Sunday, April 28, 2013

Minister to Me, Lord Series: Day 2 - Reserve me the best

 
 
"There are times in our lives when we feel left behind... I had felt I gotten left behind. But after patiently waiting, working and praying, I now have my dream... All the while, God was reserving the best seat I could ask for." (Didache, April 26, 2013)
 
I read this reflection a couple of days ago and I felt that God was speaking to me through it. I could relate with the writer of the reflection. I also felt left behind in my current projects and honestly I've been struggling to keep on going because of this feeling. I feel like my deadlines and competition are giants staring and looking down at me while I look down feeling defeated.
 
God however used this reflection to change my perspective. I felt God's assurance through the Bible verse featured in that reflection.
 
"I am going to prepare a place for you." John 14:2
 
God assured me that He has gone ahead of where I want to go. That He has made a way for me. He has prepared a place for me. He has reserved the best place for me.
 
I read several inspiring posts from different sites in the past days and the same message resonated. God is behind me, with me and ahead of me in all these adventures of mine. God Himself has sealed my victory and is waiting and ready to hand it to me. I only need to keep moving forward with faith believing that as early as now I am already victorious.
 
This message served as a follow up to God's message to me on Day 1 of this Minister to Me, Lord Series. He used the song below (Who Your Are by Gateway Worship) to remind me that I need not live in fear and that I am not alone for He is with me always. I need not fret whenever I have needs in my projects even when they seem so big for me. I was reminded that nothing is bigger than God and that because of His great love for me, there is no good thing He will withhold.
 
 


 
 
God used this song to keep the fire in my heart burning for the dreams He has planted in my heart. He reminded me that these God-sized dreams of mine with God-sized needs requiring God-sized abilities is not mine alone to accomplish. God is bringing it to pass with me as collaborator. I am working on these projects therefore with God on my side.
 
I watched the movie Facing the Giants last night with my husband and I was reminded of the story of David who triumphed over a giant, not because of his own ability but because God was with him, because He had faith in His God to deliver him.
 
I also remembered the story of the Israelites who felt intimidated just before they entered the Promise Land. They also felt that they are no match to the giants occupying the land that God has promised to them. But God proved them wrong.
 
I claim that I now stand at the threshold of my God-sized dreams and that I am about to give birth soon. I claim that the fulfillment of my God-sized dreams is just a stone's throw from where I am now. I choose to focus on God and my dreams. I choose to take my eyes off the giants standing in front of me.
 
I claim that I will walk past these giants and march towards my victory because my God walks with me and has won the victory for me. I will walk with certainty for I am certain of God's love for me. I am confident that my God-sized dreams will be fulfilled because I am confident in the God of all my dreams. He will enable me as He has called me. All I need to do is give my best to Him. He will supply the rest.
 
Do you also feel that there are giants standing before you now and hindering you from moving forward? What are these things, people or circumstances that intimidate you now? Take your eyes off those giants and focus your eyes on God and on the dreams God has planted in your heart. God has granted you and me the victory. Let us march victorious and claim what He has reserved to be ours. We are almost there! Let us boldly step out in faith for our victorious God walks ahead of us! He has reserved the best seat for us! Let's walk confidently towards that seat! Let's not keep God waiting!
 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Minister to Me, Lord Series: Day 1 - Make Me Glad

God spoke powerfully into my heart last night through Isaiah 41:10 which says,
 
"So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

As usual, God spoke the exact words that I needed to hear from Him. He always has perfect timing, you know! :)

I was teary-eyed as I meditated on these words last night.  And as I pondered on His words, a song came to my mind. I could sing some lines but I could not remember the title of the song; so I asked my son (who has a very good memory for his age) to help me recall. True enough, he was able to help me remember the title and I found the song video in You Tube.

The song was Made Me Glad and it was performed by Darlene of Hillsong. I invite you to watch the video and allow the Lord to minister to you as you listen to the song.


 
God invited me through the song to trust Him at ALL times... Yes, all times!  That meant trusting Him last night as I faced many uncertainties about my ongoing projects and God-sized dreams.  Through the verse from Isaiah, God reminded me of who He is in my life. His loving reminder made me strong last night as I wrestled with my fears over my projects and God-sized dreams. God delivered me from my fears through His assuring words. Suddenly, I felt so loved by Him.  I felt strengthened. Truly, He is my very present help in times of need. He knows perfectly well how to supply my every need at the most perfect time.
 
