Resolutions and Change

Happy New Year everyone!
How are those New Year’s Resolutions going, or not? 🙂
One thing I learned last year is that change is a gradual process.
Change takes work.
My resolutions are varied: eat less sugar, tone my arms (!), write more, grow in empathy and pray in and for everything. As with any lifestyle change, these things will require perseverance and making choices daily that are for, not against, these ‘goals’.
We are all works in progress, and for the Christian, in a life-long transformational journey to becoming more like Jesus.
It’s humbling, motivating and comforting to know that God is with us for the long haul – when others may give up on us and when we may even give up on ourselves:
‘…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 1:6

I really like this post (shared below) by Paul Tripp called,
Should You Make A New Year’s Resolution?

May 2016 be a year where we can all learn how to better live in grace and hope as we strive towards real change in those 10,000 little moments.

“It’s that time of year again when we examine what we don’t like about our life and make a resolution to change it in the New Year. As the calendar turns from 2015 to 2016, we want to create a better version of ourselves.
Some of us want to lose weight or get into better physical condition. Some of us want to save more money and cut out needless spending. Some of us want to change careers or kick that bad habit. This will finally be the year that we do it!
Can be I honest with you? If you need to wait until the New Year to make a resolution to change your life, I think you misunderstand how people change. Permit me an opportunity to explain myself.

I think change is important. I think resolve is essential. Taking steps to improve your lifestyle is a wise decision. Don’t confuse my purpose: I’m not trying to discourage you from writing or keeping a New Year’s resolution. I simply want to challenge the way you think about biblical change.

For the Christian who finds their hope in the person and work of Jesus Christ, change doesn’t take place in big, dramatic moments. Rather, the transforming work of grace operates in 10,000 little moments of life more than it does in a series of two or three life-altering events.

Are life-altering events significant? Absolutely – that’s why they’re called life-altering! But, the quality of your life and the character of your person is primarily shaped and defined by the 10,000 little decisions, desires, words, and actions you make every day. Even when we experience a life-altering event, we will have 10,000 little moments to respond to it.

So how can you make 2016 your best year ever? Well, for starters, don’t wait until New Years Day – start right here, right now! Confess in those 10,000 little moments of conviction. Live courageously in those 10,000 little moments of faith. Respond obediently in those 10,000 little moments of choice. Choose the Kingdom of God over the kingdom of self in those 10,000 little moments of desire.

Here’s the bottom line: you don’t need a big resolution to change your life, because your life is defined by 10,000 little moments. Jesus Christ is present and active in all these small, seemingly insignificant moments, and he has resolved (by his life and death) to rescue you from sin and transform you into his likeness.

By sovereign grace, God places you in 10,000 little moments that are designed to take you beyond your character, wisdom, and grace so you’ll seek the help and hope that can only be found in him. In a lifelong process of change, he is undoing you and rebuilding you again, not into a better version of you, but into a version of him!

So yes, you and I need to be committed to change in 2016, but not in a way that hopes for a big event of transformation. Our hope for change is a humble heart that finds joy in, and is faithful to, a day-by-day, step-by-step, moment-by-moment process of insight, confession, repentance and faith.

If you want to make a New Year’s resolution, resolve to live in those 10,000 little moments!”

 

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Teaching at Rehoboth

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It has been almost two weeks since leaving Rehoboth. I’m now in the southern region of Mindanao. I was able to be a tourist in Davao for a few days. I then enjoyed some downtime with relatives. What a blessing to be welcomed and taken care of by people you love and who love you! I’m now in Cebu on my way to Hong Kong. What a difference a good internet connection makes!

I thought to reflect and record a snippet of my experience teaching with the orphanage under Rehoboth Sampaloc Ministries.

The opportunity and decision to teach there came about from teaching at HCC, where I worked for the past two years. There I learned about Rehoboth, as HCC is one of its main financial sponsors and sends a team of senior high school students there every year over the July school holidays. It had been stirring in my heart for some time to venture out of the full-time teaching scene (again!) and work overseas. I contacted Sarah, who is the current co-ordinator at Rehoboth, about wanting to volunteer. She informed me that a teacher was going on maternity leave for two months, so if I visited then, it would be very handy and good timing.
I prayed about it, got excited about it, and off I went 🙂

I didn’t quite know what to expect or prepare. There was a curriculum to follow, yet some freedom as to how I taught it. I really valued my laptop, a printer, and Internet access to free educational websites for ideas and activities. Thanks Sparklebox, education.com and Pinterest. I used resources that I had kept since my mid-2000s Prep teaching days. Using the laminator was also a highlight. #simplepleasures.

