Only when

Only when you discover what you had can you start to have.

Only when you discover what you’ve lost can you start to recover.

Only when you discover what you’ve been bearing can you start to release.

Only when you realise you can’t, then you can.

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A Father’s Love

11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:11-13)

You always reminds me of the giving nature of our Father in Heaven.

You never hold back whenever we ask for anything, whether it’s as expensive as a laptop, or something as simple as giving us a lift to and back from church, even if it means having to spent 2 hours in between doing nothing.

One of my most vivid memories during this period is the time when I had to stay overnight – outside the Intensive Care Area. I was concerned that I might be hungry through the night and had bought bread already. But you insisted that I needed more food and drinks, so you went downstairs to Cheers and came up with two plastic bags with fruit juice, biscuits and chocolate bars – snacks sufficient for 2 days!

Your tireless efforts and attention to detail in the drawings you do for Xian have really touched her, and us too. Thank you for everything you’ve done.

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Happy Fathers’ Day and Happy Birthday!

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From all of us. 🙂 

*For those interested, the cake is a Strawberry Hazelnut Cake from Chocz.

Materials to Inspire and Guide

During our connect group leaders’ meeting tonight, KT shared with us some resources that he uses in schools to inspire his student leaders and encouraged us to see how we can make use of such materials with our connect group members and even in a secular setting. These were resources he actually used when he was an OBS instructor. Just wanted to share them here for those who might consider using them for your students 🙂

Resource 1: The Rules for Being Human:

  1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for the entire period.
  2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, "life."
  3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."
  4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
  5. Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that doesn’t contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.
  6. "There" is no better a place than "here." When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."
  7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
  8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
  9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
  10. You will forget all this.

Cherie Carter-Scott

http://www.bluinc.com/free/human10.htm

Resource 2: The Magic Pebbles

The story is available online here.

The online version is missing the Foreword which appeared in the version that Khen Theen gave to us, which reads:

It is the habitual thought that frames itself into our life. It affects us even more than our intimate social relations do. Our confidential friends have not so much to do in shaping our lives as the thoughts which we harbour.
J.W. Teal.

In a nutshell, the two stories are about pebbles and diamonds. We spend our life picking up pebbles, which refers to nuggets of wisdom and truths, which we think are of no use to us, but at a critical moment, these truths rise up and become diamonds – precious treasures that hold us through.

This story really spoke to me in a very deep way. I could dedicate a whole blog entry to this, which I might some day, but this is a season for me of dropping pebbles, for those dear to me, and really seeing these pebbles become diamonds in their lives. It is a season too where many pebbles of God’s word are turning into diamonds which frame the way I live my life. I must say that picking up pebbles is very much the philosophy I adopt in life and one which sustained me thru two weeks of NIE induction. 🙂

Hope these resources bless you or prove useful to you for your students! 

Jesus Paid a Visit

Narration: My sister

Illustrations: Me (Pictures taken on a Nokia 5610 Camera under poor lighting)

“While I slept yesterday, there was a great sense of peace in my heart. I dreamt that I was in a globe. In that globe, there was God, Jesus and me – and I was kneeling, and bowing down at the feet of Jesus.

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I felt secure, and protected, in the globe, kneeling down in the presence of…

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Jesus…

In my next dream, I imagined another globe, and in this globe – was my entire family. We were carried in this globe, by a host of angels.

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I didn’t know exactly what to feel then, but I saw the angels carrying my whole family through whatever situations and circumstances we were in. And we were protected – by that globe.

Yet today, the dream that I had was more scary. I dreamt that I was at the Toa Payoh estate and there was an evil monkey god, laughing at me, holding Satan’s fork, proclaiming his victory over my life

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Yet while the evil monkey god was laughing. There was a pink ball which I was trying to run to, and in that pink ball, was God. The pink ball was so beautiful. It was so attractive. In my dream, I couldn’t get to the pink ball. I didn’t know what I was feeling.

But now, I want to draw an picture of God and I in the ball. I want to feel a sense of protection once again – that the Lord is my shield and protection. I confess that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. The victory is on my side.”

What will stand firm at the end of the day?

God, and His word.

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The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, that will guard our hearts and minds.

The God of peace…

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who, will crush Satan shortly. (Romans 16:20)

I know, and I know, victory is coming.

Compartmentalizing Failure

God always seems to have certain buzz words that appear in my life during a particular season – words that speak to me specifically about the lessons I need to learn both knowledge wise and experientially in my life.

