Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mommy TG’s 4-Week Cycle Menu Plan for Lent

Today marks the start of the Lent season as we celebrate Ash Wednesday. I will not attempt to explain Lent here in this post. But for those who would like better understand it, here is a video shared by some of my friends in Facebook that tries to explain what Lent is in a few minutes. My objective for writing this post today is to give Catholics some ideas or options on what to serve during the Fridays of the Lent. I have revised my original Four-Week Menu Plan to help other homemakers out there in their menu planning this season of Lent. You may want to follow it day by day. You may just pick out a week plan or two. Or you can just get ideas for simple meatless dishes you can serve during days of abstinence.

Some of the reasons that I chose these dishes are: 1) I’m breastfeeding my newborn baby; 2) these are easy to prepare dishes that I can teach my maids to prepare; 3) I have a toddler who is a picky and slow eater; and last but not least, they are easy on the pocket.

So here is my revised menu plan for Lent. Today, being Ash Wednesday, we are having Ginisang Mongo with Alugbati. Since today is a day of abstinence, we are not putting pork in our mongo like we usually do. You may opt to put fried fish flakes or use a different leafy vegetable instead of alugbati if you prefer.

Week 1

Monday – Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa with Pork and Malunggay
Tuesday – Chop Suey with quail eggs (My eldest son loves quail eggs!)
Wednesday – Ginisang Mongo with Pork and Alugbati
Thursday – Chicken Pochero
Friday – Sweet and Sour Tilapia
Saturday – Pork Adobo and itlog na maalat with tomatoes
Sunday – Chicken and Macaroni Soup
Week 2

Monday – Picadillo
Tuesday – Tinolang Manok with Malunggay
Wednesday – Pinakbet (We cook this minus the bagoong or shrimp paste because I don’t eat bagoong while breastfeeding.)
Thursday – Almondigas
Friday – Sinigang na Bangus or Salmon Heads
Saturday – Beef Stir-fry with Veggies (Broccoli, Bell Pepper, Corn and Green Peas)
Sunday – Chicken Sotanghon Soup
Week 3

Monday – Nilagang Baboy
Tuesday – Fried Chicken and Coleslaw
Wednesday – Beef Steak and Togue Gisado
Thursday – Chicken Curry
Friday – Daing na Bangus and Enseladang Talong
Saturday – Ginisang Ampalaya
Sunday – Sausage and Shell Pasta Soup

Week 4

Monday – Sinigang na Baboy
Tuesday – Relyenong Bangus and Pumpkin and Carrot Soup
Wednesday – Chicken Liver and Gizzards with Pineapple
Thursday – Lumpiang Shanghai and Chunky Potato and Bacon Soup
Friday – Crusted Tilapia Fillet and Mango or Pineapple Salsa
Saturday – Pasta Dish (I cook a pasta dish at least once a month because my son, Yanthy, loves pasta and to celebrate my newborn’s birth day every month during his first year of life.)
Sunday – Nilagang Baka

Here are some breakfast ideas for the Fridays of Lent.

 Tortang Talong and steamed rice
 Fried Danggit and Spanish omelette with Garlic Rice
 Champorado
 Ginisang Tuna Flakes with Tomatoes
 Paksiw na Dilis
 Oatmeal
 Cereals and Low Fat Milk
 Potato and Chesse Omelette
 Cheese and Spinach Quesadilla
 Spanish Sardines with toasted bread or rice

There goes my revised four-week cycle menu plan for Lent! Hope it helps you and your families make sure that you observe days of abstinence during the entire season. God bless!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Affordable Art Activities for Kids

I love doing art projects with my son. Since art is among my personal interests, it was natural for me to expose him to it. I’m glad that he enjoys it as much as I do. In fact, he always looks forward to our next art activity.

Engaging in an art activity is therapeutic for both of us. It not only helps my son develop his artistic skills and creativity. It also helps improve his concentration and focus. It helps lengthen his attention span as well. When I want him to slow down, and reading is not as interesting to him as it usually is, I tell him that we are going to have an art activity. It always works! He instantly lights up and becomes more obedient. We can spend around an hour or more engaging in this kind of activity. As for me, it enables me to take my mind off the things that give me stress and express my thoughts and feelings creatively through art. Like what Pablo Picasso said, "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." Creating something beautiful from your imagination gives joy in itself. Creating something beautiful with someone you love makes the experience even more wonderful. That’s why it is one of my favorite bonding activities with my son.

