Consider Journaling for Your Sake

Consider Journaling for Your Sake

There are many good reasons to write things down. I have always loved reading and writing and the advent of blogging in past decade really gave me the safe space I wanted to pen somethings down at least for memory sake and in case anyone may find it useful.

Journaling really give ourselves a reason to introspect. I confess that despite my introverted nature, I have never really sat down to just think through what may have happened some days. I was very happy to just think through new ideas or what ifs. But not reflecting on things that happened was a mistake in that it would’ve helped me put things in better perspective in my younger days. I now have the time and space to do this at least and encourage you as well to do the same.

If you ever thought what types of journals or blog posts you should do, here are some ideas and tips:

– Spiritual Journal – To record dreams, messages or sermons, verses or testimonies that impact you. This is a good way to recognize signs of backsliding ahead.

– (Private) Work Journal – To record lessons learned, to analyze self and others, to have a way to rant safely and move on, to think of improvements that should happen and reflect on regrets so they are not repeated 

– Personal Journal – The heart is deceitful Bible says. Keeping things inside us without proper thought just twists things negatively. Having written, audio or video journaling helps us not keep things bottled up. It helps us confront things in a manner that’s still safe and private while still being revealing to self.

– Travel Journal – Vlogging helps keep treasured memories for this type of journal. Some things to record are interesting experiences, things eaten, places visited and travel tips to be aware of for future trips

– Event Tracking “Journal/Diary” – This can be done most efficiently via calendar for convenience sake. If you’re a couple, then you will especially benefit from having shared and separate calendars that are still visible to each other. This way, no event gets forgotten and a good tracking is still available of what date you took a certain trip or how long ago you had went on a good date together. You can record thoughts or notes in calendar description to refer back to.

– Habit Tracking – This is best done in apps like Daylio or Moment Diary (ios & Android available). You could certainly keep track in analog bullet journals but that seems to be a wastage paper in my opinion. You could also keep track in something like Evernote or Excel but personally that felt cumbersome and inconvenient after some time. That’s why I moved on to phone apps where the data can be exported after a while and stored in Evernote for some memory sake if needed. Here’re some habits to keep track: chores, water intake, exercise, bill payments or money tracking, calorie intake, sleep quality, reading, etc. 

– Cooking or Food Blog – If you have goals of healthy living and/or weight management then tracking the types of food you eat is very important. I recommend online blog for this and/or using apps like Google Fit to help keep automatic track.

Which types of blogs are you interested in writing?

What’s God saying this week?

What’s God saying this week?

I have a struggle with a sin which in reality may not even look like a sin but it’s something I have a weakness to that just wastes time and makes me unproductive.

This week, I have gotten encouragement from God through daily devotionals and prayer meeting message that basically said the following:

The wages of sin is death. If you want to bypass death, then you need to give blood as sacrifice.  Only with spotless sacrifice, can we be forgiven justly. Who can give sacrifice? Only someone blameless and righteous can give an spotless sacrifice — which is why Jesus had to be the both the sacrifice and the righteous priest who does the sacrifice for our sins. 

Therefore, do not think of worldly things anymore with anxiety or lust after the worldly things. Overcome weaknesses by seeking the kingdom of God.

What is Kingdom of God? Is it only heaven? No, that’s only part of the answer. Jesus tells in Luke Gospel clearly:

...For the kingdom of God is among you [because of My presence].” - Luke 17:21 AMP

God’s presence is in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us upon believing and accepting that Jesus Christ is the Lord of our lives and the one who not only forgave me and saved me from my sins but wiped them away clean as if I was never a sinner at all. He made me righteous and asks me to continue living with Him so that I can slowly be transformed into His perfect likeness.

Paul later writes encouragingly to run the race and don’t stop during the race. We ought to be overcomers of our sin and run towards Jesus and His promised land.

This is what He spoke to me this week. What is He speaking to you?

Cooking Skills Confession and Tips

Cooking Skills Confession and Tips


Do you consider yourself a Newbie, Competent, Experienced or Master?

Truth be told, I actually learned to cook after marriage only. I struggled for many years to not just cook well but also be a good host.

I learned, researched, experimented, and honestly judged myself. I decided that I can only know how well I’m doing if I have a competency levels for a homecook.

That’s right! A homecook, not a chef. Because often it’s not about how good we are at cooking exotic dishes, it’s more about do we have food on plate in general especially for unexpected guests as a good host.

Please note that I didn’t put breakfast or dessert dishes in newbie or competent cooking levels. As long as there’s omelette or cereal, you can have a decent breakfast. And as long as there’s ice cream, you have dessert. Anything more than that is always a plus. But it’s the main dishes that count as actual food.

