FEATURED, Spiritual Family

Singles Getaway 2013

The last time I was at a Victory Alabang singles retreat was nine years ago in Tagaytay. It was my second ever. I was single, but already engaged to King. We were given the privilege to share our love story then. This year, King and I were given another privilege to impart and teach the singles of our church at our Singles Getaway in Dahilayan, Bukidnon. We had always wanted to join or help in the getaways, but of course my husband would be needed in church. So we thank God for letting us be part of this one!

GIVE HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE

King and I talking about putting Phil 4:8 in our friendships :)
King and I talking about putting Phil 4:8 in action, in our friendships. 🙂

I want to honor first my husband. Seeing you in action makes me admire you more, babe! You serve with a glad heart, and I see it on your face and in your body language. There may have been a few stressful moments, but you never let any of that get you down. Tiring as it was, I know you loved serving the singles. You were always willing to do what was asked of you. You went the extra mile even, all while making sure I and your kids were doing okay, and making sure we had something great to teach in our session. And you never forgot to have fun! You enjoyed the place, the amenities (rides, if you will), being with the participants, being with the committee, and being with your family. You had many hats on in those 3-4 days, but you never forgot to enjoy all of it. You’re the man, babe! Servant leadership at its finest! It gives me so much joy to see you do what you love to do. 🙂

Being with King is never a drag. :)
Being with King is never a drag. 🙂
King's joy and humor is infectious. :)
King’s joy and humor is infectious. 🙂
Ptr Chico and Maryanne Pena :)
Ptr Chico and Maryanne Pena 🙂

I also want to honor our family ministry pastor Ptr Chico and his wife Maryanne, for being such good friends to us. You always encourage us and support us in the things we do. Thank you for trusting King to help out with the singles. Thank you for trusting us to impart to the singles in one of the sessions. I see your humility and security, that the “singles ministry” is not about you. The singles are not yours, but they are the Lord’s. You are stewards, and great ones at that! Your desire to get personal is so admirable — you guys sitting with different victory groups every so often is just amazing to me. You don’t mind the work of meeting people in small, intimate settings. You make time for the singles, even with such busy schedules of parenting, counselling, doing marriage preparation programs, doing marriage journey programs, and officiating countless weddings! King and I look up to you guys, and we always appreciate what you teach us. And to make everything sweeter, we love all three of your kids! It was a joy for each one of us to be there with your family. 🙂

I want to honor our discipleship pastor Ptr John and his wife Joyce, who took care of the singles for four years! You have taken the

Ptr John and Joyce del Rosario :)
Ptr John and Joyce del Rosario 🙂

singles to Boracay and Bohol, two beautiful cities in our country. And just like our recent trip, I am sure they were also life-changing for the participants. I see your love for the singles, and your desire for them to be great men and women. I know you are excited to witness them enter the season of marriage too. You have made a great impact in so many lives with your knowledge, your passion and your faith, no matter how differently they are “packaged” in each of you. I am so proud of you Joyce, for the woman that you have become. I am so excited to see you as a mom as well! We’ve been travel buddies twice now, and I appreciate both your love for our girls. Thank you. 🙂

I want to honor the committee — Nathan, Maeriz, Ninoy, Mark, Joanne, Marvin, Ivin, and Janice!!! You were only a handful, but you guys did a great great job. There are no words to describe how amazed we are by your hard work and service. I may not have seen firsthand what each of you did, but I know each of your roles was essential to the success of the event. There were no big or small jobs, and I saw that all the more from each of you, because you were so humble and joyful. You had no air of entitlement or arrogance due to position or amount of responsibility. It was not perfect, as nothing ever is, but there was not a critical spirit in any of you that it was a joy to talk to and work with you. And I am so happy that even though you were working as volunteers, you were able to truly enjoy the retreat! The work was balanced by so much free time to play! Well-deserved too! Thank you all, for making the Singles Getaway what it was — enriching, relaxing, invigorating, fun, and life-changing! 🙂

The committee and the marshals :)
The committee and the marshals 🙂
Nathan and Mark :)
Nathan and Mark 🙂
Maeriz :)
Maeriz 🙂
Some of the committee and the early comers :)
Some of the committee and the early comers 🙂
Family, Marriage

