Archives for July 2014

God’s Love

Early this year, I found these verses in the Bible.

Philippians 4: 4-9

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I pray. I try to pray as often as I can- whenever I need to talk to Him. However, I have to admit there are nights when I just sleep without saying my prayers.  I am the kind of person who fervently prays to God when deeply troubled yet forgets to regularly pray when life is sweet. I am human. I am a sinner. Yet when I am feeling low, God is always there for me.

Over the weekend, I was feeling terrible. There were things I wanted to get done that did not get done. There were things that I wanted to happen that did not happen. These were simple things yet it felt like a heartbreak even if I did not know what a heartbreak feels like. I was emotional yet I kept a straight face. Then I remembered those verses. I prayed. I convinced myself that my worries will end for God knows what is in my heart. I still slept with worries but with some ray of hope.

Then something magical happened. I got things done today and I felt God’s hands in my life as I received some good news. There is really nothing to worry about.

Overnight Oats and Salad Wrap

I have been chatting with a friend and she mentioned she was making overnight oats.  We had oats in the fridge and I wanted to make one, too.  Overnight oats are oats soaked in liquid and kept in the fridge overnight.  Yes, you eat the oats in the morning. No cooking necessary. The recipe I found calls for rolled oats but what I had was instant oats so I used the instant oats. What I did was soak the oats in low-fat milk and yogurt.  I just eyeballed the proportion of the oats with the milk-yogurt mixture.  I added a pinch of cinnamon just because I have cinnamon in the fridge.

This is what it looked like after being soaked overnight.

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You can scoop this to your bowl and add fruits. In my case, I added banana, mango and raisins.

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Hmm.. something is missing. I added Twinkles. 😀 Twinkles is a fruit-flavored cereal made of oats.
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Try this! You can experiment with other toppings for the oats.

My food experiment did not end there. I bought a pack of tortilla wrap in Malaysia. We were in the grocery and I wanted to use up my ringgits. I did not want to be bothered into exchanging them to peso. My friend bought packs of tortilla wrap so I bought one, too.

The wrap is going to expire next week so it was crunch time for me to make something with it. I heated the wrap on the pan following the instructions on the package. I gathered my ingredients. I choose fruits and vegetable that I like to eat. I got lettuce, carrots, green tomatoes, apple, mango, avocado. I cut them in julienne slices, arranged them on the wrap, topped with cheese and drizzled with store-bought caesar dressing and cheez whiz. Then, I wrapped it.

Voila!
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My uncle and one aunt loved it. The other other aunt looked like she was forced to eat it. She is not really adventurous with food so we already anticipated that reaction from her.

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There were four of us in the house so I made only four wraps.
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There are leftover ingredients so I made salad the next day. I still have four wraps left which I am using for another food experiment this weekend.

If you can’t find tortilla in your grocery shelves, you can make the wraps in your own kitchen. I found the recipe here. I will test this recipe soon.

Happy weekend!

30 Reasons Why I am Thankful for June 2014

I started the month in another country. The rest of the 28 days I spent them at home and I still had quite a fulfilling month.

Here are 30 reasons why I am grateful for June:

1. My friend, Jill. She slept late the night before because she had a cupcake order the following day. After she delivered the order, she drove us around Brunei the whole day. What a gracious host!

2. Filipinos at the Labuan Duty-Free. We got free chocolates!

3. Safe travel. I arrived in Butuan safely. Tired but safe and happy.

4. Free ride. I was scheduled to go to Tandag city to claim my professional fee for work.  My neighbor was also scheduled to go there so my aunt and I hitched ride to Tandag.  We had lunch in Lianga and I picked sea cucumber ceviche since I have not tried that before. It was crunchy and tasty.

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5.  Aunt’s birthday.  An aunt celebrated her 79th birthday. That is quite a milestone. I thank God for her life. She is a blessing to our family.

6. Chat with friends. My friends were quite busy watching the tennis match between Sharapova and Halep. I stayed up late to wait for updates who won the match.  I now forgot who actually won.  Ha!

