Just My Thoughts, Marriage, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, THE BRAINY BUNCH, YOUTH MINISTRY

Courage of A King

If there is one thing I want to tell men — youth, single and married alike — is that they ought to be men of courage.

We all know that courage is not not being afraid, but going ahead and doing something despite the fear and despite the challenge.Courage after all, stems from faith. How courageous one is, is directly related to how great his faith is.

I have been seeing many youth stepping up lately. Young men who used to be the poster boys for “worldly christianity,” who have left their old ways and old relationships, and now are obeying the Lord.

I have been seeing single men stepping up, acting on their faith to pursue the woman they had been praying for and exercising great wisdom to remain pure and holy before the Lord.

I have been seeing married men stepping up, being vigilant and staying committed to their wife and their marriage. I have even been seeing married men who have made mistakes, but are stepping up to keep their family intact and restoring their relationship with their wife.

In fact, I have been seeing courage firsthand.

Read more:http://www.actlikeaman.org/courage-2/#ixzz2XxXYqpcW

Family, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Summer is over!

Summer is officially over because we started homeschooling yesterday! Where did the two months all go? As usual, it was hectic with all sorts of activities for the kids and for us. With April and May alone, I created about 29 albums in my Facebook account!

The highlights for me were the following:

noelletinychef
making Japanese fried rice!

Last May 22-24, it was Noelle’s first time at Feed 5000‘s Tiny Chefs class. She is finally old enough to join. She had a blast! She likes to pretend to cook, most especially with my things that are totally unrelated to cooking, i.e. boxes, jewellery, cards among other things. So it was great to see her participate in her 3-day cooking class. She was typically quiet at first, but warmed up already by end of day 1. Because she was the only tiny chef among older kids, I’m very proud of Danae for not hovering over her sister the entire time and letting Noelle do her own thing. I am also very pleased that although I seldom cook, I know I can count on them to help me.

danaeonstage
photo credit: Jo Tomas

On May 16-18, we had our Vacation Bible Camp in church. It was Danae’s first time to volunteer as a dancer and it has paved a way for her to volunteer in Kids Church as well. She’s enjoying it and is always willing to help. We really appreciate how the teachers are so accommodating. They told me one Sunday that they let Danae lead the dance and they, the teachers, just followed her! My hope is Danae will get a sense of fulfilment in giving of her time, energy and talent as she serves God by serving His people. My hope is that she will understand that it’s not about what she does, but what God does though her, that it’s not about her and her ability, but about God’s grace and love for her. It was also a joy for me to volunteer alongside my daughter. Looking forward to Noelle joining us in the years to come.

In April, Danae joined McDonald’s kiddie crew again but this time with their best friends Ana and Andrea. I am so grateful that my girls have great friends whom we know will influence them to love and obey God too; friends whose parents we know and actually look up to. It helps that they are our senior pastor and leaders in church haha. Noelle enjoyed getting McDonald’s goodies daily that whole week and is excited to join them next year!

kiddiecrewdanae
drive thru!

Summer 2013 has been another fruitful summer for our girls, for us all actually. My life has never been busier, but it’s worth it. 🙂

Discipleship, Family, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Parenting, Spiritual Family, THE BRAINY BUNCH, YOUTH MINISTRY

10X

10xOur new series in church is 10X, all about the next generation. While listening to the preaching yesterday, I was close to tears. Aside from Ptr Jonathan’s touching story about his brave teenage daughter KC who went through so much as a child, operations for her cleft palate and scoliosis, bullying and isolation because she looks and sounds different, I got reminded of my own daughter.

Danae has not gone through half of what KC has, but the preaching brought me back to my pregnancy and our first year as parents. You see, Daniel is my absolute favorite person in the Bible (Old Testament). We would have named our first born after him if he were a boy. But because we had a girl, we found a not-so-common name in a Baby Names book that was the same as Daniel — Danae. In Hebrew, both mean God is my judge, although apparently Danae is also a princess in Greek Mythology. I do not like her story there. Just saying, haha.

Anyway, I just remembered why I love Daniel so much and how we wanted Danae (and Noelle of course) to be ten times better than us, just like Daniel was in his generation. We were so passionate about praying and declaring this to Danae even while she (and Noelle) was in my womb.

