Passing on Lessons from Mom

I am the eldest and the only girl in a brood of three. Growing up, my mother would always ask me to do something for her. Whether helping her with the chores or running errands for her. I remember riding my bike to a small mini mart near our place because she asked me to buy milkfish for lunch. Of course, I didn’t get the freshest fish since I was only 9 or 10 and I have no idea what a fresh fish looks like. They all look the same to me, all slimy and…wet. Another time I was to get chayote (sayote) and I ended up getting the more green papaya, which was more expensive than chayote.

Even if she hired household help then I never saw her relax. She would still be cooking, doing other chores and checking what the help is doing. There were times when we don’t have a helper in the house and that’s the time, I would be assisting her most of the time.

I remember would always tell me, “How can you be a good mother if you don’t know how to do household chores?” As a teenager, I don’t like doing chores! I dreaded chores! I would rather listen to my music and write but I have no choice, I have to obey or else 🙂 But as the Bible says, everything turned out for the best.

My homemaker training as a young girl paid off. Now that I have my own family, I can manage without any help at all. I do laundry, clean, cook, homeschool, run errands, and work part time too. I do hire outside help once in a while to do some ironing but other than that, we’re okay. Tired but okay.

Of course, I pass on what I learned to my own kids. Though they can’t do the hard stuff, I have assigned them some tasks to do everyday. Both of the kids need to fix their beds every time they get up in the morning.  They clean up after breakfast and put their dishes in the sink. You have to remind them to do it everyday but their not complaining, thank God! Once in while Coby would wash his own dishes too, since he is the last one to have breakfast.

Jianne, our little girl is being trained as early as now to be a good homemaker. She helps me in the kitchen when I’m preparing dinner. She would wash the vegetables or get other ingredients I need. She wants to help out in the kitchen all the time. In the evenings, while relaxing and watching TV, she would see me fold newly washed clothes. I would put them on the bed and fold them one by one. She would volunteer to fold some clothes too so I taught her how to do it the Martha Stewart way…nah!  She’s a fast learner and now she is the one folding her own undies, shirts and pajamas. What a great help indeed!

the little helper unfolding her undies, step 1

the little helper unfolding her undies, step 1

step 2

step 2

step 3

tada! neatly folded undies :-)

tada! neatly folded undies 🙂

I am grateful that my mom taught me well. I learned how to be a great homemaker because she was my best example. I hope I could pass on the same values to my daughter and that she would imbibe the joy of motherhood too when that time comes.  But of course, I pray that the Lord would direct her to the right path, the right husband and right career. I trust that whatever career God places her in the future, she would not neglect her duties as a mom.

Have you heard of the Proverbs 31 wife? I would like to follow her example of biblical motherhood 🙂

What lessons did you learn from your mom? What lessons are you passing on to your daughters?

The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?     She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her     and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm,     all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax     and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships,     bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night;     she provides food for her family     and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it;     out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously;     her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable,     and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff     and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor     and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;     for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed;     she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,     where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them,     and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;     she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom,     and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household     and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed;     her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things,     but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;     but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,     and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:10-31


I’ll Tape it Back

Our first-grader, Jianne and I were talking about parts of the plant this morning. We went outside to get samples of leaves and flowers. I just picked a random leaf from the garden and took it inside.

We talked about the leaf acting like the chef of the plant as it is in charge for making the food. Like the chef, the leaf needs important ingredients in order to make a perfect meal. Jianne enumerated the ingredients needed by Chef Leaf which includes light from the sun, air, water and nutrients from the soil.

Time will come when the leaf can no longer make food. That is the reason why their colors change from green to golden yellow, orange or brown. These beautiful change of color is evident in autumn especially in countries like the United States. We see the beauty of this natural phenomena covering the ground almost entirely during this season.

