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My Christmas Table Settings

We hosted a few dinner parties this Christmas and I just wanted to share my very simple, very minimal and very inexpensive table settings. I don’t like to waste and I don’t like to spend much, so I usually work with what I have to limit my purchases. Some people notice and appreciate what I do, while others don’t really care or acknowledge. Either way, I just want to make the table look decent for any get-together. 🙂

Christmas table setting
This was for our couples’ group Christmas party. I did not buy anything new to set it up. Our plates are 8 years old — wedding gifts. 🙂
Christmas table setting
I wanted to personalize it, so I made letters out of green pipe cleaners (fuzzy wires). I only have 4 red table napkins, so I worked with them. The ribbon-wrapped votives are from last year’s (2011) “design.” 🙂
Christmas table setting
The adults’ table. Again, nothing new here, except the red table napkins which I bought a month before. I recycled the Christmas balls (which have been with me for at least 4 years) and the votives. 🙂
Christmas table setting
The kids’ table. I bought the Chinese gift boxes a week before our annual Happy Birthday Jesus party, not knowing what I was going to use it for. I was happy with how nice it turned out as a candle holder. I like the effect very much. I used my reindeer plates again, which have been with me for four years, and it’s great that the local supermarket has many choices now on plastic spoons and forks. I had the table cloth made 3 or 4 years ago. 🙂
Christmas table setting
This was for my youth/singles group’s annual Christmas tradition, second year. I brought my table runner from home and reused the Chinese gift boxes, filled them with balls and other old, broken Christmas elements. 🙂
Christmas table setting
The plates and chopsticks are new, but very affordable. 🙂
Christmas table setting
This whole concept began with chopsticks, which I bought on the first half of 2012, also not knowing what I was going to do with them exactly. I bought the plates to give as gifts (yes, they washed them after eating noodles and dumplings, so they could bring them home). I also made the Christmas cards attached to the chopsticks. 🙂
Christmas table setting
This was for our victory groups Christmas party. Thankful for colored paper plates, which I opted for as I anticipated more guests than usual, and colored spoons and forks, available at the local supermarket.
Christmas table setting
I recycled the Chinese gift boxes and votives again. 🙂
Christmas table setting
This was a last-minute prep for dinner with relatives from the U.S. I didn’t cook, so the least I could do was to make the table look half-decent haha. 🙂
Christmas table setting
I used old ribbon and old Christmas balls to make decorative napkin holders. 🙂
Christmas table setting
Christmas eve! Only the place mats and flowers are new. Even the candles are old, handed down to me 3 years ago. Still good and still unlit to this day haha. 🙂
Christmas table setting
New Year’s Eve! Our motif for the Luceros’ annual New Year’s eve get-together was red and white, so I thought I’d do a red and white table as well. 🙂
Christmas table setting
Only thing new are the red floating candles. Even the flowers are from Christmas eve haha. 🙂
Christmas table setting
I forgot to light up the floating candles in all the excitement, so I can still use them in the future, yay! 🙂
Parenting

EN2010 (pre-con): Discipleship@Home

There were quite a number of sessions before EN2010, and King wanted me to attend the international staff meeting Wednesday morning, the day before the conference. I had to wait for Danae’s class to finish, pick her up, get the kids and everything ready, then proceed to ENLI building in the Fort. In other words, I missed the staff meeting. But King relayed Ptr Jim Laffoon’s message to me and I couldn’t agree with him more when he said that we need to be careful with technology, be careful that it does not take over our personal life, our priorities. It’s so easy to be so absorbed in the internet, facebook, our phones, etc. That convicted me and made me decide to turn on my computer for blogging & stuff, as much as possible, when the kids are asleep or when I know it will not interfere with my priorities. I don’t like that often Noelle has to literally pull me away from the computer when she wants me to just sit with her. She and the rest of my family should come first.

Anyway, we were able to drop the kids off at my in-laws’, and I attended the afternoon break-away session of my choice: Discipleship@Home. Who’s Discipling Your Kids? I picked up a lot, listening to Ptr David Houston, his wife Sandy, our Ninong Ptr Paolo Punzalan, and his wife Jenn. Awesome, witty, funny, real people who are imperfect parents just like us, who know what we’re dealing with, and who make a whole lot of sense. Our Alabang senior pastor, Ptr Ariel hosted it, and he and his wife Shirley are also one of the couples we look up to especially with regards to parenting. Some of the things shared, I already knew. On one hand, it encouraged me all the more to keep doing what we’re doing, and on the other, it reminded me of the things that we have forgotten and that we should be doing. Still some were somewhat new, and it’s always great to learn from people who are wiser and more experienced than myself. Let me share the points that struck me the most.

