This year marks 10 years since I started writing. My debut book Prince Bear & Pauper Bear was published in October 2007, so technically, I have been a published author for 9 years. Whichever way, it is a cause of celebration. Especially since the year took on added significance when I was diagnosed with breast cancer this June.

In 2007, I set up Mustard Seed Books to publish my Prince Bear & Pauper Bear and subsequent 3 Toy Titles, as inspired by the Parable of the Mustard Seed in Matthew 13:32 of the Bible. Although the mustard seed “is the smallest seed of all the seeds, it becomes the largest of the garden plants…so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

Likewise, it was my aspiration that my writing would grow in reach and purpose.

I’m thankful for God’s favour throughout my writing journey this far. This year end will see a total of 30 children’s picture books and 1 memoir published.

I did not imagine that it would all begin with one little picture book about a poor teddy bear whose toymaker forgot to stitch him a mouth so he could not speak…

Today is TGFFF – Thank God for family, friends and favour Friday!


I had my 5th chemotherapy session yesterday – a day earlier than usual as my oncologist is on leave today.

My 4th chemo cycle went extremely well and I feel better than ever.


For the first time in 4 months since the breast cancer diagnosis, I did the following:

  • Had my first cup of coffee (turns out I didn’t miss it since switching to green tea)

Having my 1st cup of coffee in 4 months at Chop Suey over at lunch with Ben


  • Went to Tanjong Beach with Caleb, followed by pizza with live music (a family routine we used to do) where he (i.e. Caleb) made his song request for Adele’s Hello. Caleb was so thrilled that he didn’t stop talking from the time we left home till we got to the beach.

Building sandcastles at Sentosa’s Tanjong beach


  • Took Caleb to Botanic Gardens to feed the fishes, where he talked non-stop to the fishes and turtles for 1 hour. (I had avoided doing that because I didn’t know if I had the energy to catch him if he sprinted off.)

On the way to feed fishes at Botanics


  • Took Caleb to his Kindy exhibition (after missing out on his last few Kindy activities)

Attending Caleb’s Kindy Exhibition which was nicely uncrowded



Over the past few months, a number of friends from eons back reconnected with me after reading my God Knows Leh blog posts.

Amongst them:

An old MGS school mate whom I hadn’t seen in 30 years came over to visit.

A friend from Bible Study Fellowship from 10 years back emailed to encourage me.

And last week, a friend I made through work 20 years back came to see me. I was then in my second job at a Malaysian start-up property company. Madeline was with Epigram (long before it started publishing books) and working on a commemorative book for my company. Back then, we didn’t have mobile phones, emails or social media so we lost touch after I left that job.

Madeline contacted me after reading my blogposts and we finally met up again! Long lost friends – literally – but we didn’t miss a beat getting right into heart talk and catching up on each other’s lives. I’m thankful for our paths coming together again.


With long-lost friend Madeline – 20 years later


And this week, I caught up with my dear friend Karen (and my bridesmaid once upon a time) over lunch – something we haven’t done for  some time.

With Karen.png

Two October babies celebrating our birthdays in advance


Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.


I was scheduled for a mastectomy surgery about one week after I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Ben asked me, “Do you want to have a prayer party before surgery?” 

I had no idea what that was but a party sounded good. “Okay,” I said. “But let’s keep in simple.” 

“We should have someone lead the songs,” said Ben. He asked our friend Joseph, who works as an evangelist.

“We should ask a few church elders to come pray for me,” I said. 

We have a church friend around our age who was diagnosed with lymphoma a month before me. We invited him so he could also be prayed for.

One SMS invitation led to another. 

It was starting to look a bit too big so we stopped inviting more people.

My friend Jing Siew texted to check if I wanted her husband Simon to help with the songs. I asked them to bring their guitar and a few songs as backup. They also wanted to bring some communion elements and asked me, “Is there a pastor to bless the bread and “wine”?

I checked with my friend Bernice if her husband, a Reverend, could come and “work overtime”. She said yes.


As it turned out, the prayer party ended up on the evening before my surgery day.

It was a weekday night. We expected many to be coming from work and latecomers. So we catered a dinner spread of Mee Siam and few other dishes. 

