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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Marriage

Culture of Gratitude

King and I had another opportunity to teach engaged couples in our church yesterday, at our wedding prep seminar called Before I Do. And one of the principles that we teach, though it is not in their manuals, is the concept of low expectation, high appreciation. In simpler terms, low demand, high appreciation. Demand less, hope more, and appreciate more.

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I think it is pretty easy to be thankful for the pleasant surprises, for the unexpected. Things that you hope for and do not demand for, but surprisingly receive. Things that you think you would not get or experience, but then do.

But do we still express thanks for the normal, day-to-day, expected things? Things that are routine already? Things that you think you ought to receive, or things you feel you deserve?

Like maybe when your husband pays the bills on time (and you don’t even notice or get stressed out because they’re always paid for monthly). Or like when your wife keeps the peace at home among the children (and you don’t realize that you get saved from the stress of having to mediate because the issue has already been handled). Or when your husband holds the door for you. Or when your wife brings you water and food. Or when your husband drives for you. Or when your wife drives for you. Or when your husband plans dates with you. Or when your wife organizes your schedule as a family. Or when your husband does the plumbing. Or when your wife does the laundry.

Thank your spouse! Especially for the seemingly little and seemingly ordinary. Everything you do for your spouse and for your family is not little. It is not ordinary. Everything your spouse does for you and for your family is not little. It is not ordinary. Each of your contributions in your marriage is valuable. Appreciate each other. Verbally. Not just by actions. Your words have power. Use them to build a culture of gratitude in your marriage. ❤

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

My Kids

Katina Danae

A few weeks ago, Danae learned that a movie she wanted to see was going to be shown on cable. She got excited and took note of the date. When in doubt about the content of any movie, I research first before I agree. And then I watch it with them. My girls know we can be pretty strict about these things, so I was glad I was asked first before she went ahead and saw it on her own.

The children in the movie have interesting names — Seven, Starr, and Sekani. I relate to the father who named their children, because his choices were not random. Seven for perfection. Starr for light in the darkness. Sekani for joy. I soooo love that. It reminds me of why King and I named our children the way we did. Early on, we knew that their names would be a significant decision for us to make.

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Katina Danae. 14 years ago, we chose to give our first born this name. We chose a K name because of King, which is his actual first name, and we wanted to declare that our daughter will live a pure and holy life. Katina means pure. Danae came from one of our favorite people in the Bible, Daniel. (I love his friends too. I joke that if I could name my kids Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, I would. 😀 ) The name means God is my judge, and we wanted to declare that our daughter will love God fearlessly and be ten times better, just like Daniel.

We declare these for Danae to this day! We also declare wisdom beyond your years, Nae. Wisdom in your speech, wisdom in friendships, wisdom in big and small decisions. We declare courage to share the love of Jesus, even to those who are difficult to love. We declare passion to seek the Lord, to obey Him, and depend on Him. We declare security in your identity in Jesus Christ alone. We declare strength in your spiritual foundations and steadfastness, that you will always choose God over anything the world offers. We declare confidence to approach the throne of your Father, humility to rely on His grace. May the Lord be glorified in your life Nae! You are a normal teenager, who is into Why Don’t We and easily appreciates beauty (I am being nice here 😀 ), who makes mistakes, fights with her sisters, and is in need of guidance. We thank the Lord for the work He is doing in you, in your day-to-day affairs. Thank you for listening to us, even though many times it takes a while to take. Thank you for always being open to us, talking to us about anything and everything. For trusting us with your tea 😉 . Thank you for loving and appreciating our imperfect family. We love you so much. Happy 14th ❤ .

 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. Jonh 15:5