Monday, December 22, 2008

Family Newsletter, Christmas 2008

Bim continues to serve as full time staff in our church and loves every bit of it. Aside from coordinating the Small Group Ministry, he has found many new challenges and opportunities in his new assignment as overseer of our 10:15 am Sunday Service with a congregation of about 200. He tries to stay fit by having regular visits to the gym with eldest son, CJ.

Jenny became a registered nurse and began her professional practice early this year. In her short stint with the acute hospital experience as an OR nurse, she was promoted from trainee to reliever status. In October, her application was approved by the nurse's board to become a professional nurse in Australia.

CJ, turning 16 by January, has grown to be a handsome man. He will be graduating from high school come March and wants to become an aircraft mechanic someday. His love for sports, particularly basketball, is his favorite pastime.

Jed, 14, loves playing his guitar and soccer is his favorite sport. He is a sophomore and likes preserving insects and even snakes! He has emerged with a well rounded personality and is a friend to everyone. He is active with the church’s youth ministry.

Daisy will be 10 in February. Her dream to become a chef someday remains and she wishes to put up her own restaurant offering the family's favorite dishes in the menu. Like Jenny, she has developed a love for crafts. She can cross stitch and is learning to weave.

Caila, 6, our little one, has began to read; it’s been her favorite thing to do. She is very fond of drawing and writing letters to Mom and Pop. She excels in her school work and is praised by her teachers.

Jenny will commence her training on January 5 with the Nurses Board in Perth, Western Australia and will begin her nursing practice as soon as she is granted a working visa. If all goes well, Bim and the children will follow as early as May. This journey has been traveled in faith. As of this writing, Jenny has not received her visa and she has a plane to catch on January 1! We are hoping for God’s best whatever the outcome is and you will surely know in our next letter.

May your 2009 be a year of blessing!

All our love,

Bim and Jenny

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Enjoy Harmony in Your Home - Part XI

Manage your money well. Build your financial decisions around what’s most important to your family; remind yourselves of your priorities often. Figure out how you’re currently wasting money, and how you can save money without sacrificing a fulfilling family lifestyle. Scrutinize every area in your budget for ways you can reduce expenses. Before buying something, ask: “Do we really need it?”, “Can we make do with what we have?”, “How often will we use it?”, “How much care does it require?”, “Is it durable?”, “Does its design and quality meet our standards?”, “Is there information available to help us make our decision?”, “Is the price right? Could we find it at a secondhand store?”, “How much difference will its addition to our home and family life really make?”. Avoid debt and pay down any debt you already have. Save for unexpected expenses and large purchases like family vacations or new appliances. Learn how to invest wisely. Give generously. Develop an effective filing and bill-paying system. And better yet, have the adept spouse keep and budget the money. In my case, it’s my husband.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Johnny the Bagger

A very inspiring video! Please watch and make a difference!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Nurse

The world grows better year after year
Because of some nurse in her little sphere,
Puts on her apron and grins and sings
and keeps on going, the same old things.

Taking the vital signs, giving the pills
To remedy mankind's numberless ills;
Feeding and cuddling the baby while answering the bells
Being polite with a heart bequething.

A caring heart, a gentle touch,
Oh how I long to see you well, that much.
In the little time, in my small little way,
"I feel much better", I pray that you say.

Longing for home and all the while,
wearing the same felicitous professional smile.
Blessing the newborn babe's first breath
and closing the eyes that are still in their death.

At times, taking the blame for the doctor's mistakes
Oh dear, what a lot of patience it takes!
Pulled a night shift and off duty at seven o'clock
tired, discouraged and ready to drop!

But called back for emergency special at 7:15!
With woe in my heart, yet, in my eyes not to be seen.
Morning and evening, noon and night,
praying, hoping, and doing what's right.

When I lay down my cap and cross the bar,
Oh Lord, will you give me just one little star?
To wear with my crown and with my white uniform, new
In that city above, where the Head Nurse is You!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Big 40

JOURNAL ENTRY: October 3, 2008

I stopped counting at 33. Whenever someone asks for my age, I can easily figure it out with a little math by calculating the sum between my natal year and the current year. I bet you’ve done that too!

I just turned 40 today and I feel great! I was actually looking forward to this day for the past months. But am I ready for the inevitable? Where am I now? What’s in it for me?

I was bombarded with these questions. Fortunately, answers came rushing through from the back of my head.

Along with juggling a busy life, I’m also dealing with a great amount of change. I am entering a new stage of life and facing challenges that I have never faced before.

The BIG 40. Some say life starts here. How so?

Firstly, I now have specific nutritional needs that are much different from those of men and younger women. I have bouts of sudden mood swings, headaches, cravings, and all the other issues of pre menopause, so they say. It's crazy, but it’s true! There was a time in my journey when I looked in the mirror and—yikes!—where did that paunchy middle come from? I seem to gain weight overnight while battling fatigue, irritability, and all kinds of body aches!

Then, a need to forever tag along my reading glasses and catching myself plucking a few stubs of silver hair every now and then while launching two handsome boys into adulthood... the wake up call…. Yes, I’m definitely here.

For the past months prior to this day, I realized that when I started to begin to believe and not fear, act according to my faith, and decide to reach out and care, I found the answers to my questions! I felt more energized. Otherwise I continue to spin around and around and feel old! It's dizzying and confusing and oftentimes, I was led to make choices that take me out of my life’s mission.

The Almighty has been good to me. I have a beautiful family, a house filled with love and activity and a community full of opportunities!

So I'm moving forward.

I’m 40 and I’m glad I know where I am, who I am, my life’s purpose and mission in life. I have so much hope where forgotten dreams are coming to fruition! I will find myself doing things I have never done before!

My prayer is to shine for Jesus, and make a difference for the glory of my Father in heaven!

