Thanks for Putting Your Phone Down, Dad!

At around 9:45 pm, I came home from a long, tiring, and interesting day. To be more specific, something happened between 7:30-9:30 pm tonight that was special to me. I’ll probably share it in a different post. But, those two hours had a huge impact on my heart and I couldn’t contain the joy and peace that I was feeling.

I entered the Master’s bedroom to greet my parents, but my mom was already asleep. My Dad, however, was still awake and was using his cellphone (I think he was playing a game). When I kissed dad, he asked me how I was and where I came from and I decided to take a deep breath as I said: “Dad, I just had a crazy and interesting night. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Sometimes, before, whenever we had the chance to talk in their room at night, he would continue to use his phone while I greeted him or while we exchanged stories. But tonight, he did something that I deeply appreciated. Dad put his phone down a few seconds after I started to share what happened to me tonight.

For the next fifteen minutes, I relayed to him the details of my night as my eyes watered. I got teary eyed not because of pain but because my heart was overwhelmed with joy and amazement at how God personally touched me in my fresh experience. As I shared, Dad eagerly listened and even affirmed what I was sharing. He continued to rejoice with me when I rejoiced and he praised God with me when I acknowledged His goodness and perfect timing. He even gave me a sincere advice to support what I just learned and shared to him.

After our talk, I walked out of the room and shouted “Thanks, Dad, for listening! Oh, and thanks for walking and feeding the dogs earlier too!”. Not only did he do the chore that I was assigned to do tonight, he also made sure to give his full attention to me, his daughter, while I shared my heart to him.

I am guilty when it comes to using my phone while I talk to other people. Sometimes, I even prefer to use my phone instead of starting conversations with friends or family members. But, tonight, I realized and saw how nice it was for my dad to be so interested in what I was sharing. He postponed what he was doing on his mobile phone, put it down on the bed, and engaged in conversation with me.

Tonight, I just want to appreciate my dad for this seemingly simple yet very impactful act of his. From a daughter’s point of view, I know that parents do have a great influence on their children. Their words, actions, thoughts, and even body language can either build them up or discourage them. This is also the same for children towards our parents.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” -Philippians‬ ‭2:3-4‬

Although I know that we are not perfect, I believe that by God’s grace, we can continue to grow in our relationships with each other. Even through the simplest ways, we can show sincere love and care for each other. By God’s grace, Dad continues to grow and improve as an intentional dad at home and I really praise the Lord for this.

Thanks again, Dad, for our quick magic moment tonight! You were the first one to know about my special experience! :)

To My Polar Bear Dad

“Nicolas, I have a gift for you!” My dad randomly gave me a yellow microfiber cloth for my camera’ lens before we left for our family’s dinner last night. Yay! It was such a simple gift, but it reminded me of how God provides and how He knows what I need, even without me asking for it. You see, yesterday morning, for some reason, I remembered how dad would graciously lend me his microfiber cloth (the one he uses for his eyeglasses) whenever I forget to bring mine. This usually happens when we eat out as a family. Having that cloth is very important to me because I sometimes accidentally touch the lens of my camera. It was just amazing that without me saying anything to anyone, he surprised me and gave me a lens cloth last night! Awesome! Thank you, dad!

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Just this morning, God reminded me once again of his provision while I was looking for a parking space in our church’s building. I left the house late so I arrived at the lobby area a few minutes before the worship started. It was almost impossible for me to find a slot in the basement parking. But, by God’s grace, he allowed me to park at one of the last few available slots just in time for the worship service. After attending the service, I went to the supermarket nearby to do some errands. Again, because I knew that a lot of people would be eating lunch at the supermarket, I knew that I would most likely have to wait for a parking slot. I whispered a prayer to God and told Him that if it was His will for me to save more time and park immediately, I prayed for a slot to free up. A few seconds later, one of the cars near me left!

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Aaaahhh! I just love those kinds of moments. Sometimes, it’s the little things that speak volumes to our hearts. God has so many attributes that I am thankful for. But today, I want to honor Him by being my ultimate provider. Before I could even pray for or have the desire for something, He already knows it! He knows what I need and He provides for me. But, more than receiving the material things in life, He gave me the greatest gift we can have and that is eternal life with Him through his son, Jesus. Because of His love and His gift (that we do not deserve), we are able to live life abundantly.

