FEATURED, Spiritual Family


Yesterday, I started, or maybe somewhat continued a Christmas tradition with my victory group in church. I actually surprised them with milk (and cupcakes) and cookies. I set up the table really nicely too. Beside their plates were a small piece of paper each, which they were to list down things they are grateful for this year. That paper was inserted into a home-made tag/ornament. All around the table were little pieces of ribbons, stars, flowers and others which they were to personally decorate their ornaments with. Then we had a BLESSING TREE on which they were to hang their ornaments afterwards. In our recent Christmas Traditions event at Victory Alabang,  my friend Margot Uy shared about this Blessing Tree, which helps us focus on or be reminded of God’s blessings to us. I just loved the idea so much, I immediately applied it. We will also be doing the same thing at our annual Happy Birthday Jesus Party, which will be our fourth year so far, for our kids and their friends at home. I will also do my own spin on Shirley Marquez’s wonderful table scape.

Tonight, it being the first Sunday of the 4 Sundays before Christmas, our family is going to begin our new tradition, which is lighting up the Advent Wreath. I’m excited to apply what I learned AND taught at Christmas Traditions! We’re going to use the materials that I used for teaching — a wreath, some decorations, 4 colored candles, and 1 white candle. Two years ago, our friend gave us The Lion Book of Christmas Carols, and I just realized that I can actually use it for our Advent wreath. There are 5 stories, perfect for the 4 Sundays before Christmas and on Christmas Day. There are Christmas songs for every story that we can teach the kids and sing together. The kids will be excited to light up and blow 1 candle each Sunday and on Christmas Day! But like I said at the event, you can create your own “program.” Some sing Christmas carols first, share different Bible stories, read from the Bible or from story books, or talk about how they celebrate the holidays in other countries. The point is this is another opportunity to gather the family together and to point them to Christ.

My friend Ging Morados shared about the Advent Calendar. This tradition, we’ve been doing for 4 years, but this year we have a new calendar! Our eldest Danae looks forward to this every year because she gets to do one special thing every day beginning December 1, counting down or leading up to Christmas day. This is the first time Noelle will be actually participating in this tradition. Ging pointed out the importance of not just having something to do every day of the month, but something that will point them to what Christmas really means. Things like appreciating Daddy by making him a card, or packing up some goodies to share with kids on the street, or watching a show, play, or movie about Jesus with the family.

We love Christmas! Like what Ptr Paolo and Jenn Punzalan shared that night, Christmas is a time for BUILDING. It is the best (though not the only) time to teach our children about Christ, BUILDING THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS and building our relationship with Him as well. It is a time for BUILDING CHARACTER, wherein we teach and focus on certain traits as gratefulness, generosity, love, kindness, and many others. It is a time for BUILDING MEMORIES with our children, our families. They will treasure these wonderful times and will want to do the same for their own families as they grow older.

Our heart to have this Christmas Traditions was to bless our church, and I believe that with everything they received — INSPIRATION, ideas, gift wrapping tips, recipes (which I will post soon), not to mention lots of prizes and giveaways — they were blessed indeed. It was a successful event, and I believe I speak for the other pastors’ wives, staff and everyone who worked to make this happen, that it was a great privilege to have been able to do this. Merry Christmas!

Family, Marriage


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.


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!!! 🙂



Happy Fathers’ Day!

Everybody knows what a great father King is to our girls. They wouldn’t be as secure and confident as they are without the love, time, attention, protection, encouragement, wisdom, and prayers of their dad.

That’s how King was too as he fathered the Alabang youth for the past 4 years. You see, being a youth pastor is not only about great preachings every youth service. As a youth pastor, King was (I use the past tense because he no longer is the youth pastor, but the worship service pastor) one who would think about everything — budget, volunteers, strategies, yearly planning, campus work, seminars, events, missions trips, every aspect of the youth service, admin, including balancing family and ministry. He is also one who knows he can’t do it alone. He values the team that he works with. He teaches them, trains them. He’s even actually the one who spots them and casts the vision to them. King is not only a great leader, he is a great team player. He may not be the best communicator there is and there are better preachers than him, but what is undeniable is his heart. His passion and love for the youth propelled him to do the best he could, to use every gifting he had, to reach out to the youth not just of Alabang. Maybe no one knows exactly what he has done or how much he has done because of the way he works — quietly, without seeking honor for himself, without expecting to take credit. He works hard and he works humbly. He knows his place — that the youth is not his, but God’s.

