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. 😊
In our home, King and I always remind our daughters that the tongue has the power of life and death. God knows we struggle with this too, but it’s easier to point it out when we hear our kids saying negative words. Story of our parenting lives right? Practice what you preach. Preach what you practice. Note to self! 😂
Anyway, a few days ago, Danae had a stomach ache and even after treating it (with water, fruits, veggies, erce flora, and prayers) she still kept complaining about the pain. Every time she’d come out of her room or come into our room, she’d say “ow my tummy hurts.” I felt bad for her, but declaring that her tummy hurt over and over again didn’t seem to help (her OR me 😂). “How about say I am healed in Jesus’ name?” She did, every time I reminded her.
I believe there is a shift in our mind set when there is a shift in our declarations. Of course it works the other way around too — change mind set first, then declarations/words/actions change. But sometimes our minds are clouded, by our emotions, or when our senses are disturbed and we experience pain. Instead of giving in to it, we fight by moving in the opposite spirit. Instead of focusing on the pain or the problem, we declare faith. We declare healing. We declare the goodness and power of God.
Speak life to your own situation. Speak life to yourself.
The next day, Danae came to me and said she felt better!
Little did I know that the littlest one would pick this up as well. I was feeling down the other day. The humid weather triggered my allergies and despite meds, I was sneezy, teary, and my head was heavy all day. At bedtime, while I already had my eyes closed, Gianna spoke. “Are you healed, mommy?” Always so compassionate towards me. I didn’t want to sound negative or faithless, so I told her “almost.” That apparently was not good enough because she told me, “Say I am healed, mommy.” She made me smile. I did as she asked and I thanked her. Touché my dear! 😂
Amazing how our kids use our own words on us. It really keeps us parents on our toes. It keeps us accountable. It keeps us humble.
When one daughter complains about the other’s attitude and behavior, I always tease (and remind) them that they are the same. “Mirror, mirror” or “have you met yourself?” or “speck, meet plank.”
But really, God always reminds and rebukes me — my children are a reflection of me. I am the same too. He’s just more compassionate and less sarcastic than I am. Lord help me! 😂 ❤️
From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:20-21
Thirteen years ago. April 8. Easter Sunday. But instead of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, we were mourning the death of my dad. He passed away on Easter Sunday of the year 2007. His death surprised us. His death saddened us. His death hurt us. But there was grace and there was hope. And it is exactly the resurrection of Jesus that gave me that hope.
The hope that my dad’s death is not the end. The hope of my dad enjoying eternal life with Jesus in heaven. The hope of reuniting with him when it is our time to go.
I am assured of this because he grew up with parents who loved Jesus and prayed for their children (and grandchildren — I believe I am a fruit of their prayers). They were faithful and active church-goers. And big Bible readers. My lola would make it a point to grab one of her apos to share bible verses with us while she sat in her rocking chair. I honestly disliked the interruption to our playtime. I dreaded being ’chosen’ haha. I believe she was the one who taught us and got us to memorize Psalm 23. So if she sowed prayers for me and seeds of faith in me, that are, by the grace of God, bearing fruit to this day, she definitely sowed the same seeds in my dad. I know this too because some time between his passing and Gianna’s birth, I found a certificate saying he led the youth of Church of the Risen Lord for a year or two. Faith in action right there.
I am also assured because though my dad seemed to have lost his way, he told me during one of what would have been our last visits in the hospital, that he needed to keep his faith up. I don’t remember praying with him, but I know King and some of our friends did, and I made sure to let him know that we, including his one and only favorite grandchild at that time, Danae, were constantly praying for him. I know he was seeking, praying, and going back to God at that time. And I believe the Lord showed up and led him back. He and my mom experienced the love of Jesus through family who donated their platelets, but also through the church — people they did not know personally and who did not know them personally, but gave of themselves to help my dad. They knew as well that so many were praying for his healing.
My dad is gone. That Easter Sunday was not such a happy one. But that does not at all diminish the true meaning and significance of Easter or my gratitude for it. Thank you Jesus for taking our place on the cross and, being the only One qualified, dying to pay for all our sins once and for all…to redeem us, so we can have a way back to the Father. Thank you Jesus for conquering death, and rising again on the third day. Because of your resurrection, we too can enjoy life after death, with You in heaven. Thank You for giving that gift to my dad. Thank You for offering that gift to each one of us as well.
I pray that whoever reads this, receives this gift of salvation. By faith, which the Lord Himself will supply you with. Especially in this current health crisis, with so much uncertainty about the future.
Would you pray with me?
