“Do Not Fear”

Dear child,

Do not fear; I am with you.

My plan for you is working perfectly as I expected, beginning the moment when I formed you with My very own hands. Your wholehearted obedience both in surety and in the unknown makes me swell with joy because you are living according to My design for you. Blessing you is one of my actions that I look forward to do. Continue pursuing excellence and seeking Me in everything you do.

There are certain footholds in your mountainous journey that I wish to eliminate, and you, my child, must do something about them. I am fully aware of your weaknesses and limitations, but haven’t I told you that no one can snatch you away from My hand? My hold is firm, tight, and permanent. I am the LORD God, enthroned between the cherubim, Maker of Heaven and earth. I am unequaled in strength, glory, power, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. I am before anything came to be. Is there anything too hard for me?

You say, “Father, I know that already;” do you? Because your response to your circumstances does not align with My truths. Fear lingers in your heart still; this is where your life’s footholds are founded on. Fear of the inevitability of failure, the future, the response of the people around you–these fears are not healthy. As a matter of fact, they are sinful in nature.  The greater your fears, the wider your comfort zones. My work is accomplished in the realm of divine possibility which will always seem absurd and impossible to fearful men.

There’s only one way out of fear, and it is faith. It’s always about faith and trust in Me. Always. Constant. Unchanging. If I can conquer the grave, I can also conquer your fears. Give them up. Your fear of failure will only inhibit you from trying, persevering, and eventually, succeeding. I am pleased with authenticity and faithfulness and not perfection; obedience, not heartfelt emotions; excellence, and not merely good. Besides, you don’t have to win the victory because it has already been won! Never lose sight of the goal: Christ-likeness. Let go of your fears, and let Me takeover. I’ll show you what I can do. 🙂

I am delighted with you, My child, because your heart is slowly but surely becoming more attuned to my own heart. Many times, I see you in Me. Your heart longs to be perfect and dwell in eternity. You seek joy and gratitude, which is My will for you in my begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Be patient with Me, my work is far from completion, but it’s getting there. Oh, how wonderful that day will be when I weave you into your final stage of perfection! You shall see Me and talk with Me face-to-face. 🙂

Do not fear; I am with you.

I love you.

Sincerely,

Dad

“I Don’t Need Easy; I Just Need Possible.”

Bethany Hamilton not only said that; she lived it.

Yesterday, my family and I watched Soul Surfer, an autobiography on the victorious and inspirational life of professional surfer and Christian Bethany Hamilton (played by Annasophia Robb). While surfing off Kauai’s North Shore back in October 31, 2003, Bethany encountered the beast that changed her life forever: a 14-foot tiger shark attacked her, leaving her left arm severed and causing her to lose 60% of her blood.*  In spite the near-death situation she faced (literally caught in the jaws of death), Bethany survived the shark attack and lived to proclaim the hope, love, mercy, provision, joy, and care she received from her Savior, Jesus Christ.

God couldn’t be anything but timely when He allowed me to watch the film (Malacanang suspended classes yesterday).  I have been very complacent with my physique, prayer life, studies, writing (especially that novel that is soon to be born), and serving others.  If my life were a game, I was living the life of an easy-goer, an amateur–not exactly the plan God had in mind. The Christian life is anything but mediocre; in fact, it is impossible. Nevertheless it is possible because of the God Who can make all things possible. Since I wasted a lot of time in the valley of complacency, my passion for all things Heavenly slowly eroded. God was not impatient, but He had to jolt me out of my lethally dangerous lifestyle. I am so thankful He did and did so without costing me anything. At least for now.

To say that  Bethany Hamilton is tough is an understatement. She is a living, breathing example of living by faith and not by sight. Like most, if not all, Christians who have encountered ferocious “shark attacks” that left an area of them severed, Bethany questioned God’s plan for her life. After all, how could God have made her for surfing then take away a part of her that enabled her to surf excellently? Any person in her shoes would conclude that way from a “zoomed in” perspective. As explained in the movie, you don’t appreciate a photo when you look at it too close; however, once you step back and see the picture as a whole, what you saw as unattractive or vague you now consider beautiful or at the very least, understand completely. The same principle applies to life. We tend to be disappointed with God because we don’t see life as He does. God’s eyes are “zoomed out;” He sees the picture as a whole. Sometimes we really won’t see the big picture, and for this reason, we are to trust God. Bethany Hamilton trusted the Lord to carry her day by day, and He kept true to His Word. Until today, Bethany inspires young men and women, handicapped and otherwise, all over the world that God “knows the plans He has for them, plans to prosper them, plans to give them a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

I want to thank Bethany Hamilton for allowing herself to be used by God to inspire people with her testimony including me. 🙂 I quote God’s Words to me after watching Soul Surfer:

“Just like I used surfing and a shark attack in Bethany Hamilton’s life to help her know me better and inspire people to have faith in Me, so I will use your dexterity in writing, knowledge, dystonia, personality, temperament–YOU–to bring honor and glory to My Name as well as to bring people to My presence.” 

