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!

Bring The Rain

He was crying endlessly. His fever was so high and his antipyretic medicine doesn't seem to be working. Few days at the hospital and we haven't seen that much progress. My heart was crushed seeing my little baby suffer this much at such a young age. I began questioning every choice I have made in the last few months of being a parent. What did I do wrong? What have I failed to do? Maybe I have believed so much that my efforts to exclusively breastfeed my baby for almost 6 months would pay off and he would be exempted from ever getting sick. At times like these, I found that it's hard not to put the blame on myself as a Mom. As I watched my baby suffer, those self-condemning voices seemed to grow louder. In the midst of these voices, God gently whispered, "I am Sovereign. I decide what I want to allow to happen in your life, and it's always for your greater good." 

God was once again using this circumstance to teach me new lessons. And this is lesson number one: "Stop beating yourself up with self-condemnation when Baby Shiko's condition is not doing well... and stop "silently" claiming the glory when everything is going your way..."  He brought me to a point where I found myself just crying at His feet, helplessly begging Him to heal my baby. God was stripping off my pride and reminding me that Shiko's well being is all by His grace. All of my good intentions, my sleepless nights, my efforts to keep Baby Shiko healthy were good, but I should never forget that ultimately, my baby's life is in His hands.

Every blood extraction and IV line insertion was a huge challenge to the doctors and to Baby Shiko. There was an instance when he was poked almost ten times because they couldn't get a good vein in his tiny hands and feet. Shiko's eyes plead that he couldn't bear the needle pokes and the pain of his swollen neck anymore. He was shutting down, crying himself to sleep.

All of those was nothing compared to his pain during the incision and drainage procedure and biopsy. He was only on topical anesthesia because we didn't consent for him to be sedated. I have experienced assisting minor surgeries during my nursing days, but it was a different feeling when your child is the one going through the procedure. Watching him wailing and shouting in pain was almost unbearable to me. In the middle of the procedure, I asked myself why did I allow my baby to be in this table. Why can't I just take his place and let all of these pain be on me? He is only five months!

This is when lesson number two dawned upon me. God was teaching me, that as much as I love my baby, there will be sufferings in life that he will have to go through on his own. As he grows older, there will be more. I cannot shield him from pain, I can only hold his hand, and tell him that I love him and I will always be here. I can only pray for him and let him know, that no matter what happens, Jesus loves him and he'll make it through as he hold on tight to Him... I can only assure him that the suffering won't last forever, but at the end of it all, he shall come out stronger and braver. And my baby did. Such a strong child at such a young age. I'm so proud of him.

This experience gave me a glimpse of the heart of God. My baby experienced the pain of a scalpel incision because we willingly submitted him to the procedure for his own good. I can't imagine how painful it must have been for God the Father to see His only Son suffer the lashes, the thorns, the nails in the hands of unworthy sinners like us... yet, He willingly submitted Him to the Cross for the greater good of humanity. All because of Love.

We're now back home after two weeks at the hospital. Shiko is now doing well but still continuing his oral antibiotic for one more week. We couldn't be more grateful for everyone who prayed for him and our family throughout this journey. As always, God has once again proven His faithfulness. Times like these awaken us from slumber and bring us back closer to God. Indeed, He makes all things work together for good for those who love Him. And yes, if God needs to send us rain in order for us run towards Him again, in order for us learn what He wants us to learn, in order for us to know Him deeper, and to understand His heart.... then it's all good. The suffering is worth it.

