Archive | September, 2013

5 Reasons Why I Am Crazy About Wildflour Cafe

18 Sep

Yes. I admit it. I love pastries. I love the smell of freshly baked bread. I love the taste of creamy sweet cakes. I love the sound of the crrrrunch and crrrisp whenever I bite into those dreamy croissants. 

It is no wonder then that when I discovered Wildflour on my hunt for the legendary cronuts, I had to go back again and again to this tasteful cafe and bakery. No, it is not just because of the cronuts they are famous for, but also for its other wonders as well. (I have written a separate post about Wildflour’s cronuts here: Cronuts 101.)

 

Here are the 5 Reasons Why I Go Crazy Over Wildflour:

#1. Banana Nutella 

This Danish pastry with real bananas and generous helping of nutella on top is to die for! For me, this is even BETTER than cronuts. I had to call in advance and make prior reservations for me to make sure I still have stock when I get to their store. Just like their cronuts, this beauty runs out faster than you can say its name. I buy a dozen and the kids and I consume this in just one day! A piece costs P120.

 

#2. Mushroom Salad 

This salad is a mix of arugula, mushroom, shaved apples, pistachio, and fresh serving of shaved parmesan. I am not a big fan of arugula in my salad, but this one is definitely a huge exception! I can order two servings and make this as my complete lunch. This healthy treat costs P360.

 

#3. Croque Madam

This bestseller of a sandwich is just a mix of brioche, ham, gruyere, and fried egg. Cut into this goodness and take a yummy bite! Sometimes when I am really hungry, I can eat this on my own, no sharing please! This delicious popular sandwich costs P420.

 

#4. California Burger

This burger comes with caramelized onions, cheddar cheese and romaine lettuce, in a brioche bun served with the best tasting fries. I am also not a big fan of burgers, but yes, I made an exception on this one as well! I even finished the fries! A burger lover like my son would definitely pay P450 on this one.

 

#5. Freshly Baked Bread

 

While you wait for your orders, you can expect to be served with this delicious freshly baked bread. It is crrrunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I always love to take home one of these.  

Wildflour has easily put itself on top of my list of Top 5 Cafes in Metro Manila. They have 2 branches to go to: Podium and The Fort Bonifacio Global City. Make sure to phone in for seat and table reservations. 

Oh and one more thing: when you dine in, you can opt to have a maximum of 2 pieces of cronuts on your table and you don’t have to fall in line just to order. Just one of the many ways Wildflour surprises me.

 

Keep Walking!

LENY

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5 Things We Want Our Son To Know

9 Sep

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Here is a letter my husband and I wrote to our son on his 14th birthday. We figured this would be the best time to share with him some piece of advice to help him get ready for life. I hope that you can also glean from this letter some things you can tell your son on his road to adulthood.

To Our Son Miguel,

Happy birthday! This time is a terrific but terrifying opportunity of living out your life, with privileges of making more important decisions for yourself. So on your 14th birthday, your Dad and I would like to give you a gift that you will need to help you  make all these decisions and get you ready throughout your journey in life. We know that you need all the help you can get! This is the gift of wisdom, something that will last and can be passed on to your sons and to more generations to come. These are some of the most important things we have learned to guide you and lead you to be the young man God has destined you to be.

We have compiled ten of the many “parental provisions” God was kind enough to share with us to help us raise a loving, God-fearing son. Though it wasn’t easy to reduce this list, we felt that these were the most important you can glean some helpful hints from to be the young man you always dreamed to be. Suffice it to say that we will be giving you only five of this list today, because the other five will be given if you will be, or hope to be, a father someday. We are excited about the possibility that these thoughts from our hearts will be encouraging and most useful to you, Miguel. Here are the 5 things we want you to know:

1. You Will Always Be Our Son.

From the time you were born, we have already loved you. You are our son, and our love for you is unconditional. We already pledge you our love and claim you as our son  in spite that just like your Dad and I, you were also born a sinner. There is nothing that you can ever do that can change our hearts on this issue. Our affection is not based on your performance or the lack of it.

