The Blame Game

It has been a tough two weeks for me and my little trooper. Asthma found its way to creep into his healthy body and tackled him down again. Taking care of a sick child is not only physically daunting but also emotionally draining. Every time Timmy gets sick I end up doing the blame game, pointing all fingers at myself for my irresponsible parenting and defective genes.

Timmy got his asthma from me and being an asthmatic kid I know how tough it is to have those attacks. I remember spending birthdays in the hospital and getting confined almost every year. My mom took care of me like I’m a fragile bird with a broken wing. Now I’m doing the same except that it really breaks me up inside knowing that he inherited it from me. I find myself apologizing to him every time he’s sick. He doesn’t hear it but God does.

12252010631-001 When we found out he had Neonatal Lupus when he was born I cried buckets. I bawled in front of my husband and parents. I remember my dad comforting me saying that it’s good that we already know how to manage the disease because I’ve had it for years (17 to be exact) and we can take care of Timmy better. As good as it sounded back then to me it was just unbearable. Living with Lupus is not easy and I didn’t want my son to experience it.

By God’s grace, my rheumatologist (i.e. Lupus doctor) said that most Neonatal Lupus cases are transient. They go away once the child develops his own antibodies. She told me not to subject him to further tests. She added that Lupus rarely occurs in men so it could be that my little boy didn’t have it. She advised us to just watch out for symptoms, which I am very well-versed at, but other than that I had nothing to worry about.

10302011093_2 And then his asthma manifested at 10 months old. I jokingly told my husband that our son keeps getting all the bad stuff from me. But inside I was blaming myself again for his health issues and every time he gets an asthma attack the blame game happens all over again. I put on a strong face and double up on my nurturing to restore my son to good health but inside it’s a battle.

His recent attack two weeks ago was no different. Usually, Timmy gets better after a week of medication but this time he didn’t. He was given antibiotics but his cough and colds are still there (yes, up to now). We have lessened his activities so he can rest. I have placed work on hold just so I could attend to him. But his recovery has been slow. His pedia said that it will take 10 days for the antibiotics to fully kick in but she said that he sounded better and he’s on his way to recovery. He was given maintenance meds for 30 days to help speed up his healing.

Phototastic-6_23_2015_b251d9d1-12e5-4acc-9343-e660229fe571My heart broke each time Timmy said, “I feel sick.” I feel a stab inside my chest every time I hear his wheezing, hacking cough. This is one part of parenting that I’d gladly skip. It’s just too much to bear to see your child sick. Good thing, my son remained upbeat and active through it all. He would even encourage me saying, “Mommy, Jesus will heal me.” Or he would say, “Mommy, I feel better now because Jesus healed me.” To which my husband and I would reply happily, “Yes, He did!”

I take comfort in the fact that Jesus will heal me, too. That every time I feel broken and guilty about my son’s health condition He can restore and bring healing to my soul.

psalm103

I have been a recipient of God’s grace all my life. He has healed me time and time again. He forgives me for all the blame game I’ve done and He continuously gives me a new slate to start over once more. His track record of faithfulness in my life is impeccable. He has given me every reason to trust Him. He even “crowns me with love and tender mercies.” My all-knowing God is not too hard on me and I have no reason not to do the same.

So today, as I watch Timmy sleeping peacefully I choose to forgive myself. I choose to fix my eyes on Jesus, the One who saved me, forgave me, and restored me. I choose not to blame myself or anyone for my child’s health condition. I choose to believe in God’s power and ability to bring healing to my son. I choose to rest in His loving arms, knowing that He loves my son more than I could ever love him.

WP_20150616_20_16_14_Pro My son is His. His health is His. Whatever future health problems we’ll encounter I know that we will still remain His. And in that I take the most comfort knowing that He’ll be with us every single time. My prayer is that the next time any of my boys get sick that I’ll be able to stand firm and shun the lies of the enemy. That I will not play the blame game anymore but instead put all stakes on my God who is sovereign and true. I know He will give me the grace to do it and the strength to overcome it. He always comes through for me, always. 🙂

9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

So I encourage every mom out there who feels guilty every time their child gets sick, Jesus holds you by the hand. He doesn’t accuse us. He extends His grace to us every single day. He knows what we’re going through. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). We can count on Him to help us. All we need to do is believe and trust that He can. 🙂

Advertisements

Two Stories, One Ending

Last week, my husband and I had our annual the-year-in-review tradition. We used to do it on New Year’s Eve or early morning of January 1. This year, we spent a quiet afternoon at a restaurant recounting God’s goodness and faithfulness in our lives. It was also the time when we set goals for ourselves and our family.

