To the Greater Things

Five years ago, Edric guested on Tina Palma’s show, “Talk Back with Tina Palma”, where he answered questions about home education. After the show, he was asked by ANC if he ever considered being on television. Surprised, he quipped, “Maybe in a former life.”

However, the executives of the network were serious about recruiting him to host a personal finance show they were cooking up, called “On the Money”. When they mentioned the concept, Edric laughed and acknowledged that this wasn’t his professional background. Although he felt very unqualified, they actually weren’t looking for an expert in finance. They needed someone who would be able to engage guests on the show, someone who could simplify financial literacy for Filipinos.

Realizing this offer was a serious one, Edric and I prayed for God’s leading on the matter. This wasn’t a career path that had been on his radar at all. His main preoccupation was leading the homeschool organization, The Master’s Academy (now called Homeschool Global). As a businessman, he could set aside time to do the TV show, but he had to know if it was from the Lord or just a distraction from his priorities. 

After seeking counsel from several men who mentor him, as well as those outside of our church, who could offer their objective opinions, the answer was a yes. Finally, we prayed that the show would be pre-taped since traveling all the way to ABS-CBN every day would be impractical. Edric’s main focus was still running the homeschool program. In a matter of days Edric was informed that the show was going to be pre-taped! Hoorah! 

Just like that, Edric became the lead anchor of ANC’s On the Money show, which aired daily for the first four years that he was a part of it. At the beginning, he was terrified, knowing very little about the industry, the guests, and the environment of a studio. However, I’m proud to say that he adapted quickly on the job. God helped him to adjust to the culture of ANC, where he developed great friendships with the people he worked with. He also enriched his learning by acquiring an RFP (registered financial planner) certification. 

Although anchoring the show was a job, he often said it felt like an amazing education. He got to interview bank presidents, various finance and insurance executives, the stock exchange president, a number of Commissioners (like BIR, Customs, Insurance Commission, and SEC), tycoons, Ambassadors, fashionistas, Miss Universe winners, pop stars, former President Fidel Ramos (one of his favorites!), and countless others. He would often tell me, “If only I had learned all of this when I was younger! I could’ve have made wiser financial decisions!”

Of course, there were a lot of fun perks for him as a TV personality, too. People would ask him to speak on personal finance for companies and organizations around the country and in various parts of the world. He was paid to do endorsements (although ANC had to approve them first because they had strict rules for their talents.) Clothing brands sponsored his outfits, some of which were so expensive I can’t even discolose their amounts for prudence’s sake! 

What I appreciated observing in him during this journey was that he stayed the same in character. He was still the simple, down-to-earth guy I married. In many ways, he even became an improved version of himself. The show trained him to be a better listener and communicator, how to ask the right questions to draw out a person and make them comfortable. 

Beyond this, Edric grew in God-confidence since he had to deal with all kinds of people, from all walks of life. He depended on the Lord for wisdom and enabling in order to overcome his insecurities and lack of tenure as a tv anchor.

Throughout the years, I praise God that he stayed spiritually grounded, too. Even though he became the busiest he had ever been, he remained present as a husband and father. There were seasons when all of his commitments to different organizations, the business, as well as the show would converge in an overwhelming way, but God provided the grace to get through these. I always felt like he re-ordered and re-calibrated when necessary to avoid neglecting his relationship with the Lord, the kids, and me. 


We did have to deal with flirty fans every now and then, especially when he won awards like “cutest news anchor” by Spot.ph! However, I praise God that Edric and I talked openly about setting boundaries. He took Elijah, our oldest son, with him on trips when he was invited to speak out of town so he wasn’t alone. (This also became a homeschool opportunity as Elijah learned about investing early on and started to speak alongside his dad when he was nine yrs old.) 

As much as possible, he avoided selfies with attractive women who requested photos with him. He would pull in other people or grab Elijah to be in the photo with him. Of course, he couldn’t do this all the time, but he was careful about the way he related to women fans. He told me he had to be. He was vulnerable just like any other guy and needed to be intentional about protecting himself. (Of course I had to do my part, too, as a wife to meet his needs! But more on this in another post.)

Someone once asked me, “How do you deal with Edric being on tv?” I had never been asked that before, but I was glad to answer the question. “He’s the same guy,” I said with a smile.  


If, at the core, you know who you are in the Lord, circumstances shouldn’t alter you in a negative way. But if you are seeking for importance through what you do then the tendency is to compromise. It’s only by God’s grace that Edric’s core person didn’t grow ugly when he became a public figure. Did he struggle with pride issues and was he tempted to get his sense of self worth from being on tv? From time to time he did, which is why I said it was only by God’s grace that he survived with his spiritual person intact! 

The juggling act of wearing many hats had its stresses but Edric managed to do everything with a supernatural energy that came from the Lord. Yet, on year five of the show, he began to deal with some major crises in the homeschooling movement and on the personal front. The Department of Education grew difficult about policies and permits, and he had to make appeals, meet with them, and work with them to protect homeschoolers’ right to home educate their kids. 

