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10 Things I Wish I’ve Learned About Teen Purity

1 Oct

Celebrate Purity Gala Night 2013

My son Miguel just turned 14, and it was very timely that we were invited by our good friend Mark for a Purity Symposium and Gala Night last September 21. This event was offered by The Master’s Academy (TMA) for home-schooled students. Since his son Nathan is also fourteen, and a good friend of our son, we figured now was the best time to have these two young men go together.


My husband Gerard and I take parenting seriously. We know that it is our divine calling to guide our children, support them, and to teach them to know all about Christ.  Our parenting is very intentional. We seek instructions not just from the Word, but from experts and other parents who are as devoted as we are to our God-given vocation. 


The Purity Symposium is one of those events we were eager to attend. This in effect is one way of setting up walls of defense for our children, and one of the many teaching  opportunities for us to let them know how they can glorify their Lord and Savior.

 

Miguel and Nathan, buddies for the symposium, buddies for life.


During our time, our own parents were not exposed to a valuable tool such as this. We learned everything about sex and purity through our classmates, friends, and sadly from TV shows and movies, which were not the best sources, and not the standard we should be looking at for our moral compass in purity.

 

O great young men for God!


Attending two half-days’ worth of seminar, here are the 10 things I wished I have learned during my teen years about purity:

1. Gods design for purity is a gold standard, 100% pure, and flawless. (1 Peter 1:15-16)

What does it mean to be pure? From a biblical perspective, purity is a virtue of single mindedness, the moral excellence evident in life as you do consistently what is right. One foundational truth is that God is holy and pure! Purity is embracing God’s standard in all things. 


Man’s efforts won’t be enough to satisfy a holy and perfect God. Man’s dilemma is that God’s standard is 100 percent pure. God’s dilemma is to bring us to perfection thru John 3:16 by sending Jesus to die for us

 

Gerard and I signing the Purity Covenant, committing to supporting and guiding him in his battle for purity.


2. God created male and female in His own image. (Matthew 19:4-6)

God created us in his own image means we are reflecting his character: we can reason, be creative, have purpose, speak the truth, have goodness, and blessing. God made two different sexes for a purpose, equal before God. There is no third sex. In Genesis, God saw that it was good! We are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139) 

3. God created us for a purpose. (Jeremiah 29:11) 

God has plans to prosper us and to give us hope and a future. In John 10:10, He came for us to have abundant life. Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder said, “What you can build can change the world!” In 1 Chronicles 11:22, stories were told of the great exploits of David’s 30 men. So is Tim Tebow’s great exploits in sports. 

Find your purpose in God, not your own. Here’s a video to show how one can triumph against all odds just by finding his purpose in life in God. You may be dealt with all 5 cards but God has all the chips.

 

How amazing for Nick Vujicic: “Even the worst things in your life can come together for good. So stop looking everywhere and just look up – you’ll be unstoppable!”

 

4. Our body is not our own. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

We must honor God with our body.  We do not belong to ourselves. God has bought us with a price. There are many issues that beset the youth today –  smoking, drinking, and drug abuse. In Romans 1: 18-32, there is a downward spiral for godlessness and wickedness of men. Futile thinking and foolish hearts are darkened, there is sexual impurity, they have exchanged God’s truth for a lie, they worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator. So God gave them over to a depraved mind. What we see and read in the newspapers today are all clear examples of godlessness and wickedness of men that resulted from the abuse of their own bodies.

 

Our son Miguel signing the Purity Covenant, committing to living a life of purity.

 

5. The mind is powerful. God wants us to control our thoughts. (Proverbs 23:7) 

God wants us to protect our mind from the deceptions of life. It is a battle of the mind. For the rest of our life, the more of these impure images we see, the more of these pictures we will store in our brain. 

 

The way to our head is through our heart, we build emotions in our heart. There are songs with catchy melody but very bad lyrics – and very deceptive! The danger of music can be seen clearly in the music “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. Watch out for what is written and sung, because great is the power of the subconscious.

What man thinks for himself he will be. Romans 12:2 advises us not to copy the customs of this world. Like polvoron, the world squeezes us to its mold to be what we shouldn’t be, to forget about God. Let us allow God to transform us into a new person by changing the way we think, then we will know what God wants us to do, which is His will, pleasing and perfect.

 

We need to practice self control – to control what goes on in our minds, to take control of our thought patterns with Scriptures. We are encouraged to study and read the bible, pointing out to Proverbs, to keep our minds focused on the good things. Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you.” Our objective is not just to flee, but to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Philippians 4:8 shows us the 8 stage filter for our thoughts and to dwell in these things. 

 

Purity Ceremony, a milestone for us in teen parenting.