In my book, his love, faith, passion, commitment, wisdom, leadership, creativity, knowledge, compassion, hard work, humility and security are what made him a great father to the youth and are what make him a great father to our children.

Happy Fathers’ Day, Babe! I truly thank God for you. I love you. 🙂



After my speaking engagement in Marillac, I joined King in speaking at the youth service the same day. It was the final installment of the Love series, wherein we shared about marriage. As usual, we started by sharing our amazing love story. This might be a long read, but I’m sure for all the romantics out there, it will be well worth it.

The year was 2003. There was talk of LA Mumar and a certain King Lucero of Talents InC moving to VCF- Alabang to eventually plant the Sta Rosa church. I knew LA by name and face of course since he used to be an actor. I had no clue who King Lucero was. When they finally came to church in September, I didn’t get to meet them right away. It was Macy, LA’s wife (they were newly married then), whom I introduced myself to after one service. Things just rolled from there. We would hang out a lot, even in the Mumars’ Mamplasan home at times….me, Ayessa, Sharon, Haidee, Macy, LA and King.

The church was growing and we were moving from WestGate to Festival Mall in December. King got some youth and singles to dance for our first service in the mall. Being a “dancer” too, I was excited to watch their first rehearsal. Then Sharon asked me to join them. After a while, I agreed as long as it was okay with King, since he was the choreographer and leader of the whole thing. King accommodated me (though later on he told me that he didn’t plan on getting any more dancers…he was just being polite…hehehe). That’s how we became a bit more friends. I even brought him food the night before the dance because I felt sorry for him that he had already finished editing his video but it somehow disappeared from the computer. He stayed in Westgate that night, and slept very little.

And so we danced in front of the whole congregation the next day. I remember somebody saying we (King and I) looked good together on stage. Come to think of it, I remember saying to myself when they first introduced King during service at Westgate that I don’t want to be impressed by his dancing abilities. Good thing I was with him on stage as opposed to just watching him. Just to remind you though, this was before any kind of attraction began between us. We both had “other interests”.

Victory Night was a week or so after that and as I entered the center, I noticed myself scanning the room for King. LA eventually told me, when I asked, that he was in Myanmar for missions. I was disappointed that he wasn’t there, but a different kind of respect for him grew inside of me. Though I still did not like him like him yet.

Anyway, to make the short story even shorter, by prayer and fasting in January 2004, King asked for and received a vision from God. It was me, waving at him. He actually saw it happen later on that week when I was waving for him to call Jose (Quest). I, on the other hand, for the first time, did not include marriage in my faith goals that year. He didn’t act on his feelings right away, but waited to see if it would grow even without constant communication. We weren’t text mates. We would only hang out when La and Macy were there, maybe once a week or even less. During this time, I would always ask myself (as other people would ask me too), if I was open to King “if ever”. And I was. But there came many points in our interactions that made me think that we don’t jive because we had different wavelengths.

It was on the first week of March that I was so distracted by thoughts of him. As in I would cry to God because I didn’t want to be distracted. I did everything I could to escape, but it was that week that God spoke to me about King.