Not many people may have known how stressful a time this was for him as he balanced the demands of the business and an impending merger, anchored for the tv show, preached, led our couples’ group, gave talks around the Philippines and even abroad, and attempted to write a book (besides being a husband and father). With all of this going on, Edric actually disappointed a number of people. He had people verbally mudslinging the Homeschool program he was leading for certain changes he made. He was personally criticized many times, too. Even some of his closest friends were frustrated with him for being too busy for them. 

Thankfully, the kids and I were fine! We still got to spend loads of time with him, but I knew he was weary and discouraged. He tried to repair relationships and correct the wrongs that were brought to his attention. Yet he was doing too much to be on top of everything in the excellent way he aimed to be. He did tell me several times how lonely it often felt being at the helm of things, too. We processed this all together and I encouraged him that he needn’t be overwhelmed by what was beyond his reach. For as long as he was walking with the Lord, obeying Him, and doing his best to serve others, as well as humbling himself when he made mistakes, then he was doing what mattered. 

In the midst of this trying time, Edric wondered if he had to cut back and focus. (Between Edric and I, he’s the one with the capacity to do many things. I can’t do what he does and it’s always been one of his impressive traits to have such boundless energy.)  Feeling the strain of juggling too much, he asked the executives of ANC if he could take a six-month leave, which they very kindly agreed to. This allowed him to channel his energies towards the demands of the homeschooling movement.  

Here is a point I must bring up about ABS-CBN’s news channel. Edric spoke very highly of ANC and had great respect for the people he worked with. From his co-host, Salve Duplito, to Executive Producer, Patrick Pascual, and Segment Producers, Aiza Lumbuan and Julian Cirineo, as well as News Head, Ging Reyes, and COO of ANC, Cilette Liboro-Co, Edric held them all in high regard. He was blessed to be part of a super team that cared for each other and were very understanding about what was important to him. What he valued, they also valued, such as family and relationships, and they were as flexible as they could be when these priorities were compromised. 

By January of 2017, the homeschooling movement regained its momentum as issues were solved. As committed, Edric was back on the show. Thankfully, God resolved a lot of the problems and issues (some still remain), but the major ones like working with the DepEd and business merger concerns were sorted. Once DepEd had a clearer grasp of home education, they were very accommodating and eager to find ways to help homeschoolers. 

Despite the positive turn of events, Edric never felt at peace when he went back to his regular tapings for On the Money. He enjoyed anchoring a lot, but he felt like it was no longer aligned with where God was leading him. He felt strongly called to zone in on the needs of the homeschooling program, and found that having to do his tapings and prepare for them side-tracked him from giving his best. He couldn’t do his best on the show, and likewise couldn’t give his best to the homeschooling movement. For a while, he vacillated and struggled, repeatedly asking for prayers and wisdom from mentors, family, friends, and me. 

It wasn’t a choice between a bad thing and a good thing. That would have been easy and obvious. Instead, he needed to know with certainty that God wanted him out of something good like TV anchoring and all-in with something also good like homeschooling…two good things, but what was the greater priority in this season? 

It took several months to arrive at the point where he finally decided to speak to the network heads to end his time at ANC. The journey to this moment was a hard one. Edric agonized over the pros and cons, what he would be giving up — the relationships, the extra income, the influence, and what he would have to face — the unknowns and the fears. 

A part of him admitted that he would also miss hearing viewers say, “Hey, I watch your show. Great job!”  

In fact, he shared in recent speaking engagements that he was beginning to derive a sense of self-worth and confidence from being a public figure and the respect that came with that. Subtle as it may have been, the recognition appealed to his desire, as a man, for significance. Since this struggle was real, it gave him added reason to consider leaving the show. He told me, “I need to find my identity solely in Christ.” 

From a worldly standpoint, where fame, fortune, and power are prized, it didn’t make sense for Edric to say goodbye to the show. What about the platform and influence that came with it? Wasn’t that a good thing? It was. It certainly was. What about the blessing of extra income? That was good, too! How about the relationships that he established with his colleagues and the connections with prominent people? That was amazing! These were all wonderful plusses in favor of pressing on as a tv anchor. Yet God’s Word reminds us, “His (God’s) thoughts are not like our thoughts, and His ways are far beyond what we can imagine.” (Isaiah 55:8)

As Edric’s wife, and for those who knew the wrestling he was dealing with, we understood why he finally decided to close this chapter of his life. His desire to order his God-given priorities was a great thing…the greater thing. There are many who can champion personal finance, but homeschooling in the Philippines doesn’t have many champions. It may not be glamorous to be an advocate of homeschooling, but Edric’s heart is for families. His mantra is to “change one family at a time for Jesus Christ,” and he believes that parent-led education is one of the best ways to do this. Furthermore, his conviction to walk away from a profession that detracted him from getting his self worth in Christ alone was another considerable factor.  

