Family, Just My Thoughts

What are you grateful for?

It’s been more than a hundred days of quarantine! How have you been? King asked us the other night what we were thankful for, being home now for more than 3 months. Common answers from the kids were bonding and food. I guess they know their priorities. 😂 Thought I’d share my answers too.

First, I’m grateful that we have not gone crazy and killed each other, being home together 24/7 all this time. We had a good laugh about this, but all agreed. I believe it helps that everyone has his or her own space to retreat to. Well, except maybe me, because Gianna seems to have a homing device set to always find mommy. I guess it’s a good thing she’s not sick of me yet. Unless of course I go outside and do my weeding. When I ask her to help, she does the opposite and stays away 😂. I should go do that again this week 😉. A space in the back to see some green, gaze up at the sky, and to get some fresh air, is very much a blessing as well.

We were recording outside for VBC 🙂

I also believe that our connection to the outside world helps keep us all sane. Thank God for technology and a techie husband! The kids are able to talk to their friends online. King and I are able to talk to (and laugh with) our friends. We may be stuck in one place physically, but we are able to enjoy staying home, and somewhat enjoy our friends. The older girls even watch shows or movies online with their friends. So gen z, don’t you think?

But it also goes to show we genuinely enjoy one another. There are disagreements and certain issues, needless to say, but we are a close knit family. King and I are deliberate in bringing our family together, but I think we gravitate to one another anyway. It’s either I bug them in their room to give/get hugs or just goof around, or they come into my room to snuggle or tell me random stuff. About anime or a favorite band or a favorite character or whatever. I joke that my new name is Momluk, because everyday, one or two or all three call me to look at whatever they want to show me. “Mom, look!!!” Yes, at the same time sometimes. And sometimes, “Mom, look! Mom, look! Mom, look!” I keep telling them that it’s torture what they do to me. 😂😂😂

Second, I’m grateful to be living a less hurried life. No rush to get out the door and bring the kids wherever, or get to a meeting, or juggle my schedule to accomodate their needs and mine. I’m able to rest. I’m able to spend more time reading my Bible, praying and journaling, without as much distraction as before. I’m able to cook dishes, read, draw and make art with Gianna, hang with the girls, watch some shows (though I’ve only finished one and a half seasons of one show on netflix), have devotions with the family, continue decluttering, play, dance, write.

Less hurried but still having busy days. In May, I had Mom Talk, where I shared, along with 2 other moms, about Faith and Journaling online. It was my first time to do something like that ever. Another faith-stretching, character-building experience for me. Noelle continued ballet classes online. King also had Me and My Dad Camp (at home) that month with Gianna. It was her first time to participate. We all also spent some days recording and editing stuff for Vacation Bible Camp. The girls had an online math enhancement program provided by their school for two weeks last month, and we got a taste of what it will be like in the coming school year. It will be another adjustment for all of us, but hey, we were built to adapt. God’s grace is abundant. 🙏

They were in a tent at the backyard for Me and My Dad camp, while we were having a movie date. 🙂
Each of our girls finished the program for their level 🙂

Third, I’m grateful that church and discipleship did not stop. It’s amazing how the church quickly adapted to the change. Livestreaming for Sunday services and daily devotions were set up. Leadership convergences and trainings, marriage talks, youth services and others were put up online. Our church community is alive! Our meetings with our leaders continue via zoom. Our meetings with our own couples discipleship group continue via zoom. In fact, the young professionals group I was supposed to start with two ladies in April pushed through in June, but now with five ladies. 

Monthly meeting with the Pastors’ wives 🙂
Bi-monthly meeting with the wives of our couples group 🙂

Even Kids Church could not be stopped. There is kids church online every Sunday. Me and My Dad Camp, which is usually held in camping grounds in Tagaytay or Rizal, was held in the participants’ homes. And there were at least 70 families who signed up and joined! And VBC! We started meeting for this in January, and the praise dance team started meeting for practices in February. We thought that because we were unable to gather due to the lockdown, VBC would be pushed to next year. But the Kids Ministry team and volunteers made a way for this to happen online! What a privilege for the praise dance team to still be part of it. And would you believe we had nearly 200 participants??? Gianna was a first time participant too! Amazing what God has been doing. ❤️

Danae and Gianna with some of the praise dancers for VBC at Home!