On March 6, my friend and victory group leader Michelle, after I admitted to her and to myself for the first time that I liked liked King, encouraged me and prayed for me, saying that it’s a new season that I should be excited for. Indescribable and undeniable peace rested in my heart, and I just knew that King was the one. I wondered when it was all going to unfold, but I didn’t even have time to get impatient because King laid down his intentions for me the next day! His plan was actually to do it Monday, but Pastor Neil said “why not tonight?” It was a Sunday. And the timing was just perfectly orchestrated by God. I was busy with Kids’ church (though my ministry involvement then was Junior Kids) the whole day because Jun Calalang asked for help about a month prior. Apparently, Macy, Ayessa and Sharon were out the whole afternoon because they got their hair done. Kay, another good friend, was supposed to come back to church to accompany a friend but that friend couldn’t come anymore, so she didn’t come back either. I attended the last service, saw Michelle and we sat together. Before the service ended, Michelle disappeared for a while. By end of the service, King approached me and asked if I wanted to eat (which was usual for our group after service, except I didn’t know that there was nobody else there that night but LA), and I said “yes, tara, I’m hungry.” I even asked LA and he acted as if he was also coming. Little did I know that everyone knew! Pastor Neil and King spoke to Michelle that evening. LA and the other pastors knew what was happening while I was clueless. Some even said congratulations, which I didnt’ “get” thank God, else it would have been ruined because I would have run away haha. But I did notice that only the two of us walked out of the center, and so I asked where everyone else was. King couldn’t answer me straight. I texted Michelle and she said she knew. Man!!!! I was cornered! Happy to be, though nervous. So we ate at Almon Marina….. actually, i ate (steak) and King could barely touch his soup. He made his spiel and he asked me if i was okay with that. I agreed of course, though at first I was planning to say no just to mess with his head. In short, courtship began…..and ended on April 14 because he proposed in a beautiful home in Bataan, overlooking the ocean, and we got engaged. Seven months later, a little over a year after we first met, on November 15, 2004, past 3pm, we got married at Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay.

Today, we’re on our way to our 7th anniversary, and we have two beautiful daughters. If not for the Lord, His grace and mercy, who knows where our family would be headed? But because of His presence in our lives, we are what we are — together, blessed, and happy. 🙂



The month began with a plan. We wanted to hold a party for this home for orphaned kids called My Father’s House. We, the youth staff and I, could have taken the easy route — organized, planned and executed everything ourselves — but we didn’t. We wanted the youth involved. We did not want to just bless the orphaned kids, we wanted our youth in Alabang to step out of their own worlds and give of their time, energy, and talents. We wanted them to learn from the experience, and even teach each other during the whole process. We wanted to give them an opportunity to bond with each other and with the kids of My Father’s House.

We called the event LOVE IS IN THE HOUSE. It was a post-valentine party held last Saturday in My Father’s House’s grounds and the theme was LOVE. We put up 6 teams (Food, Program, Games, Logistics, Music & Dance, Documentation) and gave the volunteers their respective assignments. We can proudly say that everything we did for My Father’s House was the hard work of our youth — from planning, to marketing, to cooking (special thanks to Chef Len Santos-Ding for opening her kitchen to us), to packaging, to setting up, to marshaling the games, to distributing the prizes and gifts (special thanks to Victory Alabang and Cong. Ruffy Biazon), to dancing and singing, to just sitting and spending time with the kids. We made sure that during lunch, each table had at least one of us there to talk to the kids. I even saw some of our youth helping the little kids cut their chicken and feeding them. It was truly a heart-warming sight.

We did not allot time for a full preaching because we didn’t just want to tell the kids that God loves them, we wanted to show them by serving them. They were blessed by our efforts, and we were blessed by their smiles, their joy in singing to God, their excitement in participating in the games and in winning prizes, their gratefulness for our visit. I even got a couple of random hugs from the kids!

We also asked the kids ages 11 and up to make a drawing of what God’s love means to them. The top 3 were asked to explain their work. One boy’s simple but beautiful work said that he is a son of God, and I guess he felt that was enough to explain that. Another boy’s equally beautiful work said that God loves us because He gave us a “home.” I was touched when I saw it. He explained that God created the whole world for us. One little girl’s work was more intricate and we were intrigued by her drawing. She explained that even when we make mistakes, God still loves us. We gave her the grand prize, a gift certificate from Yellow Cab, courtesy of Ms. Faye Bonifacio.

I believe our party was a success! We got the youth involved — they did the work, they served others, they built relationships, they learned, they shared, they taught, they gave. We got to bless a wonderful bunch of kids and we were blessed by the whole experience as well. What a great way to spend the last weekend of the month. I am so proud of our youth and their work! Plus it was my first time to organize an outreach like this haha! On to the next project, woohoo! 🙂

Marriage, Spiritual Family


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. 🙂



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. 🙂