Radical Change

Motherhood. A beautiful gift from the Lord. But a gift that takes work and many times, lots and lots of tears.

I remember the time, well one of my big moments of great frustration (believe me, there have been quite a few), I was crying out to God because I was at my wit’s end. I had come to another point of questioning — what’s wrong with me? What are we doing wrong? Why is it so hard to teach our kids? Don’t they love us enough to obey? Why don’t they appreciate what we do for them? Why do I even bother, when they don’t seem to care? What’s the point of me staying home and being a hands-on parent?

God reminded me of what He already taught me in one of my other episodes.

“It’s not about you. Don’t make it about you and your ability as a parent. I will be the one to change them. Wait and see.”

And then He just gave me a picture that made me laugh and extremely excited. From tears to genuine excitement! It was one of my girls being a missionary. Now that may not seem surprising, since their dad is a missionary himself. But this daughter of ours is the pickiest, the most cautious, and the most particular. I understand her because we are somewhat alike, but she takes it to a whole other level! Not adventurous with food at all, very particular about plates, utensils and glasses. She does not like heights or roller coasters, or dirty, unfamiliar places. She brings her own pillow and blanket when she feels iffy about the place we’ll be staying at. She would not make a very good missionary hahaha. 😅

But you see, God was showing me that when He transforms people, the change is RADICAL. The change in my children would be so evident that I would know for sure that it is the Lord’s work and not mine. What a promise! It was God telling me to…

“keep being the best mom you can be, and let me take care of your children. You know I love them more than you do.”

My children will be more than okay, because their growth and transformation is not dependent on my ability or inability to parent. I am merely a co-laborer, and the true Builder is the Lord. I will continue to lift them up to Him. He has them in the palm of His able, loving hands. Even when we go through rough patches, they will be okay. Just as God is continually doing work in me, He will not stop doing the same for my children. Oh the loving and freeing assurance from our God! ❤️

So now that’s the running joke in our family. Not that our daughter (or daughters) needs to become a missionary, because we would not want to put that pressure on her, although, not gonna lie, that would be absolutely awesome. When I see her being picky or in our words “arte,” I say “pag-ikaw naging missionary……” Hahaha. But really, the thought of the maturing that God will do in her and in all our daughters…. it’s just mind blowing and truly exciting!!! I look forward to everything that God is going to do in our children’s lives.

Advanced happy mother’s day, dear mommies!!! May the Lord encourage and give you so much hope today! ❤️

All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace. Isaiah 54:13

Actions and Words

Actions and words.

They must go together

For what good is one

Without the other?

By all accounts

You are wonderful and good.

But you make mistakes

Like any human being would.

Without your gentle words

How do you start to mend?

Without your humble words

How do you help them understand?

Or a gifted communicator

This you could be.

One who draws people in

And gets their loyalty.

But if you don’t follow

Your words with honest action,

Unreliable, flaky, unfaithful —

These will be their contention.

Broken promises

Hurt those who care about you.

But remember this.

Silence is painful too.

Raising PKs

One evening, both of our older girls told me that they were exempted from their Christian Living final exam. They said that CL is easy for them. I asked why it was easy, one of them replied with….

“Because our dad is a pastor and our parents (you) teach us the Bible.”

I cringe when I hear them attributing certain things to their dad’s title/work. I was quick to tell them that it has nothing to do with their dad being a pastor. But everything to do with us being followers of Jesus. Even if King were not a pastor, he would still be ministering to, discipling and teaching people, sharing the Gospel, volunteering in church. I, too, would be doing the same thing even if I were married to a “normal” Christian. We were already doing these things before he was even on the road to becoming a pastor and before I met and married this man who was studying to be one.

In other words, we would still teach our children the Word of God. Daddy being a pastor has little bearing on why we teach our kids about Jesus. Jesus is the reason. Nuff said.

And then she brought up another thing…..

“Right. But people expect us pastors’ kids to know everything in the Bible.”

She proceeded to tell the story about one of her teachers asking the class about a certain verse. No one answered, she said her mind was a blank at that time, and she got called out for not knowing it because she’s a pastor’s kid. Haha. My exact words were….

“Kebs!”

