Happy New Year!

From our family to yours, we wish you a year of knowing Jesus more intimately and personally! May you experience his incredible love and be filled with his joy!

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Cleaning House

Living the “no yaya lifestyle” is really no joke. My hats off to all the women in the world who do everything from cleaning to cooking to laundry to taking care of the kids to organizing their homes. For the next week, we will have no help. We let them have a well-deserved vacation. Of course this means that Edric and I have to share domestic duties and get the kids to do chores.

We have assigned Elijah to kitchen duty, Edan to keeping the rooms straight, Edric will take out the trash, clean the bathrooms, coordinate with the laundromat for our laundry, oversee the boys’ responsibilities, and I will do everything else. Titus and Tiana will help out in whatever way they can.

Today was day 1. I was tired by 9 pm but I still had to put the groceries away and tidy up the house (I didn’t finish). This is going to be a very interesting bonding time for our family. Thankfully, the kids are excited about their assigned duties and eager to step up to the challenge of doing everything for ourselves.

I know it sounds so spoiled to make a big deal about having no house help for just for one week. But, we are kind of spoiled in the Philippines. Having house help is such a blessing. It is one of the reasons why we don’t mind having more children and why we refuse to live in the U.S. Even if we are all U.S. citizens, the Philippines is a wonderful place to be, especially when you have lots of kids. I think I would go crazy if every hour of my day was spent on domestic chores!

Nevertheless, this week is something our family is looking forward to. Edric calls it “forced bonding.” I really appreciate how Edric has embraced this circumstance as a positive experience. We didn’t have to let all our help take a vacation at the same time but he was amenable to the idea when I proposed it. And I am thankful that he is going to make sure that everyone in the family fulfills their roles. I am not 100% functional because I am pregnant. On some days, all I want to do is sleep. So knowing that Edric is taking this adjustment seriously and very intentionally is comforting. He has even said that he will “serve himself.” That is a big deal! His language of love is service.

Edric and I were both willing to sacrifice our comfort because we want our house help to know that we genuinely care about them. They expressed to us that they would like to be with their families on New Year’s. And I know they were embarrassed to ask because I am pregnant and they know what a handful the kids can be. But we allowed ourselves to be inconvenienced so they could relax and enjoy their families. They work so faithfully. This is our way of communicating our appreciation for all they do.

Personally, the blessing in all of this is learning to be a more faithful home manager. Having house help can make me complacent because I can delegate everything. But now that I have to be so hands on, I am going through all the cabinets, looking through all our storage, paying attention to what needs to be repaired or replaced, and fixing what I can. I like what Elijah said when we were cleaning out the kitchen cabinets together. “Mom, we really have to do a lot of organization in this kitchen. I think one of the reasons why God has not let us finish our house building yet is because we need to be better stewards of what he has given us.” Amen, son. That is a true observation which I intend to take to heart. The Bible does say, we must be faithful in the little things before we are put in charge of bigger things.

Stinky Shorts

1 Peter 3:3-4 says,Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

How encouraging to know that it is not the externals that matter to God. What is precious to him is the hidden person of the heart — who we are inside. But I struggle with the idea of a gentle and quiet spirit. I want to have this imperishable quality. I mean, wow, it sounds like the secret to lasting beauty! However, it is a challenge to be gracious and humble when I feel like my rights are violated or when I am disrespected, or to be kind and be a blessing when people or circumstances annoy me.

A gentle and quiet spirit conjures up an image of someone who is at peace, at rest, one who is not easily agitated or reactive, choosing to bless when cursed, choosing to love when wounded, self-controlled and able to temper her emotions. I have a lurking fiery spirit that comes out from time to time. But my prayer is to be more consistent about being a quiet and gentle spirit. Of course, God gives me many opportunities to practice applying this. He knows I need the practice!

A few days ago Edric was correcting me about leaving his basketball shorts on the floor. I started to make excuses about why the laundry hadn’t been done and suggested that he was being a little bit nit-picky. He said, “pregnant or not pregnant, you need to get your household duties done. I have equipped you with the resources and house help to get these things done.”

I began to defend myself. “You know I push myself, hon. I am not the type of pregnant person that complains or excuses herself. But you are getting upset about the laundry not being done when we couldn’t possibly get the laundry done because we have been out of the home for the last few days.” There were some holes in my argument. I didn’t want to admit that it was my responsibility. As I was giving my defense, I caught myself…Why am I explaining myself? Why can’t I just admit that I need to improve? So I said, “Okay hon, I will improve.” It is amazing how these few words said in a respectful manner can melt the heart of a husband. He didn’t say anything but he stopped talking about his shorts and the laundry.

Sitting silently on the bed, I prayed and made my appeal to God. A gentle and quiet spirit doesn’t mean you have to be silent inside! I was honest with the Lord about my feelings and frustration. “Can you help Edric to be more understanding? I don’t want to get angry. I don’t want to react.” I did not want to disrespect Edric or begin a conflict with him over stinky basketball shorts. Being able to tell God how I felt was spiritually soothing and emotionally calming.

I walked to the living room and hung out there for a bit to write. In a few minutes, Edric came out and followed me to the couch I was lounging on. He put his arms around me, hugged me and said, “I think I need to be sweeter when I am correcting you. I think it will make a big difference if my tone is more loving. I noticed that a lot of times you react to me because I don’t say things in a kind way. I want to change that.”

Oh my goodness! That was fast, Lord! I hugged Edric back and thanked him for saying that. I admitted to him that I was praying hard that I wouldn’t react. He replied, “I was praying you wouldn’t react either!” We both started to laugh as we recalled what happened when I threw the remote control the week before.

Marriage is really a riot sometimes. I am crazy in love with Edric but I do not always get along with him or agree with his perspective. However, Jesus is the glue that holds us together. He helps us both to change and grow, and he gives us the desire to keep loving one another.

