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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Counting my blessings and thanking God through all seasons – COVID19 and non-COVID19.

  1. DORSCON Orange Outfits

Our family made a contribution for the flowers at our church service the past Sunday in memory of the first year anniversary of Mum’s passing.

I wore a restyled version of the dress that Mum had made for herself for last year’s Chinese New Year. She never wore it. She was admitted into hospital on Day 2 of Chinese New Year and passed on three weeks later.

I brought the dress to Mum’s tailor and altered it to fit me. More of that in another post on another day.

Coincidentally, Ben wore orange too. And we very rarely wear matching outfits, coincidentally nor intentionally. That’s just a father-son do.

So, I just had to take this photo in church last Sunday because there were so many symbolisms.

DORSCON Orange Statement

Mum’s memorial flowers.

Mum’s Chinese New Year dress which I took over.

DORSCON Orange matching outfits.

Orange dots stuck on us following temperature checks.

#God is Greater.

 

  1. Friends of Old & Gold

I’ve been seeing much more of some friends whom I’ve known, friends of old and gold. It’s usually difficult to see everyone altogether. Since DORSCON Orange, a couple of friends have seen business and events disappear and others have cancelled work travel plans. What better time to catch up on each other’s lives?

AwesomeFriends

  1. Awesome Friends & Stars

My latest picture book Little Mole’s Awesome Star burrowed into the bookstores this week.

I was starry-eyed to see Little Mole receive a 5-star review rating from Readers’ Favourite as well as a lovely review in Straits Times’ 8 Reads for March.

Mole

I’m also thankful for many awesome friends who shared Little Mole’s news on their Facebook pages.

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to e-launch the book in this no-public-events COVID19 climate.

(On an online note, you can now also order Little Mole’s Awesome Star and Little Godwit Finds His Wings at Times Bookstore’s Goguru with free delivery in Singapore!)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Phillipians 4:6-7

Related Links:

Awesome Star! Little Mole surfaces in Straits Times’ 8 Reads for March

God Knows Leh #36 – Devoted Wife, Mum, Grandma, Sister, Friend & Nurse

 

 

 

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It was disturbing to see the panic-buying that occurred over the weekend after our government raised the alert to DORSCON Orange, following a few clusters of community spread of the novel corona virus. (DORSCON is the acronym for Disease Outbreak Response System Condition.)

I think it boiled down to a few things. Fear. Misinformation. Social media virus.

Fear can spread faster than virus and spark off all kinds of responses and over-reactions.

And misinformation travels faster than droplets through viral social media contact.

 

  1. Supermarket run

When the alert was raised to DORSCON Orange, my phone was pinging incessantly with photos and WhatsApp messages from friends showing photos of the runs in the supermarkets on household items like rice, instant noodles, canned luncheon meat and toilet paper.

The next day, on Saturday, I went to Ghim Moh wet market as per routine. It was the 15th and last day of Chinese New Year. The market was well-stocked and the crowd was orderly.

In the aftermath of the supermarket runs, I went to buy some groceries during the week. Once at Cold Storage. And another day at Hao Supermart.

I was one of very few people in the supermarket. The staff were restocking supplies. There were pockets of empty shelves yet to be filled. Namely instant noodles, luncheon meat and toilet paper.

But really, the rest of the supermarket was well-stocked with plenty.

A counter staff wished me a safe day and I wished him the same.

Hao supermart

Hao Supermart was stocked very hao

 

  1. Hospital stand

Yesterday, I went for my 3-monthly injection, an ongoing post-cancer treatment. It’s a 5-minute job and to me, simply like a vitamin booster.

There were checkpoints at all entry points into the hospital. I filled up a travel and health declaration form and hospital staff took my temperature and details of which clinic I was headed to. They stuck a sticker on me to show that I had been cleared.

At my doctor’s clinic, I filled up a second travel and health declaration form, had my temperature checked again and had a second sticker stuck on me.

