An eventful lead-up to being 30

So, here I am, writing as a 30 year-old. I have finally reached the milestone of being 30 recently. But boy, from the last post to my current one, so many things have happened all at the same time.

Anxiety, fear, grief, loss, joy, hope, strength – all in the past one month before my 30th birthday.

11 August – the passing of Ah Ma and hospitalisation of my dad.

15 August – the passing of DR’s aunt after a 3-month fight against a rare brain disease.

These were just one of the few major things during this period that made me shed tears, made me realise how important family are, and how precious our lives are.

God has been so gracious to me and our family. He is our good Father who comforts us and gives us hope and strength. I believe that as I enter into the next season of life being in my 30s, God wants to remind me that He is my help, my strength and my hope. I really cannot stop marvelling at how God had placed angels to sustain me during those trying times.

Dad was discharged on 21 August. And he is regaining his daily functions. For that, I thank God for healing him, and giving mom the strength, patience and love to help him, even as she is dealing with her grief of losing her own mother (my Ah Ma). I truly thank God for making these trying times short, and helping us along the way. In the future, we don’t know what will come, but God is there, and He is the unchanging anchor we can always trust.

 

 

 

 

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The world we face tomorrow 

I recently had a talk with my colleague about her kindergarten-going daughter who whispered in my colleague’s ears that she has a boyfriend in class. We were amused at how this young girl was so upfront about it, and I quipped, “Thankfully, she said she likes a boy. If she said she likes a girl, you would be in a much difficult position!”

“Actually, I will be okay if she likes a girl. But if my son tells me he likes another man, I don’t think I can take it well.”

“Are you serious? So you will be fine if your daughter has a girlfriend?”

“Yup, I can understand if she likes a girl. It can be quite normal. I will support her. But for a man, I am not so sure. Unless, he is the ‘man’ of the relationship, then I think I can accept it.

Our conversation was cut short by me having to leave the train for my stop, but it made me think hard about the world our future generation will confront. Increasingly, many places are legalising gay marriages, with the most recent being Taiwan. 

Having been brought up to understand that the norm in marriage is between a man and a woman, I was stumped. If my peer can be so open about it now, I can only imagine that marriages can be so different in future and how if one were to speak up against gay marriages, one could possibly end up being prosecuted.

The more I thought about it, the more I feel this wave is unstoppable. My future generation will see that norm marriages can be between two men or two women, apart from between a man and woman. How will I explain to them about this other “norm” of gay marriages, and that they should not go into it because it is a sin to God? It’s like telling them to stop spamming Harry Potter movies (to the extent that you love it more than your life or God) but the rest of the class is doing it or endorsing it. Ok, this may be a bad example but I can’t think of any better ones now at 12.30am.

Then, I realise, it’s not about telling our future generation what they should or should not do. I remember someone related to me an incident that happened many years back where children in church were made to throw away their Pokemon-related items in front of everyone. I am not sure of the thought processes, but this person shared with me that she felt scarred by this incident. It left her disillusioned as a child in her faith. This sharing showed me that renouncing something that a child likes very much in their lives, something that is a norm to all other children, without helping them to understand properly or helping them see in their hearts why they had to do so, can have a reverse effect. 

Hence, before I share with my future generation the do’s and don’ts, I must first ensure that they fully understand God’s sacrificial, merciful and unconditional love for us, His purpose and His character. Which I myself must live out. In doing so, I want to teach them to love, fear and honour our Lord Jesus Christ. Only then, will they dare to make a stand in their beliefs, for God, before men.

Having said all these, I am assuming perfect conditions in life, ceteris paribus. That my child can listen, that I can teach well, that my child has a strong will, that … etc. But we all know life is not like that. I am not sure of my own abilities to bring across these points to my child eventually… I can only trust that God will give me wisdom to teach and my future generation to have the will and strength to face the issues of tomorrow. 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:33-34

Hello, March

Hello there, March. Wanted to say hello before my blog grows cobwebs. Haven’t had a post since November last year! 