Praise Him!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Enjoy Harmony in Your Home - Part X

Use your time wisely. Set up a “control central” area in your home to organize and track your family’s schedule (consider places like a desk, countertop, or home office). Use a “daily hit list” to categorize the various jobs you hope to accomplish each day into seven areas: home and property, food, family and friends, financial, special events, and self. Then consider what you can delegate to others, and what you can delete. Move necessary jobs that you haven’t finished on a certain day to the next day’s list. Set realistic expectations for how much you and your family members can accomplish in a given time period. Make lifestyle changes gradually and rely on God’s strength as you do. Encourage each other and hold each other accountable as you all try to manage your time well while creating a better environment at home.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I am deeply honored to be given the "I Love Your Blog" award by Crown of Beauty. Thank you, Manang Lidj!

As instructed, I am to pass the award to seven others. I have numerous favorite blogs that I visit randomly and most of them have received the same award. So I am passing on the award to seven few that are worth a read. I can relate with the authors as I share similar thoughts, ideas, and experiences with them.

1. There’s no place like home. - Kelli is from Texas, USA. She is married with three young children. They are a christian, homeschooling family. I love her blog because I can see myself in her who loves her home and family. We share the same interests: baking, sewing, crafting, and most of all, loving the LORD!

2. Extravagant Grace. There is not enough words to describe this woman of God! She loves the Lord and that is reflected deeply in her writings. She is a wife and a stay-at-home mother of four children. She has a bachelors in English Writing Arts and is an editorial assistant for a science journal, a web designer and editor, and a desktop publishing designer. She is a freelance writer for Faith Lifts (that’s where I found her). Her experiences tell a message to all her readers, that God's love is amazing and His extravagant grace is available to all of us.

3. Fiddledeedee. If I want to have a good laugh, I come to this site. DeeDee is a fun loving writer, witty, full of surprises, yet, filled with amusing facts and realities about her life as a woman of God! She, too, is a homeschooling mom to her three children.

4. My simple kitchen. I love this site. Aimee is a great cook and her recipes are brilliant! She started this blog as a place to share recipes with her readers and to inspire to cook loving meals for our families. And of course, she loves Jesus!

5. Im an organizing junkie. Laura loves to organize! She is a mom to three active kids. Her tips and awesome creativity gives me ideas on making my house a home to my family.

6. Waking Up. Musings by a dreamer. Ariel Allison Lawhon is a writer, a novelist… and a dreamer. Her musings are deep that touches the recesses of the soul.

7. A few Scraps. Christina is thirty something…. So am I. She quilts… and so do I. She is a mother… me too! She is a nurse… and I am too!

According to Crown of Beauty, there are a few rules that go with this award. You have to pass on this award to seven other blogs. Just add in a short description of each of the blog and the reasons why you are giving the award to.

1. The winner can put the logo on their blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you’ve nominated.

Pass on the award, meet new friends, see how creative our God is in the unique lives of the people He has created... and have fun!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What about... DREAMS?

(In my dream, I saw myself on this ship... I think I know where this is at ... ah... that's between me and my God )

I was just reading a recent post of my friend’s: It will take Forever. Talking about dreams... there's this saying from a certain Asian guy that says, "Who looks outside, dreams, Who looks inside awakens". And another that mentions one of the three things in life that are never certain, "Dreams".

I dream a lot... you may say, I'm a dreamer. I am. I have dreams for my family, for myself and most of all, I dream that someday, I will arrive at the place and dwell in the house of my Heavenly Father forever!

Spiritually speaking, according to Bryan Carraway, in his article, “A Theological Look at Spiritual Dreams”, dreams are one of the most overlooked forms of communication used by God. The Word of God consistently reveals God as speaking to people through this universally experienced and mysterious phenomenon.

The Lord uses dreams for a variety of purposes:

- to warn global leaders of future events. (Gen. 41:1-8)- to provide revelation to His prophets Num. (12:6)- to warn us against certain decisions. (Matt. 27:17-19)- to reveal His divine destiny for our lives. (Gen. 37:5-8)- to answer our recent petitions and prayers. (I Kings 3:5-15)
Acts 2:17 confirms that God continues to use dreams as a means of communication in the New Testament age. Since this is the case the question must be asked, "Are all dreams from God?" Are we to wake up every morning looking for some hidden, spiritual message in our dreams? The answer is no.

Dreaming is a natural physiological function that is common to every human being and is necessary for maintaining adequate mental and emotional health. If one is deprived of REM sleep (the sleep cycle at which dreaming occurs) for a substantial length of time the person can incur serious medical and mental complications. So while most of our dreams are just the result of natural human functioning, every Christian needs to be aware that sometimes God uses this natural function in a supernatural way.

When to know a dream is from God, i.e. a "spiritual dream," and when it's just a natural dream can sometimes be hard to discern. No doubt it's a very subjective experience but most of us have had the feeling that some dreams are not like the rest. The images linger, the emotions are strongly affected, and we get this feeling that what we just experienced is a message from above; a message that needs explanation. When we do receive a spiritual dream they are usually one of three types.

1. Warning Dream - This type is meant to warn us about some future attack from the enemy or some difficult time ahead. This could be a warning about a friend, spouse, or child. These are given so that we might pray and intercede for the individual. Often times the calamity is not decreed from above and through prayer the hardship can be avoided. Example from Scripture: Abimelech warned not to sleep with Abraham's wife. (Gen. 20:3-7)

2. Confirmation Dream - This dream simply confirms that what you believe to be true about a person or situation is in fact true. This type of dream is used to give you the emotional impetus to act on what you already know to be true but have thus far been unresponsive towards. Example from Scripture: Pilate's wife's dream confirming that her husband should release Jesus from custody. (Matt. 27:17-19)

3. Prophetic Dream - A dream which reveals the future concerning yourself, another individual, a nation, etc. Example from Scripture: As a 17 year old, Joseph dreamt about his future place of honor and high governmental service. (Gen. 37: 5-8)

Spiritual dreams are God's sole prerogative, so we must always be ready. When they do come we need to quickly record them and then begin to pray for the interpretation. Spiritual dreams when heeded, keep us in the will of God and remind us that we do indeed serve a God who knows us intimately and who takes the time to speak to His children individually for our own safety and care.