Therefore to better evaluate myself over time, I created four levels of homecook competency:


1) Newbie:

  • Master making coffee or tea.
  • Make a basic salad with store-bought salad dressing (optional — if you’re into salads) or ready-to-cook soup
  • Cook grilled cheese sandwiches, noodles, pasta and scrambled eggs
  • Can mostly follow an easy recipe down to the T and end up with something edible and average at least without guidance.
  • Cook rice via rice cooker
  • Learn difference between 1t (1 teaspoon) vs 1T (1 tablespoon) and other recipe lingo
  • Learn about common herbs, spices and how to store and cook them.
  • Can cut up and peel ingredients with knives although nothing fancy yet.
  • Stock ready to eat/make food always in fridge/freezer
  • Prefers to order food for guests

2) Competent

  • Learn how to cook with aromatics and basic spices like onions, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, and curry leaves (or whatever basic ingredients your culture/family tends to use).
  • Get comfortable figuring out how much salt, chilli powder, black pepper and other spices to use and adjust
  • Learn using mandolin, food processor, blenders, oven, etc.
  • Deviate from recipe instructions as wanted by experimenting with other spices or ingredients
  • Cook rice via pressure cooker
  • Cook fried rice with many ingredients in a wok even if referencing a recipe
  • Bake one easy dish at least
  • Meal plan most of the week
  • Can cook for expected guests ahead by an hour or two at least
  • Have something ready to eat (whether homemade/store-bought) for unexpected guests

Master couple recipes for each type of common ingredient:

  • 1 chicken/lamb/beef recipe,
  • 1 fish/shrimp recipe,
  • 1 egg recipe (not counting omelettes/scrambled eggs)
  • 1 carrot recipe,
  • 1 bell pepper recipe,
  • 1 green beans recipe,
  • 1 lentils recipe (optional)
  • 1 cauliflower/cabbage/broccoli recipe,
  • 1 squash/pumpkin/papaya recipe (optional)
  • 1 okra/tindora/eggplant recipe

Stock common ingredients

  • like ginger, garlic, onions, etc always in fridge/freezer to use quickly for cooking

3) Experienced

  • Cook any common ingredients (meat, eggs, veggies, etc) without referring to recipes for measurements
  • Learn better knife skills,
  • Learn how to grill, roast, bake, deep fry, etc
  • Cook/bake at least one complex dish like fried rice or lasagna for parties or guests
  • Experiment with uncommon ingredients whether following a recipe or not (like fish sauce, oyster sauce, garam masala powder, tamarind, etc)
  • Make your own homemade spice mixes and seasonings
  • Stock cut up, cooking-ready common ingredients in freezer always
  • Maintain clean and functional kitchen
  • Master two recipes per ingredients like carrots, squash, chicken, etc (see list above — optional)
  • Master one breakfast item that’s not cereal, quick oats, or omelettes
  • Master one dessert homemade item (even if homemade ice cream with ice cream maker)
  • Meal plan ahead by a week at minimum but if on one night you can’t cook, there’s emergency food in stock (whether store-bought or homemade)
  • Cook for unexpected guests without stress in matter of 1/2 hour

4) Expert

  • Master one breakfast item and one dessert item that looks amazing for guests
  • Master at least one complex rice dish like biryani for parties
  • Master at least one complex non-rice dish like pasta for parties
  • Maintain clean, functional and beautiful kitchen
  • Make your own cleaning products with kitchen ingredients (optional)
  • Grow your own herbs and common veggies like mint, green onion, etc (even if small window gardens)
  • Learn some kitchen lingo if you haven’t already like sous-vide, etc
  • Have multiple fridges to keep in stock frozen meal prep bags (optional)

Seems like hefty lists but by no means comprehensive. This is a guide to help track of cooking skills. Modify the above lists to your desires to suit yourself best.

So where is my level in 2021? I’m in Experienced category. I hope to be in expert level in ~5 years once kids are old enough to help cook as well so we can try new recipes together. I’m also not highly expecting their toddler times to have beautiful home as well though I will try my best to keep it practical and functional.

But enough about me. What about you?

What level do you consider yourself?

How We Struggled with Calendar Events

How We Struggled with Calendar Events

When we got married, we struggled to get organized.

Paper calendar didn’t help — he wouldn’t carry and it won’t automatically sync.

Planner notebooks didn’t help. He was always committing to stuff and wasn’t noting them down — giving me unpleasant surprises to mess up my plans for US!

Then smartphones became popular and we loved having google calendar accessible at our fingertips. But quickly realized that a single calendar is impossible with clutter from individual stuff.

We ended up sharing our individual calendars. It worked well till we got to joint events.

Joint events were pure clutter with the same event showing up on his calendar and my calendar.

Until now that is.

A separate google calendar with equal sharing rights named “Our stuff” (Yes we’re boring like that) was the solution.

Finally I don’t need to have his calendar events showing up along mine unnecessarily! Now I wonder how did the older couples survive without google calendar and smartphones. Haha!

