Archive for the ‘Just me’ Category

Desk mess



Here's a random post. This is my desk. A peak into my life. Of the things that are important to me and things that are not that just somehow pile up.


A few significant things from left:


1. A page of nicely designed calendar from my bi-monthly indulgence – Frankie Mag.


2. A page of sermon notes from a sharing my pastor's wife did on Grace. Beautiful words and verses that I must commit to memory.


3. On the table – My daily sustenance – Word for Today, a daily devotional, my journal, my bible and current stash of books and magazines.


4. Middle of the table – a cat pouch with my lovely Canon S90, crucial for documenting our lives.


5. Noticeboard – library ious, hand drawn birthday card from Wan Lin, a note from Sophie's dance class, brochure for upcoming Parachute Festival, our family daily schedule hour to hour (i'm very organized one… ya right), church leaflet


6. Whole pile of books and files – those are Sophie's homeschool stuff.


7. My alien pencil case given by Vicky and Dan (?) some time back


8. New red felt notebook for the new year given by James


9. Red handbag that I love but have yet to find an opportunity to use in ulu land.


10. Finally, Christmas wrappers still rolled up meaning that I've yet to wrap Christmas pressies!!!!


My desk is in a mess and still in a mess even after I clear it… but yep, a snippet into my daily life these days.


Btw, can you guess my fav colour? :) What's on your desk?

Being Brave


I'm quite a scardy cat and tend to avoid the hard stuff. But God seems to delight in pushing me to the edge, like what a good Father does. The bible says in James 1: 2-4: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."


Yesterday I had to do one of the most challenging thing in my life thus far. I had to pack up, drive with two kids up to Auckland n meet James there. It is prob easy for most but it was harder for me for a couple of reasons. One, one of my two kids is a newborn. Two, I only started driving in June. Three, I have never driven long distance to an unknown location without James helping to direct me.

But but but with the grace of God, a praying husband, relatively obedient n independent 4 yr old, a newborn who slept n woke up at the right times, google maps, a kind Shell attendent who directed us when google maps failed to pick up info of a road closure that threw me completely off n finally the familiar M sign that assured us of a familiar menu, toilets, a playground n even changing table. What an adventure! We left at 330 n finally got to the motor lodge at 7. Took a bit longer than usual coz we took a break when we missed a turning and got lost but very glad when we got there.


Thank you Lord and thank you all for praying. I'm writing on the way to V2.

A Magical Childhood

I read this on A Magical Childhood and was inspired to write a post about my childhood. Plus Wanz started this thread on Facebook about our MGS school days and triggered many many happy memories.


Compared to kids these days, I think I had a pretty carefree and fun childhood. My parents were at work most of the time and we were cared for by our grandmas. That meant that we spent most of the time just playing with the cousins. School work was hardly like how it is nowadays and my parents were quite relaxed so I had it pretty easy. These are some of my favorite memories:-


1. School holidays! Walking to the market hand in hand with all my cousins and grandma. We used to stay at my cousins' during the holidays coz grandma lived with them. She'll look after all 4 of us – me, Kel, SL, SM and later KH at the same time. Wonder how she did that… I miss my Ah Mah… I wanna be like her when I grow up.


2. Weekends! My dad used to play mahjong at my uncle's place on the weekends and we'd all go along. The cousins would play together while the adults play mahjong. I remember mashing up bouginvillas and rubbing them on our legs like medicine.


3. Going to the beach with my parents and sometimes with my cousins.


4. Family holidays to the US, Perth, Brisbane, Malaysia – we were not all that well off but Mum and Dad made it a point to bring us out of the country every 3-6 years. I went to the US/Japan/HK when I was only 6 and then to Perth when I was 12. But those were super memorable trips.


5. Going to the National Library at Stamford Road with my mum on the weekends.


6. Buying otak and bread from the stall outside my primary school. 10 cents ice lollies! Tuk tuk sweets! Mamee!


7. Chinese New Year celebrations, reunion dinners, ang pows, cookies, visiting, staying up late and playing with cousins etc…


8. Thomson Plaza (or Thomson Yaohan as we used to call it), spent lots of time there when we lived in the North. We only moved to Bukit Timah much later.


9. Playing badminton at SJI (now Singapore Art Museum) with a friend (can't even rem her name now!) and running to school at SAC when the bell rang. Playing 5 stones and skipping rope! Teddy bear teddy bear turn around, teddy bear teddy bear touch the ground… I sucked at zero point tho.


10. Mum making us writing letters to Santa and receiving what I wanted at Christmas on my pillow (this was before we became Christians and I realised that Santa did not exist!). So exciting!


