When Things Go Wrong, Do Something Right

There are days when out of the ordinary happen. There are things that the worst thing that you are trying to avoid take place. You missed your important appointment and lost your valuable client. You invested a large amount of money and it was gone with the wind. As much as possible you don’t want something bad happens to you or to your family and yet that rare phone call arrived and you heard your mother died. You lost a friend because of false accusation or hurtful words that were spoken and got unresolved. A wart appeared on your body and found its place at the sole of your foot where it became difficult for you to walk. An unusual accident happened when your face was hit by a flying tarpaulin.

Do you have the same scenario or something like that occurred to you? If not, then well and good. But for me, it’s real and it’s true. Those things I mentioned came to pass. I had stories of loss of a person, money, heartaches, pains, challenges and

It was really hard to accept you lost a client and received a speech from your boss what had gone wrong and what not to do next time. I learned a lot from that and through time because of God’s favour and sheer determination, our client came back and gave more investments.

My husband and I thought that if we invest some of our money, we could get the car that we want. For us it was a good decision and we decided together to do it. But after a few years when we were about to get our investment and decided to buy the car, the investment house was no longer in existence. We were stunned and we can’t accept what had gone wrong. But when we came to God and prayed to Him, a sense of peace and comfort just came to us. We still have a lot of possessions and more to celebrate beyond money. We still have God on our side, our family, a job, a rented place we can go home to and we could still eat. God is our provider and after a few months, a car was provided to us without paying any cent for it.

Death in the family is really hard to accept. Losing a loved one whom you cherished a lot got me into a depress mode. I appeared normal but deep inside I was hurting a lot. It took a really long time, about three years, for me to let go. I asked God to remove the sense of loss and put acceptance in my heart that He is the God who gives and takes away. After that, I got my act together.  I know that I still have a life and a purpose to pursue. My father remarried again and I have four more siblings that were added to my family.

I know I have cultivated great relationships with some people and so I thought we would end up being best friends forever. But, it became short-lived. We did not try to resolve or confront each other maybe because of pride and avoidance of conflict, we let go of each other. It is a fact that there will be people who will come to your life for a reason, for a season and for a lifetime. Because of miscommunication, they are not my friends of the latter. It was hard for me to keep appearing friendly and tried to hold a conversation or two, but I now something did not feel right. And in the end I bear the pain of choosing to let go and released the person in my life. Then by the grace of God, I learned to befriend others again and try to stick to those who have been my real and great friends through the years. I know that there will be still people who can accept me for all my good and bad sides and speak to my life. Although I am still hopeful that one day, we will cross our paths again and regain our relationship, be reconciled and still be friends for keeps.

One time I was talking to a friend and we happened to discuss on what to do with a wart that’s bothersome. He said that he got two and had them operated. Salicylic acid was no longer an option. So I told him about my case that the wart I had at the sole of my feet, where you put your weight on, was getting bigger and really painful for quite sometime and I had to lean on my husband sometimes when we are walking when the pain was unbearable. When I asked him how much it cost he said about P15,000-20,000. Wow, that’s a lot of money for just a wart! So I asked God’s help and prayed hard that I can receive a divine healing. After our midyear prayer and fasting this July, my miracle came. As if my wart was never there. No more bump. No more pain. Thank you God for your healing grace. Now, I am wart-free and I can walk properly.

I had an unusual accident during our dragon boat regatta competition at the bay walk area in Roxas Boulevard yesterday. I was hit by a flying tarpaulin. Can you imagine, of all people who were walking along the road, I was the chosen one? It was so windy yesterday that the tarpaulin’s rope got loosened, went flying and hit my face. I knew something slapped my face and I did not know that I was already bleeding. Good thing there were some paramedics who attended my case right away and provided first aid. I was so glad I was able to row and our women’s crew got to the finals and won 3rd-runner up. When I was thinking about the accident, that flying object could have hit my eyes and lose my sight or broke my nose and yet I only got a small scar in between my eyes and nose and a puffy right side of my face. I was really thankful to God for His divine protection and healing. If you see me now, I look like a battered wife or lost boxing match. Still, grateful to God for protecting my eyes. I know I will have a scar that I am proud of. It will serve as a testimony of God’s protection.

