the small vessel..

~”A small vessel in the hand of the Magnificent Potter”~

That’s what I usually put up in the description section on my social network/blog site. The reason behind it?

Ever since I opened my heart to Jesus back in 2005, I’ve had this impression that starting from that moment, my life will function like a bowl, or a vessel, to receive and hold whatever blessings and revelations He’s kindly giving me, and to pour them back out when the time has come, i.e. when the bowl/vessel is brimming to its full capacity.

I think I did draw some pictures of those vessels, but pretty sure the drawings would be an epic fail because I’m just HOPELESS at drawing. They were there merely to serve the purpose, to remind me of what I receive, and to keep everything on track. And then this particular vessel came into my mind, on this one, cold Melbourne night when I was chatting with Daddy.

It’s made of clay, it’s brownish red. At first the vessel looks pretty normal. It’s fat on the bottom part before it goes slightly larger before going slimmer all the way to its neck, as it expands for a bit into a shape of an opening.

Okay, I said, that’s a pretty normal vessel, Lord.

Then He zoomed in on the neck of the vessel, as it appeared to grow narrower and narrower that it was almost impossible to draw water from the opening afterwards, because the neck was simply too thin for anything inside the vessel to come out easily.

Now that’s one faulty vessel, I responded. You’d either have to be a super patient person to draw water from that pot or you have to make a hole (a bigger one, of course) or maybe smash it so you’ll get to the liquid inside quickly.

Now here’s what He shared to me,
My life is just like that small, fat vessel. Empty in the beginning, God as the Potter slowly fills my life with His goodness and love and joy while slowly shaping the clay into the ‘body’ of the vessel.


This post was last edited on August 20, 2010, at 4.50pm. I would have been back home in Surabaya,  counting down the days when I would get to see Andrew again in a month time.

And I can still remember why I couldn’t finish this piece. It was the fear of the reality of my purpose. Let me try to continue.

As God continues to fill me up with His goodness and kindness, it starts to reach to the brim. And that is when God will start to ask me to give. At first it is doable to draw the water out of the vessel, though the hole is a bit narrow. But the time will come when I will be required to give more, and I will give out of my brokenness. The vessel will be broken, and shattered to allow more water to pour out.

That is such an apt description of how I live my life. I am so worried about a lot of things I will think of myself first. I will make sure I will be okay first, before I will open my heart to give to others. This is how God teaches me to be compassionate. I honestly dread that word, it requires humility and sacrifice, and I am not big on those two. Breaking the vessel, and thus breaking my heart and my will to serve others is going to be God’s way to train me as His daughter. I know full well that I will suffer, and I pray that I will form a new habit, a holy one, so His purpose will shine through me.

 

recalling His promise.

Winter Camp. There’s always something powerful about it. I’m going to miss it this year, since hubby and I decided that we are going to focus on our works this time. My last one was three years ago, Living Water, and I can still feel the thrill, the excitement of preparing, attending, experiencing God’s superpower throughout the three-day retreat.

Though I’m not joining the Camp this year, but I am so privileged to experience, though just a snippet, the chill and the calmness of the location. This time, I’ve got the chance to watch my husband preparing the sound system for the Camp, one thing that he’s never missed doing for 11 years straight. This is the first Camp that he’s going to miss, but he doesn’t have the heart to let the team ‘walk in the dark’, working on their own without any seniors. That’s why we’re here today 🙂

Oh, we’re in Rutherford Park, Daylesford, by the way. This special place took me back to five years ago when Pastor Mark McClendon and Diane Manusama delivered strong messages about the image of God as our Father and us as His children. Entering the hall brought a smile to my lips and a twist in my heart. This was the place where God decided to ‘drag’ me into one of my lowest pit, one of the toughest moments in my life. He taught me to let go, and to completely trust Him.

There are things in life that we never know whether we are going to be ready to let them go when the time comes. Things that we think we can’t live without, will be meaningless without, things that are so infused in our lives that an idea of them taken away from us will cost us our lives. Winter Camp 2007, Undivided Heart, was the time when I struggled, played tug o’ war with God (as if I was that strong), battled between my plans and His will. He kindly, but firmly, asked me to let go of my then-longterm-boyfriend of 6 years, a request that not only scared me but questioned His love for me. He continued offering His ‘proposal’, something that He’d been working on for weeks prior to the Camp. And I continued to run away, try to outwit Him with promises that even then I knew was not going to work. He knew what’s best for me, and I should’ve listened to Him.

