3 Things I Learned from Ice Skating at SM Megamall

It has been more than two years since the last time I skated on ice. I’m not a professional skater, but by God’s grace, I can glide through ice. When my friends invited me to skate yesterday, I got excited because I knew that it would be a fun activity. When I arrived at the skating rink, it looked like it was closed because the lights were turned off. But, I noticed that a lot of people were still skating inside. So, I asked one of their staff members what was happening and she responded by saying: “Ma’am, we just experienced a power shutdown. It started 10 minutes ago and we’re not sure when we’ll have electricity again. You can still try to skate but it might be more slippery.”

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I just stared at her and said “Ohhh. Okay. Thank you!” I walked around the area with a puzzled look on my face. It just didn’t make sense: Brownout + Ice Skating in Manila. Of all the days. Haha. While waiting for my friends to arrive, I went to the comfort room to take a break. Inside, I told God that I knew that He could turn the power back on in a heartbeat if He wanted to. So, even if I was starting to feel a bit disappointed with the situation, somehow, God encouraged me not to fret about it. I also told Him that in case He really didn’t want us to skate that day, I prayed that He would help us choose our next activities wisely.

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After a few minutes, my friends arrived at the place and we decided to line up and buy tickets even if it the rink still didn’t have power. We looked at the rink and saw that the daylight shining through the huge windows provided enough light for the skaters. So, we gave it a try. You wouldn’t believe what happened next. As soon as we stepped on the rubber mat at the entrance of the rink, they turned on he lights! My friends and I looked at each other and shouted: “Whooooaaaa! Ang galing ni God. He really wanted us to skate today! Hahaha.”

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It was just so cool (literally too). When I found out about the brownout, God used that moment to challenge and encourage me to be grateful and content in Him even if our plan to skate would be cancelled or if we would skate without lights. Yesterday’s skating activity was a fun, fun way to cool down on a hot and humid summer day and I thank God for the experience. Here are some of the things I learned from our ice skating activity:

 

1. Be Confident

“Confidence is key.” We said this line over and over throughout our skating experience. It was tough to skate especially since our feet and legs were aching and we sometimes were fearful of losing our balance or falling. But, when we condition our minds to believe that we can do it by God’s grace, wonderful things can happen! It’s not about being confident because of our capabilities. It’s about stepping out in faith and finding confidence in God who is more than able to help us accomplish things. Also, there were times when my friends and I watched other professional skaters casually and beautifully display their skills and tricks on ice. Every single time, our jaws dropped. I couldn’t help but notice and be inspired by their confidence. They knew what they were doing and they weren’t afraid to fall.

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2. Put Your Hands Up

We skated for four hours yesterday and brought home a lot of bruises and body pains. But, it was all worth it. Hahaha. One of the tips that I learned a few years ago when skating with a lot of people is putting my hands up immediately after I fall down. The main reason for this is to avoid getting cut by the blades of the other skaters nearby. Interestingly, yesterday, I fell down at least three times and they were major falls: Twice on my butt and once facing forward. The first few seconds after the fall was quite challenging because I felt dizzy and my hands were sore and red because of the impact on the ice. But, as soon as I became aware of my fall, I laughed and raised my hands up quickly. Thankfully, I had friends beside me who also laughed with me and helped me get back up again. I realized that this tip is applicable not only to ice skating, but to life as well. It reminded me of the importance of learning to immediately surrender to God and ask help when we fall down, make mistakes, or feel like we’ve hit rock bottom. Or ice bottom, in this case. :)

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3. Grow Together

Before yesterday’s activity, we already had a few experiences with ice skating. The common skill that my friends and I had was being able to skate forward without the help of railings. After an hour of skating, we wanted to try out new skills and so, we challenged ourselves to unlock a new achievement together: To skate backwards. By God’s grace, after numerous attempts and falls, we were able to do it by the end of four hours on ice. It was encouraging to learn this new skill because we got to share do’s and don’t’s to each other while we were practicing. It was also fun to laugh with each other whenever we did funny facial expressions and body movements while we were skating backwards. Although we can’t do what the advanced skaters do, we were very much satisfied with seeing our progress on ice. Thankfully, with the electricity back on, we were able to document these things with good lighting. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take videos of the times we fell. That would have been funny and nice. Haha.

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When it was time for us to go, we felt relieved and refreshed to finally remove the shoes off of our feet. We couldn’t stand and walk easily at first. But, just like what one of my friends said yesterday: “I love this paaaain.” I guess he was right. It really was a good experience to feel this kind of pain, to see weaknesses exposed, and to improve even more through the ice skating activity. As I write this post, I still feel certain parts of my body ache. One of my hands is sore, my neck is really stiff, and my lower back is just… sad. Hahahaha. Nonetheless, I thank the Lord for the cool experience. It definitely wouldn’t be my last ice skating adventure.

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Simple Sunday Snack: Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites

Bacon, potatoes, and cream. It’s as easy as one, two, three!

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I finally made time for The Kitchn (without an “e”), a cookbook given to me by one of my colleagues for my birthday last year. As I was browsing through its recipes last night, I found a delicious choice for today’s simple snack. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: the crisp bacon-wrapped potato bites! It’s very easy to prepare and it’s tasty too. In the original recipe, the author used sour cream and hot sauce to complement the potatoes. But, I didn’t have hot sauce with me. So, I used a few stalks of spring onion instead.

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If you want to give it a try, feel free to go through the photos and instructions below. I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did! Here’s to more bacon-wrapped treats in the future!