🎶"Bring me joy, bring me peace. Bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that brings You glory. And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise You. Jesus bring the rain."🎶 - Mercy Me

Healing Is In Your Hands

It's been a heartbreaking day. As I write this, I am lying beside my 5-month old baby on a hospital bed. He's had a fever reaching 39.5 degrees during the last 3 days and has been on a round-the-clock dose of Paracetamol. My head spins with the doctors' explanations of possibities and yet still unclear diagnosis. All i know is that my baby is still so small to suffer these needle pricks, and to bear the pain of an abnormally swollen lymph node that these doctors could not explain. Shiko is already worn out of crying in pain, and hunger, and fear. His eyes plead, "Mommy, take me out of this pain!" ... But I couldn't do anything but hold his hand and tell him that "Mommy's here" ... I stayed close to him and still tried my best to calm him until I found myself singing :

🎶How high, how wide... No matter where I am... Healing is in Your hands. How deep, how strong. Now by Your grace, I stand. Healing is in Your hands. In all things, we know that, we are more than conquerors. You keep us by Your love.🎶

After hours of endless crying, Shiko miraculously closed his eyes and slept when I started singing this song. My tears flowed and I felt like falling into the arms of Jesus as I sang this song repeatedly. With every word, God's love started to fill me. I felt peace. Not because my circumstance has changed, but because I know that I am in the very presence of the God who loves me. The God who loves this child more than I do.

In my devotion today, the LORD spoke:

"When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him." - Matthew 8:14‭-‬15

"Hope does not come from belief in power; it comes from trust in a Person. When we don’t understand what Jesus is doing, we must seek to know Him more." -- #SheReadsTruth

Tonight, as I rest and try to sleep, I have decided to put my baby's healing in the hands of Jesus. I do not need to understand why He is allowing this to happen. I rest in knowing that He loves us, and because of that love, it is safe to trust Him.

Please pray for our family as we go through this season. May we experience the peace and presence of the Lord and may Baby Shiko heal according to His will.

Sweep Me Away

Last week, a friend of mine came to visit me. She is not just a very close friend, but a sister in Christ. We've shared lots of laughters and tears together, we prayed over our struggles and celebrated triumphs in our many years of walking with the Lord.

She was on fire as she was sharing to me her breakthroughs and how God has been leading her to a new season of her life. I wept as she shared to me how the Lord clearly speaks to her through His Word during her quiet moments with Him and how He keeps on blowing Him away with His presence moment by moment. I was so blessed by her stories that I couldn't help but weep. I wept because I was so happy for her.... I wept because I miss the Lord.

I entered this new season of motherhood and my life has changed. I am happy taking care of my baby, but I haven't been spending time with God like I used to. Lately, I've been sensing this feeling of emptiness. I've been longing for more of God, but I kept on ignoring His gentle nudge and instead, I kept myself busy with other stuffs, wasting too many hours on social media and reading articles on the internet. I neglected my time with Him until somehow I got used to it and can't seem to find my way back anymore. I miss my Lord. I miss hearing Him so loudly. I miss bursting in tears as His presence overwhelms me.

Tonight, as I was listening to the song "Sweep Me Away" by Kari Jobe, finally, I felt the presence of God once again.This is His message to me:

My Precious Misce,

Do you still remember those days when you were still young in your relationship with me? When you were just starting to fall in love with me? Recall those days when you were alone in your room, and you always look forward to spending those afternoons sitting at my feet with your pen and notebook, ready to write everything You hear from Me. How you burst in tears as you learn new things about me, and as I sweep you away with my love.... nothing else mattered, but only My love for you... even in the midst of your longings and unfulfilled dreams, you were satisfied because you have me and you were so filled with My love. I miss you my daughter... and I know that you miss me too... but you are not able to hear or feel my presence like before... because my daughter, I don't compete... you won't hear or feel me like before until I become the only desire of your heart once again...  I want your heart to be completely mine again, just like those days when you were still young in your faith in Me. 

No matter where you go, and how far you try to wander away from me, I am just here. I never left and would never leave our secret meeting place. You know where to find me. Look at you... you've come a long way... and as I see you holding your precious Shiko in your arms, I want you to know that I'm proud of you... of how you have been mothering him... I'm proud of who you have become... 

