Quick Stopover

Just making a quick stopover here to say that I’m still alive! Haha!

The past few days and weeks have been crazy busy because of work, my Little Princess’ 2nd birthday and all other stuff so I couldn’t get my hands on my laptop and blog. Plus our internet connection is busted since Saturday! But I promise I’ll be back with a lot (wait, I don’t want to overpromise! :D) some stories soon or when our internet gets fixed. So it might not be soon. Psshhh. Sorry.

Just to convince you I have things to tell about once we have our internet back, I have a few unfinished posts in my drafts folder about cloth diapering, the Little Princess’ birthdayS (yes, with an S, just wait and found out why. hehe!) and my Ilog Maria loots. And quite honestly, I miss blogging already so I hope to be back soon! So Globe, please fix our internet soon!

But before I forget to stop myself from continuous blabbering, I just want to share this Bible verse that is a perfect reminder to me amid all the crazy busy things I’m in recently.

I said it’s just quick!  Gotta get rolling with all the craziness and busy-ness! 😉

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Super Mom! Not.

The Little Princess had dozed off a few minutes after her sick Kuya did and silence had finally enveloped our tiny room. No more little screams and giggles echoing up onto the next room or even our next door neighbor at 10 in the evening.

I slowly unlatched my Little Princess from nursing and carefully unwrapped her arms around me so as not to wake her up, while I turned to my right to touch my Big Boy’s forehead. He was hot as my chocolate drink early in the morning at work. I got up to get the ear thermometer and checked the Big Boy’s temperature: it read 38.5 degrees Celsius. I went to the bathroom, took a washcloth and a small basin and filled it with lukewarm water. I soaked and wrung the washcloth and folded it in a rectangular shape and went back to our darkly lit room. After seeing the Big Boy soundly sleeping, I reached for his arms and wiped them with the wet washcloth then rested it on his hot tiny forehead to cool his body down. This is his third night of fever.

I remember the days when I was a new mom. Instances like this would already make me so worried to the point of panicking. Thanks to 4 years of motherhood, I’ve learned to keep my calm. But still, seeing your child sick and unable to enjoy the day like he normally does by playing and running around until he runs out of energy, is one of the hardest things of being a mother. These are the times I wish I am indeed a “Super Mom” with “superpowers” to heal my suffering child.

The reality is, even though I brazenly call myself a “Super Mom“, I am a far cry from being one. Remember when the Big Boy almost drowned from the pool right before my eyes when we went swimming on Black Saturday? I felt I could’ve prevented it from happening by going with them in the pool right from the start or by not letting him dip in water without me in the first place.

Here’s another confession. When we were ready to leave for our Holy Week vacation, I was holding the Little Princess in my one hand while carrying a load of other stuff in my other hand. We hopped into the elevator and pushed the button 2 floors down. As the elevator descended, my eyes got caught in the announcement posted on the elevator wall and I didn’t notice we were already on our destined floor. Much worse, I didn’t notice that my little daughter held on to the elevator door while it opened causing her tiny little hand to get stuck! Thank God I was able to remove her hand and there were no scratches or bruises as a result of my inadvertent “neglect”. That 5 seconds seemed like forever especially when she started to cry out loud!

Deep sigh. Super Mom misadventures. These are just 2 of the many more I had.

But you know what? I know right from the very beginning that I’m not really a “Super Mom”. It’s just my positive thinking. My self-actualization. Rather than thinking that I cannot do things and get shaken by the huge responsibility of being a wife and a mother as well as the other roles that the Lord has given me, I chose to be positive about it. But more than that, there’s an irony about the label “Super Mom” that I like so much. Despite the undeniable truth of our total incapacity as mothers to become “super” and do everything that we’d like to for ourselves, our family and others, there’s an absolute super power from God that can actually enable us to do them through faith.

Being a Super Mom is not about doing it with all my might all by myself. I have mishaps, see. A lot. Rather, it’s about trusting God and laying every aspect of motherhood to Him because He is the One that’s Super and I am NOT after all.

