Archives for March 2013

Laughter: An Essential Parenting Tool

All too often the hardships of parenting consume the majority of our time with our children. We are usually overworked, trying to juggle all of our parental responsibilities–providing our children with everything they need. Although it cannot be denied that parenting is a serious job, it is helpful to remember that there is a simple tool available to help everything become less difficult–laughter.

Laughter has been proven to be vital for our emotional and mental health. The act of laughing triggers the release of our happy hormones called endorphins that create a general sense of well-being. And not only that, sharing fun times with your children will help them become happy, confident, and healthy children who get along with others and know how to cope with life’s stress.

Make laughter a part of your daily life and you will enjoy your children’s company even more and lighten the atmosphere in your home.  To start you off, check out this amusing post: “Do You Have This Very Important Parenting Tool.”

Professing Our Love for Jesus

Have you read the story of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet? If you haven’t, here it is from Luke 7:36-50:

“36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

There are so many lessons you can learn from this story, but today I would like to highlight how this woman chose to deliberately profess her love for Jesus despite all the difficulties she had to confront. There were many reasons why this woman could have chosen to not worship Jesus. She must have known that she will be judged, scorned, and ridiculed, but she went on anyway. In spite of the many difficulties, the woman did what she desperately desired to do—worship Jesus.

How about us? Do we brave through obstacles just to profess our love for our Savior? Or do we let little things keep us from showing others how much we love him?

Holy Thursday: Why I Love This Day

Today is Holy Thursday and our entire family is looking forward to attending Mass tonight. Holy Thursday has always been special to me. It not only helps me prepare myself for the solemnity of Good Friday, but also reminds me of the virtues Jesus left us during the Last Supper.

If you did not know, other than the resurrection on Easter Holy Thursday is considered to be one of the most important and profound days of celebration in the Catholic Church. This day celebrates the institution of the Eucharist as the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, and the institution of the sacrament of the priesthood. This day also commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles, during which he offers himself as the Passover sacrifice, the sacrificial lamb.

If you are interested to know more about Holy Thursday, here is a good post for you: “10 Things You Need To Know About Holy Thursday

Motherhood: Unexpected Things You Discover

This morning I found myself really amused while reading this post, “10 Things That Shocked Me About Motherhood.” The amusement was mainly because I could totally relate to what this mom had to say. Motherhood is a shocker, no doubt about that, and the shocking discoveries just never stop although the first month is the most eye-opening time.

I would say that the most shocking realization I have had with motherhood was how isolating and lonely it can be. Of course I was also shocked with the non-stop crying and the extent of sleep deprivation, but nothing can compare to how much the loneliness and the isolation caught me off guard. I felt so out of touch with the entire world. As much as I love my baby the isolation was overwhelming, to a point where I felt like I was suffocating. I was never prepared to feel such a heavy emotion during such a wonderful time. Good thing with prayers and the help of my husband, my mother and my friends, I was able to overcome that stage in my life.

How about you? What is your most shocking realization as a mother?

Sometimes Your Child Will Be Uncomfortable

It is painful for parents to see our child suffer. Reading this post, “Parenting Teens: Consequences, Peer Pressure and Making A Way Out,” reminded me of how much I need to keep myself from giving in to the urge of helping my children with every difficult situation that they go through. Yes, it’s very tempting, to shelter my children from things that cause them pain and discomfort, but then I have to ask myself what this will this make of them? Will my constant helping prepare them well for adult life or am I actually staging a life of failure by constantly bailing them out?

We may have learned a lot of things through books and lessons, but there is no denying that experience is the best teacher. If I do not let my children sort out their own problems, they won’t have any experience to learn from. Sure, it would be hard to see our child struggle, but we just have to remember that when a child is feeling upset, frustrated, angry, or sad they’re in a position to develop some important coping skills.

If we want our children to be confident adults who can think for themselves and navigate through difficult situations on their own, we must empower and encourage them to face problems and develop their own solutions.

Let Your Love for God Guide Your Work for Him

Have you ever compared what you do for God with what other people do for him? Have you ever felt as if the work you are doing for God is so small compared to the work others are doing? Well, I have in many instances. I constantly hear and read stories of missionaries and evangelists risking their lives just to share the love of God with people living in remote areas of the earth. Hear this I can’t help but feel ashamed of myself. Yes, I am doing something to share God’s love and his gift of salvation, but my actions just seem to be so trivial and insignificant compared to the deeds of others.