DSC_7906I enjoyed the experience of teaching different age levels and the small group classes. I taught English, Maths, and Science for 4 days. Fridays involved Living Values, Computers, Art and Sport. It made me appreciate the amount of general knowledge we as teachers have and all the skills we acquire and refine over time – planning, researching, organising, timing, making things interesting, being creative, communicating information at the right level, finding different ways to explain a concept, choice of words, tone of voice and a hundred other things. Teachers are smart and amazing. Just saying 🙂

I tutored one girl for two hours a day in Maths. That was a challenge revisiting multiplying decimals and working with positive and negative numbers. Long division was also in the curriculum… which I initially skipped over… but thought to attempt it. Is it a life skill? No. But can we do it now? Yes! I also enjoyed exploring topics of her interest, like stars, precious gems and butterflies in the last week before I left.
I love a curious mind.

I had a Grade 3/4 class, made up of 5 children aged from 9- 14. They loved dice games like Bingo. The Science unit was on Animals (yay!) so we had a good time looking at lots of YouTube clips and being fascinated with the Animal Kingdom. I may also have slipped in a few episodes of Captain Planet and TMNT to share the joys of my own childhood with them.

I also had a Grade 1/2 class of 4 children, ranging in age from 6 – 10. I enjoyed seeing them learning to read more and more high frequency English words and establishing some routine with their writing. And they loved listening to stories. I haven’t met many children who don’t.

I found that class to be the most challenging. My second day with them, the day after a trip to the beach (!), was the most difficult. I can remember them hiding behind the door, opening drawers, running out of the classroom, not listening… it was a tough morning and I was slightly concerned!

But after chatting with Sarah, things made more sense. There they were – these young children living in an environment where people tend to come and go. There I was – this stranger who immediately assumed their trust and co-operation. Even stranger was that I was (and still am!) a Filipina who couldn’t speak Tagalog to them. How puzzling indeed.

So time was definitely a blessing (as well as prayer. Thank you to the people who prayed for me when I sent out an SOS haha). Time to build familiarity. Time to play. Time to be consistent with my words and actions. Time to allow oneself to be vulnerable. Time to build trust.
Time to just be there. DSC_7865

I remember it was after about a month that a few of the kids began to be more physically affectionate. I loved the waist-hug-face-plant-into-stomach combo. Using my thigh as an armrest. The intertwining of arms as we walked. The rest-on-the-chin as they peered over my shoulder to see photos on my phone.

There was also the baby home across the road to visit. I do wish that I had called in there more often. Even in that short amount of time, I saw babies develop from sitting up to being able to stand. Precious.

The babies and children at Rehoboth come from a wide range of circumstances and it can be difficult to hear their stories. They have been abandoned at the hospital, found wandering in the market, passed on from relative to relative, or surrendered ‘temporarily’ by their mother with the hope of finding a stable job and not returning. They carry memories of experiences that we would not wish upon another.

But now, together, they can experience love and community. They are loved by such a wide range of people, from the valuable regulars to their overseas sponsors to the various teams and families that visit each year. They have an opportunity to learn, to be responsible and to simply be kids! Like any other kid, they love to play, sing, dance, be cheeky, sleep, watch movies and eat out at Jollibee. They have hope for a life with their own family. Some of them will be adopted locally and some internationally… and some have already left to live in places like Spain, the USA and Geelong!

So I’m thankful to have been a part of this community, even for a short time. I am thankful for the experience of love from my own parents and siblings to know that children need and thrive in love. Moreover, I am learning that my capacity and manner to love doesn’t come from my family upbringing alone, but from personally knowing and experiencing the love of my Creator and Heavenly Dad. I have been discovering that the more I open myself to be loved by Him, the more I read His Word and follow the story of His unrelenting love for a rebellious people, the more I am sensitive to His love in daily and long-term graces, then the more risks I can take in loving others, as I find myself settled and secured in His sure, unchanging, constant and immersing love for me.
I am hoping to visit again.
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Life in the Philippines

A whole heap of things have happened since my last entry. (Sabbatical, online study, moving back to parentals, a trip to Europe! A trip to WA! Relief teaching, catching up with friends and one fun goodbye party) Now I’m in northern Philippines, about two hours east of Manila. It’s the longest time I’ve ever been in the Philippines and the first time as a ‘worker’. I have always spent time in the south visiting relatives with my family when I have visited here. Spending time in a Children’s Home and contributing something back to the motherland are two things that have been on my heart to do, so I am enjoying being here! I’m thankful for the opportunity and privilege to be, live and serve in the birth country of my parents. I was getting a little overwhelmed with how to talk about life here so far… so I thought an alphabet acrostic poem might be an organised way to share some experiences from the past 5 weeks. Enjoy 🙂

