Family

Tito Panser, the beloved!

Tito Panser. I dont know anyone else named Panser, or Fruspambliser for that matter. So when people say his name, I automatically know who they mean. He was someone everyone knew and someone everybody was fond of. Maybe it was his charisma, maybe his consistent smile. Maybe it was his gusto, or his singing, or his ahoo! He was always the life of the party. Danae said this as well when she learned that Wowo Panser was heading to heaven soon. She said our family parties won’t be the same. How painfully true. He brought that joy and light to all our gatherings, and it isn’t a surprise that he was the same in church and everywhere else.

To me though, he was Tito Panser who loved me. You see, I grew up with his daughters. I’m the only girl in my family and I’m so blessed to have my cousins, Ate Sol, Mai, and Dee, as my sisters. I would sleep over in their home often, and he, and Tita Monette of course, always welcomed me. It was like I wasn’t a visitor, as I was privy to some things, like his hair hehehe. And in the times that I could not sleep and had to go home in the middle of the night, I did not hear any complaint or reprimand, only laughter. Like it wasn’t new. Because it happened a few times hahaha. A tad inconvenient, but no biggie since we live only a couple of blocks away.

As a kid, I didn’t really like going to church, much less wake up early for it, but I knew that if I slept over on a Saturday in their home, Sunday morning would mean church. That was a non-negotiable. They were consistent. They were the family I respected and looked up to when it came to Christianity. Not perfect, but consistent and committed in serving the Lord. And when I reached a phase in my life that wasn’t ideal or pleasant (to put it mildly), they remained loving and accepting towards me. They let me stay an entire summer, the ultimate sleepover, in their home, to help my parents deal with me. They never made me feel like I was a bad seed. Now I understand how Jesus enabled them to do that, despite my being….me. I am certain they prayed for me and my family, and that they believed in the power of the Lord to change what needed to be changed….which was of course, me. 😂

Fast forward to my twenties when I started following Christ, I got engaged, and it was a no brainer to ask him and tita to be one of our prinicipal sponsors. I’d seen plenty of them as a married couple — they loved God, they served in church together. I love what Kuya Nando said in his eulogy, that wisdom was in Tito Panser’s counsel. In his and tita Monette’s. They helped many people in their marriages, in their family life, and in their walk with God. I also saw how they took care of each other, and how tito Panser pampered tita Monette and the girls. I knew him as a man who was strict with the budget, but always included pampering in the budget! He loooooved his family. He was a sweet husband, and also a super sweet dad to the girls — as in the kissing, hugging and the hand-holding kind of dad even to his adult daughters. ❤️

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When the grandchildren came, he was the loving grandpa to Ate Sol’s boys and wowo Panser to my girls. He showered us with hugs and kisses when we saw each other. My childhood friends, the Tumangans included of course, and I hold a Happy Birthday Jesus Party for our kids every December. There was this one year that we could not have it at home because I’d just given birth and my mom was recovering from a stroke, so the next best venue was the Tumangans’! And tito Panser was never one to just sit back. He got involved. He and tita welcomed us all in their home, ate with us, laughed with us, watched us play games. He even shared about Jesus and our value as God’s children that evening.

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And of course, he did his usual — he made all the kids line up so he could give them Christmas money. Another thing that was consistent about him. He did this every Christmas since I was young. It only stopped I think when I started having kids hahaha. The Christmas money started going to them.

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Noelle said that Wowo Panser lived a good life, and that he was generous. Isn’t that the truth. I remember last Christmas, when the church staff held a party for our EGSI team (our helpers in church), Tito Panser showed up. Of course he did! And he made all of them line up with their kids, to give them their Christmas love gifts. I was a bit surprised but also not that surprised. That’s just how he was. He blessed people and was always ready to help. His generosity extended to others, not just to family.

These are my personal photos, still in my phone actually. Dec 2019.
I didn’t know I would need it for this post.
I guess that just really shows how I admired and appreciated Tito Panser for what he did. ❤️

But like I said, he was a man who always worked with a budget. Which means he was always intentional about his generosity. He did not do it on a whim, but he joyfully and lovingly planned and set aside finances for it. I love what Ptr A said about him being a kingdom-minded guy. I believe the way he gave truly showed that. The way he lived showed it too — always to the glory of the Lord.

