Our Words Have Power

Wife, do you tell your husband you are proud of him? When was the last time you did?

Husband, do you tell your wife she is beautiful? When was the last time you did?

The tongue has the power of life and death, the Bible says. Let’s lift each other up with our words.

Wife, your husband will feel secure and significant, knowing that you are proud of him. Let him know that you are proud of him not only during successes, but most especially in failures. Hold the criticism, the “I told you so”s. I know sometimes this is hard, since apparently we wives are always right (hahaha), but this will teach you to trust in the Lord more. To pray. To be silent when your husband needs you to be. Hug him. You standing by him, being his number one fan no matter what, will encourage him to get back on his feet and keep going. Your support means the world. It will encourage him to keep giving his best.

Husband, your wife will feel loved and secure when you tell her she is beautiful. Mean it. Focus on a particular detail about her beauty, whether physical or internal. Change it up. Be creative. Find new beautiful things about her. Discover her. Tell her. This will teach you to step out of your comfort zone, to pause and reflect, and to be grateful for God’s goodness in your life. It doesn’t have to be cheesy. Trust me, I’m not cheesy either, though King often is (hahaha). Just tell her sincerely. Details help. So she doesn’t have to ask you why, and you don’t have to explain further either. Right? She will appreciate your appreciation of her, and you will put a smile in her heart all day.

 

The tongue can bring death or life;
    those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21 NLT

Gentle words are a tree of life;
    a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 NLT 

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips. Proverbs 141:3 NIV 

 

 

Gianna turned “free”

Ever since Mother’s Day this year, Gianna likes to greet us. She greeted my mom and I everyday for the whole month of May practically. She would greet King too haha! And then she learned to greet him Happy Father’s Day in June. When we’d have get-togethers or attend birthday parties, she would always be excited to sing and blow the candle. I think she even requested to blow the candle one time (maybe more), saying “For me, for me.” My birthday is exactly a month before hers, so she was happy greeting me everyday, even after we told her that it was almost her birthday. She did learn to say that her birthday is on “Ogwest twewv.”

She’d also known for a while that she was turning three. One time in June maybe, she told me that she’s “turning free.” I said, “oh you’re turning free…yeah.” She smiled, looked at me and said, “I’m not Free-ya.” She remembered her friend and VBC dance teammate Fria, hahaha. She still says Free today.

August 11th, we told her that her birthday is tomorrow. So on the day of, when we greeted her happy birthday, she told me “My birthday is tomorrow.” Haha. It didn’t take much convincing. She was happy to be the birthday girl. We did pass by another baby’s 1st birthday party in the morning, but she had no problem “sharing” her day. Not a diva, my girl. 🙂

The girls are always excited to spend time with their cousins, and Gianna is no different. Oh the screams, when the family (both sides) arrived. She was so hyper that evening! Like extra extra hyper. She was also so excited to wear her princess dress. Two weeks before, she planned to wear her Minnie Mouse costume for her birthday party. But since she already wore it that week (just at home, no occasion), and I saw that she didn’t match her birthday set-up, I brought out 2 old flower girl gowns (Danae’s) and made her choose. When I went into the bathroom, she told me that she picked the Cinderella one, which is the blue one. I asked one of her sisters to help her out, while I prepared outside. She came out wearing the Belle dress! So adorable. ❤ And so like her. Sometimes she says no, but she actually means yes. She says one thing, but actually means another.

Thinking about the family get-together 2 weeks before, I asked Gianna what she wanted to eat on her birthday. Her immediate and consistent answer was “CAKE.” Later on she also said pasta. And then as I asked her what kind of pasta she wanted, or if she also wanted chicken, she mentioned “HOPIA.” Hahaha. There was indeed cake and hopia on her birthday. 🙂

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that’s hopia in the cupcake stand. and that’s the closest to the pink cake she wanted. she wanted a strawberry flavored one, but i doubt she’d enjoy eating it. she just really wanted a pink cake. hehehe 🙂

Eeeew….

