I Can Do It!

To Love.To Serve.To Lift


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Trust ME.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when I wondered about Li-Ann in my womb.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when the doctor saw a white dot on Li-Ann’s heart.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when I decided not to do any further tests.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when I couldn’t breastfeed Li-Ann when she was born.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when we found out Li-Ann was born with an imperforate anus.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when Li-Ann needed surgery when she was two days old.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when we waited for the blood test to confirm if Li-Ann has Down syndrome.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when I had to learn to take care of Li-Ann and change her colostomy bags.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when we brought three month old Li-Ann for her first holiday in Malaysia.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when I couldn’t understand what is global developmental delay.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when Li-Ann had to undergo another two surgeries before she turned one.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when Li-Ann’s surgeon told us she cannot be constipated.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when I had to learn how to awaken Li-Ann’s senses.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when Li-Ann began her therapy sessions in the hospitals.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when Li-Ann went to school at Rainbow Centre for a year.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when Li-Ann stuck out her tongue every time she opened her mouth to receive her food.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and couldn’t breastfeed Li-Ann any more.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when we prayed about homeschooling Li-Ann.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when Li-Ann didn’t walk until she was two years old.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when we made little progress in encouraging Li-Ann to articulate clearly.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when Li-Ann refused to pick up a toy when she was told.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when Li-Ann couldn’t cycle even though our backs ached terribly from bending over too much.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when she didn’t want to fold or hang the clothes.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when we had to train Li-Ann to eat with a spoon and a fork on a plate.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when we discovered Li-Ann still couldn’t jump at five years of age.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when she picked up bad habits from her siblings.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when she had to walk A LOT during our holiday in Beijing.

God said,‘Trust Me.’ when she was on stage during the ARISE! Worship concert.

God says,‘Trust Me.’ because He will teach Li-Ann to read and write.

God says,‘Trust Me.’ because He will teach Li-Ann to count.

God says,‘Trust Me.’ because He will teach Li-Ann about shapes and colours.

God says,‘Trust Me.’ because He will teach her to communicate intelligibly.

God says,‘Trust Me.’ because He will provide opportunities for her to learn how to take care of herself.

God says,‘Trust Me.’ because He will strengthen her muscles so she can enjoy swimming and other sports.

God says,‘Trust Me.’ because He will show her how to relate to others.

God says,‘Trust Me.’ because He loves Li-Ann much more than me.

God says,‘Trust Me.’

written in September 2010


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Kor Kor Stole a Chinese New Year Cookie!

“Mama, kor kor stole a Chinese New Year cookie!” Li-Ann yelled out as she ran to me. Before I could say anything, John came in and told me that it was Li-Ann who took a cookie. For all stay-at-home moms, this is probably a familiar scenario we have to handle frequently. After verifying with John that he really didn’t do it and with Rebecca who witnessed the incident, I decided to talk to Li-Ann.

I took her to my room  for a private investigation.

“Li-Ann, look at Mama. Did you take the cookie?” I asked very calmly, looking at her straight in the eye.

“No I didn’t. It was kor kor.” she asserted but quickly continued, “Look! Mama,” Li-Ann opened her mouth and showed me what was on her tongue. I saw some pieces of food. They could be the leftovers from the cookie. The ‘thief’ just owned up!

“Li-Ann, are you hungry? You took the cookie right?” I asked her again, looking straight at her big, round and innocent eyes, trying extremely hard to contain my laughter, but I was not very successful. She saw me shook somewhat with muffled laughs and felt rather embarrassed. She blinked her eyes a few times and smiled sheepishly. Composing myself, I asked with a Mama’s authority, “What do you do if you want a cookie?”

“Ask Mama,” she answered in a small voice after thinking for a while.

“How do you ask?” I prompted her to think further the way she ought to communicate.

“May I have a cookie?” she said quietly.

“That’s right. Please ask Mama. If you have taken the cookie, please don’t say that kor kor took it. That is telling a lie and it is wrong. Don’t do it again. Please say ‘sorry’ to kor kor. I’m sorry lunch is late and you are hungry. Let’s go get lunch now.” I walked her to the kitchen to get lunch ready, after she apologised to John.

You know, whenever something goes missing in the house, I would usually question John and Rebecca. Now that Li-Ann is growing up, she does take things without asking or telling any one of us. This was the first time she tried to ‘steal’ food behind my back. One reason was probably because the Chinese New Year goodies were placed visibly on the table during this festive season. While it was wrong to steal, I’m happy that she was aware of what hunger was and knew that she had to eat something. It’s so good that she can tell us now. This is yet another evidence of her cognitive development. I remember reminding myself to keep to a schedule when Li-Ann was a less than 1 year old as she might not cry unless she was terribly hungry, like after 5 hours from her last milk feed. I thank God for her growth and development.

 


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Charis* ♥ Grace ♥ 恩

“Ann” means “grace; favour”. Her Chinese name “恩” has a similar meaning. We thanked God for His grace and kindness when He gave us Li-Ann but it was only after she was born that we see and receive these blessings.

When it was confirmed that Li-Ann has Down syndrome, Chee Meng and I shared our thoughts about her future and how to help her. We wondered if we should lower our expectations for Li-Ann. Having taught John and Rebecca at home and read up about homeschooling, I realised that for learning to be effective, it should be tailored to the child’s learning style and pace. I resolved to love Li-Ann just as I’ve loved John and Rebecca and would not expect anything less than what she could achieve. If I had to teach her fifty times for her to understand, I would. If I had to give her ten minutes more for a task, I would. If Method A doesn’t work, I would try Method B. Why? Because I know eventually she’ll get it. And she did!!

