June 30, 2009

Baby News

Meet Millie. She was 2 weeks old when Naomi bought her in October last year when we took our homeschoolers to the pet market. Each one was encouraged to pick one pet to take home but must promise to take care of it. So they were careful on deciding which one is the easiest. Dad got fish, Mom got birds, the girls got rabbits, and Ben got a beetle!

We thought it's one good way of making our homeschool program more interactive.

Now, Millie is no longer a baby! She shares cage with Roger, Zoe's pet. Every now and then, both of them are allowed to hop around and play in the yard.

After months of keeping their promise to take care of their pets, it has now become a habit for the children to go to the backyard several times a day to check on their pets. Sometimes they needed to be reminded but most of the time they happily do their job. But there are times they think of getting new pets for a change but couldn't find a loving way to get rid of them especially when the rabbits are full-grown and lost their "cuteness". I sometimes caught them feeling helplessly "stuck" with their promise.

I reckon how much my children's little hearts are prepared for life's responsibilities....

But these days something excites the children again...... Millie gets special privileges. She can anytime hop out of the cage and can eat any veges in the garden. The children are more caring and patient with her.

Millie gets all the pampering in the caring hands of Doctor Zoe, our little vet.

It's all because Millie is now a mommy! She's got 6 babies!

See how Millie lined the hay with her fur to keep her kits warm and comfortable. Mommy rabbits pull their fur to prepare a comfy bed for the arrival of their babies....... such a loving Creator giving this mother instinct to animals to make sure their youngs are cared for! This is just one of the many things we learn about rabbits...and how Awesome the One who created them....

The children went online searching on how to take care of baby rabbits. They wake up early morning and are excited to check the kits and to make sure Millie has enough food and water. They are learning how to be more responsible now..... This is a hands-on learning experience, a lot better than just reading from the book.

God, bless these little hands who are happily willing to take care of Your creation. May their hearts be more like You in their desire to love, to care, to keep promises......

"The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.... The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made."
(Psalm 145:9, 13; cf. Psalm 145:17)

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God's sight."
(Luke 12:6; cf. Matthew 10:29)

"Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."
(Job 12:7-10)

June 27, 2009

The World Today

It's in yesterday's and today's headline. His death shocked the world.... everybody's "googling" his name... revisiting the good old days of his career.... "He was cute when he was a young boy. I like he's original face better.", Naomi remarked when she saw the picture of the "king of pop" as a young boy. Even young children have something to say....fans are in mourning so does the industry he worked in..... even those who hated him are now careful not to disrespect the name. "I'm not a fan, but he's fascinating. His life is perfect for a case study." a friend said. Another popular artist said, "Thank you for the music." Now he's got the world's sympathy and love again....too late for all those salutes and good words....sad....very sad....

Now I'm pondering....I should not withhold good compliments to people. Good words are useless when not heard...

What is sadder though in today's newspaper is the ads that's been on the front page for quite sometime now....and no one seemed shocked about it. Sex change: how affordable now!

June 24, 2009

Another Yummy Surprise

Naomi didn't know that I posted her crafts yesterday, and, today she surprised me again with her yummy creation.

No, she didn't bake these. They're made of scrap papers with an old cd as a base. She then painted them with poster color. They looked so real, aren't they?

She was so delighted when I showed her what I posted yesterday. I'm sure she'll be more inspired after she reads this tomorrow.

June 23, 2009

Show and Tell: Naomi's Crafts

Naomi always surprises me with what she can create out from the things she can find in the house. Here are the few things she recently created out of modeling clay:

A globe for her dad's office.

A taxi pen holder

A cactus pencil crown

A snail pen holder

And here are some of her creations out of thrown-away materials:

Picture frame made of cardboard

Animal wobblers made of tissue tube

Handy mirror made of defective disc

For Mom's birthday present: special chest made of a shoe box

Little "pinatas" (pinyatitas) for her little sis' birthday party

As seen in the picture, Naomi Gul is a very passionate "crafter". She works long hours to make tangible something she has in mind. Well done my "gul" (flower). Keep up the good work!

I'm glad I have this site where I can keep memories.... Thank you for taking a look at some of the little things in our house that mean big in my heart.

Flaming enthusiasm, backed by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success. -Dale Carnegie

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. - Albert Einstein

June 22, 2009

Ways To Lighten Heavy Load (Part 2)

Loving the things you need to do is not as easy as doing the things you love to do. With the latter, once decided, enjoyment is spontaneous whilst with the former, one needs to consciously make an effort to find enjoyment on the thing/s being done, . And here comes the opportunity to use creativity....

One of the things I hate doing is washing dishes. I grew up doing it and never loved it. Such a heavy load to bear when carried with a heavy heart.... Imagine how many hours were wasted standing in front of the sink! But I have to do it, as my friend once said, "Don't worry Ruth, dirty dishes don't run. You always find them in your sink!"

