Tidying Up

I’ve heard of the Konmari method and since Marie Kondo’s show came out on Netflix recently, I’ve been reading posts about how people have been sorting their stuff and keeping only those that spark joy in them. And since I’ve finished binge watching Grey’s, I decided to watch Tidying Up while organizing the girls’ homeschooling materials.

First off, Marie Kondo is so cute! She’s gentle and meek, and so put-together. Calm and joyful too. I feel like if she came to my house, she’d influence us all to be chill and unhurried. That would be awesome. 😁

I love her way of folding. I am definitely teaching the kids and our manang to do it for our clothes. I actually sorted through our kitchen towels, kept only those that spark joy (out with the old 😂), and folded them and placed them in a plastic basket inside a drawer closer to the kitchen sink. I didn’t follow her steps though. I went straight to the kitchen. Clothing should always be first. Sorry Marie!

I also like her idea of putting things in boxes and drawers to keep them tidy. The girls’ cabinets are open because I thought open shelving would have a nice effect but Danae has been complaining about how her room always looks messy. I am excited to buy boxes that they can pull from their shelves. I know there are some in MiniSo and Daiso. Excited to see clothes neatly folded as well.

My favorite thing that Marie said, from the very first episode, was something about a person’s sensitivity to joy. That really struck me, not about tidying up, but about life. Life gets difficult at times. Our situations can change abruptly. Our disposition is almost always affected by change. But JOY IS POSSIBLE in the midst of it all. BY THE GRACE OF GOD, JOY IS POSSIBLE. And it can start small, but our sensitivity to joy can grow.

Tidying up is a daunting task, but one’s sensitivity to joy grows through the process, most especially when clutter slowly disappears, things get clearer and cleaner, and when the task is finally done. Though I don’t really care for talking to my clothes and thanking them (although I do tell my kids to say goodbye to their things that they agree to give away), but having a sense of gratitude for having used them is a good thing. It reminds us of how blessed we are, how God has been faithful in providing for our needs. I believe counting our blessings, finding something to be grateful for (like indoor plumbing, yes) makes our sensitivity to joy grow. Seeing progress and change in the seemingly impossible — hope increases joy! Knowing that you are not alone, you are part of a team, a family; that there are people who love and support you — security increases joy! Accomplishing something — fulfillment increases joy too!

May the Lord increase our sensitivity to joy. May our eyes be opened to see, and our hearts be inclined to appreciate, His goodness, in the big and the little things in our lives. ❤️

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Great Faith

It’s prayer and fasting again! Nothing like starting the year right as a family. Using the kids’ manual, we talked about the great faith of Abraham and then Sarah last night.

When asked what could be keeping them from hearing God’s voice, perhaps distracting them during their quiet time, Danae and Noelle gave such honest answers. Funny that Noelle included Gianna in her list. Her little sister really is a distraction because they like to play with each other. 😂When asked what one step she can take to help her hear God better, she said that she would lock herself in the room when it’s time to read her Bible and pray. Great action plan.

Danae’s answer was funny too, but profound. She said that her own thoughts distracted her from hearing God. I found it funny because she does get sidetracked easily with things that pop in her head. Then for her one step, she said that she would focus more and WONDER about God’s word more. I thought at first that was a pretty vague answer, not much of an action plan. But when we started praying, I realized she was on point.

To wonder more means to be more curious, to be more interested. To want to know God more.

Wow. I say amen to that. I pray that wonder, that desire grows as they/we continue to read the Bible. We have also been talking about writing God’s word in the tablet of our heart, so I pray that that growing wonder will translate to unwavering faith, straight paths, and great love for the Lord. ❤️

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. Romans 4:19-21

2018 Hongkong Highlights

Christmas is always a busy but really fruitful and meaningful season for us. We enjoy doing Advent activities daily, getting ready for Jesus’ birthday. One of them is writing down what we are thankful for for the year. This time, we did it by month. I wrote down in my March box our trip to Hongkong.

