My Parents Asked Me Out on a Date

Early this year, Dad and Mom expressed their desire to spend more time with us, kids. One of their action steps was to schedule a “Date Night” with each of us. Alright! Free food! Hahaha. I’m just kidding. But anyway, I recently told them how much I appreciate it because making time for family really is a blessing, especially since we only get to see each other early in the morning, late in the evening, and on weekends. Not much time is spent on getting to know each other and building each other up. But, thankfully, my parents initiated this family project and last Thursday night, they asked me out on a date. Woohoo!

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We had dinner at Lee Hak Korean restaurant, along Pioneer St., Mandaluyong city. The place was huge compared to the other restaurants nearby and the food was really good. Every time we eat at a Korean restaurant, I always enjoy a bowl of hot and spicy noodle soup and a lot of meat and vegetables for grilling. Yum!

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My parents and I spent the rest of the night talking about random things like how I was at home, at work, at church; any struggles I’ve dealt with and am currently dealing with; dreams I have been praying for; goals; my relationships; guy friends; and other family matters. It was a privilege for me to hear insights and encouraging words from my parents and at the same time, share with them what God has been teaching me lately. There were also times when I cried while I was sharing to them what was in my heart. But, I saw them listen attentively and it really blessed my heart and encouraged me to be more open to them.

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I praise God for the heartwarming date night that I had with my folks. They weren’t stingy with kind and sincere words and I saw how they truly wanted to honor God by spending time with and mentoring me (and my siblings on their date nights with them).

My dad and mom aren’t perfect, but I am humbled to see them walk closely with God and am truly blessed to witness them lead us closer to Jesus too.

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

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Thank you, Dad and Mom! ‘Til our next date! :)

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They treated me with a Banana Mango Frapp from Starbucks too!

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Refreshing Lemonade

Nothing beats a cold glass of fresh mint lemonade on a hot summer day. :)

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Since the start of summer this year, I’ve imagined myself stocking up on fresh lemons because of my desire to conveniently prepare lemonade at home. I’ve always loved this citrus drink. It’s very easy to prepare, it’s an excellent source of vitamin C, and its sour and sweet flavors blend well.

Hopefully, I’d have the privilege of growing my own lemon trees in the future, so stocking up on those gorgeous, plump, yellow beauties wouldn’t be a problem! Haha. But for now, I shall save for and enjoy the lemons sold at the supermarket.

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It was really refreshing to make this mint lemonade yesterday while the sun was still out. Despite the intense hot weather, I remember enjoying the moment because I knew that that drink would quench my thirst and satisfy my craving for something cool and fresh.

True enough, I was very much pleased with the citrus drink! If I have extra budget for lemons, I’ll definitely make more lemonade this summer!

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One of the things that I appreciate most about the experience is being reminded of how my heart can also be constantly refreshed and satisfied this summer! Only God can satisfy the cravings of our hearts. And by His grace, I know that He can refresh and speak to our hearts when we open up to Him in prayer and as we learn from Him and about Him when we study His Word. :)

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It says in Psalm 1:2-3

“But whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

whatever they do prospers.”

Mint Lemonade

RECIPE:

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)

1 tbsp. of grated lemon zest

1/2 cup (or 8 tbsp.) of white sugar

4 cups of drinking water

a few fresh mint leaves

Ice cubes

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Choose to Save

Early this year, I committed to save more money and budget more wisely. By God’s grace, He has been faithful in helping me manage my resources and lessen my expenses. However, I know that I can still improve more, especially when it comes to buying food, drinks, and ingredients.

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Many times, I enjoy experimenting with food so much that I end up buying more than what I need. Sometimes, it’s advantageous since I get to use the ingredients for our family’s meals. But, on the other hand, it’s also costly since some ingredients end up getting expired before I find the time to use them.

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Two days ago, I decided to make pesto pasta with roasted tomatoes and bacon for lunch. I chose this dish because I knew that making it wouldn’t cost me a lot since we still had tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil and oregano leaves, and leftover, raw penne noodles at home. The only ingredient that I added and paid for that day was the raw bacon from the grocery store.

