Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Family Traditions

It has been three months since my husband moved in and so far, it has been amazing. I'm not saying that our life is perfect. Heck NO. Like any other newlyweds, Alan and I are figuring things out as we go along. 

We are so blessed to be mentored by and to witness the lives of  some of the wonderful married couples that are greatly dear to us. And so let me share with you what we've learned and what traditions we are keeping for our own little family.

Blessing each other before leaving the home. One of the traditions we've set is that the leader of the home must bless his family before setting their foot outside. So everyday, before I leave the home for work, he places his hand over my head and blesses me with Numbers 6:24-26: "May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, And give you peace. Amen". This morning, we left the home together because he was bound for a job interview and so I blessed him and prayed over him. Blessing one another, just as simple as saying God bless you, is so important so that each of us and our day is covered in prayer.

Wednesday date nights. Another tradition we've taken on is to go out on a date every Wednesday. Now that it's only just the two of us, we are taking advantage of this luxury of time. Our weekends can be so busy in between serving in the music ministry, doing errands/household chores, catching up with family and friends, parties, and church so it is important to set apart a weeknight for just the two of us. Since we share the love for food, we enjoy discovering restaurants together. Here, we don't only eat but we try to dialog and ask how our week is going and we raise any concerns to each other if there are any. If money is of the essence, spending quality time can be as simple as going out for a cup of tea or simply walking in the park together.

Hug/kiss each other and say I love you everyday. Sad but true, we didn't grow up in families that say I love you to each other as often. For us, we thought actions speak louder than words. We weren't touchy either. However, showering your loved ones with hugs and kisses, affirming each other and saying you love them everyday are essential. When we knew that my love language was touch, my husband made sure my love tank is filled.

Share meals together. We try as much as we can to eat together (which explains the weight gain hahaha). In the past, I wasn't in the habit of eating breakfast. When Alan came, he would wake up early to prepare my cereals with fruit and a fresh brewed milk tea and I couldn't pass the sweet gesture. In the evening, we eat dinner together as well in our dining table free from electronic devices. Researchers confirmed that families who eat dinner together and catch up on each others everyday lives reap great benefits especially for the (future) children.

Pray together every night. As we retire to bed at the end of each day, no matter how exhausted we might be, my husband and I read each other scriptures and meditation just like reading a child a bed time story. Reading God's word together is one effective way of growing in faith as a couple. If we are looking for a manual for marriage, we need not to look further. We can find all we need to know in the Bible. 

Alan and I were raised up totally different by two different families. Traditions that are familiar to me and I'm comfortable with could be strange to him and vice versa. So we compromised, and agreed to come up with our own. These are traditions of our own choosing and making. Traditions that we hope to influence our future generations. 


Friday, April 24, 2015

Bistek Tagalog with Broccoli

Filipino food are so good but can be so bad for you so I decided to kick it up a notch and make it a bit healthier. I grew up eating Bistek (Beef Steak) with a cup of warm white rice. My mom would sometimes add potato or green beans but this time, I added broccoli. Sharing with you how to make this simple and easy recipe.

  • 1 lb. beef sirloin (thinly cut)
  • 1 large sweet onions (cut in rings)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 head of broccoli (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 pcs of calamansi/lemon (can add more as desired)
  • butter or oil
  • pepper
  • sugar
  • Marinade beef in soy sauce,calamansi/lemon and pepper for at least 30 minutes but not more than an hour.
  • In a pot, blanch the broccoli in boiling water for a minute. Set aside.
  • In a pan, heat butter or oil and saute onion rings. Set aside.
  • In the same pan, heat butter or oil and saute garlic.
  • Then fry the beef until cooked and tender.
  • Add the marinade and simmer for a few minutes.
  • Sprinkle a dash of sugar. Sugar helps balance the saltiness of the sauce.
  • Add the onions on top or mix it together.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Serving: 5-7 people