But this morning I realized something very important through a post entitled, “What Would You Look Like?” Reading the wonderful article gave me the assurance that God appreciates the things I do for him–no matter how small they may seem for me. We are each given our very own roles in his kingdom. We may not be priests, nuns, missionaries, preachers, teachers, caregivers, etc. but this does not mean our service is less important to God. So long as our service to God is born out of loving him “with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength,” our service is perfect in his eyes.

Seeking God’s Heart

There is no doubt that all Christians seek the Lord. We all want to have a close, personal relationship with him, and have his presence in our lives all the time. We seek God’s hand, we seek his face, but not many of us seek God’s heart. How can I say that? Well, most of us pray and constantly yearn for the Lord’s guidance, protection, and his miracles. All these are efforts to seek God’s hand. We look at our surroundings, go to church, and visit Holy relics all in an effort to see a glimpse of God’s face–to seek God’s face.

But how many of us actually take the time to seek God’s heart? How many of us take the time to discover what God values and try to love what he loves? How many of us read his Holy Bible and learn the virtues Jesus taught?

Please do not get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with seeking God’s hand and face. In fact, they are all vital to our Christian journey. However, we should not forget to seek the heart of God. For if we have God’s heart, then we will most naturally do what God wants, without being told, because rooted deep within us are virtues and principles freely aligned to God’s.

If you want to read more about “seeking God’s heart” I would suggest this wonderful post entitled, “The Gift of Salvation.”

Remembering Jesus’ Suffering

There are a lot of things for which we should remember Jesus Christ, but during this Holy Week I believe that we should look into how much our Savior suffered. Jesus endured so many things to free us all from the prison house of sin and death. I believe that more than anything else, the Holy Week should be a time for Christians to ponder upon the greatness of God’s love for us, which is manifested through Jesus’ suffering.

Each of us have different images of Jesus in our minds–from a baby boy in a manger, a healer, a teacher, a preacher, etc. I would say that the truest and purest perspective of Jesus Christ can be found in viewing him as a suffering man. For it is through his suffering that he completed his work, and it is through his suffering that we are saved. It is through his suffering that we are provided with an example that the path to glory is borne out of pain and persecution–that the road to heaven is not flower-strewn.

As we look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith, we must look at him in his suffering, and let this painful images of him boring the sins of the entire world strengthen our relationship and commitment to our Lord and Savior.

Jen Hatmaker has an amazing post up on her blog about how she feels about the story of Jesus suffering, the post is called A Broken Hallelujah. You should check it out!

How to Maintain Family Time with Teens

An article from New York Times’ Motherlode got my attention today. It’s titled, “Know When to Hold ’Em: Making Family Time Work for Teens.” The article really struck a chord in me as losing our usual family time when my kids grow older is a thought that has been haunting me for the past month. Right now my kids are pretty much happy spending most of their time bonding with me and my husband, but the stories I have been hearing from my friends about their teens making family time difficult has gotten me really worried and sad.

Family time is important to me. And I want my entire family to value it as much as I do. But is that even possible? Is there anything I can do to make sure that my children grow up to treasure and even look forward to the times we spend together as a family? Sure, I know things have to change when they grow up because their world will grow bigger. I hope and pray that my children won’t be like those teens who resent scheduled family times.

Do you have any ideas to share? How do you maintain family time with your teenagers?

Parenting Tips: Keeping Our Children Safe

The thought of my kids being possible victims of evil predators scares, sickens, and enrages me. As disturbing as the thought of a predator is, the truth is these kinds of people lurk all around us. While we can pray everyday that God will keep our children safe, I don’t think God wants us to just sit around and do nothing for the safety of our children. As they say, “prayer plus action produces the best outcomes”. I have some parenting tips for you that may help in the action portion of that saying.

I read this post entitled, “5 Tips to Help Your Kids Stay Safe from Predators” and I found it to be very helpful. If like me, you need some help in this area too, you should go and read it. These parenting tips may help save your kids life someday.

I learned a lot of things from the post but in totality. I believe that the most important strategy to keep our children safe is to let them understand how unsafe secret-keeping can be–from where they are going, who they are with, or what they are doing. We must strive to cultivate trust and an open line of communication with our kids.