I can see myself in Job when he cried out to the Lord - "Oh that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat...When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him; He turns on the right, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way I take... (Job 23:9-10)
There were times I felt that God doesn't hear me. There were times I can't feel His presence and times I cannot see His hand. These are times I just walk in faith, holding on to His promise that He will never leave me - even if my feelings say otherwise. And Job goes on..."When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold (v10)." He didn't say 'if' but instead he said 'when'. My life would never be "trial-free" or "pain free" but my comfort comes from knowing that "He knows the way I take".
I like what Bruce Hurt wrote - he said "Our goal should be to be content as we serve the Lord, thanking God when we have good days, choosing to trust Him when days seem not so good, learning to say like Job 'Blessed be the Name of the Lord!".
We made our own Egyptian burial chamber after we studied Amenhotep IV, King Tut & Ramses II. We were amazed to know that King Tut's actual coffin had 4 layers with the 3rd made of 2,500 pounds of pure gold! For the project, we used dad's old shoe box wrapped it with homemade wrapping paper (painted by Riel and Aethan). We used clay to make our mummy and the kids covered it with plaster of paris bandage & painted it. We also made canopic jars out of clay and old paint containers. On the right is Riel's write-up on his own "made-up" egyptian mummy.
"My pharoh's name is Tutankhotep. Tutankhotep had 3 sons. They were Khufotep, Tutankhotep II and Ramsotep. Tutankhotep's tomb was designed w/ hieroglyphics,ziggurats, pyramids,wall paintings,scarab beetle & a golden floor.He only worshipped 1 god named Aten. In his tomb,there was a statue of Aten. We also placed canopic jars & treasures he'd like to bring in the next life. Tutankhotep's coffin is made of gems. Tutankhotep put also his boat & his pet cat.His cat was mummified.The cat represents the god Bastet. Tutankhotep died at age 84.No one knew how he died. Before he died, he made the tallest pyramid.1 of them was his tomb.Other pharoahs made it their tomb, too."
(Got this idea from http://ablemedia.com/ctcweb/consortium/vamegypt1.html).
For the layout, I used a paper by sweet digiscraps,stars from 2peas, publiscrap template,tag by Keri Schueller,WA by cottage arts
As I woke up this morning, I whispered a prayer of thanks to Jesus. Thank you, Lord, I am still alive ... that I am with my family ... that there was no earthquake ... I found a thousand and more reasons to be grateful as I reflected on Psalms 33.
1. I thank God for His beautiful creation (33:6-9). Looking at the work of His hands, how can He be mindful of me? I remembered the movie 'Horton Heard a Who' where Horton heard a cry of help from a speck of dust. My Lord who created everything doesn't just hear me, He sees me... He knows every detail about me...He understands me (33:19). Seeing His creation and seeing 'me' --- I feel so unworthy of the attention He gives me. I am but a speck of dust but He chose me to be His child... He chose me!
2. I thank God that He is sovereign and that His plans for me will always prevail. Ps.33:11 says 'The counsel of the Lord stands forever. The plans of His heart from generation to generation'. I am thankful because by His grace alone, I have surrendered my life - my plans, my hopes, my dreams to Him. I thank Him that by His loving kindness He has "nullified" (Ps.33:10) the wrong decisions that I made. With Him, I am secure!
3. My heart rejoices in Him because I trust in His Holy Name (Ps. 33:21) and I know that He will deliver my soul from death and famine (33:19), from trials and adversities. He is my help and my shield. With the recent earthquakes, 'wars and rumors of wars', I would have reason to fear but God has comforted me again and again. "His eye is on those who fear Him --- on those who hope for His lovingkindness (Ps. 33:18). "
"The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him and I am helped.
Therefore my heart exalts
and with my song I shall thank Him."
Spurgeon said 'The best answer we can have at times is simply the statement that He hears'. As I trust Him and His sovereign will, I am helped... I am strengthened...I am thankful.
My son, Riel, was 6 years old when he wrote this song... While eating breakfast, he whispered to me, "Mommy, I have a worship song for Jesus..."
Is it Just me Alone
When its dark, I feel scared.
When I sleep, I have nightmares.
But I know how to stop this.
If I fear, I would just pray and sing this song.
Is it just me alone on highest mountains?
Is it just me alone in the darkness of the sky?
Is it just me alone in the depths of the sea?
Is it just me alone with no one else to be with.
But God is here and I'm not frightened anymore.
January 14, 2011.
This morning, after we discussed how to write a biography, I asked Riel to write about anyone he likes. I cried when he gave me back this paper. It read:
"This is a story about my mom. My mom is so special. On November 5, 2003, she stopped working. She decided to homeschool me when I was 5 years old because she loved me. She always prayed for me to become a good man. She prayed for me to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and mind. She always disciplines me. She also tells me what is right and what is wrong. She also teaches me the piano. My mom will always love me, forever and ever."
>Alvin and I actually decided I should resign when Riel was born - that was the date he placed on his note. I resigned while I was on maternity leave. I just cannot bear the thought that someone else would bring up my son. By faith, I gave up my career to be with my family. It was difficult financially but God is always faithful. It was one of the best decisions I made in my life. The returns are not just awesome but eternal, beyond what I imagined. And in moments like these when I hear these words from my kids - it just makes everything worth it. Thank you, Lord for the joy that you graciously shower us with ... thank you for the joy of giving us our Riel and Aethan...
Sharing with you photos from our homeschool journey.
Disclaimer: The scrapping kits / elements that I used in the layouts above were not made by me
Jeremiah 31:35 - "Thus, says the Lord, Who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar, The Lord of Hosts is His name."
... Lord, Your promises to us are enduring. I will look forward to the day when they will be fulfilled. As I wake up every morning and sleep at night, as I see the sun's glory and marvel at your work that light my night, I will forever be reminded of your faithfulness and unchanging love. And as your covenant with Israel and promises to us stand firm, so should our confidence and faith in YOU be. I am looking forward to another great year, Lord, just because I know You are with us ...
This morning, my hubby and I had a little argument and Alvin rebuked me and said that the devil usually takes advantage of these situations to ruin our day. He reminded me that every moment we are together is important because it may be the last moment that we may be together... and these reminders are enough for me to pause, think and correct my actions. I am reminded of Ephesians 5:15-16 which says "Be careful how you walk not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil..."Relating this to our marriage, we should "redeem our time", make the most out of it and not ever waste it on things that are not at all important - yes, like arguments. The enemy undoubtedly works overtime to steal our time and our joy.
On his way to the office, Alvin texted and He thanked me for my reminders and then said "...take care of our kids, too. Since I will be gone for a while but after a while you will see me again..." This made me laugh because he is certainly going to the office and would be back tonight but I also felt a "tug" at my heartstrings because those are Jesus' words in John 16:16, before He died. It was to me a subtle reminder of the brevity of life. I remember a preaching that said the only thing that is equally given to everyone is TIME. We only have 24 hours a day, and it is our choice whether to spend this time arguing or creating "magic moments".
Thank you Jesus for teaching us everyday. Thank you for your patience and love for us and for your subtle voice that whisper in our hearts. Thank you that we can hear you in our marriage and that we feel your love binding us. Thank you for giving me a wonderful, wonderful husband who overlooks my weaknesses and brings out my strengths. May you continue to remove the things in us that fail to glorify Your name. Amen.
More quotable quotes from my kids :-)
April 30, 2010
Riel: Mommy, Why are babies born without clothes?
Aethan (talking to his kuya): kuya, when you are singing, you have to close your eyes. It means you are touched!
June 9, 2010
Riel: (while browsing his Zoology Book) - Mommy! This is exciting! We're going to make a bird feeder!We're going to put peanut butter then roll it....