One time last month, Noelle and I were eating breakfast together, while the two other girls were still asleep (I love one-on-one moments with my girls).

Noelle: How come I’m the only one in the family who doesn’t like sauce?

Me: Yeah, there are people who like it, there are people who don’t. Remember my old blog about our preferences in eating our hotdog? We’re all different. You ate yours without bread, nothing on it. Danae ate hers with bread and just mayo. I ate mine with bread and just ketchup, since they didn’t have mustard (and I would have much preferred tomato ketchup). Daddy ate his with bread, ketchup and mayo, but he likes everything.

Noelle: What do you mean he likes everything?

Me: Like if there was pickle relish, he would be okay with putting pickle relish.

Noelle: Eeeew.

Me: Haha. But that’s what makes Daddy a good missionary. He can do those things. He can eat anything.

Noelle: I can’t do that. I’m picky.

Me: Hehehe yeah. But, Noelle, what if God tells you to go on missions?

Noelle: (smiling and without batting an eyelash) I’ll bring lots of food.

Hahahaha. We got a laugh out of that one. But more so, I was blessed hearing that she is still willing to obey God despite her unwillingness to eat certain food. Ready to go for God, despite her reluctance to try the unfamiliar. God bless her heart. ❤

Lord, help us!

So many sad, scary, maddening, unbelievable things happening in the world lately. I just saw a video of what happened in Charlottesville and I am appalled. The hate. The anger. The mob. The exhilaration, the adrenalin of them coming together as a group. The unbelievably strong conviction they have that what they’re doing is right. The self-righteousness. The pride. Armed and ready to kill, yet according to one of them, they “showed incredible restraint.” Except for one who ran over some people with his car and killed one person, which they believe was a justifiable act. I just couldn’t believe it.

And here in my own country! The killing of a 17-year old boy. Does it matter if he was guilty of using and/or selling drugs? Innocent until proven guilty. And then when proven guilty, let the judge give him a sentence. He shouldn’t have been killed based on suspicion! He shouldn’t be killed even if found guilty! I know so many things are messed up in our justice system, corruption in the prison facilities and all. But I’d rather hope for restoration, reformation, rehabilitation, than believe that people are hopeless. Who are we to judge that they will never change? The Lord can change even the hardest of hearts. And this kid may have been innocent! Too many “Nanlaban” (resisted) stories in the news for me to think that it was not as witnesses said. Staged to look like a “justified killing.” It’s so scary to think that this could happen to any of us. I’ve watched enough (or too many) crime shows that depict real life to know that corrupt police officers can indeed plant evidence, twist facts, manipulate the system. Abusive of their power. Corrupted by greed. Empowered by their leader/s. Not all police, thank God, but some really are unworthy of trust.

And then about two weeks ago, my husband and I “survived” a shooting. We were two restaurants away from where the crime was committed. We did not see anything outside, but we heard gunshots, followed by screaming, then we saw people running inside and then towards us. At that time we had no clue what exactly was happening. But we immediately stood up and started moving. I grabbed my friend by the arm and pulled him. In my mind, I was panicking, wondering if it was a bomber or some guy going on a shooting spree, in which case I could get shot from behind. The danger was real. The fear was real. But I thank God for His grace and protection. First, my kids and my mom were not with me when I met with our friend. Second, King followed, so I felt safer that he was around. Third, King came 30 minutes before it happened (he came into the mall passing through the area of the crime scene). Fourth, I parked where I don’t normally park — on the other side. Fifth, we were able to walk away quickly, exit the building, and get home unharmed.

