Noelle-isms in Dahilayan

A few weeks ago in Forest Park, Dahilayan, Bukidnon, Danae discovered some very cheap toys at the cafe there. She, her sister, and their friend Julio bought quite a few. During one of the lunches….

Noelle: Mom, where’s my…where’s my…CHEETO?

Uhm, cheetah, anak. :)

One other time, they were watching Disney Jr in our hotel room. They had not seen Jake and the Neverland Pirates for months, since we decided we would only let our kids watch videos at home, but Noelle still remembered the story. Mr. Smee had a special pet in that episode.

Noelle: Oh I know that. It’s a CAMILLE.

Uhm, cameleon anak. :)

The girls are getting better and better in speaking Filipino, and Noelle tells me some translations that she knows. I can’t remember exactly what she said, but when she said the word SAYANG, somebody (maybe me? not really sure) asked her what she thought it meant.

PERSON: What does sayang mean, Noelle?

Noelle: It means OH MAN!

Hahaha, actually to me it means “too bad!” but “oh man” works too. :)

Singles Getaway 2013

The last time I was at a Victory Alabang singles retreat was nine years ago in Tagaytay. It was my second ever. I was single, but already engaged to King. We were given the privilege to share our love story then. This year, King and I were given another privilege to impart and teach the singles of our church at our Singles Getaway in Dahilayan, Bukidnon. We had always wanted to join or help in the getaways, but of course my husband would be needed in church. So we thank God for letting us be part of this one!

GIVE HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE

King and I talking about putting Phil 4:8 in our friendships :)

King and I talking about putting Phil 4:8 in action, in our friendships. :)

I want to honor first my husband. Seeing you in action makes me admire you more, babe! You serve with a glad heart, and I see it on your face and in your body language. There may have been a few stressful moments, but you never let any of that get you down. Tiring as it was, I know you loved serving the singles. You were always willing to do what was asked of you. You went the extra mile even, all while making sure I and your kids were doing okay, and making sure we had something great to teach in our session. And you never forgot to have fun! You enjoyed the place, the amenities (rides, if you will), being with the participants, being with the committee, and being with your family. You had many hats on in those 3-4 days, but you never forgot to enjoy all of it. You’re the man, babe! Servant leadership at its finest! It gives me so much joy to see you do what you love to do. :)

Being with King is never a drag. :)

Being with King is never a drag. :)

King's joy and humor is infectious. :)

King’s joy and humor is infectious. :)

Ptr Chico and Maryanne Pena :)

Ptr Chico and Maryanne Pena :)

I also want to honor our family ministry pastor Ptr Chico and his wife Maryanne, for being such good friends to us. You always encourage us and support us in the things we do. Thank you for trusting King to help out with the singles. Thank you for trusting us to impart to the singles in one of the sessions. I see your humility and security, that the “singles ministry” is not about you. The singles are not yours, but they are the Lord’s. You are stewards, and great ones at that! Your desire to get personal is so admirable — you guys sitting with different victory groups every so often is just amazing to me. You don’t mind the work of meeting people in small, intimate settings. You make time for the singles, even with such busy schedules of parenting, counselling, doing marriage preparation programs, doing marriage journey programs, and officiating countless weddings! King and I look up to you guys, and we always appreciate what you teach us. And to make everything sweeter, we love all three of your kids! It was a joy for each one of us to be there with your family. :)

I want to honor our discipleship pastor Ptr John and his wife Joyce, who took care of the singles for four years! You have taken the

Ptr John and Joyce del Rosario :)

Ptr John and Joyce del Rosario :)

singles to Boracay and Bohol, two beautiful cities in our country. And just like our recent trip, I am sure they were also life-changing for the participants. I see your love for the singles, and your desire for them to be great men and women. I know you are excited to witness them enter the season of marriage too. You have made a great impact in so many lives with your knowledge, your passion and your faith, no matter how differently they are “packaged” in each of you. I am so proud of you Joyce, for the woman that you have become. I am so excited to see you as a mom as well! We’ve been travel buddies twice now, and I appreciate both your love for our girls. Thank you. :)

I want to honor the committee — Nathan, Maeriz, Ninoy, Mark, Joanne, Marvin, Ivin, and Janice!!! You were only a handful, but you guys did a great great job. There are no words to describe how amazed we are by your hard work and service. I may not have seen firsthand what each of you did, but I know each of your roles was essential to the success of the event. There were no big or small jobs, and I saw that all the more from each of you, because you were so humble and joyful. You had no air of entitlement or arrogance due to position or amount of responsibility. It was not perfect, as nothing ever is, but there was not a critical spirit in any of you that it was a joy to talk to and work with you. And I am so happy that even though you were working as volunteers, you were able to truly enjoy the retreat! The work was balanced by so much free time to play! Well-deserved too! Thank you all, for making the Singles Getaway what it was — enriching, relaxing, invigorating, fun, and life-changing! :)

The committee and the marshals :)

The committee and the marshals :)

Nathan and Mark :)

Nathan and Mark :)

Maeriz :)

Maeriz :)

Some of the committee and the early comers :)

Some of the committee and the early comers :)

Danae is 8!