Yes, I love traveling with my family. Yes, I love going to Disneyland. But what I loved most about our trip was that I had one on one time with each member of my family. Precious memories. ❤️

King and I went out alone for a walk, to see what were in the shops and where we could take the kids. Thankfully our hotel was in a pretty good location, and my mom was with the girls. It’s refreshing to just chill and spend alone time with the hubby, even if it’s just for an hour. The weather was nice and cool too. 🐽

Noelle was sick on day 1 but I think it was day 2 or 3 that we had a chance to take a walk and shop for some things for herself as well. It was a blessing in disguise that Danae was too sleepy to come along that Noelle and I had some time together. 🐼

Noelle loves pandas. Notice her shirt. 🐼

Danae and I also had some time checking out stores, while King went into a separate store. She got to buy ice cream from an ice cream truck.🍦

And then on one evening, she came with King and I to Temple street for the night market. She and I walked back to the hotel alone while King waited for some yummy take out food — Yang Chow, Spicy Pork, Lemon Chicken, Steamed fish and broccoli! 🥘

Our best meal in the city, considering all other meals from McDo, KFC and Burger King. 😂 I do miss their McDonald’s Spicy Wings, which we don’t have here.

And then Disneyland. I love Disney. I love Mickey. I love Disneyland! It makes me all giddy inside. BUT… I doubt I’d enjoy it at all if my family was not with me. And it was Gianna’s first time — a dream come true for her! She was so excited to go to Disneyland that once when we were going to a mall, she asked if we were going to see Buzz there. She kept telling me she wanted to go to Disneyland, until my mom said she’d take her there. What a blessing my mom is! 😇

Gianna and I enjoyed riding Slinky together! Danae and Noelle rode together. I wasn’t sure how Gianna would react, since her ate Noelle cried when it was her first time, but she didn’t! I was so proud of her. And of Noelle too because she didn’t get scared this time. 👏🏼

King and Danae went on the Star Wars Space Mountain ride, so I took Noelle and Gianna to meet one of the Star Wars characters. It was R2D2! I loved how Noelle was beyond excited to have her picture taken with him. 🤖

Noelle was a fan of Star Wars for a while. Disneyland was a great place to get some merch. I dunno if her shirt can be seen but it is a Star Wars shirt. She’s also wearing a Star Wars cap, bought here.

Danae and I rode the new roller coaster in Grizzly Gulch. It was soooo much fun! I thought it was mild enough for Noelle to ride at first, but boy was I wrong. I was laughing the whole time, while Danae was screaming 😂

Thank you Lord for our Hongkong trip, but most of all thank You for my family. None of us is perfect, and our relationships are rocky at times, but You have blessed me indeed. Every year, I will be grateful for them. ❤️

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

Last Funny Friday for 2018

Some words, for some reason, Gianna can’t pronounce properly…

Jimastix. Her sisters have been in gymnastics for over a year and it’s still the same.

Axe. Just last night she was telling her dad to “axe” the guard where a certain restaurant is.

Minja. She said it so convincingly that I “axed” Noelle if it really is Minja Kids.

Pungcake House. She likes mashed potato in this restaurant.

Burger King. She recognizes many signs and logos. She wouldn’t budge though when I said it’s Chowking. Guess she can read the word king.

King of Okra. They play this game on the ipad, where they are opera singers who try to steal the spotlight.