This is one of my favorite bonding moments with Omar. I love hearing how his year went even if we’re together every single day. 🙂 It amazes me how God works in us differently and how when we put our year-in-retrospect story together we see the big picture. So for my first blog for the year, I’d like to retell two different stories from two different people but with one predictable ending. 🙂

2014_12_23_19_13_37Omar’s Story

I actually came more prepared this year with our throwback tradition. I had an outline on my phone so that we don’t lose track of the things we need to talk about. 🙂 When I asked him the highlights of his year he gave two things—his career and his hobbies. I really enjoyed listening to him about how these two areas made the most impact on his year.

First up, my husband landed on a job that involves writing about superheroes. That kind of career is a match made in comic book heaven. I mean he gets paid for writing about the stuff he loves! He not only loves superheroes but his knowledge about comic books is a product of decades of reading and collecting. Comic books were the only gifts he wanted as a child. Sometimes when he tells me all these back stories about the Flash or Captain America, I find myself really impressed at how he remembers all these events. He even stopped reading and collecting twice! The first sabbatical was for 2 years while the other one was for 11 years but it still looks like he never left the comic book scene! He’s very patient with my questions after we watch superhero movies or TV series. During those times, I silently thank God for letting me marry a comic book connoisseur. 🙂

The way this job came was heaven-sent. Prior to that, Omar was writing devotionals for a Bible app. We thought that this will go on forever but a day prior to his first year with his employer he was told that the devos he wrote would simply be recycled for next year. In short, they just needed a year’s worth of inspirational writing. This is one of the risks of being full-time, home-based writers. There will be days when the projects will eventually end.

I was never really anxious that he lost that job. When I told him that I supported him on going freelance, I meant it—risks and all. Even full-time employees get laid off so this was no different. I’ve always believed that God will open doors for my husband because He designed him to provide for our family. Plus, time and time again Omar assures me that I need not worry about finances because that’s his job. And I took my husband’s word seriously. I also know that he wouldn’t settle for something that only pays the bills. He’s a strengths-based kind of guy and believes in doing only the things he’s good at. That mindset actually paid off. 🙂

InstagramCapture_4a8d3257-fae6-4f9a-b676-011d98273224Unlike other husbands who can take on any jobs, Omar has decided early on that he’ll do what he does best. He’s a great teacher and his students can attest to that. But after 11 years of teaching art and values (part-time and full-time) God has led him to a different direction. He has a book in the works but I guess for him to really finish it, he needed to brush up on his writing skills thus the complete shift to a writing career. He still teaches art to homeschooled kids but not in a classroom setting anymore.

He’s a very niche writer and would only take on projects that interest him. Unlike me, I can write anything from digital marketing to the mysteries of Stonehenge. His decision to stick to his specializations has landed him the most suitable projects for his skills. And this by far is the best. He saw this job opening for a comic book writer and contacted the employer even though he was looking for someone from North America. Omar had to prove his knowledge about comic books and immediately got the job the same day! Praise God! Basically he writes comic book news and blogs, maintains his employer’s website, and manages his Facebook page. When he lost the app job, his comic book employer gave him a substantial increase that more than compensated for what he lost. God’s timing is truly amazing! 🙂

This writing job also revived his love for comics and controlled collecting. 😉 He also got involved with a comic book group that allowed him to get in touch with like-minded individuals. During our date I told him that I’m so happy he found that group because it’s great to see him hangout with people who shares his passions and interests. Sometimes their insights helped him with his job, too! I even told him that I’m thrilled that he gained new friends last year. 🙂 I also told him how proud I am that he was firm in his resolve to do what he does best and not settle for anything less. God graciously honored his decision. 🙂

My Story

The highlights of my year also involved two things—moving out and homeschooling. 🙂 For more than a year, we’ve been staying with my in-laws. The decision to move in with them came about the change in my career back in 2013 when we agreed not to accept the change in terms and offer in my consultancy job. It basically shook our finances so we had to give up our apartment.

I’ve been very blessed to have the kindest and most accommodating in-laws. We never had any conflicts unlike other horror stories I’ve heard from other people. My mother-in-law taught me how to make adobo and fried chicken the way Omar likes it. He eats my own recipe but sometimes he requests for his mom’s recipe so I took time to watch his mom and learn from the queen of the kitchen. 🙂 I also learned other cooking and organizing tips from her.

We initially thought we can move out by the end of 2013 when my in-laws came back from Canada. Then we told ourselves that we wouldn’t stay there for a year. I mean they were not asking us to leave. It’s just that we don’t want to overstay and change the dynamics of their household for so long. Having a toddler around also changes everything. However, God had other plans. Seeing that we hadn’t saved enough to move out from my in-laws’ place, I completely surrendered by desire to have our own place. I told God that I will gladly wait until I’ve learned the lessons He wanted me to learn during our stay there (even if takes years!).