I honestly don’t know how any marriage can survive without Christ in it. I am not talking about marriages where couples stay married for the principle of it but can’t stand each other. I am talking about marriages where couples are able to work out their differences, seek out spiritual solutions, and find that there is more love, more joy, and more adventures to share together after decades have passed.

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Edric and I have just barely passed a decade of marriage. I would like to be able to look back fifty years from now and still say that I am happily married. And I can’t see that happening unless Edric and I commit to love God and follow him faithfully. So far, so good. But I have to do my part by obeying his principles. One of them is being a wife that cultivates a gentle and quiet spirit.

During a recent quiet time, I read this passage: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31, 32 NASB)

God is for me. It helps to remember that God is committed to helping me become Christ-like. He uses circumstances and people to reveal my weaknesses and work on my character. He uses Edric. He uses my kids. He uses this pregnancy and the hormones that make me wacko. But most of all, he makes himself available to me so I can run to him. A gentle and quiet spirit is not from me. It is from him.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NASB)

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A Dangerous Question

Periodically, Edric and I will ask our children how we can improve. Most of the time the kids will say, “you guys are great!” or “I can’t really think of anything right now.”

Well, this morning, while having breakfast, Edric and I ventured to ask again, “Is there any way I can improve or change?” Elijah looked at Edric and said, “You are fine, dad. But I have something to say about mom.” Gulp. Okay, I knew I had this coming. Pregnancy hormones have made me more volatile lately so I expected to hear this.

“Mom, you can improve by changing your temper. Like when you got irritated at daddy in the car and you didn’t change your attitude.”

It was time to eat humble pie. He was right. A few days ago, on our way home from Baguio, I was frustrated because Edric was correcting me about making wrong orders from KFC. I thought he was overreacting and I started crying because I was so annoyed. Elijah was seated right behind us and witnessed the whole drama. He tried correcting me then by saying, “Mom, remember what you wrote about in your blog about serving dad…” Darn! Why does he have to be a follower of my blog?! I explained to him that I felt hurt but I didn’t say sorry right away for my attitude.

The next day after Sunday worship, Elijah held my hand and asked, “Have you changed your attitude yet, mom?” I started laughing and apologized to him.

Fast forward to four days later and Edric and I are having a conversation with him about “how we can improve.” He remembered the car incident and cited it as an example of why I need to be better about my temper. Correction accepted. I had to say sorry again. I really appreciated that he was able to identify this character weakness in me. Pregnancy or no pregnancy, my example is important. I have to remain on the alert about my responses and reactions to people and situations. God used Elijah to convict me. I hugged him and said, “I am so sorry. Will you forgive me? I will try to change and improve.”

Without hesitation, he accepted my apology with grace. I saw Edric trying to mask his snickering. I knew he wanted to rub it in but he didn’t insert a single comment. That was grace, too.

This habit of asking our children this “dangerous question” really keeps us on our toes. It is a good exercise in accountability. Of all people that know us, our children have front row seats to our mistakes. We don’t want them to develop resentment by making it difficult for them to open up to us when they see areas we should improve in.

When I was growing up, my parents applied this kind of culture in our home. They let us correct them and they would humbly receive this correction without trying to put up a defense for their actions. This left an impression on me because my dad is a church leader and yet he valued our input and our perspective on his character. He always wanted to know how he could be more Christ-like and more spirit-filled.

Edric and I decided we would have the same culture in our family. Our children have permission to freely correct us. It is not always easy to listen to what they have to say, but the key is to remember that God uses those closest to us to reveal our flaws and weaknesses. When we are willing to humble ourselves and listen, the blessing is spiritual growth and healthy relationships with our kids. And the added blessing is they learn to listen to us when we need to tell them how the can change and improve!

It may seem like a dangerous question when we ask our kids how we can change and improve, but the real danger is refusing to listen to people whom God uses to help us grow in character. How pitiful it would be if our children felt like they could not open up to us when they have been hurt by our actions or stumbled in their faith because of our example.

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6 NASB)

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On the Money Kids

Elijah guested on Edric’s show, On the Money, for the Christmas episode along with four other kids (three were also homeschoolers). He had such an amazing time. He kept talking about how cool the studio was. But, I think the best part for him was just being with Edric. He is at that age where bonding time with Edric matters a lot. They do one-on-ones every now and then and Elijah comes back from these occasions with his emotional tank full. I wish I had a spy camera that can record their conversations because neither of them divulge as much as I would like them to when I ask them what they talk about.

After the ANC interview, I asked Elijah what he answered and how it went. And he just said, “You have to watch it, mom. I can’t tell you.” Well, I finally found the link for it. On the Money:Christmas Episode Every time I watched Elijah answer, I thought, my goodness, he is like a little Edric!

Elijah's first field trip to a TV studio. It just so happened to be his daddy's show!

Elijah’s first field trip to a TV studio. It just so happened to be his daddy’s show!


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Love is Not Convenient

When you serve me, it makes me fall in love with you again a million times! This was Edric’s dramatic statement as he kissed me a few mornings ago before leaving for work.

His language of love is service. (Dr. Gary Chapman talks about 5 Love Languages — Time, Touch, Affirmation, Gifts and Service.) I had hoped that service would NOT have been IT for him. But God is a matchmaker extraordinaire. He gave me a husband who deeply desires to be served because he knows that I have to improve in this area.

In contrast, I am more about self-service. I grew up in a home where my mom taught us to serve ourselves. If we needed a glass of water, we knew where the refrigerator was. It was no mystery. If we wanted a snack, we knew where to find the popcorn or peanuts. (Yes, that’s about all my mom gave us to snack on. My parents didn’t like to feed us a lot of junk food.) My mom did not want us to grow up dependent on househelp. So she taught my siblings and I to do the laundry, iron clothes, cook, bake, wash the dishes, make our beds, straighten our rooms, pick up after ourselves, clean the showers and toilets, etc.

