Shiko's First Birthday & Dedication

Contrary to what many people might have understood, Child Dedication is not the same as Baptism or Christening. For Born Again Christians like us, baptism is a public declaration of our decision to commit to follow Jesus for the rest of our lives, with the clear understanding that our old self has been crucified with Christ, and that a new life has been given to us when we received Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Obviously, this is something that a little child (or a baby) could not yet decide on, that is why we do this when a person already has a conscious mind and a free will to make such life changing decision.

Child dedication on the other hand, is our commitment to God as parents that our child will be "set apart" for God's purposes alone. It is a vow to raise baby Shiko with the knowledge and awareness of God's love for him,  and to train him to walk in the commandments and ways of the Lord, not out of duty, obligation, or religion, but out of his genuine love for God. 

The Bible says, that God honors our promises to Him: 

“When you make a vow to the Lord your God, be prompt in fulfilling whatever you promised him. For the Lord your God demands that you promptly fulfill all your vows, or you will be guilty of sin. However, it is not a sin to refrain from making a vow. But once you have voluntarily made a vow, be careful to fulfill your promise to the Lord your God." - Deuteronomy 23:21‭-‬23 NLT

Dedicating a child to God is not just a ceremony that we do for the purpose of ritual or tradition, just like our wedding vows, it bears so much weight, because this is a commitment that we are declaring in front of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. It is a ceremony which should be taken seriously.

Long before I conceived Shiko, I already dedicated him to the Lord. Years ago, like Hannah in the Bible, I onced prayed to God, that if He would ever grant us a child, I am dedicating him/her to His purposes alone. When I got pregnant and when Shiko was born, Mike and I renewed our promise to God as we prayed our prayer of thanksgiving.

Last November 4, Mike and I decided to publicly dedicate Shiko in time for his 1st birthday. As Pastor Bong Saquing mentioned during the ceremony, publicly dedicating Shiko means that we are giving authority to the witnesses (our families and friends who were invited during the event), to rebuke, correct, and remind us should we fail or stumble in keeping our promise to God. What struck me the most in his message was his reminder that "Shiko belongs to Jesus", we do not own him. It is our humble privilege for God to entrust him to us and to be used by him to prepare Shiko for God's plsnd and purposes for his life. No matter what, we should allow God to do whatever He wants to do in his life. He has given, and He has the right to take him away from us. Whatever He decides to do to Shiko's life, we must continue to fix our eyes on Jesus. That last part  is a reality that's not easy for any parent to accept, but dedicating our child to God, means that we are totally surrendering every detail of his life to God's will.

It was a simple yet a memorable occassion. We took the opportunity to share our testimony including every detail of our struggles during the waiting season, and how we experienced the faithfulness of God through it all. We sang and spoke our declaration of blessing to Shiko's life. We are thankful to our family and friends who took the effort to join us in that day of thanksgiving and celebration. Our words could never be enough to give God the glory that He deserves for everything that He has done in our lives! To HIM alone be all the Honor, Glory, and Praise! :)

Here's the video of the highlights of the event:

Shiko's DIY Cake Smash Shoot

Two months ago, in preparation for Shiko's 1st Birthday and Dedication, I planned to use a cake smash photo for his poster invitation. Husband and I didn't want to spend money for a professional photoshoot so we decided that we were going to DIY this project.

Our family volunteered to help us make this project possible. My sister-in-law offered to bake Shiko's smash cake. I really appreciate her effort since she had to research and test recipes with ingredients that were approved by our pedia. Since Shiko was only 10mos and 3weeks at the time of our shoot, the cake should be non-dairy, and with no egg, and sugar. I chose a rainbow dripping cake design to compliment Shiko's party theme, and my sister-in-law was able to pull it off. Shiko's smash cake was already baked and ready a day before the shoot.

At almost 12 midnight, my SIL, sent me a viber message telling me that there was an ingredient that we forgot to consult with Shiko's pedia -- the food coloring! Since both of us were not at ease to let Shiko eat the food coloring, we needed a last minute change of plan. We decided to use fruit toppings instead of the food colored frosting.

She woke up early the following morning to bake a new base cake, while my husband together with my mother and brother in law went to the grocery to buy some fruits. She gave me a new cake with a plain white frosting, and allowed me to design the fruit toppings. We tried to still follow the rainbow colors so we used watermelon (since there was no strawberries available), kiwi, and mango. I wasn't able to include the bananas because of lack of space. :)

The cake was ready! But we had to wait for my others sisters in law who were going to do the background set up. It was already past 3pm and it looked like it was going to rain so I was worried that we wouldn't be able to maximize the natural lighting from our window. My cousin who brought the DSLR camera that we were going to use was also with them.

When they finally arrived, we had to rush with the set up. They pumped the balloons, and arranged the lanterns that my mom bought from divisoria. We also created a diy reflector using aluminum foil. When we were all set and ready, I had to play around with the setting of the DSLR camera to find out which one will work. I am not a professional camera user so it took a while for me to find the best setting. I tried taking pictures using my husband's phone too, and it also worked well, but of course, the shutter speed of the DSLR camera was more reliable.

At last! Baby Shiko was ready to devour  his cake! :) His first pick was an easy choice -- watermelon! He enjoyed eating the fruits first before he realized that the frosting was also edible! Later on, he ate chunks of the cake too! Since he is a BLW baby, he knows just the right size that he can handle. He would sometimes bite a huge chunk and spit it out, then bite a smaller one instead. I'm so proud of him!

All of us enjoyed the session! It was so fun watching him enjoy playing and eating his cake! The mess was all worth it! Shiko went straight to his mini bath tub after the shoot. Husband took charge of the after care.

 It was indeed a memorable milestone in Baby Shiko's life! I can't believe he is turning one year old in less than a month! Here are some of the output from the shoot (edited via Photoshop and Photo Director):





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!:)