Sometimes he would ask me, “Did I do the right thing? Did I make the right decision?” 

My response often was, “Hon, I see your life. I know you love God and you walk with God. So if this is what He called you to do, I don’t doubt that He will bless it.”

During his last taping in July, Edric invited the kids and I to watch him. It was my first and last time to see the On the Money studio. Prior to this, I had never visited him on set or seen him at work in front of the camera. 


The kids and I hung out in a corner eating pancit which the crew thoughtfully handed to us. We tried to be as quiet as possible as Edric and Salve taped their final show together. Afterwards, there was a short ceremony to bid him goodbye. I could sense the sadness in Edric’s posture and expressions, even as he tried to crack jokes to keep things jovial. I also spied Edric’s eyes tearing up as hugs and well-wishes were exchanged.

We took a few shots on the set but I know Edric didn’t want to prolong the agony of saying his goodbyes, so we exited shortly after. 

The walk down the hallway from the studio was quiet as I held his hand. We both knew there was no way to end this season of his life without feeling the sting of it. He was going to miss everyone he worked with and his friendships with them, the camaraderie of pushing the show’s advocacy, building a brand together, seeing it through its difficult birthing stages to reveling in its successes, learning to get along despite each other’s differences, and appreciating each other’s strengths. How do you walk away from all of that history without feeling like you left a part of yourself behind and wounded a part of those who thought you were in this together, as a team, for the long term? 

The answer is you can’t. There will be hurt. There was. There still is at times. This is why important life decisions can never be made without much consultation and prayer. We have to walk intimately with God when it comes to choosing between good things in order to discern the greater thing, because good things will get sacrificed. So the greater thing at that particularly season of your life must be revealed clearly by God through prayer and the confirmation of His Word, circumstances, and those in authority over you, as well as your mentors and confidants who walk with the Lord, those who are informed about your weaknesses, strengths, and calling. 

When the answer is apparent, then take courage! Obey God’s voice. Do not be afraid to make a hard choice. These occasions when you and I are refined for God’s purposes by the stripping away and letting go of what hinders us from the trajectory He wants us to be on is for our ultimate good. 

First, the right decision made after much prayer will produce a peace that transcends understanding. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭

Furthermore, there will be clarity of purpose, renewed vigor and strength from the Holy Spirit to pursue it, and an excitement for what God has in store even if it is yet unseen. In the past few months, I have witnessed this in Edric. Being able to focus has made him more effective and available to institute systems and positive changes for Homeschool Global. He’s even enrolled in an online course on education with Harvard, eager to equip himself. 

God’s desire for all of us is fruitfulness…Fruit to more fruit to greater fruit. Saying farewell to ANC was a pruning experience for Edric, but the reassurance we both have is that this decision will amount to more fruitfulness, just as John 15 explains. “He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing…When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” John‬ ‭15:2-5, 8‬ ‭

Very often, Edric shares with me, “I love what I am doing. I look forward to work!” When he says this I know it’s God’s affirmation — the blessing of obedience. 

When his final episode aired two weeks ago and people asked what happened to him, there was no official statement made. So this is my informal and personal way (with Edric’s persmission) of explaining the story behind his exit. Will he ever return to television? Only God knows. In the meantime, let me leave you with this thought… 

The greater things God prods us to choose may not always lead to more prosperity and more popularity — images of success that often compel us to do what we do and make our choices. Instead, God calls us to leave a legacy, to do things that will outlast us and count for eternity, to live for the age to come. For Edric and our family, my prayer is that we will be used by God to transform hearts, families, nations, and the world for His glory. May we have the courage to abandon pursuits that compete with these.  

“Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.” Psalms‬ ‭25:4‬ ‭

 

We Need You, Hon

 With a new morning show on television (Mornings at ANC), Edric’s schedule has been more hectic than usual. He’s been very good about managing his time in the evenings and our entire household’s schedule is now revolving around his. Sometimes he’s in bed by 8:30 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday nights so he can wake up by 3:30 AM. Yep, 3:30 AM.

Originally, ABS-CBN asked him to do the show Monday to Friday morning but he requested to limit his exposure to just two days. Being on TV is not his full-time preoccupation and it would cannibalize his other commitments and kill him physically if he had to be there every morning at 4:30 AM, on top of taping for On the Money. The network graciously understood and acceded to his petition. In this regard, working for their news channel, ANC, has been a blessing. Thus far, they have respected his convictions and been considerate of his parameters.