WP_20141231_14_33_42_Pro (2)Not long after, God’s provisions came and over the next six months we were able to save for our new apartment and furniture. We sold everything when we moved to his parents’ house because first, we needed the money and second, their place is fully furnished. God also blessed us with a great apartment that’s close to a mall! 🙂 And I mean walking distance kind of close. 🙂 Having our own place again opened my eyes to the privilege of managing your own home. God made me realize that fixing our home, cooking for my boys, scheduling how our day goes, and doing the simplest chores are the very things that give me joy. 🙂 Sure life was easier when other people do things for you. But life is more fulfilling when you do things for other people. I now understand why my mom did what she did. Why all her life she devoted it to taking care of us. Being a homemaker is a job that gets daily rewards. Aside from the unlimited hugs and kisses, the growth you see in your child’s life and the success you propel in your husband’s career—all done in the background—are the intangible trophies you carry in your heart. 🙂 God gave a whole new meaning to my full-time jobs as wife and mom when we had our own place again.

And then there’s homeschooling. 🙂 I’ve been homeschooling Timmy since he was born because teaching really starts at home. Last year, though, I’ve been more intentional in researching what I could teach to him like working up his fine motor skills, letting him do more art activities, progressive reading, and more. Most 3-year-olds go to nursery, Timmy basically “learned through play” at home. We also got involved with a homeschool group which met every Tuesday. It’s really a class for music, arts, and P.E. and we joined just for socialization purposes. In the end, I got more than what I signed up for. 🙂 Timmy gained new friends, I had new mommy friends who have been generous in sharing their knowledge and experience, and we got lots of homeschooling support. We even had an amazing Christmas party at an orphanage!

InstagramCapture_cca84d36-32f0-46a2-95ab-81beee9fcb71There were moments when I was second guessing myself about homeschooling knowing that I have a naturally shy boy. But seeing his development now, I realized that building his confidence at home helped him adjust more easily outside instead of thrusting him into a foreign environment like in a school setting where other kids expect you to behave like everybody else. I’ve read this before that homeschooling allows your child to feel secure and confident with the love and attention you give, allowing him to thrive in any environment. The child knows that he is loved and accepted at home and so validity from peers becomes secondary. Their values are not easily swayed because they are firmly built at home. Now, his warm up time is relatively shorter from hours to minutes and he can play and interact with other people already. We also tell him ahead of time the new friends he will meet and that we’ll be there, too, to help him adapt quickly. 🙂

Homeschooling has allowed me to know my child more. It’s not a given that as a mom you know everything about your child. I’ve learned the best way I can get him to obey easily and the most effective way for him to enjoy learning—all tailored to his personality and interests. I am humbled every day whenever I teach Timmy. My character is being molded, too, especially when I have to deal with his stubborn and lazy moments. Or when I needed to deal with his distractions and shift in interest. There are days when I had everything planned and then he wanted to do something else. I’ve learned to become flexible and maximize that moment of eagerness to teach as much as I can about his current interest. Homeschooling added a new dimension to my homemaker life, making it more fun and exciting every day! 🙂

As expected

Our year ended with handprints of God’s grace all over it. 🙂 Our family life and home-based careers are testaments to God’s goodness and faithfulness. We couldn’t be more grateful for what God has done, is doing, and will do in our lives. We’re excited for 2015 because we know that whatever blessing or trials we’ll encounter, His grace is more than sufficient to carry us through. I’m sure we’ll have new lessons to learn and new adventures to experience. The unpredictability of it all excites me! With that, we say goodbye to 2014 and say hello to 2015. 🙂 Happy New Year, everyone!

WP_20141226_18_49_06_Pro

Named for a Purpose

As I was reading the Christmas story this morning, something about what God said to Joseph struck me. In his dream, an angel told him, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21).

joseph in a dreamImagine what it would be like if your child’s name will reveal the kind of future he will have. It will probably take a toll on the child and the parents because they will be pressured to live up to that name. As a mom, if my son will be named for a specific purpose I want it to be something grand with a huge impact on the future, philanthropic even. I want his purpose to be clear so I can help him achieve that.

Joseph must’ve felt honored and confused at that time. Honored because he will be the foster father of God’s Son. Confused because he didn’t know what “save his people from their sins” entailed. Save meant Jesus will do something noble and great but sins meant trouble. It meant dealing with people whose main preoccupation is doing all things wrong. As a parent, it must’ve been difficult to reconcile those words and make sense out of it.

nativity sceneI wonder how Joseph and Mary went about raising Jesus knowing what His purpose was early on. Were they surprised that Jesus loved to hang out with corrupt tax collectors, healed the servant of a violent centurion, and spent time with people no one really wanted to be identified with? Did they worry and plead with God that Jesus doesn’t get killed because of the miracles He did and the things He taught?

Modern-day parents like me would probably have anxiety attacks everyday if I knew that my son’s future will be closely connected with thieves and criminals. It doesn’t only take courage to let go of one’s child. It takes something greater, something only God can give. It takes love. Love that I could never understand from a parent’s point of view. Love that prioritizes other people more than your own. Love that chose me over His blameless Son.

jesus_friend_of_sinnersJesus knew what He came here for. From the time He was born in that manger to the moment He started ministering to other people, He already knew the end. It took more than courage to face that suffering and agony. It took selfless love for sinners to make a sinless Savior give His life to save us. And that’s the very thing we celebrate every Christmas, year after year.