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Bacon-Wrapped Potato Bites with Sour Cream Dip

Inspired by Faith Durand’s The Kitchn cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 20 Marble potatoes (or 2 large potatoes cut into large cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon of Fresh or Dried Rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 10 long slices of bacon (cut them in half, crosswise)
  • ½ cup of plain sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped spring onion

Steps:

1) Boil the potatoes for 15 minutes or until you can poke the potatoes with a fork without much resistance.

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2) Remove the potatoes from the water and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and olive oil.

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3) Wrap each potato in bacon. Secure the bacon using a toothpick.

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4) Bake* in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Make sure to turn them around after the first 15 minutes.

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5) In a small bowl, add pinches of salt and chopped spring onion to ½ cup of sour cream.

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6) Serve the potatoes while they’re still hot. Dip them in cream and enjoy!

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*If an oven isn’t available, you may fry the bacon-wrapped potato bites on a non-stick pan for 8-10 minutes or until the bacon is cooked. Make sure not to add oil because the bacon already has fat.

When Millionaires Walk Home

I was writing on my journal inside a coffee shop this afternoon when I noticed familiar faces. I saw our family friends: an uncle and his son who were our former neighbors. Even though we transferred to another village, they still occasionally catch up with our parents whenever they have free time. I wasn’t able to say hi, but, I saw them walk out of the store 10 minutes after I sat down.

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From my seat, I observed them walk towards the parking area. I was expecting a driver waiting for them or a fancy car parked nearby. But, to my surprise, they didn’t stop at the parking area. They just continued to walk towards the back gate of the village (where they lived) beside the coffee shop. You might be thinking, “So what if they walked?” Well, it was something that I did not expect because I knew that they were millionaires (Side note: They have a flourishing business that God uses to bless others too). I just assumed that their bodyguard or driver would just be on standby 24/7, but, it was just them. When they were out of sight, I smiled and told God: “Wow, Lord. What a humbling moment.”

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Before I went to the coffee shop today, I asked God to bless my alone time with Him. I also wanted to set aside time today to thank Him for certain blessings and privileges recently. After I saw our former neighbors, I knew that God wanted to teach my heart a lesson. Even though they were millionaires, they didn’t make a fuss about walking back home while carrying their bags. They just enjoyed the time they spent with each other as they sipped their coffee and engaged in conversation.

I realized that if I’m not careful, I can easily be deceived by my own selfish ambitions. But, by God’s grace, He continues to keep my heart focused on Him. Today, he reminded me of a few things:

1) Even though I sometimes have extra money to spare, I need to be wise in the way I spend it. Not excessively and unnecessarily. As much as possible, I need to lessen my expenses and be more creative and resourceful in budgeting and handling my finances.

2) He also encouraged me not to be proud or to find my security and identity in earthly things, in relationships, and in my “status” in society.

3) He reminded me that everything I have and everything about me is only by His grace. Because of this, there really is no reason for me to have a sense of entitlement in any situation.

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How ironic it was for me to be reminded of these things while I was drinking an expensive cup of coffee. *sigh* Nonetheless, I thank God for random moments like this. I guess He really wanted me to be inside that coffee shop this afternoon. :)

To an amazing example of humility, tito P and tita A, may the Lord continue to bless your hearts and the work of your hands! Thank you.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” –James 3:13

Thursday Tune #32: Press On by Mandisa

I guess it’s an early goodbye to the lovely summer skies because they have been very gloomy lately. Most of the time, on my way home from work, I see the surroundings through “natural filters”. It’s almost like everything is set in sepia mode. It’s pretty amazing how the mood of the sky quickly changes and reflects on the buildings, cars, and the people walking on the streets.

I wonder… If the sky can create such an impact to the things and people around us, can our gloomy hearts do the same too?

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I thought about this because I noticed how easily I allowed my heart to be gloomy lately. Specifically, I’ve had moments where I became easily annoyed and discouraged because of difficult people. This lasted for days and it was terrible since it did have an effect on the people around me. One of my closest colleagues even told me that I was becoming moody. In our almost two years of friendship, it was her first time to say something like this to me and it struck a chord in my heart. Without me realizing it, I was already carrying a stormy cloud over my head and it was zapping lightning bolts all over the place.

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I knew something was up (or down, in this case). So, I called for help. Since I had an extended rest time today, I humbly asked God to reveal the concerns of my heart that I needed to deal with and surrender to Him. By His grace, He reminded me of how important it is to be grounded in His truth, love, and promises instead of dwelling and sulking on my issues. I realized that in life, there will always, ALWAYS be problems and discouragements. But, by the grace of God, He gives us the courage and strength to overcome these as we trust in Him who is more than able to work in and through our hearts.

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Earlier today, we experienced a heavy pour of rain in the city. When my mom and I heard and saw the rain, she said to me: “Yes! At least, I won’t have to water the plants today!” She beamed with delight because the rain did one of her “Things to Do” for the day. That simple moment showed me that we can find purpose in the rain. Maybe, we’ve been going through a lot of difficult situations lately. Maybe, we’ve lost our motivation along the way. Nonetheless, we know that God is ALWAYS with us and we can find comfort and hope in this truth.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”-Psalm 28:7

“Press On” by Mandisa

“How many storms have I been through
How many led me right to You
You’re using the pain, the hardest days
For my good, my good
So what do I fear
God, You are with me
Guiding my steps today
Through the mountains, valleys, sun and rain
Lord, lead the way, lead the way.”