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 Mom

It’s official. Both my parents are now 55 years old. My, how time flies. Exactly five months ago, I shared 25 things about Dad HERE, and now, I’ll be sharing 25 things about Mom too.

To my dearest Mom, thank you and happy birthday! :)

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25 Things About my Mom

1. She loves wearing monochromatic clothes with matching bag and shoes. Hehehe.

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2. She has a sweet tooth. Just this morning, she preferred eating bread with butter and hot cocoa than bread with lettuce, tomato, and sausage. She kept on saying how delicious and good the chocolate was!

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3. 24/7 Dermatologist – well, only to her family. Haha. The best thing about having a derma mom is we could have free facials anytime. Before we go to work, in the middle of the night, while we’re on vacation… you name it!

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4. When Dad and Mom got married, Mom attended simple baking and cooking classes so she could learn more and improve her skills in the kitchen. Now, she makes delicious meals for the family!

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5. She is the #1 person that I send text messages to. Hahaha. Mom’s very reliable and updated when it comes to family concerns and schedules. Also, she takes time to hear me out when I share updates/stories via SMS.

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6. She is very neat and organized. She always makes sure to tidy things up in the kitchen, clinic, and rooms. She makes her bed every morning! Something that I don’t always do 365 times in a year.

7. Her smiley face vs. my smiley face. Hahaha.

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8. Since her last birthday (2014), she has been literally walking with the Lord around the village every morning. She spends time listening to God, praying to him, listening to Christian songs while walking.

9. She’s my flower/vegetable/herb plant buddy.

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From her Tarragon plant.

10. Mom gets teary-eyed easily (Just like my older sister, Michelle :P). Usually, this happens whenever she watches movies with dramatic scenes, listens to the messages at Church on Sundays, listens to inspiring testimonies, or sees another person crying.

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11. She falls asleep quickly. Sometimes, in the middle of the movie. Sometimes, while we’re eating dinner. Haha. But, of course, even Supermoms need to rest. :)

Because I don't have a photo of mom sleeping. And even if I did, she might not allow me to post it here. hahaha!
Because I don’t have a photo of mom sleeping. And even if I did, she might not allow me to post it here. hahaha!

12. She spends money wisely. She doesn’t splurge on shopping, gadgets, etc. and she definitely isn’t an impulsive buyer.

13. She graciously helped me finish my crochet and cross-stitch projects when I was still in the 3rd grade. I will never forget how difficult it was for me and how amazing Mom was in assisting me. :)

14. She is the peacemaker in the house. Whenever we have conflicts with the other members of the family, she encourages us to resolve them immediately and sincerely.

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15. She has an intimate relationship with God and regularly spends time with his Word. Also, she naturally shares Jesus to the people around her.

16. She finds her security in Christ. I remember one time when my dad and mom went to Tagaytay for an event; my mom sent us a text message saying that she left her make-up kit at home. But instead of focusing on the downside of the situation, she spoke to God about it and she decided to find her security and beauty in Christ alone, and not depend on her make-up.

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17. She is an encourager! When I was struggling with my accounting subjects in college, mom would always send text messages to me to encourage me. Until now, I still have some of her messages in my phone.

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18. One of the best examples of a submissive wife with a gentle and quiet spirit. She always chooses to honor God by honoring her husband, even in the midst of disagreements and problems.

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19. For the past couple of years, she has been preparing healthy meals for the family. She avoids cooking processed food and she doesn’t use MSG and high-fructose corn syrup anymore.

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20. Mom was interviewed by Karen Young and featured in her blog HERE, where she shared about God’s faithfulness to our family when we experienced the fire last 2004.

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21. She sincerely loves her family (husband, children, siblings, parents). It is a blessing to see her spend time listening to her mom and mother-in-law on the phone whenever they need someone to talk to. She also takes time to pray for us. :)

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22. She does her own hair and make-up whenever she goes to events/weddings.

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23. When asked to do a wacky face, she always pouts. Hahaha.

24. She enjoys watching romantic comedies and action movies. But, I think she enjoys the action movies more.

25. By God’s grace, she is the best faithful helpmate to dad! Always willing to encourage, support, and rebuke when needed. Oh, and she’s a pastor’s wife too!

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Photo c/o Jim Welchel

Love you, Mom!

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” -Proverbs 31:28-30

The Squid Ate a Fish

“Aaahh! Guess what?! The squid ate a fish! The squid ate a fish!!” I ran around the house with a lifeless, baby fish on my hand and told my family about the awesome moment I had with mom.

While I was helping her prepare our dinner last night, she casually told me that she found a baby fish in the belly of the squid. Before I could even react, she immediately threw the fish in the trash bowl near her. “Mom! Why’d you throw it away?” I said. “Hahaha. I want to see it!”

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So, she got the fish and placed it on my hand… and I couldn’t believe it. It was amazing!!! I was so amused by it that I had to tell everyone about it. I went back to the kitchen with the baby fish and asked mom why she wasn’t surprised or excited about it.

She told me that it wasn’t her first time to see a fish in a squid. And when I asked her how many times this happened before, she couldn’t give me an estimate. They were too many to count.

“What?? Hahaha. That’s funny. I’ve never seen a fish in the bellies of the squids I’ve cleaned before. This is so cooool, mom.” I replied.

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That simple moment with my mom reminded me of the privilege of freely spending time with my parents and learning from their experiences and wisdom. They know so much more than I do — and even if I, sometimes, am tempted to think that they don’t, I trust that God will continue to work in and through them as they speak to me and lead me. Besides, God doesn’t make mistakes and He certainly didn’t make a mistake in choosing them as my parents and making me their daughter.

Proverbs 1:8 – “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

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If I didn’t spend time with mom in the kitchen last night, I would have missed out on a rare opportunity: to see a baby fish in the belly of a squid. Woohoo! But, God allowed it to happen and I really enjoyed it! By His grace, I pray that I will continuously make an effort to spend time with my folks as much as I can. :)

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” –Exodus 20:12

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Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)