FEATURED, YOUTH MINISTRY

Witnessing Kids Grow Up

It’s such a joy to witness how children grow up. Kids I’ve known since they were little, like 2 years old or so, are now teenagers! One such kid is Trey Remulla.

photo credit: michelle remulla

I met Trey when I became friends with his mom, Michelle, in 2001. He was 2 years old (met him before he turned 3). Michelle, whom I’ve mentioned a few times in my previous posts, and I became really close friends because it was she who ministered to me and taught me about Jesus. I grew up in a protestant home, but I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus until I got discipled. I was single then, and because of the friendship that was formed between us, I just kept tagging along to whatever she invited me to — from grocery shopping and hanging out in her house to prayer meetings and such.

I’ve always loved kids, and so naturally I loved playing with Trey, Michelle’s only son then. He has always been a good little boy. I remember we were at a photo store, and he wanted something that his mom did not allow him to have or do. He cried, but obeyed anyway. He was so cute when he cried because he was never loud. I never really saw him throw a fit.

He had the cutest lisp, and my favorite phrase that he would say was “I DONK YIKE.” I still say that sometimes haha. When he was hospitalized for a tummy thing, I visited and played with him and his dinosaurs. The poor thing had his IV on his little foot, but he was still a happy camper. I know he’ll hate what I’m about to say, but I even gave him a bath in their home haha. I really enjoyed being tita Phoebe.

Trey will also always be part of my love story because he was one of the kids who gave me a rose when King proposed marriage to me. He was 5 years old then. There were 12 kids who gave me each a rose and the last little girl, Elise (Trey’s cousin, by the way), handed me my engagement ring. That was the best marriage proposal ever!

photo credit: trey remulla
photo credit: trey remulla

Now I’m married with two daughters, Michelle has 2 more sons, and Trey just turned 14. He is a 2nd year high school homeschool student (homeschooled all the way — props to him and his parents!). He is one of our youth leaders in church, and taking after his father, Productive Pinoy author and businessman Yeng Remulla, he has recently launched his shirt company called #HASHTAG. He has a couple of awesome statement shirts that he himself conceptualized. (Click here to check them out.) And I hear there’s more to come in the near future.

I’m so proud of this fine, young man! He’s only 14 but already accomplishing great things. Can’t wait for his destiny to unfold and how God is going to be glorified through his life. 🙂

Marriage

SEASON OF CHALLENGES

I really enjoyed what Yeng and Michelle did to start their session entitled SEASON OF CHALLENGES, at our recently concluded Couples’ Getaway 2011. We were divided into groups of 8 or more couples. The task was for each spouse to instruct his/her blindfolded spouse to avoid stepping on the unnecessary toys and pick up the one item that is assigned to them. Whichever team would get all 10 items first, would win. Strategic planning, then the blindfolding were done in the function room. The game was outside. I was the one blindfolded. I did not see which lane was for our team, or see the arrangement of toys. King & I were the 3rd in our line and our item was the wrist watch.

I’m so proud of King! He was an excellent leader and team player! As I was blindfolded, waiting for our turn, he already gave me specific instructions. He told me that if he says PENGUIN, I’m supposed to take baby steps. I demoed it for him to confirm. If he says BIG STEP or SMALL STEP, I’m supposed to take a step but wait for him to tell me how much further or nearer, and wait for him to tell me when to set my foot down. Instructions were clear from the very beginning.

When it was our turn, I trusted him completely. When he said STOP, I stopped immediately. When I was not clear on what he wanted me to do, I would clarify. If I could not understand the instruction, I told him so, then he would change it in a way that I understood. He was calm and very patient. I was attentive and surprisingly calm too. I followed his instructions carefully, as best as I could. We went through the challenge JUST ONCE! Which means I didn’t step on any object at any time, else I’d have to go back from the beginning all over again. Of course, my Crocs flats helped too, because they aren’t big shoes. It was easier to avoid the little toys. After our turn, King helped the rest of our teammates by guiding them and encouraging them.