Do you also have fears right now that seem to paralyze you and hinder you from moving forward or closer to fulfilling God's plans for your life? I invite you to meditate on Isaiah 41:10 as well. Soak in the truth of God's Word to you. Claim it and allow the Lord to make you glad. Allow Him to strengthen you and to help you with whatever difficulty or trial you are going through. Humble yourself before His holy throne and TRUST HIM... Trust Him now... Trust Him even when you feel shaken by your fears and challenges. Let God's powerful words penetrate your heart and spirit. Sing with me this worship song and feel the power of God's Holy Spirit minister to you.
 
Claim the truth that He is our ever present help in times of need! Then, carry this truth in your heart today. Recite this verse and sing this song every time you feel your fears haunting you and trying to hold you back. God's Words will help us combat enemy lies and move us closer to the victory that Jesus has already won for us.
 
 
 
Were you blessed by this reflection or sharing? I hope so. I will be posting a series of reflections in the next weeks with this format. I will begin by sharing a verse from Scripture and share a bit how God ministered to me through it.  Then, I will also share a song that helped me deepen my understanding of that verse and experience the truth of that verse. I hope and pray that by doing this I'd be able to bring God's message and love to all who'd chance to read my posts here in this blog. May God minister to more people through this series!

Friday, April 19, 2013

It Takes Time

There are days when you feel proud of what you are doing as a wife and mom.  But there are also days when you feel ashamed of your mistakes and shortcomings.  I have my share of those difficult days, too.  I have uttered words I wished I didn't say.  I have done things that I wished I didn't do.
 
There are days when I feel disappointed and frustrated with myself.  I thank God that He blessed me with a husband who constantly reminds me not to be too hard on myself and to just keep on trying and growing.  He once told me, "When you learn to accept and expect that you will make mistakes, you'll be less disappointed and frustrated when you witness the mistakes of those around you."  I know that there is truth to what he said.
 
Today, I reviewed chapter 5 of the book I wrote when I was still single.  I read some lines that I think I should post in our house to serve as a reminder to me.
 


I thank God for this timely reminder.  Although I strove to prepare well for marriage and motherhood, God reminded me that I'm still bound to make mistakes.  He assured me that it's okay.  I'm still a work in progress.  Even though I have spent years trying to follow the example of the Proverbs 31 Woman and many other women of the Bible, there's still much that I need to work on in my character.  My husband knows this very well. 
 
Today, God reminded me through my own book to give myself TIME TO GROW.  He reminded me that IT TAKES TIME TO GROW IN CHARACTER.  I learned and understood this as a single woman.  I need to learn, understand and embrace this now as a wife and mom.  I need to constantly apply this truth in my new challenges and circumstances.
 
It takes time... We moms can be impatient a lot of times.  We like to be in control.  We like to be on top of things.  We like things to be in order.  All these are good.  But we need to recognize that imperfections and unexpected developments are part and parcel of our lives.  That sometimes it's best for us to let go of outcomes and schedules.  That we should pick our battles with our husband and with our kids.  That we are not failures even when we make mistakes and have shortcomings.  That we can find gold in unexpected places and incidents.  That though we can barely see similarities between us and the ideal wife and mother in Proverbs 31, there is hope as long as we keep on trying. 
 
Are you also a wife and mom who is disappointed with yourself lately?  Did you also utter words or did things that made you feel guilty?  You are not alone.  I am with you in this journey.  More importantly, God is with us in this journey.
 
Let us find comfort and encouragement in these lines from Philippians 1:6:
 
"He who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
 
God will complete the work He began in us.  He will continue to mold and form us until we are perfect.  But that perfection will not happen today or right away.  It will happen on the day of our Lord. 
 
In the meantime, let us continue to be open to His grace and allow His grace to flow in us and through us to transform us and move us closer to becoming perfect for our Lord Jesus Christ.


* This post was added to the Catholic Bloggers Monthly Link-up Blitz for April 2013.
 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Inspiring Breastfeeding Success Stories

I'm currently working on one of my latest book projects, Breastfeeding: A Journey Worth Taking, and I can't help but be thankful to God for allowing me to cross paths with many wonderful and inspiring moms.  I had been reading a number of stories in the past week and I was particularly struck with a few lines that I read from one of the moms who agreed to share her story in my book.
 
She said,
 
 
"The gift of pause has always reminded me of the priority in my life which is my family. It also made me realize that instead of wallowing in the past or worrying about the future, I have to savor the now. That instead of getting too caught up with the busyness of my life, I can stop for a while, breastfeed my children and marvel at the miracles that God has blessed me with."
 