7.  Dine out with family. There was a brownout and we were too lazy to cook in the house. We went out to try a new restaurant but it was closed because there was no generator so we have to settle for Chowking. It was still a filling meal.

8. Opportunity. I had a new task so I worked hard today.

9.  Movie with friends. We watched ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. I loved the book so I was ready to cry watching the movie. I didn’t. I watched it with my friends whose side comments would instead elicit laughter from me.

10. Cousin’s birthday. I can’t believe my cousin is now 32. I am the oldest grandchild so, in my eyes, my younger cousins are all teenagers. Ha!

11. Visit to father’s hometown.It has been awhile since I last visited my father’s hometown and I am glad to still see this sign whenever I get off the bus. My grandmother was one generous woman.

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12. Independence day! It is the Philippines’ 116th Independence Day.

13. Energy.  I was quite hardworking this day.

14. Lost weight. I am still overweight but 5 pounds is 5 pounds. Yahoo!

15. Father’s day. My Papa is in heaven but I thank God for my father’s life on earth. Those were happy moments. I spent this day with my regular ritual whenever I miss him and Mama- I listened to my childhood recordings of our conversations again.

16. Catching up with friends. Our friend, Mau, was in town. She is currently based in Ormoc as an engineer for the UN’s effort to rehabilitate Yolanda-affected areas. We took this opportunity to meet up with her because it may take some time before we get to see her again.

Photo swiped off Mau's Facebook.

Photo swiped off Mau’s Facebook.

17. Provision. Thank you, God, for the blessings. Someone owed me money and I got paid today.

18. Reminder. I was quite overwhelmed with the things I need to get done and the budget I need to raise for some of the projects I am trying to complete. I quickly realized that I should not worry.  God knows what is in my heart.

19. Cup topper. I saw a cute cup topper. I want to get one for myself and so I did. 😀

cuptopper

20. Time to try portrait. My watercolor portrait needs a lot of improvement but I am enjoying the process.

21. Fun doing landscape watercolor art. The watercolor landscape still looked different from the original where I copied it from but I am happy that my friends were appreciative of the result.

lanscape

22. Power of touch. We visited my mother’s friend who was sick. She was already bedridden and she hardly talks She smiled when she recognized me and she held my hand for a long time.

23. Portrait alternative. Since my own self-portrait was a little off, the dog painting was a lot better. Maybe I should stick to painting animals for awhile.

24. Free food. I got a visit from a friend and she brought food!

25.  Home repair. We got a carpenter to repair my house.  We need to do something about the termite infestation. Plus, I want a nicer home without the problems.

26. Friend’s clean bill of health. My friend had a health scare which prompted her to undergo surgery. She told me what she went through and I am thankful that the worries have come to pass. She can move on to the next chapter of her life.

27. Bonus! My client was happy with my work that I got a bonus for it.

28. Fun conversation. With my aunts, we always have laugh out loud moments.  One of my aunts does not mince words and she neither practice political nor tact. She doe not edit what is on her mind. We find that amusing and scary when we are with other people. But when it is just me and my aunts, it is always fun.

29. Hard work. I pushed a little harder with work since there are bills to pay. It is almost the end of June.

30. Reward. I was a little under the weather. House repair is still underway. My messy house may have cause a little stress to my system. I got something to cheer me up.  My collection is complete. I am not really a fan. I did not watch the movie yet. I just want these cup toppers.

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I am looking forward to a wonderful July!

Online Shopping for Home and Art

There are two things that kept me busy this week: home and art. My house is undergoing repair. Torrential rains early this year have resulted to leaks in the roof. Plus, termites have infested us. For the past year, we get an occasional swarm of termites hovering around a light source.  Lately, the frequency of the such swarm have increased and we have decided to tackle the problem now. The carpenter has gone through every possible termite infestation and found a lot of areas that need to be stripped down and repaired. Thus, the house is still a mess as the repair is the not yet complete.