Remember how I promised to guide you through the unknown roads? How I promised to set you free from your fears as you trust in me? It's been a great journey, isn't it? ... Now, return to me because I have more in store for you... you've been trying to wander away from me for too long... I love you, and I can't let you. Nothing's changed. You are still my precious princess, whom I have loved with an everlasting love. I'm always waiting.

- God

The Blessing in the Waiting

I suck at waiting. I hate falling in line for bank transactions, I hate falling in line in mall comfort rooms, I just hate long lines and being put on queue. I love fast food, I love instant noodles, and I love vendo machines. I always find ways to rush and get things done right away. That was me, impatient and impulsive.

In 2010, I met a guy who was far more impatient than I was. We decided to get married only 2 months after getting to know each other. We've suffered the consequences and missed out so many things because of our rush decisions. But God, (I love those two words!) He loves us so much, and little did we know that He was about to teach us a lesson that we will never forget.

After we got married in 2010, we longed to have children. Actually, I longed for it more than Mike did. Maybe it was because of feeling pressured whenever relatives or friends ask us when we plan to have kids. The longing (and the pressure) just got stronger and stronger as years passed by without a positive pregnancy test result.

In 2012, i finally got pregnant. We thought that was it, but nine weeks later, I miscarried. A month later, we found out that I had an auto-immune disease which would cause a lot of complications in case I am going to get pregnant again.

That was a very hard season for me. I cried out to God and honestly poured out all my confusion, fear, and helplessness to Him. Few months later, my husband told me that he wanted me to stay home and leave the role of providing financially to him so I won't get stressed and I can prepare my body for future pregnancy.

My pride could not accept that I would ever fully depend on my husband for provision. I've always been an achiever. I have a degree, and I was determined to build a career and prove to the world what I can do. Being a stay-at-home wife was never the kind of life that I dreamed for myself. It was very hard for me to let go of my own plans, but I knew very well that this was God's will for me as He confirmed it so many times during my quiet moments with Him. Eventually, I obeyed.

I obeyed even though I was like a child kicking and tossing myself on the floor. I obeyed with eyes filled with tears. I obeyed even when I was sinking in self-pity as I asked God, "What now? I have no career and I have no children. What would other people say about me?"

I never expected that my life was going to drastically change because of that simple act of (heavy hearted) obedience. During those months of being home alone, I had all the time in the world to read and study the Bible. I found myself kneeling in worship, in awe as He started opening my eyes for who He really is. The more I read His Word, the more I got to know Him and His mind blowing love for a sinner like me. In my waiting season, God taught me to fall so deeply in love with Him.

Even when I was enjoying my relationship
with God, the waiting season still hurt. I was hurt year after year as I watched our relatives' children run around and excitedly open their gifts during Christmas Day. I was hurt whenever we passed by the childrens' section of the department store. I was hurt by the insensitive jokes and unsolicited advices of people who mean well but have no idea of how it feels like to be in my shoes. I was hurt with every negative PT result and everytime my period begins. I was hurt whenever I read new baby announcements in facebook and new baby shower invitations. I wanted to be happy for my friends and relatives, but their fruitfulness only magnified my own emptiness and longing. I never doubted God's power and ability to give us a child, and what hurts the most is that He was choosing not to. "Why, God? Why are you being generous to everyone else but not to me?" This was my honest cry to Him.

He never answered my "Why" questions, but He once again revealed Himself to me through His Word:

"For the LORD God is our sun and our shield... The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right." - Psalm 84:11

God lights my path and protects me. He is not a withholder of blessings. If He doesn't give it to me, it means that it is not good for me (yet). I've held on to this verse eversince and it never failed to comfort me. In my waiting season, God taught me to stand upon His promises, and to not judge Him based on my circumstances, but based on who He is as revealed in His Word. In my waiting season, I found a place where God meets me to heal my broken heart.

