30days..

..without tapping on my MacBook and write down my thoughts in words.

So, what had me so busy that I couldn’t even sit on The Chair and do one of my favorite things for the full month?

Good Friday and Passover weekend.

A wedding. At the winery. With an acute case of bipolar weather during the entire day. Beautifully challenging.

Frenzy shopping for our humble studio.

A visit from my brother and his fiancee from back home. Good food, good laugh, good family time. And two-weekend photoshoot. Dead tired by the end of everything, yet wanting to do it all over again.

A coming trip back to home country. And other trips. I love travelling, really. I just hate planning, especially when I have moi Mama (broken French, sorry) on the other side of the argument team.

Just being me, most of the time. You know what it means.
I really need to step up. Seriously.

 

please and thank you

Please, and thank you.
That’s how Momma taught me to.
For what happened and wishes that haven’t,
please, and thank you.

From the day we were born, we were designed to ask, to demand, to take, to require. To get something to satisfy our comfort, to patch up the sense of lacking in our days. Giving wasn’t actually natural; we had to be taught on how to share our toys or cookies with our bench mates when we were kids, to surrender something out of what we have, to be willingly be separated from something out of our lives. And since it was more natural to take, we will more likely to demand something back after we give.

I’ve been learning about this law of give and take. I’ve pondered on the verse, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” from Acts 20:35b. When things around demanded something out of me, I often asked silently, “what have you got for me?”. And that’s when disappointment arises.

We demand more, making excuses that we can’t really give anything out if we don’t have anything to give in the first place. We expect things from everyone; from our parents, our families, our spouses, our friends, our community, our churches, our governments. Not necessarily material things, more than often we expect mental supports and loyalty, and love. Since nobody is perfect, more than often we all miss the mark. Expectations thwarted, and we simply chuck our ‘giving mode’ out of the window.

Disappointment suffocates. It hinders us to see the goods and highlights the faults in everything. It holds us from joy, it closes our ears from edifications. When things don’t go as expected, it’s hard not to be deflated. So what to do now?

Expect less, give more.

Simple, yet tough. There’s a huge challenge in Jesus’ message on giving, because He knew we need to learn everyday. We might be expecting, demanding lots of other things in life, but maybe, all that we need we have received. Right here, right now.

Please, and thank you. This “please” might not be about asking at all; it could be, for some of us, about letting things to happen, and we can still say, ‘thank you’.

I have hope that there comes the day when we will experience first-handedly on the joy of giving without having a return. Our God knows we need saving everyday, and He can only do that when we soften our hearts, leave our pride at the door, and receive from Him. We need to remember that God doesn’t demand perfection from us, yet He gives perfectly. How could we expect perfection from others when we are not perfect ourselves?

When we learn to give, and maybe, eventually, we find that even our imperfection in giving brings joy to others,  then we can understand the joy of giving. Until then, let’s learn to say, “please, and thank you”.

***********************************************************************************************
Dear Daddy, please, teach me, and thank You for everything. I’m humbled by Your love.

image courtesy of Three-Sixty Press from Keep Calm Gallery.

breakfast.


A colorful breakfast to start my day;
Crunchy Nut corn flakes, cinnamon muesli and strawberries.
Salty, sweet and tangy.
With a golden swirl of honey.

Have a lovely Thursday, people! Another day before entering the Happy Long Weekend 🙂

unexpected encouragement.

Cruising over my favorite blogs, when I found this;

in the cleft of the rock.

“God said, ‘Look, here is a place right beside me. Put yourself on this rock. When my Glory passes by, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by.’”

~ Exodus 33:21-22

Sometimes when it’s the darkest…

God is the closest.

Never thought of this before. This is so unexpected, so encouraging. Thank you for sharing this, Alece.

 

ohollandaise~

I woke up this morning with a list of things to do in my head. And I was determined to get them done by the end of today.

  • Laundry. The full package; washing-hanging-ironing-folding.
  • Bedsheets due to be changed.
  • Search for custom-made bed frames and bedside tables for our bed.
  • Some work on the wardrobe; the seem-to-never-end routine.
  • Search for some stuff on the internet for Mom.
  • Cooking.
  • Continue with my reading on this Sacred Marriage book by Gary Thomas.

