Archives for February 2016

Homeschooling Interview on Mommy Hacks

In case you missed this episode of Mommy Hacks last year, I am posting the interview I had with beautiful moms Rica Peralejo Bonifacio and Cheska Garcia Kramer where they grilled me (in a positive way) with questions about homeschooling. Find out what a typical day is like for the kids and me, or get the answer to your socialisation question. Plus, find out why homeschooling is my favorite job in the world! Check out the video here: Mommy Hacks Interview

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A Father’s Letter to His 13 Year Old Son

Since Elijah officially turned 13 today, Edric gave me permission to share this with you all…a letter which he wrote to him to read at the top of Mt. Apo.

My Dearest Elijah,

Today is a very special day as we formalize your passage into a young man. You are no longer a boy in my eyes, in the eyes of the men who matter in our lives, and in the eyes of your Mom.

In this new stage, my prayers for you are the following:

1. Be a young man of purpose. Grow and develop like Jesus did: wisdom, stature, favor w God and men (Lk 2:52). Don’t waste time doing things that don’t fall under any of these growth areas. As you do, have BIG dreams for God’s glory. Don’t fall into the culture of mediocrity. Instead, try to envision the greatest thing God can do through you with all that He has blessed you with. Do all you do for His glory, my son. (Dt 6:5-7)

2. Be a young man of purity. This stage will usher in all sorts of curiosity especially towards your body, a woman’s body, and the natural sexual interaction God has designed between the two, but in the context of marriage. As I’ve told you before, I cannot protect you (not completely anyway) from the devil’s temptations in this area –pornography, immoral relationships, and things of that nature. But I can prepare you. This is my way of doing so. Letting you know that it is a beautiful thing in the right context, in marriage. “How can a young man stay pure?”, the Bible says, “by studying God’s Word”.(Psalm 119:9)

Remember this is the only sin in the Bible that says “flee”. (1 Corinthians 6:18) So many times this is what you might have to literally do when friends (maybe even relatives) expose you to the same.

3. Be a young man of strength and courage. As Joshua was charged by God to take on leadership from Moses to finish the job of bringing His people to the Promised Land, God exhorted him to be strong and courageous, several times. He needed this pep talk to accomplish the great task God laid before him.

My son, the same is true for you. God has a great task before you, I don’t know exactly what it is, but I know you will need strength and courage. And that’s what I loved about our Apo climb. It pushed you to apply strength and courage as we scaled the boulders, pushed through the thickets, traveled the narrow paths, braved the frigid cold, endured the scorching heat, and braced ourselves from the wild cats! Life will hurl many of these roadblocks that will need you to be strong and courageous, pursuing the purpose and purity I encouraged you with earlier.

4. Be a young man of love. Jesus modeled this best. Fix your eyes on Him, my son. Not daddy. I will do my best to model Christ-likeness. Copy that. Where I fail, pls forgive me and do NOT do the same. Love like Jesus did. Have compassion towards others. Be motivated ultimately by this. Help the poor, orphans, and widows.

I love you with all my heart, my young man. I am very proud of the young man you are becoming. I am here for you every step of the way, as long as God allows, and solely by His grace.

Love,
Dad

  

The Benefits of Group Learning

I think it’s possible to have the best of both worlds when you homeschool — customized and individualized instruction, as well as the advantages of group learning. For the former, there’s home. But for the latter, there’s our weekly coop.The easiest way to do this is to initiate activities that require children to gather together in groups to solve problems or work towards a goal. 

Our weekly coop is a mix of amazing moms who are talented, dedicated and generous with their time. Moms take turns teaching for a quarter then switch it up again. Personally, I feel that our older children probably get the most out of these weekly meetings because they are challenged and pushed in a positive way. 

When an oldest child is homeschooled, he is naturally top dog — the one whom siblings look up to and follow. Well, in a group setting with kids who are different ages, skilled in various ways, and opinionated, it’s good for their character development to learn to work together for common goals. Plus there’s the aspect of healthy competition.

At present, our older kids are taking up entrepreneurship, taught by Amanda Ross, and Make Your Own Country, facilitated by Andi Miller. The kids are especially enjoying the social studies one because it involves collaborating to create things like the name of a country, language, geography, history, commerce, etc. 

Interestingly, all of the alpha kids, the ones who like to take charge and give their opinions, were lumped together. And the other group was a mix of “calmer” students who were doers and knew how to organize themselves. The second group got more done and was many steps ahead of group 1. 

However, both sets of kids are benefitting from this activity. The aggressive and domineering ones are learning to put their ideas together and listen to one another to move towards a goal. And the more silent ones are learning to express themselves and give their inputs. Both must organize themselves and work as a team without parents hovering over them. 

