Good Example

Joshua does not fail to amuse me… He is one smart little ranger (this is what his uncle Ken would call him). He was only 2 months when he started to to do tummy crawl. At 3 months he can open and close his hand when we would show him our fist opening and closing. He also got the gist of the “animal sound” game on my iphone, where he had to touch the screen in order for the animal to make its sound. He watches what we do, and imitates us.

Just the other night, Joshua woke up in the middle of the night. He was wide awake and did not want to go back to bed. Instead I decided for him to hang out with us in the room. He was resting on a pillow and watching tv just like his daddy. He just kept looking back and forth between the tv and his dad. Later, his eyes was just glued on his dad who was eating pakwan (Squash seeds). A little later, I found him on his tummy exerting effort to crawl. So I placed my hands at the sole of his feet to help him with his crawl. He pushed hard to get his way to guess where? He crawled from his side of the bed to his dad’s side!20130429-212434.jpg

A little later he stood by his dad and kept looking at what he was doing. He was observing his daddy cracking and peeling the seeds and chewing it. Later, Joshua understood that daddy seemed to enjoy it, and was constantly eating it. He became interested that he grabbed the bag and tried to give himself some…

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I was taking these photos and giggling while watching how Joshua was trying to imitate his dad. What dada does, he wants to do. He also does this when Steve works on his laptop, Joshua would come near and push himself downwards so his fingers could touch the keyboard. He has a fondness of his Dad, that he wants to try what his dada is doing.

What I saw just stuck in my head like God was showing me a life lesson. Parents have a great influence over their children. Joshua observed what his Dad was doing and followed it. It was not his dad’s words that he was imitating, but his dad’s actions. This reminded me, we as parents have to be good examples to Josh. “Actions speak louder than words” suddenly meant very real to me. Parenting should be intentional not a “que sera sera – whatever will be will be” kind.

God is showing me that our child will follow us… Our good traits and including our bad traits. So, we need God’s power to model righteousness so he would grow up to live in righteousness. We can’t teach this to our son, apart from God.

I realize as parents, we need to stay connected with The Lord. How else will we be able to raise our kids in the knowledge and love of God, if we starve ourselves from reading the bible and exercising love? I admit that with the demands of a young infant, I can find very little time for quiet time. But when I do, I feel empowered and energized. I can have more quiet time if I look at my Facebook less. Hahaha. It’s true though, God wants me to grow as a parent. He is teaching me many valuable lessons through his Word. So, I am writing this as a declaration that I will continue to have quiet time so I can grow in knowledge and love and that will make me the best mom I can be for my son. So help us God become good examples of your grace and love!

Personal pick – Lamaze Books

As soon as Joshua hit 3 months, his curiosity grew. Perhaps his eye sight can clearly see colors that he could better appreciate what he could see.

At 3 months, Joshua is able to hold his head, stand on his legs when supported, he reacts positively to my voice and to those in the family, he can grasp things and coo. I loved witnessing each of his milestone. Thanks to technology today it’s just easier to capture it and share.

We were in Davao back then, when I had to attend a meeting. Since I’m a breastfeeding mom, I can’t be apart from Joshua. Where I go, he goes.

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SM Lanang was just a perfect place to stroll young babes. So I took him for a shopping trip. I had to buy new set of clothes for Joshua as he was quickly outgrowing his clothes. Then, I decided to get him a gift for being such a good boy. He did not throw a tantrum or complained while I went shopping. So we stopped at the toy section. I would show him rattles and toys. If he did not show interest, he would just bite his fingers and look at the toy with a blank stare. But if he liked something, he would stretch his arms, kick his legs, and smile. I thought, this is great because my baby gets to pick what he wants and enjoy it (and mommy’s money does not go to waste).

Then, I saw baby books for babies as early as 0+ months. I did not realize book reading is encouraged even before a baby turns a month old! So I showed Joshua the books. He liked them. Since there was quite a selection, I chose the 2 books he got most excited with.

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Both books are products of LAMAZE. The “Panda’s Pals” book is a soft book made of fabric and colors of subjects predominantly in black and white. The other book Joshua chose is the hard bound one, “Farm Sounds”. We started a new routine where we include reading of these 2 books everyday. He loves it and its a good bonding time for us as he listens to me talking and him looking at the subjects in the book.

