Just My Thoughts

Weeding in the Time of Corona

My husband likes to pull out the weeds in our lawn, and a few days ago, I decided for the first time 😬, to help him. I am sure I had a chance to do this growing up. I had forgotten how fun and satisfying it is, especially when you’re able to pull them out from the roots. One of my kids mentioned that its like pulling out daddys white hair 😂. It was a good use of my time during quarantine. Nice opportunity to be out in the sun. Good bonding activity with the hubby and kids. Good source of inspiration as well.

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this may not look much (well its probably half of what we pulled), but we spent a couple of hours doing this. 😁

I actually learned something from it! There are different kinds of weeds invading our frog grass, the majority of which is one particular kind (judging only from appearance of course, I am no expert). I found that some were easy for me to pull from the roots, while others were pretty hard. Some were also pretty obvious because of their height and size, but there were many that blended right in with the grass especially when wet. You would notice them only when they’re dry and up close.

Weeds are not healthy for our lawns or gardens. They compete for the nutrients and the water that are meant for our grass and plants. Much like some of our habits, our attitudes, our life choices, our beliefs. They take up space in our life that push God out of our hearts. They compete with our time and devotion to God. Some of them are so noticeable that others make us aware (whether intentionally or unintentionally) of them, and we ourselves desire to change them. There are those we are able to easily pull, so to speak, out of our lives. Sometimes effortlessly. Why? Because the roots aren’t deep. The roots are young and shallow. Maybe that habit or attitude or choice or belief doesn’t have much of a hold on us. Maybe a meaningless thing that was quickly picked up, one that could also quickly be given up. Maybe removing it from our life does not cause much pain or discomfort.

Then there are those that we are able to get rid off only superficially. In terms of weeds, you successfully pull out the blades above ground, but leave the root intact. Its root has gone so deep that simply pulling it out does not work. It requires much more time and effort, and pain, to remove. (Some roots have thorns. And I pulled so many weeds that my fingers were already sore and greenish in color. In frustration, I honestly just left those I could not pull from the roots. I stopped caring after a while and just moved on to the next ones. 😬)  So from the outside, it may seem like the bad habits or attitudes, former choices, or old beliefs have been removed from your life, but really, its only the appearance, perhaps the behavior or words, that has changed. The root of the issue is still intact and could rear its ugly head anytime it is triggered. The root is still deep, its hold still strong, that whatever progress you make is eradicated when you are tested. The “weeds” continue to grow, while your own growth is stunted. Or worse, the “weeds” choke out everything that is growing in you. Not only do you stop growing, you go backward, regress, backslide.

Its funny that as lazy and indifferent as I was to work on the roots left in the soil, my husband took a spoon from our kitchen to dig out the roots. That determination, the willingness to put in the work, that belief that freedom from weeds is possible, the humility to recognize that he cannot do it on his own are the very things needed to get to the root. Now lets be honest. We are human and we live in a broken world. There will always be a battle against our own undesirable attitudes and habits, and we will constantly need readjustments in our choices and beliefs. But how should we respond? Like me, who cared for a while but then gave up on those that were just too hard to deal with? Who settled to just let the “weeds” keep growing? Or like King, who put in the time and effort, and upon realizing that he could not rely on his own will and strength, got help? Who cared enough to keep his “lawn” healthy?

In this time of Corona, this season of ECQ, weeding is a worthwhile pursuit. Let’s take a good look at ourselves, with humility and honesty. What are these things that we do, these activities we participate in, these ideas and people we allow ourselves to be influenced by, these emotions we allow to take over, these words we speak to ourselves, these beliefs we have embraced — what are these that take precedence over things that God has called us to be and do? What are these that, if we are not mindful, slowly push God out of our families, our decision-making, our parenting, our work and finances, our government and business dealings, our relationships, even our ministry? Lets ask the Lord to expose our weeds, and lets enlist the help of trustworthy people that God has sent us, to walk with us and help us through the weeding process. We cant do it alone. We cant do it just once. This is a life long process of surrendering to the Lord, dying to ourselves, to keep Jesus enthroned in our hearts.

 

That, however, is not the way of life you learned  when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:20-24

How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
    teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
    all the rules[c] of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
    as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
    and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
    I will not forget your word. Psalm 119:9-16

 

Just My Thoughts, Parenting

What Can We Do?