   
 While it’s possible to homeschool without attending coops or playgroups, I do see the pros of allowing kids to connect with other children who will stretch their capacities, sharpen their minds, test their personalities, and not always agree with them. Character gets put to the test and friendships are forged as children get to bond with one another through by sharing challenges.

   
 Furthermore, everyone has the opportunity to shine and contribute without being under the shadow of their older siblings, which I have found to be true for my second son, Edan. 

    
 Edan was in group 2 and he stepped up to organize everyone. I don’t think this would have happened if he was in the same group as Elijah. And I am sure he is loving the fact that his team is, at present, “beating” his older brother’s. As for me, I am totally amused and thankful that our kids have other children to homeschool with and I have parents to share the journey with. 

If you aren’t in a coop yet, consider forming one with a few friends and then let it grow from there. Ours started out with a handful of moms who would meet in a park while our kids ran around to play, and now we have grown to a sizable number with sections for age groups and organized classes. We adjusted as our kids’ needs changed, and we continue to think through what we can offer them to maximize their time together. If you want to read more about how to set up a coop, check out my post: You Don’t Have To Know Everything. I included a section that details how to start one. 


I Am Glad I Married a Man Who Didn’t Sleep Around

Edric and I will be fifteen years married in July. That’s not a milestone by some standards, but in a day and age when many marriages don’t make it past the five year mark, I’m deeply grateful. First, I’m grateful to the Lord because he’s the reason why we are still together. Second, I’m grateful to Edric who chooses to love me everyday, even when I’m not always lovable.

 Since it is the “love month” I decided to write a piece to thank my husband for being the kind of man that didn’t sleep around before marriage. It sounds very unromantic for me to put it this way, but if you read through this, you might begin to believe, as I have, that this is one of the most romantic gifts a husband can ever give his wife (and vice versa). How I wish I could have offered virginity to Edric, but as many of you readers know, I was once upon a time a victim of rape. (Read about my story in my book: When A Good God Allows Rape)

When I met Edric in college, I thought he was a good-looking guy. He told me to say “handsome” when he read this part over my shoulder. It was his unpretentiousness that kept me interested, second to the fact that we connected on a spiritual level. He didn’t mask his person behind a façade. He was sincere, honest, and easy to trust. 

As we got to know each other, he opened up about his past relationships, and I found out he was still a virgin. A virgin? Even in our day they were becoming a rare breed, especially for guys. Although he admitted to me that he struggled with pornography, he didn’t ever sleep with any of his girlfriends or other women. (Edric shared about his pornography struggle in my book so I’m being open about something he has already been open about.)

I knew it was important to preserve one’s purity. Events in my life took that away from me, but I still committed NOT to have consensual sex with anyone until I got married. I hoped to meet a guy who valued the same standards, too, so it mattered a lot that Edric had stayed pure. It told me something about his character as a man. I know he wrestled with the realities of what happened to me but I praise God it didn’t turn his heart away from me. Very much a rescuer, it inspired him to be my protector.

Our courtship wasn’t perfect, however. I have confessed this in other articles I have written about us and in my book. We got physical and stumbled along the way, but I praise God we didn’t experience sexual union until we were married. Prior to marriage, Edric and I also told our parents about the physical struggles in our relationship. We admitted to the wrong choices we made that brought us very close to the edge of what would have been the greatest mistake of our history. This was part of coming clean. 

The Bible says, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews‬ ‭13:4‬ ‭

We wanted to begin our relationship anew, with everything out in the open to honor the marriage bed. We also kept our engagement short — 4 months — to avoid further temptation. 

I was blessed to be able to look forward to our honeymoon because it the first time for me to experience sexual intimacy as God designed it. (My encounter with abuse didn’t count, of course!) Edric whisked me away from our reception at a very early 9 PM. He concocted an elaborate plan to escape through the funicular that connected Tagaytay Midlands to the Highlands. This is where we got married. I don’t even think we said goodbye to people, which seemed like the socially inappropriate thing to do but he could not wait for our “celebration” to begin. 

We spent our first night together as husband and wife in Tagaytay Highland’s Spa & Lodge. In keeping with tradition, he insisted on carrying me over the threshold of the doorway of our room. Attendants and onlookers smiled in a congratulatory way. All this while I found Edric’s energy amusing as he acted like someone on an adrenaline high. But it made me feel special, treasured, and wanted. 

The next day we headed to Baguio where we had a cabin all to ourselves. We didn’t need a grand trip to Europe or a foreign country to look forward to. All we cared about was a nice room somewhere cold. Think about the olden days when all that was necessary was a tent. Since we didn’t have a lot of money when we started out, Baguio provided the perfect setting for lots of cuddling.