It’s a celebration of gratitude for the One who was named for a purpose and we were part of that. We were the “people” referred to in that phrase and it was our “sins” that He needed to “save” us from. When Jesus walked on earth He had Your name and mine in mind. It was personal. It’s like Jesus was saying, “I’m here because of You, ______ (put your name there). I’ll give my life so you will be reconciled to the Father and won’t be separated from Him. After my death and resurrection, nothing will separate us anymore. Your sins will be forgiven and paid for.”

electrifying-jesus-crucifixion-pamela-johnsonJesus was God’s gift to mankind. He’s the giver and the gift. The magi may have brought Him the finest gold, frankincense, and myrrh but He already gave Himself to us from the time He was born. This is the reason why Christmas is all about giving. We were given so much when Jesus came here to save us. We were given a Savior. We were given a second chance. We were given exclusive access to the Father through His Son. We were given forgiveness and grace. And most of all, we were given eternal life.

As we celebrate Christmas, may we all take time to just thank our Savior for loving us with a kind of encompassing, inexplicable love that none of us deserve. I know my sins and I most certainly know that I don’t deserve Jesus’ love and sacrifice. But He did it anyway. And I am floored with the grace and forgiveness He extends to each one of us.

JesusHe was named Jesus BECAUSE He will save His people from their sins. Jesus was named for a purpose. He lived doing everything aligned with that purpose. He suffered, died, and rose again because that was what He came here for. And at its very core is His people—we are the WHY behind that WHAT.

Today, we remember that we have been given the greatest gift God could give us—His Son, Jesus Christ. You may have heard it time and again that He is the reason for the season because that’s the truth. Without Him, there will be no reason to celebrate. There will be no concept of gift giving. We wouldn’t know what it means to give to those who can’t give back and to receive something we don’t deserve.

453611321

Thank You, Jesus. Thank You that You lived out Your purpose for us from the time You were born. I am forever grateful to be redeemed and saved by You. Thank You for giving us the reason to celebrate Christmas. I’m not really sure about the date You were born but nonetheless, I want to greet You HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I’m pretty sure that if there’s one place where people really know how to party, it’s in Heaven. 🙂 I know You can have a cosmic celebration anytime You want but I just want You to know my life is Yours and that’s the only thing I can give as a form of gratitude for the salvation and eternal life You’ve given me. Merry CHRISTmas! I love You! 🙂

True Love Disciplines

A couple of weeks ago we had to go through a week of intense discipline with our three-year-old toddler. Timmy is a very sweet and funny boy but that doesn’t exempt him from having tantrums and rebellious moments. One thing that kept recurring with him is his tendency to show his rebellion by stomping his feet, raising his voice, and hitting objects (like the table and the couch). IMG_20140908_181718 We knew we had to deal with it more drastically even if it meant having to spank him every day (and on certain days more than once a day). For some reason, it doesn’t stick to him that this behavior is wrong. He had been already been spanked before for doing these things but after which we went back to simply telling him to stop. 20141029_212807 My husband Omar became quick to discipline the moment he did any of those things. Timmy would cry his lungs out and even shout while crying. He would call my name and beg for my rescue. As painful as it was for me not to even come close, I had to do it. I had to let him sort things out with his dad and once they’re all good that’s only time I could come in. He also did the same thing to me when I spanked him and he was calling for his dad. Sorry son, dad’s not home so you have no choice but to deal with me. IMG_20141010_081437 After that intense week, we saw those antics lessen a lot. Even now, he’s very mindful of how he reacts to situations. I can see in him that he gauges his own response before actually doing or saying it. There was a time when he whispered, “I want to sit down on the floor.” Before, that was his way of expressing his rebellion and he says it loudly. When I asked him again in a stern voice, he looked at me and said, “I just only want to play.” He then continued to play and didn’t say that statement again. 20141025_092845 It’s true what they say that it’s easy to love your children but it’s so difficult to discipline them. When I see Timmy, I see a lovable child who gives butterfly kisses on my cheeks and always demands my attention in the cutest possible way. But I also see that he’s growing up and his human nature (that we all share) is kicking in fast. The desire to do things his way, the urge to push boundaries—the very things we adults struggle with are manifesting already. 20141025_101102 God made me realize that it’s the very reason we are given parents to correct us and direct us to the right direction. I grew up being disciplined, too. I developed a healthy fear and respect for my mom because of that. We want our son to have the same healthy fear with us, too. We want him to grow up listening to our guidance and counsel because we only want what’s best for him. I learned a lot of things during that week and I want to share them with you. We need to be consistent. As parents we need to be consistent on what is allowed and not allowed in our home. If raising voice is not allowed then we should not to do it to each other, too. When we discipline Timmy we tell him that he doesn’t see mommy and daddy do that to each other. It’s hard but we have to model it consistently in our household so that he gets the idea clearly.