"I love you from the tip of my hands to the tip of my toes."

Another benefit of doing art projects with my son is that it helps develop his fine motor skills regardless of the kind of medium or material that we use in our activity. These kinds of activities help prepare toddlers to write minus the stress on both parent and child.

But you might say that you are not an artistic person and that you are not skilled in painting or drawing. Does that mean that you need to enroll your child and yourself in an art program? What if I don’t have the budget for that? You can choose to join an art program if you want to but I suggest that you start small, at home, and see how you and your child would respond to it. Skill is not a problem at all; because there are many kinds of art activities for you and your child. And as an old saying goes, "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder."
Yanthy/Gian used glue and sand to "write" his name.
Let me share with you simple art activities that my son and I love to do.
 Finger, hand or foot painting.
 Doodling, drawing or sketching.
 Cut and paste art projects.
 Coloring activities using crayons, water color, poster paint or colored pencils or pens.
 Creating things with clay.
 Sand art.

Below is one example of an art activity we had today since we are still in the month of hearts and tomorrow we will be entering the season of Lent. I got the inspiration while navigating this
site. I just modified it a bit. Here’s how we did it step by step:

1. We first traced a circle in a bond paper using a pencil and one of our cups.
2. My son used his fingers (his thumbs to be specific) to paint blue and green on the circle to make it look like the globe.

3. While letting the globe painting dry, we traced a heart on a red colored board and cut it.
4. My son cut the globe painting from the bond paper when it was already dry.

5. He glued the globe into the center of the heart cut out.
6. He glued the heart with the globe into the bond paper.
7. I wrote the Bible verse from John 3:16 with a pencil using dots so my toddler son can trace it and practice his handwriting.

8. My son used crayons to trace the verse.

9. We put masking tape at the back of the bond paper and posted his latest artwork on the wall.
10. We took a picture of him and his artwork.

I chose to include Steps 9 & 10 because I believe that these are crucial in building confidence and pride in your child. When we let the child showcase his artworks, we communicate the message that we are proud of what he does and that his artwork is important to us. Taking a picture of him and his artwork or his artwork only lets us document and keep his art projects digitally in case we choose not to keep them in a scrapbook. It helps us see his growth and development as an artist.

If you need ideas and inspirations, you can always search the net and choose some which you find interesting and appropriate for the age of your child. Here are some sites and articles I discovered as I searched for art ideas that my son and I can do. I got some of my ideas for our art activities from some of these sites. Sometimes, I do exactly the same art activity suggested. A lot of times, I adapt the main idea but customize it to better fit our abilities, needs and available resources.

Let me end with another quote from Pablo Picasso. "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chronicle Baby’s Many Firsts

Many say that time flies so fast when you’re having fun. I say, time flies so fast when you’re taking care of a child. My first born son is now three years and four months old; yet, I feel that it was not too long ago when I gave birth to him. I have stopped working since I was pregnant with my first child. Still, I wasn’t able to record all of his milestones. One reason is that I was too busy taking care of him and I didn’t notice that he was growing very quickly. Other times, it simply didn’t enter my mind or I didn’t think then that it would be nice to record that milestone.

One thing I realized though as I looked back in the past three years is that it has been an amazing experience to witness the growth of a child. And we parents, mothers especially, are truly blessed to be given that opportunity.

So, now that I have just given birth to my second baby – Mateo -- I commit to pay more attention to his development day by day and to the many firsts in his life. I promise to do my best in documenting as many milestones as possible and put them together in a baby book, scrapbook and blog. If I can document them with a photograph or video, much better.

To other moms out there who are either pregnant or who recently gave birth just like me, here’s a list of the many firsts you might want to take note of in your baby’s life. It would be good even for pregnant moms to read up on these things so that they can plan and prepare for these events even before they happen. I was not able to record some of these things for my first baby because I didn’t have a baby book then that had prompts to watch out for all these milestones. Now, that I know better, I hope to chronicle most if not all of them.


