Thursday Tune #28: Start a Fire by Unspoken

While I was writing about burnt sweet orange potatoes last Sunday, I was reminded of the song “Start a Fire” by Unspoken. In the song, it talks about how a spark can grow into a blaze and have an intense impact on its surroundings.  In the same way, it shows how God can also use us (even if we sometimes have little faith) to make a difference in the world by sharing His love and grace to others!

A few weeks ago, I was invited to speak on Food Blogging for UP Kristiyanong Kabataan para sa Bayan’s Alternative Classroom Learning Experience (ACLE) in U.P. (University of the Philippines). I’ll be sharing more about it on the blog next Monday. It was a new experience for me, but one of the things that I really appreciate about it was the sincerity of the student leaders in the organization (UP KKB). I witnessed how they found their joy in God before, during, and after the event, and I saw them share their passions to their fellow students in U.P. too.

Photo c/o Lizette Tan
Photo c/o Lizette Tan

It was a breath of fresh air for me (literally too, since we were surrounded by beautiful sceneries and trees in the campus) and it was encouraging for me to see young men and women making a difference in school. I pray that God would bless them even more as they pursue God in their lives. I also pray that He would use the desire and fire in their hearts to share His love and grace to the people around them.

To my new found friends in UP KKB, keep it up! Continue to closely walk with God and be a blessing to others!

Thank you for the privilege of serving with you. :)

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12

Photo c/o Lizette Tan
Photo c/o Lizette Tan

“You only need a spark to start a whole blaze
It only takes a little faith
Let it start right here in this city
So these old walls will never be the same

Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me”

[Unspoken – “Start a Fire”]

For the participants of “Off The Plate” last Thursday, as promised, I will be announcing the winner of our photo contest today. :)

I wrote the names of the participants who joined on separate papers and my younger brother helped me by randomly selecting one.

The winner of one dozen Krispy Kreme donuts is…

From Google Images
From Google Images

 

JIL LISTANO!!! :D

Woohoo! Thank you for sharing your photos online. We hope to see you and your blog soon too! Enjoy the donuts!

Thank you also to everyone who joined the contest. I enjoyed viewing your photos and reading your captions. :)

One of the photos Jil posted this week. :)
One of the photos Jil posted this week. :)

Encourage yourself one tune at a time. :)

Simple Sunday Snack: Sweet Orange Potatoes

A few years ago, our family discovered the sweet orange potatoes in the market and fell in love with them instantly! We used to buy the purple and white sweet potatoes before, but because the orange-colored ones had a sweeter and creamier taste, we opted for the latter instead. We have included the sweet orange potatoes in our groceries ever since that time.

Recently, my sisters and I bought a kilo of the sweet orange potatoes and decided to boil them after work. One of my sisters heated the water in the pot and placed the potatoes in when the water was boiling. Since she knew that it would take some time to boil, she went to our room and rested for a while.

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At that time, I was also in our room playing with our dogs while surfing the net. About 30-45 minutes later, my two sisters eventually fell asleep on their beds and I was enjoying my time taking photos of our Pomeranian. After taking a couple of photos, I realized that I needed to sleep already, so I prepared my bed and I told our dogs that they needed to go back to their own beds. But before I uttered another word, I smelled a familiar scent and I didn’t feel good about it. Immediately, it registered in my mind that we forgot about the sweet potatoes boiling in the kitchen!

I woke my sisters up, shouted “KAMOTE! KAMOTE!” (tagalong word for Sweet Potato) to them, and ran to the kitchen like a crazy woman! True enough, there was smoke in the kitchen, the pot didn’t have water in it anymore, and the sweet potatoes looked like half-charcoal, half-potato.

I wasn't able to take a photo of the actual burnt potatoes. But, it looked something like this -- only our potatoes weren't sliced. (Photo from www.seriouseats.com)
I wasn’t able to take a photo of the actual burnt potatoes. But, it looked something like this — only our potatoes weren’t sliced. (Photo from www.seriouseats.com)

After turning off the stove and gas, my sisters went to the kitchen too and helped clean the place up. We opened the windows and used our air freshener to help remove the smoky scent. We then brought the dogs back to their beds and my sisters and I went back to our room. Man, were we wide awake! We almost burned the place down! (Side story: A couple of months ago, I was home alone and I fell asleep too while I was boiling eggs. After an hour, God woke me up and it was just in time since there were still a few drops of water in the pot. Oh, boy!).

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But, by God’s grace, he saved us from the fire once again.