Nevertheless, having to adjust to his two-day a week early mornings has taken a bit of a toll on his body. It has also unsettled his schedule. Unfortunately, the kids have noticed that he has been less engaged. I mentioned this to him as well. At first, he acted defensive and told me I was being reactive. But after praying for him, the very next day, he told me that he spent some meaningful time with the Lord and came to the conclusion that he must not forget his first love – JESUS. No matter what is going on in his life, he’s got to keep his sights on the bigger picture, pursuing God’s will and purposes.

So he came home yesterday afternoon with a renewed sensitivity and humility towards my suggestions and the kids’, especially after Elijah said, “Dad you’ve been busy. I feel like we don’t get as much time with you anymore. There are more important things than being on TV and stuff…” (Elijah nearly teared as he shared this. He’s our time guy so physical presence matters a lot. And he needs quantity and quality time.)

Edric felt a deep conviction to remedy this problem. Because Edric’s heart belongs to the Lord, it is turned towards the kids and me. There may be moments when he isn’t in the mood to listen to correction or happy to receive our input, especially at the end of a day packed full of activity. But the Lord faithfully ministers to Edric and eventually, he commits to improve and change. 

Last night, he took us all out for an early evening walk so he could give us his undivided attention. The kids thoroughly enjoyed it as we looked for fireflies. It must be mating season because they flocked around some of the trees in our subdivision and displayed themselves like twinkling little stars. We gazed at them for a while, appreciating their delicate beauty.

I took Edric’s hand. “I really like this…being together as a family.”

“I’m back,” he replied. Whenever he says this it means that he has gotten his spiritual compass on point.

Even though Edric is on television, interviewing financial gurus, covering light news and outfitted to look so polished and professional, I am glad that he is still, at the end of the day, the simple-hearted, Christ-following, family-loving man I married. People have asked me if I watch his show(s) but we don’t get ANC on our TV because Sky Cable refuses to hook it up to our house. According to them we are situated too far away from their “box.” I’m not sure what this means but the point is that the kids and I ONLY get the live version of Edric – in person — as a husband and father. And that’s the version we would rather have anyway. 

  He’s working hard to provide for us, which I greatly appreciate. But what blesses me more is his commitment to the right priorities. I pray he will remain this way. After all, only the Lord can make him into the man he must be. And God knows what our family needs most — not someone who pursues wealth and fame. What we need is a husband and a father who is present, engaged, and leading us towards deeper faith and intimacy in Christ.

Furthermore, the blessings of abundance and influence are from God’s hand. And a husband and father who seeks God first and aligns his pursuits behind this priority will not want for either…for himself or his family. While his earthly treasures and popularity may be different than the world’s definition of prosperity, his home will abound with the eternal, unsurpassable riches of faith. I pray Edric (and every husband and father out there) will recognize that this is what matters more. 
 
  “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:25-26, 32-33‬ ‭NASB‬‬
 

Be A Blessing

It came as a total surprise when Salve Duplito, Edric’s co-host on the show On the Money, asked me if I would be willing to do an interview about the article I wrote on To Buy Or Not To Buy A Designer Bag.

At first I hesitated. Me?! Why?! I write so I don’t have to speak! I am shy! (Kind of…in a self conscious, prideful kind of way, which is wrong!) Sigh. The irony is, the more I write, the more people want me to talk about the things I write. I wish I could just say, “please check out this link…” because it’s so much easier to be behind a computer typing my thoughts and editing them. I would much rather do that than speak. Speaking makes me breakout from stress and afterwards, I am tired for a week!

Why? Because my default mode is introversion. I like solitude and quiet activities that don’t require a lot of interaction with human beings. (I even need breaks from my own darling children sometimes, so I lock my bedroom door or breastfeed for too long.) But when an opportunity arises that seems to be a divine invitation to share God’s word or to be a blessing, then I ask Edric and let him help me make a decision.

My first instinct is to find some way to get out of a possible commitment. So I need his objectivity and insight. Plus, he is my “boss” and so I run things by him. If he says, “yes, go for it,” then I know it is something the Lord wants me to do.

When he found out that Salve asked if I could do an interview for the show, he encouraged me to do it. His perspective was “be a blessing.”

I have learned this same mindset from my mom who often goes outside of her comfort zone to reach out to people and make a difference in their lives. Whether it is sharing the gospel to a total stranger, spending time sitting beside a person she can encourage and minister to, or accepting speaking engagements where she can impart God’s word, she embraces these opportunities. She doesn’t think about herself or focus on what others will think about her. She has been a great example to me.

God didn’t put me in this world to do only what is cozy and comfortable. I have a job to do…to tell the world about him and to glorify him. If that means that I am going to have to stand on a stage, or walk into a room full of strangers and make new friends, or attend an event, or do something like an interview for TV, then I absolutely should (for as long as I do not neglect my husband and kids).

To psyche myself up for these moments, I tell myself…Be a blessing. This is not about you so stop thinking about yourself!

What does it mean to be a blessing?