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Campers

I'm sharing with you our little adventure to Fort Yargo in Winder, GA for the Couples for Christ Family Ties Camp. It was our first time to camp out together and spend 2 nights in the middle of the woods. To be honest, we weren't planning to go because we lack camping equipment. However, God made it possible. We were invited by our household head couple to stay in their 2 bedroom tent and my uncle loaned us their airbed. We are so blessed to be surrounded by the generosity of family and friends. Our main goal for the weekend was to serve in the music ministry (grateful that Alan has a servant-heart too). Perhaps when our intentions are pure and pleasing to the Lord, He will find a way to make things work. :)

This nature-loving event was made possible with the help of the CFC GA Family Ministry to help strengthen families' bonds. Nowadays, because of our busy schedules, constant plugging in to our smartphones and social medias, kids' simultaneous activities, we miss to give ample time for our families. For two days, we had the chance to unplug, slow down and dedicate our time in bonding with our loved ones. 

Camping out in a tent can be quite a challenge especially for newbie campers like us and rainy weather. Whenever Alan and I travel, we choose to stay in decent hotels so we could have a good sleep and shower. However, this camp taught us how to be flexible. Perhaps we could do back packing next! ;P You cannot always get what you want especially on things that you don't have control of like the weather. It rained a lot on that weekend but being flexible means being able to emotionally adjust and take things positively. To help us adjust to the situation, we prepped our minds that we weren't there to rest and relax but we went because we committed ourselves to serve and sing in our music ministry. Serving the Lord could decrease focus on ourselves and increase our love for Him and other people. Serving our brothers and sisters in the community through the music ministry always gives me a sense of fulfillment especially when I see their faces light up, their eyes water in tears and their hearts moved by the spirit through our songs of praise and worship. 

Despite the rain, suppressed shower times, early morning call times, less sleep, jam packed activities, cluelessness in camping, our music ministry team won the "Happy Campers" award and "Best in Chant!" We really enjoyed our first solid time camping and we would do this again.    


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sister from another mother

The first friend God led me to in America is a woman with boundless energy, fun-loving spirit and young big heart. She is like a big sister to me and she always has been. My sister in Christ.

She laughs at my corniest jokes and I laugh at hers too. We laugh at the silliest things and she fills the room with nothing but good vibes. 

She weeps quickly on things that touches her tender heart. She is compassionate and empathetic to others. 

She presents herself humbly but fashionably.

She speaks eloquently but she is a good listener too. No matter how shallow the things we talk about, I appreciate that she crosses over and finds the patience to listen to me, even to the things she has already outgrown.

She has a generous heart, and money has never been an issue because blessings find their way back to her.

She is very strong willed and I admire her independence. 

She is one prayerful woman and a devotee to St. Therese. She was my mass buddy and I miss the times when we would go to church together on our lunch break.

She is blessed to have patiently waited for a prayerful husband as well and their lives happily revolve around Christ and serving Him. 

These are the classic traits that make so many people love her. No doubt, she has a big and genuine heart and I'm glad I have a place in it.

These and more are the things I have always admired about her and I hope to be like her too. 

Happy Birthday Ate Beng! Wherever God leads us, you will always have a place in my heart! :)


Monday, February 23, 2015


In a nutshell, we would like to share one of the things we've learned in our 3 years of being husband and wife. Since it's February or the LOVE month, we sum it up into the 3 kinds of LOVE in Greek.

First is Philos- affectionate regard/friendship/brotherly or sisterly love. Alan is my best friend, my best travel buddy, my confidante whom I can talk to about everything and anything. Even though we were miles apart, he would be very supportive in all the things I do. Having someone who has your back and someone you can trust is very crucial in any marriage.

Second is Eros - desire/longing/sexual love. God created physical attraction between man and woman. In a conventional, Christ-centered courtship, after a couple gets to know each other in a deep personal, emotional, and spiritual way, normally they decide to take the relationship to the next level which is marriage. And I'm sure all of you who are married knows what comes next after the wedding, the honeymoon or sexual intimacy. That's where we came to realize God's greatest gift to husbands and wives. Eros is crucial to marriages especially when it becomes life giving. (Praying and hoping we can give life to wonderful babies and would be blessed to become parents in God's perfect time) But some of you might be wondering how our marriage survived through 3 years of long distance relationship with less and long abstinence to sexual intimacy. Only because of the last type of love...