This is truly our heart’s desire. We hope for our children to be ten times better than me or King — that at an early age, they will love God, hold fast and remain in Him. This is why we spend time with them, we teach them God’s word and about life, we homeschool them, we discipline them, we pray with them, we build memories with them, we talk to them. We love our children so much that we want more for them — not so they will be trapped in what we think is best for them, but so that they will seek the Lord, grow and walk in their God-given destiny.

This is why we step up as parents as well. What we teach our kids, they must see in us. It is completely unfair that we expect them to be ten times better, while we remain mediocre or indifferent or passive. If we want our children to be ten times better than us, we must be active in parenting them. We have gone ahead of them and we are continually learning. It is our responsibility to not only download it to them, but set the example for them. This way, we will be better, and our children will be ten times better. 🙂

The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. Daniel 1:19-20

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Just My Thoughts, My Kids, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

“I don’t know.”

There are many instances where my kids do things that make absolutely no sense to me — things like doing again the very thing that has gotten them hurt or in trouble, or getting upset that they’re being”blamed” for doing something they actually did, or filling their bags with all sorts of things they don’t need making it too heavy for them to lug around, or fighting about pillows when it’s time to sleep.

I often ask them why they do these things, which more often are not at all worth the trouble, because I want to try to understand where they’re coming from. I often hear “I don’t know” for an answer.

It annoys me greatly and I eventually got tired of it. I still hear their “I don’t know”s of course, but I have since reminded our girls that they should first ask themselves why, before they do something. If their answer is “I don’t know,” then they shouldn’t do it. They should stop.

At times they tell me they do something because so and so did it, and I have heard myself ask them the age-old question “If someone told you to jump off a cliff, would you?” Haha. Not everything their friends say and do, they should imitate. If they know better, then they should go with what they know. If they don’t know better or at all, then they should pause and seek help from those who do know.

We want to teach our children to be aware of themselves, not to be calculating and stiff, but to be wise. Yes they will make mistakes, but I believe they will avoid many sticky situations if they learn to assess first before they dive into anything.

If they don’t know why they’re doing something, what’s the point of doing it? If they don’t train themselves, or if we don’t help train them, to think about their own motives regarding their decisions and actions, they may end up doing anything. They may end up being influenced quickly by others. They may end up having no conviction, no integrity, no backbone.

“I don’t know” to me, can mean three things — the first two are uncertainty and indifference. I don’t want our kids to be unsure about something they’re doing. I don’t just want them to be sure about something before they do it either, because being sure doesn’t necessarily mean being right. You can be sure yet be surely wrong. More so, I don’t want them to be indifferent, following others blindly or not following anyone at all, not caring enough about what they’re doing and caring less about why they’re doing it.

The third one is the one I want for me and my children. Obviously we don’t know everything and there will be many times that we will not know. It is always good to admit when this is true, because this kind of not knowing does not make us insecure or indifferent. It is the kind of not knowing that, though sometimes keeps us guessing, makes us get down on our knees, seek God, and trust in His plans. The kind of not knowing that makes us relinquish control and submit our lives under God’s authority. The kind of not knowing that makes us grow in our faith and have a more intimate relationship with God.

I am grateful for the privilege to train our children, and when the day comes that that kind of “I don’t know” comes out of my girls’ lips, I will all the more praise the Lord.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke. Proverbs 13:1

 

Family, My Kids, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Danae Can’t Dance?

Danae and I had been practicing the past week with our church’s Vacation Bible Camp dance team. We volunteered to join the team that would lead the praise dance on stage and with the kids in the classroom. On Tuesday night, Danae pulled a muscle as she ran abruptly to chase Noelle while we were at the mall. She was limping the rest of the night. When we got home….

Me: How’s your leg?
Danae: Still owie (painful).
Me: Does that mean you can’t dance in VBC on Thursday?
Danae: (thought for a brief second) Lord, please heal my ouchie. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Me: Amen.
Danae: I’ll still dance.
Me: Okay.

I love my daughter’s response! Instead of getting worried and instead of conceding to the pain she was feeling, she PRAYED! She didn’t let a little pain get in the way of her COMMITMENT. Even today, the 3rd and final day of VBC, as she woke up with a sore, tired body, she still danced with us. I am so proud of her! My prayer was for her to learn commitment and SERVANTHOOD through this experience. And I believe she did.