During our honeymoon, I didn’t have insecurities about how it would go. I trusted Edric. I knew he had saved himself for marriage and didn’t have multiple partners to compare me to. This doesn’t mean that I wasn’t nervous. And I am not going to inappropriately divulge the details of our first night. It was not “perfect” because we weren’t experts in the bedroom, but that’s what made it so perfect! We had nothing to prove to one another. There were no benchmarks to measure ourselves against. I remember feeling like it was the beginning of a beautiful journey of discovery, just between us — sacred, tender, profound. Edric gave me the privilege of being the first and the promise of being the last, till death do us part. 

The sex act in marriage is a pledge and a seal. It is the becoming of one flesh before God — the real ceremony of matrimony. In the Genesis account of Adam and Eve’s marriage the word marriage was not used at all. When Eve was presented to Adam by God, it reads, “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis‬ ‭2:23-25‬) The ceremony was simple and uncomplicated. Adam was joined to Eve and they became one. Similarly, the person God has made for you is the only one you are supposed to be joined to as one flesh — physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

God, in his wisdom, didn’t make many versions of Eve for Adam to choose from, either. (He wouldn’t have any ribs left. Just kidding!) God made just one. And he knew exactly what she should be like and what Adam would like. I think it’s important to say this because sometimes we don’t trust God to give us what we really want in a spouse. 

However these passages of scripture tell me that God always knows better. He knows the desires and longings of our hearts. He is mindful of our needs and He provides the best answer to them, better than we can ever imagine or hope for. Adam didn’t know what he was missing out on. He didn’t declare himself alone. It was God who said it wasn’t good for him to be alone. 

Amazingly, when Adam saw Eve he felt a bond and connectedness to her that was unlike any other that he felt with God’s creatures. As he beheld her she appeared to him comfortingly familiar and yet mysteriously and wonderfully different. Can you imagine for a moment what the Lord must have been thinking as He saw Adam’s eyes lock onto Eve’s with delight? I am sure He reveled in their joy, as he does in our joy when we get married.

As designer of marriage, God is also the best matchmaker. But we struggle with waiting on Him to bring this person to us. As a result we rush into relationships that feel right and many times end up broken inside when we have to leave them. God demonstrated from the very beginning that this was not his design. Marriage was between one man and one woman that he made for each other. He didn’t intend for us to suffer through the break ups and heartaches that come when we commit ourselves to many other people before marriage. And He most certainly didn’t purpose for us to bring those hurts into our marriages. 

We don’t often have the foresight to anticipate how past sexual experiences will affect our relationship to our spouse. Enjoying the intensity of sexual union and achieving oneness becomes complicated. Firstly, we program ourselves to view sex as a tool to achieve something that is self-serving. Some women control their boyfriends by using sex to keep them interested, others thrive on the attention men give them for their sexiness. Some men pressure women to sleep with them under the pretense of expressing love when what they really want is to enjoy the pleasures of sex. Still others like the conquest involved in being able to bed a woman — the more, the better. Sadly this self-seeking paradigm is brought into marriage and a spouse looks at sex as something that is for their benefit. It’s not about giving but about taking. 

Secondly, sex before marriage stimulates a desire for the illicit. And when it becomes monogamous, couples ache for the excitement that once came with the forbidden. 

Thirdly, it’s hard to remove images of sex with others or feelings about past relationships when a person engages in sex with their spouse. They don’t want to remember the things they did with others but it invades their minds anyway. Guilt overcomes them which results in the inability to perform with liberty and freedom.

Lastly, one’s sexual history can cause trust issues in marriage. It’s not so far fetched to think, “If my husband slept with women before, what’s to keep him from doing so when we are married?” If he didn’t internalize the sacredness of sex in marriage when he was single, there’s no guarantee that he won’t explore the same behavior when he is married. 

Interestingly, people think it’s okay to have sex with others before they get married but not afterwards. But sleeping around before marriage is like conditioning oneself for unfaithfulness and adultery (of the body and mind) when sex is viewed so casually prior to the committed and permanent relationship of marriage. 

Marriage won’t guarantee faithfulness. I am not saying Edric and I are impervious to adultery because we didn’t have casual sex with people when we were single. It’s only by God’s grace that we stay faithful to one another, and we will only finish well by God’s grace. But moral purity is a discipline. And Edric often tells me, look at track record. That matters. If a guy sleeps around before marriage, it doesn’t matter whom they marry. She can be the most beautiful woman in the world but she will not be good enough to keep him pure. I am not discounting the grace and power of God to deliver someone from their past but there are real problems that we carry into our future when we violate God’s commands. Galatians 6:7 tells us, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” 

1 Timothy 4:7-8 says, “But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

A person who has disciplined himself to say no to sex before marriage will find it easier to say no to sex outside of marriage when he becomes a husband. He has made it a habit to please God. His default is to run away from sin rather than towards it. Certainly other factors play a role, too, like having good communication as husband and wife, meeting each other’s heartfelt needs, exerting effort to upgrade your marital sex life, being willing to improve to better satisfy one another, being connected to people who can hold you accountable for sexual purity, etc. The truth remains that sex outside of marriage is not something you can do and walk away from without consequence to your entire person or your future spouse. 