6. God desires that we see only what is good. (Psalm 101:3)

Matthew 6:22-23: “The eye is a lamp for our body, it lets sunshine in to our soul.” What we allow our eyes to look at really matters. We need to refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar! Have nothing to do with them.

 

When we pass by and see some of the billboards in Edsa, we should “do the boing boing”  – turn our head the other way. It is fleeing with our eyes. We can’t run, but we can turn our head away! Train ourselves not to look at worthless things, such as pornography and violent movies.

 

7. God wants a heart that loves him above all else! (Psalm 37:4)

In Proverbs 4:23, we are told to guard our heart because it affects everything we do. It is the source of life. We live out our hearts.  Delight in God principle is “to delight in God, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Know only affection, not love! We need to learn to control our feelings, emotions,  or affections (our likes).

 

Ring Ceremony – putting on the ring as a visible symbol and a constant reminder to keep himself pure.

8. Pursue God, not romance. (Song of Solomon 2:7)

We are advised not to awaken romance or love, until the time is right, when we are ready for marriage.  We need to spare our hearts from needless pain, from heart break. While waiting for the right time, we can:

– pursue friendship, not exclusive relationship

– stick to our priority, be an excellent student!

– practice the rule of head over our heart. Don’t follow our heart!

– avoid reading romantic novels, movies, music, heartthrobs 

9. Prepare now for a great future. (Galatians 6:7)

Enjoy the golden age of opportunity, to enjoy this time with God, the time of discovery, growth, building interests, strengths, fun and new experiences, and new skills. We need to work hard at life  – “do hard things, ” because the easy life is not real:

1. Be God’s best first. Be everything God wants you to be.

2. Obey the “hard things”. Obey your parents on what they would like you to do, on varied interests and you will see how those dots connect when the time comes! 

3. Practice hearing God in the Scriptures.

4. Be useful.

 

There is no such thing as teenagers! After being a child, you become an adult right away. Teenager is just a marketing term. The Spartans are the perfect example. When one turns 7, the child is sent to fend for himself, to be trained and educated to do battle.

The challenge is to wait till marriage, and we’ll be there to see him through. He will give this keepsake to his future mate.

10. God designed the home as the place where purity is nurtured. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

 We are told to commit to God’s teachings and for parents to teach these things to children. The circle of blessing “umbrella” happens when we put ourselves under the protection of our parents during our teen years. To improve relationships at home, we need to discover each other’s love language, and engage in lots of conversation, to make small talk special.

Science says that it will only be after the teen years that the frontal lobe of the brain will be fully developed. For this reason, teens need their parents to guide them, to put fences and boundaries for their safety and well-being. We are encouraged to confess, not to hide things, and protect ourselves.

Families that support and help their children win the Purity War.
Our family’s purity code.

If you want to know more about how you and your child can attend a Purity Seminar, call TMA (The Master’s Academy) Homeschool at +632 234 0432 or +63 917 849 1409.

Life is Amazing!

Leny

 

3 Secrets To A Successful Marriage

5 Sep

Research shows that a couple’s retreat or couple’s seminar extends the marriage to the next 5 years. So if you have been attending a couple’s getaway yearly, then you are definitely assured that you will stay married for a long time!

In the couples’ retreat we attended just recently facilitated by Victory Fort, aptly named “They’re Playing Our Song,” I have been reminded that all throughout your relationship with your spouse, you could actually be playing different songs. In the beginning, you might be singing, “You To Me Are Everything”, then in another season of your marriage, you or your spouse might be singing “Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko” (How I Wish I Had 2 Hearts). And then again, you also might be playing “Please Release Me Let Me Go,” or then again maybe “Love Will Lead You Back” in a few years. 

In the couples retreat, I have learned that the greatest songs in marriage starts with the Key of C, the 3 secrets to a successful marriage. Here are some of the most important things to note for  your own marriage:

1. COMMUNICATION

Pastor Sonny and wife Malou really hit the mark with this one.
  • Miscommunication breeds misunderstanding. Miscommunication happens because men and women differ from one another:
  • Men want to talk because there is a problem. Women talk only because they want to be heard. They just want to spill out words while organizing things or thoughts in their mind.
  • Men are conditioned to listen actively – they want to talk to tell you what they want to happen, or to take action, or to solve a problem. Women only want them to know what’s in their heart and how they’re feeling.
  • The purpose why couples need to talk to each other are:
    • to better understand each other and situation; not to blame and not to complicate the situation,
    • to enable people to resolve differences; not to disagree and not to fight,
    • to build trust and respect; not to be suspicious and not to judge, and
    • to create a caring environment, to love and to flourish for creative ideas to be revealed.
  • Communication is NOT just to understand information, but to understand the EMOTION behind the information.
  • To communicate effectively, we need to understand the power of words, which involves a lot of work.
    • The Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:6  is telling us that speaking the same language will result to achieving almost anything.
    • The devil’s goal is to confuse the husband and the wife. There has to be a goal or a purpose to talk to each other: NOT just pouring out our hearts and emotions, but to address conflict and arrive at a solution.
    • Going away or retreating to our caves is NEVER the solution.
  • There are 3 ways that we can communicate effectively:

1. Words. We say what we mean, and mean what we say, yes, even in sex. We can only retain 7% of what is being said to us through words, or even LESS especially with words we don’t want to hear. When we talk to our spouse, we need to communicate and consider each other’s convictions, true emotions, standard and values, and our hearts. Let us not allow them to guess what we want to say. Reveal the depth of who we are and how we truly feel.

Power Verse:
  • Proverbs 31: the woman of noble character wants to bless and not to bluster, to heal and not to wound, to create a world of order and beauty and not chaos. In her tongue are the words of kindness and instruction.
  • Proverbs 18: on the other hand, warns us of a fool’s lips that incur a beating caused by hurting words.
 
2. Tone. Consider how you say your words. 38% of the things we say are retained through our tone. Verify and confirm what we say. Let us consider the right pitch to use, the highness or lowness of pitch of our voice.
Power Verse:
  • Matthew 12: 32-37: a good heart brings forth good things. What is in our heart affects the tone of our voice. All our sentiments and hurts in our hearts affect how we say things.
 
3. Non verbal. 55% of retention is through our body language. Our actions affirm or deny what we say. What do we communicate through our eyes, our facial reactions, our body language? What do we always need to communicate to our spouse?
  • For the husband: that she is the most important person in your life. This gives her security.
  • For the wife: that you respect him and are proud of him, and that you appreciate everything they do, especially in the presence of his family and in front of other people. This gives him validation.
  • Here are the 5 most important statements to say to your spouse in order of importance: 
    • #5. “I am proud of you!” (to husbands)
    • #4. “What do you think?” (to wives)
    • #3. “How are you?” (to wives) with “I just want to reply or return your call.” or “I am sorry, please forgive me.”
    • #2. “You matter to me.” (to wives)
    • #1. “Thank you.” (to husbands)
Power Verse:
  • Proverbs 4:23: warns us to guard our hearts because it is the offspring of life.

2. CONNECTION

Pastor Tito and wife Carol reminded us of these barriers to emotional intimacy, and yes FB is one of them…
  • The biblical foundation is found in Genesis 1:27, that male and female have a unique need for emotional intimacy. But in Genesis 3:5-7, they were tempted. Man has fallen, out of his own selfishness.
  • God himself is the missing piece of the human heart. As Mary Farrar says it, “there should be a healthy connection: first be connected to God, then be connected with each other.”
  • Barriers or disconnectors to emotional intimacy between couples:
    • 1. Busyness and weariness
    • 2. Sloth or laziness with marriage (auto pilot)
    • 3. Social media (FB, Twitter…)
    • 4. Personal baggage or hang up
  • Connectors for emotional intimacy:
    • 1. Discover and understand your spouses emotional expression. Men are like waffles (thinking in boxes) and women are like spaghetti (thinking in interconnection and relationships of things). Marriage is like a coin. It has two sides, but it is STILL only ONE COIN. We relate and connect to each other based on our themes or individual wiring, temperament, love language, or birth order. Here are some practical tips to discover our spouses emotional expression:
      • 1. Non negotiable weekly date night
      • 2. Laugh together
      • 3. Try new things together
      • 4. Play together
      • 5. Rejuvenation at the end of workday: halt for husbands and talk for women
      • 6. Pray and believe together. God has joined us divinely.
  • 2. Devote and delight in sexual intimacy. (Genesis 2:24). Here are some practical tips:
    • 1. Do not deprive each other. Consider and appreciate the blessing of God’s innate wiring of husband. In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, there is a marital glue. Wives, remember that men are more fragile and vulnerable. They are mortally wounded when repeatedly rejected. Husbands, remember to do it ASAP, not as soon as possible, but as slowly as possible.
    • 2. Schedule a day for sexual intimacy
    • 3. Put awe ( Affection, Warmth and Encouragement) in your intimacy
    • 4. Share what pleases you most.  

