Wednesday, 24 September 2014

On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month...

On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Ask the priests about the law: ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’” The priests answered and said, “No.” Then Haggai said, “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?” The priests answered and said, “It does become unclean.” Then Haggai answered and said, “So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, declares the Lord, and so with every work of their hands. And what they offer there is unclean. Now then, consider from this day onward. Before stone was placed upon stone in the temple of the Lord, how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the Lord. Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid,consider: Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you.”
The word of the Lord came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down, every one by the sword of his brother. On that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the Lord, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of hosts.”
Haggai 2: 10-23 
I've written about this before, probably many times over. The latest one is here
Every year, I feel that it's this year, it's time. 

And then I feel that I have so far yet to go. 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

#30to30: Day 1 - Opening the door to something new

Tomorrow, when I wake up, something will have changed. Actually, I should say tonight, before I go to sleep, something will have changed (since I normally sleep after midnight).

It's probably only going to change in my head, the way I've been thinking about it so much this past few weeks, but it's still a tangible change, in a way.

Tomorrow I leave my twenties behind.

It feels awfully grown up and matured, which I'm not.
It also feels awfully old, which I don't want to be.

And yet it will be the same, because it's just another day that will pass, just as the other 10,957 days have passed by.
Then again, there's significance in numbers, sometimes, so maybe this could be a door to something new.


Monday, 22 September 2014

#30to30: Day 2 - on fitting in

Once, all I wanted was to fit in.
Then, all I wanted was to stand out.
Now, I'm wondering how I can do both.

I want to be recognised for who I am, not who my parents are. (It's annoying how often I still get this) I want to be remembered as an individual, and not as a part of a group. I want to be known as a person, and not just a face.

I want to be valued as me, to find my place and my space where I know that I belong, despite everything. That would be 'fitting in' enough for me.

I don't need the whole world anymore.





Sunday, 21 September 2014

#30to30: Day 3 - Death

The day is coming closer. It's beginning to feel like a death sentence.

Here lies the death of my youthful dreams, of the wild fantasies I used to have.
Here lies the death of all the things I wanted to achieve before I turned 30.
Here lies the death of the things I was sure of, but never materialised.
Here lies death.

But here too lies hope.

Because He makes all things new.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

#30to30: Day 4 - on being feminine


It's funny how something simple like painting your nails suddenly makes you feel just a little more feminine, even if none of your other habits or the way your dress changes. Okay, maybe the way you dress does change for a little while, while the novelty of the nails are still fresh and you still feel a little more pretty than usual.

I'm not a very feminine person. I don't really care about painting my nails or putting on make up or dressing up. I rather like dressing down, actually - I grew up a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal. Which makes people think that I'm a sporty kind of person until I disabuse them of the idea.

Sometimes I feel that my lack of femininity is what makes me unmarriageable, as if my lack of skill in sewing and cooking and housekeeping makes me undesirable. I think to myself that maybe if I dressed up a little more, giggled a little more, pretended to be more soft and nurturing, some guy would actually like me. Maybe if I didn't have a career, or if I acted more like a yes woman, deferred to authority and not act so headstrong and stubborn, someone would have maybe asked me out.

But then I would be a lie.
And that love would be a lie.

I will not stop being me just to be more feminine.

Friday, 19 September 2014

#30to30: Day 5 - and what of your dreams?

I suppose it's only natural that after so many years have passed, you've either forgotten about your dreams or decided that they're going to stay just that - dreams.

And yet there's sometimes also that stirring that says "hold on, it's coming. Don't give up just yet."

So I'm holding out for that promise. 
For the husband who will come, for the book that will be published, for the drama team that will rise up, for the arts scene that will shine for Christ, for the words and the life and the hope, for the songs that swells, for the strength of faith that steps out of the boat and onto the water. 


Thursday, 18 September 2014

#30to30: Day 6 - The Liebster award!

