Saturday, August 1, 2015

When God said "No"



Tonight while Em-j was reading her Bible, she said "Mommy, when Paul was preaching, a young man seated on a window sill fell (Acts 20), he died but Paul healed him. How come God did not heal Daddy?" I was stunned by her question. I was speechless for a while. I dread the time that she will ask me this question and I did not expect it to be this soon. I was not prepared. I know that was an honest question coming from a daughter who missed the Daddy she loves so dearly. She then started crying and calling for Daddy. I know I told her "God did not heal Daddy here on Earth but remember there is no more pain in Heaven, so Daddy is healed in Heaven". I tried to console her some more but then I started crying with her. In my effort to console her, I must have said some other statements that did not make sense because honestly, Bong's early passing does not make sense to me. We want him here with us. We were supposed to be together in raising the kids. He still has so much to teach the kids. He still has to discipline Zek because he listens to him more than he listens to me. Eunice is so young and I feel bad that she won't get to know Daddy as much as Em-j did.

When Bong was brought to the hospital by the paramedics, the kids and I knelt down before the Lord. We asked God to take care of him. While I was getting ready, I told the kids that I will be back with Daddy or if he cannot go home soon we will all visit him in the hospital. Few hours later, we found out he did not make it. My life was shattered. I cannot believe it. My first reaction was "God, why did you say no to our prayers!? What am I going to tell the kids when they ask for Daddy?"

We did not get to kiss Daddy goodbye as we always do when he goes to work. The night before, when he put Em-j and Zek to bed, the kids must have told him "Good night Daddy. We love you. See you in the morning". That was their last good nights and I love yous to each other. They did not see each other the next morning. They woke up to a house full of visitors. Yet at the end of the day, Daddy did not come home. That happened on a Saturday- a day we always look forward to because finally Daddy is home with us the whole day. That weekend was also extra special because it was Father's Day that Sunday. But he did not make it to Father's Day. When Em-j is sad and crying for Daddy, she'd say "we did not get to give Daddy his Father's Day gift". She'd also say "Daddy will miss my birthday...how come he only get to live up to 40 years old?" I do not know what to tell her. I usually end up crying with her and together we yearn for Daddy's presence. I would cry to the Lord to comfort Em-j and to give her joy.  I'd hug her so tight and tell her I love her so much. I wanted to tell her I'm always here for her. But I'm scared to say those words because I'm not sure what tomorrow brings. I'm scared that I won't be here for her tomorrow. I would earnestly pray to the Lord to give me long and fruitful life. I wanna be here for her and Zek and Eunice tomorrow and the next day and each and every day of their life. I wanna see them grow and mature in the Lord. I wanna be here for them every step of the way.

When Em-j finally stopped crying and was in a happier spirit, we were able to read again, talk and sing and pray. I told her that whenever I ask Daddy tons of questions about life, he would say "I do not know everything Tyaron, but God knows everything. Trust Him more than you trust me. Love Him more than you love me. We'll keep praying and trusting God". So I told Em-j the same thing- that I do not know everything. I do not know all the answers to our questions but we can trust God because He is wise and He does not make mistakes. She smiled and said, "Mommy, I am ready to sleep now".

Then I realized God did not really say no to our prayers. We asked Him to take care of Daddy and He did. Daddy is safe in the presence of the Lord. He is absent in the body, but present with the Lord. He is truly healed.

I know that more questions will arise as we go thru this trial. I pray that we will be like Job who did not sin or charge God with wrong (Job 1:22). Maybe that day will come when we will fully understand the reasons behind God's plans. Or perhaps when the Lord comes back or He takes us home, all our questions won't matter anymore because all we would desire to do is worship Him and enjoy His glorious presence. O how I look forward to that glorious day!!! My heart cries, "Lord, come quickly!". Yet until that day comes, the kids and I will share and live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With the Lord's help, we will let this pain be a platform for His Gospel and we will testify of God's faithfulness. As difficult as it is, we will submit to His will.

To God be the glory!

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Letter For You



My Dear Friend,

I miss Bong so much. That is actually an understatement. My heart longs and aches for his presence. I've been wanting to write about this new chapter in our life. I just have not mustered the courage to do so- until now. I know this is going to be difficult since I need time alone to write. Yet when I am alone and start thinking about Bong, my tears well up and I feel like my heart is going to explode. I don't wanna be alone. I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night and think about Bong. That is when the emptiness and the pain is so profound. I'd rather whisper a quick prayer and force myself to go back to sleep and wake up when the kids are awake. Waking up with them revives my soul. I cannot wallow in grief and sadness since they need me. But I realized I need this time alone to reflect on God's goodness. I need to write to share the lessons God is teaching me. I need to write to share you my struggles so you know how to pray for me and my family. I need to write to remind you to always pray for us. I'm desperate for your prayers because I know it is impossible to go through this trial without God's mercy and grace.

