Tears

One mother said her son calls her bouts of crying while smiling “happy/sad tears”. According to her son’s definition, “happy tears” are 5-20 tears that fall out of your eyes while you’re smiling. “Sad tears” keep flowing down, down, down – at least 40 drops strong with no smiles.

I thought – how cute!

I read Just me’s meme the other day. The last question was “when did you last cry”. Just me answered “yesterday”. I was curious to know why she cried yesterday. Someone else asked earlier than me. Just Me replied that a touching movie made her cry.

I had a major meltdown last night. I’d been accumulating a bunch of stuff worth crying about for quite awhile. I went to bed early. I checked the clock, it was 7:30 pm. I just wanted to go to bed, and really did sleep soundly.

At 12:30 am, I woke up. I switched on my computer, and there a mail from a long-silent friend came in. We used to be connected. Affected by the work-related misunderstanding of two friends recently, I have been obsessed to think that I could have offended this friend, that now I am considered as “friend” dropping that “r”. The mail saying “I am just tired” with past activities and forward traveling plans ended with “I promise I would bring my blackberry.” To us, blackberry means connection while travelling.

I am still a “fRiend” with that important “R” intact!

That did it. I started crying.

Wide-eyed, hubby watched me cry, a near non-occurrence in our home. Probably, the last time he saw me crying was during the home-calling of my dad in law two years ago or perhaps, a little further back to time was the home-calling of my mum seven years ago.

To me, crying is a private thing. I choose when and where to cry. I mostly cry alone.

The meltdown last night led me to these two words in the Bible –

Jesus wept. John 11:35

Indeed, God’s love, mercy, passion, compassion, grief, and anger are chiseled down to two words – Jesus wept.

Whether it’s 5-20 drops of tears with a smile or over 40 drops of tears without smile, remember God’s love. You can cry buckets, but after that, remember that God loves us.

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Thank You

I don’t know about you, but I would normally stop by the “sample tables” at supermarkets to grab hold of sample food on demo. It’s not so much of “free-food” attraction. It’s more of tasting the sample food. Sometimes, it’s even to fill a little space of the empty stomach with the readily available food after a hard day work, especially when I travel outstation.

Today, I read a very nice article. Here you are –

“Cheesecake Thank You”
By: Vonette Bright

“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His loving kindness is everlasting.” (1 Chr. 16:34)

A Saturday trip to the supermarket usually involves a few “free sample” tables.

On one particular day, the man demonstrating a new line of cheesecakes, never looked up. Head bowed down… he quickly cut the product into small morsels. Immediately they were snatched up!

But, something unusual happened. A woman came by, took the sample, and paused to say, “Thank you!” The man was shocked. He looked up with a smile to say, “Around here, we don’t get thanked very often.”

We treat God that way, too. We take from His gracious hands and often forget to pause and say, “Thank you!”

If a cheesecake demonstrator appreciates such gratefulness, how much more deserving of praise is our wonderful Lord! Take a moment, right now and thank Him for all He’s done in your life.

Yes, thank you, friends, for dropping by here and even leaving some comments now and then!

Thank you God for all You have done in my life.

Your Phone Directory

The vision of my left eye seems a little blur at times. I went to see an eye specialist yesterday afternoon. This is my first visit to an eye specialist for eye care. The eye specialist raised some concern of the left eye’s condition, but not of immediate or pressing concern to him. He would like to review me in four months’ time. The blur vision that I am having now is probably due to dry eye.

Well, this eye specialist gives me a lot of confidence. So, I decided that he would be my “eye-care doctor” and tapped his contact into my Palm Treo’s contact.

Rachel (my 16 going on 17 daughter) said, “You know you are getting old when many names in your phone directory start with “Dr”.”

No, not my daughter having a big say on Father’s Day!

I decided to re-organize my phone directory. I deleted the title “Dr” from friends who are doctors but not my doctors or my family’s doctors from my phone directory. I also re-categorize the contacts into –

Friends – personal friends
Family
Business
Journalists
Girls’ Brigade/Church
Household Concerns – here is where I keep my doctors’ contact

While doing so, it brought back many fond memories of friends.

And of course, I do feel much younger after doing so! 🙂

Thanks, Rachel, for allowing me that luxuries of walking down memory lane and feeling younger, even on Father’s Day!

Still With My Father

This is the only photograph I have of my father. In his younger days, he is handsome!

dad.jpg

No aspect of Christian faith warms my heart more than knowing that God is my Father. Whether I am in joy, in sorrows, in tears, in laughers, in fears, when I come to my Father in prayers, with the utter of “My Father”, there is always a warm feeling that passes through my body! It is an inexpressible joy to know that I have a Father who loves me.

My father passed away when I was 20. My four younger siblings were 18, 15, 10 and 6 respectively. I do not have many memories of my father. Remembering my father is sort of “fears”. At 5 or 6, my father was seriously ill, I overheard the elders saying that the doctor said my father would die. So, for the next 15 years or so, whenever my father fell sick, I remembered what I had heard. I lived in fear that my father would die. Practically, it was an everyday’s affair, because my father was sick most of the time.