I’ve kept both stickers as a reminder of this current climate we are living in.

All the clinic staff were masked up, as with the hospital staff I saw on the way to the clinic.

Senior staff nurse Maggie administered my injection, as she has frequently done during my chemotherapy sessions in 2016 and post-chemo treatments after.

Maggie is from China. She has worked in our healthcare system in Singapore for 10 years now, both on the hospital side and now in a cancer care clinic.

“Can we take a photo today?” I asked her and explained that I wanted to blog about this clinic visit.

Maggie Braveheart

 

These are testing times for our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. Whilst most of us have a choice to avoid hospitals and clinics, our healthcare workers are there daily, risking the greatest exposure.

In short, take sensible precautions, take stock of facts from falsehoods and thank a healthcare worker.

If you have a relative, friend, acquaintance or family doctor, why not send them some encouragement for their good work in these testing times?

 

I told Maggie that I would be sending her this blogpost. This is my thank you note:

“To Maggie and all the healthcare workers who continue your good (and draining) work of caring for patients with all kinds of sickness and diseases through all kinds of climates. May God bless the work of your hands and keep you all safe and healthy.”

A grateful patient

 

Jesus said: “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled and afraid.”

                                                                                           – John 14:27

 

Related Link:

Go Green Lah #2 – Don’t Let the Blame Game become the Next Virus!

Sign up for your extremely regular updates on the novel coronavirus directly from Gov.sg Whatsapp at  go.gov.sg/whatsapp

 

 

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I’m ending 2019 counting my blessings as it is the best way to enter into a new year and new decade:

Thank God for Providing Family

  • For Mum, who devoted her life to our family up till her final days
  • For seeing Dad through a difficult year with Mum’s passing
  • For Ben, who supported me through it all, from arranging Mum’s homecoming and wake in our home to taking time out to be with Caleb and me for a stretch this year

 

Thank God for Providing Friends & Fellowship

  • For amazing doctor friends who journeyed with my family this past year
  • For several people whom God provided to guide me on closure issues for Mum in her last weeks
  • For even deeper friendships with old and new friends who strengthened me through this year

 

Thank God for Providing

  • For many signs, miracles and assurances in Mum’s final weeks
  • For restoration of family relationships
  • For giving me the oil of gladness, garment of praise and song of thanks.

 

One key takeaway for 2019?

You never walk alone.

YNWA.jpg

 

Related Links:

2019: A Mourned Chapter, Poured Pages, New Prose & God’s Word

God Knows Leh #29- Black Friday met Good through the shadow of Death

God Knows Leh #28: Parting with an Old Spice Alabaster Jar Miracle

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I’ve been taking the very slow boat in initiating catch-ups with friends these past few months. Instead, I’ve been slipping into many stretches of quiet time after dealing with matters of life and death this year.

The past week has somehow been an interesting confluence of friendship gatherings on my calendar.

  1. Finding Life after Death

Karen and I sprang a surprise on our old pal Desmond when we showed up at the launch of his latest book at the Singapore Writer’s Festival. We relived memories of our years past, shared our current updates and perspectives of life, for those of us who recently walked through the valley of the shadow of death. It could not have been more literal and literary for Dez, who wrote his quasi-memoir about his near-death experience.

image1

At the launch of Desmond’s The Good Day I Died at the Singapore Writer’s Festival

 

  1. Being Parented

Today, I caught up with book-loving friends Hwee and Suzanne over brunch where we commiserated over books and parenting. And we came away with the reminder that God parents us through our kids as much as we think we parent them.

image0

Hwee & I wearing our infinity scarves – gifts from Suzanne – which are specially printed with  the manuscripts from the books that we authored

  1. Good Grief & the (W)rite Stuff

After Mum passed away early this year, my regular morning walks at Botanic Gardens have been either with Dad or by myself.

