In our fast-paced lifestyle nowadays, eating simple and eating out seems to be the norm. According to traditional Chinese medicine, life is about balance, the yin and yang, the strong and weak, the good and bad, the sweet and sour. Health maintenance should always be top priority in a person’s life.
Lifestyle and dietary adjustments are necessary every now and then, to achieve this delicate balance in our lives. Of course, there is no easy way to achieve glowing health. It takes dedication and effort. Ensuring a healthy and balanced diet goes a long way in contributing towards balance and harmony in life.
Take your mind off the chaos of the modern world and luxuriate fully in irresistible food, relishing in each mouthful. Treat food not as a commodity, but as a creative challenge. Cook at your own rhythm and pace, as you and your loved ones share the passion and enthusiasm of a lovingly prepared meal at home. Be engulfed by the sweet aroma and fragrance of fresh mango and herbs salad, and the aromatic scent of fried garlic and shrimps. Finish up with some nourishing herbal chicken soup to warm up your day.
A sense of nostalgia brings you back to the good old days with memorabilia that dawn the kitchen walls. Good old days filled with loving memories, together with soothing music, help you to loosen up and unwind, paving the way and setting the mood for some healthy cooking.
Take out your Cuisinart cookware set and start cooking. The pleasure of taste, the sensation of texture, the joy of presentation, make for delicious, inspiring food, nourishment for the body and soul. Yes, how food taste is important, how it looks is equally important, in order to satisfy our 5 senses.
Here are some great tips on great presentation of food to work up an appetite for all the delicious possibilities.
1. Do not overload the plates, especially with too many contrasting foods. Professional chefs always display their food vertically, with minimal portions.
2. A single color dish can be monotonous to the eye and mouth. Two to three colors make it more interesting to the eyes and palate. Adding green vegetables and herbs, add color and aroma to an otherwise drab and dull looking dish. Garnishing a plate of fried chicken with green spring onions and sliced red chili, immediately brightens up the dish and whets the appetite. Candied or crystallized flowers make for a tasty, edible, beautiful garnish.
3. Gravy or sauces can be drizzled on top of food in a decorative pattern, instead of pouring it all over the food. This makes it look more interesting and creative, stimulating your senses as you eat.
4. Shapes add fun to a dish. Diced, round, sticks or star shapes of, say, carrots and cucumbers, look more pleasing and appetizing, tempting the palate. The kids will love these.
5. Include various textures. It would not be such a great idea to totally serve soft and pureed foods only or the whole meal seems to consist of tough, chewy stuff. Include soft and crunchy, chewy and succulent textures to tickle your taste buds. Variety is the spice of life and the key to enjoyable eating.
6. Sweet, sour, spicy all in one dish. Is it possible? Maybe, you should try the spicy, sweet and sour chicken/fish, a popular dish among the Chinese in Asia. Bitter, sweet, spicy and salty? A good example is the bitter gourd slices fried with spicy fermented soy bean paste. Contrast in flavors whets the appetite.
7. Serve in your best tableware or corning ware.
Close-knit families make having dinner together a priority, a time to bond over healthy and appetizing food. Yes, your beautiful Cuisinart stainless cookware helps in keeping your family together.
Nick Ortner has been using EFT for the past 7 years or so, and primarily for achieving what he wants to achieve in his life. Well, Nick Ortner is surely a testament to how EFT facilitates success. He started by explaining how he made his first EFT film documentary and wow, what he had in the way was what most would have found insurmountable. He did not use an experienced film-maker, he borrowed money from family and credit cards, and just did what he did and succeeded.
Nick gives the example of a woman who changed her energy with EFT before going to a job interview, felt really positive and got the job. He reminds us that the happier and calmer we are, the more success we are likely to have. I love the way he does not go on about vibrational this that and the other. He explains very clearly, without the silly wishy-washy words that abound around the Law of Attraction, how when we have negative emotions in the way, we can easily release them, having focused on them just for a few minutes, releasing them with ease by tapping. I also like how his presentation does not focus only on financial goals but includes relationship and other goals.
Nick advises how to structure our goals. He advises writing down a goal and de-constructing it, to be totally congruent with it. When we break down our goal into a series of mini-goals, we will find that we are not congruent with some of those. This is what we need to tap on in order to succeed. He suggests that we do not walk away from tapping on any emotional block in our path until it is a 3 out of 10 or less. He also suggests that we do not share our goal with people that we know will be negative about it, at least in the initial stages.
One issue that comes up for many people wanting to make their goals come true is lack of funds. He argues the case that to make his film, he borrowed money from family and credit cards, but to be honest, although I know personally that you can get started from scratch, I cannot imagine making that film without the family members who were able to lend him the money. If he was born to a very poor family who was all poor, it would have been different. However, most people listening to this presentation are not in the latter situation, and I found his suggestions very inspiring.
