this year even when you’re listening on some contraption that hasn’t even been invented yet? None that I can think of

5. What were some times that you laughed so hard you could hardly breathe?Goofing around with husband and him tickling me

6. What were your favorite movies? Not what was good, not what you had to see because of your friends or the media. What were your favorites?
Star Wars

7. What are some fears that you had at the beginning of the year that you overcame?Being the Offshore coordinator for the team

8. What were quotes that you loved this year? Fake it til you make it. LOL.

9. What are ways that you exercised self care? Exercised. Stood up for myself

10. What are things you want to see more of next year? Me driving

11. What are five things you did that you never thought you’d actually do? Drive, Speak in front of a large group in ADC,

12. What were your favorite things this year? Vacation in the Philippines

13. What are the most important things you learned this year? Smart work is better than hard work

14. What is your favorite photo from this year? Oh, there’s a lot. Pictures from the wedding in the Philippines, especially those with my family.

15. What are five things you want to say to people you love? I love you. Thank you. I’m sorry. I forgive you. I miss you.

16. What are some places where you feel true joy in your life? Mangagoy, Davao, home in Austin

17. Where do you feel most yourself? when I’m alone

18. What were your favorite meals? Ribs cooked by my husband, Salads prepared by my husband

19. How did you calm yourself in times of stress? I get my quiet, alone time

20. What are some compliments that you received that deeply affected you? Those from the leads of Test team

21. Who are people that you believe are bringing out the best in you? Derek, Karen,

22. What items of clothing did you buy that felt the most you? My simple and comfortable black boots

23. What are you excited about leaving behind in 2015? All the failures, mistakes, and frustrations

24. What are five things that you were hard on yourself about but would never have been hard on a friend if they were experiencing it? Making mistakes in driving, misses in code reviews, failures at work

25. What are the best pieces of advice you heard this year? Don’t rush work even if there’s a lot of pressure around. It’s better to do it slowly but surely.

26. What are the best pieces of advice you gave this year? If you want something, do something.

27. What things have you been putting off doing because you didn’t have time? Really learning how to drive, learning to cook, and exercising regularly.

28. What are some things you’d like to focus and work on in the next year? Greencard processing, P3 Go Live, getting a driver’s license, paying off condo, getting a house

29. What are the best parts of you that you feel really showed through this year? Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any… but maybe being able to take on responsibilities.

30. What are your biggest hopes for 2016? Successful P3 Go Live, being independent and can go anywhere, anytime I want, continue to have a loving, happy relationship with my husband, more time to talk and bond with my family, a better version of me – assertive, good communicator, strong and effective leader, create more lasting memories with my loved ones.

My Pick: Thrive by Arianna Huffington

I have started reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington and I am truly pleased with the book.

I got it right when I needed it. I was super stressed and have been feeling burnt out from work and life in general.

It helped a lot that I was given a 6-week course guide for the book. The guide gave me chapters to week for each week and some activities to help me remember the important topics of each lesson. I absolutely recommend this book!

I will be updating this post as I finish each weekly lesson.

Lesson 1: Sleep and Meditation

  • Key takeaways:
    • Take time to meditate to clear up your mind and improve your focus – keep your performance at optimal levels

    • Make an appointment with yourself to get enough sleep – mine is at least 7.5 hours
    • Dreams can help you connect to your innerself
  • Action Items:
    • Meditate for at least 15 minutes everyday – I still find this hard to incorporate in my daily routine but I find it really relaxing and energizing when I do
    • Sleep for at least 7.5 hours a day

Lesson 2: Disconnect and Walk

  • Key takeaways:
    • Take time to relax! Unwind and disconnect from electronics (phone, tablet, laptop) to connect to the people around you and more importantly, to connect with yourself

    • Walking helps
      • Make you more creative
      • De-stress

      • Make you healthy mentally and physically
      • You deal with depression
    • Don’t think while walking, notice everything around you
  • Action Items:
    • Walking as an alternate to my daily exercise
    • Make sure to disconnect and relax at least 30 minutes before going to bed
    • Turn off notifications from apps

New Year, New Me!

There are so many things that happened in my life last year that I don’t really know where to start. The major event – literally life changing – that happened last year was getting married to my man, Derek. Now I have an unofficial new name – Mylene Sereno Beasley. It’s unofficial because I didn’t work on the paperwork yet. Not even in my company’s records. It’s only reflected in Facebook.

When I was single, I often read about women who didn’t change their last names when they get married and I thought, ‘Why?’ I didn’t understand why women would opt to retain their last names after getting married. Are they scared that they might have to change back to their maiden names if the relationship doesn’t work out? Questions like this popped in my mind. But now, I understand why. Here are some of my reasons why I haven’t changed my last name yet – or thinking against it:

1. I have been single for too long. Sounds funny but what I mean is, a lot of people know me by my maiden name. My blog is even named mylenesereno. I just don’t want to confuse people.

2. I am staying here in Texas on an H1-B visa. So I have to update my passport, visa, etc if I have to work on this name change. Hmm.. I am not really sure what the process is. I still need to research about it. But I get stressed just thinking about all those paperwork. But I know I need to do it anyway. I know I am just procrastinating right now.. oh well.