Life for me in the Philippines is…
Ants. On your arms. On the bench. On a finished plate. On a non-finished plate. All over the corn cob you forgot to throw out. They find everything. They are everywhere. Hustle. All. Day.
Bushman Plus. It works.
Continuing to read my way through the Bible. I’ve spent most of this year in the Old Testament and enjoying taking a closer look at the narratives of people’s lives. How the Lord sought out Hagar. Joseph’s emotions at seeing his brothers again. Gasping my way through Judges. Sighing at, yet identifying with, the straying and stubbornness of God’s chosen people. God’s commitment to love and be faithful to His promises.
Dudes of Tanay’ – in particular reference to the guys who fill up for petrol on their motorbikes and the military guys. We live very close to the military base. The hot weather also means it’s common to see guys with their shirts off, or with singlets half rolled up, exposing their bellies/occasional abs. Filipinos have nice skin tone. Every day something new. Enjoying being here (despite the cockroaches). DSC_7751

Feeling the cool breeze as one commutes on a windowless vehicle. Different story when the vehicle is stationary.
Great people. So many people who live simple and sacrificial lives… the guy who commutes via walking/horse-riding/motor-bike riding from a higher and further mountain… and he’s a husband, father, pastor and farmer too! The guy who wakes up at 4am to heat up the coal so his family has hot water for the day. He’s the van driver who does all the airport transfers and trips for medical check ups for the kids, all in Manila (about a 4 hour return trip). The retired volunteer who brought her piano from Japan and offers the kids piano lessons. The teacher (and mother) whose husband is away Mon-Fri for work and studies on Saturdays. The teachers who teach further into the mountains – classes of up to 60 students, including kids who chew and spit something like betel nut who may or may not have footwear.
Helping a guy to hospital as you travel home in the van from grocery shopping. He had been lying on the road surrounded by a crowd of people who were just standing there! Sarah was so good with her first aid assistance, staying with him at the back of the van and getting him to respond by squeezing her hand. That was one fast and crazy drive to the hospital!
Ipis! (cockroach). A few challenging nights to sleep peacefully knowing/thinking that one might be in the room. I’m trying hard not to have an irrational fear. The lizards are my friends.
Jeepney rides. Personal space – what’s that again?
Karaoke. It’s not the Philippines without it. Popular song choices include Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’, Pink’s ‘Just give me a reason’, and some people are STILL singing ‘Zombie’! Whyyyyy
Lunch at Rehoboth cooked by Mama Beth. We love Mama Beth!
Memory/concentration game with alphabet letters and pictures almost every day in English with the Grade 1 / 2s. They love that game! The process of taking turns was a lesson in itself. DSC_7775

Neighbours… the guy across the road who plays his radio around 5.30am almost every morning… the co-worker who chased you down the street on your first day out because you were walking the wrong way… the ones who sweep your porch and randomly enter the backyard to check on the vegetable garden.
Over-eating comfort food when Sarah’s away :/
Playing… with the toddlers and babies in the morning when your class begins later in the day and sometimes playing basketball with the older kids at the end of the day.
Quickly referring to your Filipino phrasebook and dictionary to help your student understand the meaning of ‘popular’ when he asks, only to discover the Tagalog word is…populár…
Remembering too late that it was one of those toilets where you put used toilet paper in the bin beside the loo and not in it.
Squashing up in vans designed to cater for less than the amount of people that actually fit in there. I’ve managed to score sitting between the 2-3 seater and the hard fold out seat twice on the minimum 2 hour ‘FX’ (van) air-conditioned commute to and from Manila. DSC_7767Teaching! I like sharing knowledge. The younger ones are learning to read English! Yay! Access to helpful youtube videos. The every day challenge of helping a student achieve a ‘light-bulb’ moment.
Umbrella-bringing. Melbourne rain ain’t got nothin on the downpour in Tanay!
Very good home-living conditions of which I am quite thankful.
Watching The Office with Sarah. Love it.
X // This is always a difficult letter. How about ‘x’ for my age. Latest guess = 26. Nice.
Yummy and cheap food. Halo-halo. Dunkin’ Donuts. Buko juice. Sweet tooth much?!
Zzz… that is, waking up the older kids from their siesta for their afternoon classes for Maths and Science!

