Mother and Daughter

I think it was last week when Danae stayed with me in the supermarket after dinner, while King brought the two younger girls home. I appreciated the company, especially because she’s not anymore the toddler that she was, who would get her own cart and stash sanitary napkins and other things in it. I also appreciate one on one time with my girls. It’s more peaceful because no one is competing against the other for talk time and attention. Just picture 3 talkative girls coming at you all at the same time. Hahaha.

I like to goof around with my kids, and Danae, even at her age, still likes to goof around with me. She’s not too cool for me yet, though sometimes she begs me to stop hahaha. At the cashier, while waiting for our turn, we were laughing about something. Danae suddenly mused that she wished she was still the only child. Awwww. I told her that was really sweet AND really mean at the same time.

I love that she enjoys spending time with me and just me. She enjoys going on solo dates with her dad as well. What a boost to know that for somebody who loves being with her friends so much, she still needs her time with mommy. Although it was mean of her to say that she prefers to be without her sisters, it also warmed my heart. It wasn’t even a date date. We weren’t doing anything special. We weren’t at a place she really really wanted to go to. It was simply quality alone time between mother and daughter.

When it was our turn at the cashier, Danae suddenly sang and danced Grease Lightning. I mumbled and danced along with her haha. The cashier lady commented, “ang cool nyong mag-ina.” That made me smile. I always want to be the mom my kids can count on when the going gets rough, the mom who teaches the tough lessons of life, but also the mom who laughs hard, plays around and is unafraid to be silly with them. ❤

Thankful for the privilege of being a mother. ❤ 

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court. Psalm 127:3-5

Just Be Faithful 2

King taught a class I was in last week, and one of the topics he discussed was the Christian character of faithfulness. At the end of that session, each group answered a question:

Why is faithfulness a critical component of the character of a leader? Describe a leader in your life who has been faithful and explain the impact of that in your own life.

I raised my hand and said something, but it was incomplete. As usual, I think I’m a better writer than I am a speaker. Anyway, what I really wanted to say was that in those times that we leaders feel ineffective, useless, unappreciated, offended or tired, we must remain faithful. Just as Dory sings “just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” we must remind ourselves to just be faithful. By the enabling grace of God, we keep going. We don’t give up. Why? Because God sees. God sees you and me. God sees our heart. He sees our effort to reach out to people and to love them. He sees our obedience. He sees our willingness to be inconvenienced, to step out of our comfort zone. He sees our servant leadership and selflessness. He sees our faith. HE SEES. And His pleasure is enough reason for us to be faithful. His honor ought to be the ultimate reason we keep going.

Being faithful is a critical component of a leader’s character because while it is easy to lead when you have a title or position, things are going great and everyone is on board, united and all, it is difficult when things go the opposite direction. Problems arise (theirs or your own), people disconnect, people get offended and discouraged (including you), people and situations change. A leader must not walk away from what God has called him to do.

No question, the leader who has been faithful and has made an impact in my life is King. His faith and his relationship with the Lord is something that I have admired since the year I met him. The day I found out that he was on a mission trip, after weeks of preparing a video and a dance presentation for the opening of our center in Festival mall, was the day I saw him with a new level of respect. I mean come on, I married the guy a year later! Haha. He is by no means perfect. Our life is not perfect. But we have been married for nearly 13 years. He has been a faithful husband, despite my oh so many flaws. He has been a faithful father to our three girls. He chooses to love us and take care of us. I see it in the small things and in the big things — his time, his availability, his presence, his words, his prayers, his resources. He chooses to honor his vow before God and his vow to me.

He has been a church volunteer since the 90s. Name it, he has volunteered for it. He has been in full time ministry for more than a decade. He has worn different hats as well. He’s the kind of man who will do what needs to be done, no matter his title or position. No VIP treatment just because he’s a pastor. He is always ready to serve. I’ve seen that character in him all these years. He is faithful. Even when he has taken hits. Even when he is discouraged. He remains faithful. I believe it’s because he knows to Whom he is being faithful. It’s because he has no illusions Whom all this is about and Whose grace makes it all possible. And that’s more than enough for him. 🙂

“Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; Deuteronomy 7:9

 

You may also want to read part 1 here — Just Be Faithful.  

