In the Philippines, we have sari-sari stores — small shops usually attached to a person’s home, selling different sorts of goods. As a child, I dreamt of having my own, but I guess this is the closest I’m ever going to come to it. Sharing different stories — sari-sari stories — most especially from my experiences and learnings as a daughter of the King of Kings, as wife of my husband King, and as mom to our three princesses. 😊
Gianna is four but sometimes she talks like she’s not. I don’t know why I even wonder when her older sisters were the same when they were her age. Just this morning, we had a conversation that went like this…
Me: Stay here. I’ll be back.
G: No. I’m scared.
Me: Scared? Why are you scared in your own house?
G: Because monsters and all those other stuff. (side note: I’m so proud of her — she has never said “stuffs” ever, not even by mistake! 😂)
She’s been having bad dreams, and I was surprised, not by her answer, but by how she articulated it. Sometimes she bobs her head and raises her eyebrows — too much sass! 😂
But there are other times when she is just completely adorably, wonderfully four.
On King’s birthday, Noelle mentioned that we were going to the arcade.
G: What cade?
N: Arcade, not our cade.
G: What caaaaade???
When King talked about his oldest friend who was coming over…
K: Tito Ryan has been my friend for a long time. We were together in Kinder….
Kinder egg, what have you done to my child??? 😂
I recently taught Gianna the song that I sang to her sisters when they were babies. She now sings it as well.
G: You’re my itty bitty baby girl…Daddy’s pride, Mama’s pearl. Tiny treasure, so PATIS…
She mispronounces words and I enjoy hearing them!
“Are we going to the ates’ RECYCLE?”
“That’s BUNNY’S Bakedown.”
“I want to have my own STEPOCOPE.”
Recently she learned to say THree with a considerable amount of saliva at first. But it’s still funder, fumbs up, and Feeyodore. 😂
The other day, she said she was drawing a Sir and a Maam.
One of the best lessons we have learned, and also teach to other couples, is the concept of Low Expectation and High Appreciation. Coming from a place of hope instead of demand or expectation.
A few months ago, I noticed this in action. Not that it’s never at work in our marriage haha. I just distinctly noticed it that day. King didn’t bring a car to work, so we agreed that I would pick him up in the evening. But he messaged me during the day and asked me to pick him up in the mall near us, since he was able to get a ride from a co-worker. I happily agreed.
When I picked him up, he thanked me for the effort. He knew he could have just walked home.
I was actually happy that I didn’t have to drive all the way to the office, grateful I could pick him up nearby.
Neither of us had high expectation or high demand. Though we agreed on me picking him up, he hoped I would be agreeable to picking him up in the mall that’s not even five minutes away from our house. He hoped, but he was also willing to walk if needed. Though we agreed on me picking him up, I hoped that I would not have to because he could hitch a ride. I hoped 😂 but I was also willing to do what was agreed upon.
We both ended up appreciative of each other because our hopes were realized. Imagine if we both came from a place of demand or expectation. If he had demanded that I pick him up, he would not have appreciated the fact that I did because “it was agreed upon.” Words like “buti nga malapit lang ako nagpasundo!” might have come out. If I had demanded that he hitch a ride, I would not have appreciated that he cut my drive short by 20-40 minutes. Words like “ang lapit na lang eh, di pa naglakad.” might have come out.
The beauty of that is, even if we stuck with our agreement, we would still have been grateful because we did not turn our hopes into expectation or demand. He would still have been grateful that he got picked up. I would have still been grateful that I was able to pick him up.
Low expectation. High appreciation. We don’t get this right all the time, but it is good practice, I would say not just for couple relationships, but especially for married couples. And when it isn’t successfully practiced, bigger words come into play — mercy, grace, dying to self, forgiveness, love, faith, trust, inside out transformation. All by the grace of God. ❤️
I’ve heard of the Konmari method and since Marie Kondo’s show came out on Netflix recently, I’ve been reading posts about how people have been sorting their stuff and keeping only those that spark joy in them. And since I’ve finished binge watching Grey’s, I decided to watch Tidying Up while organizing the girls’ homeschooling materials.
First off, Marie Kondo is so cute! She’s gentle and meek, and so put-together. Calm and joyful too. I feel like if she came to my house, she’d influence us all to be chill and unhurried. That would be awesome. 😁
I love her way of folding. I am definitely teaching the kids and our manang to do it for our clothes. I actually sorted through our kitchen towels, kept only those that spark joy (out with the old 😂), and folded them and placed them in a plastic basket inside a drawer closer to the kitchen sink. I didn’t follow her steps though. I went straight to the kitchen. Clothing should always be first. Sorry Marie!
I also like her idea of putting things in boxes and drawers to keep them tidy. The girls’ cabinets are open because I thought open shelving would have a nice effect but Danae has been complaining about how her room always looks messy. I am excited to buy boxes that they can pull from their shelves. I know there are some in MiniSo and Daiso. Excited to see clothes neatly folded as well.