I thank God for the opportunity to impart to her the JOY of serving God and His people, and to actually serve WITH her. I think we even inspired Noelle and two of their girlfriends to volunteer with us next year too! 🙂

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Family, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Drama-free Momma

A friend and I were talking about families last week, and I realized that my family is pretty “drama-free.” There aren’t really any issues, at least none that I’m aware of haha. It wasn’t drama-free when I was a teenager and a young adult, pre-Jesus, but it’s been peaceful for a long time now, even before my Dad passed away. I told my friend that I think we are a family that doesn’t make issues out of little things.

I think it has a lot to do with my Mom who, like I’ve said before, is pretty low maintenance. She’s very independent. Being retired, she has control of her time and keeps herself busy with her own stuff. She doesn’t demand us to drop everything for her. She drives herself, comes and goes as she pleases. But when I need her help with picking up or dropping off the kids when she’s available, she’s always willIng. She doesn’t require much of her children, in fact, except to answer her calls, reply to emails, attend family gatherings and attend to family matters. She gives us advice, but doesn’t meddle in our affairs. She doesn’t demand from us financially. On the contrary, she often blesses me and my brother and our families.

There’s rarely an issue with her because nothing’s ever a big deal. She isn’t over emotional. Sure, we annoy each other at times, just like all moms and daughters, but neither of us holds grudges. Not anymore, at least.

I really appreciate my Mom for who she is. Our methods of motherhood are different, but many of the values I hold and teach my kids today are from her and my Dad. I appreciate her for being a great mom-in-law to King. I want to be as cool as she is when I have my own sons-in-law one day. I appreciate her for being a loving grandmother to my girls and my brother’s boys. I want to be as generous as she is when I become a grandmother.

I love you Mom! I thank Jesus for you and for making a way to restore our relationship. Happy Mothers’ Day! 🙂

Family, Just My Thoughts, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, THE BRAINY BUNCH

My Little Boy?

King and I went on a double date last night with our good friends John and Joyce. The plan was to meet them inside the mall to have dinner and watch Iron Man 3, which was completely awesome by the way, and I don’t think anyone can play Iron Man better than Robert Downey, Jr! We love love loved it!

Anyway, as we entered the mall holding hands, King paused, tugging my hand, telling me that the laces on his left shoe had come undone. Knowing that he couldn’t bend down to do it himself because of his back (we are being careful not to overwork it since his slipped disc in 2011), I handed him my phone, set my bag down on the floor, and got down on one knee to tie it for him.

It wasn’t a big deal since I’ve done it before in public, but this time, King saw some girls’ reactions as they witnessed the whole thing. They couldn’t help but react, saying “Nye!” (Filipino way of saying What?! What the?!) and giggling. King felt a little embarrassed and we had a good laugh out of it.

I can just imagine what was running through their minds. I looked like a mommy tying shoe laces for her little boy! King looks like a normal, healthy man, and if you’re not “in the know,” then you would never think of any reason he wouldn’t be able to tie his own shoe laces, except maybe that he’s an egotistical, cruel, spoiled boyfriend who just wanted his way. Hahaha.

And who knows who else saw? What if instead of finding it funny, they had made up their minds about King, thinking judgmental thoughts, giving him nasty stares, and muttering disrespectful comments? It’s not like I could explain to everybody around why he couldn’t do it himself.

Just goes to show that we can never assume anything or make conclusions based on what we see. Even when we think we know, we really don’t. We don’t know the back story. We only know what we see, and that’s never enough to size anybody or any situation up.

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2

MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Jesus and Parenting

2012 was such an enlightening year for me, especially in parenting. There was a season where I was always stressed, very easily angered and often very much frustrated. I would complain to King about how our kids were turning out. They had their great moments, no doubt, but when they would disobey, I would be infuriated and frustrated. I felt like it was the same things over and over again. I felt exhausted.

On one occasion, I couldn’t help but ask King what we were doing wrong. I felt like we were doing our part. I’m a hands-on, stay-at-home mom, for crying out loud! We teach them God’s word, pray with and for them, spend quality and quantity time with them, teach and show them life lessons constantly, make memories with them, provide for them. We encourage them and are affectionate towards them. We don’t spoil them and we discipline them. How come it’s as if all our efforts are futile? They still disobey, disrespect, and fight us.

As I was ranting, I just felt God speak these incredible words to me:

“BECAUSE YOU’RE MAKING IT ABOUT YOU.”

