Miyerkules, Enero 25, 2012


Malu Tiongson-Ortiz and her daughter Clarissa
The Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines will have an art exhibit at the Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati, from February 16-19, 2012, featuring art works of children with Down syndrome.  Clarissa Ortiz, one of the young artists was not only born with Down syndrome but also hearing and speech impaired, and physically handicapped.  But God is good.  He gave her eye to see colors and hands to draw faces.  Her works have been exhibited here and in the U.S., two of which are now displayed in a house in Beverly Hills, California.  It's amazing how children with special needs like Clarissa can paint beautiful Picasso-like portraits in acrylic and oil pastels.  Clarissa's Mom, homeschool and art teacher Malu Tiongson-Ortiz, is a Fine Arts graduate from UST major in Interior Design.  She cleans and enhances Clarissa's art works.     

In John 9:3 we read that when Jesus was asked by His disciples, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind (handicapped)?", Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."  

Clarissa is God's instrument in displaying His mighty works.  Through her, many people's lives have been touched.  "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

Biyernes, Enero 20, 2012


As we learned Bible principles for practical living, God taught me and my husband Claro to set aside a substantial amount for our daughter with Down syndrome. Claro always make it a point to save for Clarissa's future. Saving for the special needs child’s future should be the concern of every parent. Who would want to burden their siblings or their relatives, should their special child outlive them? My husband has already assigned both Clarissa’s brothers, Carlo and Paulo, as the legal guardians and administrators of Clarissa’s savings while I have trained and prepared our sons to take care her.  The preparation include writing journals and keeping our daughter's medical records, doctors telephone numbers and clinic hours in case of future medical problems.  Though this may sound morbid, I have also prepared a Last Will & Testament to make sure that my daughter will be well taken care of.  

I believe it is also a wise principle to get a medical insurance card and life insurance for our special needs children. Some companies provide this specialized insurance. My brother Randell, a financial analyst and an advocate of life and finance, advised us to get a life insurance and endowment plan with Clarissa as the sole beneficiary.
The fear of not having enough money to raise a special needs child can be crippling. When I ask my son Carlo when he intends to marry, he always tells me, “Not until I’m 30 years old. I’m not financially ready yet.” I honestly think that nobody ever feels “ready” to get married, just as we are also never “ready” to take care of a special child. God purposely allows us to feel inadequate to be married, or to parent a special needs child, so we will learn to depend on Him for provisions.
I trust that the Lord will not put us in a situation that we cannot handle, with His help. Jesus said,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Matthew 6:25–27 

To learn more about planning for the future of your child with special needs, attend the seminar "ANG PERA NA HINDI BITIN," on February 18, 2012 at CCF Overflow Room, 4th Floor St. Francis Square, Mandaluyong City, from 8am to 12:30pm.  Register now!  It's FREE!  Simply text you name to 09178966258 or 09053784217. 

Huwebes, Enero 19, 2012


God takes care of His people even in the midst of crises. When He gave us a child with special needs, we need to sincerely trust and be assured that His provisions will come at the exact time we need them. He is seldom early, but He is never late. God’s timing is perfect.

When I felt the need to give up my work for Clarissa, I sought God’s wisdom from the leader of our family – my husband. Claro advised me to close my store and be a stay- at-home mom. And so I took a leap of faith and gave up my business in 2005. I was sad but excited at the same time for it meant that I would be spending more time with my family. A few months after, my husband was promoted at work and also received some financial blessings from his father.  

I realized that whatever income I had lost, God had given back, channeling it through many other ways. When I am in need, I am excited to see how the Lord will provide.  My trust in Him is growing. We sometimes speak lightly of God’s timing, but He truly gives help at the exact time when we need it.