Heavenly Father…. I am tired. I am sick. I am worn down. I am burnt out. I feel lost. I feel empty. I feel hopeless. I feel alone. I feel rejected and unloved. I am overwhelmed. I am confused. I am afraid. I don’t know what to do anymore. I acknowledge that I need You. I acknowledge that I don’t have the answers. You know better than I. I don’t have the power or the control. You do. I acknowledge that it is my sin that has caused my separation from You. I thank You that though I am a sinner, You love me anyway, so much so that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for my sin. I believe that He died on the cross for me. I believe that You raised Him from the dead. I am sorry for my sins. Please forgive and cleanse me. I surrender. I want to turn away from everything that is not right in Your eyes, and I receive Jesus as my Lord, Master, and Savior. I receive the gift of salvation. Thank You for taking my burden from me and setting me free! Help me to love, serve, and obey You, for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen. ❤️
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11
Please feel free to message me or email me if you have prayed this prayer and want to talk about this more. Or you may get connected to our leaders at the Victory Alabang Facebook Page. God bless you!
My husband likes to pull out the weeds in our lawn, and a few days ago, I decided for the first time 😬, to help him. I am sure I had a chance to do this growing up. I had forgotten how fun and satisfying it is, especially when you’re able to pull them out from the roots. One of my kids mentioned that it’s like pulling out daddy’s white hair 😂. It was a good use of my time during quarantine. Nice opportunity to be out in the sun. Good bonding activity with the hubby and kids. Good source of inspiration as well.
I actually learned something from it! There are different kinds of weeds invading our frog grass, the majority of which is one particular kind (judging only from appearance of course, I am no expert). I found that some were easy for me to pull from the roots, while others were pretty hard. Some were also pretty obvious because of their height and size, but there were many that blended right in with the grass especially when wet. You would notice them only when they’re dry and up close.
Weeds are not healthy for our lawns or gardens. They compete for the nutrients and the water that are meant for our grass and plants. Much like some of our habits, our attitudes, our life choices, our beliefs. They take up space in our life that push God out of our hearts. They compete with our time and devotion to God. Some of them are so noticeable that others make us aware (whether intentionally or unintentionally) of them, and we ourselves desire to change them. There are those we are able to easily pull, so to speak, out of our lives. Sometimes effortlessly. Why? Because the roots aren’t deep. The roots are young and shallow. Maybe that habit or attitude or choice or belief doesn’t have much of a hold on us. Maybe a meaningless thing that was quickly picked up, one that could also quickly be given up. Maybe removing it from our life does not cause much pain or discomfort.
Then there are those that we are able to get rid off only superficially. In terms of weeds, you successfully pull out the blades above ground, but leave the root intact. Its root has gone so deep that simply pulling it out does not work. It requires much more time and effort, and pain, to remove. (Some roots have thorns. And I pulled so many weeds that my fingers were already sore and greenish in color. In frustration, I honestly just left those I could not pull from the roots. I stopped caring after a while and just moved on to the next ones. 😬) So from the outside, it may seem like the bad habits or attitudes, former choices, or old beliefs have been removed from your life, but really, it’s only the appearance, perhaps the behavior or words, that has changed. The root of the issue is still intact and could rear its ugly head anytime it is triggered. The root is still deep, its hold still strong, that whatever progress you make is eradicated when you are tested. The “weeds” continue to grow, while your own growth is stunted. Or worse, the “weeds” choke out everything that is growing in you. Not only do you stop growing, you go backward, regress, backslide.
It’s funny that as lazy and indifferent as I was to work on the roots left in the soil, my husband took a spoon from our kitchen to dig out the roots. That determination, the willingness to put in the work, that belief that freedom from weeds is possible, the humility to recognize that he cannot do it on his own are the very things needed to get to the root. Now let’s be honest. We are human and we live in a broken world. There will always be a battle against our own undesirable attitudes and habits, and we will constantly need readjustments in our choices and beliefs. But how should we respond? Like me, who cared for a while but then gave up on those that were just too hard to deal with? Who settled to just let the “weeds” keep growing? Or like King, who put in the time and effort, and upon realizing that he could not rely on his own will and strength, got help? Who cared enough to keep his “lawn” healthy?
In this time of Corona, this season of ECQ, weeding is a worthwhile pursuit. Let’s take a good look at ourselves, with humility and honesty. What are these things that we do, these activities we participate in, these ideas and people we allow ourselves to be influenced by, these emotions we allow to take over, these words we speak to ourselves, these beliefs we have embraced — what are these that take precedence over things that God has called us to be and do? What are these that, if we are not mindful, slowly push God out of our families, our decision-making, our parenting, our work and finances, our government and business dealings, our relationships, even our ministry? Let’s ask the Lord to expose our weeds, and let’s enlist the help of trustworthy people that God has sent us, to walk with us and help us through the weeding process. We can’t do it alone. We can’t do it just once. This is a life long process of surrendering to the Lord, dying to ourselves, to keep Jesus enthroned in our hearts.