Part of my struggle is having regrets. Regrets about the time we did not get to spend together as a family. I wish Bong did not have to travel a lot the past few months. I wish I bothered him more about seeing the doctor regularly and finding a new one when we moved. I wished I forced him to take that well deserved vacation from work. I wish he had enough reason to say no to the new work assignment.  I wish we knew his life will be this short. We could have cherished our last few months together. I know there's no point thinking about the what ifs and what could have been. I cannot prolong his life. No one can. I know Bong is in a better place now. He believes in Jesus as His Lord and Savior. God has saved him from eternal wrath through Jesus' blood. Jesus is eternal life and Bong has eternal life in Jesus. I just cannot help but think that it could have been better if he was terminally ill, at least there was enough time to say goodbye. Maybe it won't be this painful. Maybe. 

I know God has a purpose for this pain. I know that this affliction is momentary and it is producing for me an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. There are many Scriptures that the Holy Spirit brings to mind regarding pain and suffering and its benefits. Yet I struggle with accepting the truth. It is so difficult to think of the end result when my heart is wounded. It is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when my eyes are covered with tears and my feet cannot bear another step through this tunnel. But then again I realized Christ is my light in the darkness. He is with me thru this trial. My head knows the truth but my heart cannot accept it. Now I understand better why the heart can be deceitful. I have to cling onto the Lord. I cannot lose hope. I cannot rely on my own understanding. I cannot lose the lessons He is teaching me. I can grieve with hope and I can glorify Him thru this suffering.

Those are my struggles. I covet your prayers. To Him be all the glory!


P.S. 

Thank you for always praying for me and the kids. I want to share with you my new favorite song:


VERSE 1
When You lead me to the valley of vision
I can see You in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn’t be my decision
It’s here Your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley’s where You make me more like Christ

CHORUS
Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You’re near with every breath
In the valley

VERSE 2
In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley’s where Your power is revealed

© 2006 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).
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Friday, May 30, 2014

Em's Kindergarten Graduation

Hi there!  It's been a while since my last blog post. We've been busy with the arrival of the new addition to our family! We are still adjusting to our new schedule (or lack of it). The kiddos are truly excited about having a new baby at home. Em couldn't wait for her to grow up so they can play (girly) games together, while Z cannot stop from kissing her.

Going back to Em's graduation... finally, on May 18th, we get to celebrate it with our church family and my husband's family. It is also extra special because my mom was able to witness it. She is here for only two months to take care of us after my C-section.

It was our first year homeschooling and we definitely learned a lot: from trusting God in giving us wisdom and patience in teaching Em, to Him providing financially so I can stay home, and many other daily blessings that shows us God's faithfulness and grace. I know most people don't mind having a graduation ceremony for their preschooler or kindergartner. For us, we decided to have one for Em since this is another milestone for her and our family. Our church is also very supportive of our family, that's why we decided to share this wonderful day with them. My husband's family also joined us and we had dinner with them afterwards. Double yay!! :)

Initially, we asked our Pastor if we can hold the graduation ceremony after the church service. However, I found out that most of the congregation will be attending a Bible school graduation ceremony that Sunday. Our Pastor suggested that we do a short 'ceremony' during the service. So, this is what we did: we had a slideshow of Em's K photos; a brief yet encouraging message on parenting from our Pastor, afterwards he called Em up on the stage to receive a K diploma. She then read the Sciptures and then our Pastor prayed for her (as part of the Pastoral Prayer).

We only get to record the Scripture Reading part, I wish I had the graduation 'ceremony' recorded. I think it lasted for only 15 mins.

Here's the slideshow:


Here is Em reading the Scriptures:


First Day of Kindergarten
April 15, 2013


Last Day of Kindergarten
February 28, 2014



 Praise God and to Him be all the glory! 

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Freebies

Here are the links to Free Resources we love and enjoy:

Daily Devotionals from Grace To You


Drawing Near                Strength for Today

 
 Daily Bible                    Daily Readings
Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary


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Why We Are Home Educating Our Children



"Do you want to have weird kids!?". That was my friend's mom's response when she told her that she hopes to have a family of her own and homeschool her children. I think that is how exactly she perceives our kids, she was just nice enough to keep her opinion from us. A relative also told us that "it is not normal for kids to just stay home and not attend a regular school". I responded as respectfully as I could that "just because she doesn't fully understand how homeschooling works, doesn't mean it will ruin our kids". I thought if being “normal” means being conformed to the world, I don’t want our kids to be normal! (On a side note, we also get encouraging comments about homeschooling.)

