Takeaways from Fusion Camp 2019

Life

A weekend my hubs & I will cherish forever, #FusionCamp2019 was truly one for the books! It was the first couples camp organised by Citichurch, lead by Pastors JP & Cielo Villegas with guest speakers Pastor Peter & Christine Kairuz. By God’s grace we, along with a bunch of couples, had a blast learning about God’s word & design in marriage & practical concerns while having lots of fun! We were able to recommit our vows & rekindled the good fight in our marriage for His purpose & glory. We learned a lot but out of everything, here are 7 takeaways that really stirred my heart.

1 | Wives & mothers set the thermostat at home

Thermostat is defined as a device that automatically regulates temperature. Is your home cool or hot? Let me rephrase that, is the MOOD of your home, cool or hot? I realised that the mood of our home has a lot to do with me, if you’re a wife or a mother reading this, this goes to you too! Wives & mothers, we fail to realise that we have SO much POWER into achieving a blissful, peaceful & vibrant home. I speak for myself, most of the time I tend to blame things around me or my husband but really, I have the ability to make things better. How? I set the temperature or mood when I respond gently, express my emotions at the right time, encourage, pray & when I don’t push my agenda into the situation. Which leads us to my second takeaway.

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones. Proverbs 12:4

For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image & glory of God but woman is the glory of man. 1 Corinthians 11:7

The wife is the glory, honour & dignity of her husband -Peter & Christine Kairuz

 

2 | My relationship is more important than my agenda

Many maaaaaany times I look back on the arguments we’ve had, 99% were because of petty things & yet the damage we cause become immense. To be honest? I could not control my mouth just because I want my agenda to win. Any wives relate? As what our godparents, kuya JP & ate Cielo remind us, “if one wins, both lose”. The sooner we work on being in the same team, the sooner we’ll win! If you would allow me to remind you, darling, we are the thermostat of our home. Breathe in, breathe out, choose your battles & zip it! #notetoself haha! And should you want to air out, pray, let God fight your battles & here’s the next takeaway, sow anyway.

This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! James 3:7-10

 

3 | Sow anyway

Marriage is a process or journey of becoming one, naturally, there will be breaking because of a lot of reasons- differences in opinion & personality to name one. There will be days when you’ll be faced with matters that trigger anger, disappointment, hurt & so on… but you sow anyway. You do your part anyway. That is a marriage.

 

4 | You go through seasons in marriage

This be one of my favourite topics in camp because it gave us comfort & a better understanding where we are at right now, a glimpse of what to expect in the future & that a lot of us are in the same page. We are not alone. This made us appreciate more where we’re at. Allow me to share some of the notes that were shared to us.

Newlyweds / Spring

  • This is the season where both are in a “romantic high” where there’s heightened passion & euphoric sexual intimacy. Couples at this stage are inseparable!
  • There is emotional obsession wherein mistakes are not a big deal, there is maximum tolerance, extreme understanding & patience & sweetness is evident.
  • Depending on various factors, may last 1-3 years.

Married with children/ Summer

  • The illusion of perfection is gone & patience wears thin.
  • A lot more effort is required for dates & sexual intimacy.
  • Depending on various factors, may last up to 12-15 years.

Married with teens & young adults/ Autumn

  • No more illusions! You’ve passed through trials & weathered the storms. Your love was tested & it passed!
  • You’re more focused on stability especially that this is the time where you earn more but spend more.
  • You are careful when it comes to sexual intimacy in consideration of your teens because they could decode your “signals”
  • Depending on various factors, may last up to 10 years

Empty nest/ Winter

  • Everyone’s married or has moved out & this is the time you REDISCOVER yourselves.
  • You are enjoying the fruits of your labor!
  • You celebrate imperfections.
  • You have a lot of time for sexual intimacy but less energy.
  • Energy is rechanneled to grandchildren.
  • This stage continues until widowhood.

Widow/er Stage

  • Depending on age, this stage may end if widow/er remarries or it continues till death.
  • After a time of grieving, you rediscover yourself & you find a new hobby however, you miss your spouse.

Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life, which has been given to you under the sun, all your fleeting days. For that is your portion in life and in your struggle under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:9

Cried during this discussion. Life presented this way made me realise how short living is & hear hear to what Ptr. Peter said, “Life is too short to be picking on your spouse”. Hubs & I are in summer & honestly, the transition is very challenging. But given this fresh perspective, I’m encouraged not just to fight but to fight gratefully & wisely. This also made me appreciate my husband all the more…

 

5 | Your spouse is God’s exclusive gift to you

Admittedly, with the change that’s been happening, I’ve allowed myself to be trapped in my own concerns which in effect, crippled me to FULLY appreciate, honour & respect my husband. This brought me to more tears during camp as I expressed how grateful I am to be gifted with a loving husband (as you can see in my Fusion Camp vlog). Despite everything we are going through, the truth remains- the truth that your spouse is God’s EXCLUSIVE GIFT, YOURS ALONE. Reflect on that for a moment & think of all the good things about your spouse. Count your blessings, hun! That’s the way to go to a happier life!

6 | Husbands are to be respected

Yes, wives need to be loved but I want to emphasise this part, husbands need to be respected. #RESPECT, that’s a big word for your man. Girl, just do your part! #anothernotetoself God’s got you. It’s God’s design for your man to be the head of the home, this is His commandment. He has given him wisdom which you will have to submit to. Submitting doesn’t make us less of a woman, it actually shows strength. I know, this may be very difficult for us wives at times but God sees your heart. Watch how He blesses you, your marriage & home as He acknowledges your obedience. Work on it!

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Ephesians 5:22-28

Admiration not only motivates, it also rewards the husband’s existing achievements. Dr. Willard F. Harley

A woman needs to appreciate her husband for what he already is, not for what he could become.” Dr. Willard F. Harley

In my submission to my husband I must realise that marriage is entering into a covenant relationship which means death to independent living. Peter & Christine Kairuz

 

7 | You forgive & honour your parents to break a generational curse

This hits me hard because I came from a broken family. Do the math. Although forgiveness is evident in our family by God’s grace, when this topic was discussed, I realised I had to ask forgiveness to God. To explain that, Ptr. Peter & Tita Christine elaborated through an example. When one says, “I will never be like my mother/father” or “I will never do what my mother/father did to me”. It may sound promising but what we don’t realise is that we are releasing a curse towards our parents & that affects us. How? It says in His word, ““HONOUR YOUR FATHER & MOTHER”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “SO THAT IT MAY GO WELL WITH YOU and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” I know in my heart I’ve said this so Reel & I lifted a prayer, asking for forgiveness.

Nothing in a relationship has to permanently destroy that relationship if forgiveness is in the picture… No failure is larger than grace. No hurt exists that love cannot heal. Dr. Henry Cloud/ Dr. John Townsend


 

Young Couple: How were you able to stay together all these years?

Old Couple: We lived in a generation where if something was broken, instead of giving up & throwing it away, WE FIX IT.

THIS IS A MARRIAGE.

You don’t quit, you fight. You fight for many reasons but most of all, you do it for God’s glory.

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15


Can’t wait for the camp next year & we hope more couples can join!

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Utterly filled with gratitude, Ptr. Peter & Tita Christine for everything you’ve imparted, especially your time & testimony. God bless your marriage & ministry all the more! Ptrs. JP & Cielo, thank you for your leadership, especially, love. You don’t only lead us every month, you share your lives to us & are just a call away. How blessed are we to call you our godparents! To Ptr. Jo & Tita Sheilah grateful for setting a great example, fighting for couples through prayers & counselling & establishing the Fusion ministry. To every single one who made this camp a success, you know who you are, your labor in the Lord isn’t in vain!!!

Thank you, love, for being intentional & purposeful for our marriage to flourish. We have a long way to go but we are on the right track because of God’s grace. May God be glorified in our marriage. I love, honour & respect you.

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Father God, I am lost for words. We see what you did here. You’re a good good, Father. Glory to you alone!

Credits to Iko Villegas, Felmar Caranzo, Mika Kairuz & to my love, Reel Bontol for the videos & photos.

8 Reminders to Married Couples

Life
We recently celebrated our 3rd anniversary last April 28. Long way to go right? So who am I to share reminders to couples? Well, I believe we all need to be reminded, learning never stops & in our 3 years we’ve learned or we are continuously learning I should say, a couple of things so why not share them. Disclaimer, this doesn’t mean our marriage is perfect, no marriage is. That’s not a secret. And the reason why we’re able to learn & share something is because of our imperfections & failures. Even the married couples we look up to don’t have it all together but that’s exactly the reason why we listen to them. Because despite of the challenges that comes with marriage, here they are fighting together & helping other couples like us. So I thought, these reminders shouldn’t stop with us! Passing on 8 reminders to married couples.

 

1. Never stop dating

Working on it! It’s hard. We’re on the same page but so are other things & yet we find ways. We acknowledge how challenging it is. In our case, we just had our first date during our anniversary ever since we had a child. Finally. Dates doesn’t have to be expensive but it has to be exclusive. Go out for an hour or two, just you two. And just how we’re reminded, don’t talk about your baby, work & other things, be cheesy & talk about love.