Experiencing God’s grace again this time was a humbling moment for me. It reminded me of God’s sovereignty. It showed me how important it is to spend time with God, know and listen to His voice, and acknowledge His presence in my life. Also, I am learning that when God flashes red flags in front of me, I shouldn’t brush these off because He can use these to protect me from harm and pain. In the case of the burnt sweet potatoes, God allowed me to smell smoke (red flag!) and by His grace, I listened to His voice and ran to the kitchen.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” –Proverbs 3:5-6

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That night, God didn’t allow our place to burn down. But, what if he did? What if we got hurt… or even died because of the fire? Certainly, it would have been a difficult event. However, more than a decade ago, I learned about God’s love and grace and it changed my life. Because of God’s love, He sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross and He rose again so we could spend eternity with Him in Heaven (John 3:16). I humbled myself before God, acknowledged my sins, repented, believed in what He did for us, and accepted Him as my personal Lord and Savior.

Because of Jesus, I have the assurance of eternal life with Him and my fears/worries about death have been removed (Romans 10:9). As a result, I am more motivated to live a life that is best for Him and pleasing to Him because of who He is.

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Tonight, I was reminded of this because I boiled a new batch of sweet orange potatoes. This time, I stayed in the kitchen until they were cooked and they were delicious! Thank You, Lord, for burnt sweet potatoes and humbling moments with you. Your grace will always amaze me. :)

 

P.S. To my sisters/roomies, ‘til our next kitchen adventure!

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

Thursday Tune #27: In Me by Casting Crowns

Words cannot express how sleepy and tired I am right now. I haven’t been able to sleep well for the past nights because of my feverish body. Also, having headaches, sore throat, and mouth ulcers every now and then clearly show that my immune system (was and) still is very, very weak, as we speak. However, in spite of all these, God has been faithful in helping me find strength in Him through prayer and studying His Word. Thank You so much, Lord. 

Before I go to bed tonight (and I hope I DO go to bed early tonight. haha.), I’ll be sharing a tune that I’ve been listening to since last week. It talks about how God is able to use even our weaknesses to bring Him glory. It emphasizes the confidence that we have in Christ (not in ourselves) as we do the things that He has called us to do.

From Google Images
From Google Images

Today, God gave me a privilege and an amazing opportunity to talk about Him and Food Blogging to an awesome group of college students in UP (University of the Philippines) — I’ll share more about this soon. And I know that it was only by His grace that I was able to do so.

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” –1 John 5:14

Hope this tune will be an encouragement to you too.

Have a restful evening, everyone! :)

Encourage yourself one tune at a time.

Rest in God’s Promises

All I wanted to do after a tiring day at work was to relax at home, have my quiet time, and eat really good food. However, when my sister and I got home tonight, we were welcomed by an unpleasant aroma. We traced the smell and eventually, we realized that it was coming from our exposed garbage bin in the dirty kitchen — the bin that contained our trash from last night’s cooking and dinner. Immediately, we started tidying the place up and used our air freshener to somehow make our evening more relaxing.

While I was cleaning the dirty kitchen, I thought about what I originally planned to do tonight (to relax) and realized how funny it was that I ended up spending my first hour and a half at home washing the stack of dishes in the sink and cleaning numerous lock & lock containers in the kitchen.

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But God, in His perfect timing, used that moment to speak to me. After removing a bunch of the containers from the table in the kitchen, I noticed that there were a few pieces of okra and chili underneath. My brother and I used some of those ingredients last night when we made Sinigang and we forgot to put the leftovers in the refrigerator after.

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What caught my attention was a distinct red-orange colored chili in the middle of all the other green chilis! Last night, they were all green, but because we didn’t store them in the refrigerator, one of them ripened fast. It had a lovely look to it, but what made it even more amazing was that it matched the color of the chili’s brand: “Jeremiah 29:11”. (Yes, this Bible verse is one of the brand names of the produce in the supermarket near our place.)

When I saw how beautiful it was, God reminded me of how beautiful His promise is too in Jeremiah 29:11. It says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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I was reminded of God’s love for us and how He desires that we experience Him and His best. Often times, I find myself comparing what I have and don’t have with the people around me and honestly, it gets tiring and discouraging. But by God’s grace, He always gives us hope through His Word and I am encouraged to trust that he made me the way that I am because it is for the best. And if He calls me to do something for Him, He will equip me and provide all the resources I will need. Moreover, even though I may go through very difficult and challenging times in the days to come, I am reminded to trust His heart and thank Him moment by moment.

Originally, the first thing that I planned to do at home was to rest and relax by not doing any work. But just like what Peter Tan-Chi said in one of his messages before: “Rest is not in the absence of work. It is in the presence of God.”

Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to rest in You and in Your promise (Jeremiah 29:11) even while I do chores at home tonight.

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)