That, however, is not the way of life you learnedwhen you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;to be made new in the attitude of your minds;and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:20-24
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules[c] of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. Psalm 119:9-16
We are on enhanced community quarantine right now. I have not tried leaving the house since I last bought groceries from small stores, last Saturday. So far, we’ve been okay. Kids are somehow productive. I’ve been hearing the ukulele and piano more these days. We have been playing volleyball and badminton in the backyard. The kids have been baking and doing some reading. We have started watching The Chosen.
There is always something to do, especially with Gianna who wants to do different things and play different games all day. But I woke up this morning with the desire to set some daily goals for our family. I am the kind of person who wants to volunteer and help others, and right now I feel helpless. I feel like I can’t do much because I can’t go out apart from buying supplies. I want to obey the directive to stay home. I have no business being out. As I stay home, I protect myself and I protect others.
So I will do my part here. I will use the opportunity to spend quality time with my kids and teach them.
I admit, our family is not great at keeping a routine. I know this because of the years we have homeschooled. But I believe at this time, when they have no choice but to stay home and they have no more school work (4th quarter final exams were done early, providentially!) and they can’t give me their usual excuses of being tired, we can set daily goals. I want to be deliberate and yet give them some freedom to choose their individual tasks, such as the game, the chore, the art work, the song/piece. Other tasks of course, we have to agree and do it together. And they will also have ample free time to do what they want — play in the backyard, do other art, read other books, talk to friends online, tiktok, dance, exercise, bake, cook, netflix and chill. We will keep the schedule flexible. If we don’t get them all done daily, that’s okay. The overall goals are to bond as a family, to keep learning, to stay productive and active, to learn life skills, character building, and to stay in God’s Word. We may not be able to do much for others right now, but we can do much for and with our immediate family!
And I will pray. Anytime and all the time are good times to pray. I pray when I am reminded of other people. I pray when I see posts and videos and hear news reports. I pray when I talk to people online. I pray when worry strikes. I pray when my imagination goes wild. I pray when I watch my children sleep. Prayer is our friend and our weapon. Let’s pray God’s promises over our families and our current situation. Receive the calm that prayer brings and the peace that Jesus gives. Fight the enemy through prayer, using God’s very words, deafen him with our worship to the Almighty. Bless others with our online presence and our sincere how-are-yous, uplift them with our encouragement. Let’s stay connected and pray for one another — so that as we face the facts of our situation, we can rise up in faith together!!! We may not be able to physically help others at this time, but our prayers are powerful! And the Lord is faithful to hear and answer them!
PARENTING AND PRAYER. Worthwhile endeavors during, but definitely not limited to, these unusual times. 😉
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, 1 Peter 3:12a
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:17-19
4 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15
It’s been quite a week! And I still go back to what I posted on facebook a few days ago.
Do I fear? Do I worry? Am I concerned?
Of course! I am a mother. And I am human. I have all those thoughts and feelings, and probably more.
BUT… I am also a believer of the One who protects, sustains, heals, and is in control of everything. I submit all my fears, worries, and concerns to Him. And He gives me PEACE.
I will move with WISDOM and do what is doable, cooperate with what the government is doing with regards to the community quarantine and now the enhanced community quarantine, but I will still put my TRUST in the Lord.
Read Psalm 91 NLT out loud and let faith arise!!!
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. 4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. 6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. 8 Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. 9 If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. 11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. 12 They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. 13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! 14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
Lessons from Frozen 2? No, actually :D. Let′s start with the first one first. I′ve been watching it lately, and Gianna has been listening to its soundtrack all year, like practically each time she rides our car. I loved the story from the very first time I saw it because of true love between sisters. ❤ ❤ ❤
Three things strike me most. One is how the Grand Pabbie (the troll) instilled fear in Elsa and her parents′ hearts. He could have been more G or PG (because even the parents were terrified) with the visual he gave them about the danger in Elsa′s powers. He could have started with the warning, and ended with the encouragement that there is beauty in her powers if she learns to control it. He could have acknowledged their fear and guided them to not only control her powers but to control the fear. He could have given them hope by telling them that her powers can be used for good.
Our words, and how we deliver them, have power.