 
Those lines from her story made me pause and appreciate what I have now -- time to be with my children, time to homeschool them, time to eat meals with them, time to sing songs with them or dance around the house with them, time to read books to them, time to go on field trips with them, time to breastfeed my youngest whenever he wants to breastfeed (did the same with my eldest), time to share my faith with my kids and worship with them, time to witness their milestones and document them, time to exchange hugs and kisses any time we want to.
 
Life can really get VERY busy at times and in our busyness we can forget or fail to recognize God's many wonderful gifts to us.  One of those gifts is the gift of having a child.  I know a number of couples who had been praying to conceive a child for years now and are still waiting on the Lord.  That mom's breastfeeding story moved me so much that I had to literally stop working (READ: take off my author/writer's hat temporarily) so I can read it simply as a MOM minus the role/title of author or writer.
 
And did I tell you that this mom was tandem nursing her daughters?  Yes, she is breastfeeding two kids!  And she is also working from home.  Isn't that amazing?  Breastfeeding one child/baby can already be overwhelming at times especially when you're just starting.  So, moms like her who breastfeed multiple children are truly inspiring.
 
Today, I was blessed to read another breastfeeding success story.  This time, I was inspired by the dedication of the mom because she was not only working full time while breastfeeding her child, she also put up her own business.  I already hear a lot of moms share about the difficulty of breastfeeding while working full time outside the home.  But this mom did not only triumph over her work load as a full time working mom but she also triumphed over the work load of starting her own business.  Wow!  I was so inspired that I had to pause from working on my book project for a while to blog about my discoveries.
 
I just shared in one of the groups I'm a part of in Facebook that one of my reasons for writing articles, reflections and books is because I want to widen my reach.  I can't always go around or travel to give talks or share my stories or testimony.  But by writing my stories in a book or books, I'm able to reach out, inspire, encourage and minister to others who need to hear (or read) those words or hear that story.  I'm so grateful to God that He has called me into this ministry.  Today is one of those days when I have powerfully experienced the truth that the ministry is also for the minister.  I am confident that this book and these stories that I'm featuring in my upcoming book will inspire and bless many moms.  One of my reasons for this confidence is the fact that I am being blessed as I work on this book project.  Of course, my main reason for this confidence is God's call to me to embark on this project.  I didn't feel qualified or prepared for it.  But I am certain that God has called me to do it.  So, I obeyed and allowed the Lord to work through me and to use me in whatever way He wants me to spread His love.  I'm continuously praying that I'd be very open to God's grace for it is only by His grace that I'm able to do all that He wants me to do (including this breastfeeding book project).

Thank you, Lord, for filling my heart with joy and excitement for this dream that You have planted in my heart!  "Not to me, not to me, but to Your name be glory!"
 
 

Lessons Kids can Gain from a Farm-themed Birthday Party

The birthday boy in farmer costume.
When I began preparing for my second child’s first birthday party, we chose farm life as the theme which then became the inspiration for the games and activities during the party. Come party time, we could tell that our guests loved the theme a lot. But I guess our kids loved the theme a whole lot because months after my second child’s first birthday party, my kids were still playing them. Our farm party theme turned out to be a seedbed of many wonderful pretend play scenarios and home school lessons.
 
 
The kids actually started learning about farm life even before the party. We had been reading them books about the farm which they really enjoyed. Their curiosity about the farm was intensified when we started preparing the materials and props for our farm-themed kiddie party -- we bought plaid tops and farmer hats, plastic fruit and vegetable toys and baskets; we made farm-related crafts and art projects; we sang and danced to songs about farm animals, and I also taught my kids the barn dance. My youngest son (the birthday boy) loved it very much especially the tap-tap-tap and clap-clap-clap portion of the dance. My kids and I still use our costumes and props when we play at home. It makes us enjoy our pretend play even more.
 
Here are activities/scenarios that they like to imitate and the lessons they learn while engaging in these activities.
Planting and Harvest time – Reading books paved the way for our discussions about life in the farm. One of the things that I was able to discuss with them is the concept of planting and harvesting, and that it takes some time before you can harvest so it would be good to be busy with something else while waiting for harvest time. One time, we drew a farm scene on manila paper which the kids later colored. Then, I scattered plastic fruit and vegetable toys in the house and gave each one of them a basket, and they gladly went around the house “harvesting”.
 
 
Farmer’s Market – Through our farm pretend play, I was able to share with my kids that farmers sell their farm products in the Farmer’s Market. They love this pretend play where my youngest acts as the customer, while my eldest is the farmer selling his produce, including eggs and live farm animals. They use play money in their transactions. My eldest gets to practice his Math and writing skills. He learns about the farm business as we play. My youngest learns to identify objects through their pretend play and to differentiate between fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, he helps his brother set up his stall by separating the fruits from the vegetables in the display. We like playing “bring me” games, too.
 