I have researched about reading to children while they are young. It builds up their interest in reading as they grow older. They will associate reading as fun! I highly recommend Lamaze books for our babes!

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Dedicating to God

Christmas 2012 will forever be a special yuletide for the family of my husband. My father-in-law was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer before Christmas that year. After that news, the entire family made a conscious decision to make most of the TIME.

Steve wanted his dad to be present at every important event he could witness. So we decided to rush the Child Dedication of Joshua.

The preparation was short…We only had a week and half to prepare. We also wanted it to be attended only by an intimate few. Because besides Joshua, the other most important person in this event, is Dad. He was so excited to see his grandson’s christening.

As a new mom of a 1 month old baby at that time, I did not get enough sleep. I have to say that the event was arranged by the grace of God. I have to thank all that pitched in. My sister-in-law, Pria, helped me connect with the caterer, and she took charge of the cup cake give-away. My twin sister, Monique, lent us their sound system, projector screen. My brother-in-law, John Mateos Ong, took care of taking photos to document the Dedication. My brother Gino and his praise & worship band took care of the music. We were so privileged that Pastor Peter Tanchi was available to minister the Child Dedication. We were also happy that the chosen godparents made themselves available to attend. God was making all things fall into place.

The Child Dedication is an important milestone in our family. The physical preparation is one thing, but this event was a God-moment for us. I was reading Exodus and here God was very clear. Exodus 22:29 “Do not wait before giving Me a gift from your gathered grain and the fruit of your fields.

You will give to Me the first-born of your sons.

As I continued reading, God was speaking louder about who Joshua is to us… Exodus 34:19 “Every first-born belongs to Me.

In my heart, I understood this clearly. Joshua, our first-born son is a blessing and a gift from God, but he really isn’t ours. He is ultimately the Lord’s. We are just stewards of his life and we are to raise Him to fear and love God.

Again, I am reminded of Hannah. She waited on The Lord for years to conceive a child. When God fulfilled His promise to her, she vowed her son, Samuel, to be God’s. Here is the account of Hannah speaking to Eli the high priest, “She said, “Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the Lord. For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:26-28 NASB).

Dedicating Joshua

Dedicating Joshua

Pastor Peter exhorted that when we dedicate the child to the Lord, we are giving back the child to God, and trusting that God will take care of him. We, his parents must walk with the Lord Jesus. So that one day, Joshua will make the decision to follow Jesus and publicly declare it in baptism. The godparents also will be our witness and Joshua’s support when he needs it. I was so delighted that everyone prayed a blessing over Joshua and it was declared that God will raise him up and will use him mightily.

To cap the Child Dedication, we also dedicated Dad Ruben’s life to God too! Everyone prayed over him, and it blessed him so much… As I look back, Daddy Ben was so happy that day. He did not mind people seeing him in a wheel chair. He savored that moment to be part of this family affair.

Dedicating Daddy Ben

Dedicating Daddy Ben

Daddy Ben, joined the Lord in March 2013. We all miss him a lot. But we know that he surrendered his life to Jesus and he dedicated his life to the Lord. Thus, we know that this is just a momentary separation until we all join him in heaven.

A Family in the Lord, will reunite again in heaven

A Family in the Lord, will reunite again in heaven

Mommy needs Mommy friends

Aren’t you glad that in this day and age, there are just so many information about caring for our little ones? Just GOOGLE SEARCH and you will find tons of data about motherhood and caring for babies. There are also very helpful applications that you can download on your laptop or on your smart phones. You can download BABYCENTER and What to Expect When You’re Expecting. They have become very helpful tools in reminding moms about vaccinations, charting milestones, etc.

But I have to say, nothing beats having a mommy friend. Even with all the information found on the net or in books, there is nothing like an assurance from another mother that what you are going through is absolutely normal. Encouragement from family and friends who have kids are precious as gold.

