Happy New Year

A dear friend sent me this piece and I thought, what wisdom! Here you are –

Life goes on so HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you

Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday, Oprah
asked her what she thought of growing older.

And, there on television, she said it was “exciting.” Regarding body
changes, she said there were many, occurring every day…like her breasts.

They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first. The
audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such a simple and honest woman,
with so much wisdom in her words!

Maya Angelou said this:

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how ad it seems today,
life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.”

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she
handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled
Christmas tree lights.”

“I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents,
you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.”

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a
life’.”

“I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.”

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on
both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.”

“I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I
usually make the right decision.”

“I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.”

“I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.
People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.”

“I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget
what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Well, what have we learnt in 2006?

Have the vision of Abba – Happy New Year. Here you are –

Happy New Year!

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Life is a One Way Street

Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. – Deut 17:16

These are instructions to Israel by Moses. They had been led out of Egypt by a strong arm. Moses warned them they shall never return again that way.

Using this as a seasonal application, at this point of the year when the year is closing and be sealed and we cannot go back, I seem to hear God saying to me, ‘Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.’

Sr. Helmut Theilicke says we think differently on New Year’s Eve than at any other time, for then we see time as it really is — not as a clock with a round face where the hands come back to the same point again and again, but as a flowing river which passes a single point and never returns.

There are joys and sorrows. There are births and deaths. There are assurances and also disappointments. There are triumphs and also failures. There are rejoicing of what has been done, regrets of what has not been done. There are mistakes and sins that can’t be undo…

Before me stretches a new year. I have never been to this place in time or in my lives before. I feel the challenge of the unknown, of the unexplored, of the year ahead of me yet to be discovered. I feel a bit of excitement, a bit of fear, a feeling of weakness …..

I like this wonderful quotation of President Woodrow Wilson, the twenty-sixth President of the United States:

I am sorry for men who do not read the Bible every day. I wonder why they deprive themselves of the strength and of the pleasure? It is one of the most singular books in the world, for every time you open it some old text that you have read a score of times suddenly beams with new meaning. There is no other book that I know of, of which this is true. There is no other book that yields its meaning so personally, that seems to fit itself so intimately to the very spirit that is seeking its guidance.

Yes, I have a Guide who knows the way and has planned it all ahead of me. I want to rest on His promises –

‘Lo, I am with you always.’ – Matt 28:20

We have not passed this way before, but He knows the way. Only follow! Let Him guide, He will be with us always, and it will indeed be a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

 

New Year’s Wish

I ‘lifted’ this ‘New Year’s Wish’ by Gordon H. Taggart from The Guidepost.

I wish I were:

big enough to honestly admit all my shortcomings,
brilliant enough to accept flattery without it making me arrogant,
tall enough to tower above deceit,
strong enough to treasure love,
brave enough to welcome criticism.
compassionate enough to understand human frailties.
wise enough to recognize my mistakes.
humble enough to be thoughtful of my neighbor
and righteous enough to be devoted to the love of God.

The above article originally appeared in the January 1997 issue of Guideposts.

Not All Gifts Are Under The Tree

What is your Christmas wish? I have this song playing in my car’s CD’s player for the past one year….

Here is the Song from YouTube.

My Grown Up Christmas List

Kelly Clarkson

Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies

Well, I’m all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I’m not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here’s my lifelong wish
My grown up christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
and wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up christmas list

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree

Well heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up christmas list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth
(there’d be)

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, oh
This is my grown up christmas list

This is my grown up christmas list

I Love Strawberry Plants

 

My children love strawberries. They are their favourite fruits. Of course we do not get to eat such fruits often. However, there are many foodstuff with strawberry flavour, strawberry jam, strawberry ice-cream, strawberry drinks…. I do not like the smell of the fruits, unfortunately. However, I love the bright colours of strawberries. I love strawberries when they are on the plant. I love strawberry plants.

Recently, we went to Taiwan for holidays. We visited one farm that plants strawberries and tomatoes. I took few pictures of strawberries on the plant (above).

As I was looking at the picture on the screen this afternoon, my telephone rang. A long-time good friend, Su Ping called. Su Ping and I were classmates in the sixth form. We meet occasionally in the church when there are combined services. Su Ping goes to the Chinese Service while I go to the English Service.

Su Ping requested for clippings of my articles written over the years dated back to school days. I told her that I did not keep all my published articles and asked in particular what she wanted to read.

