May 27, 2009

you broke my heart naynay!!

Dealing with my two girls can be quite challenging sometimes because each of them have their own unique personality. What works for the elder might not work for the younger one or vice versa. Rinnah is a toughie yet sweet, Thea on the other hand is girly-girl sweet kind of a person. She can never be a toughie, much as I would like her to, she just couldn't and I've come to admit that fact. I should say it is the big girl I'm having a hard time dealing with especially now that she's growing. One night we had a serious chat about some character related issues that I was telling her off and suddenly I was so surprised to hear her say " you broke my heart Naynay!" and asked her "do you mind telling me why?" and she replied "because whenever I'm due for reproof, you talk as if you are really mad at me". Mannn!!My seven year old daughter!!! I appreciate her openness but that came to me as a big blow, I didn't see that coming! I've come to realize that maybe it's not really her who needs some disciplining to hurdle but me. I am still learning to deal with myself which I consider now as my "thorn in the flesh". I do not want to spoil that fraction of time in rearing my chidlren by being such an inconsiderate mother. I know that this is not attainable without God's intervention.I know that I can't but Jesus can!!!

it pays to wait!!

I started purchasing air tickets for our summer holiday over two months ago. I started off with the immediate route like Ho Chi Minh - Manila via Cebu Pacific Air because that time they were on sale, not really cheap one though but at least it didn't cost me a leg. The other routes had to wait until last night when Cebpac announced they are on sale again and man! I was euphoric! Months prior to that I was already anxious to get all the flights thinking that as the date gets closer, I might have to pay more but I'm so glad I listened to my conviction to wait and wait. From what used to be over a thousand USD total, now I just paid a little less than a thousand bucks. My waiting paid off. Praise the Lord!

May 25, 2009

the pain of having to look for a new place!

Aaarrrgghh!!it's hot, it's humid and our house contract is due in four weeks! Last Saturday, Mr. Caballero and I went around Hanoi house hunting and I tell you it was never fun! How could it be when all that goes into your mind is sorting, packing, trashing, transporting stuff in a very narrow alley and all. It is stressful to think that few weeks from now we're gonna relocate to a new place which is still unknown to us at this point in time. Finding a suitable dwelling in Hanoi is so tricky, it entails a lot of patience because you will have to deal with the greedy agents and the house hunting itself. As I was walking down the road with my colleague, the Lord just impressed into my heart of hearts that this too is being taken cared of. That I do not need to complicate things up by being stressed out. Just complete trust and dependence. Amen Lord!

May 19, 2009

a conduit of God's blessing!

When I was just starting out as a believer, God in His absolute kindness provided me with a mentor in the person of Ate Gina Roa. At first I thought that she was way too pushy, she would never accept no for an answer whenever she wants me to do something for ministry or her personal requests. She infused the importance of integrity and cultivating my own walk with the Lord. There were times bickering had found itself in our "discipler-disciple" relationship but we were able to mend them. I remember, at age 19 I already was into leading worship, and as lead worshiper you have to dress right otherwise you'll get slapped on the wrist by the people. The pain that was! I was the first and only believer in my family then, how could I ever convince my Nanay to buy or make some clothes for me to wear at church when she never encouraged me to join in the first place? That was sure an uphill climb for me to beget and Ate Gina came into the picture, she would give me money to buy fabric and pay my mother so she could make me some decent outfit to put on when on stage. There I realized that discipling is not only sharing about spiritual things but you have to influence the whole aspect of a person's life if it is in your power to do, then do it. As I hark back to those times, I just appreciate the way Ate Gina was to me. In fact, just recently she sent us money from Cyprus and I was overjoyed. It's this little girl in me that gets so ecstatic about very simple things that I used to have as a new Christian. Ate Gina is always Ate Gina to me, and I believe she still treats me the same though some things have changed but our relationship, by God's grace will continue to flourish.

May 18, 2009

meeting VIP's and the King of Kings!