Sophie nominated me for the Liebster award months and months ago, but this post was in draft FOREVER - so I decided to bring it back out today.



The current rules for accepting this award are:

1. List 11 random facts about myself.
2. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated me.
3. Nominate 11 more blogs who have less than 200 followers and let them know they’ve been nominated.
4. Post 11 new questions for those bloggers to answer (if they wish to accept the award—it’s completely optional).

So let's begin:

11 random facts about myself
1. I have a problem identifying simple, compound, complex and compound-complex sentences. (I don't even know why I'm taking this course on Coursera, but obviously it's telling me that my English sucks. haha)
2. I am so super not a morning person. Mornings are for sleeping in :)
3. I felt super guilty about watching 300: Rise of an empire on the plane because there was this little kid beside me. I think (hope) she was concentrated on her cartoons.
4. I'm editing my fairy tale for the gazillionth time and want to kill either myself, the manuscript or the editor. Mainly myself.
5. I like eating.
6. But I don't like deciding what to eat.
7. At the same time, I'm super picky about what I eat.
8. Thus, mealtimes are a dilemma. Deciding what to eat can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour, sometimes more.
9. Fortunately, I can eat the same thing every day, so that solves a lot of problems.
10. I just spent 5 random facts talking about food.
11. I really don't know what I'm going to blog about for the next 5 days. This whole #30to30 thing... was a bad idea.


Sophie's 11 questions
1. I ask this of everyone - declare yourself - cat or dog person?
Neither. I don't like animals, but if I had to choose, I'd say cat. Because then said cat me would ignore me just as I ignore it.
2. What's your favourite pastime? 
Reading in bed.
3. Describe yourself in one word. 
Lazy
4. If you had to live on a desert island, what two things would you take with you (and to make it easier on you, yes, this desert island can have electricity)? 
Um, my laptop and portable wi-fi. If wi-fi is inherent on the island, then err... air-cond? (I'm also assuming there's food...) 
5. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you like to visit and why?
At this moment, I would say New York or maybe France. Because I haven't ever been there.
6. Do you have any bad habits? 
Is not getting out of bed until almost noon on Sunday a bad habit? =D
7. If you could take tea with any literary figure, who would it be and why?
MR DARCY. No, actually, I don't know, but I suppose having tea with Galadriel might be interesting, or Colonel Graff, or Mazer Rackham, or OH... Edmund Pevensie or even Aslan!  
8. Who's your favourite villain (can be TV, books, movies, video games, etc)?
Oh gosh, I don't even have a favourite literary figure, how can I have a favourite villain?
9. You're about to jump out of an aeroplane, what's the last thing that goes through your head before the leap? 
Am I going to die...
10. Do you have a favourite fairy tale? 
The first thing that came to mind was Beauty and the Beast. I don't really do this whole "favourite" thing.
11. If you could have one super power, what would it be and what would you do with it? 
The ability to read minds so that I don't have to ask questions and wait for answers and second guess and triple guess... and actually so that I don't have to talk to people.

I'm going to be too lazy to nominate another 11 people - consider yourself tagged if you want to do this.

11 new questions, for whoever wants to do this:

1. What's your favourite food?
2. Are you a dessert person?
3. Would you rather eat or cook?
4. Why do you blog?
5. How do you come up with ideas for your blogposts?
6. Is there one topic that you love talking about more than others, and why?
7. If you had to choose between going blind or going deaf, which would you choose and why?
8. What's your favourite musician/singer/band and who introduced them to you?
9. How many unread emails do you have right now?
10. What's your best trait?
11. What's the last book you finished reading?

OKAY AND I AM DONE. :)

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

#30to30: Day 7 - #bookreview: The Watchers: Knight of Light

I frequently receive books for review as part of a book tour or a book launch. Sometimes, the books are great, sometimes they're not really what I read. I read and review them anyway, because I like to support other writers, especially those who are self-publishing and trying to get the word out on their books.
Who knows? One day, I'll need them to do the same for me.