Then, Jianne had her aha moment. “So, does it mean that the leaves are dead when they change color?” she asked. “Ah, yes?” was my unsure answer because I didn’t want to disappoint her. Kids don’t like to talk about death. Then, I sensed panic in her actions as she held the leaf in her hand. “Does it mean this leaf would die too?” she asked. “Yes, because it’s no longer connected to the stem, it won’t have any food,” was my reply.

She stood up and hurried outside. When I asked her where she was going, she said she has to do something very important. After a few minutes, she came back with a smile on her face and blurted out, “The leaf will not die, Mama. I put it back to the stem.” This puzzled me so I dared ask her, “What do you mean ‘put it back’?” Then she pulled my arm and led me to the garden and to the plant where we got the leaf.

She pointed to the reattached leaf and said, “It’s okay to put tape on it, right?” Jianne taped back the leaf to the stem.  Awww. I thought it was cute and I didn’t know how to answer her. The truth hurts and I have to be honest with her. “I’m sorry but I don’t think the leaf is going to survive,” I told her.

The smile on her face disappeared then she looked down. She kept quiet. She looked upset. I tried to console her by saying that more leaves will grow. But she wouldn’t listen to me. She said she was still angry.


There's the tape!

There’s the tape!


Aren’t we like my daughter sometimes? We try to fix things in our life by putting a tape around our problems or our circumstances. We use our own power, strength and intellect to make things work. We fail to acknowledge that that “tape” is not suffice. Eventually, through constant beating of the air, rain and other elements, that tape will eventually loose it’s stickiness and detach the leaf from the stem.  We need to remind ourselves that the “tapes” that we use in our lives will also fail us. Sometimes the temporary solution we create might even aggravate the problem or situation we are in.

I am reminded of this verse about the vine and it’s branches.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. John 15:4-6

Unless we connect ourselves to Christ, our so-called solutions would always fail us. Because these solutions are concocted by the finite minds of man. Why rely on human power when in supernatural power is available to us. Why rely on our limited thinking when there is a God whose wisdom is limitless.  In fact, he says in his word that whoever lacks wisdom, we should ask of him who would supply us with abundantly (James 1:5)

Tomorrow is another day and I know Jianne would be checking the leaf when she wakes up. I hope she would remember that since God made those leaves, He can always make new ones. And this time, we will not detach them from the stem 🙂

What are “tapes” we fix our problems with? When did we realize we need someone wiser to fix it for us? Let’s talk 🙂


Pretty in Pink

I am excited to attend the www.Jesus event in church tomorrow. It has been quite a while since a women’s conference has been organized by our local church. The seminar will focus on 3W’s, Women, Wellness and Wholeness.

For events like these, we need volunteers and I was asked to assist in the distribution of meals to the participants. As a volunteer, we were required to wear something pink. I knew that I don’t have a decent pink shirt so I had to get one, nothing fancy, just something to wear on Saturday.

Jianne, my 6-year-old daughter, was so thrilled when I told her I needed to buy a pink outfit for the event. She asked if she could go with me to the mall so she could get a new pink shirt for her too. I raised my eyebrows at her request and told her she doesn’t need a new one. I reminded her that most of her clothes are pink and I’m the one who needed one. She insisted but I said no. Instead, she just asked if could get her a new headband and my reply was a quick yes.

So, we headed to the mall which is a stone’s throw away from our place. She quickly changed her house clothes to one of her pink star shirts. We looked at different shops because I don’t want to get one that’s too expensive neither do I want to get a plain shirt. Jianne was on the lookout for pink items on the shelves and racks. She would point out the ones she like but when I checked them out I looked like an old teenager haha.

We were busy talking about the style I want that we forgot that my husband was with us too. He accompanied us to the mall that afternoon. It’s funny how grown up Jianne was while we were talking about girl stuff. Poor hubby, he was like a bodyguard walking his two girls.

Every item I choose, I would ask Jianne if she thinks it’s cool or not. Then, she would motion me to ask her Papa whether he thinks it’s cool too. Shopping with Jianne was like shopping with my girl friends.  At 6, she has her own style and is very opinionated especially when it comes to fashion. She is so unlike me haha.