One time during lunch, Danae was saying something about soda.

Danae: (remembering that her Wowa drinks Coke zero a lot) Wowa should stop drinking soda.

Me: Yeah.

Danae: Wowa, you know what you should do? You should fast drinking soda and smoking. When it’s fasting (referring to our annual fast in church), you fast that.

Haha. Good thing my mom’s a sport. :)

 

While in Cagayan de Oro last week, we saw a huge poster of One Direction. I asked Danae who each one was, and she of course happily told me. Then I saw Ian Somerhalder’s poster!

Me: Nae, look. He’s handsome. One Direction….blech. Big difference there.

Danae: (smiling) Mom, look. I’m not you and you’re not me. Big difference.

Hahaha. Touche!

 

Danae is 8 today! She is strong-willed. She can be a handful. She can be a smart aleck at times.  But no doubt, she is witty and wise beyond her years. She is loving, helpful and kind. She is honest and reliable. We cannot mold her into the woman we think she ought to be, but we can raise her the way God wants us to, so that He can mold her into Christlikeness.

We love you so much Nae. Happy happy birthday! You are a joy to me, Daddy, and Noelle. We believe in you and we are so proud of you! :)

 

You and Your Lists

It’s no secret that most singles want to get married. I hear women, not sure about the men, say that they have a list of qualities that they are praying for. Some of them have an actual list. It may sound absurd to some of you, but to be honest, I had a list when I was single too.

My list had physical attributes specified, as well as pretty specific character and personality traits. I wrote down that list to know what I myself wanted in a husband and as a prayer of the qualities I wanted in him, as opposed to just wanting to BE married and praying for ANY husband.

I realize, however, that we women can take this to a dangerous extreme. We have a strong tendency to be DEPENDENT on this list, to be stuck on this list. What if the man that God is already presenting to you does not fit your list? What if he misses the mark, misses YOUR mark, in terms of looks, personality, family background, financial status, or character?

Don’t get me wrong. Standards are great. They speak about the value that we put on ourselves. They help us stay on the right track, remember our priorities, and make the right choices. They help us set boundaries that prevent us from putting ourselves in compromising positions, positions that will lead us to sin against God. We need standards. High ones.

As daughters of the King of kings, we ought to have high standards as He placed such a high value on us when His Son died for us on the cross. But make sure your standards are high when it comes to character. Put a premium on character and the man’s growing relationship with God, and not so much on his looks, height, weight, job, ministry, money, or last name.

Yes, there are many considerations in choosing a husband. Of course you want one whom you will enjoy looking at and waking next to. I am quite forgiving when it comes to that, NOT to say that I am not happy with my husband’s looks! I love his eyes and his loving ways. He has grown more handsome because of his love and his character. That’s way more important to me. I’m just happy that he is taller than me! And I can’t do anything about weight, as that fluctuates haha, just as mine does.

You want a husband with a good family background, not just a nice family name. All families have issues, but what matters is how your man treats his family, because it is an indication of how he will treat you and your family. It matters also how his family treats you, though it shouldn’t be your deciding factor. It’s his loyalty to you that will matter when conflicts arise. I happen to love King’s family and my last name.

You want a financially responsible husband, whom you are willing to support and cheer so that he can achieve his dreams and goals. You want a man WITH dreams and goals. Honestly, I did not even consider my future husband’s occupation. I didn’t desire to be a pastor’s wife. In other words, whether or not King was a pastor or was going to be one, I would’ve still married him. I don’t think I even thought of that. My “concern” was my freedom to continue to serve in church, therefore I needed and wanted a man who loved God more than he loved me, and a man who would lead and provide for me and our family the way God calls a man to. King didn’t have to be a pastor to be such a man. It just so happened that he was called to be one.

You want a husband that jives with your personality. I know I wanted a man who made me laugh, but when my eyes were opened to King, I thought we didn’t have the same wave length. I really thought there was no way we would work because I love and am good at word games, while he was (not anymore) pretty slow haha. It initially didn’t make sense to me, though it made sense to our friends. Today, our personalities still clash sometimes, but our commitment to God and to each other is more important to us than our petty issues.