But in the past two weeks, I had a nagging thought to schedule a walk and breakfast with a friend whom I had walked with a few times last year. I had fallen off the radar with her after Mum’s relapse.

As I discovered, it was a divine appointment.

Ee Lin said something which squarely addressed a grief issue that I have been struggling with for months.

I have also been grappling with a question of a writing endeavor – I wondered if it was too lofty. Was I just reaching for the moon? I didn’t mention any of this.

In our conversation, thought, I mused about how I seemed to be “hearing” God through symbolism and parallels quite a bit lately. And that I saw the humour in some of it (ie. God’s wit).

As we ended breakfast, Ee Lin gave me a gift – it was a necklace that she had bought for me last year. She had held onto it for close to a year until this faithful appointment.

“A bird!” I exclaimed when I saw the beaded necklace with a bird motif. It reminded me of my latest book, which has a bird for a main character. She had bought the necklace last year, before Little Godwit was published this year.

When I got home, I decide to take a look at my Little Godwit book. As I lay the necklace side by side with the page spread, I saw the amazing parallel.

image0 (1)

I wonder if I can reach the moon, Little Godwit mused.

Yes, I wonder that too. On my own strength, I won’t get anywhere far with lofty, far-fetched ideas.

But I was reminded that, with God’s wit, the godwit can fly as far as the moon.

 

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

                                                                  Ecclesiastes 3:1-7

 

Related Links:

Thank God Friday: One Nation, One People, One Family, One Life leh

God Knows Leh #32 – Is Mum the Word in Finding Good Grief after Death?

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2018 was a challenging year for my family. In March this year, my breast surgeon gave me the all-clear as I crossed two years from when I first found a pebble in my left breast. Our happiness was short-lived. One month later, in April, a close family member was diagnosed with critical illness. I’ll leave the details out as this is another person’s diagnosis.

But I would say that we walked through “the valley of the shadow of death” for months. Amidst the darkness, I lost focus and could not hear God.

Then, I had a freak accident.

I accidentally stabbed myself in the left ear forcibly with a sharp object that left my left eardrum tattered and torn. I’m not entirely clear how it happened except that the accidental stabbing traumatized me severely. I hardly cried through my cancer surgery and treatment. But I bawled my eyes out over the thought of going deaf in my left ear.

When I saw the ENT doctor, he showed me the ghastly damage on a TV screen and told me it was 50% damaged. Given the severity of damage, he thought I might require surgery. But he was a believer in natural healing. So he gave me antibiotics to prevent infection and asked me to see him in two weeks’ time.

At my 2nd review, my ENT doctor saw that my body had shown initial signs of repair. He decided that we would wait it out for another 4 weeks to see if I needed surgery. He said he was hopeful that my body would heal itself.

For weeks, I listened to a wind-like sound blowing through the big hole in my left ear. It was like being stuck on an airplane for 6 weeks.

When I saw the doctor again, we were amazed. My left ear drum was scarred and scabbed. But I was fully healed!

KeepCalm(Quotesgram.com)

Quotesgram.com

As I stand at the cusp of a year that is passing, I look back and thank God for many things. In particular, I’m thankful for these:

  • On Christmas Eve, after 9 months of treatment, we received the scan results that death had lost its sting and my family member had received the gift of life. It’s a miracle!
  • We experienced God’s love through prayers and support of friends and an outstanding doctor who journeyed with us through the valley of despair.
  • Friends who reached out when our family was at our lowest point and pointed us to the Healing Room at Cairnhill Methodist Church. That first visit there marked the turnaround of healing and recovery in the most amazing way. It gave our family hope and sustained us through the year.
  • Last week, I saw my ENT doctor one more time as my left ear felt slightly blocked. We looked at the TV screen hooked to his ENT camera and I saw the most incredible sight. My left ear drum was a completely clear membrane, without any sign of scarring. The scab had fallen off and was blocking my ear canal, which my doctor vacuumed out. I have a brand new ear drum!

