I Can Do It!

To Love.To Serve.To Lift

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Childhood Memories at Nantah 南大

I brought the children and my parents to NTU for a leisurely walk on a Friday morning. Mom and dad took photos with their grandchildren and told them all about the old times. What’s even better was we visited the Chinese Heritage Centre (华裔馆). There was an interesting exhibition called ‘Chinese More or Less: An exhibition on Overseas Chinese Identity’ on how the Chinese is viewed and the presence of the Chinese outside China. Find out more here Chinese Heritage Centre What tugged my parents’ heartstrings was an exhibition on the history of Nantah (南大). Mom, seeing photos of her previous tutors, brought back many memories of her university days. Everyone got some sun (and the UV) and was tired but we were grateful for the precious time to bond.

Here are some photos taken by the children:

John took these shots…

Changeable lizard

Fire Ants

Gotcha bird!

Visiting the Chinese Heritage Centre

Original tiles belonging to Nantah

Rebecca took these photos…

Chinese Heritage Centre

Peeping out

I see terapin

Li-Ann took some pictures too…

John and the lamp

Nanyang Lake

Nice door


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The Blessing Box – April

What’s this? Read more about it here The Blessing Box – January

* April flew by very quickly. I signed John up for ‘Open Little Eyes’ Conference organised by SCGS. You can read more about it here Open Little Eyes Conference 2011That took up 3 of our Saturdays. I attended it with John and learnt many many things. The conference speakers were great. I was also impressed by how the lower secondary girls got this important conference going, guided by their teacher, Ms Sie Ha Wai. John learnt a lot too – the importance of choosing the right government, the plight of children in the third world countries and how he can play a part to help these children. He had a wonderful time putting together a presentation with the rest of the homeschoolers on the last day of the conference. They were really encouraged when their presentation won ‘The Most Inspiring Presentation’ award. We were so happy we went for the conference.

* Recently, I had been agonising over the fact that my breads were rather hard. It wasn’t like that before and I was wondering where I’ve gone wrong. It was a lousy feeling. I decided to consult my SiFu (Master or 师傅), who happens to be the children’s piano teacher. She bakes YUMMY breads. I really thank God He directed me to the right person. She suggested a couple of possibilities, including the fact that my yeast might have died on me. She also offered me tips on how to make my breads softer, which I badly needed. So I invested in a new pack of yeast and lo and behold…I SAW my bread dough rising. It was amazing what a good pack of yeast can do. My breads are nice and SOFT now. I’m grateful for all the good feedback on my breads. That’ll encourage me to bake more often and to try out different types of breads too.

* I signed John up for the Nature Explorers’ Programme in January this year. There were quite a number of assignments he had to complete before the closing date of 15 July 2011. John has been very motivated and will take time and great effort in putting his project together. I’m surprised and thankful at the ease, neatness, clear organisation and speed of completion of each assignment. John is very passionate about nature and that has spurred him on to find out more so he can share his passion with others. Check it out here Nature Explorers’ Programme

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Loving My Husband More

You know, after more than 10 years of marriage, I have accepted my relationship with CM to be such – holding firmly to our vows and being committed to one another and the children. Then something happened…

One morning, after the children’s netball practice, we took lunch out. That meant the previous day’s leftover porridge would be our dinner. That would give us time to bathe, rest and then go for classes in the evening. While cooking porridge was logistically easier for me to manage, CM was not a big fan of it, and he would dread it if he had to take it for two dinners in a row. As we were near an NTUC, I decided to see if I could get some fish to make fish soup for him – ONLY for him. I have NEVER done that. Of course you can say ‘there’s always a first time’ – but that was a BIG step out of my routine (my extremely comfortable zone). Even as I was cooking, I was wondering and asking myself, ‘Why am I doing this? I am tired. Shouldn’t I be resting? It’ll be such a rush. Perhaps it’s easier to ask him to eat out.’ My preference is always for us to eat home cooked food, and even more so since CM was unwell then. The amazing thing was – God helped me to finish cooking, got all of us ready and then left for class…although we were a little late.

CM, expecting to have porridge, was prepared to resign to his ‘fate’ that evening. He was pleasantly surprised when I told him his dinner was fish soup with rice. He asked, ‘What about the porridge?’ I told him that was our dinner, not his. I must say he really enjoyed his hot soup and rice that evening. I was happy too.

