Monday, January 12, 2015

One Word - 365 Days

A brand new year has begun, I know, it's already been 2 weeks into year 2015. I didn't want to make any resolutions, nope! Not for me. For ermm... I cannot even remember when, I've stopped making resolutions that I cannot even keep nor remember after a few weeks into a brand new year.

Not so long ago, Danessa, one of the ladies in our Titus 2 ladies' fellowship group suggested to the group of us to take on a challenge for the brand new year by seeking the Lord for ONE WORD to focus on everyday, for the entire year of 2015. One word that sums up how I want to live. The one word will become the compass to direct my decisions and guide my steps.

For about 2 years now, the one word that kept on surfacing in my spirit every time I do my personal devotion, speak to a fellow christian mom during our regular meet ups and even through the kids' devotion materials, I heard God clearly! The one word is -
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Something I struggled with a whole lot and even more! Which explains why, this word just kept on pricking my conscience and heart for a good 2 years (yes, I am THAT stubborn!).
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It's always easier when I do things my way, at my preferred time, when it's the most convenient to me. Unfortunately, that's not how it should be in my christian walk. To add onto the emphasis, God sent this message to me via a dear sister-in-Christ just today (it's definitely no coincidence!)
"Old habits are hard to break, new ones are harder to learn, and sometimes we don't want to do either... God is faithful and will continue to teach us new ways, His ways..."
I know there's no way for me to turn away from my submission to God's call to be obedient. While it's not going to be easy, but I am taking baby steps towards obeying Him. One wise friend said and I quote "it's better to progress than to seek for perfection..." (not her exact words but that's the gist).
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Just what is it to obey God? Obeying Him is to take actions of what He's commanded us or when He springs us a surprise on an "assignment"eg. being a mom and taking on all the mom-sy responsibilities and submitting to our husbands even when we don't agree fully, we are to then do it with joy and not complain, even when it's inconvenient, not what we have planned for or not something we enjoy doing. Obedience is...
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It's no surprise that after 2 weeks of Year 2015, I am still struggling but with prayer and perseverance I will count my steps towards being obedient to my Heavenly Father effortlessly.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

[Book Review & Giveaway] Believe, Belong, Become

I was recently given a few books written by the life warrior without arms and legs, Mr Nick Vujicic. He's an inspiration! In spite of his physical limitations, he's lived a life demonstrating what our limitless heavenly Father can do through him.

Today, I will share my thoughts about his new book that's targeted at children, "Believe, Belong, Become". In this latest edition of the "Give Me a Hug" series involves 8 lessons where Nick engages his reader in a spiritual conversation; he describes how he went from feeling weak as a young child to starting to gain strength through God at the age of fifteen.
As I turned the pages of this book (even though it was meant for children), I wished I had read this book when I was still a student. I could certainly use his encouragement to live a life with purpose and the will power to pursue my dreams. I could identify with Nick in his story during his growing up years, the experience of labeled as different, not able to blend in, being teased and bullied.
In this book, Believe, Belong, Become, Nick Vujicic, offered practical advice for realizing a life of happiness and sense of purpose by waiting upon the Lord as he persist and trust God for the journey. He encouraged the reader by showing how he learned to accept what he could not control and focus instead on what he could. All these could only be done because of his faith in God who's been his central source of strength.
It was great that I could sit with my children to do read this book aloud with them. The opportunity to share and discuss with them the life lessons Nick has gone through was immeasurable. They have learned with perseverance and faith, they will be able to pursue and fulfil their dreams. Growing up can be a scary process especially when one don't feel the acceptance and sense of belonging, I am thankful for the sharing by Nick through this book which I could use to guide my children as they face similar challenges in school or even life in general for the examples illustrated in the book was rather easy for the kids to identify with.
"You must learn to wait. In the process, you will encounter difficulties, restlessness, doubts, fear, etc. People who are determined can feel the strength from God and move forward bravely like eagles flying against the wind. Those who lack confidence blame and complain; their weakness is the cause of their failure to spread their wings. Please don't rush, remember while you wait, do your best and God will do the rest. God will surely reward those who are willing to wait for Him with strength, peace, happiness, and the salvation of eternal life." ~ Nick Vujicic, Believe, Belong, Become
GIVEAWAY: There are 3 copies of the book, Believe, Belong, Become to be given away. All you need to do is to fill up the Rafflecopter form below and follow the instructions stated there accordingly. All the best!!!
*Contest is open to all Singapore residents

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I was gifted the books by the distributor for review purpose. All opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Not for Likes, Nor for Shares

It's been a while since I minimize my sharing actively and loiter less around the social media. For those who are among my Facebook circle, you would have noticed I am much quieter on that platform now. I have even volunteered to step down from Munch Ministry, a little baby I've worked long and hard for in the past few years.