As for me, I consider it as a gifting. God speaks to me in my dreams. Having to discern a dream takes confirmation in my spirit and His word. Yet, oftentimes, God reveals Himself to me through a prophetic dream, just before an event in my life happens.

My dreams are simple, yet, they give me hope and encouragement. Most of all, my dreams are from within, which God, Himself, the dream giver establishes. Lastly, my dreams are always certain, knowing that they are from the Father.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Did Jesus Use a Modem?

I have heard this poem once recited on air at my favorite christian radio station. I thought I'd share this. It's a simple poem, yet points out to the realities of how much modern, high-tech world eats up most of our time rather than having an intimate fellowship with our God.

God bless you as you read this poem.


Did Jesus use a modem,
At the Sermon on the Mount?
Did He ever try a broadcast fax,
To send His message out
Did the disciples carry beepers,
As they went about their route?
Did Jesus use a modem,
At the Sermon on the Mount?

Did Paul use a laptop,
With lots of RAM and ROM?
Were his letters posted on a BBS,
@ Paul.Rome.Com?
Did the man from Macedonia,
Send an E-Mail saying "Come?"
Did Paul use a Laptop,
With lots of RAM and ROM?

Did Moses use a joystick,
At the parting of the Sea?
And a Satellite Guidance Tracking System,
To show him where to be?
Did he write the law on tablets,
Or are they really on CD?
Did Moses use a joystick,
At the parting of the Sea?

Did Jesus really die for us,
One day upon a tree?
Or was it just a Hologram,
Or Technical Wizardry?
Can you download the Live Action Video Clip,
To play on your PC?
Did Jesus really die for us,
One day upon a tree?

Have the wonders of this modern age,
Made you question what is true?
How a single man, in a simple time,
Could offer life anew?
How a sinless life, a cruel death,
Then a glorious life again,
Could offer more to a desperate world,
Than all the inventions of man?

If in your life, the voice of God,
Is sometimes hard to hear.
With other voices calling,
His doesn't touch your ear.
Then set aside your laptop and modem,
And all your fancy gear.
And open your Bible,
open your heart,
And let your Father draw near.

~Authour Unknown~

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pastor Dudley's visit

Our church was priviledged to have with us, Pastor Dudley Rutherford of Shepherd of the Hills Church, USA last Sunday, August 10th. Pastor Dud's visit was made possible by the grace of God and the efforts of my very dear friends, Rodel and Maryann Concha.

Pastor Dud, you were a blessing!!!! Come back again and be assured that you have a family here in Bacolod, Philippines praying for you! God bless you and your ministry!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Servanthood in the Workplace

My being a nurse can be exhausting, frustrating, and degrading at times. Please don’t get me wrong. I am talking about some things that I encounter in the workplace that I often find difficult to deal with: co-workers and subordinates, doctors, nursing procedures that I have to perform for the first time, among others. By the time I begin an eight-hour rostered shift, chances of me getting a break in between is not possible. Meal breaks are usually done at the end of the shift! You don’t find me sitting down once I am on the move. Not that I don’t like what I am doing. Nursing is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I love being a nurse but the cost of being one is what’s stressful.

Division, tension, conflict; I encounter them in the workplace, a hostile environment for me as a christian. My mission is to portray Christ without stepping over the line of professional standards. Yet, it’s not easy. My weapon is to consistently be in prayer and to make a decision daily to “love and serve” others. If I remember that God himself assigned me my workstation, I will desire to do my best.

I remember the message my husband delivered during the yearly banquet for Operation Care Ministry earlier this year. There were several keys that he mentioned that made a significant impact in my life:

He stressed that if we want to find leaders in our midst, we find them among those with a servant’s heart. That’s an incredible thought. In church, I see them with smiling faces all the time while going diligently about their work. I never hear them complain and criticize others. They usually do the menial tasks. Yet, they work hard with excellence in whatever they are doing, without expecting anything in return.

If you want to be a servant, be available. In 2 Timothy 2:4, it says, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier”. A soldier is always ready to jump into service when called on. Being a servant means giving up the right to control your schedule and allowing God to interrupt it whenever He needs to.

Servants are always on the lookout for ways to help others and always sensitive to others’ cries. When we see a need, let’s try to seize the moment to meet it, just as the Bible commands, Galatians 6:10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers”. When God puts someone in need right in front of us, He is giving us the opportunity to grow in servanthood.

We do our best with what we have. If we have a servant’s heart, we don’t make excuses, procrastinate, or wait for better circumstances. Servants never say, “One of these days” or “When the time is right.” They just do what needs to be done. Ecclesiastes 11:4 “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap”.(NIV) If we wait for perfect conditions, we will never get anything done. God expects us to do what we can, with what we have, wherever we are.

We don’t choose the kind of work we want to do. In Colossians 3:23 it says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men”. The size of the task is irrelevant. The only issue is, does it need to be done? If we want to excel, we don’t chose a work that’s convenient for us. It is in these small services that we grow like Christ. In the scriptures we notice that Jesus specialized in menial tasks that everyone else tried to avoid: washing feet, helping children, fixing breakfast, and serving lepers. Nothing was beneath him, because he came to serve. It wasn’t in spite of his greatness that he did these things, but because of it, and he expects us to follow his example (John 13:15). Small tasks often show a big heart. Great opportunities often disguise themselves in small tasks.

Servants are faithful to their work. Servants finish their tasks, fulfill their responsibilities, keep their promises and complete their commitments. They don’t leave a job half undone. They don’t quit when they get discouraged. They are trustworthy and dependable. Many people don’t know the meaning of commitment. These days, commitments are often too lightly made.