Some years ago I was speaking to a friend who confessed to me that she would think about her sexual experiences with her ex-boyfriend when she had sex with her husband. And her experience with her ex was better! Another friend told me that her husband felt rage every time he saw her ex-boyfriend. This ex-boyfriend was the first person my friend had lost her virginity to, and he couldn’t get over it. Yet another friend admitted to me that her martial sex life was not exciting because they explored everything before marriage. In marriage they hardly had sex. Some other friends had issues with faithfulness because their spouse programmed their appetites to enjoy elicit sex. Having slept with multiple people before marriage, monogamous sex wasn’t as desirable. 

Sex isn’t the only thing to enjoy in marriage but it is a big part of what makes marriage a special relationship. And we need to do everything we can to protect it. I praise God that I am reaping the benefits of being married to a man who didn’t sleep around. But at the end of the day it’s not his love for me that saved him from promiscuity. It was and is his love for God. 

As I age physically, he remains committed to honoring his purity for me and guarding his eyes and heart. This conviction comes from his relationship with God and not necessarily his undying devotion to me. Love for God is evidenced in the choices we make, whether single or married, and the history of a man’s choices will tell you whether he truly loves God, especially in the area where he is prone to weakness and great temptation — the area of sexual purity. 

Therefore if you aren’t married, take a good and honest look at the man you are with in a dating relationship or the man you want to marry. The man he is today will not miraculously change into a holy, righteous person who will be committed to pursuing purity as a husband if he is not making it his current priority to please God. Furthermore, the same weaknesses he struggles with at present will become the same chink in his armor when he is married.

So don’t settle for a man who hasn’t valued his purity, yours, or other womens’. And don’t give your purity to a man who claims he loves you who isn’t your spouse. Sexual promiscuity and experimentation may be portrayed as pleasurable and normal in this world but they are not God’s design for us. He purposed for a man and woman to present themselves to one another “naked and unashamed” as Adam and Eve did, husband and wife, without the guilt, sorrow, or fear that many people deal with today. At the same time, God is a redeemer. If you have failed to value purity the way He wants you to, it’s not too late to repent and start committing to it. You can still honor God with your mind and body. You can still flee immorality and receive the grace and power of God to live a life that pleases him. 

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John‬ ‭1:9‬

Rags 2 Riches Launches a New Line of Decor

Rags 2 Riches, the home and design store that taps local craftsmen and women to weave their products recently collaborated with designer, Marilen Montenegro of Marilen.ph.

img_0788-1.jpgMarilen is a talented designer but she is also a model, tv personality, blogger, homeschooling mama and friend. One look at this home line tells me she’s mixed in all these aspects of her person into the handwoven planters, serving trays, poufs, and hampers. The colors pop and say happiness.

  
I could imagine one of the teal poufs on the floor of a homeschooling room. It’s something my own kids would enjoy sitting on to read a book. Here’s Marilen’s son, Santiago, enjoying his seat. He started bouncing on it later on, too. (As a mom of two energetic kids, I am sure she thought of that sort of thing when she had these made.)

img_0772.jpgOne of her serving tray designs followed the lines of her Marilen.ph logo – simple, clean, but far from boring with their textured handles and white washed finish. 

My top picks are the planters which remind me of the macrame projects my mom used to do. They look mid-century but with a colorful punch to them. 


And of course there’s the hamper which can also be used as a planter, which Marilen whispered to me she named Joy. And how joyful looking it is! The hue and style make you want to smile. I certainly did!


Be sure to stop by one of Rags 2 Riches’ stores to see the whole line. This one is in Podium, Ortigas. 

   

  

  

  



 

Things that matter…hmm…showing up for a friend’s product launch because you want her to know you’ve got her back. 

  
For more info, check out R2R’s social media accounts and website:

  
Visit Marilen.ph, too, for great tips on how to style your home with heart! 

 

Whom Do You Love More?

For all my young readers out there, this post is for you. I shared it during this morning’s church service and I hope it will bless and encourage you! 


Ever since I was a child I cared about what people thought about me. I was a self-conscious person and a people-pleaser. This character weakness was tested especially in college, when I was no longer homeschooled or in a Christian school.

After graduating from an American school for missionaries called Faith Academy, most of my friends left for the US or Europe after high school, and I had to make friends from scratch. I didn’t know people in college like most students did. 

Eventually, however, I had a group of friends I started hanging out with who kind of took me “under their wing.” They were a great bunch of friends – intelligent, beautiful, kind-hearted, and fun to be with. However, they also belonged to a crowd who enjoyed going out to bars and clubs on Wednesday nights and the weekends.

