Posts Tagged ‘thankfulness’

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven – Ecclesiastes 3:1

This week, I enter 50 with gratitude for God’s goodness in my life.

Today also marks the final session of my dad’s cancer treatment and our numerous trips to hospitals over the past 6 months through diagnosis and treatment. I thank God that he is in full remission and well now.

A Time to Heal…

The signs around point me to a new season as I come out of 5 years of dealing with cancer – for myself, with my mum and with my dad. Through it all, we have been blessed with amazing doctors and healthcare staff who have brought us healing and our clean slate.

A Time to Build up…

In these past 14 years as an author, I have experienced God’s favour throughout the 40+ books that I have been privileged to write and the precious relationships developed along the way.

A Time to be Silent and a Time to Speak

In the past 23 years since I was first inflicted with Spasmodic Dysphonia, a strange voice disorder, I have gone through many times of silence. It’s only with God’s strength that I have able to get through many times of speaking at numerous public events (even though it still comes with some fear and trembling). I am thankful for how He has given me a new voice through my writing.

So, I enter the gates of 50 with thanksgiving, and with the hope of making my life count for more as I prepare to walk through new God-given doors opening my way.

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Okay, this is my corny attempt to pun on a well-known movie from a long time ago. But the past two weeks has truly seen several reasons for celebrations.

I thank God for:

  1. Celebration of a bestie’s birthday

Last Wednesday, I had a catch-up with besties Gail and Jing Siew from Uni when we celebrated Jing Siew’s birthday over breakfast. Can’t believe how time flies and that we have known each other for over 3 decades through every birth, passing and other highs and lows. Thank God for over 30 years of friendship and counting!

2. Celebration of bosom buddy’s birthday

Over the weekend, I celebrated another bosom buddy’s birthday. I’ve known these girls since Primary school (a few since Primary 1). I shan’t count how many years that is…gulp! I’m thankful for this year of #50 Wonderful Birthdays, even as we constantly pivot birthday plans back and forth with the changing Covid restrictions. This was a One-derful meal out.

3. Celebration of my dad’s 77th birthday

During 2020, I wanted to change the conversation away from everything Covid-related. So, I started interviewing my dad on his life stories, systematically from his childhood till my mum’s passing. After many rounds of drafts and editing, I was thrilled to wrap it up in time to publish My Life, My Stories in good time for my dad’s 77th birthday. He looked at the book and said that it is his best birthday present. (More on the stories in the next post.)

I thank God for publisher friends who kindly offered up help for the critical last mile of book design and layout, and the printing of this very small print run for family and family friends.

4. Celebrating Singapore’s 56th birthday

Our National Day Parade was postponed from 9th August to 21 August, in line with Singapore’s reopening to our ‘new normal’. Caleb and I watched the NDP hybrid show on TV. We sang our hearts out with the performers and cheered through the parade highlights. I felt uplifted watching the animated storytelling of true stories of overcomers from our pioneer generation. And I thank God for our collective unity through this crisis of our generation.

5. Sew Sow Good Start

This week, we had our kick-off (or should I say sew-off) for our new fundraising product line. Last year, when Covid happened, I found it hard to write-as-usual and formed a collaborative with a mum-and-daughter team of creatives. Together with more friends, we fundraised for Child at Street 11, a non-profit childcare centre for children from low-income families. With Covid still raging on this year, we decided to to do a round 2 of fundraising for Street 11.

I’m thankful for new friendships forged with these ladies whom I only got to know last year when we decided to proceed with our Sew Sow Good Stuff SG initiative! (The rest of them knew each other…haha).

And the numeral for me? Oneness.

“Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace” – Ephesians 4:3

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Today is Thank God Friday…on the other side of the world!

A day late but no less thankful for:

  1. Singapore’s 56th birthday

It was a quiet National Day on 9th August. Due to Covid19 restrictions, our annual big National Day parade has been postponed to 21st August, in step with the gradual loosening of measures.

Caleb and I did however have our little National Day songs sing-along, as we listened and sang National Day songs of past to present for over an hour. We agreed that this year’s National Day Parade 2021 song is definitely one of our favourites.