Well, clearly I have. Ultimately. But those three days have never left me; His unfailing love, His promise that He would give the best for me, and He Himself. To come back to this place, watching His ‘Promise’ wrinkling his forehead, working with his team on the plugs and speakers and wires. Man, I should’ve listened to Him MUCH sooner. How deeply thankful I am for what He has done, steering my life into His perfect plans. Isn’t it funny that the one God promised me was standing at the back of the room, probably staring at my back all along? So close, yet so far haha.

This is the moment when I look back, and declare that none of what happened was from me. It was all Him; His perfect plan, how He has shaped me, and how perfect everything is right now. I’ve had this quote by Joel Osteen posted last year when I was preparing my wedding, and I’d like to recall that.

God’s plan for your life is so much bigger than your own. You’ll look back and say, “That was God. I never could have done that on my own”.

Nice one, yea?

I’m currently in the middle of a search, something that is going to affect my family’s life. Looking back to what He has done, I am glad I stayed close to Him. I really don’t want to play tug o’ war with Him anymore; He is way too strong, and way too wise for me to play around with. To trust Him will probably involve doing things that aren’t making any sense at times, but I guess the best and safest way is always to listen and obey Him. He is our Father, after all, the One who knows what’s best for us, the One whose promises never fails.

These past five years have been awesome. I’ve seen so many of His promises have been fulfilled. I really believe that when the time comes for His promises to be fulfilled, nothing can stop Him.

It’s 7.05pm now, about 7 degrees Celcius, and it’s pitch black outside. My fingers are frozen, and I’m still waiting for the guys to finish testing the drum kit before we can go to Daylesford Town Centre for some hearty dinner! My tummy has been growling, though. This weather is testing my appetite.

Wishing for another life-changing Camp for all camp-goers! WinterCamp 2012, Victorious Life, be blessed!

habit.

Two days ago, I quoted in my previous post about how repetitive actions that we call habits affecting our lives, sometimes in a great way. I had that quote posted because it resonated quite strongly to me, since I know first-handedly how important it is to incorporate some GOOD habits in our daily lives.

Saturday is a choir day, or a music practice day for me. We usually start around 9am, or 10.30am and finish around 1pm. Today, however, I have to stay back because A has got some preparations to do leading to Winter Camp this year, which will commence in 4 days. So, while he’s busy with a soldering iron in one hand and some wires on the other, I need to get myself busy, too. Or else I’ll fall asleep, and there’s no place except the pews for me to sleep on my back.

So I browsed around my favorite blog sites, and I found these posts about habit. They are really good, since one is about writing everyday, and the other one is about waking up early. Exactly what I need.

I have never been a morning person. One of the things that I find quite frustrating is waking up early in the morning. It makes me feel groggy. I don’t know if it’s got to do with me being born at 7pm at night so I am more awake at night and enjoy staying up till late at night, but man, do I struggle. Back in uni days, my semesters were filled with all-nighters of working on the never-ending essays and researches, because I found that I could concentrate much better when the sun was out and my surroundings were quite. No trams clanking along La Trobe street, no building workers drilling their brains out on the new site next door, and no shops opened that late for me to make excuses and roam around city instead. Night time has always been the best, even for writing. Until now.

Maybe I’m getting older. Too old to stay up till four in the morning, a power ‘nap’, and continue the day as usual. I grow exhausted. Maybe that also explains my blotched skin and wrecked mood.

I remember a couple of years ago when I was still working in Surabaya on this below-the-line marketing project, where our main target was school kids around East Java, mostly elementary and secondary schools. We were to promote a new line of lollies through games and small competitions involving the school kids, and the best time to interact with them was in the morning. Schools in Indo normally starts at 7.40am, so we had to be there at least at 7am. I had to wake up around 4.30-5am every day to give enough time for me to get ready, drive to the office, do some stock check, drive to the location, and some preps. I did that for a whole month, everyday. But once the project finished, so did my early rising.

I guess the key is discipline. I cringe when I hear or see that word, because discipline requires a lot of work and demands commitment. But that’s where habit comes in handy, I guess. This dude named Jack Cheng explained in his post 30 Minutes a Day that basically you can learn a new habit by doing it for 30 minutes every day. He referenced his opinion from a research by a professor named Paul Pimsleur, using a Graduated Interval Recall to teach his students to learn a new foreign language.

graphic of spaced vs massed presentation
It’s huge, I know. And I wonder why it doesn’t have a zoom-in/zoom-out icon. Oops.

