Thursday, January 01, 2015

The year of 2014

Time flies by too quickly. Before I know it, it's another year and I am reminding myself to take the discipline and time to note down my thoughts and reflections for the year. Otherwise experiences are stored in memories and memories turn to dust, and what has happened would have flown by too swiftly, too ephemerally. So, thank God for a quiet, tranquil 1st Jan morning to start the year, where I can sit and have the space of time to write... 

My 2014 has been a year of great heartaches and great joys. I remember what Rev Edmund Chan said -- that joy and sadness do not exist in isolation. They in fact run in parallel. Because I have experienced pain, I am more able to cherish happiness. Because I have seen brokenness, I treasure little sweet moments of exhilaration. Because I have walked through darkness, I desire light and rainbows with deep desperation. There is a refining, teaching purpose to the downs of our life that too often can only be appreciated on hindsight, in retrospect. My prayer in 2015 is not for less pain, as much as each experience is heart rending, but that God will grant me the added strength, wisdom and capacity to walk through these seasons and periods, and that my growth emerging from this journey will shape me and mould me to be a better instrument of peace for God. 

The word that describes my 2014: gratitude. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue my studies and passion in social work. Resuming school after a gap of 10 years is not easy, and there are times when I am so fatigued during the weekday evenings' lessons and am weighed down by the pressure of impending deadlines of assignments and projects. Nevertheless, I delight in the expanding vista of knowledge that is opened to me, and really enjoy the learning and the foundation that it grants me. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to work in Lakeside, and to manage the Youth Corps project. When one door closes, another opens, and I truly see God at work in my career, leading me in the path of my calling to serve Him on a more intimate and personal level. I would never have expected the department at my previous workplace to wind down; I enjoy the work tremendously and probably would not have left at all otherwise. But it did and here I am. It is my first time working in a Christian environment, and it has brought me closer than ever to God, I feel. I take delight in the morning devotions, where I can start by dedicating my day to our awesome Saviour. And the Youth Corps project was really a gift from Heaven.. An unexpected portfolio that I would not have thought I would be taking up at the start of the year. But... Here I am. I thank God for this chance to work with and mentor a group of passionate, driven youths who each have the heart to contribute and do their best for the community. Truly praying that I will be able to help them discover the purpose and joy of volunteering and come to embrace service as an integral part of life. 

I am grateful for the new life growing within me, that God has blessed Calvin and I with... Thank you God for baby Christopher. I have not seen him, but I already love him. Nursing and nurturing a new life within me gives me the sense of responsibility like nothing else can. I believe it is the same for Calvin, which is why I have also witnessed him making personal breakthroughs in his growth and determination to be a better role model for our child. I start to think a lot about life... And death. And it has been a very reflective, introspective time, especially revering the incredible magic and mystery of life, of creation. I also start to think about my mother, my parents, and even Calvin's parents a lot, wondering what it was like for them when Calvin and I were born, and before the family "broke apart". Was there as much joy bubbling within them as they welcome us into the world? In this journey of soon to come parenthood, I really thank God for Calvin. I see the way God is shaping and moulding him to be more and more Christlike, and pray that God will sustain the positive changes within him and continue to lead him in His will and for His glory. 

I am grateful for new possibilities. God showed me that He is faithful when He did the almost-impossible and my mother contacted me with the willingness to forgive and reconcile. I know this could be only temporary. As much as it is so, I still embrace this new hope with joy and thanksgiving, trusting in God that He has His perfect plan in place and He will restore all things in His perfect timing. I know that He wants to restore broken relationships and it gives me hope that the other estranged, broken relationships that I have experienced may be mended and renewed too, in time. It gives me hope and renewed patience. It also gives me hope that my family may be united and bonded one day, that the ice between my brother and I may melt and we may come together with love and harmony one day. 

I am grateful for new friendships, especially J. It surprises me how close we have grown in the last one year, and I thank God for His goodness that he has brought her into our lives at a time when we need it most. She revives and inspires me to continue to believe, especially when my passion is wavering and things are getting difficult. Her support and presence are like a burst of sunshine bringing immense encouragement to my sometimes tired heart. She inspires me to want to do more, do better, and there is no one else that I would rather have to work alongside me at Lakeside and in Expedition Agape. Truly thankful for J, a new friend who has become like a sister and family to me and Calvin in the short span of time that we know each other. 

and there are many other new friendships too. The friends at Lakeside, the friends from Youth Corps, my NUS classmates.... Each and every person reminds me of possibilities and hope and I am thankful for the chance to have the opportunity to cross paths with so many this year, thankful for the exchange and sharing of new experiences and exchange and sharing of life. 

I am grateful for where God has led Expedition Agape this year. It is the first time we have two mentoring journeys in the same year, two overseas trips in the same year. It is also the first time Calvin and I did not have to lead and the baton is passed on to S and J. We have been blessed by the new volunteers onboard Expedition Agape, the refreshing and rejuvenating opportunity to meet new like-minded friends who have the compassion and love to contribute to the world. We have also been blessed by new supporters... People who believe in us and who see the heart in the work we do. Thank you... And as much as I received the distressing news of farewell of an esteemed volunteer at the end of 2014, God also encourages me to see the silver lining and to celebrate the memories and experiences and amazing learnings that have been created through Expedition Agape. We received news of the upcoming nuptials of our first (and currently only) couple brought together through Expedition Agape. Seeing how happy they are together is heartening and reminds me to always trust in God, to have faith. 