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The Word shared in the memorial service was very comforting and just plain beautiful. Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints (or faithful servants, in another version). Indeed, tito Panser was one of God’s faithful servants. He lived fully here on earth, worshipping God and telling everyone he could about Jesus, and God gladly, giddily, happily welcomed him home. This gives me much joy, especially when Mai told me that the vision she received was of her dad dancing before the Lord. What an awesome picture! ❤️

You will always be remembered, our beloved Tito Panser! Even Gianna asked me for your photos so she won’t forget. I have many, old and new. From our yearly vacations together in Batangas and in Baguio, to family parties, and church events. She still prays that you will be safe in heaven, which of course you are. 😂 It just goes to show the impact you made even in a young child. Since my dad, their wowo, passed away before Danae turned two, you were the wowo (here in the South) who was a consistent figure in the girls’ lives. Thank you for your love and generosity, and your example of faith. We love you! We love your whole family! ❤️

🙏❤️

Marriage, THE PRODUCTIVE WIFE

Marriage Tip from Designated Survivor

I’ve recently watched the entire first season of Designated Survivor and it’s awesome! I keep hoping for Tom Kirkman to go Jack Bauer mode haha. I monopolized netflix, told Gianna that it’s mommy’s turn to watch. She obliged. She calls it my show and calls it “Mr. President” haha.

Anyway, there is this one episode where Tom Kirkman goes overseas to attend the NATO summit. But because a story comes out in the US regarding the government’s cover up of who really bombed the Capitol, the other world leaders decide to remove his time from the summit agenda. Nearly everybody questions his capability to be the US president, and just when things are looking up for his leadership, the truth that they are still getting to the bottom of, leaks. The pressure and the stress. The not knowing who to trust. His integrity and his love for his country. The politics. The weight on his shoulders as the new president of the United States, after the entire government is erased. Overwhelming.

Tom gets a call from his wife while he is still in Canada. She asks him how he is, and asks how she can help. Tom’s answer:

“Don’t lose faith in me.”

Wow. So simple yet so powerful. When your husband is at his lowest and you have no capacity to help, this is the greatest help you can give. DO NOT LOSE FAITH IN HIM. Believe in him. Believe in his abilities and in his heart. Stand by him through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Win or lose, you are a team. It’s not always going to be bad, and you have to be able to weather the storms together. Remind him that even through failure, you are proud of him for getting up and wanting to be a better man. Commend him for the great things he does and encourage him to keep giving his best.

COMMITMENT. LOYALTY. UNITY. Big words. But we have a bigger God who supplies us the strength, the wisdom, the grace, the joy, the love we need. ❤

 

Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. Ephesians 5:22 MSG

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:1-4

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:13-14

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16

 

Marriage, THE PRODUCTIVE WIFE, Uncategorized

Our Words Have Power

Wife, do you tell your husband you are proud of him? When was the last time you did?

Husband, do you tell your wife she is beautiful? When was the last time you did?

The tongue has the power of life and death, the Bible says. Let’s lift each other up with our words.

Wife, your husband will feel secure and significant, knowing that you are proud of him. Let him know that you are proud of him not only during successes, but most especially in failures. Hold the criticism, the “I told you so”s. I know sometimes this is hard, since apparently we wives are always right (hahaha), but this will teach you to trust in the Lord more. To pray. To be silent when your husband needs you to be. Hug him. You standing by him, being his number one fan no matter what, will encourage him to get back on his feet and keep going. Your support means the world. It will encourage him to keep giving his best.

Husband, your wife will feel loved and secure when you tell her she is beautiful. Mean it. Focus on a particular detail about her beauty, whether physical or internal. Change it up. Be creative. Find new beautiful things about her. Discover her. Tell her. This will teach you to step out of your comfort zone, to pause and reflect, and to be grateful for God’s goodness in your life. It doesn’t have to be cheesy. Trust me, I’m not cheesy either, though King often is (hahaha). Just tell her sincerely. Details help. So she doesn’t have to ask you why, and you don’t have to explain further either. Right? She will appreciate your appreciation of her, and you will put a smile in her heart all day.