Ooo I miss those days… My favorite times have been times spent with my grandma and cousins. I'm sure there are lots of other memories. Funny how I don't remember much of studying or stress but remembered only the fun times. I think the most memorable bits are mostly related to food and fun. Makes me think about the memories that I wanna help create for Sophie and Levi.


What about you? What were your favorite childhood memories? Being a mum sometimes I forget that I was once a child too.

It’s my birthday…



… and I do what I want to!


I'm really bad at just doing what I want. I'm always doing something for someone else and feel almost guilty spending money to pamper myself. It's a bad habit and not a good thing at all because deep down, I really just want to do what I want to do and if it goes on for too long it festers into frustration and self pity! Yeeks!


But thank God, James knows me best and this birthday, he insisted that I go wild and I did!


We went to the Mount for sushi on Sat, bought a couple of Spring pieces from good ole Valleygirl, I had a whole lamb rack for dinner on the actual day, lovely pineapple and malibu cheesecake, and finally an absolutely well deserving massage at the local Matamata spa called Indulgence. Woo hoo! That's a real birthday treat! Ooooo and I almost forgot, Sophie gave me three dance performances on a stage at the place where we had dinner. So cutee….. I am truly blessed…

All a girl wants


Our church organised a PINK pampering session for the ladies a couple of weeks ago. About 50 ladies turned up from all over Matamata! It was held in a really pretty family ran restaurant down the road from town.


They invited a professional make up artist, manicurist, hairdresser and masseuse and we could pay a minimum fee to sign up and enjoy the services! It was great!


I was actually really exhausted by evening time and wasn't up to going but so glad I did! I enjoyed the food, drinks and company. Although I didn't sign up for anything, I was blessed with a manicure!


Happy happy :)

New Driver On the Block




Today was momentous! I drove to town and back on my own! It was all great except at one point, I bumped into an elderly man's car bumper a little trying to reverse out of a parking lot but thank God no damage, phew!


I drove all three of us to town to have brunch at the All Day Breakfast place in town to celebrate Father's Day (erm, NZ doesn't celebrate Father's Day today) and then to New World (supermarket) and Warehouse (like Kmart) for some shopping before we headed back home. I was a bit tensed the whole time coz it's the first time I'm on my own for almost 10 years since I got my license. And it was raining quite heavily at some point. In fact, I'm not sure if I've ever driven on my own before without a seasoned driver!


Anyhow, it's great! Looking forward to more! FREEDOM!!!!!




I'm finally driving after more than 10 years of getting my license!


I've had a phobia of driving after getting my license coz I was horned at by a police car (!) and almost reversed into a drain with a group of youths in the car. And I'm generally a scaredy cat. Driving was just too stressful a thing for me. There was never a real pressing reason for me to drive since transportation was so easily available in Singapore and it was too expensive to own a car anyways.


But here in Matamata, we can't go anywhere without a car! Plus James doesn't have a driving license although I think he can prob drive better than me.


You ask, how did we survive the past 1 and a half years? The first school we did, we thought we were just staying for 3 months and it wasn't so important that we couldn't get to places. There was a van run to town every week and if we needed to go into town, we could just get a lift from someone.


When we returned in July last year, Gin was here too and we decided to buy a car together. I thought I'll try driving then but still, the inertia was just too strong. She drove most of the time so I didn't feel like I really needed to.


BUT NOW! We have a car (7 seater at that!) and no one to drive us around anymore! So…………….. I decided to just get on with it. Turns out, it's really not that bad. Funny how fear can grip us so tightly that we can't see past anything and everything is an excuse to why I can't do it. But I believe God answered my prayer and gave me a breakthrough. I felt so at ease the first time behind the wheels and today, I actually drove into town and back with Claire as my coach. Sophie even fell asleep on the way home!


I'm SO thrilled!!!!! For those who know me well prob know what a breakthrough it is for me! I am so looking forward to driving into town on my own soon…. yay!

Mummy I like to peek into your book!


I LOVE to read. But i’m not one of those deep deep readers. For example, I’m not into Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter etc. Although when I was young, I read fairy tales, fantasy and mystery like Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew etc. I’m more a Amy Tan or Jodi Picoult kinda gal.


But in the recent years, I find myself gravitating towards coffee table books and magazines. I think I’m getting lazy. I like little words and pretty pictures.


Anyways for the past two weeks, I’ve been having Saturdays off where I go galavanting on my own while James hangs out with Sophie at home. As usual, when I shop, I end up buying books and magazines. Last week I got Sophie a craft book and this week I got myself a lovely coffee table book called Kids’ Room for only $15 and one of my fav mags Frankie. It’s hard to find Frankie around since it’s an Aussie publication but I managed to find it in Hamilton.