My Reading List

I’m not a bookworm but I enjoy reading. A few novels to awaken and excite my imagination but mostly informative or inspirational books. Reading does take time so I prefer to spend my time, especially now that I’m a mother, to read books that will essentially feed my mind and soul with learning. So my book storage is filled with titles from Christian authors with themes ranging from  spiritual life, relationships, work, parenting and the likes.

But I have this lousy habit of buying books and not reading them. I have a tendency whenever I visit a Christian bookstore to browse through the shelves and get my self a book or 2, which will end up collecting dust in our house, untouched. In fact, a  few months ago, I went book shopping at the CCF Bookstore and brought home with me about 5 books. Apparently, I’ve only read one which until now, is still unfinished. 😀 And a few years back, I also got myself some books which remain, well, sitting lonely in my book storage, all patiently waiting for their owner to grab them and read. I’m such a perfect book collector!

Despite my fascination with “collecting” books, I want to have even more (see, I’m seriously taking my title as a book collector! 😀 ) and hopefully more time to read them all as well.  I just haven’t gotten the time to go to a bookstore with the purpose of buying books and not craft stuff, but I wish to have the following titles which I heard about when hubby and I attended the CCF Counterflow Conference last year:

1. Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

Paul Tan-Chi, one of the workshop speakers at the Counterflow Conference mentioned about this book on how to discipline our children from a biblical perspective. I’m personally still struggling on disciplining my 2 kids and I hope this book could help me shed light on it.

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Via Christianbook.com

2. Raising a Modern-Day Joseph by Larry Fowler

The author of this book himself, Larry Fowler, also spoke at the conference and discussed the main point of the book:  how parents can raise their children like Joseph that even though he was far away from his family without spiritual support, he remained obedient and faithful to the Lord.  Though he enumerated some points during his talk, I’d like to get into more detail on the strategies for raising a modern-day Joseph.

Via Parable.com

3. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I’ve heard about this book a long time ago from someone I can’t remember who and also saw it from a celebrity Christian mom, Cheska Kramer’s Instagram post. And during the conference, one of the speakers, Francis Kong used these love languages as reference when he talked about reaching out and bridging the generation gap with our kids today. The love languages actually apply to every relationship and I think it’s important to understand another person’s love language in order for us to know how we ought to respond and these expressions of love.

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Via Refreshedbiz.com

Hope to get hold of (and read!) all these books in the next couple of weeks months. 🙂

The Money and Faith Challenge

After quite a long time I can’t remember, I’m doing a prayer and fasting. I was actually supposed to join CCF’s prayer and fasting which took place last week but I wasn’t able to prepare physically and more importantly, spiritually so I just decided to do it this week and today is my Day 3. I’m not on food fast though because I’m breastfeeding but I cut myself from something I call “pleasure eating” or in between munching of anything I find in my office pedestal or in our ref at home (like chips, chocolates, biscuits). I’m also fasting from the internet (except for work-related or spiritual-related stuff) and the social media. So far so good. 🙂

Anyhow, much as I want to share the things that God revealed to me in my past 3 days of prayer and fasting, I do not have the luxury of time to put them all into words in this blog. I’m in fact doing my best to find time for devotion given my full work schedule this week and family time when I’m at home. I tried to spend my prayer after the kids have slept at around 10:30pm but I failed. I fell asleep. 😀 But I discovered that early morning upon reaching the office and lunchtime are the best times for me to do my devotion and prayer. And it’s a success! 😉

So why am I writing now? 😀 Well, I just want to share something about what God revealed to me last week. It’s one of God’s first revelations to me this year so I’m really excited to share it with you. 🙂

I was actually making a mental list of things to pray for this week for my prayer and fasting when I came across Rica Peralejo’s post about money and trusting God. Then a big question mark popped in my head:

“When was the last time I tithed or gave an offering to Lord?”  Ahhmmm. In market research, my answer is “can’t recall”. Uttered shamefully.