Opportunity. This is what was presented to us in the last 3 months. Did we find it? Have we used it? I hope that instead of complaining about how the quarantine is limiting us, we find the opportunities in our situation. The opportunity to spend time with our loved ones. The opportunity to bless our frontliners. The opportunity to contribute to the livelihood of others by buying local and buying from our friends. The opportunity to connect with people, whether at home or online with people we haven’t spoken to for some time. The opportunity to mend relationships. The opportunity to read. To learn something new. To be creative. To teach somebody. To hone our skill by sharing it to others. To start a business. To write music or poetry. To slow down, refocus, realign, recalibrate. To serve. To pray. To use our platform to encourage and to impart faith.  

There is always opportunity to be grateful. I pray most of all that this is what we have learned in quarantine — to find the silver lining and make the choice to be grateful. ❤️🙏❤️

 I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1

Uncategorized

2018 Hongkong Highlights

Christmas is always a busy but really fruitful and meaningful season for us. We enjoy doing Advent activities daily, getting ready for Jesus’ birthday. One of them is writing down what we are thankful for for the year. This time, we did it by month. I wrote down in my March box our trip to Hongkong.

Yes, I love traveling with my family. Yes, I love going to Disneyland. But what I loved most about our trip was that I had one on one time with each member of my family. Precious memories. ❤️

King and I went out alone for a walk, to see what were in the shops and where we could take the kids. Thankfully our hotel was in a pretty good location, and my mom was with the girls. It’s refreshing to just chill and spend alone time with the hubby, even if it’s just for an hour. The weather was nice and cool too. 🐽

Noelle was sick on day 1 but I think it was day 2 or 3 that we had a chance to take a walk and shop for some things for herself as well. It was a blessing in disguise that Danae was too sleepy to come along that Noelle and I had some time together. 🐼

Noelle loves pandas. Notice her shirt. 🐼

Danae and I also had some time checking out stores, while King went into a separate store. She got to buy ice cream from an ice cream truck.🍦

And then on one evening, she came with King and I to Temple street for the night market. She and I walked back to the hotel alone while King waited for some yummy take out food — Yang Chow, Spicy Pork, Lemon Chicken, Steamed fish and broccoli! 🥘

Our best meal in the city, considering all other meals from McDo, KFC and Burger King. 😂 I do miss their McDonald’s Spicy Wings, which we don’t have here.

And then Disneyland. I love Disney. I love Mickey. I love Disneyland! It makes me all giddy inside. BUT… I doubt I’d enjoy it at all if my family was not with me. And it was Gianna’s first time — a dream come true for her! She was so excited to go to Disneyland that once when we were going to a mall, she asked if we were going to see Buzz there. She kept telling me she wanted to go to Disneyland, until my mom said she’d take her there. What a blessing my mom is! 😇

Gianna and I enjoyed riding Slinky together! Danae and Noelle rode together. I wasn’t sure how Gianna would react, since her ate Noelle cried when it was her first time, but she didn’t! I was so proud of her. And of Noelle too because she didn’t get scared this time. 👏🏼

King and Danae went on the Star Wars Space Mountain ride, so I took Noelle and Gianna to meet one of the Star Wars characters. It was R2D2! I loved how Noelle was beyond excited to have her picture taken with him. 🤖

Noelle was a fan of Star Wars for a while. Disneyland was a great place to get some merch. I dunno if her shirt can be seen but it is a Star Wars shirt. She’s also wearing a Star Wars cap, bought here.

Danae and I rode the new roller coaster in Grizzly Gulch. It was soooo much fun! I thought it was mild enough for Noelle to ride at first, but boy was I wrong. I was laughing the whole time, while Danae was screaming 😂

Thank you Lord for our Hongkong trip, but most of all thank You for my family. None of us is perfect, and our relationships are rocky at times, but You have blessed me indeed. Every year, I will be grateful for them. ❤️

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

FEATURED

Four Favorite Fs at Forty

So it’s February 7, and King is forty today! Fabulously young looking at forty, but that’s not my favorite thing about him.