Aethan: That is not exciting for me! I want to eat the peanut butter!
June 14, 2010
Riel: Mommy, did God create flies?
(As we were discussing this question, Riel said : Mommy, maybe we should go back to Genesis and see what the Bible says.
June 16, 2010
(While teaching how to introduce themselves in Filipino)
Riel:Ang pangalan ko ay Riel. Ako ay anim na TALONG gulang.
Aethan: Ang pangalan ko ay Aethan. Ako ay limang taong GULAY.
June 29, 2010
(I was listening to my kids - trying to keep myself from laughing-- while I was typing this exchange)
Aethan: When you die kuya, what will happen?
Riel:Then I will go to heaven but when my mission is not done yet, then God will make me alive again.
Aethan: How can that be? We only have one life.
Riel: Yes, look at Lazarus! He died and he was alive!
Aethan: What if someone shoots you with an arrow --- on your chest
riel: Yes, I can still be alive with Jesus help!
Aethan: How? You're not Obi-wan Kenobi!
June 29, 2010
Aethan: Mommy, kuya covered his ears while I was telling him something
Riel: Aethan, Why did you immediately tell mommy? We didn't solve the problem yet.
Written on Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 8:39pm
"... Mommy, I defeated my giant!" These were the words that Riel uttered yesterday (3.4.2010) after their 'life dojo' class in wushu. I was surprised and asked him what he meant. He said that last week their teacher asked them to name their "giants", things that are difficult for them to defeat and he said, for him, it was disobedience because it was not always easy to obey. Riel said he has defeated that already.
Reflecting on what Riel said, I can say that obedience has never been a major issue with him. Ofcourse, there would be times when they would disobey by 'not obeying immediately' (delayed obedience is disobedience) but generally our two boys are obedient. You seldom hear them complain and grumble. They would joyfully and excitedly help out in chores like washing dishes, cleaning the room, washing clothes and sometimes they would go the extra mile and do things for me and their dad without waiting for us to tell them.
Going back to what Riel said about his giant... I paused and realized that what their teacher did is one skill in mentoring that sometimes we, parents forget to apply. 'Handles' are things we can grab on to and it is given when we summarize truth and principle in a user-friendly manner (GLC-Making Disciples 3). Riel was able to understand and remember that his 'struggles' are really 'giants' that he need to face and overcome.
Alvin and I also noticed that at this stage, Riel and Aethan (6 and 5 years old respectively) are already capable of expressing what they feel and we, as parents, should listen closely and be sensitive because what they feel now would have a great impact on how they view life and God.
Once when Riel was having difficulty answering a Math problem, he said, 'Mommy, you know what I'm thinking when I can't answer something? I tell myself that I'm a sore loser'. I thanked the Lord for this opportunity to see what is going on "inside" my child. This is one privilege given to homeschoolers. I took the chance to make it a teaching moment for us. I told Riel and Aethan what makes a man a loser. I told them that someday they would fail at something that they do, they may make mistakes along the way, they may lose but it doesn't mean that they are failures or losers. And because Riel said he wants to be a scientist someday, I reminded him about scientists who failed thousands of times before they were able to succeed. I told him it is more important to learn a lesson or two every time he fails. I also took this chance to tell them of my own failures. I gave them my assurance of the unconditional love that their dad and I have for them. When parents give their children unconditional love, it wouldn't be hard for them to understand that we have a loving Father above who loves us unconditionally.
Here's another round of quotable quotes from our kids ....
(I can hear my Riel saying, "memories, mommy, memories..." as he reads this. :-)
Aethan: Mommy, can I eat a snack with my dinner?
Aethan: Mommy, I want to be a tricycle driver!
Mommy: Why do you want to be a tricycle driver? Why not a scientist or a pilot or a doctor or a...?
Aethan: Okay mommy! I want to be a scientist who drives a tricycle!
Mommy: You know what babies, when we're already in heaven, we will always sing praise and worship songs there to Jesus
Riel: Mommy, can i bring our computer there?
Daddy: why would you want to bring the computer there?
Riel: Because I don't know all the lyrics to the songs yet...
(Alvin and I love to make music videos with lyrics of P&W songs and we sing it together with our kids.)
Riel: Mommy, I want to be an engineer, scientist and pastor
I want to be an engineer so I can build a church...
I will name it DCF. It means Disciples of Christ Fellowship
Riel: Mommy, why do you know everything about me?
Mommy:(I explained why and then I said)... and because I also have a mother's instinct
Riel: Is there a son's instinct mommy?
Mommy: Ahh...I dont think so...hahaha
Riel: There is mommy! Son's instinct is to obey and to respect
As we studied Solomon in our Bible reading
Riel: Mommy, Why is solomon the wisest king but he sinned and worshipped idols?
After talking about Jesus' baptism,
Aethan said, "mommy, can you baptize us using the pail in our bathroom?"
Daddy has the stomach flu. Aethan prayed for him and said "Lord Let daddy's poop be hard"
Dad said, "but not so hard aethan, okay"
One morning while Riel was reading his children's Bible,
he said : "Mommy, when I grow up, can I name my son Jesus, and my other son Moses?"
Mommy: ofcourse Riel
Riel: Will I forget that when I grow old, mommy?
Mommy: You might, that's why I'm gonna write it down.
You write it down too - so you'll remember when you grow up.
Riel and Aethan: MOmmy, you're now Rogue (from XMen) because we can see your white hair already.
Mommy: It's story time! I'll read a short story before you sleep.
Get the book you want mommy to read.
Riel: (getting the book he prefers) Mommy, I want you to read my encyclopedia
While watching the episode of Tsuanamis in National Geographic,
Riel was listening to a couple relate how their son was saved.
Riel remarked, "MOmmy, I think Jesus saved that boy, because,
remember mommy, Jesus loves little children?"
(due to the extreme heat experienced recently)
Aethan: Mommy, if we get a pail as big as the sun,
fill it with water and pour the water on the sun, will it remove the heat?
Heinrich (my nephew): No, No, don't tell mama, she'll spank me!!! di na tayo friends.
Aethan: Heinrich, I don't want to lie because I'm going to heaven!
There was an earthquake this afternoon. When we felt the tremor, Aethan stood up and said, "Mommy, Let's pray." Riel said, "Mommy, I'll be the one to pray."
I praised God when I heard the words that Riel spoke. He said, "Lord, let there be no earthquake anymore but if it is your will for the earthquake not to stop, I pray that it will be your will for us to go to heaven now. Amen"
That's from the mouth of babes! :-)
This is the song that my son, Riel wrote for Jesus during one of our homeschool sessions (December 2009)
God save sinners
God is so mighty (2x)
He loves us very much!
He was tied on the cross (2x)
He rise again (2x)
God gives a light to us (2x)
God created everything (2x)
He saved us (2x)
He is our rock (2x)
God is in our heart (2x)
God saved the sinners (2x)
God has apostles (2x)
We are His disciples (2x)
We Worship Jesus (2x)
Thank you God for everything (2x)
Thank you for defeating the devil (2x)
During one of our devotion time, we talked about the meaning of Christmas. I asked my kids to write down who is Jesus to them. This is what Riel wrote (verbatim) --------------------------
1.Jesus is my superhero. Why? because He saves me.
2.Jesus is my savior. Why? because He sacrifice Himself.
3.Jesus is my doctor. Why? because He healed everyone of us.
4.Jesus is my sender. Why? because He send uncle Desi to save us from the flood.
5.Jesus is my shield Why? because He protects me.
6.Jesus is my guardian.Why? because He protects us.
7.Jesus is my God.Why?because He is powerful.
In Just one day, God has manifested a lot about His character and He gave us the grace to personally experience them amidst the storm.