- take a bath.
- move head from side to side; lift head.
sleep through the night.
roll (side to side, tummy to back and back to tummy).
- follow people around the room with his eyes.
- smile; laugh.
- have his nail trimmed.
turn his head when his name is called.
coo or babble.
- recognize Mom or Dad.
- go to church or attend Mass.
- visit another place outside of the home or his pedia’s clinic.
- feed from a bottle (for breastfed babies).
- hold a toy or an object.
- sit with support and without support.
- crawl.
- get sick.
- have a haircut.
- have a tooth.
- clap.
- wave.
- open and close hands when prompted.
- hold his own bottle without help.
- use a spoon to feed himself.
- hum or sing a song.
- stand with or without support.
- brush his teeth with help.
- use a sippy cup.
- hold a cup on his own.
- shake head to say No
- nod head to say Yes.
- kiss someone.
- dance to music.
- swim.
- run.
- climb out of his crib.
- climb stairs on his own.
- doodle.
- write numbers or letters.
- write his name.
- tiptoe.
- undress himself.
- pick up objects.
- say “mama”, “dada” or “mommy” and “daddy”.
- say his name.
- say “please” or “thank you”.
- say “I love you.”
- fall or have a scratch.
- read a book.
- join a playgroup.

You can even take it a step farther by collecting and keeping some of the things he used as a baby and make a time capsule with all those things. You can keep his first toy, book, milk bottle, together with his lock of hair during his first haircut, his nail trimmings when you first cut his nails, photograph, bib, mitten, booty, cap, pillow, toothbrush, etc. I’m confident that looking at these records and items in the future would be heartwarming both to you and your child.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


The little boy’s voice at the other end of the line broke my heart into pieces. There was something different in his cry.

"Mommy? Asan kayo ni Daddy? What are you doing? Please go home na, Mommy… Go home na kayo ni Daddy…" His voice was trembling as he kept on asking what I was doing and begging me to go home together with his Dad.

I was in one of the rooms in our clubhouse facilitating a meeting with our community’s Liturgical Committee when I felt the need to check on my sons who were at home with our maids. It was barely an hour since I asked them to go home after attending anticipated Mass so our eldest son can eat dinner at home. I have just finished leading the worship and running through the agenda of our monthly meeting when I decided to make the call. My son was the one who picked up the phone and when he recognized my voice he started crying. I asked him what he was doing and if he has finished eating his dinner but he kept on saying the same things. I asked him to pass the phone to one of our maids so I can talk to one of them but he wasn’t listening to me anymore. He just kept on crying and he cried even louder. So I told him that I’m coming home already and got off the phone quickly.

I told my husband and our Community Development Officer that I need to go home already because Yanthy kept on crying and was asking me to go home.

I rushed back home and found him still on the phone crying and talking to his Dad. He put the phone down when he realized I was back in the house. I embraced him right away and asked him why he was crying. He was still trembling and sobbing loudly as I embraced him. He started to calm down as I embraced him tighter and longer. When I noticed that he was calmer, I asked him why he cried. At first, he said that he was experiencing pain as he was trying to poop. He must be constipated, I thought. I asked him if he wanted me to accompany him to the potty but he declined. He instead got a toy puzzle and started playing. I told him that if he wants to go to the potty, he can just tell me and I would go with him. He just smiled and continued playing as if nothing happened. I was surprised that suddenly he looked okay.

As I sat there on one of the arm chairs in our living room watching him play, it dawned on me that this little boy could be missing me already. For almost three years, he has been the center of attention in our house. I had been spending most of my waking hours being present to him and all his needs. This has changed a lot when I got pregnant and gave birth to our new baby.
I realized that his surprising reaction to the pain that he felt for being constipated, if it was really that painful, could just be a trigger to the already brewing emotions bottled up inside him. He could be missing me so much already but he could not articulate them into words or he was having a hard time processing what he was going through.

That night, I decided not to come back to the meeting and simply stayed with my sons. I breastfed Mateo when he cried, shortly after his older brother started playing again. Then, I spent the rest of the night cuddling my little boy in bed until he fell asleep. I resisted the temptation to leave his side even as he slept soundly in our bed for I could not bear to see or hear him cry again the way he did when he talked to me that night on the phone.

That cry was different… very different. And it broke my heart that that cry I heard was from my son who missed me and wanted me to be on his side at a time that he was so afraid.