Read the full article here at Smart Parenting Online.
 
Click here to read some of the venues we considered for my son's farm-themed party.
 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lent, Holy Week and Easter Activities 2013

I'm writing this post to document some of the activities we had during Lent, Holy Week and Easter. 
 
One of our Lent and month of hearts writing activity.
 
We read more Bible stories and storybooks which taught values.  We sang songs about the Lord's Passion.  We attended Masses on Friday evenings.  We taught our eldest son more formula prayers and involved him more in praying the Rosary.  So far, he has memorized more prayers like the Hail Mary, Angel of God and Glory be.  He is close to reciting the Apostles Creed and The Feast Prayer of Abundance perfectly, too.
 
We visited an orphange for girls on Holy Wednesday.  The days leading to our visit were busy days for us as we prepared the things that we needed for our outreach.  You can read more about it here in my previous blog post.
 
On Holy Thursday and Friday, my husband and I attended a 2-day Holy Week retreat at PICC .  The kids were left with my mom and our helper.  I left some activities that my eldest son can do while we were out during the mornings.
 
I got some of the printables and ideas from other blogs.
 
When I asked Yanthy why he colored Jesus red,
he said that it's because his body was covered with blood
coming from his wounds.
 
Pretending that the donut with toothpicks is a crown of thorns.

On Holy Thursday, we had one of our Holy Week traditions - Visita Iglesias.  We visited 7 churches.  It was actually our first time to do it in the evening.  We used to do it after lunch.  We finished our activity just before midnight.  We prayed two Stations of the Cross per church. 
 


We went to attend the Good Friday service at St. James the Great Church in Ayala, Alabang.  Then, on Easter Sunday, we attended the Grand Easter Feast at the SMX, Mall of Asia.  You may read about my Easter reflection here in my previous post. 


At the Grand Easter Feast.
 
Yanthy answered this maze after I read to him the
Story of Easter minibook from Christian Preschool Printables.


We made an Alleluia garland last year which I blogged here also last year.  I wanted to reuse that garland again but I could no longer find it.  So, I asked my eldest to make a new one with a different design and spelling.  Then we put it up in our bedroom by hanging it in the curtain rods.
 


Our colorful Easter/Hallelujah garland.


We also made an Alms box which the kids filled with coins.  But we have yet brought the box to the church.  Yanthy has not yet wrapped it and has not yet written the word "alms' in it.  I hope he'll be in the mood to write on the box before Easter ends. :)
 
This Easter, we have been singing praise and worship songs that communicate about the Resurrection of our Lord in the lyrics.  Below is a video of one of his favorite songs about Easter. 




Update: We finally brought our little boys' coin box last Sunday (April 21) to church. I also managed to take a picture before we gave the box.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Perfect Timing for our Family Field Trip to Avilon Zoo

We had been planning for this field trip in years. We only had one child when we started considering this field trip. Then I got pregnant, gave birth and got busy caring for the new baby. This year finally we were able to push through with our plan. Looking back, we realized that it was perfect timing.
Here are some of our reasons why we believe so:
  1. We got discounted tickets from Metro Deal. This saved us a lot! We got the tickets at 50% off. If our plan before pushed through, we would have paid the regular price for our tickets. God indeed is a God of perfect timing!
  2. We now have a bigger vehicle, a Toyota Innova. With this, we were able to bring with us my mom and my godmother who happened to be vacationing from Austria. We used to have a red Toyota Vios. It can fit a maximum of 6 people only. It that would mean that two of those sitting at the back are small or kids. That can even mean removing one of the kids' car seats. I didn't like that idea especially for long drives. So the family van is just perfect. We had more than enough room for everyone and we didn't have to remove any car seat. We even had space for our things.
  3.  
    The best friends, my mom and godmother.
     
  4. We were able to bring both kids to the zoo in one field trip. My mom said on the day we had finally had our field trip, "It's a blessing in disguise that your field trip didn't push through when you only had one child because that would mean you will need to go back to this zoo again when he's bigger so that he too can have a field trip their." Makes sense! One field trip for both kids! Saved us time and money. :)



     

  5. We had good weather.  It's officially summer now in the Philippines and it was the perfect time for outings or field trips.   
 



We had a great time with each other during our field trip. We scheduled it during the April 9 holiday. The zoo is quite far from our place so we spent around two hours travelling. It was already lunch time when we got to San Mateo to pick up my mom and my godmother. We had lunch first at Tropical Hut. Then, we headed to Avilon Zoo.
 