Proverbs 13:24

Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

 We need to be forgiving. I have to admit that it’s hard to deal with a stubborn child. It’s hard to forgive if your child keeps testing you. I’ve learned to be more forgiving through Timmy. You see, after we spank him, said our sorry’s and I-forgive-you’s Timmy is back to his normal self. He would play with us. Show sweet gestures as if he wasn’t bawling a few minutes ago. He, too, was forgiving of mommy and daddy. Sometimes after I discipline him I still feel irritated but his natural response of wanting to be with me again taught me that this is what forgiveness is all about. You forget and move on.

Proverbs 22:15

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

We need to be patient. Our children are not robots programmed to do anything we ask them to do. They have free will just like the rest of us. We need to patiently mentor them. Guide them, explain things to them, and pray for them. Even if it means having to teach the same things over and over again, we need to just press on and do it until they fully understand. I realized that I can’t give up and just let him go on showing these behaviors just because I’m tired of it.

Proverbs 29:15

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

We need to show tough love. Not everyone believes in disciplining or spanking their children. But tough love is the only way kids learn. Even us adults, we learn the most from our most painful experiences. You don’t learn by cruising through life. You learn from its ups and downs. Tough love makes our children realize that there are consequences to their actions. It makes them realize that their decision to disobey mommy and daddy is wrong. Tough love may hurt but it only hurts for a while. The lesson sticks for a long time.

Hebrews 12:11

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. I can’t say that it’s over and we’re all done disciplining Timmy. He really improved a lot after that week and we can only praise and thank God for that. We know that in the future he will have other behaviors that we have to deal with but we’re taking it one day at a time. God is the same with us. He always keeps an eye on us, disciplining us (even as adults) when we stray far from Him. Not because He’s a possessive God but because He’s a loving God. He knows when we’re headed for destruction and discipline prevents that from happening.

Deuteronomy 8:5

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.

What a week it has been but it was full of lessons for all three of us. We show our love to our son through so many things like spending time with him, buying him the stuff that he wants, taking care of him, teaching him, and playing with him. But I guess disciplining him is the form of love that truly helps in molding his character. It’s the most difficult expression of love yet the most fruitful in the long run. 🙂

20141025_093952

Why we’ve decided to homeschool our child

Up to now I still get blank stares and awkward smiles when I tell people that I’m homeschooling Timmy. A lot of parents are unaware of homeschooling—what it is, how it’s done, or if it can be done at all. Coming from a traditional school, I didn’t know about it until high school when I found out that some of my friends from church were homeschooled. Since then, my interest for homeschooling grew and I’ve decided that I will go that route when the time comes. And here I am many years later about to venture into the wonderful, whimsical world of homeschooling. 🙂

Our little homeschooler :)

Most people think that home and school are two separate locations meant for different things. My husband and I believe the opposite. For us, home is where teaching, learning, and mentoring take place. It’s the fertile ground for values formation, character molding, and individualized learning. Omar and I both went to traditional schools and he is a teacher by profession. We have seen and experienced what it’s like to be on that side of the fence. We’re also non-traditional learners so it was a no-brainer that we’re going to homeschool Timmy. 🙂

Our son is three years old and he’s been having informal homeschool from the time he was born. From the songs we sing to the daily activities we do, we incorporate fun and learning at home. Most kids his age are already in school particularly in Nursery. Apparently, this level is not required anymore by the Department of Education (DepEd). Their age requirement for kindergarten is five and for first grade it’s six. We’ll start formal homeschooling in a couple of years and he’ll be at the same grade level with the rest of the kids who started early. He will graduate at the same time, too! So, why did we choose homeschool? 🙂

We want to build our son’s CHARACTER first more than anything else.

Toddler years are the child’s formative years. We want to instill obedience, respect, and discipline in Timmy more than academic excellence. Sure we want him to get good grades and all that. We know it will come if he has developed certain disciplines and when he is obedient to do school work. All these involve character formation. We’re raising a man, a future leader of his home and we know that a lot will be expected of him. Through homeschooling we know we can instill and prioritize godly values that will prepare him when he goes to a normal school and onto adult life.

Matthew 19:14

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Deuteronomy 11:19

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

In addition, we feel that his confidence is best developed when he gets constant love and attention from us. You see, Timmy is a shy boy but he is slowly coming out of his shell. 🙂 He can now easily talk to someone he has just met. Just recently he has been sharing his toys to other kids even those he doesn’t even know! 🙂 He will extend his arm and say, “Want to share my letters.” Usually it’s toward the kid in the other table or someone just passing by. He does it to kids he knows, too, but he’s still too shy to give it so he puts it down on the floor beside his friend. Haha!