We went in another store, Shapes, and I found a pink and gray blouse. I asked her to go with me in the fitting room to try it out. She voted for the blouse and we were off the cashier. Not only was the blouse cheap but we got an additional 10 percent discount on it!

Soon,  we were headed to the kids’ accessories section to look for her headband. She knew what she wanted. She specifically told me that furry one with flowers, like the one she had before which Coby accidentally broke in two. As soon as she saw the color and style she wanted, nobody could change her mind. The sales clerk suggested other styles but she was fixed on that blue flower headband. She never took it off until it was time to sleep.

My daughter would be turning 7 in a few months and she is growing up to be a fine young lady. She has a mind of her own now and knows what she wants. She wants all pink things.  She wants all pretty things. I am praying that as she goes through the different stages in her life, she would learn to love the simple things. That she would learn to enhance not only her outer beauty but ultimately love God who is the source of inner beauty.

How do you teach your daughter about inner beauty?

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:3-4


Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Homemade and Selling

I don’t think there is no one in the world who doesn’t love food. In fact, food has been given so much attention with the advent of social media and phone apps. One can simply capture a photo of a delectable pasta, a sweet dessert or a refreshing drink and post it for the world to see. Now, your friends know what you had for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  I do share a few photos of food myself but I limit them to stuff I make from scratch or what my husband prepares.  And posting homemade stuff is good advertising don’t you think. I mean, who doesn’t need a LITTLE extra cash?

Last year, I started recreating the homemade spreads or dips I did two years before. I shared some samples to my friends and they enjoyed it. Not only that, I also received orders especially around the holidays. I started with a Roasted Bell Pepper Spread and Garlic Cheese Spread. I wanted to add one more flavor so I tried using a local food item in our country called “Tinapa” or Smoked Milkfish. The product testing done at home was good and the Tinapa Spread was born. I received more orders for this spread than the two but and it became the bestseller spread.


Christmas packaging for the three in one. I also have bigger sizes and in jars.

Christmas packaging for the three in one. I also have bigger sizes and in jars.

My family loves bread. When he was still single, my husband took a bread-making course and learned how to make simple breads at home. He is such a bread lover that he decided to make his own “Pandesal” a Spanish name for salt bread. Pandesal is a staple food item in the Filipino diet. We have it for breakfast or snack and it goes well with our favorite butter and sugar and hot coffee, yummy! Armed with his ingredients of flour, eggs, yeast, sugar and salt, he mixed, kneaded and baked his own bread. He asked the kids to join him and they enjoyed the whole process.

kneading the dough

kneading the dough

proofing time

proofing time

hot pandesal with roasted bell pepper spread yum!

hot pandesal with roasted bell pepper spread yum!

So what goes well with bread but with a good spread. Aside from the homemade spreads I make for the home and for friends, I thought of doing something else. How about making my own fruit jams? I was inspired when I saw a show on TV that featured a woman who makes jams at home. She sells them too for a profit and has been doing quite well.

Green mangoes are well-grown in our country and is available year round. So looking for green mangoes was not a problem at all. I took some green mangoes I bought from the market and created my own version of a green mango jam. The sourness of the green mango worked well with the sweetness of sugar. Of course, my kids loved it (love your own)!

I also shared some to my father who enjoys jams and preserves as well, and he gave me a positive feedback. He said I need to reduce some of the sugar but overall it’s good. He said to make him more and he will pay me, hooray!

oozing with mango syrup

oozing with mango syrup

one jar almost consumed by the bread monsters :-)

one jar almost consumed by the bread monsters 🙂

I’m still on the lookout of other local fruits to make as jams. Here is a list of fruits I could source locally: guava, melon, pineapple, santol (This fruit is grown in Southeast Asia. In French, it’s what they call faux mangoustainer and in English is known as Sandor or wild mangosteen. -source

Have you tried making your own jam or preserves? Let’s have a “jamming” session by sharing your experiences 🙂

Big Brother

My husband and I are blessed to have a boy and a girl. it’s fun to see them grow up. Coby, who just turned 10 last April 5, is becoming more mature in his ways. He is more confident and at times makes decisions for himself. He used to go with us to the supermarket during weekends but now he would rather stay in his grandfather’s house and play with his friends. He speaks up though not to the point of answering back, thank God!