1. Consider others as more important than myself
. Because my tendency is to think about my needs and my own preferences, this passage helps me alot…

Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vain glory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but [also] everyone for those of others. (Philippians 2:3, 4 NABRE)

When I walk into a room of people, and I am tempted to think of what kind of impression I am making, I have to mentally slap myself and ask…
How can I make a positive difference in someone’s life?
How can I make others feel special and important?
How can I engage people in conversation and be genuinely interested in who they are and what they do?
How can I encourage and minister
to the people I meet with or speak in front of?


2. Use every opportunity to glorify God and point others to Christ.
The gospel must be apparent in my life, in the things I say and do. I

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NASB)

I need to keep in mind that I represent Christ’s agenda — saving souls — and not my own. My mom used to say, “never steal an ounce of God’s glory.”

Will people be attracted to Christ when they observe my life?

3. Pray
. I can do absolutely nothing to make a difference for the Lord if I am not spiritually equipped by the power of the Holy Spirit. He helps me to overcome my insecurities and self-consciousness. It is he who enables and goes before me. It is he who must speak through me. It is he who purifies my motives.

So, going back to the ANC interview…I met with Salve to do it. When I saw the script, I was thrilled that she was so accommodating of my spiritual perspective. In fact she asked me questions that allowed me to talk about my relationship with Jesus. This wasn’t edited out of the interview! And a wonderful bonus was I got to know Salve better and make a new friend.

When I look back on how God brought the opportunity to me, I am so glad I obeyed Edric when he said to do it. And I am so glad I forced myself to do something that was “unlike my personality.” The gospel is worth being inconvenienced for. It is worth the sacrifice of time, effort, resources. It is worth being rejected for, ridiculed for. It is worth giving my life to. It is worth dying for.

Therefore, I must not box myself in or put restrictions on what God wants to do through me by insisting that I do only what feels comfortable and natural. Rather, I must have the same conviction that Paul had…

For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. I do all things for the sake of the gospel… (1 Corinthians 9:16, 19, 23 NASB)

The best way to be a blessing is to live out, share, and proclaim the gospel whenever and however God wants us to.

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Pajama Stocks

We sat around the dinner table with family some time ago and my brother in law, Joel, found out that Elijah started investing in the stock market last year. Elijah talked about what companies he had picked to invest in and the rational behind his choices. And he said this all while wearing pajamas. It just seemed a little bit funny I suppose, that a 9 year old (this was before he turned 10), would be chatting about financial investments. So Joel said, “Why don’t you write an article about it and call it ‘Pajama Stocks.'” I thought…that’s a great title. I love it. But I had put it off until today, when Edric asked me to have Elijah share about how he ventured into it to encourage parents to teach their kids to start being financially literate early.

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Here is what he wrote (with some help from me):

I first became interested in financial markets two years ago. My dad had asked me if I wanted to invest in stocks and we did some research together online to understand the process better. My dad told me to fill out the online form of Citisec but I actually lost the form and forgot about it.

It wasn’t until last year, when I was 9, that I became interested again, especially since my dad was hosting a money show. He would talk about financial investments often. And since he promised to help me set up an account, he told me that I would join a stock seminar with him so we could do it together. By then, the name of Citisec online had changed to COL Financial. 

I was so excited and nervous. I was in a room with a lot of adults, including my dad and I was the youngest person attending the seminar. The seminar took about two hours. It was very interesting. I learned about tips on investing and how the stock market works, and what companies were performing the best at that time.

For example, I learned that Jollibee had grown 40% from 2009 to 2011 because they kept reinventing. And a lot of people like to eat in Jollibee. The seminar was like a homeschool lesson for me.

When we got home, my dad told me he would give me a fund to work with but I had to do research. A lot of research. For one whole day I looked up different companies from different categories, like financial, services, industrial, property, holding firms, and mining and oil. All this information is available on pse.com.ph.  My dad also gave me some advice. I was also able to study the background history of a few companies to track their performance over the years. What really helped me were the charts that showed how the companies have performed over time because I could see changes, gains and loses. One company even lost 500%! I am not going to tell you which one?

Several weeks later, while my dad and I were having one on one bonding time, he helped me set up my account and invest in my top picks. I chose BDO, BPI, Ayala Corporation, Aboitiz, Globe, and Ayala Land. Recently, I also added Meralco. My main criteria was to get companies that went up steadily for the last two years because I intended to do long term investments. That’s why I didn’t invest in mining and oil. I found their performances too wild.

The one exception was the company 2Go, which I plan to use for market timing. It will just be a short-term investment and experiment. Since it’s passport season for people going on vacation, I hope that its stocks will go up so I can sell them.

Since I invested in stocks last December, by God’s grace, my stocks have grown. I’ve earned a little bit of money and it makes me more excited. It also makes me realize that earning money is not easy!

Now, when my parents or people give me money, I think of how I can invest it again or, okay, buy online books because I love to read.

