THURSDAY TUNE #21: Beautiful Day

For the second time this week, I honestly thought that I was going to breathe my last this morning. I went to work earlier than usual today because I wanted to catch up on the work I missed yesterday. But after 40 minutes of settling down and doing some of my tasks, my cough acted up again.

My throat became so itchy that I had to excuse myself so I could cough outside our department’s office. I decided to go straight to the comfort room to ease myself; however, before I even got there, I stopped in the middle of one of our showrooms and coughed with all my might.  I remember it happening so fast. I really couldn’t breathe for a few seconds and my face and neck instantly heated up and became red.

As soon as I could, I ran towards the comfort room, coughed again and again, and washed my face to cool myself down. I couldn’t talk much, but I remember my heart faintly calling out to God. I then went to the nearest room with a phone and I called my mom and dad. I told them about what happened and they advised me to go home as soon as possible.

When I got home, my parents (who are doctors) checked up on me and concluded that the bacteria in me had already reached my bronchus — which means that I most probably have acute bronchitis.

So many thoughts entered my mind after hearing their diagnosis. “If only I had recently taken more vitamin C.” “If only I had regularly gargled with Bactidol.” “Now, I’m going to miss a lot of work.” “This is such a hassle.” And the negative thoughts kept coming and coming until I was reminded of God’s sovereignty. He knew that I would have this sickness even before I was born, so why should I worry about it. God is in control.

From Google Images
From Google Images

Despite the many negative vibes I’ve welcomed in my mind, deep down in my heart, I still believe that God will always be with me and that His love for me will never change no matter what situation I’m in. I then remembered a song that I was listening to last night. It’s one of those songs that lightens up my mood and encourages me at the same time because it has so much truth in it.

I hope that as you listen to it tonight, you’ll be encouraged to let your heart and mind dwell on God’s truth too: That He loves you and me. :)

Because of this truth, we have so much to be thankful for, even though we’re having a really tough day (or when we’re already losing our breath :) ). Indeed, today still is a beautiful day.

Zephaniah 3:17 says: “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love…”

Strawberry Blessing

Today is my nth day of being sick. Sometimes, I still get frustrated with myself because my crazy cough, sore throat, and slight fever won’t go away. I actually almost didn’t go to work yesterday and today because of this and honestly, it’s quite discouraging. However, despite the hassle and pain I’m feeling, I trust that God knows what He is doing. If He wanted to heal me, He would do so in an instant! But for now, I just have to continue finding strength in my Hope and Healer.

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While I was eating my dinner alone at home, I remembered that I still had leftover strawberries from the batch I bought two days ago. Since our parents always encouraged us to eat fruit with salt or gargle water with salt whenever we had sore throat, I thought of eating them with salt for my dessert.

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My leftover berries.

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After a few minutes, my younger brother (Gabo) came home and walked towards the dining area where I was at. He then got a plastic container filled with fresh, huge strawberries and gave them to me. He said that it was from our friend (Tin) who wanted to treat me because she was inspired by the blog. I think I froze for about two seconds before I said: “Oh my! Wow! From Tin? As in Follow Him – Tin?? Wow! Thank you!”

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I knew that this wasn’t a coincidence. God knew that this would happen and it’s crazy amazing how His grace still astonishes me each day. I almost got teary-eyed when it finally sank in me that God  just provided fresh, new, sweet, and huge strawberries (with salt) for my siblings and I. God knew how weak and discouraged I was the past days because of my sickness. But by His grace, tonight, He reminded me of how He is able to take care of me, provide for me, and strengthen me — all in His perfect time. Indeed, Lord, You are strong enough in my weakness.

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Even though it’s really difficult for me to go through each day because of my weak body and endless coughing, I still thank You Lord, because I trust that You know what I need more than I do and You are definitely more than enough for me.

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2 Corinthians 12:9 says: “”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

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Thank you also to Tin for being a blessing to me today! Thank you for these encouraging treats! I pray that God would bless your heart even more as you continue to walk with Him and serve Him.

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**Special thanks to my brother, Gabo, for taking care of the berries today!

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

Way Better than Pizza

A few minutes before I left the office today, I looked at my phone and saw the time. It was 5:55 pm. For some reason, every time I see 5:55 pm, I sing the song Greenwich used in one of their commercials. “5-55-55…” When I sang this line out loud a while ago, my officemate sang with me and said: “…Greenwich delivery!” It was so random. Haha. We ended up laughing with and at each other.

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I then told my officemate how much I missed the free goodies from Greenwich. To give you a short background, I, along with three other ladies, won a pizza-eating contest when Greenwich sponsored an event in our office last October 2012. We were competing against a group of guys who were as hungry and eager as we were. All we needed to do was to finish a whole pizza (8 thick and huge slices) within 5-7 minutes. When you think about it, it seems pretty easy. But, when you’re standing in front of the whole company and you’re trying to chew and swallow slices of pizza without drinking water in less than a few minutes, it’s really tough!