Servants displays humility. Servants don’t promote or call attention to themselves. Instead of acting to impress and dressing for success, they “put on the apron of humility, to serve one another” (1 Peter 5:5, TEV). If recognized for their service, they humbly accept it but don’t allow the recognition to distract them from their work. We must have a submissive spirit toward our employers, doing what we are asked to do without complaining or criticizing, building their trust in us. When we show we can be fully trusted, we "make the teaching about God our Savior attractive" (Titus 2:10).

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

God shaped us for service, not for self-centeredness. Without a servant’s heart, we will be tempted to misuse our giftings and abilities for personal gain. Having a servant’s heart will reveal the depth of our maturity and it is seen in our life. The measure is our willingness to serve.

Our faith must be real, not fake. We must be honest and truthful, sincere in our desire to let the light within us shine for Christ in the workplace. If we are serving others as Christ would do, opportunities to share our faith will come. If we continue in prayer and in His Word, He will guide us as we bring the Good News into the workplace.

We can portray Christ and raise the standards in the workplace.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Enjoy Harmony in Your Home - Part IX

Bust clutter. Rid your house of clutter that’s causing stress in your environment. Rather than trying to tackle a big job all at once and becoming overwhelmed, schedule small bits of time to regularly work on getting rid of clutter, room by room, until your whole house is organized. Prepare for your work by having trash bags, storage bins, etc. on hand. Eliminate what you don’t want, need, or use. Concentrate on what you use, need, and care about. For every item you handle, ask: “When is the last time this was used, worn, or played with?”, “Does it deserve space in our home? If it weren’t here, what would be here instead?”, “Are there memories attached to it?” and “What will I do with it – fix it, sell it, store it, toss it, or donate it?” Be sure to follow through on your decisions promptly to avoid second thoughts; put objects you’ve chosen to keep in their proper places and drop off donations and take out trash soon after de-cluttering. Set deadlines for your work to stay on track. Every time a new items comes into the house, take an old item out to make room for it. Think and pray about why you’ve accumulated too much stuff in the first place, and how you can avoid cluttering your house with more stuff in the future.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tilapia deadly than bacon? You gotta be kidding me!

(Steamed Tilapia with lemon-butter sauce, a few spurts of mayo and pickled relish)

Two nights ago, I was in the company of great and wonderful friends composed of couples involved in different ministries in our church. As usual, the women talked about the daily grind of motherhood, wife to our husbands, other than attending to our careers. Our favorite topic is food, of course, and seems that recipes are always and forever exchanged, trying out new formulas and acquiring newfangled tastes.

I was surprised, however, when one of our men mentioned that Tilapia (sometimes referred to as sunshine snapper, cherry snapper, Nile Snapper and St. Peter's fish since it is thought to be the fish St. Peter caught in the Sea of Galilee, tilapia has been farmed in Israel for about 2,500 years) is more deadly, more fattening, and more dangerous to eat than bacon! You gotta be kidding me! My favorite protein-rich fish is deadly? I was fumed by this thought! How is that possible? I have been eating Tilapia all my life and I’m hearing this?

I was dedicated to find out more about this shocking news for this has really saddened me. Eliminate this favorite of mine from my diet and you'll find me marching down the street along with other freedom fighters! This is outrageously insane!

Tilapia is a freshwater fish that is abundantly cultured in the Philippines. They are also now being introduced in the southern regions of the United States and other tropical areas such as Hawaii. They are sold live, fresh and frozen — whole and fillets. The fine-tasting meat typically is white, although the meat of red skinned tilapia may have a reddish tint. A most agreeable fish, tilapia is great on the grill, broiled, baked, pan-fried or stir fried. In addition to its versatility, pleasant flavor and low calorie count, the retail price of tilapia remains reasonable in comparison to other seafood, thanks to the efficiencies of modern aquaculture. Tilapia also is known for taking on many of the flavors of the ingredients it’s cooked with. For example, cooking in a stir-fry with soy sauce and veggies gives it an Asian flair. Many cooks even combine it with "fruity" flavors such as cherries or lemons.

I have to wonder if researchers at Wake Forest University are second-thinking the wisdom of their statement that "the inflammatory potential of hamburger or pork bacon is lower than the average serving of farmed tilapia."
On the one hand, it certainly got the attention of the press. Hundreds of blogs and news outlets immediately ran with the obvious headline: Tilapia worse than bacon! Then, all the health experts had to go on record, saying how ridiculous it was to suggest that bacon is a better choice than tilapia.

In a nutshell, the researchers were simply pointing out that all fish are not nutritionally equivalent and that the American Heart Association's blanket recommendation to eat more fish in order to reduce risk of heart disease may be overly general.

We hear a lot about fish being a good source of omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory and are thought to be a hedge against heart disease. But we usually don't hear much about the omega-6 content of fish. Omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory and are generally thought of as "bad."

For one thing, some fish, such as salmon, are very rich in omega-3, where are others, such as tuna, grouper, and snapper, contain much less. More importantly, though, certain fish, especially farmed catfish, tilapia, and salmon have very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, including a particularly inflammatory omega-6 called arachidonic acid. (This is likely due to the vegetable-oil enriched diet fed to farmed fish.)

Three of the most commonly eaten fish (tuna, farmed tilapia, and farmed catfish) actually contain more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids. And (drumroll, please) some of the tilapia sampled for this particular study contained more arachidonic acid (and less omega-3) than bacon or hamburger. Which is how they ended up with the statement, "the inflammatory potential of hamburger or pork bacon is lower than the average serving of farmed tilapia."

In fact, I would agree with that statement. However, I think I'd stop short of promoting bacon as a healthier choice. Although it may be lower in arachidonic acid, it's a whole lot higher in fat and calories. Excess calories can easily lead to fat storage which leads directly to inflammation.