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This Father’s day, I want to honor the fathers in my life. :)

To my dearest dad, thank you for encouraging me to know Jesus and to grow in my walk with Him. Thank you for working hard and for providing for the family. You have always been thoughtful and I appreciate you for that. Thank you for giving us the most random things like our stock of green mangoes, my worm fertilizer for the plants, chicken mami soup for dinner whenever mom’s not around, and for the polar bear hugs every time you go home. Thank you for encouraging us to be good stewards of the things that God has graciously blessed us with. From taking care of the vehicles to budgeting and saving wisely to not excessively consuming electricity at home, and many more.

I pray that this year, we (my siblings and I) will get to know your heart even more. I pray that you will continue to love and serve the Lord and love mom. Even after almost a decade, the attitude of gratitude that you’ve taught me still remains in my heart. (If you can still remember, it started many years ago, when you gave me money for the electric guitar that I wanted to buy! Haha). Thank you, Dad! Happy Father’s Day!

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And of course, to my heavenly Father, you know the deepest desires and struggles of my heart and yet You still love me the same. Words can never express how grateful I am to have a personal relationship with You. Thank You for constantly speaking to me, picking me up when I fall down, for making me the way I am, and for loving me unconditionally. You deserve more than my best praises and I look forward to having and documenting more memories with You.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”  –1 John 3:1

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The Secret to 30 Years of Marriage

My dad and mom were supposed to split up during their first year of marriage. Back then, my parents had opposite personalities and they came from different family backgrounds which triggered the tension, arguments, and emotional and physical hurt between them. But, by the grace of God, He used one of my dad’s best friends to share Jesus and the Bible to my parents and it turned their lives around! Last night, our family celebrated their 30th anniversary and we thanked God for His goodness and grace in their lives.

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During our family dinner, my siblings and I took turns in asking our parents about the memorable experiences they’ve had and the lessons they’ve learned since they got married. It was an encouraging time with the family because we got to know their hearts more as they opened up about their past. They shared about some of the mistakes they’ve done and how they were encouraged by God to keep on learning and improving for His glory. They also recalled how God changed their hearts and allowed them to grow in their relationship with Him, which greatly influenced the way they dealt with the hurdles and calamities that our family encountered these past years.

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However, if there was only one thing that I could take home from our celebration last night, it was our parents’ emphasis on the grace of God. It was because of God’s grace, that our parents were able to honor God and be faithful in their relationship throughout the years. After attending Bible studies and knowing Jesus more during their first year of marriage, they realized that they were just living their sinful lives for themselves. They understood that they needed our Savior, Jesus Christ, and by His grace, they placed their faith in Him and accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

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It says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God desires that we spend an abundant life with Him for eternity because He loves us so much. However, because of our sins, we were separated from Him. In Romans 6:23, it even says that the penalty for our sins is death – and this death refers to us spending eternity in hell; being separated from God forever. But, the amazing thing about God and His Word is that we always have hope in Him. God already made a way for us to be reconciled and to spend eternity with Him in heaven by sending His one and only Son, Jesus, to die for us and to conquer death when he rose again after three days. It is only through Jesus that we can have eternal life.

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Three decades ago, my parents came to know Jesus and experienced Him in a personal way. This radically changed the way they lived ever since. Their desires for sin lessened and their love for the Lord grew. And because of the overflowing love and grace that they received from God, they were encouraged to share Jesus to each other and to others too, including us (children), relatives, and friends. Whenever they are tempted to sin, to be bitter towards each other, or to dwell on their mistakes, they would be reminded of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness and their hearts would be changed.

What was the secret to their 30 years of marriage? It was experiencing God’s grace and sharing it to others.

My dad and mom still have arguments and still get hurt by each other every now and then, but by God’s grace, they continue to trust in the Lord and choose to honor Him in their marriage.

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Dearest Dad and Mom,

I want to take this time to honor you and appreciate you both. Thank you for being faithful in your relationship with the Lord and with each other. It is inspiring to see you reach this milestone despite the many bumps you’ve experienced along the way. Indeed, it is only by His grace that you are still happily married and serving the Lord together. Hehehe. I pray that God would continue to touch your hearts and help you grow more in love with Him each day. Thank you for constantly sharing Jesus and His word to the people around you (e.g. during birthday parties, wake services, casual meals, vacation trips, and at different church activities). Thank you for encouraging us to always seek the Lord, spend time with His word, and honor Him by discipling others. Thank you also for giving us practical tips on how to manage the resources that God has blessed us with. May the Lord continue to use you to be a blessing to the people around you. I love you, guys! Happy 30th anniversary!