I didn’t actually keep track of how many we invited. But when everyone arrived, we had a full house.

Jing Siew showed up with a projector and screen for the songs segment. Which we didn’t need in the end because Joseph came with his guitar and song sheet handouts.

Although we threw the prayer party, I actually had no idea what we were supposed to do. Soo Inn and Joseph shook hands, worked out an order to the evening and suddenly our prayer party had turned into an organised church service. The party was looking anything but simple.

Joseph led us in a few worship songs.

Soo Inn shared a prepared message (or should I say sermon) and blessed the communion elements which my family took.

Except my 5-year old. “I don’t want to drink this. I want Ribena!” Caleb announced rather loudly to the house.

There was a polite silence. So I said, “Well, some things in life are just not in your control.”

Laughter ended the awkward silence.

We proceeded with communion. 

I planned to say a few words, essentially to thank everyone for coming and let them know that I was headed for surgery the next day. I ended up sharing my story of how I received 5 coincidental “No Matter What” messages in the days leading up to my diagnosis and beyond. 

Then Joseph told me that he had a No Matter What song for me. My 6th No Matter What. How could it be so co-incidental? I was speechless.

For the first time since my prayer party started, I broke down and cried. 


Caleb immediately came over. He patted me on the back like an adult would and gave me a tissue to dry my tears. 

Then, Soo Inn invited friends to pray for me. My 15-year old niece was the first. She spoke about how I read her the first manuscript I ever wrote when she was 6 years old and told me that I would continue writing many more stories. She suddenly felt awkward and blurted, “I don’t know how to pray.”

Caleb immediately quipped, “Just say God loves you!”

Which brought on more laughter.

And so one person after another prayed for me. And before we knew it, our prayer party lasted over two hours. And amazingly, everyone stayed through.

I slept soundly that night, bathed in love and prayer. And the next day, as I was wheeled into the operating theatre, I went with the assurance that God would uphold me through it all. I was wheeled out, about 6 hours later, without any pain from the double surgery.


Related Link:

God Knows Leh #4 – A Pebble in Breast and 7 No Matter Whats

Inside-out Kid #2 –It’s not fair, I didn’t want you to be in hospital!

Since starting chemotherapy/post-op therapy 10 weeks back, I’ve found myself in a season of waiting. 

Waiting for each chemo cycle to pass.

Waiting for chemo to be over. 

Waiting for my hair to grow back.

Waiting to get back to normal routine. 

Just before the start of this season, in June, I had glimpses of encouraging things to come. 

Too co-incidentally, these things all went on waitlist status once the chemo period started. Everything went quiet.

As if I am meant to wait in all areas of my life – to be still. 

I’ve always been a Martha rather than a Mary. I’m not good at sitting around waiting. I want to check off the next item on my list. Get things done. 

Now, at mid-point of chemotherapy/post-op therapy, where waiting feels weightier, I’ve made a conscious mindset change to not look at this as 8 more weeks in “waiting”. Because it gets weary and dreary.

In a Faith Gateway e-devotional which popped by in my email inbox “Learning to Wait”, author John Ortberg said “What God does in us while we wait is as important as what we are waiting for”.


A postcard which came in the mail from writer friend Linn reminding me that winter does not need to be white and grey.


And so, instead of seeing this as winter season or my time in the wilderness, I choose to see it as:

my time of physical and spiritual rest – on the finished work of the Cross.  

my time of reading and building myself up in God’s Word

my time of reflection – on areas in my life that I have been convicted to change 

my time of being still – to savour these quiet moments and not be caught up with what is ahead.

It will be a sacred time. A prayer retreat. A holy pause. Where I feed on spiritual manna and hopefully glimpse Heavenly wisdom before my next season.

And when this time of waiting is past, I shall be renewed in strength to soar like an eagle.

Psalms 40:1 “I wait patiently for the Lord. He inclined to me and heard my cry.”

Related links:


Isaiah 4031.png

SEED Institute recently organized an outdoor event: “Walking Story” on 27 August 2016 at Pasir Ris Park, using materials from the 4-picture book commemorative collection that I had written for the Year of the Co-operatives in 2012.

