When your child teaches grace…

I was so happy to have been invited by Child Evangelism Fellowship to share to a group of pastors how I taught my 3 year old son about the bible. I shared how my 3 year old was able to memorise 10 bible verses.  I was in so much delight to encourage them to keep sharing the gospel to every child in their home, church and community.  It was a blessed morning of testimony sharing.

Returning home from that event, I was greeted by my children. After lunch I prepared to bring Joshua to his swimming class. He enjoys swimming and I really want him to learn the basics of surviving in water.

In swimming class, my son is the youngest student. In order for him to feel secure, I have to get in the water and join him too. Good thing the coach is very understanding towards us. After most of the drills that day, Joshua suddenly changed his mood. He must have felt tired. But instead of saying he is tired, he started screaming and feeling upset at me. After discussing and trying to pacify, he just kept screaming at me in the pool. I knew we had to stop swimming. So I asked his nanny to take him to the bathroom and change him so we could go home. He screamed and cried even harder and we could still hear him from outside.  I was getting embarrassed because other parents were asking if he was okay. I tried to rush and leave the hotel.

Joshua just did not stop his tantrum. He kept crying and screaming and was not at all listening to my instruction to keep quiet. This was going on for about 30 minutes already. People were looking, and I was stressed.  He kept on crying as we rode the elevator, all the way in the lobby of the hotel and even when he reached the car.  Despite all the commotion, the staff of my husband wanted to get from me the hotel membership card. I asked if I could give it at home because Joshua’s tantrum was uncontrollable. However, she asked if I could give it now because she needed it already.  Having Joshua screaming and crying by my ear…I banged the door at her, slapped Joshua’s mouth and screamed “SHUT UP JOSHUA!”.  I said this in front of my driver and the nanny, and of course even the staff of Steve heard all of this. Joshua mellowed a bit, yet I was so tense looking for the card in my wallet.  Finally, I found the card and gave it to the staff, but my good testimony in the morning was lost in that moment of tantrum.

It felt like a long way home as Joshua continued crying. My mind was just out in space in disgust with my own behaviour. Here I am professing I am a Christian, and at that one moment of stress, I blew it.  I lost my cool, I let anger take over, and it was such a bad testimony.

When we got home, I had to administer discipline on Joshua.  His butt met the spanking rod and he asked for forgiveness and stopped crying.  But the whole commotion overwhelmed me, that I was so upset with how I behaved. I just kept quiet when Joshua said “sorry” and did not mind him. In the shower, I prayed and told the Lord how I felt and how upset I am with myself. Meanwhile, Steve was talking to Joshua about obeying and respecting me.  Joshua knocked at the door of the bathroom and kept saying, “Mom, I’m really sorry.” But I kept quiet and did not mind him.

When I got out of the bathroom he kept following me. He would from time to time say, “Mom, I am sorry.”

Then I told him, “Joshua I need you to stop fighting mom. Im feeling sad.”

Joshua looking at me said again, “mom, I’m sorry.”

I told him, “I need time out from you, I am feeling sad.”

In my surprise, my 3 year old came close, placed his hand on my head and said… “Dear Jesus, thank you for my mommy.  Take her sadness, make her healthy and strong, make her have good dreams tonight, in Jesus name. Amen”. When he did that, my heart softened and I hugged him.  I then told Joshua, “Next time when you are feeling upset and angry, I should pray for you so you don’t fight mommy.” He then blurted, “pray for me now. pray so I don’t get angry.”

It was a moment of grace. My 3 year old was teaching me not to delay and pray.  So I placed my hand over his head and prayed, “Dear Jesus, thank you for Joshua. Give him a good heart, remove anger from his heart. We cast out any spirit of anger in his heart. Lord, make him obedient, loving, and kind. Help him love you Jesus. Let him know that Nothing can separate him from the love of God. In Jesus name”  and we both said, “Amen.”

I was fully humbled by God! Yes, I can start the day right, mess up in the middle, but God will always, always, make me right with Him at the end of that same day.  His mercy and His grace is so overflowing.  God used my 3 year old to show me an area in my life that I need to improve on — To be consistent in prayer, consistent in discipline, consistent in forgiveness and in the knowledge of God’s grace.

I thank the Lord for giving me a child who teaches me how to stand up after I stumble and reminding me that God’s grace is sufficient even in my weakness.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Love Language: quality time

When I told my twin sister, Monique, that Joshua’s love language is quality time, she empathized with me. She has one child who also has shown that his love language is quality time and she knows how overwhelming it can be.

