Family, Just My Thoughts

A COMPLETE & UTTER FAILURE?

Here’s something I was pondering upon in Cagayan de Oro last month.

What is success? I am surrounded by family members who, by the world’s standards, are pretty successful, I would say. My mom is retired but she was a valuable “employee” in Jardine Davies, Inc and Hawaiian Philippine Company (previously affiliated companies) for collectively at least 30 years. My brother has been one of the brilliant IT guys working with Chikka for at least 6 years. My brother’s wife is an advertising genius who gets offers from big companies left and right. In Cagayan de Oro, my aunt is a successful pediatrician. I’m 33, so she is at least 30 years in the business. She gave us our shots when we were kids, and now she’s giving shots to her grandchildren (Danae & Noelle). My uncle is now a successful resource speaker, after years of being a successful “employee” in Magnolia (imagine all the ice cream we had all those summers in Cagayan!). My cousins, as I have mentioned in my previous blog, are co-owners of Crocs Cagayan de Oro. They have been in business for more than 5 years (they gave Danae’s first, well her 2nd, 3rd and so on haha, Crocs) and it’s still going strong.  They’ve even managed to open another store called Bliss, which is also doing quite well. My dad’s brother is a surgeon in the US, my aunt a retired nurse, and my cousins a doctor and a business consultant. So does one have to have a career in order to be successful? Or to work many years in your company or field?

Everyone I mentioned above has the financial freedom to pretty much do whatever they want, or at least save up for it more easily than many — buy a car, buy land, buy the latest gadgets, buy branded clothes, shoes & bags, travel abroad. Not only that, the money they have comes from their hard work. Some may have been handed down to them by their parents, but they also work hard for what they have. I’ve been wondering, imagining what it must be like to be like them. Not that I want everything that they have, because each one is different from the other, and so am I. But wouldn’t it be nice to have financial freedom? To be financially able and ready for almost anything? I would love to be able to travel with King and the kids without having to stress about how much it’s going to cost. I would love to be able to renovate our home to suit our needs without having to think about how we’re going to come up with the money. I would love to be able to hold small dinner parties for people without thinking of the budget. I would love to be able to change my wardrobe completely so I don’t have to worry about not having anything to wear (okay, this one’s completely selfish haha). I would love to be able to bless King, my kids, my mom, my in-laws, our relatives, our friends or maybe even complete strangers without thinking twice about how it’s going to affect our finances. Could the amount of money you have or are able to spend be the measure of success?

If career and money are the measures of success, then let me tell you, I AM A COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE! But then, how come I don’t feel like a failure? Because I am not. Because I am 100% certain that I am doing what I am called to do. Just as I am certain my family is called to do what they are doing right now. A good example I can give you is my cousin Baba. She’s actually a doctor. She graduated from UP College of Medicine a few years ago. So why on earth is she running a business instead of practicing medicine with her mom? Well, she honored her parents’ wishes and tried it just in case it was really meant for her, but after many years of studying and then working in the medical field as a researcher, she discovered that being a doctor is not her calling. She has no passion for it. She found one of her passions in business instead.

Surrounded by family whose accomplishments are pretty great, you could imagine what kind of pressure I must be experiencing seeing that I am not like any of them, and especially that we are leading in the baby-making department. So do I feel bad that I don’t have a career I can call my own? NO. Do I feel bad that I have to depend on King for money? Not really. Do I feel bad that I don’t have the funds I wish I had? Well, sure, there are times I do, but I get over it and remain hopeful. Why? Because I truly believe I am where God wants me to be — at home with the kids. I get to be a full-time “housewife,” to be a full-time mommy/teacher/nanny/playmate, to be a minister to God’s people, and to use my creativity in each role that I play. It’s tough, tiring, frustrating, time-consuming, energy-draining, and yet it gives me the most joy, the most fulfillment, the most excitement, the most peace. It is my passion. And what’s amazing is, even though I do feel pressure sometimes when it comes to finances, nobody in my family  actually pressures me to be someone I’m not. Nobody tells me I need to be thinking of getting a job so I could have a career and some extra money. Nobody tells me that my husband earns too little, so I should be helping him financially. Why? Well, aside from not wanting to interfere in our affairs, I believe that they too see that this is what I am really called to do and they see that I am actually good at being a stay-at-home mom. Even my dad, when he was still alive, never questioned my decision to stay home. Besides, I think he knew that I was never the type who could juggle too many things in my life haha. He always told me I had a one-track mind. Thank God He showed me what my priorities ought to be.

So what is the true meaning of success? For me, success comes in doing what you love and what you are passionate about. Success comes when you are doing what God designed you to do, where and when He wants you to do it. It’s not about the money, whether you make any or not. It’s not about a job title, or the years you’ve put in being in that position or company. It’s about fulfilling your purpose, and right now, I know I’m fulfilling mine. God may reveal to me new things, new purposes for my life in the future, but for now, this is it. And I am happy. I am at peace. 🙂

Marriage

MARRIAGE BOOSTERS!

We recently attended Marriage Boosters with Ptr Chico and Maryanne Pena. We were the last batch of couples for this year. I’m sharing parts of my letter to King, which we were all assigned to do for our spouses, along with the very important lessons I learned and relearned from our tender-hearted, humble, wise, exemplary teachers.

My dearest King,

doing this marriage boosters with you has been really fun and quite revealing. i’ve enjoyed laughing, whether secretly or not, with you. thank you because you are a man with a big sense of humor….. i appreciate that you’re not as serious or as high-strung as i can be at times. i’ve also realized that there’s so much we still need to know about each other and that even the littlest details are important. i want to know you more….