Various routes were planned for the 4 books and about 50 Chinese preschool teachers participated in an enriching story walk around the park to learn more about using the outdoor environment to enhance their story telling techniques with preschool children.

I was invited to do an autograph session with the participants at the end of the event as each of them would be given one of the books as a gift. I was unable to attend as I’m undergoing chemotherapy. But I did love the idea of the teachers being gifted a copy each so I pre-signed the books at SEED Institute’s office a few days before.

On the Monday after “Walking Story”, I received a phone call from my 5-year old’s Chinese teacher. As it turned out, she was one of the participants. She was especially pleased to receive the autographed copy of my book.

I was also delighted to receive a lovely photo collage from SEED Institute last week.


The Singapore National Cooperative Federation first published this series, followed by SEED Institute who re-published it as a bilingual series, with support from the Lee Kuan Yew Bilingualism Fund.

Co-op series bilingual.jpg

SEED has also been using these books in their teacher training workshop “Creative Teaching Ideas for Character Development in Early Years” to promote the teaching of character building in preschoolers.

I’m happy to see how far these 4 books have walked over these few years.🙂


Related Posts:

When the President and 15,000 breezed through A Very Big Storm

A Very Big Storm in 17 locations in Rochdale Manchester

Bilingual Children’s Picture Books for all Singapore Pre-schools



Today is Thank God for Family, Friends & Favour Friday!

Lots have happened in the past three months since I was first diagnosed with breast cancer.

But slowly, I have reached half-time in the chemotherapy/post-operation treatment. I’ve completed the first 3 treatment cycles, with another 3 more to go in the 9 weeks ahead. Today, I go for the 4th chemo/post-op treatment.

As I reflect on this period, I’m thankful for 6 decisions which have sustained me this far:

1. Going direct to my Maker

When my watch is spoilt, I go to the watchmaker.

So when my body was found to be with cancer on 1st June, I make a decision to go straight to my Maker.

Frankly, this was something quite counter-intuitive to my usual modus operandi. I chose not to research this condition or spend too much time reading up on it. I asked Ben to do that instead and just flag out (with post-its, please) what I needed to know to arrive at a decision medical treatment-wise.

I would say this is the best decision that I have made since my diagnosis.

Of the little that I read on cancer, it was already too much. Everything about it is depressing and only pulls you down. I have been interested in information only if it makes me better. I choose to look up, not down.

Like taking medicine, I also spend three quiet times a day reading the bible and praying. I have been actively reading passages about God’s healing in the bible. It has strengthened me spiritually and is healing me from inside out.


2. Creating prayer circles

The next best thing I did when I was diagnosed was to update a few circles of friends through WhatsApp to ask them to pray for me.

The prayers of everyone have sustained me through some of my low points, as at any one time, there’s someone sending me a prayer or pick-me-up message.

On days when I’m cooped up at home, it’s like a line to the outside world.


3. Being Open

Right from the start, I made a conscious decision to be open about my diagnosis and treatment.

Because of that, there has been a tremendous level of support from friends and acquaintances. Old friends I’ve not seen or lost touch with for the past 20-30 years contacted me after reading my blogpost updates on Facebook.

Friends who have encountered cancer directly or in their family and friend circles have offered great practical advice, especially survival tips for this chemotherapy period.


 4. Family Routine

Although my dad is still ferrying Caleb to Kindy and his other activities, I have resumed the childcare routine at home. It’s nice to slowly ease back to some normal routines and still have some downtime when my dad is ferrying Caleb. And routine includes scolding, nagging and the whole parental shebang. It’s lung exercise which gives me lots of healthy oxygen intake.


 5. Friendly Uplift


Going pink of health in a celebrate-my-wellness lunch with my girlfriends of 30 something years (yes, we are ahem…30 something years old🙂 )


Over the past three months, I have met with quite a number of old and new friends. I’ve kept my schedule fluid but have been able to at least catch up with different friends every now and then. A hearty conversation and girly get-togethers has a great way of brightening the week and increasing more oxygen intake.