I really should try to write more often. Because I think writing in a blog helps me reflect, and when we reflect, we learn. Some highlights in the past few months:

1. Seoul trip with DR’s family (Dec 2016)

2. Birth of Jamie – Shumin’s little girl ( Jan 2017)

3. Learning how to manage less-than-ideal working relationships at the workplace, and in the process, becoming “thick-skinned”.

4. Learning basic Korean with DR – 안녕하세요 (I typed this using the Korean keypad, not copy and paste from online, ok!)

5. Embarking on a major work project that I would like to seek God’s wisdom on. It is exciting but the scale of it is rather daunting. 

Anyway, so my last post was my then upcoming trip to Seoul to DR and his family. It had been a good trip where I had my first skiing experience at Jisan Forest Resort! Skiing is fun, probably because I learnt how to stop my skis rather quickly (remember: adjust your legs in an inverted “V”, as if you want to pee). Hurhur. Photographic evidence below. 

This was me learning how to ski. The challenge for me was to go up the slope with those darn heavy skis… I really don’t mind going to a cold place to ski again though I must make sure I do proper warm ups. I had such bad aches after skiing… -.-”

Alright, signing off for now… I will leave you with a picture of my favourite drink in Seoul’s winter – hot sweet potato latte from Holly’s Coffee (about SGD$7+). You need to have it with almond flakes!

Lord, show me your glory

I was trudging my way back home on Friday evening after work. My day was mundane, my soul was down, my relationships were not exactly rosy and I felt unaccomplished in so many aspects. It was one of those days when you feel, you know, sian. I was dissatisfied.

So I requested to God, “Lord, show me your glory. I know when I see your glory, my soul will be filled once again.”

God replied, “See my glory in the cool evening breeze that you are feeling on your face. See my glory through you breathing and walking right now. See my glory in the house that I have given you. See my glory in your parents – I have kept your mother safe from an accident she met earlier this month.”

And joy and hope filled me. Because the Lord has shown His glory and love to me.

Things you need in your fridge

Realise this was in the draft. Since I am now on WordPress, let’s get this published!

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DR and I enjoy grocery shopping together. After staying on our own for slightly more than 1 year (oh my goodness… Where did time go??), these are the things we buy most often/need minimally in stock at home to survive:
1. Carrots

2. Eggs

3. Cheese

4. Garlic

5. Seasonings (e.g. salt, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce)

6. Navel oranges (because they are sweet and easy to eat as fruits)

7. Apples (only NZ’s Pacific Rose apples allowed in the house… They are the best!)

8. Greenfields milk

9. Rice

10. Nissin and Myojo instant noodles

11. Yakult 

12. Fruit juice 

Another eventful day

It is highly unlikely that one will meet with a terrorist attack when living in Singapore. Just like a plane crash, while the probability of being killed in a terrorist attack is low (unless you are living in conflict-torn areas, but that’s another story), the impact is catastrophic if it happens.

To me, losing a loved one in terrorist attacks was distant, until last year and today. I see it on TV or read them in the newspapers, but I will never imagine that it can be possible. This possibility drew so close, when my sister was due to land in Paris ALONE, the day after the Paris attacks on 13 Nov 2015 and right now, she is staying near the downtown sites of the Jakarta blasts that happened this afternoon. Two times – so close to a terrorist attack! I will never want to imagine the consequences should this – losing loved ones in a terrorist attack – happen.

This is when we learn how to trust in God when our lives seem so fragile. Much as we want to protect our loved ones, we know their (and our) lives are not what we can control. But our sovereign God, who is ever-present, is a great “I AM”, whom we can trust and take refuge in. We rely on His promises that His protection will be around when we call upon Him, just like in Old Testament, when God delivered Israel from harm during the Egyptian exodus.

I look to my mom as my role model during this time of uncertainty. While she worries, I can sense that she is collected and did not ask for hourly updates about my sister when the Jakarta blasts happened. There is an inner peace within her, knowing that God will protect. I believe having Sarah based there in Jakarta with ZH for the next 2 to 3 years is a worrying thing for my mom, but I trust that God will give us the peace from above, and reveal to us that He is our strength and protection.