Hello there! One week had past and 'twas filled with meeting a number of important people. I didn't realize it until today. Last Friday, hubby and I together with the other Elders of Hanoi International Fellowship met up with the Ambassadors of India and South Africa in a fine dining soiree at the Ambassadors executive residence. The following day, I had the chance to meet the Ambassador of South Korea, though we've acquainted a month prior to that and their Minister of Education. I am just so surprised to think that I could not even step into the Mayor's Office of Cagayan de Oro but here in Hanoi, we're inundated with these kind of social contact. I do not want to sound bragging, but it's the truth. Hallelujah! Wait till you hear the most important part of my story! After I've become conscious of the last weeks events, the sweet Holy Spirit just took a hedge over me and spoke to me in a very gentle way, why so ecstatic about it? They don't even know me personally and I wonder if they make a big deal out of it same as I do. It's true that we were formally introduced but after that I bet if they still remember my name. The Lover of my Soul rang a bell on this and here's the catch, these earthly VIP's may not give so much importance on meeting with me but He does, they may not recognize and remember my name if we meet again, but He does, He has written my name on the palm of His hand, how could he ever forget? To these people I may not be insignificant but to Him I am, everytime I approach my Tent of Meeting, He unfurls His red carpet treatment and gives me so much importance that He will rejoice over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). It such a wonderful experience to meet up with these dignitaries but nothing really matches that moment when I meet with the King of Kings.

I wanna stay fit...

Just this morning when I sat down contemplating, I found myself in swift need of a treadmill machine. I just realized I couldn't do this anymore, four hours of sitting without any work out, no activities except that of my fingers constantly clicking and fiddling on my pc keyboard. This is just toxic! The only time I get to spend in minimal motion is when I am teaching where I need to stand and teach but that's only three hours and a half per day. Terrible me! I don't want to feel sluggish all the time but unfortunately, it is what I am now. And I put the blame on sitting the whole day. I desire to have a treadmill machine at home so that my husband and I can just hit it whenever we want and stay fit and serve the Lord better and be with our kids longer.

May 16, 2009

the beautiful feet needs some pedicure but where???

It's been ages now that I haven't got any pedicure, manicure and those girly pamperings that I normally get when I'm back home. It's seems impossible to get a sane "pedicurista" here. I had this experience years ago that I was in desperate mode for pedicure, I took the risk of going to a local salon that does all this kind of stuff, it was horrible!!my toes were all swollen afterwards because the pedicurist really did a mess out of it. Since then on I never ever go for one. I will have to wait till July to get it again when we go home for the summer break.

May 15, 2009

delightful dinner with the Ambassadors!

Part of the struggle of having to live in a country like Vietnam, city of Hanoi is being invited over by important people in the expat community like ambassadors and country directors of different NGO's that go to Hanoi International Fellowship for worship. hehehe.I'm just kidding when I said struggle, of course not! It's in fact a pleasure and we stand amazed at how God can bring his lowly children to face kings and important people without any sense of inferiority. He is our only confidence. God is really good at satisfying His children's needs as well as wants. My husband and I were so craving for a very nice meal where we don't have to chase Rinnah around while eating and just enjoy, well, it happened tonight because of that invitation from the Indian Ambassador and his wife plus we had the chance to meet and chat with the South African Ambassador. While we were seated there, the Father reminded me in a swift manner of my place in His Kingdom and how He sees me. That I am an Ambassador too, we all are, we have a duty to follow and that is to represent Christ especially to those who don't know Him yet. Well, it's indeed a privilege serving him and working with Him here in Hanoi.

same same but different, xin chao life!