Putting him to a nursery would terrify him but since we’re able to build his confidence and teach him at home, he’s now initiating to reach out to other kids and socialize. I could picture him crying everyday in a day care had we opted to enroll him there. Even in his weekly homeschool playdate, Timmy has adapted really well. As parents, we know the personalities of our kids and we need to be sensitive to situations where they can best thrive. 🙂

Timmy’s Homeschool Playdate 🙂

We want our son to ENJOY learning and not be stressed by it.

A friend of mine messaged me in Facebook expressing her concern for her daughter’s preschool curriculum. Her daughter knows a lot of things already but what she’s about to learn can be pretty advanced for her age according to my friend. Another friend shared her frustration to her son waking up too early and being picked up too early by his school bus. These are the very things we don’t want Timmy to experience. We want him to enjoy every learning stage he goes through. We want him to have a stress-free learning experience so that his sense of awe and wonder will always be there. 🙂

I also wouldn’t want to have the stress of dragging him out of bed and forcing him to study when he’s not in the mood to do so. We have to establish a schedule for his homeschool and a specific room for that and I plan to involve Timmy in the process. We’ll create his daily schedule together, fix the room together, and plan our activities together. That way, he feels engaged and not forced to do things. 🙂 We want to give him the flexibility of learning using different methods and not being limited to textbooks. Through guided exploration, we want Timmy to discover and learn things in a dynamic way. 🙂

We want to focus on his STRENGTHS and manage his weaknesses.

As parents, we know the strengths and weaknesses of our kids. Timmy’s good with letters even at a young age. He has shown interest in books early. He looks forward to story time and initiates it, too! Seeing that inclination, we invested on books and all sorts of letter items because he loves forming words, spelling them, and reading them. It’s also the reason why he started to read early. 🙂 He’s also an auditory and visual learner that’s why phonic sounds were easy for him to remember and imitate. Timmy mastered his phonics at two and started reading when he turned three.

On the flip side, he’s not into writing. I know that he’s not yet ready, too. Girls are more patient with coloring and writing. Timmy gets bored with pencil. I got him to write/color when I gave him colored pens. I noticed his love for colors and focus when he uses colored pens. He still doesn’t write and it’s okay. 🙂 We’re still working on his fine motor skills. 🙂 In the meantime, we will hone his creative mind and let him use as many art materials as he can. They may be random doodles and strokes but it’s a start. I don’t want him to “hate” writing by pressuring him. I know he’ll learn that eventually.  🙂

We want him to EXPLORE different learning tools and not be limited by textbooks.

I already mentioned it earlier about utilizing diverse tools to enhance Timmy’s learning experience. When I was teaching him phonics, I made a Powerpoint presentation since he likes to tinker with my laptop. So I gave him a good reason to do so! I will open the file and let him read it. 🙂 I also made some letter pops, reading cards, and a reading book for beginner words. I didn’t buy any phonics books because I know that my son loves visually stimulating materials. Not only that, the internet is full of resources that parents can use and most of them are free! 🙂

Another Motor Skill Activity 🙂

I’m sure that when Timmy learns how to Google, he can access all the information he needs. As a parent/teacher I can closely guide him in his internet use. We can use technology and traditional methods hand in hand. We can present the facts in a fun and digestible way that will spark his interest even more. I think this is the advantage of one-on-one homeschooling because you’re able to tailor your instruction to your child’s interests, strengths, and learning style.

The adventure is just beginning

There are many questions as to how homeschooled kids can survive or even thrive in a normal school. Personally, I don’t think it’s a problem because at the end of the day it’s all up to the student. There’s this teen who went from Homeschool to Harvard. This infographic compares homeschool and public school in the US while this infographic shows how homeschooled kids measure up. This TED Talk from a homeschooled boy is also very powerful. The flexibility and diversity that homeschool learning provides gives way to a multi-faceted education for any child. 🙂

Timmy participating in an arts and crafts and storytelling session 🙂

These are just some of the main reasons why we’re homeschooling Timmy. Of course there are others such as protection from bullies, cost savings (no uniform, school bus, exorbitant fees, etc.), and many more. I have to admit that at first I was terrified because I thought Timmy will not learn anything from me. Then I realized that as parents we are our child’s best teacher. No one knows them better that we do. We’re also not alone in this. God is our partner. The One who created our children will help us mentor our little ones. 🙂

Whatever Timmy’s learning so far, I can only attribute it to God’s grace and wisdom. All the ideas come from Him, even my patience comes from Him! He alone can prolong Timmy’s attention span when we’re doing activities together. And with each milestone, I can only praise and thank God for allowing me to witness it and for the privilege of being a part of it. 🙂 Although we haven’t formally enrolled Timmy in a homeschool program, we are enjoying what we’re learning at home.