 


The long drive was worth it! The kids had so much fun! The pictures and stories in the books we had been reading to them in the past year (in my eldest son's case... past years!) finally came to life. They loved running around the zoo! (My kids are usually active and walking seems to be not a part of their vocabulary.) We were sweating by the time our tour was done.
 

We had our afternoon snack first before we headed home.
 
Mateo snacked on apple and crackers
while everyone had pizza.
Then, we had dinner first at my parents' house in San Mateo before we headed back home. It was a tiring day but it was worth it. Having that trip was everyone's high point that day.
 
 
 
 
 



Here are some more pictures.




    This little boy really has a sense of humor!  This was his first reaction when he saw this big rat!
    Good thing we were able to take a photograph!


    With Trixie, the urangutan.

    Mateo finally saw a real horse.




     

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Homeschooling and Amusing Moments with my Gifted Child

I had some amusing conversations with my eldest son in the past weeks.  I'm sharing them here in my blog today to help me document and remember those moments when God allowed me to enjoy his unique traits as a gifted child.
 
 
I'm currently writing children's stories as an author.  My eldest son likes to observe (and disturb) me whenever I work.  He is so curious to find out what I'm doing in my laptop and what I am typing in it.  He has actually asked me to read my manuscript drafts to him a number of times in the past month that I had been working on my first children's story in English.
 
 
One night, he requested that I read it to him (for the nth time).  Unfortunately, I have already turned off my laptop and I was ready to sleep.  So, I told him that I will just tell him the story from memory. 
 

I'm glad he agreed and waited for me to start as he looked straight into my eyes.
 
 
I started telling the story to my son.  Then, he began interrupting me every now and then to "correct" me as I recounted the story.  He would recite some parts exactly as I wrote it in my manuscript.  Sometimes, he would ask, "Isn't it that it should be..." And he would tell a part of the story verbatim.  Actually, I didn't think of reciting the story verbatim to tell it to him. I paraphrased most of the time.  Thus, the many "corrections" from my son.  That night, I discovered that my son has memorized a great deal of my manuscript. 
 
 
I was amused and pleasantly surprised that he has memorized my work ahead of me!  I shared that thought with my husband who was listening to our mother and child storytelling session.  My husband laughed and comforted me by saying that I'm still polishing my manuscript anyway that's why I have not yet memorized my own story.  That was partly true. :)  To acknowledge another truth, I told my eldest son, "You really have a very good memory!  You can easily memorize stories or books that you read!"  His reply made me and my husband laugh harder.  He said, "Mommy, when I ask Ate (our helper) to show me the pictures in her cellphone and she tries to open the gallery, her phone would always display, not enough memory.  Maybe, I should share my memory with Ate."
 
 
In between laughs, I told him, "I wished it was that easy to share our memory with others. Also, if it's possible to share your excellent memory with others, you will have a profitable business!  You will have many customers!"  And we all laughed.  I'm not sure if he really understood my joke but it was a fun family bonding moment I will remember for a long time. 
 
 
Here's another incident.  
 
 
One afternoon, while trying to write, my eldest son who just woke up from his nap came up to me and requested that we read my children's story again.  So I opened the file in my laptop and read it to him.  In the course of reading it to him, he asked some questions.  He asked why some lines were changed since he already memorized lots of them.  He was surprised that I used new words to tell the story.  I explained to him that the way I'm telling the story is still a work in progress.  What we are reading in my laptop is one of my manuscript drafts.  It's not yet the final version. 
 
 
Then a thought occured to me.  I thought that maybe I should bring him along if in the future I need to be interviewed or I will have a press conference.  Or if one day I was interviewed and asked to recite a few lines from my story but suddenly experienced mental block, I thought that having my eldest son with me would save me from embarrassment.  I would simply ask the reporter to interview my son instead or ask my son to recite a few lines for me.  I shared this funny thought to my husband and he said that maybe it would be good for me to practice my talks or presentations with my eldest son as audience.  He joked that our eldest son could be my prompter in case I'd forget. 
 
 
Seriously though, I thank God for those moments.  I thank Him for allowing me to enjoy my son's company and just marvel at how God has wonderfully made him.  I thank God that I am able to share about my work to him as an author or writer and somehow it has become part of our homeschool activity.  He actually loves reading my story aloud and I'm delighted when he is able to read it with much feelings as if he's an expert storyteller.
 
 
I think it was yesterday or the other day when he said that he will write his own story, too.  He asked permission if he can borrow my laptop to type his story.  I happily agreed.
 