In this Christmas season and final days of the old year, I remember the “old” and look to the “new” and am thankful for how God sustained us through the year and has made all things new.

 

“If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new has come.”

– 2 Corinthians 5:17

 “And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

–Revelations 21:5

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As I sit down to reflect on the year, I’m wondering why I thought I had a barren writing year. Several big things didn’t turn out as I wanted but there have been so many other things to give thanks for:

1. An Audience of One

It’s been largely a year of writing for an audience of one (me writing my spiritual journal for my own consumption). Although I worried excessively mid-year about my lack of output, I realized on hindsight, that I really needed this time of quiet reflection. I had lapsed back into my rocking horse character (in The Tale of Rusty Horse), concerned about crowd opinion and fretting because one person commented my writing is a hobby.

2. Arise and Read!

In April, Caleb performed at the ARISE! children’s praise concert. The concert opened with Caleb & me doing a book reading of Prince Bear & Pauper Bear. I had never envisioned that I would be on stage with my kid for a mother-son reading. It was a proud mum moment for me.

book reading2

 

3. Prince Bear & Pauper Bear re-staged

In April, The Learning Connection restaged Prince Bear & Pauper Bear over a 10-day run, with requests for extra shows. It was special as it marks 10 years since Prince Bear & Pauper Bear was published.

Storybox theatre

 

4. Writing in the Garden 
In April and May, I ran two public workshops for Gardens by the Bay as part of my writing residency. It was an experience, especially running my first outdoor walking workshop with about 20 families.

GBTB photo 2(PuaySee)

Photo credit (Ong Puay See)

 

5. Pauper Bear and Rusty Horse go Slovakian

In May, the Slovakian edition of my books were published and I got them hot off the press when my Slovakian publisher came to speak at AFCC – the Asian Children’s Festival of Children’s Content. It was an added delight to hear my publisher Petra read a page of the book at the conference where she was a speaker.

Petra's daughter

 

6. More Wild Writing

I completed one more picture book for Wildlife Reserves Singapore. This latest book centres on another endangered animal, following on from my first book Why did the Pangolin cross the Road? The bilingual book be out early next year.

 

7. Global Publishing Conference

It’s been a busy few months as I am on the local organizing committee for Littworld 2018, the global Christian publishing conference to be held in Singapore next year. I thank God that we finally secured the conference venue in November and completed the conference publicity brochure.

LittWorld2018_brochure_1-4_COVER

 

8. Up Close and Personal for Christ 

In October, I shared about my faith and writing journey  at Christ Methodist Church’s “Up Close & Personal” talk series. It was a timely sharing as I became a published author in October 10 years ago.

Christ Methodist talk

 

9. Addressing Cancer with the Word

Late this year, I was invited to submit contributions to two Christian anthologies of sorts. I have completed my submission for one and am in the midst of working on the other. Both involve personal reflections of my recent journey facing breast cancer.

 

10. Write Residency

I just completed my year-long writing residency at Gardens by the Bay. It was deferred from last year as I had been undergoing chemotherapy then. Although I had a slow start, I found new momentum to write in the past few months.

 

11. Find Your Voice, Write Your Story

I’m now preparing to facilitate a 5-session workshop series “Find Your Voice, Write Your Story” on memoir writing in January 2018. Seeing the applicants’ profiles and work samples, I envisage a meaningful exchange on our personal experiences through the written word.

 

As I look back at the year that is passing, I’m reminded to look to God for the year ahead. I started 2017 with grand plans and expectations for my writing but they were all derailed and vanished like a mirage. It disappointed and humbled me. Yet, as I look back, I can now see that I have so much to be grateful for.

So, my writing plan for 2018 is summed up in one word – Gratitude. I look forward to seeing where that leads me.

The mind of man plans his way but the Lord determines his steps.

                                                                              – Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)

Related Links:

2016: Fairytale launches, Off-the-chest blogs & other Write moments

 

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