In 2014, I also bade farewell to a dear friend, Uncle J and to our mentoring group. These are the heartaches that hurt most. Even so, I am grateful for Uncle J who has taught me so much. His joy at embracing his illness and his unflagging optimism were inspiring. His love for people and his goodness are amazing. I am also encouraged by D's dedication to serve and minister to Uncle J and his family. These experiences have taught me humility, strength, perseverance and most of all, love. As for the mentoring group, I trust that God is making space and time for the plans that He has for me and truly, it is so because our weekends have been immensely and intensely filled. 

I am thankful to C and R, our dear friends who returned from Sri Lanka in September. They have been such a wonderful blessing to Calvin and I in more ways than one, and they really touch us with their care and love. For the first time in our lives, we have had a home cooked meal to celebrate Christmas and Calvin's birthday and I was moved by the incredible effort and thoughtfulness that C took to prepare the meal. Thank God that He brought these lovely Angels into our life. And so many more... Our Care Group has showered love upon us time and again and we are really thankful for each and every couple who took time to share with us their lives, who took time to offer us love and who took time to bless us in small and big ways. The Care Group has really been an anchor of support and a community of friends who have been encouraging us always. Deeply thankful especially to S and M and R and A, these big hearted couples who walk with us through our ups and downs and who always invest their love and patience in us, reminding us to model God's ways and to strive to be better people for each other and others. 

The morning breakfasts with Dad have continued and I am grateful for time with him as well as for the Hong Kong trip that we took together this year. It was Taiwan last year and Hong Kong this year. I admit that I never really know exactly what to say to Dad and often there are times of silence when we are together. I never really know how to have a heartfelt conversation and sharing with Dad, to really understand how he is doing and how Calvin and I can be of support to him. Spending time with him is probably the only expression of love I know how. And I am thankful that with the new job at Lakeside, I am able to have dinner on some of the weekday evenings with him too. 

Love the overseas trips this year too. Our very first EA volunteers overseas trip to Bangkok, our recce trip with S, J and K to Cambodia, the retreat to Malaca with J and colleagues... And of course EA Thailand in June to Radion, spending two weeks with them in the space of serenity in Khek Noi. 

There's also the FiT Staycation over my birthday weekend, L's lovely home made tiramisu cake for me to celebrate my birthday, and being part of Make A Wish's Santa Run and Christmas Party. 

That brings the summation of my 2014 to a close. I might not have captured everything, but truly, it has been a good year. Thankful to God and where He has brought me, and looking forward to the year of Jubilee and baby Christopher this year :)

Recounting 2013

I do my utmost to review the year that's past, simply because time flies by too quickly and if I don't do that, I will probably forget most of what's happened. Memories are precious, and remembering the lessons we have gained each year, are some of the most important things we can do for ourselves. It reminds me how often Jesus asked his disciples to remember, remember, remember. Even the holy communion is an act of remembrance. We are such forgetful creatures. What's not remembered is lost to the sands of time.

I didn't manage to do that in Dec, but before Jan's entirely lost... I shall attempt to do an exercise of recollection of some of the memorable memories.

Marriage - I love the journey we have taken, the journey of learning, growth and love. I feel like God is refining us, moulding us, shaping us to be better instruments for his use. And the quote that I found today encapsulates this...

"We are all broken people, but when we make the choice to meet each other where we are, God's love can make something beautiful out of our brokenness." 

Truly. I am not perfect. Neither is Calvin. There's been alot of acceptance, alot of moving forward, alot of understanding and new beginnings.

Family - Eating breakfast with dad and Calvin on those Saturday mornings is a precious memory. I love it to pieces. It is such a simple ritual, but so precious because of its simplicity, that it never fails to bring fondness and joy when I recall it.

What I also enjoy -- the time with grandma, the time with mum-in-law, visiting cousins and their babies, visiting eldest uncle at his relative's home... very very sweet.

Lakeside - I feel like I have found a new family in Lakeside. The welcome that Calvin & I receive is tremendous, and we are so blessed by the acceptance, the love, the openness. I love the people and new friends we met, love the time that we spend with them. The retreat in JB was a joy as well, time with God, time with new friends, time of relaxation with Calvin.

Expedition Agape - Wow, the growth amazes me. Thank God for where He is leading us in Expedition Agape. I am grateful for the volunteers, and the ones who have chosen to lead. I am grateful for Timor Leste, for the beautiful and special expedition over 13 days that we have created as a family. Beyond words.

~A post that I did not manage to finish, but finding it now on the first day of 2015, I decided to publish it anyway :)~

Sunday, September 01, 2013

It's a lonely journey

Just choked with emotions and feeling all morose. I think it's the accumulation of everything that is weighing me down.