2. Poetic Friendship

Over a month back, I had scheduled brunch with my very dear friend Jamie for 10th August as she’s on leave this week. I was about to reschedule because dining-in was not then permitted as part of our Phase 2 Heightened Alert measures for a month or so. But as timing would have it, dining-in reopened on 10th August, the day after National Day.

I turned up in red and coincidentally and matchingly, my poetry-writing palliative doctor friend turned up in white. And our dining backdrop was red and white. So, we had our “We are Singapore” photo op. over our little National Day brunch.

I got to know Jamie two years ago, and only two weeks before my mum’s passing. She was the amazing palliative doctor who went over and beyond for our family. When she read me the poem that she wrote about her encounter with my parents in my mum’s last days, our faith-filled friendship was poetically sealed.

So yes, she read me new poetry over brunch and I shared my writing updates. And as with every conversation which we’ve had, we delved into issues of life and death. I’m thankful for this dearest, poetically spiritual sister.

3. Stepping out with my son

As it was a holiday for the primary school kids (except the P6 kids having exams), I spent half a day out yesterday out with Caleb, getting a few things done. It’s been a while since we have done that as mum and son. After a full week in school masked-up since the start of Covid19, he’s not been keen to follow me out on my errands-run. And I’ve also found it more practical to not bring him along as we flowed in and out of Heightened Alerts.

I’m thankful for our leisurely meal and conversation at Botanic Gardens, followed by a short walk around the park. It brought back memories of pre-Covid days. And a reminder that we need to be so much more deliberate, less hurried, and thankful about our daily living.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority—so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity.…1 Timothy 2:1-2

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Today is Thank God Friday.

It’s been quite two weeks for Singapore, with the sad tragedy at River Valley High School and Singapore returning to Phase 2 Heightened Alert due to the big Jurong Fishery Port Covid cluster.

Amidst this Heightened Alert climate, there is still much to be thankful for:

  1. Thank God for our Teachers and Educators

I’m grateful for our teachers and educators who have been holding fort in our schools for our children through these uncertain times.

Caleb’s school was one of several schools which had a student tested positive with Covid-19 in the past two weeks. As a result, the school switched to home-based learning for one day so they could do deep cleaning.

I can only imagine the stress levels of teachers who have had to switch from teaching in-person to preparing materials for teaching online at a day’s notice. With the recent tragedy at River Valley High School, it adds even more stressors on educators who also now need to do more to look out for students’ mental health.

I really hope that additional counsellors will be provided not only for students, but for our teachers navigating through this stressful ‘new-normal’ in school.

L: With Pauline in Dec 2019 at a Creatives’ event, R: With Hwee & Arlene today

2. Thank God for Girlfriends

I’ve reduced my social circles to a very teeny bubble through this Heightened Alert period, given Singapore’s current no-dining-out rule and two visitors per household per day limit.

But every girl needs her girlfriends through these safe-distancing times, be it ranting on WhatsApp chat groups or face-to-face.

This past week, I’m thankful for precious conversations with girlfriends. From catching up with writing buddy Pauline over breakfast last Friday to Hwee and I celebrating Arlene’s birthday today.

These girlfriend doses are such good boosters which pump me up for the next week of parenting, supermarketing and writing through this Stay-Home period.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour. If either of them falls, one can help the other up.Eccelesiastes 4:9-10

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30 years ago, Ben gave me a log which he had smoothened and carved my name with his army knife. He time-marked it 29 June 1991 and gave it to me as a gift. We decided to call it the day that we “went steady” (it’s as 1990s as it sounds).

In carving the wood, he cut his thumb very deeply and it bled profusely in-camp. It left a mark on his thumbprint.

Today is exactly 30 years from that fateful day. We decided to celebrate it with a simple breakfast of our favourite bak chor mee at the corner coffee shop at Geylang Lorong 11 (it’s as senior-moment as it sounds).

What I had forgotten was that the Geylang coffee shop, which Ben brought me to 30 years ago, was down the opposite end of the same lane. Ben had brought me to Mong Kok coffee shop on our 2nd date. After we finished 5 plates of dim sum, he asked if I was full. I said “No” and ordered a couple more plates. He said that he was so impressed with me because I was the first girl he met who not only didn’t push food to him but even ate his food. (I had thought it was my wit that bowled him over but it turned out to be plates of dim-sum.)