I’m still learning a lot about the stock market and actually, I just invested a small amount to get experience compared to what older people do. But I put it in as much as my dad gave me because he told me it’s not good to leave money lying idle in an account. It won’t grow. In the COL seminar, I learned that inflation rates are higher than interest rates. So it’s not good to leave money in a bank account, either. 

I’m thankful for this experience. And I think it would be helpful for other kids to learn how to manage money, too. We don’t have to wait until we are older. The earlier we start, the more time our investment has to grow. 

I’m praying that my investments will grow if it’s God’s will so that someday I can use it to bless others, to tithe, and to save.

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I’m embarrassed to admit that Elijah knows way more than I do about the stock market. One evening, when a female relative asked him why he didn’t invest in their company, Elijah replied, “Honestly, your company doesn’t have historicals in the PSE yet, and if you look at your growth last year, you only grew by 0.2%.” Everyone who was within ear-shot of this conversation started to laugh out loud. I was slightly floored. Who are you?! I thought, looking at Elijah. At the same time, I realized that homeschoolers have unique opportunities that other children don’t have. They have the advantage of time to pursue interests. Elijah would be swamped with homework if he were a 4th grade student in a conventional school. However, our homeschooling lifestyle allows him to explore and learn beyond books.

Some years ago, I created a tagline for one of TMA Homeschool’s advertisements, “The World is My Classroom. Is it Yours?” Just like his siblings, Elijah surprises me with lessons learned that are beyond the scope of what I have taught. It’s humbling and encouraging at the same time to know that my children are not limited by what I can give as a teacher. This is one of the benefits of homeschooling —  children have access to a world of experiences that no other conventional classroom can possibly give them.

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Money Matters in Marriage

I am not a financial guru (that’s so obvious), but my husband seems to be esteemed as such because of his involvement as host for ANC’s On the Money program. But Edric will also be the first to tell you that he is no expert. He is learning along the way, as he interviews businessmen, financial advisors, CEOs, and the like. Nevertheless, he gets invitations to give talks on personal finance. Yesterday, he invited me to join him to give a short testimony to break up his three hour seminar. I have said no to doing talks in this season of my life (well, I have to be very discriminating) because my commitments revolve around the home. But, when Edric asks me to be his side kick for seminars he has to give, I consider this part of my role as a wife…prioritizing my husband.

So, I tagged along with him to a company that requested he give a 101 money talk that integrated family values. I am including my part of the “intermission” because his segment is paid for…mine is FREE! 😉

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Edric and I chose to get married young. We were crazy romantics like that. Well, as you all know, love does not put food on the table. Between Edric’s corporate job and my PR work, we were making P40,000, which means we didn’t have a lot of financial liberty. We started off very simply. I was very blessed to have a husband who liked to use a spreadsheet and make year long budget projections. So this is what he did…percentages, budget allocations, monitoring of our spending patterns etc.

Admittedly, I had no idea what it meant to keep a budget. My mom didn’t have to stick to a budget or so it seemed, so I thought that it was normal to be able to spend indiscriminately. She wasn’t an extravagant person so I wasn’t either. She never splurged on designer bags or shoes. My parents were not the type to buy heirloom watches or jewelry either. They invested in travel, land, properties, and businesses.

It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized how much people spend on designer clothing, bags, watches, shoes, and the like. Fortunately, because my siblings and I were not brought up to have an appetite for such things we didn’t mind not having it later on either. (My mom still shops at the tiange and gets compliments for her clothing without people realizing that she spends less than 1,000 pesos for most of what she wears! I love this about her.)

Going back to the early years of marriage, I wasn’t a major shopper but I didn’t have a concept of what it means to plan for your expenses. It was a foreign concept to me. And this is why I needed a husband like Edric. Edric is very FRUGAL.

It took me some time to realize the wisdom behind my husband’s strictness when it came to money management. But I began to appreciate it as the years went by. If I was in charge of money in our home, we would now be in dire straits.

One thing that he did give me was a discretionary fund or a “fun fund.” It was a fund for personal things – going to the parlor, buying myself clothes, eating out with friends, etc. We have often encouraged couples to have a discretionary fund that a wife can use without having to clear everything with her husband. If I bought anything outside of that fund, then I would ask for permission because he was in charge of managing our overall budget. Otherwise, my personal expenses were not audited. I had liberty, within my budget, to go shopping or treat myself.

The second money principle I learned in marriage was the concept of “living within your means (or even below, if possible).” Because I came from a family with means, I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know what it was like to have to take public transportation or have a second hand car. I knew how to do house chores, but I had no idea how hard it was to make money and make it grow. I would feel stressed when we didn’t have enough money to pay for repairs or fix things around the house.

God taught me NOT to make money my source of security. I had to learn contentment, avoid panicking that money was not in abundance, and quit comparing my state of life with siblings and friends. We couldn’t really travel out of the country. I didn’t have an unlimited budget for shopping. Even if I had a discretionary fund, it wasn’t that big. (Praise God it grew as the years went by!)