Always remember that you can never lose the love we have for you – that is a constant. We know you want our approval of all things that you do, but when that approval doesn’t come at every turn, just know that the love is always there. It is not what you do, or what you didn’t do, that can take that love away. To borrow from the words of our Heavenly Father, and we think He wouldn’t mind, after all, He is a Father: “You are our most precious son, with whom we are well pleased.” While these words are not original, we want everyone to know how we feel and what is the best way we could think of to say about you. Our usage of God’s announcement regarding His own Son would be most appropriate especially at this time. God has given you to us as a gift. “For He has created your inmost being, and knit you together in my womb.” (paraphrased, from Psalm 139:13)

You don’t need to live your life trying to figure out what will make us happy with you every second. This will only exhaust you, because the truth is, if you would try to do that, you only set yourself up for disappointment and a loss of self. You can only be who you are and not who others want you to be. Accept that you are only fourteen and growing up is a tough process – harder still when you feel like you don’t always fit the mold that the world tells you to. Accept those things but don’t be defined by them. Be defined by the good things you know about yourself and be defined by what you see for yourself ahead of you. Life is a journey and you will experience new things that will teach you more about yourself as you grow. So while defining yourself, be strong inside right now. Be careful not to box yourself in. Be open to new things and ideas. Above all, always know who you are, you are our begotten son, with whom we are well pleased.

Migs & Dad

2. The sure proof of our love is to painfully administer discipline to you.

Saying to you and showing to you that you are loved is the first and most important thing we have to do as your parents. Even with the right words spoken, there were moments that we cannot motivate you to good behavior. What we had to do when your inappropriate behavior erupted is not pleasant for all of us. But if we didn’t do it, it would eventually signal that we didn’t really care. With this settled, the second thing we want you to know is that the sure proof of our love for you had to be sometimes shown through the painful administering of discipline.

“He who withholds the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” (Proverbs 13:24) With this directive, we are given the most difficult but necessary task of correcting and training you to good behavior while you are young. We had our own personal experience of the rod of correction during our childhood, and there is hardly any way to render the rod without it appearing to be anything BUT gentle.

You have to understand Miguel that there is an incredibly important purpose of our discipline. Borrowing from the example of the seeds and soil, the soil is made good only because of tilling and clearing away of worthless debris. Discipline is really tilling your heart so that when God’s word is sown, it will take root, grow, and bear much fruit.

There were times that you felt you could do anything and not be held accountable for your behavior. You always have to keep in mind that you need to respect, and trust our rules and decisions while you live with us even when it doesn’t make sense to you. It is important that we render discipline to administer correction. We have to connect your wrong choices with painful consequences because we love you and we want you to learn to make good choices later on in your life where the consequences will not just be more painful, but life threatening, and critical for you, for others, and for your own family.

How true it is “that all discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11) Disciplining you is the surest proof of our love for you. 

We are thankful that you didn’t always resist our discipline. We consistently reaffirmed our love for you with words and deeds, as you can attest, everyday. You have trusted our judgment when corrective measures had to be taken. In the few times of your heavy defiance, we had to keep reminding ourselves, your Dad and I, that you were not our enemy, that it was your sinful nature that we were fighting against. We admit that it would have been much easier to walk away, and to avoid any emotion-packed confrontation by simply letting the trespass go unchecked. Your bliss and our safe blood pressure would have been maintained, but your temporary happiness was not at stake here. We were more concerned with the eternal condition of your soul, and this has kept our shoulders straight to the wheel of correction.

Though you will always be our son, your heart belongs to the Lord. We can only hope that the efforts we took at tilling the field of your heart through these fourteen years has made it easier for you to accept the Heavenly Father’s discipline. You have made us proud, without reservations, that you have understood the better way.

3. We want you to choose the right hero.

There may be heroes you look up to, such as your favorite, Spiderman, who could do more than leap through tall buildings and save the city. Spidey can only look through walls, but he cannot see the wicked schemes of evil and resist the temptations for 40 days. He cannot guide you and save you. The real savior of mankind is not born in Hollywood, but in Bethlehem. We want you to believe not in fictitious characters of today, but in the divine hero with supernatural abilities not generated by camera tricks. We want you to know Jesus Christ, to believe in Him, and embrace the One who defeated the forces of death and the grave. To this day, we have not been disappointed as a result of following Him!

We want you to know that everybody else will fail you, except our Lord Jesus Christ. This goes true most especially to us as your parents. We would like to be your perfect model, but there is one major hindrance – we are only human! No human can fully meet the need of a young man such as yourself for a flawless leader to follow. If your Dad and I could be the perfect parents to you, we would.  The love we have is a huge love, and one that comes from a place of wanting all the best things in life for you. But, maybe even though we love you so much, we aren’t supposed to be perfect. Maybe that is part of the plan for all of us as people – for us to experience pain sometimes even from those who love us most because when we do, it forces us to find strength within ourselves and to find comfort in God.

