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Friday, 30 December 2011

Join The Cause

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. 
And then go and do that. 
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman 

Final week, as I was packing and unpacking my things, I kept thinking, if I'm going to start help change the world I must first understand my place in society. I did some research and wrote a list of causes that has always been close to my heart. Next step, confirmation, probably during this short break away from work I can reflect on my true passion for Architecture + Travel + Children. 

If you haven't notice, I have always love a good picture, quotes and sharing stories/ experiences. Every time I do some reading, I take notes. Who knows when it might come in handy. I have collected a good collection of them over the time. Both good quote or picture (at the right moment) is worth ten thousand words. I always thought it would be nice to include some interesting ones on my blog, Facebook or Twitter every now and then to encourage others. I'll be adding more and more on a regular basis. I hope you would enjoy reading my digital footprint, it's nothing fancy.
Armed with only two simple quote, I am heading off to my next adventure. I am confident He will guide me to find a cause that will make my heart sing.

"Seek the wisdom of the ages,but look at the world through the eyes of a child." - Ron Wild

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up." - Pablo Picasso

This holiday season, instead of concentrating on buying and accepting gifts, I adopted a new habit. I started to invest my time to raise funds and awareness (by merely talking to people) I encourage them to find a charity to give back to society. You do not have to follow my footsteps, find your own voice. Maybe you want to start a family but it sounds like a huge responsibility or you are not ready to settle down with your partner, try sponsoring a small child. One dollar a day to support clean clothes, food, a bed to sleep, school supplies and an education seems like a good start. I have listened to people who started their own charity programs, and it is actually very affordable and accessible.

Time and money is only an excuse, if you think carefully, it is how you empower, motivate and inspire yourself and people around you ...  to living a happy and fulfilled lives. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when I was six and my biggest problem was what kind of dress to put on my Barbie's or whether or not I had enough Lego's to build a fort. So think ... what makes you put a smile on when you wake up for work in the morning?

If you are not a fan of architecture, check out this site and you can stop reading.

But to my fellow architecture peers maybe the following links would help you to continue your long tiring journey next year. Never give up, you are almost there, just a few more steps.

Open Architecture Network (OAN) is a free on-line open source community dedicated to improve global living conditions through innovative and sustainable designs, the network aims to allow architects, designer, innovators and community leaders to share ideas, design and places.

Architecture for Humanity is a non-profit organisation that finds architectural solutions and put them into practise during humanitarian crisis, it also brings professional design services to communities in need. Cameron Sinclair is a young architect with great world vision. Google and watch his videos on Youtube.

Why we choose to do it?
  • Growing this world and promoting green sustainable design
  • See, share and explore architecture for humanity
  • Support and help change the world
  • Interested in social, humanitarian and cultural design
A lot of organisation focus on providing shelter to homeless people through sustainable, transitional housing. Projects ranges from school, affordable housing, long term sustainable reconstruction and health clinics. But remember it's not just about designing solutions for people in need it is all about building for people in need, because there are a million ideas out there that can change world but unless you built it doesn't matter. If an architect show up and present the idea but not implement that idea, it is as if you shown people a vision but not giving them a future. So don't just sit in front of the drawing board, go out and see it done.

How does it work?
Architectural aid organisation has recently hit Australia, most have been established for ten years or less. Architects has work all over the world on humanitarian projects for nothing or next to nothing. These projects come about while architects are overseas and see a need or are approached by NGOs
  • Some architects are paid but most are not
  • Some work on the ground, while others work remotely
  • Some vet projects carefully, while other architects discover projects on their travels and stay around to lend a hand
  • Some individuals have been helping out for free on projects that seems forever

What are the process?
  • Consultation with the disaster community
  • Learning about the local techniques and materials
  • Documentation can be performed in Australia but still maintained a presence on site (sourcing materials and supplementing local construction knowledge)

When is the best time?
I encourage all architects or graduates to work on these overseas projects when you are young, working for yourself or even taking time out from a larger practise. You can choose to be volunteers and pay your way (my first step). Most are provided with accommodation and some may get a stipend to cover their  living costs.