God can work with people who only has an arm, a leg, or none at all! Easy is a dangerous word; it kills the passion innate in every person. Don’t settle for easy. Plunge in the impossible that is possible only because of JESUS CHRIST. 🙂 

Check out photos of Bethany Hamilton in action! 🙂 (c/o of Google Images)

* taken from Bethany’s website

By the way, this is my 160th post! 🙂

 

 

I Helped Clean Manila Bay! Sort of.

“Intention does not determine destination. Direction determines destination.”

– Pastor Peter Tan-chi

Yesterday I ran my 3rd fun run that was hosted and organized by the Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC). In all my exceptionally amateur runs (totaling three :D), the Manila Bay Clean-Up Run was the most fulfilling because I beat my own record. As if my record’s worth beating. Hahaha! In the previous 5K runs, the Philippine Daily Inquirer Run and Run to Build (CCF), I ran for over forty minutes. Guess how long I ran yesterday? 36 minutes and 3 seconds! I also decreased walking time to 1 minute (compared to the previous runs where I walked for about one-fourth of the race. HAHA)

Kenyans spearhead the race  with their long, slender legs. They are present in almost every fun run.

her epic finishing shot

my more epic finishing shot

and another

Swimmer, T.V. host, and actress Christine Jacob-Sandejas

with singer Luke Mejares

 MBC sales team with their president Ruperto Nicdao Jr. (third from left)

one of the top 3 placers in the 5K women’s category. I’m jealous :p

Fstest 5K female runner: Y U No Smile?!

Running is simple. You don’t have to sign up for a class at a gym or a studio to learn how to run. The do’s and don’ts of running you may learn from the growing number of health magazines, but you don’t actually learn how to run step by step. You just do it. It’s an innate, human ability. Even if you’re not capable of running due to an injury or a disease, you still know how to run. Running is simple. Finishing a race, however, is another story.

Between the starting line and the finishing line is a stretch of a road constructed with pain, temptations, sweat, distractions, and other runners. Fifteen hundred men, women, and children all hoped and wished to run and end triumphantly (that is, without giving up along the way), but only several people actually do so. By God’s grace, I was one of those “severals.”

My goal for this race was to topple my 40-minute record. I knew this objective could be achieved by limiting my walks, water breaks, and simply running even if my entire being screams YOU ARE TIRED STOP RUNNING NOW! Indeed there was truth in my former P.E. coach’s words when she said that the greatest enemy in any race is yourself. My mind loved playing tricks on me even if I did not give it my permission, and I must fight every single one of them. One of those tricks was what I called the premeditated walk.

After fifteen or twenty minutes of incessant running, I believed I deserved a rest. Dear reader, pay extreme caution to your beliefs as they easily permeate optimism or pessimism into your being which could build you up or tear you down. Wrong beliefs lead to wrong choices. “Do you really deserve a rest, now?” a voice called God spoke to me. “Continue running. You can have all the rest you want after the race. You’re almost there.”

Had I opted for a premeditated walk, I would have finished the race five minutes late–a disheartening forty minutes. But I wasn’t going to give in–not anymore.

True enough, I achieved my goal even if I have only been jumping ropes and dancing instead of running for the past several weeks. God is good, and He is true to His Word. I’m still enjoying the rest I longed for so much.

Most of us intend to succeed, accomplish much, and excel in something worthwhile, but how many of us actually manage to do so? A handful, maybe. Why? Because most of us think we deserve to rest and opt for premeditated walks. We do not deserve anything in this life! God gives us rest when we need it, so until you hear God say, “Rest,” just keep on running. Don’t stop. Run.

By God’s grace, I helped clean Manila Bay in the most unusual way. I did not pick up pieces of candy wrappers or painted old walls.

I ran with patience the race that was set before me. 🙂 (Hebrews 12:1)

*Photos courtesy of my loving and ever-supportive Daddy, Ferdie Talam. 🙂

Called To Account

Writing has always been and will always be my passion. When I was younger, I wrote inspirational essays and short stories on several pieces of A4 bond papers and afterwards stapled and shaped them into my own “book.” Back then I was my own publisher and my parents were my most avid readers. Today they still are my avid readers and I still dream of getting published (if only I can get my thoughts and ideas rearranged). The pen, as well as the keyboard, was my best friend, the English grammar my instructor, and choice literature my mentors.

Possessing a brain with a possibly larger right hemisphere, I have not grown to love numbers and analysis. I’ll admit that I’m pretty slow when I am tasked to correctly supply the proof with the rules of inference in syllogism. After struggling with geometry and logic in high school and 1st year of college respectively, I thought I was relieved from hurdling countless rules, postulates, and concepts relating to analysis and numbers. Unfortunately,  my struggle has just begun.