The synergistic outcome of homeschooling became more visible when Li-Ann was born. On hindsight, I saw how God had paved the way for her arrival. John and Rebecca loved her very much and wanted to talk and play with her. Li-Ann was constantly stimulated and most of the time, all her senses were actively engaged. This impacted Li-Ann’s growth and development tremendously. She saw what her siblings did and wanted to do the same – that in itself was an impetus for her to pick up the necessary skills so she could be on par with them. She ran where they ran. When they pretended to fall, she did the same. If they ate something hungrily, she wanted to try too. If we bought something for the older two, she would ask for it as well.

Homeschooling also means training the children in life skills like doing dishes, hanging and folding the laundry, sorting of groceries, preparing meals, sweeping the floor etc. I would usually hand-hold Li-Ann through her tasks while instructing her verbally at the same time. Now, I give her more responsibilities and expect her to finish her job well. We talk as we work and learn colours, counting, sorting and categorizing etc. The children are also taught to feed, bathe and dress themselves as soon as they are able to do so.

Another challenge we face is teaching Li-Ann to obey us promptly. However, as we remain consistent and persistent, we see the sweet rewards of our labour. It is difficult to contain our excitement and gratitude when we see that Li-Ann can be trained to respect her elders, to love her siblings and friends and therefore, be aware of what behaviour is socially appropriate and acceptable.

We also teach our children to pray and sing at a young age. Beginning with only saying ‘Amen’, Li-Ann is now able to pray spontaneously for others outside the family. The first song she learnt was the “Three-Fold Amen”. I was overjoyed when she could sing the song on her own. Now she can sing many action songs, if she wants to.

We adore Li-Ann and never see her as a burden. Li-Ann’s amazing progress testifies that given time, training and opportunity, coupled with our love and God’s grace, she can be an independent and contributing citizen to her community.

*Charis, used in the New Testament of the Bible signifies the unmerited operation of God in the heart of man, affected through the agency of the Holy Spirit. While we sometimes speak of grace as an inherent quality, it is in reality the active communication of divine blessings by the inworking of the Holy Spirit, out of the fullness of Him who is “full of grace and truth,” (John 1.14)

written in October 2010

John and Rebecca share how they feel about having Li-Ann as their sister in
The Greatest Blessing and All About Li-Ann


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The Blessing Box – January

When God told me this will be a year of receiving (read more in this post YES! To Go… Running With Horses), I told myself I want to remember ALL the blessings, if possible, and to give thanks. Each month, I will share with you what’s in my Blessing Box.

Here’s what’s in my January blessing box:

* A friend gave tips on how I can help strengthen LA’s neck and eye muscles, hoping to help her nystagmus. I was so so grateful coz I really didn’t know how to help her and who to ask for help. Further explanations on nystagmus can be found here Nystagmus

* John and Rebecca were due to exchange all the award stamps they accumulated at their abacus classes for a little something. They decided to pool their stamps together and exchange for a little purse for Li-Ann so they can give it her on her birthday. That’s so sweet of them to bless their sister. It blesses my heart too.

* A varsity friend whom I’ve not seen for a number of years came over for lunch and gave us 4 jars of kaya! Such a blessing – in abundance! We also had a wonderful time catching up with one another.

* I did a scope of my throat and stomach to check for any abnormalities and investigate causes of my reflux. I thank God for the outcome. My vocal cords are getting better. There was nothing abnormal. The doctor just found out that my esophagus seem larger than usual and that may be the cause of the reflux. So I just have to watch my diet and continue with medication.

* We are so grateful that my sister-in-law bought us a teapot with a sieve, at a very good price. We’ve been looking around and many are very expensive. There’s no excuse for me not to make tea for the family now.

* A friend who’s full-time with Campus Crusade for Christ sent me and sms saying that they are having a week of prayer and fasting and they would like to pray for us. It’s such a privilege to be covered in prayer! I’m so grateful, especially when we have a number of things to juggle with at the beginning of this new year.

* A CG member blessed us with a few tubs of CNY goodies and she took time to wrap them up too – it looks like a mini hamper, so pretty on its own. Thank you for taking the time to do that 🙂 I’m not sure if I want to unwrap my hamper and eat the goodies…

* A CG family blessed us with a set beautiful embroidered couplet for Chinese New Year. They are really lovely.

*One of Li-Ann’s Sunday School teachers shared excitedly that she began interacting with her friends and new teachers during the second lesson. That was such an encouragement to me. This teacher, who is new to the ministry, had previously volunteered in a school with special needs children. I’m grateful that God gave her the experience and patience to teach LA. With LA more settled, she’ll enjoy her class and activities better.


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Rest

Recently, CM discovered how we can get Li-Ann to go to sleep quickly. Either CM or I will lie down beside her, get her to put her hands on her chest and tell her to close her eyes. If she’s really tired,  she’ll sleep within 5 minutes, after trying very hard to close her eyes repeatedly.Usually, LA will fiddle with her fingers or toss and turn before she dozes off. Sometimes, when I find her moving too much, I’ll hold down her hands and remind her to close her eyes. The best part is she sleeps without sucking her thumb – something which I pray to wean her off very soon but I have no clue how to do it.

I’ve observed, with my three children, that young children seem to find it hard to close their eyes. As they grow older, they are able to do it. I wonder why…maybe they still want to play…maybe they want to still see mom and dad…

Watching her quietly, I was reminded that we are all like that sometimes, unable to rest even when we are tired. We fiddle around, we toss and turn and allow ourselves to be distracted and finally, burnt out. Do we not want to rest? Or have we forgotten how to rest?

I’m so grateful that Jesus, who knows us in the depths of our souls, wants to give us rest. Jesus beckons us in Matthew 11: 28-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I know that this is something I need to do on a daily basis – find rest in Jesus, in the Word of God.

Will you go to Him to refresh your souls too?