SEASONS

At long last, King and I were able to have some alone time at the Couples’ Getaway last weekend. We got there late for the first activity but just in time for the first session, done by Ptr Sonny and Malou Oaman. They shared their testimony, having gone through many different seasons in their marriage. They taught us that many changes happen in a lifetime and in a marriage, and it’s all about our ATTITUDE. Our attitude will dictate how we cope with those changes. We must remember that for every season, there is FRUIT! Our hardships are not pointless. There will be times that we will fail, but failure is just a DETOUR, not a DEAD-END. Failure educates us and helps us prepare, plan, anticipate so that we can have more SUCCESS in the future. Like it is said, THERE IS NO AMOUNT OF SUCCESS THAT CAN COMPENSATE OUR FAILURES IN THE FAMILY. Family must be our priority.

I also enjoyed the second session, which King and I have yet to sit down & continue talking about. “Pastor” Ardy Abello gave us a workshop on the SEASONS OF MARRIAGE, a tweaked version of the Seasons of Life workshop. We were tasked to compute our remaining years on earth and what we wanted to do with those years according to the seasons of marriage. King and I have around 46 years, and we realized that we have so much we want to do individually, for our family, and in our involvements. The workshop really helps you set goals for yourself, for you & your spouse, and for your family. It’s a wonderful thing to DREAM! It BUILDS UP YOUR FAITH!

SEASON OF CHALLENGES was done by our dear friends Yeng (author of Productive Pinoy) and Michelle Remulla. They began their talk with a very interesting & fun game. It consisted of blindfolds, strategies, little toys, and significant items. They ended it by sharing to us how we couples should respond to life’s challenges, each item in the game representing a point they were teaching. Gavel – Make decisions together. Umbrella – Protect each other. Watch – Make time for each other. Bell – Pay attention. Phone – Communicate, don’t irritate. Wallet – Talk about money. Shoes – Don’t walk away. Heart – Meet his/her needs. Small group material/booklet – Be humble. Ask for help. Bible – Trust & submit to God. It was my kind of session — a fun activity with 10 great points!

Ptr Jojo and Ida Henson shared on the SEASON OF HARVEST. Harvest will be great IF WE KNOW OUR SOURCE. We must never make our spouse the source for our acceptance, our identity, our security, or our purpose (4 inner cravings of man). We have a supernatural source, which is JESUS. ONLY HE can fill each and every one of our our needs. They ended it with a powerful time of prayer, declaration, and prophetic words. A lot of sniffing and sighing from both men & women at the end of that one haha, me included.

THANK YOU. WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU IN OUR LIVES. 🙂

Family, Marriage

At Last…..

In 2006, we attended our first couples’ retreat in Caliraya. We were married for almost 2 years then, and Danae was 10 months old. The retreat was entitled Just the Two of Us, but  like I always say, in true Lucero fashion, it became JUST THE THREE OF US.

Last year, 2010, we attended the first Couples’ Getaway of Victory Alabang (click here for more about it) in Summit Ridge, Tagaytay. It was our second couples’ retreat. We were almost 6 years married then, and Danae was almost 5, while Noelle was 1 year & 9 months old. Our Couples’ Getaway, again in true Lucero fashion, became the FAMILY GETAWAY, plus 1 helper.

Couples’ Getaway 2011 just concluded this weekend, and though it was just an overnight retreat, I am very pleased to say that it was indeed a COUPLES’ GETAWAY! Just me and King, at looooooooooooong last. Just a time for relaxing, for fun, for learning, for fellowship. How refreshing, especially after all that has happened. We needed this. I NEEDED THIS. I think I expressed that on the dance floor during 80s night. hahahaha.

I thank God for King’s parents who gladly took the girls for us, for the girls’ aunts, uncles & cousins who love them very much. It made it easier to leave them, knowing that they would be in good and able hands. As you may know, this is only the 2nd time that we have left the girls for more than a day. The first was when King was hospitalized.

Tonight, we pick them up, and start getting ready for another trip this week. We’re off to celebrate Danae’s 6th birthday! Woohoo!!! 🙂

THANK YOU PTR CHICO & MARYANNE. YOU ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED. YOU DID ANOTHER AMAZING JOB THIS YEAR!:)

Marriage, Spiritual Family

COUPLE’S GETAWAY!

I’ve been trying for two weeks to write about the recent Couple’s Getaway, but I could only get so far. It’s been overtaken by newer write-ups, and has been stuck in my drafts.  Just the other day, I realized that I have been going at it all wrong.