I don't quite remember if I signed up to be a reviewer with Eden Literary or if they found me via my blog. Either way, I received an email from their blog tour department, and since the book seemed to be part of my usual fare anyway, I decided to give it a go.

Here's Knight of Light, the first book in The Watchers series by Deirdra Eden. Enjoy!
(P/S There's a giveaway at the bottom too, if you're too lazy to read everything)

---


The Watchers, Knight of LightThe Watchers, Knight of Light by Deirdra Eden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

13-year-old orphan girl Auriella flees her village after being accused of being a witch, only to be captured and enslaved by Hazella Lamia, a crazy witch. However, escaping the witch's hut with a pixie and a dwarf is only the start of Auriella's adventure and quest to find out who she really is.

Knight of Light, the first book of Deirdra Eden's The Watchers series, is an interesting, albeit rather short, fairy tale filled with magic and magical creatures. Intertwined with Auriella's quest to discover her heritage is the timeless subtext of good versus evil, pitting the promised Lady of Neviah and the Neviahans against the rebellious Shadow King Erebus and his Shadow Legion.

The story abounds with juvenile humour, passionate declarations and the uncertainty of coming of age. Eden tries to be lighthearted overall, and succeeds in the main part, though older readers might roll their eyes at the lame puns that Auriella and her friends laugh at.

I quite enjoyed reading Knight of Light.

I received a copy of this e-book from Eden Literary in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light



 In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, demons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.


The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watcher’s Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions




About the Author


"My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles! Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures."
-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra's websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

#30to30: Day 8 - an ode to #tea


You have been my constant companion through late nights and long days, the one that sees me through the joys of 50,000 words as well as the pain of overtime. You are the one who keeps me awake through the sleepy overcast afternoons and focuses me on tired mornings. You keep me snug, warming up my insides. 

Thank you for your caffeine and sugar fixes. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

#30to30: Day 9 - Tantrums, Sureties and Pride

There are days when I still wonder if this is all a huge temper tantrum, a reaction to feeling out of sorts and slightly slighted. Am I just angry? I don't think I am. Or maybe I'm just frustrated and drained by all the drama. It's not as if I've lost my passion; if anything, I am still too passionate about it to let it go in peace.

Then again I've been thinking about it too long for it to be an overly played out tantrum. It's been in the works for months now, maybe even a year (I haven't exactly been tracking it) and there's just a little bit of surety about it, as if I know that it's right, even when I don't. It's difficult to pinpoint; just as hard to say if it's wrong as to say otherwise, but it also seems like things are slowly falling into place and staying there.

Pride is still sometimes an issue - holding my heart in check, holding my thoughts in check. Always keeping in mind that it's God who's behind it and before it and around it and through it all.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

#30to30: Day 10 - on prophecies


At CLE:Y on Tuesday, we talked a little about the prophecies surrounding Jesus' birth, and then we got somehow sidetracked into talking about prophecies in general. Reuben brought up a question - when you're prophesied over, do you just wait for it to happen or do you chase after it?

I don't think you just wait for it to happen - if God's word for your life is that you will touch people through your music, you don't just sit back and wait to automagically become great at music, as if you just click a button and download skills into yourself. Obviously, God's giving you talents and opportunities, but you also need to seek ways to improve your skills and get better at what you do. You need to seek His heart for the people, and ultimately, His timing for it all.
Then again, you don't chase after it to try to make it happen either. Abraham did that, and Ishmael was the result. (Random joke: to solve the Middle East conflict, all you need to do is take the Tardis back in time and eliminate Ishmael before he grows up). I guess it's a balance of both - working at what you can work at, and trusting God for the rest.

And sometimes... things just happen without you doing anything. And you don't even know why, except that it's been spoken over you. Way back in 1999, this random prophet was in town (I don't even remember anything about her) and I wrote down what she said. It's one of those things that I record and forget about, find it again when I clear up stuff, and now it's on my desk. Looking at where I am now, I'm seeing parts of it coming true, especially the last bit.