2015 Post 1

I have missed this place… a place where I can share thoughts and happenings for public musing on a somewhat more personal space (if that makes sense!) Hope your year is going well. For me, I am really enjoying this January. It tends to be a  great month (as I’m usually on holidays!) and I like to do things that I don’t normally make/get time to do: read, fill up the social calendar to the brim and try out new things… this time round – watercolour painting and a stab at poetry (in a non-harmful way).
Mid last week I met with a couple that I am beginning to get to know. As I was being prayed for, my dreams were committed to God – the ‘spoken and unspoken ones’. And in that moment I thought that was a really cool line and made a note-to-self to record it in my journal.
God, who knows, who hears, who sees our spoken and unspoken dreams.
A momentary restless early morning of sleep and a couple of hours 3 days later,
I’m not sure what this is called that I’ve written… a psalm? prose poem?
It could be a prayer. All of the above 🙂
I want to share it because… to an extent this articulates who I know God to be at this stage of my life.
It’s an expression of love and appreciation to Him who not only created me,
but knows me, loves me, and calls me Daughter.
It’s a bit of a reflection on how I have seen God, my Father,
at work in my life so far.
He has not only been there with me, but guiding me.
It helps me to look to the future with hope, not fear.
It encourages me to know that in God, there is always more.

Psalm 2am modified 3 days later…

In Your mind, I began
You loved me before I knew You
Creator of things visible and invisible
You see me

You chose my place, my time, my quirks, my talents, my shape,
those who would be the regulars in my world

You provide moments for me to experience laughter and joy
and discover beauty

You watch me grow
You see my attempts to gain an understanding of who You are
and who I am to You

You are patient
You are gentle, You are faithful
You offer me an endless supply of grace
as you witness my failings
my conscious actions of pride against You
in the lure to want to be other, know other, experience other than that
which you have designed in Your goodness,
so carefully, so thoughtfully, so lovingly
for me to be

Healer of wounds deep
Restorer of the broken
The Great Comforter
Hearer of spoken and unspoken dreams
Life and hope Giver
You are

You forgave at the highest price
to take me back
You show me that I can forgive

You are
and can provide
more than I am capable to imagine
Your mercy will follow me all the days of my life

Ever present
Ever leading
Whispering, speaking, declaring
My dear child, I am not against you
I am for you

Father
You are my Father
and I am loved.

 

(c) 2015 RA

Book recommends

I know the word should probably be ‘recommendations’ but it sounds really formal and I enjoy creating my own version of shortening words… like how I spoke to my British friend and asked him about ‘Londs’… but he said that no-one really says that but it could catch on…

I’m back! Merry Christmas. A fulfilling 2014 to you. Hope it was a relaxing and meaningful Easter… and now I think we’re up-to-date 🙂

So in these past couple of months, I have been telling people that I’ve been re-discovering my love of reading, or really, learning through reading. It’s a bit disturbing how much of my life is affected by Facebook, or not being on Facebook, as I decided to go on yet another fast, for Lent, and some significant life-impacting good came out of it.

I know I keep going on about how I get to reclaim my time when not using fb, but it’s so true.
God, please let those hours of scrolling on my newsfeed and meandering about on people’s pages be a thing of the past! I got things to do.

Today I want to share briefly about some books to break my blog-writing silence.
Firstly I need to say that all of these books do relate to the Christian faith, so if you find that’s going to put you off, uh, feel free to  simply scroll right down to the Dr Seuss quote at the end, OR keep reading anyway… you might find something interesting! 🙂
3 books to recommend for now. These are books I would want to read again.

A Praying Life – Connecting with God in a distracting world by Paul E. Miller

I learned about this book from a friend/mentor during a typical life conversation.
One of the ways I think my praying life has changed since reading this book has simply, yet importantly, been becoming more aware of God’s daily, hourly, presence in my life.

I need You, Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My One Defense, My Righteousness
O God how I need You
( Lord, I need You – Matt Maher)

This book tackles those great familiar stumbling blocks we face in talking to God and giving up things to Him: namely, our  desire to be independent, our seeming lack of time and our cynicism. I also like this book because it is written by a person who shares his personal struggle of going through life being the father of a daughter with a disability, and what that has taught him.

One Thousand Gifts – a dare to live fully right where you are by Ann Voskamp

I heard of this book in two different morning devotions/talks given by staff members at the school where I’m currently employed.
I think what first grabbed my attention was the notion of thankfulness, which I’m big on. I want that to be a normal part of my life. There is a lot that comes out of a lifestyle of gratefulness and contentment, wherever we are. It’s an everyday wonder. It’s daily discovering the obvious and the subtle ways that God says, ‘I love you. I care for you. I want to give you good things.’ And even in the rubbish times we face, which can be very difficult and hard to forget, even in those situations, (I’m taking deep breaths here!!) it’s acknowledging that, though we cannot see nor understand, God is still good. ‘All is grace’ as the author shares. So that’s a very surface summary. I really encourage you to read it yourself if you find this interests you.

