Sunday, 23 February 2014

Gifts we receive - what to do with them

Have you ever receive a gift and never opened them or used them? Why? Could it be that the box and wrapper is too nice you don't need to see what's inside? Or maybe the gift is too complicated, you are afraid to operate it and break it?  Sometimes, you are too proud that you don't think you don't need that gift, you think you have it all, or knows it all. 
What about the giver? How do you think he or she feels if you didn't open the gift, or even use it?  

There's a story I remember about gifts. An OFW from Middle East told me about this a long time ago when email and gadgets are not yet invented. She sends so many gifts to her friend in the Philippines - lots of them from perfumes, soaps, lotions, makeup, bags, small appliances like cassette player and tapes, Betamax, nice pens and stationery because she likes to write. One time, the OFW asks her, how come you don't use the stationery I sent? I would love to see your handwriting in those. She replied, "Oh they are so nice to write on, I will just display them so that I will always remember you sent them to me." After 3 years, the OFW came to visit the friend, who by then already got married and had children. She was surprised to see the OFW but was also happy to finally tell her what she did to all the gifts she sent. She wanted to personally show her where she put the gifts - in a display cabinet, all of them still wrapped  or in their unused condition. I would have cried if I was the OFW, imagine? She didn't use the perfumes on her wedding day, on the birthday of her children and other occasions. They would have "expired" by that time, it's no use. Betamax player unopened and at that time VHS was the in thing. There were no tapes to use for that player anymore. The OFW told her "I didn't expect that you keep all the gifts I gave, I didn't ask you to hide them so that I can come back for it later, but the gifts were meant to be used, to be enjoyed, the gifts were meant for you and not this cabinet." The OFW came with more gifts to give to her friend at that time but after learning about what she did to the old presents, she brought them back with the intention of giving to someone who will put them to good use.

Sad but true story. I know that sometimes we don't realize that we are like the OFWs friend and the giver is God. He blesses us with spiritual gifts that we just hide in a cabinet - still in unopened boxes.  We think that the gift box is wrapped too nicely we didn't see that the real gift is still inside.  We are afraid to open, or do not want to open, or do not know how to open. Maybe some thinks that the gift is too complicated that he cannot cope with it. Or maybe he is just proud and selfish, not recognizing that the gift is from God and he is supposed to honor Him by using these gifts. I have been in the OFWs situation before, discovering that my gifts were ignored and just kept hidden in cabinets. I felt hurt. To demean the gift is to insult the giver.  

All men possess special gifts—bestowed from the Father above—and you are no exception. But, your gift must be cultivated and nurtured; otherwise, it will go unused . . . and God's gift to you will be squandered.
I hope that you will earnestly seek to discover the talents that God has given you. The best way to say "Thank You" for God's gifts is to use them.
God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety 

of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that 
God's generosity can flow through you.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Easy Eggs Benedict for Family day

I first tasted Eggs Benedict when my girlfriends at Molson treated me for lunch. Yes, breakfast at lunch, hahaha. I liked it but when I asked them how to do the sauce, I intentionally forget about doing it. It was not easy.  Last Christmas, a friend gave me an egg cooker for microwave and it has a recipe for Eggs Benedict, it looked like the sauce was easy to do because I don't need to use the vinegar reduction but it was the short short cut version, using mayonnaise and mustard. I wanted to try the other short cut version where the ingredients are still natural but only skipping the rigorous whisking. I looked it up on the internet and I found the blender version. Here it is:

Easy Blender Hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict
(Courtesy to Elise- Thanks also for sharing the Classic Hollandaise sauce recipe)
  • Yield: Makes about 1 cup of sauce, good for about 4-6 servings.


  • 3 egg yolks 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (if using salted butter, skip the added salt)


1 Melt the butter slowly in a small pot. Try not to let it boil – you want the moisture in the butter to remain there and not steam away.
2 Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne (if using) into your blender. Blend the egg yolk mixture at a medium to medium high speed until it lightens in color, about 20-30 seconds. The friction generated by the blender blades will heat the yolks a bit. The blending action will also introduce a little air into them, making your hollandaise a bit lighter.
3 Once the yolks have lightened in color, turn the blender down to its lowest setting (if you only have one speed on your blender it will still work), and drizzle in the melted butter slowly, while the blender is going. Continue to buzz for another couple seconds after the butter is all incorporated.
4 Turn off the blender and taste the sauce. It should be buttery, lemony and just lightly salty. If it is not salty or lemony enough, you can add a little lemon juice or salt to taste. If you want a thinner consistency, add a little warm water. Pulse briefly to incorporate the ingredients one more time.
Here's How To do the Eggs Benedict:

1. Toast the English muffins. Cut into half.
2. Put a slice of ham or bacon on the muffin.
3. Put the egg next.
4. Top with Hollandaise sauce
5. Serve while still warm

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Everyday is Love day

We are celebrating our 16th Civil wedding anniversary on valentines day.  Today we attended the SCM Valentines and Family Party.  We enjoyed posing at the photobooth and here are our best poses:

Of course, this would not have been possible if not for Bro. Arneil Fabia. Thanks Brod! Here's our family photo:

Love is from God. Thank you Lord for the unconditional love, for loving us first and for loving us so much....(John 3:16) 

Friday, 14 February 2014

Today is a special day!