Lunch of the week – with my readaholic  friends, where we jabbered about books, reading, motherhood, books and reading

(My dear friend sent this to celebrate my Half-Time. Yes, I got permission to post this so we are still friends!🙂

6. Writing therapy

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be writing during this period but writing has turned out to be therapeutic for me.

I have journaled almost daily, blogged weekly and written a new picture manuscript draft (in its 8th draft). I’m now revising another picture book manuscript that I had gotten stuck on earlier this year.

While I’ve taken it slow with my creative writing, it has been something that perks me up when I look at my week ahead. It’s write medicine for my soul.


Reaching this mid-point has felt tedious on some days, but these routines have sustained me and kept me well this far. I thank God for all His mercies through this time.

So, I’m going to keep at it for the remaining 9 weeks ahead, knowing that the goal is not too far off and a new season awaits me when this is over.


Psalms 100:4-5

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Related Links:

God Knows Leh #9- Strong Bugs, Choppy Waters & Friendship Packages

Inside-Out Kid #6 – I want to be with Mummy till Infinity











Caleb would usually have “sleepovers” in my bedroom a few nights a week. It was a treat for him because we would play board games before bed, I would read him books and he got to sleep later, like a real sleepover party.

During my 9-day stay in hospital following the mastectomy and reconstruction surgery, Caleb spent most of his time with my parents ie. his grandparents, and missed his sleepovers with me terribly.

Even after I got home, we did not resume his sleepovers in my room for a while. He is a roller when he sleeps. I could not risk him accidentally kicking me or rolling onto me.

About two weeks after I had been home from hospital, I heard a wailing downstairs in Caleb’s bedroom when my mum was trying to put him to bed. After it had gone on for some time, I went down to see what was happening.

Caleb was standing a foot away from his bed, refusing to get on. His eyes were red from crying and he was at the end of making a long teary protest speech when I walked in. “…I’ve spent enough time with Grandma. I’m not getting into bed anymore until I sleep with Mummy again. I want to be with Mummy till infinity!” And then he broke down inconsolably.

My heart broke.

But it wasn’t the right time to give in because it might send the wrong message that a protest speech would get him what he wanted. I spent some time placating him and eventually got him into his bed.

That night, Ben and I discussed about re-starting Caleb’s sleepovers in our bedroom. But it would need to come with some temporary rules.

Usually, he would climb onto me and hug me to sleep. Then, I would transfer him onto the giant cushion on the floor next to me. In the wee hours of the morning, half awake, he would automatically climb onto me, hug me like a koala bear and fall back to sleep again.

That had to change temporarily till I recovered from my surgery wounds.

So, we worked out a couple of new rules:

#1 – Caleb could only sleep on Papa’s side of the bed.  

That meant that Ben and I had to switch the sides of the bed that we normally slept so that Caleb would be next to him, not me. I moved to the right side of the bed and Ben to the left.

#2 – We built a wall of pillows which divided our bed into two. Caleb had to stay on the other side. And he could not sleep on me like a baby koala for the next few weeks.

We pilot-tested the next night. In the wee hours of the night, Caleb automatically climbed up to my side of the bed and slept on Ben. The pillow wall stayed intact and we were all systems go for his regular sleepovers again.


Goofing it up in my room during a quiet day at home


With my chemo-cycles now, we’ve still kept some of these temporary rules. For every 1st week of a new chemo cycle, Caleb has to forgo any sleepovers in my room. Given the amount of medicine pumped into me at each chemo/post-op session, I abstain from kissing him for a week till I flush out all the chemicals from my body. My oncologist said it usually takes two days to flush it out of the system but I prefer to buffer it up to a week where Caleb is concerned. Once that week passes, my routine with Caleb goes back to normal and I give him infinity kisses till he begs me to stop.

That said, I have explained to him that I cannot be with him till infinity because one day I will grow old and no longer be around. But I tell him that we have the assurance of God’s Word in the Bible that we will eventually be together in eternity in Heaven.

And Eternity is better than Infinity and beyond.

Related Links:

Inside-Out Kid #5 – “My Mummy is a Botak Head! But she covered it up.”

God Knows Leh #10 – Three Wise Women with Gifts of Frankessence, Mastec & Go