The Freedom of Self-forgetfulness  – the path to true Christian joy by Tim Keller

Spotted in Koorong bookstore when I was visiting my friend in Perth in August 2012. I think this is the best $5 I’ve ever spent. I can remember passing it on to at least 5 people. Wow. A short and punchy book that revolutionized my thinking on how I perceive myself. Based on 1 Corinthians 4. Has definitely impacted my life, as someone who used to put too much emphasis on identifying worth based on the opinions of people. It’s a must read!

I’m excited about my next couple of reads.

Something I’ve been mulling over in the last couple of years is the concept of identity. Yes, yes I will thank God that He has currently and purposefully chosen me to be a part of the single 30+ yo ladies population out there. Holler!!!
Seriously, seriously, I really am thankful for a lot of things my singleness has triggered me to thinking and doing. I’m thankful for the things I have discovered on my own, at my pace. So in this situation I have been caused to have some reflection, observation, study and questions on this western culture. What am I allowing to shape my view of how I see myself? Who speaks strongest into my life? So I’m intrigued to read The Vertical Self  by Mark Sayers. This I heard about through a Christian Education day course I did just last week. Looking at the dominant cultural story and the Biblical story. How do these narratives influence the way we live? Are we shaping our culture, or is culture shaping us?

My other read will be The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert– an English professor’s journey into Christian faith by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. Yes, what a name 🙂 Heard about this book through a church camp I went to last month. As a person who grew up in a God-fearing family, I am always keen to hear the stories of people’s journeys to Christianity who have come from a background different to mine.

Hope to write a review in the months ahead – I am a rather slow reader :s

How about you? What books have changed your life? What was your best childhood read?
Have you ever written an amazingly reflective piece that you really want me to read? 🙂

dr_seuss

 

I think he likes me.

What I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post was that I decided to deactivate my facebook account a couple of weekends ago when I really had to knuckle down on report writing. The process gets easier the more times you go through with it. I can testify that every time I have deactivated it, there is always good that comes from it. My use of Facebook is a current major time waster in my life. I don’t think it’s evil in itself, but if I can’t control my time on it and if it becomes an ultimate thing in my life, then it has won – it becomes an idol.
As much as I enjoy communicating with friends on Facebook, I also enjoy the silence and sudden abundance of time. I quickly discover that I have more time to do other, better things, such as reading a book – the ones with pages with printed text that I can underline with a pencil. I have almost finished reading, ‘A Praying Life’ by Paul E. Miller and I love this book! Life-changing!

… but if I were on Facebook, this would be my trivial (but sweet!) photo update, complete with corny template from PhotoGrid:

snacksMy younger brother (whom I haven’t seen in oh, 12 days) just popped over on his way to our cousins’ place to provide me with a personalised ‘Report Writing Survival Kit’. The funny thing was, the hard yards were over on Monday, and today I had just polished off the same size Cadbury choc Hazelnut block I bought a couple of days ago as a reward… :/
Still, I really like this because
1. It came as a complete surprise.
2. He sought to find out exactly what I liked (by saying he was doing a survey… he’s studying Nutrition so I didn’t think twice about it)
3. It was such a kind and selfless act.
4. In summary, how thoughtful!

It’s motivation to do the final checks.

I think he likes me.

thankful

Rainy weather is conducive to writing, do you agree?

Hello Blogworld. Hello and thank you new this-blog-checkers (‘followers’ makes me sound just a tad cultish), if you haven’t given up on me with my erratic postings. Long time no ‘broadcast’ as one of my friends has described my sharing manner. I don’t disagree – I enjoy having a platform to exercise freedom of speech to put some thoughts into print for public judging, viewing and consumption.

How are you all? That would be something if you all replied. I dare you.

For me, my current standing is: appreciative, thankful and intentionally empathetic.