Where are the common locations?
Solomon Islands, East Timor, India, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Liberia

Architecture for Humanity
Open Architecture Network
Architects For Peace
Emergency Architects Australia (EAA)
Architects without Frontiers (AWF)

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Good Advice for Hard Times

Well, it just gets worse and worse doesn't it? Collapsing banks, collapsing countries, massive government cuts, rising debt, inflation and the possibility of a double dip. It's amid all this uncertainty that the already embattled modern woman needs the best advice she can get about how to be as cool and calm in life as possible. This book offers pearls of wisdom, sent to me just in time for Christmas by a friend half way across the globe. I read each topic; youth, friendship, conversation, work, money, men, marriage, sex, motherhood, children, family, housework, relaxation, happiness, self worth, looks, exercise, diet, middle age, anger, adversity, courage, old age, life and death; picked up a few interesting quotes. (or shared the ones I liked)

Youth Youth troubles over eternity, age grasps at a day and is satisfied to have even the day - Dane Mary Gilmore

Friendship Men kick friendship around like a football but it doesn't seem to break. Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces - Anne Marrow Lindbergh

Conversation The opposite of talking isn't listening. The opposite of talking is waiting - Fran Lebowitz
A gossip is someone who talks to you about others, a bore is someone who talk to you about himself, and a brilliant conversationalist is one who talks to you about yourself - Lisa Kirk
The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment - Lady Dorothy Nevill

Work Take your work seriously, but never yourself - Dame Margot Fonteyn
In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man - if you want anything done, ask a woman - Margaret Thatcher

Money If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to - Dorothy Parker
Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort - Helen Gurley Brown

Men When a man gives his opinion he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion she's a bitch - Bette Davis
The only time a woman really succeeds in changing a man is when he is a baby - Natalie Wood

Marriage A man would prefer to come home to an unmade bed and a happy woman than a neatly made bed and an angry woman - Marlene Dietrich

Motherhood The joys of motherhood are never fully experienced until the children are in bed - Anon
Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same and most mothers kiss and scold together - Pearl Buck

Children Children are our second chance to have a great parent-child relationship - Laura Schlessinger
You see much more of your children once they leave home - Lucille Ball
Loving a child doesn't mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult - Nadia Boulanger

Relaxation For fast-acting relief, try slowing down - Lily Tomlin

Self worth Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission - Eleanor Roosevelt
You are your own judge. The verdict is up to you - Astrid Alanda
When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you - African proverb
Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you? - Fanny Brice

Looks Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess - Edna Woolman Chase
You can take no credit for beauty at sixteen. But if you are beautiful at sixty, it will be your soul's own doing - Marie Stopes

Adversity If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain - Dolly Parton

Courage It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees - Dolores Ibarruri
Even cowards can endure hardship, only the brave can endure suspense - Mignon McLaughlin

Old age Wisdom doesn't automatically come with old age. Nothing does - except wrinkles. It's true, some wines improve with age. But only if the grapes were good in the first place - Abigail van Buren

Life Don't be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin - Grace Hansen

Monday, 26 December 2011

Winter Wonderland

If I lay here, if I just lay here, 
I wonder if would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Just last weekend we had an awesome Winter Wonderland production at Church and last night Melbourne was hit by hailstorm, lightning, thunder and a very heavy downpour. Properties were damage and flooded
I am thankful that I arrive home safely, driving on the slippery road. Finally I enjoyed a white Christmas this Summer.

Christmas last year and this year has been quiet for me, no big travel plans or queuing up in the airport waiting to transit, no family reunion or cooking for huge group of people.
I chose to stayed home and be good, I had delicious meals with friends and spend time with their family.
I am not surprise my fridge is empty but I manage to survive.
Life without work, I caught up on lost sleep, watched a few movies, finished a few books, went out for coffee, swimming, power napping, packed my bags and cleaned the place (getting rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful)
I have a little over a week to switch from a workaholic to hibernation (rest) and straight into mission mode.

