Our little Anna turns one, and with gratitude we praise God for the joy she has been in our lives. She is indeed a gift, a surprise one. She definitely is our teacher of many things.
For one, my pregnancy with her was difficult and emotionally draining. She also was colic for almost 3 months and we were sleepless for almost all that time. She taught me perseverance, resilience, patience and a desire to always commune with God.
This child has also opened the heart of our eldest son. Joshua’s heart is more loving and generous. He has learned to share his toys and his life with Anna. He also laughs and enjoys family because she is around. It’s pretty amazing to watch because Joshua would tell me almost everyday, “you know, I love Anna. I love her. I’m the best Manong in the whole world”.
Who would have thought that God’s favor would pour over and allow us to raise a daughter. Though she is reserved in her nature, she is a bit of a rock and roll star with her powerful voice. She does not mind getting all dirty and is pretty chill for the most part. She loves to eat and sleep… Yes she dances and sings too! On her own she carries baby conversations and is a little explorer of her brother’s toys. She can stack toys for 2-3 year olds with her excellent motor skills. She is an amazing little girl.
I pray that she grows into the fullness of God’s purpose and that she will be a favored one who will bring many to the Lord Jesus.
Thank you Lord for allowing me to know how wonderful and beautiful it is to love a daughter. Thanks you for the 365 days of be holding this beautiful gift — our sweet darling, Anna.
Many ask how I met Steve. Everybody gets giddy when I say “it was a blind date”. Yes it was my first blind date and last… and finally he became the man I married!
That blind date I remember so clearly. I arrived 30 minutes late in Les Souffle and he was cool and collected. He was smoking his cigar and having scotch — and I thought, “He isn’t my type”. On the other hand, I had a cold so I was sneezing and blowing my nose throughout the dinner date … (Not very attractive, ey). It was a double blind date because we each brought a friend who we tried to pair as well. It was a tense night, because we were all getting to know each other. The night ended in suspense. I wondered if I will hear from him again. But Steve did call and we got to know each other more through more dates.
When we met he was 28, working as a stock broker and starting a Fund Portfolio Management Company. I was a 22-year-old working student. We became friends for 6 years before we tied the knot. Our marriage is a gift from the Lord… It’s a journey of faith. We waited for seven years before God gave us children. The journey also made us grow as a couple especially when God led my husband, Steve, into government service. Now, we are parents, and together we are learning how to raise our children to love God and our neighbors.
Today he celebrates his 44th birthday. I want to honor Steve, my husband, friend, and the father of my children.
Strength – You have been my strength, my source of security. Your love has allowed me to bloom to be the woman I am today. You have always given me freedom to express my gifts and you encourage me to be my best. Your prayers for me have covered my weak points. You have provided for me and our children. When I feel insecure, you remind me that God is all we need… Thank you Steve for being my strength.
Truth– You have always spoken truth and you avoid sugar-coating the truth. You say what needs to be heard because of love. You have also encouraged me because you love God’s Word. You desire God’s truth and want to obey Him. I am so blessed that you are after God’s heart. I am a very fortunate wife because you are honest to admit your mistakes and you never found it hard to say “I’m sorry”.
Empathy – God has given you a heart for people. Your passion to serve the helpless and bring some light to the hopeless has fueled my own desire to serve others. When you host those medical missions and bring hope to people with challenges on health, it energizes you. When you are able to help someone get an opportunity out of difficulty, I see gladness on your face. It is your joy to see other people happy.
Visionary– The more I know you, Steve… the more I understand that you are a man focused on one vision — To make God the Center. You want God to be the center of our marriage, the center of our family, the center of your service, the center of everything. When God is at the center of everything, then all things will fall in its proper place. We have seen that in our lives. Even in the midst of the storms, because God is at the center, there is great peace. Your vision for Sarangani is God-centered Prosperity — Our declaration is, “Without God we can do nothing”.
Excellence – One thing about you, Steve, is that you like things done excellently. You have patience to train and develop leaders to be more efficient, to think outside the box, and to go beyond. You are not over bearing but you command respect. Even at home, you are patient with us. We know that you want us to do things with eager hearts and to do things well. I thank God that you have that virtue because this sets as a good example to our children. You are a great adviser to all your siblings and to me on achieving our goals and reaching are full potential. God is to be praised for giving us someone like you.
Over all, I want to say “I love you”. You are such a good and faithful husband to me… Thank you for taking care of me and our children. You are the man who continues to hold my heart. We love you dearly, babe.
The Lord has been so good to us and really the last 24 months has been a blessing. Our home is filled with joy. Also having Joshua in our lives has brought us to a journey of many emotions — anxiety and worry especially when the baby would get sick; anger when my husband and I would disagree on parenting styles; bliss when you catch your baby’s milestones; agape love when you get long hugs and wet kisses from our little one; and satisfying joy when our little guy says “amen” after we pray… What a privilege it is to go through this journey.
For his second birthday, we decided to do a small get together of about 8 kids. At 2 years old, our little Joshua is more aware of his surroundings. I did not want him to be overwhelmed with so many people and not really enjoy his own birthday party. So, we decided to keep it small.
I did the rounds of ordering his cake, getting balloons, preparing loot bags, planning games, and getting the menu for his afternoon party. I was getting excited for his afternoon party. However, 3 days before his birthday he started to get fever. Though he was active, it’s not a good sign to have fever. We brought him to the pediatrician after 2 days of his fever, and we discovered he had some respiratory infection. This meant he needed to be medicated and to rest. To make the long story short, we had to cancel his party because we did not want any other kid to get his infection. 😦
So, mommy had to make a different plan… Joshua enjoys watching surprise eggs on YouTube. So this time around we prepared him 24 surprise eggs where some surprise item was inside the plastic eggs.
When Joshua woke up we led him to our room and showed him the surprise eggs. Yup, he was so surprised to see it live!
He loved the eggs so much, we were repackaging the items back in the plastic eggs as he continued to open them again and again. It was hilarious but the gift was such a hit! Then we still prepped his afternoon surprise which was for him to blow his candles on the Pocoyo cake (made by Confections by Liezl). Joshua was so cute, because when he saw what we prepared for him, he started to dance! He did not only blow the candle, he even went straight for Ellie (the pink elephant).
I thank the Lord that despite our failed plans, Joshua nonetheless made us feel he had an awesome birthday. Our prayer is that our son continues to grow in wisdom, stature, knowledge and love for Jesus. Everything else will follow if God is at the center.