2. Seek Counsel

Marriage is husband & wife so why do we need to have sponsors & guests on our wedding anyway? Those people especially your godparents play a very important role in your marriage. Your Ninongs & Ninangs, those who’ve been married for many years now, know how it is. They’ve been there! Seek counsel from them. Also, make sure that who you open up to are people who you & your spouse can trust. Not just you but both of you. Who without bias tell you the hard truth, give you tough love. Also, when you seek counsel, don’t run to your parents especially when you just had a fight. They’re biased & they’ll have the tendency to look at your spouse a different way. Which leads us to number 3, honour.

3. Honour

Big word. Yes! One example is making your spouse look good despite of. Having challenges in marriage isn’t new. Every married couple knows that. So why state the obvious & post it on social media? Honour. Not everyone has to know your story. Go back to number 2.

4. Wives, Submit. Husbands, love.

Wives, Submit

A work in progress in this area. How about you? I used to think submitting was easy until your boat takes you to uncharted waters. And there will definitely be times when agreeing will be very difficult but you have to do your part anyway. Resistance isn’t strength, submitting is. Submitting to wrong things is besides the point here, that’s another topic that has to be in another blog.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Ephesians 5:22-24

Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of the LORD. Proverbs 18:22

Husbands, Love

We always hear it, isn’t it easy to submit to a loving husband? Husbands need to be respected, wives need to be loved. Men & women are wired differently & yet we marry each other. What am I trying to say? Husbands, if you say women are hard to understand, let me break it to you… we have a deep need to be loved, all love languages involved. That’s it.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Ephesians 5:25-28

5. Win Together

As what our Ninong & Ninang reminds us, if one wins, both lose. Win together! Again, it’s hard. We know but the sooner you work on being on the same team, the sooner you’ll win.

6. Where you’re not married, there’s conflict

When you get married, everything has to be married. Meaning, everything has to be one or both of you should be in agreement over everything-— time, money, children, goals & etc. Where you are not married or in agreement over something, you are acting ‘single’, which shouldn’t be the case because you are married. For example, your friends bother your spouse. Who will adjust for both of you to be ‘married’ in the situation? Someone or both should adjust & make sacrifices for the marriage to work. It is a process & love is not selfish. Marriage is a journey of dying to self, friends. Choose to be married every single day!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 

7. Communicate

I cannot emphasise this enough. Communicate, verbal & non-verbal. So many times we’ve fought because of miscommunication. Although I believe there’s timing for everything. I mean it’s not a very good timing to talk  when both of you are angry & emotions are in the way. However, there always should be a time to communicate. Problems will keep coming back if you don’t. Sometimes, i’m told something & hear differently. Have you ever been there? Recently, I’ve been confirming the words of my spouse to make sure i’m hearing correctly. Also, there are just some things we couldn’t get, well, I couldn’t get right away. I have to communicate & ask, “Is this what you’re trying to say?” How you say things matters too. Say them with love… you are talking to the love of your life! However it is for you, communicate.

8. Marriage’s ultimate goal is to glorify God

May our prayers be, “Lord, May our marriage bless you”. Marriage is a gift from God & it ought to reflect His love. We love because He first loved us. Marriage isn’t just husband & wife, God has to be in the picture of becoming one. In fact, only God can make two become one. We have to understand & have the perspective that our marriages are beyond ourselves & that its purpose is to glorify God that when the going gets tough & everything doesn’t make sense, we run to God who can give us peace that surpasses all understanding & guard our hearts. Or when everything’s well & good, we deny ourselves & give the credit to God.

“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you & you shall glorify me. Psalm 50:15

Our marriage is a work in progress & we are truly grateful we get a lot of reminders & encouragement from our pastors, godparents, family & friends. Praise God for people who are cheering us on & running this race with us. We seek counsel & allow important people to speak life to us. We are part of a married life group & a ministry in church called Fusion. Placing details below should you want to know more about it.
3rd year & counting & we praise God, we’re moving forward. Praying for a blissful marriage for you & your spouse. I hope this was helpful. God bless!

 

FUSION is the young married couples ministry of Citichurch. It is a community that supports the union of husband & wife, anchoring on faith knowing that it is only by God’s miracle working power that allows every individual to fuse when entering into marriage, thus the name Fusion. It believes that healthy marriages equal to healthy families, to a healthy church, to a healthy society.