We are sorry for the failures you have experienced from us and we apologize in advance for the times we might fail again – we will try to give more of what you need from us, but we know because we’re not perfect, that we might have mistakes again. We pray you will find a way to allow God to fill those spaces and bask in his peace and love. Although we know we could not claim the role of your ultimate hero, we know that we cannot relax our efforts to be good examples. On the contrary, we feel an even greater pressure to pursue righteousness.

FCB coaches

As you are nearing your adulthood, we will strive to let you understand that to see the very greatest of champions, you must keep looking heavenward to Christ. All others, no matter how celebrated, will fall short, even your favorite soccer meister, Messi. He is the best of the best to you. Humans are far too fragile to be worshipped. We were not designed for it. Furthermore, God will not be replaced. Jesus is our ultimate example, He is our truest Hero. Unlike your favorite fiction character, He will never lead you to unwittingly jump out of the building. Unlike your soccer meister, He will never leave you hopeless and disappoint you. Unlike us, your parents, He will never lose control. The search for absolute greatness ends with Him. With Christ, you will never need another hero.

4. You have a divinely appointed purpose.

One of the things we could hardy wait to tell you is that God had made more for you to do than to just occupy space and rid the world of excess hamburgers! We want you to know that your steps are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23), that you have a divinely appointed purpose. We are also excited to let you know that you are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that you should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Did you know that your good deeds will bring glory to Christ? We are preparing you to do every good work for Christ by sending you to the best schools available that could teach you all you needed to know about different skills. We also enrolled you to the different interests to cultivate any talents you have. We do this in the hope that God would lead us to the vocation He has chosen for you.

Can we tell you how immensely impressed we are with your prowess on the guitar and drums? Your interest in these instruments also gave birth to yet another good work, which is composing the melody of a song. We know it sounds like we are boasting, but we boast in the Lord knowing that if God has chosen this as one of the good works you are to walk in, then your Dad and I will take delight in knowing we assisted you in developing it.

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Through these years, we have been able to discover so many other talents and giftedness in you. To name three, you have been blessed with the gift of gab. You never seem to run out of words to say, and you know exactly when to say them. Also, your skill at kicking at anything caught us by surprise, whether in soccer or in tae-kwon-do. Finally, you have a knack at understanding things and concepts quickly that you always ace your exams, read a thick book in a few days, and achieve excellent grades consistently.

With all these capabilities that have been mined, we are very much aware that maybe none of these skills may represent the field you may ultimately plow. We have no problem with this possibility, for we know that you must be allowed the freedom to choose to follow God’s work order. We can only trust that we have done right in redeeming the time by actively searching out your gifts.

Son, try to accept that you don’t have all the answers yet, but we have no doubt that you will find your way. When you do, you will be a wiser worker for the Lord.  Even if you don’t know what kind of work the Lord has made for you, this should not stop you from dreaming big. As your favorite animator, Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” We had always instilled in you to do everything excellently, as a worker for the Lord to glorify His name. The instinct in our house is to never sit around and wonder. We have always taught you the better way: if you have a question, find the answer, and open your mind. We worked hard and we also expect much from you. Just know that this high expectations would become your blessing and would give you a leg up in the future.

We would like to be of help to you along the way but if we cannot, find your way through it anyway – read things that help, listen to things that help, look for people who are examples of what you want for yourself, and learn how they got to where they are. Above all, pray unceasingly for God’s guidance to lead you to where he wants to put you to serve His purpose.

5. You are a watchman.

Son, we want you to know that it is imperative that you stand firm at the gate of your heart as a protector of the name of Jesus Christ. One of the reasons why this is of utmost priority is that our salvation is found only in Christ, His name should be held in the highest esteem. His name is too precious to allow it to be defamed. We want you to consider the weight of the cross that was borne by our Lord, who loved you and  gave Himself up for you.

While the rest of the world may refuse to take Him seriously, you have to stand ready to proclaim how majestic is the name of our Lord. We have taught you the “rule of tongue” in our home by avoiding the use of any slang words that might even remotely disrespect God’s name. Admittedly, it is not easy to keep as peer pressure is difficult to endure. We know that you hear these slang words everywhere you go but we honor you for taking the better way.

We also want you to know son, to guard the name that was given to you. “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth.” (Proverbs 22:1) An ounce of personal integrity weighs a ton of money. It is important to protect your identity and your name.

We want you to understand that the very mention of your name brings up images of your character in the minds of those who hear it. It is important for you to consider that what others think of you when they say or hear your name will undeniably influence what they think of your family, and consequently, of your God.