We are on enhanced community quarantine right now. I have not tried leaving the house since I last bought groceries from small stores, last Saturday. So far, we’ve been okay. Kids are somehow productive. I’ve been hearing the ukulele and piano more these days. We have been playing volleyball and badminton in the backyard. The kids have been baking and doing some reading. We have started watching The Chosen.

There is always something to do, especially with Gianna who wants to do different things and play different games all day. But I woke up this morning with the desire to set some daily goals for our family. I am the kind of person who wants to volunteer and help others, and right now I feel helpless. I feel like I can’t do much because I can’t go out apart from buying supplies. I want to obey the directive to stay home. I have no business being out. As I stay home, I protect myself and I protect others.

So I will do my part here. I will use the opportunity to spend quality time with my kids and teach them.

Goals for the kids. Remains flexible. If some are not done, that’s okay. Try again the following day.
I must not stress about the list, but focus on the overall goals. 😉

I admit, our family is not great at keeping a routine. I know this because of the years we have homeschooled. But I believe at this time, when they have no choice but to stay home and they have no more school work (4th quarter final exams were done early, providentially!) and they can’t give me their usual excuses of being tired, we can set daily goals. I want to be deliberate and yet give them some freedom to choose their individual tasks, such as the game, the chore, the art work, the song/piece. Other tasks of course, we have to agree and do it together. And they will also have ample free time to do what they want — play in the backyard, do other art, read other books, talk to friends online, tiktok, dance, exercise, bake, cook, netflix and chill. We will keep the schedule flexible. If we don’t get them all done daily, that’s okay. The overall goals are to bond as a family, to keep learning, to stay productive and active, to learn life skills, character building, and to stay in God’s Word. We may not be able to do much for others right now, but we can do much for and with our immediate family!

And I will pray. Anytime and all the time are good times to pray. I pray when I am reminded of other people. I pray when I see posts and videos and hear news reports. I pray when I talk to people online. I pray when worry strikes. I pray when my imagination goes wild. I pray when I watch my children sleep. Prayer is our friend and our weapon. Let’s pray God’s promises over our families and our current situation. Receive the calm that prayer brings and the peace that Jesus gives. Fight the enemy through prayer, using God’s very words, deafen him with our worship to the Almighty. Bless others with our online presence and our sincere how-are-yous, uplift them with our encouragement. Let’s stay connected and pray for one another — so that as we face the facts of our situation, we can rise up in faith together!!! We may not be able to physically help others at this time, but our prayers are powerful! And the Lord is faithful to hear and answer them!

PARENTING AND PRAYER. Worthwhile endeavors during, but definitely not limited to, these unusual times. 😉

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer, 1 Peter 3:12a

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

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:17-19

4 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

Just My Thoughts

What A Week!

It’s been quite a week! And I still go back to what I posted on facebook a few days ago.

Do I fear? Do I worry? Am I concerned?

Of course! I am a mother. And I am human. I have all those thoughts and feelings, and probably more.

BUT… I am also a believer of the One who protects, sustains, heals, and is in control of everything. I submit all my fears, worries, and concerns to Him. And He gives me PEACE.

I will move with WISDOM and do what is doable, cooperate with what the government is doing with regards to the community quarantine and now the enhanced community quarantine, but I will still put my TRUST in the Lord.

Read Psalm 91 NLT out loud and let faith arise!!!


1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”

Wooohoooo!!! Amen!!! ❤️

Funny Fridays

Joke’s On Me

When we picked her up in school…..

Me: What did you eat in school? (classmate had a party)

G: junk.

Me: (laughing) okay. I mean what was the food at Josephs party?

G: Whos Joseph?

Joshua pala. That cracked Danae up. 😂

 

More than one time…..

Me: Gianna, are you gonna obey or what?

G: what.

smh. walked right into that one. 🤦🏻‍♀️

 

Before going to Baguio….

G: mom, help.

Me: bakit kasi ang aga-aga, naka make-up ka na?

Like, seriously???? 🤷🏻

 

Just today….

Me: Lord I pray that there wont be a lot of people….

Me: sees loads of people at the grocery…. sees absolutely no shopping carts….

Me: About face. Uwi na ko. Sayang 20 pesos parking.