Call me sheltered, but this was the first time something like this happened so near me. I cannot believe that somebody was shot in quite literally our backyard! It was apparently a hit, an assassination. How easy it is for some people to take a life is beyond me. Some say justice was served because the man was a corrupt government official. I’m not so sure I agree that murder is justice. And I can’t believe that the perpetrators did it in such a public place! A wholesome, peaceful, public place! My kids, and many other kids, hang out by the fountain to play. Imagine the horror of parents who were actually there at that time. Traumatic and terrifying, I’m sure. I mean, it was traumatic for those who saw none of it, but were locked up inside a restaurant or caught in the stampede of people running out. My kids or any of us could have been caught in the crossfire, since reports said the guy’s bodyguards fired back. Too real. Too scary. Too crazy. Thank God no one else got killed, or was severely injured.

 

Lord, help us! We want to live in safety and in peace. We do not understand everything that is going on or why, but we trust in Your goodness and love for us. We hold on to your word that You go with us, that You will never leave us or forsake us. We trust that through trouble, we can draw strength from You, we can take refuge in You, and You will protect and save us. Help us do our part, not only in keeping our families safe, but by example, teaching our children to be God-fearing, law-abiding, Philippines-loving citizens. To be accepting and respectful of others, yet unafraid to use our influence to share the Gospel, to bring glory and honor to You. To fight, not with arms, but with our hands clasped and our knees bent. We declare You Lord of the Philippines, and we claim that blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Psalm 91

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.

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.”

 

 

Conversations with Gianna 2

My dad used to call Danae his pretty rosebud.

My mom started calling Gianna the same a few months ago. She would say “Good morning, pretty rosebud!” Gianna barely replies. One evening, Gianna poured out my mom’s medicines onto the floor. My mom got angry and scolded her. She cried, I came home, that was that (she apologized late the next day). The next morning, Gianna went into her room….

Wowa: (being stern — she hadn’t apologized yet) Who are you?

Gianna: Pretty Rosebud.

Wowa: (to me, when she was telling me about it that day) Ano na lang gagawin ko? Marunong sumagot.

Hahahah. Many times she does not respond to “pretty rosebud.”. But this time, she used it to her advantage.

 

These days, when my mom asks her…..

Wowa: You’re my pretty?

Gianna: Gianna. Pretty Gianna.

She told me that she’s just Gianna, not Rosebud. Haha.

 

One time in my in-laws’ house….

Gianna: Ssssh…he’s sleeping. (pertaining to King’s brother-in-law, while moving quietly)

Kuya Larry: (Shifts position)

Gianna: (gets scared and scurries away) He’s moving, he’s moving!

This was just relayed to me, but it cracked me up so much. I could imagine her face, haha.

 

Gianna loves my friend’s dogs, friendly Shih Tzus named Sky and OB.

At a party in their house, she was beside their food bowls, encouraging the dogs to eat and drink. She left that area when I told her to. But she continually played with them. At one point, while Mommy was busy chatting with the ladies, she asked the Yayas (also her favorite, maybe because they accommodated her so much hahaha) for some cereal.

Yaya: You want this cereal? The chocolate one? (because she chose the cheerios)

Gianna: No. (I was surprised by her answer when my friend was telling me this story, because she likes chocolate cereal.) THAT’S DOG FOOD.

Hahahaha. The chocolate cereal did resemble dog food.

 

One time in Kids Church….

Gianna: Mommy, I want that.

Me: Which one, love?

Gianna: I want a skirt just like that, mommy.

She was pointing at a tutu worn by another little girl. She impressed me with her complete sentence. She’s into “princess dresses” these days, even just in the house.

 

One time, while we drove away from the house….

Gianna: Is that Raerae’s house?

Me: No.

Gianna: Whose is it?

Me: Somebody else’s.

Gianna: How bout our house?

Me: That’s not our house. Remember? What’s the color of our house?

Gianna: Orange!

Me: No, it’s brown and white.

Gianna: I want our house a pink color.

Me: No love. Our house will never be pink.

Gianna: I can’t?

Me: Yeah, you can’t.

Gianna: Awww.

She loves pink, haha.

 

Gianna can be demanding.

Gianna: I want to watch your laptop, mommy.

Me: You have to ask me nicely.

Gianna: Get your laptop, mommy.

Me: What’s the magic word?

Gianna: Laptop.