Which they did not understand hahahaha. “Keber! Never mind what they think.” I explained and reminded them that they don’t need to let others put that pressure on them. We, their own parents, don’t. What matters to us is their flourishing relationship with God. Forgetting a verse or not knowing everything written in the Bible doesn’t make one less of a christian. Being a pastor’s kid doesn’t make one a super Christian either! No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. We are all works in progress. We all need grace. We all need Jesus.

If other people think less of my children because they don’t fit their idea of a pastor’s kid, or expect way too much from them, that’s okay. We can’t control that. We remind our girls that there will be people like that. But our goal is to obey Jesus, to continue to be changed by Him. Not for appearances. Not to compete with others. Not for our reputation. Not for the pleasure of other people. But hopefully, truthfully and sincerely, for the love of God and His people, and for the honor and glory of God alone. ❤️

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6

Four Sisters

2012. Iloilo. ❤️

Four sisters —

My mom and the elder three.

Four sisters,

Two of whom we lost just recently.

Pre-war sisters

The two were regarded.

Long lives of 88 and 85,

By the Lord, they were rewarded.

Tita Ninay

We called them both fondly.

Ninay Doris and Ninay Gena

From Iloilo and San Carlos, respectively.

I grew up knowing my cousins.

Our parents gathered us together

Either there or here in Manila,

For vacations and bonding time with one another.

More summers were spent

In CPU, in Iloilo city.

Many childhood memories there.

And the batchoy….mmmm yummy!

Nong Tinoy and the rides

In the Benz and the Beetle.

Different family gatherings.

Being the youngest cousin, I was just so little.

Nang Nits who cared for us

With her hair always in a neat bun.

The dimly lit streets full of frogs,

And the scary basement — that was fun.

Ninay Doris was a physician,

The school president’s first lady.

Ninay Gena was an optometrist.

Both in positions to help the community.

Women of faith they were.

With their gifting, served God and His people.

Ninay Gena for forty years was the church pianist!

Their ministries, by no means feeble.

Loving mothers they were,

Sweet grandmothers too.

Mentors to the next generation.

Of good repute, godly, and true.

But my fave is the sisterhood

That my mom had with them three.

Pre-war and post-war sisters,

Doris and Gena, Arline and Phoebe.

They loved one another so.

Distance was never an issue.

Car, boat, plane rides, emails and calls,

All these they made sure to do.

Despite all the loud voices,

Imagine seniors trying to communicate…

I thank God for technology.

The sisters were able to keep up-to-date.

I have daughters of my own now.

I tell them having sisters is such a special thing.

Just like their four wowas,

They will never be alone in anything.

We all miss you here

Tita Ninay Gena and Doris.

But we know you’re with God,where you belong

Because you have always been His.

CHANGE

Change.

Inevitable, you surmise.

But some are just so unexpected.

They catch you by surprise.

The reason eludes you,

Leaves you scratching your head.

At night, it keeps you awake,

Away from the comfort of your bed.

Memories surface

Of shared good times and bad.

You wonder what happened.

You can’t help but feel sad.

How long will you allow, though,

The suffering of the unknown,

When no words are said

And only coldness is shown?

Loving from a distance —

This may be the key.

Forgive, move on forward,

And set yourself free.

Happy Anniversary to us!

One year since lockdown. One year since our movements became limited. One year since our whole world changed. What have I learned?

A few things, actually.

We can endure. I saw pictures I posted on social media exactly a year ago, saying that I would miss our couples group for a month because (I don’t even remember) Quarantine was supposed to last for only 1 month. Imagine that. Well, no, you don’t have to imagine. You lived it, just like I did. Quarantine got extended and extended and extended until….here we are. Still in Quarantine.

But we are alive, healthy, and enduring. We may have lost loved ones, lost co-workers, lost jobs, experienced pay cuts, experienced unexpected changes, suffered much anxiety, but we are still here. Some surviving, to be honest, but many, thriving – new jobs, new businesses, new income, new skills, new experiences, engagements and weddings, babies, new ministry opportunities, new things to look forward to. All by the grace of our good God.