Having lived in Hanoi, Vietnam (on and off) for the past eleven years has done a lot of change in my family's life especially that of my daughter's cultural perception. Life here is more laidback, people are just beginning to get rich and we don't even have big malls and the fast food pleasure. I would say this is more of a pro than a con. Whenever we go out, we always come across locals who thinks that we are Vietnamese too. There is never a day that goes without it. They would often say we're "same same but different" I guess primarily because of our Asian features. Dealing with culture can sometimes be a pain in the neck when you reside in Hanoi or Vietnam for that matter. This is a place where queuing is not a custom, men smoking inside airconditioned restos and worst-double standard is such a part of the whole system. Sometimes I feel I cannot coexist with this people any longer but God's grace is really pulling me through all these cultural struggles. Do I hear myself complaining here??Not actually, I've gotten used to it already and this fact terrifies me. We have learned how to appreciate this people by letting good traits overshadow the bad experiences we had. Vietnamese are also close knit people. They value family relationship over and above everything else (well, sometimes except for money matters), they adhere strict rules on respect of elders. Motorists here can get way too crazy when driving but when they see you driving with an elderly or a child, they yield which is seemingly strange. Living in a culture not mine served as a sweet reminder for my family and I that wherever He places us, we should grow in grace.

Why Waiting is Really Trusting

This article swept me off my feet.

Nobody hates waiting more than I do. At Wal-mart, I use the self-checkout, because there is usually no line. Unless, of course, I commit the unpardonable crime of putting the bread on the wrong plastic bag and the machine begins yelling at me. Then, of course, I have to wait for the human to come over and fix the machine.

At the post office, I hate waiting an hour to mail a package. So I usually use the automated box that allows me to send anything slightly smaller than an elephant.

I especially don’t like sitting in traffic in the Chicago suburbs, where I believe they widen the roads once every 76 years. So I have a better chance of seeing Haley’s Comet than getting into the turn lane on my local highways. Nice.

So you can understand that I have an especially tough time waiting on God. He just doesn’t seem to fit His plans into my rushed, hurried, panicked world. And in reading the Scriptures, I’ve learned that He hasn’t changed.

In fact, almost all of the great men in the Bible had to wait. Some agonizingly long. Let’s look at three examples.

Your Prince is Ready

Though Moses grew up in the house of Pharoah and was groomed to be the next in line for the throne, I believe he saw all of this as God raising him up to deliver his people, Israel. His mother probably had something to do with that.

As the years passed and Moses looked from the window of his stately palace and saw the oppression of his brethren, he grew more and more impatient. Finally, he acted on impulse and killed an Egyptian taskmaster.

So that meant 40 years in the wilderness. Here God’s people were suffering and their future deliverer is leading sheep in the backside of the desert. Yet God wasn’t delaying. He wasn’t stalling. He wasn’t anxious.

Finally, when Moses was broken and humble enough to be used as an instrument by God, God sent the 80-year old prince-turned-shepherd back to Egypt.

But do you see what is happening? The headlines wouldn't read, "Prince leads coup. Prince leads revolt. Prince overtakes Pharaoh." No, it wouldn't be about Moses anymore. It would be about God. How about, "God Miraculously Delivers His People"?

Dreams of Greatness

As a young man, God spoke to Joseph through dreams. In these dreams, Joseph was leading and his brothers and even world leaders were bowing at his feet. Kind of heady stuff for a teenager, don’t you think? And it didn’t play too well with his brothers.

But Joseph knew God was calling him to a special place. A place of impact and leadership and power.

So that’s why Joseph was probably stunned and shocked when he found himself in the bottom of a pit, praying his brothers wouldn’t kill him. Or when he found himself sold into a strange country, Egypt. Or when he was thrust into prison on rape charges.

Didn’t seem like those dreams were panning out too well, did it? Didn’t seem like God was working out His plan?

Oh, but God was working out his plan. And Joseph, while he didn’t know a lot, He knew He could trust God.

Running for King

Okay, so this prophet comes to his house, dumps some oil on his head, and then whispers in his ear, “Oh by the way, you’re going to be Israel’s next king.” But then it was back to the shepherd’s fields, back to being the forgotten son and brother, back to obscurity.

David was anointed king as a teenager, but he waited 14 long years to assume the throne. And those 14 years were hard years. He was Israel’s next king, but there was his madman, Saul, who was determined to see David dead and buried.

If you read the psalms you can experience David’s angst. He scratched his head in wonder, “Why is God allowing Saul to do this?” “Why doesn’t God just move Saul out of the way?”

But again, like Moses, like Joseph, David had to learn to trust God. And waiting, is trusting. David had to be broken, humble, and read to lead God’s people.