Firstly, I have written myself out of this term’s report writing season. Hooray. Victory. Procrastinator Me was in force at 95%. It didn’t take over me completely as I didn’t end up writing into the wee hours of the morning (thank You God. I have learnt something in these past 8 years!). Things that suddenly became appealing over the past week included: online shopping for bags and personalised notepads on Etsy, dress browsing on ModCloth (ok, I confess I do that regularly), downloading free games for android (now deleted) and… playing Minesweeper and Spider Solitaire. Ridiculous. I also did gardening and planted my first vegetable, the broadbean. That was fairly exciting actually. I also chose the long weekend for dad to come over to put together my new bookshelf. That was special. Love hanging out with my dad.
So I’m thankful that the job was done, with enough time to spare to have a barbeque dinner at my uncle’s place. Thank God for family and an aunty who can cook! Mmm, I am missing home-cooked meals. Thankful for my housemate who cooked my dinner tonight. I want to learn how to cook with fish! Well, not cook with them… you know what I mean.

Secondly, thinking about the devastation created and left by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. It is very difficult for me to comprehend the loss of 10,000 + lives and the hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes who are hungry and are lacking fresh drinking water. I always find it hard to know how to pray in these times of disasters. I have a need to be intentionally empathetic because honestly, putting myself in other people’s shoes doesn’t come easily to me. I’ve been moved at the concern that my friends and colleagues have shown in praying for the Philippines and asking m, as a person of Philippine descent, if I have any relatives who have been affected. It’s so nice and I love that people care. My relatives are fine as far as I know. Thanks for asking.
Praying for relief, comfort, strength, wisdom.

There are 19 teaching days left on my calendar! As always, ‘the year has flown’. With this realisation, I hope to finish well with my class. They are a pretty good bunch and I think I will miss them… for a short while 😛
We are preparing for Presentation Night, which involves singing with actions and memorising of Scripture. There is something very pure and beautiful about the singing voices of children. I have really noticed a difference in quality between kids who get taught to sing in proper music lessons and those who sadly don’t get that opportunity. All schools should have music!

That’s all for now. Take care. Be kind. Be thankful.

September ramblings

I did it again. I opened up a present that I bought for someone else and started to eat it.
But I think this was a good save! Seriously… don’t buy Rondoletti Cookies and Cream stick wafers. Ptuh! (yes I did make that noise out loud to see if I could ‘sound it out’…) Does not taste like cookies and cream but more like gooey heaped spoons of sugar. The wafers are crisp though, I give it that.

It is Week 10, Term 3. Brain is functioning on 30% sharp thinking power (thought today was Thursday) and energy levels quite low (tried to nap after work… been feeling so tired to the point I feel sick). Looking forward to some much desired R & R. I think I’ll be booking myself a getaway, just so I can read in peace! Yes, what a privilege. Yes, I will take it, with thanks!

beansIt has been a really great term th ough. Have had fun exploring marine animals with the kids and through that I’ve learned more about cuttlefish, the nautilus and the biscuit starfish! I’ve always loved animals. From our unit in history, it is now embedded in my mind that there were 11 ships that sailed in the First Fleet, which left Portsmouth, England on May 13, 1787. I also now know that I teach 5 main subjects! – English, Maths, Science, History and Geography. And Christian Life Studies. Yes it has taken me this long to make that realisation. The kids also got a chance to grow beans and wheat in the classroom. (I also found that really fun!) The image on your above left is a romantic picture I thought of the plants, created by the sun that shines through my classroom windows in the afternoons.

What else has been happening…

Thank you to some recent additions of blog followers! That’s really nice. Most of you are people with a connection to running… which now leads me to the part where I must disappoint you all…
I don’t really run! 😦 I think I’ve only gone out for an additional 2 times since my last post!! Mental strength failing 😦 I only made it to the traffic lights a couple of Sundays ago (1.5km). I’m really sorry potential fans. Maybe I need a goal. There was a 13km Yarra Valley run (amongst picturesque mountains and vineyards) just last week. Perhaps I will join that one next year and inspire and share common stories with you fitness freaks, I mean friends, again 🙂 Good on you for working towards a goal. Keep it up!

I’ve been thinking about writing new blog entries for so long and as always, when I finally get here, they seem to begin with quite a pre-ramble! It’s my way of slowly drawing you in, so that the deep stuff doesn’t hit you too hard 😛
I wanted to post a ’31 things at 31’ list (I had a very fun ‘Letter R’ themed birthday party a few weeks ago!), but since that sounds like that is going to take ages to prepare, here are some snippets of things I have learned in recent months in my life journey, that may be helpful/useful/insightful to you as they have been to me…

  • ‘The inner giants (what goes on in our minds) will tend to be more difficult to conquer than any external giant we will face in life.’
    Context: whole staff devotion before the work day begins with the kids, by Kirby, our school chaplain who is present every Thursday. Great guy. I am thankful for Kirby.
  • God can change the direction in which He is leading us, and suddenly too, e.g. God’s call for Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac – when God says stop just about when Abraham goes to kill his son.
    Context: reading through notes from attending Bible Study Fellowship.
  • A place where one’s faith is given a true opportunity to grow/be tested/exposed is in the land of the unfamiliar.
    Context: personal life events.
    I’ve been trying to coin this saying for a while. Still getting there. Hope you can get what I mean.
  • To be indifferent is to experience freedom from responsibility and care, yet it is unrewarding, lonely and unfulfilling.
    To love is to sacrifice, to be vulnerable to hurt, yet it brings incomparable joy to not only oneself but others too.