My favorite thing that Marie said, from the very first episode, was something about a person’s sensitivity to joy. That really struck me, not about tidying up, but about life. Life gets difficult at times. Our situations can change abruptly. Our disposition is almost always affected by change. But JOY IS POSSIBLE in the midst of it all. BY THE GRACE OF GOD, JOY IS POSSIBLE. And it can start small, but our sensitivity to joy can grow.
Tidying up is a daunting task, but one’s sensitivity to joy grows through the process, most especially when clutter slowly disappears, things get clearer and cleaner, and when the task is finally done. Though I don’t really care for talking to my clothes and thanking them (although I do tell my kids to say goodbye to their things that they agree to give away), but having a sense of gratitude for having used them is a good thing. It reminds us of how blessed we are, how God has been faithful in providing for our needs. I believe counting our blessings, finding something to be grateful for (like indoor plumbing, yes) makes our sensitivity to joy grow. Seeing progress and change in the seemingly impossible — hope increases joy! Knowing that you are not alone, you are part of a team, a family; that there are people who love and support you — security increases joy! Accomplishing something — fulfillment increases joy too!
May the Lord increase our sensitivity to joy. May our eyes be opened to see, and our hearts be inclined to appreciate, His goodness, in the big and the little things in our lives. ❤️
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
It’s prayer and fasting again! Nothing like starting the year right as a family. Using the kids’ manual, we talked about the great faith of Abraham and then Sarah last night.
When asked what could be keeping them from hearing God’s voice, perhaps distracting them during their quiet time, Danae and Noelle gave such honest answers. Funny that Noelle included Gianna in her list. Her little sister really is a distraction because they like to play with each other. 😂When asked what one step she can take to help her hear God better, she said that she would lock herself in the room when it’s time to read her Bible and pray. Great action plan.
Danae’s answer was funny too, but profound. She said that her own thoughts distracted her from hearing God. I found it funny because she does get sidetracked easily with things that pop in her head. Then for her one step, she said that she would focus more and WONDER about God’s word more. I thought at first that was a pretty vague answer, not much of an action plan. But when we started praying, I realized she was on point.
To wonder more means to be more curious, to be more interested. To want to know God more.
Wow. I say amen to that. I pray that wonder, that desire grows as they/we continue to read the Bible. We have also been talking about writing God’s word in the tablet of our heart, so I pray that that growing wonder will translate to unwavering faith, straight paths, and great love for the Lord. ❤️
Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. Romans 4:19-21
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. 🐼
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! 🥘
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. 🤖
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
Some words, for some reason, Gianna can’t pronounce properly…
Jimastix. Her sisters have been in gymnastics for over a year and it’s still the same.
Axe. Just last night she was telling her dad to “axe” the guard where a certain restaurant is.
Minja. She said it so convincingly that I “axed” Noelle if it really is Minja Kids.
Pungcake House. She likes mashed potato in this restaurant.
Burger King. She recognizes many signs and logos. She wouldn’t budge though when I said it’s Chowking. Guess she can read the word king.
King of Okra. They play this game on the ipad, where they are opera singers who try to steal the spotlight.
About Anne Curtis
I asked Gianna if she recognized Anne Curtis, assuming she would still tell me it’s “ilamlam ulam,” but instead she said it’s Shasha P. I asked her over and over again who Shasha P was, until she sang the jingle to me. 😂
Singing in SM
We were in the department store one time, and she was singing Mr. Sun. Then she asked me if the Sun was a boy or a girl. I told her that if it’s Mr., then it’s a boy. She told me she wanted it to be a girl, and she sang Oh Mrs Sun Sun, Mrs Golden Sun. I thought that was pretty smart of her. 🙂
Then she told me she needed to pee. I asked her if it’s ok that we do it at home. She said “no, weewee in SM.” Then she sang “Weewee in SM, we got it all for you.” 😂
Gianna has been dancing to Joy Unspeakable lately, and everytime we have guests or we’re at a party, she wants to dance. One time, she overheard a conversation on tv, where someone said “it’s despicable.” She said to me, “Mom, the guy said joy unspeakable!”
How old are you?
We were at a party in my tita’s house and Gianna wanted to play with the other kids, particularly her cousin (or granddaughter really) Gabby. I told her to go ahead, but she said, “Wait, I’m nervous,” while nervously smiling. 🤷🏽♀️😂
A conversation in the car
Danae: Huh? What?
Noelle: (sarcastically) Do you have ears?
Gianna: (seriously) Yes she has ears, see o.
Danae and her bookmark
Me: I like this bookmark (she made herself), and this and this. I like this too except for the name. Zach ng Zach. Zach-zachin kita e.
Me: Do you even know what Zach-zach (saksak) means?
Some time last year, we went to Enchanted Kingdom with the volunteers of our church.
Upon approaching EK….
Danae and Noelle: …..screaming in excitement….. oh we’re here! i see the wizard!