 
Earlier, he asked me to read my story again.  Since he understood by now that it's possible that there will be changes in my manuscript, he even suggested some changes in how I will tell the story.  In truth, I changed a line because he asked me to change it and I edited that line based on his suggestion.  Now, I do not only have an author in the making but an editor in the making!


One of the things we plan to do this weekend (before this day ends actually) is to record a video of our eldest son reading my story.  We have not taken a video of him yet while reading a book since he started reading at two years old.  I hope that everyone and everything will cooperate later when we choose to execute our plan. :)  (He started memorizing the books that we regularly read to him before he turned two years old. After that, I noticed that he can read some words from his books in other places.)
 
 
My husband told me during the Holy Week that it's a good lesson for our eldest son to see that I'm still changing how I tell and write my story.  He said that somehow we are sharing with him that a lot of things in our lives are not yet in its final form or version.  We can still improve on a lot of things in our lives.  I agreed.  So now, it's not just a lesson on how to write a story or a book or how to edit a story but we are talking about life lessons like improving our lives or improving ourselves.
 
 
I'm so glad that we are homeschooling our kids.  Our daily activities become learning opportunities in themselves and they help me and my husband become more aware of how we are living our lives or how our activities are impacting our children.
 
 
Most of all, I thank God that He gives me those wonderful and unique bonding moments with my son where I can pause and enjoy the gift that he is to our family. 


* This post was added to the Catholic Bloggers Monthly Link-up Blitz for April 2013.

Interview Feature at Mommy Talks of The Mommy Journey

I'm so blessed and honored to be featured at Mommy Talks of The Mommy Journey by blogger mom Christine Amador.  I thank God for this opportunity to share how He has been instrumental in my journey from a very busy working girl to a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) to a work-at-home mom (WAHM) eventually.  It is my joy and my privilege to testitfy how our awesome and faithful God intervened, guided and encouraged me in my mommy journey. 
 
 
Please head over to The Mommy Journey and read my WAHM story.  Hope you'd be encouraged and inspired to trust in God's great plans!
 
 
To God be the glory!
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sharing my recent Breakthrough as a Parent

"Gifted children often do not respond to the types of parenting techniques that  neurotypical children do."

I read this line yesterday from one of the articles in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF) Facebook Page entitled Diagnosis: Gifted.  I was comforted and relieved somehow to read this line; for I had been challenged in the past years parenting my now four year old who has been consistently assessed by his developmental pediatrician in the past years to be potentially gifted.  It helps to be reminded of this fact especially on challenging days at home.
 
I'm blessed to have discovered the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum through the internet.  I have been reading their resources and I'm learning a lot, not just about my son but also about myself.  I think one of my most recent blessings through this group came when I asked a question in the yahoo groups of GHF last March 15, 2013.  I was surprised and (positively) overwhelmed by the support and inputs shared by the members as a response to my question and my concern about teaching my eldest son the virtue of obedience.  I still have much to learn, much to read (books on parenting gifted children) and try other ways to teach him this virtue.  But I'm so glad I asked my question out of my desperation because it led me to find people who undertands what I'm going through as a parent of a gifted child.
 
I was comforted when most of them said that being strong-willed, not obeying right away, negotiations here and there or challenging things/people is common in gifted children and that gifted kids eventually become more cooperative and obedient as they grow older and mature.  I was happy to be reminded that these traits in gifted kids are strengths as well when used in the right place and time and when kids learn to argue or express themselves respectfully.
 
I've been pondering these things in my heart since then and been reading as much material on giftedness as I could.  I was desperate and I really wanted to understand my son better and have a better relationship with him.
 
Then, I saw this picture posted in GHF in Facebook.  It caught my attention.  I know that my eldest son is different from most children I know in my circle.  He behaves differently.  Does it mean that he needs to be fixed?
 
 

I carried this thought in my mind and heart until my husband and I attended a two-day Holy Week Retreat.  God spoke powerfully to me through our retreat master (lay preacher and best selling author), Brother Bo Sanchez.  He discussed, in one of his talks, the anatomy of a breakthrough.
 
He said that a breakthrough has 3 parts:
 
1. Humiliation - He said that humiliation is the birthplace of a breakthrough. One needs to experience this to get to the point of desperation.  I went through that.  I was at a loss on what else to do to manage our eldest son's behavior.
 
2. Hope - He said that we need to believe that God has a better plan for our lives.  When he hope, we move closer to our breakthrough instead of simply breaking down.
 
3. Humility - The third part he said is seeking wisdom and doing things we've never done before.  In my case, I went out of my current circle and searched for people who can understand more my challenges in raising a gifted child.  I have never shared in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum before my March 15 post. 
 