I don't really know how to minister to people. I want to be a potato and not do anything. Or sometimes I want to be an elephant and sit on them. I don't really know what to say or what to do, except to say random comforting words, send random emoticons and cute photos... and to ask if we could pray, though sometimes I don't even know what to pray about. But I suppose it's part of His plan. And if He's putting me in these places, He's going to give me the right words... or emoticons, anyway.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

#30to30: Day 11 - on writing

Yesterday I spent 1.5 hours in Nando's writing a script for the next #215live on Oct 4. It's still a first draft - probably will need to be tweaked, especially the beginning and the ending, but I suppose most of what I think should be in the play is already there.

I didn't really have to crack my head too much about it - I was given the theme of the next #215live a few weeks ago, kept it in the back burner of my mind, read up on Jonah, and when I finally sat down to write (I was supposed to have done this a while ago) it just kind of spilled out through my fingers. This is totally different from when I sit down and try to write a script for Short + Sweet. I cracked my head for ages, wrote and rewrote several pages, and ended up missing the deadline anyway.

Any clue on why this is?

The only thing I can think of is... "it's God."

Friday, 12 September 2014

#30to30: Day 13 & 12 - the art of complaining

I was going to write a post solely on how the disappointing the new Nando's rewards system is, but KK said I was supposed to do a blog series which had something to do with my reflections on turning 30. I didn't exactly say I was going to do that, but it has been moving in that direction, somewhat, so I decided I should write about complaining instead.
Only I had a meeting yesterday night and when I got home, I was too lazy.

The thing about growing older is that you often get more sure of yourself, what you like, what you dislike, what you can put up with and what you can't. I've never really been one to complain and make a fuss when I get bad service or bad goods or stuff like that. I just suck it up and never return. Oh, I do tell people I know, of course, but I don't really complain directly to the shop, or wherever it was that miffed me.
I suppose that's something I'm learning how to do - how to complain nicely and to get appropriate responses from the shop/staff. Sometimes people just make a fuss and end up not really communicating what it was they were upset about because both sides are up in arms and being aggressive. That... doesn't really accomplish anything.

Maybe it's just in the way you phrase it - being firm and yet gracious, willing to listen in return, giving respect where it's due.
It's not easy. But it's necessary.

---

So anyway, pros and cons of the new Nando's system:

PROS:
- you get free chicken every 3, 6, 9 'chilis', which is way faster than the old system where you have to collect something like 500 points to start redeeming useful stuff.
- the membership thing is now a free app - so you don't have to worry about losing the card, and you don't have to pay the membership fee (though that was only RM10)

CONS:
- on the other hand, a chili is only counted on a bill of >RM30, excluding tax and service charge, which means I have to eat more at each visit. My usual order of 1/4 chicken set + ice lemon tea only comes up to about RM28 after tax & service charge so I definitely have to order something extra, like a soup or a dessert or something.
- the chili is counted per receipt, so going in big groups doesn't make a difference anymore. I can't sapu like a gazillion points one shot just by going with lotsa people at one time.

I dunno. I can't decide if I like it or not.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

#30to30: Day 14 - when the church isn't perfect

I was having dinner with a friend the other day and she mentioned that she's at a time where she's just going to church and disappearing after that. My reaction was: what's the point in that?
It's not as if I haven't been there before. Sometimes you just appear in church for the sake of going to church, because it's what you do as a Christian. Muslims go to the mosque, Hindus and Buddhists (well some variants) go to the temple, so you toddle off to the church like a good religious person.