After our GLC class, we had lunch fellowship with our dgroup. By the time we finished lunch, it was too late for us to go home. There were no taxis and the buses were not moving. We were stranded in Megamall. I thanked the Lord at that very moment.I told Him - "I'd choose to be stranded here than anywhere else". It was bonding time for us and the kids and the kids enjoyed the experience. We were able to go around Toy Kingdom unmindful of the time and they were able to play and run around Megamall. God gave them a big playground! GOD showed us THAT HE IS OUR SHELTER FROM THE STORM! HE'S THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT!
By accident, through a text from Alvin's mom who's in Cavite, we learned that my brother was also stranded in Ortigas area. When I learned this, I gave thanks and praised God. My brother has a car - we don't. The Lord has provided a way for us to go home! GOD IS OUR VERY PRESENT HELP IN TROUBLE!
There were a lot more things we praised God for. If we left the class early or left a minute late, we could have been stranded in a bus or in one of the flooded streets and we couldn't have met my brother. GOD'S TIMING IS ALWAYS PERFECT! HE IS NEVER LATE!
The street between St. Francis and Megamall was already flooded by the time we went out of St. Francis. As we tried to cross, the kids said 'Wow!'. They enjoyed jumping through flooded water and playing with the rain. And because our shoes were all wet, we went to SM to buy slippers amd we thanked God again because slippers were on sale! The kids loved their new Justice League slippers which only cost P49 / pair! THE LORD IS COMPASSIONATE AND GRACIOUS! HE KNOWS ALL OUR NEEDS!
When we finally met my brother in Mega, He brought us to a small hotel in Pasig. We thanked God for the phone, the food, the nice bed and the TV. It was only then that we learned about the extent of the damage caused by the flood. We prayed, cried and thanked Him for protecting not only us but our loved ones and friends. GOD IS OUR STRONG DELIVERER.
We praised God that it was just flood and not an earthquake. That it happened in the morning and not at night where a lot more could have been affected. GOD IS THE GOD WHO SEES AND HE KNOWS WHAT WE CAN BEAR. Some may not understand why it happened but it's enough to know that God knows why.
I praise God most especially for the privilege to share the little that we have to some flood victims for even giving is a grace from God. GOD IS THE GOD OF GRACE.
Lastly, Ondoy reminded me that nothing in this world is permanent. Our wealth is never measured by the things we own for we will all leave them behind when we die but wealth is measured by the things we have stored ahead of time in heaven.
Ondoy made this world less appealing to me - making me long for the time I will finally be H-O-M-E.
"...Hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. " (Romans 8:24)
Hope is something nobody can take from us ... it's not just being optimistic about the future but being sure that the future that was promised will come to pass. It is very important to teach our kids not only what hope is but who the object of our hope should be - Jesus - the author and perfecter of our faith.
Alvin and I have dreams we have not reached yet and we share these dreams to our kids. I praise God because we have seen in them this hope - not just for their future but for the life after this. Riel said one day, "Mommy, I want Jesus to be back now!" What sincere longing from a child - who have seen not with his eyes but with his heart.
From The Mouth of Babes Part 5
(sharing more 'quotes' from my kids that I was able to jot down...Some of them made us laugh, some tug at our heartstrings. Riel and Aethan always remind us how uncomplicated life should be. They remind us of the things that really matter.
As Riel was browsing his dictionary he said:
Riel: Look at this mommy, If you spell the word evil backwards, it reads "live"
Riel said, "Mommy, I am lost without you.."
A week after the house blessing of a friend, I checked our camera so that I can transfer the pictures taken with one of my best friends. When I cant find the pictures, Riel said he deleted them. I asked why, he said "mommy, not everyone was looking at the camera so I deleted them all"
Nestea tagline says "it will make you hotter (sexier)"
Riel said, Mommy don't you want to drink nestea iced tea,it says it will make you hotter, maybe like human torch?
Riel: Mommy, I can't connect to the internet,can you please pray?
Every week, I pick up words from Riel & Aethan's dictionary and write them on a whiteboard. We call them 'words for the day' (or week). I don't actually ask them to memorize the words but we try to use them in our everyday conversation. One of the words posted this week is abandon - meaning 'to leave'. As I was preparing to leave for our Tuesday dgroup, Riel came to me crying and he said, "Mommy, I'll miss you! Are you going to abandon us now?"
7/9/09 - "Mommy, why can't we feel that the earth is going around the sun...?"
While putting their toys back to the respective cabinets, Aethan said,"Kuya, look at this".
Riel said: "I can't look at that now Aethan. I'm doing some hard work here".
Riel: Mommy, did God ask you to look for a husband and then you went to the movie house and found daddy there?
Aethan: Mommy, how did we go out of your tummy? Did we punch your tummy from inside and then went out?
Riel: Mommy, I want God to give me a wife when I am an adult.
Mommy: He will, baby. You also have to pray for that. What kind of wife did mommy and daddy tell you to look for again?
Riel: Someone who loves Jesus! And I will ask her, "Do you have Jesus in your heart?" and if she says 'no' then I know that she is not the wife the Lord will give me."
Riel: Mommy, when Jesus is with us already can I ask Him to make another dinosaur so I can make it my pet?
Riel: Mommy, how do you kill a scorpion?
Mommy: (thinking) ahhhmmm...slap it with a slipper?
Riel: that's for a cockroach mommy
Mommy: cut it with a sword?
Riel: Mommy, that's violent
Mommy: How, baby, tell me...
Riel: Starts with P and ends with Y
Riel: very good mommy!
Riel: Mommy, when I grow up, I want to help in homeschool too. I want to be a teacher too!
Riel: Mommy, I would like our house to have 3 floors. I want to put a library on the first and second floor and I would like the 3rd floor to be my laboratory.
Last night While the kids were pretending to be adults already and Alvin was pretending to be old, Riel said, "Daddy, this medal is for you. Thank you for being a responsible father when we were kids!"
This afternoon before he took his nap, Riel said, "Mommy, I will obey you because I love you."
Spend time with your kids. Hear their thoughts. Record magic moments. Let them know that you cherish them more than any treasure. And most importantly, make them experience the love of God through your love.
Written on June 13, 2009
4 days ago, I enrolled Riel in TMA's homeschool program. I am faced with fear, anticipation, excitement, thrill, hope and joy. Fear because I may not live up to the goals I set. Anticipation because it would mean spending quality & quantity time with my kids. Excitement as I plan their weekly lessons. Thrilled as they call me teacher-mommy. Hope because I know I could make a difference in my kids' life now and in the future. Joy because I will be doing not only something I love to do but one thing that my Lord has commanded me to do- To train up My children the way they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it.
As I prepared this week's lessons, I realized that I was learning a lot. Our activity about the sense of sight and the different colors wouldn't only mean asking them to color the rainbow but also explaining why the rainbow is curved when we see it in the sky, what produces the colors, why the order should always be ROYGBIV, why we can't see them at night and most especially why God created them. I just love it!
I thank God for the privilege to homeschool. I thank him for parent partners who would help us in this great but very fulfilling task. I thank Him for the support my husband gives me. I thank the Lord for the opportunity to mold my kids' character and values at the same time discover and nourish their God-given potentials. I pray that the Lord will give me a bucket-full of wisdom, patience and endurance as I start my homeschool voyage. It will not be easy but I know it will be all worth it!
During my quiet time last Wednesday, I stumbled upon an article by Warren Wiersbe which encouraged me more. He said, "When you enjoy doing something, the enjoyment gives you sufficient strength to do the task. We need the joy of the Lord to witness for Him. He's the power of our service. His Joy is our strength."
Knowing that this is His will for my family, no amount of discouragement can bring me down. I would strive harder to be the mother that God wants me to be. Nehemiah 8:10 says "...for the joy of the Lord is your strength." I would like that to be my homeschool life verse. Today and for the rest of this journey, His joy will be my strength.