There was one instance when one of my cousins gave birth to a cute baby girl. For the first time, I had the courage to sincerely congratulate someone for having a baby. As my cousin was telling me how happy she was for having a new baby, I heard a gentle whisper from God in the quietness of my heart, "You have me." His voice in my head was so loud, I couldn't help but cry.

In my waiting season, I found my contentment and joy in Jesus alone. I realized that He allowed me to be empty handed... no career, no children, so that I'll never have anything or anyone else to boast about, except Him, and what He has done in my life. He was all that I have, and I found out that He alone was enough.

I learned to be happy for others because He secured me that He has His own great plan and future prepared for me. I never have to compare myself to anyone because God taught me that my worth as a woman does not lie on my achievements, or worldly success or even in having children or not. Only God who created me has the right to define me...  And His Word says that I am His precious princess, loved with an everlasting love. I don't need to prove anything in order to gain my worth, there's nothing I can do that could make Him love me more or less. In my waiting season, I found out who I really am, and I never felt so free.

Throughout my journey, God gave me the passion to reach out to other women and share with them these things that I am learning about Him. I want them to also experience this joy and freedom that I found in my relationship with Him. He called me to disciple a group of single women, and as I see them growing in their relationship with God, and leading other women to Jesus too, I felt a sense of fulfillment that I've never felt before. In my waiting season, God revealed His purpose in my life. And that is to point people to Christ. He changed the desires of my heart and aligned them to His will. He taught me to dream bigger dreams. Dreams that will outlast my short life on earth. Dreams that will impact eternity.

Almost seven years later, and I am now finally holding our precious Baby Shiko in my arms. God answered my prayer, in His time, His way. But I'll never trade any single moment during those six years when I was most of the time alone in my room, alone with Him. My waiting years were not wasted years. My waiting years, looked like a season of drought and emptiness on the outside, but it turned out to be the most fruitful season of my life. In my season of waiting, God gave me more than what I have been praying and waiting for. God gave me HIMSELF... And He is the ultimate blessing in my season of waiting.

Keeping My Baby Close To My Heart

I never planned of babywearing when I got pregnant with Baby Shiko. I wasn't familiar and educated about it. I see people using baby carriers but I never knew that there are a lot of benefits from it aside from the convenience when we need to bring our baby with us somewhere. A friend of mine introduced me to a Facebook group named Babywearing Philippines. I got curious and started reading about it and I found out that the principles behind it all makes perfect sense. The benefits of baby wearing are also supported with scientific research and proven studies. Of course I cannot write everything in this post, and I know there's  a lot of questions (and superstitious beliefs, and myths about raising a child), and this blog post is not written to persuade anyone, but for me to just share my baby wearing experience. If you are interested, I encourage you to research and read about it on your own. I am sure you will also be amazed with the facts. Babywearing International is a good place to start.

I was in high school when my mom brought home a baby monkey from the mountains of Mindoro. We named him Robin. He was so cute and was very small. His bskin appeared bluish in color because his hair hasn't grown yet. I did not know the whole story as to what happened to his mother, but poor little Robin was only a few weeks old when he became a part of our family. I imagine how anxious he must be to be separated from his mother so early in his life. During his first few days with us, he would attach himself to my leg (or to anyone's leg that's available) and would hysterically cry when we try to detach him. He would also not sleep at night, and we would hear his heartbreaking cry of loneliness and fear, unless my brother cuddles him in his arms. We figured out, that in order for him to survive in this world that is so new, and so wide, and so complicated for him, feeding alone is not enough. He needed to feel secure, safe, warm, and loved.