What about you?

How do you deal with joint events? Share your tips

Confession: WordPress Uncategorized sucks!

Confession: WordPress Uncategorized sucks!

Whenever I create a blog post, I hate seeing Uncategorized Category already checked in the post editor. It showed a certain lack of direction for a blog. A sort of aimlessness that also was very unproductive as it required reselecting the proper category every single time!

So I did something about it and I’m all the better for it! Read below if you hate this fake category as well!

How to get rid of WordPress Uncategorized category?

  1. Brainstorm what sort of things your general blog post would be about….
    • Is it beauty? life? career? home improvement or decor? religion?
  2. Brainstorm what sort of things you won’t blog about…
    • This is really important if you have general life-related blog where it may feel like you can talk about limitless things. But there’s always a list of topics you will not want to share to the public — maybe that line is at your kids, or your relationships, or your work or your deepest secrets or nightmares… Whatever it is, it will help you stop having paralyzing writer’s block. You don’t have to travel that rabbit hole on a topic if you already have solid idea that you probably won’t even blog about it. So, you will be much happier to use your blogging time more productively.
  3. Now define loosely the category name for these general topics you may blog about.
    • The key here is not to be very specific that you will then feel restricted by it. Keep it at 1 word ideally or 2 words at most like Home or alternatively Home Life, or Parenting. Here’s a list of popular and common category names by Bit Rebels if you prefer to check.
  4. Update Uncategorized tag with the newly-decided general topic name.
    • If you already have existing category with that name. You can either choose to delete that tag and rename Uncategorized tag OR choose a more general name for this Uncategorized category. It’s easiest to delete that existing tag and rename Uncategorized category since the blog posts without previously existing category name would automatically be assigned to the Uncategorized category name.

So for example, what is my “uncategorized” name? It’s simply life as I may deal with any number of topics that’s just living in life.

For a longtime blog, this can be overwhelming to keep at few top-level categories.

But how many categories are too many? For some it may be 3, for others it may be 100. Just for sake of usability, my rule of thumb is that if a category has more than 20 posts, then it should get a new category or a subcategory for easier finding. Keeping top-level categories maximum 7 helps us stay focused yet flexible.

You may like having tags instead. I recommend 50 as cap for blog posts with tags as well. It may need to be divided into two tags instead at that point.

Please note that this is all only considering from practice reader’s user experience perspective. If you would like to monetize your blog then absolutely consider the SEO aspects as well. Check out the link for SEO-related best practices: 10 Best Practices of Using WordPress Tags & Categories for SEO by Themegrill

Have a blogging pet peeve? Share in comments

How God Supports

How God Supports

In my last post, I discussed how He rebuked me. Today, I wanted to share how He’s supporting me in love.

When I prayed for strength today after watching just some useless drama clips in Youtube for short time, he gave me this verse:

Psalm 101 AMP
I will set no worthless or wicked thing before my eyes.
 I hate the practice of those who fall away [from the right path];
 It will not grasp hold of me.

Though watching movies is a weakness of mine more than my husband’s, I haven’t found a great support with hubby. After all movies just seem sooo harmless as pastime entertainment that it almost can’t seriously be considered a sin.

But I find that God deals individually with us so that any personal weakness, despite being amoral or harmless, is neutralized in us. Because God wants us to focus on Him, rather than be carried away in our trivial passions that personally weaken our relationship with Him.

But He doesn’t just rebuke us and leave us like a Boss or Master. He scolds us but gathers us close to His bosom like a Father and encourages us with comforting words and warm hug.

So, what should we do?

Seek first the Kingdom of God

And, what is Kingdom of God really? Got Questions answers quite well in their video below:

Hope this encourages you in your life!

Sincerely,

This Brown Lady

Does God rebuke believers?

Does God rebuke believers?

Sometimes, once we’re saved we can get into a false sense of complacency — turning blind eyes to things that are not really helping in our faith journeys…. They don’t even have to be big sins like adultery or idolizing others more than God. They can be even little things like movies, TV shows, music… and weaknesses like overly worrying about keeping house perfect daily, or not feeling comfortable unless we wear makeup or good looking clothes, or telling white-lies to not hurt other people’s feelings…

When we let things go or overly think over them, the shame and guilt of doing the unhelpful things at first is immediate in our spirits. Such feelings compound when we don’t do certain things like praying, meditating on Bible, or being in good fellowship with other believers who can encourage us….

But the more we do these things or don’t do, the worse our relationship with God becomes.

And over time that’s exactly what happened to me…. over little little things that I keep trying to push my guilt away from even when I pray or sometimes try to ask for forgiveness but go back and do same little things again when tempted..

