Why It’s Cool to Fail

An avocado smoothie has always been a sweet, creamy, and refreshing treat at home. My mom usually prepares the dessert and we love it! Recently, I decided to make the yummy smoothie to beat the Summer heat.

avocado smoothie
avocado smoothie

A few days after buying the avocados, I noticed that they were already a bit soft. When my fingers gently pressed the fruit, it created a small dent and so I figured it was time to cut them open. As I was preparing the dessert, I was having a hard time removing the avocado meat from the skin. I told myself: “That’s weird. Usually, the meat would easily come off. Oh well. I’ll be blending them anyway.”

scooping out avocado
scooping out avocado meat

 

To my dismay, I ended up with a bitter avocado smoothie. Once I tasted it, I immediately spat it out of my mouth because of its awful, bitter taste. Even if I added more sugar, it still tasted bitter. So, I decided to throw the batch that I made and pretended as if nothing happened. I didn’t even tell my mom (who bought the avocados) that I used and threw them away.

I was so frustrated because I made a mistake even if the avocado smoothie recipe that I used at that time was also the one I used before (when I made successful smoothies). I found myself thinking of thoughts like: “Your mom’s money was wasted. It was a simple dessert yet you still made a mistake. You’re such a failure.” And it was crazy!

adding milk to avocado
adding milk to the avocados

I decided to pause and talk to God. I shared to Him what happened and what went wrong. I knew that even before I made the mistake, He already knew it would happen. And because I know that He is sovereign, it was really easy for me to talk and listen to Him. After doing so, I decided to tell mom the truth and admit my mistake. I told her how I failed to use the avocados well and that I wanted to pay for the avocados that I wasted. I knew I had to learn from my mistake. What happened next caused my heart to melt. Mom said “It’s okay, anak. You don’t have to pay for the avocados.”

Such grace! At that time, I actually did not have extra money to pay for it and it was really just God’s grace that mom decided to pay for the avocados still.

mixing the avocado
mixing the avocado

 

When I asked God why He allowed me to fail at that moment, I heard an answer from Him that I did not expect. “You ask me why, Nic? Because it’s cool to fail. He said.

“WHAT? Lord? How can it be cool to fail?” I said. Then, throughout our conversation, He made me realize the following:

1. He uses our “fail moments” to bring us closer to Him.

The moment that I had with God after failing with my avocado smoothie was really a blessing to me. I got to know Him more as I read His word again and listened to some Christian Contemporary songs that helped me focus more on Him than on my mistake.

It says in Lamentations 3:22-23:

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.”

“They are new every morning. New every morning. New every morning…” I decided to replace those negative thoughts in my head with His Word and it was really encouraging.

avocado mixture
avocado mixture

2. He uses our “fail moments” to help us improve ourselves for His glory.

“You failed! It was awesome!”

“A toast for his brilliant failure, may it lead to success in the future.”

“From failing, you learn. From success, not so much.”

Are these quotes familiar? These were taken from one of my favorite movies: MEET THE ROBINSONS! :) It was encouraging to see in the movie how it was okay to fail as long as you learn from your past mistakes, make improvements, and keep on doing your best as you move forward.

meet the robinsons
Meet the Robinsons (taken from Google Images)

It’s cool to improve ourselves, but personally, more than that, I’m learning to improve for God and not for my own glory. :)

1 Corinthians 10:31

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

-Henry Ford

Because I failed while I was making my avocado smoothie, I now know how crucial it is to cut the avocados only when it is the right time. I also learned how it is important to ask others who are more skilled in that area before I experiment because they can definitely help me be more efficient and effective. Lastly, I learned to honor God even in the way I use the money, time, energy, and other resources that He has given me.

blending the avocado smoothie
blending the avocado smoothie

3. He uses our “fail moments” to humble us and show us that He is God.

When I was making the avocado smoothie, I remember thinking that I knew what I was doing since I was able to make it before. God showed me the hint of pride in my heart that He did not want to see. Truly, it was a humbling experience. But, I am so grateful that despite my pride, God still is God. God is gracious, faithful, sovereign, and He will continue to love us just the same.

Matthew 23:12 
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

James 4:6

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.”

avocado smoothie
avocado smoothie

4. He uses our “fail moments” to encourage us to persevere and focus on Him… even if we may fail again and again.

Last night, I decided to try making the avocado smoothie again, but this time, I waited longer than I did before. I cut them only when they were ripe and ready. There were also moments when the taste of the bland, avocado fruit “haunted my tongue”. I didn’t feel like continuing the process because I was afraid to fail again. I didn’t want to make another bitter dessert.

However, by God’s grace, I was able to make a yummy avocado smoothie! Last night, it was really sweet, creamy, and refreshing. I loved it!

avocado smoothie
avocado smoothie

 

1 Chronicles 16:11

“Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.”