We dated 7 years and have been married for 23 years since.

We’ll gone through mountain-top experiences as well as valleys.

Through sickness and health. Through thick and thin.

For “the God in the mountains is still God in the valley” and He has seen us through good times and bad. God’s grace and mercy has marked our 30 years together. And I’m thankful for it all.

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. – Ps 84:6

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. – Isaiah 55:12

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Today is Thank God Friday (on the other side of the world…LOL).

I want to thank God for:

1. Father’s Day

Our family was able to gather at home to celebrate Father’s Day last weekend with Singapore entering Phase 3 Heightened Alert from 14 June, allowing up to 5 household visitors. We celebrated three fathers – my dad, my brother and Ben – over a simple meal of Yong Tao Fu, ngor hiang and chicken wings.

2. Munia Family ends Stay-Home-Notice

I got to see the two Munia chicks on 13 June. They had grown and clearly passed flight school. I sat with them for quite long and I’m glad I did. Because, right on timing, when Singapore entered Phase 3 the next day, the Munia family flew the coop!

3. Wholly Fellowship

We have been permitted to have two household visitors per day for the past month up until 13 June. Since it’s about observing the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law, I kept my entire month socials-free except for two occasions – a friend’s 50th birthday and another friend who needed a listening ear.

This week, Singapore opened up outdoor dining for two persons per table. I’ve been in no rush to eat out but I realised that I did miss seeing friends.

So, it’s been wholly a week of fellowships with school friends and college friends. And I took Caleb out for one meal (yes, it was Din Tai Fung) before school reopens next week.

In this pandemic period, as Covid-19 continues to rage and mutate around the world, I want to remember and give thanks to the One who is in control of all things in our world.

Ps 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

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Today is Thank God Friday.

Singapore goes from Phase 3 back to Phase 2 in a tightening of pandemic safety measures this weekend, a result of a growing cluster of Covid19 infections at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). This is a cautious step back, but not like the two-month Circuit-Breaker measures last year which saw schools and workplaces shut.

Directly and indirectly due to this, I’ve cancelled four out of five socials over these two weeks:

  • We cancelled last Saturday’s dinner because the host had been to TTSH specialist clinic (not the infected ward). As the other dinner guest is a doctor at another public hospital, we decided to minimise co-mingling at this stage.
  • We cancelled this coming Saturday’s dinner because this 2nd friend cum host is on home quarantine. She had been to one of the TTSH wards to visit a dying relative. Now, she and her clan of 20 are all in quarantine.
  • We also decided to cancel our fellowship gathering this week and fellowship girls’ night out next week. A 3rd  friend, was also at TTSH last week. Though not under quarantine, she has decided to put herself on voluntary Stay Home Notice for two weeks. Another friend’s team of social workers were at TTSH for work, so she’s all hands on deck at work and can’t make this dinner.
  • The only social that I’ve kept is for a friend’s upcoming birthday celebration. That has now gone from 8 guests down to 5 guests, in keeping with the rule of 5 under tightened safety measures.

Yet, in the midst of this, there is a lot to be thankful for even as we scale back on our socials:

  1. Singapore

We have been very blessed to be able to stay relatively safe. I hope we will continue to keep our guard up and each other safe by staying vigilant with our masking, handwashing and safe-distancing, as well as keeping to smaller social bubbles at this time.

Caleb is going through exams these couple of weeks. He asked me if Covid19 would still be around when he reaches the major primary school leaving exam (PSLE) in two years’ time.  

I told him I don’t know… and we’ll know when we get there.

2. Our Leadership and Healthcare workers

I thank God that our leaders have moved quickly to contain this new wave of infections through tightened measures and for our healthcare workers, who have been working hard at the forefront of keeping Singapore safe for over a year now.

3. Friends

I’ve been able to catch up with a couple of friends here and there in the past few weeks. Such fellowship is strengthening and brings us closer even as we live through this season with a whole new vocabulary which reminds us to safe-distance.