So let's keep this all in perspective here, shall we?

1. Bacon, while perhaps not directly inflammatory, is high in fat and calories (not to mention sodium) and should probably be enjoyed in moderation.
2. Fish is a great source of high quality protein and can be a good source of beneficial omega-3 fats-- good for the heart!
3. If you're eating a lot of farmed tilapia and catfish (especially if you're doing so in an attempt to reduce your risk of heart disease) there are other fish that are probably better choices, such as wild salmon, sardines, and others.

So, my verdict? I’ll eat my Tilapia, steamed, and enjoy the benefits it gives to my body… only in moderation!


Enjoy Harmony in Your Home - Part VIII

Create healthy meals and fun mealtimes. Aim to plan and cook healthy, delicious meals for your family regularly, and to enjoy eating those meals together as often as possible. Involve each family member in planning menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then post the menus in a prominent place, and shop for all the ingredients in advance. Have everyone pitch in to help prepare the meals as much as possible; assign everyone a job (even young children can help wash fruit and vegetables or set the table). Make eating together a high priority; try to arrange your schedules around eating at least dinner together whenever you can. Ask each other questions to encourage interesting and positive conversations at the table.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Christian the Lion

I’ll bet you’ve never seen a pet like the one in this Video of the Day. In 1969, two friends, John Rendall and Ace Berg, purchased a lion. At the time, Christian the lion was a 35-pound cub. He had been born in a zoo. The friends raised Christian in their London home. All three hung out in a friend’s furniture shop on the weekends.

Within a year, Christian had grown to 185 lbs. Rendall and Berg realized they couldn’t keep him much longer. But they didn’t know what to do with him. A chance encounter changed that. Two actors from the film Born Free walked into the furniture store.

The actors recommended a conservationist, George Adamson, living in Kenya. Christian was soon in Africa. There he was rehabilitated and released into the wild.

In 1974, Rendall and Berg decided to visit Christian one last time. He was now a wild animal. Adamson told them it was doubtful that Christian could be found. No one had seen him in nine months.

The two flew to Kenya, anyway. On the day they landed, Christian appeared outside Adamson’s camp. Somehow, he knew. He waited outside the camp until Rendall and Berg arrived.

This video was taken during their reunion with Christian. What a story! What a video!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

COLD White Walls and Shiny Floors

(What shall the future hold? My thoughts about nursing in a foreign land away from home)

Soon will there be long hours of walking, long walks of caring
When the sun sets, the shiny floors, everyday will I stride
With medical supplies, in my hand I shall cautiously grasp,
My long hair twisted in a bun, tied with a net, sheltered with a cap.
There’s no time to sit, my busy hands never go empty
A peek of my sunken eyes, will they ever grow sleepy?
As I stroll by the white walls, in my mind,
I wished, I was home with you that day!

Just a glimpse of a one long night,
Attending to a client, his eyes, so deep.
With an IV line on his left, his height about six feet.
So strong a physique, now frail, lazy and weak.
If he smiles, will mine eyes turn misty?
For I know not the extent I will long for thee.
Swiftly I shall turn away, with cold tears,
unfathomable what may surround me.

I shall take his vital signs, his cold hands held unto mine
With moist eyes, while I take his pulse rate
Like the ocean waves, rhythmically,
I shall flow with his heartbeat.
What may I know but of this man I know not?
What’s with the man that I feel in my gut?
Oh my love, will I hold you beyond the day’s tomorrow?
Will you still be, for we have vowed and said forever?

Ah, somber mystery of this man’s eyes unspeaking
Is that a mirror of an enigma,
Of life’s love with my spouse?
Why, where has this left mine heart seeking?
For I know the secret since the world has known.
And now, where has this left mine spirit fleeing?
The rite of promises, yet they are all unknown.
Alas! To the cross, I lay them down, answers He will have shown.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wheelchairs for free

I was privileged of having to take part of giving away 30 wheelchairs to recipients around Bacolod City. For more details, please click here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Louie Giglio - Encouraging Video

God is good! All the time!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bibingka at 21

Bibingka at 21. Succulent and filled with buko shavings!!! I love it!

Cheese Cake Feast at Calea






the cake with peanut butter filling topped with choco-creamed shavings

the simple cake with caramel top

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Daisy's Scrambled Eggs

Daisy, our little chef, had a blast cooking her scrambled eggs. She experimented on the recipe and turned out really good. Uncomplicated, yet the flavors blend with ease. She simply scrambled the eggs with some fresh milk and just a dash of the homemade herbs. She then topped with buttered garlic sauteed carrots, paklay and sayote.
Great job, sweetiepie!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Crossroads - "Piranha Moments"

Journal entry: 13 March 2008

Bible Passage: Isaiah 40: 29-31

6:30 am - It’s a sunny morning. “I think I’ll stay home today. Maybe I’ll take a nap.” I attempted several times to take the much needed rest but it was just not possible. My daughter is home from school and I am here attending to her needs. “Ah, a classic Piranha moment,” I gasped. In two hours will be my English class.

11:00 am – Done with my English class. I have to hurry to prepare lunch! A fast-tract Piranha moment….. “Tuna Sandwiches, coming in a jiffy!” I mused.

1:30 pm – Job applications! I almost forgot about that. I need to complete and print out my resume, photocopy the transcripts and, along the way, pick up the passport-size photos I took yesterday. A typical trafficy Piranha moment! That would give me enough time to think of dinner. But first, let me take a nap!

3:30 pm - Oops! Staff meeting for Operation Care Ministry... that's this week. I better make some calls.... a Piranha sidetrip.

