Yeah.

Like I said in one of my previous posts, Gianna is a yes-girl. She says yes to almost everything. She no longer says Yesh however, but says Yeah.

Do you like it? Yeah.

Do you want to eat? Yeah.

Are you going to read? Yeah.

You want me to “deet down?” Yeah.

Even when the question is not directed at her, she answers Yeah. Sometimes, she answers with Opo. I forget what I asked Noelle, but I was speaking in Filipino. Gianna answered Opo. So I tried something on her.

Me: Gianna, are you sleepy? You want to sleep?

Gianna: Yeah.

Me: Gianna, tulog ka?

Gianna: Oo. Opo.

Hahahaha. It would seem (the operative word, of course) that she can distinguish between English and Filipino.:)

 

What will you say?

Gianna is 1 year and 10 months old. I think we started giving her the rod 4 months ago when we saw that she would throw stuff when she was upset. That was our first rule — no throwing. Of course we know the difference between play and disobedience. We also taught her how to pray (she would clasp her hands and bow but look up ever so cutely!), to look us in the eye (though lately she has learned to look up and away to avoid my eyes haha), and say sorry (gentle stroke of the hand on the face of person she’s saying sorry to). These days, the rules include no dabog or tantrum, no screaming, no hitting. We also have to balance the Nos with Please Do This Insteads — please ask nicely, please obey, please speak calmly and softly, please be gentle. 

After the rod, this is how our conversation goes.

Me: Gianna, what’s (insert offense – let’s say throwing)?

Gianna: (crickets, while she looks elsewhere, either on purpose or because she’s distracted)

Me: Gianna, look at mommy. (It takes a while sometimes, but she obeys)

Me: What’s throwing?

Gianna: No-no.

Me: It’s no-no. I gave you the rod because you threw your toys. Don’t do that again okay?

Gianna: Otay.

Me: What will you say to mommy?

Gianna: Tetoo. (Hahhahaah — she says thank you)

Then I tell her that she’s supposed to say sorry, and so she strokes my face wih her hand. I tell her I forgive her, then we pray. :) 

Just Be Faithful

So last night was Every Nation’s Induction and Ordination Ceremony 2016, where new pastors were ordained and new campus missionaries inducted. Three of our own from Alabang were ordained as pastors — Ptr Ed Caducio who now serves in one of our Japan churches, Ptr Rein Tatlonghari who serves in Alabang, and Ptr David Bernardo who serves in Muntinlupa. Ptr David used to be part of King’s team of campus missionaries when King was Alabang’s youth pastor 10 years ago. Michelle Galarosa, who was once part of my victory group, was inducted as campus missionary as well. She serves in Sorsogon. Ptr Ferdie Cabiling, who was overseeing the youth in Ortigas during King’s Youth on Fire days, was ordained Bishop after 25 years of serving in church!

Our whole family was there because King (along with other pastors who have served 10, 15, 20, 25 years) was appreciated for his 10 years of service in church. Gianna was relatively quiet for the first maybe 20 minutes of the program. I had to get her out of there when she started calling ate Jiggy, tita Iris and tita Janice loudly while one of the pastors was speaking! It was a good thing that I opened the door when I heard our senior pastor Ptr Ariel talk, because it was then that he called King on stage! I was thankfully able to take a few pictures of him up there. After that, I was outside with the girls, along with many other moms and little kids haha. I’m sure the bishops and pastors had great, inspiring messages. My season will come when I can sit, listen, and concentrate.:)

Proud of you, babe!:)


The Victory Alabang pastors and staff were so sweet and supportive. They gave more than 3 hours of their time, not including travel time, to be there. They even wanted to have dinner together, which we did in Army Navy.

Thank you for the photo Iris!:)


When they all had left, King and I got to talking. I was happy to support the hubby, but at first I didn’t quite understand the recognition. Neither of us has been counting his years of service. Like what King says, he’s just always “happy to serve!” But it dawned on me as I was articulating my thoughts that yeah, 10 years in the ministry IS a feat! I realized that through the victories, breakthroughs and all the good things that have transpired, through hardships and the uncertainties, through discouraging and disappointing situations, the Lord has been faithful AND King has been faithful. It’s easy to be encouraged during the highs, but my constant words to him during the lows are “just be faithful.” Even when it hurts me too, I would encourage him to just be faithful.