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But, by God’s grace, we won the contest and received two prizes each! Yay!

1)      Free Ultimate Green Card – Whenever we would order a box of Greenwich pizza before, we would use this card to get an additional box of pizza for free.

2)      One year supply of pizza! – Greenwich gave each of us one free pizza per month for a whole year.

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Out of the 12 free boxes of pizza, I was only able to avail five boxes within the promo period. Sadly, I guess it just wasn’t my priority. I would have enjoyed and shared more pizza to others if I had only set aside time to get it every month last year. However, what’s done is done and I know that God allowed it to happen so that I could learn from it.

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Through this experience, He has reminded me of the value of time and the importance of what we do with this limited resource. Last week, I blogged about being a good steward of God’s resources by doing my best to save and handle money wisely, and I know that the same principle applies to making good use of our time too.

Ptr. Peter Tan-Chi once said: “Life is about competing priorities. What you give time to shows what you think is important.”

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I have this habit at night. When I go to bed, I usually think about what happened during the day and I tell God about it. Most of the time, I tell him how interesting it is to know that there will never be another ‘today’ in the future. There will never be another January 27, 2014. And whenever we have this moment together, I am humbled and encouraged to prioritize and spend time with Him more.

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I may have missed out on enjoying more boxes of free pizza last year, but as long as there is today, I know that I still have the privilege of enjoying something way better than pizza – quality time spent with the Lord. :)

 

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Simple Sunday Snack: Shrimp Kebabs

I wasn’t feeling well when I woke up this morning because of my feverish body and sore throat. Even though it was more convenient for me to stay at home, rest, and listen to the message online, God still encouraged me to get out of my bed and go with my siblings to church. On our way out after the service, we bumped into friends and spent time talking with them. It was interesting because after spending time with them, we walked to another area (on our way to the car) and bumped into another group of friends. And this happened again and again and again. At that time, I honestly felt like I was going to faint, but by God’s grace, He gave me the strength to walk, talk, and even go home with my siblings.

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Despite my condition, I praise God for allowing me to go to church today. It was encouraging to be reminded of acknowledging God’s presence in our lives even in the way we handle our money and it was nice catching up with our friends too! I sincerely thank You, Lord!

When we got home, I started preparing Shrimp Kebabs for our additional late lunch/snack. For this simple snack, I wanted to include some of the red, cherry tomatoes growing in our veranda. And because there were more than 15 ripe cherry tomatoes in the plant, I asked my siblings and mom if they wanted to help pick fruits with me. Surprisingly, they all agreed to help!

Photo c/o my sister, Camille. :)
Photo c/o my sister, Camille. :)

I then washed the tomatoes, cleaned the shrimps, prepared the spices/marinade and grilled the juicy kebabs!

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While I was grilling the shrimps, God reminded me of my situation earlier today; of how I was so weak (and sick) at church while I was spending time with my siblings and our friends. Usually after each service, we would go straight home. But today, I noticed that God gave me opportunities to be intentional in spending time with my siblings and our friends while I had a weak and feverish body.

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Also, He allowed my siblings to help others in need (e.g. My brother did his best to assist a few guys who were having trouble starting their car in the parking lot; my eldest sister helping a new friend with her passion for education and ministry). Even at home, God encouraged me to bond with my brother, sisters, and mom (who were at home at that time) by simply picking fruits at our veranda!

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I then remembered what Ptr. Peter Tan-Chi said in one of his sermons: “Love is to seek others’ highest good, which often times require our sacrifice.” Once again, I’m learning that life isn’t about me and my comfort. It’s about loving God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength… even when I’m sick and weak; even when I don’t feel like loving; even when it means that I should love others too. I shouldn’t let anything hinder me from loving Him sacrificially because He deserves every beat of my heart and every drop of love within me. He deserves the best love I can ever give!

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Luke 10:27 says: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

RECIPE: Shrimp Kebabs (with Cherry Tomatoes)

Ingredients

Shrimps

Cherry Tomatoes

Spices (salt, pepper, cumin)

Butter/Olive oil

Fresh Basil leaves

*Other vegetables/spices you can add: Onions, bell pepper, garlic, oregano, rosemary

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Steps:

SHRIMPS

  1. Rinse. Remove the head (set aside) and the shell of the body.
  2. De-vein the shrimps and place in a small bowl.
  3. In the small bowl, add a tablespoon (or two) of melted butter or olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add diced fresh basil leaves.
  4. In another small bowl, squeeze the juice out of the shrimps heads and mix in a pinch of cumin.
  5. Combine the spiced shrimps and the mixture of shrimp juice/flavor and cumin.

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TOMATOES

  1. Rinse the cherry tomatoes.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on the tomatoes. Mix

Push sticks through a cherry tomato and shrimp alternately. Grill for 1-2 minutes on each side. Serve with basmati rice or toasted, sliced baguettes.

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Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)