With a little creativity, I learned how to love the job....here's what I did:

I hung a prayer frame on the wall and put a little plant (looks best when in bloom) beside the sink. The sight of the plant helps set a happy mood and the frame helps me do other things than just washing dirty dishes.

Many years ago, a friend gave me a prayer calendar where each day contained a parent's prayer for the children with a supporting verse in it. I thought it would serve best if I framed it with my children's pictures around it and hung it some place where I could always see it...the kitchen, where else? Since then, dishwashing became a new experience for me. I never felt again that times spent in front the sink were wasted. It allowed me plenty of time to pray specific prayers for my children. This frame has travelled with our family in 3 countries already. And it's been my dishwashing partner.

Here's how it looks like up close......

Another thing I found helpful recently....

When my local friend came one day...I told her that I'm not learning any new words that week except the ones related to what I love doing...gardening. Anyways, I had been having a hard time explaining to shopkeepers whenever I wanted to find something to cure my sick plant or anything I need in my garden..... so we did our study around that topic and I had survived another session learning new words with my friend.

One thing I hated the most is ironing clothes. Again, it's the hours wasted pressing clothes that made me abhor it. Even dear husband sometimes helps, it's another thing I must do twice a week. But since I moved the ironing station beside my husband's study, running the iron back and forth against crumpled clothes was no longer a boring and lonely work. I can chat with him a bit or glance at something he's reading on the internet.

Speaking of internet.....this ironing board became my station where I manage my blog....and it became a favorite corner since then.

I'm learning these days that we don't always need to go somewhere else to find rest......when we can't, like me at this time, we have to find rest by just looking for ways to lighten our heavy loads.

And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.
Exodus 33:14

Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

Psalm 37:7

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Matthew 11: 28-30

To the Father of My Children

December 16, 1993.

The day you first saw.....dear wife nursing the baby.
Tired eyes, lit and relieved, beholding your own dear two.
"The most beautiful sight I ever did see."
Your words soothed my ached body from long labor....
calmed the nervous heart of a first-time-mom....
It was then that I knew how blessed our children would be....

Almost 16 years have passed...
those words I hear again in my heart whenever I catch those same eyes,
that danced at that first sight, watching our three children at sleep or at play.....

My heart, again, celebrates on this Father's Day
knowing my children are blessed to have a father
whom I already knew would be unselfishly devoted and loving.
Here, I would like to thank you for all the love you gave them
from the very first day you became a father...

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.
-Pope John XXIII

The most important thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
-Theodore M. Hesburgh

June 19, 2009

Ways To Lighten Heavy Load (Part 1)

Recently, I have been learning two ways to lighten up my load:

1. To do only the things I love to do, and
2. To love the things I need to do.

The first one is easy for me because I have many things that I love doing.

One day, I declared to everybody in the house that I would only do the things I love to do, and surprisingly, nobody cared. It was just my silly idea that the world would fall apart if I stopped my daily routine. So what I did was picked up again the old hobby --painting.

25 years ago, I fell in love with painting when I took Fine Arts course for one year. "It's a rich man's hobby", my father said, "you can't earn money doing that unless you spend years to build a name". So he discouraged me from pursuing it as a profession. So that's the end of it. I thought...until one day, as I was teaching the basic of watercolor painting to my homeschoolers, I found my long lost love again.

This is what I did last month... 16.7 x 25 cm watercolor... first time attempt after 25 years. Not bad, eh?

Here's what I did 2 weeks ago....26 x 37.5 cm watercolor ..... still crude but enough to win dear husband's appreciation. ;)

I did this twice in two months and I found it refreshing. Just a day in a month to break from the routine.

One good thing about this exercise is having my children joining me. They too were inspired to pick up their own brushes and started playing colors with me. Together we painted, chatted, and made funny comments at one another's work.....such things I love doing!

Here are my children's proud entries:

Ben's blue butterfly 26 x 37.5 cm

Ben's Sunflowers 16.7 x 25 cm

Naomi's Brown Puppy 26 x 37.5 cm

Naomi's Sunflowers 16.7 x 25 cm

Zoe's White Rabbits 26 x 37.5 cm

Zoe's Sunflowers16 .7 x 25 cm

I don't remember what we ate for lunch or how the house was like that day when I didn't cook nor do any housekeeping, but we survived!

Hope you try spending a day just doing what you love to do and see how it lightens your load as it does with mine.

It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes. -Thomas Aquinas

June 17, 2009

The situation did not improve ........ the hearts did

To all who prayed for dear husband's family and for those who sent encouraging words.....Thank you.

But it is with deep sadness to let you all know that my dear husband's sister-in-law passed away yesterday after 2 days in coma......

I talked to my brother in-law over the phone and it was the first time I heard from him after his whole family came to know the Lord. He was a different person.....his voice on the other line was very peaceful thanking God for giving his wife the chance to know Him personally before that happened. She is now with her Lord, he said.

They have been married for many years, with 2 daughters. Their marriage went through a lot of storms....the late biggest storm made them realized they needed God. That's how they started experiencing real peace and joy in their marriage. They were studying the Book with other relatives when it happened. It was the wife's turn to pray so she bent down but no voice came out......she dropped unconscious....heart attack, they said.