“Supposing you have tried and failed again and again.  You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

-Mary Pickford

“Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.”

-Samuel Beckett

avocado smoothie

 

While I was enjoying my yummy, chilled, creamy avocado smoothie, I remember telling God: “Wow Lord! It definitely is COOL to FAIL! Thank You for encouraging me to just keep on doing my best for You! Even when I experience failure in making an avocado smoothie, in cooking/baking, in my career, in relationships, in my personal walk with You, or in other things, I am reminded to get back up and try again. Your mercies are new every morning. You will forever be faithful and gracious. Thank You.” :)

 

Mom and the avocado popsicle

RECIPE:

2 ripe avocados

1/4 cup fresh milk

3-4 tablespoons of white sugar/honey

1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

10 pcs. ice cubes (size: 2×1)

*You can adjust the amounts of milk and sugar (depending on your preferred taste)

 

HOW TO MAKE THE SMOOTHIE:

1. Cut each avocado in half and remove the seed. Carefully scoop out the avocado meat and cut into large cubes.

2. Using a blender, combine the avocados, sugar/honey, milk and vanilla extract until well-mixed and creamy. Add the ice cubes and blend.

3. Serve in a glass. Enjoy!

 

NOTES:

1. Ripe avocado meat can EASILY be removed from the skin.

2. Unripe avocados are really bitter. You will know if an avocado is ripe if you gently press on the shoulder part (top part) of the avocado and feel dents (after pressing) or feel that it is soft. Of course, the whole avocado must also have the same feel. It must not be firm or too mushy.

3. Try to remove brown spots or veins in your avocados. These contribute to the bitter taste.

 

Encouraging Treat: Avocado!

Encourage yourself one treat at a time! :)

My Sinigang Moment

Yesterday, I went to the grocery store and I got myself ingredients for Shrimp in Sour Tamarind Soup. This dish is also known as SINIGANG NA HIPON. Haha. For the past years, my mom has been making Sinigang using the commercially sold instant Sinigang mix. However, this time, I wanted to try cooking Sinigang by using only natural ingredients.

 

At first, I was enjoying myself while I was preparing the ingredients. Siyempre! I was cooking Sinigang, tapos Hipon pa! :)

However, halfway through the process, I was already feeling tired and getting impatient because I had to mash the boiled tamarind with seeds to get its puree (which was the main ingredient in the dish).

I think it took me around 45 minutes just to get the needed amount of puree. HAHA! I was actually telling myself, “Nicole, just use the instant Sinigang mix. It would be much easier. It will only take a few seconds to pour it into the dish.” But for some reason, God encouraged me to continue mashing the fresh tamarind. After 2 hours of preparing and cooking, by God’s grace, I was able to produce my first Sinigang na Hipon from scratch! :)

While I was mashing the tamarind, I was having a conversation with God. And it was awesome because I realized that He was actually teaching me to BE PATIENT…again. Forty-five minutes of getting and putting the tamarind puree in the dish vs. a few seconds of putting the instant Sinigang mix was actually a no-brainer. Of course, we would prefer the fast and easy way. But, in order for me to make a healthier Sinigang na Hipon dish (using only natural ingredients), I knew I had to patiently mash the tamarind.

I found myself enjoying my tamarind moment because I was actually able to spend time talking to God and listening to Him. He then reminded me of a similar experience that I had with Sinigang before.

About TWO YEARS AGO, I saw our helper cook Sinigang na hipon. My heart leaped the moment I saw the kangkong, onions, shrimps and other ingredients in the kitchen.

I was really excited to eat it that I kept on telling my siblings how happy I was because we were having Sinigang na Hipon for lunch. I even tried to control myself from eating snacks so that I wouldn’t spoil my appetite.

I decided to wait in the kitchen because I was hoping that our helper would finish cooking it. However, she realized that she lacked some of the instant Sinigang mix. Our helper had to postpone cooking and wait for mom who was still buying groceries.

When I found out about it, I started to get impatient because I wanted to eat Sinigang already. However, I decided to wait for mom because I knew that without the extra spice, the Sinigang would not taste great.

While waiting for mom, I found myself helping prepare the other dishes for lunch and cleaning the kitchen, living room and our bedroom too. And after about two hours of preparing and cleaning, I realized that mom had already put the needed spice and finished cooking the dish.

Finally, mom called us for lunch. I got a bowl and filled it with the hot soup, shrimps, kangkong, gabi and other vegetables. I couldn’t believe it! SOBRANG SARAP! I was smiling while I was eating my share and was indeed very grateful for it.

Surprisingly, I learned two important things during my Sinigang experience that day.

FIRST, GOD MADE ME REALIZE HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO WAIT ON HIM.