To cheer myself up with the sorry state of my place, I visualize the repaired space and I think of ways to decorate it anew. I turn to online shopping sites for ideas. With Pinterest, it is easy to pin those ideas to a board and review what I have gathered.  There are a lot of online shopping sites for home and great deals abound.  You do not have to be physically in the store. With just a click of the mouse, you will know what is available for purchase.

I am loving this style right now.

Source: Wayfair.com

Source: Wayfair.com

Another hobby of mine that had me busy for the past two months is watercolor art. I am now thinking of using other media. This hyper realistic art is quite impressive that I am looking for online shops where I can purchase the materials used to create this awesome art.

I am also thinking of venturing into using acrylic and oil paints on my art. Right now, I am comparing prices from different online shops.

I know it can be tempting to just go, click and order whatever catches my fancy. However, I always spend with caution. Online shopping is very convenient that it is easy to lose control. One of the tips I learned over years is to look for coupons before hitting the buy button. For home coupons and other discount deals, I check out AntiRetailHome.com. Right now, they offer a lot of Wayfair.com coupons. You can now redecorate you home at a fraction of the original price. Happy shopping!

10 Things I Learned from My Friend, Ayet

Two weeks ago, my friends found my blogpost about our trip to Laguna. My friend, Ayet, missed that trip because of work. She expressed her regret not being part of the photos I have shared. I promised she will get featured on this blog. Now is her time to shine! 😀

I met Ayet 3 years ago on a trip to Naga. We had common friends. We belong to the same high school batch. I know she’s a keeper because we have only been friends for three years now yet it seemed like we have been friends for a long time. She is one bright girl with a loving heart and an adventurous soul. I learned a lot from her in the past three years.

Here are the things I learned from her just by observing how she lives her life:

1. Never be afraid to take adventures. This girl does not have an ounce of fear in her body. At least, she does not let it show. She climbed Mt. Apo, wakeboarded in Naga, surfed in La Union, plunged in Bohol, parasailed in Boracay , paraglided in Australia and a lot more.

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Photo taken from her facebook account.

2. Know your good angles and strike a pose. As much as I love to take candid photos, she peppers my shots with glamour poses! She is responsible for many of our ‘choreographed’ photos. It makes traveling fun.

ayet

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3. Treasure the memories. She has several albums on Facebook full of photos. Recently, friends have unearthed the high school photos she shared long ago. There was a fun exchange of comments in the process. In my case, I got know what some of my friends looked like in high school since I did not know them then.

4. We all need some sense of humor. She introduced us to some terms of endearment that we end up using when we get together. These terms have become inside jokes and would result to fits of laughter among friends.

5. No act of kindnes is ever wasted. For two of our trips, she opened her home for us. We all converged in her room like sardines but we loved it. We were all together. Such generosity of sharing her space no matter how small is always remembered.

6. Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less (CSLewis). She has this funny way of putting herself last on the list even at her own wedding! She once told us, “Do you really still need to take pictures of me preparing for the wedding?” Yes, we do! You are the star of that day. She does not put herself under the spotlight even if the light is directed towards her. And she never rubbed it in our face that she topped her class in school.

7. Know when to let go. She has her own share of trials and heartbreaks. Her unwavering faith has kept her strong through the years. It takes courage to walk away from things that you worked hard to keep together because they no longer make people happy.

8. Her family is always in her heart. She flew home in a heartbeat when the family needed her. You can see how she is loved and how she loves them back.

9. Take time to reflect. There is power in silence and in listening to your own hearbeat. We can be alone in our thoughts and find better perspective in life. She writes from the heart when she feels like she needs to express something. She goes on a retreat to recharge her spirit. She says a prayer whenever she can.

10. Never give up on love. She allowed herself to love and be loved.

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I know I will learn a lot more from her.

And since I am sharing this post to her, this is my special message:

Happy, happy birthday, Ayet! I admire you for your kind and loving heart, wicked sense of humor and adventurous spirit. I truly appreciate and treasure your friendship. Mwah!

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