I knew from the moment I enlisted for that subject that I would experience difficulty liking and befriending Basic Accounting. Pardon my harshness, but I always viewed accounting as a boring and dull subject and field of expertise. In spite having this distorted misconception, I highly esteemed (and still esteem) accountants because they really are people who have the right to be called professionals thanks to their hard-earned licenses. However, I saw myself in a career which continuously pursues innovative and creative write-ups and projects–a feat accountants do not usually do. Thus, my resistance to the subject.

Yet no matter how much I tried to avoid analysis and accounting (I opted for health instead of accounting as an elective in high school), they just kept coming back to me as if to say, “Knowledge of us even in the lowest level is a must for every employee in the corporate world.” For real?! Unfortunately for me, I have a mom who thought the same way. She voluntarily accompanied me during my enrollment so that she could choose the subjects that I would be dealing with. If only she enrolled in the MBA program….

In my cranial shelves, accounting definitely belonged to this classification. It took me two weeks before I partially understood debit and credit and their effect on assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity. As I listed entries onto my journal last Thursday, I suddenly appreciated the numerous writing assignments and exercises in UA&P and MICA (my present Alma mater). I’d choose writing a handful of essays over journalizing,  posting to the ledger, and trial balancing anytime!

As I penned each digit in the rightmost columns of my journal, I realized something. There must be a reason why God allowed me to take accounting. As a matter of fact, I don’t have any English or communication subject this semester! “Okay, Lord, what are you trying to teach me?”

one of my most favorite reblogged Tumblr photos

At present, I am undergoing what I call a “knowledge and experience stretch.” What I have been running away from for so long I now have to face and conquer. I learned that in  God’s training program, He does not stop until each man (or woman) successfully completes a challenge he or she finds repulsive. It is one’s response to what he thinks is not good or proper for him that determines the depth of his character and spiritual maturity.

That Thursday evening, I braced myself for the next four months of nosebleeding, brain bleeding, and understanding accounting as well as principles of finance and law on obligations and contracts (yes, I am taking those subjects, too). Analysis is not just for accountants, bankers, and lawyers. Writers and artists need it, too. I know I do. 🙂

Images courtesy of Google Images

Creamy Chicken Macaroni Soup for Dinner

Albeit a hot, humid weather, my family and I were craving for chicken sopas. The epicure in me took this craving as a challenge and opportunity to cook creamy macaroni chicken soup or sopas for the very first time. o______o

I can imagine I’m as good as Rachel Ray, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m still a very amateur cook. 😐 Thus I borrowed a  chicken sopas recipe I found in Pinoy Recipe. (Chicken sopas is a Filipino comfort food)

Ingredients:

  • 500 g chicken breast
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 white onions (minced) I used red onions; it still tastes good!
  • 1 large bell pepper (seeded and sliced into strips)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 carrots (sliced into thin strips)
  • 350 g macaroni noodles
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 medium cabbage (roughly shredded)
  • 2 Tbsp margarine
  • fish sauce / patis
  • rock salt
  • chopped spring onions (didn’t use this!)
Procedure:
  1. Boil the chicken in 4 cups water. Save the broth to be used later. 
  2. Shred the Chicken meat with your fingers. Set aside.
  3. Saute garlic and onion in oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the bell pepper and cook until aromatic.
  5. Stir in the shredded chicken.
  6. Season lightly with ground black pepper.
  7. Add the carrots, a quick sauté then the macaroni. Give it a stir to get the fat all around the pasta.
  8. Pour in the chicken broth and 5 cups water. Simmer.
  9. Pour in the milk, stirring gently.
  10. Add the cabbage. From this point, the macaroni and the cabbage will cook at about the same time.
  11. Add the margarine.
  12. Season with patis or salt.
Voila! According to my family plus our kasambahay (house helper), my dish was a success! I would like to thank our kasambahay, Ate Anne, for helping me transfer the ingredients from one casserole to another, stir the sopas, and come up with just the right and pleasing taste for the buds. 🙂 I am so thankful and happy for the success of this dish! 😀 I wish you could taste it, but with your wide and extensive imagination, you could probably “taste the sopas in your dreams.” 😀
Unfortunately I did not take photos of us sipping and enjoying our bowls of sopas, but take my word for it when I said that we all enjoyed our meal. 🙂 I don’t mean to brag, but I am confident that I will excel in this skill and passion of mine, that is, cooking. 🙂 If you have any favorite recipes that you want me to try, please tell me! Send the file to talamjenny@gmail.com or send me the link via a comment. I’ll never stop cooking and learning how to improve in doing so. 😀
Until the next cook-off! 🙂