😂😂😂

 

 

 

 

 

Just My Thoughts

Public Speaking Workshop

Last month, our group of pastors wives had a basic public speaking workshop led by our church mate, Tisha Timbang, who is a member of the Toastmasters Club! To be perfectly honest, I am terrified of speaking in public. I get too nervous even when it’s just a classroom setting, and I’m the student and not the teacher! Maybe it brings me back to when I was a child and my teachers would choose me to represent my class in elocution contests. I don’t know why I ever agreed to any of them when I was never really good at it and I never placed, let alone won. Maybe I could speak English well, but that was it. Always awkward, always nervous in front of a crowd.

Dont get me wrong. Now I love teaching, especially alongside my husband (he makes me feel more at ease in front of other people), and I consider it a privilege to be able to do so. It truly is a testament of Gods grace, because even with my awkwardness and my anxiety, He uses me anyway.

There are two important things that I learned from our guest speaker, Neb Perez, on day 1. (Wasn’t able to attend day 2 because Gianna was sick that week.) The first one is pretty basic. At first it didnt make much of an impact on me, but the more I thought about it, the more I got it. He said public speaking is for the public. Pretty obvious. But what he was trying to teach us was that when we speak to an audience, it is for their benefit, not the speaker’s.

As speakers or teachers or victory group leaders or with whatever speaking/teaching opportunity you and I are given, our focus should be the people, not ourselves. What they need to hear, and not what we fear about how were going to appear. How they can understand the topic better, and not what would make us look smarter or more skilled. Knowing our audience is key. Of course Ned also said to stay true to who we are, to talk how we normally talk, which is liberating for me as I have zero acting skills. Our main goal is to make sure our audience understands what we are trying to say. Its not about showcasing our talent or our amazing life, or impressing them with how much we know or how fast we can talk or how eloquently we speak. It’s about informing them, sharing to them, teaching them, influencing them, inspiring them, imparting to them. We cant stay in our own heads either and just go on and on until we finish what we have prepared to say. We need to make eye contact, observe, connect with, and in our case minister to, the people listening to us.

I also realize that when we get feedback, we must still have the public in mind. To enable us to set aside our egos and focus on their needs. When the focus is off of ourselves, it enables us to receive critique, not reject it. We need feedback to continually improve in getting the message across to people, clearly and correctly, especially when the message we carry is Gods Word and the work He does in our lives.

Ned also gave us 4 questions to ask ourselves before speaking, to adjust our mindset. He said that the moment you think you don’t need to ask yourself those questions is the exact time you need to. For me though, it wasn’t so much the questions he gave, but the practice of checking oneself. In other words, heart-check. What a great reminder to realign ourselves with what God wants us to do right before we actually do it. Remind yourself why you’re speaking. Remind yourself who its for. Remind yourself who gave you the ability and the opportunity. Remind yourself to whom the glory belongs.

In one word, HUMILITY. Public speaking is a privilege and a big responsibility. It may be earned based on your skill or your story, but definitely it is still God who places you there. Definitely it is still God who gave you your abilities. Definitely it is still because of God that you have a story to tell. Let’s remember this well and remain humble. Public speaking is just another tool. Jesus is still the goal. Jesus in you. And Jesus through you.

 

10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

 

 

 

Funny Fridays

Pinoy tayo!

One of my kids was saying that her “Filipino friends” talk a certain way.

Me: umm Filipino ka din, anak. 😂🤦🏻‍♀️

One of my kids overheard my mom talking about Baclaran Day. She quickly interrupted and seriously (innocently) asked, “What’s that? Gay day?” 😂🤦🏻‍♀️

Gianna asked our Manang to get something in the car.

G: Dun sa porchunaire.

Me: Why are you saying it like that?

G: because that’s how Tagalog works.

😂😂😂

My Kids, Parenting

Katrin Noelle

Noelle turned 11 last week! Before we knew her gender, I was already thinking that I wanted our second child to take my Dads second name Manuel. My dad had already passed away two years prior, so it was my way of honoring him. I wish he had still been alive to meet his nephew, my brothers first son Gabby, who was given my dads first name for his second name, and of course meet my second baby. I love its meaning as well, derived from Immanuel — God with us. Again, naming our children is something we ought to do thoughtfully and prayerfully because it is a faith declaration. We wanted to declare that our child will walk with the Lord all the days of his/her life.