Remember that your name is a mirror that has the potential to reflect either a good or a bad light on us, on you, and on the Savior you deeply loved. Remember whose child you are! Understand Psalm 23:3, “He guides me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.

Mom & migs

Your Dad and I believe that if God is so seriously concerned about His own name, then we should also be more considerate enough to guard ours. We should do this with the final goal of bringing glory to His name. Our hope and our prayer is that the quality of your name will be able to stand the test of time. If this happens, then we have the greatest blessings for generations to come.

Keep these things in mind. Keep them in your heart. These are the things the Lord God directed us to teach you. Remember them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:7)

Know that we are always here for you. We are first on the list of the people who love you. We stand by you to see you grow in the Lord.

We love you son,

Mom and Dad

3 Secrets To A Successful Marriage

5 Sep

Research shows that a couple’s retreat or couple’s seminar extends the marriage to the next 5 years. So if you have been attending a couple’s getaway yearly, then you are definitely assured that you will stay married for a long time!

In the couples’ retreat we attended just recently facilitated by Victory Fort, aptly named “They’re Playing Our Song,” I have been reminded that all throughout your relationship with your spouse, you could actually be playing different songs. In the beginning, you might be singing, “You To Me Are Everything”, then in another season of your marriage, you or your spouse might be singing “Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko” (How I Wish I Had 2 Hearts). And then again, you also might be playing “Please Release Me Let Me Go,” or then again maybe “Love Will Lead You Back” in a few years. 

In the couples retreat, I have learned that the greatest songs in marriage starts with the Key of C, the 3 secrets to a successful marriage. Here are some of the most important things to note for  your own marriage:

1. COMMUNICATION

Pastor Sonny and wife Malou really hit the mark with this one.
  • Miscommunication breeds misunderstanding. Miscommunication happens because men and women differ from one another:
  • Men want to talk because there is a problem. Women talk only because they want to be heard. They just want to spill out words while organizing things or thoughts in their mind.
  • Men are conditioned to listen actively – they want to talk to tell you what they want to happen, or to take action, or to solve a problem. Women only want them to know what’s in their heart and how they’re feeling.
  • The purpose why couples need to talk to each other are:
    • to better understand each other and situation; not to blame and not to complicate the situation,
    • to enable people to resolve differences; not to disagree and not to fight,
    • to build trust and respect; not to be suspicious and not to judge, and
    • to create a caring environment, to love and to flourish for creative ideas to be revealed.
  • Communication is NOT just to understand information, but to understand the EMOTION behind the information.
  • To communicate effectively, we need to understand the power of words, which involves a lot of work.
    • The Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:6  is telling us that speaking the same language will result to achieving almost anything.
    • The devil’s goal is to confuse the husband and the wife. There has to be a goal or a purpose to talk to each other: NOT just pouring out our hearts and emotions, but to address conflict and arrive at a solution.
    • Going away or retreating to our caves is NEVER the solution.
  • There are 3 ways that we can communicate effectively:

1. Words. We say what we mean, and mean what we say, yes, even in sex. We can only retain 7% of what is being said to us through words, or even LESS especially with words we don’t want to hear. When we talk to our spouse, we need to communicate and consider each other’s convictions, true emotions, standard and values, and our hearts. Let us not allow them to guess what we want to say. Reveal the depth of who we are and how we truly feel.

Power Verse:
  • Proverbs 31: the woman of noble character wants to bless and not to bluster, to heal and not to wound, to create a world of order and beauty and not chaos. In her tongue are the words of kindness and instruction.
  • Proverbs 18: on the other hand, warns us of a fool’s lips that incur a beating caused by hurting words.
 
2. Tone. Consider how you say your words. 38% of the things we say are retained through our tone. Verify and confirm what we say. Let us consider the right pitch to use, the highness or lowness of pitch of our voice.
Power Verse:
  • Matthew 12: 32-37: a good heart brings forth good things. What is in our heart affects the tone of our voice. All our sentiments and hurts in our hearts affect how we say things.
 
3. Non verbal. 55% of retention is through our body language. Our actions affirm or deny what we say. What do we communicate through our eyes, our facial reactions, our body language? What do we always need to communicate to our spouse?
  • For the husband: that she is the most important person in your life. This gives her security.
  • For the wife: that you respect him and are proud of him, and that you appreciate everything they do, especially in the presence of his family and in front of other people. This gives him validation.
  • Here are the 5 most important statements to say to your spouse in order of importance: 
    • #5. “I am proud of you!” (to husbands)
    • #4. “What do you think?” (to wives)
    • #3. “How are you?” (to wives) with “I just want to reply or return your call.” or “I am sorry, please forgive me.”
    • #2. “You matter to me.” (to wives)
    • #1. “Thank you.” (to husbands)
Power Verse:
  • Proverbs 4:23: warns us to guard our hearts because it is the offspring of life.