My son always checks if I am around. He will start whining asking “where is mommy?”. Then on the second time he asks and does not see me or hear my voice he would start that crying sound.  I have to make him hear me say, “I’m here.” When he finally sees me his crying face changes and he would laugh and smile with relief. 

That’s pretty much a picture of my life now. When I have schedules outside the house and if it seems I will be spending about 4 hours away from the house, it means I have to take my kids with me. Anna needs me because I chose to breastfeed her.  Josh on the other hand goes because he wants to be with me. He is my Mr. Quality-time guy.

Even my bathroom breaks are not my me-time anymore! I get invaded doing my thing on the toilet or have the shower curtains checked while I bathe. I can’t have locked doors because Joshua will either cry or find a way to open it.

  
It is serious business for my toddler to know where mommy is. I have learned to let my guards down, and to ease up. My child wants to access me all the time and it makes him feel secure if he knows mom is just there. 

Each child is unique and their love tanks are filled according to the love they want to receive. At 2 years and 8 months, I am figuring out that Josh feels loved if we spend time together. In fact, at times I get busy, he will ask me to take a walk with him. Just the two of us to talk and hold hands and look at the sky. Or he would ask if he can sleep, but actually all he wants is me to stay beside him on his bed to look at each other, pinch each other’s face and laugh. He won’t sleep at all. He just wants me to “date” him on a one on one.

It’s sweet and cute. But at times his demand of quality time can also be so overwhelming and sometimes annoying. But as a parent my job is to secure my child with love and to teach him in the way he should go. So that means, I must make time to spend quality time with him. Dad also does his share of “dating” Joshua and playing with him. 

We as parents should know our child and love them the way they feel loved and want to receive love. Learn more about the love languages of your child in the book, 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman. It’s a good book to help us parents become more intentional with our children.

  

Most Challenging Job in the World

Not many may agree but I say… The most challenging job in the world is:

MOTHER

It is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Pay is low and not a priority in taking on this career. It takes an on-call 24-hours per day job. Work peaks when “client” is sick or is cramming for exams, or when “client” is traveling out of town. The job does not allow you privacy — your bags are checked, drawers are checked and even your bathroom time is being checked. Applicant must be flexible to clean, cook, nurse, teach, be a pillow, a cheerleader, a disciplinarian, a travel agent, a porter, a driver, a day care teacher, a psychologist, and extra careers develop in due time. 
Sometimes client/s forget to say “thank you” or say “you are the best in the world”. But what keeps an applicant in that job are priceless hugs and kisses, those howling calls with a huge “Mooom or Maaa”. It’s those eyes locking without fear but filled with joy and lots of love. And the thought, “wow, I never thought I can love this much”. It’s amazing. 

❤️❤️❤️—————————-❤️❤️❤️

I remember years ago when I cried and prayed to God to make me a mother.  God knows me more than I know myself! It took 7 years before that happened.  Perhaps, God knew I was most ready when I turned 35. 

Being a mom is one of the most exciting and most self-revealing careers. I am knowing myself better and also seeing my areas of strengths and weaknesses. It’s a lot of hard work and commitment. It is a character building role. It grows patience, generosity, love, forgiveness, and grace. 

It’s definitely not easy but probably most fulfilling role for women. That’s why I cherish moms for all their love and soulful work in raising children. For God called us for this higher calling and privilege.

  
 

Playgroup – Cloud Clay

I have mommy friends who share the same sentiment about teaching our own child and then getting them to a play group on a weekly basis. So we meet up weekly and do activities that each mom takes turn to prepare. The idea is, Mommy is the teacher. What we do in playdates is to prepare fun, educational activities and sit with our own child and guide them as they explore.

Cloud Clay Play date

Mommy Cris prepared cloud clay. It is made of flour, water, and food coloring. All these she made at home. It is safe and edible for our kids. With measuring cups, spoons, and shape molders kids went crazy on this activity! 

  
Each Mommy then guides her own child to doing much more with the clay! It was fun and enjoyable! Putting in themes like animals unto the cloud just added ideas to our kids imaginations too.

  
You would not believe how much fun the kids had with their mom as teacher and exploring with playmates too! They just wanted to go on for more than 2 hours. 

   

My favorite part about our play dates is having mommy time. These are moments for us to bond among moms and talk about our journey into motherhood. These are conversations that refuel and reenergizes us from all the busyness of raising kids and running a career. 

Truly, I am thanking God for these mothers who want to dedicate themselves as the first and best teacher to their kids. It’s really the original design of God anyway. I pray that we will continue doing more of these and through God’s grace be encouraged to keep teaching our children! 

 

 Mommy drama! 

