The yearender of newspaper would always run the “top ten news” of the year. Some newspapers would run contests like providing twenty news and let the readers choose the top ten news that their editors would choose. Prizes are often very attractive. It’s also the tradition of my newspapers to run top ten international news, top ten national news, top ten local news, crimes round-up, sports round-up etc.
I thought, perhaps, I could do a round-up of those precious moments of the year that I have shared in this little space of the cyber world over the year. Over the past ten months, many precious moments have been put into words.
There were some humbling encounters that I drew priceless lessons, and I wrote it here.
There were moments when I stood in awe the beauty of nature that God has created and my heart broke out in song. I wrote it here.
There were times when I have half-way faith, half-truths, half-baked efforts, a lot of ifs and buts, but God confronted me with penetrating questions. I was reminded that His presence must rule over all – families, careers, business, pursuits … I wrote it here, All to Jesus I surrender, and all to Him I freely give.
There were times when circumstances seem desperate, dire, even hopeless, I wrote it here.
There were times of seemingly unending grief over the death of loved ones, I wrote it here.
There were times when I enjoyed relaxing morning lingering over a cup of coffee, experienced the joy of baking, I shared such simple things in life here.
Whether it’s God’s bounteous blessings, kind souls, prickly people, thorny problems, thick carpet of troubles, dark days, season of rest, words of wisdom I heard, comforting presence of friends and loved ones, the extraordinary gift of children … I wrote them here.
Here are the top ten of such moments I pick from my blog – to recapture the beauty of words. Give no thoughts to the pains, agonies and tribulations of the year that is going to past…
The Roses – February (Valentine’s Day, my first post)
A young charming journalist had one young bud in a vase on her table. She excitedly told me that she picked up the bud from the street and said the bud would soon blossom.
Yes, I caught that moment –
Within every bud, there is a rose
Within every soul, a rose too
Reach past the thorns of your life
and let the rose within blossom many times over.
Words not said (March)
This is taken from an older Danish novel called Borderliners, by Peter Hoeg:
“I did not say much, nor was it necessary. She sat on the box, leaning forward, and listened to me, even to my pauses. She heard everything, even things I did not say. We sat there and I knew this was how it felt to be totally accepted. You sit close to another person and are understood, everything is understood and nothing is judged and you are indispensable.”
I like that! Someone heard everything, even words not said. Someone listen, even to the pauses between words! Isn’t it wonderful?
But, in real world, it’s often not so. Words need to be said. Not only that, they need to be said loud and clear.
We have two children, aged 14 and 9. They are growing up in a “newspaper friendly” environment. They have access to newspapers, three locals and two nationals, English and Chinese.
Over the weekend, during my trip to the supermarket with my children, I was amazed by the children’s knowledge of the different promotions and marketing campaigns of different consumer goods. When asked, they almost said at the same time – mummy only read newspapers, newspapers don’t talk. These products are said in the television. Cool words are used to describe them. When these brands are sponsored by the online games we play, there are sounds too.
Yes, my children know all these products better than the titles of the newspapers that enter our house each morning. The newspapers have been there, day in, day out, ever since there were born.
Philip Yancey, in his book, “What’s so amazing about grace”, wrote, “As a writer, I play with words all day long. I toy with them, listen for their overtones, crack them open, and try to stuff my thoughts inside.”
Listen. Yes, he says he listens for the overtones of words. He stuff his thoughts inside. The words become his thoughts. His thoughts, his words. His words come alive!
Being remembered (April, Ching Ming Festival)
It is the season for the Chinese to pay respect to their loved ones who have left this earthly world.
Is it not also the season for us, the living to take a moment to ponder our life from the vantage of death? Imagine how your obituary might read. Imagine how your story will be told. Imagine how you are being remembered by loved ones and friends…
In the Bible, the story of Jabez is told in one paragraph (1 Chronicles 4). It is a beautiful story. The paragraph that tells it begin with “Jabez was more honourable than his brothers.”
It was what the Bible calls honour that drove Jabez to rise above his past, rise above even the pain of his mother, and live the large and bountiful life God had ordained.
How beautiful it is if our obituary begins with …. He/she was more honourable than many others …
In front, a truck blows a tire and careens across two lanes of traffic. One car is headed toward the truck. It looks like a terrible clash is not avoidable. But the car comes to a stop just in time.
Two hearts pounding while witnessing the scene.
“What a luck!”
“What a blessing, mummy.”
Yes, what a blessing. A blessing brings happiness, and greater happiness if you know the meaning.
“To feel lucky” is to say “In good and bad feelings, I have been getting more than my share of good feelings.”
“To feel blessed” is to wonder “How is this God-sent happiness going to lead me and those around me to greater happiness?”
The power within (June)
“Pa, you don’t need pills to make you smart. The power is within you.”
My teenage daughter said to my husband last night. My husband has just watched a “Discovery Channel” report about the power or magic of “Omega 3” fish oil to the mind of the young ones. Being very “scientific”, he asked the two children to take “Omega 3” soft gels before going to school every day.
That’s the reaction from the young ones. The 9-year-old son, of course, agrees with “jie-jie”.
“Yeah, the power is within us.” He can’t wait to agree.
Yes, dear young ones, to be able to get your way – you are a powerful person. To be in a position where nobody can force you to do anything you don’t want to do. That’s all anybody really wants, isn’t it?
The power is within you. You can be the most popular person in your school. You can make the best grades. You can get rich. You can…. do anything if you set your mind to do it.
But any power you get from that kind of success is only temporary or illusion. It melts away.