3. COMMITMENT

Pastor Raymond and wife Malou reminded us that Jesus is the only source of the living water.
  • Ephesians 5:31: to be united (cleave) together to be one flesh. To cleave means to stick together like glue
  • Commitment is a decision to love and stick with the other person no matter what
  • According to Timothy Keller, the meaning of marriage is facing the complexities of marriage with the wisdom of God. Love now becomes a covenant, NOT a renewable contract that expires.
  • Investing with time brings the love. Emotion follows the motion, the action.
  • Stick together!  There’s a turnaround. It is a matter of declaration for the future. “No matter what.”
  • John 4:13-17: people will be thirsty again, but with Jesus you won’t be thirsty again. This verse is also speaking about second and third marriages: you would want to be quench with the need you didn’t find in your marriages, but it is ONLY through Jesus that your thirst will be quenched. God is the source of water in our life. We are asking for something from our spouse that God can only supply – unli!
  • The vow is both is noun and a verb:
    • Listen.
    • Encourage: make a prophetic declaration
    • Co-build: you need support and mentors
  • Vows:
    • I will love you no matter what.
    • I will bring out the best in you no matter what.
    • I will believe the impossible no matter what.
    • I will be faithful to you no matter what.
    • Our foundation will be the word of God at all times no matter what.

Power Verse:

  • Psalm 127:1: We will pass on a legacy of commitment to the next generation no matter what.
  • Judges 2:10: God is more committed to our marriage than us.
Here are the many ways we have learned to apply the 3 Keys of C during the day:

 

Are you ready for the challenge???
The Great Date Challenge: Love Art
The Great Date Challenge: House of Straw
And the prize for the Great Date Challenge? A movie date with popcorn and drinks!
Awesome couples for support!
And another couple partner in our marriage journey, Milona and Bensie.

These are the many bonuses of our couples getaway that made it all the more worthwhile:

Matching his and hers pens! Adorable, right?
“Making sweet music together” cupcakes we found on our beds for the night was a sweet surprise!
Breakfast in bed room service with flowers!

We were floored with how well organized and how well planned this couples getaway was. And only for P3,990! We thank Victory Fort pastors and the many volunteers for their commitment and dedication for the many marriages of all the couples who were blessed with this retreat. 

We hope someday, we will have the greatest and most romantic love story ever told! 

Life is Amazing!
LENY

25 Ways To Protect Your Marriage

11 Jul

Let’s talk about hedges in our marriage. Hedges are boundaries. In Mark 12:1 Jesus said, “A man planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it.” First, the man planted a vineyard. Think of your marriage as a vineyard. You “planted” it the day you said, I do. Next, the man in the parable placed a hedge around his vineyard. Why? Several reasons: to protect it from intrusion by animals and thieves; to keep his vines inside his vineyard; and to separate his territory from his neighbors.

A hedge makes the statement, “Private Property, No Trespassing.” The symbolic hedges around our marriages serve the same purposes. As a married couple, our goal, as co-owners of our vineyard, is to keep the good things in—and the bad things out. The only way to ensure that our marriage survives – and thrives – is to plant hedges of protection around it.

hedges-loving-your-marriage-enough-to-protect-it

In his book, “Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It,” author and family speaker Jerry Jenkins, provides captivating, practical, and no nonsense ways to build hedges of temptations around your marriage.

These HEDGES consist of simple principles that will protect your marriage from external invaders and internal discontent. Here are 25 interesting hedges I have discovered:

#1. Don’t think that your marriage can’t become a casualty.

Look around you and consider how many people you know who have been through separation and ultimately, divorce. Understand that, unless you constantly nurture your marriage, it is destined to decline and die – just like plants that are neglected. Decide that you will take the risks seriously.

#2. Plant early before problems take root.

Know that if you plant hedges in your marriage before you find yourself in a threatening situation, you can prevent many problems from taking root and nip affairs in the bud. Decide to proactively make decisions to protect your marriage. Anticipate danger, plan, and plot your escape before you find yourself in a dangerous situation.

#3. Realize that temptation has only one effective response.

Whenever you’re faced with the temptation of attraction to someone other than your spouse, realize that there is only one response that will work – to flee! RUN! Any other approach, such as trying to rationalize your way out of it, is doomed to failure. Decide to run from the situation as from a contagious disease. Recognize that the right time to act is as soon as you start to notice your attraction to another person. 2 Timothy 2:22 “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

#4. Don’t blame God for what’s really your own responsibility.

It’s all too easy to blame God for making it possible for you to feel sexual attraction toward someone besides your spouse. But your responsibility is to choose to channel your desires properly. If you ask God to help you do so, He will strengthen you for the task.

#6. Rely on God’s strength rather than your own.

Realize that, as a human being in a fallen world, your best resolve and inner strength can still fail you when you need it most. Choose to rely on God’s unlimited power to help you keep your marriage strong.

#7. Remind yourself of biblical bases for hedges.

Read and meditate on the Scripture verses that address the importance of hedges to protect something valuable, purity, etc. Look up 2 Timothy 2:22, Proverbs 4:23.

#8. Quit kidding yourself.

