Archives for April 2013

Are You Ready To Let Jesus In?

Have you seen that photo of Jesus Christ standing on a doorstep and knocking on the door? I seem to be seeing a lot of it lately. Every time I do, it calls me to contemplate the longing of Jesus to come into our lives and create an intimate communion with us. While I have been privately reflecting on this matter for some time now, a post I read today titled, “Jesus At The Door” made me decide to share my thoughts.

It is so inspiring to know that the God of the universe who so selflessly came down to Earth to be crucified, just to save all of us from the bondage of sin, is still knocking at our hearts’ door. He is offering us an invitation to salvation–pleading for us to let him into our lives. So are you ready to let Jesus in?

“Behold, I stand at the door and Knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and dine with him, and he with me.” Revelations 3:20

Remember that Jesus is always knocking at the door of our hearts, waiting for our response. He is there to offer us the priceless gift of life eternal, but in exchange we must throw away all the worthless, dangerous toys of this world.

I will ask you again, are you ready to let Jesus in?

Show God’s Love By Paying It Forward

“Love can change lives.” We all know this. We have all heard of stories of people whose lives have been changed because of love. While these life stories are moving, I believe the strongest and most profound proof of how powerful love can be is the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It was love in its purest and strongest form that lead Jesus Christ to come down to earth and redeem us all from sin.

What better way to respond to the love that has transformed us than to pay it forward. The love that we have experienced from God is not meant to be locked in our hearts and enjoyed on our own. A love so great as Jesus’ love is meant to be shared.

As John the Apostle said in 1 John 4:11, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

As followers of Christ we ought to do just as he did–radiating love to everyone around him, doing kind deeds to everyone he came in contact with.

Here’s a must-read post about sharing God’s love through good deeds: “Spread the Love: Random Acts of Kindness.”

Parenting Question: Is Your Child Ready For School?

The first ever school day is always an exciting time not only for the kids, but also for parents. However, aside from the feelings of excitement it cannot be denied that parents also have to deal with some anxiety during this day. While there may be a lot of reasons for a parent to feel edgy, I believe that one of the main reasons for anxiety is the thought that their kid may not be completely ready for school.

My eldest child will be at the best age to enter kindergarten in a little less than year, so I have done some reading on this matter. These are some of the things that I believe I should be looking into to see whether my child is ready for school or not:

  • Is my child able to socialize well with his peers?
  • Is my child able to sit still and complete certain activities?
  • Is my child able to adhere to rules and boundaries?

If you need more information on this subject, here’s a wonderful post: “Parenting Tips: Is Your Child Ready For School?

God Calls Us All for Different Reasons and Purposes

The story of one man’s journey towards the Catholic Church titled, “Road To The Catholic Faith,” reminded me of how blessed I am to have heard and responded to Christ’s call to follow him. Although my life is imperfect and still laden with trials and tribulations, knowing that I have Jesus brings a sense of peace and contentment within me.

 Just as Jesus had called his disciples in the past, he is calling all of us today to “abide in him” and follow where he leads. God calls each and every one of us for a different yet equally vital purpose. However, not everyone hears or listens to God’s voice and does his will. It is only by understanding and heeding to the will of our maker that we are really able to live a fulfilling life. A life lived after worldly pleasures is bound to be empty–full of fleeting fun but devoid of true happiness.

Have you answered God’s call? If you have, take the time to thank him today for calling you and giving you the gift of salvation. If you haven’t made the decision to fully commit your life to Christ yet, take the time to search your heart and talk to him today.

What To Do When You Are About To Lose Your Temper

Have you ever reached a point of frustration that made you lose your temper? Every parent has or will lose his/her temper. Yes, even the most soft-spoken, calm, and collected ones. Even though we love our kids dearly, as human beings there’s just bound to be moments of frustration, irritation, and exhaustion. While it is normal to get angry, the matter with which we express our anger is often a source of pain and resentment for everyone involved.

To avoid creating permanent scars in our family, parents need to know how to positively channel our emotions of anger. This may seem a tough thing to do, but with constant practice, lots of prayer and mindfulness, it is possible to handle and release our temper healthily.

As a mother who struggled (and is still struggling) with managing her temper, here are a few tips I can offer:

1. Walk away.

2. Count to 10.

3. Sing a song.

4. Do something productive.

5. Once you’re calm, respond to the situation with gentle guidance.

If you want more tips on how to manage your temper, this post has some great advice: “10 Things To Try Before You Lose Your Temper With Your Child.”