My favorite item on that list, though, is: THAT HE WOULD DANCE WITH ME. And you know, God is just wonderfully amazing that he gave me a husband who does. A small detail it is, but it all the more has shown me what an intimate, PERSONAL GOD He is. He truly knows my heart’s desires.

You may have more considerations, but don’t ever assume that your list is God’s will for you. Chances are, your list is already based on someone you are eyeing (I wrote mine before I met King though). Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. You may not get exactly what you want or expect. Don’t be blinded by your list either.  He may not match a couple of the items on your list, but he could be the best man for you. You have been given the free will to choose, but exercise wisdom and rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you instead.

Better yet, STOP MAKING LISTS! Pray. Seek godly counsel. Get into the Word and let your mind get renewed by it, so you can see God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.  Have a grateful heart. Be grateful that you are single at the moment.  Be grateful that God has your future in His hands and He knows what and who is best for you. He knows more and better than you. Be grateful that His timing is perfect. Be grateful that you are not useless, not worthless, or have to be joyless while you are single. On the contrary, God saw you worthy of His Son’s bloodshed. He desires to use you in advancing His kingdom. Joy is from Him, not from marriage or a man or a relationship. You have God NOW. Love, grow, serve. And all these “things” will be given to you as well. :)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Noelle and her questions

Noelle and my mom were talking about doors a few weeks back.

Noelle: Wowa, do you have a door in your condo?

Mom: Yes, one for the bathroom, and one for the bedroom.

Noelle: Outside?

Mom and me: No, the doors are inside the condo.

Noelle: What about your OUTDOOR?

Hmm??? Hehehe. :)

 

Last week, Noelle got the rod for screaming at me. She didn’t want to bathe. I was explaining to her that she should be grateful that she CAN bathe.

As we were about to finish up and pray….

Me: Okay, so instead of screaming, be grateful. What should you be grateful for?

Noelle: ETERNALLY LIFE.

Okay, I was going for water, but eternal(ly) life sounds good. :)

 

Last week, Danae was showing us the pinwheel she made, as taught by one of our friends.

Danae: Tita Joyce needs to make 80 (I think) pinwheels for her nephew.

Me: Oh, maybe it’s for Rafa, tita Cai’s son.

Noelle: (chimes in) What kind of Rafa?

Haha. She has a cousin named Rafa too. :)

Danae and tonight’s dinner

King cooked all 3 meals today! What a super dad and hubby!

For dinner, he cooked his “chicken ala King”…..

Me: mmm, it’s yum babe.

Danae: (after I’d already finished my meal) ummm, NO OFFENSE daddy, but I don’t like it.

Hahaha. She was so sweet when she said it. But of course in our home, you eat what’s on the table. She ate half of what was in her bowl, as she liked the burned cheese and cauliflower. :)

God Didn’t Know

There was a bombing in Cagayan de Oro last July, and my girls heard us talking about it. We usually entertain their questions about what’s happening in the world. I can’t remember anymore what other thing we were talking about, but Danae was saying that God protected so and so, that’s why he or she is still alive. Noelle then said that GOD DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE BOMB IN CAGAN DE ORO (this is how she pronounces it), THAT’S WHY SOME PEOPLE DIED.

In Noelle’s mind, if God knew about it, He would have done something to protect those people for sure. But since they died, God must not have known about it.

Of course I reminded her of the truth that God knows everything. I told her that He did know about the bomb even before it happened. Naturally, the next question from Danae was, WHY DIDN’T GOD DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT?

I told my girls that there are times that God allows things to happen for a reason. Many times, we don’t understand why, but we have to continue to trust in Him because He is always good, He has a plan and He knows better. They accepted it, and it hasn’t come up again….YET.

Don’t these thoughts appear in our minds as well, when bad things happen? If God is so good and He knows everything that will happen, why does He let the bad things “slide”? If God is so powerful, why doesn’t He use His power to rid the world of evil and let good prevail?

Well if I knew all the answers, I would BE GOD. But I’m not. Neither are you. So let’s just trust the One who IS. He knows the big picture. He knows the whole story and every detail of it. He knows every single person that He created, He knows their hearts and minds, He knows their destiny. He knows how it’s going to play out and He knows how it’s going to end. He is everywhere at all times. He is almighty and He can do anything. He is sovereign and He can do what He wants with the world and His people. He is also infinitely wise and strategic. He is just, merciful and gracious. He is unchanging.

