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

Focus, Fruitfulness, and God’s Faithfulness

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

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

my name published! :)
my name published! 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just My Thoughts, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Sometimes We Fail

We are imperfect human beings. When we have children, our imperfections show even more. Our character is tested every single day. Sometimes we conquer, sometimes we fail.

Did you know that our failures as parents are powerful teachers? When I fail, it gives me an opportunity to humble myself before God and before my children, and apologize to them. It shows them how much I care for them and love them. When we pray and repent to God together, it shows them that I TOO ANSWER TO GOD.

It teaches my children to forgive, to value their relationship with me more than my offense. It teaches them to love with no conditions.

When I fail and apologize, it gives me an opportunity to show them that even though I am an adult, I still make mistakes. I am not perfect. It helps my children see that they need not be perfect either. It takes the load of “high expectations” off their shoulders. It allows them to give themselves a break, especially when they are already frustrated and disappointed with themselves.

It then gives me the opportunity to teach them to rely on Jesus and ask for His help, just as I need His help to correct my mistakes. I, the parent, need Jesus too. I, THE PARENT, NEED JESUS MORE. We cannot live pleasing lives unto God without Jesus. We cannot be victorious over our failures, we cannot do better next time without Jesus. Moreover, we cannot have true joy, true peace, true love, and live full, exciting lives without Jesus.

It allows me to teach them that our need for Jesus does not dissipate over time. In fact, we need Him more and more as we grow older.

When I fail and apologize, it gives me an opportunity to teach my children that even though I or their daddy fail, the one person who will NEVER FAIL THEM is JESUS. He will never fail to keep His promises. He will never fail to love, care for, and protect them. He will never fail in showing them the truth. He will never fail in doing what is best for them. He will never give up on them. He will never leave or forsake them. They will always be beautiful in His eyes. They will always be His princesses. In Jesus, we will always have HOPE.

Sometimes we conquer, sometimes we fail. But when we fail, God is so kind and loving that He turns even those failures into victories.

Just My Thoughts

Instead of critiquing me, why don’t you teach me?

My heart is just bursting right now. I have mixed feelings about a lot of things. It’s one thing to be the one receiving criticisms, judgments, doubts and the like, but it’s another thing when it’s directed at loved ones. It’s more hurtful and I feel quite helpless. But putting myself in my loved ones’ shoes, these are the questions that enter my mind. Is it human nature? Is it a disease or like a virus? Is it normal? Does every institution experience this? Must I accept it as it is? Where is the support? Where is your faith in my potential? What happened to taking risks, allowing mistakes? What happened to grace and humility? What happened to working as a team? What happened to valuing each team member? What happened to mentoring? What happened to being personal? When was the last time you asked me how I was? What happened to honesty & openness? What happened to unity & family? Why do I feel alone in this? Instead of showing me that you know better, why don’t you put yourself in my shoes first? Instead of just telling me what you see wrong, why don’t you help me? Instead of critiquing me, why don’t you teach me?

Then it dawned on me. I have asked these questions at one time or another as a wife and as a mom. Hahahaha. Sigh. I guess it does exist in every institution. But I do not accept it as it is and I do pray for change, for growth and progress. Thank God for His support, for His faith in me, for His mercy, for His grace, for His humility, for His love. Without Him, I wouldn’t be able to survive, much less thrive or succeed. I am somewhat sad, hurt and disappointed, but I am hopeful. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8



Family, Motherhood, My Kids, Parenting

WHEN YOUR CHILD IS SICK

Danae has had on and off fever since Sunday. Not only that, it would spike to as high as 39.5, then disappear. What made it more weird was that Danae was active and she didn’t lose her appetite. She was a bit cranky of course, but that’s normal when kids are sick with cough and colds, which she was. On Wednesday, I already wanted to see her pulmonary pediatrician to make sure it was nothing to worry about, but the doctor’s schedule that day was already done when I called. That night, Danae had no fever. Thursday morning, she was feeling very well and we thought that was the end of it. She was warm to the touch, but she didn’t have a temperature. We thought we didn’t need to take her to the doctor anymore. When we came home that night from a date, she was crying because she had woken up from her sleep and wanted me (yes, even my almost-5-year-old is still clingy haha). Her nose was also bothering her, so we dealt with that with the meds we had. She fell asleep a while later.

She woke up around 3am yesterday morning for some reason, got up to pee, then started groaning. I woke up, felt her, and she was burning. Her temperature was back to 39.5! I gave her Ibuprofen, but I couldn’t take it anymore seeing that she was crying and feeling really bad. I asked King to take her to the emergency room. I wanted to go with them, knowing that Danae would want me beside her, but King insisted that I stay with Noelle, also so that in case Danae needed confinement, I could get our things ready and just follow to the hospital. Danae also understood this and willingly left without me. That was around 4am.