When I was reminiscing about these challenging times and unusual moments that I faced, all I can say is that the ONLY THING I DID RIGHT WAS I CAME TO GOD. I never took Him out of the picture. I know He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is a promise-keeping God who is always on time and never delayed. I don’t ever want to lose my faith and my hope in Him. Even when there were times I know I was not faithful, He is there always for me. I just have to keep reminding myself that He who began something good in me will bring it completion. I just have to learn to be patient and keep on coming to Him to know Him and have the confidence that help is on my way. I LET HIM TAKE CONTROL AND ASK FOR WISDOM WHAT TO DO RIGHT AND BEST and WAIT FOR HIM TO SHOWCASE HIS GLORY OVER MY SITUATION. I never doubt that I will and I can experience the breakthroughs and miracles in my life to demonstrate His power and His faithfulness.

I learned to hold on to His words. It says in Jeremiah 17:14, “Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”

I PRAISE GOD BECAUSE HE IS REAL. I am in faith that nothing will be impossible for Him. Provision, protection, healing, restoration, etc are just some of the manifestation of who He is. I know there will be more challenging times and bad days to come but I AM SURE THAT GOD WILL ALWAYS BE WITH ME FROM THE DAY I WAS BORN UNTIL I DIE and VICTORY is sure to come over my situation. Keep the faith and let God do a miracle in your life. Hold on and pursue God.

 

Image source: http://hannastrategy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/prayer.jpg

 

: Come to God when the challenging times happen

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Leche Puto or Steamed Custard Cake

One of my favourite pinoy desserts is leche flan!  How much more if you put two pinoy favourite merienda treats together? And voila! you Have the LECHE PUTO or the custard steamed cake. All you have to do is use a steamer. So easy to make even if you don’t have an oven. This is a great snacks/dessert for all ages.  You can bring this to any party. Who would say no to a milky and caramel  sweet delight!

Ingredients:

For the flan:Leche Puto

4 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk (395g)
2 tsps lemon/calamansi juice or 1 tsp lemon extract

For the puto:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
4 eggwhites (about 2/3 cup)
1¼ cups water

1 tsp vanilla

a few drops of yellow liquid food colouring (optional)

 

1.  Prepare the flan first.  In a small bowl, mix together the eggyolks and condensed milk.  Add in the lemon juice or extract. Remove any bubbles. Then put in your plastic sauce container for easy pouring

2. Heat water in bottom pan of steamer until water boils rapidly.

3. Grease puto molds then put the flan mixture into each mould, filling each about 1/3 full and cook in LOW HEAT for 5-7 minutes only. It should look solid and slightly firm enough to your touch. Then remove from heat and set aside.

4.  Prepare all the dry ingredients, sift, and mix together.

5. Slightly beat the egg whites and add the water. Then pour the dry ingredients and mix together. DO NOT overmix.

6. Put the batter inside the plastic sauce container and add the liquid batter to the flan until almost full.

7. Bring back to a boil your water and LOWER THE HEAT before steaming back the prepared puto molds. Cook for 10 minutes and let it cool.

8. Use a thin knife to remove the leche puto, invert and tap a little before putting in prepared baking liners.

Happy steaming!

 

Adapted from: http://pinoyinoz.blogspot.com/2014/04/leche-puto.html

 

TIPS:

Do not overcook the leche flan.   The flan should remain creamy yet firm enough to hold its shape.

Get yourself these inexpensive plastic sauce dispensers.  It makes filling up the moulds so much easier and cleaner.

Wrap steamer cover with a towel to remove any dripping water directly to the prepared flan & puto.plastic sauce dispenser

Red Velvet Cake

photo-3Red is the colour of love. What a fitting way to show how much you care with the colour of love  tastefully seen in your baked creation. As the Mother’s day is fast approaching, I would like to share this favourite recipe of the ever famous RED VELVET and make someone feel special today.