Jianne, on the other hand, is 6 1/2 and maturing too quite fast. She is the girly, princess-type. She likes dresses and putting on make up and times she gives me a “makeover”. Whenever I get the chance to go the salon, she would be right there with me choosing my nail color. She also asserts herself. She can be stubborn too but she knows how to get out of a “sticky situation”.

In the afternoons, they would always go outside to play with the neighborhood kids. Coby would be riding his bike with his friend while Jianne would either be riding her bike too or scooter.

One afternoon, Jianne went home crying. She said that Coby doesn’t want her to join them play outside. She felt really  bad because she said there are no other kids to play with just Coby and Mark (Coby’s friend). I convinced her to just stay inside with me but she insisted on going outside. Soon, she came back sobbing again.

The big brother came home 30 minutes after. I asked him why he wouldn’t let Jianne play with them. He explained that he and Mark were biking towards the street corner and he didn’t want Jianne to go with them. He said, it’s not safe for her to be riding her bike there. “Why was it not safe there?” I asked him again. “Because there are other kids who are not from the neighborhood hanging around at the street corner. I don’t want Jianne to be there. Those kids are strangers,” he answered me. “And that’s too far from the house, I don’t want her to ride back home alone,” he added.

Awww! The big brother was at work that time. He was just protecting her younger sister. He wanted her to be safe.

I commended Coby for being the big brother at that time. I told him that I am proud of what he did and thanked him for looking out for his sister. After that, I explained to Jianne that Coby was only protecting her and wanted her safe.

Towards the evening, I saw Jianne hugging Coby and heard her say,”Thank you Kuya (older brother) for protecting me”. Coby hugged her back and said,”That’s why you listen to me, okay!”

Their relationship now is like cat and dog. Fighting, bickering, arguing over the tiniest thing. But I know when they grow up they would value each other and truly love and respect one another.

photo (2) photo (3) photo (4)

Playing Favorites

We are studying the book of beginnings, Genesis, in BSF this year. From Adam to Noah and Abraham and his grandsons, Jacob and Esau. Isaac, the promised descendant of Abraham waited 20 years to have a child. Rebekah had a difficult pregnancy and had inquired of the Lord,

23 And the Lord told her, “The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.”

24 And when the time came to give birth, Rebekah discovered that she did indeed have twins! 25 The first one was very red at birth and covered with thick hair like a fur coat. So they named him Esau.[b]26 Then the other twin was born with his hand grasping Esau’s heel. So they named him Jacob.[c] Isaac was sixty years old when the twins were born. Genesis 25:23-25

While still inside their mother’s womb, one can sense that trouble is brewing for the twin boys. Though twins, they grew up with very distinct personalities. Esau, the firstborn, is a wild child as exemplified by his red hair. He loves the outdoors and has taste for wild game. His twin, Jacob, who was described as having smooth, skin is the quiet one. He is probably more domesticated than Esau because he prefers staying indoors.

Now Isaac became fond of his Esau as the firstborn would hunt wild game and cook his favorite stew. He became his father’s favorite. Rebekah on the other hand, trained Jacob well and shared a unique bond with his son.

We know what happened to the twins. Esau despised his birthright and gave it up for a bowl of stew while Jacob deceived his father by pretending to be Esau and receiving the blessings of the firstborn.

It is so easy to connect with Isaac and Rebekah. I know parents don’t have the slightest intention of favoring one child over the other but somehow it happens in a subtle way.