Second is what the parents did in response to the troll′s words. They loved their children so much that it made them afraid for their safety. They agreed to hide Elsa′s powers, instead of hone it. They decided to isolate her even from her sister, to teach her ways to conceal, instead of helping her learn her powers and training her to use them. I know it must have been impossible since none of them had experience with such great power, but they could have at least tried, or sought help from others. I am sure they believed it was for the best, but the result was just incredibly sad. They raised two lonely daughters. One, try as she might, could not escape her fears, especially not in isolation. She grew up believing that she could inflict harm on her sister, which made her fear grow even more. And the other grew up confused and hurt, not understanding why she could not be with her sister whom she loved so much.
Love and fear. As a parent, I understand it. God knows how many times I′ve prayed because of the fear I felt in my heart for my children. I don’t think I could be that afraid for them if I did not love them so much.
But LOVE and FAITH. A possibility only because of Jesus. That there is One I can completely trust to love, protect and take care of my children better than I can. One who is Almighty, All-knowing, and Ever-present. One I can cast all my fears to because He cares for me and my family.
But LOVE, FAITH, and COMMUNITY. Friends, family and spiritual family. We don’t have to do things, carry the burden on our own. How grateful are we to have people around us to help us deal with impossible situations, to whom we can be vulnerable and from whom we need not hide. People who give us godly counsel, who pray for and with us, and are present in our lives.
Third is Anna. Despite years of pain and confusion, the moment she learned why Elsa had distanced herself, she chose to understand. She did not run away. In fact, it was still Elsa who ran away because of her fear. And Anna chased after her because of her love for her. Despite the greatness of Elsa′s powers, Anna was not afraid. She trusted in their sisterhood, that Elsa would never deliberately hurt her. And even when she did get hurt, when the time came, she still chose to try to save her sister.
That kind of love blows me away. And that′s the kind of love that changes people′s hearts. Sacrificial. Selfless. True. ❤
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13
A few days ago, Gianna and I were walking in the mall…
Mall radio: 🎵santa claus is coming to town…🎶
G: No he’s not….. because he’s DEAD.
😂😂😂 we told her that he was an actual person who loved giving gifts, but that it was a long time ago.
A few weeks ago, I was telling Gianna that we were going to wowa’s friend’s house.
G: what friend?
Me: wowa’s friend from before.
G: is she new?
Me: no, wowa’s old friend.
G: when she was thin?
😂 for some reason, she associates the past with me or my mom being thin. Like when we were younger and thinner. 😂
Me: Gianna! (Surprised)
G: (innocently) is that rude?
😂 I guess she could tell from my reaction.
Her cousin gave her a small lipstick a few nights ago. She was riding at the very back on our way home, and it was either king sped up or hit the brakes abruptly. She suddenly said, “Daaaaad! You made my lipstick go to my tooth!”
Today we celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. ❤ I cannot thank God enough for first giving me the best husband, and then for sustaining us all these years. When I married King, I was sure that it was God who ordained everything for us to be together. But he isn’t perfect, and I am not perfect. We had only known each other for about 14 months, hardly enough time to really get to know another person. So in those 15 years, anything could have happened. The baggage we first brought into our marriage, we could have carried to this day. We could have kept pointing out the fault of the other and kept blaming each other. We could have kept dredging up our past. The issues we faced in the beginning could have remained. The attitudes we had could have remained unchanged. We could have made choices that would ruin us. We could have given up in frustration and pain (although the worst marriage nightmares, we experienced only literally in our dreams, or Kings dreams 😀 ).
But God has carried us through. Marriage is no joke. It is no easy feat. It takes work and change and dying to self. There is nothing like marriage to make you grow up and practice selflessness. I thank God for His grace, giving us the ability to not just bury things in our subconscious, but to acknowledge the issue, forgive and move forward. I thank God for His Word that continually renews our minds and transforms us. It is impossible to navigate through our relationship without the Word of God. Our marriage cannot grow if we ourselves do not grow in our relationship with God. I am so grateful for our spiritual family, that looks out for us. Marriage seminars and retreats, but most importantly couples we look up to and learn so much from. Couples who love us, walk with us, cover us in prayer, and are so generous in sharing their wisdom. Discipleship (as youth/singles) also truly helped us in learning servant leadership, grace, forgiveness, humility, honor, security in our identity in Christ, standards, boundaries, priorities, prayer, faith, trust, joy, hope, sacrificial love. Very important values to carry into a marriage.
Thank you, babe, for being a great husband. Thank you for your genes! We have three beautiful, talented daughters because of your contribution 😀 😀 😀 ! Thank you for your love for our family. Thank you for your kindness, and your example of Christlikeness. You have mentored me in so many ways. Thank you for loving God more than you love me. Our marriage is not perfect. We both make mistakes. But by the grace of God, we will continue being comfortable but never complacent, and we will celebrate our 50th anniversary in 35 years!!! We will be in our late 70s, but hopefully still grooving and laughing together. I love you! ❤