I was desperate for answers and support in being a parent of a gifted child.  I humbled myself and acknowledged that I'm searching for answers and I have not figured him out.  I recognized my struggle to understand how God has made him.
 
On the second day of our retreat, Brother Bo talked about our inner movies.  He said that if we really want changes in our lives, we have to change our inner movies.  Last night, my husband and I talked about our son and he reminded me that maybe I need to change my inner movie about my son so that I would not be struggling so much in parenting him. 
 
The teachings in our retreat and my discussion with my husband led me to remember the picture posted in the Facebook Page of GHF about being different.  I felt God telling me to recognize everything that makes him beautifully different from typical kids and to embrace my son's traits completely.
 
I was also reminded of the other things preached by Brother Bo at the Grand Easter Celebration of our community. 

He said:

"We love to fix things.  But we can't fix people.  We should not attempt to fix people because we can't.  We'll simply end up frustrated.  There are even things that we can't fix." 

Then, he shared about his current difficulty -- his aging mom who is now bedridden.  With much emotion, he said, "I can't fix old age."
 
What he said are true. 
 
I thank God for reminding me how uniquely different and beautiful my eldest son is and that I should not attempt to fix him.  I'm changing my inner movie so I can behave and respond differently to my son's behaviors that challenge me as a parent.

 
During the retreat, we were invited to pray big prayers to God.  One of my big prayers is that I'd be able to understand and embrace my son's giftedness so much that I will not only have a great relationship with him but I will also become an advocate/champion for gifted parents and children in the Philippines.  I have actually emailed the Philippine Center for Gifted Education, Inc. before Holy Week to ask if they already have support groups for parents of gifted children because I want to be part of one.  I have yet to get an answer from them.  My husband suggested that I volunteer to help them organize if they have not organized one yet.  I'm seriuosly considering his suggestion.

Here's a worship song with the same title as our Holy Week Retreat.


 
 

Let me end this post by sharing how God gave me so much hope and joy on Easter Sunday.
 
More than a year ago, my family and I attended The Feast (our community's weekly prayer meeting) in PICC.  My eldest was almost 3 years old then.  The worship was led by a young preacher who was leading the singing by playing his guitar as well.  That scene had an impact on my eldest son because his favorite musician at that time was Tommy Walker.  At that time, my eldest son loved watching Tommy Walker's videos over and over especially the video where Tommy Walker plays his guitar with a strap while leading worship and singing Only a God Like You.  When my son saw the young man on the stage with a guitar leading worship, he got so excited.  He rushed to side of the balcony, pressed his face on the glass and watched with awe (mouth open) as the young man on stage sang his heart out in worship.  Then he said to me, "Mommy, when I'm bigger, I'll be on that stage too leading worship and playing my guitar just like Tommy Walker in the video."
 
video
 
 
I almost forgot that incident.  Maybe I had been focused more in my difficulties with his ways (hyperactivity, insatiable curiosity, intensity, oversensitivity) instead of focusing on his positive traits (like his very advanced reading ability, math skills, giftedness in music, prayerfulness, thoughtfulness, helpfulness).  There are times when I forget that his traits that challenge me are also good but can be tiring or draining to caregivers of children like him.
 
But last Easter Sunday, God reminded me of that incident/scene and that conversation with my child.  God used the same young preacher who inspired my eldest son to prophesy his future to resurrect that moment in my mind!  I was so amazed!  What perfect timing!  God has just given me a new movie to play in my mind!  I felt that God did not only give me hope but He also gave me a picture/vision of what my son can/will do when he's older.  So, after the celebration, I shared my story briefly to Brother Audee and had our picture taken with him.  I want to look at this picture often, everyday even, to remind me of that conversation that I had with my son more than a year ago and to sustain me in hope that all these challenges I'm experiencing in parenting him are temporary.  All these shall pass.  I claim that we are moving towards our victory one day at a time.
 

With Brother Audee

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mom First Before WAHM (Work-at-Home Mom)

I've been struggling in the past two days.  I could barely work.  I could barely think about my projects without being interrupted.  My eldest (a preschooler) has been missing his afternoon nap.  He has been sleeping late, too.  He simply doesn't want to sleep.  There's so much that he wants to do (i.e read books, run around, climb anything tall or high, clean the house, arrange his books in the bookcase, etc.).  My stress and struggle come from my long to-do list as a WAHM (Work-at-Home Mom).  I have manuscripts to finish, articles to write, a website to build, a business to run, blogs to update, and many other things that have temporarily slipped my mind as I now type hurriedly in my laptop.  I usually work while my kids sleep so when they miss their naps or sleep much later than expected, my work schedule gets disrupted.
 