When I first started frequenting bars with my college friends I thought I would never drink alcohol. It didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t grow up in a home where alcohol or cigarettes were common. And the high school I went to didn’t allow students to have either. So I would sit around and watch everybody with some sort of booze in their one hand, most often beer, while they checked each other out and chatted each other up. A lot of it was flirting between guys and girls, or sitting around with your group of friends while some guy treated you all to drinks.

At the beginning, I thought, What am I doing here?! This is a slow way to die, inhaling all this second hand smoke! It was almost intolerable, but I would go anyway, to be with my girl friends. Almost always, I would feel out of place, uncomfortable about connecting with people in an environment that seemed to be the worst place to engage in genuine conversation.

Nevertheless, I wanted to fit in somehow. So I thought, Why not try just a little alcohol? It’s not like the Bible says that drinking is sinful. To be honest I didn’t like the taste at all at first, but participating in the same things my friends did made me feel closer to them, more accepted, and this mattered to me.

The tipping point for me was going on an out of town trip for a football match. Our team went to a bar afterwards to celebrate, and getting a buzz from my cocktails gave me an exhilarating sense of freedom. I felt more confident, more gregarious. I do recall receiving surprised and concerned looks from people who knew me to be the conservative Christian. But I rationalized, “Hey, I can do this. I am still in control and I’m not doing anything stupid.”

I would rarely drink to the point of tipsiness, but there were a few times that I got carried away and did some ridiculous things.  One time I kissed a friend in public (someone I would never ever have kissed) while wearing my angel outfit and halo at a halloween party. The irony. My girl friends rushed over to pry me away, scolding our friend when it wasn’t even his fault. Another time, I got drunk and threw up out of a window of a moving vehicle. Yet another time, I danced like an idiot on the ledge of a club that had a lot of lecherous looking old men in it. In Europe, on a month-long trip with my friends (which was a blast), we would be out every night we could dancing with strangers and going out with people we hardly knew.

Thankfully, this season of my life was short-lived. After a while, I thought to myself, Why am I doing these things? Do I really want to be this person? I don’t even like alcohol! Furthermore, I recognized that my root problem was not the actual drinking or nights out, but the desire to have people’s approval.

Amazingly, when I told my parents about my night time adventures and the places I went go to they were NOT reactive. They didn’t scold me or condemn my friends. They didn’t pressure me to live up to the expectations of a pastor’s kid (which would have probably incited me to rebellion). Instead, their style was to spend time with me and ask me questions like, “So why do you like to drink?” They tried to understand my motivations so they could better disciple me. After all, it wasn’t my behavior that was the issue to them. It was my heart. So they prayed faithfully for me. They prayed a lot! And they reminded me that I was accountable to God.

Since they weren’t the kind of parents who were suffocatingly strict and unreasonable, or the kind of parents who micromanaged every choice their kids made, I appreciated and respected their input. More importantly, their talk-less, listen-and-dialogue-more method of mentoring me gave the Holy Spirit the space to speak to me and convict me.

I began to be deeply disturbed about the trajectory I was headed in. I knew I was a follower of Jesus. Yet my motivations revealed that I valued what people thought about me more than God’s opinion of me. Did I really love Jesus with all my heart?

Furthermore if I really loved Jesus then I would live to please him above all else. My goal would be to glorify Him, and to pursue Christ likeness and righteousness. But at that point I couldn’t confidently say that my life inspired others to follow Christ. Living with this dichotomy — professing to love God yet having little fruit to show as evidence, troubled me. I didn’t have peace.

So I went back to the convictions that my parents passed on to me when I was younger — truths that hooked me back into the will of God before I wandered too far off course. I made the decision to honour God and glorify Him. If I truly loved Him, this would be a priority to me.  It wouldn’t even be about whether drinking was okay or not. (Sometimes we can be so legalistic and judgmental as followers of Christ, equating spirituality with this image of someone who doesn’t drink, smoke, dance, go to clubs or maybe even movie theaters! Nevertheless, I do believe that everyone who likes to do things like drink or smoke should assess why they do. And if their reasons signal red flags like addiction, dependence, peer acceptance, or remedies for stress, etc…then it may very well benefit them to ask the same questions I had to.)

For me the more important questions were, “How do I live in such a way that people will be attracted to Jesus Christ in me? What does God see when He looks into my heart?” In response, I changed my Wednesday and weekend habits. I stopped going to bars and clubs in order to “fit in.” 

This didn’t mean that I lost all my friends either. I loved these girls. I still do. And when we can, we get together for meals or coffee, occasions when we can really connect and talk.

Another, more serious test came when I had my second boyfriend, the same boyfriend who eventually became my husband whom you know as my one and only, Edric Mendoza. We struggled in the area of physical purity. We didn’t have sex but we pushed things to the absolute limit. I knew that I was making compromises that were not pleasing to God, but a part of me also wanted to hold on to Edric’s affections for me. There were moments when I would deceivingly think, this isn’t so bad. It’s not like we are having sex. But I had lowered my standards for holiness and purity by comparing my actions to what “other people are doing.”

