do not fear.

You have two choices

The way I see it, you have only two choices:

  1. You can spend your days dreaming of a better life.
  2. Or you can do the messy work of taking your dream to the world.

You can sit around, playing the what-if game, or you can start saying, “Let’s.”

Right now, your dream is perfect. Safe and comfortable, it’s untouched by your dirty, human hands. Stuffed in a box on a shelf, it’s tucked away — far from the world it’s supposed to change.

Here’s the truth: you’re squandering your passion. For sake of personal comfort and fear of messing up your calling, you’re robbing the world of a gift — your dream.

Is it worth the cost?

 taken from  ‘How to Stop Dreaming & Start Living‘ by Jeff Goins.

I fear a lot of things. Petrified by things tangible and intangible. Frightened by unpredictable existence. I fear height, sometimes darkness, death, and failing.

Fear cripples you. It has crippled me for some times. It slaps a big ‘no’ to ‘maybe’, however silly ‘maybe’ might sound. It labels ‘impossible’ to dreams, however improbable they are. It squeezes out the good juice out of the fruit and leave it to die, rotten, left out.

My fear hinders me towards my freedom. The freedom to do things that I know I am supposed to do, things I am called to do, to bear. I fear that once I dip my feet into the trial, it will be messy, it may not work, I might have to work really really hard for it happen, and there’s no going back. The dream may not be so perfect anymore.

Gently, God asked me, “but who gave you those dreams in the first place? Who gave that desire to pour your heart and soul into words and lines, and melodies?”. It sure wasn’t me, Father. Surely it was all from You. But these ‘what if?’ questions.

What if I failed?
What if I don’t do it as I am supposed to?
What if it’s not perfect?
What if people laugh at me and think that I’m stupid and weird?

God, the Creator of night and day, the sky and the mountains and the seas, wrapped a tiny, perfect seed of dream and placed it in my heart, into my imperfect life. His dreams, His desire, His plans. All that I need to do is to believe, and take the step. He, who could actually do all that He has put in my heart so easily, chose to trust me in all my weaknesses to do them. For Him. For His friends, His children. Not for my gain, not for my benefit, but so that His plans are delivered. These tiny bulb of dreams of His, placed in the hearts of His children, what would happen to them when they are fed with faith and trust?

Fear robs you off your freedom, off your joy, your destiny, His plan. The fear of the possibility of you failing, or the fear of you succeeding thus the demand to work harder to keep you there. Just as faith is believing the unseen, fear is also believing the unseen, the false.


this post was last edited on April 15, 2012. I wish I would’ve finished this piece, I would love to know what was on my mind that made me poured my heart out like this. I am still a little weary sometimes, and maybe I have been letting the daily mundane buoyed me to exercise my duty. And how I wish I would take courage and continue to write and sing.

Not all is lost. I still have breath within me, I can still do this. This little flicker of dream and purpose is still here in my heart, I can feel it. I only have to remember to feed it with faith and trust. Lord help my unbelief.

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.

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.