The point of church isn't just church. If all you want a good singing session or great sermons, you can get those on the internet for free, probably better than any you can find in a local church. The point of church (and here I circle back again) is growing to be more like Jesus as a community. That's why you get involved in ministry. That's why you join a cell (or care or small) group. That's why it's called a body: because you need all the different parts and different types of people to come together to make things work. A body is not going to function if all of its members just show up for two hours once a week. That would be... a zombie. *braiiiinnnsss*

Her defence was that she didn't feel welcomed, that it was hard to fit in. She couldn't really find people with which she could click "so easily, like all the other groups she hangs out with." Been there, done that. Sometimes you suck it up, and self-insert until you feel comfortable with it. *waves at random people in San Jose. Or not*

It would be nice if everyone in the church were nice, accepting, accommodating people who bend over backwards to make you feel happy and comfortable and a part of them. It would be awesome if everyone in the church thought the same way, or had the same culture, or were in agreement so that everyone would be happy and clappy and awesome.

But the church isn't perfect. People aren't perfect. And that's what the church is - people. There will always be people in the church you can't see eye-to-eye with. There will always be things that are done that make you just so hopping mad you want to bash something. There will always be situations where you critically say, 'that's not Christ-like'. That doesn't mean you should up and leave every time it happens.

Because you know what? That's what your next church will be like again.
Imperfect.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

#30to30: Day 15 - I'm running out of things to say

I'm hitting the midway mark and running out of things to say so I'll just post a random picture! :)



Monday, 8 September 2014

#30to30: Day 16 - on being single

I suppose as you grow older, priorities change. You stop believing in fairy tales; romance takes a backseat and practical considerations come to the forefront. Considerations like "are we compatible emotionally and spiritually?", "do we have similar/compatible passions and goals in life?" and "is his character stable?" become more important than "is he romantic?" and "is he cute?"

While having tea in Berkeley, Monica asked the question, "What are you looking for in a husband?"
The word that most readily came to mind was this: stability.
Which, I suppose, may seem strange because I sometimes feel like a rock in the middle of the stream when everything is going crazy and I'm just... there, because that's where I've always been and I refuse to move. And yet behind the seeming steadiness, I feel like a whirlwind, a tempest, a coming explosion, a jack-in-the-box, a time-bomb, and I need someone who can look me in the eye and say, "It's going to be okay. Calm down."

It wasn't meant to be this way. I was supposed to fall head-over-heels in love and get married some five or six years ago. I "fell in love" a few times, but it was never mutual. Or maybe it was, but I never realised, because he never said a thing. I became adept at pulling away, hiding my heart and my interest. Maybe I do it too well now. I don't know.

But people always ask questions I cannot answer. So maybe I'll just set the record straight right now.

To the question "why aren't you seeing anyone right now?" the answer is "no one is asking."
To the question "how come you've never dated?" the answer is "no one has ever asked."
To the question "aren't you just being picky?" the answer is "if no one is asking, who am I being picky about?"

Thank you for asking.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

#30to30: Day 17 - On being lazy

I was planning on writing a long post about being single. I had this list of things I wanted to say and points I wanted to make and arguments I wanted to use.

And then I spent one hour on facebook being lazy because I didn't know where to start.

So I figured I'll write about being lazy instead. Because I am. It's like pushing a rock up a hill to get started on anything, and even when you get started it's so easy to get distracted because. Lazy. And then you put things off til tomorrow, and then tomorrow, and then... you know what? Tomorrow never comes. There's always a tomorrow that will take whatever you need to do.

Then I make lists to make me feel like I have a lot of things to do, so that I will start doing them, and then I get overwhelmed because there are too many things on the list and then I give up on them and just start doing whatever I feel like doing and then I get distracted by the internet and then there are too many "and then"s in this sentence (and in this whole post).

But the point of this post is, I guess, the fact that I'm trying not to be so lazy because there are so many things in the world to do and I mean to do them.

At least I've finally written this post. :)

Saturday, 6 September 2014

#30to30: Day 18 - #215live



Today I'm leading worship at our #215live service and I'm breaking all the rules.