Written on May 2009
My kids ask a lot of questions and though not all parents like being bombarded with them, Alvin and I do. We delight in hearing our kids' thoughts and we really take time to answer each and every question they have. And most of the time, one question would lead to another, and another, and another.
when Alvin and I attended a homeschool orientation, there was one statement that we will never forget. The speaker said that failure to address the questions is like starving our children and time would come when they would experience "lipas gutom". They would lose their 'appetite' and this would lead them not to ask questions anymore simply because their hunger for knowledge was not met. By answering their questions, (I'll borrow from a website), we are turning their 'Whys' into 'Wows'.
I tried to list several questions my kids asked in the past weeks. It was difficult for me to answer some (if not most) of them (LOL!) because I was never good in science. Good thing, that's Alvin's forte. If he's not around, I would check google and research. I won't stop until my answer satisfies their curiosity. How do I know they are satisfied? They stop - for a time - giving me a breather of at least a few minutes or hours before they start asking a string of questions again.
Here are some of the questions that I was able to take down.
1. Why are there no sides on a circle?
2. Why are there no round TVs?
3. Mommy, Why cant I hold water on my hand?
4. Mommy, why does water put off fire?
5. Why cant you touch gas?
5. Why do we have shadows?
7. Mommy, can oysters swim?
8. (One rainy day) Mommy, can Hawkman still fly if his wings get wet?
9. (While helping mommy cook) Mommy, What makes the fire blue? and what makes it orange?
10. Why is the iron hot? Why do we need it to be hot for us to iron clothes?
11. What is a legend and what is a myth?
12. Why can we see ourselves in the mirror?
13. Daddy, Is it dark in outer space?
14. Dad, why do we float in outer space?
15. Mommy, how can I drive the space ship if I would float in outer space?
16. (while riding the MRT) Why don't we use steering wheels for trains?
17. Why are there bubbles on water?
18. Why are there bubbles when I rub my hands with soap?
19. Why are candies junk food? Why can't you just put milk in candies and make it healthy?
20. Mommy, why do girls pee sitting down?
21. why were the dinosaurs wiped out on earth? Why don't they exist today?
21. Are the dinosaurs good or bad?
22. What are the predators of the T-rex?
23. What is a pattern?
24. Why do people smoke if they know it is bad?
25. Why do people become old and die?
26. Why did Adam disobey?
27. Why can't Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the tree?
28. Why are light bulbs hot?
29. How can there be morning and night? why does it become dark at night?
30. Do animals go to heaven when they die?
31. Mommy, when Jesus fetches us and we will float on air, can a lightning hit me?
I don't only answer these questions for the purpose of satisfying Riel and Aethan's craving for knowledge but more so because I know that my answers will shape the way they view the world around them - most especially, their concept of God. In Dt.6:7 it says that we should talk of God with our children 'when we sit in our house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down and when we rise' - practically every moment of the day - every time we get the opportunity. Our kids need to appreciate the presence of God in everything they see. They need to know that our God is the God of the universe and He is in control of everything.
This morning, while Riel is taking a bath, he said, "mommy...". (Hearing this, I braced myself for another series of questions) I answered, "Yes, baby?" He continued..."...Why does the water in the pail feel colder than the water coming out from the shower?"
We have a history of thyroid problems in our family. After graduation from college, I was found to be hyperthyroid. There was a cyst in my thyroid gland that needs to be removed - though it was benign. So when my brother found a lump in his throat and had to undergo the usual procedures, biopsy, blood checks, etc…. it wasn’t such a big deal to us. I even told him, it’s just gonna be like mine. That is why we were taken aback when the results came out. My brother had Papillary Carcinoma or Thyroid Cancer. Cancer also runs in the family but it does feel different when you find out that your 18 year old brother has it too. I asked the Lord to reveal His purpose- not just to me but to my brother as well.
On April 2, 2009, My brother had complete thyroidectomy. His operation lasted for 4 hours and he stayed in the recovery room for 7.5 hours because of hyper-reactive lungs. The surgeon said he found several nodules already outside the thyroid gland, which simply means it has somehow spread to its immediate “surroundings”, but he said, he has already removed all that he has found.
During this time, I was praying to the Lord to prepare his heart for the gospel holding on to His promises to me years ago in Acts 16:31. On April 3, 2009, my brother accepted Jesus as His Lord and Savior! Praises be to the Lord for His faithfulness. The seed has been planted and I pray that the Lord will make it grow. I pray that Mikee will really have a personal relationship with Him. Finding God’s love amidst the trials in life is one of the best gifts one can have. It will be worth the journey for the Lord will never leave nor forsake His people (Heb.13:5)
When you have the Lord in your heart, you get a better perspective of all the trials and testings that you go through because you know that He is always in control and He will not allow situations in our life that we cannot handle.
I have heard a lot of CCFers testify about their cancer and one thing that struck me the most was when one said - there’s no need to worry about cancer because from the start the Lord has already ordained our days. Psalm 139:16 says “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them”. We are just sojourners here on Earth. The Lord has appointed the day we were born and the day we will die. Knowing that our life is in the Lord’s hand gives comfort, assurance and security.
In the Tale of Despereaux, Despereaux Tilling said that “you are never imprisoned when you have hope”. Some people who have cancer are imprisoned by fear and hopelessness. Papillary Carcinoma is one of the most curable cancers but that is not the reason for the hope that we have. Our hope comes from the Lord alone. He is Jehovah-Rapha, The Lord who heals. He is Sovereign. He is Almighty. He is God. And most importantly - He is our Father.
I would like to thank all who have prayed for my brother. We are full of hope that Mike will be 100% healed. He will have his Radioactive Iodine treatment in a few weeks time to ensure that all cancer cells- or whatever is left of them - will be killed. Again, we ask your prayers, not just for physical healing and recovery for Mike but also for spiritual growth.
What is God’s purpose for cancer? I saw God’s wisdom in the words of my husband. He said that most cancer patients are predicted, with “a very high degree of accuracy”, as to how many more years, or months, or days they are “still” to live. Most turn to God at the lowest points in their life and cancer is God’s way to call us back to Him. In cancer, we can see God’s grace and yearning for us to come to Him - “within a certain timetable”. If you have cancer and you’re given a month to live, what will you do with your life? What would be your priorities realizing that your days are numbered? Would you remain stubborn and reject the Lord? Wouldn’t you turn to God and live each day to the fullest?
2 Peter 3:9 states ” The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.Cancer is not the end of the battle but just a start of a journey in seeking, finding and knowing God and His purpose for us. Let us not wait for cancer to conquer us. Let us live each day for God as if it were our last so that when the appointed time comes, we will be ready to face our Maker.
Rom 8:37-39 “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Here’s another round of quotable quotes from my kids. Words from them that I would always want to remember. They make mommy and daddy laugh, they speak to our hearts, they fill our memory bank with tons of priceless treasures. From these words flow rivers of “senti” and fun times spent with each other. Every day with our kids is a time to fill our tanks and theirs, an opportunity to make memories. And with a whisper, we pray that someday Riel and Aethan will look back to a childhood full of joy… and borrowing from Pastor Peter - a glimpse of heaven on earth.
So these days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation
Riel: Mommy can I sleep beside daddy tonight?
Mommy: Why do you want to sleep beside daddy?
Riel: I want to sleep beside someone with big tummy
Riel: Mommy what are your toys when you were young?
Mommy: Oh I only had a few barbie dolls, a toy telephone …
Riel: Maybe you didn’t pray when you were a baby mommy….
Aethan: Mommy, I think Jesus was crucified on a big, big cross because I heard from my Sunday school that He is a big God.