It turned out that second baby is a girl again! And the name Noelle just made sense to me. From Manuel to Noelle. Plus she was scheduled to be born around the holidays — Noel means Christmas. Not to mention Immanuel is Jesus — the reason we celebrate Christmas! “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23  I just prayed really hard that I would give birth after New Year. 😀

In keeping with the tradition of giving a K name to our kids, we gave her Katrin, which also means pure. This I found in the same names book I found Danaes names in.

Years later, I came across the definition of the name Noelle in a christian names page or something. Its apparently derived from Nicolas of the book of Acts, and it means victory of the people. My dads first name is VICTOR. ❤ ❤ ❤ Writing this just makes me cry, realizing how God was really with us at that time. There are no accidents. No coincidences. I am humbled and amazed.

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Katrin Noelle. Another beautiful name for another beautiful girl. Who knew we would have a chunky and white baby?! She was the heaviest baby I gave birth to — my first C-section. And she was sooooo white. We knew she would be chinky. She is actually the chinkiest among the three. She had such thin hair that grew ever so slowly, and now her hair grows beautifully straight.

We declare that you will live a pure and holy life before the Lord, Noelle. That you will make wise choices, be determined to honor God in everything you do, and be victorious in all that the Lord leads you to do. The Lord is indeed with you, and I pray that you will grow more and more secure of your identity in Christ. I admire your faith. I admire your insights when we talk about the Bible, or stories, or situations. May you hear His voice even more, and obey Him. We agree with your prayer to be more like Him. You have always had humor and joy as a child. Just like Christmas! May you bring humor and joy to others, and I pray that puberty and hormones 😉 don’t get in the way of that.

You are my original clingy baby. Thank you for being sweet, loving, and thoughtful, though many times a “madame.” Thank you also for being funny without meaning to. You adorably still mix words up. I am glad you are able to laugh at yourself, and not take yourself too seriously. You are also the picky one, about food or beds or bathrooms, but I know none of that will matter when God calls you for His purposes. And I will be secretly, or maybe not secretly, laughing. Hahaha. Not at you, but because of God’s humor. ❤

Last week, coming down from Tagaytay on your actual birthday, when Daddy asked us what we appreciated about one another, I told you this. I love that all three of you love children. A person who loves children, I believe, has a big capacity to love others. I am proud of you for being such a person. You’re a kid, of course there are many times you are self-centered, but I know you and your sisters will grow up helping and serving others. We love you Noelle! Happy 11th! ❤

FEATURED, Just My Thoughts

Lessons from Frozen

Lessons from Frozen 2? No, actually :D. Let′s start with the first one first. I′ve been watching it lately, and Gianna has been listening to its soundtrack all year, like practically each time she rides our car. I loved the story from the very first time I saw it because of true love between sisters. ❤ ❤ ❤

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Three things strike me most. One is how the Grand Pabbie (the troll) instilled fear in Elsa and her parents′ hearts. He could have been more G or PG (because even the parents were terrified) with the visual he gave them about the danger in Elsa′s powers. He could have started with the warning, and ended with the encouragement that there is beauty in her powers if she learns to control it. He could have acknowledged their fear and guided them to not only control her powers but to control the fear. He could have given them hope by telling them that her powers can be used for good.

Our words, and how we deliver them, have power.

Second is what the parents did in response to the troll′s words. They loved their children so much that it made them afraid for their safety. They agreed to hide Elsa′s powers, instead of hone it. They decided to isolate her even from her sister, to teach her ways to conceal, instead of helping her learn her powers and training her to use them. I know it must have been impossible since none of them had experience with such great power, but they could have at least tried, or sought help from others. I am sure they believed it was for the best, but the result was just incredibly sad. They raised two lonely daughters. One, try as she might, could not escape her fears, especially not in isolation. She grew up believing that she could inflict harm on her sister, which made her fear grow even more. And the other grew up confused and hurt, not understanding why she could not be with her sister whom she loved so much.

Love and fear. As a parent, I understand it. God knows how many times I′ve prayed because of the fear I felt in my heart for my children. I don’t think I could be that afraid for them if I did not love them so much.