I'm fresh out of 6 weeks away, not knowing what we sing anymore (though the list of songs seems to have gone back to the '80s) and I've just resigned from the worship team.

We've only sung one of these songs in church before, that I know of.
There's nothing terribly deep or profound or insightful about the lyrics of the songs.
The rhythm may throw people off.
I don't know if it's too difficult to sing, or if it's too high or if it's too low.

But these are the songs that have been speaking to me.
These are the words that resonate with my soul and pull me deeper into worship.
So these are the songs I am sharing with my generation.

Friday, 5 September 2014

#30to30: Day 19 - Theatre | S+S Review


There's just something about being on stage.
About portraying someone you're not.
About putting yourself in someone else's shoes, feeling what they feel, saying what they would say.
About understanding.
And being bigger than yourself.

---


I just (an hour ago) came back from watching Short +Sweet Theatre Penang, so I'm updating this post with a mini review. (More info and photos on their blog here.)

This year's short + sweet felt extremely lacklustre. Less than half of the plays had a solid storyline, and most of the acting felt rather meh.

  1. In My Mind - this felt like a shaky start to the whole show. It's a simple enough play about a guy who's stuck in a shitty job and is being convinced to try to kill his boss. There is some development in the short 10 minutes, but it wasn't a very compelling story. I think it could have been made much darker. 
  2. Cargone - this was silly slapstick about two (really weird) guys who lose an imaginary car, and report it to the police, who look for the imaginary car... It's funny, sort of, but doesn't really lead up to anything. 
  3. Revenge of the Ugly Step Sisters: A Rewritten Fairytale - I found this utterly confusing, partially because of the Malay slang/patois they were using (especially when they whined/screamed the words and I couldn't make out what they were saying), partially because the story felt increasingly erratic as it went on...
  4. A Thick Skin - I suppose this was an attempt to be educational. Maybe it was written in conjunction with the Tapir fest thing - the whole story was mainly about how special the Tapir is. I'm not sure why the actor who was representing the school kid on a zoo tour also had to act as if he was somewhat retarded. School kids are innocent and say stupid things, yes, but they don't act so... dumb. 
  5. Goodbye - There was a sadder tinge to this story about a widow trying to let her dead husband go. But between the overacting of the widow and the strange vacillation of the man (was he supposed to be part shrink, part remembrance of the dead man?) it muddied the whole story hopelessly. (Apparently the script was originally a musical from 2013.)
  6. A Pinch of Fate, A Shot of Destiny - this was one of the best shorts of the whole night. A solid, funny story matched with really good acting. The only minus point of this one was that the actors felt too young for their supposed ages. 
  7. The Surgeon's Creed - This was hilarious. Again, a pretty strong story, coupled with great acting. 
  8. Cari - This short felt like a really long ramble to nowhere. I suppose the twist at the end was supposed to be interesting, but after listening to the two girls ramble for so long, I was like, get it over with already. 
  9. (don't know how to write the Chinese character) - It's shorts like these which really make me wish I was better at Chinese. Alvie is a great actor and his monologue was astounding. Unfortunately, I could only grasp maybe 10% of what he was talking about. Everything else I inferred from his body language and acting. It was something about sibling rivalry (how his little brother was always favoured/pampered instead of him - he always got punished?), there was a little bit of abuse (I gathered his mother or father, or well a parent figure, pulled his ear and dragged him away and scolded him and beat him a bit) and he went a little ballistic and beat up his little brother... and I think he choked someone to death and later he went out to get a knife...
  10. Knock knock - For some reason this doesn't show on the S+S blogspot, so maybe it was a late addition. This was totally heartwarming. It revolved around a man and his autistic brother (friend? brother? relationship wasn't defined - I'm assuming brother)

I don't know. I think last year's offering was way better.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

#30to30: Day 21 & 20 - Saying NO in order to say YES

Life is beautiful and complex, and if not managed properly, tends to grow into a time-eating monster that pulls you in a gazillion different directions.