I share this, because this came to mind when I started to understand how important it is for my Baby Shiko to always feel close to me. I find it funny that I needed to use our pet monkey as an example, but I realized that both baby animals and humans have similar needs. The first few days of Baby Shiko at home was chaotic as he would always want to latch on to me, and would always cry whenever I put him down. Well-meaning friends and relatives advised us to just let him cry so he'll get used to not being cradled and it will be more convenient for us in the long run. I did want convenience of course, especially that I was still recovering from the pain of my CS Operation, but my mother's instinct always told me to pick him up whenever he cries. To embrace him, to rub his back, to comfort him and to let him latch on for as long as he wanted to. It dawned upon me, that indeed, my baby not only needs to be fed, or to be diaper changed, he needs to feel secure, safe, warm, and loved because this world is so new, so different, so wide, and so complicated for him.

Shiko was only 6-week-old when I started wearing him using a Ring Sling. I bought our slings from an online shop named Shadrach's Collection. They have beautiful designs to choose from, and I am proud to say that they are all locally handwoven. I've already purchased two slings from Shadrach's, the first one is Lime, and my most recent purchase is the Goddess of Beauty. Shiko is now more than 7 kilos and I can attest to their quality and comfort. Mommy Jen, the owner of the shop is also very friendly, accommodating, and supportive to answer the questions of first time baby wearers like me. I highly recommend her shop if you are looking for budget friendly slings and wraps with good quality.

Shiko just turned four months and so far we're loving it! I don't only wear Shiko when we go out, I also wear him at home. I am able to get some light chores done, and I am also able to do some graphic designing and video projects. As I am writing this, Shiko has already been sleeping on my ring sling for almost 3 hours. There are times when he would even sleep in it for four hours straight (he'll wake up only because he's hungry). More than having both of my hands back, my favorite benefit of baby wearing is feeling intimately close to my baby. I noticed that he would at first feel anxious when we bring him out to church or to the mall because there are so many things happening around him that are so unfamiliar to him, but because he is closely attached to me, I can sense that it makes him feel secure that he can hide his face in my chest whenever he wants. This reduces the possibility of him being overstimulated. I love that he gets to explore his Mommy and Daddy's world without feeling overwhelmed or afraid. He knows that he is safe and close to Mommy's heart. 

Shiko also started having regular, long, good night sleep when we started baby wearing. He's been sleeping for 12-15 hours every night since he was 6-week old. He would latch on while sleeping when he's hungry, and would seldom wake up when I change his nappy. I've read that researches found out that baby wearing for three hours a day reduces infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours. We can attest to this fact! Maybe they cry less at night because they're no longer seeking for reassurance because his need to feel secured has already been provided throughout the day. Being often on skin-to-skin contact with our babies also increases the milk production of our bodies,  so yes, I also give some credit to babywearing for our four months of exclusive breastfeeding journey.

Overall, Babywearing has been a blessing to our family. Every mother wants what is best for their children, and I am thankful that God brought people in my life to help me learn and discover these things. I hope this blog post also encouraged you the way I was encouraged by other Moms who has been doing this for many years. Happy Babywearing! :) 

My first time to babywear.
Shiko at 6 weeks.

Baby Shiko's first worship service at CCF.

Ringsling: Lime by Shadrach's Collection

He loves being worn!

Close enough to kiss! 💋

Ringsling: Goddess of Beauty by Shadrach's Collection

Keeping my Baby close to my heart while working some graphic design and video projects.

Sleeping soundly at Church.

Rare moments when he is awake while I'm wearing him.  Our ringslings come with a lot of sleepy dusts!

Sleeping Shiko during Bible Study Sessions.

Dear Baby Shiko

As I am writing this, you are already sleeping soundly on my chest. Yes, it's been almost four months, and you still wouldn't sleep anywhere else but on my chest, feeling the warmth of my skin, and hearing the beat of my heart, while your chubby arms are wrapped around my body.

It's been another beautiful day with you. I woke up with your cute little eyes staring at me. My heart melted as you greeted me with the sweetest smile first thing in the morning. We read about Joshua and the Walls of Jericho during our Bible reading time. I love how you respond with your babbles and coos everytime I flip the pages of your Picture Bible, as if you are understanding what we are reading. I read Psalm 91, and sang my prayers over you. That has been our morning routine for the last 4 months.