WE’RE A HOMESCHOOLING FAMILY! 🙂

There’s no such thing as a perfect day with a toddler but it’s always a grace-filled day. 🙂 I’m grateful that Omar works from home, too, and we’re partners in educating Timmy. At the end of the day, we’re only but stewards of our son and God expects us to be faithful. We’re foremost parents before teachers and raising him in the knowledge, fear, and love of God is more important than getting perfect scores. I look forward to our homeschooling adventures—the lessons, challenges, and the awesomeness of it all. 🙂 It may not be the traditional route but sometimes we have to take the road less traveled to make a difference. 🙂

I dare you to move

Over the past couple of years God has been prodding me with a terrifying challenge, “I DARE YOU TO MOVE.” Career wise, I had been in my comfort zone for the past 11 years. I thrived behind the pages of books. Fresh out of college I landed on my dream job in a specialty book store. Had it not been too stressful for my health I think I would not have left. My second wind came not long after when I became a consultant in the same industry. I couldn’t ask for a better job. It had everything I wanted. I was blessed with admirable superiors. It was like having your career placed on a silver platter.

Baby love :)

Baby love 🙂

Then I got married. I married a wonderful godly man. Not only that, months after our wedding, we had a baby! So in less than a year, we became a happy bunch! The changes were happening so fast that I never really had the time to process each transition we had. It was during this time when I started to feel a certain “tension” that I couldn’t explain, a certain discontent that I couldn’t pinpoint, and a certain longing that I couldn’t quantify.

Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
The tension is here

Between who you are
And who you could be
Between how it is
And how it should be

(Lyrics from Switchfoot’s “I dare you to move”)

Funny that those lyrics came from one of my favorite songs and one of my most loved movies, “A Walk to Remember,” which is incidentally the theme of our wedding! 🙂

A Day To Remember

A Day To Remember

Going back, I finally had the chance to verbalize this to my husband during our Valentine’s date this year. I told him that the desire to be a homemaker and a stay-at-home mom is getting stronger each day. My job then did not require me to go to work daily. I paced myself according to my health’s needs without compromising the work I needed to deliver. At first, I thought that it wasn’t so bad. However, the tension remained. It never abated. In fact, it even intensified. I told my husband that this desire to be a full-time homemaker is something that I never had when I was still single; probably because I didn’t need it back then.

Hubby love :)

My superhero 🙂

It’s like God turned on a switch when I got married. It felt like He gave me permanent glass shoes—beautiful yet fragile. He gave me precious roles that I should fill and that doing otherwise will cause it to break. It was a realization that I was trying to ignore but was proving more difficult to do.

I knew what I wanted to be and where I wanted to be. But I didn’t have the courage to leave my comfort zone. For the longest time, my husband and I were not on the same page on this as well. I was always mulling on leaving while his stand was for me to stay. So I waited and waited until the day came when God gave me no other choice but to move. A re-organization happened within the company leaving me with limited options. After much prayer and consideration, my husband and I agreed for the first time that it’s time to close that chapter in my career and move on.

Worth the trade-off for my boys :)

Worth the trade-off 🙂

What amazed me the most about this decision was the peace it brought inside of me. I finally moved. I finally accepted God’s dare. And I was at peace. Despite the big drop in our finances, I knew that God would provide for us and carry us through. God confirmed that not long after when our neighbor told me that they were looking for a copywriter. The best part about it was that it was home-based! In less than a week I got a new job that fit everything I truly wanted and needed. My husband was also blessed with a couple of jobs! One was a continuation of his previous contract and the other one was from his previous employer but this time involving a different industry! God’s ways are truly higher than ours!

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Now that I am a homemaker and stay-at-home mom, who happens to work on the side, all the tension and discontent that kept nagging me the past two years has disappeared. Sure we had to make adjustments with our budget and move into my in-laws temporarily. But even these things were already orchestrated by God beforehand. My in-laws are currently on vacation in Canada for four months. This has given us time to get settled financially and force us to let go of our excess stuff through a successful garage sale. What a relief that was, too!

Family love :)

Happy wifey and mommy 🙂

Sometimes God makes us go through big faith-shaking decisions so that we will learn to trust Him completely. When this happens, we need to believe that the God who led us will also be faithful to deliver us. We are still in a transition phase and soon we will move to a new place again. It’s an exciting yet tiring phase of moving and settling. Nonetheless, it’s also very much like being in the eye of the storm where everything is calm despite the strong winds and heavy rains around. I have learned that moving only makes sense when you follow someone who will lead you to a better place. No one else fits that bill than our Heavenly Father who knows exactly what is best for us. I know that our sovereign God is doing just that for our family. He is leading the way slowly but surely. And with an all-powerful, all-knowing, almighty God going before you, there is definitely no turning back. 🙂

Deuteronomy 31:8 

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

I married a super hero, not a prince charming

Growing up, I totally skipped Barbie, Disney Princess, and other girly fairy tales. I was just not interested in them. I remember that my most loved tales were The Little Red Riding Hood, The Gingerbread Man, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Three Little Pigs. Haha! I found Snow White and company cute but not as interesting as the stories I mentioned earlier. I jumped into the happily ever after and prince charming bandwagon when I was in Grade 5 or 6. Still, I didn’t find the idea of having a prince charming so charming. I didn’t wear a tiara when I was young except for one school parade when I had no choice.