But here is a big HOWEVER. I knew how to do all the domestic stuff and yet, this didn’t translate to joyful service on my part when I got married. I didn’t mind cooking, laundry, cleaning, but I would grumble when Edric made requests that seemed “above and beyond the scope of my responsibilities.” Late night massages, a glass of water when I was already tucked in bed, second dinners…Most of the time, I would do what he asked but I would be huffing and puffing inside.

Part of the issue for me was my interpretation of his requests. I felt that there were instances when he was insensitive. For example, I would be at the buffet table holding several plates to get food for the kids. After getting back to the table, Edric, would ask me something like, “Hon, can you get me salad?” And I would feel very hurt. Seriously?! Did you not see me octopusing four plates?! It is not like you can’t do it for yourself

I know Edric. He doesn’t intentionally want to make my life miserable. He is an incredibly loving person. But he DOES want to be served by me and that’s not going to change. There would be instances when I would catch him standing in front of the refrigerator or peering into the cabinet where the snacks are kept and I would be shocked to see him serving himself. (Because he rarely visits the kitchen, it seems odd when he is moving about in it.) I asked him one time, “How do you know where the snacks are?” His reply was, “I know where everything is, I just choose to be helpless when you are around.” We both laughed because this is so true! He calls it “giving me the privilege of serving him.” Oh really?! Well, over the years, I have learned to accept that this is the way he likes to be loved by me. End of discussion.

God has a way of giving you the very spouse you need to develop your character. When I have thoughts like, Why does Edric have to be like that or like this?! God reminds me, “his personality is exactly what you need to grow in character so be thankful because I hand picked him for you. He is my instrument to transform you into Christ-likeness. You need him! So accept his desire for service with joy! Service is something I want you to learn.”

When I read my bible the morning I began writing this entry, I came across the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. I have read this passage many times but in light of my meditations on serving my husband, I began to weep.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end… got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. (John 13:1, 4, 5 NASB)

I fall so short of God’s standard of selfless service! Jesus was about to suffer a most painful death knowing “His Hour” had come. He was well aware of how his disciples would abandon him. And yet he wanted to give of himself to those he loved…to stoop down and clean their feet, an act that was for the lowliest of servants, a job that no one wanted to do.

Wow, I am not like this! But this is the kind of heart that God wants me to develop, not merely towards Edric but towards everyone.

“…You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28 NASB)

I am not going to pretend to be a perfect helpmate to Edric. Even though I try to serve him with gladness, I mess up every now and then when I let my selfishness get the better of me. But through the years, God has been teaching me the secret to serving the way he wants me to. It is about humility, dying to my self-centeredness, not keeping “tabs”, rejecting the idea that it must always be fair. Above all, it is focusing on Jesus’ example. He put our interests and needs above his. He valued our lives before his own.

The Bible says, Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-9 NASB)

This is an impossible, divine standard that requires God’s grace at work in me. If I do not walk with the Lord, I cannot love Edric so selflessly. Beyond the choice to humble myself, it is recognizing my inability to do this unless I come before the Lord and say, “Teach me to delight to serve Edric.”

In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “Father, not my will but yours be done.” Well, I need to have the same mindset. “Lord, help me not to think of what I want all the time but what you want me to do, what you want me to become.”

Love so very often requires doing what is sacrificial. It is not convenient. It is not easy. It means giving of yourself even when you don’t feel like it, when you feel like it is unfair, and when the person you are choosing to love behaves in undeserving ways. If you cannot accept these realities, don’t get married! Don’t have children. Don’t have friends. Live on an island with coconuts for company.

There is no human relationship on this earth that will not require us, at some point, to make a sacrifice. But be encouraged by this: Whatever we give up for Christ, we gain immeasurably more in this life or the life to come. My dad used to say, “If you really think about it, there are no martyrs in God’s kingdom.” God says he is a rewarder of those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) The blessings may not always be immediate, but they are certain.

How does God reward me when I delight to serve Edric? A happy, well-served husband is an amazing person to live with! When Edric feels like he is prioritized and important, he bubbles over with happiness. There is renewed inspiration to be tender, sweet, and caring towards me.

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As wonderful as it is to hear Edric say, “I feel so in love with you,” ultimately, I don’t do things for him. I want God’s favor! I want his presence in my life! So my hope is in God and in his goodness when I do things like wake up early to pack Edric his lunch, walk to the refrigerator half asleep to get him a glass of water, or massage his feet before going to bed (I outsource this to Massage r Us every now and then, he he). Getting the googley-eyed lovey dovey glances are a great bonus but even if I may not always get this kind of a response, I know this…“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. (Lamentations 3:24, 25 NASB)

When People Shoot Each Other

After researching about the Newtown, Connecticut shooting yesterday morning, I clicked on a link that led me to “attacks on primary schools that have occurred since the 1800’s.” I scrolled through a list of schools all around the world who have experienced tragic incidences like the one that 20 year old, Adam Lanza brought upon Sandy Hook Elementary School.

We always hear about the horrors that happen in the United States. But, a number of brutal killings occurred in China, too. These are even more appalling because the perpetrators used knives to slash or cut up children and faculty.

Who really knows what drives these killers to such levels of atrocity? No matter how we try to psychoanalyze the reasons and circumstances that birth this kind of unimaginable evil, the reality is that we all have the propensity to inflict pain on others. Maybe not all of us do it to the degree that turns into a headline like Adam Lanza did. But we are sinful, fallen. Apart from God’s grace, we would not choose to love selflessly. We would not choose righteousness.

In 3 John 1:11 it says “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.”

As I watched CNN’s coverage of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I was troubled by the comments that psychologists gave as they were being interviewed by one of the anchors. They were saying things like let’s not jump to conclusions about the why behind the perpetrator’s (Adam Lanza) actions. We don’t understand what was going on in his mind. We have to understand his actions from a sympathetic standpoint because he may have had a mental illness.

We may not know all the facts behind Lanza’s killing spree to give an accurate assessment of his motivations, but we can judge ourselves. Most societies in the world today have made it clear that they don’t want God.