But most importantly, He loves us.

Why don’t we ever question it when good things happen to us? Why is it so easy for us to receive them, to assume that it is the way it is supposed to be? Why do we think we deserve goodness? Why don’t we ever wonder why we are still breathing, strong and healthy today? Why don’t we ever wonder why we have such amazing kids, or a fruitful career, or faithful friends, or a loving family, or incredible opportunities?

Funny how we attribute bad events to God’s work or His “passivity,” and attribute good things in our lives to chance, luck, or our own ability.

The truth is we deserve nothing. We are sinners and we deserve nothing but death. And yet, God deemed us worthy of His Son’s life — a full life for us here on earth and eternal life afterwards, in exchange for Jesus’ death on the cross. Despite OUR sin that separated us from our Creator, He wants us back. He loves us that much. We are getting the complete opposite of what we deserve. As if giving us “The Ticket” (Jesus) to get to heaven when we die is not enough, He gives us His presence, favor, grace, blessings now as we live our earthly lives. He is not a passive God. He is present, actively loving us every second of each day.

God has given us every reason to trust Him, to trust in His love. He is faithful. He is worthy.

He has given us every reason to be grateful.  So let’s be grateful. In all circumstances. Whether we understand them or not.

 

Lord, you have examined me
    and know all about me.
You know when I sit down and when I get up.
    You know my thoughts before I think them.
You know where I go and where I lie down.
    You know everything I do.
Lord, even before I say a word,
    you already know it.
You are all around me—in front and in back—
    and have put your hand on me.
Your knowledge is amazing to me;
    it is more than I can understand. Psalm 139:1-6 NCV

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
    and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
    for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
    you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
    you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
    to exalt and give strength to all. 1 Chronicles 29:11-12

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. Psalm 111:7

 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

 

Too much, too little, or completely off

My Mom is a techie, so she has a few gadgets. My girls borrow them every time she is here at home.

Noelle: Wowaaaa, can I borrow your Samson?

Samsung, actually. :)

 

It’s rainy season in the Philippines and there have been a number of typhoons and low pressure areas that have hit us. My girls know that too much rain or nonstop rain causes floods in some parts of the country.

Danae: It’s Baguio again. I hate Baguios.

Noelle: Me too. I hate Baguios.

Baguio (bag-yaw) is our summer capital, a city in Benguet. Bagyo (bug-yaw) is Filipino for typhoon. :)

 

When we went to Bohol, our driver/tour guide told us that he would bring us to the famous snake named Prony.

Noelle: Are we going to see the pyFon?

If other people have the P and F defect, Noelle has the F and TH defect. :)

 

We won a DVD copy of the wonderful Filipino-made animated film RPG, at a party a month or so ago. Even though it’s in Filipino (my girls speak and understand English better than they do our own language — don’t worry, we’re slowly fixing that), they copy many of their lines. One time….

Noelle: (yelling) Curray de saaaauuuuuce!!!

Me: What? (it sounded like one of the characters in RPG but I couldn’t remember which one yet)

Noelle: Curray de sauce.

Me: (dawning on me) oh, when Nico threw his yoyo? (his yoyo was his weapon)

Noelle: Yeah.

His move was called Hurricane Assault. Haha. :)

 

My girls love to sing. Noelle doesn’t care about the lyrics much, while Danae is kind of a stickler for correct lyrics.

Noelle: Shoobedooo and I will fall…..

They were singing Titanium. Needless to say, Danae got annoyed and corrected her, “It’s shoot me down!” Haha. :)

Be?

A few weeks ago, we were at a small pizza stall waiting for Noelle’s additional order. When it came…..

Lady: Ito na yung sayo, BE, oh. (“Here you go, baby.” Many Filipinos use Be or beh as a term of endearment for little kids. It’s short for baby or baybeh)

Noelle: (talking to me, with a frown on her face) BE? I’m not her BE.

Hahaha. She was completely annoyed. :)

Too Much or Too Little

Noelle either pronounces certain words without the beginning letters or with an additional letter at the end.

Whether it’s Despicable Me 1 or Despicable Me 2, to 2-year old Noelle and to 4-year old Noelle (now), it’s SPICABLE ME. She claims to be her dad’s minion too. :)

During her friend’s birthday celebration last month, the boys were talking about super heroes. Noelle chimed in and said, “Oh I know Captain AmericaN.” :)

Yesterday, we saw the movie Brave. The main character is Merida, whom Noelle calls Brave no matter how many times we correct her. There is also a big, scary ancient bear there named Mor’du, whom Noelle consistently calls Mordoom. :)