We lost, but we also gained. It may have taken a while to realize, but really, there was much we gained from all this. Quality AND quantity time with our loved ones. Conversations. Fun together, in the confines of our home, with minimal expense. Restored relationships. Growth of relationships. The urgency to find an outlet for stress, or find someone to talk to, or seek help and counsel. Empathy, and the need to check on one another. Perspective. Focus. What is essential and what is not. What holds value and what does not. The ability to shift and do what is needed. Skills we thought we could not learn. Old skills relearned and developed even more. Appreciation for people and services that we have taken for granted. A more fervent prayer life. A closer look at our own heart, our own character. The push to make lifestyle changes. Better health. Better hygiene and sanitizing habits. Awareness. Compassion for others. And much more that I probably can’t think of, but many have experienced.

Online Distance Learning is a gift. Our older girls transitioned fairly well from homeschooling to regular school last year. Our youngest started regular school and did amazingly well also last year. And school year 2020 was the year they were all going to be in the same regular school. But due to the pandemic, online distance learning happened. For an ex-homeschooling mom but still a believer in homeschooling, I realized that, for me, this is the best marriage of regular school and home school. My kids are home, while the school and the awesome teachers are in charge of teaching them! And to our surprise, the girls are doing quite well. They complain at times, but they attend their classes and do their work responsibly. More on this in another blog.

God is my Healer and Protector. Nothing new, but God just showed me again how He takes care of me and my family. I unknowingly had dengue fever, (which just reinforced my hatred for mosquitoes) and suffered extreme weakness, headache, bloatedness, nausea, body pains, and rashes for a week right through New Year. I did not get back to complete normalcy, in terms of my appetite and physical strength, until 3 weeks after the onset of my fever. But I did not need confinement as my blood test, taken on the tenth day of sickness, showed I had adequate platelets. I am alive and well today. And more importantly, no other person in our household got dengue!!! Thank you Lord!

God’s timing is perfect. Again, nothing new, but just like our trip to Baguio last year right before lockdown, our only trips with the kids during this pandemic were timed perfectly. We got to enjoy a private resort in Calamba early this year, to belatedly celebrate Noelle’s birthday, as I was still sick on her actual birthday. I just got well that week and once we decided to book, it was all grace from there. Our schedules, our budget…..All I can say is God’s favor was so evident. The same is oh so true for our recent trip to Batangas. It was our first visit to the beach after 1 year and 9 months! And the private place we stayed at was wonderful! Lo and behold, they announced again today that minors and seniors are to stay indoors. Such grace that our children were able to enjoy a much needed vacation, right before another lockdown!

Paulo’s Place in Calamba
Tali Vacation Home in Nasugbu

Quantity time is NOT quality time. I cannot stress this enough. Presence does not always equate to connection. Very easily we can be present in the body, but absent in the mind and heart. Conversations are so so so important. Talking AND listening, even when we think what is being said is lame or uninteresting or senseless or different from our own opinions. Pause. Make eye contact. Pay attention. Respond. Share from our end as well. Remember that when we listen, the person talking to us feels loved and validated. When we talk, not only does the person we’re sharing stories and silly jokes with feel valued and trusted, but we are able to release and breathe.

Lunch date ❤️

God’s plans prevail. Whether we think we can or cannot, whether we believe in our own skills or not, whether confidently or with fear and trembling. When God wants to include us in His plans, He will give us the opportunity to be part of it. I like writing more than speaking mainly because it’s easier to edit myself and there is less pressure because I do not see the audience 😂. But I enjoy speaking to a group of women in person, albeit always nervously, so much more than recording myself on video. Never did I imagine that I would be part of any video or any teaching on camera, because CRINGE….. But when God wants me there, to teach, I am compelled to say yes. I did say no to hosting though hahaha. Because I know that is so not in my wheelhouse. I don’t have my husband’s energy. 😂 Although appearing on video is waaaaay out of my comfort zone, teaching is teaching. It is always a privilege. Any part in advancing God’s Kingdom is a privilege. We just trust and obey. Because He is worthy.

