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

Learning Modesty

We don’t have many magazines at home, but I did purchase one where my friend and her home got featured, and the one where my name was “published.” Danae was looking through the latter last week, but I took it back to check first if there were any articles or pictures not meant for children. Being a parenting magazine, it was pretty safe.

A while later, Danae commented on a picture of a woman in her underwear….

Danae: Eeeew, why is she like that?

Me: (looking at the ad) Oh because they’re advertising lotion. They’re showing that it makes your skin nice and smooth.

Danae: Even then. She shouldn’t be naked.

Me: Yeah, I agree with you Nae. You’re so right.

Last Sunday, Noelle was wearing a dress and thigh-high striped socks. When we got off the car, she was fussing over her dress. She felt that her dress was too short, despite my assurances that it wasn’t.

Noelle: People can see my butt.

Me: No, love. Okay, lemme fix it. (I think she was just feeling weird about the inner skirt, which I tied up so it wouldn’t show)

Noelle: (screams while giggling, holds her skirt down) There are boys! I don’t want anyone to see.

After I fixed it, she was still self-conscious, protecting herself from being compromised.

I thank God our girls are learning modesty as early as now. They’re learning what is acceptable and unacceptable, what is wise and what is not, what is pleasing to the Lord and what is not, not only with regards to what they themselves wear and do, but also what they allow themselves to see. We know that we cannot protect our children from all that is in the world, but we can build strong Christian foundations so they can make wise, God-honoring decisions on their own.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

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

Culture of Generosity

We were peacefully watching a movie early last night when some kids came up to our gate. I asked our helper to go out and see what they needed. My curious girls ran to the window to take a look too.

Danae ran back to me, telling me that the kids are hungry. She excitedly said that we should give them the extra can of cookies we had. I just nodded and gave her the can. Our helper handed it to the kids outside as my girls watched from the window.

I read somewhere that we shouldn’t always give out compliments or be generous with our “good jobs!” to our kids. I can’t remember exactly why but I suppose it’s because it might teach them to be complacent or lazy, thinking their mediocre work is great. I suppose also that it may teach them to seek praise for every little thing they do, and as a result, they will not have the drive to do anything unless they are praised.

After what Danae did, I chose not to say anything. I believe that we have always encouraged generosity through our words and actions and have applauded it as well. But today, I wanted to teach her that her act was not extraordinary, and that in our family, it should not be extraordinary — it should be normal.

About 3 hours later, of course, I had to at least acknowledge what she did. It wasn’t right not to. There was no need to gush or make a huge deal out of it. I just gave her a hug and told her she did a good thing. She just smiled and went back to what she was doing.

Giving encouraging words is normal in our family. It’s our culture. I understand the concern about our part as parents in promoting mediocrity and a lack of motivation, when we over-compliment our kids. But I think that deliberately withholding praise is not the key. Excellence, hard work, and joy can still result from encouragement, if done truthfully and with a sense of normality. Our kids get used to being praised, and they also get used to constructive criticism and correction. It’s a matter of balance. The true key, though, is teaching our kids that we do not do things to seek praise from men, but to serve the Lord.

Our hope is that our girls get used to giving and sharing, whether they’re thanked for it or not, whether they are applauded or just hi-fived or not acknowledged at all. That even though nobody notices, they know God sees and that is enough.

Because excellence, hard work, joy, kindness, service, love are an overflow of the fullness of Christ in one’s life, generosity, exercised with wisdom, should be, will be, if it isn’t already, our family’s culture too.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 2:23-24

He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. Proverbs 19:17

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

Discipleship, Just My Thoughts, My Kids, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, Spiritual Family, THE BRAINY BUNCH, YOUTH MINISTRY

What’s The Point?

It was King’s birthday the other day. I was thinking all day what we could do for him when he’d get home from work, until I decided to use the money I had set aside, to give to him as our gift. Noelle told me to just buy him a gift, but I really didn’t know what King wanted. I knew that it was something he was not used to, yet he would appreciate.

I explained to both my girls that the only budget we had for our trip to the mall was for their dad, and that we were not buying anything for them. Danae immediately pointed out that she had money. Noelle also had money. We agreed that they would buy according to how much they had.

King was shopping in the clothes section, while the girls kept pulling me to the school supplies. Danae finally chose a set of oil pastels, which was well within her budget. Noelle chose an art kit, 20 pesos beyond hers. I agreed anyway, figuring Danae’s money would be enough to cover it.

Lining up at the counter, Danae realized that she had left her 200+ pesos at home. She was upset, but I had to remind her of our agreement. I really did not have extra. And it wasn’t the end of the world anyway. She could still get them another time. Noelle on the other hand, had her 100 pesos in her wallet, which she had placed in her bag immediately after we counted her cash. I asked King for the 20 pesos that she lacked.

