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To Love.To Serve.To Lift


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Reflecting on ARISE 2012

ARISE this year, for the first time in history, connected with every time zone to fulfill the vision of continual praise and worship across the globe. I know a friend whose 3 children were also involved in ARISE in another Asian country. It was exciting to know that we are praising God together although we are in different places. For Singapore, ARISE happened on 14 April in 2012 at 3pm at Paya Lebar Methodist Church.

Beautiful stained glass in the church

Ushers ARISE!! and take your place

This is the second time that the girls joined the ARISE choir. The first time they participated, they had a great time. God was faithful and He continued to show Himself trustworthy. Read more in my posts ARISE! and Give Thanks! and ARISE! to the Perfect Love. I am grateful for those who came to join us in praising the Lord. I’m also thankful for many who prayed for the Lord’s name to be lifted up. It was most gratifying to see the girls fully engaged for all the practices – we tried not to miss any, and on the actual day. John and daddy would capture the memorable moments whenever they could.

Rebecca enjoying the fellowship at one of the practices

Li-Ann smiling in spite of her weird tummy at practice

Happy children with Aunty Cathy at ISOW

14 April was a long and busy day for all of us – the girls were in the choir, John and CM were the photographers while I helped with the ushering. Both girls lasted the practice session, breaks and the actual worship concert from 10am till 6pm. After that, we adjourned for dinner with the family as my niece came back from overseas. And LA didn’t sleep till about 10pm that night!! She took a couple of days to recover but I was really amazed at her stamina. God showed me that those LONG hours of standing, shaking and singing were excellent therapy for her gross muscles!! Her muscles were given a sweaty workout and I had good reports from all her teachers the week right after the worship concert.

Rebecca worshipping the Lord

‘R’ is I really do believe!

‘S’ is the Son who sets me free!

Immediately after the concert, at my brother-in-law’s place, she asked my mother-in-law in Mandarin,”婆婆,你为什么没有来?“(Why didn’t you come?) My in-laws responded that they did and told her they saw her dancing and singing. Having been presented with the evidence, she was convinced that they were there although she didn’t see them. That was a very encouraging conversation as she spoke in a complete sentence in her second language to my in-laws whom she didn’t see very often! Her Sunday school teacher said LA repeated the date after her. Her Mandarin tutor was happy that she was more spontaneous during her lesson. The music teacher was excited when LA, along with Rebecca and John, tried to teach her the actions of one of the ARISE songs. LA’s swimming coach reported that she has shown improvement as well.

ARISE!! as a family

With us, she seemed to have another ‘growth spurt’ of sorts and broke out into ‘verbal diarrhoea’, showing greater dexterity and maturity in her cognitive processes. I’ve also noticed that all the actions and signing has helped LA remember other songs with the same words better. She is then more inclined to sing those songs.

She LOVES the ARISE songs and will listen to them often, doing all the actions and teaching them to her imaginery friends. Even a month after the concert, she remembers where the worship concert was – and she says ‘Paya Lebar Methodist Church’ in one breath, and asks when we are going for ARISE again. She sounded disappointed when I told her ‘next year’.  Regardless, I’m thrilled at her motivation!! I pray that as she goes before the Lord and sing to Him, she will want to know who God is and will express her desire to accept Jesus as her personal Lord and Saviour.

Would you pray along with me?

Thank you 🙂

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Riding at The Riding for Disabled Association (RDA)

I was privileged to be given an opportunity to share at ANZA’s Melbourne Cup Lunch Party on 1 November 2011 on how RDA has been a blessing to us. RDA, founded in 1982, provides free therapeutic horse riding lessons to children and adults with disabilities from all over Singapore.

I homeschool my three children, ages 11, 8 and 6. My youngest, Li-Ann, has Down Syndrome. When I found out that RDA could take in special needs children as young as 6 years old, I wished Li-Ann was six instantly!!! Of course, that didn’t happen! I proceeded with the necessary paperwork and x-rays and waited patiently. Finally, Li-Ann was given a chance to ride this June during their holiday lessons. All of us could not contain our excitement!! Li-Ann talked incessantly about RDA, her horse partner, Glow, the encouraging ladies and gentlemen who side walked her and not forgetting faithful Louise, who led Glow. While Li-Ann was ‘worked on’ as she rode with excellent posture on Glow, the rest of the family were armed with cameras and video cameras, scuttling around, taking shots of our beaming star in the arena, envious of the favour bestowed upon her.