So today, after lunch, I sat down to do my fav thing, read and chill. And lo and behold, the little one wants to do the same thing. But she says, "Mummy I like to peek into your book!"

Great Expectations

We all have expectations. We deny it but it’s true and it’s there. It seems like it is non-existent until an expectation is not met.


I’ve been meditating on the outreach, kinda like debriefing with God and the passage that He’s given me over the outreach which is Galations 5. It talks about the law and the Spirit.


Having an expectation is like having a law. We all have laws, whether good or bad, reasonable or unreasonable written on our hearts – my teacher should be this this this, my parent should be this this this, my husband should do this this this and then, they’ll be right.


My question is, should there even be a good or reasonable law for others or for ourselves? King David says I have hidden your word in my heart so that I will not sin against you, not I have hidden your word in my heart so that I can make sure others don’t sin against you!


Even if there is a law written in our hearts (which is true), Paul says in Galations 5 that "it was for freedom that Christ has set us free… you who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace…", which simply means that the law serves to judge us and steer us towards what we should do but it’s not to beat ourselves up about and get all stressed up because Christ has come to set us free! If we continue to beat ourselves up according to the law and trying to be right all the time, we are "alienated from Christ"  – that’s so sad! And "fallen from grace"! Yucks! Who wants that!?!


I’ve always known this but since coming out of Singapore, I’ve felt it and realised it even more than ever – as a Singaporean, I have a terrible sin – I need to be right ALL the time! I am so afraid to lose and I hate to be wrong or fail. Worse of all? I put everyone around me under the same "law" or judgement! Esp James and Sophie! Eeks! How awful is that?!? (Btw, we all cover this up real well as in we don’t go around telling people directly why they are wrong, it is uncovered in our best when we complain, gossip or worst, SULK. We are terribly good at that.)


Anyways, back to what I was saying, if operating out of the law is opposite to operating out of grace referring to Galations, then, that explains why as Singaporeans we are struggling so hard to be a gracious society! Personally, I struggle to show grace and my carnal instinct is to judge and complain when things go wrong (but I only complain in my heart k… see I’m so righteous, I don’t complain what!?!, I just complain in my heart only… ok sometimes to my husband… ya right right… :)). Need to grip it at the thought life.


I need to understand this – the law is governed by God and God alone. The law that we hold for ourselves/others which I equate to expectations here in this reflection, might not always be fair or holy. Only He alone is the judge and ruler of all. He gave the law out out of love to set the boundaries for relationship with God and men so that men will not "bite" and devour" each other (Galations 5:15). He is perfect (bible calls it holy) so He alone can demand perfection and keep to perfection (not me). Because He is love and grace, he alone made it possible for man to be free from the judgement of the law through His son’s death and resurrection.


Note to self:
I cannot keep the law. I can only say sorry and move on. Even trying to do the right thing doesn’t work. In my study bible, it says "the burden of the rigorous demands of the law as the means for gaining God’s favor – an intolerable burden for sinful humanity." No way I can keep the law and I must stop making other people keep the law. Need to eradicate expectations. I have no right to expect. I am the receiver of that love and grace. "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through LOVE." The New Testament parables that Jesus told all pointed to this – stop pretending to be all righteous, stop judging, stop throwing stones at others, LOVE, GIVE, SHARE, even to your enemies. Because you can’t keep the law, you can only receive of love and grace and freely give of that.


How would I know if I’m showing grace and love? – "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is NO LAW!… Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." I need to move in the opposite spirit.


Oh wait, btw, need to remember I would probably complain and judge again so at the heart of it, I must learn to say sorry instead of justifying myself. So, at the heartiest heart of it? It’s all about being humble. How hard is that for a Singaporean? Hardest of hard. Lord, help me.


P/s: Scary thing? So many countries are trying to be like Singapore just because we’ve done so well, seemingly. Oh Lord, pls help. I love Singapore but we really need help here. We need a change of heart.

P/ss: Erm, this reflection might not be all theologically sound so pls take it with a pitch of salt and it’s more a personal reflection. I’m not really good at talking it out so it helps me to process my thoughts if I write it out. And I’ve gotten all lazy with handwriting (maybe I should do Handwriting without Tears with Soph!) and it’s much easier typing. And since I’ve typed it out, I might as well post it out. Haha!

What I’m up to

Now that the mag is being printed and I can breathe, this is what I’m doing now


1. Trying to figure out the weather in Melbourne and what to wear??????


I’m such a Singaporean girl – I wear sleeveless t-shirts, jeans and slippers, at the most I have a cardigan. I have no idea how to dress myself or Sophie in warm clothing. I did a REALLY bad job in Shanghai. I think Sophie was underdressed most of the time compared to the China babies who looked like they could roll away in all their bundles and layers! And I don’t want to look silly with a trench coat in Spring.