Our Gymnasts

Can I just gush about our beautiful gymnasts? We’re so so so proud of our girls. Danae and Noelle recently participated in the 2nd Sonny Ty International Gymnastics Cup held in the Muntinlupa Sports Center, and they did so well!

First of all, Danae just had surgery last April. I know they say it’s routine surgery and no baby came out of her, but still. They gave her spinal anesthesia and they opened her up. Second of all, both Danae and Noelle just started training late June. Barely 4 months and they were already invited to join a competition for Level 1. Third of all, international? In the words of one minion, Whaaaa? We seriously did not know that it was inter-anything, let alone international. We just thought it would be a great learning experience for them, competing against their peers in PGAA (Philippine Gymnastics and Athletics Academy). And the costume is super nice haha. We were surprised on opening day. Five other Asian nations represented. Again, whaaa?

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2nd Sonny Ty International Gymnastics Cup, Muntinlupa Sports Center. Philippines, Indonesia, India, Iran, Malaysia, Hongkong represent!

The girls were such troopers. We were there from 8:30 in the morning to around 4:30 in the afternoon. We ate breakfast at home, but had no proper lunch. They just ate a piece of bread here and there. Even Gianna, though she rarely stayed put, was patient enough to endure the day. She only started acting up when her sleep got interrupted. Good thing we were going home already by that time. King and I took videos of the girls separately, because they were grouped by age and were at different parts of the sports center per event that they did. We’re super grateful that our friends, the Ramirezes, were with us. Their youngest daughter, Lovely, was in Danae’s age group. They helped us out with Gianna haha. I was able to take some videos in peace. We did miss out on recording most of Noelle’s floor exercise though. It was the last, and King and I were both distracted by the little one.

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Noelle, Danae, Lovely, and Gianna 🙂

Here’s the funny part. We thought they would be giving out medals according to who garnered the highest scores, so I expected only a few kids to get them. I hoped my girls would, but also knew that there were other gymnasts who scored much higher than they did. During the awarding ceremony, I stayed at the back because of course, Gianna was playing. She fell asleep shortly after, so we were on the floor because I had no seat. I only saw the 3 to 5-year-olds get awarded. Anyway, to make the long story short, they gave awards for each event — bars, beam, vault, and floor — according to age group and according to their scores. And because my girls’ scores were mostly 9s and high 8s, they got a gold for each event! Along with a lot of other kids haha. I didn’t hear Danae’s name called, and there was another name in Noelle’s age group that sounded like her name, so I was never clear if it was really Noelle being awarded. They just came to me later on with 4 gold medals each on their necks. So many kids were walking around clinking as well haha. They did award the top 6 who garnered the highest scores, and I think the top 3 get to advance to level 2.

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Noelle saluting their judge before the beam event. 🙂

We’re happy that our girls are doing something that they love, and that they’re progressing well. I mean I never expected them to be so good so quickly! I watch them practice in the gym, but it’s not always a clear view. Their performance on the bars surprised me the most because I know they were scared to turn at first and I don’t think they were strong enough to do so. But come to think of it, these girls taught themselves to cartwheel and do handstands, before they were formally trained. Why wouldn’t they get so good quickly with great coaching?! Not to mention their hard work and commitment.

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Danae after her floor exercise 🙂

I didn’t even think about scores at first. I prayed for them to be humble winners and gracious losers, but I just wanted them to experience it, to build their confidence, and enjoy it. To depend on God, to give their best, and to give God the glory. Them participating in such a competition was already a win for me. Little did we know the results would be so awesome!

My girls just amaze me. It’s one thing to learn gymnastics and to practice in the comfort of the PGAA gym. But to perform solo, with a judge, with many eyes on them, in a not-so-familiar, huge sports center, is a whole other thing. But you know what, they looked pretty comfortable right away. They were nervous, and I know they prayed a lot, but they carried on. What courage! And what God-given abilities!

And can I just say? They looked so beautiful in their costumes. I’m so proud of myself for doing their hair haha. I had to buy hair spray and bobby pins the day before. After the competition, they were like, “Seriously? I have so many hair pins on my head.” I think Danae counted 16 on hers, hahaha. It got the job done, didn’t it? No hair issues the entire time.