Life is in the power of the tongue, and it is especially powerful when the father speaks it to his children. Dads! Your kids need verbal affirmation from you, just like how God affirms His children. Even if it’s uncomfortable for you, do it anyway. Your kids will not even know that you’re feeling awkward, and they will definitely appreciate it, whether they express it to you or not.  And dads! Don’t give all your energy at work. Save the best for your family, so that when you get home, you won’t be too tired to engage with your wife and with your children. Pray for your kids and speak destiny to their lives. Be the one to put them to sleep. The quality time you spend with them will have a great impact on them. King is an expressive dad who makes time for our kids, but I still immediately downloaded these to him. Fathers have such a critical role in the lives of children, and we want to do right by ours.

We need to say our instruction ONE TIME and back it up with consequence when disobeyed. This is of course based on Biblical discipline and our instructions are those that are best for our children, not those that harm them. Many times we wait to get angry before we take action in disciplining our kids. I’ve experienced this a lot. We need to discipline them right away the first time they disobey. That way, we’re still moving patiently, IN LOVE, and NOT OUT OF ANGER. We need to be consistent, no matter how tiring and taxing, and believe that discipline will bear the peaceable fruit of righteousness. I say amen to that and I believe we are improving. It’s very timely too, because Noelle is also a force to be reckoned with hahaha.

Discipleship happens at the dinner table. Let’s eat with our kids! It can be stressful especially in my case, I have a 1-year old who won’t stop calling me until I look at her and acknowledge what she’s doing or take care of what she needs, a talkative 4-year old, and then a husband who wants to tell me about his day. Trust me, it can get crazy! But if we let other people feed them so we can eat in peace (which I do sometimes for valid reasons, but not usually), how can we teach them table manners? More importantly, how can we teach them to pray, or not to waste, or to share? There are many teaching moments at the dinner table, from etiquette to prayer, to being thankful, to generosity, to quality time, to family, to God’s Word and so on. Let us teach and disciple our own kids.

If we fail to point them to God, we are missing what really matters. Ms Jenn shared this story about a mom who gives demerits to her son whenever he does not get a perfect score in his quizzes or tests. That’s a bit extreme, but I know I too have a tendency to over-emphasize the importance of grades, of answering tests correctly. I realized that when Danae had her first set of long tests this week. I felt bad because I felt like I pressured her about knowing the right answers to her test, since we already went through them. I saw her face when I showed my disappointment that she wasn’t able to answer me when I was reviewing her. Thank God it didn’t stick! I really do not want her to be pressured to do really well in school just because she wants to please me. My kid is smart. I want to trust in her abilities. I want her to enjoy test days as she enjoys ordinary school days, and not dread them. But what really matters is she learns to do the work, learns to ask God for guidance & wisdom, and eventually she learns to be excellent — to be excellent not in fear of Mommy’s wrath, but to be excellent as an overflow of her desire to please God.

We need to let little boys be little boys. Let them be active! The first thought that popped in my head was, “What if my little girl is LIKE a little boy?” Haha. Danae is super active and she can definitely run with the boys, but I guess the answer to my question is the same. Let her be her. As long as we give her boundaries, guide and discipline her, I believe it’s right to let her be herself, be who God made her to be and not make her conform to what society thinks a girl should be.

Two other points that Ptr Paolo & Ms Jenn gave were that the relationship is more important than the rules and that it has to be in you before it can be in them. Click here and here for their blogs that beautifully capture these points.

I really enjoyed this pre-conference session because it is a serious subject, one that is very close to my heart, but the speakers made it light and fun. I did not feel condemned for my mistakes, but convicted to correct them and encouraged to keep at it. I love what Ptr David said about restoration after the painful discipline. We embrace our kids, we wipe away their tears, we forgive them, we assure them of our love, because that is how our Father deals with us when we repent of our sins as well. Thank God He forgives me for all the mistakes I make, that He loves me unconditionally, that He gives me hope and grace to be a better mother. 🙂