About Anne Curtis

I asked Gianna if she recognized Anne Curtis, assuming she would still tell me it’s “ilamlam ulam,” but instead she said it’s Shasha P. I asked her over and over again who Shasha P was, until she sang the jingle to me. 😂

Singing in SM

We were in the department store one time, and she was singing Mr. Sun. Then she asked me if the Sun was a boy or a girl. I told her that if it’s Mr., then it’s a boy. She told me she wanted it to be a girl, and she sang Oh Mrs Sun Sun, Mrs Golden Sun. I thought that was pretty smart of her. 🙂

Then she told me she needed to pee. I asked her if it’s ok that we do it at home. She said “no, weewee in SM.” Then she sang “Weewee in SM, we got it all for you.” 😂

Despicable

Gianna has been dancing to Joy Unspeakable lately, and everytime we have guests or we’re at a party, she wants to dance. One time, she overheard a conversation on tv, where someone said “it’s despicable.” She said to me, “Mom, the guy said joy unspeakable!”

How old are you?

We were at a party in my tita’s house and Gianna wanted to play with the other kids, particularly her cousin (or granddaughter really) Gabby. I told her to go ahead, but she said, “Wait, I’m nervous,” while nervously smiling. 🤷🏽‍♀️😂

A conversation in the car

Danae: Huh? What?

Noelle: (sarcastically) Do you have ears?

Gianna: (seriously) Yes she has ears, see o.

Danae and her bookmark

Me: I like this bookmark (she made herself), and this and this. I like this too except for the name. Zach ng Zach. Zach-zachin kita e.

Danae: (laughing)

Me: Do you even know what Zach-zach (saksak) means?

Danae: Yeah. Plug.

😂

Funny Fridays Is Back (for today!)

>Noelle has always been funny with words.

Someone in the family, I forget who, was singing Quest’s song entitled Saludo….

Noelle: Saludo? It’s Saluto! (with conviction)

Me: It’s Saludo, love.

Noelle: Oh, I thought it was salute-Oh.

😀

 

>Gianna hears a catchy ad once, and she learns it right away.

Shopee to the tune of Baby Shark. Jollibee’s Linamnam ulam. And more that I can’t remember at the moment.

Months ago, she surprised me when she sang “ilamlam ulam,” and the girls explained to me that it was a Jollibee ad. Once at a super market, she saw a product with Anne Curtis’ face on the box. She excitedly pointed to it and told me, “Mom, it’s ilamlam ulam!” 😀

>One time, she suddenly mentioned that she wants to go to Florida. When I asked why, she said because of the little couple. She has seen the show’s ad on TLC, and she remembered that the family was moving to Florida. 😀

>Another time, she came to me with a piece of tape on her arm.

Gianna: Mom, Dr. Pimple changed my life!

If you know the ad of the show Dr. Pimple Popper, the doctor says that she doesn’t just pop pimples, she changes lives. 😀

>We were walking in a mall, and Gianna pointed at a picture, and said “Nico.” Apparently she knows Solenn’s husband from an ad she has seen. 😀

I guess dance moves aren’t the only things she picks up quickly. 🙂

Funny Fridays – Enchanted Kingdom

Some time last year, we went to Enchanted Kingdom with the volunteers of our church.

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Upon approaching EK….

Danae and Noelle: …..screaming in excitement….. oh we’re here! i see the wizard!

Gianna: ……quiet until…….hotdogs! I see hotdogs!

She also seemed more excited to see (and eat) corn than to see (and ride) rides.

This girl and food 🙂

 

We watched one of the staff try his hand on the strongman game. You know, the game where you make the bell ring by hitting the thing hard enough with a huge hammer. We left before he succeeded, so Gianna, with her sad face, said “Aw I want to win.” Maybe she was hoping the prize would be given to her. 🙂

 

We left EK and proceeded to join some friends at a restaurant. We parked and started getting ready to go down.

Gianna: ….looked at me as I was trying to fix my hair…..Your hair’s a mess. You look like a Yaya (Nanny).

