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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

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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