Gianna: ……quiet until…….hotdogs! I see hotdogs!
She also seemed more excited to see (and eat) corn than to see (and ride) rides.
This girl and food 🙂
We watched one of the staff try his hand on the strongman game. You know, the game where you make the bell ring by hitting the thing hard enough with a huge hammer. We left before he succeeded, so Gianna, with her sad face, said “Aw I want to win.” Maybe she was hoping the prize would be given to her. 🙂
We left EK and proceeded to join some friends at a restaurant. We parked and started getting ready to go down.
Gianna: ….looked at me as I was trying to fix my hair…..Your hair’s a mess. You look like a Yaya (Nanny).
I laughed so hard. I don’t know where she got the idea that a nanny typically has messy hair. She didn’t seem like she was trying to insult me, but just stating her opinion. Or maybe she was urging me to fix my hair. 🙂
Aaah, Vacation Bible Camp. Not something I have to do, but something I get to do. I thank God for the privilege to be part of a huge team of amazing volunteers. Their passion to serve, their love for God and for the children, their commitment and dedication to do things excellently, to push to the end, their effort to work as one team. If you could see the work that each team put in, how it all came together, you would just be in awe. And yes, they may be talented and skilled, but I believe it’s so much more than that. It’s that love that God has lavished on them, that they are able to also love others through what they do. That love and passion truly trickles down from the leadership of Ptr Carlo and Lea, and the Kids Church staff. Their impartation, and even the care they show us volunteers (shout out to Aubrey and Fely), inspires us to give our best to the kids as well.
I thank God for the privilege to mentor the praise dance team! We were rarely complete during practices, some of us had trouble with our left and right, our number of praise dancers fluctuated until the very last week of practice hahaha. We played the stay quiet for 1 minute and then 2 minutes challenge, after which of course their noise doubled! But I would do it again next year. I thank the Lord for the opportunity to work with kids I already love and with new kids I have grown to love. Grateful for their parents as well, who entrusted their kids to us. I believe we all learned something from everything we went through. I am just so proud of the team for giving their best! Through hunger, sleepiness, tiredness, and sickness for some, they gave their best to the Lord for 3 straight days. The same passion and joy from day 1 to day 3. Talk about commitment! Talk about the power of the Holy Spirit in them! How wonderfully blessed the Lord was by His children. ❤
I thank God for the privilege to serve with my girls. The first time I joined the praise dance team, Danae, while a participant, joined me. Then, Noelle, while a participant, and Gianna, the youngest volunteer (1 yr old), joined us. Now I don’t dance anymore. Only they do, with other kids aged 5 to 13. I think that fact alone is amazing! Danae and Noelle were participants first, then volunteers. But Gianna, a volunteer first, then a participant next year hahaha.
Somehow we have taught our daughters to give of themselves — their time, talent, and energy (though it is fun for them, they get tired too 🙂 ). To joyfully serve others, without thinking about getting anything in return (except maybe food because they get hungry easily 🙂 ). To love children. Well, we didn’t really teach them. I guess they naturally like little kids. To work with a team. It is not a show, and it is not about who’s the best dancer. It’s about being in sync, not only in their movements, but most especially in their hearts — the goal is to worship God and teach other kids to do the same. To worship God through their talents. Honestly, sometimes I don’t know because it is beyond what I can see. I see them having fun dancing and singing (sometimes too much fun 🙂 ), and I wonder if they get it. But I believe God sees. God knows. And God is doing something in their hearts, growing them into ladies who worship Him in spirit and in truth.
I thank God for the songs. They are full of truths about God that make you just feel loved and want to love God more. I pray that as they continue to sing and dance the songs at home, these truths will be ingrained in their hearts and minds. I highly encourage you to listen and sing them out loud. Dance, even. Here are the lyrics to one of our favorites…
The Maker (Maker Fun Factory)
I see You in the sunrise
I see You in the rain
I see You in the laughter
I feel You through the pain
Everything that You have made is beautiful
Oh, my God I can’t believe my eyes
But in all of this to think that You would think of me
Makes my heart come alive
Your love is like a mighty fire deep inside my bones
I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains all at once
And I never have to wonder if somebody cares for me
I love the Maker
And the Maker loves me
See if you can spot the littlest volunteer! Thank you for the video, Bless and Aliyah 🙂
I thank God most of all for His abundant grace. None of it would have been possible, even the patience they tell me I have (which I don’t believe I do — ask people who know me hahahaha), if not for the abundant grace of God. All glory to Him!
❤ ❤ ❤
Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8:2
We went up to Baguio last month and while on Kennon Road, one of our kids noticed that there were trees sticking out of the mountain, some almost horizontally. She wondered how those trees could do that. STRONG ROOTS, I told her.
Very much like in life. No matter how the world turns, if we are strongly rooted in the Word of God, we remain standing firm in our faith. No matter what the world throws at us. No matter what the world offers us. By the grace of God, we will be strong in our resolve to love, honor, and obey God.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:6-8