31 July 2008
Lesson 1: Unconditional Love
No matter how many times I reprimand them or nag or scold, or discipline them or turn them away when I'm in a really crabby mood, all my three kids still manage to come up to me just to give me a hug with a heart-melting "Love you, Ma" to match.
And I hear God saying, "I love you just like that. Nevermind that you're upset with Me at times or don't want to talk to Me or that you just plain ignore Me. I love you just the same and I will never ever turn you away."
Then I also realize that I really should be careful with my kids' fragile emotions. The thought that if Christ doesn't come back just yet and they get to grow up into adults, makes me promise myself to be a better parent--a more loving mom--so as not to leave emotional scars on their tender hearts.
Lesson 2: Faith
My children always believe what I tell them. Period. And they think I could do just about anything. The idea that I sometimes can't draw them a Parasaurolophus (one of their dinosaurs) is simply unthinkable. I'm supposed to know how to draw that or to make a paper cutout of it. They have a fit if I seriously tell them that I really really don't know how to make it.
I can hear God telling me, "You know I can do absolutely anything. Nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible or too hard for Me. So why don't you just hand over that ministry situation or co-worker relationship that you think is impossible to fix. I can make it much better if You just believe and let Me work on it."
I also realize that I have to live my faith in the God of the impossible in front of my children if I want them to learn how to trust God absolutely. I must first set the example.
Lesson 3: Pay Attention
Just these past couple of weeks I keep hearing myself tell my eldest son, "Caleb! Pay attention! Listen well to instructions. Pay attention to them. Instructions are very important. You won't know what to do without them...are you listening?"
I feel like I have to repeat those same sentences to him every so often these days. But just last week while I was running my usual tirade about paying attention, I suddenly stopped. It was like God was telling me in a loud voice, "You should practice that yourself...paying attention." I also heard Him say almost audibly, "Have you been paying attention to what I've been trying to tell you? Are you listening my child?"
Too often, I now realized how I always seemed to be in a hurry during my time with God. I need to pay attention more to Him if I ever want to fulfill my life's purpose. I also need to pay attention to my husband and children before I expect them to pay attention to me as well. Reciprocity. Mutuality.
Three major life lessons, I must say. I may not have mastered them, I admit. But I'm getting there--learning to apply them everyday, a step at a time. Easier said than done. But still I'm getting there. And getting better.
05 July 2008
I'm afraid I have spread myself too thin.
It used to be that teaching kids got me all excited. NOW I feel tired and a tad irritated at just the thought of having to deal with the mixed-age group of youngsters in our church. It used to be that I loved working at the computer. NOW I'm only in front of it because I have an online job and I need to write stuff but I feel relieved when I don't need to turn it on. It used to be that I got all fired up just thinking about and planning what we would do at the next ladies' fellowship. NOW I get anxious contemplating what we're supposed to do on the next meeting. It used to be that I would look up resources for the youth ministry, the music team, or prayer group. NOW, I just feel so very tired when I think that I still have to do all that.
It used to be that I would rush the Sunday newsletter even to the wee hours of the morning and have it printed in time for 9:00 am Sunday worship. NOW, the Sunday Word has been put on hold. I have not thought about it or really planned when to resume preparing it.
It used to be that I would diligently look for what else to work on when my online tasks are done. NOW, I just sleep while waiting for them to give me another task to work on. It used to be that I would say "Hi" to people on my YM list when work was on a lull. NOW, I think twice then back off because I feel tired at the thought of carrying on an online conversation.
It used to be that I looked forward to thinking up new preparations for our daily family meals. NOW, I prepare what cooks in no time. It used to be that I was a really sunny and nice-to-be-with Mom. NOW, I'm simply monster-mama because I get so crabby and grumpy at the slightest provocation.
The list of "It used to be's" and "Now's" could go on and on. I want the world to stop for a while or may be I can go take a vacation for a week doing nothing but sleeping and eating and reflecting on how I am to go on with my life. I have been wanting, longing, desiring, praying to be able to take a much needed break.
I got back from kids camp just before summer officially ended. During that time, one of the staff suggested I do something...I forget now what it was but it sure was ministry-related (or was it work-related?). Anyway, I told the dear sister that if I did that I would have to be scraped off the wall. I am just so tired to do anything. It's like what my husband calls being on "auto-pilot."
Yes, I am probably on auto-pilot because there doesn't seem to be time to take a break yet...however, badly needed it may be.
16 April 2008
I turned 40 last April 12. The big 4-0 when life "they" say begins. But not for me. My life began when I started standing up for my convictions and bravely facing the consequences of the decisions I made. So I would have to say that my life began when I was in my mid-20's.
So how do I feel now that I am actually 40 years old? I dunno. It's been almost a week since the 12th and I still feel strange about it. I can't quite put my finger on that odd feeling. Well, I have to admit though that I occasionally shrieked "Yipes! I can't believe I'm turning 40 this year!" especially when 2008 made its entrance. Well I shrieked because I didn't feel 40. I still don't--more like stuck at 30-something. Like I said, a bit strange.
It was a pensive day for me amidst the usual greetings from family and a whole fresh bunch of pleasant greetings coming from a new set of acquaintances and workmates. I was brooding over something I didn't exactly know what. You think I was going through some sort of delayed mid-life crisis? I dunno. Perhaps I just didn't have time to contemplate on my life that day.
Yup, that week and the week following that (and even up to this moment's writing) I have been and still am swamped with work. The ministry is on a momentum, the Kids' Camp where I am program coordinator opens in about a couple of weeks and I still have yet to meet the counselors for orientation, there's online work and so on and so forth.
So I guess that's it---I need more time for and to myself. I have this notion that by the time a woman is 40, she has got to have something to show for it. And I'd really love to take stock of my life and see if I have indeed got something to show, something that makes God proud of me and happy for me; as well as something I can be proud of myself.