After eight intensive lessons in June, Li-Ann’s gross muscles had a superb workout. Her muscle tone improved tremendously. That gave her strength to jump off my couch one day when I wasn’t home and she plunged off the side of the swimming pool while holding onto the coach’s hand. This also led to better fine motor control. As Li-Ann learnt to isolate her fingers more, she began to gain confidence in activities like Chinese action songs, playing the piano, photography and drawing. Furthermore, we have observed significant leaps in her speech and vocabulary, and her cognitive and problem solving abilities. This enabled her to be more expressive as she communicated with us and those around her.

As I gave out homemade bookmarks with Li-Ann’s drawings on them, many participants gave favourable comments, asked about Li-Ann and some even expressed their desire to support RDA personally or corporately. Many aided RDA’s cause by buying the Christmas cards and the beautifully decorated cupcakes. Not only would their generosity bless the people who receive those gifts, it would also allow Li-Ann and many others to benefit from this unique form of therapy. This would undoubtedly boost the self-esteem of the beneficiaries and enhance the quality of life of these persons and their families.

***

The above writeup can also be found in the November Issue of Pony Express.


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Surfing on the MRT

It’s been a while since we took the MRT. The children decided to stand between 2 carriages which means there’s more instability and movement. Usually, I would advise against it and insist that we all get seats so everyone’s safe. But I thought it’ll be an excellent opportunity to test Li-Ann’s sense of balance and strength of her back. So I took the risk and went along with it. I just prayed that we would all have a safe ride. I allowed LA to hold one of my fingers just so that she, and I, would feel more secure.

We stood most of the 1 hour journey. LA did well. She stood, legs reasonably apart (I reminded her a few times), imitating her siblings. They all enjoyed themselves, ‘surfing’ on the MRT coz we really felt the train going up and down like waves. It was when Rebecca felt tired and wanted to sit down that all three of them realised their legs needed a rest. That was the end of a wonderful play therapy session 😉


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The Blessing Box – May

Find out how the Blessing Box came about here The Blessing Box – January

* May was another busy month for us. I felt like I was on the move ALL the time. In spite of that, I’m grateful that God continued to show me the way to go.

* Li-Ann’s first baby tooth finally dropped on 4 May! I thought the tooth must be pretty shakened when we had pizza with crispy bases for lunch that day. LA, who loved pizza bases, did tell me that it was too hard for her to chew. She continued to eat heartily after I offered to cut them into smaller pieces for her. Then she told me her tooth was painful. A gentle touch revealed that it was waiting for the right time to fall out. I asked if I could pull out for her. She refused and pursed up her lips, saying that her tooth felt ok. She was so cute – she kept saying that she felt alright yet she was so preoccupied (and so wasn’t very keen on dinner) with fiddling the loose tooth with her tongue and trying to contain the pain and irritation. When she eventually agreed, I chickened out. I thank God that His will is not for me to be a dentist or doctor. Don’t think I can ever make it. Well, God was merciful and allowed the tooth to drop out on its own. I was afraid she might swallow it in her sleep. We were all VERY HAPPY. LA said in relief, ‘Now I feel more better.’ Here’s a picture of her first baby tooth that dropped

* One of Rebecca’s baby tooth dropped out too – actually John accidentally knocked it out. I wasn’t home when it happened (many things seem to happen when I’m not at home) and I was told that there was quite a bit of blood (which I’m not inclined to believe fully). I’m thankful coz she had been complaining of a nagging ache and nothing seem to be able to make her feel better.

* Li-Ann will have 8 horse ridding lessons at the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) in June and she was told to go for an assessment ride one of the afternoons. LA was extremely eager to go. She remembered her pony ride, wearing the equestrian helmet for the first time at the World Down Syndrome Day 2011 in March and was yearning for more. When told to sit on Fraggle, a gentle female horse, she quickly swung her legs on her back and made herself very comfortable even though she wasn’t sitting on a saddle. LA’s sense of balance was good and they found a helmet that fitted her very nicely. Therapy was done on horse back and LA had fun. They also taught her how to tell her horse to go or stop.

I came back and went through it with her a number of times over 2-3 days and she had no problem with it. Then I see the 3 of them playing horse riding with LA telling the horse, ‘Walk on!’ (to go) or ‘Woa!’ (to stop) The best part is a week later when I asked her, she could tell me, showing that it is already in her long term memory.