 

The tongue can bring death or life;
    those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21 NLT

Gentle words are a tree of life;
    a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 NLT 

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips. Proverbs 141:3 NIV 

 

 

Motherhood, My Kids

It’s a good thing!

I am a stay-at-home mom. Even though my older girls go to school everyday, I am with them at breakfast and after school. It’s not often that I go out, though I do drive them to their after-school and weekend activities, because the littlest one is with me. I have to plan my moves. I’m blessed that my mom stays with us and I can now leave Gianna with her sometimes. We have a Manang and the two older girls can pretty much fend for themselves. Many times, I bring a kid or the kids along when I have a meeting in church on a weekday and King can be bothered. There is strength in numbers, so I feel safer when all 3 or 2 are together at home as opposed to leaving only 1 at home alone with Manang (on the times that my mom is not around). As much as I can help it, I don’t stay out long either. In other words, we’re together a whole lot.

But, on the rare occasion that I leave without them, they’re always chatty when I come back! So chatty, that they fight for my attention. “Mom! Mom! Look at this.” “You know what, mom?” “Mom, look what I made.” “Mom, look what I can do.” “Mom, can I show you something?” “Heeeey, I was talking to mom first.” The littlest one now knows to say “Mom! Talk to me.” Hahaha. Sometimes they overwhelm me. King jokes that they miss me. We’re always together!

But I realize that my children love to talk to me. They want to spend time with me. They enjoy my company. They’re not tired of me (yet). Even when I embarrass them (deliberately or accidentally), I know they secretly like it. They laugh at and with me. They want my attention, my affection, and my opinion. The older ones complain when they notice that I leave home like 3 days in a row. It’s tiring at times, and the pressure is incredible. But you know what, it’s a good thing! My kids not only love me. THEY LIKE ME! They really really like me! Hahahaha.

When Gianna knows I’ve parked, she already goes to the window and screams for me. “Mommy? Weeeeee mommy’s here!” Sometimes she’ll say “You’re back, mommy? Yay!” She makes my heart smile each time. I think (I hope) she is past her recent phase of wanting me by her side at all times, like she would call me IN A PANIC, once she realizes that I’m not near her. She would cry for me not to go to the bathroom! Anyway, the older girls don’t get as excited, but they’re always happy to see me too.

Thank you Lord for this massive blessing. To be loved AND liked by my kids is indeed a good thing. ❤

Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

 

Marriage, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY

Vow

 

Okay, so we Filipinos seem to have all been affected by the Jollibee valentine ads. I am talking particularly about “Vow.” It’s a brilliant ad, telling us that no matter what happens, Jollibee will always be there for us, to make us feel loved and happy each time we visit their stores. But really, were you affected by the video saying, “awwww Jollibee, thanks so much for the love and sacrifice…”? Haha. No, I think we were affected by the love story. As a friend of mine said, it’s La La Land all over again!

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image from cdn.ibtimes.ph
I tweeted the other day that I don’t believe in guy-girl best friends unless guy and girl are married, with the hashtags #jollibee #onealwayscrossestheline (which I’ve changed to #oneortheothermaycrosstheline) #wrongvow #usewisdom. I know, some agree and some do not. I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes. I respect everyone’s opinions and life choices, whether I agree with them or not. But let me try to explain. My tweet was prompted by the ad, but I have been subscribing to this belief ever since I learned about boundaries and healthy, mature boy-girl relationships. Of course, this was already when I was an adult hehehe.

Anyway, that said, I believe there is a danger in a man and a woman, a boy and a girl becoming best of friends. There are so many stories of hearts being broken this way. There is always that very thin line that one could cross, maybe at different points of their relationship. One could be oblivious to it, the other could be deeply longing and believing for them to be together in the end. One could be over it, and the other starts developing feelings. Or both feel the same way but are too young (or whatever other reason) to do anything about it. Or both feel the same way, do something about it, and then end up ruining their friendship. The thought will almost always cross one or the other’s mind. Sorry, but not many women or men have the character and maturity to be able to keep that line clear and distinct. So why put yourself in that position? It’s not wise.