The whole thing reminded me of what Pastor Steve Murrell shared at our church’s Metro Manila staff meeting regarding passing the baton, after connecting it to a funny experience he and his brother had when they were teenagers. You can run the relay the fastest, but it won’t count for anything if you leave the baton at the start.

Exactly. Danae may have had more money than Noelle, but she got nothing out of our trip to the mall. Since she didn’t have it with her, it was useless.

What’s the point of all this learning, growing, equipping, if we don’t bring it and use it? What’s the point of running the race fast, if we don’t bring the baton and pass it? What’s the point of knowing the Gospel, of experiencing the love of Christ, of learning to live life to the full, of being discipled, if we don’t GO share and teach it to others?

Let’s not miss the point. Let’s not miss our mark. Honor God. Make disciples. #Discipleship2013 #Victory #EveryNation

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

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

We Weren’t Invited!

Some time last year, we were looking at pictures of a party posted on Facebook.

Danae: Aww, how come we weren’t there?
Me: Oh because we weren’t invited, love.
Danae: Why?!
Me: It’s okay, babe. We don’t always have to be invited.
Danae: But why? Did they forget us?
Me: No. Of course they haven’t forgotten you, but remember, not everybody will be invited to everything.

Danae was a bit bummed, but she quickly let go of it. My theory is she didn’t see either me or King feel bad or offended by it — something that we have learned through the years.

It’s true that with parenting, more is caught than taught. Our children pick up so many things from us, both good and bad. Because we spend the most time with them, our influence is just massive. It’s up to us to be responsible and conscious of what we pass on to them. Will we let them get our fears and insecurities? Or will we teach them, encourage them to respond better by getting over our own fears and insecurities?

Will we reinforce their feelings of rejection by showing them our disappointment or self-pity? Or even through the occasional disappointment, which of course everybody feels sometimes, will we comfort them and teach them to battle rejection by showing them acceptance and understanding — that it’s okay to not be part of every party that each of our friends will have?

Will we teach them to feel entitled, that they or our family should always be invited? Or will we teach them to be grateful for the events that we are privileged to be part of?

Will we teach them to hold grudges or harbor ill feelings towards other people? Or will we help them understand that not being invited does not mean we are unloved, unwanted, unimportant, unappreciated or forgotten? That not being invited does not diminish their value?

Will we teach them to find security in the love and acceptance of other people? Or will we teach them to be secure in their identity in Christ?

What do we want to pass on to our children, and what would we want them to pass on to theirs? Let’s be aware. Let’s be responsible. Let’s be deliberate.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 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 upon 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 6:4-9

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6


It Makes No Sense

Just a while ago, Noelle was whining because she wanted to get the ball from the box. My condition was that she finish her dinner first.

Noelle: I want the ball now. (whining and crying)
Me: You need to eat first.
Noelle: That doesn’t even make sense!
Me: Well, it doesn’t have to make sense to you. You just need to obey.

As soon as the words left my mouth, I thought of Noah who did not complain, but obeyed God when he was told to build a huge ark when there was no obvious need for it. He obeyed though the task seemed daunting, even impossible. He obeyed even when the rest of humanity misunderstood him. He obeyed though it seemed ridiculous, even when people laughed or criticized him. He obeyed even though he himself could not wrap his brain around what God was planning to do.

That’s the kind of attitude we should have as God’s children. We don’t have to understand everything. We just need to TRUST in His goodness, His love, His perfect will, and OBEY.

This is the account of Noah and his family.

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

Noah did everything just as God commanded him. Genesis 6:9-22

Homeschooling, Just My Thoughts, My Kids, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Focus, Fruitfulness, and God’s Faithfulness

2012 was an amazingly fruitful year for me! Looking back at the pictures of people and events I took, looking at my pictures taken by other people in many church events and in friends’ homes, thinking about all the blogs I posted and all the get-togethers we hosted, not to mention the birthdays that we celebrated and family trips we took, plus homeschooling…..yeah, 2012 was indeed fruitful. Although it began as a blur, I was able to write down a few faith goals, one of which was to be productive, fruitful every day. God is faithful. He answered my prayer.

One of the faith goals I wrote down was regarding homeschooling, that God would confirm to me whether it was right to homeschool Danae or not, which of course He did. We began last June. I’ve posted a few about our experiences — Why Homeschool?, OurVery Own Homeschool Room, Perks of Homeschooling — Freedom and Creativity, Perks of Homeschooling — Flexible Hours, Perks of Homeschooling — Opportunities.

my name published! :)
my name published! 🙂

Another one I prayed for was that my name be published. I did not know how, when or where, but I just told God my desire. He answered that prayer in a really funny way. My friend Varsha Daswani asked me for some holiday safety tips because she was writing an article for a magazine. I sent her the few that I thought of, and later on she told me that she would quote me, and a bunch of our other friends, in the article. So there, my name is actually published in a magazine! Haha, I love God’s sense of humor!