King is funny and fun, and he has the finesse of Bruno Mars! Yes, he can be corny sometimes, but in the last 13 years and 1 year before that, he has made me laugh countless times. Marriage is fun because we can laugh and be silly together. He is my bestest bestest friend, and I thank God I get to do life with him. He’s ready to go on adventures and trips with me, but he’s also willing to just chill out and do nothing with me. He’s game for anything, as long as he’s not yet exhausted (hahaha, we have to be real, we are not as young as we used to be). And the finesse….he can still move and groove, not to mention he resembles the ever so talented Bruno Mars. I just love that about him. I remember that was one of the things on “my list” when I was single, haha. I thank the Lord He gave me a dancer, especially since we have spawned 3 more dancers.

King is a family man. I love that he always wants to come home to us. When we’re not with him, he rarely stays out late, by choice. It was never a spoken rule, but something he has practiced since we got married, and especially when we started having children. I love that he prioritizes our family. We are on the same page in raising our children, in our values, and making choices based on what is important to us as a family. He makes sure he puts in date nights in his schedule, not just with me, but with his daughters individually. The girls always request for those dates. They enjoy spending time with him, and are always excited to see him when he gets home or when we meet somewhere. They look forward to Me and My Dad camps too! Team work makes the dream work. We are a team. He’s not perfect but he genuinely loves us and does his best to take care of us.

King is a faithful man. To me and to his children, but most especially to God. Recently we received a prophetic word during a presbytery, and the word for King was faithful. My tears started rolling because it was a confirmation of what I’ve always seen in my husband. Through the excitement, the silence, the highs, the lows, the small victories, the epic failures,and everything in between, he has remained faithful to the Lord and to his calling. Even with the occasional temptation of giving up or walking away, he would hold on and keep on keeping on. “Just be faithful” is kind of our mantra. What a wonderful gift to hear that the Lord’s eye is on King and He is pleased with His servant.

King fears the Lord. Not the “I’m so scared that God is going to smite me” kind of fear, but a deep love and respect for God. This is where his wisdom comes from. He knows God is a loving, kind, gracious, merciful Father, but One who is also holy and just. One who is sovereign, powerful, and infinitely wiser. He does not want to mess around with trying to fool God or to go ahead of Him. He lives his life wanting to wait on God, so that he can obey God. When our tendency is to depend on our own abilities, he reminds his children, me included, to pray and ask the Lord. He also lives confident of God’s goodness and faithfulness. This, and by the grace of God, is where his ability to be faithful, to his audience of One, comes from. Grateful to be used and to be able to serve.

 

Happy 40th birthday babe! You are my favorite person in the whole wide world. I pray that you will continue to grow into the man God is shaping you to be. I love you. ❤

 

Just My Thoughts

Just Be Faithful 2

King taught a class I was in last week, and one of the topics he discussed was the Christian character of faithfulness. At the end of that session, each group answered a question:

Why is faithfulness a critical component of the character of a leader? Describe a leader in your life who has been faithful and explain the impact of that in your own life.

I raised my hand and said something, but it was incomplete. As usual, I think I’m a better writer than I am a speaker. Anyway, what I really wanted to say was that in those times that we leaders feel ineffective, useless, unappreciated, offended or tired, we must remain faithful. Just as Dory sings “just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” we must remind ourselves to just be faithful. By the enabling grace of God, we keep going. We don’t give up. Why? Because God sees. God sees you and me. God sees our heart. He sees our effort to reach out to people and to love them. He sees our obedience. He sees our willingness to be inconvenienced, to step out of our comfort zone. He sees our servant leadership and selflessness. He sees our faith. HE SEES. And His pleasure is enough reason for us to be faithful. His honor ought to be the ultimate reason we keep going.

Being faithful is a critical component of a leader’s character because while it is easy to lead when you have a title or position, things are going great and everyone is on board, united and all, it is difficult when things go the opposite direction. Problems arise (theirs or your own), people disconnect, people get offended and discouraged (including you), people and situations change. A leader must not walk away from what God has called him to do.

No question, the leader who has been faithful and has made an impact in my life is King. His faith and his relationship with the Lord is something that I have admired since the year I met him. The day I found out that he was on a mission trip, after weeks of preparing a video and a dance presentation for the opening of our center in Festival mall, was the day I saw him with a new level of respect. I mean come on, I married the guy a year later! Haha. He is by no means perfect. Our life is not perfect. But we have been married for nearly 13 years. He has been a faithful husband, despite my oh so many flaws. He has been a faithful father to our three girls. He chooses to love us and take care of us. I see it in the small things and in the big things — his time, his availability, his presence, his words, his prayers, his resources. He chooses to honor his vow before God and his vow to me.