Riel cannot sleep without his Ernie (of Sesame Street)- a hand-me down stuff toy from his Uncle Johlo. One night, he said:
Riel: MOmmy, can I bring my Ernie to heaven when I die?
Aethan: Daddy, do you put shampoo on the hair on your armpit?
(Listening to Riel and Aethan talk about Riel’s poor eyesight…Riel is 5 years old and Aethan is 4 years old))
Aethan: Kuya, did you watch near the tv when you were a kid?
(talking as if they are not kids)
(while taking a bath)
Riel: Mommy, you said we will grow taller if we sleep in the afternoon, right?
MOmmy: yes baby. why?
Riel: Didn’t you sleep when you were a baby, mommy?
Feb 23, 2009
Riel: Mommy, the commercial says “Zero Cavities for Filipinos”
Mommy: Yes …. why?
Riel: “I am a Filipino mommy but why do I have cavities?”
Feb. 25, 2009
Riel: Mommy, I think I’m going to ask a pilot to bring me to the U.S. so that I can discover more dinosaur fossils there.
Aethan: Kuya, I’ll bring you to the U.S. because, remember, I’m going to be a pilot!
Feb. 26, 2009
Mommy: Who was afraid of the big waves when we were on the beach?
Aethan: I’m Peter, mommy, remember? (referring to the time that apostle Peter was afraid to walk on water)
March 12, 2009
Riel: Mommy, I want to have a kid!
Mommy: What? A kid?
Riel: Yes, mommy, a baby goat,remember?
March 15, 2009
Riel: Daddy, I want to be a soldier someday
Daddy: It’s not an easy job. When you are a solider, you will be assigned to different places.
Riel: It’s okay daddy, I’ll put you in a safe place.
March 15, 2009
Riel went with daddy to the bank to withdraw money
Riel: Wow! Daddy, do we have a lot of money now? Can we go to the U.S. now?
Alvin: (Smiling) No baby, we need more money to go there.
Riel: When I grow up daddy, I want a job and I will work so that we can have money to go the U.S.
Just recently, Alvin and I made it a habit to tell our kids things we remember from our childhood. This is during the time we bond most - at night. We replaced bedtime stories with “our stories”. It’s amazing that when we started this, memories just came flooding in. We saw the delight in our kids’ eyes as they listen. From then on, Riel and Aethan would always ask us, “mommy, daddy, do you have more memories to share?”. My kids are growing so fast… I would truly miss this time but I’m happy to have saved a lot of these moments in my heart, my treasure box.
A beautiful message I read today from Steve Zeisler (On Judges 2) - “Life would seem better if we had less pressure, less trama, less temptation and less struggle to deal with. Yet the Lod knows that all of us would live lives of less faith if we had it easier so he leaves behind those difficulties that will teach us war. They will teach us to do battle with what’s wrong, to trust Him and to know Him as a result.”
God bless you!
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior. So are children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5).
Alvin and I consider our children a reward from the Lord. One of the greatest privilege the Lord has given us is to be — PARENTS! It is sometimes tiring but in no way tedious. It is challenging and never dull. At times it is frustrating but not at all hopeless. My quiver is full, and I am indeed blessed.
I constantly pray not just for wisdom in sharpening “my arrows” but patience and perseverance to do it. Taking care of 2 boys aged 4 and 5 can sometimes be backbreaking physically and emotionally but it is very rewarding. I can echo what Mary felt in Luke 2:31, “…and His mother treasured all these things in her heart”. Every moment I have with my boys is a treasured moment. Surely, they are my heritage, my inheritance.
Dear Lord, Give us wisdom that we may raise our kids Your way. We pray that our children will seek You and know You in a personal way and follow You all the days of their lives. In Jesus mighty name we pray. Amen.
Sharing with you some moments that made Alvin and I smile and laugh. Riel read it and he laughed because he vividly remembers them. He said: “Mommy, can I read them again… and again … and again…” FROM THE MOUTH OF BABES PART 3
1st quarter, SY 2008-2009
I was teaching my 3 year old son, Aethan the different animals and their habitats. He mistakenly called the kangaroo - “rabbit”.
So that he won’t forget, I told him, “Aethan, remember, ‘Roo’ in Winnie the Pooh?, They call him Roo because he is a kangaroo…
After a few days, we reviewed the same subject again, I asked him the same question. I was glad when he said,
Aethan: “mommy, this is like ‘Roo’ in Winnie the Pooh”
Mommy: Very good Aethan, you remembered!
Aethan: Mommy, this is a “Roobit”
During one of our “family nightly rituals” - aka story and tickle time - Alvin pretended to “collapse” and “went unconscious”.
Riel: (crying) - Daddy!
Aethan: Kuya, Daddy is still alive - see! (forcing alvin’s eye to open)
Riel: “Wait daddy!” (Riel poured water on his cup. With Alvin still lying flat on his back, Riel poured the water on Alvin’s open mouth saying “”Daddy, please get well soon…here Daddy, you need this water…a lot of water.”
Alvin: (almost choking from the Water) Baby, why did you pour the water on me?”
Riel: Remember Daddy? When we are sick, you keep on telling us to drink a lot of water so we will get well soon.
Aethan: You said that before, remember? See you’re OK now? That’s so fast! Very good Kuya!
Riel: Thank you Lord for the water…and for healing our Daddy now. That was fast Lord! Thank you Lord…In Jesus Name, Amen.
October 1, 2008 While in the Ocean park…
Riel: Mommy, where is the gun of the soldier fish?
Oct 19, 2008 while dressing up
Aethan: Mommy, I want to be a good soldier when I grow up. I will catch all the bad men. If I see people pulling down the shorts of other kids, I will arrest them.
Of my two boys, Aethan has more fears. One day, Aethan was crying and his kuya comforted him with these words: “Aethan, don’t be afraid, remember, Jesus is in your heart”.
I had a terrible backache that day and I told riel about it. He immediately closed his eyes and prayed, “Dear Lord, please heal my mommy’s backache, You are our great doctor! In Jesus name we pray, Amen.”
One morning, there was only 1 Koko crunch left in their snack box. Aethan said, “Kuya, will you sacrifice for me and give me your Koko crunch?”
Riel: “Mommy, why does my book say ‘Love your enemies?”
Riel: “Mommy, If the devil was an angel before, who gave him the name devil?”
November 19, 2008
I told Riel that someday Jesus will fetch us on earth. His eyes grew big with excitement when I said that someday Jesus will change our bodies and that we will “meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess 5:17)… he said,”Mommy, I’m excited for Jesus to come fetch us. I’m ready to die!”
November 20, 2008
Alvin and I bought Riel and Aethan a coloring book with short descriptions of the apostles and disciples of Jesus. I told them about Stephen, how he died a martyr and how he saw Jesus when he gazed into heaven (acts 7:55) Riel said, “I know what Jesus told Stephen, mommy!” Then He got his coloring book, opened it to where the drawing of Stephen was and wrote (spelled as is…) - “Stephen, you are good, come wiht me to heven”
November 26, 2008
Riel suddenly woke up from his afternoon nap and said, “mommy, when I grow up, aside from being a pilot and a doctor, I also want to be a garbage collector”. I hugged him and asked, “why do want to be a garbage collector baby?”. Riel answered “so that when people throw garbage on the road, I can pick them up and put them in a trashcan.”
… such simple dreams from a kid who wants to make a difference in the world!
Dec. 01, 2008
While watching Meet the Robinsons
Alvin:”Who wants to be a smart kid?”
Aethan: “I don’t want to be a smart kid.”
Alvin: “Why aethan?”