Nick explains that your income is the average of your five best friends, and that this goes across the board with goals, including love and relationships. I found that very profound and true. It was actually a huge shock to realize. It is rare that I come across a piece of information that I had not encountered before, and this is one that I know I have to use in my own personal and professional growth. I will be tapping on it, getting insights, and going more in the direction I should be.
People often take for granted the power of prayer-I mean the real power of prayer. Many of us pray without a sincere and honest heart. We also pray without a true connection to God, believing that He is everything EXCEPT who He really is. Additionally, we may pray without a true expression of humility; pride will certainly block blessings. Still, we may pray without understanding of how to pray, and to release blessings from Heaven. Yet, worse, we may pray without faith and a clear expectation of results that work in our favor. One thing I can attest to is that true prayer is powerful, and it can help one through any situation. See James 5:16 below:
Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Spiritual vs. Material Blessings
The unfortunate aspect of prayer is that we sometimes get so focused on material things that we abstain from requesting blessings of a spiritual nature. For example, have you ever prayed for a new car, a house, a new job, money, a spouse, children, or similar things? Chances are you have if you’re living and breathing. These things are important, and perfectly okay to ask for in prayer. However, can you remember the last time you prayed for a spiritual blessing? Great examples include faith, power, influence, peace, love of others, patience, forgiveness of others, knowledge, understanding, and of course, wisdom.
God is prepared to give us whatever we ask, so long as it’s within His will and we ask for it in faith. See Hebrews 11:6 below:
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
God has, does, and will always give us spiritual gifts. He is a Spirit, so it’s only fitting that He bestows spiritual gifts upon us. Although we receive material gifts as well, I believe God is much more concerned with providing us with spiritual gifts so that we can make it through life and accomplish His will for our lives based on the application of those gifts (See Matthew 6:25-34). Material gifts are just an added bonus.
King Solomon Prays for Wisdom
Consider the Bible story of Solomon, the son of David, King of Israel. Solomon was perhaps the wealthiest King of Israel, and his material fortune surpassed that of all the kings of the land. Nevertheless, Solomon’s greatest fortune was probably his wisdom. As God appeared to Solomon in a dream one night, Solomon asked God for understanding. Solomon could have asked for anything under the sun, and God probably would’ve given it to him. However, the fact that Solomon prayed for understanding moved God to not only bless him with wisdom, but with material wealth above and beyond any king that existed before, during, or after him in the bible. See Solomon’s unique request as well as God’s reply below (1Kings 3:5-14):
1Ki 3:5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.
1Ki 3:6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
1Ki 3:7 And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
1Ki 3:8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
1Ki 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
1Ki 3:10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
1Ki 3:11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
1Ki 3:12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
1Ki 3:13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.
1Ki 3:14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
Note: See 1Kings 4:21-3 for details of Solomon’s wealth.
The bible story of Solomon bares witness that our prayers for spiritual gifts are likely to move God to action, for both the spiritual gifts we requested and the material gifts that improve our quality of life. The blessings of spiritual gifts do not end with Solomon though. God still gives wisdom today! Moreover, He also gives creativity, ideas, understanding, knowledge, faith, power, influence, honor, peace, strength, favor with people, and much more. It’s all there. God is simply waiting for someone to ask for it all in prayer, release the blessings from God, and receive the blessings from Him, as suggested in Matthew 7:7-8:
Mat 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Mat 7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Following Solomon’s Example: My Story
I can personally testify that prayer works, especially in terms of asking for spiritual gifts. I can remember two specific incidents in my life in which I prayed for something other than material things, and I received a miraculous response from God. Here are my stories.
Several years prior to becoming saved and desiring a deeper walk with God, I struggled to understand the significance and relevance of the Bible to my life. Nonetheless, I was still in pursuit of learning it because I was curious. One day I miraculously came across Proverbs 2, and not by coincidence.
Note: If you don’t already know, Proverbs is a biblical book about wisdom, and it instructs people on the proper conduct for their lives. And do you know who the primary author of the Proverbs was? It was King Solomon! According to 1 Kings 4:32, Solomon wrote over 3000 Proverbs!
Here’s a brief overview of how I came to choose Proverbs 2 as the catalyst behind my pursuit of God. Around 1998, I first truly became receptive to God and His Kingdom. I started reading the Bible, and out of curiosity I tried to learn what relevance it had to my life. I started reading one chapter every once in a while. Then the more I read the more the Bible became interesting to me (the stories, the spiritual peace it gave me, the encouragement it gave me, and so on). Then my reading progressed; I began reading it daily, and if I missed a day I didn’t feel right. It wasn’t wrong for me to miss a day reading. However, given the routine I was in, I just didn’t feel complete if I missed a day of reading at least a chapter. Each day I would book mark where I left off, only to pickup up on my reading in that exact spot the following day. So one day I read the Bible all the way up through Proverbs 1. I placed my bookmark there, and closed the Bible. I had absolutely no idea what was lined up next, other than the fact that I would continue my reading with Proverbs 2. In other words, I didn’t even know the content of Proverbs 2 because I wasn’t there yet, and I had never read the Bible through before. Although like many of us, I had read a few verses of the Bible here and there throughout my life.