Understand the tremendous capacity of every human being to deceive himself or herself when not connected to God. Know that, once you start making excuses for wrong behavior, each excuse will sound more plausible, and you will sink deeper and deeper into sin and ruin. Admit that you can’t trust your own self apart from God, and decide to stay close to Him.

#9. Make it a threesome. Two’s Company; Three’s Security.

Whenever you need to meet or dine or travel with an unrelated person of the opposite sex, make it a threesome. Should an unavoidable last-minute complication make this impossible, let your spouse hear about it from you first.

#10. Be careful about touching.

While you might shake hands or squeeze an arm or a shoulder in greeting, embrace only dear friends or relatives, and only in front of others. Also, be sensitive to the attitudes and interpretations of those you choose to touch.

#11. Watch the nature of your compliments. Some compliments don’t pay.

If you pay a compliment to someone besides your spouse, make it on clothes or hairstyle, not the person himself or herself. Allow yourself to be friendly, outgoing, and encouraging, but don’t run the risk of having the person assume anything beyond that.

#12. Speak well of your spouse to other people.

Never make your spouse the butt of jokes or discuss your marriage problems when talking with others who might use that as an invitation to come between you. Guard your tongue, and say only positive things about your husband or wife when you’re with others.

#13. Tell your love story to others.

Keep retelling the story of how you met, fell in love with, and married your spouse. As you do, you solidify in your mind the things that attracted you to your spouse in the first place.

#14. Remind your spouse – and yourself – of your wedding vows.

Take the time regularly to remember your wedding vows. Reaffirm them through love notes to your spouse, in romantic conversation, and in other creative ways.

#15. Remind yourself of what you could lose if you’re unfaithful to your spouse.

Imagine yourself having to confess to your spouse that you’ve had an affair. Then imagine the price you might pay for that – losing your family, the future of your dreams, even your relationship with God. Know that it’s definitely worthwhile to do whatever it takes to protect your marriage.

#16. Forget the myth of quality time; give your family quantity time.

Make it a top priority to spend as much time as you can with your spouse and children. Arrange your work schedule around your family, rather than vice versa. Be available to your family whenever they need you, and enjoy sharing experiences with them everyday that can’t be scheduled into small blocks of “quality” time. Know that doing so will naturally build a strong bond between you and your spouse, as well as give your kids the sense of love and security they need.

Plant any other hedges that either you or your spouse need to protect your marriage. Get to know what specific weak areas you and your spouse each have that could threaten your marriage. Work together to do something practical and concrete about them. Then celebrate your victories together!

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23

My husband and I are celebrating our 15th year together and I realized that we have already been practicing some of the recommendations outlined by Jerry. Some of these have been shared to me from the wisdom of both our moms and largely from the biblical study and marriage retreats and seminars we have attended throughout our marriage. These have greatly contributed to the continued success and enjoyment of our marriage.

I am sharing here some of our own hedges that we have been able to plant to ward off temptations: 

#17. Choose wisely.

My husband and I avoid unnecessarily spending more or longer time with someone of the opposite sex. For instance, when I’m looking for a personal trainer at the local gym, I chose someone of the same sex and vice versa. We avoid giving or asking advice from someone of the opposite sex. We choose to ask advice or give a crying shoulder to the same gender. This way we avoid any misunderstanding, jealousy, hurt, anger, or miscommunication to everyone.

#18.  Share carefully.

I wouldn’t want to share things about myself or my marriage that I haven’t or wouldn’t share with my  spouse. But if I do, then that would be a red flag. This is what is oftentimes called emotional infidelity. Not all affairs are physical – an emotional affair is just as damaging. So if I can’t share some emotional things with my husband, I’d look to my girlfriends instead. In the same way, my husband turns to his brothers or male friends in our community for “unloading” time and for support and encouragement.

#19.  Stay in large, public settings.

We determine ahead of time not to meet one-on-one with anyone of the opposite sex. If any of our coworker asks if he or she can join either one for lunch, we simply ask a third person to join as well. We don’t hesitate to share the boundary my spouse and I have agreed upon in our marriage, especially if it’s necessary. We remind ourselves that we might just lead by example. We both agree that there should be no one of the opposite sex to be allowed to sit in the passenger side of the spouse’s car. We include in the agreements regarding dining and traveling prohibitions with anyone of the opposite sex.

#20. Don’t be naïve.

Most people who end up in affairs don’t set out to have one. Infidelity usually begins with an innocent relationship that, in time, moves to an emotional depth that crosses a line of fidelity. We both agree to be on our guard and if one of us is remiss, we remind each other occasionally. If either one of us feels that a coworker or a friend from the opposite sex is “too close for comfort,” we call each other’s attention and try to remain to be plainly friendly, not overly friendly.  We try to stay away from people who are very “touchy-feely” and very flirtatious.

#21. Increase your investment at home.