Case in point, the Jollibee ad, which is inspired by a true story. The guy invested so much of his time, energy, money and emotions on his best friend, only to lose her to another man. That would have been fine (maybe, minus the emotions) if they were truly, purely just friends, but the guy obviously had deep feelings for the girl. He was so heartbroken. So for me, that kind of investment should really be reserved for your spouse. That kind of best friendship, between husband and wife, is worth that kind of investment. Husband and wife mutually invest in each other and in their marriage.

To be honest, I didn’t expect the ad to have that twist. I’m one of those who wants the best friends in the story, to end up together. I enjoy those kinds of happy endings. Reality Bites and Some Kind of Wonderful come to mind. ❤ And don’t get me wrong. I believe that God is the best author of love stories and each story He writes is unique. He knows all, knows best. His will is good, pleasing and perfect. He can choose to write a love story between guy-girl best friends. Those stories are wonderful too. But sadly, or many times thankfully, not all guy-girl relationships are meant to turn out that way.

And then there’s that vow, those promises the guy made to the girl. Not to his bride, but to his best friend? What?! I mean, it was great for the drama and all, but who does that? (Well apparently one guy did). Be the replacement/the dummy when hubby is not available? Be the crying shoulder when she and hubby have a disagreement? I don’t think so. And when he marries, what then? A part of him will always be with his best friend. How can he cling to and be loyal to his own wife?

It’s cool to shift our loyalty from one fast food chain to another (I myself have no loyalty to any), but we can’t do that between our spouse and our best friend. A wife’s husband and guy best friend should be one and the same person. A husband’s wife and girl best friend should be one and the same person as well. It’s about unity of husband and wife. Being ONE. It’s difficult to achieve that if King had to compete with “my guy best friend” for my time, priorities, loyalty, affection. If I had “him” to run to and I’m sure at times compare King with, it would become easy for me to run away from issues instead of facing them and working on them with King. If I had “him” to give me my boosts, I might eventually learn to cling to him instead of to King. Let’s not fool ourselves in thinking that we are above such kind of behavior, or that our marriages are strong enough. Our own pride will set us up for a fall. We must never be complacent.

I don’t mean we can’t have close friends of the opposite sex when we’re married. Sure we can. That’s something we discuss and agree on with our spouse. Because they are our priority and they have our loyalty, we respect our spouse’s opinion. We respect their position on the matter, or on any matter. We get on the same page. Not always easy, but that’s part of being married. We continually discover and live out what it is to think outside of ourselves, to give of ourselves. To think not only of “me, my rights and what’s rightfully mine,” but to think of “us, what is best for our marriage, and what will honor God.” It will hurt at times because we are all wired to think about our needs and push our agenda first, but by the grace and love of God, we learn to be selfless. By the grace and love of God, we fulfill the vows that we said before God and men the day we got married. To quote the vows said as bride and groom exchange rings, “As you wear this ring, you acknowledge that you are no longer your own, but MINE.”

It’s easy to say “Marry your best friend.” True, that would be ideal. But like I said, it doesn’t always work out that way. I, for one, didn’t marry my best friend. King and I barely knew each other when we got engaged! But we were both sure that it was God’s will and His timing. 🙂 I didn’t have a guy best friend. King, being the popular guy that he is, had many close girl friends. But we chose to be each other’s best friend. We learned to set our priorities straight and to respect the boundaries we mutually (some spoken, some unspoken) set for ourselves. We learned to be deliberate in spending time and doing enjoyable things together. We learned to forgive each other and make the effort to be better. We learned to stand by each other. We learned to be each other’s home.  

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The true key to a happy, God-honoring marriage, however, is Jesus. Without Him, even the strongest friendship between a husband and wife can still be broken. Loving, giving, sharing, honoring, supporting, encouraging, waiting, understanding, forgiving, learning, healing is possible only through Jesus. None of us can do this successfully without Him.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! #valentineseveryday #loveeveryday May every reader know and experience the love of Jesus, and choose to never live without Him. 🙂

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:22-33

 

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

 

 

 

Family, Just My Thoughts, Marriage

How blessed am I?

