Always Loved (My 31st Birthday)

I was staring at the clouds while I was holding baby shiko in my arms yesterday morning. I felt amazed at the thought that even when I was still a little baby girl, as little as my baby shiko right now, God has already written this day on His book -- the day when I will be turning 31 years of age.

I imagined God staring back at me while I was whispering a silent prayer in my heart, "Lord, thank you." I have no other words to say... I looked back to those years in my life when I have made a lot of wrong choices and wasted so much time.. those years when I thought I knew Him, but I never really had a reverent fear of Him... those years when I was still in the height of my sinful life (and it wasn't that long ago) ... I looked back, and I just felt so small, sinking in the deep ocean of His grace. His love that allowed me to live this life that I do not deserve. I have no other words but "Thanks".

Few minutes later, while I was changing Shiko's diaper, a guy knocked on our door to deliver a boquet of red roses. I got surprised since my husband is not really fond of giving flowers, but I knew that this was God's way of making me feel special on my birthday. I wept a bit, because I haven't been that faithful in spending time with Him lately, but even in my unfaithfulness, He made sure to remind me that I am His Precious Princess, and His love for me never fails.

Tonight, I am documenting the many ways that God made me feel His love on my 31st bday:

 Pre-Birthday Photoshoot! - When I was still single, my photographer friend would always invite me for a photoshoot as her birthday gift to me. It's always been fun, and I treasure those beautiful portraits that she created for me. Last week, I and Shiko were invited to model for a product catalogue shoot for a babywearing brand. It wasn't a coincidence that the shoot was scheduled a week before my birthday, and this time, the shoot was even more special because baby shiko was with me!

Video Testimonial Shoot -  I thought that we wouldn't be able to make it because we were scheduled to come with Mike for an out of towm business trip, but God made a way by allowing Shiko to get sick 2 days before our trip. Our entire plan was messed up, and we ended up being at the studio on a Sunday afternoon, sharing the faithfulness of God through Baby Shiko's story. I dreamed of this day during my years of waiting to have a baby! I told myself that one day, I will be sharing our own rainbow baby story, and God will be glorified! Indeed, God's plan always prevails!

A rainbow ringsling gift from mommy jen

Bannofee Pie by Auntie Ninang

Shiko's First Lunch Buffet at NIU

Spending Time with family

It's been such a beautiful day. I am grateful for my husband, baby shiko, my family and friends who remembered to greet me in person and online. As I enter another year of my life, I couldn't ask God for anything more, I am happy, content, and at peace. In my prayer, I asked God, to not allow the blessings that I am enjoying right now to lead my heart away from Him. I also pray for God to continue leading me to the great plan and purpose that He has prepared for my life. I believe and I stand upon His promise that no eyes has seen, no ears has heard what he has plan for those who love Him! So excited for another year of adventure with the LORD!:)

Dear Shiko, Thank You For Teaching Me To Laugh

Dear Baby Shiko,

It's been another wonderful day with you. Your enthusiasm amuses me everyday. I admire your determination in mastering your new milestone of standing up. You stand up, you fall. And you just keep on standing back up again and again. You explore your little world crawling at the edge of the bed and trying to get whatever is within your reach. You smile and you laugh whenever you discover something new. And those smiles, those laughters, they fill my heart with so much joy!

Thank you for making me understand the heart of God deeper. Last week, as I was crying to Him and telling Him my burdens and struggles during my morning quiet time, He spoke to me through His Word:

"She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future."
- Proverbs 31:25

At that time it wasn't that clear to me why God would ask me to "laugh" in the midst of the heartache that I was pouring out to Him. But during these last few days, everything is starting  to make sense.

Smile Baby Shiko, and laugh all you want. That's all I want to see in you. You don't have to worry, you don't have to fear because I will take care of you. I will feed you and provide your needs. I will not withhold any good thing from you, but I will take away anything that will cause you harm. So I am sorry, but I will not let you eat the remote control, the lotion and the liquid powder, I'll keep on taking it away from you even if you cry over it again and again.

I'll never take my eyes off of you.  I will watch over you. No, I will never let you fall off the bed. I will put piles of pillows as your barricades, and when you try to climb over the pillows and cross your bounderies, I will call you to return to me, and if you don't heed my call, I will get you, I will bring you back beside me... because the safest place for you to be, is to always be close to me. I will never get tired of helping you stand back up again and again whenever you fall. I will guide you, and teach you every step of the way. I delight in seeing you grow and learn! You make me proud even with your slightest accomplishment. I would love to bring you to places that you've never been! I want to dream with you and I'll do everything I can to help you reach your dreams. I want what's best for you because you are my son and I am your mother. So just laugh my baby... because there is no reason to fear, all you need is to trust me.

Thank you for teaching me what a child-like faith truly means. Thank you because I am now starting to understand that this kind of love that I have towards you could not even be compared to the unfailing love that God has for His children. He cannot not provide, He cannot not protect, He cannot let me go... simply because I am His daughter, and He is my Father. and it pleases Him the most when His children trust Him, when His children take refuge in Him. His heart overflows with joy when His children laugh... Laugh without worry of the present, laugh without fear of the future. 

Thank you for living up to your name my baby Isaac... my precious laughter. God's forever remider of His faithfulness. Dear Baby Shiko, thank you for teaching me to laugh! 


Shiko's First Letter to Daddy

Yesterday, our Couples' Discipleship Group had an advance Father's Day celebration. We were asked to prepare a surprise message for the Dads/Husbands of our families. Sharing with you Shiko's letter to Mike which we read to him during the event. (Of course I was the one who actually wrote it, but this is based on what I've observed between their relationship as Father and Son). =)

Dear Daddy,

Thank you for sun bathing with me in the morning. Thank you for cleaning my high chair after my messy meals. Thank you for the everyday ba-bath. Thank you for the play time and the tickles. Thank you for not getting tired of singing "White Christmas" and for always letting me sleep in your chest. Thank you for cooking so mommy will have milk to feed me. Thank you for labada my little clothes. 

Thank you for working hard so you can buy my diaper and other needs. Thank you for the extra minutes of yakap kahit need mo na umalis for work. Thank you for always choosing to be with me and mommy as much as you can.

I look at you when you raise your hands and shout everytime the Golden State Warriors wins... I look at you when you raise your hands, and cry out to Jesus every Sunday morning. You might not always notice, but even if I am still a baby, I am already looking up at you.

Daddy, thank you for being strong during the hard times, and thank you for choosing to grow so you can be a good role model for me. Daddy, whatever the world tells you, please remember that for me and Mommy, YOU ARE THE BEST! 

I'm excited to have more adventures with you when I grow up.. 
I know that you will also teach me to love Jesus the way you do. 

I love you and I thank God that you are my Daddy! 

Baby Shiko

Mike wept a bit :)
Our Couples Dgroup in CCF
It was also heart-warming to hear other families' tribute messages to their Dads. Indeed, these Fathers deserve such appreciation for all their hard work to lead, love, and provide for their families despite the challenges that they face everyday. So thankful for family events like these! 

Advance HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the great and amazing Dads out there!