She would say the subject of her sentence every time I asked for the magic word — whether it was milk, the tablet, water. Thank God she now knows that PLEASE is the magic word.

 

They like to watch this Filipina girl singing on a talent show.

Me: (singing due to LSS) This girl is on fiyerrr….

Gianna: No, it’s FAYA mommy.

That’s how the girl sings it on the video.

 

Some of her funny words…..

“Marco Folo.”

“Des-pa-si-to lalalala Falito.” (we stopped listening to the song when we found out what the song meant, promise!)

Baby suits. “Mommy, can I wear my baby suits?”

“It’s taking forever, mom.”

When I tell her to sit down, she says “I am,” even when she’s sitting where she’s not supposed to.

“Ba-toh, ba-toh tink! Papell, ba-toh, tink!”

 

While we were having lunch last week…

Gianna was playing beside me, and she was kind of laughing and looking at the table behind us. She said to me, “Love love pipol, mommy.”

Awww, she has said that a few other times. She may have a heart for people. ❤

 

Gianna is indeed a delight to everyone around her. We don’t want her to grow up, but she is turning 3 tomorrow! Happy birthday, bingky boo. We love you! ❤

 

She shines like GOLD!

Before we get farther and farther away from July (I started writing this July 31st), I want to honor a friend of mine who recently celebrated her birthday. This woman shines like GOLD.

 

G – generous! She takes every opportunity to be generous. She shows her love through generosity. She welcomes us into her home. She loves to bless us with food! She’s an excellent cook and baker. She makes our birthdays and meetings extra special with her goodies. She is so thoughtful with gifts as well (she just gave me one the other day!). She’s generous with her children! She entrusts her young kids to me. Me, who often times feels like a kid, amidst the many wise women around me. I’m so thankful for this, not only that I can teach and minister to them, but that my kids and I can hang out with them. Heehee.

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#squad ❤

She’s generous with her wisdom and her talents. She teaches us, imparts to us, not only her love for the Lord and His people, but her love for her family. She sets the example of a servant leader, a loving and faithful wife, a hands-on and supportive mother, a creative and joyful home maker. She’s a blesser. In big ways and in small. Whether seen or unseen. Her heart is to be a blessing to others.

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We are all July celebrants. She made us each a “cookie cake” that year. It was her famous to-die-for chocolate chip cookie recipe. ❤ 

 

O – outstanding! She is an outstanding individual. She exudes excellence. She does not settle for “okay na yan” (though she is also not too uptight to say “okay lang yan” when necessary). She is a learner, a reader, and a writer — she loves wisdom. She is firm with her beliefs and strong in her convictions. She has a standard for what she does. In fact, it shows in the ingredients she chooses when she bakes. She does not compromise the quality of her work. Whatever she puts out there – teaching, training, tablescapes, food, writing, even pictures – she makes sure of quality. She is an excellent planner and she always comes prepared. But she is willing to learn, get ideas from others, in order to improve herself and/or her creations. She is also always so put together. One look at her eyebrows and you’ll agree with me, haha. Her home is always pristine, whether there are people coming to visit or not. Everything she does, she does with excellence. And not because she is haughty or proud, or because she is a “pastor’s wife,” but because she believes in giving her best to the Lord. Take out that title, and I believe she would still be the same person, loving and honoring God with everything she is and has. She does this out of the overflow of her heart, grateful for God’s love and His grace in her life.

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Our lovely hostess. She joyfully cooks and bakes EVERYTHING for her guests. ❤ 

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Like a mom, she enjoys seeing us enjoy. ❤ Look at the haaaaam. 🙂

L – loving leader. She genuinely loves us and cares for us. She shares in both our happy moments and sad. In our successes and in our struggles. She cares about our families, how we honor our husbands, how we raise our children. She encourages us and believes in us. She pushes us to be excellent, not in an overbearing or forceful way, but by example, in a way where we want to learn and follow. She has taught us so much about character and integrity, with the way she and Pastor Ariel live and lead. She is not perfect and she is not afraid to share her flaws. She is humble. She can laugh at herself. She can admit her faults. Because she understands the grace of the Lord and believes in the power of God to transform her. That’s where her compassion for people comes from as well.