I could go on and on about that day. It was a first for all of us, and it was wonderful. One of the questions I asked them after was “Did you thank Jesus?” Indeed Lord, this would not have all been possible without You. Thank you. All glory to You. ❤

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deut 31:6

 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 1 Cor 12:6

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matt 5:14-16

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You might want to follow their page, THE PRODUCTIVE KIDS, too. 🙂

Marriage Tip from Designated Survivor

I’ve recently watched the entire first season of Designated Survivor and it’s awesome! I keep hoping for Tom Kirkman to go Jack Bauer mode haha. I monopolized netflix, told Gianna that it’s mommy’s turn to watch. She obliged. She calls it my show and calls it “Mr. President” haha.

Anyway, there is this one episode where Tom Kirkman goes overseas to attend the NATO summit. But because a story comes out in the US regarding the government’s cover up of who really bombed the Capitol, the other world leaders decide to remove his time from the summit agenda. Nearly everybody questions his capability to be the US president, and just when things are looking up for his leadership, the truth that they are still getting to the bottom of, leaks. The pressure and the stress. The not knowing who to trust. His integrity and his love for his country. The politics. The weight on his shoulders as the new president of the United States, after the entire government is erased. Overwhelming.

Tom gets a call from his wife while he is still in Canada. She asks him how he is, and asks how she can help. Tom’s answer:

“Don’t lose faith in me.”

Wow. So simple yet so powerful. When your husband is at his lowest and you have no capacity to help, this is the greatest help you can give. DO NOT LOSE FAITH IN HIM. Believe in him. Believe in his abilities and in his heart. Stand by him through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Win or lose, you are a team. It’s not always going to be bad, and you have to be able to weather the storms together. Remind him that even through failure, you are proud of him for getting up and wanting to be a better man. Commend him for the great things he does and encourage him to keep giving his best.

COMMITMENT. LOYALTY. UNITY. Big words. But we have a bigger God who supplies us the strength, the wisdom, the grace, the joy, the love we need. ❤

 

Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. Ephesians 5:22 MSG

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:1-4

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:13-14

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16

 

The Comfort of Sin

King’s preaching about the tower of Babel the other day got me thinking about sin and comfort zones. Do we realize that sin can be comfortable?

Do it long enough, consistently enough, and SIN BECOMES OUR COMFORT ZONE. At first we feel guilty. We are aware it is wrong. We struggle to stay away from the wrong thing. We struggle to do the right thing. We hear the Holy Spirit. There is no peace in our hearts. We repent. We ask for more grace.

If we don’t make the necessary changes and we let it keep going, after a while, we become used to the sin. We become desensitized. We feel no remorse. Sin becomes normal. Sin becomes comfortable. AND SO WE SETTLE. We stick to what has become familiar and “safe.”

“It feels good. It feels right.”

“I’m happy.”

“We’re in love.”

“The money is good.”

“I’m okay being the other man/woman. I get what I want anyway.”

“It’s been this way for so long. Change will be so difficult.”

“I’ve given everything to God, but this one, I want for me.”

“I repent naman and God forgives me.”

“It was just a fib.”

“It’s just 2 pesos (kickback). It’s okay.”

“We don’t go all the way. ”

“It’s okay. We’re married and we watch it together.”

“I only take a small percentage. Others take double or more.”

“That’s how it goes around here. We’re used to it.”

“I can do this on my own. I don’t need them.”

“People around me are used to my sharp tongue. It’s okay.”

“I really don’t care.”

Ungodly relationships. Infidelity. Greed. Addictions. Obsessions. Self-centeredness. Anger. Murder. Gossip. Lying. Cheating. Stealing. Fornication. Pornography. Corruption. Unforgiveness. Pride. Passivity. Indifference. And many more.

If we are not careful, our seemingly small acts of disobedience in the beginning, our small compromises will grow into greater acts of disobedience, coupled with and worsened by UNREPENTANT, HARD HEARTS.

Let’s pay attention to our actions. Question our own motives. Go back to our purpose. Go back to the basic questions. What does God want me to do? What does God’s Word say about this? Will this honor God?

