All About Life, Marriage, Parenting, Homeschooling as we walk our lives with Jesus

Friday, November 11, 2016

On 4:18 AM by A Bucket of Grace   No comments
We planned about having an annual family fun day but the Lord impressed it in our hearts to have a Family retreat at the same time.

We wanted to know how our children are experiencing God in their lives, how deep is their relationship with Him and how we can be more intentional in passing on a godly legacy.

We praise God for allowing us to learn more about parenting with the past few retreats and workshops we have been to. God allowed us to create our own Noble Family Vision and one of these is for our children to Love the Lord with all their hearts.

However we cannot pass on our faith alone. We need to connect their hearts to the Lord. Faith is experiential. They may know the Lord from their minds and not from their hearts.

It's all about nurturing ghe heart of our children.

"Seek first Hist kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you"- Matthew 6:33

The purpose of the retreat is like a starting point for our children to experience God's sovereignity and allow them to feel the Lord's presence moment by moment and we wanted to plant the seed of gratefulness and thankfulness in our children's heart.

Hotel Kimberly, one of our favorite hotels in Tagaytay is having a month long celebration of Thanksgiving. It was so timely with our retreat's theme.

We started with some family activities like Kite flying...I love this moment. Watching all of them playing together, seeing all of their smiles and laughter. I praise God for the time,
sometimes it is difficult to go back with these old ways when we live in a world full of gadgets.

We also allowed our kids to play and run around while waiting for the availability of our room.

I remembered few years back how we were so active in joining halloween costume contest. Our children were always looking forward to this event. Most often than not their mummy costume will always be a hit and they would win the grand prize. We wanted to change our children's heart and replace this tradition with something that is glorifying to the Lord.

The same weekend when we are about to start our 3rd decade in our marriage we opted to have our family retreat and an annual family fun day.

After their kite flying we allowed them to have a rest and enjoy the place before we started with our first activity.

We started with singing worship songs Sean and Simone happily danced while singing.

We also discussed our schedule for the entire stay. This is to give them an overview what to expect and what we will be doing together as a family.

Aside from this we set our rules:

1. No gadgets
2. No cellphones
3. Be prepared to share and Be Honest
4. Be cooperative
5. Have an open heart

We read Psalm 105 and rekindled God's goodness. How faithful God was to the Israelites was the same faithfulness He is giving us. Despite of our sinfulness, failure, and unlikely attitude He never changed.

The venue was close to nature and gave us a closer feeling of God's presence. I prepared a journal for the entire family.

I was blessed to download this Thankful Journal from It was what we needed at the right time.

I know my boys are not a fan of writing too much however keeping a record of how you feel is like pouring your hearts into something.

I remembered how Rick Warren wrote it in his book A Purpose Driven Life.

Writing helps clarify what God is doing in your life. Dawson Trotman used to say, "Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through your fingertips." The Bible has several examples of God telling people to keep a spiritual journal. It says, "At the LORD'S direction, Moses kept a written record of their progress.

We started pouring our thoughts on thanking the Lord for who He is.

"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." - Ephesians 5:20

Then Arnel and I started asking our children their view of our family. Are we walking in spirit? What needs to improve on? How can we improve as parents?

My 2 sons Ivan and Kyle were able to share their thoughts which gave us opportunities to know what can we do to be better.

While they were sharing we kept quiet and just listened. We tried to absorb and understand their feelings.

We closed with a prayer.

Part of the schedule were activities from the hotel that the kids participated with.

Pizza Making

Cupcake Decorating

Scavenger Hunt for Arnel and Kyle (Dad and son activity). They enjoyed this very much and they won!

This was their wacky picture entry :)

There was a bonfire too but we were not able to join it anymore.

And there was this beautiful sunset.

Then they had an early night sleep after eating their dinner. Arnel and I went down for our Dinner date while watching a movie under the moonlight.

During our dinner time we talked about the Lord and our family and what actions we can do next.

The following day we continued with our Bible Reading in Psalm 106 and talked about God's goodness.

We explained what Grace is. How God blessed us with a lot of things that we do not deserve. I was teary eyed while it was my turn to share. I can feel how unfaithful I am to our faithful God. But at the same time grateful for His unconditional love, so many times I have failed Him but He remains gracious and merciful.

We were blessed to smell the morning fresh air while having breakfast.

We praise God for his mercies are new each morning. Each day is a gift and a blessing. How we live each day is a matter of choice.

Having a conversation with my loving husband about God and our family are one of the things I am grateful for. Sometimes we reminisce and we have never thought time will come that we will always sit down and talk about the Lord. God brought us in this stage of our marriage and we are fully thankful. That is why I believe in God's grace because without it we will not experience this joyful and intimate moment.

God's work is really marvelous. During our stay God allowed our paths to crossed. We were able to spend time on our 21st anniversary with Arnel's cousin who introduced us. Praising God for this time.

Our last activity was to give out our thankful card for family members and hotel employees that we want to thank for their unique service.

We want to model to our children how to have an attitude of gratitude.

One thing I love about the hotel is we can see smiles everywhere and hospitality is genuine.

We want to encourage our children to learn and practice thanking workers in places we are visiting. Giving them small tokens because we want them to have a giving heart.

Training shapes the Habits - Clay Clarkson

"Even a child is known by his action, by whether his conduct is pure and right" - Proverbs 20:11

This is Kuya Alex - whenever we go and visit the hotel farm he would always go out of his way to explain new additions in the farm. He would also tour our kids. I admire his service and kind heart.

He is our all time favorite, Kuya Chito whose smile is endless. We always want to thank him for his excellent service and hospitality. You would feel that his service is from his heart. His service is one of a kind.

Don is a super employee. He hosts the program in the afternoon and he serves as a chef in the evening. What I admire about him is his beautiful and warm smile that is unlimited. You would not see that he gets tired despite of his busy day.

Praising God for their lives and thanking the Lord for their faithfulness in their job and the kind hearted service they have given us.

It was really a blessing that you get to experience a family event in such a beautiful place close to nature.

The kids enjoyed feeding the animals plus we learned a lot from their edible farm.

It was a first for us having a retreat as a family and we plan to do this as often as we can, it helps us to determine what level of relationship they have with our Lord, how deep is their love for Jesus and assessed ourselves as parents.

We will continue with our thankful journal for the entire month, adding entries each week as a family.

Part of this is our gratitude tree that we will also make to be thankful each day, it is a way in adding our daily thoughts of God's faithfulness.

Our family is still a work in progress but by God's grace we want to build positive memory banks in our children's lives and at the same time we wanted to create a family tradition that will nurture our children's hearts and will be glorifying to the Lord. Our prayer is for our children to carry this tradition once they have a family of their own.

Leaving a godly legacy for God's purposes.

Whatever goals we set for our children, we must also set for ourselves. Whatever we want to be on our children's hearts must be first on ours. We are the whetting stone of the hearts of our chidren -Clay Clarkson

All Praise and Glory to God!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

On 10:47 PM by A Bucket of Grace   No comments
"O Lord , what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures."
Psalms 104:24 NLT

The more we come close to nature, the more we experience how great our God is.

We were blessed to have a family trip in Tagaytay.

Our first view of God's creation is the Taal Volcano. Though Kyle studied volcanoes before, this one is different. A volcano in a lake and a lake in a volcano. We also rekindled the time when we had our horse back riding going up the volcano few years back. The lake ride was challenging. On our way up, we can see smoke coming out of the ground. But once you reached the top of the volcano, the view was spectacular. It was a basked of a pristine landscape.

Seeing this would reveal how all powerful our God is.

The following day we went on with our Nature walk we were accompanied by a cool breeze and God's loving heart. God is so close. Each view and the breath of the wind was His, we looked up the sky and felt His presence. A fruitful time to spend with our children.

We are studying Flowers and we were amazed on how God designed each bee, moth, and butterflies to do this. When we studied about the creation confirmation with flowers we were also amazed on how God had planned and thought about everything. Even flowers obey their design to make seeds. It is their God given purpose in life.

We dissected a flower and doing it in reality made my son Kyle understand it better.

This study allowed my children to be curious and appreciative of God's creation.

Finding something extraordinary out of the ordinary.

It is the first time for us to see a Passion Fruit. The farm keeper Kuya Alex was kind enough to give us a piece which we opened and tasted. We also researched more about this fruit. We loved the aroma that came out when we cut it. It tasted like guava and juice can be made using the seeds. Kyle liked the sweet and sour taste.

I used a printable from Pinterest to record our observations

We saw a gumamela plant and we looked at the pollens and the stamen. Kyle remembered the parts of a flower which made us easier to examine the plant. But more than this we appreciated the beauty of it.

The santan flower was one of the things Kyle was looking forward to. His Dad and I have been sharing stories how we sipped the nectar from this flower when we were kids. When we saw one he tried it and loved the sweet taste. He understood it better why bees are attracted to these. How animals are connected to the plants and thru this we get to enjoy God's wonderful creation.

For this trip we chose a place where we can learn at the same time. An interesting place from Hotel Kimberly was their Edible farm. It was explained and demonstrated to us how hydroponics works. It was a different kind of planting since they use electricity to maintain the supply of water. Thus, no soil was needed. They used pebbles or coconut husk for the seedling then transfer it once it grows. The blue pipe is where the water flows.

We are studying Botany since we are following the book of Genesis (Bible based) and the study of God's creation has so much to reveal of the characteristics and the sovereignity of our Lord.

One of the most unforgettable time was their close encounter with the animals. This is what we love about Hotel Kimberly, with no extra fee we can feed the animals and be with them.

The kids are animal lovers. Most of their interest with books are about animals. They like to learn more about their habitat and how they live. While in the hotel we made sure that they spent time here feeding the animals, touching and even talking to them. We want our children to grow with a love for nature and God's creation, to be good stewards of what was entrusted to us. In their young years, experiencing a close encounter with the animals is one of the best way to learn better.

Kyle learned more about the sheep. How to identify if it is a male or a female by simply checking if there is a horn. He tried to touch it and at the same time showed care. Like us, we also need a Heavenly Father who would always take care of us. He is our shepherd and we are His sheep.

We also learned that rabbits sleep for 8.5 hours with their eyes open. The kids enjoyed feeding these little animals.

The Farm head was gracious enough to allow us to see the iguana up close. We touched it and the feeling of the skin was cooler, rough and scaly. We watched the iguana as Kyle tried to feed it.

They also observed the horses while they were eating.

Since we started this, the kids became observant of what they see around them. While we were eating outside they hurriedly called on us to see their discovery...a monarch butterfly. It was colorful and beautiful and they appreciated the beauty of its existence.

Through Nature Study, our toddlers Sean and Simone understands that we were created by the Lord. In their age, it is our goal that they would know God as our Creator, that everything is from Him and for Him.

It was a blessing to have this experience together. We praise God for allowing us to enjoy this through the hospitality and the kindness of Hotel Kimberly. We learned with the free tutorial of Kuya Alex from the farm. We experienced his kindness and how he can manage to smile at us and help us despite of the all day heat and taking care of the farm. You would not feel that he was tired. This taught us that working faithfully is a blessing that you could give to others.

We are looking forward on our next journey. How homeschooling our children transformed each one of us is a calling from God that we are in awe of. We experience moments, successes and struggles together. We hug each time we succeed and we hug and cry together each time we stumble. It is a perfect gift from the Lord.

We love Nature Study, it reminds us that we have an omnipotent God. Through nature, God speaks and teaches us. He is always in control of all things and He is working diligently on every single detail that happens on this earth, though He created it long time ago. He is never gone and He is never diminished. It is about God's goodness and His revelation of how mighty He is in His creations.

"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." - John 1:3

All Praise and Glory to God!