I pray that God would not let that happen again to me and my child. I pray that every time that he’s afraid during his tender years, I would be there to comfort and accompany him. I know that a day will come when he would be afraid again and I wouldn’t be there to hold or embrace him. I pray that it will not happen soon. I pray that the next time it happens, he would be much older and he already knows by heart that though Mommy isn’t at her side, Jesus is and will always be there.

So today, as we celebrate St. Valentine’s feast day, I pray:
Lord, teach me to be sensitive to my children’s needs
And think of them first before my own.
Teach me to prioritize them over the other needs
That to my eyes You’ve shown.
Let me run to them quickly when they call.
Let me warm them with my presence and embrace
For in their young minds, my bosom is still the safest place.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Taking the Lord at His Word and Dreaming Big for the Gospel (Part 1)

"This act of mercy screams out loud to us to broaden our horizons beyond the limited scope we have at the moment and reach out for the world. Let us take the Lord at His word and dream big for the Gospel."

I read these words from Companion yesterday as I was having my prayer time. I’ve been taking the Lord at His word for years and yesterday, I took His word once more when He spoke to me through the Gospel. The Gospel was about the Greek woman who begged Jesus to heal her sick child. I could relate to her yesterday because my sons are sick. Like her, I’m praying for healing for my toddler and my baby. Like her, I was fervently praying for a big favor from God.

My eldest has been sick with cough and colds for around a month already and we are getting worried over his health since he has lost a lot of weight as well. He was given a medicine for cough and colds and an antibiotic. He also had a chest x-ray where we found out that he had pneumonia. His pediatrician recommended that we do a skin test to find out if he has primary complex. Just the thought that it’s a possibility caused me to worry a lot in the past days. How could he get sick with primary complex? Who could be possible carriers in our household? Suddenly, I was troubled and many thoughts flooded my mind last Monday evening.

We were supposed to go back to the pediatrician on Thursday morning to get the result of the test. My husband decided that our baby and I will just stay home to protect Mateo from exposure to disease-causing bacteria in the hospital. Only he and Yanthy will go to the hospital.

I was hesitant at first not to be present when the pediatrician shares the result but before arguing with my husband, I decided to pray and read our devotional with the readings for the day.

I found peace after reading the Gospel. I felt God’s assurance as I meditated on the readings and the words I quoted above from Companion. I decided to "take the Lord at His Word." I chose to have faith that in the same way that Jesus healed the child of the Greek woman, He too will rule out primary complex as the reason for my son’s sickness. Thus, I did not argue anymore with my husband and proceeded to do other things which are related to the second message God gave me that day. That is to "dream big for the Gospel."

So, I busied myself acting on God’s message "to broaden our horizons beyond the limited scope we have at the moment and reach out for the world." Then, as I was busy coordinating, responding to an email and brainstorming for the event I was organizing, God heard my prayer. I found out from George as I called him on their way home from the hospital that the test result was negative and that the pediatrician referred us instead to consult an expert on child allergies because it’s another possible reason for my son’s cough and colds. God is good! I called to Him in my distress and He delivered me from my fear!

Now, let’s talk about the other concern where I took God at His word again. This time it’s about bringing the Gospel to more people by organizing an evangelistic event for the youth in the community where I live. I had been brainstorming and refining the concept and details with the members of the Liturgical Committee in our community in the past weeks. Last Monday night, we talked about the detailed requirements for the event and budget was definitely a major consideration. What makes me want to push through with the event is the certainty in my heart that God wants me to do this. He wants me to organize this event and He wants me to preach in this event.

The readings in the past days had been my compass and they gave certainty to my every step towards mounting the event. Let me share the words I had been receiving from God about this project/event.

SUNDAY, FEB. 5 – The title of the reflection in Didache is Sharing Jesus. The highlighted Bible verse for the day was from Mark 1:38.

But Jesus answered, "We must go on to the other villages around here. I have to preach in them also, because that’s why I came."

I was struck because this answered my question if we should invite the other youth in our neighboring villages to attend the event. This verse also confirmed another message that I received as an encouragement the day before (Saturday) from a seminar I attended wherein one of the speakers said that "your assignment is geographical." God has a purpose for bringing me where I am right now. He placed me here for a purpose and one of them is to reach out and inspire the youth where I currently live.

The reflection in Didache further said: In Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life, he mentioned that evangelization is one of the purposes why we live. How much of your time are you using for this purpose?