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Encouraging others one treat at a time. :)

25 Things About My Dad

Dear Dad,

Today is the day! Happy 25th! I mean, 55th birthday! HAHA. I hope you’re enjoying your special day despite the rainy weather. I thank God because we get to have an extended rest time at home with you today. I pray that God would bless your heart even more as you walk closely with Him each day! We love you! :)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” [Joshua 1:9]

Oh, and because 55 is quite a special number, I wanted to document 55 facts about you! But, I guess for now, 25 na lang muna. Hahaha.

Here goes!

25 Things About My Dad

1. Dad is an Ophthalmologist, an EENT (Eyes-Ears-Nose-Throat) doctor, a Pastor, and a Christ-committed follower.

Dad's free mug from Discovery Hotel, Ortigas.
Dad’s free mug from Discovery Hotel, Ortigas.
Dad - second row from the bottom, third guy from the left side.
Dad – second row from the bottom, third guy from the left side.

2. Some of his favorite food are kimchi, durian, buko sorbet/macapuno ice cream, potato salad, and sansrival cake.

3. He was part of Kundirana (High school music group) when he was still studying in La Salle.

He's the one wearing the white outfit in the middle.
He’s the one wearing the white outfit in the middle.

4. When we call his name at home, he usually responds with a high-pitched voice saying “yeah?” and then clears his throat and says “yeah?” using his normal, low voice. Haha

5. Dad and Mom have a special whistle. They whistle whenever they call each other from afar.

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6. Dad loves music. While we were growing up, He let us listen to songs sung by Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, Don Moen, Papuri, Windsong, and a lot more bands, artists, and musicals. He also taught my older sister (Michelle) how to play the guitar and sometime later, my sister taught me how to play the guitar. Yay! Haha.

7. Dad lost 25 pounds (I think) two years ago and he is still able to maintain his weight.

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8. He always likes to tell corny jokes. -__- Okay, sometimes, they’re funny. Haha.

My dad's conversation with my sister, Michelle, via SMS.
My dad’s conversation with my sister, Michelle, via SMS.

9. When I was in the second or third grade, I drew a parrot and he posted the drawing in his private clinic. Love it. It looked something like this. Hahaha. Thanks, Dad!

I drew this just now using Paint. hahaha.
I drew this just now using Paint. hahaha.

10. Dad’s a good sport. Sometimes, he lets the dogs stay on their bed and he lets us take photos of him wearing silly hats and Krispy Kreme donut masks.

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11. He loves animals. No wonder we love them too!

Dad and our pomeranian, Copper.
Dad and our pomeranian, Copper.

12. He encourages us to sing as a family during Christmas, even if we usually don’t feel like doing so. Dududu. HAHA. Peace, Dad!

13. Whenever we would eat fish and have fish bones stuck in our throats, he’d gladly take them out using his special scissor/tweezer-like tools. Yay for our throat doctor!

14. He initiates bible studies at home and conversations over dinner.

15. He sincerely loves his parents and my mom’s parents. And of course, the rest of both families.

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16. Dad taught us how to do the L.A. walk.

17. Sometimes, he randomly makes animal sounds/sounds you here in the jungle when we’re at home. (e.g. eerie sounds; sounds of exotic birds, vultures, etc.)

18. He gives random words of wisdom.

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19. When our house was burning down last 2004, he instructed us all to go out of the house while he stayed a bit and tried to extinguish the fire using buckets of water. But because the fire was quickly spreading, he decided to leave and get the car out of the garage too, just before the roof fell on the floor. Hooray for our brave Daddy-O! #grace

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20. He personally taught me how to save money and be content with what I have. I wrote more about these values HERE.

21. His favorite duet song with his brother is “The Way You Look Tonight”. They sing this song every time we have a family event.

22. Dad is always to the rescue! (e.g. when the car breaks down, when we suddenly need a ride home from a party, when our house in Cainta got flooded during Ondoy, etc.)

Car 101! Photo c/o my sister, Michelle.
Car 101! Photo c/o my sister, Michelle.

23. He loves spending time with Jesus and sharing Him to the people around him.

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24. When he plays with our two dogs, he sometimes says “Moo” to them with a deep voice. Because he actually sounds like a cow when he does this, our dogs usually tilt their heads and end up getting confused.

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25. He gave us (kids) unique nicknames:

Camille – Camiling

Glenn Michael – Miguelito

Michelle – Mishow

Nicole – Nicholas

Gabriel – Gambrelli.

Haha. He calls mom “Darl”, which is short for Darling. And we, kids, refer to him as The Polar Bear.

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Photo c/o my sister, Michelle.

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)