We have sought to remove God. We don’t want to follow his principles or his word. We want to lead ourselves, to determine our own truth apart from him. We want to choose our own morality. So is it such a surprise that the nature inherent to man surfaces? Is it such a surprise that society is full of people whose sense of morality is to hurt, kill, and destroy?

Might we consider that the real issue is we have become a spiritually sick society? We have gotten so lost without a compass, we can no longer identify our beginning or our end.

We were created by God — that is our beginning. We were created for God – that is our purpose. We were created to glorify him – that is our end. Unless we understand this we will desire purpose but grope for it in futility. This is a maddening way to live. There is no peace in this sort of madness. No matter how we try to defend our choices, rationalize, or stand by our beliefs, truth does not accommodate us. We must accommodate truth. We must choose to follow it.

And what is true? God loves you. He loves me. He has a wonderful plan for your life. He never intended for children to grow up to become mass murderers. He never intended for young children to die by the hand of mass murderers. Jesus said, “the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I (Jesus) came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

God proved his love when he gave his son, Jesus, to die in our place, to pay the penalty of our sins…His life for ours. This is not fiction. If it is then why is the resurrection of Jesus one of the most compelling facts in history?

“The evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.”[1] Sir Lionel Luckhoo (acknowledged by The Guinness Book of World Records for 245 consecutive defense murder trial acquittals. He once sought to disprove the resurrection but ended up becoming a believer of Jesus Christ.)

And if the resurrection is true, then what keeps us from giving our entire lives to God?

God doesn’t want our religion. He wants us to have a relationship with him – a relationship made possible through Jesus. He wants to give us the power to live a life that pleases him, a life of meaning, of purpose, free from the shackles of sin. He wants us to experience his love and be motivated by his love to love him and others. He wants us to pass this on to our children.

My heartache as a mother, upon hearing the news about the killings, is the sobering reality that we can be responsible for many children who turn out to be just like Adam Lanza. Adam was not an exception to the norm. He represents what could be the destiny of many other children, even our own.

And while we cannot completely comfort those who have lost their children, friends, or family because of the Connecticut tragedy, we can do our part to prevent tragedies such as these by addressing the real problem. Gun control is a superficial fix to a deeper spiritual need. That’s not really the solution. Yes, the mentally impaired should not have access to guns. That’s obvious. But it is not just the mentally impaired who hurt, kill, and destroy. It’s any one of us who thinks we can survive without God. WE NEED GOD to redeem us. We need God in our hearts and the hearts of our children. We need God in our society to heal it.

“For the grace of God has appeared, brining salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:11 – 14)

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[1] see www.gotquestions.org/why-believe-resurrection.html for evidences of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Made in Europe, Developing in the Philippines

For a little over 2 weeks now, I’ve been keeping my pregnancy a secret from most people. It’s funny how close friends and family will respond with comments like, “Wow! 5?! WHY?!” I suppose five seems like a whole lot of kids these days, but for a homeschooling family it’s kind of average. Well, maybe not for older generations. Five would be on the smaller family side. Pioneering homeschool families had like 7 to 10 children! Anyway, five doesn’t seem like too much to handle…yet. But, I know it’s going to change some of the dynamics in our family.

It’s already having a major effect on my homeschooling. I’m like a narcoleptic. Friday morning, I read a couple of pages out of Elijah’s Mystery of History book and then I said, “Okay, you take over. I’m going to take a quick nap.” I closed my eyes for a bit. But my two younger children started poking me. “Mom!” Tiana kept saying, “Look at this!” Titus was less gentle and actually half slapped me on the arm or some body part I can’t even remember to get my attention. “Can I play with the iPad?” Nice one, Titus. He knew when to ask me. I was so lethargic, I said, “Okay.” He was going to play a geography game so that was acceptable. After a few minutes, I had to wake up to read Edan’s astronomy book. We got through a couple of pages about Mars and then I felt a wave of fatigue again. So I lay back down and closed my eyes while giving everyone another break. In a few minutes, we had a visitor, so I really had to wake up. I transferred the kids’ books to the dining table where the kids did their remaining work for the morning.

Sleepiness is one of the most obvious pregnancy symptoms for me. Thankfully, I don’t really get morning sickness. The key has been eating when I start to feel that unpleasant sensation in my stomach, taking my pre-natal vitamins at night, and exercise. Somehow exercise has helped me to stay in control of my body. This probably sounds like hocus-pocus. But these small things have worked for me. Of course, every pregnancy is different. Not all women experience the same symptoms. I have one friend who is super fit but every time she is pregnant, she throws up everyday for 9 months. She only gains between 12 and 15 pounds, too! All baby.

For the last six months, Edric and I have gone back and forth discussing when or if we should get pregnant again. It felt weird to be “un-pregnant” for such a long stretch. My body has gotten used to a cycle of getting pregnant, breastfeeding, fighting hard to lose the pregnancy weight, and then getting pregnant again after I lose the weight. For a while, I was just losing weight and no bun in the oven. Friends around me were getting pregnant and having their babies and I actually felt a longing inside of me to re-enter that crazy phase when you don’t get any sleep and when you feel like a cow. I would see their little babies all swaddled or dressed in their tiny clothes and I would think, I need to have another one of those. I miss that stage!

The funny thing is, after I took the pregnancy test and realized that I WAS pregnant, I was like, Am I really ready for this? Did we think through this decision well?” Where were we when we made this baby? Oh, I know, we were in Europe!

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We were hypnotized by our romantic surroundings and we said to each other, “Let’s get pregnant…Let’s get pregnant…It’s time to get pregnant…Why don’t we get pregnant? We should have another baby. Tiana should have a sister.”
And boom. Baby 5.

Usually, I discover that I’m pregnant 6 to 8 weeks after conception. But this time around I had a strong sense that I already was pregnant so I went ahead and got the “pee test.” The second line was faint at first so my doctor, Dr. Regina Capistrano, who has birthed all my kids (I praise God for her), advised me to take a blood test. The blood test confirmed that I was about 4 weeks. I couldn’t take the ultrasound to check the baby’s heartbeat until December 17th because it was too early in the pregnancy.