After much hesitation, she finally said her friend who is on holiday here longs to read what has been written about her late brother, Louis. Su Ping recalls that I have been a good friend to Louis and that when he returned to the Lord some 30 years ago, I wrote a few articles remembering Louis.

Louis! Yes, I fondly remember him, though it has been 30 years that the Lord received him back home. Just recently I told mGf of Louis, I wrote:

We met in the church youth fellowship group and had some short but happy times serving the Lord. I remember writing scripts for the Christmas concert and working together in sketches. Louis was a very talented and bright student and he had touched the lives of many. But, he died too soon. My treasured memories were those time together seeing the sketches being acted out and I woke up in a dream that he died and it was the time that the Lord received him back home. I did not get to attend his funeral.

After I put down the telephone, I looked back at the strawberries on my computer screen. My thoughts went back to the time in Taiwan when I was on my knees in the strawberry patch and caught by how the plants grow. There are many ‘runners’ on the strawberry parent plants. A number of shoots reach out in all directions. The force comes from the parent plant. After these shoots grow to some 10 over cm, the ends develop roots while new leaves grown on these shoots. And new shoots grow from these established shoots. Likewise, there are a number of shoots growing from all directions. The process repeats. Interestingly, the parent plant sends out its runners and multiply.

I begin to see how Louis had, during his short span of 19 years on this earth, reaching out in all directions with his talents to multiply and bring forth fruits. Louis, like the parent plant of the strawberry plant died off, but his life is perpetuated through others. I am sure, in those days, many ‘runners’ in his own church group who have been inspired by him are like strawberry plants, reaching in all directions to multiply and bring forth more strawberries!

To Louis’ sister, may I quote the wisdom of mGf,

Your friend (brother) never left you.
He remains with you in your thoughts
Although with those we love
We wish for more than our thoughts.

Rainbow and Friends

It really takes a poet’s mind (or a journalist’s observation) to relate rainbow with friends. Today, I received this very nice poem for Christmas from a friend, a journalist, a former colleague, now a travel journalist. That was over 20 years of friendship. And this little poem, that he said, was penned for me this Christmas, perhaps, tells it all.

Rainbow and friends – how do they connect? Enjoy, my friends..

haiku – rainbow
—————

 

rainbow
reveals
secrets of sun

 

a little rainbow poem:
———————-

 

what are friends for?
the vapour
that forms
the cloud
never forgets
– even in
a downfall –
to hail
the beauty
and glory of sun –
the friend
that has
elevated
him to bliss
in the sky –
though temporarily
gratefully, the rainbow
never fails to
tell us the beauty
of the sun
and the sun
thinks his duty
to advertise it
loud, bright and clear
what it looks for –
in a friend

 

– john tiong chunghoo

From Crown to Park

Courtesy of Singapore Tourism Board, I was put right at Orchard Road since Wednesday with a ‘Crown’. On Friday morning, mGf picked me up for coffee before both of us went to our own conference. We did not make it for coffee because I calculated that mGf would be late for his conference if we had to brew our coffee. So, I decided that mGf just dropped me off at the place where I have my conference and proceeded to his own conference. Yet, it was a good connection time in the early morning ride beating the traffic jam at Orchard Road.

After the conference, I visited another friend. This friend sent me back to the Crown. As my friend’s car stopped at the hotel doorstep, he said, ‘Hey, friend, this is Park, not Crown.’ In all honesty, I was in fear. Fearful of the need to walk down memory lane – the Alzheimer’s? It’s the Crown, not a Park!

My friend winded down his window screen and asked the hotel attendant there, ‘Is this Crown?’

‘Yes, it was Crown. We have just changed the management, Crown is now Park.’

Today, as I listen to this ‘The Road Home’, it gives me great comfort –

The Road Home

Tell me where is the road

I can call my own,

That I left, that I lost,

So long ago?

All these years I have wandered

On when will I know

There’s a way, there’s a road

That will lead me home?

After wind, after rain

When the dark is done,

As I wake from a dream

In the gold of day,

Through the air there’s a calling

from far away

There’s a voice I can hear

That will lead me home.

Rise up, follow me

Come away, is the clal

With love in your heart

As the only song

There is no such beauty

As where you belong

Rise up, follow me

I will lead you home.

Crown or Park, I know who will lead me home!

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