Fusion is lead by Pastors JP & Cielo Villegas. They meet 6pm, on the 3rd Saturday of every month. For updates, visit Citichurch on Facebook &/or Instagram.

And the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. Mark 10:8-9

Takeaways from Colour Me Ladies Conference 2019

Lifestyle

Hi there! It’s been a while since I wrote something on my blog. Sooooo many things are on my plate right now, motherhood having the biggest part from the pie, hah! #honestmotherhood Also, partly because I’ve added vlogging to my content but blogging will always have a special place in my heart. So here it goes!

Last week I had my MTO (Mom’s Time Out), spent a day together with about 2,000 women for the annual Colour Me Ladies Conference. Every year I block off my schedule for this event because it’s such a powerful thing to get together with women more so, women who speak life & empower. This is the company you want to be in! YAAAAAAAAAS!

This year was no exception of a vibrant day with guest speakers Christine Kairuz, Venus Raj & Maricar & Richard Poon. The theme of this year’s conference was Colour Me White (Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8). The rest of the details & happenings will be uploaded on my channel so stay tuned for that! Aaaaand besides my vlog, which is currently on the works, here are my takeaways from Colour Me Ladies Conference 2019.

Feel free to save images, somebody might just need it today. *wink* #PASSITON

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 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23

Emphasis on ABOVE ALL ELSE & EVERYTHING… This clearly tells us the importance of our hearts. It says ABOVE & ALL ELSE, top priority, why? For EVERYTHING, not just ‘some’ but everything we do flows FROM IT. Everything we do is dictated by the heart. And if God has our hearts, He’s definitely got us. Question is, does He have your heart?

II

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The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9-10

…and a right heart, produces a right life. What is a right heart? Honestly, NOBODY has the capacity to have a right heart. As it says in the bible, our hearts are deceitful, beyond cure & nobody, even ourselves, understands it. Many times, if not all the time, the moment we feel we understand our hearts, is the moment it jumps to another emotion. Right? So what do we do? We give it to the one who is able to make things right for us. Why? Because a wrong heart, produces a wrong life.

The condition of your heart determines the course of your life.

The course of your life will lead you to the choices you make.

The choices you make determine your consequences.

III

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You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.

1 Corinthians 10:23

Not every opportunity is for your benefit & not all ‘seemingly’ good thing is from the Lord. I always remember the White Witch from Narnia with this principle. Beautiful, isn’t she? On the outside, that is. The enemy comes to steal, kill & destroy & he’ll do everything- quote scripture, present himself beautiful or delicious as cake, to do just that. And we ought to be reminded to not go after everything we deem beautiful. How do you know if it’s from God? Besides praying & reading His word, pause & try to see the big picture or look many steps ahead to project the outcome of the opportunity that is presented to you. And if it doesn’t hurt, seek counsel from the right people.

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You have to stop fooling yourself with something you can’t control. In other words, stop playing with fire. The only way to change is through total surrender. You might say, easy for me to say right? The principle doesn’t change just because it’s hard. You also have to understand that though not everybody understands you or what you’re going through, everybody has a battle of their own. In that perspective, you really can’t say it’s easy for me to say.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Hebrews 12:11

It’s hard because you’re worth it.

V

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Nobody is perfect therefore purity doesn’t just happen, it is a direction we take, a journey we go through. How do you know you’re on the right way or if you’re moving forward with it? Purity is never stagnant. Like faith, it grows.

VI

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The fruits of the holy spirit- love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). These fruits we posses, not for anything else but by abiding in Him. Truly we are who we are because of who God is & everything He’s done for us. Which means the glory goes to Him especially when these fruits are expressed. Also, do a self check, are these fruits being expressed lately? If yes, give back the glory to Him. If not, go back to your first Love- Jesus.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. John 15:4

VII

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Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God Matthew 5:8

Picture a blind man walking in a maze. Hard, right? Going through a maze is hard, more so, going through it blind? Our lives are like different levels of mazes. We go through so many decision-making that it is vital to SEE where we’re headed in every decision or step we make. And when our hearts are impure, they affect our vision. Which means, we may go to the wrong direction & end up trapped, not able to move forward, really. Again, it is only through Him that our hearts are purified. Give you hearts to God & He will be your eyes through the maze. We don’t need to fret, He’s up above, He sees everything, he’ll take you to the next level!

VIII

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You know God loves you right? You know He’s on your side & that He wants the best for you, right? And yet we receive a lot of discipline & correction from Him. Now that I’ve mentioned that, do you still think He loves you? As what Christine Kairuz said “He loves you too much to for you to stay the same”. Tough love, but it is love, still. God did not only send us the bible to correct us, he also sent us people to do that. Appreciate those people who do the hard thing of correcting you just so you live your best life.

