Thursday, April 17, 2014

I hope this speaks mountains to you too.

It was too beautiful not to share and incredibly in line with everything that 2014 has been for me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Choose gratitude

Some of us are so ridiculously privileged to have choice and to even experience such things typically called 'first world problems'. I've never really felt the desire to write anything about it in particular but I realised how we can overlook this so easily.

I remember about a year ago I was having  a conversation with an uncle in Singapore who was telling me that my brother's camera which I'd borrowed for my holiday was outdated. He was telling me and showing me all the latest gadgets that he owned. I can tell you that for the past God knows how long that I've never ever had a phone that was the latest model or anything. To this day I still don't and the phone I currently have is also not "brand spanking new latest model hoohar". Why? Because I know that there's no point for me in chasing such things and that if I buy something that will be suited to my "needs" (technically wants) then I am blessed to even have such a thing. I've grown up being fairly uninterested in the latest gadgets, maybe it's because of the way I grew up. I don't need the latest model of everything and I don't need to be a customer of the dominating brands in today's market.

Yesterday I bought a new phone because my old phone was being dodgy. 1/5th of my screen wasn't sensitive anymore and a little section down the bottom where the keyboard is (which I can't really locate where..) was too. It made texting and calling people a whole lot more difficult and I'd have to rotate my phone to locate the half of the keyboard which would work in a small section of my phone. I spent like a week deciding on what phone I should get, comparing all these specs and finding out what foreign terms (to me) like RAM and ghZ(?) and dual-core or quad-core mean. Then I realised today that although an important decision to make in how I'm going to use the money in my hands, but also how ridiculously privileged we are to have choices for such things.

I don't think buying the latest gadgets are wrong, but when we start chasing things of this world, we become slaves to it. For example, if you lost your phone, how would you react? And would your reaction be proportional or even reasonable? Frustrating of course, but it wouldn't require you to start punching holes in walls etc, no? Would you post a facebook status about it? Maybe instagram to tell people about the old phone you're forced to use which has no internet and how you have to get a new crappier plan for the time being? Now I'm not saying we can't make an effort to find our belongings, but in the situation where it cannot be found how should we react? I think we should choose gratitude and live to the standard that we've been called to, living with an open hand - with both tangibles and intangibles. I'm not saying that's easy, but I'm saying that with God, it's possible. I'm reminded of a story I heard a long time ago. 
One day Dr. Henry was riding his horse on the way to a church meeting where he was the guest speaker.  As he journeyed through the dense forest a masked bandit suddenly appeared with a gun.  He demanded that Henry dismount and hand over all of his money.  Fearing for his life, he quickly complied as the robber returned into the woods.

As he continued his journey, now penniless, he thought about God’s command to “give thanks in all circumstances.” How do you give thanks when you’re robbed?  As he reflected, the answer came to him.  That night Matthew Henry concluded his message by telling the story of what happened and how he could be thankful. 

“First,” he said, “I am thankful I have never been robbed before. Second, I am thankful he took my money and not my life. Third, I am thankful he did not take more; he could have taken my horse and my clothes as well. Next, I am thankful that what I had stolen from me really did not amount to very much. Then I am grateful that what I lost, in time, could be replaced. But, finally, and most importantly, I am thankful that I was the one robbed and not the robber!”
Choose gratitude in everything. I am so. incredibly. blessed. to be loved by the Creator. I want you to repeat that in your head. Even say it out loud if you must. You are so blessed!

I might not own a double storey house, heck, I can't even afford my own car! But you know what? Comparison is one thing that will keep you from experiencing joy in the present. It stops you from being thankful for the things you've been abundantly blessed with. We are so so so blessed to have Jesus in our lives and yet He blesses and continues to bless us. We're so blessed for the things, the people, the air we breathe, food - everything in our lives. Choose gratitude.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why He loves me, I don't know