3. I am uninformed. I still need to gather enough information about all the work to be done. I don’t know if it really needs to be done. What are the advantages? Disadvantages?

Well of course, I want to honor my husband by carrying his name so I’m going to go through all this trouble anyway. 😀

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent – Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve been having pre-birthday blues and work-related stress  a week ago. I felt like everything was just going downhill and I badly wanted to quit, go home and forget about my IT career.

But I realized that I was being too stubborn and childish. I needed to be mature and face my problems and trials. I had to find the root cause of my problems and try to find resolutions.

Work-related stress

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Photo credits:

I realized that I was putting too much pressure on myself and succumbed to the need to please others and prove my self-worth. I remembered the quote from  Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Also, I realized that I shouldn’t give in to competition. I always didn’t like to compete with anyone besides myself. So when I feel like other people, especially when they’re in my team, competes with me, I feel bad. But I realized too, that maybe there should be a healthy competition to push yourself to be better. And now I discovered a way to make other people cooperate and make it a team effort rather than a competition or a chance to prove that one is better than the other. I noticed that other people just want me to recognize their talents and capabilities, and give my respect to them. Once I did that, we worked better as a team and got the best out of everyone. 🙂

Pre-birthday blues

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Photo credits:

My birthday is in 10 days so I am having pre-birthday blues. I made a list of things that I wanted to have and accomplish this year. And at that time, I felt bad because there are a lot that I still haven’t achieved. But my goodness! Why be pessimistic??! I shouldn’t look at it as a glass half empty but a glass half full! I have soooo many things to be thankful for. So what if I still didn’t find that one elusive right guy? Hahaha.. So that’s the reason why I’m feeling blue? Hehe.. Not just that, really. I felt bad because I didn’t lose weight, didn’t exercise, didn’t eat healthy, didn’t see my loved ones more often. Stop. Okay, I just have to be thankful for what I have now. And right now, I feel good because I met new people, made new friends, but still kept good relationships with the old people in my life. On top of it all, I was given a chance to fulfill one of my biggest life dreams: to work abroad – and not just that, in United States of America! I was given this great opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Austin and work with the best people. Thank you Lord… I feel so blessed! 🙂

So I got over myself and found ways of keeping myself happy and filling up my love tank. Here are the little ways:
1. Watch my all-time favorite series of all time: In Need of Romance. Found it at Netflix!!!
2. Talked to and met new people. Learned to trust people again.
3. Gave my best at work. Aja!
4. Went home while the sun is still up – that’s around 7pm nowadays in Austin. ( 🙂 I love Spring!!!) and take a short walk.
5. Skype with family and friends.
6. Last but not the least, I counted my blessings and felt very blessed and thankful! 😀


Where is home?

 Being away from home at the tender age of 13, I have felt a growing need to spend time with my family as much as I can. But after high school, I had to go to college, then after college, I have to work. I went farther and farther away from my family.

Sometimes I feel estranged. It’s like they really don’t know me anymore, and I them. For the past 16 years of my life, I lived in 4 different cities and I stayed in one city at at an average of 4 years. I moved around a lot. I lived with different people at a time. I treat people like family, became very close, and then I had to leave.

Sometimes when I envision or think about home, somehow I couldn’t figure out where it is. When I go home to be with my family in our little hometown, I feel like I don’t belong there anymore. I feel like a stranger. I feel like a visitor. When I visit my non biological families, also known as friends in some city I’ve stayed before, I feel happy to see them but I still could not imagine going back. It doesn’t feel right anymore.

Maybe I could figure this out and settle down when I meet my lifetime partner. Maybe he can help me decide where home is or will be.. 😉

Practicing the Law of attraction

I’ve read about this a lot and I’m really amazed about how other people have made this work in their lives.

Law of attraction. It’s not just a theory that someone made up. It’s actually a law! Like the law of gravity? Lol. For me it’s also biblical. The Lord said, Ask and you shall receive. They say that when you pray, you have to believe in your heart that it has already been granted. That is what we call expectant faith. 😉

I was reminded of this law when I read The Secret. I’ve read numerous books and blogs that make a reference to this awesome book but it’s only now that I’ve read the actual book. And though I feel like I already know the things that it talks about, I’m still enlightened.

If you haven’t read it, l recommend that you do. It’ll help you shape up your days and even your life. From this day forward, I will be practicing the law of attraction! How?

1. Create my day in advance, practice the art of visualization. I will envision how great my day will be. From the moment I wake up, I will be thankful for the great things and great people that will fill my day.
“I am going to have an awesome day today! I will live my best life today! I will enjoy this day!”

2. Reprogram the events of my day that did not go well and replace it with visions of how it should go. According to The Secret, when you do this, you are cleaning up your frequency from the day and you are emitting a new signal and frequency for tomorrow. You have intentionally created new pictures for tomorrow.

3. Be grateful for the things I feel good about. Practice the attitude of gratitude
“Gratitude is the way to bring more into your life” – Marci Shimoff
“Whatever we think about and thank about, we bring about.” – Dr John Demartini