We really look up to her and we want to learn from her. When she calls for a meeting, we go. Even when we know she’d understand if we couldn’t make it, we do our best to work our schedules so we can be there. But there are also times she “strongly encourages” us to be there, which means “be there,” haha. I think that’s testament to her kind of leadership. She has “earned” our respect and our loyalty because of her genuine love for us and for the church. Because of her passion to obey the Lord. Whatever it takes, for the sake of the call. She takes her platform as a pastor’s wife with humility, and she uses it with great respect and responsibility.

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This was during our recent training, which she led and organized for us pastors’ wives and campus missionaries. She baked for us too. ❤ 

D – designer. She has an eye for beauty. I believe anything she gets her hands on, she can make into something beautiful. She is an artist. Cakes, cookies, party set-ups, table settings, flowers, event set-ups. Give her leaves and she can make them pretty on a table! Give her a small room or an entire facility to design, and she’ll make it absolutely breathtaking. She pays heed to the little details AND the overall effect. She is just beyond creative. She has great taste. And I get so encouraged when she tells me that I’m creative. I’m nowhere near her talent, but I’ll take it, haha. Coming from her, wow. She inspired me in so many ways, Christmas most especially. So now I’m always on the lookout for Christmas stuff haha. Decorating our home and doing our Christmas traditions. Making it memorable and Jesus-centered every year. My family loves it.

 

 

Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
    Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
    Love her, and she will guard you.
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
    And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. Proverbs 4:5-7

Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do. Psalm 1:1-3

10 “But he knows where I am going.
    And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.
11 For I have stayed on God’s paths;
    I have followed his ways and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from his commands,
    but have treasured his words more than daily food. Job 23:10-12

Thank you, Shirley, for being you. Belated happy birthday! Stay ageless. Stay secure in your identity in Christ. Stay passionate about God and His call for your life. Stay passionate about your family. May the Lord grant you the deepest, secret desires of your heart. And may you grow more and more like Christ. I love and appreciate you. ❤

 

Conversations with Gianna 1

We have this electric racquet that kills mosquitoes. One time….

Me: Sit down. I’m killing mosquitoes.

Gianna: Ok mommy. Don’t kill me mommy.

 

Still on killing mosquitoes…

Me: dzzzztt (joking, pretending to get her with the racquet)

Gianna: I’m a mosquito, mommy?

 

Gianna likes to join in on conversations.

Danae and Noelle: Bla bla bla…..Mishka (a friend of theirs) did bla bla bla

Gianna: (pops up on their window upon hearing Mishka)……Mooska, Mickey Mouse!

Disney Jr’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, for those who don’t get it.

 

Gianna was trying to get on the couch, pushing Danae.

Danae: Say excuse meeee.

Gianna: Excuse me.

Danae: Without pushiiiing.

Gianna: Without pushing.

 

Out of the blue…

Gianna: I’m a little kid, mommy.

Me: Yes you’re a little kid.

Gianna: Because… I’m a pipol.

 

Also out of the blue….

Gianna: Are you big?

Me: Yeah I’m big. Are you small?

Gianna: Yeah. I’m the bebe. I’m the little one.

 

At a restaurant….

Me: Gianna, come down. You might hit your chin on the thing.

Gianna: This one? The glass, mommy?

Yes, the thing was indeed the glass partition.

 

On wonder woman….

Gianna: It’s wonder wumen mommy. That’s not for me.

We didn’t let her or Noelle watch it. We told her it’s not for kids.

 

While walking in sm, she was holding King, walking ahead of me….

King: (talking to me) Call your mom.

Gianna: (looking back to me) Moooooom.