Couples devo ❤️

Here’s hoping this doesn’t last another year, but even if it does, let’s keep the attitude of gratitude. Let’s be learners. And let’s flow with the rhythm of God’s grace. 💙

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s Been A Year

It’s the end of September. It’s been a year since I experienced my last major health scare. I’m not a worry wart. I get panicked and stressed at times but I don’t think I’m the type who obsesses about the what-ifs and the oh-nos. It might be my personality, yes, but it’s also because I have God to talk to and depend on, upon whom I can cast my cares. He dispenses me with the peace and calm that I need.

So when I felt a lump in my breast around the time of my birthday last year, I did not really panic. I got surprised to suddenly find it, like from not noticing anything to feeling how hard and big it was, of course I was surprised. But there were no water works. I prayed, looked it up (on the net hehehe), hoped for a non-scary explanation. I also asked certain people for advice. I set an appointment with my OB-GYN.

However, it took a while before I was able to see my doctor because of conflicts of schedules — hers and mine. I was able to see her over a month later. She told me that I had a tumor that needed to be checked. Mammogram and ultrasound. Ugh. I have always feared the mammogram because I heard it was painful. I tried to get it off the table but I obeyed anyway because she insisted. I trust her judgment. She has gotten me through 2 pregnancies, 2 births, and 1 case of pre-eclampsia severe.

So by early September, King and I headed to the hospital to get my tests done. I was super nervous because I hate pain. I have, in my expert opinion about myself 😂, very low tolerance for pain. I was preparing for the worst squeezing of my life, but a part of me was also hopeful that new mammogram tech would not be as painful anymore.

God’s grace was so evident that day. All the nurses were nice and friendly and gentle. The facility was excellent and comfortable (only women were allowed inside the area where I had to change into a pink gown). And to my surprise, the mammogram was not painful!!!!! A tad uncomfortable because of positioning and holding still, but painless and quite quick. I was overjoyed! The ultrasound was okay too, until the sonologist said she would recommend a biopsy.

Okay. Biopsy. This was when the questions started rolling in because we had decisions to make. Is there reason to rush? Should I have it done now, when King is scheduled to leave the country in two weeks? Can I wait til after he gets back, which is the last day of October? If I get it done now and the biopsy says it’s malignant, can I endure surgery and recovery without my husband? Or can I get surgery after he gets back? What about the kids and their daily school schedules — 3 kids, 2 different schools, 1 driver/yaya/P.A./tutor (AKA me)? My mind was on surgery, not even on chemo or other treatments. And I wanted King to take his trip. I knew that if he really needed to stay, he would absolutely give it up, but there was no desire for me to keep him from the God-given opportunity to attend his conference in the U.S. and visit his sister whom he hadn’t seen for a decade or so. The struggle was immense. We asked God for wisdom.

We were kind of okay already with the idea of waiting til November, but after talking to a doctor friend, my aunt who’s a pedia, and finally my cousin who’s an oncologist, we decided to have the biopsy done asap. They said with urgency, to not wait. We saw a breast surgeon.

What I kept asking God at that time was for Him to enable me to endure what I needed to go through. I would cry at times but I buckled up for the possibilities. Not so I could look or feel strong, but because I needed my mind prepared, so that I could deal with it already and get on with life. I used my head, and my emotions weren’t overwhelming me……yet. King was kind of quiet that week. I was the one reassuring him, and I was the one thinking of the game plan. Then at one point, I got upset with him for not helping me think and plan. His response made me stop in my tracks: “I don’t want to plan because I want to wait on the Lord.”

There I was, planning, because I unwittingly just accepted what was said to me about my lump — that there is a very high possibility it is malignant. I was operating on the assumption that I would be needing that, let me say more complicated lumpectomy, and so I would need to get my clearances in order, and we would have to move quickly so that King would still be around while I was in the operating room, and he could be around for the first 2 days of my recovery. I thought the faith part was relying on God to align the schedules of my clearances, the schedule of the surgeon, the availability of a hospital room, and the provision. It wasn’t.

The biopsy went really well. I was also very nervous, but the nurses explained it clearly to me. It prepared me for what to expect, so much so that when I felt a small pinch right before the doctor started extracting the tissue samples, I knew to sound the alarm. She stopped and injected me with more anesthesia. She did the biopsy excellently. No pain, just a little bit loud. It was ultrasound-guided, and I only took one peek while she was enthusiastically showing me what she was doing. I closed my eyes the rest of the time 😂. Though there was pain afterwards, I only had to take 1 arcoxia that day and I think the next day. I was in the hospital and diagnostics center by Wednesday to secure my clearance for possible surgery.