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.

Proverbs 12:1

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The reason for your joy shouldn’t be because of men, because that only means they can take it away. I am not saying you don’t celebrate when people appreciate you but at the crossroads, you ought to be reminded that this life is His & that we live for His glory alone. Because if you go the other way, you will always end up getting hurt & stuck. Choose Jesus, choose, life- life to the full.

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After receiving & acknowledging God, you don’t automatically know everything. In fact, it is the ‘start’, not the ‘end’ of a beautiful journey. From glory to glory, He will take you to unchartered waters for you to experience Him. May this also be a reminder for everyone to look at others with fresh eyes & grace, for we are ALL a work in progress, we are all in a process.


There you go! Some you may know already but it’s good to be reminded right? And some may be new to you. Let’s talk! Drop a comment &/or see you on my socials.

Here are a few snaps from the event. Credits to the husband for these! You can check out his shots on instagram @docreeltravels.

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Truly, it always is an incredible  & refreshing time at the Colour Me Ladies Conference. See you next year!

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DEVO 003 | I Wanna Know What Love Is

Devo

It’s the love month & I wouldn’t miss this chance to share about LOVE. Straight to the point! As we celebrate our relationships this February, may we not forget our first love- Jesus.

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

He is WHY we are able to love for HE is LOVE. And I believe it is in knowing, acknowledging & experiencing that, that we are able to give true love. True love? I love how Joel A’bell puts it in one of his sermons. He explains, “God is love but love is not God.” Also I remember in college a saying we printed in our org shirt which says, “Art is not art for art’s sake”. Let me change art to love, Love is not love for love’s sake. The world has defined love in sooooo many ways that I couldn’t have said it better myself. To explain further, I could say I “love” my husband but love is not my husband. I “love” to sing but singing isn’t love.

Wanna know what love is?

The love that never runs dry?

The love that won’t leave you?

The love that accepts you?

The love that takes you higher?

The love that died & lives for you?

JESUS

So, especially at this time when LOVE’s a buzz, again, as we think of our relationships, the flowers, chocolates & all the sweet nothings… or maybe you feel left out from the celebration because you have your reasons… switch whatever emotions are weighing you down to light & love because HE IS THE ONLY REASON YOU’LL EVER NEED TO FEEL LOVED. May we think of our relationship with Jesus, feel his embrace as we look to the heavens, bask in His presence, offer our hearts & say “I love You too”.

DEVO 002 | Think Again

Devo

Have you heard of the saying, “you see things as you are, not as they are”? This has a lot to do with your mind. If you’ve thought negative on things or on people lately, you probably should think again… but now, towards yourself.

How you see things or people starts within. If what’s inside is rubbish, everything else outside may seem that way. And maybe you’ve wondered why everything seems to be going against you. Well, maybe you’re going against you & what’s inside needs general cleaning.

It says in His word, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—THINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—PUT IT INTO PRACTICE. And the GOD of PEACE will be with you.(Philippians 4:8-9)

Today, pause, do a self-check, renew your mind through laying it all down at His feet, allow God to do what only He can- transform you. And start to think of whatever is… With that, may His peace embrace you.

Let Your Outfit Do the Roaring

Lookbook

Animal prints became a trend, now they’re back & they’ll keep coming back! Not because they’ll do the talking… they’ll do the roaring. Straight to the point, style on point. Match them with your basics & they’ll do the roaring. Why ‘meow’ when you can ROAR?

GET THE LOOK

Shirt | Zara

Skirt | Zara

Boots | H&M

For more looks, see you on my socials!

DEVO 001 | Pass It On

Devo

Most of the things you know in life are passed on. Do you realise that? The things you believe in, mantra, perspective, songs you make covers on, original ones from passed on insights, realisations, emotions & etc. Now, could you imagine something beautiful that has been passed on from generations to stop all because you decided to keep it to yourself? Or maybe you just weren’t aware of it. Generations thereafter would not know that one beautiful thing. Of course, life goes on but have you ever thought that maybe if you didn’t keep IT, that if you passed it on, it could’ve made a difference to the life of the person you shared it to or maybe it could’ve made an impact to the generations to come?

Reasons. You keep IT to yourself because maybe you feel small & you doubt yourself for sharing? You’re not aware of the power you posses through the IT that you have? Worse, you couldn’t care less or selfishness has taken over, “IT has helped me, made my life better, I want to be above everybody else, why should I share it?” Too much? Probably, but not impossible.