December 17th was yesterday. Like my previous pregnancies, seeing the flickering heartbeat on the screen made me feel excited and vulnerable at the same time. It was like wow! This is real! And oh my, I’ve got 9 months of fetal development to get through. If I could fast forward to the baby-in-my-arms part, that would be awesome. After four children, I still get nervous about giving birth. People don’t believe me when I say this because I keep having babies! But I have not done anything as physically grueling as giving birth. I’m a semi-masochist. I opt to do everything without anesthesia. My reasons for doing Lamaze and Bradley are…1. I don’t want anything injected into my spine. 2. I don’t want to risk the possibility that my baby can be affected by the anesthesia. 3. I prefer to feel the extreme pain so I can feel the extreme relief that immediately follows. 4. Labor is not a bad pain, it is positive pain. Unlike getting your arm cut off, labor pain is your body and the baby working to get him or her out into the world. I don’t impose this perspective on other women. Doctors wouldn’t give epidurals if they weren’t “safe.” So every pregnant mommy should do their own research about the pros and cons and take child birth classes. I took mine with Chiqui Brosas-Hahn.

Well, there is a lot to be excited about…I’m excited about having another Mendoza added to our bunch. I’m excited about the children’s excitement. They are thrilled about the pregnancy. I’m excited about the possibility that this baby could be a girl. I’m excited to go shopping for baby stuff! Babies have the strangest, cutest bodies. They have the proportion of a frog’s body with a bigger head. I just love it. And I love it when their thighs get really chubby and mushy. So nice to bite and squeeze! I’m excited to see the unfolding of another personality type. What kind of a Mendoza does God have in store for us this time? What are his plans for this child?

It’s really so early in the pregnancy to be thinking about all these things, so I’m letting myself be distracted by the Christmas and New Year’s festivities. I’ve got a loooong way to go.

As I end this entry, I want to give thanks to the Lord for the gift of life and how amazing it is to be a woman — a wife, a mom. I embrace being these things. When people ask me is it hard to homeschool? Is it difficult to raise four children? How come it looks easy for you? Okay, I want to answer these questions. Is it hard to homeschool? Yes. Is it difficult to raise four children? Yes. How come it looks easy for you? It’s NOT EASY. But ask me this…”Do I enjoy being a mom? Do I enjoy the challenge of homeschooling and raising four children? Heck, yeah! I was born for this when God created me female!

God designed women to be able to bear up under the unique difficulties that come with motherhood (and homeschooling). How do I know this? Let’s take one very obvious example. We give birth! We can make it through intense, excruciating pain and push out a baby! Some of us actually get cut open several times for several babies. Just a few hours after giving birth, we get up, walk around, cradle our babies in our arms, and sing sweet lullabies to hush them to sleep. We do not hate these little people who caused us so much suffering. We instantly love them and develop all the instincts to care for them. And what about the sleepless nights and breastfeeding? For those of us who choose to breastfeed, we know how impossible it is to get any decent sort of rest for the first year.

When I gave birth to my first child, Edric coached me through the labor. He witnessed the agony I was in, as well as the physical effort, mental fortitude, and spiritual centeredness that child-bearing required of me. Afterwards, he something like, “Hon, my respect for you and all the women of the world went through the roof.” Well, when I gave birth the first time, my respect for women (especially my mom) went through the roof, too!

Before I became a mom I had no clue what motherhood was all about. God gave women such a special, honored place in all of creation. Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. (Genesis 3:20 NASB) We are the vessels through which glorious life enters into this world. We should never, ever think that we are any less for choosing to be mothers, for following that God-given desire to nurture our children and be present and available to them. It’s hard-wired into us to find deep fulfilment and joy from surviving and thriving through the challenges of motherhood.

Whatever stage of womanhood God allows us to be in, let us celebrate whom he created us to be and choose to be a blessing!

The Shame of the Remote-Control-Throwing-Woman

Oh boy…I made a big mistake last night. I am very ashamed to admit it but my life has been such an open book on this blog that I might as well talk about it. Do not try this at home…

I am just going to go ahead and say it. I threw the TV remote control. I have never thrown an object across a room for dramatic emphasis in my life! The trajectory of its flight was propelled by my irritation and aggravation.

How did this all happen? Edric made a comment that I thought was inappropriate, but when I tried to tell him that, he thought I was over-reacting. He apologized and turned over to his side of the bed to fall asleep but I felt that he was not being sincere. I really should have just let it go. It wasn’t even a very big deal.

But a few seconds later, I flung the remote control towards the end of the bed and it fell apart. Jolted out of his peace, he sat me on the bed and asked, “What is wrong with you?! Are you possessed?!” He didn’t say it in anger but it was a decibel higher than usual. Possessed?! That seemed much. But I know I was…by none other than the ugly monster called MY SELF.

Stunned and confused, Edric wanted to discuss and analyze what instigated my outburst. I tried to explain to him what I was thinking and feeling. But in light of what I just did, it all sounded retarded. I was SOOO WRONG. I had to ask for forgiveness from him and from the Lord. I felt so ashamed, a spiritual failure, a wicked woman.

Edric was level headed and calm as he did a diagnosis of my spiritual health. As we sat side by side on the bed, he reminded me that my real error was not throwing the remote control but failing to be Christ-centered. He was right. That was exactly what my problem was.

The irony is that just earlier this week, I wrote a entry about how we need to turn to the Lord and find completeness in him instead of focusing on people and circumstances around us! And then I went and did the opposite of what I said! Waaaaahhhh. What a hypocrite!

Well I am writing this very honest entry to acknowledge how easy it is to fall from grace when I don’t let myself be controlled by Christ. When there is spiritual misalignment, I begin to focus on myself…what I want, what I need, my rights, my expectations.