Sooooooo I’ve been surfing on aussie blogs to see what kids and adults actually wear! And guess what????? They wear sweaters to the beach! Ok I can junk that bikini.


Oh and about the wedding we’re attending in Melbourne – what do people wear to dinner parties? I need a dress! Or do I?


2. Where are the Haji lane type shops in Melbourne? The hidden shops and places?


I think we’ll still go to the usual places of interest. The usual tourist sites have the usual stuff but there’s limited info on what’s current and unusual. I’ve also been surfing blogs and sites. This has been helpful – Craft City Melbourne.


So exciting! I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got recommendations ya?

Ready for No 2?

Left: Sophie reading with A.
Right: Sophie having dinner with kor kor Chris.


I think I’m all ready for No 2…………………… right. Maybe just for an hour a day, ha!


Recently I’ve been doing some babysitting.


First of all, I LOVE KIDS!


Second of all, Sophie loves company and she’s so much happier when there are people around. I’m a great believer of having more kids because they take care of themselves eventually.


And since I live in the neighbourhood of spas and cafes, I’ve offered my friends – come, leave your kids with me and go have a dinner date/spa treatment and enjoy yourself. (I even thought of making this into a business considering the number of expats around this area who wouldn’t mind paying for this!)


So, some time back, Wanz dropped Ally (3 yrs old) and Arya (18 mths old?) with their helper and went for her hair cut. Just last Friday, B dropped A (2 yrs old) off to go do her nails. And on Fri night, I went over to S’s house with Soph to look after my godson Chris (6 yrs old) while his dad went for F1 and his mum was at work.


Ooooooo ok, truth?


The first hour is BLISS! The kids play nicely – sharing toys, food, books……….. I even sat down to read the papers at some point.


The next hour, the kids suddenly turn on each other! Share! No! Snatch! Cry! Fight! Etc……. Here’s where I come in with distractions – here have this other toy, biscuit (somehow someone elses’ biscuits always tastes better!) etc…….


Finally, I put on the TV while waiting for food to arrive. Rest. For like 15 mins……. and then I realise, not everyone’s kid is like mine! I went thru 3-4 vcds because Sophie wanted the "The Backyardigans" but A wanted "Barney". When I put on one, the other say "No!". My part time helper had a good laugh watching me trying to satisfy the two little two year olds!


My conclusion??????????? An age gap of 2 and above is great! 4 years apart even better coz Chris was such a gem and was constantly trying to play with Sophie. Having twins is disastrous unless you’re there watching them all the time at this stage.


But I still LOVE KIDS. :)

The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule


I finally got a copy of The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule! I love her blog and when she launched her book I wanted to order one from Amazon but I found it at MPH (plus Citibank card holders get 20% off now).


I had such a wonderful time reading it on my off day. Yes! My off day! James watched Sophie on Wed afternoon while I went off for my long awaited off day. Not quite an off day but nevertheless, a whole afternoon to myself. SO NICE LAH……… What did I do? I went to the National Museum to collect some tickets for Sophie n her kiddy friends for this Sunday’s Museum for Toddlers, jumped in in time for the guided 1hr tour, walked to City Hall, had to go to MPH (cannot help myself!!!), bought books, sat down at Ben & Jerry’s for ice cream (also cannot help myself) to read, shopped around a bit and met James for dinner and movie coz it was also our date night.


Anyways back to the book, it totally inspired me. I like it that she was so personal about her life and her ideals in bringing up the family creatively, very Waldorf. And of course, the photos totally swept me off my feet. Plus the fantastic craft ideas.


Two things spoke to me
1. She believes in purchasing good art and craft materials that can be used by anyone in the family. Not separating what the adults use from the kids. I thought that was pretty cool. That helps to educate the kids about these materials, encourage them to be creative as a family and to be careful with the materials that they use. It’s like WOW even the adults use them, it must be very special!


2. She writes about family creative time where the family just sit together quietly and do their own creative thing – e.g drawing, crafting etc. That’s really cool! Funny how James is an artist but we’ve never done this before.


The book is inspiring and causes me to think in all directions BUT unfortunately, not all can be done easily here in Singapore since we do not have a strong crafting culture and we do lack creative spaces e.g. parks, oceans etc. But it’s ok, I love the challenge of thinking out of the box and doing within my means anyways. I’ll just work with what we have!


As a result, I have since brought Sophie to the park and made sure she walked on the grass and not just the pavement, I’ve bought a pair of shoes and earrings on a whim just because they looked pretty (I’m generally a stinge), we’ve also drawn and painted together just Sophie and I.