Instead of relaying what happened and how the theme U.N.I.T.Y. (understand, nurture, identify, treasure, yearn) was imparted and taught to us, I would like to use this post to honor the people behind the whole thing – Ptr Chico and Maryanne Peña. They have made a difference in many people’s and many couples’ lives because of their personal, intimate approach to imparting what they have learned as husband and wife in the past 20 + years.

Let me just tell you that before October, I had been really looking forward to the Couple’s Getaway because it was going to be our first time to spend the night alone without the kids since Danae was born. Our original plans fell through and we had to bring the girls with us. Thus our couple’s getaway became a family getaway haha. I was disappointed at first, but then I was still grateful that we were still going. And it turned out to be just as enjoyable, maybe even more! Not only were we able to participate in all the activities and attend all the sessions, we also did not have to stress and worry about the kids since they were just in our hotel room with our trusted helper. We were even a blessing to those few who brought their kids too, since they played with our kids in our room.

I’m so grateful for Ptr Chico and Maryanne. First of all, they are dear friends of ours. They’re so supportive of us, always encouraging us. But what stood out for me during the Couple’s Getaway was the Nurture part, where we were tasked to go on a 500-peso amazing lunch date after the first session. We had to feed our kids then, and since we were staff too, I wondered if we would be able to go on the date. We all walked to a restaurant with Ptr Chico, Maryanne, their 2 sons, and the volunteers. As we sat down, Maryanne quickly told us TO GO ON OUR DATE AND THAT SHE WILL TAKE CHARGE OF DANAE & NOELLE. I was floored!!!!! I couldn’t believe she was saying this to me, but of course we took up her offer. It just really showed me their genuine desire to help us spend time together alone. They know that we don’t get to do so as often as we’d like, since our kids are young and Noelle had just learned to stop breast feeding. Like I said, though we date almost regularly now, we haven’t spent a whole night alone for 5 YEARS. It was just such a generous thing for them to do, totally unexpected and totally heartwarming. Not everybody would be willing to do it for us. NOT EVERYBODY WOULD BE WILLING TO DO IT, PERIOD. We’re grateful to the volunteers who helped us out as well.

I believe Ptr Chico and Maryanne are the right couple to take care of and disciple the married and soon-to-be married couples, via Marriage Boosters and I Do. The best teachers are the most humble and down-to-earth ones, those who are perpetual students and especially those who talk the talk AND walk the walk. That’s Chico and Maryanne, not to mention relatable and funny too. They never claim to be experts and they don’t just give us a formula that we can follow to make our marriages work. They share with us what they have personally experienced and learned in their walk with God as individuals and as husband and wife, and they let us couples talk it out privately, since each couple is different, with different issues and different needs. They help us be better husbands and wives by giving us Biblical principles and practical things to think about, talk about, and do for each other. They are also open to any of us who need counsel. One of the most amazing testimonies given during the getaway was by this young couple who went through something so terrible that the wife was already ready to leave her husband. But because of Chico and Maryanne’s help, the time, advice, and prayer they sowed into this young couple, they are still together and their marriage is going in the right direction. That is the kind of work God is doing in the lives of our couples in church through Ptr Chico and Maryanne today.

It’s clear as well that their plan is not short-sighted. They do not want the Marriage Boosters or the Couple’s Getaway to be just a seminar, which we attend, possibly learn from and possibly apply to our lives. They want us to apply what we learn and teach it to other couples, so they can teach other couples, who will teach other couples and so on. They even entrusted to King and me, one session of teaching the engaged couples of I Do two weeks ago, which was really an honor for us to be part of. We’re so blessed to learn from and co-labor with such an exemplary pair.

SO, PTR CHICO AND MARYANNE, WE THANK YOU AND WE HONOR YOU. May the Lord bless the work of your hands, cause increase in every aspect of your married life, your family life, and your ministry. May you reap a hundred fold what you have sown and are sowing into countless people, individuals and couples alike. May you leave a lasting legacy of loving and honoring God to your children, your children’s children and the generations after them. We love you. 🙂

Marriage

MARRIAGE BOOSTERS!

We recently attended Marriage Boosters with Ptr Chico and Maryanne Pena. We were the last batch of couples for this year. I’m sharing parts of my letter to King, which we were all assigned to do for our spouses, along with the very important lessons I learned and relearned from our tender-hearted, humble, wise, exemplary teachers.