I seriously can’t remember the last time I offered even a small part of what I earn to the Lord. So for the longest time, I’ve been savoring for myself and for my family something that God graciously provides me without giving Him back anything that is due to Him. I’ve been robbing God (Malachi 3:8-9). What I receive every payday is not that much, probably why I hold all the more on what I have.

To give you a bit of perspective, I continue to work in a corporate job even if I have 2 kids to help my husband with our finances. Not that hubby is having difficulty providing for our family (he is actually a great provider and I thank God that he is very good at his role!), but we feel that it would be better if both of us will be able to contribute to the needs of our family especially now that we have 2 children. I remember when we were still a small family of 3, I opened up to Daddy J the option for me to quit my job and stay home so I could focus on taking care of him and the Big Boy. He didn’t dismiss the idea but he said that even though he thinks his earnings seem to suffice for our needs, he would like me to help him in building our finances so that we’re not “gipit” and will have some to spare for our “wants” (Light-bulb moment: cutie baby stuff which absolutely hubby wouldn’t approve to buy so I better have my own money for these things! Haha! 😀 ). Basically, to live a little more “comfortable” life.

And now that our little family has grown into 4 plus the house that we acquired more than a year ago and the expenses for our daily needs and “wants”, I need more than ever to work. And with all these money outflow required, I felt that my and hubby’s combined income are just enough (or bordering enough and insufficient 😀 ) for what we “need and want”. Therefore, I made myself believe that what we have are “just enough” for us and I cannot take a portion of at least what I earn for the Lord.

While I convinced myself that we do not have much money to splurge, I kept on buying things that are either one, I/we need but too much, cost-wise and/or quantity-wise (examples: make-up, perfume, kids’ clothes) or two, I/we do not need that much like (several) hybrid-fitted cloth diapers (Ooopppss, hubby knows now! 😀 ). The Little Princess already have enough but I still continue purchase some more cute prints even if she’s near potty-training already (Now, I have to delay the Little Princess’ potty-training! Hehe! Kidding! Need to destash soon!). In short, I don’t spend wisely and I’m not being a good steward of God’s blessings.

But God has an amusing way of convicting our hearts. When I was reading the Bible last week, God spoke to me about money through the following verses:

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Innocent I thought I was but God showed me how much value I put on money that I spend it all for ourselves and put the Lord out of my finance equation. I held on to it believing the little amount is just enough for us and there’s nothing more I can give to the Lord. I couldn’t let it go. I have also let money consume me with the way I spent it even though I knew we do not have that much. The high value and importance of money for me reveals the littleness of my trust that God will provide for our family’s needs.

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When I moved to Genesis, these words seemed to be telling me direct instructions on what I ought to do next! 🙂 This is not my first time to tithe because several years back, I used to regularly slash off a tenth of my salary for the Lord. It was part of my every-15th-of-the-month “budget” itemized in my budget monitoring Excel file which I still use up to now. And guess what, during those times, money was never a concern for me. I always had something to spend for my needs. And I became debt-free from credit cards at some point in my life! 😀 More than these, God filled my heart with joy for obeying Him and contentment and complete satisfaction that only He can fulfill.

Now, the Lord challenges me to do the same again — to entrust my finances to Him by giving what He is due and trust that He will provide. I’m reminded of His promise in Malachi 3:10:

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This year, I’m taking God’s challenge to give my tithes and offerings faithfully. I’d like to experience once again the feeling of joy and contentment and the blessings that come with obedience to this command. Furthermore, I’d like to thank and worship Him for all that He has done, is doing and will be doing in our life through this simple act of “sacrificial” giving.

Don’t Shout At Me, Jesus Will Get Mad

It was already 12:40pm and we were still home. I, putting all my essentials — make-up, phone, perfume, ATM cards, driver’s license — in my drawstring bag while walking to and fro every corner of our tiny house looking for my jewelry pouch in the middle of our jungle-like home filled with all the mess of toys and unpacked things from our Christmas vacation. We were running late for a wedding last Saturday.