There is hope. You can trust that the Lord will meet the needs of your special needs child. Although to quit working because of a special child may not be appropriate in your situation, you can be assured that as you place your life in God’s hands, He will put you right where He wants you to be. Because I was working too hard and dependent on myself, He took me out of my business in order for me to have order in my priorities and to completely rely on Him for provisions. I realized that my family should be at the top of my list, over my work. I realized too that being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean I will stop working. Since then, I’ve found ways to earn a living and yet be at home with my children. I continued to make bead jewelry and consigned these items to other stores instead of running my own store. God also bestowed upon my daughter Clarissa and I a special talent that generates income for both of us.  Clarissa makes modern portraits in acrylic and oil pastel and I enhance her works.  God is good. He gave me the wisdom to manage my time and spend quality time with my family. 

To learn more about financial stewardship and how to plan for the future of your child with special needs, attend the seminar, "Ang Pera Na Hindi Bitin," with Malu Tiongson-Ortiz, author of "Embracing God's Purpose for My Special Child," Ardy Roberto, author of "Ang Pera na Hindi Bitin," Randell Tiongson, an advocate of life & personal finance, and Atty. Robert Samarita, head of LAW Ministry.  See you at the CCF Overflow Room, 4th Floor, on February 18, 2012 at 8am to 1230Pm.  Register now by sending a text message with your name to 09178966258 or 09053784217.   

Biyernes, Enero 13, 2012


In our last parenting seminar for families of children with special needs at CCF, St Francis Square on September 2011, I was moved by the overwhelming response of almost 200 participants composed of parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers and therapists.  According to the survey form submitted to us, many were blessed by the message on biblical parenting, joyfully grateful to God for choosing them to be a parent of a special needs child despite the physical and financial burden it entails.

Because of this response, some concerned parents and I were burdened to organize a seminar particularly on "finances and our child's future" hopefully to give encouragement to those families who are going through financial difficulties in raising their child or for parents who simply want to learn about planning for adulthood of their child.

On February 18, from 8am to 12nn, we will be conducting a seminar entitled, "ANG PERA NA HINDI BITIN," a talk on financial stewardship and planning for the future of our child with special needs, at CCF overflow room, 4th floor, St. Francis Square.  We have invited financial gurus, legal and spiritual counselors to talk about God's original plan for money, how we are to spend, save, give, how to plan for our special needs child's future, investments and how to choose an administrator for them.  Be blessed by the testimonies of some parents who overcame financial difficulty and how the Lord faithfully provides for them.

I encourage you, parents of special needs children to come and attend this FREE seminar.  Register now by simply texting your name to 09178966258 or 09053784217.  Hope to see you there!

Linggo, Enero 1, 2012


Recently, my daughter Clarissa had her 8th art exhibit at the Boho Festival, Ayala Alabang Country Club featuring her latest paintings in acrylic.  One of the 30 paintings she exhibited is this very interesting piece of art.  When Clarissa drew this portrait, she was lazy to reach out and draw the eyes nose and lips in the middle of the face. I thought it was not one of her best art works.  But to my surprise, the big forehead and the facial features crowding below the face turned out really fantastic! It's amazing how she can draw and paint without any effort.  While it takes me days to figure out what to draw in a canvas, Clarissa takes 10-15 minutes only to draw a portrait like this.      

Indeed, Clarissa has a very special talent in spite of her disability. No matter how distorted her portraits look, God turns it into a beautiful masterpiece, having an extra ordinary impact on people.  Therefore, it will be unfair to give her all the credit or even to me for enhancing her works as I acknowledge that everything comes from the Master Himself, the one who created my daughter and chose to bestow her with this special gift.  

"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  
Matthew 19:26 
Although the art exhibit did not turn out as expected as it was held in a very private club, I am grateful to the organizers for choosing Clarissa's art works as the highlight of the event.  What is so unique about this exhibit is how the organizers of Boho (headed by Jun de Leon, a celebrity photographer, and Tessa Neri. a good friend), uniquely displayed her paintings in a white inflatable tent that looked like a giant igloo from a distance.  

Thank you Lord for another great opportunity to display your miracles through the life of my daughter Clarissa whom you've chosen to be born with Down syndrome.  As we start the year 2012, may you continue to use her in ways that will amaze and draw people to you.  Continue to bless her hands so she may draw and paint more portraits that will glorify your name.