But the few days leading up to the biopsy and also immediately after, were when my emotions started surfacing. There was so much fear. I was not (am not) afraid to die because I am sure that my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I was afraid, however, of what I, and my family, might have to endure while I am still alive. And I was so sad for my husband and kids, imagining how sad or angry they would be if they had lost me too soon. I cried out to God. For me. For my family. My mom should not have to bury me. My kids should be able to enjoy and rely on their mother while they are young. My husband and I want to grow old together. I asked close family and friends to pray.

There was a shift at that time too. A wonderful thing that happens in marriage. While I was the one feeling down, King was the one who had his faith way up. He said he did not want to accept it and he was claiming, declaring my healing. He constantly encouraged me, you know with his happy, excited face. I so wanted to believe him. I believed that God is able to heal, but there was a part of me that was afraid to wholeheartedly claim my own healing. Like yes, God heals, but will He heal me? He is sovereign and I submit to His will. And whatever He does or allows to happen to me, I will receive, by His grace. Which is why there was a struggle in my heart. I didn’t know what His will was for me. You’d think this would be easy-peasy for me since God has saved me once before. But no, it was still easier to believe God for His enabling power than to believe Him for my healing.

That 5-day wait for my results was emotionally tough for me. But it was also within those 5 days that God spoke to me. He revealed a sin that I needed to repent of. He reminded me of my own words to myself. There had been times I had said that I will die early. Why? That might be for another blog. 😬 I believe that the tongue has the power of life and death. I know this so well. I teach it to my kids all the time. And God showed me that I had been speaking death to myself. It was such a revelation to me! I repented and somehow God enabled me to speak life and claim, with conviction, healing for myself. This was the faith God wanted me to exercise. 

And not a moment too soon. If I remember correctly, it was Friday, the day before I got my results. I so needed the courage to declare, out loud, that my tumor is benign! Then my friend and leader sent me these verses on Saturday morning. Nehemiah 8:10-12.

10 And Nehemiah[b] continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

11 And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, “Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.” 12 So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them.

I was praying/crying, so encouraged by this! God was telling me not to worry! Hush, don’t weep!!!! This is a sacred day! As an act of faith, I asked my girls what they wanted us to bring home from the hospital. I told them that we would celebrate!!!! I asked them to pray for me. Noelle told me with such assurance that I was going to be okay. I thanked the Lord my children were in faith for me as well.

 

McDo is life 😂

 

We got to the hospital, all nervous and in a rush because I misunderstood our appointment and King had a teaching in church. Thank God we got there on time. And whaddaya know….. the doctor told us that my tumor is indeed BENNNNNIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!! She said some other things too, but we wanted to rejoice in this win!!! When we got to the car, I could not help but bawl like a baby. I kept telling King that God saved me. He saved me!!! When we regained our composure, we ate some Japanese to celebrate! We had a feast!!! 

 

That afternoon, I asked God for a specific Word. His specific, personal Word for me. He gave me Isaiah 46. I was iffy with the first few verses, but my eyes started welling up as I reached verse 3.

Wow. I hold on to God’s promise of a long life, His promise of caring for me, carrying me, and saving me. It’s been a year. God is faithful. I am still here and I will grow old with King. We will serve the Lord together for many years to come. I will enjoy my family. I will live through this pandemic and beyond. I will go back to Japan. I will travel to Switzerland and other awesome places. I will see the Northern Lights in Norway. I will walk where Jesus walked in Israel. I will see my girls thrive and live their lives honoring and serving God through their talents and their profession. I will see my girls get married to godly, honorable men, and I will enjoy my lovely, God-fearing grandchildren. In Jesus’ holy and mighty name. Say a big amen for me, friends. ❤ 

At the end of each day….

I appreciate the devotions that our church puts out daily, and though I don’t get to join them regularly, there’s so much to gain from it. There’s the Word, the encouraging stories, the sense of community, the prayer time. Then there are also gems from the sharers.