I was amazed again for I had been spending so much of my time lately evangelizing people in our community. Sometimes, I ask myself why I spend so much time serving our community when I have very little sleep and rest every day since I gave birth. Why don’t I just spend my time napping or doing other things to relax? Why do more things when there’s already a lot on my plate? There is only one answer. I love the Lord too much, I can’t contain it; and I can’t help but proclaim His goodness to others. I have received much from the Lord during my youth and I feel the burden to share them with the youth around me today.

So I prayed the prayer in Didache that day: Father, I pray that someone may hear about Jesus today. May I do my part to make this happen. Amen.

That evening, I met with the members of our Youth Ministry in our house together with the other members of the Liturgical Committee.

TUESDAY, FEB. 7 – The title of the reflection in Didache is Don’t Be Practical. The Bible verse highlighted was from Mark 7:13.

You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.

I was struck with the Bible verse featured, the title of the reflection and the reflection itself because at the back of my mind, as I was planning for our youth event, a voice inside my head was telling me that having this youth event is not practical at all. Trying to invite professionals from the music industry especially the popular ones to be judges and performers in the evangelistic youth event we are planning isn’t practical. It’s true that we can invite those whose talent fee isn’t much or who aren’t as popular but if there’s a way to invite the popular ones and those who are really experts in this field, why not? It’s not practical but if God wills it, why not strive to get the best for the event?

And since it is within my circle of influence or within my network to get in touch with people who have connections in the music industry, I felt that God wanted me to seek the best for our event. So starting that day, I started asking friends and connections from the music industry to help me in this event I’m planning. I did not hesitate anymore to invite acoustic performers even when it’s not practical because we do not have the money to pay for their professional fee. It doesn’t seem likely also that they are available because the event is already too soon by industry standards. Most likely, these people are already booked for gigs or concerts. But never mind the impracticalities. I’m not trying to be practical. I’m doing this out of my great love for God. I’m doing this because I want to always give my best to Him especially when I serve Him.

THURSDAY, FEB. 9 - The title of the reflection in Didache was 10,000 Isn’t Too Much!
It struck me because last Monday night when we were meeting with the Community Development Officer of our community, she was telling me that the usual maximum budget granted by the Administration office of our Condo Corp. for unplanned events is P5,000 only. They are given P10,000 when the events had been calendared and allocated budgets in the previous year. Since the event we are planning is something that we just thought of recently, she was telling us that asking for a budget of P10,000 might be difficult if not impossible. But I asked her to try anyway. I said that we can try to convince the office and the Board of Directors that this could become a yearly event for the youth.

So when I read the title of the reflection, I was very encouraged to stick to our proposal to ask for at least P10,000. I felt that God was encouraging all of us in the Committee to ask in faith for nothing is impossible with God and P10,000 for Him isn’t too much!

The reflection and prayer in Didache further confirmed God’s message.

Reflection: "Have you shelved a dream since it has become too difficult, even impossible? Can it be that your stumbling blocks can be stepping stones?

Prayer: "Jesus, give me courage to keep on asking, seeking, knocking and working. I believe it’s never over until You say it’s over. Amen."

The big amount needed to stage this event may be viewed as an enormous stumbling block at first glance. But it can also be a stepping stone in receiving miracles from God. So I instructed the Community Development Officer to come up with a solicitation letter to the residents especially those with businesses so we could invite them to support our activity for the youth.

That is my big dream for the Gospel in our community now – to stage an evangelistic event for the youth called MusicLUVan: An Acoustic Night to Remember. There will be a talk/s on love and relationships to inspire and teach the youth and there will be a love song singing competition for acoustic groups. It’s barely two weeks to our target date and there are still plenty of things to do. But I don’t want to be slowed down by stumbling blocks. I want to focus on the opportunities and turn those stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

This is just part 1 of how I’m taking the Lord at his word and how I’m dreaming big for the Gospel. But I will end here for now. I will tell you part 2 of the story after two weeks.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Celebrating Giftedness

I attended a seminar yesterday on Parenting Gifted Children organized by the Philippine Center for Gifted Education, Inc. It was a whole day seminar held at the UP College of Education Training Center. I learned about the event through a homeschool group in Facebook that I’m a part of. As soon as I read the post, I got excited and asked for more details until I finally got to register for the seminar a few days before the announced date.