This made me think again.....how frail is our body that is made of dust?......how many more aches there is in this world?.....how many more news of deaths to hear?....how much load can this heart bear?.....everything would have fallen apart if not of God's grace and love.....

"We all die, anyways." the husband said. His voice devoid of any bitterness and pangs came straight to my heart despite distant miles. The one who should be grieving the most was able to comfort another grieving heart. The peace that passes all understanding....God's peace has overcome what sin intended death to bring!

"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
1 Corinthians 15:55

June 14, 2009

No Fear of Bad News

Surely he will never be shaken;
a righteous man will be remembered forever.

He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

Psalm 112:6-7

After I repainted our old little mailbox, I was surprised why I wrote "Good news only" when I knew very well the verse that says "the righteous man is not afraid of bad news". I had to check my heart again...am I afraid of bad news? Or maybe it's just the natural hope of human heart.... I know when the artistic side of me is at work, I just let my heart do the talking, may it be in painting, writing, crafting, etc. I simply express my heart out.... But who wants bad news anyway?!

But when it does come, we know what to hold on to--His word that says our heart will be steadfast at that time, trusting Him.

And for this week, the daily post has been faithful in headlining bad news... from the country being on alert because of the fast spread of H1N1 virus to the series of insurgent activities in the southern part of the country.....whatever happens, we know that He holds the future so we need not fear.

But what is more challenging to hear is bad news from home....

-dear mother-in-law is very sickly now
-dear sister-in-law fell in coma since yesterday

Our hope lies in the truth that both of them believe in Him and their lives are in His loving care, that's why we need not be shaken by grief....

I appreciate your prayers for dear husband's family.

Photos and mailbox design by RSM June 09

June 11, 2009

Adjusting Our Perspectives

Sometimes there's no need to completely change our perspective but just a little adjusting will do much. Like using a camera, one need not change the angle but to just stay put and zoom in to focus on the micro details.

As I shared in my previous blog, I am needing a break to rest my weary self but it should be some kind that does not need traveling or being away too long from home.

Our Omniscient Father understood my heart and so gave me an insight on resting my mind by adjusting my perspective, seeing minute details to find beauty in a heap of ashes.

I still do my routine of feeding the birds every morning but today, by just stopping for a moment and watched our lovebirds, Blueberry and Indigo kissed, it made it easier to start the day with a light heart.....

My cooking is unstoppable. But this mundane task in front a hot open fire becomes a cool experience after inhaling deeply the aroma of mixed herbs and then noticing the spiderweb-like cracks on my Chinese tea eggs......

Gardening continues but it's a pleasant moment to observe the moth on my plant.....

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. -Henry Miller

Homeschooling is a daily must but the joy of watching one's child enjoying her break between lessons is enough pay for the day's teaching job.....

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched ... but are felt in the heart. -Helen Keller

Rest is not some holy feeling that comes upon us in church. It is a state of calm rising from the heart deeply and firmly established in God. -Henry Drummond

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me...
To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."
Isaiah 61:1,2c,3

June 10, 2009

Observing Sabbath

I've been offline for more than a week now, if you noticed. I've got tons to write and photos to share but I know it will take a lot of time to upload photos and also been trying to be away from the computer.... well, the truth is, I was trying to get enough rest, that's why. But sad to say, I failed. Still here, tired and weary and always short of patience nowadays. I must confess I'm delinquent in observing sabbath. I'm good in multi-tasking, that is a God-given gift, I believe, and am very grateful for that but He who formed me (and every human being) knows how much I need time away from work.

Of the ten commandments, the 4th is the longest and with the most words (Deut 5:12-15)and it is a command from the Lord to rest and do nothing, one day after six days of work. It's not an encouragement, a suggestion, or an advice, but a command! It shouldn't take much space of the tablet if not seriously demanded......

12"'Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14but(H) the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates,(I) that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15(J) You shall remember that you were a slave[c] in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there(K) with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day."

I'm preaching to myself. And I'm again convicted. I've confessed and repented. Now, I'm thinking how to do it....it seems like taking long naps and doing nothing didn't work. Any suggestions? Something that doesn't require traveling or be away from home for many days? My problem is I'm juggling many balls now that if I stop the rhythm, I'm afraid they all fall and there's no one around to catch them. Too bad, dear husband feels the same, too.

June 2, 2009

View from the Top: Changing Perspective

These are no extraordinary plants. I often see them in most tropical gardens. Although they are pretty but most of the time they don't take the center stage. They are there just to fill the vacuum in the corner.

Before I decided to take the view from the top, I tried taking shots from different angles and positions. But nothing came as beautiful as this.

We see things differently when we change our perspectives. The usual becomes extraordinary. What is common and plain becomes a beauty.

Then, that made me think...... What we see down here is seen differently from above.

"Climb mountains to see lowlands." Chinese Proverbs

Photos by: RSM May 2009