I believe by the grace of God and by the help of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome. We don’t have to settle for a sinful life, with God on the side (or God out of the picture). We don’t have to settle for less than God’s best for us. We can GO! STEP OUT OF THE COMFORT OF SIN. Break free. In fact, we don’t have to wait till we are trapped. We can CHOOSE TO WALK AWAY NOW. Turn away from sin and turn towards Jesus. It will take a lot out of us. It will be extremely uncomfortable. It will cost us time, effort, maybe even money, and cause us pain.

But TO FOLLOW JESUS, though it costs us much, whether you believe me or not (yet), whether you realize it or not (yet), is ALWAYS WORTH IT.

Make that choice. Talk to someone you trust, someone you know can point you to Jesus and help you in your walk with Him. Message me privately. I would love to pray with you too.

 

You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me. Jeremiah 16:12

For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’ Matthew 13:15

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Cor 10:13

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. Luke 9:23

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; Psalm 37:23

He replied, Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28

Me or You?

Forgiveness is a matter of Lordship. You forgive not because your offender deserves it. You forgive not because what your offender did is okay. You forgive not because you are the bigger person. You forgive not because it’s easy or comfortable. You choose to forgive because, by the grace of God, you choose Jesus over yourself. You choose to obey Jesus, rather than to obey your emotions.

There’s a song I love by Group 1 Crew, called Wake Me Up (Amnesia). Listen to it. It’s a cool song. One of my favorite lines is:

“So who will I choose? Me or You?”

This is the choice we must face each time we are angry or hurt, needing to forgive another. Many times it’s not because we can’t, but because we don’t want to let go. We want to keep holding on to the anger, maybe because we don’t want our offender to get away with hurting us. We want justice. We want to be understood. We want to be proven right. (More on forgiveness here.)

But we must always go back to the question, Who is Lord of my life? Do I continue to sit on the throne of my heart, do what I want, when I want? Or do I rightfully give up the throne and let Jesus rule my heart? Who will I choose — ME and my emotions? or the HONOR of JESUS?

Most of the time difficult. But by the grace of God, never impossible.

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Eph 4:32

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

What’s the goal?

Years ago, I was asked by some single ladies what they were supposed to do while they waited. Most singles hope to be married one day, let’s be real. I was the same. Since they were doing well in terms of their spiritual life, their careers and finances were in order, they served in church, their family life was healthy, what else should they do to prepare? What’s next? In other words, they were ready. Ready for the future. I don’t remember my exact answer but I guess I encouraged them to just be faithful in their season. To enjoy it. To learn and grow as they waited.

But maybe, just maybe, we had the wrong perception then. Including me. Maybe we were looking at marriage as a goal. Sure, we always said that every season is a gift. We said that being single is a blessing too. But, I think we also subconsciously believed that being married is better. And subconsciously sent the wrong message that marriage is the goal.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being married. I love hearing love stories. I love seeing couples getting married. There is rejoicing when God brings two people together for His glory and His purpose. BUT EXACTLY. It’s for God’s glory. It’s for God’s purpose. Being single is also for God’s glory, His purpose. The same goes for being a child, being a sibling, being a student. It’s not for our happiness or our enjoyment, though that is a huge bonus coming from a generous and loving God.

Marriage is the means. Christ is the goal. Singleness is the means. Christ is still the goal. Every season in our life is the means. CHRIST IS FOREVER THE GOAL. An intimate relationship with Christ, us growing in Christlikeness, us honoring Christ in everything we do, and us bringing people to Christ.

 

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowingChrist Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

 

Our Words Have Power

Wife, do you tell your husband you are proud of him? When was the last time you did?

Husband, do you tell your wife she is beautiful? When was the last time you did?

The tongue has the power of life and death, the Bible says. Let’s lift each other up with our words.

Wife, your husband will feel secure and significant, knowing that you are proud of him. Let him know that you are proud of him not only during successes, but most especially in failures. Hold the criticism, the “I told you so”s. I know sometimes this is hard, since apparently we wives are always right (hahaha), but this will teach you to trust in the Lord more. To pray. To be silent when your husband needs you to be. Hug him. You standing by him, being his number one fan no matter what, will encourage him to get back on his feet and keep going. Your support means the world. It will encourage him to keep giving his best.