God is the ultimately powerful one. What kind of power do you have through Him? The power of God in your life isn’t the world’s kind of power. It is the power to live your own life, free from the sins.
How about that power for a power trip?
Perfecting and shaping (July, my wedding anniversary)
My dear friend “SMSed” me yesterday that she is going to start her “braces” mission. She had one tooth extracted. Another one to go this Friday.
I thought, she would look kind of funny with a mouth full of metal. I also thought, what is the point of putting up with the aggravation to let your mouth be invaded with metal, cement and plastic?
I did not have much time to give myself an answer until today. Yes, the hardship of going through the “braces” journey or mission is for the reward of a million-dollar smile that will last through the rest of her life. She just has to live with the little annoyances and pain for a while, she’ll be rewarded with that “perfect-smile”.
How true it is in our marriage life. There are little annoyances. There are little pains. There are even sorrows no less than joys. There are daylong tug-of-war at times. There are some inconveniences at crucial times. There are times when sharp edges poke you. But, God is perfecting us, straightening us out, shaping us into something beautiful to share, cherish with our partner. And the reward? Anniversary after anniversary.
Yes, my husband and I are rejoicing over the ability to press through 19 years of shared life!
19 years, and entering 20th year…
Be Yourself (August)
“A woman without make-up on her face is a lazy woman.”
This was said by a make-up artist called Adriel Khoo.
He was interviewed by Post Mag (Weekend Leisure of The Borneo Post) in its August 6 issue.
I read it yesterday and still could not accept the fact that I am a “lazy” woman.
This morning at the breakfast table, just before going for my Sunday Worship Service, I asked my 10-year-old son,
“What do you think of this statement that a woman without make-up on her face is a lazy woman?”
The boy looked at me, for a while, he said this –
“A woman without make-up on her face is a woman who is not afraid to be herself.”
That’s it. That makes my day!
Thank you, young Christopher.
You are original, don’t die a copy (September)
Last night, the small star, the future excellent writer, the marvellous one asked me to wake him up at 5:30 am. I woke him up at 5:30 am. He took a shower. I fixed his breakfast. After shower, he put on his school uniform. He held tight to a sheet of paper at the table. I took a peek. Printed on it are two Chinese essays. One of them, he has to memorize and write it down “for” his teacher today.
Naturally, he looked sad. The star is not shinning. His little mind must be wondering – what’s this auntie Dobbs trying to tell me, I am going to be an excellent writer? No way. I am far from Auntie Ming’s Marvellous! I can’t even memorize this essay about “My Dog”. My dog is brown in colour, why should I say my dog is white, whitter than snow?
The little mind doubts too – when mummy says write your own story, how much can I trust her? Every time, I write my own story, my Chinese teacher gives me only 50 marks. When my classmate memorizes the essay given by the teacher, he gets 90 marks. Can I trust mummy?
Well, such is the stress of the star. He wants to be original, but the teacher wants him to be a copy. He wants to use his creativity, but the teacher wants him to follow others’ creativity.
F.R.O.G – Fully Rely on God (October)
By Christopher Lau
My mother told me this story –
There was a lady in a hospital who was dying. A pastor of her area came to visit her. This pastor was a very young lady with long blond hair. The pastor listened to the dying lady. She prayed for her. Before she left, the pastor left a tiny ceramic frog for the dying lady.
The next day one of the friends from the lady’s church came to visit her. The lady told her friend about the young lady pastor who came to visit her. The friend was amazed how the lady had improved. The friend thought of telling the young lady pastor. However, she was told that there was never any young lady pastor with long blond hair in the area.
The friend came back to the hospital again. She wanted to tell the lady that she might have mistaken. There was no young lady pastor in the area that fit her description. Just then, a nurse entered the room. The nurse saw the ceramic frog and said,
“You have a nice guardian angel with you.”
When asked why the nurse made such a comment. The nurse said,
“Frog stands for (F) Fully (R) Rely (O) On (G) God.”
Yeah, I also have a big “FROG” jump for my final term exam. It’s from position 19 to 6. The next time you see a frog, don’t panic. It is Fully Rely On God!
Watch how you walk (November)
“Look carefully how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15
When I suggested to Chris that we walk, he has many instructions on how we walk. Before the walk, he instructs –
“Don’t wear expensive clothes. Don’t bring your purse. Bring your handphone. Wear comfortable shoes.”
During the walk, he cautions and cares –
“Watch up, there is a hole there. It’s dark here, be careful. Is your knee painful?”
From the simple process of two steps repeated over and over again, I have gained much insights. How we walk is actually an apt simile for how to live our life.
The supreme thing is not where you talk, but how you walk, “Look carefully how you walk.”. It is followed with instruction on how to walk rightly and accurately.
As Chris and me walk along the road, we have no problem as to where to walk. We know where we are going. But how we walk is a problem. Part of the route that we take does not have a pedestrian walk yet. So, the reminders from Chris here, “Watch up!”
Know your way, understand your route. That’s how you should walk. “Understand this, be wise; don’t be foolish but act as a wise man.”
Here are the Top Ten of the Words to steal your hearts away just before the close of the year!
I wish you God’s Blessings for the coming year, 2006!
If you are in Sibu, you are warmly invited to my Church, Wesley Methodist Church for the Watchnight Service tonight that starts at 10:30 pm and closes at 2006 with an invitation to Lord’s table in a Holy Communion. Isn’t it a meaningful way to enter the new year?
Again, God’s blessings. Till we meet, next year!