I laughed so hard. I don’t know where she got the idea that a nanny typically has messy hair. She didn’t seem like she was trying to insult me, but just stating her opinion. Or maybe she was urging me to fix my hair. 🙂

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I thank God for VBC

Aaah, Vacation Bible Camp. Not something I have to do, but something I get to do. I thank God for the privilege to be part of a huge team of amazing volunteers. Their passion to serve, their love for God and for the children, their commitment and dedication to do things excellently, to push to the end, their effort to work as one team. If you could see the work that each team put in, how it all came together, you would just be in awe. And yes, they may be talented and skilled, but I believe it’s so much more than that. It’s that love that God has lavished on them, that they are able to also love others through what they do. That love and passion truly trickles down from the leadership of Ptr Carlo and Lea, and the Kids Church staff. Their impartation, and even the care they show us volunteers (shout out to Aubrey and Fely), inspires us to give our best to the kids as well.

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most of the VBC volunteers 🙂 photo grabbed from Aubrey

I thank God for the privilege to mentor the praise dance team! We were rarely complete during practices, some of us had trouble with our left and right, our number of praise dancers fluctuated until the very last week of practice hahaha. We played the stay quiet for 1 minute and then 2 minutes challenge, after which of course their noise doubled! But I would do it again next year. I thank the Lord for the opportunity to work with kids I already love and with new kids I have grown to love. Grateful for their parents as well, who entrusted their kids to us. I believe we all learned something from everything we went through. I am just so proud of the team for giving their best! Through hunger, sleepiness, tiredness, and sickness for some, they gave their best to the Lord for 3 straight days. The same passion and joy from day 1 to day 3. Talk about commitment! Talk about the power of the Holy Spirit in them! How wonderfully blessed the Lord was by His children. ❤

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the praise dance team! all except 1. 23 kids in all! 🙂 

I thank God for the privilege to serve with my girls. The first time I joined the praise dance team, Danae, while a participant, joined me. Then, Noelle, while a participant, and Gianna, the youngest volunteer (1 yr old), joined us. Now I don’t dance anymore. Only they do, with other kids aged 5 to 13. I think that fact alone is amazing! Danae and Noelle were participants first, then volunteers. But Gianna, a volunteer first, then a participant next year hahaha.

Somehow we have taught our daughters to give of themselves — their time, talent, and energy (though it is fun for them, they get tired too 🙂 ). To joyfully serve others, without thinking about getting anything in return (except maybe food because they get hungry easily 🙂 ). To love children. Well, we didn’t really teach them. I guess they naturally like little kids. To work with a team. It is not a show, and it is not about who’s the best dancer. It’s about being in sync, not only in their movements, but most especially in their hearts — the goal is to worship God and teach other kids to do the same. To worship God through their talents. Honestly, sometimes I don’t know because it is beyond what I can see. I see them having fun dancing and singing (sometimes too much fun 🙂 ), and I wonder if they get it. But I believe God sees. God knows. And God is doing something in their hearts, growing them into ladies who worship Him in spirit and in truth.

I thank God for the songs. They are full of truths about God that make you just feel loved and want to love God more. I pray that as they continue to sing and dance the songs at home, these truths will be ingrained in their hearts and minds. I highly encourage you to listen and sing them out loud. Dance, even. Here are the lyrics to one of our favorites…

The Maker (Maker Fun Factory)

I see You in the sunrise

I see You in the rain

I see You in the laughter

I feel You through the pain

Everything that You have made is beautiful

Oh, my God I can’t believe my eyes

But in all of this to think that You would think of me

Makes my heart come alive

Your love is like a mighty fire deep inside my bones

I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains all at once

And I never have to wonder if somebody cares for me

I love the Maker

And the Maker loves me

See if you can spot the littlest volunteer! Thank you for the video, Bless and Aliyah 🙂

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I thank God most of all for His abundant grace. None of it would have been possible, even the patience they tell me I have (which I don’t believe I do — ask people who know me hahahaha), if not for the abundant grace of God. All glory to Him!

❤ ❤ ❤

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Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8:2

 

 

 

 

 

To Moms!

To all the hardworking moms out there….

Exhausted? Frustrated? Feel unappreciated? Confused? Torn? Misunderstood? Overwhelmed? Stressed out? Feel like nothing is going right?

