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

What did you learn from the movie?

Every time we watch a movie, we ask the girls what they learn. We did the same after watching The Greatest Showman. One of them said that we shouldn’t care about what other people think about us, only what we think about ourselves. My immediate response was, “What if you think you’re ugly?”

I think this is a common mistake that we make. We may not allow other people to define us, which is good, but we choose to define ourselves. What’s wrong with that? Well, in the movie, the oddities believed that they were ugly and worthless all their lives, and they operated according to those beliefs. They hid. They were ashamed. They kept to themselves. It took a PT Barnum to awaken them. It was like Barnum gave them their worth and their identity, when he called them out to be part of one great show. He was the only one who saw them for more than just “freaks,” more than the labels people put on them. They started believing and living according to what Barnum believed about them — that they are useful, talented, that they have a purpose in life and they can bring joy to people.

We too need to anchor our identity onto Someone. But not just anyone. Not even ourselves, for we are flawed. Our views of ourselves vary and fluctuate, depending on mood or circumstance. We need to anchor our identity to One who is constant. Perfect. All-powerful and all-knowing. The One who created us, the One who created us for a purpose. The One who knows all, who knows every minute detail about us and cares for us. Infinitely good, infinitely wise. Limitless. Trustworthy. The One whose ways are higher than ours. The One whose love for us isn’t and cannot be changed. We believe what and who He says we are, and live accordingly — His child — valued, loved, accepted, blessed, forgiven, safe, secure, significant, useful for all kinds of good work. FREE.

Anchor yourself to Jesus. Build a relationship with Him. He will set you free from the shame and the fear. He will teach you and mold you into the best you can possibly be. ❤

 

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

 

But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8 

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor 5:17

 

My Highlights from the Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman was great! At first I was iffy because Zac Efron is in it. I mean I know he’s a good actor, but I don’t always trust his role choices. But I love Hugh Jackman and I like Zendaya. Plus so many people, including the girls’ friends, kept saying it was sooo good. And of course I’d already seen the videos of a couple of the songs. I love “This is me.” I loved it even more seeing the movie and seeing the choreography. Such an anthem.

Some highlights for me….

  1. Charity’s love and support for Phin. She didn’t pressure her husband or put him in a box. She wished for happiness, not fortune or fame, not even a comfortable lifestyle. Despite her affluent upbringing, she was happy anywhere, as long as she was with her family. I love that scene up on the roof, when Phin apologetically said that it was not the life he promised Charity, that he promised her a life of magic and wonder, to which she replied “Look at those two girls….” I feel the same way. There is magic and wonder in our children. I thank God for them everyday. Anywhere with my family, by the grace of God.
  2. Phin’s celebration of the oddities. It may have begun as a money making scheme, but he gave those guys something to do, something to look forward to, something to be proud of. He wasn’t afraid to be judged, or criticized, or be different. He wasn’t afraid to stand by his team despite the daily threat of a riot outside his theater. I believe we need to celebrate people as well. We all have our quirks and flaws. None of us is perfect. We need to give each other a chance, see each other’s potential, see the good. We need to lift one another up, instead of judge and tear each other down. 
  3. Phillip’s desire for change. Phillip was among the upper class, but he was no longer content being one of them. He didn’t want to be trapped in his parents’ world, where they thought too highly of themselves and looked down on others. We should not be comfortable maintaining and perpetuating the status quo. We must choose to treat people, all kinds of people, fairly and with great respect. We must fight against discrimination, even in our own little way, and stand up for others. 
  4. The distraction, aka Jenny Lind. Phin used Jenny Lind to get the approval of the upper class. He enjoyed the attention and the respect. He got blinded by it, and started neglecting his circus and his family. He left them to go on tour with Jenny, who also almost distracted him from his marriage. Distractions, whether they are people, feelings, things, or things to do, can be dangerous. They can lead us astray. They can make us forget our original purpose, our goals. They can make us neglect, even abandon our priorities. We must be vigilant. Is this what God wants me to do? Does this honor God? Will this honor my spouse? Am I being a good leader (to my people and to my family)? Am I being a good example to my children?
  5. Charity’s wisdom. “When will it ever be enough?” She knew that her husband was chasing something that would never satisfy him. She knew that he had gone beyond what he first dreamed, that he had forgotten what truly mattered. She knew that he needed to let go of the past, stop proving himself to others because he already had everything he should want and need. We all can be stubborn at times. We all need wise people around us to remind us, to keep us grounded, to pray for us, to help us realign ourselves to the will of God. They often see more clearly from their perspective. We need to be humble enough to listen. 
  6. The loyalty of his team. When he thought he’d lost all, even after his neglect as their ring master, his team of “freaks” stood by him. The lyric “A man learns who is there for him When the glitter fades and the walls won’t hold,” from his song From Now On conveys this clearly. They believed in him because he, imperfect as he was, believed in them. They stood by him because he brought them together and because he was the only one who gave them — they who were ridiculed and rejected by their own parents — a sense of family. Loyalty is such a rare commodity these days, but kindness, acceptance, love, hope — these are what breeds loyalty in people.  
  7. Passing the baton. Phin literally passed the baton to Phillip, to continue his legacy of bringing joy to people. Whatever we are passionate about, whatever we are great at, we should pass it on, teach it to somebody. Whatever is good, whatever is noble, whatever is worthwhile and praiseworthy, we should pass it on. The love and transformative work of Jesus, the Gospel — teach others, pass it on. “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Tim 2:2

 

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

Four Favorite Fs at Forty

So it’s February 7, and King is forty today! Fabulously young looking at forty, but that’s not my favorite thing about him.