It's a struggle not to let the stress of deadlines turn me into one cranky mom.  It's a struggle to remain positive and hopeful that I can still finish the work that I have committed to do without any hesitation to stamp my name on it given my very limited time.
 
I struggle because I know that these other work-related things I'm busy with are aligned with my passions and are dreams that God has planted in my heart.
 
Today, as I struggled, I whispered Nehemiah prayers to God in between games and conversations with my kids, managing our household, and trying to accomplish some work.
 
And this is what God inspired me to ponder on as my manuscripts continue to be drafts, my ideas for future articles remain notes in my notebook, my website a work in progress, and my communication plan to my clients a plan in my head. 
 
 
 
So amid my struggles, I carried this thought in my mind the whole day.  It somehow helped me stress less about my deadlines and worry less about not achieving my work goals.  My heart is not totally at peace but I am calmer. 
 
I thank the Lord for reminding me that I'm a Mom first and that it's only after I have done my duties as a Mom that I can work on my tasks as a WAHM.  I was reminded of the right order between my roles and this helped me put things in perspective.  It reminded me that I'm more at peace, more confident and focused in working at my WAHM projects when I'm satisfied with how I have performed my Mommy duties.
 
This is not an easy road for me to take; for I'm the kind of person who takes deadlines and goals set seriously.  I guess God is teaching me humility and surrender these past days.  He must be reminding me that it is only by His grace that I can still finish all the things/projects I have started and still fulfill my duties as a wife and mother.  He must be asking me to let go of my planned outcomes and timetables so He can take over and give me the best outcomes possible.   
 
How's my day so far?  Still busy.  At some points, I felt that all the concerns in my head (domestic and work concerns combined) are driving me crazy.  So I paused and prayed Nehemiah prayers again just to keep me going and to keep my calm. 
 
How did I manage to write this post?  I let my kids sing and dance their heart out to Hillsong and Don Moen music while playing some musical instruments.  I let them play some imaginative game.  Like right now, they are imagining that the cover of our woven hamper is their boat and they are sailing from one island to the next.  I admit that it's extra challenging to write or think when the kids walk up to me every now and then and there's so much noise in the background.  It's harder to focus on the work that I need to do or finish when I'm keeping an eye on the kids as they go around our house, climb up furnitures and fixtures or make a mess.  I guess that's what makes me more desperate for God's grace and mercy.  I guess these challenges are God's ways of bringing me to a very good place... a place where He can work more miracles in my life both as a Mom and Work-at-Home Mom.  Thus, for all these struggles and challenges, I still give Him thanks and praise!
 
Are you a Work-at-Home Mom, too?  What are you struggling with lately? 

 
Note: I'm linking this post to the Catholic Bloggers Monthly Link-up Blitz for April. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Math and Entrepreneurship Lessons through Play

My eldest son got a new toy from my godmother (ninang) who happened to be one of the principal sponsors during our wedding as well.  The toy was one of the toys in my son's wish list.  It's now one of his new favorites. 
 
 
As he played with it, I discovered new ways to teach him Math and entrepreneurship.
 
 
One of his favorite pretend plays and pretend businesses is having a grocery store.  Since he now has a parking building and new toy cars, he decided that his new business will be to rent out his parking space in his new parking building. 
 
 
In the past weeks, we discussed about not making his parking building crowded because his customers will not like crowded parking areas where vehicles are parked too close to each other.  he was also imagining that he has an open parking for rent aside from the parking buidling that he now plays with.  When his parking building becomes full of vehicles, he parks the other vehicles in his open parking area.
 
 
I asked him one time how much is the rent.  He answered, "One peso!"
 
 
I asked him again to clarify.  "Is that one peso per minute or one peso per hour?"
 
 
He replied, "One peso per minute."
 
 
I then told him that there are sixty minutes in one hour so that means that he is charging 60 pesos per hour as parking fee in his parking building.
 
Yanthy's new business - parking space for rent.
 
 
I also shared with him that there are 24 hours in one day.  He already knows that there are 7 days in one week.  We have not yet discussed the number of days in a month or in a year.  Next time, I will ask him how much he will charge per month.  I will teach him about using contracts, too, for his monthly renters.
 
 
Yesterday, I suggested that he make a parking fee for his renters just like what we get when we park our car in the mall parking areas.  He said that he will make parking tickets next time.
 
 
I'm looking forward to our next conversations.  I'm excited about the new and other things we can talk about as we play pretend parking.
 

* This post has been added to the Catholic Bloggers Monthly Link-up Blitz for April 2013.