Worrying is exhausting! I was home, tired and sleepy, but I couldn’t sleep. I kept praying and thinking about my daughter. I kept thinking about Danae’s history with Pneumonia. Her first was when she was 11 months old. Her second was when she was 2 years and 10 months old. And now that she’s 4 years and 10 months old, she’s gonna get it again? Is this gonna happen every two years??? No way! I refused to believe that. I started getting angry at the disease and Satan himself. Why are Danae’s lungs being targeted? Why does Danae seem to have a lung thing? I don’t want her to have a lung thing! Was it because I smoked for 7 years that my daughter is suffering the consequences, reaping what I sowed? Lord, have mercy on my daughter! I claim healing over her lungs. I also started getting angry with myself. I should have insisted to go to the doctor when I felt she needed to be checked. I should have listened to my gut. I should have been more vigilant and on top of their sicknesses, even if it’s as minor as a cold. All these emotions and thoughts came up almost all at once. All this while going in and out of sleep, calling King, texting & posting on facebook for people to pray, and waiting for updates. Exhausting.

I was relieved to know that Danae didn’t need confinement, but when King showed me and discussed with me what the ER doctor said, I was dismayed because the diagnosis was Pneumonitis — not exactly Pneumonia but a lung thing nonetheless! Blood test and urine test were normal. I asked if our pulmonary pediatrician was informed. She was not. They told King to go direct to her if we want, after 3 days, since they prescribed meds already. Looking at the prescription, I had no peace. I asked King to take us to Danae’s pulmonary pediatrician because I wanted her expert opinion. He obliged, even though he and Danae already spent a good 3 hours in the ER and even though he already bought the medicine.

We made the right decision. The pulmo pedia said that Danae’s lungs are clear! Though we still don’t know exactly what is causing Danae’s fever yet, which was at its highest (40!) at that time, and we have to observe it until Sunday, the doctor isn’t that worried and at least it is not a lung infection again!!! Whew! I should not have insisted that they go to the ER in the first place. If only I waited a few hours to go directly to our doctor. Oh well. Lesson learned.

Sigh. When our children are sick, it’s just the worst thing ever. I feel bad when I see them feeling bad. It’s harder when you’ve got a baby who needs your attention too. I feel torn many times. But thank God Noelle is well and provides comic relief haha, even though she can be demanding. Thank God He gives us moms wisdom to know what to do in times like this and the push we need to actually do it. Thank God for reliable doctors! As parents, it’s really so hard not to worry.  But the burden isn’t so heavy when you’ve got a husband who is as dedicated as you are to your kids, friends and family who are standing with you in prayer, and a faithful God who loves you and who’s got you and your children in the palm of His hands.

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Phil 4:6-7 (MSG)

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

GREAT NEWS! Last night was Danae’s first night of continuous sleep, after a whole week of interrupted sleep. Her fever is gone! She’s coughing and snorting still and sleeping a lot, but I really feel she’s on her way back to good health. THERE IS POWER, THERE IS HEALING IN THE NAME OF JESUS! 🙂

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. 🙂

Family, My Kids, Parenting

WISDOM FROM MY CHILDREN

Danae was watching tv one day, waiting for the next show on Playhouse Disney. She looked at me and said, “I hope it’s Chloe’s Closet.” It just amazed me to hear Danae use that word. She uses “wish” a lot, saying she wishes she could ride a tricycle, or have some toy or whatever, but not “hope.” She wasn’t hoping for anything deep like world peace or justice either, but as little as she is, she already knows how to hope. Her first written sentence is also about hope. “I HOP I COD WISH FOR MI SCOTR.” What about us? As old as we are, do we still know how to hope? Or have we lost all of it? Who do we put our hope in?

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 39:7

A few weeks ago, Danae didn’t want to read her Bible before going to bed. When we asked her if she didn’t want to know God more, she said, “I already know God.” Hahaha. Sound familiar? Do we think we already know everything there is to know about God? More importantly, do we think we’re so close to God that we can’t get any closer? Do we already know God’s next move, His plan?

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11

Danae is a lot like me in terms of personality, where she can make a big deal out ofsomething so small. She doesn’t know yet how to pick her battles, while I am still learning hehehe. Noelle is the one more like King, who is easy going and is fine with almost anything. They get into arguments (well, Noelle expresses herself physically, while Danae does it verbally and physically), and Danae is the one who easily gets upset. When Noelle grabs from Danae, you’re sure to hear a protest from Danae. When Danae grabs from Noelle, unless it’s something that she really really likes, Noelle doesn’t complain and finds another thing to play with or use. Danae is an active kid (probably an understatement), and can be rough many-a-time. She gets excited and “gigil” with Noelle, and we’re the ones fearful that they both might get hurt. Noelle most often just giggles away. When Noelle hurts Danae, whether deliberately or accidentally, Danae pretty much gets annoyed easily. We often remind her to take a look at her sister. Even though Noelle is younger, she could learn a thing or two from her.

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