Letting Children Take Risks: How to Judge

I read a post today called, “Face plants, scraped knees and tumbles are a good thing? Your advice SUCKS!” I enjoyed reading the article and had a few good thoughts while doing so.  I decided to write about one of these thoughts–letting children take risks.

While I believe that it is good to let kids discover things on their own at times, I strongly disagree with people who say, “let your child fall down the stairs to teach him a lesson” or “let your kids play with fire and experience getting burned.” I believe in the necessity of letting my kids take risks for learning and development, but I don’t think parents should allow their kids to take ALL the risks they will undoubtedly take without guidance.

Yes, taking risks is important for learning, but as parents, we need to make sure that we are encouraging calculated and smart risk-taking-especially with young children who might not be able to recognize what is safe and unsafe. To help you determine which risks you should allow your children to take, here are some pointers:

  • The experience should teach the child a new skill or new knowledge which will be valuable to him/her.
  • The experience should add to the child’s positive life experience.
  • The experience should make the child better able to manage similar situations in the future.

Our Christian Duty To Help The Poor

I read a devotional this morning that made me open my Bible to the book of Romans chapter 12 verses 6-8, the text says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

This text is laden with lessons and reminders, but one thing that really caught my attention is this line: “if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously”. This line speaks of a Christian duty that many of us forget about. So many of us have been blessed to live a comfortable life. Some of us are even living and enjoying a life of unprecedented abundance. With all the blessings bestowed upon our homes and families, how many of us actually perform our Christian duty to share the material gifts that we have with those who lack even the most basic necessities?

The Bible is filled with reminders, pleas for us to share what we have to others who are in need. We may say that we do not have much, but I believe that there is always something we can give. Remember the counsel of the wise King Solomon in Proverbs 28:27, “He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.”

In one of his recent homilies, Pope Francis also reminded us to spend our last days on earth serving the needy: Prepare For The Last Judgment By Serving The Poor.

Our Responsibilities To The Church: Corinthians 12:12-27

A post I read this morning called, “Do You Know What the Church Really Needs?“, made me think about my personal responsibilities to the Catholic Church–the wonderful congregation that I am a member of. As I was reflecting on what I can do to contribute to help in the completion of the work of my church, my mind went to Corinthians 12:12-27. In my opinion, Corinthians 12:12-27 is one of the best illustrations of the role of each member to the work of the Church.

The verse says:

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by[a] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unrepresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

All of us are important parts of the body of Christ–of his ministry and work. We may think that we are just one insignificant person, but for Christ, we are important and without our full cooperation and effort, the work of our Church will not be at its best.

Toilet Training Trouble: Be Prepared for These Issues

Learning to use the toilet is an important milestone for both parents and children. While some people think that potty training just means freedom from the financial burden of diapers,  it actually has a deeper psychological meaning. The start of toilet training marks a child’s new step towards independence and self-sufficiency. Studies have shown that the wrong potty training practices can cause long-term psychological effects in children.

For this very reason it is very important for parents to understand the process of toilet training before actually embarking on it with our kids. Reacting wrongly to your kids’ behavior during the training may make the process longer and even scar them emotionally and mentally for life. To help get you ready, I have put together a list of some of the problems that you are most likely to encounter during your kids’ transition from diapers to potty. Knowing these things in advance will minimize outbursts of emotion from you.

1. Your child will wet himself/herself in the bed at night.

2. There will be accidents–in public places and the carpet!

3. Your child may play with his/her poo and spread it around.

4. Your child will poo or pee right after being taken off the toilet.

5. Your child who is completely toilet trained can revert back to square one.

I hope this simple list will help you get ready to potty-train your child. If you think you need more information, here is a good resource: “Toilet Training – Part 1.”

The Secret To Success in Parenthood

Parenthood is not easy. I believe that this is why there are a lot of tips out there on how to go raise kids successfully. While I have found some of these tips helpful in my life as a parent, a post I have read today entitled, “Parenthood Juggle: Only by Working Together,” made me realize what the most important element to a successful parenthood is: marital team work.

Yes, aside from keeping a close connection with God, there is nothing more important than working hand in hand with your spouse if you want to survive parenthood without losing your sanity. The endeavor of raising a family is not easy, so it is very important that you openly share the load with your partner–the responsibilities, the tasks, the problems as well as the joys.

To achieve marital teamwork, I believe that couples must invest time and effort in setting up parenting principles, goals as well as a structure for communication. Another crucial element is having the right mindset–a mindset that creates a space for open communication.

Try working on teamwork parenting. It might just be the key to a happier more satisfying family life.