 

Hahahah. ❤

 

 

 

3 Life Lessons from Cars 3

Even though I was standing for probably half the movie, because of course, Gianna and her desire to move struck again, I liked Cars 3. It spoke to me.

1. “Truth is always quicker, kid.”

I completely agree. We get to the heart of the issue if we just tell the truth. No mincing of words, no beating around the bush, no sugar-coating or trying to cushion the blow. Always with love, but clear and straight to the point. It will lead to better understanding.

Also, the quicker we hear the truth, the quicker we accept the truth, the quicker we deal with the truth, the quicker we heal, make changes, and move forward. Lightning didn’t like hearing that he was old, but the sooner he accepted it, the better he was able to train for the race. Denial, because of pride, just delays the inevitable. It’s counterproductive. It does not solve the issue. It may even make things worse. We should seek the truth with humility. Be open to correction and advice.

2. “My last chance to give you your first chance.”

Lightning McQueen prepared the way, showed the way, and though that wasn’t his plan, he got out of the way. In his pursuit to become faster and better, he taught his trainor, Cruz, to race. And in his last chance to win and continue his career in racing, he gave her the opportunity to shine. Even if it meant she would outshine him. Her youth, her speed, and her passion were an advantage. He even continued to coach her during the race. This ought to be our attitude in discipleship and parenting, but deliberately and with a goal. We lead, we teach, we let them grow, we tap their potential, and we let them soar. We take a chance on them, support them, root for them, believe in them. We celebrate when the “rookies” (our children, both biological and spiritual), turn out ten times better than us. We continue to be there to guide and mentor.

And like Lightning, we don’t quit. We don’t quit life. We don’t quit church. We don’t stop discipling others when our mentees outgrow and outshine us. We don’t stop because we’re getting old. We keep running the race with them. We make disciples together. Better and stronger, together.

3. “You got into his head.” “You’re a racer. Use that.”

Storm was a fast racer, but he played dirty. He fought dirty. Not with how he raced, but with his words. He would act all supportive and pleasant, but he was really speaking death to Lightning, implying retirement, the end of his career, the decline of his talent or skill. He used the same tactic on Cruz, when she was catching up to him during the race. He told her the lie that she did not belong there, that she did not have it in her to be a racer, that she was just a trainer/motivator. All while smiling and appearing to encourage her. Cruz almost believed him. But Lightning told her that the only reason Storm was trying to get into her head was because she had already gotten into his. He was afraid she would beat him. Satan is exactly like that. He is the expert at planting seeds of doubt, fear, hopelessness in our hearts. He does that because he is afraid of us. He is afraid of our potential to ruin his plans. He is afraid of our calling, which is to advance God’s kingdom. He is afraid of our design, which is to bring glory to God.

If Satan fights with lies, we fight with the truth. We must always remember and be secure of who we are in Christ. The power of Satan lies on our belief in his lies. When we are armed with the truth of who our God is, of who we are and whose we are, we can overcome. Cruz overcame when she believed in who she was. She was a racer. No amount of lying or berating Storm did, changed that. She did not let him go on “winning.” She did not cower in defeat. She did not give in to discouragement. She fought back and came out victorious.

 

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Eph 4:15

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:14-15

 

Gianna’s words 2

Can you translate?

Tinny time. Spikamoween…..Despicabonee. Finding Meemo. Feauty and the beast. Mr. Potts. Hello cutie. Madiktuffins. Madikdonalds. Peeyador (chipmunks). Mooza Kappa. Baymask. PJ max. Kalis (in Wonderland). Nafan and Kafleen (original Hi5). Kiddy. Seehorse.

Fumbs up. Funder. Jimastics. Cwack a egg. Chocolate poop. Mashe-tato. Skwotz (vitamins). Wodder.

Pateo (girls’ schoolmate). Hoklay. Maffew.

 

Gianna likes Doc McStuffins, and pretends to be her.

Gianna: What’s wong, mommy? (with her kit in hand)

Me: Hmmm?

Gianna: Is your tummy penful?