I was eager to learn and at the same time thrilled by the opportunity for my son to enjoy playing outdoors in UP. He enjoyed playing there the last time we went and he looks forward to it. I want to encourage him to be sporty and I saw this as a great opportunity to feed his interest and excitement to go back there and play.

But we had a slight concern. Our newborn baby, Mateo, breastfeeds from me exclusively. This is the first time that I’m attending a whole day seminar. I’ve been facilitating meetings after giving birth but they only last around a couple of hours. After much thought and planning, my husband and I finally devised a plan. I will attend the seminar and Mateo will breastfeed from me during breaks since we have short breaks in the morning and the afternoon and a lunch break. I will also try to express some milk so that my husband and kids can visit my parents during the day while I’m attending the seminar. My husband and I listed what we needed to bring for our trip because they are quite many. Since we had kids, going out of the house especially with an infant has become one big production number! And so we were set! We planned to leave the house around 7:30 am since the seminar will start at 9 am.

Alas! We woke up late… Correction, I woke up past our desired wake up time because I had been breastfeeding through the night and early morning and the next thing I knew after Mateo’s very early morning feeding was that it was already 7 am! We rushed everyone and left our house around 8 am.

On our way to the seminar venue, I kept praying that I would be on time for I did not want to miss anything. I was really excited to learn as much as I can. I wanted to understand giftedness more, learn better parenting styles especially the best parenting styles for gifted children and how to cultivate positive sibling relationships. These were the topics for the seminar. By God’s grace, we arrived just in time! I was even glad to see that the organizers had set up a play area for the kids since I informed them about my son. And yes, as we have planned, Yanthy was able to play soccer at the Sunken garden and he enjoyed running in the grass. After the seminar, I got to run with him at the Sunken Garden as well and showed him the UP School of Economics where I studied before.

The seminar started with a talk by Dr. Leticia Ho of the Philippine Center for Gifted Education, Inc. (PCGE). She talked about understanding giftedness. Her talk was short but it kept me on my toes all throughout, not wanting to miss any word that she’d say. She shared a number of definitions of giftedness mostly by Western experts then ended by sharing her own definition. I liked everything she said. In fact, I wanted her to talk some more and explain the many things she shared but there was no more time. Among the things she shared, what I liked the most was the PCGE’s paradigm for giftedness which included passion, excellence, intelligence/creativity and values. This was illustrated with a triangle with passion, excellence and intelligence/creativity, each one on a side of the triangle and values at the middle. It simply means that all these are factors for giftedness but the person’s values make the most impact or the biggest difference. It can either make or break the gifted person. I also liked the PCGE’s objective of helping the gifted and their parents in understanding them and their gift and in helping the gifted nourish their gift so that they can one day make a difference in our country with the gifts they have been blessed with.

The succeeding talks were not the kind of talks I expected but I was delighted to hear them. Most of what the speakers said were things I already knew but I was glad to hear them again in that setting because I felt that God was confirming the things that I know and want to implement in raising our children, not just my son, Yanthy, who was assessed to be a potentially gifted child at age 2. The speakers for the topic Cultivating Positive Sibling Relationships and Enhancing Parenting Style were Atty. Jehremiah Asis and his wife, Katherine Asis. They talked about the importance of vision, assignment and destiny in our lives especially to the gifted child. What struck me the most in their presentation was when Jerry said that one of our important roles as parents of gifted children is to teach our gifted children that his/her giftedness came from Someone and that Someone is God. Therefore, we need to help our gifted children discover the Giver’s purpose for his/her giftedness. This way, we take the focus from the gifted person but back to God who is the source of that gift. I have long known this principle/truth and I have been living this out in my life since I became a renewed Catholic in college when I was studying in UP. Hearing this truth yesterday enabled me to view that truth in the eyes of a parent of a gifted child this time.