Isn’t it easy to love the child who easily obeys or the one who hugs you a lot and says I love you all the time? How about the child who makes you coffee or snack without even asking? Or the one who props up a pillow on your back when you are working on the computer? Isn’t this the child who want to smother with hugs and kisses too? It’s easy to love a child like that. You tend to do the same for that child. You shower her or him with affection, encouraging words or even gifts sometimes.

But what if you child delays obedience or pretends he doesn’t hear what you are asking him or her to do? How about the child whom you have a hard time teaching? He or she seems to be having trouble with all the subjects and you are at your wits end at times? How about the child who makes you loose your temper? Or the child who always gets the smack on the butt? Isn’t this child difficult to love?

I am blessed to have a boy and a girl who are two unique individuals too. Both have their own ways of showing how they love me. At the same time, they also know well what makes Mama upset or disappointed.

There is no question, I love both my kids equally. But I need to remind myself that I need to reciprocate this love to them the way they want to be loved. I don’t want them to feel that I favor the other because I know it will bring insecurity, hatred, indifference, sibling rivalry and even bitterness in the future. This negative emotion if left untreated would be carried on even to their own sons and daughters.

If time permits, I take one of them to the mall when I do errands. There was a time I took Coby out for a snack, just the two of us. He said he enjoyed it so much and it’s one of his best days. We were even HHWW (Holding Hands While Walking) 🙂 On other days, I take Jianne with me when I teach bible study to a group of women friends. She enjoys being with the “girls” too.

When I go out, Jianne would always call me to ask me to buy her something. Even if Coby does not ask for anything, I would still get one for him too. I don’t want him to feel left out. Their faces would be beaming if they see the box of Nerds being handed to them.

I try my best to speak their love language. Coby needs words of affirtmation. So I would try to say encouraging words to him especially when he feels frustrated on a certain subject. It lifts his sould knowing that I still love him inspite of.

Jianne wants to be touched, hugged and kissed all the time. So I connect with her when I hug her and kiss her or comb her hair. She craves physical touch so I give her the kind of love she wants to receive although, I am personally not a physical touch person (it’s the least of my love languages).

I am an imperfect mother but with the help of the Lord, I try to be the best mother to my children. I believe that the greatest influence a child can have is his or her parent. That is why I’m taking parenting seriously. As I said previously, I only have one shot at this and I have to make it good.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6


The Day I Needed a Boat

It’s been three and a half months now since my daughter’s first ballet recital. This was one of the most exciting days in my  daughter’s life or should I say, in my life.

I saw her interest in dance when she was about three years old. When she turned four, it was obvious that she really wanted to do ballet. She would pretend to be a ballerina and dance around the room whenever I play classical music. Soon, we did two trial classes at two different ballet schools in our area. Unfortunately, it did not work out for us then.

When the trial class for the second class ended, the ballet teacher asked if Jianne had formal ballet lessons. I told her just a week or two in another school. The teacher was impressed at how Jianne was so focused on following the steps and doing in correctly. After much chit chat, I learned that the teacher is part of the ballet company which I have been hearing so much about. Acts Manila is premier Christian ballet company in Manila whose primary goal is to transform the world one dancer at a time.

To cut the long story short, I finally enrolled Jianne in a school whose ballet program is under the tutelage of Acts Manila. For months, she practiced twice a week for months until general rehearsals and recital day. Months before recital day, Jianne was telling me she no longer wants to continue. She doesn’t want to do ballet anymore. She doesn’t give me a clear reason why she wants to quit but she would just cry at times.  I was able to convince her that she just needed to complete the recital and I will let her rest. She agreed and in a few weeks, has shown renewed enthusiasm in dancing.

Pictorials came and make up sessions. She looked so pretty in her costume and of course, I was the proud Mama.