God convicted me to reconsider the realities of following Jesus. It is a call to die to oneself, to surrender. I may not like to submit to or respect Edric when I feel wounded, unappreciated, dismissed, or treated unfairly. But that is not an excuse to disobey God’s principles. I have to remember that Edric is outside of my control. He is accountable to God and I am accountable to God. I need to focus on changing what I can in my own character, my attitude and actions. Instead of fighting back and asserting myself, I need to recognize that God’s hand is upon those who follow his ways. One thing is for sure. He is against the proud but gives grace to the humble.

“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness.” (Psalms 33:18 NASB)

“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His…” (2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB)

“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE . Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:6-8 NASB)

I really really wish I could have taken back that moment last night and erased it from the history of my marriage. Edric is my God-given authority and he deserves to be honored and respected because God asks me to. And he is the last person in this world I want to hurt.

Before we went to bed, I saw him tear and I felt so wretched. He was deeply wounded by my behavior. Yet he prayed for me and prayed for our marriage.

This morning, in the car, he turned to me and said, “You know I will love you no matter what. That won’t change.” I started to cry. He took my hand and kissed my cheek. I knew I didn’t deserve all that. I was still bearing my shame.

Tiana, who was the only child with us in the car, looked at me and asked, “Are you crying, mommy? Are you ok?” She was very concerned. I told her I did something wrong and I felt bad. She said, “Ohhh, you did something bad?” A few moments later, she followed up with, “Are you nicer now, mommy?” I know my two year old meant to ask if I was feeling better but the word “nicer” really made me think. I DO need to be nicer to Edric. I DO need to be sweeter. I DO need to be a more “gentle and quiet” spirit.

God used Edric’s forgiveness, graciousness and kindness to remind me that he is a God who covers sin with his love. He redeems and restores.

Edric took me on a date tonight. Me? His remote-control-throwing-wife! That’s grace! He told me God spoke to him. “Hon, God convicted me to be more understanding towards you and to be more patient.” His verse was…”You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7 NASB)

Our marriage is not a perfect one but Edric and I are committed to working through our issues and conflicts by turning to the Lord for help, for perspective, for answers and solutions. That’s the only reason why we are able to resolve ugly situations and grow closer through them. It is Christ who makes all things new!

Thank you Lord for dying on the cross for my sins and loving me no matter what. And thank you for a husband who loves you with all his heart, soul and mind and strength. Because of this he chooses to forgive me when I make mistakes and love me back to you!

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Teaching Our Children to Serve Others

I belong to a homeschool playgroup of about 8 families. (We have tried to keep this group small.) This Christmas, our playgroup decided to be more purposeful about reaching out to the poor.

Personally, I don’t think our children are going to develop a heart to serve others unless we, as parents, provide opportunities for them to do so. So, I was thrilled when Cathee, one of the moms in our group, suggested that we “adapt” a group of 50 young children from Tondo for a day so we could do something special for them.

We invited them to come to Kidzville in Podium. The idea was to sponsor a day of feasting, playing, and fellowship. But most of all, we wanted them to hear the gospel message and let them encounter Jesus Christ. Besides our own financial commitments, I was so blessed by how people in the group were able to raise the funds and collect donations by enlisting the support of others — friends, family. God really provided more than enough. Of course, we all recruited our children to pack the give-away bags and groceries. They had a whole lot of fun doing it, too.

The day began early at Trevor and Bonnie’s home so we could consolidate everything by 11 am. We then headed to Podium Mall to meet the children at Kidzville. Located on the 4th floor of the mall, it is an amazing play place that looks like a miniature town. Another part of it is similar to Active Fun but scaled down a bit. My kids love this place. The owner graciously allowed us (thanks to Betty’s negotiating skills) to use the area to host the children from Tondo. (I must say that I was impressed with how carefully the Kidzville staff cleaned everything after the children used it. They washed all the toys and scrubbed the place down.)

Henry Gula, also a homeschool dad, gave the gospel message in Filipino. We let the children eat a hearty buffet meal sponsored by a lady in our group whom I am sure would prefer to remain unnamed. And the kids had the time of their life running around the play area. Afterwards, we distributed their bags and loaded groceries unto the bus they came in.

It was a very good ministry experience for our kids. Sometimes our children have no idea how blessed they are to have the comforts that they do. The kids from Tondo have so little. Some of them were practically inhaling their food because it was such a treat for them to be eating so much.

I set the same food in front of my kids and they said things like, “I’m not hungry. I don’t want to eat that.” I looked at them and replied, “Don’t you dare complain about the food. The children over there (pointing to where the Tondo kids were seated) go through the trash to find food to eat. They eat bones from chicken that people throw away. So don’t tell me that you don’t like your food. You will eat that food.” The bones thing is very true. It was featured on TV. My kids looked at my I-mean-business-face when I said this and proceeded to eat.

This experience was one way to let our children get up close and personal with poverty. They told me this evening that they learned to be more grateful. I really don’t want our children to grow up so unconscious of how impoverished other people are. I sometimes fear that the comforts they are so used to will make them approach life with a sense of entitlement. So these ministry outreaches are an important part of their education. I really believe it helps to condition their hearts to look beyond themselves to see the needs of others.

We were only able to reach out to fifty children. In relation to the number people who need to be clothed, fed, and ministered to spiritually, this seems so insignificant. But I am hoping that our playgroup can do this kind of thing more frequently.

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The Rise of the Unloved Woman

WARNING…if you are NOT complete in the Lord before you come into marriage you will be like an insatiable, carnivorous beast for love in marriage. Seriously. It sounds hideous but that is exactly what we become when we expect our spouse to fulfill all our longings and desires. This was one of the more significant realizations I had during a recent couples retreat I attended.

During the retreat I watched Andy Stanley’s video, I-Marriage, and he talked about how desires turn into expectations in marriage. And that drives away love quicker than we can ever imagine. Romance flies right out the front door, and we find ourselves unhappy, unfulfilled, and disillusioned by the one relationship we thought would surely make us happy.