I have found so much comfort when I call my sister or talk to my other mommy friends about things I get puzzled about my baby. I remember calling Monique (my sister) about breastfeeding — what to do when I get engorged, what “essentials” to buy for breastfeeding, etc. Another friend, who has been such a great source of encouragement is my friend, Lia. Since our babies are just three weeks apart, there are so much similar things we are experiencing. We sort of compare notes on different issues. I also have a group of mommy friends online that give free advise when you ask for it. Its been such as wonderful support to my motherhood.

Mommies' Support System

Mommies’ Support System

Also recently, Lia, my sister, and I, went to a Mommy Bazaar in Rockwell Tent in Manila. This was my first time to attend a Mommy Mundo event and it was a grand gathering of mompreneurs! I felt like 3 hours in that bazaar was not enough with all these great mommy products!

First on our list was buying clothes that had easy access to breastfeeding. Mommy Matters carries that line of breastfeeding clothes. There are also really trendy baby traveling bags that makes mommies look great at being a mom! I bought also one for myself from Nursing Mom.

Mommy Mundo Stuff

Mommy Mundo Stuff

Other interesting products include organic baby food, baby developmental toys, protective baby rider for grocery carts, screen covers for fans to protect your little ones from finger accidents… and lots, lots, of other stuff. It was a perfect venue for moms to gather and shop baby-friendly products made by OC (obsessive compulsive) kind of Mommies! Wishing for an event just like that in Mindanao… maybe we shall be organizing one this year. We shall keep you mommies updated.

I thank God for Mommy friends! They are angels in disguise. Without them knowing it, their advises have given me confidence and good mental health! Hahaha…

The Blessing Habit

I am celebrating my 36th birthday today with my son Joshua who also turns 4 months. I also am not forgeting my twin sister, Monique, who I am privileged to have in my life. I feel really blessed, and looking back in our lives, I can truly say God has turned curses into blessings. He continues to shower us with His love, its been an amazing journey.

I want to share about my conviction on the Habit of Blessing. Steve and I joined a bible study where the topic touched on the culture of blessing. If you are Filipino, you know that we are a hospitable, nice, and warm people. You also know that at the other side of the coin, we are a very critical and judgmental people. Just greeting people casually we would say things such as, “You got fat. (Tumaba ka ah!)” or “You got dark. (Ang itim mo ngayon).” or “Why are you so skinny, you must not be eating. (Bakit ang payat mo, hindi ka kumakain, ano?)” and so on and so forth. You get my drift.

Generally, we are not a people that like to praise or give away blessings. Its quite counter-culture for the Israelites for Blessing is part of their life. Every Sabbath, the father would gather his family and over a meal he would initiate the blessing of each of his children. From there each member of the family would bless one another. It is no wonder that even if they are few, Israelites are strong, intelligent, and prosperous people. This makes them a blessed nation.

Our conviction is to bless our family and to ask the Holy Spirit to help us be less critical and judgmental of people. So, even while Joshua was in the womb, Steve and I would speak blessing over his life. We would pray that God would make him a healthy and strong boy, handsome and tall, intelligent and wise, would have a loving and obedient heart to God and us his parents, to have a humble yet joyful spirit. Oh, and the special blessing that Steve is declaring includes that Joshua will bring million upon millions to Jesus! Even after Joshua was born we continue to practice this daily to declare blessing in his life.

I truly believe what the bible says about our mouths and blessings:

Proverbs 10:11 “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.”
Proverbs 12:14 “From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.”
Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eats its fruit”

In the bible the final blessing of a father is sought after by the children. Look at the accounts of Isaac and Jacob, and how this final blessing is so important to the next generation. Just last Christmas, Steve’s family experienced this very special and meaningful blessing. Daddy Ruben called his children over the Noche Buena dinner table and for the first time, I see my father-in-law deciding to lead the prayer. He first thanked God for his life. After, he started to bless his children and grand children. As he called each child by name, I saw them closing their eyes, nodding and their hearts openly receiving their blessing. It was such a profound sight. That Christmas dinner had laughter, tears, songs, and overjoyed feeling of family and love. Even Joshua received his blessing from his Lolo. He said “Joshua, may you be a good Christian just like your parents.” This we believe and declare.

Today, I too received a blessing from my mom, who accidentally thought I was turning 37 today! Hahaha.

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As they say, if you discipline to do something regularly it becomes a habit… And blessing as a habit is a very good thing!

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