All these decisions and actions was birthed when I started a 40-day Love Singapore concert prayer throughout July till Singapore's National Day. Praying for the nation, for the people and for our families was what I've committed to do on this 40-day prayer journey (something which I've never consistently done, but I did this year). During this 40-day journey I've been jolted out of my comfort zone to take a long, serious and hard look at my life as a christian the past few years.
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Like what my dear friend, Rachel has shared in her recent blog post (click on link to read), I've fallen into the social media trap. I eat, live, breathe, being active on the social media. Trying to get ahead - to look out for increased number of likes/shares of my posts, working long and hard all day so that I can look successful. I try to say the right thing, share the right ideas, have the right "stuff", have the right social status, rub elbows with the right people, all in an effort to pass society's popularity contest and win its approval. This is indeed a result of placing all the priorities at the wrong place with a wrong motive. It's just a means to win love and acceptance from the outside world.

I was reminded by God that I am His child and I am loved by Him. He is well pleased with me. It's not based on my performance. It's based on my relationship with Him through Jesus, so I have to stop striving to establish my identity and prove my worth. Gaining acceptance, more likes and followers was never His plans for me and it shouldn't be a scoreboard others grade me that I should base my worth on.
Henri Nouwen rightly puts it - "life, service, worship, everything flows from God's affirmation of us at the deepest centre of our being. But when we try to establish our identity on something other than relationship with God, the consequences are devastating."
This calls to mind of a song I've sang as a christian for so many years, and the truth in the lyrics only recently dawn on me that when I turn my eyes upon Jesus, everything else in this world (the world's way of seeking self-worth, gaining riches and being influential) just grows strangely dim (ie. not of any great importance anymore).

With a more deliberate decision to stay away from social media and to be in a position walking closer and waiting upon the Lord, my dear friend, Rachel and I have started a prayer ministry. We avail ourselves to pray for anyone who has a prayer need, so please feel free to drop me a PM in Facebook or email. You don't have to be a christian, you just have to share your need for prayer, and we will gladly pray for you.
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We are open to any christian friends who wish to join us as part of our Intercessory Prayer group. Our prayer meetings will be weekly on either Wednesdays or Thursdays from 10am - 12pm, in various locations of Thomson/Bishan/Toa Payoh/Upper Bukit Timah.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Survival Tips for SAHM : 7 Tips on Grocery Shopping

Research has shown that 60%-70% of what ends up in our grocery basket/carts is unplanned. Grocery shopping doesn't have to break the bank if you know what you are doing. So pick and choose from among these tips below, which I hope it'd be of good use to you and your family:

Set a Budget for Your Groceries
Before I usually head out to the market or supermarket, I'd decide how much I am willing to spend. This makes prudent grocery shopping. I'd also be conscious of how I will spend those $$$. Though I'd always be reasonable and know my limits. In addition, I'd use cash or pay by NETS for all my transactions at the grocery stores that way I will be more careful of how I spend.
Shopping List
With that plan in place, I wrote down on a separate piece of grocery list separating the categories into Meat/Fish/PoultryVegetablesSauceMisc items. Makes navigating around the grocery stores much easier and usually would not miss out anything that's necessary for my meal plans.

Before I head out to the supermarket I'd double check what I might have left in the freezer/fridge/pantry to ensure that I don't buy unnecessarily.
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Buy Only the Items on the List
I am one who would usually end up with frivolous items in my grocery basket. You know, things which I want over things which I really need. Hence, spending extra $$$ yet taking up storage space at home. Since the beginning of this year, I made it a point to just buy what I need (stick to buying only the items that I've prepared on my list) and buy in the appropriate quantity/amount (ie. not to over-buy or stock pile).

Cut Back on Meat
Meat is expensive. We don't go vegetarian completely on every meal but I do cut down the amount of meat I put into the dishes I cook. I combine more vegetables/legumes/tofu with meat for some of our stir-fry dishes. In our meal plan, I add fish into our dinners more often as well.

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Try Store Brands
I would pick out store brands for items such as pastas, olive oil, dried spices etc. as these items are usually less expensive at the supermarts and I believe all food manufacturers follow standards to provide safe food and beverage products of reasonably good quality.