Other times, she says “I need Madiktuffins ektoscopt.”

 

One time, we were lined up waiting for the elevator. People were passing or lining up as well, and she said, “It’s pipols, mommy. Plenty pipols.”

 

Sometimes whenshe begs me for something, part of her act is to say “pleeyus?” instead of the usual please.

 

Gianna surprises and makes us all laugh when she blurts out words we don’t expect.

“Yaaaas!” with such excitement.

“I’m so bored.” with a sigh and shoulders slumping.

“What’s the deal, man?”

 

If you ask her who her mommy is, she says “Tita Phoebe.”

 

 

40 things in 40 years

So I turned 40 last week. Here are 40 things I’ve learned so far.

  1. I am called to live a life of PURPOSE, a life to the full. Not just to merely exist, to just get by. Not just for me, myself, and I.
  2. I am a woman, a wife, a queen, a mom, a Torres, a Lucero, a daughter, an in-law, a friend, a sister, a relative, a minister, a disciple, a leader, a follower, a speaker, a writer, a teacher, a host, a volunteer, a Filipino. I am many things, but I am first a CHILD OF GOD. I am loved. I am His.
  3. WITHOUT JESUS, I can do NOTHING. Without Jesus, I am nothing. John 15:5 is my life verse.
  4. Be IN AWE OF JESUS. Never get over how much He loves you and I. That He suffered and died on the cross to pay for your sins and mine. Something you and I totally do not deserve. Something you and I can’t do for ourselves. Something only He was qualified to do. So that you and I can be reconciled with the Father. So that you and I can be forgiven. So that you and I can be free to go back to our original design, which is to love, honor, and commune with God. So that you and I can spend eternity with God in heaven. I am forever grateful.
  5. GOD’S TIMING is PERFECT. He has shown me time and time again that there is a need to pray and believe, but there is no need to rush. Cases in point — my husband, each of my children’s conception and birth, restoration of relationships, our home, provision, etc.
  6. Choosing who to marry is one of the most CRUCIAL CHOICES a person can make. It has an impact on one’s entire lifetime and on the generations that follow them. I thank God for the grace in helping me to wait and to choose King.
  7. My grandparents on both sides were Christians who were actively involved in their church communities, and I am a product (a pleasant shock to everybody, including me haha) of their prayers and their decision to follow Jesus. Our life choices today affect our children and the generations after them. We continue the LEGACY of loving and serving the Lord, and we leave the same legacy to our children, who will do the same with theirs, and so on.
  8. Having a husband pushes me to grow. It teaches me to serve, to love, to be humble, to be patient, to be gentle, to pursue peace, to be generous. Marriage is the means. CHRIST IS THE GOAL.
  9. Care to communicate. If you CARE, you will make the effort to COMMUNICATE. If you don’t communicate, you will seem like you don’t care.
  10. Purity and holiness is not only applicable to singles. Married couples all the more need to stay strong in their conviction to remain PURE AND HOLY. Guard the heart, the eyes, the ears, the tongue, the mind, the body. We are not immune to temptations, and there is more at stake if we fall.
  11. To VOLUNTEER, to SERVE is always worthwhile and fulfilling. When I was single, I thought I would be married to someone rich who would allow me to not work and let me volunteer in church full time. Haha. God did give me a King to marry, I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I volunteer as much as I can!
  12. Women are wonderful beings. I used to be more comfortable making guy friends because I thought girls were just too complicated, or that I was just different from most of them. But I found treasure in talking to and learning from them. God gave me an opportunity to build new, true FRIENDSHIPS WITH WOMEN in church.
  13. Children are BLESSINGS from the Lord! They have a way of warming a person’s heart, adding joy to a home, making adults child-like again. I praise God I have my own and am surrounded by many others. 
  14. Seek WISDOM, listen and heed wise counsel. Learn from those who have gone ahead of us. 
  15. It’s easier to make decisions when you know your PRIORITIES. Sometimes it’s sad to miss out on some things, but it’s almost always worth it.