    Indifference is selfish. Love is selfless.
    Context: personal life events.

Wow that feels great to get that out there!

Other things:
It has been 6 months since I moved out of home. Where I live is such a blessing in that it is a convenient location, we are the first tenants in a new home and I have a walk-in robe and an en suite! That is luxury enough for me. Serzly.
I had my first training session yesterday with AMES (Adult Multicultural Education Services) for being a volunteer tutor to migrants in Oz, and I LOVED it. I love learning about culture and teaching the English language… possibly so much that I accidentally took home the trainer’s notes! I wonder where this will take me. I am looking forward to hopefully having another chance at teaching Grade 4 again next year, but I would also be keen on an opportunity to teach adults. Let’s see where this goes.
I’m single and I’m still working out how I feel about that. My housemate’s church is looking for posts about ‘courage’ for their newsletter and she has drafted a post on the lines of ‘it takes courage to be single’. I hope she sends it in!
Myanmar is still on my mind. In a couple of weeks it will be one year since I ventured out on a trip that has had quite an impact on my life. Hope to post again then.
This is a nautilus in case you were wondering 😛

Life: Post-RunMelb

I’m 12 days overdue in giving birth to my b…log post. Thanks for reading/waiting!

Very important I think to capture the victories, as we (I) can easily have a tendency to ruminate over our (my) failings.

So I did it! We did it! My team and I ran the 10ks!

Well, 99.9% of it. Unfortunately there was one part, under the bridge, where we had to resort to walking, as the path was so narrow and congested with too many runners. Besides that, a pretty good run!

Thankful that we got there on time, no issues with meet up spot. We did pre-run aerobics which was quite fun, although my cousin later commented that that was the hardest part of the day for him as he struggled with co-ordination! Haha

It was a lovely morning. The air was brisk, but there was sunshine.  Some team members were a bit talkative at the beginning… I think we were the loudest group at the start. Too much excitement! But then the reality of an hour of running kicked in and the group slowly began to break up, groups-of-people-wise. Les was the pace-keeper in trying to get us to run in 60 mins. It almost worked!

Points of interest:

  • I liked that my brother was part of the team. It was great to do some exercise with him as he’s a bit of a fitness freak and in the past, I usually had an excuse not to go running with him when he’d ask. So I enjoyed having him around as I achieved a PB!
  • Thankful that my cousin Kaiser looked out for Caleb, who had hardly done any training! That was a bit nuts to go straight into the 10k, but C- cub did a good job for running as far as he did before having a break! He also ended up with some pretty cool photos from the run. (and how about me… I was the one who organized it and I only got 1!)
  • Saw a guy that I’d only met on the Friday before at a friend’s party who mentioned he’d be running the 10k too during the run. Amusing
  • Managed to get a cup of Gatorade, have a bit of a sip and throw it in the bin without stopping! #natural
  • 8k was the hurt mark for me. I was really looking forward to the end at this point. Never had a strong urge to stop running though. Definitely ran with a can-do attitude!
  • Around 9k there was a guy who started to talk to Les, cos he’d been to Myanmar was well. Les was a bit annoyed but it allowed me to catch up with her! Haha
  • Began to get a blister in the last k. First running blister ever. Thankfully it didn’t cause too much pain
  • Les and I sprinted in the last 50m and held hands as we crossed the finish line! Checking the times later that day, she had beaten me by one hundredth! I teased that she did it so I would run with her again. She teased back by saying she was trying to shake me off! Too tired for a re-match at this point!
  • Final time was 1:03:30 which was a PB, hooray! Not sure if it would annoy people if I said I probably could have done it faster so I won’t mention that.
  • Thankful that my housemate Karin could come and support. Also Jane, who helped to co-ordinate my Myanmar trip last year. It was amazing that somehow she managed to see me start but I didn’t see her. After the race, while walking to collect my ‘free’ The Age bag, newspaper, protein bar and medal, I prayed that we could meet, and there she was standing, with her French exchange student! So wonderful.
  • Polished off a pleasing big breakfast with the team at Pancake Parlour, and Bingi was able to come and have coffee with Karin and I later, and take me home.

