Simple Sunday Snack: Corn on a Cob

I’ve constantly daydreamed of eating sweet corn on a cob ever since I had my braces. For many years, I wasn’t able to do this because I knew that it would be a hassle for me to remove kernels stuck in between my brackets every time I’d bite into the cob. So, I’d always end up removing kernels from the cob one piece or row at a time or end up using a knife to slice the kernels. But last February, I finally had the privilege of saying goodbye to a longtime friend (and enemy. Haha)… my dear braces. Hooray!

Oregano, Cheese, Basil, Butter, Chili Powder, Garlic, and Corn
Oregano, Cheese, Basil, Butter, Chili Powder, Garlic, and Corn

You could just imagine how wonderful it was for me to enjoy munching on the cob without worrying about my teeth. To make things more interesting, instead of just boiling the corn, I also added a few spices and herbs on the cooked vegetable.

“Man, I missed this so much! Thank you, Lord, for awesome corn.”

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While I was eating the buttered, cheesy corn with herbs, I realized how easy it was (and is) for me to take my blessings for granted. I was only able to appreciate the simple blessing of eating corn on a cob when I started wearing my braces.

I also remembered those times (back in highschool) when I would look down on myself because of my teeth and how badly I needed braces. To make things ‘worse’, I even recall getting discouraged because a guy friend told another guy friend how beautiful I would look like if I didn’t have braces. Rather than thanking God for my complete set of teeth, I chose to focus on my crazy insecurities and how others viewed me.

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But despite these, God has been graciously molding my heart and helping me see myself through His eyes. He made me out of His love and goodness and because of this, I rest in knowing that God’s love for me is more than enough.

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Yesterday, I spent time with our discipleship group at church and our leader encouraged us to share about God’s goodness in our lives for the past week. After sharing with the group, we realized that it was a very good action step to be more intentional in thanking God for the small and big blessings and even the discouraging moments that we have.

We may not always understand why God allows us to go through certain experiences, but we are encouraged to trust that He is our good God who knows what’s best for us and loves us in every season of our lives.

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Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

 

What can you thank God for today? :)

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Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

THURSDAY TUNE #22: Speak Life

One of the things that I thank God for is having really good friends at work. Sometimes, when it gets tough in the workplace, these friends graciously extend their help and encourage the people around them, including me. When I got to the office this morning, I found a bar of KitKat on my desk with a note from an “anonymous” person. But, because I recognized the handwriting, I knew that it was from one of my friends in the I.T. department.

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She decided to give me and our friend/colleague KitKat chocolate bars today because she noticed how stressed we were these past few days. Hahaha. But, this random, simple, and awesome act reminded me of a verse in the Bible, where it says:

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.” -Ephesians 4:29

God used this moment to encourage me in the morning.  Before I even started with my tasks for the day, He reminded me through this that there are so many things I can be grateful for in spite of seemingly unwanted circumstances in life. He encouraged me through my officemate to simply find joy in knowing the Lord and in doing my best for Him wherever, whenever.

Here’s an awesome song by TobyMac. It’s called “Speak Life”.

I hope that you’ll be comforted and encouraged to find joy in Christ and extend his joy to others as well. :)

 

At the End of a Stressful Day

The last day of February was very stressful for me. I think I sat on my chair for only 20 minutes and spent the rest of the day going around the office… finishing urgent tasks. After a long day at work, I went inside the car, sighed, and said to myself “I really need to eat something good.” So, before I went home, I dropped by the mall near our place and bought myself a hot bowl of sinigang, a cup of rice, and a glass of cold, buko juice.

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The next morning, I still had a hangover from the stress I experienced at work and I found myself craving for more “comfort food”. I decided to cook my favorite seafood (shrimps) and hoped that it would somehow help me relax.

After preparing the pasta with shrimps, my mom saw the dish and said: “Wow! It looks good! How did you make it? Did you use fresh tomatoes?” I replied, “Yup! I used the last few cherry tomatoes from the plant.”

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I said “the last few” because my Cherry Tomato plant started to dry up a few weeks ago due to the extreme summer heat and lack of water in the afternoon. But thankfully, despite its condition, it was able to produce the finest and juiciest tomatoes since the first day it had fruit. Surprisingly, the last few tomatoes I was able to harvest were bigger compared to the previous batches.

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It reminded me of how incredible our God is. Indeed, it was only by His grace that the plant grew its best fruits when it was already dry and weak. I also noticed a small green cherry tomato growing on the plant after weeks of not seeing new ones. It gave me hope to continue taking care of the plant and helping it bear more fruit because I know that God can make it grow.

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In the same way, I realized that although we may experience heavy, tiring, and stressful days (just like what I experienced last February), God still remains to be in control and He knows exactly what we need — always. Because of this, we can continue to find hope in Him as we trust that He is able to help us get through each trying moment.

Last Friday, I wanted to tell God: “Please don’t let me go through difficult and stressful situations today.” But in the process, he changed my heart and encouraged me to ask Him to help me grow through my circumstances instead, whether or not they were difficult/stressful. He kept on assuring me that I just have to keep on doing my best and to continue finding my joy and strength in Him.

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Before my February ended, my colleague (who was with me and who also experienced the same stress and challenges at work that day) told me this: “I was thankful to God that you were my partner in overcoming this because you were still positive even though you were stressed.” And I immediately replied that it was only by God’s grace.

I also shared to her a verse that I read that Friday morning before going to work. Psalm 28:7 says “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me.” It was such a timely encouragement!

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Sometimes, we may not always understand why God allows us to go through stressful moments in life. But there is comfort in knowing that He will always cause things to work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28). In my case, I thank God for the last day of February this year, because my colleague and I were able to experience his grace and were given the privilege of thanking Him together at the end of a stressful day. :)

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time!

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RECIPE for the Creamy Marinara Pasta

Ingredients:

Spiral/Penne pasta noodles

Seafood (I just used shrimps, but you can use squid and clams too)

1/3 cup of Milk

Spices (Salt, Pepper, McCormick’s Italian Seasoning, fresh herbs, 1 green chili (with 1/3 of its seeds) )

5 diced/semi-blended regular tomatoes and 8 cherry tomatoes

3 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 garlic head

Half an onion

Grated cheese

 

Steps:

  1. Clean your seafood. Slice, if necessary, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the shrimp heads to get more flavor while adding a few tablespoons of milk.
  3. Slice onions and crush the garlic cloves.
  4. Heat the oil and butter in a sauce pan.
  5. Once the oil/butter is hot, sauté the onions, garlic, and chili.
  6. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the spices and the milk with shrimp “extract”.
  8. Add the shrimps and cook for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Stir the sauce until well-combined.
  9. Add the rest of the milk, if necessary.
  10. Add 5 tablespoons of grated cheese (or more) while stirring.
  11. Serve with cooked noodles and enjoy!