Once again, I had to ask myself the same question, Do I really love Jesus more than I love Edric? 

Because the struggle with purity continued no matter what tricks we tried to avoid temptation, we were compelled to consider breaking up. Edric also loved God and wanted to do what was right. So we broke off the relationship without any timetable for getting back together. It was one of the most difficult things I had to do and Edric would say the same thing, but it was also one of the best decisions we ever made.

Edric was an idol in my life whom I had to surrender to God. When I did so, my passion for the Lord was rekindled. Prior to this, my struggle with purity had put a wedge and cap on my ability to grow spiritually. Edric also grew deeper in His faith.

Eventually, God allowed us to get married with the approval and blessing of our parents, and after full disclosure to them. By this time our hearts were prepared to love each other the way God called us to. We understood that in any relationship, Christ must be the center. A husband and wife must love Jesus first to love each other the way they should.

Not all love stories may end this same way, but I do believe that when we love God with all that we are He gives us His best in return, which is first and foremost Himself. Everything else is a bonus!

Mendoza_119Today I am happily married to Edric. We have five children. And we are serving the Lord as a team and teaching our children to love Him. The stories that I shared are almost twenty years old, but they remain significant because they were turning points in my life, when I made a conscious choice to love God and obey Him over something else or someone else that was important to me.

John 14:21 says, He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

We may have to sacrifice and experience challenges as we love God with all that we are, but He promises fullness of joy!

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His 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

By God’s grace, the best and sweetest years of my life so far have been those that I have given wholeheartedly to loving, following, obeying, and serving God. When I am tempted to replace this love for God with something else (because struggles still exist), I tell myself, Nothing is better than Christ. And nothing will ever satisfy me more than to seek Him and obey His will! 

The 6th Milkshake Run

 Family time is always important. We always look forward to weekends and holidays because it is an opportunity to spend time with family and loved ones, build new memories, and lasting relationships. I think you will all agree when I say that there is no amount of money and success that can take the place of time spent with family.
Mommy Mundo always promotes a healthy family life and finds different avenues to create unique activities and build lasting experiences with families. With this in mind, Mommy Mundo decided to bring back the Mommy Milkshake Run, now on it’s 6th year, this family fun run was first organized in 2007, and lasted uptil 2011. 

This year, they are bringing it back to complement their active parenting advocacy and bring the community together to celebrate active play and bonding. Come join the fun run on Sunday, March 6, 2016, as families bond together with other families to celebrate togetherness and the outdoors.

 The 6th Mommy Milkshake Run will be a 3km and 5km run along the BGC area. This fun run is a relatively relaxed run where every member of the family can join! Including, but not limited to, expectant moms, moms & dads (with or without slings and strollers), toddlers & kids. The run will have no time limit.
This will be a family friendly event with Portable Toilets, a Breastfeeding station and lounge for the nursing mom, a diaper changing area for parents with babies and toddlers, and ample water stations along the route to provide hydration for all participants. First Aid stations and Medics will be available for any untoward incidents

You won’t need to carry your little one for the entire race, as you can bring a stroller for them. However, they will not allow the use of bikes, skateboards, hover boards, and roller skates during the run. Pets are also not allowed.

Mommy Mundo will not be liable for any loss, we will have baggage claim area for all your belongings.

After the run, everyone will receive a certificate of participation, as well as a bag of goodies from the sponsors. Stay longer to enjoy a family fair with games, music, raffle prizes, food carts, special awarding ceremony, and an inflatable section for all the kids.

Here are a few things to remember from Mommy Mundo:

1. Registration period is from January 25 to February 14. We will accept payments until
February 15. We will follow the No payment, No run policy, so please be prompt. Registration is required for every participant, including children.

2. On February 13 and 14, you can register and pay at Planet Sports, BGC, from 12 noon to 8pm.

3. Registration Fee are as follows:
Children ages 2-12 years old = P300
*Children below 2 years of age can enter for free, but has to be registered. Adults
3k = P500
5k = P650

4. You can claim your Race Kits from February 22 to March 4 at the Creative Juice office in 2F Fun Ranch, Frontera Verde, Ortigas Ave. Pasig City. Other pick up sites will be announced in our social media pages.

5. Race kits include The 6th Mommy Milkshake Run Singlet, Map of the venue, and the 3k/5k route.

6. On Race day, it is important to know that registration will start at 5:30am, location of meet up, to be determined. Race bibs will be handed to you upon registration. For our pregnant participants, please provide a medical certificate from your doctor/OB Gyne, allowing you to join this race.