He has been a church volunteer since the 90s. Name it, he has volunteered for it. He has been in full time ministry for more than a decade. He has worn different hats as well. He’s the kind of man who will do what needs to be done, no matter his title or position. No VIP treatment just because he’s a pastor. He is always ready to serve. I’ve seen that character in him all these years. He is faithful. Even when he has taken hits. Even when he is discouraged. He remains faithful. I believe it’s because he knows to Whom he is being faithful. It’s because he has no illusions Whom all this is about and Whose grace makes it all possible. And that’s more than enough for him. 🙂

“Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; Deuteronomy 7:9

 

You may also want to read part 1 here — Just Be Faithful.  

My Kids, Parenting

On Stage Again

One of my daughters has been interested in acting ever since she was little, but we didn’t have the chance or time to commit to any workshops. When Homeschool@Alabang opened in June last year, offering a Musical Theater class that fit into our girls’ regular school schedule, we enrolled both girls since my other daughter expressed interest as well. My friend May of FullyHousewifed encouraged me that the class is good, especially with Ms. Anamarie Quirino teaching it.

It was extra work and extra expense for us, but we went for it. There were times that they both didn’t want to attend the class because they were tired, times they had to skip it because of sickness or exams, times they wanted to quit. But we are all so glad that we PUSHED ourselves to finish what we started, to honor our COMMITMENT. I would have also easily agreed to them giving it up, but King reminded us that he had already paid for the entire year’s fees. What a waste of time, energy, resources, and OPPORTUNITY it would have been if we just quit, when we’d already invested 6 months of our lives and their show was only a few months away.


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The play was entitled Happily Forever After (A Musical Play About the Kingdom of God), held at Maybank Performing Arts Theater in the BGC Arts Center.

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The result was wonderful! Danae’s call time was 10am because she was part of the Shadow Play team. They had a part in Homeschool@Valle Verde’s show at 1:30pm. King brought her since King had work in the area, and my friends (moms of the other girls) took charge of her while I couldn’t be there with her. Noelle’s call time was at 3pm, along with everyone else. King came back for us at home and we all went in time for Noelle’s call time. With all the time and work they put in that day, I did not hear a single complaint!!! They both enjoyed themselves so much. They loved it! I think being in a real theater with real dressing rooms added to the excitement. When they heard “company call!” they bolted out of the dressing room while I was in the middle of braiding Noelle’s hair! They were so busy and excited about their rehearsals, makeup, costumes, and about delivering an EXCELLENT performance. Not to mention the FRIENDSHIPS they built with new people, and the MEMORIES they created with their oldest friends. This was one for the books!

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inside the dressing room, after the show 🙂

 

We are so proud of all the kids! They were all adorable. Kids with talent, who gave their BEST, whether their part was big or small. Kids who WORKED TOGETHER and displayed so much COURAGE! We’re grateful our girls got to be a part of it. The best bit — they got to SHARE THE GOSPEL through their play!

Our girls truly surprised and impressed me. I could never do what they did with much comfort, except maybe the dancing part. They didn’t have speaking lines, but their facial expressions, their acting chops, and their confidence??? They may look like me, but they’ve got their dad’s performing genes. For sure. And Gianna? She mentioned a couple of times that she wanted to go down and dance as well. Her words seeing Noelle right after the play — “Noelle, I like your make up!” She’s two, and I don’t think she has a problem being on stage either. 🙂

 

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the opening scene — our trumpeteers Danae, Ana and Cassie!
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Danae in red and white (rightmost, upstage), and Noelle in purple (rightmost part of the image)

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The shadow play – Danae handled the head of the dragon. This was a beautiful depiction of Jesus’ death and His victory over death.
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The girls of the shadow play crew 🙂 Thanks for the photo, tita Trickee 🙂
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Danae and Noelle in sync! at least in this shot 🙂 Thanks tita Michelle 🙂
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With their talented director, Anamarie Quirino 🙂
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Wowo, Wowas and ate Ella came to support! Wish Wowo Vic were alive to see this. Thank you, family! 🙂

 

If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. Luke 16:10a

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

 
Marriage

Twelve Years!