Solid marriages are built by spending time together, laughing together, and playing together. We make sure we set up dates weekly and we make spending time together a priority. We schedule our recreation time together so we can play together, like playing squash or running in the morning or afternoons.

#22. Pay attention to your thought-life.

When all you think about is your spouse’s faults, any other man or woman will look better. To make sure we fall in love with each other over and over again, we make a list of the strengths that initially attracted us to each other. We remind ourselves why we fell in love. We celebrate our anniversaries every month without fail. We increase our encouragement and we decrease our criticism.

#23. Don’t play the comparison game.

We all make mistakes, have bad habits and annoying behaviors. We try not to compare our  “new friend” or some other husband or wife. It would be an unfair comparison because we aren’t seeing that person in a “living under the same roof, taking care of kids, struggling to make ends meet” reality. Instead, we focus on our good side.

#24. Seek help.

Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. A Christian counselor can provide valuable perspective and help set new strategies for a marriage that can go the distance. We choose to spend our time with like-minded couples who believe in the same values as we do, and we encourage each other through small care groups, seminars, and marriage retreats to help us preserve our I Dos.

#25. Meet each other’s needs.

I have discussed this lengthily in my previous post: His Needs Her Needs. Aim to know your partner’s needs and endeavor to meet them. Here are the 5 top needs of a man: 

  1. Sexual fulfillment
  2. Recreational companionship
  3. An attractive spouse
  4. Domestic support
  5. Admiration

Here are the top 5 needs of a woman:

  1. Affection
  2. Conversation
  3. Honesty and openness
  4. Financial support
  5. Family commitment

If you think that your marriage is strong and you don’t have any use for hedges, then this is all the more reason to practice some of these recommendations. This will ensure that your marriage will remain strong, joyous, and healthy.

My hedges may not bey our hedges. If some these apply to you, then plant it. If not, you may develop some of your own where you need it. Do you have hedges? What’s yours? I appreciate if you can add your bit of wisdom here. If you want to share, leave a reply in the comment box.

Life is Amazing!

LENY

Parenting with Wisdom and Heart

8 Jul

My husband Gerard and I have been passionate about parenting ever since we were gifted with our firstborn son, Miguel, about 14 years ago. Since there were no instruction manuals that came with our child, we looked to parenting seminars and classes as the closest thing to a parenting manual or guide. 

For us, these are the best and the most comprehensive source of information.We didn’t want to just rely on our instincts and our personal experiences from our parents, family members, and other people. 

We wanted to make sure that we have the right foundational knowledge and skills to help us ‘train up our child in the way that he should go.’ (Proverbs 22:6)

Even after two more children came, we still continued to pursue this passion. 

Now that they are grown tweens and teen, we believe that parenting seminars are even more important to us today than ever before.

My kids’ school, Domuschola International School, in cooperation with the Parents Organization, ran a parenting seminar last October 26 in Valle Verde 1 Clubhouse titled ‘Facing Today’s Parenting Challenges with Wisdom and Heart’. This is the school’s first this year.

The seminar centered on child development, temperaments, and multiple intelligences and how to discipline and motivate our children based on these areas. 

It also focused on the different parenting styles, and touched briefly on family visioning and creating a family mission statement.

The speakers, husband and wife team Herald and Melissa Cruz from the Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM), taught not just based on scientific research and findings, but also shared their learnings culled from their own experiences of parenting that worked for their children.

The concept that stood out for us in this seminar is the discipling nature of parenting. It painted for us a picture of parents helping their children to know their ways, and training them to develop a life of excellence

 Discipline required only 20% talking but 80% modeling. 

It is a process of teaching our children to learn appropriate behaviors, and ultimately, to make good choices in life.

Our kids won the Kiddo-Preneur Bazaar Summer

2012 

Most useful in this seminar to us was the letter-writing activity. We were asked to make two letters. One letter was made with our weaker hand as if we were our children, and one was made with our stronger hand meant for our children as their parents. 

It brought tears to our eyes to be in our children’s shoes and feeling their emotions when we discipline them negatively or are not motivating them the right way. 

This is a very strong and effective way of understanding and showing empathy to our children. 

Also useful were the practical ideas that came out of the discussions, such as establishing non-negotiables when making rules in the household, disciplining appropriately based on age, brain, and motor development, and the value of natural and logical consequences in child discipline.

What was most memorable to us was disciplining our children in the digital age. 

Understanding the idea that our children are born into the digital age and parents being just migrants, made us see how important the gadgets are in their lives more than in ours. 

Gadgets are essentially integrated seamlessly into their way of life, as opposed to us using these only in our professional work or as entertainment. 

We came to realize that when we discipline our children, the time to take away their privilege of using their computers or mobile phones or PSPs should be short-term and definitive, rather than long term and indefinite. 