King is funny and fun, and he has the finesse of Bruno Mars! Yes, he can be corny sometimes, but in the last 13 years and 1 year before that, he has made me laugh countless times. Marriage is fun because we can laugh and be silly together. He is my bestest bestest friend, and I thank God I get to do life with him. He’s ready to go on adventures and trips with me, but he’s also willing to just chill out and do nothing with me. He’s game for anything, as long as he’s not yet exhausted (hahaha, we have to be real, we are not as young as we used to be). And the finesse….he can still move and groove, not to mention he resembles the ever so talented Bruno Mars. I just love that about him. I remember that was one of the things on “my list” when I was single, haha. I thank the Lord He gave me a dancer, especially since we have spawned 3 more dancers.

King is a family man. I love that he always wants to come home to us. When we’re not with him, he rarely stays out late, by choice. It was never a spoken rule, but something he has practiced since we got married, and especially when we started having children. I love that he prioritizes our family. We are on the same page in raising our children, in our values, and making choices based on what is important to us as a family. He makes sure he puts in date nights in his schedule, not just with me, but with his daughters individually. The girls always request for those dates. They enjoy spending time with him, and are always excited to see him when he gets home or when we meet somewhere. They look forward to Me and My Dad camps too! Team work makes the dream work. We are a team. He’s not perfect but he genuinely loves us and does his best to take care of us.

King is a faithful man. To me and to his children, but most especially to God. Recently we received a prophetic word during a presbytery, and the word for King was faithful. My tears started rolling because it was a confirmation of what I’ve always seen in my husband. Through the excitement, the silence, the highs, the lows, the small victories, the epic failures,and everything in between, he has remained faithful to the Lord and to his calling. Even with the occasional temptation of giving up or walking away, he would hold on and keep on keeping on. “Just be faithful” is kind of our mantra. What a wonderful gift to hear that the Lord’s eye is on King and He is pleased with His servant.

King fears the Lord. Not the “I’m so scared that God is going to smite me” kind of fear, but a deep love and respect for God. This is where his wisdom comes from. He knows God is a loving, kind, gracious, merciful Father, but One who is also holy and just. One who is sovereign, powerful, and infinitely wiser. He does not want to mess around with trying to fool God or to go ahead of Him. He lives his life wanting to wait on God, so that he can obey God. When our tendency is to depend on our own abilities, he reminds his children, me included, to pray and ask the Lord. He also lives confident of God’s goodness and faithfulness. This, and by the grace of God, is where his ability to be faithful, to his audience of One, comes from. Grateful to be used and to be able to serve.

 

Happy 40th birthday babe! You are my favorite person in the whole wide world. I pray that you will continue to grow into the man God is shaping you to be. I love you. ❤

 

Christmas Eve Service

We attended the last Christmas Eve service in Victory Cagayan de Oro yesterday. Gianna of course, wanted to stay in the toddlers room, and the girls didn’t want to go to Kids Church. Danae offered to stay with Gianna and Noelle decided to stay with me and King in the adult service.

During tithes and offering, I reminded Noelle about her tithe. She proceeded to get money from her wallet, and wrote on the envelope. What she wrote blessed my heart.

Lord,

I pray that you have a great birthday. And please bless Beanie and her family.

In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

And then after the short worship during tithes and offering, she asked me something.

Noelle: are you crying?

Me: a little, yeah.

Noelle: why?

Me: I’m like that when I’m reminded of what Jesus did for me.

Noelle: oh, well I never forget that.

Amen. Thank you Lord that my children know and will never forget what You did for us on the cross. That You died a death we should have died, saving us and forgiving us of our past, present and future sins, and You rose again after three days, giving us the opportunity to have eternal life with You in heaven, IF we believe. Thank You Lord that my children also believe.

I asked Gianna this morning, when she woke up momentarily, whose birthday it is today.

Gianna: Jesus.

Me: what did you say to Jesus?

Gianna: happy birthday to you.

Me: what did He say?

Gianna: I don’t know.

Haha I love that her response was real and that it made sense. Sometimes we really don’t know.

Lord, we pray for great faith for our children, that they will have a vibrant, intimate relationship with You, and that they will constantly hear You and seek to hear You and obey You every day of their lives. In Your name, amen.

Merry Christmas everyone! May you find that the true meaning of Christmas is Jesus. I pray that everyday will be Christmas for us, that everyday is with, for and about Jesus. ❤️

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