So we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary yesterday, woot woot! We were so busy celebrating, I didn’t have time to write hehehe. King is such a thoughtful husband that he always takes a leave and plans something for our anniversary. I don’t get in his way or upstage him by coming up with my own plans because I believe he enjoys doing that for us. I asked him the other day what the plan was, and he told me that he was thinking of checking us into a hotel. As he was saying that it’s too expensive, I agreed and said yeah, let’s not. But then he went on to say that instead of spending the money on a hotel overnight stay, it’s better to spend it in Divisoria (it is an area in Manila with a series of stores/malls that sell more affordable stuff especially when you buy in bulk). Haha. King knew right away that he got me good! I haven’t been to Divisoria in ages, and I’ve been wanting to go!

So there. We spent half the day in Divi. We went straight after dropping off the older girls at school. Gianna was with us haha. We have no pictures! But our sore backs are proof. She’s so heavy already. And you don’t bring strollers to Divi. Traffic of people can be tight and heavy. She did cooperate, staying in the baby carrier, which King and I alternated wearing, almost the entire time. We stayed in Divi for 4 hours, and travelled about 2 hours coming back for the girls in school. We were late! We were all hungry so we drove through for food, and King and the older girls proceeded to play with and assemble King’s Divi find as soon as we got home. Actually, that’s all King bought. Though we were there to supposedly buy some things for ourselves, we ended up buying mostly for the kids and our home. No matter. We were happy, and we are excited to go back. Then for dinner, King cooked a family favorite — his shrimp pesto penne.

Simplicity. I love that about us. We don’t really run after big, bright, expensive things. Don’t get me wrong. We are happy to receive those too haha. And thankful to be able to splurge (our own definition of splurge, of course) on occasion. But we are ones who are happy to simply spend time together and to bless our children even in little ways. I remember our first anniversary, for which I prepared a surprise candle lit dinner at home on the floor, with Danae on a blanket beside us. I think that was the only anniversary I planned. And now our 12th year! We have definitely had many and different celebrations as a family. I’m thankful for each one. For each birthday, each Christmas, each anniversary, each memory.

The Lord is good. The Lord is faithful. I thank God for my husband and for my marriage. The night of the super moon, we ate at Salad Stop (yummy!), and I asked King why he loves me. One of the things he said was because I love God more than him. I asked him how he knows that, and he told me it’s because I’m scared to hurt him. Hahahaha, we had an argument-slash-banter that day and I threatened to punch him for real. But of course I didn’t. We both laughed. I hope that that is true as only God can see and judge my heart. That is the very reason I was confident in marrying King as well. That he loves God more than me. I pray that holds true for us both till death do us part.

King – Jesus – Phoebe ❤ November 15, 2004


Happy anniversary King! I love you! 🙂

‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Mark 10:7-9 NLT

Motherhood, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY

Happy birthday Gianna (and me too?)

Facebook reminded me this week of something I said two years ago.

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Actually, King was the first one to remind me. He wished me a happy birthday on Gianna’s birthday, and said he remembers everything. I just smiled. I honestly did not think of it. But as I was watching a show the other day, I suddenly cried seeing the daughter hug her mom so tightly, thankful that her mom is alive. You see, not to sound overdramatic, well okay maybe a little, I almost died.

FEAR OF PAIN

I was scheduled for a c-section on August 12th, so I had to be admitted the day before. I don’t know why, but through the difficult pregnancy, I had so much fear. I feared pain. I don’t know if God was already warning me about things to come, but I struggled with it. I would cry because I was afraid of the pain I MIGHT experience. I’d given birth to Danae normally — that was painful even with epidural. I’d given birth to Noelle via emergency c-section — also had epidural and recovery was painful. You would think after two births, I’d be more confident. But no, I was seriously afraid.

August 11th, my spirits were high. King, the kids, and I were excited to be at the hospital. I wanted the girls to be with us overnight so they could meet Gianna right after she came out. To keep with tradition since Danae was also there in the hospital when Noelle was born. 🙂  I tested positive for GBS (Group B Strep) and so I needed to be given antibiotics intravenously 24hrs before my c-section. I was told to shower with an antiseptic and wear the hospital gown, so they could test my skin for a reaction (or non) to the antibiotic and also insert the IV. I was ready. Bracing myself, but ready. The nurse inserted the needle….

and I WAILED IN PAIN. I cried so loudly that my girls cried with me. I had never experienced that before in my 3 previous hospitalizations. That was just the beginning. To make the story shorter, almost everything I went through was painful. Plus I guess I was super emotional. King was not allowed to stay with me in the labor room and I had no phone, so through my tears I occupied myself with singing my first favorite worship song, Great is the Lord and Most Worthy of Praise.