> You can never be too young to learn to work on your marriage. King and I have only been married for 5 years. Somebody asked me if we needed to attend such a thing, maybe thinking that King is a pastor or that we seem happy or that we should still be in the “honeymoon” stage. Of course we do! There is much to learn and it’s better to learn them early on. Francis and Belle were there too, and they’ve only been married for 2 months!

> Have fun! Do things, learn new things together! Laugh together! Date regularly! I tell you, it was so refreshing to spend time with King without the kids for a couple of hours every week. We were there to listen to Chico and Maryanne, but there were many exercises that made us talk the way only married couples can or should talk. We laughed a lot about ourselves too. We really enjoyed it.

> There’s so much more to discover about your husband. Want to know more and be interested in him, in what he does, in what he likes. Let him know you more too. You’ve got a lifetime to do this. Marriage was not intended to be boring. Discovering each other is exciting!

i am grateful to God for giving me a man like you. you are imperfect, but you are 100% more the man than any other man could ever be for me. i truly believe that you are my half….better half? maybe hehe. but together, we are ONE. it doesn’t matter that we are different and we have different wavelengths at times. what matters is God brought us together because it was His plan and His purpose.

> Unity. I thank God that He gave me a man who shares the same faith and the same values I do, who shares the same vision for our family. We may think differently and approach things differently, but we are united in wanting to honor God in our marriage and in everything else.

> King and I don’t wear our wedding rings because they don’t fit anymore haha and we’re both allergic, but engraved on our rings are 3 names — King Jesus Phoebe. Our desire is to keep Jesus in the center of our marriage. We are not merely committed to each other as husband and wife, but committed to our God who authored our marriage. And that’s why we value, work on and fully invest in it.

i admire you for your humility. your heart to serve is just so amazing. i promise to always support you and pray for you. it doesn’t matter if other people don’t see. I see. God sees……I believe in you, babe. I believe in your anointing and your calling. but more importantly, I believe in the One who called you and is anointing you.

> Be your husband’s #1 fan! Be supportive, encourage him daily. Tell him constantly that you believe in him. Most men, my husband included, need verbal affirmation. We don’t want them to get their “boosts” from other women, do we?  Trust me, your husband’s eyes will twinkle when you tell him how much you believe in him and how proud you are of him. I think this was the part that made King cry when I read my letter to him. Hehehe.

> Stand by your husband. It is important that he knows where your loyalty lies, especially when situations are rough for him. It will strengthen your bond of unity all the more.

you are a dreamer, babe! you’ve got great big dreams. sometimes i am bogged down by unbelief, but you…. you dream big because your faith is big. thank you for being an example to me. and thank you for leading our family with such faith. thank you for dreaming big for me and our kids, for wanting to give the world to us.  i will dream and pray with you….and i will always be here for you, supporting you and standing with you as God prepares us for our dreams and as God prepares our dreams for us.

> Share your heart’s desires with each other! Dream together. Listen and pay attention to what’s in your husband’s heart. Don’t only pray for each other, but pray together. This will knit your hearts as one and strengthen your relationship — your friendship and your marriage. The best gift you can give to your children is a strong marriage.

> High appreciation is key! Be grateful for your one and only husband. I know sometimes when we’re mad or frustrated, it’s hard to be grateful. But if we could just train ourselves to make our emotions follow by taking our thoughts captive and obedient to Christ, it would make a huge difference. There are really times that I’m already frustrated but I would think of King’s good points haha. There is much to be appreciated about my husband after all, stuff that truly matter — his faith, his heart, his humility, his love for God, his love for his family.

> Pray for your husband, that his relationship with God is strong and healthy, but do not neglect your own. Our husbands are our leaders, but there will be times that they will be down. We must always be ready to encourage, to uplift, to speak life, to balance, to give wisdom, to pray. You can only give what you yourself have.

i love you, babe.

> Always tell your husband you love him. Always. 🙂

My Kids, Parenting

MORE WISDOM FROM MY CHILDREN

One time last week, Danae recalled an episode of Jojo’s Circus, where Mr. Muscles, a single parent to Maya, got married to Ms. Kersplatski (or something like that). She asked me this very interesting question: “Why do they have a baby? They’re supposed to get married first.” Obviously, I explained to her that Mr. Muscles had a baby with his wife before, who may have died already, and then married Ms. Kersplatski years later. But I did tell her that she was right to say that. She doesn’t know the details of how a baby is made, but it’s interesting that at age 4, she already grasps this concept of MARRIAGE FIRST BEFORE BABIES.

In the car the other day, Danae was whining and complaining about something that we said NO to.
Me:       It cannot always be a YES, Nae.
Danae: I want always YES.
Me:       Okay, so if you ask me if you could go out in the street by yourself, you want me to say yes? So you can get run over by a car?
Danae: No.
Me:       If you ask me if you can jump off a building, you want me to say yes?
Danae: No.
Me:       NO is a very important word. It can’t always be a YES.
Don’t we all need to learn to accept this word? WHEN GOD SAYS NO TO US, IT’S FOR OUR BEST.

We’ve been trying to teach Noelle to clean up, as she is not as compliant as Danae was at her age. It takes effort and some convincing, and there’s sometimes crying involved, before she helps in cleaning up the toys/flashcards/crayons she uses. Danae is almost always eager to help and sometimes volunteers to do it for Noelle. She’ll pick something up even when I specifically tell Noelle to do so. I constantly remind Danae that Noelle will not learn if she keeps doing it for her sister. IT’S GOOD AND NOBLE TO HELP OTHERS, BUT NOT IF IT’S ALREADY GETTING IN THE WAY OF THEIR PROGRESS AND GROWTH.