Ignore the Snacks or Promotional Items at Check-out Counters
Smart marketing people always place small and frivolous items at check-out counters playing up on the subliminal/incidental appeal to shoppers who are waiting in the line to pay up. So try not to pick up any of those items if you have no plans for it. I've fell into that before and added more than what I've budgeted for my grocery shopping, so don't be fooled!

Go Grocery Shopping When Kids are in School
Whenever I go grocery shopping with my kiddos, we'll somehow end up with some kind of junk food or anything frivolous such as a toy or extra pack of sweet drink. Even if I try to stick to my guns and refuse their relentless requests, it'll almost always end up an unpleasant shopping experience when I had to say 10,000 times of no's to them on every request that they make about buying that something extra. So in most cases, I save more $$$ when I shop alone.

If you are looking for more tips and or ideas on cooking, baking and managing meals at home in an easy and quick way, do check out my "Easy Meals for Busy Moms" continuing series.

This post is part of a blog train hosted by Gingerbreadmum where 31 stay-at-home moms share their survival tips. In the journey of motherhood, we all need support and encouragement from one another to know that though it's not an easy path but it's definitely worth while and we need not walk alone on our own. You may follow the entire SAHM survival tips series by clicking on this link and bookmark it, the list of participating moms and their links can be found at the bottom of the post.

The next mom in this blog series is Justina. She has been a SAHM for over 5 years and has three little boys. She would be sharing her tips on her blog, Mum in the Making, on keeping sane, and managing amidst the mess, mayhem and madness that seems to come packaged with little children!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

June's School Holiday Planning

It's that time of the year again, here's to share how and where I do my research on where to bring the kids to and how to keep them occupied for the month's long of break before I tear my hair out.

We don't have the luxury of going on overseas holidays and so that makes me more vigilant in ensuring that the activities I pick out for the kids would excite and keep them happy.

The usual place I go to for my research are split into FOC (free-of-charge) and Paid Programs (and if it's paid, it's got to be worth it; read: cheap and good!).

The highlight of every June's holiday for my kids would be the 5-day long Vacation Bible School.

 It's run by some churches in Singapore. Here's the list of churches (that I am aware of) that are running this program during the June school holidays. Call up to these churches to find out more of their VBS program and dates.
International Baptist Church
Thomson Baptist Church
Maranatha Baptist Church
Life Bible Presbyterian Church

Following last year's Big Eyes, Big Minds, Singapore International Children's Film Festival, we will be re-visiting it again this year with a whole host of new films to view. The kids really enjoyed it tremendously last year so I've decided to book the tickets for this year's film fest (click on the link to check them out) once again. Just for a taste of being artsy fartsy!

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The Yakult Factory tour has been something on my to-list with the kids for quite a while now. Finally, we managed to book our seats with one of the Community Clubs in our neighbourhood this time. Here's the link to the PA's website, for the various Yakult Factory Tour go to the search menu and key in "Yakult". Be sure to book them fast as they usually get fully booked quite quickly.

It's only $5 per person (we are Passion Card members) the cost covers all transportation to-fro the Factory and the CC. This is what I considered cheap and good! *smile*

Recently heard about this new program that's up at our Singapore Science Centre and decided that we'll pay the Kids Stop a visit.

More details about this newly set up section in the Singapore Science Centre can be found here (click on link).

The Dinosaurs Dawn to Extinction exhibit at the Art Science Museum, has been an exhibit that Little Man has been pestering me to bring him to, so it's naturally being planned into our June's holiday program. Need no further introduction as it's been around for quite a while now.

The annual Children's Season by the National Heritage Board is here again and there have been many new programs lined up in the various museums that we will pay a visit to. Just to name a few, National Museum (Masak Masak - my childhood), Philatelic Museum (Horses for Courses), iExperience (Children's Infocomm Workshop).

Have heard and read so much about the Children's Garden at Gardens By the Bay and this is the next must-go venue for my kids. I'm probably one of the last persons to bring the kids to visit this place as so many have raved about this place for so long now.

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Besides those activities listed above, we will make our way to the National Library on a weekly basis. While I've researched but the June's programs at the National Library website is not up yet at this point in time of this write-up. Here's the link where you may check out later what they might have lined up for the coming June holidays.

That just about covers most of the activities we wish to do for the coming June school holidays. Should we have more time, we just might chill out at the swimming pools of the Safra Club which the kids absolutely love to do! 

For more ideas and info on where to bring your children to and what to do during the coming holidays, you might want to check out the following websites :

Here's a wish of a great school holidays ahead to all of you great moms and dads out there!