She also drew a picture of the place when she came back. It certainly looked like the arena where she rode Fraggle. Her siblings put in the picture and words so I know what I’m looking at. I was amazed at how quick she was at expressing what she has seen and enjoyed. Here it is:

* We went for the Discipleship Conference organised by our church. We were grateful that a friend was able to babysit the girls for a day while John came along with us. The girls joined us for the other full day and a night. We learnt many things. John too. He wrote a little something here Thank you Reverend Stuart

* One day at dinnertime, I told CM to help me tie up LA’s hair so it won’t get into her food. Rebecca had tied LA’s hair into 2 plaits earlier on but it got messy. So dear papa decided to try his hands at tying plaits for LA. That’s so sweet of him. It’s such a privilege to have her hair done by the head of our household. LA was very proud of her plaits 🙂 Check it out here:

See my plaits!!

My Dada did it for me 🙂


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Holiday in Beijing

This is long overdue but I have so much to give thanks for. And to show the photos too…

We took a one week holiday in Beijing in June. The weather was  dry and the sun blazing. I was so thankful that we brought moisturizer and the suntan lotion. We went to the must-sees – The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, Tian An Men, Wang Fu Jing, the Summer Palace, saw the Olympic icons, the National Theatre, visited the biggest bookstore in Beijing – Xidan Bookstore, the Natural History Museum and the Geological Museum and ate the famous roast duck. Beijing is HUMONGOUS.  Most of the time, we took the subway – very cheap (40cents per trip regardless of distance travelled), very efficient but can be rather inconvenient with all the security checks and with most stations having upward moving escalators only. Then we WALKED A LOT!! We had a wonderful time – bonding together as a family and braving each adventure.

We have so much to thank God for:

*providing for ALL our needs

*good weather

*safety for us and our belongings

*my part-timer’s sisters who help us in many ways – booked our hotel, picked us up and sent us off at the airport, brought us to The Great Wall and treated us to dinner with their families

*our hotel is basic and clean, reasonably priced and 3 minutes away from the subway station

*a 24 hour convenience store and a bakery just outside our hotel was where we got our drinking water and breakfast – bread and fruits

*meals were great – we enjoyed the jiao zi (dumplings), cold salads and noodles

*Li-Ann was able to pass motion everyday – thanks to the dragon fruits we bought at the convenience store

*the children, especially the girls, took to the walking pretty well; they were whiney when they were tired but they took turns to sleep in the stroller

*because of all the walking, Li-Ann’s muscles had plenty of exercise; hence we found her more chatty and there seemed improvement in her fine motor skills and cognitive abilities

*I bought quite a bit of Chinese children books for very very good prices

We took tons of photos. Most of them are taken by John. Here are some of them…

Cool orange headphones

Forbidden City – a panoramic view

Hurray!! A City no longer Forbidden

大人和小孩 Big guy and little guy

Star jump

Look at my LONG arms!!

WOW!! Dinosaur Bones

Oval dinosaur eggs

Check out the LONG alley

Mommy through the looking glass

Beautiful ‘Throne Room’

We found GOLD!!

Snack time on the Great Wall

Ahhh…we are sliding off…

Oh so steep!!

Beijing Hutong on a ‘crystal’ ball

Open door

Lone bike

A new friend – making music together

More new friends – having fun together

Cheers!

I am the Captain

Say cheez…

I can jump!

Kungfu master

Yummy ice mountain

Scorpions for supper, anyone?

Goodbye Beijing!


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ARISE! to the Perfect Love

There was something on my mind the whole time on Sunday during the ARISE worship concert. I kept asking myself: why did Li-Ann prefer to sit rather than stand during the concert? Was it her tummy that was still unwell? Was she hungry? Did she have stage fright? Was it the loud music or the bright lights? I didn’t ask her directly but just made sure she ate, she was alright and then, I urged her to join the others to worship the Lord. Then I would take my usher position at the entrance and check on LA and Rebecca now and then.