How blessed am I? I’m married to a man who loves Jesus… a man who honors his father and mother… a man who loves, leads, and provides for his family… a man who loves his children through his time, words, and actions… a man who honors and serves his mother-in-law… a man who has answered God’s call to love, lead, serve, disciple and pastor God’s people… a man who enjoys working with a team and does not mind doing the dirty work… a man who has great creativity, foresight and has a gift for pioneering… a man who is loyal, faithful, reliable… a man who is patient and forgiving… a man who makes people laugh… a man who is simple and down to earth… a man who loves to cook… a man who enjoys traveling… a man who is active and fun-loving… a man who can move, groove and make it look good… a man who truly enjoys life…

Yes, I am very blessed! But not only for the reasons you think.

I am blessed because my husband is NOT perfect.

Because he is not perfect, I have less reason to put him on a pedestal and make him my idol, and I have more reason to depend on, seek, trust, and surrender to God. Because he is not perfect, I get to learn, adjust, exercise my faith, and grow in character. Because he is not perfect, I “get a pass” on my own bloopers and blunders and get encouraged to do better next time. Because he is not perfect, I learn to be grateful and love him even more for his wonderful qualities. Because he is not perfect, I get to watch him grow and learn from him. Because he is not perfect, I have a front row seat to God’s glorious work in and through his life. Because he is not perfect and I am not perfect, I learn unconditional love — to give it, to receive it, and to be completely amazed at God’s ability to lavish it on His children.

Because he is not perfect, I am incredibly blessed.

Happy birthday babe! I love you. I see how much you love me with all you do for me and our family. Thank you and may the Lord richly bless you with the desires of your heart! 🙂IMG_8703.JPG

Discipleship, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, YOUTH MINISTRY

H.O.N.O.R.

King and I were invited to speak to the youth of Muntinlupa in their leaders’ summit last year. I had the privilege to share about H.O.N.O.R. to the women. And believe me when I say, I preach to myself as well.

H.UMBLE.
A person who comes from a place of honor comes from a place of humility.
Philippians 2:3 says “do nothing out of selfish ambition, but in humility consider others better than yourself.” It does not mean low self-esteem, like putting ourselves down, thinking that we are worthless — that is NOT humility. It means putting our egos aside and treating others with high regard, so that we can listen to them and consider that we can learn from them.

Humility is knowing who we are in Christ and knowing the gifts God gave us, but KNOWING OUR PLACE. It’s not about us or our abilities. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about God, and the confidence we have in Him and through Him.

1 peter 5:5-6 says “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

Humility is having a submissive spirit, giving an ear or taking heed to others’ thoughts, especially of those who are more mature and more experienced than us. It does not mean giving up your own ideas or beliefs, but taking into consideration that they may have a point and what they are saying might help you.

James 3:13 13 says “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

The more we seek and know God, the wiser we become. The wiser we become, the more humble we become, realizing that it is He who makes us wise, that it is He who enables us to love, that it is He who is in control. It brings us back to our place — WITHOUT GOD, WE ARE NOTHING.

O.PEN TO CORRECTION.
The more we grow and mature, the more open we should be to correction, not the other way around. Sometimes we think that because we are older or because we are in a certain position, we think we know better or we know it all. We are not beyond correction. In fact, we need to hear it all the more. It is critical as our territories expand, as our influence grows larger.

And correction may come from anybody. It’s easier (not easy at all sometimes, but easier) to receive correction from authority figures. But when a friend, peer or even someone younger corrects us, we get defensive. Let’s ASSESS ourselves instead. Let’s not be so quick to judge the person giving us correction. Focus on the plank in our own eye rather than on theirs. It goes back to humility, knowing our place, having a submissive spirit, so we can hear them out and receive the correction.

Proverbs 10:17 says “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”

We are not the only ones affected when we do not heed correction. Not only do others suffer from our mistakes, we also set a bad example to them.

Proverbs 12:1 says “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid.”

Let’s not be stupid. 🙂

Proverbs 15:12 says “A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise.”

Let’s not just wait for correction. Let’s consult the wise. SEEK GODLY COUNSEL.

N.ON COMBATIVE, NON-COMPETITIVE.
In any relationship, it should not be about who is right or who is wrong. It’s not a competition of who is smarter or better. What is important is the relationship, the person, not our ego.

Prov 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Prov 25:15 says “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,
and a gentle tongue can break a bone.”

