When Amazing Happens: Thank You for Today’s Win, Lord!

I am a homeschooling mother of 4 children who are all into sports. The 3 boys are into basketball while my only daughter is into tennis.  I believe that sports is  an incredible way to teach a whole  lot of life lessons and values.

Through the years, we have attended so many games that have pushed our children to play the sport that they love in a competitive environment. Oh, we’ve seen the boys teary eyed, some of their team mates weeping . We’ve seen the boys fall and try to control their emotions and battle the “boy” within and control the urge to cry.  But we also have seen the widest smiles, the highest high fives and the wins that seemed like our boys were like winning the NBA championship.  Sports, borrowing from NBA’s famous tagline, indeed is where amazing happens.

Today was gonna be a tough game for our 10 year old Gino who is part of the  ongoing Filipino Basketball Academy Rookie (7-11 yo) League in Acropolis, Quezon City.  This is Gino’s 2nd run with the league and the Gray team.   The Gray team had a 0-2 win/loss record so far  and  were facing the unbeaten Red Team.  The last 2 games were heart breakers because they were leading up to the last minute of  the game  (the last having one only 5 players and no subs)  but for some reason their opponents bounced back in the nick of time!  To make matters worst, their team mate who is the most versatile guard I’ve seen was also sidelined due to a bad cut that required stitching.

Prior to leaving for the game, Gino was already talking about their tough opponent and their limitations to beat the team.  As we began our journey, with me driving, I led the prayer for today’s game.  I specifically asked for an “upset” because the team was going to be tough and our team was weak due to an injured player.

Since the venue of the game was an hour away according to Waze, I tried to maximize the trip by having a good conversation. We all know that “homeschooling” mothers are always guilty of “making every moment a teaching moment”  but then, if the child is game, why not, right?

Gino was helping me with the Waze  (the phone app that aids in suggesting routes to take to avoid congested roads).  Our route took us to Quezon City via Skyway, Mckinley and C5. It was the best time to teach about the National Capital Region, right?   As we passed Forbes and Dasmarinas Villages in Makati,  we had a discussion on why the properties there were so expensive.  From there, we discussed about membership clubs and how they operate as we passed Manila Polo Club.  From there, our discussion dealt with investments, ( Gino: Mama , what is an investment? ), bank accounts, setting up a business, membership shares, why businesses close, bad investments etc!)  Who wouldn’t appreciate traffic with such a conversation? It was good that I was driving because I could not be glued to the phone ( a familiar scenario when I am not driving).  I so love bonding one on one with our children and this is why , I don’t mind taking them in long car rides.

The game was tight from the beginning. Our boys were able to limit our opponents’ shooting. However, it was a low scoring game, none of Gino’s  and his team mates attempts were going in. The moves were right, he was at the right time at the right place, yet the ball would be short or would even go in and then be rejected by the basket.  At this point, and all mothers would agree,  it/s as if  my heart was playing too. I could feel every frustration of my son. So when he was given some rest, I went to him and said, “Gino, you’re moving well but the ball is not going in. Maybe, you could pray for every shot you release?  And maybe say to yourself, ‘For the Lord instead of for the win?’ ” (We were very encouraged by this year’s NBA MVP Stephen Curry’s message when he received his trophy.   “Just be the best version of yourself.. .. all you need to have is faith in God and undying passion in what you do.”

A few  seconds after Gino is brought back to the game, he makes his first shot! Hallelujah! The game was so tight that I was beginning to squeeze the arms of my “mommy seat mates”  ( I always do that!). Gino was making shots left and right,  I was even missing them as I tried to respond to a text from my other son.  And soon, his other team mate’s shots were sinking the basket as well. Hurrah!!

And so it was indeed an “upset”, an answered prayer for this team who needed that lift, that win for today.  Our boys won by 1! Gino was going to go home not teary eyed but with a full smile in his face so obvious in this post game photo.

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Here the fearless Gray Team with Coach Bernard Barcenilla of Filipino Basket Academy. Click here if you’d like to find a training camp/league near you.

As we were driving back, there  more homeschool lessons as Gino asked more questions like ,”How does Waze work,”  then he sees a  billboard of Gary Valenciano and asked about, “Diabetes.”  We eventually discussed why people pay toll as we entered the Skyway. Then he goes, “Mama, you know  I did what you told me to do in the game? And my shots started to go in!”   He sort of came to figure that one out himself.   Am glad that I didn’t get head over heels about it and allowed it to sink in his mind and heart without pushing it. So yes, he knows God helped him sink his shots.  He knows that for sure.  Thank you to our Lord God who made our 10 year old boy feel how real you are today, thank you to the entire Gray team for the great battle you fought today, “You make your Mamas proud indeed ! ” Thank you to Coach Bernard and the entire Filipino Basketball Academy along with all the players of the other teams ! Without you,  we would not have “pockets of faith experiences” for our little boys such as this.

My mother’s heart is full, yes, so full despite the long drive today! And I’d do it again and again to capture blessed moments such as this.

 

Matthew 18: 2-4 “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

 

An Art a Day Takes the Blues Away: Have a Colorful Homeschooling Day!

So we’ve done LINES and SHAPES , and a little bit of FORMS.  Check the other posts under the Art Attack category on this site if you are new to this blog.   It’s getting more exciting and what could be more exciting than COLOR?  Can you imagine Art apart from COLOR?   I am sure at this point,  you can’t help but jump into it. Who wants a  a boring study session on COLOR and art concepts/terms pertaining to COLOR?   I guess the best way to start the series on COLOR  is to just get messy and splash around, especially with young, energetic kids.

As you take your students into the wonderful world of Color in your Art Lessons,   try to just expose them to seeing lots of COLOR through beautifully colored story or picture books,  photography books with lots of colorful images . I chanced upon this blog post on color.  I also looked for nice images or quotes about COLOR and it would be good to show these images  to your students. This may be a good time to introduce the two accepted ways to spell, “COLOR/COLOUR”.

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Photo Credit: breezymary.tumblr.com
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Photo Credit: http://www.quotesvalley.com/quotes/colors/
http://paulagold.tumblr.com

 

Ask your children about what he/she thinks about these “quotes”.  You may then ask, ” What is color?  What would life be like without colors?  Why is COLOR important?  If you were a color, what color would you be and why?   Oh, you can ask a lot of questions and just enjoy listening to your students answers as you open up as well.  It can become a writing activity so you can take down notes on what your children say. At another time, they can write about “Color” and  their experience in these activities I am about to share with you.   (Remember,  when you ask your children to write (output) , you have to create opportunities for relevant and substantial exposure to stimuli or experience (input)  about what they may write about . When they lack words, for instance, in trying to write about what color would they be if the could choose, you can refer back to your notes when you were in a discussion and give your students some guidance on how to create a few sentences with his/ her oral answers which you took down)You will definitely get to know each other as you open up yourself as you answer as well,  Let your children direct you in your follow up questions.

You can even be a bit more “philosophical or emotional” by asking, What do you think it means when someone says “You add color into my life“, or “You color my world with bright colors.” You can even use this time to just allow your students to express even more through some  “exercises on expression, descriptions and communication in general. You can ask, ” If you were to describe the color blue to a person born blind, how would you do it?  How about for red? ”   ” Do feelings have colors?  What feeling does “black” communicate?

You can delay the “theoretical aspects” as you just try to engage your children’s  imagination and interest. For now,  here are two activities that can just make your homescool day COLORful and FUN.

Marble Art Activity

Task: To use marbles dipped in poster paint to create wonderful lines criss-crossing  and to see effects of different colors mixing together ( creating secondary colors)

Materials:

A Basin/Tray or Bin large enough so a white board paper can be secured via tape on it

A few  small marbles

A palette with 6 wells or ice trays or muffin trays

Paint : Poster/ Tempera/Arcylic mixed with water

Paint Brush

Board paper

Scotch Tape

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Steps:

1. Secure a white/ cream  board paper or watercolor paper in a large basin or rectangular bin using scotch tape

2. Coat each marble using your hands or paint brush with  one color at a time.

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3. Drop the coated marble on the basin/bin. One marble at a time. Then start moving the bin/ tray to make the marble roll and leave “streaks” of color as it rolls.

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4. Add another marble dipped in another color and repeat step#3.

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Use a different combinations of colors.

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For this exercise, when “red” and “green” streaks overlapped, ask your students, “What color do you see? ”

SPLASHY,  De-STRESSING Art Activity

Task: To create splashes of color

Materials:

Old rags/Cloths cut into small strips and rolled into small clumps secured by safety pin ( size of golf balls or ponkan fruits)

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Pails of assorted colors of watered down poster or acrylic paint

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Steps:

1. Soak the clumps of cloth in different colors (Assign one “cloth ball” per color).

2.  Outdoors, find a wall with  a ground (garden) that can get soaked with washable paint/ water.

3.  Cover the part of the wall which you plan to use with 2 -3 newspapers.

4.  Use paper suitable for painting ( watercolor paper, tough cartolina or board paper). Stick the paper on the newspaper covered part of the wall using gentle tape.

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5. Get the soaked cloth balls and try to wring it.  Throw them into the direction of your paper as if you were pitching a ball in baseball. As the “ball” hits the wall, it will create a splattered effect such as these below:

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Aren’t they pretty? This was really fun. At one point, my daughter decided to “make some adjustments” and modify the activity.  She decided to just press the soaked cloth balls on the top of a cartolina and let the paint ooze out in a line going downwards.  It has such a beautiful effect.

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Don’t forget to include your children in every “clean up” after Art.  As you can imagine, this was quite messy with lots of stuff to wash, wipe and mop. Make sure your students do their clean up duties well.

 

Now, we hope we got you and your homeschool excited for these 2 activities. Have a COLORful Homeschooling Art Activity soon:)

 

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Genesis 9:13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

 

 

Shapes, Lines and Forms: Putting Them All Together

Sometimes, I find myself seeing potential in every day stuff: boxes, ribbons, jars or  bottles.  So, our household  gets quite crazy when I just can’t seem to easily throw stuff. I’ve used chocolate boxes, wine bottles, bike part boxes, appliances boxes and giant furniture boxes for so many projects that have brought so much learning and fun and many beautiful memories.

For this project, it began with a toothpaste box.  I just knew with a few add-ons and adjustments, we can turn it into a delivery “truck”.  Since we are doing the series of Lines, Shapes and eventually Forms in our Art Attack series, I decided it was best to share this as “application time”  to create a something 3-Dimensional project.

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Here are your materials:

 

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Black board paper ( scrap paper), double toothpaste box, scissors, glue gun with glue stick, black pen, double sided pen, small cube or rectangular prism box, scotch tape, white paper, cutter or cutting system, and googly eyes.

 

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This is one of my best buys in my “Scrapbooking” career. Creative Memories Cutting System (The circle is the most useful) that allows you to perfectly cut circles (and other shapes) in different sizes.

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Fiskars also has  its own cutting system. You can also use any circular object like coins and draw around and have your kids practice their fine motor skills in trying to cut around to create circles.

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Use scotch tape to seal the flaps of the smaller cube or rectangular prism shaped box  then cover with  white paper like a gift.  Use glue or glue gun to seal the flaps. Scotch tape will make it obvious and if you wish to paint this, the scotch tape is hard to paint over. 

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Handle the glue gun with care with children around. An older child can have a go in pressing the trigger however make sure the tip is out of reach all the time.  Craft glue can be used as well but dries and seals longer. Craft glue or double sided tape may also be used if you want the children to do it all on their own.  Always unplug the glue gun when not in use.

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You may wish to paint this smaller box if you wish.  Attach the wrapped box to the toothpaste box and add details.

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Add a sun roof and the wheels. You can add more wheels and turn this into Math for smaller children. An eighteen wheeler truck is nice to make!

 

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You may opt to get another similar box so both sides have the same design or signage. Make sure when you stick the wheels their farthest edge should meet the edge of the box.

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Draw some details into the front part of the truck. And you may use buttons, or circular embellishments or goggly eyes for the “head lights”. You may add plate, and a truck number,  a muffler or bumpers.

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All ready to deliver toothpaste ! Let’s go!

 

An Art a Day Takes the Blues Away: Art Works using Lines & Shapes

We have been studying these elements: Lines and shapes in our past entries in the Art Attack category. For a relaxing Art session with your kids,  just review and talk about what they’ve been learning about Lines and Shapes. Then just allow them to create something to feature or show what they have learned. Let me show you what our kids created:

 

You can use different colors , using marker pens, crayons, oil pastel, poster/tempera point so your student can have a go with different media.
You can use different colors , using marker pens, crayons, oil pastel, poster/tempera point so your student can have a go with different media.
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Allow your students to use one shape and make different sizes using a template or coins, sauces, lid covers and try to make him think of that they are. Here my son chose circles and decided the many circles were Uranus and its many moons.

For contour, you may introduce positive and negative images.  Check this video. My son chose 23 since they were into basketball and he was a fan of Michael Jordan.

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In the next two works, we applied lines, shapes and primary colors.  Here, we dipped some strings (at least maybe 3mm )in black paint and “stamp” them on the paper as lines. My two sons were free to choose how they wanted to “stamp” the inked strings. After the black markings dried, they used primary colors to color the spaces to create a designs as inspired by Piet Mondrian.

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Photo/Work Credit: http://www.happinessishomemade.net/2014/03/17/kids-homeschool-art-lesson-piet-mondrian/
Photo/Work Credit: http://www.happinessishomemade.net/2014/03/17/kids-homeschool-art-lesson-piet-mondrian/

If you’d like to see an Art lesson on Mondrian, click this unit on Piet Mondrian.

For older children, you can introduce creating 3-D shapes. These videos are good tutorials:

Look at the kids’ works after learning how to draw rectangular prisms and cubes.

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As you assist them to create, try to give them as much freedom.  Refrain from commenting too much or directing the Art experience. Rid yourself of what is and what isn’t beautiful or what is right or wrong in Art expression. Try to just encourage children to express without trying to conform or without pressure to please you.  Don’t be too quick to ask, “What is that ( that communicates that you don’t get what they’re trying to draw) ? Just wait.  More often that not, they will talk about what they had just drawn.

Happy Drawing!

1 Timothy 4:15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.

 

An Art a Day takes the Blues Way: Lines make Shapes

We use lines to create outlines and so, lines create shapes.   Familiarize your students with the different kinds of shapes.  For older children, you can tie this with Math since shapes have formal definitions too.   For younger children, you may try to check this link to get ideas on how to make learning about shapes more fun.

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Photo credit: www.creativemarket.com

 

Shapes may either be two dimensional with only height and width, or three dimensional with height, width, and depth. You can go around the house and search for different shapes among your every day objects.

For preschoolers, you may check this video or another one to learn more about shapes through a video and song.  Then you can have a shape search around the house.  Basically they go around the house and draw shapes or outlines that they see and if they can, to try to spell the name of the shape.

You can print 4 of these in a A4 paper.
You can print 4 of these in a A4 paper.

 

They may draw the TV and say it’s “rectangle” or a “clock” and identify it as a circle. Make sure you write the shapes in written word so they can copy and learn how to spell.

If they are familiar with shapes and how to draw them, you can just ask them to choose one shape and make a drawing full of that shape only.  Our boy did this when they were 8 years old.

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You can open a magazine together and he/she can cut objects that represent a specific shape. You can make a “Shape” album with magazine cut outs.  For older kids, you may introduce 3-dimensional shapes such as cones, pyramids, rectangular prisms, sphere, cylinder and then also find objects at home that represent these 3-D shapes ( Canned goods, cheese or butter, ice cream cone, balls, etc)

The book, “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly” by  Simms Taback is a really amusing story with lots of illustrations of shapes and outlines.

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Try to get this book or use this video. Pause on every page to identify shapes.

For fine art examples, you may check out:

Paul Klees’s Red Balloon

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Or Henry Matisse’s  The Parakeet and the Mermaid.

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Photo Credit: http://famsterdamlife.com

Locally, our national artist, Cesar Legaspi is also known to make use of a style that creates shapes.

Photo Credit: www.Ayalamuseum.org
Photo Credit: www.Ayalamuseum.org

Arturo Luz creates shapes with more distinct outlines :

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Photo Credit: www.midcenturia.com

 

For older children, you can assign them to research more on Filipino artists who uses a lot of “shapes” or the illusion of  shapes.  You may even visit a few galleries on the Mega Mall 4th floor to just see more “Art” forms (include Sculpture, Sketches, Mosaic, etc) and recognize the elements of Art that we’ve been studying in this series.   If you feel “academic”, you can give the kids clipboards, a worksheet to answer and a camera to take photos of the art works that caught their attention. Have fun!

 

Photo Credit:  http://liferearranged.com/2014/03/sunday-smiles-135/
Photo Credit:
http://liferearranged.com/2014/03/sunday-smiles-135/

 

Keeping Them Close: 6 Valuable Principles (Part 2)

To continue the blog post I began last week,  I’ve asked my own siblings about fostering closeness among one another, and let me share with you some valuable experiences and lessons which we believed were instrumental in forming lasting bonds with one another.

1)  Have a whole lot of shared experiences –  Despite the tough logistics and financial considerations, we did a whole lot of things as we grew up.   Whether it be eating in a restaurant or going to the beach or Baguio, a lot of emphasis was placed on being together and  doing things together like swimming, mahjong, board games, bowling, billiards, cards.   We loved going to Mamonluk, Kimpura, Hongning, Everybody’s in Pampanga and Zamboanga and Pinausukan restaurants.

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Notice the 3 babies squeezed among the 3 older sisters. That’s how we rolled.

We were each others’ playmates.  So our Mom created a giant playroom attached to a library of floor to ceiling shelves of books. She sourced 2nd hand books and toys from garage sales.  We did not need  to hang around in someone else’s house. Our house was everybody’s hangout place. We even had disco lights and mirror balls in the late 1970s for the dance parties.

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My brother John, 2 years older than me

We never travelled as a complete family out of the country since we could not afford it. The farthest we’ve been to were Cebu and Bohol.

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My brother John may not like me in posting this photo. Taken in front of a courage in Batulao Country Club in Nasugbu, Batangas.My fondest, out of town trips were here and the White Sand Beach. They said I look like Ernie from Sesame Street. They always kid me about having no neck !

2) Creating opportunities to share, support and  help one another – My parents  set up situations that we would have to look out for each other.  Though I may have no distinct memory, I can imagine being passed on as a baby and toddler from one “ate” or “kuya” as each one helped to take care of the smaller children.  Since I had the chubbiest cheeks, all I remember was my cheeks being pinched or my mouth being  forcibly closed like a fish and being asked to say “Milo” because the “ates” and “kuyas” thought it  was too cute to behold.

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Here with my tres Marias ! L-R: Ate Nenette, Ate Angeli and Ate Yeyel

When my parents would have a chance to bring home imported chocolates like  M&Ms or Nestles Crunch, these would be cut and equally divided at first to all 9 and the extra portions would be given to the older ones.  I can vividly recall, in some soldier like fashion how we would bring up 9 cups to pass each piece of M & Ms as if you were playing “sungka”.   The younger ones would of course devour their share as quick as the sungka ends and wait and hope that the older ones whose share is waiting in the refrigerator would give up their share. If the older ones are in a generous mood or maybe now that I think about it if they were dieting, then another round of “sungka”( dropping one M& M bit at time in the cups of those who were around to avail of the bonus bits) is set.

Our parents also instilled the value of “supporting each other all out”.  I remember attending most of  the graduations, watching every  dramatic play,  Kundirana concert,  every  spiritual retreat “last day” welcome from families, Music and Magic gig/concert or sports events of all my older siblings.  It’s like you needed a very good excuse to miss any of these.  We just had to be there for each other.

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In full force in support for our brother Kiko ran senator as an independent.
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The whole clan comes to support!

When I was about grade 2 or 3, my older siblings were assigned a vehicle to share and they were in charge of fetching my older sister and me from school .  My “ates” loved that. Little did my Dad know that, they were leaving the car parked somewhere and would fetch me with their boyfriends using his car!  I felt so “grand” being fetched by different cars and even going to fancy restaurants! I think my Dad didn’t know about those “special arrangements”. If our older sister came with their boyfriends, our older brothers were a bit more daring by just asking their good friends to fetch us if they were caught up ( maybe with their girlfriends!). “Hello, Donna. Sorry your brother asked me to fetch you and your sister.”  Ok, it was sort of grand too especially if their super cute friends would fetch us.  Hahaha.  Of course, that was probably not proper and my Dad would have freaked out had he known, but it somehow taught the older ones to look after the young ones.

3. Timeless Traditions – the most memorable were:

  • Family Councils –  Every New Year’s Eve,  our Dad got us together to just open up to one another regarding strengths and weaknesses.  It may seem daunting, but it was done in bold love and in a peaceful manner.  Each one gets a chance to be praised and also to be gently enlightened regarding areas of improvement. Some called it our “family bull session” but  it didn’t seem negative as the term connotes. I guess, it was our family’s version of setting our New Year’s Resolution. Those yearly discussions, I believe, trained us that in order for us to grow and mature we needed to learn how to give encouragement and accept  criticism.  We needed to know that LOVE was the bedrock of this kind of engagement.
  • Having gifts for one another every Christmas – We didn’t just look forward to our parents’ gifts but  also to the ones from our siblings.  As early as grade 2, I remember being given a few hundreds to budget and give to my parents, my 8 siblings and the helpers. So all 9 of us were given a set budget to give each other specifically chosen, bought and wrapped gifts for one another.  This exercise really helped us consider and  know one another more as we searched for gifts.
  • Weekend trips to our Farm house in Antipolo, Summer trips to Baguio or Batulao.

4. Physically sharing a room/sharing a car/sharing clothes – We always shared rooms because we couldn’t live in houses with 9 rooms for the children. Usually we had to share. For a long time, the groupings were :  2 youngest girls, 4 boys  and the 3 older sisters. Then we eventually paired up with each other with our eldest having her own room when we moved.  If it wasn’t a room, it could be car, or shoes or clothes. We had to share period . This “forced” physical closeness fostered a deeper closeness indeed.

5. All of the experiences in numbers 1-4 promoted constant communication among us. My sister Felichi says, “Communication was promoted when Dad led us through the yearly affirming and confrontation on New Year’s Eve. Communication is key in all relationships.”

6.   We are ONE – Somewhere around the mid 1980s, one by one my siblings caught the passion to read/study the Bible and get to know Jesus more intimately.   We all eventually  learned from one another and shared a common faith  having Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. From being  blood related, we became spiritually bound:) That we believe made the biggest difference and impact as we relate to another as each one started leaving and pursuing their own lives with their families and as we reconnect to continue caring for parents, the businesses that closed and other family matters and keeping the bonds strong among siblings and cousins. Empowered by His Spirit, we can seek to love, confront, correct, apologize, forgive, understand,  and to love again.

The last decade or so has been the toughest for us as a family dealing with the realities of aging elderly parents,  the role reversal of sorts and the costs of caring for them as we look after own families and endeavors.  But there is strength in numbers.  We rally and battle together.  We have each other  as we face the unknown for our parents. But above all, we have our Creator, the author of our lives and our family.  The toughest seasons bring out the best (and sometimes)the  worst in each other and I am honored to say that I am blessed to share the one life that God has given me with these amazing siblings.

I celebrated my birthday recently and had this on my FB wall:

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May our experiences help you foster closeness among your children and may our good Lord always fill your homes with love. Jesus’ Words says in John 17:20-22, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”  We collectively and individually seek to witness for our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We argue, we disagree and have a lot of misunderstandings but we seek to honor Jesus in our relationships and we seek to go towards love, humility, forgiveness and peace.

So in summary, what will keep siblings close, what will keep our children close? Yes we shared some tips  from own our family but intertwined  in all of that is LOVE.   What will keep our children close?   Love will. Love will always find a way………………… because God is love!

1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.