I have yet to see a sad bride standing at the altar as she makes her vows. I have seen many brides cry out of joy. But a depressed bride on the day of her wedding? Have you ever seen one? (Okay, some women have arranged marriages but that is a different story. I am referring to weddings where the woman chooses to marry the “man of her dreams.”)

If marriage begins with so much happiness then why are there so many unhappy wives?

Here is the truth — there is no person in the world who can perfectly fulfill all your desires. No one. That’s all fantasy.

I too had this googly- eyed idea of love when I got married. And soon after, my eyes went from starry-eyed to blood shot fiery red. (Okay that sounds downright beastly.) I am exaggerating. I was not perpetually angry with Edric but sometimes he would do things that hurt me and I would do things that hurt him. Why? No matter how much we profess to love each other marriage exposes our flaws and tendency toward selfishness.

I know countless others who have experienced this, too. I married an amazing guy. I am married to an amazing guy. And I would, in an instant, say yes to marry him again. But both of us know from the word of God, from experience, from the many others whom we have encountered along the way, that ultimately, completeness and happiness are not found in persons, possessions, or accomplishments, but in Jesus Christ alone.

It’s interesting that the Bible says, “Under three things the earth quakes, and under four, it cannot bear up: under a slave when he becomes king, and a fool when he is satisfied with food, UNDER AN UNLOVED WOMAN WHEN SHE GETS A HUSBAND…” (Proverbs 30:21-23 NASB)

An unloved woman.

To desire love is natural. That’s no epiphany. We were built for love. But the kind of love we are looking for is the inexhaustible, absolutely secure, dependable, earth-shaking kind. And only Jesus can give it. Jesus wants to give it.

When Jesus came to the Samaritan woman at the well, a woman who had gone through one relationship to another, he said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13, 14 NASB)

Jesus knew that the Samaritan woman was an unloved woman. She had tried to find the answer in relationships, relationships that failed her. What she was really looking for was Jesus.

Jesus. The inexhaustible source. The living water we crave and need. Jesus found the unloved Samaritan woman. He sought her out. The conversation between them is the longest recorded conversation between Jesus and any person. Imagine that! Women are special to Jesus!

Afterwards, she was exuberant with joy and told everyone she knew, “I have found the Messiah!” Instead of looking to fill her own need for love, she began telling others about the best lover of all.

Marriage is so much more about giving versus taking. And unless we are overflowing with the love of Christ, the giving becomes exhausting. Emotional resources get depleted. My encouragement to women is to find wholeness in the Lord. Seek his love and be filled with it. He loves us perfectly. His love transforms us into better wives and mothers.

Yesterday, during the women’s conference led by Ann Chan, I was reminded that women tend to cling to past hurt and it turns into a reservoir of pain or bitterness. We can get so preoccupied with nursing our wounds, withholding forgiveness, or plotting vengeance, we can’t possibly be a blessing. When we do this, we are easily angered, easily offended, negative, and demanding. This translates to totally unpleasant. When we are bitter, we become bitter to the taste of those around us, too! We develop toxic personalities. Is it a wonder then that husbands or children want to avoid or replace the women in their lives who become like this?

I disciple a group of wonderful women. Sadly, more than 50% of them have, what I like to call, CRAZY moms or mothers-in-law. These moms are angry, shouting, controlling, or depressive kinds of moms. It seems to be a growing epidemic. I hear the sad stories of daughters who have endured physical, verbal abuse, or neglect. And it is very hard for them to heal from the experiences of their childhood. They continue to be affected by the on-going stress of interacting with their crazy moms.

I don’t believe moms become this way over night. Based on stories shared by women I know, their moms were damaged by their own relationships — husband, parents, friends — or circumstances…and instead of becoming better, they became bitter.

How do we protect ourselves from becoming “toxified” by relationships and circumstances? Just like the Samaritan woman, we need to realize that relationships, accomplishments, and material things are an INCOMPLETE answer to our deepest longings and desires. We were made for living water. We settle and strive for what makes us thirst again and again. In the pursuit of our idea of satisfaction, we end up disappointed, wounded, or deeply pained.

Whenever I fail to realize that Jesus is everything I long for — my inexhaustible joy, an ever-present companion, the promise of salvation, my daily delight, comforter in my sorrows, the source of peace when my spirit is troubled, forgiver of my iniquities, grace to live another day, and lover of my soul — I look to Edric to be these things. But it is not a fair expectation. It is wrong. Edric can fill a number of those longings but to make the mistake of thinking that he can do this for me every single moment, every single day, is an impossible standard.

Here is the good news, God wants us to hold him to this standard because he can fulfill it. He fulfilled it at the cross. The song, Jesus Son of God, by Cris Tomlin is all about how much God loves us.

“You came down from heaven’s throne,
this earth you formed was not your home,
a love like this the world had never known.

A crown of thorns to mock your name,
forgiveness fell upon your face,
a love like this the world has never known.

You bore our sin,
you took our shame,
you rose to life,
you defeated the grave,
and a love like this the world has never known.

On the altar of our praise,
let there be no higher praise,
Jesus son of God…
be lifter higher than all..
the cross was enough.”

Two people who have experienced God’s love, coming together in marriage can give of that love to one another. Marriage becomes a relationship to enjoy, not because we need our spouse to be happy, but because we are happy in the Lord, we are fully satisfied in his love. We become conduits of blessing instead of vacuums that take-take-take to fill up a void inside. The Bible tells us to abide in God’s love.

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love…These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:9,11 NASB)

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Knowing Jesus doesn’t guarantee a pain-free life or a pain-free marriage but our relationship with him gives us the capacity to overcome trials, grow more beautiful through them, and exude the joy of the Lord in our relationships. Why? Because NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.

The book of Romans tells us, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-39 NASB)

Did Mommy Just Have A Meltdown?!