Ingredients for the cake batter:

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 tbsp. Hersheys cocoa powder 

1 ½ cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk*, room temp.

2 large eggs, room temp.

2 tablespoons red food coloringred velvet slice

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Ingredients for the Cream cheese frosting:

1 (8 oz or 237ml) package of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

*You can substitute buttermilk with yakult or sour milk

Directions for Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers or in two 8-inch baking pans. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In a large bowl, gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick if done. Remove from oven and cool before frosting.

Directions for Frosting:

In a medium bowl, cream the butter then add the cream cheese until well incorporated. Mix the vanilla then gradually add the confectioner’s sugar until light and fluffy. Then pipe it with your choice of icing tip and spread on top of your cupcake.

Adapted from:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/red-velvet-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe.html

Bicol Express (Beware: hotness at its best!)

Bicol Express

As a Bicolano, it is expected that I am  fond of eating hot and spicy food. I used to watch my mother and some of our family friends prepare this special dish.  And through the years, I have been preparing this for my family and friends. This is also a great appetizer for parties and pasalubong for friends who love spicy food.

Here’s my own version of the famous Bicol express. Please try it and enjoy cooking!

Ingredients:

3 tablespoon cooking oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, minced

1 cup thick coconut cream

2 cups thin coconut milk

1 cup shrimp paste

1/2 kilo pork belly, diced

4 cups sliced siling mahaba or chili pepper

ground black pepper

*Optional

1 cup sliced sigarilyas (winged bean) or string beans

1 small piece of sliced ginger

1-3 siling labuyo or red hot small chill peppers

This is good for 6-8 people. Preparation and cooking time: 40-60 minutes

Directions:

   1.      Slice the chilli peppers in a slanting manner. Rinse thoroughly and drain. Set aside.

           *If you want to lessen the spiciness, you can shake and  remove the seeds while rinsing.

    2.     Heat the pan and pour the cooking oil.

    3.     Saute’ garlic and onion.

   4.     Add the pork and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.

    5.     Pour the thin coco milk in. Bring to a boil and stir.

    6.     Put the shrimp paste, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

    7.     Pour in thick coconut cream and let it boil until half the liquid has evaporated.

    8.    Put the chili peppers (and the vegetables) and cook until oil comes out from the cream.

    9.    Season with black pepper.

  10.     Serve hot.

Tips: Make sure to put on plastic gloves before you slice the chilli peppers to ensure your hand will not have any burning sensation.

         I heard that it’s good to soak the chilli peppers in cold water with salt or pour hot water after slicing.

If you want to know where the term “Bicol Express” originated, here’s a good read:

http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/who-invented-the-incendiary-bicol-expres

 

Self-Sacrifice: Big word!

Self-Sacrifice: Big Word!

I heard a joke about an old couple eating inside a restaurant. Here is the short version of it: There was an old man who was happily munching on his sandwich while his wife was fondly looking at him. And a bystander asked the old lady why she was not eating. Then the old lady said that she was waiting for her husband to finish eating so that she can use her false teeth. For me this was really funny. But come to think of it, it is a picture of sacrifice. The old lady was willing to wait and lend her own dentures.

The word sacrifice as defined in Meriam-Webster dictionary is “an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially the killing of a victim on an altar or destruction.” But metaphorically, it has been used as “ to surrender of something for the sake of something else or something given up or lost.” Have you experienced someone making a sacrifice for you or did you do something that was so selfless and yet you were happy about it?

Mahatma Gandhi once said that, “A man who has completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.”

The bible says in 1Peter3:18,

Love-equals-sacrifice-Ending4For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

This is what Jesus did for us. His love was so great that He willingly laid down His life just for us. Even when we were still sinners He suffered on the cross and paid the price for our sins. With His ultimate sacrifice, God forgave our sins and we can now enjoy our relationship with God and His blessings.