By God’s grace, here he is, still in the ministry after more than ten years. By God’s grace, he is growing and maturing, continually laying ambition and self at the feet of Jesus. He wakes up each morning ready to fulfill his God-given calling, thankful for the opportunity to do what he loves to do. With the trust given him by our leaders, he is able to lead and serve God’s people. With godly counsel, discipleship, and brotherhood, he remains a rookie, willing to learn and be taught. By God’s sufficient and enabling grace and for the glory of God, he is able to be the many things he needs to be and wear the hats he needs to wear, while being a loving and faithful #productivehusband to me and being a great father to our daughters.

Thanks everybody! It’s an honor and privilege to serve with this team. We love this church!:)


Wow. God is indeed good. We did not expect the recognition, but we receive it with humility and much gratitude. And we are so encouraged by it! So to the tune of Dory’s song, we will, only by the grace of God, continue to “just be faithful, just be faithful, just be faithful, faithful, faithful.”:)

 

Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24

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 3:23-24

Undeserved 2

Last night, a discussion suddenly became an argument. The intention was to motivate and hopefully produce obedience, but the result unfortunately was the opposite.

Noelle: Mom, I’ll just give Ate (big sister) my prize.

Me: But love, do you think she deserves your prize?

Noelle: (with a smile on her face) Then grace mom. Grace.

 
Wow. The compassion of this one has always been extraordinary. Sometimes her loyalty is misplaced, but her compassion always reminds me of Jesus — willing to give grace, to be generous even after being pained and saddened.

That is something we parents must be willing to do for our children as well. We must love them through the pain. We must teach them through the disappointments. We must discipline them through the heartache, despite the difficulty. We must give whether or not they are capable of giving back, whether or not they are willing to give back. We must initiate even when they do not reciprocate. We must keep encouraging them even when they’ve already given up. We must keep hoping and praying even when we see little or no fruit. Our parenting must always be with wisdom and discernment and many times with godly counsel, and our love must always be without conditions. Lord, help us.❤

 

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. Isaiah 63:9

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

We Can’t Afford It

Before the school year ended, our family was faced with a dilemma. Do we go back to homeschooling for both girls or do we put them both in regular school? Or should we keep one in regular school and keep the other in homeschool?

Our original plan was actually to put both girls in Danae’s school, but we were suddenly apprehensive about the cost due to certain changes that the school made. I told the girls that we may not be able to afford it. But Danae really wanted to stay in her school. She said if she had no choice then she would agree to homeschooling again. Noelle said she was fine with continuing homeschooling. Perhaps I was not convinced of that plan, that I would constantly check the girls about what they thought about it. I would go back and forth, thinking and asking God what would be best for our girls.

I was leaning towards homeschooling them both again (with the help of a teacher), but no matter how hard I tried to convince Danae, she would not budge. Even when she would recall hurtful situations that happened in school and cry while telling me, she still insisted that she wanted to stay. She believes that she learns better there. Noelle started out excited about homeschooling again, but then slowly seemed indifferent. One morning, she quietly told me how she really felt — she wanted to go to Danae’s school! She was willing to homeschool only because we could not afford to put her in regular school.

That broke my heart. I really cried to God and to King. I did not want to put the burden on my daughter about what we can or cannot afford. She should not have to sacrifice for us. That is our job as her parents, to make sacrifices in order to give her and her sisters the best that we can possibly give. That pushed us to rethink and reorganize.

As I was talking to one of my mentors about this, she told me that they never tell their kids that they can’t afford something. That’s where I realized my mistake. Even though I want my children to be aware of the reality of expenses and I don’t want them to grow up feeling entitled, I should never say the words “we can’t afford.” I realized that telling them we can’t afford something tells them that it is useless to dream, that some things are just not possible for them. Telling them that sends the message that we are relying on our own capacity and looking at ourselves as the source. Instead, like what my husband always does, I should encourage them to pray and ask God. I should help them believe that God is able, that God owns all, that God is good, that God knows and gives best to His children.

Though it may be true that we cannot afford all things, I do not have to burden my children with that fact. I must encourage them with the truth that with God, all things are possible. We do our part as parents, and we wait on God and watch Him prove Himself faithful.