It was only in recent years that I started collecting some good memories of my dad of how he was there in my different stages of my life. (read my yesterday’s post of “Remembering My Father)

Real father love is not in short supply in the real world. Last Friday, in a very hectic schedule in KL, I rushed in a shop to get a white cotton school shirt for Rachel. I saw a not-so-young father looking for a school bag. He could not decide which one to buy. Well, it was more of journalistic curiosity than wanting to be helpful, I have to confess. So, I asked my “Yan-bites” – who, what, how. Who – 9-year-old boy. What – for school. How – walking long distance, having to carry the bag up to 3rd floor. Done! I told him that the one he had in hand would be too heavy to carry up to 3rd floor, without the books in, it’s about 2 kg (woman’s skill to know the weight just by holding), plus at least about 8 kg, it would be a hefty 10 kg. I “whispered” to him that my 10-year-old son got one in one of the chain stores which I have just passed by. He readily followed me to that shop – seeing the radiance on his face, I knew he could find one that’s “friendly” to the back of his son too in that shop.

Yes, real father love is really seen everywhere. Last week, I read from the newspaper that the “judge” took leave to settle his children in school! Another friend of mine told me he took few days’ leave to settle his children in new school.

From the Bible, is there any more beautiful picture than the story Jesus told of the Prodigal Son? The old father waiting at home, watching the horizon, and at the first glimpse of his son on the horizon, the old man ran down the road to meet him with arms wide open. Before the son could utter a word of his memorized statement – “I am no longer worthy to be called your son”, the old man had called out for a celebration to kill the fatted calf. Such is the picture of a father’s heart – forgiving the son with a full and free heart!

Rachel and Chris are close to their father. To them, their father is a friend and model for them – patience, fortitude, manliness and humour – which they do not find in their mother, I guess!

(This is also a “re-cycled” post from my blog)

Happy Father’s Day to all great fathers visiting my blog!

Of Sights, Sounds, Surprises, Delights and Colours

Last Saturday, I attended a wedding. Yes, it was 9th June. I did not attend the Prime Minister’s wedding anyway. Remember, PM had a private party. My family also had a private party. My second youngest brother (the number eight) is finally married! It was such a joy for all nine of us. Yes, my parents’ nine. Nine siblings. We came from all corners of Malaysia and Singapore for this happy occasion.

As soon as I arrived my brother’s house in Sarikei, I realized that his house is just a road next to my old house. It was a pleasant surprise!

Sarikei is a town about an hour’s drive from Sibu. It is the town where I spent my teenage years.

I walked into my youth that morning. I stopped by my old house. It does not belong to me anymore. It looks brighter than those days when I stayed there. But, the balcony where I enjoyed the sights, sounds, surprises, delights and colours is intact (of course, minus that “dish”) But, the next door’s neighbour has turned its balcony into a room. (Read the story here)

With 9 siblings and respective families gathered, it brought back many memories. Today, I read some of my old posts about my father (yes, it’s the season, right?) and really thought it’s worth “re-cycling” them. Here is one –

Remembering My Father

I always think I do not have many happy memories of my father. Recently, as I shared with mGf about the not-so-good memories of my father, some good memories came back. My father went to the Lord 28 years ago. I had just started working then. My three younger brothers and sisters were still schooling in Secondary and Primary schools. That was a long, long time ago …

My father was a school teacher in the early days, before I was born. As far as my memories went, he was a businessman. My mother told me he was a school teacher before. I remember finding the treasures in his Chinese books collection. He was a Chinese scholar. Besides running around in the rubber garden, vegetable garden and beside the river, my childhood days were filled with these Chinese books ranging from stories, jokes to great literature works.

That was my young days. My father’s books filled my days…

I had just passed my 10th birthday when I entered my secondary school. I remember cycling three miles up and down the hilly road to school. My dad cycled with me to school on the first day. We had just moved from Sibu to Sarikei. I knew none of the classmates and was extremely scared. Dad stood outside the classroom for a long time watching over me even when class had begun. I still can remember a classmate remarked to her friend sitting next to her, “She thinks only she has father.”

That was my first day to Secondary school. My father was there for me …

After I completed my A level, I went to Simanggang (now it is called Sri Aman) for interview. I was accepted by a Chinese Private Secondary School to teach Chinese. When I came back to Sarikei (5-6 hour of bus journey on very bad road), my father said if I was to take up the job, I would need to bring a “maid” with me to take care of me. I could not imagine having a maid with me when I was merely earning 300 dollars a month! But, father’s words were emperor’s order at home – nothing could change this order. I was upset and informed the school that I would not be joining them. I left Sarikei for Sibu where I was employed as a translator (translating news from Chinese to English) in my present company.

