I have read the book “Woman of Influence” by Pam Farrel three times, and each time I did, I was in a different season of life. The first time was as a college student, the second as a single young professional, and the third as a wife, homeschooling mom, entrepreneur and academician. In each reading, the book’s insights had an impact on me but in different ways. I surmise that this is the case even for any book we read and re-read because our contexts and realities change.
When I was in college, I could relate most with Pam Farrel’s illustrations based on her university life. When I was very much into building my career, her counsel about youthful quest for significance and purpose was most relevant. As a woman deeply involved in family, ministry/charity work, business, and mentoring others, Pam Farrel’s wisdom on home life and ministry plus her rich teaching experience became valuable signposts in my own journey as a woman. I was so excited when I read “Woman of Influence” again towards the last quarter of 2016. It gave me a purposeful yearend and a passionate start for 2017.
Two significant things I took from the book into the New Year were her insights on how to become an impassioned woman. First, God is the giver of passion. According to Pam Farrel, “The seed of passion is planted in our lives by God. Passion is not something we have to go in search of. We need to search for God.” The second important insight I got was that “passion is a gift from God to empower you. Passion is pure motivation sent through pure means to accomplish pure results that will glorify God and meet the needs of people.”
As a result of my personal reflections on the book, a long-time desire for a community for Mindanawon women was awakened in my heart. I have always been passionate about women’s issues and in my travels around the world, I sought out the women, spent time with them, listened to them, learned together with them and prayed with them. This time, the dream to be with my fellow Mindanawon women is going to become a reality. After several meetings, heart-to-heart talks, and prayer sessions with two like-minded women over a period of six months, Shey Velasquez (real estate broker, brand developer and homeschooling mom), Janeth Apique (single mom and NGO worker), and I committed to become the skeletal force that would form the BLOOM team.
BLOOM is a community of women who desire to live a life of purpose and passion. We aim to assist women in:
- discovering their purpose;
- pursuing their passion;
- creating a safe venue for sharing and learning;
- providing opportunities for self-discovery and self-development; and
- being mentored to mentor others.
BLOOM held its first gathering on January 28 in Davao City. I facilitated the workshop entitled “Ignite Your Passion,” where we had the opportunity to recall our dreams and once again get in touch with the desires of our hearts. It was a time of reflection, asking ourselves the question, “If life is like a wildflower that blooms today and gone tomorrow, then how would we like to bloom?”
Immediately after the program, a young lady named Claudia approached me, held my hand tightly and thanked me profusely. She said that she was not supposed to be there but her friend forced her to come and that she was really glad she came. Claudia said she finally found what she was looking for to set her on a passion project that she has shelved for a long time. She said the BLOOM gathering helped her identify the next steps to take, finally do what she is truly passionate about and launch her business.
The oldest participant was Mama Lils who was 76 years old. She was the most participative of the fifty-four ladies in attendance. At the end of our gathering she came up to me and with tears in her eyes said, “Let’s have BLOOM every month. Bloom na bloom na ako! I realize I now have very little time to bloom and I really want to do something worthwhile.”
Exactly a week later, the BLOOM Team evaluated the event. We read the evaluation sheets and we were awed! One significant feedback we received was, “Why limit to Mindanao? Why not BLOOM Philippines?” This pushed us to dream bigger and to step out into the wide meadow of possibilities. The overwhelming turnout of ladies (we planned for only 25 but 54 attended) was a confirmation that I am where I should be and that the BLOOM Team is on the right track. Indeed, when you respond to your passionate call from God, He ensures that it comes with pure motives carried out through pure methods. The best part is that He assures pure results so that others will be blessed and He will receive the praise.
For those who wish to be part of this growing community of passionate and purposeful women, please feel free to text 09328631004 or visit facebook.com/BloomPhilippines. You are welcome to leave a message and to interact with us online. Please watch for announcements about future BLOOM events. Together, let us live lives of purpose and passion!