First there's work, or career, because how else are you going to eat?
And then there's your family, or lack thereof.
Next there are your friends - those here and now, and those that weave in and out of your present that you really want to maintain contact with. 
There's also ministry in church - all the things that nobody else is doing that you need to do, or all the things that people ask you to do because you either a) have the skill or b) are single therefore should have the time to do, as well as all the things you want to do. 
At the end of it all comes your passions and the dreams that you have for your life.

And one day you wake up wondering if you've short-changed yourself. And if God has short-changed you.

The thing is, busyness isn't what's required of you. What's required of you is to make God your "one thing" and allow him to set everything else in place, in its order, in His time.

It's just as easy to serve in church and to allow ministry to become your idol and your burden as it is to not serve in church and refuse to allow God to grow you through His people. The latter contributes to the former, and it's a destructive cycle that has to be broken. I'm not saying that everyone needs to serve in church. Some of your greatest ministries may be outside the church. But you need to serve somewhere. And in serving, you need to know why you do what you do.

There are many good things that need your help. But not all of these need you. And if you've come to a stage where the many good things that you do are draining you and distracting you from what you do best, there is the time to start saying no.

No, because you are one person and you have limited time.
No, because you are one person and you have limited energy.
No, because when you are pulled in too many different ways, you will not be able to do your best in any of them.
We're not called to be lacklustre Jacks of all trades in approaching God and his Kingdom. We are supposed to be excellent, skilled workers, bringing glory to His name.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)
Do you see a man skillful in his work?
    He will stand before kings;
    he will not stand before obscure men. (Proverbs 22:29)
Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:10 )
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Jesus said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. (Matthew 23:37-38)
There will always be things that need to be done, and there will always be ministries that need people. However, you don't need to be involved in every single one of them. You can't.

And you can't serve God in the place He's called you to, if you're already too busy in all the places that He hasn't called you to be.

So sometimes, you really need to say 'no' in order to say 'yes'.

---

So I was supposed to post this yesterday, then I forgot. Whoops. :)
So I expanded it and made it longer that I had originally intended it to be, in order to make it a double post. :)

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

#30to30: Day 22 - The difference your community makes

I realise that over the past few posts I've written the word "community" quite a lot. Saturday night, when Monica was dropping me at the airport after hanging out all day at Berkeley and San Francisco, we (or at least I) talked a little bit about the importance of community, especially the church community. It feels weird coming from me, because I've always seen myself as the loner, the one who would rather not bother going out and being social and who really doesn't care if I'm alone all day. Except on the days that I do care.

Humans are inherently selfish and self-centred and it's really your family and eventually your community who teaches you how not to be. The places you've lived in changes your perspectives, and the people you hang out with regularly has a huge impact on the way you see the world and your place in it.

I've been blessed with great people to hang out with even in the midst of my introverted anti-socialness. People who spur me on with their life stories, people who are not afraid to talk about the difficult things in life, people who are always willing to ask the spiritual questions that make me want to cry.

I would not be who I am today without all of you.


Proverbs 4:20 - 27
My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to thec paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.

Monday, 1 September 2014

#30to30: Day 23 - Airport Poetry

Six in the morning
Touched down, bleary eyed
In search of a place to rest

Seven in the morning
Warmed by hot tea
Looking for something to see

Eight in the morning
Missing the people
Who're hanging out for bubble tea

Nine in the morning
Writing this post
Thinking of going back to sleep.

---

Thank you for reading my lame attempt at "poetry". My better attempts were in those angsty college days, full of rhymes and rhythms and, I dunno, hidden meanings. I guess simplicity works for me these days.

I am in transit home, sitting in the HK Airport, being too lazy to either go out to town or go shopping in the airport. I have my laptop, free wifi, two books, an ipad and a kindle. I don't think I'll get bored.
I suppose I'll take a nap before looking for lunch.