Sometimes when we want to get our points across, we tend to be hard and harsh, but a gentle word and gentle tone is really more effective. LOVE IS MORE EFFECTIVE. Tough love, meaning not watering down God’s word and firmly sharing our stand, is necessary at times, but it does not have to be harsh and mean either.

Truth is good, but timing and tone must always be considered.

Ephesians 4:2-3 says “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Humility, gentleness, patience, love, unity, PEACE. We give importance to these when we come from a place of honor.

Proverbs 18:21 says “The tongue has the power of life and death.”

When we come from a place of honor, we speak life, not death.

1 Peter 3:4 says “Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

God wants us ladies to have a quiet and gentle spirit. It does not mean that we who have strong personalities, have to change our personality. God created us each uniquely and I believe part of that is our personality. He is, however, concerned about our character — that with our strong personality, we know our place, we have a submissive spirit, we don’t need to be aggressive to be heard, but we quietly trust in the Lord.

O.THERS-CENTERED.
Servant leadership.
John 13:12-15 says “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.””

It shows us what kind of leader Jesus is. He is not proud, not lording it over his disciples, not demanding to be served. He is God and yet he washed his disciples’ feet. This is the example He set for us. Serve, rather than seek to be served.

We need to think beyond ourselves and what we want or what we think we should have. We need to think about others even if we’re the leader. In fact, we need to think about others ESPECIALLY BECAUSE WE ARE THE LEADER. Our position should not be a hindrance, but should be the MEANS for us to serve others.

Mark 15:33-39 says “At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!””

He is God yet He allowed Himself to be sacrificed so that our sins may be forgiven and we may have access to the Father. He is God, yet He became last so we could come first. Sometimes, as spouses, as parents, as children, as teachers, as leaders or whatever position we may be in in life, we need to be last so others can be first.

R.ESPECTFUL
1 Peter 2:17 says “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”

Respect EVERYONE, whether they deserve it or not. Human to human. The way we would want to be treated.

Respect in speech and in action, whether behind their back or in front of them. No to gossip.

No to coarse joking. Be careful that we still show respect. Let us not over estimate our friend or loved one’s ability to take a joke. We may already be hurting them.

No to over familiarity. Even if they are our helpers at home, employees at work, or they are under us or they are younger than us, it does not give us the right to disrespect them. We need to treat them with respect all the more, given our position. We gain respect when we give respect.

Sometimes it’s hardest to show the proper respect to our family or closest friends because we think it’s fine, that they love us no matter what, that we don’t need to consider what they feel, that we don’t need to say sorry. Let us show them the proper respect, most especially because they are the people who love us unconditionally.

Notice that everything points to HUMILITY. It is what honoring others is all about. Couple it with INTEGRITY. Honor must not stay within church walls, among church people. It must be a LIFESTYLE.

PROVERBS 22:4 Nasb The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches, honor and life.
Proverbs 29:23 Nasb A man’s pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

GOD HONORS THOSE WHO HONOR OTHERS.

Another blog on HONOR – Manny Pacquiao: A Man of Honor

Other blogs on RESPECT – Overfamilarity and R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Another blog on CHARACTER VS PERSONALITY – I CHOOSE CONFLICT 2

Marriage, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Eight Years of Learning – Love

King and I celebrate our 8th anniversary today! It’s been eight years of highs and lows, successes and failures, joys and sorrows, breakthroughs and struggles. Eight years of LEARNING. We have been to 2 marriage retreats in the past month. We learned a great deal from listening to our leaders’ stories and testimonies.

Pastor Bernhard Wewege of South Africa taught about LOVE on the last session of our Couples’ Getaway in Tagaytay. I love the specific things he taught us to do, to love our spouse. To LOVE is to SERVE. In order to serve our spouse, we must think LESS of SELF. When we do not take time to understand, we will be like an annoyingly loud gong that our spouse will want to run away from. Our spiritual life has much to do with our ability to do this. When we grow spiritually dry, we become more SELF-SERVING, more PRIDEFUL.