This makes more sense to us. Gadgets are not anymore a privilege for them, rather, a necessity. 

Taking these away from them would be similar to taking away food, or in extreme parallel, depriving them of breathing. For them, it can be devastating.

When parents shared their challenges, we all heaved huge sighs of relief! We all know that this is hard to do on our own, and we appreciate that we are not alone!

What we observed to be beneficial to most parents is making the family mission statement. 

Gerard and I made our vision statement several years back and we update our vision board yearly since our brood are growing. 

This helped us immensely as a family in pursuing our goals, relationships, and priorities in our life. Everything that we did and continue to do are intentional and consistent with our family vision and mission.

Family bonding time at a”Family of Supers” Camp

2012. We won Best Costume!

We believed that this is essential for every couple to make and that they need to do this initially as a couple for their family. This is to set the tone of the values, principles, and goals that are important to them as they need to impart these to their children. 

Having children from all age groups and being parents for 14 years, we thought that we were already trained and experienced parents. 

This seminar has proven us that parenting is something that cannot be perfected. It is continuously evolving, since our kids are growing, and changing, as well.

Enjoying & having fun at the photo booth.

With proper training and education from parenting seminars like this, we can build off from our foundation of knowledge and make easier and efficient our natural parenting instincts and skills. 

After all, this is a fruitful investment to make because it is for the benefit of our children and our relationship with them. 

The benefits can last a lifetime; the effects are priceless! We just wish that the school run parenting seminars like this one more often every year. 

Blogger’s Note: Domuschola International School is a progressive international school accredited and certified by the Switzerland-based International Baccalaureate Organization. It is located in Dormitory I, Philsports Complex, Molave Street, Barangay Ugong, Pasig City. You may contact DIS via their phone numbers: (632) 635 9743, (632) 635 2002 or email them at info@dis.edu.ph or visit their website: http://www.dis.edu.ph


Life is Amazing!

LENY

Top 5 Money Lessons You Wished You’ve Learned

8 Jul

Money is not the root of evil. It is the love of money. Money can help you achieve happiness and joy by using it to bless others. I’d like to share with you how you can manage your money well so you can be a source of joy not just to yourself, but to your family, and to others as well.

Here are the top 5 lessons I have learned about money early on in life:

Lesson #1: Know the difference between an asset and a liability

In the old definition, an asset is something you acquire or purchase, like a car or a house and has money value. A liability is something that you can claim against an asset, like a credit card bill, debts, loans or payable. The new definition of an asset is something that puts money in your pocket, like a rental apartment or a business and funds your luxuries or liabilities. A liability is something that takes money out of your pocket, like jewelry, car or your house, and something that you purchase or acquired.

Lesson #2: Mind your own business. 

Buy and grow your assets. Some of these assets to develop or grow are: businesses that do not require your full time or presence, company shares or stocks, bonds, T-bills or SDAs (Special Deposit Accounts), income-generating real estates such as a rental apartment or dormitories, royalties from intellectual property from music, scripts or patents, and anything that has value, produces income and has a ready market.

Lesson #3: Pay yourself first

Set aside at least 10% from your income to build your business or fund your emergency money or investments. Then make saving or tithing as your next priority. This is the Power of Discipline. I know this is painful. But as the saying goes, “No Pain, No Gain.”

Lesson #4: Make choices everyday. 

How you spend your money is a reflection on how you use your most valuable resources: time, learning, and money.  Use your valuable resources wisely. If you want to predict a person’s future, just look at his expenses. Do you spend it in the latest gadgets, the latest fashion, or the latest accessories?  This only build your expenses, debts, and liabilities.

Or do you use it to invest and build on your assets, like seminars on investing and personal finance, personal coach/mentor, books, gym memberships to keep you healthy and fit, and donations to charities and churches?  This is the Power of Choice.

 

Lesson #5: Use your assets to pay for your luxuries, your liabilities.  

Acquire assets, or things that put money in your pocket, by paying yourself first. Then, you can purchase your liabilities or your luxuries by the income and cash flow generated by your assets. This is the power of focus. So many people today have money to buy their luxuries first but never seem to have any cash to purchase their assets. They get into debt simply because they keep on buying more and more luxuries, and they never stop to think that these are in reality, just liabilities.

So are you ready to apply these lessons so you can start blessing others and multiply your joy?

Life is Amazing!

LENY

My First Mediterranean Cruise

7 Jul

In the Port of Dubrovnik, Croatia with my husband, Gerard

This was our first cruise and we were super excited! 

We left September 17 for Venice for an 8-day Mediterranean cruise and packed warmer clothes since it was already the start of fall in northern Europe. 

Our places of destination are sunny but windy,  so packing was tricky and nightmarish, to say the very least, since we also had to pack lighter clothes for the warmer cities. 