This weekend I will board the plane and arrived just in time to spend New Years Eve with four amazing friends. So here are the highlights of my short trip:
Count down to 2012 in winter
Bringing love, hope and opportunity to the special children in Sanmenxia
Spending Chinese New Year in Beijing (away from my family, still think I am crazy to spend it alone)
Visiting Harbin International Ice Festival (one of world’s four largest international ice festivals, along with Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada’s Quebec Winter Carnival, and Norway’s Ski Festival)
Touring Lhasa, Tibet (if you didn't know it is the highest region on earth 16,000 ft)
Hopefully I could catch a glimpse of  Mount Everest at 29,029 ft on the border of Nepal
But I can't wait to be blown away by Potala Palace (formerly the residence of the Dalai Lama)
Breathless experience of clambering up the endless stone stairs on a clear blue cloudless day looking at the Himalayan mountainous backdrop would be priceless.

Friday, 16 December 2011

My almost perfect New Year’s Resolution

Meet a few datelines this week but a few more to go in the next few days before closing the company for Christmas. Since workload seems to be never ending, I decided to head home straight after work, no more late nights for one day. It felt really good arriving home before the sun sets. The whole place looked bright and welcoming. A little warm but I can bear with the current heat.

First thought that came into my mind, what do I do now, I am free, I forgot what I did the last time I came home early. I look around and decided to clean the place and get everything sorted. I cook a simple meal, my flatmate came home and we sat down to a home cook dinner. Quality time spend.

Just the other night I came home, surprised to find she left me a note on my pillow, the kind thought actually cheered me up. A few close friends had been supportive and encouraging this year. I even received a Christmas gift sent all the way from the UK, how thoughtful. I haven’t opened it but I am sure it is a book, and like you said I know it will come in handy for my blog. Thank you very much, how ironic, I sent you a book too. Happy reading!

I really shouldn't put my life or my family on hold for work. I made a few phone calls, the night was still early, and I contemplated getting into bed or staying up to finish reading a book. If I sleep, I know I would wake up in the middle of the night and feel restless for the day. I ended up reflecting upon some of life’s important lessons and wrote a list of Top Ten New Year's Resolution. I didn't expect the list to reach 50 items before I feel asleep.

Personal & Professional
1. Time to upgrade to an inexpensive car.
2. Own the best house I can afford. 
3. Get my next pet (most likely a dog) from the animal shelter.
4. Don't say I don't have enough time I have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Theresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.
5. Continue to buy great books even if I never read them. ... start a collection on my Kindle.
6. Treat myself to a massage on my birthday ... starting to become an annual tradition.
7. Give myself a year and read the bible cover to cover again.
8. Learn a new language. Choose between Japanese, Korean or Spanish.
9. Don't quit my job until I have lined up another great position.
10. Judge my success by the degree of how I am enjoying peace, health and love.

Charity & Activity
1. Choose a charity in my community and support it generously with my time and money.
2. Make it a habit to do nice things to people who'll never find out.
3. Watch sunrise at least once a year ... I still remember the last time I hike to do this was almost 10 years ago
4. Lie on my back and look at the stars ... took my sister to an island for comet gazing15 years ago. 
5. Every once in a while take the scenic route ... might be once in a life time experience if I never come back.

Social networking
1. Treat everyone I meet like I want to be treated.
2. Make new friends but cherish the old ones.
3. Seek out the good in people.
4. Never deprive someone of hope it might be all they have.
5. Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen every day.
6. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
7. Don't gossip, Don't nag, Don't gamble, Don't whine ... I wanted to include Don't drink but it would be difficult
8. Hear both sides before judging. Don't jump into conclusion.
9. Be tactful never alienate anyone on purpose.
10. Every person that I meet knows something I don't ... learn from them.