This school year, they are both going to The Sycamore woohooo! Not because we can afford it, but because we believe that God will provide. However, they also know that we take it a year at a time. Next year may be different, not because we can’t afford it, but because their needs may be different. We have been pleased with the regular school set up of The Sycamore (formerly 360 Studio) because basically it is homeschool away from home and we have been happy with the character building and the disciplines Danae has learned, but we do not close our doors on homeschooling yet. The Lord knows best and we will submit to His will for our children.:)

 

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

 

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Luke 12:24-26

 
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalm 34:8-10

Undeserved

I have random conversations with my kids, some silly and not so important, others deep and meaningful. Sometimes it starts out with a question or a simple topic, but then I get these thoughts that turn the conversation into a teaching moment. Admittedly, some are so far off topic or too deep that they go way over my kids’ heads haha, but some make easy sense.

Kids: Mom, can we have…. (I forget what they were asking for)

Me: Hmmmm. Let’s see.

Me: Do you know that we don’t deserve anything good? (hahaha. Sometimes we get tired of hearing sooooo many demands)

Kids: (insert crickets)

Me: Everything you have is a gift from God. A gift that you don’t deserve.

Kids: Mmm yeaahhh…..?

Me: Do you remember what an undeserved gift is?

Danae: That’s called grace, mom.

Me: Yes, that’s right. Everything we enjoy is because of God’s grace, only because of God’s grace.

I pray that our children learn, not just in their head but in their heart and living it out, to be faithful, not irresponsible. To be careful, not wasteful. To be joyful, not resentful. To be content, not critical. To be sensitive, not indifferent. To be grateful, not entitled.

I pray that we, their parents, set the example as well.

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

 

 

 

Yes-No

We stayed in a small hotel in Lucban, Quezon the other night because King officiated a wedding there. The door handles weren’t the regular round type, but kind of like a bar that you twist down to open.

I was in the bathroom. Gianna opened the door and stepped in. Her sisters were excited that she could do this without help.

Me: Are you a velociraptor? (Jurassic Park fans will get this)

Gianna: (emphatically)  Yesh.

Haha. Unlike other babies, Gianna says yes to everything. She nods her head or says yesh even when she doesn’t understand or the answer to your question is actually no. Well she says yes to everything, except when she really really wants to stop or she really really wants you to stop.

Like a couple of weeks ago, I was pretending to play the guitar and singing More Than Words.

Me: (singing with feelings) Saying aai lo-ove you is-

Gianna: (waving her hand) No na, no na.

Hahaha.:)

VBC 2016

We just finished Victory Alabang’s Vacation Bible Camp entitled Waterworks Park! It was a great 3-day event for kids aged 4 (though a few were 3) upto 9 years old. Our Kids Church team has been preparing for this for months — production, design, snacks, registration, tech, team leaders. I once again was privileged to be part of the praise dance team!!!

 

These are just what the design team did on the outside. I wasn’t able to take pictures of the wonderful rooms! We have such talented people serving in church! 

The very first ministry I volunteered in when I came to church and got discipled was Kids Church. I was single, but had always liked kids. As a kid, I was fond of babies. I grew up enjoying playing and talking to kids. My friends trusted me with their babies too. And when I started with my discipleship journey, my victory group leader then was a Children’s Church (4 to 6-year-olds) teacher. She included me in her team. I served in Children’s Church a couple of years, til I got engaged (see here how Kids Church played a role in the start of our courtship), got married and got pregnant.

The baby-making train paused for a few years and so I was able to volunteer for VBC 2013. Noelle was 4 years old, Danae was 7. With two small kids, I knew I couldn’t go back to being a regular volunteer. Summer was the perfect time for me, VBC the perfect event to serve. Both girls were attendees (Noelle’s second VBC, Danae’s third), and Danae joined me also in the praise dance team. However, the train got going again later that year, so I wasn’t able to volunteer for VBC 2014. The girls attended, and Danae chose to be part of the kids’ choir at that time. For VBC 2015, which would have been Danae’s last, we already began our practices when I realized that our family was set to go to Cagayan de Oro for my cousin’s wedding! Thank God we were able to tap my friend Bianca Peralta to lead the team. They were in very able hands.

Early this year, Ms. Fely, our Kids Church staff, made sure we were free for VBC 2016 hahaha. I am so honored and privileged to be part of the praise dance team!!! Bianca and I were the mentors (aka the old ones). And not only did Danae and Noelle join me, their friends decided to join us as well! At first I felt sheepish that I invited 5 additional kids to the team without permission, discovering that there was a limit haha, but I think we all agree that it turned out for the better. This is the first time that we were more than 20 in the team and that there were more kids than teenagers and adults.