Third is Agape- divine love. It mirrors the love of God through Jesus when he died on the cross for our sins. It is the love that is self denying and self sacrificial. Truthfully, Alan could have demanded me to go back home and live there for good. Alan was living a good life, he had a good job with good pay, his family and friends were there, and yet he allowed me to stay here in the US to support my family. He gave up everything he established, moved out of his comfort zone, moved here, started back from zero, to be with me so we could be together. I am so grateful that Alan would do such a sacrifice. Indeed, I can feel God's divine love for me through him.

Now that we are together, we know there's so much more we have to learn, challenges and trials we have to deal with but through these 3 kinds of love and only through God's grace, our marriage will be victorious. 

My husband and I were asked to briefly share during a gathering of our community, a testimony of God's love and faithfulness to our marriage. Our love story has always been an open book with the hopes of bringing light and hope to others for the greater glory and honor of God.  Hope this helps. 


Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Ferns in Louisiana

In celebration of Valentines and our momentous reunion, we took a trip, just the two of us, to Louisiana! Alan's timing was perfect for the Mardi Gras festival. We knew it's going to be crazy but you can only be crazy when you're young so we braved it!  

Alan knows that one of my dream destinations is France and the French Quarter is the closest thing we could go to for now. The architecture has a lot of European influence.

St. Louis Cathedral

Jackson Square

Unintentionally captured this lovebirds kissing by the Mississippi River. 

New Orleans is a mecca of arts! 

It is also the home of the king of jazz, Louis Armstrong.

Harvested tons of colorful bead necklaces from the Mardi Gras parade. 

 I'm totally buying one of these automatic lazy boys instead of a wheelchair for my senior years. LOL

And of course, the highlight of our every trip, FOOD!!!

Right after we got out of the airport, we looked for a place to grab a quick bite and passed by Chicken Shack. I've been to Shake Shack, Seafood Shack, but didn't know that a Chicken Shack exists!! For fried chicken lovers like me, this is a treat!

Alan tried their gumbo.

LA is one of the states that has great seafood like oysters! 

A Po Boy is short for Poor Boy. It's a sub sandwich that consists of usually fried seafood or meat in a french bread. I've never had an oyster and neither a Po'boy and I'm glad I had my first in NOLA! No doubt I would come back for this!

The star of Johnny's Po'boys is their Shrimp Po'boy.

Alan raved about their Roast beef Po'boy.

For Valentine's day dinner, Alan and I dined at The Three Muses Jazz bar along Frenchmen Street recommended by our friend Ping and Maria. 

A night couldn't be more romantic than with a serenade by an in house Jazz band.

For breakfast, we woke up early to get these famous square sized donuts covered in powdered sugar called "beignet". Cafe Du Monde is the most popular place you could get these while sipping their warm cafe au lait. 

I'm not much of a fan of alcohol but I like sweet cocktails like this, Hurricane. It's a popular drink served in NOLA. 

We also visited Louisiana's capital, Baton Rouge.  I was so thrilled when I saw this hotel that just exudes elegance. Super pogi points to my hubby! It's called L'Auberge Casino Hotel. There's a casino which if you play for 30 mins, you get to eat in their amazing buffet for free!! Their buffet showcased a wide array of LA's cuisine. Felt like we tried all the food that this state has to offer. It delights me to no end knowing my husband is gastronomically adventurous like me.  

They have a TV behind this mirror. No kidding!

Crab all you can!

A mouth watering cajun style shrimp and tilapia.

The struggle is real dude!

I'm pretty pleased with our trip to Louisiana, my 15th state to visit. Even more so because I'm with my favorite travel buddy, Alan. I am still incredulous of the fact that he's here. Everything is just surreal. Thank you Lord!