Finding Your Joy…

As parents we want our kids to experience and enjoy all kinds of activities in school. We encouraged them to join sports so they can be with their friends and have a well-balance life.  Often, we think that all books with no play, makes our kids a dull person. For those kids who are introvert, we sometimes feel that sports are the best route for them to express themselves. Maybe so – maybe not.

When my daughter was in the elementary school, I encouraged her to join little league soft ball at third grade. As the only child, I wanted her to develop her social skills through sports.  You see, my daughter is more on the book-side.  Give her a book and some puzzles or Legos, she will be happy and content staying in her bedroom. But I really wanted her to have a perfectly balance personality.  Being the youngest in my family, I was often left alone to entertain myself.  I love playing with my brother’s match box cars. I used to put strings on it so I can pull it and pretend that I am driving a red toy car.  There is nothing wrong in finding content being by yourself.  But I wanted my daughter to have more fun and have a circle of friends.

As she climbs through eighth grade, she was in volleyball and basketball with her school friends.  She was also an excellent swimmer at the YMCA.  I was always proud to see her do a 3-point shot in her basketball games. She made it look so easy.  I think I was the one more enjoying it than she was. She would play but I can tell her heart is not really one hundred per cent in it.  She would do it because all her friends are there playing sports. But deep down she enjoyed and preferred getting lost in her imagination when she is reading books.

When she went to high school, she courageously told me that she did not want to do any sports. Instead she joined the orchestra in school playing second string violin (this is another story for later).  I was not surprised to hear that.  Ironically, I was expecting it.  But I was happy that she was brave to tell me the truth.

It reminds me of Colossians 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

You see as adults; we need to understand that there are things in life that we do out of necessity like working in a job that may not be our dream job but meets our financial responsibilities.  But even then, we need to put our heart into it to make sure that we accomplished what the organization requires from us. And our work – we offer it to the Lord.

One of the many things that I taught my daughter when she was growing up is that when she starts a project,  to make sure to see it through to the end or do not start a project without the intention of finishing it and to always put her heart into it. Wonderfully, her inner creativity came out in every project and design she did in school. It was obvious that her heart was into every one of them. Her work is always exemplary!

God sees our hearts when we do things out of love and sincerity. We give tithings, we serve the community, we stretch ourselves on helping our families, and friends because we want to, not because we are forced to.  Jesus did not die on the cross because he was obliged to. He did it out of love and His heart was one hundred percent in it.

© fm1-11.19.20

Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

The holidays are coming and the gift no one wants are those extra pounds associated with holiday eating. On average, Americans gain 1 to 2 pounds over the holidays. Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain while also enjoying the holidays.

1. Eat Wisely

Practicing mindful eating every day can help prevent overindulging while also increasing enjoyment. Be mindful of those hunger cues. Eat slowly and savor each bite.

2. Portion control

This is a key to enjoying holiday foods without feeling deprived. Use a smaller plate that allows for less food on your plate and aids in portion control.

3. Fill up on fiber-rich foods

These help satisfy hunger and are lower in calories.

4. Don’t skip meals

When you skip a meal earlier in the day, you are more likely to overeat at dinner.

5. Reflect on your favorite holiday foods

Make sure to incorporate them while also avoiding the foods that do not bring enjoyment.

6. Don’t deprive yourself of every treat

Enjoying a sweet treat each day while also choosing healthier snacks is a great way to have balance and not fill up on empty calories.

7. Incorporate vegetables

Keep a bag of fruit and veggies with cheese, yogurt, or hummus available to enjoy for a snack. Or make a large salad with a colorful assortment of favorite fruits and vegetables.

**Recipe ideas: Appetizers can include vegetable strips with a low-fat dip. Or serve baguette rounds topped with light spreads such as hummus and basil, chopped chicken or a bit of salmon. Vegetable roll-ups can be served using a thin pastry such as rice paper. Fill them with low-fat cottage cheese, tofu and fresh vegetables.

8. Maintain an exercise routine

Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day to help you feel healthier during the holiday season. A brisk walk after a holiday dinner is a great time to catch up with family and friends. Be an example and get the kids involved in exercise while on break from school. This helps support healthy habits at a young age.

Ways to modify holiday recipes:

• Choose unsweetened flavored beverages and hydrate with water.

• Choose white meat without the skin is a lower-fat choice than dark meat.

• Limit gravies and cream sauces to just enough for taste.

• Cook stuffing in a separate dish from the meat: It will be lower in fat and there will be less risk of food poisoning from undercooked meat juices.

• Consider serving baked potatoes, yams and steamed vegetables plain rather than as part of a rich casserole or covered with cream sauce. Experiment with spices to flavor vegetables.