The buzz word for this week is compartmentalize, which Jasmine told me about last week and I read again last night in Minister Ng Eng Hen’s speech to students at the Pre-U Seminar. If you haven’t read it yet, I would recommend that you do – it’s not really going to be breakthrough stuff, but a nice timely reminder of certain areas in our lives which we often times neglect, due to drain of daily routine.

Here’s the snippet about the importance of compartmentalizing which I thought was quite well-expressed:

 The second essential item would be COMPARTMENTS or storage-bags. Thank goodness for them! Drastic consequences arise when toothpaste is mixed with shoe-paste, dirty socks with clean clothes and when paper items are exposed to the elements. I’m saddened when I see students struggle because they cannot compartmentalize life’s events and challenges. They mix up all items thrown at them—CCAs, relationships, personal goals, tests and exams, holiday trips, school trips—and naturally are overwhelmed. Compartmentalisation creates capacity, even with the same space. It requires simplification and categorization. It forces you to decide what needs to be discarded and what needs to be at hand; to differentiate what you must have compared to what would be good to have. In short, it reflects good judgement. I am seldom impressed by the harried person, seemingly always in a hurry, because he has too many things to do. But I am impressed by those who though having many responsibilities, seem always to have enough time to do what is important. Indeed, I look for such people to assign the most important task to, because I know that they will say no if they really cannot. But once they take on the task, they can be depended upon to complete it and do it well. Learn to compartmentalise life’s challenges. It will lighten your load.

This has, indeed, been one of God’s key lessons to me over the past few weeks as I’ve learnt to manage my life.

There was a time when though I was busy, my schedule was always open enough, for me to do ‘extra’ things, to be ahead of myself, to be in control and fit in all that I needed to do within the 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. It has come to a point now where life threatens to overwhelm my schedule if I do not compartmentalize, or stem the flow of each day’s important, but not urgent demands. I’m getting better at this.

I’ve been reading some stuff for inspiration, for a speech I need to write.

If you are really keen on reading a speech that would make you go ‘Wow’, do yourself a big favour and read or watch J. K. Rowling’s The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.  A big thanks to Laremy for the link! This part spoke to me the most:

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

The entire speech is a masterpiece of wit, honesty and subtle yet effective conveying of wisdom. Do yourself a favour this day and read her speech. 🙂 I pray that my speech on 15th July would achieve at least half of what Rowling has done, in her commencement address. Pray for me!

The joys of running

Reading Jeanette Wong’s article on The Straits Times today on running awakens in me a hunger and an eagerness to get back on the tracks and start my running training once again.

Jeanette Wong describes in her article what running means to her:

And in a life where so much time is devoted to pleasing others and meeting deadlines, running is my time to myself. My only companion, the road ahead of me; my only conversation, between my head and heart, legs and lungs; my only job, to put one foot in front of the other.

But still you might ask: Why put yourself through such torture? Because – and by the way, I do not see it as torture – it makes me feel alive. As the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky put it once: ‘Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness.’

That twitch in my calves, the ache in my thighs, the burn in my lungs – I relish all these as they heighten my senses, which are in danger of falling dormant in the course of everyday life.

I really identify with most of the emotions that she describes above. Much like her, I enjoy the ‘solitariness’ of running – the ability to withdraw away from the drain of life, and reduce your life to the simplicity of putting one foot ahead of the other, focusing simply on the next step and building a momentum and pace such that you can complete the race, that sense of feeling alive at the end of each run.

But I’d add one more to what she wrote in her article, which was something I shared with Jasmine last week.

Running allows me to explore new places.

Everyday, we take buses, cars, trains to the places we want to go to, and by doing so, we forget that the simple tool for travelling that God gave us – our legs – can actually bring us so far. When I first started running for interest, and not just for training, I started running around the Toa Payoh Estate. I ran not along the main roads, but along the small streets, into the depths of the HDB estates all around Toa Payoh, from one fitness corner to the next, one void deck to the next. This, to me, was the greatest joy – that sense of exploration, and exploring only using my legs.

This is why I enjoy walking very much too when travelling, because you walk thru streets and alleyways which you always miss when taking the bus or the train. Travelling and experiencing culture is more than just visiting the landmarks – it’s about absorbing in the atmosphere and appreciating the streets in between these landmarks, and there is a quaint, homely charm that’s warmly appealing to me, as I run through the Toa Payoh estate. 🙂 I shall start my running training once again!