Husband, your wife will feel loved and secure when you tell her she is beautiful. Mean it. Focus on a particular detail about her beauty, whether physical or internal. Change it up. Be creative. Find new beautiful things about her. Discover her. Tell her. This will teach you to step out of your comfort zone, to pause and reflect, and to be grateful for God’s goodness in your life. It doesn’t have to be cheesy. Trust me, I’m not cheesy either, though King often is (hahaha). Just tell her sincerely. Details help. So she doesn’t have to ask you why, and you don’t have to explain further either. Right? She will appreciate your appreciation of her, and you will put a smile in her heart all day.

 

The tongue can bring death or life;
    those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21 NLT

Gentle words are a tree of life;
    a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 NLT 

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips. Proverbs 141:3 NIV 

 

 

Gianna turned “free”

Ever since Mother’s Day this year, Gianna likes to greet us. She greeted my mom and I everyday for the whole month of May practically. She would greet King too haha! And then she learned to greet him Happy Father’s Day in June. When we’d have get-togethers or attend birthday parties, she would always be excited to sing and blow the candle. I think she even requested to blow the candle one time (maybe more), saying “For me, for me.” My birthday is exactly a month before hers, so she was happy greeting me everyday, even after we told her that it was almost her birthday. She did learn to say that her birthday is on “Ogwest twewv.”

She’d also known for a while that she was turning three. One time in June maybe, she told me that she’s “turning free.” I said, “oh you’re turning free…yeah.” She smiled, looked at me and said, “I’m not Free-ya.” She remembered her friend and VBC dance teammate Fria, hahaha. She still says Free today.

August 11th, we told her that her birthday is tomorrow. So on the day of, when we greeted her happy birthday, she told me “My birthday is tomorrow.” Haha. It didn’t take much convincing. She was happy to be the birthday girl. We did pass by another baby’s 1st birthday party in the morning, but she had no problem “sharing” her day. Not a diva, my girl. 🙂

The girls are always excited to spend time with their cousins, and Gianna is no different. Oh the screams, when the family (both sides) arrived. She was so hyper that evening! Like extra extra hyper. She was also so excited to wear her princess dress. Two weeks before, she planned to wear her Minnie Mouse costume for her birthday party. But since she already wore it that week (just at home, no occasion), and I saw that she didn’t match her birthday set-up, I brought out 2 old flower girl gowns (Danae’s) and made her choose. When I went into the bathroom, she told me that she picked the Cinderella one, which is the blue one. I asked one of her sisters to help her out, while I prepared outside. She came out wearing the Belle dress! So adorable. ❤ And so like her. Sometimes she says no, but she actually means yes. She says one thing, but actually means another.

Thinking about the family get-together 2 weeks before, I asked Gianna what she wanted to eat on her birthday. Her immediate and consistent answer was “CAKE.” Later on she also said pasta. And then as I asked her what kind of pasta she wanted, or if she also wanted chicken, she mentioned “HOPIA.” Hahaha. There was indeed cake and hopia on her birthday. 🙂

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that’s hopia in the cupcake stand. and that’s the closest to the pink cake she wanted. she wanted a strawberry flavored one, but i doubt she’d enjoy eating it. she just really wanted a pink cake. hehehe 🙂

Eeeew….

One time last month, Noelle and I were eating breakfast together, while the two other girls were still asleep (I love one-on-one moments with my girls).

Noelle: How come I’m the only one in the family who doesn’t like sauce?

Me: Yeah, there are people who like it, there are people who don’t. Remember my old blog about our preferences in eating our hotdog? We’re all different. You ate yours without bread, nothing on it. Danae ate hers with bread and just mayo. I ate mine with bread and just ketchup, since they didn’t have mustard (and I would have much preferred tomato ketchup). Daddy ate his with bread, ketchup and mayo, but he likes everything.

Noelle: What do you mean he likes everything?

Me: Like if there was pickle relish, he would be okay with putting pickle relish.

Noelle: Eeeew.

Me: Haha. But that’s what makes Daddy a good missionary. He can do those things. He can eat anything.

Noelle: I can’t do that. I’m picky.

Me: Hehehe yeah. But, Noelle, what if God tells you to go on missions?

Noelle: (smiling and without batting an eyelash) I’ll bring lots of food.

Hahahaha. We got a laugh out of that one. But more so, I was blessed hearing that she is still willing to obey God despite her unwillingness to eat certain food. Ready to go for God, despite her reluctance to try the unfamiliar. God bless her heart. ❤