Anyway, he claimed that the more often you dedicate yourself on this new skill, though for a small amount of time, the more your brain will capture whatever that you’re trying to learn. That is, compared to if you cram everything in two days. That’s why we never remember what we learned in uni (at least for me), unless we put them into practice in some ways, over and over again. Cheng mentioned in his post that, “There are moments when, caught up in the mental resistance that keeps us from getting started, we forget just how enjoyable the act of doing really is.” Like, taking a shower, for instance. It has become a habit, and we actually enjoy it, right? Right? But imagine if taking a shower was never part of our day in the first place, would you think that you would be voluntarily jump into the shower straight-away, even when you know you have to?

Before we were married, Andrew and I used to call each other at night before we went to bed. I had this air purifier machine that belonged to my brother but I took the liberty to slide it to my bedroom for my usage since he’d been back to Indo by that time. Some nights I would forget to turn it on, not realizing that I was missing the beeping and whirling sound during the night. Andrew would remind me every now and then, and there were times when I actually remembered to do it myself. He believed that it took 21 days for one to infuse a new habit, and it was proven.

So, now, I guess I’m interested in trying on this new 30Minute-a-Day challenge. And it indeed will become a challenge, since I am aware that I have taken quite a few ‘challenges’ and plans since March this year, and they have practically been put into a halt. Due to my laziness, or burning out, whatever you want to call it.

Nothing too ambitious this time, hopefully. First one is to write every day. Not impossible, but it is a challenge, since I will (and I really will, believe me) find some excuses that ‘I can’t write today, I need to do this that blablabla”. It’s not how much I write, but how often I write. Maybe I’ll try Jerry Seinfeld’s method,

… pick up one of those wall calendars that had the entire year on a single page. To Seinfeld, becoming a better comedian meant writing every day, so each day Jerry worked on his writing, he would put a big red X in the box for that day. Pretty soon, there’d be a chain of  of red Xs and not breaking the chain became its own motivation.

The second one is waking up early. I will try this method: sleep ONLY when I feel sleepy, and wake up at the same time EVERY morning. Let’s see if I can feel the pain of waking up at 7am when I only drifted to sleep at 2am, just like last night.

This post has reached more than 1,000 words, proving that I actually enjoy the act of doing, don’t I? I just need to remember the joy, or the pain, and the sense of accomplishment once a new post is published.

Until then, we’ll see, huh? :p

I can’t feel my fingers or my toes, and I’m starting to get really hungry, now. Better fetch Andrew soon.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

dry.

Sticking to my blog theme, if this was a real bowl with one serve of rice inside, considering the cold weather, you’d get a dry, slightly moldy chunk of waste.

What a waste.

I’m not ready for a long post today. Any normal bloggers would want to boast their holiday trips with photos and stories attached to them. I’d love to do the same, but I’m just not ready yet. Not when there are so many things in the back of my mind that demand more attention.

I’ve been away for 3 weeks to attend my best friend and maid of honour’s wedding in Jakarta, and continued my trip to Thailand for 6 nights with my parents. Though without my brother, who refused to come along because he’s got his own wedding to prepare, a family trip is always treasured. My dad is not a traveller, he’d dig his heels so deep in the ground whenever we plan to go somewhere outside his regular visiting countries. Luckily, Thailand falls under his regular category. I’ve been there once when I was 14, and hubby never visited Thailand yet, so we decided that while Dad’s got time to spend with us, we’d take it.

And now, back to reality, to the struggle of everyday life.

This is where I found a bit funny. I’m assuming that to most writers, writing excites them. True writers can’t NOT writing, they just have to write. I love writing, too. But now I started to feel that writing, or blogging, frightens me. Why? Because blogging demands me to be honest. With myself, first of all. Because I can’t write stuff that are not from my life experience.  And sometimes it is so damn hard to be honest with yourself, because there are times when you don’t want to think about all those things, when you don’t want to accept it. And once you write them down, they become real. And you’ll have nowhere to run.

That’s why sometimes writing depressed me. Because I can see how dry I am, how empty I’ve been, how resourceless I am. The fear and doubt of going through everyday is bordering to unbearable at times.