I first learned about homeschooling 13 years ago. I used to attend a church in Manila where the very first seminar I joined was a Parenting Seminar. There, they discussed about homeschooling and it got my attention. It made an impact especially in my heart, a desire to someday (get married and) homeschool my kids. My darling husband knows from the time we started talking (not dating, since ours was a long-distance courting/relationship) that he needs to work harder since I was determined to stay at home and homeschool our kids.

Fast forward 11 years and Em is ready for Preschool! That was one of the most exciting days of my life! Praise God! He is truly gracious in granting me the desires of my heart. My darling husband and I sat together, talked and prayed about our vision in home educating our children. Here is the worksheet that helped us in our discussion. It is part of the series 10 Days of Homeschooling Enrichment. 


The following are the reasons why we educate our children at home:

1. We believe that as parents, we are the one who are primarily responsible in teaching our children.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:5-9

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

It doesn't mean that we are cannot hire piano teachers and such, but we know that we are our children's main teacher. We understand that along the way, the lessons are going to be harder, our finances will be (more) limited, and it won’t be easy to be patient all the time. One thing we are sure about- that God's grace is sufficient in our weaknesses. Home educating will draw us more dependent on God- not only intellectually or financially, but more so spiritually.

1 Corinthians 15:33 says that “bad company corrupts good character”. Kids are easily influenced by their peers. If any thing, we would like to be the greatest influence in their lives. We desire to exemplify Christ and tell them “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).


2. We believe that the ultimate goal of education is to know God and become more like Christ.

"And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:15-17

 "but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 2:18

Okay, it's not like we are doing Sunday School every single day. It just means that every subject (Math, Science, History, etc.) stems from the truth that God is the God over all. We will teach them what is in accordance to His Word because His Word is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.

We know the importance of teaching them well academically, but we believe that the essence of homeschooling is character training- it is discipling our children into knowing Christ and becoming more like Him. We are going to take every opportunity to point them to Christ. It is not our goal to raise smart kids, we desire to raise up WISE kids who will love and honor Christ.


3. We believe that as parents, we need to equip our children to serve God, the church and the community. 

"And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:15-17

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

A college degree and a decent earning job would be nice, but that's not the end of it all. We desire for them to have their minds set on things above, not on earthly things. Lord willing, God will grant them salvation and with the power of His Word, they are well equipped for every good work. They need to be workers who are disciplined, trustworthy, hardworking and good stewards of God's resources- to serve and represent God in the work place (and at church and at home). We hope to raise humble servants, not self-indulged princesses and kings.

Our hearts desire and prayer for our children is to Grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, to Glow in this dark world, and to Go and make disciples of all nations- all for the glory of God!


We would like to share Noah Webster's Definition of Education:
 




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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tot School- Learning Shapes Can Be Fun!


Lately, Z has been interested in numbers and shapes (more than the alphabets). I read from this article that learning shapes helps children identify objects as well as letters. More so, recognizing and naming shapes is a basic skill that will help them with math, reading, writing, and drawing too. I decided to take advantage of his desire to learn shapes and enjoy playing and learning with him.

We focused on two shapes at a time and did a review when Z is already familiar with the common shapes. To keep him interested, we used various toys, made some art projects and we also played games indoors and outdoors.

Tracing 
Printable is from here.

Sorting
I left the tray on the table and this is what he did. He was pointing to his nose and said that his shapes has a nose. I then expalined to him what he is supposed to do- which is to put the cut-out squares and rectangles on its respective spot/box.



Matching



I formed shapes using various materials and I asked him to form his own.
Forming shapes using:
 -Cuisinaire rods

 - Cottons swabs

-yarn

GAMES:

Shape Hunt








BEAN BAG TOSS



GROSS MOTOR SHAPE GAME
I drew shapes on the pavement. I called on to a certain shape and he has to step on it. Z and Em had lots of fun playing this.



PUZZLES
I set out the "name" part of the puzzle and he has to find the other half.

FUN WITH SESAME STREET FLASHCARDS
I lined up the flashcards and asked questions like "where is the yellow rectangle? He would then set aside the correct flashcard. He also gets to move around (a lot)- which is a good thing to use up his extra energy!



He is fond of dominoes, so we used it to "review" rectangles.

To reinforce learning, we did some reviews. He lets his frog hop on to the shape I called out.


CRAFTS 

I cut out various shapes and instructed Em and Z to make a house and a tree. I was surprised that Z is not bothered with the sticky glue. He is usually unhappy when his hands are dirty and sticky.


Em joined us and got pretty creative in adding fruits to her tree and a welcome rug. Z wanted some fruits too!

He also requested to make a robot.

SNACKS

Z's favorite! Fries!!


 Who knows learning shapes can be fun!! :)
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