 

I have two words for you…..

 

 

 

INDOOR PLUMBING.

 

Yeah. Let that sink in for a while.

 

Even though you can’t just magically get rid of all the you know what in your life, you can flush the actual down the toilet!

 

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There is always something to be grateful for.

Happy mother’s day! ❤

 

REAL LIFE TALKS

Real Life Talks. I’ve always believed in helping young people get their education. I grew up seeing my grandparents and parents do this. Besides making sure we got our education and despite my so many delays before getting my degree, they supported other scholars. Which is probably why I believe in Real Life Foundation so much. The fact that it is our church’s social responsibility arm and that they help struggling students get through high school and college, were enough reasons for me to support the foundation.

But I thank God that I was there at Real Life Talks a few Saturdays ago. To be reminded that this started really small, is just so inspiring. From a burden that God placed in the heart of one man some years ago, Doc Joey, who saw malnourished kids in Pasig and decided to feed them, to a “project” that other people in their community wanted in on, to a full blown, legit NGO today. Wow. The Lord is good.

 

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Ms Mae Perez talking about how Real Life started. Doc Joey in the background.

 

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The mission of REAL LIFE

 

Because poverty is so prevalent in our country, it is only right that the church be involved in helping our fellow Filipinos. And not just by giving food or financial assistance, though that is good. And not just by giving them tuition so that they can finish school, though that is also good. We don’t stop at merely creating graduates. What makes me more sold out on Real Life is that they (we) help them grow in their relationship with the Lord. Life skills and people skills are taught. Their character is developed. They not only become successful people in their fields and upstanding Filipino citizens, they also become wise, honorable, reliable, compassionate, generous, courageous, loving leaders. They become disciples of Christ. It’s the Jesus factor. 

 

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These are what the students receive, besides tuition, along with training on how to budget, how to use their finances wisely, to be excellent at home and in school.

 

My friend, She, and I shed some tears listening to the stories of some of our scholars and graduates. It’s amazing to know that some of them graduated cum laude or summa cum laude! But more amazing is how they are not only free from poverty, but how they are a blessing to their families, their communities, and their workplace. They practice integrity even when their job might be compromised. They give back and help those who are still in the community they left behind. They volunteer and serve in church. Some of them are even campus ministers now, and if I remember correctly, even pastors! It makes me tear up knowing how Jesus changes lives. What a privilege it is to be part of it.

 

 

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What REAL LIFE teaches our scholars.

 

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Praise God for this! We pray for more scholars in the future.

 

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Pastor Ariel Marquez ending the talks with an encouraging message.

 

We realize that we cannot solve the entire country’s problems. We know that. So why even bother? I love the story Pastor Ariel shared about a young boy at a beach, tossing stranded starfish back in the ocean. The beach was filled with hundreds of them. An old man said that there was no way he was possibly going to be able to put them all back, so what he was doing didn’t even matter. The young boy said that it mattered to each one that he was able to put back into the ocean. Similarly, we may not be able to help every single Filipino, but we can help some. And it may not seem like it matters, it may seem small and insignificant, but it matters to each person we help. It matters to us. It matters to God.    

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You can be part of this too! You can go to their website http://reallife.ph. Or come to our church, Victory Alabang in Festival Mall, put your donation in the tithing envelope during service, tick the real life box. Anonymously or not. No pressure with the amount. God sees your heart. And every contribution counts. ❤ 

 

 

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

Rooted

We went up to Baguio last month and while on Kennon Road, one of our kids noticed that there were trees sticking out of the mountain, some almost horizontally. She wondered how those trees could do that. STRONG ROOTS, I told her.

Very much like in life. No matter how the world turns, if we are strongly rooted in the Word of God, we remain standing firm in our faith. No matter what the world throws at us. No matter what the world offers us. By the grace of God, we will be strong in our resolve to love, honor, and obey God.

 

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:6-8