You called me to write, Daddy, and I still believe in Your plan. But I just can’t figure out how I would inspire others through my writings if I am hanging dry myself. I can’t stand not writing, but whenever I sit on The Chair and start writing, I can’t think of anything else but lamenting on my life. And I know that’s not right. But where should I go? What should I do? What shall I do when one thing that I love doing scares the life out of me now?

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.

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.

intermezzo: electronic romanticism.

I was in the middle of my writing when I realized my Blackberry notification light was flashing. It was an email, from my hubby.

Hmm? He was supposed to be in the bathroom next door, doing ‘business no. 2’. The email said, “Hi honey I love you. Regards, Andrew A”

‘What’s with this romantic gesture all of a sudden?’, my suspicion flared. Still, flattered and giggled like a school kid, I replied, “cheeky baby, I love you, too :)”.

Around 10 minutes afterwards, he skipped into the office, gave me a hug and asked, “have you received my email?”
“uhm, yes, I have replied”. “Oh?”. He checked his iPhone, and continued, “ah it worked. I tried using Siri to send an email to you before. It actually worked :D”

…… *cue my mouth going O; speechless*

Sensing something was not right, he quickly added, “but I do love you, mu :D”

Yea, yea.. I felt a little bit deflated, but had a good laugh, nonetheless. Good laughs over silly, trivial things, is good for you, I guess 🙂

God loves me.

I’ve spent some time thinking about my personal happiness commandments, and the first question I asked myself was,

“What makes me happy?”.

I could think of some answers.

Having a good laugh with good friends.
‘Me time’; good book to read, painting my nails, writing.
Singing; it makes me happy most of the time.
Goofing around with my husband at home.
Snuggles with my mom, recalling old stories.
Snuggles with my husband after a long day.
Ice cream!

When I asked myself to think deeper, I feel happy and content when I can comfortably be myself, and nobody minds. When I feel secure that no one’s going to judge me or think differently about me when I am being myself. When my imperfections and everything else in me don’t give any reason for others to think twice but to love me nonetheless.

What makes me happy? Or happiest? It’s when I feel secure. Secure and content of what I have at this moment.

I did mention in the previous post that I’d have “Be Yuko” as my first commandment. But when I thought about it, it wasn’t completely true. Sometimes I wished I was somewhere else, or someone else, or I wished I have done more or differently than what I have done right now. Being myself sometimes disappoints me. And whenever this condemning thoughts of “you’re not doing enough, you should’ve done differently, you’re not good enough” started to take over my head, the only thing that will calm me down is the conviction that my God loves me no matter what.

How so? Because if He doesn’t love me, He wouldn’t even bother creating me in the first place. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14), and this is more than enough to calm my heart on any rainy days. I am secured in His love for me.

I’m not going to be naive and say that everything is okay. As a matter of fact, I know full well that life has its ups and downs. But whatever life may bring forth, I know in Whom I shall confide. When I don’t feel that my day deserves a smile, I want to remember that there’s one Being that loves me no matter what. And His love will never end for me.

This is my fundamental understanding about my life; rain or shine, God loves me. Good day, bad day, God loves me. And no one can take that away from me.

So, Happiness Commandment #1 is : God loves me. Simple, straight-forward, and very true!

😀

ps. here’s a blog I found when browsing about ‘what makes you happy?’. The tip is quite handy, too! and it’s got a short video of Joel Osteen talking about happiness.

humored. and loved.

Choir co-ordinator informed us that choir ministering on BIC Anniversary Sunday will be wearing colorful shirt with black suit.

“Hun, I need to grab my other shirts from the apartment on Saturday. I’ve only got white with me here”. Hubby said okay, since we will be passing the city anyway on the weekends. Though have resided in the new house in the suburb for a month now, most of my stuff are still in my room in my old apartment in the city. It hasn’t been a problem since I’m working from home so I have no obligation to wear any formal clothes when I go out. Only on Sundays whenever I’m scheduled to minister.

Last Friday and Saturday sessions just happened to drain our energy. My eyes were prickling at the end of practice on Saturday, and Andrew got a headache. After having the much-needed lunch at Peko-Peko with some music team members, we decided to go straight home. Nearing the freeway exit right before our street, a realization dawned on me.

“Hun, I forgot to get my shirts from the apartment.”