This year, God’s word for me is FOCUS. Yes, He made me fruitful and productive last year, but this year I need to balance that. I need to focus on my priorities on a daily basis, do the things I need to do first everyday — personal quiet time, family devotions, exercise, and homeschooling. Everything else must work around those as much as possible.

I believe I started 2013 right, and there have already been breakthroughs in our homeschooling, even though it’s been barely a week since we began. Noelle has joined us, and Danae has somehow matured and no longer whines about working on her paces. Thank you Lord! We have been following a better routine, and it seems to be finally working for us. Most importantly, I think we all have BETTER ATTITUDES. Focus and keeping my priorities straight helps me to teach my children better, and therefore fosters a conducive atmosphere for learning. It really begins with me. God’s grace abounds when we obey.

I also started exercising again the day after I found out that I had high blood pressure. Thank God for annual physical exams! That was on the last week of December last year.  I’d been complaining about dizzy spells for more than a month, and that must have been the reason. Thank God it never spiked too high, especially with all the yummy food over the holidays. After our church’s annual January fast and exercising with our Xbox Kinect almost daily, I am happy to say that my blood pressure is normal again! It’ll take more exercise and a better diet to maintain this, of course.

I am grateful for 2012 and the many lessons I learned. I am thankful for the HOPE I have in JESUS, that even though I did make mistakes and I will still make mistakes, He is not finished with me yet. His mercies are new every morning. Every year is a new chance to do things right. Every day is a new chance to make the right choices.

I am hopeful for what is to come. Again, with the things I desire, I do not know how, where or when, but God is faithful. He wants to bless me and my family. His ways are higher than mine. His timing is perfect. 🙂


Happy 4th Birthday Noelle!

Noelle's candle blowing in Pasig. January 4, 2012.
Noelle’s candle blowing in Pasig. January 4, 2012.

Noelle turned 4 today. We had a candle blowing thing with her cousins on King’s side last Friday. My (King’s)

Big Guy's Pizza (12 flavors)!
Big Guy’s Pizza (12 flavors)!

sister-in-law came with her yummy Moosh lemon cupcakes, and we ordered a huge pizza from Big Guy. The girls slept the night there.

We rescheduled her candle blowing in church to next Saturday, and just went to Fun Ranch with their cousin on my side tonight. On our way there, King asked the girls a question.

King: Who’s happy?
Both girls: Me!
King: Why are you happy?
Danae: Because I have my toy and we’re going to Fun Ranch!

Noelle and Gabby in Fun Ranch! Jan 6, 2012. :)
Our two January celebrants in Fun Ranch! Jan 6, 2012. 🙂

King: How about you Noelle…why are you happy?

Danae, Noelle, and Gabby!
Danae, Noelle, and Gabby!

Noelle: Because it’s my birthday!

How incredibly refreshing to hear her say she was happy just because it was her birthday! Not because of a cake, a party, a trip, a friend, a gift, or anything new. The mere fact that she turns or turned four today is enough to make her giddy all week.

GRATEFULNESS. CONTENTMENT. JOY. Values we can all learn from my now four-year-old Noelle.

Happy 4th birthday Noelle! We love you! 🙂

Homeschooling, My Kids, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Perks of Homeschooling — Opportunities

Sparks Homeschoolers have had a tradition of putting up a bazaar during the Christmas season for the last 3 or 4 years. This year, they had the opportunity to do it in a commercial place called Soderno, a big tent open only on weekends for food and bazaars in Molito Lifestyle Center.

King and I also decided to take the opportunity to join so that Danae would learn a thing or two. It was my very first time to experience the whole thing as a seller, and I enjoyed it! It wasn’t a really busy place like other bazaars, so it wasn’t so stressful for me. Danae actually enjoyed playing with her friends and sister, while I manned our booth haha. I was able to teach her some about money, math and work. I learned a lot myself, and it was sort of a dream come true as I have always wanted to own a “sari-sari” (convenience) store. King always tells me it would never work because my kids and I will be the top customers haha.

I was so impressed by the older kids who manned their own booths! Watching and listening to them made it more fun for me. I loved talking to the other moms there as well. I loved that some of our homeschoolers showcased their talents by jamming with the acoustic act in the food area, and then they had their own jamming session in our area.