The praise dance team, ages ranging from almost 2 to 16 years old. Not included are a 14-year-old and her 20-something-year-old sister, a 38-year-old (me), and the youngest 40-year-old.:)


It’s such a joy to see 11-year old Bianky and 12-year old Josh, who have been Kids Church volunteers for a few years already, lead the team. Such a joy to see the faithfulness of all the kids, even the teenagers, to be there for practice week in and week out. I am so proud of the team! The biggest surprise, especially for me as a mom, was Gianna. She was not only such a trooper as I took her to all the practices I attended, but she actually danced with us and memorized all the steps! She is only 21 months old and she already has the makings of a dancer, just like her dad.

Technical rehearsal. Gianna knows all the steps! She loves to dance.:) photo credit: Ms Fely


My daughters make me so proud. They practiced in church and at home. They took it to heart. They were taught first to follow, so that they could lead. And because they are leaders, they must set a good example for the other kids. They were reminded that all we are doing is for the Lord. I love what Ptr Carlo said to us on the last day of practice. How we worship reflects the kind of God we worship. When we worship and dance with all we have, the kids will see that the kind of God we serve is deserving of all we have. They will see that God is an awesome God because His children worship Him so.

Danae and Noelle, and even Gianna when she was not sleepy or distracted by the other kids, gave it their best. Danae stepped up and wanted to greet the kids once we were in the praise dance room. She smiled the whole time she was in front leading the kids in praise dancing. When it was Noelle’s age group’s turn to be in our room, Noelle owned it. She was up there leading her class, smiling and giving it her all.

VBC participants Coleen and Noelle leading their age group (7-year-olds). Their song, “I am not Afraid.”


Josh with the mic, Bianky to his left. Danae also with the other mic (under her elbow). The 8-year-olds’ song, “People Be Strong!”


Bianca and I could have dominated everything, but we truly believe in the next generation. Some were nervous, but they took on the challenge to be the ones to lead, to talk to the kids and teach them the steps, to greet, encourage and even pray for them. It’s such a privilege to witness young worshippers worshipping and young leaders rising. We agree with what Ptr Carlo said in our meetings — we want to get out of the Holy Spirit’s way. We don’t want to be the ones hindering these children from doing what The Lord is calling them to do. We do not look down on them because they are young. We nurture them, teach them, disciple them, pray for them, equip them, empower them.

 

happy servant leaders!:)


I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be volunteers alongside my daughters and the future leaders of our church and our country. I pray they will never stop giving of themselves, of their time and talents to serve God’s people. I pray that faithfulness, commitment, servant leadership will be instilled in them. I pray that they not only strengthen their existing relationships, but also establish new ones as they bond over serving in church. I pray that their hearts remain pure before the Lord, living the truth that nothing is ever about them and everything is always about Jesus.

Our awesome volunteers!!! One last dance — Splish splash, it’s a bible bash!:)

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” Matthew 21:16

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre. Psalm 149:3

 

My Thoughts on the Elections

Do not become the very person you despise. I was writing a Facebook status but realized that my thoughts couldn’t be contained in one line. But don’t worry, this won’t be very long either.

The 2016 elections have certainly brought out our values and our character as individuals. I appreciate our freedom to speak, share our opinion, express ourselves. What I do not appreciate is how careless some people have been in how they’ve used that freedom.

Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for the passion displayed by many Filipinos in the past months. I am grateful for the education. I have quietly read articles that have been shared by friends who are passionate about the elections. I have quietly read comments and discussions. I even liked some posts when I felt like I could relate to what they were trying to say. I love my country and I have been conflicted about who to vote for for the past few months as well. I read, I watch, I pray, I talk to people and seek their opinions, I listen, I learn, and I am forming my own opinion.

I understand that many are angry and are discontent with our current government. I understand that many are appalled by certain presidentiables. I also understand that people will believe what they want to believe, and those strong in their beliefs want to convince others that their beliefs are right. But do we really need to be rude? Do we really need to insult or look down on other people because they think differently from us?

I don’t know about you, but my ears tend to ring and my mind tends to close when I feel judged or am called names. Maybe other people engage and try to defend themselves, but I usually get annoyed and then check out. Either way, if we want people to listen and see our point of view, being aggressive may not be the way. It may catch a person’s attention, but to what, really? That our candidate is better? Or that we’re acting like jerks? That we’re encouraging people to think? Or that we’re being arrogant and feeling superior? Don’t get me started on the words I’ve seen used and the attitudes displayed in the comments section. They seriously shock me.