Then on Monday morning, I woke up and got the answer to my question. Li-Ann sat because she was afraid she would fall off the platform. I felt so bad that I cried. Because I could have helped her but I didn’t realise it. She was paralysed by her fears. As I recalled all their rehearsals, they practiced on the floor and LA always enjoyed herself. Even on the day of the final rehearsal at the Expo, she stood with the others, but slightly behind Rebecca right at the top of the steps. Rebecca was her security. However, on the actual day of the concert, she was to stand next to Rebecca but not at the steps. Her security was gone. To increase her centre of gravity, she chose to sit down. She chose wisely. I could almost sense her anxieties within her – while she wanted so much to join in, she couldn’t. As all these thoughts raced through my mind, I was reminded of 1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…

Then I asked LA about this and she nodded in reply, telling me that ‘some people touch her’. Poor girl! So I explained that it was rather cramped on the platform and that’s why it happened. The children standing behind her had no ill intentions.

I learnt a few lessons:

1. Many of us are so badly paralysed by fears which we may not be aware of or be able to express. If only we would go to God and tell Him, He will set us free. Even if we do not know how to tell Him, if we desire to be set free, He will give us the victory too.

Psalm 139:23

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Romans 8:26-28

26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

2. We need to listen to the hearts of our children. I wish I had listened to LA. I was too busy and didn’t give her time to tell me. I must admit I do neglect my children in times of my busyness too. This is something hubby has often cautioned me about – not to let my fatigue or busyness interfere with time spent with the children. Thank you dear for that reminder to focus on my priorities.

3. We need to listen to God. As I prayed that day for LA to worship God, I forgot to listen to God. I just kept talking and didn’t ask God what He wants me to do. God, being all knowing, surely knows the reasons but if I refused to listen, then He won’t be able to tell me too.

Proverbs 23:18-19

18 There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.

19 Listen, my son, and be wise,
and keep your heart on the right path.

4. We need to hide God’s Word in our hearts. First, I saw the urgency to pray for Li-Ann’s salvation and that of all our children. God wants ALL children to go to Him.

Matthew 19:14

14Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Secondly, what happened made me realise that a situation like this can happen again. And I may not be by my children’s side to help or listen to them. But if I teach them the Word and encourage them to memorise God’s Word, they can draw on these precious gems in times of need. The God who is The Perfect Love will then comfort them and give them peace.

Proverbs 4:20-23

20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.

21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;

22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man’s whole body.

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.

So let’s ARISE to the Perfect Love.

Only He alone can set us free and give us the victory in Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:57

57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


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ARISE! and Give Thanks!

The ARISE! Worship Concert on 22 August 2010 was terrific! Join us as we give thanks:

1. Our alarm didn’t go off but we woke up on time and was early when we reached the Singapore Expo.

2. I forgot where I put Rebecca’s glasses on Saturday evening. The last place I recalled, to my horror, was the roof of our car. That was exactly where CM found it on Sunday morning! On Saturday night, he had driven up 3 storeys of our multi-storey carpark and God kept the glasses ‘glued’ (as Rebecca put it) onto the car roof. Praise the Lord!!

3. With #2, God reminded me of Zechariah 4:6 and that sustained me for the whole Sunday

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty.

4. God kept Rebecca and Li-Ann going although they slept late the night before, as we were having dinner with a relative, and had to wake up early on Sunday morning.

5. The girls’ tummies were on their way to recovery from virus attack since Saturday afternoon. Thank God for His Healing. Thank you for praying for us.

6. I am extremely appreciative to the ARISE! team and helpers for looking out for the girls. I can imagine this as an added stress and yet they continue to reassure me that their antennae were alert to any signs of distress shown by the girls. One mom even carried LA to comfort her. Thank you so much. This sharing of burden gave me great peace to continue my duty as an usher. The head usher was also very tolerant when I had to get away to see to my girls’ needs. Thank you, Peter. John was also very efficient in bringing me news of how the girls are now and then. Thank you, son.

6. We all had a lot of fun worshipping God – whether in photo-taking, on the stage singing and dancing or serving God as an usher. We also made many new friends and had a wonderful time of fellowship. Rebecca told me a few boys kept touching LA’s head and said she was cute and she’s like a doll. My guess is they probably don’t have a younger sister. LA said,”They touched me and called me doll. I don’t like it.” I told LA she could tell them she doesn’t like it and walk away. But I suspect she kind of enjoyed the attention a little hehehe… 😉

7. Many friends joined us and they were glad they made it. I’m so grateful that the families were blessed. Some even asked if a DVD is available for this concert.

8. Many friends were very encouraging especially towards Li-Ann. I’m really touched by your love for us.

9. There were 100 people who indicated they would like to receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour in the morning concert. Praise the Lord!!