Epic morning.
A terrific, predominantly physical and mental achievement morning.
I loved it!
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So I have two medals now. My first being a bronze from Grade 5 doing Cross Country within the St. Albans District Schools. I’m a has-been! And this year’s:

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To the fundraising side of things…

I will say PRAISE GOD for the $2300 that was raised through this event! Thankful again for the people who gave. Responses from friends in my social circle, church and work. Don’t think we got any from the radio, but it was great to have that exposure anyway (and Clayton from Light FM said my enunciation was really good! Haha)

To date, there is still $2700 left to raise before target is reached and currently slowly working on Phase 3: The Auction!

I hope to be working with my sister-in-law on that. She encouraged me today actually through her email in saying, ‘I also pray that your efforts will bear many fruits and many kids in Myanmar find their dreams…’

Who knows the extent of impact raising these funds will have. It brings hope, doesn’t it?

So amongst all that, also having thoughts on work in the future, my birthday, church, marital status, relationships, life, death… you know I get why I spend so much time on Facebook. It’s to distract myself from thinking about important things such as these. Is it possible to get sick from too much thinking? I’m feeling quite tired and run-down lately and I wonder if it is due to too much on my mind. Or maybe it’s the delayed effect of the run. I’ve only run once since! Goodnight 🙂

Ok and I did end up buying a pair of boots this July too 😉
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What a difference a year makes

ImageLast Winter, I bought these heels online when I had de-activated my facebook in attempt to lessen distractions from working on an assignment. Obviously I simply shifted my distraction to online shopping, which turned out to be a more costly choice :/

This Winter, I bought these runners to have an official pair of shoes just for running! Much more comfortable than the boots… maybe not as hot 😛

So it’s the night before my first 10km public running event. I’m hoping to be in bed no later than 10:30 and have a peaceful and fulfilling sleep.

I’ve had my carb fix of rice (and chicken and veg) for dinner. Oats tomorrow morning.

I feel mostly ready-ish for this event. I’ve envisaged some amusing scenarios-

* getting knocked over in a stampede at the beginning
* crawling after the 1k mark
* pacing myself behind a cute guy and running in the waft of his aromatic deodorant

Is it bad that I’m looking forward to taking a cup of water, have the water gush down my chin as I try to drink it and then get to chuck it on the side of the road, just like the professionals do on TV? My vanity is also reminding me to look out for the cameras and try not to appear exhausted 🙂

I’m looking forward to running with my brother, my cousins, and friends – one of them being one of my besties who has literally been inviting me for years to join her on a ‘fun’ run. My excuses were: it’s on a Sunday, I’d have to train and I don’t want to lose boob fat.

What has made the difference this time?
Usually my Sunday morning activity is going to a church service. Going to a church service to be with a community of believers and worship God together.
Tomorrow I do still get to be with a community of believers, just a smaller one, and we will be honouring God by doing this fundraiser run, which in effect is an act of love towards our neighbours, in this case, being the orphans in Myanmar.

Training – I have definitely benefited from going for runs.
(I’m not sure how intensely I will continue this exercise after tomorrow though!)
Socially, it’s been something I could do with my housemate, with my brother and cousins and with one of my besties. Physically, it has helped me to up my fitness, besides netball. I can eat junk and work it off, but it has also helped me to want to eat better.
The biggest benefit though, has been the mental shift, which is still continuing to change and strengthen. God and I are the only ones who really know how significant this has been for me. I love that I’ve never given up on any of the goals that I made for myself this whole time I’ve been running. I’m happy that I didn’t give up. I love that I have been able to meet my goals and exceed my own expectations of myself in this area.
Thank you God. Feels nice 🙂

Loss of fat –
Look, they were never really big anyway.
There is more to a woman than boobs. Re-read if necessary.

Lastly, purpose.
I found it hard to run before because I pretty much didn’t like it!
Why wake up early? Why punish yourself to do something you don’t enjoy?

Thankfully, I have come to enjoy it somewhat because it has come with benefits!
More seriously though, this ‘temporary suffering’ means that people have donated and hopefully will continue to donate money to provide practical needs for the children in the Myanmar orphanages. It’s so great! It’s humbling and it’s a privilege. It seriously makes me happy and humbled when I think of all the people it has involved – from the orphans, to local workers and my friends in Myanmar, to my cousin in the Philippines who helped with our running shirts, to my friends and family who have donated and even Light FM! So cool.

 Ok, that’s all for now. Hope to post a good reflection after the run! Here we go!!!!!!!