It was then that I realised that I’ve loved CM more and wanted to please him. Not that I don’t love CM. It’s like falling in love again. I sensed it’s the same for CM too. On one occasion when we were to dine at my parent’s place, CM bought a bouquet of flowers for my mom, thanking her for cooking for us. That was so sweet of him. I was overjoyed coz usually I am the one getting flowers for my parents. We may be on cloud nine for a while but our feet were certainly firmly on the ground. And we found ourselves agreeing to disagree and seeing eye to eye more about issues and concerns, especially in spiritual matters. I marvelled at this and talked to God. Upon reflection, a number of factors helped us to grow in love…

* ‘Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.’ Ephesians 5.22 I struggled with this a lot last year. I believe God wanted me to work on that. As I willed to submit to CM, I felt my burdens lightened (coz I’m not the head) and I wasn’t as grouchy. I sense that we are better this year and we smoothen out our hiccups much faster too.

* Be united as one. I always pray for us to be one, as a couple and as a family. That way, we can serve the Lord more efficiently and effectively. Where parenting is concerned, the children will have little opportunities to play one parent against the other.

* Praying for one another before CM goes to work. I want to be there to send CM off every morning, entrusting his safety and well-being to the Lord. If that day happens to be the last time I see him, I want to have no regrets. CM prays for the children and I before he leaves for work too.

* Weekly couple devotion. We were blessed with Wayne Mack’s book ‘A Homework Manual for Biblical Living’. It’s a wonderful book and really brings us to the Word of God. It has helped us discover many more things about ourselves, one another and our relationship. Most importantly, it has opened our eyes to what God has originally designed marriage to be, including the roles of husband and wife. It is very enlightening. I spotted many instances where both of us agree on what is important to ensure the ‘connectedness’ in our marriage. I can see us moving closer to each another and towards God, who is at the apex. See picture below

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A Beginning.A Covenant

I usually take a couple of hours off on my birthday so I can spend extended time with the Lord. My favourite place is the Botanic Gardens under this big shady tree. I looked forward to that quiet retreat with the Lord again this year. However, even on the day of my birthday, I was still undecided about my place of retreat. Then I left the house late…Finally, I told CM to send me to the Yunnan Garden at NTU.

Although it was a sunny morning, the garden was very quiet and breezy except for the sound of traffic from the PIE. With the welcome shelter of the red and white oriental pavilion, I felt a sense of contentment and peace. In fact, NTU, previously known as Nantah (南大), was where I grew up. When I was small, my mom was a tutor in the university and we lived in the staff accommodation on the campus premises. Frankly, I didn’t remember very much of it except from what I saw in the photos.

As I sat there reminiscing the past, tears kept flowing down my cheeks. I remembered how my parents loved my brother and I, how tough it was for my parents when we were young and the good family times we spent together. I was reminded that I must make time and effort to honour my parents (Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20.12). This is an area that I have much room for improvement. I was grateful that my parents willingly helped me take care of the children that day so CM and I could spend some time together. I must bring my parents back for a walk some time in this beautiful garden along with my children so they can tell them many stories about my childhood home and their mommy. And I did. Check out our photos here Childhood Memories at Nantah 南大

That morning, I was working on Chapter 7 ‘Covenant is A Walk into Death’.* While I  remembered where I was born as a child, God also brought me back to spiritual basics with Him. I was reminded of some fundamental truths:

– Covenant is serious business and not to be taken lightly. (Read God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15)
– When two people enter into covenant, neither belongs to himself any longer because those who enter into covenant take on an obligation to their covenant partner.
– When I choose to be in covenant with God, I go to Him on His terms, not mine, because it is God’s covenant. Jesus said in Mark 8.34
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
– In covenant, I no longer live for yourself; there is a Covenant Partner to consider, and I must be true to that Covenant Partner. That is, there’s a death to independent living. As Paul said in Galatians 2.20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
– Genuine salvation is when there’s a genuine life change. A spiritual birth is possible only with a full surrender.
– Have I moved from ‘decision’ to ‘conversion’? When I made the decision to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, was I convicted of my sins, truly converted in my heart, therefore leading me to a new and abundant life with Christ?

After that day, I suddenly understood what it means to fear God. It’s not really being afraid of God. It’s knowing the greatness of God, knowing the extent of His Power yet marveling at His everlasting love, forgiveness and grace.

Psalm 34.11
Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

I’m so thankful that God is ever so patient with me and will continue to nudge me when I’m distracted or forgetful no matter how old I am physically and spiritually.

*Kay Arthur, Our Covenant God