Let’s refer to the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 24:14-30, where one man/ servant kept his treasure because he was afraid it would get lost. (so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.” Matthew 24:25) FEAR got in the way & because of that his talent was taken away. (“So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Matthew 24:28-29) On the other hand, the man who shared, passed on & multiplied his talent was rewarded by the master. (“And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 24:22-23)

Jesus encourages us to use the talents or whatever He has given us, whether IT was passed on from a family, friend, pastor, leader, social media or directly from God through His word or from your quiet time with Him… for it or them to grow & multiply, more importantly, for you & me to grow. And notice the master says “enter into the joy of your master”. Isn’t this what we’re here for? To please, worship & glorify God? More than the multiplication of talent, skill, riches, resources, character… it glorifies God. That is what it ultimately does.

So I encourage you to be a light & intentionally pass on what you know, whether it’s a verse, quote, advice or even a greeting or a compliment.  You just don’t know where that simple gesture will take you & that person too. You might just save a life!

Look beyond the reasons that are holding you back or down from passing it on. Look to Jesus, reflect on & glorify Him.

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Mom Confessions: What You Don’t See

Motherhood

7 months & counting since our baby was born & what a journey it has been, is & will be. I’m still very near the starting line & what a whirlwind of emotions this journey has taken me. Don’t get me wrong, BEYOND BLESSED & GRATEFUL to be a mother but I guess that doesn’t disqualify me from feeling down on some days. After all, I am human, still. My heart has been bugging me to write about this blog & it has been a tug of war to publish it or not. My biggest reservation is probably being judged however my push is for fellow moms who feel the same way but are silenced with the same reasons. It gives me confidence to share these things knowing I am not alone, we’re actually a neighborhood (motherhood,gets?) haha. And the most important reason revealed at the latter part of this blog. With that, I hope these confessions will also do the same to fellow moms & shed light to those who aren’t.

I guess this uneasy feeling started when people started complementing me. Not that I don’t appreciate them. It’s just that every time someone does, I think to myself… “if you could only see what I do, if you only know”, #honestmotherhood. 

So here it goes, this Momma confesses that…

Confession 1 | My baby irritates me

Starting with probably the hardest one to admit. Yes, that cute, angelic little human you see irritates me & only moms will get that 100%. (I feel the judgement now) Of course it’s not her fault & technically it’s not her, it’s what she does. It irritates me when I don’t know what to do whenever she cries. And the things you do to stop those tears right?! This doesn’t only happen in 1 or 2 days, it happens every single day so imagine the energy that’s being released 24/7. You have no idea (only moms do) the amount of work that goes through in a day in raising a child & although it gives indescribable joy, it also gives stress. Just being honest here. Which leads me to confession 2.

Confession 2 | I ask for a breather 

You take a break from motherhood?! No mom does really. I remember the time when I asked my husband to give me a break & get a massage. Horray! But I felt quite uneasy, my body was there but my mind to my baby. Kept the phone close to me so that should anything happen, I’d stop the session & go home. True enough, just before it ended I was on my way back. I ask for this because I can’t be effective when I don’t. And if I don’t rest once in a while, the chances of me getting sick is very high. I can’t nurse my baby while nursing my sick self. A healthy mother means a healthy baby & vice versa.

Confession 3 | I take time to beautify 

You still have time to do that, how about your baby? I thought you’re busy with her? How vain?! Aren’t you being selfish when you think of yourself when mothering? I thankfully have a husband who co-parents. I get a lot of people saying “Mura kag wala nanganak, Tar” (You don’t look like you’ve given birth,Tar), “Nagkabata mn ka Tar oi!” (Looking young, Tar). Flattering, but I must confess, A for effort! And I take the effort because it honestly keeps me sane. Again, only moms will completely understand that. I don’t have to explain myself but hey, it doesn’t mean I’m selfish when I think about my well being when I mother my child. 

Confession 4 | I don’t have it all together 

Doesn’t mean I post nice shots of me & my daughter, I have it all together. So many things happen behind the scenes. Doesn’t mean I’m faking it either. I’m just artsy that way. Haha! But contrary to my feed, I don’t have it all together. In fact nobody is perfect & no mother gets an A. There are countless times already when I forget to bring something that my baby needs whenever we go out. And many times I just have to wing it. But not having it all together doesn’t make me less of a mother. It makes me better every time & over time. 

Confession 5 | The FOMO is real 

FOMO: Fear of missing out. No place I’d rather be but… it doesn’t mean I don’t get affected when I am not able to do some things anymore because I have to prioritize my baby. Many instances when I had to turn down opportunities & I confess it affects me. One time I had a conversation with my husband on attending events & after weighing things, we decided I can’t due to some factors that might affect our baby in a negative way. I cried & told him “I completely understand but just allow me to cry”. 