Living within our means was humbling at times and uncomfortable. I remember when I was 8 months pregnant with our first child, I was driving down McKinley to pick up Edric and I had to do a U-turn. But the car stalled in the middle of the road while I was doing the U-turn! Traffic was blocked on both sides of McKinley. I started to panic. Edric wasn’t answering his phone and I didn’t know what to do. Should I go out and push the car? I was 8 months pregnant! Cars were honking me. It was rush hour. I was so stressed…on the brink of breaking down. I prayed and prayed and after about 10 minutes, the car finally re-started. Whew. What an ordeal.

For a while I was bickering to myself and thinking, Why do I have to go through this? Why can’t we have a car that works better? I never had this problem when I lived at home! (Well, wake up honey, this is your new reality. God is working on your character.)

Although it was stressful at the time, Edric and I laugh about our adventures and the challenges we had at the beginning of our marriage. We used to park one of our cars on an incline just to make sure we could give it enough momentum to start the next day!

These comedic memories have turned into romantic memories. Seriously. When Edric and I reminisce about how God has faithfully provided for us through the years, we look at each other and say, “I am glad we went through that together.” It wasn’t easy but it made us closer. We started off without much so we had a lot to look forward to.

Many people wait so long to get married these days because of career choices, wanting to build up a piggy bank fund so they can buy a house, a nice car or two, and comforts that they are used to. My encouragement to women out there is learn to be simple and easy to please. Don’t be so high maintenance. It scares guys. They will feel like they can never afford you! Be wise and marry a man who loves God and works hard, and God will bless him financially. But be willing to adjust your own preferences. You may not get a big house right away or a shiney new car, but hey, you can look forward to those things together.

The third principle I wanted to share was lowering expectations and raising appreciation. I had to learn to be an encourager and a positive source of affirmation for my husband. Guys go out there and fight a whole different level of stress. Remember, God said that Adam would have a hard time tilling the ground!

Early on in our marriage, I didn’t know how to be a very good encourager. When Edric would tell me his issues with work and finances, I would say, “Well why did you make that decision? Maybe you should have said this or maybe you can do this…” And he would tell me, “Hon, if I need your advice I will ask you.” Oops. Verbal diarrhea in the house. In other words, what he wanted to hear was encouragement so he could go out there re-energized to get through another day.

In Genesis, the Bible talks about how God created woman to be a suitable helper to the man. A suitable helper doesn’t mean a yaya or househelp. The Hebrew word means “Life giver along side.” It is a beautiful picture of how a wife can support and uphold her husband. I am called to be a life-giver to Edric. I do this by submitting to his leadership, trusting that God has made him head of our home, and respecting him. But a big a part of being a life giver is also appreciating him, even for the little things.

When Edric would doubt whether he was a good provider, when he would feel down about not being able to give me the kind of lifestyle he thought I “deserved,” I would tell him,”Hon, I see your life. You love God, you are faithful to him. I don’t doubt that he will bless your efforts. Just keep trusting in him.” And then I would go run away to cry out to the Lord! “God, please let Edric know that you are mindful of him. Please allow him to experience your hand of blessing.”

But I made it a point to communicate to Edric that I believed in his God-given capacity, that I appreciated how hard he worked, the sacrifices he made and still makes to give us a comfortable life. Most importantly, I would tell him how blessed I was that he loves God and wants to be a godly husband and father. His face would change, he would hug me, sometimes even get teary eyed (just a little), and tell me how much my affirmation mattered…that it would inspire him to try his best.

Did I still have my dreams and longings? Of course. But instead of pressuring Edric to be the fulfiller of these things, I turned them over to God. I surrendered them and said, “Lord, in your time, your way, I know that you will give us the things we desire, if it is your will.” I would pray for Edric and commit our marriage, finances, children, and circumstances to him (I still do), and he has been faithful. I’ve received more than I dreamed of, not always what I wanted but better than I could have imagined.
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Lastly, I wanted to talk about the idea of priorities. For several years into my marriage, I was working full time and then part time to supplement our income. But, when we started having more kids, Edric and I talked about priorities and we decided that it was more important for me to be available to the kids and be at home. I am not saying that everyone has to make a life choice like this, but for Edric and I, it was a faith decision to switch to a single-income household. Who does that these days? It is not the trend.

However, we thought of what will really matter twenty, thirty years from now. I knew I cannot buy back the years of being absent from the home and missing my children’s moments. So I wanted to be present to instruct and train them. We both believed in homeschooling and that became my full time job. It doesn’t pay monetarily but it pays in eternal dividends.

And let me just say that I am never bored as a housewife. I have four kids with different personalities who keep me entertained, on my toes, and absolutely dependent on God. Plus, there is decorating, cooking, trouble shooting, and appliance fixing (I am actually pretty capable with a wrench and pliers. It doesn’t sound sexy but I am pretty proud of my handy woman abilities.)