That’s when it dawned on me that I WAS making it about me, about my own ability to change my children. I was unknowingly parenting with what I believed was the formula. I mean, I always knew that there’s no formula in parenting, but right then I realized that that was what I was doing. I expected results based on my work, on my skill as a parent, which is why I was always angry and frustrated. I took on the burden and the pressure to “make” godly children, when that is JESUS’ JOB.

It was so liberating to repent before God for my pride, my self-trust and self-dependence; to RELINQUISH CONTROL and give it back to Jesus, because only He can transform my children to be like Him, into Christlikeness. I, we, will do our part as parents, continually pray for them, do our best to be examples to them and sow into their lives, but that’s just about all we can do. I AM NOT JESUS and just as I could not save or morph myself, neither can I save or transform my children. I need to trust in the finished work of Christ, not on my imperfect, incomplete, limited efforts, and teach our children to do the same.

Parenting is still not stress-free of course and I am still very much flawed and human, but I don’t have to be the overbearing, ever-angry, ever-frustrated mom I was last year. I am relearning to pick my battles and to let go of the little things. Because of Jesus and His finished work, I am FREE TO LOVE and enjoy my children more.

Thank you Jesus for bringing me back to the Cross and for putting me in my place. 🙂

For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Hebrews 10:10 NLT

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

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 ESV

My Kids, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Learning Modesty 2

We went to our friends Ding and Dons’ resort called Beach Camp in Batangas on Sunday morning, two weeks ago. We were with a few adults and 8 kids. King and my friend May’s hubby Jay followed that night, after a full day of work in church.

The place was grassy and it was very safe for the kids to run around, go in and out of our cottage. Plus it was just us. No other group was in the camp. While I was fixing something in the dining area, Noelle needed to do number 1. I sent her to our cottage and to ask help from Danae. Apparently, there was someone in the bathroom and so our friend Ding, who was the only Daddy (also of two young ladies) around at the moment and was there in the cottage, took her to a bathroom in another cottage.

Ding was so amused, telling us the story.

Noelle: (in the bathroom) Close your eyes. You’re a boy.
Ding: (closed his eyes as he helped Noelle) Okay.
Ding wanted to check if she was done so he opened his eyes.
Noelle: HEY!!!
He didn’t realize she was watching him, so he shut his eyes immediately. Hahaha. But of course he had to help her when she had finished.

We all had a good laugh. It was so unexpected but it shows me that our 4-year old gets it. BOUNDARIES. MODESTY. SELF-RESPECT. 🙂

Just My Thoughts, My Kids, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Please Wait!

My friend from Japan sent us some gifts last week — yummy truffles for me and King, a clay play set for Noelle, and a scrunchie-maker for Danae. The girls were thrilled with their new toys. They hurried eating their breakfast so they could play, despite our request to wait.

To make the long story short, Danae couldn’t wait. Instructions were in Japanese, but she went ahead and tried to make it work. She managed to get the big lump of stretchy yarn stuck in the weaving contraption! We just heard her groaning, asking for scissors. I tried to help, but couldn’t. King stepped in and was the one able to fix it for her.

It just reminded me of how we are. We’re in a new, exciting season, and we can’t wait to enjoy it. But we realize we’re on unknown territory. We don’t know what to do. We want help, but we’re not patient enough to wait for it to arrive. Sometimes, we don’t seek help at all. Itching to do something, we go ahead blindly, winging it, hoping the results are favorable. More often than not, however, they don’t go so well. Instead of being able to enjoy it the soonest, it takes longer because we create problems that we need to troubleshoot first. And sometimes, that’s the only time we actually seek help.

God wants us to enjoy our seasons. But if we don’t seek His will first, we get distracted and derailed. We end up doing things that we’re not supposed to do — maybe good things, but things that waste our time, energy, and resources. Worse, we end up doing the wrong things. If we go ahead of Him instead of wait on Him, we get delayed even more. We make unnecessary mistakes. We dig holes for ourselves that are difficult and take time to get out of. We get lost. We end up needing to go back to square one, when square one should have been to seek God first.

AND YET, when we do get ourselves in trouble, God is always more than willing and available to step in and save us. When we ask for His help at the very last minute, as an afterthought, He is still gracious to give us what we need. He gives us hope, countless chances to go back to Him. And along with those chances, He equips us with lessons, realizations, and hopefully, if we listen and truly learn, wisdom.

There are God-appointed people who can help us with some things, but there are just some things that ONLY the Father can do for us. 🙂

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. Psalm 54:4

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