4:30 pm – Dinner! What’s cooking for dinner? There’s nothing in the fridge, just a couple of canned goods in the pantry! And I’m having a panic attack, a horrible Piranha moment! I’ll swing by quickly at the grocery and get some supplies. But where’s my rest? Time sped by so quickly. How in the world will I ever get me some rest? I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

5:45 pm – I’m sitting and finally able to find some time to write in my journal. “Lord, I am tired! No time to nap. I have more things to do and the kids will be home any minute from school. Where’s my rest? I just can’t do this anymore. I want to cry”. A dreadful Piranha moment.

5:50 pm – I hear the car honked! Moments later, a little girl’s voice came shouting, “Mommy, I’m home!” Oh my heavens! The true and long Piranha hour is just beginning!!! I anticipate that everyone, including our pets, are coming to get a piece of me! It’s like being encased in a fish tank filled with piranhas, wanting a bite of Mom!

I don’t know if I’m crazy or not, but the sound of my little girl’s voice, the musky smell of my hubby’s perfume, the glow of my boys’ eyes, and the tight hugs of my little princess, saying, "You're the best, Mom", make my heart leap for joy! Just like any day, is one that's filled and surrounded with piranha moments. But then, I did cry… and prayed for these times and thanked God for them. Through the kindness and mercy of God, and to see my very own five hungry and happy faces masticate the freshly fried chicken, I was at peace, a great Piranha feast! What a sight!

9:30 pm - God gave me four beautiful and wonderful children under my care, a loving husband to attend to, and knowing exactly what to do at a piranha moment, makes me wonder if I would ever survive the day without them? Ah, Piranha hours, or piranha moments, or piranha sidetrips.... whatever you want to call it. They eat me up at all sides! But they give me life! I wouldn’t mind having them close by. As long as they are around, by God’s grace, I’ll give everything I got! His word says, He is sufficient enough to supply for my every need. I stand by that promise!

At the end of the day, I have gathered the strength to face another one.... and that's tomorrow, for another set of unique piranha moments!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Operation Care Ministry Website

Please visit Operation Care Ministry Website and be updated with our missions activities. God bless you!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Enjoy Harmony in Your Home - Part VII

Set school day rules. Save energy that you would otherwise use to argue with your kids by creating rules to manage school days well. Give your kids the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings about school day logistics such as how they should get ready for school on time, do their homework, communicate with you about important items like permission slips, etc., and seriously consider their input when setting the rules. Then, presenting a united front with your spouse, let your kids know clearly what you expect. Keep in mind that your rules can change as your kids grow, according to what works best at a particular time.

Salsa La Bamba!

I really don’t know what to name this recipe. However, the word, "La Bamba", sounded appropriate, so SALSA LA BAMBA, it is! Don't laugh! Well, by the way it turned out, it rang well to my ears!

I made this two months ago when I had my share of voluptuous tomatoes freshly harvested, among others, from church friends at their place in Camp Prayer Mountain.

Canning was out of the question. So I made some Salsa and homemade spaghetti sauce for the kids.

To make homemade Salsa, firstly, a big basketful (about 8 kilos) of carefully selected ripe tomatoes, is very important. The fresher, the better. The tomatoes above are the best variety of tomato to use: Roma; also called paste tomatoes. They have fewer sides, thicker, meatier walls, and less water.

Next, remove the tomato skins. Here's the trick: put the tomatoes, a few at a time in a large pot of boiling water for no more than 1 minute (30 - 45 seconds is usually enough). Then, plunge them into a waiting bowl of ice water. This makes the skins slide right off of the tomatoes! If you leave the skins in, they become tough and chewy in the sauce and not very pleasant.

After you have peeled the skins off the tomatoes, cut them in half and squeeze of the seeds and water. Yes! Just like it sounds: wash your hands then squeeze each tomato and use your finger or a spoon to scoop and shake out most of the seeds. You don't need to get fanatical about it. Removing most will do.

Toss the squeezed tomatoes into a colander or drainer, while you work on others. This helps more of the water to drain off. You may want to save the liquid: if you then pass it through a sieve, screen or cheesecloth, you have fresh tomato juice; great to drink cold or use in cooking!

3 cups chopped onions
1 Tablespoons of oregano
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup diced, fresh cilantro
1/4 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups of lemon juice
1 cup diced green and red bell peppers
freshly ground pepper
1 to 4 diced jalapeño peppers or use according to how hot or mild you want it
3 (6 oz) cans of tomato paste - if you like a richer thicker flavor and texture
Optional: 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
Optional: Add pine nuts or sunflower seeds.

Start with the chopped tomatoes in the pot. Add the seasonings and bring to a gentle simmer. Taste it as it cooks. If you like the sauce hotter, add 1 Teaspoon of chili powder. And if you like your salsa thick, add 4 Tablespoons corn starch, dissolved in the vinegar before adding to the mix.

For an afternoon snack, place a spoonful of salsa on crackers and add a dash of parmesan cheese! Or mix this with some al dente spaghetti noodles or fetuccini!


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Operation Care Ministry's Future Health Center

Read this doc on Scribd: Project Matthew slides

We need your support and donations! Here's the list of what we need for the clinic:

Read this doc on Scribd: OPERATION MATTHEW

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The reason for my long silence..........

Hello friends! This is the reason why I have been away. I have been very busy these past couple of months organising a comprehensive medical missions for Operation Care Ministry. I am in the process of likewise finishing the website which will come out soon. Meanwhile, please view the video and I pray that you will be blessed! Shalom!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I will be away.....

It's been a while since I last posted. I will be away for a while but I will surely be back in no time! Take care and talk to you soon!



Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Those three little words......

It's so amazing how a woman can express her heart by just three little words!

Enjoy the slideshow!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Enjoy Harmony in Your Home - Part VI

Establish a calm morning routine. Recognize that mornings are the launching pad for the day, so if they go well, your whole family will start the day off right. Plan to get up early enough to spend time with God in prayer and through Bible reading and meditation. When you interact with family members, keep your communication positive. Spend time the night before organizing key items you’ll need in the morning, such as by setting out your clothes and making sure you have enough food and drink for breakfast.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Finally! The manual is finished!