I went to cell tonight. It's been a while since I've been. Mainly because I felt like I just didn't connect with people anymore. I felt alone, amidst people. I'm not trying to point fingers and say it was certain people's fault that I felt that way or anything, but I just had issues trying to connect with people at a certain level. I hope to find a cell where it feels like family. Where people judge me with good intentions and love, where we can talk about our problems openly and really do life with one another and checking up on one another. I'm not saying no one didn't or anything. But, I don't think it's a lot to ask for. I'm weary that I might be placing expectations for people to do certain things and I hope not. I get the whole doing things because it is right, but I don't want to be an unnecessary burden to people and have them feel like they need to take care of me. I just want people who point me back to Jesus when I need them to and who is willing to do life with me and talk through things with me when I need to spill words out from my heart because I can't contain them anymore. I just want people who want the best for another and who care about where the other person is going. I guess it's just to really know people who really have that outward mindset on other people. Of course, the only person who will truly satisfy and comfort me is Jesus. We can't be a saviour to another person, really. Everyone plays a part definitely, but the standard that I've set myself is that if I'm going to care for someone, I don't just care and love them just because it's right, but because it's in my heart to care for that person.

It's kind of weird really. It feels like 2013 was the year everyone I was close to left for overseas. The lesson I'm currently learning is to find comfort in God, to really learn to acknowledge that His presence is always with me. One of my love languages is touch, and I'm going through a season where I need to refocus, and gather myself and really just find comfort in the Lord. I remember just asking God before I slept last night saying, why can't you just be a physical person who can give me a hug? I just really need a hug, God. It kind of sounds really stupid now when I write it out and reread it. And then I realised, His presence is more than just spiritual, His presence is tangible. His presence is within the cool of the night, His presence is within the wind that wraps around me, His presence is in the warmth of the sun and I just know, that even though I don't see some "God person" sort of thing, He's there and that His presence is where ever I go and that He showers me with His goodness. I guess I'm in a time where I just need to learn that He is the only one that truly satisfies and that He loved me first. He's more than just some spiritual God, but He is here too. When we seek Him, we find Him. When you look for where He is, He'll show you He's never left you and has always been by your side. 

We talked about grace tonight in cell. I'm thankful that my God has grace that never runs dry, and that He chooses to love me even though I didn't deserve any of it. Why He loves me, I don't know, but I'm grateful and thankful that He does.
Faith isn't contingent on the outcome of our circumstances; faith resides in the unshakable confidence of who God is and His good intent towards us. - Julie Gorman 

I could have not put it better myself.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Little snippets

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind. I can't believe it's only been 2 weeks into 2014 because it feels like a lot more has happened than possible in 2 weeks. Here shall lie a popcorn post of my past two weeks and some purchases from Singapore.

After reaching back in Singapore I was still feeling dizzy once in a while so I had to get that checked up and my blood test and pee test (?) (well that sounds weird..) results came back good! There's just a few minor things that I need to get checked up and I'll be going for an ultrasound next week to get things sorted. But everything is good and I'm believing for a 100% healthiness rating the next time I get a checkup :)

Here's an orange lipstick I got from Etude House. It's such a gorgeous orange. I've been completely in love with vibrant orange lately. You can't have flaky lips when you're wearing this though, but it's so easy to sort that out with a lip scrub! It also smells delicious, kind of like oranges actually. The only bad thing I'd say would be that the actual packaging wasn't that good. I had to push in the lipstick (the silver bit) coz it detached from the pink outer casing. Other than that it's fine, but it makes me wonder about the other products... I've bought a few Etude House products the times I've been back to Singapore, but I haven't been completely happy with them. I think I got a shimmer stick and some gel eye liner last time and the shimmer stick was a fail but the eyeliner was alright.

I have finally mastered making chocolate tarts! I absolutely love the next photo. I know there's crumbs and there's probably things I don't understand in the photography world about editing and what not but I love how you can see the detailing in the crust. The gloss on the tart just looks like a silk blanket thrown over and the inside is so so smooth.

Different tart. Different plate. Whatever. You can't have too much chocolate tart pictures. Ever.