Marky Polo travelled for food fellowship a few weeks back

And as I thank God this Friday, I remind myself to pray for our city and our neighbouring cities.

Seek peace and well-being for the city…, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its peace (well-being) you will have peace.’ – Jeremiah 29:7

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Today is Thank God Friday…. in time zones at least 16 hours behind Singapore!

The first day of Chinese New Year, yesterday, was markedly different from past years because of this Covid19 pandemic we are in.

Yet, there has been plenty to be thankful for in this Chinese Year of the Ox:

  1. Family visits

We visited Ben’s parents first thing in the morning on the first day, as with tradition. We skipped the usual visits to another 5-6 older relatives’ homes due Singapore’s Covid19 restrictions of a maximum of 8 visitors per household. Instead, we had Ben’s family over for a leisurely 2-hour lunch for a change.

We’ll see a couple more relatives over the days ahead in a more spread out, by-appointment timetable.

Caleb’s angpow artpiece hangs from the ceiling whilst my dear friend’s pot of pussywillows stands at our entrance

2. Gifts of Beauty

Caleb made two beautiful art pieces, each made out of 15 angpows stapled together, which I’ve proudly displayed in our home.

And a very dear friend surprised me with a pot of pink pussy willows after I made a passing comment that I loved the one I saw at another friend’s home.

This has been a quieter Chinese New Year. But that we can still celebrate is worth celebrating in itself. And perhaps, it’s meant to be a season for more introspection, less ‘oxpectation’ of worldly pursuits and more gratitude for the things that truly matter in this season of safe-distancing and masking up.

Ecclesiastes 3: There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.

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2021 has started with similarities to 2020, with countries going back into lockdown as the Covid-19 virus mutates and continues to spread stealthily.

Amidst all this, I want to count my blessings:

1.Thank God for Singapore

I thank God for the strong community spirit in Singapore in battling this Covid-19 pandemic, even as we continue to exercise caution through mask-wearing and safe-distancing. With Chinese New Year around the corner, I hope that we collectively continue to keep our guard up when visiting relatives.

2. Thank God for parenthood

I thank God for parenthood and the joy of seeing Caleb turn 10 years old this past week.

As Caleb announced, “Mum, I’m double-digit now.”

“Yes, but you are at the start of double-digit,” I said.

“But it’s still double digit. 99 is also double digit,” he said.

It’s been a joy watching Caleb grow so much since the start of this year. And I’m glad we are still continuing our mother-son banter, which has been ongoing since he strung his first sentences together as a toddler.

3. Thank God for fellowship

As an introvert, I’ve gotten too comfortable dining at home through most of 2020, in response to our government’s call to ‘stay home to stay safe’.

It’s good to nonetheless fellowship with friends face to face now and then.

I’m thankful for a wonderful dinner with my fellowship group last week over one of the best meals that I’ve had in a long time.

The food at Moonbow was flavourfully excellent, the food presentation was creatively excellent and the ambience and service was friendly and excellent too.

We had the pleasure of meeting Chef Heman who came out to say hello and oblige us with a photo.

After we learned from a waiter that Chef Heman is an Ironman triathlete, award-winning ceramist (whose plates we were dining off) as well as a Dr. in Psychology, we decided to google him.

We found his amazing story on Salt & Light.

And to that, I say…resiliently excellent!

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I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my personal story in Methodist Message’s December issue. It gave me a chance to reflect on pivotal moments in my life and lots to be grateful for.

“I went through another five months of chemotherapy treatment. During that period, I spent time feeding on God’s Word like medicine, three times a day. I started hearing God on issues in my life that I had buried deep within till it became unhealthy. Just as my diseased left breast had to be cut off and scraped clean, I also went through a spiritual cleaning-out. I learned to let go of anger, bitterness and unforgiveness – toxic emotions that had accumulated and sullied my heart. It was spiritual chemotherapy.

I have since entered my new season of life with a clean breast and a lighter heart. And I do so, knowing that my ‘breastplate of righteousness’ comes from Jesus whose blood has cleansed me.”

You can read the full article (in high-resolution 🙂 ) in Methodist Message here. https://message.methodist.org.sg/finding-my-new-voice/

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