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While my sister and I were eating the pasta, we realized how nice and cost-efficient it was to make a dish out of the ingredients already available at home. I also love how it was so convenient for us to get fresh basil leaves from the garden and make pesto out of it.

Making this dish encouraged me to be wiser in budgeting and spending money for food and drinks. Just like my past struggle with shopping (http://encouragingtreats.com/year-shopping/), I’d find myself splurging on numerous and delicious yet unnecessary treats (comfort food) and I’d try to find satisfaction in them. But, I am reminded that the way we spend our money shows what’s in our hearts. And because God deserves the best, I want to honor Him with my heart and with how I budget my money.

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This won’t be easy for me, since I am fond of certain expensive ingredients like shrimps, strawberries, and imported snacks. But, by God’s grace, I know that I can be faithful in setting limits and lessening unnecessary expenses this year.

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Here are some of the action steps I’m currently doing to help me with my commitment:

  1. Continue to plant and grow own ingredients at home. (e.g. herbs, vegetables, fruits)
  2. Bring homemade food and/or food at home to the office. (e.g. sandwiches, rice meals, fruits, crackers)
  3. Plan meals ahead.
  4. Check the ingredients we have at home every now and then and do my best to maximize them before buying additional items.
  5. Set a budget for daily meals. Since mom graciously prepares food for us and we have the privilege of bringing it to work, eating out is really an added and, sometimes, unnecessary expense for me. Thus, I am challenging myself to spend only Php50/day for my food and drinks this year. (Of course, I have a different budget for events/dinner out with family and friends, and for the ingredients that I’ll be using when I cook or bake.)
  6. Spend time with God and His Word. I know that God will continue to speak to me and guide me in my commitment as I spend quality time with Him.

Matthew 6:21 says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

How are our hearts lately?

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RECIPE:

Ingredients:

2-3 garlic cloves (diced)

3-4 tbsp. of olive oil

1 cup of basil leaves

4-5 tomatoes

1 to 1 1/2 cups of raw penne noodles

salt & pepper

4 slices of bacon

Optional: parmesean cheese & chili flakes

 

Steps:

1. Boil noodles until al dente (cooked enough to be firm but not soft).

2. Pesto Sauce: Blend basil leaves, garlic, pinch of salt, pinch of ground pepper, and olive oil together.

3. Slice the tomatoes and roast in pan. Add chopped basil and oregano leaves (or you can use McCormick’s Italian seasoning), pinches of chili flakes and salt, and a dash of ground pepper. Stir and press the tomatoes every now and then, until some of its juice evaporates.

4. Cook the bacon in a separate pan (without oil).

5. Mix the cooked noodles with the pesto sauce and top the dish with roasted tomatoes, cooked bacon, and cheese.

 

Enjoy!

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Overtime at Work

I left the office around 10 pm today and saw an old man pushing his tricycle outside our showroom. I wanted to go home because I was tired and hungry, but instead of going straight to the car, I stopped and watched him move his tricycle down the road (in the midst of fast moving vehicles).

After a while, I noticed that he had a flat and wobbly tire, and in an instant, God spoke to my heart and prompted me to give a few hundred pesos to the driver. By that time, he was already 8-10 meters away from me. But, by God’s grace, I walked towards his direction, crossed the street, and met him in the middle of the road.

I gave him the money and said that I hope that it would somehow help him with his flat tire. At first, he gave me a puzzled look, but after a few seconds, he looked at me, smiled, got the money, and said “maraming salamat po.”

I smiled and walked back towards the car with my heart humbled and blessed as I told God “Lord, kayo na po bahala sa kanya”.

It was a humbling experience for me because, earlier that night, I was tempted to dwell on how tiring it was to do overtime at work. But, God allowed me to stay that late so I could encounter the random tricycle driver and extend God’s blessings to him.

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.”

Thank You, Lord, for a heartwarming moment with You tonight. :)

 

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.