REFLECTION

I mentioned earlier how this flow of emotions started. I felt uneasy because of what was mentioned but more importantly because I was thinking if the compliments meant that people didn’t see the struggle & only saw what was wonderful, that they only saw me but not Jesus who brought me here. Who is my constant giver of abounding grace that I am able to look the way I am. Truly I say, ONLY BY HIS GRACE.

“Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 10:17

Before publishing this I gave time for myself to process these confessions. To allow God to work on me, on my heart. As my child runs to me, I run to my Abba Father. 

God says, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” Isaiah 66:13

I could still remember specifically praying to God to prepare my heart for motherhood when I was pregnant. There really is struggle in transition. And truth is, nobody will ever be prepared for this role, nobody is exempted from the struggel, whatever they may be to every mother. It’s a JOURNEY of dying to self, it is not a title, it is a CALLING & we mothers have a specific PURPOSE for this and that’s WHAT YOU DON’T SEE. Like what my friend Carmina says, “God strengthens us to do our calling but at the same time it requires a certain level of participation to carry out His purpose. And choosing to participate can also take it’s toll on us yet we choose it everyday.”

Again, it may seem like a fairytale especially when I’m being creative on my feed but just so you know, I don’t have it all together & it is only through Him that I am able to mother my baby, be a wife to my husband & etc. We are all a work in progress.

“And God is able to make grace abound in you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

 I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now.

 

I prayed for this. We prayed for this & wow. He gave us the desire of our hearts to have a baby. Truly, there is responsibility to every concept you fall in love with or that with power comes great responsibility. It’s beautiful how this has brought me to a deeper understanding of who God is. He constantly reminds me that He makes all things beautiful in His time. And TODAY IS BEAUTIFUL. I am living yesterday’s He-makes-all-things-beautiful- in- His- time. His promises are already yes & amen. But He doesn’t give the blessings one time big time. As parents we check if our babies are ready to receive what we have for them, right? Same is true with our heavenly Father, He checks if we’re ready to receive what He His in store for us, time & time again, from glory to glory.

To every mom who is going through the struggle,

Remember the time when you were praying for the things you have now… or you are now. He who promised is faithful. He is just working through your heart. He can’t give what you desire, may it be something tangible or not,  if you’re not ready for the blessing, if your heart isn’t. He’s the only one who knows when you’re heart is right to receive. Always workout to have a good heart. A heart where He alone resides & watch how He’ll bless you. You are definitely not alone. Cheer up because we’re too blessed to be stressed!

He makes all things beautiful in His time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

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For more updates & blogs or questions, visit my Instagram & Facebook page, @travelwithtaraph. See you there!

7 Ways to Avoid Baby Blues

Motherhood

Baby Blues otherwise known as Postpartum Depression, is there such a thing? Is it even true? Maybe they’re just a feeling? How come mothers get that after having been given a beautiful baby? 

So many things happen to moms, especially to new ones, that it’s almost impossible not to have baby blues. Whatever a mom goes through isn’t just a feeling nor are they made up. The struggle is real & this does happen. Reasons may vary but there are common ones & I believe all moms go through this in different levels.

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION DEFINED

The dictionary defines it to be a depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue. According to research some of the symptoms are sadness, crying a lot for no reason, not being able to bond with your baby, less interest in things, memory loss & less focused.

You think you have it? 

Before proceeding with this blog, please know that I am not a professional. I am not able to treat you. I am simply sharing my thoughts & experiences on the matter. It is best to go to a doctor for treatment if you think you need to. 

Here are some of the ways to avoid Baby Blues: 

1 | PREPARE FOR IT

During pregnancy, i’ve already been hearing about baby blues/ postpartum depression. Heard a few stories about it & had an idea what was coming so I tried preparing for it. You could say nobody’s ever ready. Agree! But you’d rather do something proactive right? One thing I did was buying nice sleep wear or clothes for home knowing I’d be at home most of the time. Looking nice even when you’re at home contributes to positive energy. And no it isn’t shallow nor selfish trying to improve yourself physically & all aspects for that matter. 

2 | FIND A DIVERSION 

I completely understand that your hands are full with your baby but you still need a diversion to keep your sanity. Some of the diversions I have are watching movies while breastfeeding, singing my heart out to karaoke at home, doing online business, obviously blogging & etc. Do what works for you!