Aethan: “Because I want to be a pilot. A pilot should be an adult not a kid…”
We were all looking forward to the foundation day celebration of CCA most especially when we learned that Riel and Leana were chosen to represent Kinder Daniel in the Little Mr. & Ms. CCA. Aside from that, all students were to participate in the mass demo and cheering competition. They devoted a whole week for practices.
The night before the event, Typhoon Nina brought heavy rains. We had a lot of prayers that were answered with regards to this event that Susan (Leana’s mom) and I knew in our hearts that the Lord will give us a fair weather the next day. And indeed, the Lord granted each and every parents’ prayer not only for 1 day but for 2 days - throughout the duration of the event.
We thank the Lord for these miracles.
1. A week before the event, someone volunteered to decorate the float that Riel and Leana are going to use for a minimal fee.
2. 2 days before the event, a co-worker from Susan’s school (where she works as a teacher) said he was willing to let us use his ‘owner’ for the float - FREE OF CHARGE!
3. We asked our dear friend Bombie if he can make a tarpaulin for us. Being Riel’s ninong, he said he can do it FOR FREE! praise God! We were able to get the tarp the night before the event.
4. The Lord’s guidance in making the tarp
5. We thank the Lord that more than these, he gave us new friends - Susan and Andy.
Walvrood said that every “prayer of a believer are immediately heard by God. The tiniest whisper from a believer on earth is shouted at the courts of heaven. God hears us when we pray and our petitions reach him the moment they are formed in our hearts”.
Though daddy was not there to witness the performance of our angels…he stayed in one street corner and waited patiently for our float to pass before he went to work. And Alvin shouted “Riel, Riel, Daddy’s here!’ at the top of his voice when our float approached the street where he was waiting.
After the parade, we watched Aethan perform the ‘Mosquito dance’ with his classmates. Riel also participated in the mass demo and cheering competition.
I was so proud of my ‘babies’ and it was a delight to see them participate in these activities and as I watch them, I can only mutter to myself, ‘Big na ang babies ko”.
Our most awaited day came. We all woke up early, excited to watch Riel in the ‘Little Mr. & Ms. CCA competition. Daddy took a leave from work to watch his ‘little big man’ on stage. Our 3 y/o Aethan was also very supportive of kuya. He was daddy’s assistant photographer all throughout the event. Alvin’s mom also came all the way from Cavite to watch the event.
Riel wore his ‘Americana’ for the formal wear competition. This has a sentimental value for Alvin and me because this was what my brother wore during our wedding. We cheered for Riel as he and leana confidently and gracefully went up the stage and introduced themselves. He wore Uncle Johlo’s karate uniform for the sportswear competition. For the talent portion, Riel recited the whole Psalm 91. A lot of people were amazed at how a 4 year old boy can memorize such a long chapter in the Bible. We only had barely 2 weeks to prepare for it but it but prior to the competition, I was already asking Riel to copy Psalm 91 for our writing exercises. It paid off. (BTW, this is Riel’s 3rd memory chapter! Glory to God! We will be working on his 4th chapter soon)
Riel was also the only boy who who was able to answer the question in the Q&A portion. The question was, “If you were given a chance to meet the Lord today, what will you ask Him and why” and He said , “I will pray because praying is talking to God. I will ask for a ‘voice changer’ coz I already memorized Psalm 91. (the voice changer is one of the Ben 10 toys he has been asking the Lord for months and when we started memorizing Psalm 91, we promised it to him as a reward). For the girls, only Leana, his partner, gave a wonderful answer. The rest of the contestants either stood there silently or gave a “one word answer’ like “food”.
In the end, Riel was awarded ‘first runner-up’ and Leana, her partner, won ‘Ms. friendship’. Glory to God!
It was indeed a tiring but fulfilling week for us… something I would want to go through again. Praise God for His sustenance. I give Him back the glory for the confidence and wisdom He gave our little boys.
Our Dgroup fellowship lasted until 1030pm yesterday. For several months now, the Lord has always provided a shuttle for us every Tuesday night except last night. I was craving for Dunkin’ Donut’s BLT over hot choco or coffee so we decided to ride a non-aircon bus from Megamall going to Cubao and look for a Dunkin Donut outlet there. As Alvin and I boarded the bus, it took a few seconds for us to decide where to sit. There are a lot of vacant seats at the back but we chose to stay at a crowded part in front of the bus which we don’t normally do.
As we sat, a group of teens went inside too and after them came 4 rugged, stocky looking men. They all sat at the back. The next thing we knew, there was already a commotion at the back and the 4 men alighted the bus in haste. One of the teenagers shouted, “wallet ko”. We then knew that the 4 men were robbers.
There was a stretch from Megamall to Cubao where these men could have had the chance to get all our belongings but they were able to get just one wallet. Alvin and I praised God because no one was hurt.
I remember the story of the 4 leprous men who discovered an empty Syrian camp. “For the Lord has caused the army of the Arameans to hear a sound of chariot and a sound of horses, even the sound of a great army…” so they fled for their lives. (2 Kings 7:3-8) I know we could have been victims of a holdup last night but the Lord did something to make these men flee in haste.
In my quiet time yesterday afternoon, the Lord led me to this verse. “But the hairs of the your head are numbered…” (Mt. 10:30). If God cares for trivial things- like the hair on my head … how much more will He care for more important things - like our safety.
Some burdens are heavy and some burdens are light. Some needs are difficult to meet but some are there at a snap of a finger. But for our God, nothing really is difficult … nothing is too heavy…nothing is too big.
Psalm 121:2-3 says, “My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth…He who keeps you will not slumber”. Even our safety is a grace from the Lord. Our God doesn’t sleep! He watches over His children 24/7! Nothing escapes His sight. There is nothing that surprises Him. That is why we have nothing to fear for our protection comes from the Maker of heaven and earth.
Sovereign God, thank you for your protection. Thank you Lord for covering us with your pinions and watching over us. Thank you for caring even for the little things in our lives. Help us always live in confidence of Your nature - You are the maker of heaven and earth - and nothing is too difficult for you. All glory and honor are Yours, in Jesus name. Amen.
One of the things I pray for is for Alvin and I to have the privilege to grow old with our kids - to see them graduate in college, to see them work, to meet their God’s best and to see them serving the Lord.
Someday, I want them to read my journal. I want them to read the struggles and challenges we have encountered as a family. I pray that they will treasure God’s faithfulness and lovingkindness to us. I want them to remember all our thoughts and prayers for them when they were kids. I want them to know how they brought so much happiness to our life.
I have listed below some of the “funny moments” we had. Riel and Aethan never fail to make mommy and daddy laugh that sometimes, they make us wish that they will forever be kids…
One morning, Riel and Aethan were fighting and arguing over their Batman toy. I asked them to go out of the room and patch things up. When I went outside to peek, I saw riel punching Aethan lightly. And I asked him why…He said, “Look mommy, I’m punching things up.”
Riel: Mommy, why don’t I have hair on my armpit
Mommy: Because you are not yet an adult, baby. When you are an adult you will have hair on your armpit
Riel: Why don’t you have hair on your armpit mommy?
Riel saw daddy removing mommy’s white hair.
Riel: Mommy, are you a grandma now?
Alvin scolded Riel. Riel said, “Daddy, I’m sorry, please forgive me. I will not do it again”. Then he continued quoting a verse in the Bible, “Daddy, Don’t be angry, I give you good news of great joy that will be for all the people”.
Aethan: Mommy, why do girls wee-wee (pee) using their buttocks?
While I was teaching Aethan, he said “Mommy, I am Murdock” (referring to the ‘Daredevil’, a blind superhero).
And I said, “Okay, Murdock, continue writing …”
Aethan close his eyes and wrote on the paper.
Mommy: “Aethan, open your eyes so that you can see what you are writing”
Aethan: “But mommy, remember, I’m blind…”
Riel: Happy Mother’s day Mommy! I have a gift for you!