7. Opening Program starts at 6:00am, where we will stretch and warm up our bodies before the run.

8.Race starts at 6:30 am for the 5 km run and 6:40 am for the 3 km run.
For more details, please visit www.mommymundo.com/milkshakerun2016
The 2016 Mommy Milkshake Run is supported by Curves, Gatorade, Hi-Precision Diagnostics, and Growers.

Media Sponsor: The Fort City, Working Mom, and The Bull Runner

Venue Sponsor: Bonifacio Global City Estate
Medical Sponsor: Ambucore

For more information, please contact:
Monica Santiago | Creative Juice Communications Landline: (02) 5707827
Mobile: (0998) 5399216
Email: monica@creativejuiceph.com

For All the Sensible Germaphobes

There’s an amazing technology available for homes that can zap dangerous micro organisms to sanitize your home. It’s all about harnessing the power of UV-C rays. Bacteria and viruses have immunity towards UV-A and UV-B rays that come from the sun, but not UV-C rays. When UV-C rays come in contact with bacteria and viruses they alter their DNA structure and cause them to die swiftly. 

I wouldn’t have believed it. But a part of our home was swabbed to show how many micro organisms had accumulated to levels that are shockingly scary. I thought my house was pretty clean but after the swab test I discovered it may look clean to the naked eye but invisible organisms can be growing at alarming rates. Clean is not the same as sterilized.

   


Thankfully, there is a fix that is wonderfully effective. Okay, it isn’t cheap (the hospital grade size machine is 80K), but I know people who have paid more for one of those water based cleaning contraptions that are ridiculously expensive. And they don’t kill bacteria or viruses as effectively. Neither do they zap dust mites the way this UV machine can. 

After exposing the swabbed area to thirty minutes of UV light, the micro organisms count dropped down to safe levels. And all my kids had to do was switch on the light and exit the room, closing the door behind them when the device did its magic.

But it’s not magic at all. It is science. I can’t explain all the technical details of this machine but I am posting their FAQs below. (By the way, I wasn’t paid to write about this. I offered to do so after I saw how it worked.)

The kids were fascinated with the technology so the demo of the product became a science lesson.

   
  

     

   
 
   

   

     
Maybe you are one of those parents who is utterly frustrated and discouraged because your kids keep getting sick. This may be worth the investment for you. I am trying to convince Edric to get one! My youngest daughter, Catalina, and third son, Titus, are susceptible to respiratory infections so this will help them a lot.

My sister, Candy, was like, “Hey maybe we can buy one as a clan and just pass it around!” (That’s the Chinese mentality in us!) 

 A smaller version of this machine will be available in the near future. In the meantime, this one is hospital grade and just the right size of you have big rooms in your house. Other products include a hand held wand for disinfecting gadgets, and a toothbrush sterilizer. 

The recommended use for the room sterilizer is once a week. This will significantly minimize the amount of pathogens and unwanted germs that your household is exposed to. And no harmful cleaning chemicals needed! Eventually, you can switch to once a month.

As a precautionary note, the machine should be turned on in a room with no one inside. Otherwise it can cause reddening of the skin, like a sunburn. But the device has a safety feature that turns off when the motion sensor detects movement. Furthermore, the light doesn’t go through glass or walls. There’s also a timer that activates so you have time to exit a room before it turns on.

UV-Care Room Sanitizer is a product of Intech Group Innovations Corp. Contact info: 0977-822-8556 / email: customercare@uvcare.net

Facts about UV-Care Room Sanitizer:

UV-Care LIGHT

It penetrates the membranes of viruses, bacteria, mold, and dust mites—attacking their DNA—terminating them and their ability to spread. The UV-Care Room Sanitizer emits a blue spectrum of light to help you see the surface area you are cleaning.

UV-Care LIGHT ELIMINATES GERMS AND BACTERIA

Hospitals, food processing facilities, water treatment and HVAC systems use UV-C light to eliminate biological contaminants and germs. Research has been conducted by universities and published in journals. They also have real-life applications used in public health uses in urban areas in the United States and Canada. It is also currently used in medicine and dentistry for sterilising medical tools. 

YOU’LL SMELL AND FEEL THE DIFFERENCE

Bedding and couches will smell and feel fresh with consistent use of the UV-Care Room Sanitizer. Musty smells and pet odors can be virtually eliminated. 

SUSTAINABLE SANITIZING

Sanitizing with UV-Care Room Sanitizer means you don’t need harsh chemicals that pollute our water and add unnecessary product packaging to our landfills. Reduced production of household cleansers means fewer chemicals in our environment and reduced fuel expenditures for transporting them to the marketplace.

Q: How often should I use UV-Care Room Sanitizer?

A: The effects of cleaning with UV-Care Room Sanitizer are cumulative, so more frequent use will result in greater sanitization of a surface. Once a comfortable level of clean has been established, pollutants can usually be controlled with a weekly sanitizing regimen to maintain the effect. Some surfaces, like those in kitchens and bathrooms, should be treated when they come in contact with contaminants. A cleaning regimen of other surfaces such as beds and couches can be done weekly, or even more frequently if required.