Like I said, I appreciate most posts because they educate me. They make me think. They give me perspective. I myself do not feel offended because I do not believe I am one of those some die-hard supporters of a couple of presidentiables are targeting, but others will feel offended. By all means, share your opinions and beliefs, but could we please keep the peace and respect one another? Could we care about people and our relationships more than pushing our opinion? Could we bring back the H in IMHO?

Let’s agree to disagree. We may not all have the same presidential bets, but I believe most of us love the Philippines and want what’s best for our people. Not one of us knows that for sure anyway. Let’s put our trust in the One who does know. Let’s cast our cares on Him. I know it doesn’t help with making the decision of who to vote for, but for those who believe in God’s sovereignty, power and goodness, it’s a good reminder to stay calm and just continue to pray for our country.

12991077_1177219558964696_3884893376474212578_n

picture grabbed from a friend’s social media post. I do not own the picture, nor do I know who the original owner is. But I agree with its message.

Use your right to vote. Make sure you are at peace with your choice. God bless you. God bless the Philippines.:)

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. Psalm 33:12

#proudmorena

So I saw some posts on Facebook about this girl who disrespected celebrity mom Bianca Gonzales on social media, by insulting her baby. I didn’t get to read the comment, but the article said that her baby was called negra (dark-skinned) and ugly.

I cannot believe that someone, a woman at that, could say mean things about a baby…A BABY! And I cannot believe that a Filipina would insult another Filipina, A BABY Filipina(!), about her skin color.

Bianca responded graciously in my opinion, and I agree with her. Morena is beautiful! It’s 2016 and it’s high time we own and be proud of our natural Filipina skin tone. We should teach our kids to be comfortable in their own skin by loving them, accepting them, and verbally appreciating their beauty, no matter the color of their skin. I am annoyed by these commercials of whitening this, whitening that. Why do Filipinos want to be white anyway? Or why do beauty lines here in the Philippines keep promoting these products as if to say only being fair-skinned is beautiful?

IMG_8290

I grew up loving swimming and going to the beach. I never cared about getting dark because my cool parents never made it an issue. My mom always told me that caucasians love getting a tan — something I naturally had. When I got a bit older, I did care about how my tan looked. I didn’t like swimming in the pool because the chlorine made my skin look grayish, while the beach gave me a nice brown. I eventually learned to apply beer on my skin so that I would get that beautiful glowing tan afterwards. It stank, but the results were always awesome. I don’t do it anymore because I don’t want my kids to smell and taste the beer, plus I don’t really have time to sunbathe these days haha.

Being a proud morena myself, no way am I going to let my 2 morena daughters (out of 3) buy into the “lighter is more beautiful” nonsense. They tan pretty quickly the way I used to, even with sunblock, and we have never told them to stop swimming or to get out from under the sun because they were getting dark. To rest and not suffer from heat stroke, yes. But never because they were getting “too dark.” Before summer vacation officially started this year, Danae commented that she didn’t want to get dark, but was quick to take it back when I offered her the alternative, which was little or no swimming. Thankfully, she cares more about having fun with her friends than about what her skin looks like haha. About the same time, she told me that she knows somebody who would comment (though I’m sure not insultingly) about her deep tan. I told her to tell the person that she is making good use of the sun and is enjoying summer. She laughed and agreed.

I believe it starts in the home. Our daughters learn their identity from what we their parents teach them. We always remind them that God made them beautiful — all of His creations are beautiful. When they are focused on their looks, we remind them that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. We remind them that inner beauty is more important. We remind them that what God thinks is more important than what people think. We tell them that they are princesses, not because they have a tiara on their head or because they have riches or beauty, but, besides being daughters of their daddy King, they are daughters of the King of Kings. They are loved, valued, accepted, and blood-bought!

We pray that our children will not look to the world for their identity, but find it in Jesus Christ. That way, no matter which way the world swings, our kids will remain steadfast and secure, knowing who they are and knowing their God-given calling. No matter what the world thinks or says about them — negra, ugly, stupid, worthless, OR radiant, gorgeous, intelligent, admirable — they will be secure of and be humbled by God’s love for them and they will remain steadfast in their faith.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God John 1:12 ESV