Me: What’s that?
Riel: ahhh…I’ll give it when we are at Jollibee…
Me: Why, Do you have money to buy me something from Jollibee?
Riel: Mommy, can you buy me money so that I can buy something from Jollibee for you?
June 2008 - On Father’s day
Riel: Daddy, I have a gift for you.
Daddy: What is it?
Riel: Secret … You’ll like it.
Daddy: Really? What is it, baby?
Riel: A toy, daddy!
Daddy: But I don’t play with toys now baby, I’m big now.
Riel: Daddy, I’ll give you a big toy!
The Bible says, "A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones". This is very much true. I am blessed to have a husband who has a good sense of humor. My kids never fail to make me laugh, too and their laughter is music to my ears.
I’ve written below some excerpts from my journal. I wrote them so that I can recount them to my kids when they are older. I never would want to forget them. They will be kept in my journal and in my heart forever. My babies will not be babies forever. In time, maybe they will prefer the company of their friends more than my company. That is why I preserve as much memory as I can … I try to freeze every moment, every hug, every kiss, every story, every laughter.
RIEL: Mommy, Hopper is bad because he kicked Flik (talking about the characters in ‘A Bug’s Life’
MOMMY: Yes. He is bad. Don’t be like Flik Okay? No Kicking!
RIEL: But mommy, Why is Uncle Johlo Kicking the soccer ball?
During our dentist appointment last May 5, 2007
Dentist: I’m going to put some ‘pasta’ (fillings) on your teeth Riel
Riel: Hmmmm!!!! That’s Yummy!!!!
While watching Elmo in Grouchland:
Riel: Mommy, what’s the name of that girl, the one with the long ‘pansit’ on her head like that (pointing to the girl with curly hair)
During one of our pretend plays:
Riel: Mommy, I’m a Rhino-receros
Mommy: Riel, it’s RHINOCEROS
Mommy: Repeat after me. RHINOCEROS
Riel: Mommy, I’m a donkey!
Aethan: Mommy, I’m a burglar! (my babies love to check the doors if they are locked before they sleep. They check for ‘burglars’ before they sleep when they are in their lola’s house)
Riel: Aethan, all burglars are bad!
Aethan: Daddy, I’m a good burglar!
MOmmy: I have a surprise for you
Aethan: Mommy, what’s the surprise
Mommy: Secret. (gives the surprise)
Aethan: Mommy, Where’s my secret?
Mommy: Aethan, Please kill the ants. There are lots of ants near the door
Aethan: Okay Mommy, Where’s my baseball bat? (Proceeding to kill the ants using the baseball bat)
While in the bathroom: Poo Poo time (after watching a Dinosaur movie)
Aethan: Mommy, my poo-poo is hard!
Mommy: Is it? Is it there now?
Aethan: Yes Mommy, it’s hatching!
My babies love Dinosaurs! T-Rex, Triceratops,Troodon, Brontosaurus or Apatosaurus, Euplocephalus, Spinosaurus, etc, name them, my babies know a lot of them by heart. One afternoon, while Alvin and I were playing Scrabble, Aethan picked up the Thesaurus and asked:
Aethan: "Mommy, What is this?"
Mommy: "That’s a Thesaurus, baby."
Riel, who was playing in a corner of the living room overheard what I said and asked: "Mommy, Is that a Dinosaur, too?"
1. Alvin and I love to dream about the future. One night while we were watching the different family videos we recorded and while browsing the pictures we have, we felt a little sad knowing that a few years from now, our babies will become teens, then adults, then they would have families of their own. Time will come when they would prefer to be with their friends than spend time with us.
Riel heard us talking about this and asked about adult life. We told him that someday he will marry, too, like mommy and daddy. We told him to find a wife who loves Jesus. We told him that someday, He will leave mommy and daddy because he would have his own family and children. His reaction was something we did not expect. He cried and cried. We cannot pacify him. We hugged him and asked why. And He said, "Mommy, Daddy, I don't want to leave you." We were touched with what he said. We know he still cannot fully understand what we are talking about but our next conversations were lighter. Riel said, when we grow old, he wants to be the one to carry mommy and daddy like the way we carry him. He proudly said, "I will carry you on my shoulders!" He said he will fetch us all the time alluding to the times we wait for him and fetch him from school. And he started reciting all the things we do for him that he wants to do for us. Alvin and I cried and hugged him.
2. One afternoon as we were watching basketball on tv with our babies, Alvin remarked, "grabe, blah, blah, blah...". Aethan asked, "Mommy, what is 'grabe'?. And I said, It is something that expresses something 'weighty' or may mean 'too much'. Upon hearing that, Aethan sweetly said, "Mommy, I love you, grabe!".
Aethan is so sweet. He says 'I love you' all the time. He would often stop at what he is doing and say 'Mommy, I want to hug you." There was an instance that he ran after daddy (Alvin was on his way to school to fetch Riel) just to say, "Daddy, I forgot to kiss you!".
3. Upon arriving home one evening, yaya told us that Riel cried when Aethan ate the Fita biscuit he left for me. The next day, mama bought Riel a pack of Fita biscuit and Riel immediately went to me and said, 'Mommy, I want to give this to you.".
Riel loves to share everything he has with mommy and daddy, even it means giving up the last piece of his favorite chocolate.
One Sunday, during their Sunday School class, the children (all 4 year olds) were told that they can eat their marshmallow if and only if they are finished with their puzzles. Teacher Twinkle said it was only Riel who successfully completed the marshmallow test. We have noticed that Riel's emotional quotient is high. He can control his 'wants' and 'desires' to focus on something he feels is more important. Harold Sala said "Kids who have the strength to wait develop self discipline that makes a difference in life."
4. After telling our kids the story of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, Riel retreated to one corner of the room and cried. We were amazed at how a child, as young as Riel can feel the sacrifice that Jesus did.
Riel's school is just a couple of blocks away from home so most of the time, we just walk to school. While on our way, we play a 'name game' and we call it, "thank you, Jesus'. We take turns in singing a 'thank you song' to God for all the things we see while walking. This is how it goes, "Thank you Lord for the (fill in the blank)". We sing it anyway we want. Riel enjoys this game very much. Not only does it help in improving his vocabulary but it also makes him appreciate everything that God made.
It is never too late or too early to teach our kids about Jesus. The Bible says, "You shall teach them (God's word) to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up". (Deuteronomy 11:19)
5. In the grocery one afternoon, Alvin and I heard Riel and Aethan talking.
Riel: Aethan, we will buy this when Daddy finds a better job, okay?
Aethan: yes, kuya, when daddy has a better job!
At an early age, our kids have learned the value of money and saving. They have learned that they cannot always get what they want. They have learned to accept our 'NO' and 'Next time..." without tantrums.
6. Alvin and I try to capture everything in pictures and videos, One night, When we were watching the videos we recorded, Aethan said, 'MOmmy, can we play like that again?". The times we spend with them will always be remembered. They will never forget the joy they experience when they are loved. Charles Spurgeon said "The voice of childhood echo throughout life. The first learned is generally the last forgotten ...". How true.
We build memories with our babies everyday so that someday - even when they are married - they may look back and remember what fun they had during their childhood and what joy it brings to come 'home' to us. These are the moments that we will remember and look back to because someday we know, we would have to let them go.
"When I found him whom my soul loves, I held on to him and would not let him go." Songs of Solomon 3:4. That is how I felt when Alvin came into my life ... that is still exactly what I feel now.
February 16, 4:30pm, at this exact time 6 years ago, in 2002, I married my God's best. Our marriage is not perfect but our 6 years together have been wonderful,wonderful years.
