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.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A letter to Grace R.

Dear Grace R.,

Much to my surprise for the gift you sent for me today, my heart was just encouraged to know that I am not alone in my journey. We can relate to each other and that's wonderful! I praise God for you. Please, let me thank you from the bottom of my heart, this gift.... this unexpected beautiful gift is beyond words can describe. I may not know you personally but it seems that I already know you by heart.
Blessings always!