The next day, I went to work and I was exhausted by the time I got home. I finally went to bed, much earlier than I normally did. However, before I went to sleep I literally prayed to God for knowledge, wisdom and understanding. The reason I prayed for that was because I had read about Solomon, and how he asked God for knowledge. I also prayed for those things so I could have a better understanding of the Bible; I was reading but I didn’t understand the messages, language, and other things behind what I was reading. Essentially, the stories captivated me, and left me with a good peaceful feeling after reading. However, I didn’t understand the deeper meaning behind the words, stories, and so on.
That night, I went to bed, and maybe slept for an hour or so. But for some reason I had trouble sleeping past that. Then I remembered that I forgot to read the bible that day. Being tired, I reluctantly got up out of bed, turned on the light, and grabbed my Bible. I opened up the page to where the bookmark was, which was exactly at Proverbs 2. And to my surprise, Proverbs 2 talks exclusively about wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. That chapter reads as follows:
Pro 2:1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
Pro 2:2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Pro 2:3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
Pro 2:4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Pro 2:5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
Pro 2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
Pro 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
Pro 2:8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
Pro 2:9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
Pro 2:10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
Pro 2:11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
‘Wow!’ That was my response. I was over-excited, and I immediately thanked God for His response. Then, I called my mother and shared my testimony with her. To this day, Proverbs 2 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. One reason is because it was the first time that I received a direct undeniable answer to my prayer from God (no other people were involved, no church services, no TV sermons, no ‘coincidences’, no middlemen…but God). Secondly, it was the first time that I discovered that God really hears me and is intimately involved with everything in my life, even my Bible study! Third, it was a verse that started with words that still motivate me to this day: ‘My son’; I can’t explain how much that meant to me. I was someone who in no way acted like God’s son, or who was even in a deep committed relationship with God. I was also someone who certainly did not bare the integrity, holiness, and virtue of someone else who bore that title (Jesus). Nonetheless, that verse declared I was God’s son. God’s immediate response to my prayer was evidence that I was of great concern to Him, He heard my prayer, and He answered prayer. Ultimately, I went on to read the Bible completely through in that year with revelation from God on the scriptures. The more I read and prayed, the more I began to understand. Years later I read the Bible through several times, and I am presently half way through reading it again. I am still growing stronger in understanding of what I read, receiving deeper revelation of the scriptures each time through. Moreover, I not only prayed back then for wisdom and understanding, I still pray for it today. If you get nothing else from this story, please get this: God still gives wisdom and other spiritual gifts to this day. Pray for it!
Prayer for creativity
Here’s another brief story related to the spiritual gifts from God. After I prayed for wisdom that day and received an answer, I began to like the whole ‘God answering my prayer’ thing. Consequently, I asked for more from God in prayer, just as child would ask his parent for a gift. I wasn’t shy about it either. After all, God had already shown me how to get wisdom based on His Proverbs 2 response (read it again if necessary; wisdom won’t hurt you!). He showed me that wisdom was a gift from Him. It’s in His word, the Bible; and I had to seek it. However, not to take it for granted, but I wanted more than just wisdom. I wanted ideas. Probably a few days after the Proverbs 2 incident, I prayed for creativity. I wanted to develop the creative capability to produce a viable business. I ultimately developed several of them, consummating in my present company. To this day, I consistently receive fresh ideas, and I have been blessed with the creative capability and resources to implement them. That is, I am not only given the vision from God, I am usually given the blueprint (so to speak) on how to make it happen.
Yet, I tend to have trouble keeping up with all the ideas. Many of the ideas come to me when I’m in bed meditating before going to sleep. Even in the middle of the night, I occasionally get an idea and a method of implementing it. I then find myself waking up just to write it down so that I don’t forget it. Some are ideas on expanding my existing business; some are for other projects. However, all of them are for the fulfillment of God’s plan for my life. I liken the visions and blueprints that God gives me to the building of the temple in Israel under King Solomon. Solomon had the vision of building a temple before He built it. And God gave Him the blueprint (instructions) on how to build it.
Note: I believe the vision and the blueprints are related to God’s plan for our lives. ie. It has little to do with us and everything to do with God. He wants us to receive blessings, to bless others, and to further His Kingdom.
The spiritual gifts we receive can be used to place us in positions of power and influence. Why wouldn’t God give us creative capability and great ideas if the ideas are used to achieve His plan? He wants to ‘build a temple’ and He needs you and I to do it! Hence, God blesses us with the wisdom, understanding, creativity, and other spiritual gifts that we need. Such gifts enable us to move His kingdom forward. If we don’t currently possess those gifts, we simply have to request them in prayer and pursuit of God.