I know I sound like a housewife already, which I think I am now. Hmm. Hubby was in such high spirit this morning, since he’s got his new gear yesterday, he offered to do the first and second part of laundry before continuing his experiments with his camera. Too sweet 🙂

I attacked the dirty dishes first, wiped the kitchen counter, threw out the garbage and put a new lining for the bin while asking Andrew to take out the heavy ironing set from the laundry room. I was about to move ahead with ironing the huge pile of bedsheets when my eyes fell on the recipe books I bought from Woolworths a couple of days ago.

Women's Weekly - excellent for beginners

And I thought,

“hmm.. should I?”

Self-confessed bad multi-tasker, sometimes I take more on my plate than I can chew. Those cooking books are not even my idea, it was a suggestion. Last week, a friend recommended me to try cooking when I said I don’t cook. “One recipe every week”, she nodded at me. I resented the idea at first, because whenever I go to the kitchen, it’s always to produce something that is ready-made; I need to only add water, milk, or peel. Or reheat. I didn’t spend a year studying commercial cookery for nothing; I know what I am NOT capable of. But lately I am such a sucker for periodical challenges, so I decided another weekly challenge won’t hurt. And it’s just food, nothing can really happen, right?

I have flipped through the cooking books since I bought them, and I’ve got some pages dog-eared. Leaving my bed sheets and ironing board set up already by Andrew, I picked one recipe to start my cooking challenge; Cajun Chicken with Lime Hollandaise.

Cajun Chicken with Lime Hollandaise

I’ve got some chicken breasts in the fridge from last night’s cooking, and Cajun seasoning in the pantry,  so I only had to grill the chicken. Now, the sauce. They taught me how to make these sauces in school, but that was like, 8 years ago. And I’d never made them again since. But hey, you only have to follow the recipe, right? So I’ve collected all the ingredients out of the fridge, and started making them. Andrew came into the kitchen once in a while, teasing me, “aww you’re cooking!”, but he pretty much let me wrecked the kitchen.

Hollandaise sauce is basically a mixture of egg yolks, white wine vinegar, lemon/lime juice, peppercorn and melted butter. All you have to do is to whisk together the egg yolks, vinegar and juice, and continue beating over a double boiler until it’s thickened, then adding a steady stream of melted butter into the mixture to make it creamier.

And that was what I was trying to do, I swear. But OH why am I so surprised. First, the whisk that I used to beat the egg yolk mix kept slipping out of my hand/the bowl, and sent some egg yolk rain across the counter, hitting the stove and A’s beloved Nespresso machine (he didn’t know this, and I didn’t let him know, either, or he’d haul me out of the kitchen right away). Wiping the crime scene quickly, I continued with melting the butter, and beating the egg yolk on the double boiler. I kept beating and beating and beating, waiting for it to reach the saucy consistency. But nah, it just didn’t happen. “Maybe when the butter is in, it’ll get thicker”, so I poured in the melted butter, a steady stream as the recipe instructed. And yep, something started to change.

the ingredients. or the mess.

my attempted hollandaise sauce

I just knew something was wrong when I took the bowl off the boiler. O yes it was creamy and thickened. But the smell was far from any versions of hollandaise, or any sauce for that matters. It smelt of kue bolu, or sponge cake. Buttery, and egg-y. COOKED egg, to be exact. The boiler was too hot, apparently, and it was too late to save my attempted hollandaise sauce. 🙁

Uhm. I typed in ‘hollandaise sauce’ on Google just now, and Masterchef website claimed that you DON’T have to put the mixture on the double boiler whatsoever for you to make hollandaise.  :(:(

Maybe I should’ve stick with what I am good at.

the therapeutic feeling in ironing

I hollered at hubby for him to fix some lunch from last night’s dinner, and we had lunch in peace. Well, I cooked the rice, he fixed the Kung Pao chicken. At least it tasted good. It was his cooking, by the way.

Oh, and he had me posing for his new gear all day. You gotta do what you gotta do, but it surely was a fun day 😀

I just need to gather more courage to actually attempt more cooking. God help me.

Let it go.

So. I have mentioned the possibility of enduring some ‘validity tests’ whenever I am to commit myself into something. This was what I wrote in my other post;

However much we try to think positive towards life, sometimes life takes the better of us. I’ve experienced in many occasions that just when I decided to choose to be happy and content, life hurled something at my direction and blew me off-track. And I had to work harder to build my happiness because now I was pissed I have failed to stay happy!

The focus was to challenge myself into having a positive attitude, every day, and ultimately, be a better person. To be someone that God has intended for me to be. But it’s not that easy, as we all probably have known by now. And this is the very reason why I took my sweet time to post this one. Integrity, yo.