Love is patient. Make sure that your spiritual tank is overflowing with God’s Spirit. If not, the enemy can wreak havoc in your life using the “unfilled” part of your tank.
Love is kind. Show kindness to one another.
Love does not envy. Rejoice in each other’s successes.
Love does not boast. Boasting comes from pride. Pride will set you for a fall.
Love is not proud. God breaks the people who are proud. You must not be too proud to do anything.
Love does not dishonor others. Don’t gossip about your spouse. If you love him or her, protect.
Love is not self seeking. Don’t think about what you can get out of it. If you’re self-seeking, when you need help, nobody will be there for you.
Love is not easily angered. Take a deep breath then respond. Words impact. You can’t take it back. Never react; RESPOND. (ding ding ding! This is me, but not so much the words but the TONE….I think haha)
Love keeps no record of wrongs. Dont bring back the past. You can’t change it. Forgive and move on. The race is ahead of you, not behind you.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Sorry I did not catch what he actually said on this one, but I think it has to do with grieving and praying for each other when one has fallen, and encouraging and cheering for each other when you or either of you are doing well.

LOVE ALWAYS PROTECTS.
Husbands, cherish your wife.

LOVE ALWAYS HOPES.
Your hope is your future, your dreams. There is always hope.

LOVE ALWAYS TRUSTS.
All of the love areas must be covered for this trust to happen.

LOVE ALWAYS PERSEVERES.
If you embrace the principles of serving, it is easy to persevere.

LOVE NEVER FAILS.
Love is not a feeling, but a choice.

I thank God for my husband who is a servant at heart. Thank you, babe, for loving me, for being patient with me, for being kind to me, for honoring me, for protecting me, for trusting me, and for never giving up on me. I love you.

Happy 8th anniversary! 🙂

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1Corinthians 13:1-7

This is post #3 out of 8, for 8 wonderful years! Click here for post #2 and here for post #4! 🙂

Family, Marriage, THE BRAINY BUNCH

Eight Years of Learning – Submission

King and I celebrate our 8th anniversary today! It’s been eight years of highs and lows, successes and failures, joys and sorrows, breakthroughs and struggles. Eight years of LEARNING. We have been to 2 marriage retreats in the past month. We learned a great deal from listening to our leaders’ stories and testimonies.

In both retreats, Ptr Ferdie Cabiling and his wife Judy shared about the roles of husband and wife. Submission is a tough pill to swallow for most women, and there are times it’s hard for me too. I know I am not inferior, but equal in worth. I have a different role, but I am equally loved by God. I know I am not supposed to blindly obey my husband, that he is not Jesus therefore I should not obey him like I obey Jesus. What’s tough is having my own opinions, ideas, strengths, and yet still have a SUBMISSIVE SPIRIT. Saying my piece, having a calm discussion, without being argumentative and prideful, without shoving it down his throat.

To submit is to voluntarily give allegiance to my husband, willingly respond and tend to his needs, be supportive of him, and to voluntarily give up my will so that I can serve and care for him. It is an act of faith because I am relinquishing control, trusting that God knows what is best for me. It is looking beyond my husband & his imperfection, and looking at God’s authority, wisdom, power, goodness….His perfection. It is an act of obedience TO GOD, not to my husband, because I am yielding to His will. It is an act of love and commitment towards God, towards King, and consequently towards our children.

I thank God because it may be hard at times, but King is such a good man that many times, it’s not hard at all. In fact, it reassures me that my husband is Kephale (Greek) which means FIRST INTO BATTLE. He is not Arche, which means beginning, first, prince, ruler. He is my leader, but my fellow soldier. He goes ahead of me, but we are in this together. Honestly, I do not want to be first into battle! I don’t want to be the one to scope the situation out and to decide whether to advance or retreat. I don’t want the burden that he carries on his shoulders. He is not the head of the chain of command, but the head of the chain of responsibility, the driving force of which is LOVE. He takes responsibility for me and our children.

King is not perfect but he is the best husband for me! He never lords over me. He takes my thoughts and feelings into consideration when making important decisions. He prioritizes me and our family. He is faithful to me. He is trustworthy. He loves God and relies on Him for the ability to love and stay committed to me and our children. And he expresses that love through words, gifts, affection, service and time.

I thank God for blessing me with a head, a leader, a husband like King. Submitting is not easy, but I willingly submit to him.

Happy 8th anniversary, Babe! Looking forward to 8 more years of learning and loving. I love you! 🙂

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:22-33

This is post #1 out of 8, for 8 wonderful years! Click here for post #2! 🙂