General rehearsals came and the dancers were required to be on their best because it’s like the performance day.   Rehearsals last the almost the whole day and parents were not allowed to watch or look after our daughters. There were assistants or staff on board ready to help the girls  if they needed something. I knew I could rely on Jianne because she is in independent girl. I could also feel the excitement in this 5-year-old little ballerina as she wore her artist’s ID on her neck and ran upstairs wearing her blue and white costume.

After a day of rest, it’s D-Day! Everyone was so excited especially me! After 10 months of not knowing what kind of dance they will be performing (parents are not allowed inside the studio) I was all giddy! Finally, I will see my  baby on stage!

But the rain came. We were finishing make up when the heavy rain cloud began pouring endlessly and angrily. So we rushed to the CCP to make it to the call time. During the rehearsals, it took me only 45 minutes to drive to CCP. But that day, God has other plans. As I tried to exit the village, flood waters closed down the street. I tried another route and it’s  the same. We were trapped. I don’t know how long we were driving back and forth trying to get out of the village. Until I finally braved the waters and drove through it.

It was my first time to drive through a flooded street. I was praying to God to let me through the waters. I passed the flooded area successfully and I was hopeful then. A friend of mine whose daughter would also be performing that night told me that if I continue that path I am in, I will be able to make it on time. Unfortunately, cars were stuck on the area. When I checked my time. We were already late for the call time but we can still make on the actual time the performance would start. Clock was ticking fast and I just kept on praying and praying and praying. I think that was the time I prayed the hardest all my life next to giving birth 🙂

My husband who came from school was supposed to meet us in CCP but I asked him to meet us somewhere so he could be the one to drive. He told me that he too was stuck in traffic somewhere. This added to my predicament. Oh, no!

While waiting patiently for the cars to move, I saw a lady walking and asked her if cars could pass where she came from. She said the flood water  is waist-deep and the cars are just parked and not moving. That’s when I decided to turn around and look for another way. It was 30 minutes before start of performance. I still believe I could make it on time. I rushed to another route only to find out that that too was flooded.

I did not give up, I’ll give it one more shot. The show already started as my friend updated me via text message. Right there I decided, we couldn’t make it anymore because Jianne’s school would be the first group to dance. It’s too late. While I was a little panicky I asked her lots of times if it’s okay she would not be able to perform on her recital day. She just said, “It’s okay, Mama. I’m hungry anyway.”

I thought of still pushing through to CCP and just watch the show. But I was afraid that when Jianne sees her classmates she might feel bad she was not able to dance. So I called my husband and told him the dash to CCP is off, we’re turning back and going home. This was an hour and a half past performance time. I was holding back my tears as we headed to the mall to feed the kids. I kept on asking God, why?

When we finally arrived home and the kids are settled in their beds, that’s the time I cried out to God. I mean, really CRIED OUT! I kept asking why, why, why? Not in an irreverent sort of way but asking why did he not allow Jianne to complete the recital. Why didn’t he send me a boat when I badly needed one? Why didn’t he part the flood waters to let us pass?

But who am I to ask my Creator? Who am I ask God for an explanation? The following day, brokenhearted, I approached God again. He spoke to my heart lovingly saying, ” I do not need to explain myself to anyone.” It was then I just surrendered everything to His will. I could not wrap my head around what happened but I know He has a reason for allowing “the flood” consume me.

It took days, weeks and months for me to recover. It took me that much time to even blog about it. The good thing that the Lord has graciously shown me after this is that Jianne is okay about it. She doesn’t mind at all. She doesn’t seem to be affected at all. The Lord spared from the daunting task of consoling a sad and disappointed child.

It took a while for me to communicate with other ballet moms I met there. It still hurt when I think about it. I still don’t know why but I’m trusting that God would reveal to me in His perfect time.

We have not been back to ballet since then. Jianne still dances but when I tell her to go back to ballet, she says no. When I spoke to her ballet teacher, she has only high praises for Jianne’s gift. I pray that if it is God’s will that she goes back to ballet, God would prepare her heart again. She has gifted her with lovely feet  and I pray she would be able to use it and give it back to her Creator.