Yesterday the focus was Psalm 90:12 —Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom. What struck me was one of the things that Ptr Carlo said. At the end of the day, he would ask himself if he spent quality time with his son, if he had their heart to heart talk.

What wisdom. How many of us actually think about how we spent our day, before we go to bed? How many of us actually recount the events of the day in terms of quality time spent with our family, especially in this pandemic where everyone is home all. the. time.?

It’s quite easy to think that since we are all home, we are spending quantity AND quality time with one another. On the contrary, we become less intentional about doing things together because we feel we are in close proximity to each other. We become complacent. We talk less. Or we settle for small talk. We fill our days with activities, work so we can feel productive, connect with others online, but we miss out on our personal connections at home.

We must know that one can still feel alone, despite the presence of family around. We must know that our physical presence is good, but it is not enough. We must be emotionally and mentally present. Parents to children, children to parents, siblings to siblings, spouse to spouse. We must engage. Be interested. Eye contact. Listen with our hearts.

At the end of each day, let’s not just look at what we have accomplished. Let’s ask ourselves the more important questions. Did I really spend time with my loved one/s today? Did I have meaningful conversations with them? Did I laugh with them? Did I help them when they needed me? Did I make them feel loved? Did I speak life? Did I listen? Did I pray for or with them?

Lord, teach us to number our days. Teach us to be wise with the use of our time everyday. Help us not to neglect our families. We feel the stress that this pandemic brings, but grant us the extra extra extra grace we need to nurture our most precious relationships, while also caring for our own needs and fulfilling our duties at home, at work, and in ministry. 🙏❤️

Tito Panser, the beloved!

Tito Panser. I dont know anyone else named Panser, or Fruspambliser for that matter. So when people say his name, I automatically know who they mean. He was someone everyone knew and someone everybody was fond of. Maybe it was his charisma, maybe his consistent smile. Maybe it was his gusto, or his singing, or his ahoo! He was always the life of the party. Danae said this as well when she learned that Wowo Panser was heading to heaven soon. She said our family parties won’t be the same. How painfully true. He brought that joy and light to all our gatherings, and it isn’t a surprise that he was the same in church and everywhere else.

To me though, he was Tito Panser who loved me. You see, I grew up with his daughters. I’m the only girl in my family and I’m so blessed to have my cousins, Ate Sol, Mai, and Dee, as my sisters. I would sleep over in their home often, and he, and Tita Monette of course, always welcomed me. It was like I wasn’t a visitor, as I was privy to some things, like his hair hehehe. And in the times that I could not sleep and had to go home in the middle of the night, I did not hear any complaint or reprimand, only laughter. Like it wasn’t new. Because it happened a few times hahaha. A tad inconvenient, but no biggie since we live only a couple of blocks away.

As a kid, I didn’t really like going to church, much less wake up early for it, but I knew that if I slept over on a Saturday in their home, Sunday morning would mean church. That was a non-negotiable. They were consistent. They were the family I respected and looked up to when it came to Christianity. Not perfect, but consistent and committed in serving the Lord. And when I reached a phase in my life that wasn’t ideal or pleasant (to put it mildly), they remained loving and accepting towards me. They let me stay an entire summer, the ultimate sleepover, in their home, to help my parents deal with me. They never made me feel like I was a bad seed. Now I understand how Jesus enabled them to do that, despite my being….me. I am certain they prayed for me and my family, and that they believed in the power of the Lord to change what needed to be changed….which was of course, me. 😂

Fast forward to my twenties when I started following Christ, I got engaged, and it was a no brainer to ask him and tita to be one of our prinicipal sponsors. I’d seen plenty of them as a married couple — they loved God, they served in church together. I love what Kuya Nando said in his eulogy, that wisdom was in Tito Panser’s counsel. In his and tita Monette’s. They helped many people in their marriages, in their family life, and in their walk with God. I also saw how they took care of each other, and how tito Panser pampered tita Monette and the girls. I knew him as a man who was strict with the budget, but always included pampering in the budget! He loooooved his family. He was a sweet husband, and also a super sweet dad to the girls — as in the kissing, hugging and the hand-holding kind of dad even to his adult daughters. ❤️

👩‍❤️‍👨

When the grandchildren came, he was the loving grandpa to Ate Sol’s boys and wowo Panser to my girls. He showered us with hugs and kisses when we saw each other. My childhood friends, the Tumangans included of course, and I hold a Happy Birthday Jesus Party for our kids every December. There was this one year that we could not have it at home because I’d just given birth and my mom was recovering from a stroke, so the next best venue was the Tumangans’! And tito Panser was never one to just sit back. He got involved. He and tita welcomed us all in their home, ate with us, laughed with us, watched us play games. He even shared about Jesus and our value as God’s children that evening.