And the day went on just like most of the other days... with lots of latching, and playing, and laughing, and crying, and carrying, and rocking, and singing, and pooping, and diaper changing... and latching again... and the cycle goes on and on until you get tired and sleepy and find your home back on my chest again.

Sometimes you would fall asleep as early as 6pm and I have no other choice but to lie down with you whether I am sleepy too or not. And all I have is my phone on my hand in this dark, cold room. I would read, research, and study about anything to make sure I give and do what's best for you.... as if being a good mother could really be learned through the world wide web.

Sometimes I get upset with myself too. When I can't seem to understand what you need. When you are crying and I can't figure out why.... and I feel afraid that you might be hurting somewhere, and if I could just transfer that pain to me.. I would. But I can't, so all I can do is comfort you with my embrace, while rubbing your back and whispering a gentle hush. My heart breaks everytime.

Forgive me baby, when I'm trying to be the best mom for you, but still, I fail.... I fail at consistently keeping your nails short, I sometimes miss out waking up at night to change your diaper, and at times, I am unable to pacify you when you are already too exhausted and too tired of crying. I fail, and I know that I will still continue to fail from time to time as you grow up, but I'll never stop trying. I'll never stop reminding myself that my failures as your Mom don't define me. My worth and identity is still, only defined by how Jesus sees me -- His precious daughter.

Thank you Baby. Thank you, because your every smile, every giggle, every burp, every blank stare, every weight gain, every healthy Pedia visit, every unli latch, every long hours of uninterrupted sleep... they tell me that somehow I am doing something right, something purposeful. Thank you because you have no idea how God is using you to grow me up into the woman He desires me to be. Thank you because I never knew that this kind of love ever exists, until you came.

Mommy 💖

The Year of the Fight (Wrapping Up 2016)

I know this post is already long overdue, but I couldn't officially start my 2017 without wrapping up 2016. I create a year end video every year because I am a life documenter, and I always love looking back to these videos year after year tracing the hand of God in every season of our lives. This time, it took me quite a while to finish it, because unlike the previous years, I now have to find the time to sit on my laptop in between breastfeeding, diaper changing, and rocking my little Shiko to sleep. Finally finishing this video means that I am starting to get a hold of my new season as a Mom! Yay! :)

My one word for 2016 was FIGHT. I was intimidated when the LORD impressed this word upon my heart last year. Looking back, it all makes sense why for many years, God has been teaching me what it means to believe and stand upon His Word, His promises. I  embraced my one word, and asked Mike to be with me in this journey. Together, we have decided that 2016 will be the year when we will both "FIGHT the good fight of faith." (1 Timothy 6:12), and claim the promises that God has given us.

In the book Believing God by Beth Moore, she mentioned that if you are a follower of Jesus, and you are not experiencing the "Promised Land" life, then it is possible that the enemy is occupying that territory, and you need to fight in prayer and faith to conquer what God has declared to be yours already. At the beginning of 2016, I posted this on my prayer wall as a reminder to me every time my faith is shaking and I'm loosing my passion to pray. It never fails to empower me to go back to the battlefield with my Shield of Faith on one hand, and Sword of the Spirit (God's Word) on the other.

It was indeed the year of the fight for us. The battle between faith versus fear, faith versus doubt, and faith versus unbelief. In the end, I realized that my job in the fight is to believe and stand upon God's promises. The rest is up to God. Ultimately, He is the One fighting for us. Our 2016 ended with a piece of our Promised Land conquered in faith. There is still a huge land yet to be conquered, and our fight doesn't end in 2016, we will continue believing, we will continue praying, we will continue fighting in Jesus Name until every promise of the LORD to us is fulfilled.

Our sincerest gratitude to everyone who fought the battle with us in 2016! 
Excited to share our 2017 journey with you all! 
Enjoy watching! All the glory belongs to Jesus alone!