After three grueling months, the first edition of this manual is born! I have authored the Operations Manual of Operation Care Ministry, an organization I am actively involved in. I will tell you more about it in the days to come. Meanwhile, view the video below. If you are led to help this ministry, please leave a comment here. Thanks!

Excerpt from The PREFACE of the Manual:

This is a standard reference document of Operation Care Ministry, the medical missions arm of Baptist Conference Church of Bacolod. This manual identifies the organizational framework, procedural guidelines for medical missions at a standard venue or in the field for domestic operations. Likewise, it serves as a comprehensive guideline for planning, coordinating and executing medical missions as presented. Also, the contents have been from past and ongoing medical mission operations and will serve as a tool for training volunteers and medical personnel.

Acknowledgements goes to:

I would like to thank Therese Hinojales for her priceless insights and tireless assistance in the review of the manual and for providing the outline; to the Team Heads, staff and volunteers of OCM for their invaluable input; to my brother, Jeffrey, though residing from miles away, still managed to extend his expertise in plotting maps, charts and flow sheets through internet linkage; to the Communication Team for assistance in lay-outs and publication; to my boss and friend, Manny Songco, for his continued encouragement; to my husband, Bim, for his unwavering love, prayers and support; to my lovely children: CJ, Jed, Daisy and Caila, whose lives have been a daily inspiration; and last but not the least, my creator and first love, God, in the person of my Savior, Jesus Christ, who has given me life, wisdom and direction as I faithfully walk in obedience, trusting every beat of His heart.

To God be the glory indeed!
February 29, 2008

Sandwich for Lunch.... for a change

This is just one of those days when cooking is not the order of the day.... so sandwich for lunch it is, for a change!

If you have this nifty gadget called, Sandwich Griller, is awesome! If you don't own one, get one!

I had so much left over adobo so I converted it to pinitaw. And with some thinly sliced apples and cheese.... I was all set.

First, mix the pinitaw with your favorite brand MAYONAISE, arrange the ingredients into a sandwich with a slice of apple first, then the prepared pinitaw, more spurts of mayo, and top with a slice of cheese and some leafy lettuce. Grill the sandwich for 5 minutes and serve while hot.

Your kids will enjoy let them try it! It's so easy to do and super delicious! Exceedingly nutritious too! Enjoy!

the smiley grilled sandwich and tweety bird..... ain't they look great together?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Crossroads: "Opps, it's not the way I like it"

"Breakfast is ready!" It was a beautiful Monday morning but when I took a piece of the tapa (beef jerky), it tasted like paper! My heavens, there's no more substitute and no time to cook another meal. Opps, it was not the way I liked it.... I just added in more fried garlic and my kids didn't notice at all.

Took a public transportation (jeep) but rode on the wrong route! Oh heavens, I had to take a ride with the same number of kilometers back only to find myself standing at the same place where I had been. Opps, it was not the way I liked it.... Instead, I hollered for a cab. It costed me four times more but I arrived at my destination in no time.

Applied for work in a specialised nursing area but they needed someone with experience. Opps, it was not the way I liked it... I decided to do volunteer work until I'm able to accumulate a long number of hours that's required by the agency.

My scores in my English class were not satisfactory. Opps, it's not the way I like it.... I'll just practice some more drills and it's going to eat much of my time but I have to do it.

My eldest daughter had to stay home from school today due to a slight fever. Opps, it's not the way I like it. I'll stay home inspite of the many errands I have lined up to do today!

There are just many water puddles, holes and barricades along the way. Most often, they really make me feel super frustrated. But who says they rob off my joy and strip me of my self-worth?

I have a choice.

James 1:2-8 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does".

My choice is to be joyful in the midst of the storm and live life with God's wisdom.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Budbud Pilit sa Medina

I’m always amazed by stories told by the old folks living in my mother’s farm. As if they are fables or fairy tales that would leave me astounded. Tales of mysteries and obscurity about my Lolo interests me. He was an amazing person of many talents, an artist, a painter, a great musician, a great baritone singer, and a famous collector of all sorts. Hacienda Medina, the place where my mother grew up was a vast farmland of sugarcane, now remains an uncomplicated abode, but the history rests in the hearts of many "tumandoks" (natives).

[my lolo, Don Domingo Medina, 2nd mayor of San Carlos City during the Japanese occupation]

Way before the Japanese occupation, my mother’s hacienda in San Carlos, was known to be one of the happiest places where my grandfather, Don Domingo Medina [second Mayor of San Carlos City during the Japanese occupation era] used to hold extravagant fiestas… the place where sugar magnates also hang-out. In those days when Spanish was the language in most prominent homes, fiestas [meaning Easter] were celebrated in my Lolo’s house once in a week and it was always grand, as I was told.

The great and famous dishes were cooked, including those made of ‘kanding’ [goat] kaldera and paklay [made of goat innards or entrails]. Budbud Pilit was a dish considered as a luxury [I never knew the reason why... I guess only the rich can afford to buy pilit in those times.. ah, don't take it on me, just a wild guess]. They were never absent on the buffet table and were always paired with tsokolate either dipped or drank from the cup…. yes, even during their evening parties.

Budbud Pilit sa Medina, an heirloom recipe and I wouldn’t mind sharing it. The only thing about making budbud pilit is doing it the right way. I was fortunate to learn making it first hand from Manang Narcisa, who is the apo of Lola Luz, my grandmother’s sister-in-law, who was also one of those that prepared the dishes during their time.