• Substitute evaporated skim milk or plain low-fat yogurt for cream and sour cream.

• Use less sugar in baked treats by using pureed fruit for natural sweetness.

• For dessert, limit choices to only 1 or 2 items and choose a smaller portion.

• Skip the eggnog and choose fewer alcoholic drinks, which tend to be higher in calories. One serving of alcohol is 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of light beer or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit..” (Ephesians 5:18)

Luke 17:15-19

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Greater Than All My Regrets

Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
    save me because of your unfailing love.
Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
    Who praises you from the grave?

I am worn out from my groaning.

All night long I flood my bed with weeping
    and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
    they fail because of all my foes. ~ PSALM 6:4-7

Isaiah 41:9-10

9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Can you imagine living every day with FEAR?

God knows that we will be afraid. Over and over in scripture are these reminders:  Do not be afraidDo not fear.

Is there really anything that we should be afraid of when we have God with us?

Luke 17:15-19

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[b] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”  

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” 

Reflection: What is one thing that God has recently done in your life that you could thank Him today?

The Gift of Giving

“Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus.Finally, there was only one other family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me.There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. The way they were dressed, you could tell they didn’t have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, animals, and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives.The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, “You’re my knight in shining armor.” He was smiling and enjoying seeing his family happy.The ticket lady asked the man how many tickets he wanted? He proudly responded, “I’d like to buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus.” The ticket lady stated the price.The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man’s lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?” The ticket lady again stated the price.The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus?Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket.”The man understood what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking and embarrassing situation.He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied; “Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.”

My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away is what we were going to buy our own tickets with. Although we didn’t get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide. That day I learnt the value to Give. The Giver is bigger than the Receiver. If you want to be large, larger than life, learn to Give. Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything. The importance of giving, blessing others can never be over emphasized because there’s always joy in giving. Learn to make someone happy by acts of giving.”

~ Katharine Hepburn

Yaki Soba (with a twist)

I love noodles (can’t you tell?). It is my “go to” meal during cold season. Now that FALL finally arrived, I can indulge myself with my favorite noodles. What I enjoy most is putting my own healthy veggies and my own seasoning. So here is my version of Yaki Soba (not stir fry).

INGREDIENTS: (For one)

1 package Yaki Soba noodles (3 packs inside)

4 medium size Portabella mushrooms

Quarter cut (from 1 lb.) ground turkey

5 pieces of Romano tomatoes

A handful of cut fresh Kale

A handful of diced baby carrots

8 pieces garlic

2 pieces of onion shallot

Pickled Ginger

  1. Stir fry and brown diced garlic and onions.
  2. Add ground turkey and brown till fully cooked.
  3. Add a pinch of salt.
  4. Add mushrooms and diced baby carrots – stir for a few minutes.
  5. Add Romano tomatoes, stir till juicy.
  6. Add 3 tablespoons water (optional, some like it stir fry style – no water)
  7. Add Yaki Soba noodles, mix and stir for 5 minutes (or until noodles are loose)
  8. Add fresh Kale on top and wait for 2 minutes (turn off stove and allow heat to cook).
  9.  Sprinkle desired amount ginger pickled on top (I like mine a lot).

Good for lunch or dinner 😊

My Own Greek Salad

I love salads for dinner especially during summer. I can eat a large bowl of it. I enjoy experimenting on salads and the more I put healthy fruits, the colorful and the better it taste ~ yum. Here is one of my favorite. It is my own Greek Salad.

INGREDIENTS: (1-2 people)

1 medium size apple

10-15 pieces Blueberries (sweet)

Romaine Lettuce (washed)

Portabello Brown Mushrooms

Crispy Onions (1 tablespoon from the packet)

8-10 pieces of seedless black olives

5 pieces strips of Chicken Tenders (from frozen bag)

Black ground pepper

Salt

Ginger Honey Salad dressing

Shredded parmesan Cheese (optional)

  1. Bake your frozen chicken tenders according to instructions. Set aside to cool down while preparing other ingredients.
  2. Cut your Romaine Lettuce (medium size cut). Set aside on a strainer to drain excess water.
  3. Cut your apples into cube sizes.
  4. Cut your mushrooms into small pieces (smaller for those picky eaters).
  5. Put lettuce, apples, mushrooms, black olives, and blueberries!
  6. Add a pinch of salt and a dash black ground pepper
  7. Cut the strips of cooked, crispy chicken tenders and spread on top of the mixed salad along with the crispy onions.
  8. Add Ginger Honey dressing for taste (easy on the dressing not to soak the salad).
  9. Slightly mix the salad.
  10. Sprinkle with small amount of shredded parmesan (optional).

Dinner is ready! 😊