In any case, Cheers! To another birthday! Hooray for 40!
21 February 2008
"To trip" won. We put our motorbike helmets back on and we were off, stopping only a while at the highway just to slip into our jackets. I was hesitant at first because even if I was aware it might be chilly up there, I thought I'd savor the cool air when I got there so I avoided the jacket. But my husband insisted I put it on. He was right. We were just in Silang, the municipality before Tagaytay City and the air already had a touch of chill.
The sky was a nostalgic overcast. Oh what delight feeling the cool wind rush even with my helmet visor down my face. There was a hint of rain but only ultra light drizzles from fast paced clouds constantly blown by the wind. The green scenery was oh so soothing for eyes that constantly look at the flickering of a computer screen.
We finally arrived at the rotunda where the roads spread out and you decide which of them to take to begin your Tagaytay adventure. We got off our motorcycle at the once popular view deck which, sadly, has been dilapidated for quite some time. I wondered when the city government would get around to sprucing it up again. Still the view from there was breathtaking. And the air was oh so colder than I expected.
This was a quickie so just after a few minutes of taking in the sights and savoring the natural airconditioning, we went for a quick bite at the local 7-Eleven right across the street. Okay, okay...this part isn't that "romantic". We should have probably eaten at some place nice. Well, we wanted to but this was a quickie so even there were hundreds of nice, quaint, romantic spots on the mountaintop where we could grab a bite, time was of the essence so to speak.
We finally settled for a sandwich, a chocolate Mister Donut and two cups of coffee. I had the chicken vienna sausage sandwich (well, half of it) and my hubby chomped down on the choco donut (well, half of it too) then we traded. Washed all of it down with our "starting-to-become" lukewarm coffee. It was super chilly even inside the store which had it's doors open (and saving on electricity with the aircondition turned off).
We were enjoying every precious minute from the time we entered the city, laughing at the chills we were having at the view deck and carrying the laughter into 7-Eleven as we made our pick of a light snack. On our way out, as we were putting our helmets back on, a teenage girl quipped, "Malamig ba?" (Is it cold?) as she pulled the hood of her shirt over her head.
Is it cold? We were close to freezing! Yup, Tagaytay City can get that cold at certain times and this was one of those.
It took us 30 minutes going up to Tagaytay and about 20 minutes back down to Dasma plus a few minutes of fun and laughter with each other...and there you have it----a totally delightful quickie!
09 February 2008
I already have dry skin and to have my hands constantly in contact with soap and soaked in water the whole day long just aggravates my skin condition.
Doing the dishes, doing the laundry, washing the toddlers’ butts, giving the kids a bath, washing the vegetables before slicing and dicing, wiping spills on the floor and the table, working on the computer, not to mention my own bath, toilet routine and brushing my teeth!—these are the everyday chores that real wear and tear the hands.
That’s why my sister’s gift of a humongous bottle of lotion was a God-send. The skin of my fingertips (toetips included!) was all cracked from dryness. At first I was quite surprised when she handed it to me. Afterall my mom had already previously given me a bottle that was the exact twin of what she was handing me.
I said, “Are you sure? I haven’t finished the bottle of lotion Ma gave me.”
“Mommies always need lotion. Especially you—you’re a fulltime mama. Moisturize your hand every time you’re done with any washing…” she replied with a grin.
Her comment made me realize that my hands badly needed moisturizing. “But the lotion will just wash off the next time I wash something (which is like after just a few minutes). It seems such a waste…” I quipped.
“That’s why I gave you a big bottle. Besides that’s what they say—never mind that the lotion gets washed out the next time you wash or clean something,” my sister replied.
So I followed sisterly prescription, trying to ignore what I viewed as a waste of the moisturizing liquid. And it worked. In just a couple of days the skin on my hands healed and got all smooth and soft again.
And just so I remember to moisturize as often as possible, I placed one bottle of lotion beside the dish drainer in the kitchen and the other bottle in the bedroom—the two places where I can be found most of the day.
If I’m not cooking or cleaning up in the kitchen, I’m in the bedroom folding clothes or getting the kids ready for bed. Hmmm….maybe I should go purchase another bottle and put that in the bathroom—my sanctuary (harharhar).
28 January 2008
25 January 2008
Haha...dear woman. You probably have this supermom caricature of me in your head where I seem to have a handle on just about everything--my kitchen, my laundry, my kids, my husband, my ministry. Well, I hate to mar the quaint picture of success but the truth is, my real situation is not exactly how you might have it in your mind's eye.
That's why I'm glad we have our annual "catching-up-on-each-other" meetings in some mall or restaurant and not at my house (as much as I would love to have you come over and visit). You might be in for a really really big surprise. I have laundry that's close to Mt. Everest in height. The bathroom needs a facelift, the windows will appreciate a good scrubbing, some polishing will make the floor smile, my kids in Sunday School will be much happier if I got more organized with the Sunday activities, my real kids would be ecstatic if I just stuck to the 15-minute principle of time together, and my husband would probably shout "hallelujah" if I actually initiated intimate relations. Whew!
Well, soul sister...how's your picture of me now? Doing some updating? hehe...But God knows how hard I try to get my act to together. It is quite a feat though to be switching hats most of the time. And I keep telling myself: "I can do this. I can do this." What else is Philippians 4:13 for, right?
But some days woman, it really gets to me--this mommyhood thing. It's so so so much different from how I pictured it to be and planned it to be. Although I don't regret quitting my office job, the supermom picture I had in mind is harshly different from reality. Yes, reality bites. But then again, when one of my little ones gives me a mega sweet angelic smile matched with open arms closing in on me for a hug...reality's bite just doesn't matter anymore.