My Dad, the Tomato, & the Egg

Four years ago, I had a special breakfast with my dad at our house in Cainta. I don’t know if he still remembers that moment, but, it was a time I will never forget. I was eating a boiled egg, bottled tuyo, tomatoes, and rice when my dad joined me at the dining table. While he was getting rice, tomatoes, and a boiled egg, he said to me: “Wow! Nicholas, this is special breakfast. We have rice. We have tomatoes. And we have chicken. Mmmm..”

From Google Images
From Google Images

“Hahaha. Chicken. Daaaaad. It’s just egg.” I replied while giving him a poker face. I knew that he was just kidding, but somehow, that simple remark encouraged me to appreciate our breakfast too. When he made that comment, he probably didn’t think that it would make a big impact on me, but it did. It has positively influenced my heart, my thought life, and even my spending habits.

From Google Images
From Google Images

By God’s grace, even after that time (months and years later), I’d learn to see the good and to be grateful and content in every situation. When I would struggle with contentment and when I would be tempted to compare myself to others, God would use that special breakfast to remind me of God’s goodness, provision, and faithfulness in my life. And instead of complaining, I’d be encouraged to enjoy who I am in Christ and enjoy the things that He has blessed me with.

 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

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Four years ago

So, thank you, Dad! :) Thank You for being such a great example of a man whose heart is content with God. I praise God for how He has molded you into the man that you are now. I pray that you would continue to walk closely with God as you lead our family. May He bless your heart and hands even more as you serve our Heavenly Father.

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Happy Father’s day, dad!

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”Philippians 4:12

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Four years ago

 

‘Til our next special breakfast! ;) I love you, dad!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! :)

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

The One We Take for Granted

Last week, I posted a photo of my new favorite tropical drink: Mango + Banana + Guava Smoothie. I enjoyed that drink so much because it had a unique, tangy flavor and it was full of vitamin C!

Mango Banana Guava Smoothie
Mango Banana Guava Smoothie

When I shared that photo online, one of my highschool batchmates, Frances Caluya, commented and shared an interesting tip. She said: “Try blending in leafy greens for an added nutrient boost! If you add malunggay/kangkong, the taste hardly changes.”  It was a brilliant idea! I’ve been hearing a lot about the health benefits of malunggay leaves, but, I never paid attention to it. And so, during my next visit to the grocery store, I bought a pack of Malunggay leaves and stored it in our refrigerator.

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A few days later, I got into a fight with a cat (Long story. haha. But, you can read more about it here: http://encouragingtreats.com/cat-attack-steady-heart/ ) and I ended up having a lot of deep cat  scratches. :| It was so painful that I had to stay at home that day. After treating the wounds, I wanted to make a refreshing drink to cool myself down. So, I thought of making the usual. I got one ripe mango, some ice cubes, a tablespoon of sugar and our very efficient, Oster blender. While I was about to blend the ingredients, I remembered the Malunggay leaves in the refrigerator and Frances’ suggestion.

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Immediately, I washed the leaves and added them to the rest of the ingredients. At first, I was nervous because it was my first time to make a fruit shake with leaves. But, surprisingly, it was a delightful treat! Also, I found out later on, that both mangoes and malunggay leaves aid in healing wounds and are full of vitamins! Cool! It was perfect for my situation.

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While I was drinking the shake, I realized that I’ve been taking for granted one of the best and healthiest vegetables on earth! According to http://kerlynb.hubpages.com, Malunggay leaves have the ff. benefits:

  • 7x the Vitamin C in Oranges
  • 4x the Calcium in Milk
  • 4x the Vitamin A in Carrots
  • 3x the Potassium in Bananas
  • 3x the Iron of Spinach
  • 2x the Protein in Milk
  • 2x the Protein in Yogurt, and many more.

The sad truth about this is that even though it’s very convenient for me to buy and eat Malunggay, I still rarely do so. Maybe it’s because I feel that other vegetables seem more appetizing and interesting. But by not eating this unique vegetable, I miss out on certain benefits that are good for my health.

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In the same way, God reminded me of the times when I also take His Word, the Bible, for granted. To be honest, there are times when I feel like doing something else more than spending time with His Word, especially if those things seem to be more exciting and fun! I realized that if I let this kind of behavior take over me, I’ll miss out on the spiritual health benefits found in the Bible (e.g. wisdom, protection, promises of God, plans, hope, encouragement, guidance, strength, peace, etc.). But more importantly, I’ll miss out on knowing and experiencing God more radically through His Word.

It says in Psalm 73:25-26,

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

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After discovering the benefits of the refreshing Mango-Malunggay shake, I made it again for some of my siblings a few days later. I wanted them to experience the Malunggay goodness and have the same vitamins that I had last time. Likewise, I pray that as we continue to spend more time with God, we will also be encouraged to share Him and His Word to others too. :)

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

THURSDAY TUNE #16: Steady my Heart

Yesterday morning, I was attacked by a cat. A mother cat.

While Copper (our dog) and I were taking our usual morning walk outside, we happened to pass by a cat who was with her two kittens. Whenever we passed by cats before, they would usually run away. But for some reason, this particular cat suddenly hissed and jumped towards Copper! She must have assumed that Copper would harm her kittens.

What happened next really gave me a fright! The cat’s claws held on to Copper’s behind/tail while Copper was running in circles, crying and trying to get rid of the cat. It happened so fast that I didn’t have time to think. Immediately, I hit the cat’s body with my hand (because I didn’t have anything else with me and no one was around) and I raised Copper and his body leash as high as I could while running away, so that the cat would let go of him. After a few seconds of struggling and running, I eventually got back home with my traumatized Pomeranian.

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When we got inside the house, I was shaking and was still in shock. I told my sister about it and she noticed that my left leg was wounded and bleeding. At first I thought that they were blood drippings from Copper’s behind because I didn’t remember feeling the scratches of the cat. But, when I checked Copper, he didn’t have any scratches or blood. So, the blood was mine. The cat really did attack me. :O

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Some of the scratches on my leg

After treating the wounds, I decided to stay at home because I really couldn’t walk and I knew that I needed to let the wounds heal first. There were many instances during the day when I would shiver and feel fear because the cat attack would replay in my mind. But, the amazing thing about this experience is that God used it to encourage me somehow. He used it to remind me of who He is in my life.

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When Copper was attacked by the cat, I remember seeing him so helpless and weak. It seemed like he didn’t know what to do or how to run away. He just cried and ran in circles. But by God’s grace, because Copper was walking with me that morning, God allowed me to protect him and pull his body up when the cat attacked him first.

In the same way, I am learning that when we experience our own weaknesses and when we are being attacked by our fears, failures, lies, and other discouragements, we must learn to walk more closely with Jesus. Because everything about Him is stronger than anything negative in us. In Him, there is no fear. In Him, we find comfort, strength, protection, grace, and even purpose in weaknesses and pain.

It says in Psalm 23:4

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

It was an interesting day for me because even if I couldn’t literally walk due to the sore wounds on my foot and leg, God used the cat attack to give me more time to walk with Him that day. It was something priceless… being able to spend quality time with Jesus. :)

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This song, “Steady my Heart” by Kari Jobe, gave me strength to trust in God more in spite of everything that “went wrong” yesterday. I hope that as you listen to it, you will be encouraged too.

 

 

Encourage yourself one tune at a time. :)