We also had to bring along formal and semi-formal clothes and matching shoes for the different dinner occasions aboard the ship. This called my packing creativity to the test! 

We were finally on our way to our dream vacation onboard MS The Splendour of the Seas of the Royal Carribbean.

Aboard the Splendour leaving Venice behind us…

We were given a SetSail pass when we checked in. This serves as our charge card, ID, and room key all in one. 

Stateroom Ocean View 2008 is going to be our home for the next 8 days as we travel to Dubrovnik (Croatia), Ephesus (Kusadasi, Turkey), Santorini, and Corfu (Greece) and back to Venice    

The best view of the city is on Deck 10. You can smell the scent of Venice. With all its ancient history and romanticism, it still is a marshy 118-island lagoon filled with canals and bridges.

At the Viking Crown Lounge on Deck 11, you can also have a 360 degree view with your favorite drink on hand, a Bailey’s or a Heineken!

The Splendour boasts of eleven decks that can accomodate all 2,100  passengers.  

There are 3 indoor/outdoor pools, two dining halls, one of which serves food almost 24/7!  We tried to order as many main courses and desserts as we like (and well, those we can all possibly eat) in the two-level glass-walled fine dining King and I Main Hall in Deck 4. 

In the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 9, food is served buffet style. We were lucky that one of the chefs is Filipino: we get to eat authentic adobo with rice! 

Sometimes when we don’t feel like going out to eat, we almost always order room service food – for free!  

Yes, all the food in the ship are free and already inclusive in the cruise package. Drinks are the only ones we paid for, from the bottled mineral water down to the sodas, beer, and wine. 

They don’t come cheap! Be prepared to be surprised! 

You have to savour and sample all the wonderful gastronomic delights that await you everyday in the dining halls.  

Oh, and if you like snack food like hotdogs, burgers and fries, make sure you don’t miss the Solarium Snack Bar! 

In the King & I Dining Hall waiting for dinner 

My husband Gerard likes to stay in their coffee shop, and yes – there is Seattle’s Best! 

He is practically “on call” for some work time. That was fine for me, as it afforded me some fun time visiting the Shops Onboard for souvenirs and duty-free items like jewelry, perfumery, accessories and many other items from the different ports of call. 

They have world-famous Murano glass and jewelry, Swarovski crystals, and the famous Turkish rugs.  

At 8pm every night, the items on feature are on 25% off at least from their retail price.

Gerard completed 14 rounds. 4 rounds is 1 mile   

For health buffs like me, there’s a fitness center where  in the mornings, I just hop on  a treadmill and have a magnificent view of the endless sea during my daily workout.  

It was such a regret that we didn’t get to play the 18-hole mini golf, or table tennis, or visit the spa center (services were a bit pricey!).

Deck 11 has a jog path, which Gerard and I both tried. 

I was almost blown by the wind because it is an open space, but the sea breeze was doing an amazing thing for my lungs! I didn’t dare conquer the open air rock climbing wall! This, my friends, is not meant for the faint of hearts.

On our last night on Deck 5 before dinner          

You won’t feel bored as there are many different activities you can choose to fill your day – yoga, carricature, bingo, dance lessons. 

Or you can just spend some time in their cool video arcade and youth facilities. 

There is also internet or Wi-fi service but it burned a hole in our pockets as it costs around 35 USD just for one hour! 

The ship  has two entertainment centers and themed theaters for broadway shows and programs all day to keep us busy. 

What we missed is put a dollar or two in the slots machine or play in one of the tables in the Casino Royale… Maybe we would have met James Bond there?

Our cruise compass for the day

For those of us who are first timers,  we didn’t worry at all, as the crew issues a different cruise compass for each day. 

It is like a daily schedule of activities you can try or participate in so you don’t miss out on anything exciting. There’s an activity for every one!

Just some more things we did to enjoy our cruise vacation:

  • We tried both the Windjammer Cafe, and King and I restaurants. They have different sets of menus every day! Great salad bar. Cool Paella Day out on the pool deck, too!
  • We made sure we took exploration excursions on each port of call. We visited the cities and old towns within the day and learned about their rich culture and history. You can read this in my travel posts.
  • We didn’t forget to make friends with the other cruisers. We had more fun exploring the ship and activities together. Samba was the best!
  • We took loads of photos to bring home and to share with you…

Blogger’s Note: Mediterranean Cruise aboard The Royal Caribbean with European route Venice-Ephesus-Dubrovnik-Santorini-Corfu-Ephesus-Venice  costs around USD 1,800 per person as of October 2010. This allows for a 2 person stateroom with ocean view, inclusive of buffet food, but excluding drinks and gratuities.


Life is Amazing!

LENY

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