Our team did not win the challenge, we finished 3rd, but it was such a cool experience. The game was very telling of how a couple TRUSTS, how they COMMUNICATE, and with what kind of ATTITUDE they approach challenges in their marriage.

Much like in our marriages, we start the game on the same page. But along the way, things happen, things change. There are times that communication is not clear or is not working. We need to work to understand each other. Re-adjusting is necessary. It was great that I ended up being the one led, just as a wife is. I had to trust my husband’s leadership. I did not assume that I knew better, because I couldn’t. I was the one who couldn’t see anything! Sometimes, we have blind spots. We must be wise & loving in how we tell our spouse of their blind spots, and when we are the ones being reminded, we must trust in their wisdom and love too. Attitude is everything! If you let your temper or frustration get the better of you, then communication, wisdom, trust go out the window, and are replaced by PRIDE.

Haha, I’m getting rebuked as I write this. We did great in the game, but reality is a different story. MUST APPLY IN REAL LIFE! 🙂

Check the previous blog SEASONS to find out what our assigned item represented, along with the rest of the 9 items. Included there are the lessons we learned from the other speakers as well. 🙂

Family

SMALL FAVORS & TINY MIRACLES

That Monday, August 15, began as usual, although King had been complaining of lower back pain for a few days. Danae and I were even discussing where we wanted to go since it was (and is for every week) King’s only day off. After breakfast, he bent down to plug in the electric fan in the kitchen and could no longer straighten up completely. I was in the room then and just noticed him inching his way, holding his back and stomach in pain. I didn’t realize it was THAT painful until he laid down on the couch and said he couldn’t move anymore. It was too painful. I asked him straight away if he wanted to be brought to the ER (although my mind was racing, not knowing how on earth I was going to do that). He declined. We didn’t know what it was either, so decided to observe first. I didn’t text anybody, but because I saw my mother-in-law and my friend Michelle online, I decided to ask for their prayers. Immediately both suggested to go to the doctor and both offered to help out. I wasn’t panicked yet at that point because King didn’t want to go to the doctor yet, insisting it was just a really bad muscle pain, but at least I had people available to take the kids in case we needed to go. 1 Advil and 1 Ponstan later, he was able to walk with crutches to the car. Yeng and Michelle Remulla came to get the kids, and the in-laws were on their way to meet us at the hospital. With our situation — no helper, no yaya — that was some favor!

We drove up to the ER around 6pm. I asked if there was a valet because I didn’t want to leave King and drive all the way to the underground parking lot (the nearby one is under construction). The guard told me the valet service was closed for the day already, but after a few minutes, he told me that a valet staff was on his way to help me out. He parked the car for me, got my ticket, and came back to give the key and ticket back to me. I was so thankful!

The ER doctor found no abnormalities in King’s x-ray and so deemed that we were okay to be discharged even though the pain was still there. He assumed that it was just a severe muscle strain. But somehow we ended up with the decision to be admitted, and when we were turned over to our assigned Orthopedic doctor, that doctor immediately ordered for an MRI. If not for that MRI, we wouldn’t know what we’re dealing with. So even though that doctor was that guy (check previous blog), he did one good thing.

The insurance liaison came and told us that the room we wanted, the cheapest private room, was not available because they were fully booked. We had to occupy the more expensive one, BUT at the price of the cheapest one. Like a hotel upgrade! Our room was huge. Beds were uncomfortable (for me, that is) but the space was good for the kids.

And like I said in my previous blog, there was no shortage of kindness or generosity from our families and friends. My mom took Danae to and from school. She and my brother would bring clothes & food for us. I got a few hours off from the girls one night, care of Michelle. My in-laws (King’s parents, sister, nieces, brother, etc) took care of the girls for 3 nights — a first for us, but we were confident that they were in good hands. Our visitors not only asked us what we needed, they brought what we needed and more — food, groceries, supplies, prayers and encouraging words.