I really can't wait for my break.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Yesterday's mentoring group discussion was about Purpose, which led me to remember this article which I wrote a while back:


I have always felt a deep resonance about humanity in brokenness -- the hurts and sorrow built up within and through the fragments of ourselves. From the individual, family, to the community, brokenness is present. Perhaps it is because I have seen my parents go through perpetual arguments, mental illness, marital affairs, suicide attempts, divorce and gambling. The calling that compels me to action now after the fractures that I have witnessed, is to make a difference, to assuage the brokenness that I see and to serve other young people who are hurting and guide them to see possibilities instead of dead ends in their lives.

From the time I became the community involvement programme representative for my class and faculty in Junior College, I realised that I no longer needed to be a bystander. Against the tide of brokenness that was ever-present, I could act. My volunteering efforts started then, when I rallied my schoolmates in my class and in the Arts Faculty to contribute to low-income and underprivileged children through “I can read” camps and activities. 10 years on, and the unfailing vision and purpose that I continue to embrace, is to invest in the next generation, particularly in the children and youths who may be deemed “at risk” by society.

It is my pivotal focus because these are the ones who will be establishing their own families in another 5 to 15 years. Investing in them is investing in the society of tomorrow. A youth given the seeds of confidence and self-esteem, and the seeds in him nurtured and watered into bloom through empowerment to rise above his hurts, to realise his dreams and fullest potential, is a family saved. Only then, can healthy, happy families emerge.

The past decade has seen me part of different organisations and also taking on volunteer leadership roles, but the core focus and hunger that I have to make a difference to young people remains. Each experience and involvement has been life-changing, shaping my perspective and widening my horizons as well as deepening my capacity to contribute. 

I am one individual, but I press on because being a mentor to a young person and enabling youths who were once struggling, to see possibilities in their lives, is life-transforming, important work. By inspiring others to join me in these efforts, by touching the heart of compassion that resides in every one of us -- one person can create ripples of change to eventually shape the culture and DNA of the society into one that is restorative, and one where brokenness is healed. 


What I missed out from the short piece that I wrote, is God. God is the driving force behind my desire, spurring me on to a life of purpose. Without God, life is all vanity. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013


It is just so wonderfully apt that this Sunday's message in Church is about Legacy. It has been a word that has been on my mind so much these days, growing increasingly stronger and resounding in intensity in my being as the days pass.

I was reminded of it again practically everyday this last week.

On Tuesday, I heard about The Crayon Box story. We are each of us a crayon, playing our small part to create beautiful pictures in the world. As we draw and as we paint, our crayon is getting shorter and shorter. It is all the more important that we treasure the crayon left in us, and we aim to create as many beautiful pictures as we can. Time is running out; I feel an incredible sense of urgency to do, to give, to push. Perhaps that is why I feel so impatient at times when I don't see results, and I get so disheartened when doors don't open. Because there is no time! I am torn between striking a balance to wait for God's perfect timing, and hastily making things happen.

This is the one magical week, in a long, long, long, long time where I did not have any appointments planned in the evenings. Every day was spent with Calvin and we will have a simple dinner together, converse, share and then travel home together after work. As I see him in the same struggle that I was in just barely a few months ago, caught between the safe comfort of the work that we know and which we know is financially secure and stable, and moving forward to our passion, to an area where potentially we can impact more lives, touch more lives and shape the next generation, I know it is not easy for him. The future is unknown, the past has us caught.

But I also know and trust that God is leading and directing our lives. I came out of the wilderness, and so will he; I am happier than I have ever been before, being in a place where I can everyday, feel the meaning of what I do... that is priceless, a treasure worth more than anything in the world.

Yesterday, we had a long 6 hours chat with our mentor and a good friend about our dreams and hopes for the future, and ideas we have that could take us forward into the next 5 years towards our passion.

Then today, I came home to God to be reminded about Legacy. I cried buckets as I sang the worship songs, and my mind just praying and asking for God's empowerment, blessing and guidance. There is so much to do , so much left undone, and I just hope that God will continue to use Calvin & I for His glory, revealing His purpose and plans for our lives so that we know we are not letting Him down.

Father Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours and open up my eyes to the things unseen. Direct us Lord, in the work that you have called us to, and let me be equipped and able to serve you to the fullest of my abilities and to my last breath.

What is the legacy you are leaving behind? 

Thursday, June 20, 2013


As I see the haze, what comes forefront to my mind is the trees that are burning. And I am saddened!

Trying to read more about the situation and trying to understand what is the small part I can do to alleviate this.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hurts like hell

Again another threat.

Sometimes I don't know if that is all I am to you, a means to an end, contacting me only when you see the need to make use of me.

And you feel the need to use threats, like cutting off all ties with me if I don't comply with your wish, in order to compel me to your way.

I don't know what I should do, to say yes or no. But it hurts like hell to know that you think a threat is necessary to solicit agreement. Hurts to know that our relationship is just that -- a tool that you use to get  your way.

It's really painful >.< I wish to God that He could take it all away.