But LOVE and FAITH. A possibility only because of Jesus. That there is One I can completely trust to love, protect and take care of my children better than I can. One who is Almighty, All-knowing, and Ever-present. One I can cast all my fears to because He cares for me and my family.

But LOVE, FAITH, and COMMUNITY. Friends, family and spiritual family. We don’t have to do things, carry the burden on our own. How grateful are we to have people around us to help us deal with impossible situations, to whom we can be vulnerable and from whom we need not hide. People who give us godly counsel, who pray for and with us, and are present in our lives.

Third is Anna. Despite years of pain and confusion, the moment she learned why Elsa had distanced herself, she chose to understand. She did not run away. In fact, it was still Elsa who ran away because of her fear. And Anna chased after her because of her love for her. Despite the greatness of Elsa′s powers, Anna was not afraid. She trusted in their sisterhood, that Elsa would never deliberately hurt her. And even when she did get hurt, when the time came, she still chose to try to save her sister.

That kind of love blows me away. And that′s the kind of love that changes people′s hearts. Sacrificial. Selfless. True. ❤

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Funny Fridays

Out of the Blue Comments

A few days ago, Gianna and I were walking in the mall…

Mall radio: 🎵santa claus is coming to town…🎶

G: No he’s not….. because he’s DEAD.

😂😂😂 we told her that he was an actual person who loved giving gifts, but that it was a long time ago.

A few weeks ago, I was telling Gianna that we were going to wowa’s friend’s house.

G: what friend?

Me: wowa’s friend from before.

G: is she new?

Me: no, wowa’s old friend.

G: when she was thin?

😂 for some reason, she associates the past with me or my mom being thin. Like when we were younger and thinner. 😂

Me: Gianna! (Surprised)

G: (innocently) is that rude?

😂 I guess she could tell from my reaction.

Her cousin gave her a small lipstick a few nights ago. She was riding at the very back on our way home, and it was either king sped up or hit the brakes abruptly. She suddenly said, “Daaaaad! You made my lipstick go to my tooth!”

Girls 🤷🏻‍♀️ 😂😂😂

Marriage

15 Years <3

Today we celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. ❤  I cannot thank God enough for first giving me the best husband, and then for sustaining us all these years. When I married King, I was sure that it was God who ordained everything for us to be together. But he isn’t perfect, and I am not perfect. We had only known each other for about 14 months, hardly enough time to really get to know another person. So in those 15 years, anything could have happened. The baggage we first brought into our marriage, we could have carried to this day. We could have kept pointing out the fault of the other and kept blaming each other. We could have kept dredging up our past. The issues we faced in the beginning could have remained. The attitudes we had could have remained unchanged. We could have made choices that would ruin us. We could have given up in frustration and pain (although the worst marriage nightmares, we experienced only literally in our dreams, or Kings dreams 😀 ).

But God has carried us through. Marriage is no joke. It is no easy feat. It takes work and change and dying to self. There is nothing like marriage to make you grow up and practice selflessness. I thank God for His grace, giving us the ability to not just bury things in our subconscious, but to acknowledge the issue, forgive and move forward. I thank God for His Word that continually renews our minds and transforms us. It is impossible to navigate through our relationship without the Word of God. Our marriage cannot grow if we ourselves do not grow in our relationship with God. I am so grateful for our spiritual family, that looks out for us. Marriage seminars and retreats, but most importantly couples we look up to and learn so much from. Couples who love us, walk with us, cover us in prayer, and are so generous in sharing their wisdom. Discipleship (as youth/singles) also truly helped us in learning servant leadership, grace, forgiveness, humility, honor, security in our identity in Christ, standards, boundaries, priorities, prayer, faith, trust, joy, hope, sacrificial love. Very important values to carry into a marriage.

Thank you, babe, for being a great husband. Thank you for your genes! We have three beautiful, talented daughters because of your contribution 😀 😀 😀 !  Thank you for your love for our family. Thank you for your kindness, and your example of Christlikeness. You have mentored me in so many ways. Thank you for loving God more than you love me. Our marriage is not perfect. We both make mistakes. But by the grace of God, we will continue being comfortable but never complacent, and we will celebrate our 50th anniversary in 35 years!!! We will be in our late 70s, but hopefully still grooving and laughing together. I love you! ❤

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