King with Paolo the PT

We certainly did not run out of things to be grateful for. I am most grateful for the God that we love and serve, the God who is all-knowing and all-powerful, yet is loving, kind, and good. We were told that if there was no progress in therapy, surgery would be the only option. But He is, for now, HEALING KING THROUGH THERAPY and there seems to be NO IMMEDIATE NEED for him to undergo surgery — for his deteriorated and protruding (slipped) disc to be removed, and then replaced with a titanium cage. Serious as it is, because the disc is impinging a nerve and anything can cause another episode, we have been seeing God move in how King is progressing. On the first day of his therapy, which was twice a day, he could barely even raise up his leg while lying down. There was no way he could push himself to move more without any pain. But on the third day, he sat up! (3rd days are really powerful!) By the fourth day, he stood up….and walked!!! By the sixth day, they already had him on a bike! The hospital’s physical therapists are awesome, by the way. They are friendly, kind, and always encouraging.

First Rehab as Out-Patient

It’s been 12 days since King’s diagnosis and the start of his therapy –17 therapy sessions in total so far, 5 more to go before the Rehab doctor checks him again. Though he isn’t back to normal and cannot go back to work yet, he’s doing great! And though the doctors have said that sadly, he cannot go back to sports anymore or even carry his kids, we are believing for complete healing, whether through therapy only or surgery.

King doing the big march.

We are grateful for the small favors and tiny miracles that we’re being given. I say small and tiny not to diminish God’s strength and power, but to acknowledge that He works in many different ways. We believe He is absolutely able and He knows what is best. So we do our part as we pray, believe, and wait. 🙂

He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those greatand awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. Deut 10:21

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jer 32:27

Just My Thoughts, Parenting

TO HOMESCHOOL OR NOT TO HOMESCHOOL?

My 5-year-old Danae is in Kinder. She goes to Kidvantage Learning Center, a school 10 minutes away from our house. We were always open to homeschooling, but seeing that Danae enjoyed her first tries at school so much and that she’s such a people person, we decided to enroll her in a regular school — a small school, whose teacher to student ratio is ideal (1 plus 1 assistant is to 12) and whose teaching styles, activities and results I am quite happy with, and whose teachers are very approachable. I believe a small school is the next best thing to homeschooling, because I can better monitor my child’s progress and growth than if she were in a big school. Oh and did I mention that I do not believe I am patient enough to create a lesson plan myself, let alone teach my kid daily? Funny thing is I used to work as a teacher, and I think I’m a pretty okay teacher. But reviewing for Danae’s exams this school year just proved to me that we should not YET do homeschool, for my sake and hers. Needless to say, there were times we both got exasperated and frustrated.

So why on earth did I ask her which she preferred between regular school and homeschool last week??? I wasn’t even thinking. Maybe I was expecting her to say something else, but man, was I unprepared for her answer! She actually told me that she wanted to do homeschool. She said she wants to just do homework, and that I should just buy the books. What!!??? I thought for sure she’d tell me she loves school and that she’d miss her friends. Instead she told me she wants to do what her friends Pablo and Jaden are doing.

I panicked in my head, knowing that I will not be able to pull that off so soon! I was set to enroll her for next year already. So I resolved to make a deal with Danae. WE BOTH AGREED THAT WE WILL TRY HOMESCHOOLING IN 1ST GRADE.

When I told my friends, they laughed (because they know me and my apprehensions) and gave me all the selling points of homeschooling — no more homework because all the work is done at home, no more tardiness, I can meet Danae at her level, our schedule will be more flexible, and so on. What solidified the decision to wait till and start in 1st grade was what my friend Michelle said. Her 3rd son Jaden will be in 1st grade the same year that Danae is!!! That makes me feel so much better — that I can ask help from a veteran homeschooling mom (she’s been homeschooling her boys for at least 9 years I imagine, since her eldest is now 12), and ride along her lesson plans and then learn from there. The task doesn’t seem as daunting anymore.

So as I gave my word to Danae, we’re homeschooling in June 2012. I have more than a year to prepare the curriculum, lesson plan, etc…to prepare Danae, and most especially to prepare myself. We’ll take it a year at a time. God help me! 🙂