I was happy to discover that what I’m currently doing with my potentially gifted son is right. Since he is a musically gifted boy who learns to sing songs fast and who likes playing with musical instruments, my husband and I encourage him to use his gifts in the service of the Church. And because Yanthy already knows a lot like the alphabet, numbers, reading, spelling and counting, he enthusiastically teaches these things to his baby brother by reading to him. As we discussed yesterday, I realized that truly, we need to teach our children, especially the gifted ones that their gifts are not meant for their glory but for God’s glory. Whenever we receive praise for our accomplishments, we need to give back the glory to God and point people to God who enabled us to accomplish great things through our gifts. We need to teach and remind them often that our gifts were given to us by God so that we can bless those around us and we can be God’s partners in making this world more like heaven.

Another thing that I liked was what Jerry shared about Joseph, son of Jacob or popularly known as Joseph, the dreamer. He said that not all of us are made to be Josephs. But that doesn’t mean that the assignments of non-Josephs are less important than the assignments of the Josephs of this world. He also said that the Josephs need to be humble and recognize that he would not be able to do his Big assignment if not for the others who do the other assignments he is not capable of doing. In the same way, the non-Josephs need to be humble to recognize and accept that God did not create everyone to be Josephs. Thus, the role of non-Josephs is to enable the Josephs to solve the Big problems that God wants them to solve. Beautiful analogy!

I thought that I needed to go to the seminar yesterday for my children’s sake alone. As I grew to understand gifted children, I came to understand myself as well. I’m no longer a child but listening to Dr. Ho talk about the qualities of gifted children and share about the gifted children she knew, made me understand myself better and my behaviors as a child. I remember that I would usually get perfect scores in my tests and I would cry whenever I made a mistake. I remember how I struggled whenever I didn’t do things right because I was a perfectionist. I remember the first time I failed a test since I entered school and I was already in UP then. I remember when I didn’t graduate in college on time and how God humbled me with that experience. And I also remember how I felt when I first published a book together with a group of other writers and when I published the book I authored. I was not assessed or diagnosed by experts to be gifted when I was a child and there were no experts who guided me aside from my parents. But I’m happy that by God’s grace I have discovered my gift in communication particularly writing and that He has led me to use these gifts to make a difference in the lives of the people around me.

Moreover, I was happy to discover that God led me there yesterday to stir in me once more my passion for the call/assignment He has given me. As I was listening to Jerry and Katherine, I grew to appreciate and love more my vocation, my current assignment of being a mother to my children and proclaiming God’s Word and goodness through writing and leading a community of believers. This realization was further highlighted during the last presentation and the tool shared by Alberto Fernandez in his talk on Grand Parenting as an APOstolate. The two most striking things I read from the tool called Connecting the VAD (vision, assignment, destiny) Dots were the following: first, what you love the most is a clue to your assignment; second, what grieves you is a clue to something you are assigned to heal. The other statements in the handout or tool he shared were very beautiful but most are already familiar with me. These two made the biggest impact to me yesterday as I read them.

I really love sharing with others how God has been good to me through writing or giving talks or testimonies and I love sharing my experiences to the youth and the working professionals. I also love having plenty of time being a hands-on mother to my kids. I felt that hearing those things yesterday was God’s way of affirming me of my present calling or assignment. Having experienced this yesterday, I now have renewed zeal in evangelizing people starting in my very own home. My inspirations yesterday were confirmed when I read and meditated the readings for today.
I could relate with St. Paul when he said in 1 Corinthians 9:16, "Brothers and sisters: If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!" God's Word burns in my heart and I can't help but share this fire and His light.

The Bible verse and reflection featured today in the devotional Didache also struck me. I felt God encouraging me to push through with my plan to organize an evangelistic event to inspire and empower the youth in our community and in our parish. Jesus' words in the gospel answered the questions in my heart and mind very clearly, "We must go on to the other villages around here. I have to preach in them also, because that is why I came." (Mark 1:38) Now, I know God's purpose for making me and my family stay where we currently live right now in spite of my efforts and desire to sell our property. He still has work for me to do.
I thank God for the many insights that flood my mind right now as I write and for the many experiences I’ve had in the past that will serve as my teaching tools for my sons and the people God would entrust to me. I’m excited to learn more as PCGE promised to hold more seminars and organize support groups for parents of gifted children. Yesterday was a celebration for our family not only for successfully going out of the house for a whole day and spending quality time with each other but also because of discovering and rediscovering the giftedness in each one of us. Praise be to God who made us! Let me end by sharing one of my three year old son's favorite worship songs which he learned months before he turned three. It's entitled Only a God Like You by Tommy Walker.