Being a mom is a super tough job! Joshua my toddler, who is more expressive nowadays, tests my patience on so many levels. We have arguments everyday and I get soooo tired from all the daily dramas. In a week we would probably complete a drama series for eating, for bathing, for sleeping, for waking, and for playing. 
He is a kid and tantrums come along with 2 year olds… However, Joshua is also processing his feelings of jealousy over his sister. I am seeing some regression on some milestones. Like his desire for eating has lessened and he prefers drinking milk in the bottle. He also demands for my full attention and time especially when he sees me nursing Anna. 

   
He has fully articulated his jealousy by saying “I don’t like Anna”, ” I want mommy and Anna go to Ate Kim (Anna’s nanny)”, and one of his worst crying episodes he said, “mommy, I want Joshua patay (dead) so mommy would cry.” I cried with that remark. 
 I tell him “Anna is your sister, she loves you and Mommy loves you so much. We are a family and this is God’s blessing.”  Because Joshua feels jealous, I spend most of my time with him. I only leave him shortly just to feed Anna. Every move I make he calls to check if I am still around. He calls my name almost crying and then he would smile and laugh in relief that I have not left him!

I figured this boy’s love language is time. And I do spend a lot of time with him. We are inseparable. But when he gets his tantrums and he starts screaming and crying because he wants mommy, (even if I am around)… I ask him kindly to stop crying. But his crying escalates further into screams and irritation that soon, I start losing my own patience. 

I try not to discipline him about his crying. But I realized that he was using it as a tool to communicate with almost anything. When he dislikes something he would cry. When he wants something he would cry. When he sees me walk out the door he would cry and give an all out tantrum. I try to not get angry, but I must confess seeing a crying face with screams and occasional arm slaps just gets me frustrated and angry.  This just went on for a week… 
  
I started to cry out of frustration because nothing worked. Explaining nicely and reassuring Josh by hugs and talks just does not cut it!  So I tried yelling and screaming for him to stop. I tried threatening him that if he does not stop, I would leave. None of it worked. 😦  For one week it was this non stop cycle of crying and we end up fighting because Josh would fall into a tantrum even when I am giving him full attention (except during feedings). 
I asked friends to pray for me. I cried to the Lord and asked “how can I be a better mom to my son?”  I was so discouraged that even when Steve says, “you are doing a good job”, I still feel I am failing.
Then I remembered excerpts from a parenting seminar I attended. It was discussed when a child who deliberately disobeys or disrespects his or her parent they should be disciplined. I must admit, I get lazy to do this because it requires so much to get into a room with a defiant 2 yr old who will not submit to be disciplined. 

The bible says: 
Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom,but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.


I knew I had to correct Joshua’s behavior and work on his attitude. I had to teach him that he can’t always cry his way. I also had to reassure him that he must respect his parents because we love him.  I disciplined him and took time to explain. Joshua immediately stopped crying. In fact when we got out of the room, his mood changed and started playing.
  
I learned that I really should exercise discipline when the need arises and teach my son.  Otherwise, I will develop a bad habit in his character. It’s almost a week since his last tantrum after the discipline.  Joshua has been speaking instead of crying. 

How do I know that he understood what we did in the discipline room? He plays with his avenger toys and then he would pretend one would be crying. Later he will have the other toy say – “stop crying… If you don’t stop, you get a spank”. 
To learn more about biblical discipline I am suggesting you this link. Read more:

http://www.gotquestions.org/disciplining-children.html

Sarbay a family affair

My very first Sarangani Bay fest was in 2007. It was a small beach event that happened after elections. It was held sometime in June instead of May. My husband at that time was elected as Vice Governor of Sarangani. The Swim Across the Bay and Bay Bodies were the main highlight. Also a small concert happened at night.  

My first engagement as the co-chairperson of the Festival was in 2009. Former Governor Migs Dominguez prodded me to “go at it”. I got involved in the marketing and really moving the sponsorships– also repackaging the Sarangani Bay festival’s image. You can’t sell it unless it is packaged well. At that time, I had no children yet.

But in 2011, after that  Sarangani Bay Festival, I discovered that I was pregnant  for the very first time. Unfortunately, that was an ectopic pregnancy. In 2012, it was the first year we engaged into social media and rebranded Sarangani Bay Festival to “Sarbay”.  At that time I was 3 months pregnant with Joshua. We also won first runner up in the Pearl Awards for Best Tourism Event in Sports, Adventure and Wellness.

In 2013, Joshua was with me as a 5 month old baby allowing me to work.  It was one of the most successful Sarbay fest. It was the biggest Beach Festival in Mindanao and we won the Pearl Awards championship for Best Tourism Event.