But today God rebuked me as I prayed for someone else. He reminded me of this parable:

Luke 13
13 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
“‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

It’s become crystal clear how useless I have really become to God’s kingdom despite doing small things like helping in Church or encouraging some believers as much as I can.

I tried to ask for forgiveness and God reminded me of that last verse:

 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

Though it’s disheartening that I got to this level, thank God for still speaking to me — despite disappointing Him all this time. Today’s Bible chapter was really encouraging to read:

Ephesians 2
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Thank God for salvation especially when we don’t deserve it, he not only raised up from spiritual death but also seated us with Himself. Just raising us up from our spiritual death would’ve been good news but he also did the unimaginably merciful deed of placing us with God.

Sitting at His table, I feel so ashamed to try to go back to my old ways or be enticed with the unhealthy things after coming long way with healthy eating.

May the Holy Spirit help me with true repentance that I no longer go after unhelpful things. And when the temptations come, may God help me run away from them into His arms like I’m running away from an cockroach into my Father’s arms.

Amen!

What’s God saying today?

What’s God saying today?

Daily God speaks in various ways. Sermons, worship songs, Bible, Devotionals, circumstances, dreams, and many more. He speaks to everyone and it’s up to us to choose to listen or not.

This is how he spoke to me today.

Through Church Sermon

Today, morning’s sermon was about Romans 4 chapter, specifically about justification portion of salvation experience. I wasn’t able to fully listen to the sermon but this is the portion that touched me —

Justification is the act of God whereby He forgives the unsaved person’s sin without us needing to cleaning ourselves out first… without us making ourselves more attractive to God… without us going on some big pursuit of God….

It’s not about us, but about God!

“For every look at self, take ten looks at Christ.”

Robert Murray McCheyne

This quote really touched me. Helped me think of how I’m praying to God. It really reorients my relationship with Christ with more focus on Him rather than me-world.

Through Online Sermon

In this sermon, the preacher speaks MANY valuable things. But this is what God’s specifically talking to me.

I have always loved journaling despite having on and off journals that are private, sometimes anon-public and other times shared. I have always wanted to have public journal but didn’t want to share my name especially with introverted nature. But the preacher encourages us to use our talents in writing more about our experiences with God as that may be helpful for others to better understand God or reflect on their own relationships with God.

That I think is perfect for what I would like to do in this anon-blog. I don’t really want fame or anything. I just want to share my life aspects especially as they relate to how God’s dealing with me and is such a big part of my life despite how I sin against him in little things or big things many times.

Thank God that salvation is not dependent on how good person I’m. It’s only by His grace that I’m saved from my sins and have been redeemed and is always being reformed from the things that may not be “bad” by moral standards but they certainly don’t help me get better in relationship with God or in life.

Through Husband

I was recently confused whether to make this anon-public blog semi-public — where I share this to friends or family but otherwise don’t share my name on site as I’m not looking for any public fame or any such thing.

However, after speaking with husband, he helped me reach a decision where I keep this anon-public. Despite the good things I may record in this blog that can be helpful for people, the Bible is available in almost all places and should be the book that guides life in others. So, there’s no real need for me to push this blog as a semi-devotional-ish option.

However, I do want to keep this anon-public so that anyone who stumbles on it would do so and be blessed by it so that it can help them reflect more on their relationship with God seeing how He impacted my life personally.

Therefore, this blog is not so much about teaching but will be more of a confessional just as I note in my blog tag line – confessions, considerations and contributions.


And that leads me to my dear readers…

What’s God saying to you?

Share in comments!

Struggling with Studies

Struggling with Studies

Struggling with trying to study for exam for a certification after being out of education world for many years. I now realize why elders say to do graduate studies right after undergraduate degree. The momentum keeps going for real!

However it’s not like I was a stellar student. I had my strengths and weaknesses in different subjects that I struggled to realize in undergraduate college years. Therefore, I was only too happy to get out of college world.

Besides, what I was going to do for rest of my life seemed a vague vision. I knew I had to do MBA because my parents insisted on it as proud graduate-degree holders but I didn’t want to really do it and incur debt without a proper focus in those initial years.

A few years, after involving myself in church, I really wanted to do something more meaningful in life with higher studies than working as full-time IT person forever. However, life as a newlywed lady was enough busy as it was with full-time work and learning the ropes to be a proper adulting-wife. It wasn’t something I could easily take on at that time while I was still learning how to adult.

So my 20s passed away in life full of happy moments, some stresses that come in general life. I would describe it in few words as “hopeful” “enlightening” and “blessed”.

In my early 30s, I’m again trying to slowly enter this graduate world by first taking a career-related certificate to help me get started on the path.

At this point, my strength is in the Lord.

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. - Isaiah 40:29
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  - Philippians 4:13

Here’s to a productive 2021! Please keep me in prayers or wish me luck!


What are some things you are struggling with at this moment?

Share in comments if you need any prayers!