As I become more aware about my personalities, I can say that apparently, I get annoyed quite easily. Even only by the slightest, most trivial thing. I can be annoyed by something simply because it is there, or by the absence of it. I think it’s because I am a perfectionist; I want everything to be meticulous, as planned and as I want it to be. I am not comfortable with things that are unaccounted for, stalled plans, even surprises, however delightful they might intend to be.

Life is harder to live in (and harder, too, for those who live with me) whenever I keep this attitude, especially when I start gloating. Victimizing myself, I feed my anger with reasons that my anger is the right anger (‘I deserve to be mad at you’), and something that was initially small became a major case. This can’t go on. I need to learn to let go.

If I may play around with analogy; being angry is like being thrown into a puddle of mud. You will get some stain on you when you plunge into it. The choice is yours now; whether to get out of that mud and clean up, or to roll around and bathe yourself in the filth, leading to a harder and longer time to get rid of the stain off you. Rolling around in the mud, hmm, it reminds me of something else, too.

I chose to muck around in the puddle most of the time. Why? Because sometimes, it’s easier. Rather than getting up quickly and getting myself a set of clean clothes, I would just stay there for a while, making mud castles and building up the tension, to see what’s going to happen. I’d get more and more stain on me, and I’d drown deeper and deeper into my fury. Eventually, I would make stupid moves, or bad decisions. I would hurt. And, as I’d known it by now, it would left me feeling way worse compared to if I just let my anger dissipates.

Last week was my testing ground for this Commandment. Wednesday night, hubby annoyed me for his reluctance to take photos with me on a birthday occasion. He has never been big with being in front of a camera, though he has improved a lot since being with me. But his public hesitation irked me so much as I took it as a personal rejection (‘you don’t want to be seen with me’, which is stupid since he is married to me). He might be too shy to ‘make a scene’, asking to take photos when everyone else was still busy eating, but no I didn’t care about his feelings. I ranted at him on the way home, asking why is it so hard for him to change and to actually use the camera if he really likes taking photos. He answered me with, “but I didn’t say no, did I?”. He did go up and ‘surrendered’ himself to get his photos taken, together with me and his sister and the birthday guy, but still. I took it personally, and I spent the night giving him the ‘silence is golden’ treatment.

Saturday night, hubby planned on having a quality time at home, since we’ve been quite busy with homemaking and glueing our eyes on the computers for long hours for work. Delighted by the idea, I made sure I finished tidying up the house earlier. But hubby, habitually, had the laptop on his lap till late at night, again, and I ended up too sleepy to do anything else. Annoyed, I announced I was going for bed. Sensing my rising temper, he begged for me to wait for a bit more, saying about the slow internet not processing his request. I didn’t care, I just covered my head with the blanket. When he was done with the laptop, he persuaded me to talk. And it all went downhill from there.

“Why can’t you try to…”
“Why are you always…”
“I don’t like you…”

All those classic run. He avoided me for a while, thinking that I might need some room to blow off some steam, but it got me more furious. Finally, he sat next to me, held my hand and looking at me in the eye, “why are you so angry? Why do you have to be so mad at me over small things?”

I couldn’t answer him.

Why do I have to be so angry? I really can’t blame the monthly hormones all the time, so I better come up with better excuses. I need to learn to let go of things that don’t matter that much in the long run. Small glitches in everyday life shouldn’t stop me from giving thanks to God and enjoy what I have.

Letting go doesn’t mean losing. It means you’re strong enough not to let it hurts you further. It means you’re wise enough to see what matters more. It means accepting the situation, and moving on. Wednesday night, I fell asleep without resolving, and was awakened by a bad dream. In my dream, I shouted in anger at my husband, and awoke screaming at nothing. He was awake, too, and I told him, “I dreamt that I was screaming at you, angry at you”, and he said, “it wasn’t a dream”. I felt like somebody pinched my heart; I hurt him, and it was too late to take it back. I let go on Saturday night. I apologized to my husband, and went to bed in peace. It felt so much better, because being angry actually drained your energy. I also minimized the chance of prolonging the pain between us inflicted by my anger.

Letting go also means that I am accepting that nobody is perfect. As much as I crave and demand perfection, none of such thing will happen, if I don’t learn to accept and let go. My husband is not perfect, just as much as I am not, either. And I need to remember that as imperfect as I am, he loves me. And God loves me, and He loves my husband, too. If I choose to see, life is too precious to be contaminated by murky matters that won’t cause any dramatic effect in the long run.

And I can always choose, every single day.