 
In 2014, Our Sarbay Fest was a huge success with over 100,000 tourists! That year we had over 1000 tents pitched in tent cities, 80 concessionaires, our social media had about 11,000 organic likes on Facebook, and our stage and shows leveled up. It was a tandem thing for my husband, Gov Steve Solon and I! Plus, I’m so blessed because despite breastfeeding my son, he made it easy for Mommy to work on this festival.  

 

Again, after Sarbay 2014, I was overwhelmed with the photos posted about the festival’s garbage. It made me angry! I was upset because we really did have a beach and coastal clean up and Gumasa was back to its normal state in 2 days after the festival. The people who took the photo just bitterly kept spreading the news of how ruined Gumasa was, when it was absolutely untrue! I was enraged because at that time, little did I know that a little bun was in my oven!  This time I found out I was pregnant with Anna.

 
My son, Joshua has embraced Sarbay too. He would sit in our meetings and knows the video ads we put out on Facebook. He even eagerly tried making his own dubsmash of “Sarbay Forever” whisper and requested that he gets his own Sarbay Forever shirt! He is part of my inner team that inspires me to do my best for the festival. He understands that this event is important to mom, so he took interest in it too. Even my little girl, Anna, was pretty patient to let mommy do her festival duties!  

 
 

This Sarbay fest 2015 was an absolute success. We were able to get the tourists to be more responsible about their garbage and an ordinance was enforced for the environmental fee. We also had a Sarbay App made to help tourists get familiar with the festival. We had good support from Sponsors, from the Government, from organizers, concessionaires and beach goers.  But personally for me, I thank God for my husband’s trust to be part of the team and to freely work on the vision of Sarbay. Most of all, I thank my two munchkins — Joshua and Anna for letting me do my best in this festival. They were easy on mommy as long as meetings were held in the house… And they participated in some meetings too! Ohhh… How this festival has become a family affair for us! God is soooo good! We are a Sarbay family — and proud Sarbay citizens! 

Sometimes you drive me nuts!

Recently my little boy has brought up a notch on his episodes of meltdowns and crying. He looks for mommy all the time. If I am out of his sight he starts calling “mommy” with a crack on the voice. Soon after he will start crying. When he does not get what he wants, he starts crying again. 

It is quite annoying when his crying escalates into higher decibels. It just drives me crazy! Either I shut down and freeze or I just get all irritated. Telling my son, “please don’t cry, just talk to me”, sometimes does not work. My little boy has tantrums and cries. We need a time out! His Yaya has to get him and we need to separate. I feel so exhausted and feel such a bad mommy because I can’t control the situation and have a peaceful dealing with this 2 year old!

 

When Joshua gets impatient, or irritated because he can’t get what he wants, or frustrated because I don’t understand him, or upset because he can’t have my 100% full attention, then the tantrum begins.  He can wail for 20 minutes and it can be so tiring and exhausting and provokes me to get angry. Agh… It’s hard to keep cool, and I know I must. 

 

 

So, I asked other moms about their experiences and many who have passed this stage I am in. I almost got a unanimous answer… They said they can’t really remember what they did and how they managed! That account alone consoles me. It means, these days shall pass and will be a memory that does not scar! Praise God!  Hahahaha… I need that simple encouragement.

It’s so funny because during my birthday weekend, we had friends with us in the farm. Then, my girl friend Jade who has only one child entered our room. She saw Joshua in his meltdown episode and my little daughter also crying because she needed to breastfeed. Both of my children were crying. So you can imagine how the room sounded. I got Anna to breastfeed her, while Joshua was wailing in front of me. It was happening for a good 2 minutes. My friend was watching this episode. There I was trying to calm my nerves about it — all I could say was “Please stop scaring Tita (Auntie) Jade, she may never decide to get pregnant again!” Jade and I laughed at my remark. To some moms that scene would look sooo scary!  

I thank God for His grace. No wonder when I see mothers who have more than 2 children, they have patience and calm spirits… The catalyst in developing that character are their husbands and children! Hahahaha! It’s absolutely true! 

 

 

Okay my kids drive me nuts sometimes. At times, I have to be disciplined to discipline too (it means not to delay disciplining my child when he is disobedient or disrespectful).  But bottom line is — these moments shall pass and my heart will continue to love them despite these little shortcomings. I think many times I fail as a mom… I get totally clueless what to do, plus my emotions get involved. Yet,  I must remember the privilege God has given to me to be a mother… Though times get tough — in the end God rewards me with my children’s hugs and kisses. And all those bad moments go away! And they really do!