Let us be grateful for what Jesus did for us. As a result, it is good to value those who make sacrifices.  Appreciate those who willingly give up what they value the most. Maybe someone did an extra mile just for you. Out of love, someone is willing to do whatever it takes to gain your approval. If it makes you happy, that’s all that matters to that person.

Like a mother, there’s no sacrifice that is too great when it comes to her children. A father who sold their only cow to send his son to school. A doctor who stayed in his hometown to practice his profession instead of working abroad. Sold a car to donate to the victims of typhoon Yolanda. Well, you know a lot of stories. But you can also start your own story of sacrifice.

If you want to love, be brave enough to lose yourself. Be ready to sacrifice anything for each other. It is dying to your own selfishness. You begin to think of the welfare of the person you are willing to give up. Your only desire is to please the person that you love. It is going to be costly. It will cost your time, effort, money and mostly of yourself. Denying what you desire for the sake of the one you love.

Let me leave this question: Have you made a sacrifice for someone today? Please do so. You cannot measure how far the outcome of your selfless love would bring happiness to that special someone as you gladly and willingly do it.

 

Is it that easy to initiate a good relationship?

meet new friendsWhen it’s my first time to attend a meeting or go to a party, I feel jittery to talk to someone new because I don’t know how to start a conversation. I can appear friendly but it takes time for me to get to know someone well. Are you like me or you find it so easy to talk to a stranger and befriend someone? Well, regardless of our behaviour, God wants us to initiate a good relationship with others.

Jesus once said that the entire Bible can be summed up in two commands: Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37–39). We can show love, concern and compassion on other people. How we treat others will really be a reflection of our relationship with Jesus. We have to put others first. We need to put a high premium on the people that we encounter everyday.  They need to feel love.  John 13:34 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” We need to love others as Jesus loved us.

But usually it is so easy to love when a person is lovable but there will be times that we will encounter people who are unlovable, unbearable or irritable.  Will you stop showing love or concern? We cannot do that because Jesus said it is a command to love others because he knew that it is not automatic for us to do it. Not all of us are born people person so we really need an extra effort to love a person. It will be Christ’s love that will compel us to love others. Our greatest motivation should always be Christ. If we fully grasp and have a clear understanding of his love then it becomes a lifestyle to love others as he first loved us.

Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let’s put emphasis on the words: clothe yourselves and put on love, Paul knew that it will be hard to love and he is encouraging us to do it. So we really need to continually be a student on love. We need to look on Jesus always so we can learn from him.We need to keep on learning to love God and others as we make it our highest goal, our first priority, our constant focus, our passionate intention, and the dominant life value of our lives. The more we learn  how to love authentically, the more Christ-like we become. Then the fragrance of God’s love will be spread everywhere we go. And people can smell the real essence of a spiritual family around us.

I believe in LOVE

I believe in love. I choose to succumb to the idea that love will find its way to restore relationships, healing of deep wounds and forgiveness beyond measure. It is not blind but it paves the way to say no to offense and hatred. It acknowledges the fact that we fall short of expectations. There will be disappointments along the way. Only love can unlock the imprisoned heart from bitterness. You can bring it all up to God and not on the person. Don’t miss the chance of losing the chain of wonderful relationship. Don’t let years of grudges lose your opportunity to build bridges. Only a person who experienced the love of God will be able to take up the challenge to forgive and love the person unconditionally.

Don’t waste your time adding more baggage to the hatred. Be set free and loosen the cord of love. Set an example to breathe in the peace of loving someone. Remove the pride and say “sorry.” If you were the one wronged, it’s time to go to God and let him fill the hole of brokenness and be made whole again. Jesus loved us even when we were sinners. It’s difficult and it’s not easy but you can step to the way of love slowly until you are running with it. Make the choice to love because it will surely cover the dark past and you can look forward to a future of love defined.

Image source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_FhK7hIQk1XA/TP2oRbYcYzI/AAAAAAAABuo/X3KR6WnEA20/s1600/Believe

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Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.