Ingredients to yield about 70 to 80 pcs of budbud

2 kilos pilit
bout 4 small grated aged coconut for latik
large ginger, coarsely chopped

for the tsokolate filling
tablea, about 12 pcs
2 tablespoons butter
1 small can evaporated milk
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
[cook this ahead of time with a double boiler, then set aside]

Prepare banana lea
ves, tear them into about 8-inch in length and divide and group them into 5’s. Dip the leaves in boiling water for 5 minutes. Set them aside to dry.

First, rinse the pilit in clean water two to three times until water is clear. Then, take the 4 grated aged coconut and add about 4 cups of water smushing it with your hands and extract the coconut milk. Strain the coconut milk into a large kawali. Do a second smushing by adding 4 more cups of water, strain and pour the remaining coco milk in the same kawali.

I have to do this the way the old folks did in their time so we had to create a makeshift ‘lutuan’ using large stones and chopped wood. Obviously, I used my old cooking gadgets in case the soot sticks to the pan and remains a memoir of this legendary recipe ;0 Cook the cocomilk in high heat until it starts to bubble and boil, around 15 to 20 minutes. Add the pilit, about 2 tablespoons of rock salt and brown sugar, and the chopped ginger after the coconut milk reaches a boil and stir frequently to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan. The pilit will slowly absorb the coconut milk and start to grow in volume. Take out some wood to lower the heat at this point. Keep stirring another 15 minutes or so until you notice the “latik” or clear coconut oil has formed and has been fully absorbed by the pilit. Estimated cooking time after the milk reaches its initial boil is about 30 minutes. But make sure that the pilit is not fully cooked. It should have traces of uncooked pilit when taking off the fire.

Let it cool and place about 2 tablespoons worth of the mixture on pre-boiled cut banana leaves and roll them up tightly by squeesing the ends towards the center once rolled up then tie with banana strings [but in our case, i had to make do with plastic strings]. There is a way to roll them by the way. It took me a while to get the hang of it but with practice, you’ll learn it sooner than you think.

For budbud with tsokolate, flatten the pilit mixture [like a sandwich] and add in the tsokolate, as if filling a sandwich with peanut butter. Fold the flattened mixture then roll. It doesn’t matter if most tsokolate leaks out…. it should be that way.

Line a large caserola with banana leaves up to the rim, leaving about half of the length to hang out. Place all wrapped budbud in and close the caserola with the banana leaves shown in the picture. Add water to about half and steam for about 30 to 45 minutes.

This recipe was just right, perfect and cooked the way the old folks used to do it. Serve with ripe mangoes or dip it with tsokolate.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Crossroads: “Growing Old Gracefully”

9 March 2008

I popped in the player my new Josh Groban disk as I went doing about my Sunday chores. While listening to his music and theatrical voice, all of a sudden, sadness crept into my inmost being. “Hhhhmmm, must be just the music,’ I hummed to myself. But my heart insisted that it was not Josh… it was something else....

I dropped everything and went to my place of silence and began to read my Bible.

“Why am I sad, Lord?”, was my inquiry. I sensed, however that I was undergoing one of those moments, ‘growth pangs’ in my midlife journey.

I will be 40 in 6 months. I can honestly say that life has began for me this year…. because of some obvious and not-so-obvious facts: my beautiful hair is turning white (I freaked out when I first had a couple of strands of gray hair at 32 and my friend, Jessa can attest to that!); I’m beginning to have less hours of sleep (an average of 6 hours a day); my back gets really sore after just a few minutes sitting on the computer chair; I find myself using my reading glasses more often and finding myself resigning to the fact that I could never go back to that slim figure as to 15 years ago. My son who is 15, is seldom seen at home with us on weekends. Instead, he spends his time with friends (and the fact that he’s taller than his father and wears one size bigger shoes makes me wonder if he’ll ever stop growing!) It’s all happening! I’m getting old by the day and that is what’s making me sad! You know, the worst kind that makes your stomach churn?

I had two choices: this thought could ruin my day or I could keep up and enjoy 'this' day. I tried to keep the negative thoughts out of my mind. Each time I thought about it, rejection and insecurity tried to rule the day.

I had to do something. “An idle mind is the devils workshop”, so they say. I attempted to trim my youngest daughter’s hair and while my mind was occupied at last, she said, “Mom, my hair is beautiful now but yours is nicer. You’re very pretty mommy. Someday, when I grow up, I will look like you too.” What a thing for a 5-year old to say at the time when I needed some encouragement to lift my spirit! I don't call that coincidence, do you?

While my fingers were engaged with my daughter’s delicate hair and the comb and the sharp pair of scissors, I continued to reminisce the times when my husband and I would go out on our weekly “dates”. He never missed to tell me that I look beautiful!
Then, my Lord led me to Psalm 45: 9-17,

9 Daughters of kings are among your honored women;
at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.

10 Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
Forget your people and your father's house.

11 The king is enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.

12 The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift,
men of wealth will seek your favor.

13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber ;
her gown is interwoven with gold.

14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king;
her virgin companions follow her and are brought to you.

15 They are led in with joy and gladness;
they enter the palace of the king.

16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers;
you will make them princes throughout the land.

17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;
therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.

My Lord thinks I’m beautiful [v. 9].

My Lord thinks I’m glorious within [v.13].

My Lord opens opportunities for me and bring me to high places [v.14-15].

My sons will be successful [v. 16].

I will be remembered by all the generations after me [v. 17].

Wow! What wonderful assurance! How wonderful are His promises! How awesome is His love for me!

Thank you Lord. Thank you for loving me just the way I am.

The Lord’s plan for me doesn’t end with the advancement of age. My desire is for Him to use me for His kingdom in my older years. As He has promised in Psalm 92; 12-14:

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;

13 planted in the house of the LORD,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.

14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,

God is changing me from one degree higher. Because of Jesus, I have hidden beauty of the heart that makes me grow old gracefully. Like wine, as it ages, tastes more heavenly!

And the fact that my Lord, my husband, and my daughter, they all think I’m beautiful....

My soul rests.