I really didn’t want Andrew to drive back to the city. We’ve spent an hour already on the road on the way back. It was the weekend so it was packed everywhere. I told him I’ve got this Myer voucher for womenswear, so might just use it so it wasn’t put to waste. The voucher was a $20 off for every $75 spent. Not too bad, actually. “How about we go to Chadstone? since you’ve got this voucher, you can find a clutch to go with the new dress, too”, hubby suggested.

I was really tired that afternoon. All I wanted was taking a hot shower, put on my pajamas and read on my bed. I wasn’t looking forward to do any shopping at all. And it was Saturday, too, I couldn’t imagine the parking and the crowd. But no choice, the voucher ends on Sunday and I did need to find those stuff.

Apparently, it was easy to find parking. Andrew exclaimed, “thank You, Daddy!” when we found an empty spot right in front of the entrance. We went straight to Myer, and roaming around level 2 to start with. Found no decent work shirt with reasonable price, we went one level below. I was passing one rack of clothes when Andrew picked a peach satin blouse with some frills on the front side and on the arms. I wasn’t too sure since I don’t wear frillies that much.

“But it suits you!”, Andrew insisted. I wasn’t sure whether he said that so we could go home sooner (poor boo-boo), or he was being genuine. But I brought the blouse with me anyway, just in case if I couldn’t find anything else. We continued our search, including me strutting in front of the mirror, trying on various clutches. I wasn’t sure if it was the clutches, or I just wasn’t in the mood of spending. I just couldn’t find a nice one. So here I was, holding a piece of peach satin blouse everywhere, went up and down and around the ladies section, hoping to get more options. I was so picky because I didn’t want to spend too much. The blouse was $59.95, and the clutch was around $60-$70. Picky, or stingy, I don’t know, but I decided not to buy the clutch today. Andrew had left me at this point for the household section, checking up on the price of knife sharpeners for our new knife set.

Having the $60 less 5c blouse with me, now I needed to find something for at least $15.05 so I could redeem the voucher.   After around 45 minutes wasted on going in circle looking for a bargain, I finally gave up. My feet sore and I started to feel my head spinning. Andrew came back to see me, and he finally decided for me to just grab the handbag hook. They’re around $20-$25, and I haven’t had one yet. So I grabbed one with crystalize owl embellishment on it for $24.95, and made my way to the cash register, which happened to have no bee-line. I presented my peach frilly blouse picked by Andrew and the hook to the girl, and she scanned them. I also showed her my voucher, and took out my credit card to pay. The girl looked a bit unsure, took the voucher and had a read, and explained,

“this voucher is valid for a total of $75”

My turn to get confused. “uhm, aren’t they around $85 already?”. She scanned the stuff once again, wrinkled her forehead, and said, “these only came up to $34.95”. Andrew looked at me, bewildered. “If that’s so, I’ll just take the blouse”, I finally said, since there was no way I was going to roam around once again only to waste more time and money, vouchers aside. She scanned the blouse, and looked blankly at the monitor, before turning to me and said,

“This one is only $10. It’s got 75% off on it”.

*silence*

Then I barked a laugh. “Alright I’ll take the blouse!”.

I just couldn’t believe it. We’d wasted more than an hour to look for a nice blouse with a good price. I got sore feet and a backache and light-headed, Andrew needed to do ‘business no.2’, and we were dead tired. I walked around looking for something else, thinking that I wouldn’t buy this one if I’ve got more options when what I needed was in my hand all along! I actually ended up with what I needed for much less that I thought I would spend. Waayy leess. We walked back to the car, shaking our heads in disbelief at how funny this afternoon turned out to be.

And the blouse looked pretty with the black suit! I can actually wear frills, apparently.

I know this might be a trivial example, but I am still amazed at how good is God’s sense of humor! And how He listens. He listened to what I needed the most; I needed a colorful shirt, and I didn’t want to spend too much. And I’ve got exactly that. Amazed, totally amazed.

Hubby couldn’t help himself not to take a small credit from this experience.
“Now you know you can trust your hubby with fashion?”
“Yeess..”
“Who’s got better taste in fashion, now, huh?”
“Youuuu…”
“So I can be your fashion advisor, now, yea?”
“YEEESSS” *throws toilet roll*

Still, I had a good laugh. I am humbly amazed. And also amusingly humored. My Father is cool and funny, and He listens. I am loved 🙂

Happy Birthday, BIC Melbourne!

That’s me (on stage, far left) in my peach frill blouse. Didn’t look too clear in here, but I felt pretty in it 🙂