 

 

8 things I’m thankful for

8 days of 2016 have passed. 2015 whizzed by, and here I am in year 2016. Wow.

2015 has been an eventful year – both for the good and bad. But God has been so gracious to me that amidst the bad, I have been blessed with so many good things. Here are 8 things I am thankful for in 2015:

1. Deren graduated. Sanity restored for him, and for me. We could finally go overseas, head to weekend movies, watch tv dramas at night, and not worry about incomplete assignments.

2. My new house. Remember my post almost 3 years ago (check it out here)? I was still thinking about it and now, here I am, living in it. I love chilling in my house on evenings, sitting beside my window and gazing out to the peaceful park and flowing river. I love nature, and I believe Heaven would be so full of flowing rivers and green pastures. So the view outside my window is like a tiny, little glimpse into eternity in Heaven.

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Relaxing at my reclining sofa, admiring the calm evening outside

3. My mommy and sister. They have been such great help in easing me into my new house. I suffered terrible adjustment issues when I first moved. I doubted my abilities to manage a household and felt completely at a loss when it came to household chores and handling of bills. I didnt know how to cook, the appropriate detergent or cleaner to buy etc. Basically, I felt dumb and helpless. It was darn scary, I tell you. Worse still, I had to separate from my mom whom I have depended so much on for all my 28 years. This means, no more home-cooked food and cleaning my own house *bawls. I dunno how to do it* but, thankfully my mom and sister stepped in and helped to buy many household products to settle us in, cleaned our house and bought pretty bowls and decor to bring cheer to the house. Now, my mom comes over every other week to help us iron our clothes and cook dinner for us before she goes off for work in the afternoon. For that, I’m really, really thankful.

4. My new workplace. Someone told me that when you dread going to work every day, it means it’s time to leave. Leaving, it was, from the job I had for the past 5 years and one that I no longer found joy in. In fact, I sometimes woke up feeling nauseous last time. I was amazed how God opened paths so smoothly and quickly for me to go to my new workplace. There are new challenges in this new place, but having gone through the heat at my last workplace for the past 2 years (late-night rushing of major papers to fault-finding, perfectionist bosses; piled-up projects that were waiting to get started and never-ending work), I feel that these challenges are not as daunting.

5. My parents’ health. I thank God for watching over them and keeping them safe. Because they do not have any major health issues, I can concentrate on managing my work and personal life. I pray that they will continue to be healthy and enriched through God’s Word. Gotta admit, now that I moved out, I go back home about once every 2 weeks (as the other week is spent at Deren’s parents’ home), and darn, I miss my house and the comfort of being with my parents. I realise time is limited with them. So I do want to spend more time with my parents.

6. My friends – JC gal pals and C Girls. They kept me sane and human. They were understanding when I told them I felt too tired to meet up due to work. They allow me to be who I am, and cheered me on when I was going through a loooong rough patch last year.

7. My Nainai’s recovery after hospitalization. My nainai had a pacemaker inserted near her collarbone late last year. Thank God she recovered relatively well, but I really do hope I can help her more to ease her daily life in her twilight years.

8. God. I was torn down, ripped to the core of my identity, both at work and in my serving in church last year. DR said I probably was going through depression last year. But on hindsight, I believe God allowed it so that my identity could be rebuilt, rooted in Christ Jesus and not on my own supposed abilities. I remembered the many tears I cried, on Sundays during church, at home.. Oh, they still bring tears to my eyes as I think back on those days last year. God was so good, because He helped me up and sent so many different angels to encourage me in different ways, including healing me through the Pixar movie, ‘Inside Out’. For this, I am thankful that when I realise I had nothing, I still had God. He was and is really all I need.

So yes, this sums up the 8 things I am thankful for last year. Onward to 2016!! Can’t wait for the 1st exciting thing to happen in 2016 – our trip to Taipei in February!! And I will make Trip NZ happen soon, preferably by this year…must save $$.

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