And while I was crazy busy prepping myself up to the last minute and my husband waiting for me in the car, the Big Boy was following me around asking if we could already open the Lego toy his Ninang gave him. His daddy already told him he couldn’t at that day so I answered the little boy, “Not today. Daddy said not today. You will open it with Daddy.” Then I continued searching for my misplaced pouch, slowly getting frustrated and losing my calm. But the Big Boy, being a usual insistent child, kept on “pestering” me.

“Mommy, open the Lego.” Repeat 100 times. Then I snapped and angrily shouted at my baby boy. 😦

“I ALREADY SAID NOT TODAY!!!” My voice screaming at the top of my lungs, my brows furrowed.

I had lost my temper. The Big Boy was stunned. I was shocked with my reaction. I immediately held him in my arms, said “I’m sorry” and kissed his head. Then he began to cry, hard and loud, while uttering, “Mommy, I want Lego” and clutching on my thigh.

He was hurt by my sudden burst of anger directed at him. So I was, even more. My heart was crushed seeing my baby boy crying because I, his mommy, hurt him. 😦 I wanted to cry, too.

I left the house with a heavy heart and went to the car to my husband. I told him what happened and that I felt bad. Really bad. I promised I will talk to the Big Boy when we get back home from the wedding.

The Big Boy was still awake when we arrived home that night. I asked him why he cried earlier that day. He said he wanted to open and play with the Lego. Then I told him I was sorry for shouting at him and his response: “Mommy, don’t shout at me. Jesus will get mad.”

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Via bee13angela.wordpress.com

A little funny it may sound but those words that came out of the Big Boy’s mouth totally struck me. He’s right. Jesus will get “mad” because of what I did. It amazed me how God used my son to rebuke me.

Truthfully, I was so ashamed of myself for what I did to the Big Boy that day. I was more ashamed to the Big Boy for what he saw from me. But I was most ashamed to the Lord for the sin that I have done. Where’s the fruit of the Holy Spirit in me?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

— Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

I admit that low temperance is one of my spiritual struggles. I easily lose my temper. I tend to raise my voice when I get stressed, pressured, annoyed or frustrated, mostly to the people close to my heart. This is one weakness I know I need to always lift up to the Lord because it not only affects me but more importantly the people around especially my children.

In fact, I also see this negative behavior manifest in the Big Boy when he doesn’t get what he wants or when he gets frustrated over his malfunctioning toys or when he attempts to “discipline” his baby sister. He has the tendency to shout or raise his voice which I believe is strongly influenced by the people around him. I’m the first one guilty here. My husband also raises his voice when disciplining the Big Boy. He actually calls his dad “scary like a dragon.” 😀 The yayas also lose their temper and yell at the Big Boy when he is misbehaving. Wrong behavior modeled by all of us at home. Tsk, tsk. Hope I can just transform this unpleasant behavior of us people at home with a snap of a finger but I absolutely can’t. This unfortunate part of our human-as-sinners nature can only be changed by God.

Because of this small but stirring shouting incident with my Big Boy, the Lord prompted me to guard my heart and my behavior particularly in front of the kids. I know how challenging it could be because I’ve tried to control my temper several times in the past. Some instances I was successful, some not. But I trust the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to enable me to overcome this weakness and mirror a life of self-control for me to be a good testimony to my children and our household. I also lift up to God our household to demonstrate an atmosphere of gentleness and meekness especially when it comes to disciplining the kids.

I also asked the Big Boy to be a gentle reminder to everyone to practice self-control and be watchful of our behavior. I told him to always tell me, his daddy and ates those words that he said, “Don’t shout, Jesus will get mad”, whenever we raise our voices at him or at anyone else so that we will become conscious of how we react. I don’t want to become a yelling momma and I don’t want to have a yelling household. 😦

I’ll remind myself as well: “Don’t shout, Jesus will get mad”.