God turned my heart towards my family and home…

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 NASB)

The principle is do not neglect or sacrifice the priorities of God, spouse and children on the altar of money. If you are a working woman and your spouse still feels like he is a priority, your kids are growing in character and they are turning out just fine then you are one of those superwomen who can balance and juggle everything. Hats off to you. But, if your home life is suffering then consider how you can make adjustments.

Money can buy some things but not everything. It doesn’t buy a happy spouse, happy children, a happy home, real peace or lasting joy, especially if the most important relationships are neglected.

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We are a happy family, by the grace of God! Tiana doesn’t look too happy here, but she is. 🙂

Above all else, Edric and I have learned and keep learning that God must always be the center, even when it comes to our finances. He is our ultimate provider. He owns everything. We are merely stewards of what he is given us. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first his kingdom and all these things will be added unto you.” God delights to bless people that love him and follow him. But often times, we have it the other way around. We make money and worldly pursuits first in our lives, the center, and leave no room for God. It is a constant striving after wealth for our sense of security and peace.

Here is the good news: When you follow God and come into a personal relationship with him through his son, Jesus Christ, he not only provides for your needs and more, he gives you riches that money cannot buy. You may not become a millionaire or billionaire, you become more! You become a child of a Father who has infinite resources; who knows when to withhold and when to give; who cares about the desires of your heart but knows when to protect you from them; who never abandons you; who gives you purpose and meaning beyond the drive for worldly successes; and who gives you eternal life with HIM to look forward to.

 

 

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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The REAL Cutest Newsman

My husband, Edric, has been a host of a show called On the Money for the last couple of weeks. It airs 3:30, 6:30 and 11 on weekdays on ANC with replays on weekends.

How it all came to be was really quite miraculous and God-ordained. It wasn’t anything that either of us was expecting, but there was clear leading from the Lord, from his word, wise counselors, and circumstances to venture into this unchartered territory. His main motivation was to allow God to use it as a platform for ministry and influence.

He’s kind of been taking it step-by-step, show-by-show, without giving much thought to the implications on people’s perception of him as a TV personality. In the first place, popularity was not his goal. But being on ANC every single day and several times a day has given him a lot of “face” time. He was even voted as “Cutest” Newsman of 2012 by Spot.ph.

Whoa! This was surprising news to him when he heard about it this morning. It had a bit of a “showbizzy” feel to the whole blurb about him. Frankly, I didn’t think it really captured who he is. I wish they had let me write the article! It was really more about his physical appearance. But Spot.ph did say that this was all about brainless fun.

When he told me this morning, he was laughing and said he was actually embarrassed. “Are you sure you’re not flattered?” I teased him. “No way! That’s the last thing I would want to be recognized for!”

I believed him. He doesn’t like that kind of attention. It’s sort of anti-thetical to what he would like to be known for (if at all). I know he’d rather be known as someone who passionately loves God and lives for him. But they don’t give out awards for that, at least not on TV. That would be the day!

He does hope that the show, On the Money, will help Filipinos to better manage their finances. And beyond that, he is looking forward to how God will expand his borders for the sake of the gospel.

It is definitely challenging to be in the media. For example, I watched his interview about being voted “Cutest Newsman” and everything he said about God was cut out when they wrote about him online. That’s to be expected, of course. So the best way he can represent his beliefs and views about faith is to be excellent at what he does so that people will care enough to listen. And that’s my prayer for him. That’s his prayer for himself.

I’ve put my “friend” hat on (which I do as a wife when he needs a confidant or someone to bounce off ideas with), and we have talked about whether being a TV host will conflict with his priorities – God, wife, children, work, ministry (in that order). And we have talked about whether it will detract from his homeschooling advocacy. We have also discussed what the gains will be, as well as the possible pitfalls. (Thankfully, ANC values integrity and wants it’s personalities to do the same. At least it seems that way.) We’ve both come to the conclusion that the biggest temptation is really pride.

At the end of the day, Edric doesn’t want being on TV to change the core of who he is. I don’t want it to either. He didn’t even want to look at the Twitter feeds or Facebook comments of people who were talking about him being voted “Cutest Newsman.” It was partly because he found it silly, but partly because he didn’t want to focus on that and get a big head about it. I was the one who wanted to look at all the comments while we were playing a board game with the kids. But the kids were like, “Mom, you are violating our game rules. No Ipads.” Geez…so strict!

There we were, playing a board game as a family, and Edric was fully present and engaged, focused on the children, on all of us.

Cutest newsman or not, I’m blessed to be married to Edric Mendoza. He does look good on camera but I’m more thankful that he’s got a good heart, a heart that loves the Lord, that loves his family. I know the world doesn’t care much about this. But the kids and I do.