Do you see a pattern developing here? God often gives his people a dream, a desire, a calling and then puts them through a period of waiting.

It is in this waiting where your real courage and character are forged. It is in this period of uncertainty that you’re life takes on a whole new dimension. You learn how to trust God. You learn to lean on God. You learn what’s important and what’s not important.

So if you’re like me and you really hate to wait, know that waiting is trusting.


Article taken from crosswalkdotcom

May 14, 2009

must be the genes...

Two of the many joys my children bring me are being appreciated because of how pleasant they look (stage momma!)and how well they interact with other expatriate children and grown ups surrounding them in our community. Many people have given their differing opinions as to who resembles who (Thea as very Jinggoy and Rinnah as very Jeaneth and vice versa, which is rather more conscientious than a compliment),but here's my take on this. I believe that both of them (we all are) are beautifully and wonderfully made because Jesus is their Maker, I would like to think further that they be getting more of His image as they journey this life. I'd really like them to resemble that of the Fathers likeness more than their earthly parents because neither me nor my husband has something good except for the faith legacy of introducing the Savior to them.

May 11, 2009

bonding timeee!!

I should say, this is the most wonderful time of the day (which is normally set before bedtime)for my girls, because they get to spend precious moments with Dada and Naynay. Let me make a note of what happens everytime we engage on it. First part of the program is always a battle between Thea and Rinnah on who's gonna perform first, performing means singing and dancing at the same time before their most sought after audience/s, Dada and Naynay. Most frequently, the younger one, Rinnah, controls the platform first since her Ate have learned how to yield to please her baby sister. Then when everyone has come to an agreement, the show begins. Rinnah in her gorgeous dance moves and "par excellence" singing which is filled with babyish words and enunciations and of course, Thea singing in her sweet girly voice and amazing expression, all to the pleasure of their doting parents. We normally end the "show-bonding time" with lots of hugs and kisses, which for them is the most wonderful reward they could ever get. This have become a fossilized habit for my family. I just wonder if they would still do and enjoy the same 10 years from now. I really hope so.

Dig Deeper!

The past years had been an overwhelming journey for me in my personal walk with God. I am super glad that He gave me a very mature, loving, wise, Spirit-filled mentor / husband. Though it’s true that others (that includes my husband) can encourage me to walk the walk and lift me up when I’m down, it is still of utmost value that I cultivate my own personal connection with God. I should have known better. This time, I sensed that God is bringing my husband and I to greater heights, by which I am deeply convicted to dig deeper and saturate myself in His Word.

May 7, 2009

Baby talk(s)

I had a Women's Retreat post mortem meeting last night at a friend's plush villa in Ciputra. I left home hours before time trying to evade the traffic jam that often impede every road trip because they just build up in some of the major pathways of Hanoi in split seconds. I ran off without saying goodbye to my two girls. I had fun chichatting with my girl friends over some home baked pastries. After nearly four hours of being away from my lovely spawn, I headed back home quite late. When I stood outside the gate, my little girl, Rinnah asked me in a raised-clear-straight English "did you go out Naynay?". I stood there astonished of what I heard from her. She can speak clearly now, I have not even noticed it come out so quickly. My baby is now a budding toddler who's so fascinated with language that she encounters everyday and one funny thing about her also is she gets it all mixed up sometimes, Vietnamese-English-Cebuano. One example to this is "di up" which means "go up" (di-Vietnamese word for go). Well, I must say, bits and pieces of everything doesn't hurt anyway.

May 6, 2009

big day out!

hello again!

Today is my eldest daughter's big day out. She's gone to her friend, Brittany's place in the Water Village. The date was set last Sunday as we were invited by our family friend (The Fryer's) over for lunch. Since then on, Thea never ceased to bug me and the whole household with her excitement for her big day out, which is today. She is totally unstoppable on this. She would do everything not to lose this opportunity and experience. Ann, Brittany's mummy, had all the activities set for the two playful girls. I bet, they're having a blast right now.

My Verse for the Week

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go."
Ecclesiastes 9:10

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