I sang it even while they were getting Gianna out, and King was by my head. There was no pain at that point but I had difficulty breathing. That was normal, I was told, because of the spinal anaesthesia they gave me. It was quite different from the epidural I’ve had in the past. I kept thinking, I wanna hear the baby. I’ll be okay when I hear and see her. When she was out — her skin so fair like Noelle, chubby and chinky like Noelle, and she cried softly (like neither sister hahaha) — I was relieved and happy. I even made sure my doctor fixed my fallopian tubes. She assured me that she was ligating me, haha. They put Gianna on me so she could latch, and we could have some skin-to-skin contact. ❤

AFTER CHILD BIRTH

They brought me to the recovery room, and they would not bring me and Gianna to my room because my blood pressure was high. I kept looking at the monitor and I would see it at 160 over something. I thought that was odd because with my first two, my blood pressure normalized as soon as I gave birth. I was in there by 2:30. When Gianna cried, we would try to breastfeed. I tried to sleep and relax. By 8 or 9pm, I asked the nurse if she could bring Gianna out to meet her sisters. She obliged and I thank God that happened because the girls did not see her again till she got out of the NICU. More on her birth here.

I was brought to my room around 11pm. They gave me meds for my BP and monitored my urine for 24 hrs. When they removed the catheter, I was able to stand up and move. I would get dizzy and have a hard time breathing, but surprisingly my wound and stomach muscles did not hurt much. On the 15th, I was given the go to be discharged. My heplock was removed. I had no dextrose anymore by the 14th actually, but the thing was still in my vein till they removed it the next day. So you know, I thought I was fine and healthy. I did keep asking about my swollen ankles and legs. My edema would usually disappear as soon as the baby came out. I thought something was not right, but they kept telling me it was normal. We opted to keep the room and wait till Gianna was finished with her antibiotics in the NICU.

Not long after that, a doctor came into my room and told me that I had pre-eclampsia. I was so annoyed that I asked her why she’s saying pre-eclampsia when I’ve already given birth. Isn’t it supposed to be post eclampsia? Haha. It’s called pre-eclampsia because it is a condition before eclampsia. Eclampsia is high blood pressure and seizures in pregnant women. The usual cure for that is to give birth. Mine was post partum pre-eclampsia, meaning after I’ve given birth. She told me I would need magnesium sulfate for 24 hours, I got more upset. I told the attending doctor that I did not want to be IVed again. I said I was done. In my head, I was thinking that they were mistaken. Not after Gianna, needing to be in the NICU. No way. It was just too much. They said they would just relay it to my OB-GYN.

My lovely doctor, Dra Guinto, came into my room early that evening, and pleaded with me, not just as my doctor but as my friend (her words), to get the treatment. I actually had pre-eclampsia severe — severe because I had more than 3 symptoms of pre-eclampsia. It was good that we found out while I was still in hospital, because it would have been more dangerous undetected at home. There are too many complications if we don’t treat it — seizures and nerve damage. I cried because I did not want to do it. I did not want another IV insertion. I did not want additional pain — I was told it was going to feel hot in my body. I did not want a catheter. Hearing it straight from my doctor (and because she allowed me to not wear a catheter) and with King encouraging me to just obey, I eventually agreed. Thank God my children weren’t there. They were still with my in-laws.

My God takes the broken and makes it whole again. My God takes the broken and makes me whole again. ‪#‎thankYouLord‬ — this was my post from a song I heard that day, Aug 15, 2014. (I wasn’t able to capture the memory, sorry.)

NOT AGAIN 

That night, they brought me to the High Risk Pregnancy Unit. I was already in the groove of going down to the NICU to feed Gianna each time she needed feeding, but I couldn’t go to her again for 24 hours. I was emotional, eyes swollen from all the crying. Praise God the IV didn’t hurt and I did not feel the heat in my body. But in my heart, I kept asking the Lord to keep me alive. I did not want to let my girls feel abandoned. I did not want them to be at a loss, devastated by news of me dead. We had not seen each other at that point for 4 days. Imagine thinking everything’s fine and then your mom is suddenly gone. I did not want them to have to go through that. I was afraid that they’d get angry with God. I did not want Gianna to grow up without a mom. She’s too little. Writing about it still gets me emotional. Kawawa naman ang mga anak ko, I told God. I did not want to die yet. King did not show me, but he was also concerned. I guess he prayed like he never prayed before.