It is Valentine's Day, It's Flag day tomorrow and Family day on Monday, but there's another reason why I am wearing Red today. This is the day we became Canadian Citizens.  This morning I didn't go to work to focus on this special occasion of my life.  It's actually a major milestone for our family.  We've come to Canada as immigrants four and a half years ago and how time flew fast.  I was teary eyed when a short film was shown about Canada and how blessed we are to be part of this country. While taking oath, I was teary-eyed too because I thought about my mother country, the Philippines.  It's sad because It's not only that I have left it physically but I am now pledging allegiance to the Queen and my new country. Anyway, I know someday my kids will realize why and I hope they will be thankful too that we've chosen to move to this richly blessed country. May we embrace its glory and richness. May we take every good opportunity and enjoy all the perks of being a Canadian. Thank you Lord for this blessing.
My kids skipped classes today and went with us to take the oath.  We want them to experience this so that they would appreciate this big milestone of our lives. When we stepped in a full-house court room, they were all eyes on my boys because they really dressed up for it. The Court's clerks who were facilitating the ceremony commented about my cute children.  When we were called in front to receive our certificates, the Judge commented about my children again, their unique names and how happy he was to be exchanging Hi fives with them. The Sergeant said, "Too bad for mommy no girl". What I liked most was when he commented, "Thanks for wearing red today. Is that for Valentine's day or for Canada?" I replied, "For both."  I was happy that my online order came in at the right time, the day before the ceremony.  It was a very special day indeed not only because of our being new Canadian Citizens but also because we all looked and felt good. :) Our pictures tell them all:

Saturday, 1 February 2014

ROI - Return on Investments

One of my son's weekly tasks is to water the plants.  He once asked me why did he have to do that, the plants don't die anyway.  Being a smart kid, he asked what value will he get from watering the plants.  We always taught our kids to be purposeful in what they do and try to find out the value of it. I just told him, "When you water the plants, you are like feeding it to grow and bear fruit or flower.  Do not lose hope. If you don't see it now, you will still see something out of it later on."  After our talk, I think he didn't do it regularly that's why one pot of the indoor plants died.  He realized that the plants die if "not fed".  Learning his lesson, he continued to water the plants and he religiously did it. We were just surprised one day when he called from the basement and excitedly said, "Mom the flower bloomed and more buds are coming out!".  I told him, "See, that's the fruit of your labour, your ROI! The time and efforts you spent were not futile after all." My son looked happy and I knew he will now be inspired and looked forward to more ROIs. 

What's your definition of ROI - return on investments?  Is it money you earned from business investments?  or the good grades from "sunog kilay" nights? is it not yet getting married after graduation? From where I came from, especially those who have many siblings, it is expected that the first one to finish will send the next sibling to school until all of them graduates.  It could also be the OFW working miles away, adjusting to culture change, the extreme weather or terrible "homesickness" just to send money to their families.  The OFW hopes that the ROI would be children getting good education and the family having a better life. Sometimes the ROI of a suitor pursuing a girl from spending money for a date or spending time hanging out or just texting would be to receive the anticipated "yes".  It varies but one thing's for sure, it is something to hope for, something out of an investment - can be money, time or effort. 

My mom tells her friends and her relatives that she's already receive her ROI. She's frequently asked what did you do to your children? You don't look like you have problems with them. You've got beautiful grandchildren and your children are abroad enjoying good life.  She tells them that she is thankful to God and until now continuously prays for our welfare. I think that's how she got her ROI, and I will also follow her. I vow to spend time and effort in bringing my children's needs to God, to pray for them, spend quality time and I hope that I will also receive my ROI and my efforts will not be futile.

Looking back and thinking about the people I've met, I now think of ROI, how did I spend time with them? is it worthy to get something out of that even for a little time?  what about the words I said, or the deeds I did?  Thinking more profound, for them to think about God's goodness and forgiveness and salvation, i think they are not enough. I hope I will still have a chance to give more, spend more so my ROI will be worthy of God's approval.  Like my son's plant, I hope a flower blossoms too.

What about you? Your ROI - to your family, to your community and to God?