2. CONNECTION

Pastor Tito and wife Carol reminded us of these barriers to emotional intimacy, and yes FB is one of them…
  • The biblical foundation is found in Genesis 1:27, that male and female have a unique need for emotional intimacy. But in Genesis 3:5-7, they were tempted. Man has fallen, out of his own selfishness.
  • God himself is the missing piece of the human heart. As Mary Farrar says it, “there should be a healthy connection: first be connected to God, then be connected with each other.”
  • Barriers or disconnectors to emotional intimacy between couples:
    • 1. Busyness and weariness
    • 2. Sloth or laziness with marriage (auto pilot)
    • 3. Social media (FB, Twitter…)
    • 4. Personal baggage or hang up
  • Connectors for emotional intimacy:
    • 1. Discover and understand your spouses emotional expression. Men are like waffles (thinking in boxes) and women are like spaghetti (thinking in interconnection and relationships of things). Marriage is like a coin. It has two sides, but it is STILL only ONE COIN. We relate and connect to each other based on our themes or individual wiring, temperament, love language, or birth order. Here are some practical tips to discover our spouses emotional expression:
      • 1. Non negotiable weekly date night
      • 2. Laugh together
      • 3. Try new things together
      • 4. Play together
      • 5. Rejuvenation at the end of workday: halt for husbands and talk for women
      • 6. Pray and believe together. God has joined us divinely.
  • 2. Devote and delight in sexual intimacy. (Genesis 2:24). Here are some practical tips:
    • 1. Do not deprive each other. Consider and appreciate the blessing of God’s innate wiring of husband. In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, there is a marital glue. Wives, remember that men are more fragile and vulnerable. They are mortally wounded when repeatedly rejected. Husbands, remember to do it ASAP, not as soon as possible, but as slowly as possible.
    • 2. Schedule a day for sexual intimacy
    • 3. Put awe ( Affection, Warmth and Encouragement) in your intimacy
    • 4. Share what pleases you most.  

3. COMMITMENT

Pastor Raymond and wife Malou reminded us that Jesus is the only source of the living water.
  • Ephesians 5:31: to be united (cleave) together to be one flesh. To cleave means to stick together like glue
  • Commitment is a decision to love and stick with the other person no matter what
  • According to Timothy Keller, the meaning of marriage is facing the complexities of marriage with the wisdom of God. Love now becomes a covenant, NOT a renewable contract that expires.
  • Investing with time brings the love. Emotion follows the motion, the action.
  • Stick together!  There’s a turnaround. It is a matter of declaration for the future. “No matter what.”
  • John 4:13-17: people will be thirsty again, but with Jesus you won’t be thirsty again. This verse is also speaking about second and third marriages: you would want to be quench with the need you didn’t find in your marriages, but it is ONLY through Jesus that your thirst will be quenched. God is the source of water in our life. We are asking for something from our spouse that God can only supply – unli!
  • The vow is both is noun and a verb:
    • Listen.
    • Encourage: make a prophetic declaration
    • Co-build: you need support and mentors
  • Vows:
    • I will love you no matter what.
    • I will bring out the best in you no matter what.
    • I will believe the impossible no matter what.
    • I will be faithful to you no matter what.
    • Our foundation will be the word of God at all times no matter what.

Power Verse:

  • Psalm 127:1: We will pass on a legacy of commitment to the next generation no matter what.
  • Judges 2:10: God is more committed to our marriage than us.
Here are the many ways we have learned to apply the 3 Keys of C during the day:

 

Are you ready for the challenge???
The Great Date Challenge: Love Art
The Great Date Challenge: House of Straw
And the prize for the Great Date Challenge? A movie date with popcorn and drinks!
Awesome couples for support!
And another couple partner in our marriage journey, Milona and Bensie.

These are the many bonuses of our couples getaway that made it all the more worthwhile:

Matching his and hers pens! Adorable, right?
“Making sweet music together” cupcakes we found on our beds for the night was a sweet surprise!
Breakfast in bed room service with flowers!

We were floored with how well organized and how well planned this couples getaway was. And only for P3,990! We thank Victory Fort pastors and the many volunteers for their commitment and dedication for the many marriages of all the couples who were blessed with this retreat. 

We hope someday, we will have the greatest and most romantic love story ever told! 

Life is Amazing!
LENY
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