I was at the same time, concerned for Gianna because she was in the NICU. I kept hearing in my head, or was it in a song or I saw it in one of the movies, “the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” I told God that I don’t think I was ready to say that if He took Gianna away. Oh the tears!

After 24 hours, even my doctor was stumped. My blood pressure was still high. I asked her what might happen and she said my heart could fail from all the pumping it’s doing. I think that’s when she talked to King outside and they both decided to get me out of that unit. The place was causing me stress. I could not wait to get out and hold Gianna. We moved to a small room and by the grace of God, they released Gianna around the same time too. I got to see her and be with her again. My blood pressure went down, though still elevated. And by next morning, I was deemed healthy enough to be discharged — for real. Whew!

STILL ALIVE!

Later that month, I realized how much worse it could have all turned out. I was still having high blood pressure, dizzy spells, and an overall sick feeling. My friend whose son was in the NICU for 2 months, told me about a baby also in the NICU whose mom was in a coma. When I asked why, I learned that she was in A COMA BECAUSE OF PRE-ECLAMPSIA. Days or maybe weeks later, she was gone. It just became so real. My fears were not baseless at all! I cried then, feeling bad for that baby and her dad and THANKING GOD THAT I WAS ALIVE. I seriously could have died too soon. Thank God my doctor insisted on treatment and King urged me to do it. Otherwise, I would be in heaven and that would be great for me, but not so great for my family.

I thank God for my life! Despite that health scare and though I am still taking medication for high blood pressure, I am still here. God chose to not leave my children motherless. He chose to give King and I, the girls and I, our whole family more years together.

Exactly two years ago, we brought Gianna home from the hospital.

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Now she’s 2, and we are both alive and well. God is sovereign and God is good. And King is right. It is also my birthday. We are deeply grateful. ❤ 

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Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1 

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ Isaiah 46:10

The Lord does whatever pleases him
    throughout all heaven and earth,
    and on the seas and in their depths. Psalm 135:6

The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:9

 

 

 

Marriage

Couples Getaway 2016

We just attended Victory Alabang’s Couples Getaway at Mt Malarayat Golf and Country Club over the weekend. There were 2 batches because more than a hundred couples signed up! We were part of batch 1, all day Friday to Saturday morning. The place was really nice! We want to go back and bring the kids there.

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This was our 6th couples retreat to date. Each one has its memories. Our very first was in Caliraya with 10-month-old Danae. I remember not being able to focus much because King was also working as staff. I do remember the conversation we needed to have at that time. Wow, come to think of it, that must have been the retreat that elicited much emotion from me. I was a new mom, King was a new dad, we were not even 2 years into our marriage, and we knew each other for approximately 3 years. We were young and immature. King and I were NOT on the same page. But I guess it turned out well because here we still are. Haha. God lives!

The second was in Summit Ridge in 2010. Danae and 1-year-old Noelle, plus our then yaya, were with us. The third (2011) and fourth (2012) were both also in Tagaytay, in Taal Vista Hotel. We had no kids with us! Our fifth (also 2012) was with other pastors and their wives, in Bellevue Hotel, Alabang. King picked up the kids in the evening so they could stay the night with us. We had friends come over to take them swimming while we attended the last session the next morning. This year, we went without any kids too! My in-laws and my mom took care of our girls while we were out. My mother-in-law took care of almost-2-year-old Gianna who, except while she was in the NICU for 5 days, has not spent a night without me. There were some tears, but it was all in all good. Whew!

Attending the getaway is never easy for us. There are many things to consider — the kids, who will be with the kids, money, the schedules, the kids, not to mention things that come up, health issues, the kids. Haha. At the very last hour of me trying to get some sleep and waiting to wake up, between 4 and 5 in the morning, I was still struggling whether to go without Gianna or to bring her. It would be easier on everybody, I thought, if I just brought Gianna. But then I was reminded that King had been looking forward to being alone with me. You have to understand. In the 12 years (almost) that we’ve been married, we have spent the night without the kids around, less than 20 times. Included in the count are the 3 getaways, a couple of the older girls’ sleepovers, and king’s and my hospitalization. I was also reminded that that’s the very reason why we asked my in-laws to come, and that they are very much capable of taking care of the girls’, most especially Gianna’s needs.