It’s official. I had my first meltdown in front of the kids. It happened on Wednesday morning. Titus was distracted, singing instead of writing down the number 17 in his math book. Edan was calling out for help and complaining. Elijah was in another room, isolated because he was having attitude issues. So I let him have his space to do his work alone.

I felt lost and tired. I started bawling in the middle of homeschooling. It was a convergence of hormones, fatigue, insecurity about my effectivity as a teacher, and my children’s unusual streak of uncooperativeness.

Titus thought I was being comedic and started to laugh until he realized the crying was real. Being the sweet person he is, he started to cry too. He had no idea why he was crying. Maybe he was confused. Sheesh. I was confused. What am I doing? Can I really homeschool? What if I have more children? Can I go the distance? I feel exhausted.

I expressed my feelings in front of a six year old and a four year old who had no idea how to deal with a crying mother. I started to explain why I felt bad. Titus looked up at me with great concern and Edan ran away and disappeared for a bit. I found out later on he looked for Elijah and said, “Mom is crying and I know why.” He plopped himself on the bed and sat there in a contemplative manner. This is classic Edan.

He never explained the why to Elijah. But Elijah, being the intuitive person that he is, told me later on that he assumed I was feeling bad due to his attitude issues. So he said he was going to work harder that morning and do above and beyond what I had asked him to.

I had to explain. “I am not mad, Elijah. I just feel very discouraged because I feel like you guys don’t want to do your work.” And I started to sob again. “I am sorry mom,” He said. “I will try to change.”

To cut the drama short, the boys felt very guilty. A part of me felt like, good! you should all feel guilty because you are guilty, guilty, guilty! But how self-centered it was of me to have this pity-party in front of them. If I could have gone back to that moment, I would have excused myself from the table, run to my bedroom and cried out to the Lord. But I didn’t. I am ashamed to admit that all I thought about was poor me — the under-appreciated homeschooling mother. Wah wah wah, blah blah blah.

I told Edric about it and that evening he had a counsel meeting with the kids and they all talked. He encouraged and challenged the kids to be positive, to work hard.

His pep talks always have a magical effect on the kids. The next day, Elijah was a chirpy fellow. He enjoyed doing his work and he told me that he really wants to overcome his negative attitude.

As for Edan, he too was more motivated and disciplined about his work. When I asked him why, he said, “Dad talked to us remember?”

Titus, well, he did better, too. (I give him a lot of slack because he is just 4 and personally, I really feel that young boys should have more play time than study time.)

I was thankful for Edric’s loving support and intervention. But I knew something in my teaching and approach to homeschooling had to be reviewed, renewed or changed.

First, I can’t shove workbooks in front of my children every single day and expect them to be thrilled to fill out another two pages of worksheets. Homeschooling with workbooks can get so boring for the kids. The next day, I let them practice math using Logico instead. They loved that. We didn’t do squat in their math books but we covered the same content.

Second, homeschooling should not be relegated to a time slot. It’s a way of life. It is about the daily interactions I have with my children. It is being available without always looking at the clock because I have somewhere else to be or something else to do.

November and the first part of December got busy really fast. As soon as we got back from Europe, Edric and I had ministry and various commitments to fulfill. My undivided attention with the kids was compromised.

I have seen this happen with other moms. When they cram their day with too many activities, it makes them impatient when their kids. They want their kids to get it right away but their kids need more time to digest and go through material. My suggestion is, if parents choose to homeschool then make it a priority. Homeschooling requires total engagement. On days when I have no other agenda but to be present for my kids, learning happens very naturally and we have lots of fun.

Third, I have not been praying regularly with my kids before we start our homeschool work. Sometimes, I just rush into my day and expect everything to turn out okay. I hope that the chaos will order itself. However, homeschooling is a spiritual work. If I am not down on my knees dedicating the day to the Lord, I operate on very limited Me-capacity. I need the Lord to open up the hearts and minds of my kids to receive instruction.

Fourth, I haven’t been covering character as intentionally. I have been depending on our once a week family devotions on character to carry the kids through the rest of the week. Wrong. Developing godly character in my kids requires daily character instruction.

Fifth, I want to re-visit some tips from Raymond and Dorothy Moore on motivating a de-motivated child:

1. Learning is fun if you are achieving and very seldom making errors. If the work is a struggle and your child is making many mistakes, the material is too advanced or it is being presented in segments that are too large for him to take in or comprehend. So break it down into smaller parts.

2. Compliment the quality of your child’s work whenever possible.

3. Be positive, even when correcting. Instead of saying, “You are messing up. You are not doing a good job…say, “It looks like you tried very hard to do this, but I see two words that are not spelled correctly. Can you find them? Let’s correct them.”

4. Focus on mastery versus rushing through the lessons.

5. Give immediate feedback as soon as possible. Correct on the spot, if possible. For example, grammar and spelling. Research shows that far more learning takes place when you correct work on the spot.

6. Include children in the planning of subjects, projects, trips, and home-business ideas. Work towards something that is meaningful.

7. Set small, immediate goals in addition to long-term ones. Provide the incentive of a special activity at the end of the week or even at the end of the day (for younger children). Use a stop watch or timer.

—–

To keep me going when it gets tough and challenging, I remember an insight Bob Tebow shared with Edric and I. We had the privilege of meeting him early this year. A common friend introduced us and over lunch, Edric and I interviewed him about parenting and homeschooling.

He told me, “When our children were young, I asked my wife to give that season of her life to parenting and teaching them.”

When I heard him say this I knew exactly what he meant because I have given this season of my life to raising and teaching my children, to prepare them to be called by God for his purposes.

I may have more meltdowns to come but I am committed to homeschooling. The challenges make me want to cry every now and then, but this comes with the season. The kids may not always cooperate or be angelic, but that is why I need to be present during this season — to train and instruct them. I may get tired and feel lost when my kids don’t seem to get it but this season is making me more dependent on God’s presence and that is a good thing. I hope in this…that giving this season of my life to homeschooling will make the seasons to come better and sweeter!

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This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. (Lamentations 3:21-25 NASB)