I made the mini ones in a second batch and I changed up the proportions a bit and it came out with a much better crust. The first one I did was a big tart and you can see the fail sides on the big tart below here. Regardless, it tasted awesome. It was beautiful in it's own unique way, okay? And ugh, I like looking at tarts and how you can see the layer of gloss over it. :3

I got this back in Singapore from Sasa I think. I've heard people rave about it but I haven't had the time to give it a shot yet. What's kind of annoying though is that there were some really yummy sounding masks like earl grey and macarons etc. but I couldn't find certain ones I wanted sold individually. Maybe it was a stroke of bad luck. Also I was a bit silly in not checking what these ones were and just listened to a sales assistant who told me that all the ones I wanted were in there. Not a single one was. My fault. Oh well.

There were singles selling, and they were all fruity. Maybe I should've just bought all singles..

Here's all the ones in the 2013 My Beauty Diary if you wanna know what was in it!

I've been shopping for things for my 21st and whilst doing that I've been finding all sorts of dandy things to put in my room.

I found these flowers. The photo doesn't capture how gorgeous the champagne ones are. The pink ones are alright, I wanted flowers that were more green and I found a gorgeous bunch but I wasn't willing to pay $8 for a bunch of fake flowers - at least not yet. I might go back for them and alternate the bunches depending on my mood every now and then. Maybe.

And oh! That bunny light in the back on the right? I got that from Singapore! It was like $12 from some place called Japan House? You can honestly find the cheapest and cutest looking things over in Singapore. The light works and everything but the face rubs off when you run your hand over it with a bit of pressure. I'll find a way to fix that up soon.

And a shot of a Himalayan salt lamp. It gives the most lovely glow when you turn it on.

I've been trying to plan out my 21st. It's pretty much set that I'm going to do something, but exactly what and how I'm still trying to decide. The whole logistics side and everything is a bit of a mess right now, but I'll share about it when the time comes around! :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

I surrender

It's 10:30pm, I'm in bed sitting next to Rufus, a warm cup of tea on my bedside table, an empty cupcake liner which about 5 minutes ago was filled with a banana cupcake Pearle baked me, a salt lamp and as I'm staring into the glow of my laptop, I realise I am at peace - almost content. Now this isn't some "I am taking a really long time to say I'm content" kind of thing, but I'm at peace in my heart. A place where I didn't feel in 2013. 2013 was hard, and though 2014 has started off much harder and rockier than expected, it feels like Jesus's presence is so real to me - almost tangible. I don't know why, but I guess it's simply grace that the crust around my heart has been melted off.

I don't know where this post is going, but I hope that for all of you who are going through a tough time that you know that you can still trust in Him in your situation. And even when you don't feel it in your heart, that you continue to praise Him because it's the right thing to do - because your situation doesn't change who He is. God doesn't delight in your suffering and I know you're probably questioning His direction, but you know what loved one? He has great plans for you. He never promised you that there would be no pain, but God's power, and His faithfulness to Himself is not limited by your situation. He is first faithful to Himself, and through that, that is how He is faithful to us.

He sees every tear you cry, He knows you and He understands what you're going through.

I know it may seem hard to trust Him now, but reach out and place your trust in Him because He is faithful and I am certain that He has never been unfaithful to you.

God promises that He can use our situations and I've learnt that sometimes, pain is the only thing that will help us grow.

I may not understand the full extent of how much it hurts for you. Or how difficult your situation is, but He does. He knows you're physically hurt, He knows you're emotionally hurt to a point where it feels physical. He understands all your emotions, your pain, and He hears your cries.

I don't know about you. But I wanted answers. My journal was just practically answers at one point. But the thing is, sometimes answers don't give us a solution. Sometimes, we get an answer and it doesn't change anything for us. I've learnt that instead of asking God for the answers, that I should just pick Jesus, pick His love, pick His grace, pick His comfort.

2014 has been hard for me, but I know, that He has plans for me. I know that He will bring good out of my situation and even though my human brain doesn't know, doesn't understand or fully grasp His plans, I know that one day, looking back, I will see His brushstrokes all over this part of my life and I will see the beautiful, complete and gloriously finished picture of my life. I do not understand, but I still trust. I trust because He's never failed me and He promises to keep the promises He has made and I hope that you will make that active decision to trust because of who He is.