Attending seminars and retreats are a great investment in our marriage. If King showed me that I am his priority by making sure we attended the getaway, I realize that I showed him that he is my priority by leaving the kids home*. I’m so glad I did. These days, we get to date once or twice a month, from mostly quickies to regular ones. The getaway was a long, lovely, fun and purposeful date.

I believe that these retreats aren’t only for troubled marriages. Yes, it is a great way to open the door to have those crucial conversations, to resolve issues, to forgive and heal, to reconnect, to rekindle the passion. But we don’t need to wait for our marriages to be in trouble before we start taking care of it. Invest in your marriage early. We all have issues anyway. None of us is immune to temptation or to acting like humans. We all need to be equipped to be better spouses. Let’s keep our marriages strong early on.

One of the important points Ptr Ariel made in the last session was that MANY OF OUR PROBLEMS ARE NOT MARRIAGE PROBLEMS, BUT GOD PROBLEMS. It’s so true. If we continually walk with God, honor and obey Him, love Him above anything and anyone else, then of course the overflow will also be evident in the way we love and honor our spouse. We cannot build and strengthen our marriages apart from God. We cannot be good spouses apart from God. 

So invest in your relationship with God. Aside from going to getaways, seminars and talks, aside from going out on dates, read your Bible. Apply it in your life. Pray. Pray for each other. Go to church. Surround yourself with people who want and do the same thing. Let God work in you. By His grace, the quality of your marriage will follow. ❤ 

 

*I do not condemn those who did bring kids. Like I said, I’ve done it too. In fact, kudos to you because you did it just so you could attend the getaway! We all know it is difficult to leave our kids, but it is also difficult to bring them when we’re trying to focus and learn. You will also have your time alone with each other, in Jesus’ name. 🙂

 

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2

He who keeps instruction is in the way of life,
But he who refuses correction goes astray. Proverbs 10:17

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24

 

Just My Thoughts, Spiritual Family

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

Family, My Kids, Parenting

Me and My Dad Camp 2016

Last April 1, three-fifths of my family went to Bangkong Kahoy, Quezon for Me and My Dad Camp. It was the fifth time for Danae and third for Noelle. It is a yearly event that King and our girls look forward to — a great bonding time for father and daughters, “roughing it” in tents, participating in water gun wars, cooking and eating all the junk food that they don’t get to eat much of at home! Noelle is looking forward to have her turn alone with King in camp when Danae is too old to join, and to have Gianna with her and King when her little sister is old enough to join them.

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Our Kids Church team led by Ptr Carlo always devotes a session for only the fathers to encourage and empower them to be the dads that God has called them to be, to be worthy of the respect and adoration their children give them. The team never fails to teach the kids to love, appreciate and honor their fathers. This year’s theme was My Dad, My Treasure. The kids were taught to see their fathers as their precious treasure.

The kids had an activity where they were to choose among many words on the board, one word that would best describe their dad. Words like courageous, bald, TV, workaholic, handy man, cigarettes, smart, funny, brave, busy, and more. Lo and behold, both our girls chose the same word for King without the other’s knowledge!

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How amusing and how wonderful to know that King and the girls are consistent. Last year, their activity was to write one word to describe their dad on a paper cup. Both girls also wrote the same word — FUNNY. Haha. I guess among all other descriptions, it’s their dad’s playfulness that resonates with them.

Thank you King for being the best dad to our girls! Thank you for making sure that they know that you love and prioritize them. Thank you for making family, whether on ordinary or extraordinary days, fun! We pray that your joy, your sense of humor, and your childlikeness will remain as we all grow older. May you influence us to always look at life with enthusiasm and to live life with much faith and grace, loving and honoring God. You are the father that you are because of how our Heavenly Father fathers you. We love you. 🙂

 

P.S. Thank you Kids Church for thinking about our children and helping us be better parents! We still have the booklets you guys had the kids answer last year to discover their love language. They are precious to us because they help us understand our girls better. They help us love our girls better. Thank you.

 

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matt 13:44-45