Q: How long should I treat an area?

A: Different bacteria require different exposure. For example: a 24” x 36” countertop requires three minutes of exposure to eliminate Salmonella or two minutes for Staphylococcus.

Q: How do I know if its working?

A: Most contaminants are microscopic, so just like using a chemical cleanser, you can’t directly see the effects. However, in many cases people report being able to feel the effects and you may notice that biological and/or organic odors are eliminated as well. Laboratory test also proves that UV-Care Room Sanitizer works.

Q: Can I use the UV-Care Room Sanitizer on myself, family members or pets?

A: No. The UV-Care Room Sanitizer is for use on inanimate surfaces only and is not safe for use on your skin, and should not be exposed to your eyes.

Important to note: UV-Care Room Sanitizer is used to remove biological contaminants from surfaces. It is not a treatment for people or animals. 

Q: Is UV-Care Room Sanitizer dangerous to people?

A: Very close and prolonged exposure can damage skin and eyes. Use caution to ensure that direct exposure is brief and distant from the light source.

Q: Why should I trust this appliance?

A: UV-Care Room Sanitizer ensures the quality components of its products and receive the highest quality products in the industry, backed by the best warranty and unsurpassed customer service. The product is laboratory tested by 3rd party laboratories.  

 
 
 
 

For Official Use Only

When we moved into our newly built home a year and a half ago, Edric and I dedicated it to the Lord. First of all, our house was finished through much prayer and God’s faithful provision, so it most definitely belonged to Him. Each month of the construction phase He supplied what we needed to complete it. My prayer always was, “Lord, please provide above and beyond what we need to finish and furnish our home.” (Up to this day, he continues to add to what we have so we can get pieces here and there to decorate our organically modern home.) 

Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.”

When the monumental task of constructing our place loomed over us at the very beginning, Edric and I claimed Psalm 127:1 as both a promise and a reminder. Even though we had an amazing architect and contractor, we knew that God was our architect, contractor and designer. We also prayed that this would be a home where God’s presence would dwell and His purposes would prevail. 

Therefore each space was considered with ministry in mind…ministry to our family and ministry to others. How could we make areas that invited people to conversation and connectedness? How could we be hospitable with our home, and utilize it for gatherings where people hear God’s word? What configuration for the rooms would encourage family bonding and keep our kids close to one another? 

Shortly after our home was livable, we invited family and friends over. Our furniture wasn’t complete and the decor needed help, but we couldn’t wait to use our home to bless people. 

Some of the events we hosted were chaotic and crazy, others quiet and intimate. Some things were damaged and soiled, but we don’t have pricey furniture or decor, and we don’t own luxury goods or keep wads of cash at home. So I did not feel stressed when people were all over the house. There was nothing super costly to break or even to take! More importantly, God blessed us with this home to steward it for His use. Hence the title “For Official Use Only.” Or, more accurately put, “For God’s Use Only.” 

It deeply delights us when people come together in our home for fellowships, bible studies, activities and play dates. The joy outweighs the cost and the clean up that follows.

At the turn of the year, Edric and I decided to be more intentional. So the first event we hosted in January was for neighbors. We teamed up with our couple’s bible study group to invite their family and friends to a backyard barbecue. Because everyone helped out, decorating and setting up became such a fun bonding experience. Some baked cookies, others lent their tables and chairs or house help, others came early to string lights and style the tables, and still others contributed ice cream and dessert. We also prayed two weeks prior that neighbors would come.

To be honest, I had my qualms. Would neighbors be willing to show up at another neighbor’s house whom they didn’t know? And without alcohol being served to loosen everyone up? (Of course they didn’t know that alcohol wouldn’t be served when they were invited.) 

Well, the good news is that eighteen of the invited guests came, excluding the headcount for their kids. Most of them met us and one another for the first time. Edric got to insert a short talk on how to live in 2016, which centered on the principle of numbering our days. So our guests heard from God’s Word and they sat through the entire thing! Only one guy had to stand up and take a call. 

After the evening came to a close, I thanked the Lord for the privilege of having a home where we can host occasions like this. 

God tells us in Romans 12:13 to “practice hospitality.” It takes effort and monetary sacrifice to do so, but Edric and I remind ourselves that God built this home for the sake of the gospel. Yes, He also gave it to us to enjoy and raise our family in, but may it best be known as a home where people live out the gospel message of God’s love and forgiveness, and where people who step inside it experience how much God loves them!

Getting the backyard ready:

 

   

    
 

Praying as a team:

    
Preparing the food: 

    

  

  

The guests arrive (each person who invited someone sat beside their guests): 

   
   
   
Edric gives his talk:  

  
If you want to organize your own backyard barbecue, here are some printable homemade food labels you can use: