When He Turns Our Weakness into Strength: My Daughter’s Journey on the Wheelchair and Crutches

It was a typical homeschool Friday with youngest Gino. I was leaving him some homework since I was set to join my daughter in her school’s field day. She was the captain of her house and of course, everyone wants to win in a day of games and relays!

Then I received a call from one of my co-parents, “Raya fell.”

And she fell hard.

She sustained a fracture on the upper portion of her left tibia and would be needing immobilization/ wheelchair and crutches for 6-8 weeks.

 

It’s quite confounding how one single event, one wrong twist, one wrong turn,  or one wrong split of the moment decision results in a myriad of consequences. As we heard “6-8 weeks”,  (and possibly the no running or heavy sports for 6 months), I saw  some things crumble down…… an upcoming school trip to Singapore for a  Youth Environmental Summit, the daily commute to 2nd floor classroom without elevator access, a school play,  her tennis training,  and her plans for summer to take football.

A mother is described as having one heart, her own heart,  plus the number of hearts of her children.  Without any lessons, or any reminders, we just automatically feel what our children feel. So I was beginning to see the repercussions of that fall, I had to  mentally and emotionally rush, rush, run to the finish line so I could feel,  and feel it all,  and find my own strength to carry her through ( literally too!)  And then, without looking back,  take on the “Mama is here” role and show strength for my daughter.

We have heard it again and again that setbacks are good, failures are part and parcel of life. We are encouraged to embrace them and to allow such unfortunate circumstances to build and mold our children. We are asked to back off and not to solve our children’s  predicaments all the time. Sometimes the best thing we can do is, come alongside and just let it unfold. We patiently wait in prayer and in anticipation.

A few days post-inury and few days before a much awaited and anticipated field trip abroad, reality set in and  the whole experience  and the future that was awaiting her overwhelmed my daughter.

After 19 years of being a parent, I have learned that we need to strike some form of balance when we try to uplift our discouraged children. There are dangers of belittling their situation, negating their emotions and feelings as being valid and in over doing the “Life is okay. It could have been worst. Cheer up.  Shake that off .” Sometimes, the best we can do is to listen, to hug and maybe weep with our children as well.  No words (not yet!). Presence and availability  may suffice.

As we began to paint the reality, my daughter then sighed, “It won’t be as fun.”  I am so thankful at that very moment an answer or more like a prophecy came to mind, and I just said, “Yes, it will be different.  But this (pointing to her immobilized leg) will usher in a whole lot of other opportunities and scenarios which may turn out to be fun and interesting too.”   I don’t know why I said that but it was like I had the coolest and most serene peace that all will be well and yes, she will be able to board a bus, navigate through the airport, do the toilet breaks, feed herself and yes board and move around a plane and yes, attend a youth summit in a foreign country without Mama or a relative around. I just knew I had to let her go (Pun so intended!)!

Then one morning, 3 days before their departure, “ I will go, Mom! I can do this.” From then on, I knew it, this is going to be great.

It was more than great indeed.  My daughter came home as the “most cared for student in the entire summit.”  She goes, “Everybody knew who that girl in the wheelchair was!” She came home with so many positive experiences of concern, care and going the extra mile from her classmates and teachers, and even from strangers who empathized with her and did what they could to assist her given her limitation.  Classmates and teachers just rallied to lessen her fears, her limitations and her difficulties.  Parents came to support as well with offers for prayers, wheel chairs,  for extra help, and for reminding their own children to look after Raya. What a blessing, right?

Taking a break from her activities of the Youth Environmental Summit in Singapore

And my best pasalubong (Tagalog term for treats brought by someone who goes for a trip) was her teachers’ words of affirmation and encouragement as they witnessed what a trouper this girl was: patient, flexible, content and cheerful, every step or should we say, turn of the wheel, of the way!!!!!

Of course,  half the time, Raya was with family and I was on Cloud 9 seeing her brothers (Thank the Lord for strong brothers, all taller than her (ok, she may argue if Gino is taller already) who also took on the role of helping her.  When we didn’t know yet how to use the stairs,  Marco for a good number of days, carried her up the stairs  like a backpack!

With eldest brother, Vince.
Love is when you can act like best friends, love each other like family, and protect each other like siblings. www.jarofquotes.com

My favorite date with Raya! Just me, her and this travel wheel chair! It was a good exercise pushing her from the parking, getting lost in the parking (Could you imagine how hilarious that can look) and yes, enjoying what we both love a whole lot, Art!

And the school play went really well! Now, Raya can say she performed, sang, and danced on a wheel chair !

A school play adapted from “Phineas and Ferb”! Guess who Raya was?

Last week, Raya bid farewell to her crutches and her wheelchair. She still walks with some limp as the the leg muscles become looser,  as they need to strengthen and re-learn how to walk efficiently but deep within, I know there is  stronger faith in God, a warmed heart from all the love she had experienced and a deeper gratitude for her healing and the blessings throughout her journey through it all.

I declare the faithfulness of our Good Lord in all this. From setting our hearts and minds at peace to providing the most cool and easy to use travel wheel chair for free, from MRI results that show no ligament tears to an increased faith in God, and a deeper appreciation of  thy “neighbors”                          (schoolmates, teachers, guards, helpers,  driver, siblings, strangers, other PWDS).

Indeed,  this is so true for we have truly witnessed it, “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”  1 Corinthians 12:9.

Thankful, as I close this piece.

 

James 1:12  Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

We are also thankful to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rolando Angelo “Jello” Ochoa of Asian Hospital and  PT, Karen Basco. And many more thanks  to the Lorenzo, Morris and Fabros families who really made Raya feel so loved and cared for during this time!

Why We Shunned Coloring Books

My earliest memory of coloring books had something to do with flipping through used coloring sheets.  Some pages were nicely colored, some were colored without “staying within the lines.” Early on, you just knew instinctively that something was very wrong with these “lampas-lampas” (outside of the boundaries) pages. Actually, when I try to remember, some colored pages seemed to have started well and for some reason, frustration got in the way.

I wasn’t much of a “colorer.” Maybe one reason is that by the time, hand me down coloring books in our family reached me (yes, last of 9kids), only the corny pages were left to color. Also, honestly, the act of rubbing crayons area by area may have bored me. So bored that my sister and I had to “tweak” our experience.

I vividly remember a coloring book of female faces. We then found a way to put in some creativity by applying “make up” through shading and blending. We experimented on eye shadow and cheek blush blending, and lip lining!

Fast forward to 2000, in a class about creativity, our teacher shared about the story of how a young preschooler gave up her passion of drawing horses after a well meaning grandmother gifted her with a coloring book of horses. As they pried further, the child gave up “drawing horses” after seeing how horses should look like.” Why draw when you can easily color? Just stay within the lines.”

We all know that preschoolers cannot easily stay within the lines so why even set them up for that kind of frustrating activity?   Surely, there are many other ways to practice fine motor skills that could also enhance creativity. I then realized then that there was an entire movement against the use of coloring books.

So early on, I limited coloring activities and never purchased a coloring book. Coloring pages would only come through the ‘Activity Books” that had mazes, word searches, puzzles,etc.

I eventually began homeschooling our children and needed some background on Art.  And was I so thankful that the first “serious” material that guided our view and take on Art was Susan Striker’s Young at Art.  For more information, check the author’s website.  Have a taste of this book by checking out one of her entries in her blog about encouraging creativity in young children. 

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I am not really here to wage war against coloring books. (Certainly, not after our book stores shelves have gotten people crazy over the “adult coloring books” ). Well, adults have that skill of staying within the lines and have opted to color instead of drawing from scratch. They have a choice.

But for little children exploring, little hands venturing into various skills, little minds so fertile for the creativity seeds, wouldn’t we want to give them something more? A large blank paper (A4, or even A3!!) with chubby pens and pencils, lots of washable finger or poster paint, fat crayons would be  far better choices indeed!

There is just so much to discover about how our children see the world, process what’s going on around them and express their thoughts in their creations. No, not in how they color within the lines but how they will use raw materials around them to express themselves.

So yes, we had very little “coloring within the lines” activities in our classroom. But in return, we witnessed a whole of creativity and relentless pursuit to express and create. Here are just a few works early on our homeschool journey.  Newer works are uploaded on HomesCoolph FB page and Homescoolph IG! You may also check out Raya’s Room category in this blog.

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A DIY Store from a massage table box

 

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Yarn Pompoms
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Pastel crayons and black paint!
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Play dough art! Doughnuts, anyone?
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Stories and drawing!

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Pottery with the help of Cornerstone Pottery Farm.
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2011 Watercolor on pastel sunflower by Raya
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“Of course, you can make a pink spaceship, Raya! Sky is the limit!”
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2010 Mosaic Giraffe by Vince
2010 Mosaic Art by Marco
2010 Mosaic Art by Marco
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Our “Wall of Fame” – our priceless collection of homeschooling, bonding and creativity!

Creativity eventually spilled over other subjects and subject matters!

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2013 Our Science Poster
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Marco’s Lego Band!
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Cool drummer, right?
Look at Marco's Lego guitarist
Look at Marco’s Lego guitarist
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2014 Marco’s Comic on Journey of St Paul in Filipino
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Details, details!
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2013 Marco’s Avenger Comics
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2016 Raya’s series on female superheroes using Copic Sketch Pens

 

Happy Creating!

Isaiah 64:8  “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portraits from Raya’s Room

It’s Mommy Donna in Raya’s Room now. Many weeks back, I had asked Raya if I could post something in her corner of this blog. I think blogging isn’t her thing yet so she gave me go signal to post first for now.   Raya has been into portraits for the past many weeks. I am so amazed at her creativity, her attention to detail, her painting and drawing skills, and yes her patience in making these beautiful creations.  Most of these portraits are drawn from imagination. There are no specific persons (save for one) in mind and she doesn’t copy from any photo.  Many who have seen these ahead say that her works are beginning to show her personal and unique style!  So here are the latest portraits from Raya’s room, enjoy:)

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Raya has been into portraits lately:) I don’t know why this is not upright.. hang in there!  We will try to figure it out. It appears upright on my editing page!

 

Which one is your favorite?  Please comment below. Am sure Raya would love to hear from you!

♡ Sewing Room Tour +✄Basic Beginner Sewing Needs ♡

Hi guys! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. Today I’m going to show you my “Sewing Area”, because I’m planning on posting a lot of sewing tutorials.  Also I’m going to list out out all the basic tools you need if you are a beginner. ✄

So here is a complete shot of everything. I have a tiny corner beside my bed where I keep my sewing machine. 🙂

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Here is a close-up of my sewing machine that I got for christmas 2013. It is a Brother XL-2600i, which is a great model for beginners.

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On my sewing table ,I like to keep my scissors in this cute little kitten cup that I made using this video.

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So on my window sill I have my cacti which i got from my tita and tito. They got them from Dangwa, Manila, but you can also get some in the plant stall in South Super Market Alabang.  I am sure you can find them in many other garden stores.  This is one of my favorite decorations in my room. 😉 ♡♡

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If you’re wondering where I keep my other supplies. I have a shelf beside the table where I keep my fabric, needles, pins, ribbons, zippers, etc.

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Now I’m going to show you basic supplies if you want to start sewing 🙂

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1.  Fabric (you’re gonna need something to sew on!). Cotton Depot has a nice variety of fabrics.

2. Thread ( you’re going to need this to thread your machine)

3. Scissors -to cut your thread and fabric. Fabric scissors should only be used for fabric.

4. Pins -These are extremely helpful to keep your fabric in place while sewing.

5. Bobbins – You need this for threading the machine. ( Keep in mind that different machines have  different bobbins.)

6. Seam Ripper – if you make a mistake seam rippers can rip the stitches for you. (I promise this is a LIFESAVER!)

Okay a simple tip: If you are a beginner, use fabrics that are easy to sew with, for example cotton, felt etc.   Stretchy/ knit fabrics may be a pain to sew with 🙁

One last thing, I just want to show you the latest thing I’ve sewn for my mom’s birthday: A pen/pencil holder for her calligraphy pens! 🙂

Hope you like it Mom ! Happy Birthday!♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡IMG_8734

 

 

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So that’s all for today, hoped you enjoyed my post! See you next time ~

♡DIY: Cat Painting ♡

 

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Hello! Today I am going to show you how to make an easy and & cute cat painting.

You will need: A canvas (mine was 10×8), paint, paintbrushes, a pencil, and something you can use to mix your paints. ♡   ♡  ♡   ♡RayasRoomBlog#301

Okay, first step is to mix your paint for the cat. I chose a light beige color. (You can use any color like white, grey, brown, etc.)

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Once you painted your canvas your color of choice, it’s time to add the face. This the face I wanted:

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Use your pencil to lightly draw the face on to the canvas. Then go over it with a small paintbrush.

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These are the colors I used for the face: RayasRoomBlog#31

Once everything is dry, you can hang/place it anywhere you like. You can even give it as a gift!  ♡

So that’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed ♡ See you next time!♡ॢ₍⸍⸌̣ʷ̣̫⸍̣⸌₎ (←this is supposed to be a cat)

 

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4 Washi Tape DIYs

WashiWashi03Okay, so I love washi tape, and I own tons of it. You can basically use it to decorate anything. Here are four simple ways how I use my washi tape! Try it!

1. Notebooks

I like to cover my notebooks with washi tape, its very easy and quick. You can easily decorate your notebooks with these designs!

This design is cute yet simple.
This design is cute yet simple.

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2. Borders and edges of furniture

Washi tape can bright up any piece of furniture in your room!

On my bed's side...
On my bed’s side..
On my desk shelf...
On my desk shelf…
On my drawers....
On my drawers….

3. Frames

You can use washi tape to act as a border of your frame!

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See the transformation!
Place it anywhere you like!
Place it anywhere you like!

 

4. Pencils

Use washi tape to make your pencils 100x cuter!

Just wrap the wash tape around your pencils!
Just wrap the wash tape around your pencils!

 

So that’s all for now! Hope you liked my ideas and use them! Bye, see you next time!

Proverbs 31:17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

Pretty Things in Raya’s Room

Mama Donna here. I asked Raya’s permission to enter her “room” .  Most often, as I drop by her room, I catch her creating something,  or I just see the finished product on display, or I find her “inspiring” her heart and mind with books, magazines or DIY/craft websites.

Created and hung 5 or so years ago.  It represents God's angel guarding her room.
Created and hung 5 or so years ago. It represents God’s angel guarding her room.

 

Are you ready to see pretty things?
Are you ready to see pretty things? (Raya was only five y.o)

 

Raya's Bulletin Board beside her door using cork board and chalkboard paint
Raya’s Bulletin Board beside her door using cork board and chalkboard paint

 

She did say that her room can get messy.  I say it’s a pretty kind of messy that feels like a breath of fresh air.   So let me show you several products of her room, the factory of pretty things.

Let me start with what she does  with canvas boards (available in any bookstore):

All girls love Instax!
All girls love Instax! Acrylic on canvas

 

Little girl peaking from a hot air ballon ( Gino at two y.o. called this Hot Bear Alloon!)
Little girl peaking from a hot air ballon ( Gino at two y.o. called this Hot Bear Alloon!), Acrylic

 

Inspired by a painting technique in one HomesCool Art lesson, Raya worked right away !
Inspired by a painting technique in one HomesCool Art lesson, Raya worked right away ! Acrylic

 

Raya read the book, "Shiloh" for her HomesCool Reading/Language Arts. It was a story of a boy and a beagle. We then had some lessons on how to draw a beagle and then she did this on her own.
Raya read the book, “Shiloh” for her HomesCool Reading/Language Arts. It was a story of a boy and a beagle. We then had some lessons on how to draw a beagle and then she did this on her own. Acrylic

 

This is no longer in her room. It was sold for a little boy's room in an art exhibit by L'arc En Ciel.
This is no longer in her room. It was sold for a little boy’s room in an art exhibit by L’arc En Ciel. Acrylic

 

This is the newest addition to her wall.
This is the newest addition to her wall. Paper cut outs pasted on canvas.

The one above came from a  room decor tutorial video from youtube.

A rose for Lola Emma's 80th is now in Lola's room
A rose for Lola Emma’s 80th is now in Lola’s room.

 

Mini Canvas with easel and paint pot
Can you spot the cap of a glue stick? Mini Canvas with easel and paint pot

 

Her doll's easel
Her doll’s easel

 

Spash lots of craft paint and add wooden letters
Splash lots of craft paint and add wooden letters.

Then there is also lot of sewing going on here:

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Doll clothes (except the pants)

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Pillow cases

 

Instax Case
The prettiest Instax case!

 

DIY stuff toys
DIY stuff toys

 

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UP, UP, UP and AWAY! When Gino was two y.o., he called this Hot Bear Alloon!

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Jumpers of a favorite friend
Jumper of a favorite friend

 

A DIY Rabbit names Puddles
A DIY Rabbit named Puddles

 

An apron for Tita Chel for Christmas
An apron for Tita Chel for Christmas

 

A gift for Papa
A gift for  Papa

 

More doll clothes, doll stuff
More doll clothes, doll stuff

 

And here are some of her sketches:

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Sometimes she just wants to make something out of everyday stuff:

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Doll accessories from small boxes, old DVD case, and lots of cardboard

 

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Raya loves watermelons as decors. Inspired from a craft website, using rocks and acrylic paint
Raya loves watermelons as decors. Inspired from a craft website, using rocks and acrylic paint

 

As I look around Raya’ room, I see God’s blessing on her hands and her character. My prayer is that she will remain faithful  to Him and productive for His glory!

Proverbs 31:  13, 17-19 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.She sees that her trading is profitable,and her lamp does not go out at night.In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

 

Welcome to Raya’s Room !

Hello! Welcome to my room! Here in Raya’s Room you will see many DIY’s, crafts, sewing projects, and much more! Today, I am just going to show you around!

Here is my bed, where I sleep, read, and come up with ideas.

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On my bed I have some handmade/machine sewed throw pillows. They really make my bed much more interesting!

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Next to my bed is my desk. This is where most of the crafting is done.

As you can see it is quite messy….

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And here is my favorite part of my room! I like to hang many inspirational quotes on this wall. It makes me very happy when I wake up.

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So that was just a quick tour of my room. I’ll try to post as often as I can. So, see you next time!! <3

 

“See I have chosen him… and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and knowledge in all crafts—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship,” Exodus 31:1-5

 

 

 

 

Raya’s Room

Take a peek on what goes on in our daughter’s room. It’s always busy with sounds of a running sewing machine, washing of paint brushes, hammering, and cutting. I call it the factory of pretty things.

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Raya created this artwork last week using wooden letters from Typo (Greenbelt 5) and just splashed craft paint in a canvas.

More posts in Raya’s Room coming soon!