If not for homeschooling and for Sparks, this wouldn’t have been possible for us. We are grateful for the opportunity to teach, to learn, not to mention earn. We will definitely be joining again next year. Maybe then I would be ready with some of my own creations. 🙂

Danae in front of our booth. One of the very few times that she was haha. :)
Danae in front of our booth. One of the very few times that she was haha. 🙂
Danae and Noelle's booth! We sold all kinds of things -- toys, stickers, pouches, awesome notebook and notepad covers, hand sanitizers, colognes, hand washes, and bags. :)
Danae and Noelle’s booth! We sold all kinds of things — toys, stickers, pouches, awesome notebook and notepad covers, hand sanitizers, colognes, hand washes, and bags. 🙂
Our beautiful notebook covers, created by my friend Donna Gaddi. :)
Our beautiful notebook covers, created by my friend Donna Gaddi. 🙂
Sam Battung's booth! She sold their own creations, from little trays and accessories to arts & crafts kits and little knick knacks. :)
Sam’s booth! She sold their (they are a family of very creative individuals) own creations, from little trays and accessories to arts & crafts kits and little knick knacks. 🙂
Andee and Julia's booth! Julia sold ballet-themed items, consistent with her being a ballerina. Andee sold other cute bags and wallets. :)
Andee and Julia’s booth! Julia sold ballet-themed items, consistent with her being a ballerina. Andee sold other cute bags and wallets, her mom’s creations. 🙂
Elise's booth! She and her mom sold Christmas bowls and plates, among other things. I actually bought some from them haha. :)
Elise’s booth! She and her mom sold Christmas bowls and plates, among other things. I actually bought some from them haha. 🙂
Matthew's booth, with sister Micah modelling! His mom sold shirts and accessories. :)
Matthew’s booth, with sister Micah modelling! His mom sold shirts and accessories. 🙂
Spring's booth! She and her mom sold framed art works. :)
Spring’s booth! She and her mom sold framed art works. 🙂
Spring and Sam's Grandma's booth! She sold quilts that she herself made. Told you they're a family of creative individuals! :)
Spring and Sam’s Grandma’s booth! She sold quilts that she herself made. Told you they’re a family of creative individuals! 🙂
Chuck's booth! He sold his mom's creations called Scentiments -- body oils and room sprays. :)
Chuck’s booth! He sold his mom’s creations called Scentiment — body oils and room sprays. Really great fragrances. 🙂
Yela's booth! She, her sister and mom sold shirts, colognes, credit card holders. :)
Yela’s booth! She, her sister and mom sold shirts, colognes, credit card holders. King bought little hand sanitizers from them. 🙂
Amber's booth! She sold stickers and notepads. her tattoos were my kids' favorite. Danae still has one on her clavicle, which she put over 2 weeks ago. :)
Amber’s booth! She sold stickers and notepads. Her tattoos were my kids’ favorite. Danae still has one on her clavicle, which she put over 2 weeks ago. 🙂
Trey's booth! He and his partner Joaquin, sold his awesome HASHTAG shirts. :)
Trey’s booth! He and his partner Joaquin, sold his awesome HASHTAG shirts. 🙂
Homeschooling, My Kids, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Please Support Danae!

Please support Danae and some of the homeschoolers as they join Soderno’s bazaar this weekend! They will be there on Friday and Saturday only, November 23 and 24, selling all kinds of great stuff! For last year’s bazaar, the older kids sold some of their own work — paintings and paper products among other things. I know this year, Trey Remulla is going be selling his awesome #HASHTAG shirts! Pink Teacup Shoppe will be there with, I’m sure, cool, pretty, creative stuff! It has been a SPARKS tradition for around 3 years (or more), but it’s our first time to be in an actual bazaar place like SODERNO, located in Molito Lifestyle Center, Alabang. And it being our first homeschooling year, we wanted in on the action too!

Danae doesn’t have anything original (or originally made by her) to sell, but we wanted to take this as a learning opportunity for her. This is also my first time to do this, so we really ask for your support and prayer. HOPE TO SEE YOU TOMORROW & SATURDAY, from 5pm till midnight, AT SODERNO! 🙂

Family, Marriage, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Eight Years!

King and I celebrated our 8th anniversary with the kids at Marciano’s in South Mall tonight! We ordered Fight Night, composed of a salad, 2 appetizers, lasagna, and a-14 inch pizza. Simple celebration, yummy food, grateful for eight years of highs and lows, successes and failures, joys and sorrows, breakthroughs and struggles. Eight years of LOVING and LEARNING. 🙂

Happy anniversary, Babe! Thanks for dinner! I love you! 🙂

This is post #8 for 8 wonderful years! Check out post #7 here!

Hudson Prawns
Eight years!
Marciano’s Signature Salad
14-inch Bandel’s Margherita Pizza
Joey Tribbiani’s Meat Lasagna
Donnie Dresco Calamares
Still tired from our trip, but grateful for our family!