3 | CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES

Once your baby is out, there are soooooo many things that are beyond your control. So why stress yourself about these things? When it’s messy, let it be! Your baby is just being a baby so don’t sweat the small stuff or what’s obvious.

4 | GO OUT

I’m not saying you go out right away. Your baby is still the priority. You’ll most probably be at home for the first few weeks/ months to protect your baby from getting sick but when the time comes that you’re able to, go out! Get some fresh air! Also, my husband & I are have a pretty strong opinion on bringing babies too early at the mall. It’s really a no-no for us. Why? Too many people carry viruses & that’s just circulating in the air. I’m sure you know very well that your baby’s immune system is still developing. If you take our advice, (I really don’t want to force our perspective on the matter so I’m expressing this as sensitive as possible) earliest time to bring them to the mall would probably be at month 3 onwards when your baby has quite a good number of vaccinations. Also, as much as possible go only on days &/or times when it isn’t too crowded. We all know weekends are packed! 

5 | DRESS UP

… even when you’re at home. It will get messy but make the effort to dress up, still. Making the effort means you care & caring will keep you going! And it does make you feel good when you look good. Tell me I’m not the only one who feels the same way. Mommas! Your baby & family requires your sanity so do that!

6 | CALL A FRIEND

Where maaah girl friends at?! Call them! You’d be surprised to know that the feelings are mutual & that you’re not alone in this journey. You also don’t wait for your gal pals to call you. They’re your friends for a reason & most of the time, they can’t spell it out for you. When you need help, ask for it. When you need to express your feelings, talk to your husband or to your most trusted besties. Buttttttt make sure to express yourself to people you could trust or those who won’t judge you especially that when you do, you’re being vulnerable. 

7 | PRAY

Call a friend? Yes. But there are things that you can’t express to people. Call on Jesus. In fact, call on Him first. Going back to the first way, praying was one of the things I did to prepare myself with what was coming. Running to Him takes off a heavy load of emotions. Never keep them to yourself. And instead of talking to yourself, talk to God.


Those are my two cents on the matter. If you’re someone reading this who knows a mom, be sensitive & if possible, help out. And if you’re a mom reading this, YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK. YOU GOT THIS BEAUTIFUL!

 

Confessions of a Pregnant Mom at Week 38

Motherhood

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

 


 

Preggy Momma Confession coming right up!

38 in 2 days & I found myself confused in prayer. Have you ever been confused what exact words to say to God or ask of Him?

I think any mom would agree that the last weeks of pregnancy are… what right & fitting words would describe them, right?

I want to pop, like NOW! The stretching & struggle are just so real that even the thought of labour & delivery pains are gone. You just want your baby out & finally see him/ her, her in my case. I couldn’t even think of the “stress” they say, that’s coming. I just want to wrap my arms around her & see her with my very eyes.

But as I was praying, something hit me. This child is ultimately His. He has numbered her days, have great plans for her & all the beautiful promises of God are set. That even if I reaaaaaaally want to give birth NOW, HIS PLANS won’t change. And His ways are higher than mine.


For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9 2

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


 

And right there & then my prayer changed to “Lord, if not NOW, then whenever it may happen, would you give me the strength to endure the struggle that comes with this blessing.” I thought, if enduring is the way for the will of my Father to be realised, then yes, ok. Because really, it’s for my own good, it’s for our baby’s best.

 


For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.  Corinthians 1:20


 

AND THEN I REMEMBER WHAT JESUS DID ON THE CROSS.

At that time He was probably saying, Father God, if me enduring the cross for your will & purpose to prevail, would be the only way for the world to be saved, then yes, ok.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM HE ENDURED THE CROSS, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

For the JOY SET BEFORE ME… I WILL ENDURE.

 


 

Sometimes we get stuck on what we want or what we think we know is best for us… stuck in our small minds & not seeking the One who sees the big picture. Then we rush into praying for something that’s “just”. He says in His word to SEEK HIM FIRST & all these things shall be added to us. I’ve always believed that in the process of seeking Him, He’ll reveal Himself, His will & purpose for you resulting for you to want what He wants because again, His ways are higher, He knows what’s best for you. ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE ADDED TO YOU already means, that.

Would you take time to ask God what He wants because really, if you pray for what you just want… He won’t change nor His plans or promises, just because you prayed.

Let your prayer seek His will.

He is God. Unchanging. But have the confidence because… He is God. All- knowing. He is God. He loves you. He will not withhold what’s best for His children. He makes all things beautiful in His time, always.

The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. Psalm 84:11


Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart… Jeremiah 1:5

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We’ve come this far, see you soon baby love!