Let’s be honest. Who loves to wait? NO ONE. Haha. Okay, so maybe a few out there are actually fond of waiting. However, I guess, most of the time, when we want something, we want to have them NOW. I don’t know about you, but honestly, waiting is not really the number one thing that I love to do, especially if the period of waiting is uncertain.

I guess it is challenging to wait in any situation. Right now, I’m actually waiting for certain things to happen in my life and I can tell you that it is a struggle. There are even times when I am tempted to just take what’s in front of me and not think about whether it is God’s will for me or not.

In my Sinigang na Hipon moment, I realized that if I didn’t wait for mom to put the extra spice in the soup, I would not have enjoyed my lunch that day because of it’s so-so sour flavor. Also, I appreciated the fact that God encouraged me to help prepare the other dishes and clean while I was waiting for the Sinigang.

I know that I’ve already done some things in the past that show how I did things my way in “my time” and did not choose to wait on God. But by His grace, I know I can improve more as He continues to teach me to wait on His perfect timing. Why? It’s because I believe that He knows better than us and in the process of waiting, He can actually help us develop and prepare ourselves even more.

Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be. – John Ortberg

Is there something in your life that you really want to do or have now but somehow God is telling you to wait more?

Well, I just want to encourage you to keep on waiting proactively and to trust that God will give it to you if He thinks it will be the best for you. If He does give it, then praise Him! However, if He chooses not to give it to us (whatever that may be) then we can praise Him even more, because He definitely loves us so much not to give us what is less than best!

PSALM 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.”

SECOND, GOD WAS SHOWING ME HOW HE LONGS FOR US TO LONG MORE FOR HIM EACH DAY!

I longed for Sinigang na Hipon so much that I kept on telling my siblings how happy I was that we were having Sinigang. I even stayed in the kitchen just because I was so excited to see the result and taste the Sinigang.

In that moment, God gently rebuked me: “Nicole, do you also get that excited when you think of Me, bond with Me, or even share Me to the people around you?” And it hit me! “Oo nga noh, Lord. Honestly, not all the time.” :(

What’s amazing with God is that He is FAITHFUL and GRACIOUS, still, in spite of us. And every time I remember how good He has been, I can’t help but want to get to know Him more! :)

Two years have passed and God continues to use something that I love (Sinigang na Hipon) to speak to my heart. :)

Are you waiting for “the cook to finish making your sinigang dish”?

Is your patience tested as “you’re mashing the tamarind to get the puree”?

Are you waiting for your prayers to be answered? For answers to your questions in life?

As we wait on God, I hope that we can spend the time that we have to seek Him more (through prayer or the Bible). We may not always know why things happen or when things would happen in our lives, but we can be secure in our God who is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the EndHe knows our hearts, our desires, what is best for us, and He is always in control.

Psalm 9:10
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

SHRIMP IN SOUR TAMARIND SOUP

Ingredients (estimated):

6 tablespoons of Tamarind puree (about half a kilo of tamarind)

2 tablespoons of salt (you can adjust this according to your preferred taste)

9-10 cups of water

1/2 kilo of shrimps (you can add more if you want)

1/2 kilo Gabi

1 stalk of kangkong

6 tomatoes (cubes or quarters)

2 onions

5 pcs. of okra

2 pcs. green sili

*you can add more vegetables if you want, such as radish, eggplant, sitaw, etc.

Steps:

1. Boil half a kilo of raw tamarind for about 6 minutes (or until ready for mashing).

2. Peel off the outer covering of the tamarind fruits and place the meat (with seeds) on a strainer over a bowl.

3. Carefully mash the tamarind and press it firmly on the strainer to get the puree.

4. Place the pureed tamarind on a separate bowl.

5. Boil water and add the onions and tomatoes in a large pot.

6. Add the pieces of gabi and boil for 10 minutes (or less). It depends on your preferred texture and the type of gabi.

7. Add the pureed tamarind to the mixture in the pot and stir well.

8. Add salt.

9. Add the shrimp and let it cook for about 4 minutes.

10. Remove the shrimps from the pot and place in a separate container (to prevent them from being overcooked)

11. Taste the dish and add salt/water/tamarind puree if you want to make adjustments.

12. Add the green sili to the soup.

13. Add the kangkong leaves and stalks and okra. (If you want them to keep their bright green color, let them boil for 5-8 seconds in the soup and remove them immediately. Place the kangkong and okra in a separate container and serve them only when the dish is ready. If you let the kangkong and okra boil in the soup, they will have a light and pale color.)

14. Turn off the heat, add in the shrimps again (and the kangkong if you want them to be cooked further) and taste for the last time before serving.

15. Enjoy! :)

Encourage yourself one treat at a time! :)