My dearest King,

doing this marriage boosters with you has been really fun and quite revealing. i’ve enjoyed laughing, whether secretly or not, with you. thank you because you are a man with a big sense of humor….. i appreciate that you’re not as serious or as high-strung as i can be at times. i’ve also realized that there’s so much we still need to know about each other and that even the littlest details are important. i want to know you more….

> You can never be too young to learn to work on your marriage. King and I have only been married for 5 years. Somebody asked me if we needed to attend such a thing, maybe thinking that King is a pastor or that we seem happy or that we should still be in the “honeymoon” stage. Of course we do! There is much to learn and it’s better to learn them early on. Francis and Belle were there too, and they’ve only been married for 2 months!

> Have fun! Do things, learn new things together! Laugh together! Date regularly! I tell you, it was so refreshing to spend time with King without the kids for a couple of hours every week. We were there to listen to Chico and Maryanne, but there were many exercises that made us talk the way only married couples can or should talk. We laughed a lot about ourselves too. We really enjoyed it.

> There’s so much more to discover about your husband. Want to know more and be interested in him, in what he does, in what he likes. Let him know you more too. You’ve got a lifetime to do this. Marriage was not intended to be boring. Discovering each other is exciting!

i am grateful to God for giving me a man like you. you are imperfect, but you are 100% more the man than any other man could ever be for me. i truly believe that you are my half….better half? maybe hehe. but together, we are ONE. it doesn’t matter that we are different and we have different wavelengths at times. what matters is God brought us together because it was His plan and His purpose.

> Unity. I thank God that He gave me a man who shares the same faith and the same values I do, who shares the same vision for our family. We may think differently and approach things differently, but we are united in wanting to honor God in our marriage and in everything else.

> King and I don’t wear our wedding rings because they don’t fit anymore haha and we’re both allergic, but engraved on our rings are 3 names — King Jesus Phoebe. Our desire is to keep Jesus in the center of our marriage. We are not merely committed to each other as husband and wife, but committed to our God who authored our marriage. And that’s why we value, work on and fully invest in it.

i admire you for your humility. your heart to serve is just so amazing. i promise to always support you and pray for you. it doesn’t matter if other people don’t see. I see. God sees……I believe in you, babe. I believe in your anointing and your calling. but more importantly, I believe in the One who called you and is anointing you.

> Be your husband’s #1 fan! Be supportive, encourage him daily. Tell him constantly that you believe in him. Most men, my husband included, need verbal affirmation. We don’t want them to get their “boosts” from other women, do we?  Trust me, your husband’s eyes will twinkle when you tell him how much you believe in him and how proud you are of him. I think this was the part that made King cry when I read my letter to him. Hehehe.

> Stand by your husband. It is important that he knows where your loyalty lies, especially when situations are rough for him. It will strengthen your bond of unity all the more.

you are a dreamer, babe! you’ve got great big dreams. sometimes i am bogged down by unbelief, but you…. you dream big because your faith is big. thank you for being an example to me. and thank you for leading our family with such faith. thank you for dreaming big for me and our kids, for wanting to give the world to us.  i will dream and pray with you….and i will always be here for you, supporting you and standing with you as God prepares us for our dreams and as God prepares our dreams for us.

> Share your heart’s desires with each other! Dream together. Listen and pay attention to what’s in your husband’s heart. Don’t only pray for each other, but pray together. This will knit your hearts as one and strengthen your relationship — your friendship and your marriage. The best gift you can give to your children is a strong marriage.

> High appreciation is key! Be grateful for your one and only husband. I know sometimes when we’re mad or frustrated, it’s hard to be grateful. But if we could just train ourselves to make our emotions follow by taking our thoughts captive and obedient to Christ, it would make a huge difference. There are really times that I’m already frustrated but I would think of King’s good points haha. There is much to be appreciated about my husband after all, stuff that truly matter — his faith, his heart, his humility, his love for God, his love for his family.

> Pray for your husband, that his relationship with God is strong and healthy, but do not neglect your own. Our husbands are our leaders, but there will be times that they will be down. We must always be ready to encourage, to uplift, to speak life, to balance, to give wisdom, to pray. You can only give what you yourself have.

i love you, babe.

> Always tell your husband you love him. Always. 🙂