Hero in waiting :)

Hero in waiting 🙂

Judging from the tales I liked back then, I realized that if I’d be in a fairy tale I would probably end up being an adventurous yet accident-prone female character who still needs saving. I would definitely not be a damsel in distress nor would I want a pretty prince charming coming to my rescue with his pearly white teeth. My fairy tale would probably involve an unconventional super hero who will sweep me off my feet with his otherworldly abilities. Lo and behold, I was given one. 🙂

The fanboy and the girlfriend :)

The fanboy 🙂

When I first met Omar, I knew that he was more than just a pretty face. Yes, he was and still is prince charming-esque but it was his character that made him more attractive. He was the authentic Mr. Nice Guy with the word KIND tattooed on his forehead. Everybody knew that Omar was dependable and responsible. He was very much like “Superman” in that sense. 🙂

With my Man of Steel :)

With my Man of Steel 🙂

He also treated everyone equally so it was very hard to determine if he liked you or not. I guess he knew that about himself so when he took me out on our first date he immediately told me his intentions! He dropped the words commitment, marriage, and love that caught me off guard in a blissful kind of way. 🙂 That bold move made all the difference because he unknowingly addressed my fear of being misled. I knew that it took a lot of courage for him to say that. He took the risk of “going too fast” with confidence and determination, fully aware that he could stand by what he said.

We're engaged! :)

We’re engaged! 🙂

To cut the short story even shorter, we became a couple two months after that first date, got engaged four months after, and eventually tied the knot seven months later. 🙂 He is pretty much identical to “Flash” in terms of the way he led and steered our relationship to marriage. 🙂

Mr. and Mrs. Guerrero! :)

Mr. and Mrs. Guerrero! 🙂

We also became parents early with our honeymoon baby, Timmy! 🙂 As a husband and father-to-be, Omar balanced his leadership and nurturing role to his preggy wifey. I had a complicated pregnancy and Omar never left my side through it all. When Timmy was born, he took the role of fatherhood with fun and focus. 🙂 I adore seeing him play with our baby, change Timmy’s nappies, and accomplish other daddy duties. He made career and ministry decisions that showed how he is prioritizing us more than anything. For me, he was and still is like a married version of “Captain America,” a great leader, planner, and undeniably selfless.

My superhero boys!

My superhero boys!

Our marriage is not perfect.  We have miscommunication issues every now and then. Voice tone misinterpretations also come up once in a while. Overall, I can say that we live by the 80/20 principle. It’s all good 80% of the time. The other 20% comprise the minor arguments, long talks over unresolved issues, and gentle rebukes that help us both become better spouses to each other.

I am so grateful that our marriage is boring (in a good way). 🙂 It is drama-free with no roller coaster mood swings and stress-free with no unreasonable demands. It is a great blessing to be married with Omar who is also peace-loving like me. God knew I could not bear the stress of being with someone who thrives on arguments. Haha!

Valentine's Day date :)

Valentine’s Day date 🙂

Today we celebrate our 1,095 days of being married. 🙂 Three years may seem like a short time but the trials we’ve been through made it look like we have a thirty-year-old marriage. Haha! My recent health bout with Ischemia made this anniversary even more precious. God made us more appreciative with every waking day we share together. Seeing how my husband took care of me and Timmy while doing most of the chores at home while I was sick is like seeing God’s love in action. This is what a super hero husband is—someone who knows what to do at the most crucial time, keeps his calm in the midst of a raging storm, depends on Someone greater than he is, and gives his everything without questioning so much what is left of him.

Honey with his superhero cake :)

Honey with his superhero cake for his 40th birthday 🙂

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MY SUPER OMAR! Human language is not enough to express my appreciation and love for you! You are God’s sweetest blessing to me! I am humbled and privileged to be your wife. My heart is full of thanksgiving to our great God who gives us nothing but the BEST. You are my BEST FRIEND and the no question, hands down the BEST HUSBAND in the world. 🙂 I look forward to more years with you, inclusive of a lifetime buffet of laughter, long walks, movie and series marathons, NBA finals, reading and praying together, family bonding, homeschooling and parenting, lazy afternoons, shopping and window shopping, casual conversations, irrational jokes, sweet surprises, and overdose of hugs and kisses—till we’re both wrinkly and gray. 🙂 I love you, my super hero husband! Happy Anniversary!!! 🙂

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I LOVE YOU!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I LOVE YOU!