❤️

And of course, he did his usual — he made all the kids line up so he could give them Christmas money. Another thing that was consistent about him. He did this every Christmas since I was young. It only stopped I think when I started having kids hahaha. The Christmas money started going to them.

❤️

Noelle said that Wowo Panser lived a good life, and that he was generous. Isn’t that the truth. I remember last Christmas, when the church staff held a party for our EGSI team (our helpers in church), Tito Panser showed up. Of course he did! And he made all of them line up with their kids, to give them their Christmas love gifts. I was a bit surprised but also not that surprised. That’s just how he was. He blessed people and was always ready to help. His generosity extended to others, not just to family.

These are my personal photos, still in my phone actually. Dec 2019.
I didn’t know I would need it for this post.
I guess that just really shows how I admired and appreciated Tito Panser for what he did. ❤️

But like I said, he was a man who always worked with a budget. Which means he was always intentional about his generosity. He did not do it on a whim, but he joyfully and lovingly planned and set aside finances for it. I love what Ptr A said about him being a kingdom-minded guy. I believe the way he gave truly showed that. The way he lived showed it too — always to the glory of the Lord.

❤️

The Word shared in the memorial service was very comforting and just plain beautiful. Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints (or faithful servants, in another version). Indeed, tito Panser was one of God’s faithful servants. He lived fully here on earth, worshipping God and telling everyone he could about Jesus, and God gladly, giddily, happily welcomed him home. This gives me much joy, especially when Mai told me that the vision she received was of her dad dancing before the Lord. What an awesome picture! ❤️

You will always be remembered, our beloved Tito Panser! Even Gianna asked me for your photos so she won’t forget. I have many, old and new. From our yearly vacations together in Batangas and in Baguio, to family parties, and church events. She still prays that you will be safe in heaven, which of course you are. 😂 It just goes to show the impact you made even in a young child. Since my dad, their wowo, passed away before Danae turned two, you were the wowo (here in the South) who was a consistent figure in the girls’ lives. Thank you for your love and generosity, and your example of faith. We love you! We love your whole family! ❤️

🙏❤️

Online Distance Learning with Gianna

We started school two weeks ago and I’ve been on standby for whatever the kids need. One will ask for her hydro flask or a bowl or some alcohol. Another will ask for anolyte or her hydro. But mostly it’s the little one who asks for anything and everything — “mooooom, I need my so and so book or so and so notebook or water or fita or my headphones.” But the best one is “mooooom, stay with me.” I’m not the driver anymore. I’m the personal assistant. 🤦🏻‍♀️

A few days ago, their teacher sent a Bible verse for homeroom and I read it to Gianna that morning. Whoever has patience has great understanding. Prov 14:29. And then they had a lesson on the fruit of the Spirit that afternoon. So when Gianna was getting angry about something that evening, I reminded her of the verse and the fruit of the Spirit. She suddenly calmed down and said “Yeah, self-control. I need an apple.” 😂😂😂

It’s been raining hard lately and the other day, their teacher was talking about it and reminding the kids to stay inside and stay dry. I heard Gianna suddenly interrupt her teacher, unmuting herself without anyone telling her to or asking her for a comment, and say “but teacher, we had a leak yesterday….in our living room.” I giggled because it was such an overshare! I was a few meters away so I didn’t see faces, but I heard the awkwardness in her teacher’s voice. What made it worse was when teacher asked her if everything is okay now, she said “yeah, we had buckets.” Hahahahha. It was only one plastic container catching one leak, not one bucket or multiple buckets. I wanted to explain and defend myself to her class!!! Hahaha. But c’est la vie. At least I have another story for Funny Fridays. 😂