That was my first job. My father was there for me too …

During those days (or even now), I started work early and did not go back for lunch. My mother would always prepare a lunch box for me to bring to work. And there were surprises day after day. During the days when my mother was away, my father would also wake up early to prepare lunch box for me. My father did one step more, he put the lunch box on my car’s wiper to make sure I don’t leave home without the lunch box. And the lunch boxes had even more surprises!

That was the days when I started building my career. My father was there for me too…

The reason I chose not to remember my father was because my father, though a caring father, was not a great husband to my mother. Last year, I wrote this –

In fact, from the little woman’s point of view – The greatest gift a child can have is a father who loves and respects the mother and does not tolerate disobedience or disrespect on the part of their children.

How ignorant I had been! I had been that disobedient and disrespectful child to my father – yet he loved me enough to be there for me when I most needed him. He was there at every milestone of my life. Shakespeare said, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth is a thankless child.” And, I have been guilty of being thankless! There has not been any recognition whatsoever of what I have learnt through these many years from my father. It’s an over-inflated view of self!

This year, this poem by Roy Lessin gives me new meaning of my father –

A Dad is respected because he gives his children leadership…
A Dad is appreciated because he gives his children care…
A Dad is valued because he gives his children time…
A Dad is loved because he gives his children the one thing they treasure most – himself.
– Roy Lessin

Daddy, you had been a great father – I wish I had said so some 30 or more years ago!

The Light

 

The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?

Ps 27:1

 

His Light brings life – a triumphant and glorious resurrection life!

 

Today, I leave this photo here taken during my younger days. Milton has aptly described light as “the white radiance of eternity”.

Only God can guide us through the difficulties of daily living.

Only God can shine His light to dispel the darkness of our valleys.

 

LET HIM

Background to this photograph

I was blog hopping this morning and read of sbanboy’s photo taking marathon. For the past few days of rest, I have been organizing my old photographs and scanned some. This is one of the photographs I have scanned. I was very much crazy about photography in my younger days. This photo was taken at one of of small village by the sea. It was a “romantic” night for many of the other travelling companions, I remember. I was then as lonely as the “light” that I composed to take this photograph. But, I was not quite alone with my focused attention on the Creator’s awesome power and greatness. I had then just learnt to recite this bible verse –

“O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth, Who hast displayed Thy splendor above the heavens! …When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, The moon and the stars, which Thou has ordained; …O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth!”

Some three decades later, looking at this old photograph, I still feel the the vastness of the universe as a tremendous expression of God’s might and power. But added to this is the “Light” I see.

Burning “Accountable” Calories

I am writing a column for my newspaper, The Borneo Post called “Pass It On”. In this column I featured Malaysians abroad making a difference in their community they live in. I have featured over ten Malaysians abroad. Last month, I interviewed a Mukah-born medical practitioner. Mukah is a town about 3-hours’ drive from Sibu. In this doctor’s own words, his memories of Mukah –

“I grew up in Mukah. It’s a sago-planting and fishing town. I lived opposite The Three Rivers School which is near the sea. It is a very quiet and nice town. I remember we never had to lock our doors when we went out.”

Today’s posting is not about Mukah. During the interview, this “anak Sarawak” talked about being proactive on health matters. Among other health tips, he said he went to the gyms three times a week where he exercises on a cross-trainer with a record of 4-5km burning 400-500 calories.

That interests me because I have been doing workout on my cross-trainer at home with a record of half what he has been doing. However, if I don’t travel, I do it everyday. After interviewing him, I made it once.

Today, I made it again, with much ease and joy –

60 minutes, burning 400 cal, distance 4 km

A corner of my “5-star gyms” at home.

The magic of being able to double what I have been doing?

Time! Only if you have time!

The other reason? Accountability.

Being a journalist, I have many chances of meeting very inspirational personality. Here are words from another person I interviewed years ago. I interviewed David Watson talking about Covenant Discipleship. He told me this story which forms part of my interview session –

When I was studying in Oxford University, I resolved to keep physically fit, and decided to run each morning before breakfast. The first week I ran every morning. The second week I missed a couple mornings. The third week, I missed all but one morning. The fourth week I missed altogether. The following year I took a precautionary measure. I asked the person next door if he would like to go running with me. On the days I was late, my fried would bang on the door with a cherry word, “Time to be going!” We made it through the year, every morning.

Watson said, “Some things are done better by two people than by one …. Anything which is subject to human limitation or error requires the presence of another person to ensure reliability.”

Covenant Discipleship is a way and a wish Christians be accountable to do what they can do. There are certain things which are difficult to do on your own, so you have to do with someone. It is where the members tell each other what kind of journey they have to take as disciples. They give an account of what has been to be a Christian over the week, thus helping each other in the Christian journey. They do this by means of a covenant which they themselves have written. By making this agreement they give some shape to the two great commandments of Jesus to love God and to love the neighbors.

So, the second magic is – today I did the workout together with my significant other. He was running on the treadmill!

The third magic – I have my Ipod on! I read too.

Time, accountability/companion, reading, Ipod – that made my another day of rest.