Alvin and I both started working in Bayantel in 1996. I know his friends, He knows my friends but our paths never crossed until February 3, 1998. I praise God for if we have met earlier then things may have been different. At the time we met, we were both fully recovered from our 'heartbreaks'.... We were both healed. It was God's best time. And in just a few months of friendship, I felt I have known him all my life.
When I met Abinntot, as I fondly call him, I already felt he would play an important role in my life though I never thought at first that we would be more than friends. I enjoyed his company so much. I never met a man who made me laugh a lot. We can spend hours talking on the phone and not run out of things to say. (Up to now, we can talk for hours and hours until we doze off to sleep.) He was so humble, down-to-earth and principled but above all the qualities that stood out, It was his love for the Lord that drew me to him. I knew then, that this is the man I want to marry.
Alvin was already a Christian then but he was not yet active in the ministry and he did not attend church regularly. I was a Catholic and I never had a 'personal' relationship with the Lord. The more I knew Alvin, the more I realized that what I lacked in my life cannot be filled by anyone or anything but by the Lord alone... not because I can see Alvin's weaknesses but because I can see the strength the Lord brings him and I can see that he walked his talk.
Sharing God to me was the best gift Alvin has given me because it was a gift not for my physical being but for my soul. We started to regularly attend church. We were baptized together. We joined the ministry together. We made friends together. We grew in our walk together. We matured together. We work better together... I can say we bring out the best from each other.
Every year, as we celebrate this special day, we always looked back to the past with fondness. Life was not always smooth sailing for us. We had our share of ups and downs. We had fights and disagreements about a lot of things from ingredients of recipes (well, alvin always wanted potatoes to be included in most viands / dish including tinola ?!) to politics but we love each other and we are both committed to our relationship.
So did anything change when we were married? I would say everything changed for the better. Yes, we still argue and things sometimes seem frustrating but we are now more forgiving. We now know when to speak and when to be silent. We are more patient, bearing each other's faults. We are learning to apply the 3Ks that Alvin learned from Toastmasters - Kiss, Kick, Kiss. We have learned our love and apology language. Having weathered times of conflicts, sickness and financial pressures, we are now emotionally and spiritually stronger.
I praise God for bringing us together. For 6 years and for the rest of my life, I have the privilege to know a great man and I am comforted with the thought that I will be spending the rest of my days with him... my Abintot... for better or for worse.
2 Corinthians 9:15 "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
My favorite time of the year is here again ... Christmas!!! Year after year, Our Christmas Eve celebration is not complete without our Yummy Hot chocolate, Ham and Bread, Fried Chicken, Macaroni or any pasta, salad, our homemade Ube or Purple Yam (which I assure you is 100% more delicious than the Good Shepherd Ube) and Leche Flan. Even before 12:00 am strikes, we are already gathered around the table, getting ready to eat to our heart's delight and waiting expectantly for our gifts.
I remember when I was a kid, I loved to rummage over piles and piles of gifts placed under the Christmas tree,trying to look for the gifts with my name..and when I find them, I would think of creative ways of opening them without tearing the wrappers...Until my mom got fed up and just kept our gifts hidden in her room. Little did she know that I also have the talent to look for them. lol.
I love gifts! Who wouldn't? The most memorable gift I received from my parents was a big car while my brother received a Go kart. I was about 5 to 6 years old then and we loved driving them around the garage. I asked myself why it was so memorable ... was it the size? Maybe, but more importantly, it was the last gift I remember that my parents gave me when they were still together. I saw that car and Go kart again a few years ago. They were all rusty and dirty. It brought back happy and sad memories from the past. Looking back, If I would have learned then that they would eventually separate 1 to 2 years after that Christmas, I would have exchanged that gift - I would have given up anything and everything - just to see them, us, together again.
That is why everyday, Alvin and I strive hard to give our children the gift we did not receive when we were kids, the gift that is so important for our children but is often neglected. The gift of our love - not just for our children but to each other...the gift of our presence - enjoying every moment with them.... the gift of a complete family.
Alvin and I want our kids to see and feel the love that we have for each other because through our love expressed in words and actions, we know they will feel secured and loved as well. But as Harold Sala puts it, "love does not come in capsules and in doses, it is born in [our] heart as God touches [our] life"...and Only by loving God can we learn to love our families more.
By loving our spouse and our children more, we give them more than any gift can bring. We give them memories to hold on to... We give them life... We lead them to God and His eternal gift - Jesus Christ. And yes, there is no Christmas without Jesus. There will never, ever be a Christmas without Jesus.
1 John 3:16: "This is how we know what love is. Jesus laid down His life for us..."
We posted this question in our Bible study last Saturday. Most of the attendees were not Christians and most of them said they would be happy and content just to be with their family.What can really make us happy? Proverbs 15:13 says 'A Happy heart makes the face cheerful'.We can smile yet not be happy inside.But when our heart smiles, I call it joy and from it comes an inner glow, a cheerful face.
Based on Wayne Cordeiro's Dead Running Leaders, we, in our DGroup, were asked to think of the things that fill and drain our tank.The moment we feel anxiety and stress, our tanks are draining faster than we are filling them.The trick is to do things that replenish our tank.These things make us happy and will help us identify warning signals of burnout.
These are the things that drain my tank:
1.Fights or arguments especially with my hubby
2.Scolding my kids, seeing them cry, losing patience over petty things
6. Sickness in the family
These are the things that make me happy. These are the things that fill my tank:
(in no particular order)
1. I am recharged whenever I am able to wake up early for my quiet time with the Lord.One of my goals this coming 2008 is to be consistent in this aspect. I want to be able to read the entire bible next year.This I failed to do this year.
2. I am happy whenever I spend quantity and quality time with my family. Long talks and long walks with my hubby (time alone with him), story time and play time with our kids, pillow fights and tickle time
3. I am excited to wake up every Sunday to hear God's message from our pastors and I am doubly blessed to hear God's word through Pastor Peter who speaks with so much authority and humility.Every after the 8 am service, I love to see the delight in my children's eyes whenever we visit Toy Kingdom and Powerbooks.
4.Our DGroup fellowship every Tuesday
5.Sharing God's word through our couples Bible study…to see couples working hard to improve and save their marriage, to see them opening up their lives to our group and seeing them grow in the knowledge of our Lord.I praise God for bringing new people every Saturday...making our number grow.
6.Playing table tennis and hopefully, tennis again.
7.Fellowship with old friends
8.Words of encouragement
9.Watching 24 and Prison Break
10. Watching a movie with my hubby.I miss doing this.We used to watch a movie at least once a week but now that we have kids, we would call ourselves "lucky" to watch 4 movies in a year.
11. Out of town trips especially to places I have never been
12. Christmas and New Year celebration, birthdays, dining out with family and friends
17. Friendster, My Multiply and blogging, letters and emails from friends, 24/7 DSL connection, just browsing the net
18.Listening to my babies talk and seeing them play with each other - praying that they will be best friends and that they both will serve the Lord in the ministry
20. Listening to Christian Music.
22. Staying up late with Alvin just talking about our dreams and plans for the future, reminiscing about the past
I give my Lord my utmost thanks for the people and things that fill my tank.For some, the list may be mundane but it is only because like Paul, "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am" (Phil 4:11). I have learned to be thankful in everything and anything.Discontent is a big factor that can drain anyone's tank and it keeps us from enjoying God's blessings completely. We can never stop our tank from draining but it is up to us to fill them up. We may suffer one trial after another but let us not forget that we have a God who is mindful of us.Hebrews 13:5 says (and I'll quote the Tagalog translation which fully captures my sentiments), "Sapagkat Siya rin ang nagsabi, sa anumang paraan ay hindi kita pagkukulangin at anumang paraan ni hindi kita pababayaan".That promise, for me, is enough to bring me joy and fill my tank.