  16. Give HONOR to whom honor is due. Do not withhold words of encouragement and praise. 
  17. It is possible to agree to disagree, and maintain MUTUAL RESPECT towards one another.
  18. PICK YOUR BATTLES. Not everything needs to be dealt with a long, serious discussion. Not everything has to be a big deal. There are things we fight for, some things we can drop. There are things we cannot compromise, but some things we can give an easy yes to. Lighten up. Let go of the little things.
  19. I appreciate HONESTY WITH LOVE. I don’t like general statements that are meant for me to “get.” If there is an issue that needs to be addressed with me, I prefer that it be said to me directly. One, because I am not a Jedi and I actually may not “get” it. Two, because I think it’s cruel to leave a person guessing, wondering, assuming, and never being certain of what the message is. 
  20. Instead of assuming and therefore incorrectly reacting, communicate. LISTEN first. Ask. Clarify. Then work out the proper response. 
  21. ACKNOWLEDGE. When someone is speaking to you. When someone says hello. When someone asks you a question. When someone messages you. When someone invites you. Don’t leave them hanging. Give them due respect by acknowledging and responding. 
  22. I can deliberately CHANGE THE ATMOSPHERE in my home. A little encouragement, a few laughs, some hugs and kisses go a long way, especially for my kids. 
  23. My children are my MIRRORS. More is caught than taught. *cringe
  24. It’s easier to teach than to set the right example. But teaching my kids pushes me to be a good example. It shouldn’t just be practice what we preach, but PREACH what we PRACTICE. 
  25. Parenting is not easy. Husband and wife having the same values and goals, and being on the SAME PAGE, is key. 
  26. My ability as a parent will always fall short, therefore I must not rely on it. Only God can transform my children’s hearts. Sometimes less talk and MORE PRAYER is what is needed. Get out of the way. We need to let the Lord speak to our kids.
  27. Parenting is easier when you are in a COMMUNITY that cares about your children. Friends who love, not judge. Friends who are watchmen and prayer warriors, not gossips. Thankful for dear friends and my spiritual family.
  28. Forgiveness is FREEDOM! To forgive and be forgiven.  
  29. I can only HELP those who want to be helped. 
  30. Sometimes it’s not a question of ability or availability, but of WILLINGNESS. You can’t force somebody to do what they don’t want to do. 
  31. The lie of the enemy holds no power when we do not believe it. Cling to the TRUTH. Cling to God’s word.
  32. Not everybody (not even in church) will want to be our friend, and that’s okay. We can’t please everybody. We don’t need to be friends with everybody. But BE KIND anyway.
  33. IT’S OKAY not to be invited. It might sting at times, but I’ve learned that it does not always mean rejection. It does not always mean we are not valued or loved. But even if it does, it’s still okay. We get love, our value, our validation from God, not from people.
  34. Those you care about don’t always care as much about you. Those you have invested time, energy and love in, don’t always appreciate you. It’s a SAD REALITY, but God sees our heart. Again, we get our security and validation from Him.
  35. There are FRIENDS who stick closer than a brother. Those that remember my birthday without facebook, hahaha (though I must admit, I need facebook to remind me also). Those that are there for me, will be there for me without hesitation when I need them, even though we don’t see each other often. Those that love and accept me despite my flaws. Those who hope for the best for me and believe in me. Those that will cry and care about what happens to my family when I die. Thank you, friends. You know who you are.  
  36. First impressions should not last. Give people a CHANCE. I did, and I found sisters in a few who were then “unlovable” in my judgmental eyes.
  37. GOD’S GRACE is sufficient and it is evident — in the day to day, in the milestones, in loss, in gain, in life, in death, in the highs and in the lows. We just need to see with eyes of faith and gratitude.
  38. GOD’S WORD is living and active. It will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish what He has set for it to accomplish. 
  39. God TRANSFORMS, and He is not finished with me yet. 
  40. TRUTH. REPENTANCE. FAITH. Everyday.