Physical health & fitness
1. Don't take good health for granted.
2. Get and stay in shape.
3. Accept pain and disappointment as part of life.
4. Don't be intimidated by doctors or nurses even when I am in the hospital ... remember it's still my body.
5. Laugh a lot, a good sense of humor cures almost all of life's ills.

Spiritual & mental well being
1. Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.
2. Know when to keep silent and when to speak up.
3. Give myself an hour to cool off before responding to someone who has provoked me ... if it involved something really important then give myself overnight.
4. Never walk out on a quarrel.
5. Pray not for things but for wisdom and courage.
6. Be tough minded but tender hearted.
7. Don't waste time responding to critics.
8. Avoid negative people.
9. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person I know.
10. Don't forget a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated ... start giving more compliments.
11. Don't allow the phone to interrupt important moments it is there for my own convenience not the caller's.
12. Keep overhead low and expectation high.
13. Seek opportunity not security ... a boat in a harbor is safe but in time it's bottom will rot out.
14. Let people know what I stand for and what I won't stand for.
15. Never compromise my integrity.

Emotional development 
1. Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power or prestige but on relationships with people I love and respect
2. Remember that a successful marriage depends on two things (1) finding the right person and (2) being the right person.
3. Don't allow self-pity. The moment this emotions strikes, do something nice for someone less fortunate than me.
4. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone I love them.
5. When someone hug me let them be the first to let go.

According to Gretchen Rubin (author of best-seller "The Happiness Project"): "You hit a goal, you achieve a goal. You keep a resolution".
I am writing this down so every month I will continue to question the above by asking "Will this help me become my very best?" 
And at the end of 2012 I will count how many of the the above blessings I manage to accomplish.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Wonder Where did I go Wrong

If there's one thing I learned over the weekend, it's that dreamers and realists do balance each other out.
It is true. I have to agree with Cam in Modern Family, 
"There are dreamers and there are realists in this world, you think the dreamers would find the dreamers and the realists would find the realists, but more often than not the opposite is true. See the dreamers need the realists to keep the dreamers from soaring too close to the sun. And the realists? Well without the dreamers, they might not ever get off the ground."
It is so frustrating, how do you make someone understand the situation when they could not care less?
It is difficult to maintain a good relationship with everyone, and not be fake in the same circle of friends.
I am asked to promise not to tell. I have to respect that.
It is not a big secret but I still have to choose my words wisely. 
It is hard to ignore all the gossip and forgive those who backstab.
Not everyone can or willing to admit their mistake. 
It is easy to complain, walk away and let others clean up the mess.
If only people are more forgiving and less belittling among each other, there will be no misunderstanding.

I was this close to snap or give someone important the cold shoulder. 
Why be nice to people when they treat you poorly or do not appreciate?
Well being the altruistic me as usual, I decided not to walk down the nasty road.
I hit the gym, to see if I still had that strange feeling but ended up hurting myself instead.
Yes it was waiting to explode, I focused on the pain, the only thing that's real now.
It made me recall how the needle tore a hole, that familiar sting.
I tried to kill the thought away but I still remember everything clearly.
Finally with just little energy left, I finished my drink, off the phone and closed my eyes.
"Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him. Even if it's personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, 'I'm sorry, I won't do it again,' forgive him." Luke 17:3-4(MSG)
My sweetest friend, 
What have I become, everyone I know has something to say
But I want to hear it from you if it is true (not anyone else)
Did I let you down, was I not there when you needed me
You could have it all, I have nothing more to offer
I feel like an empty shell ... imperfect and a little bit cracked
Johnny Cash sings "I wear this crown of thorns upon my liar's chair full of broken thoughts I cannot repair"
Will our friendship stand the test of time as she is slowly disappearing from my life
Even as I see you turn into someone else, I want you to know I am still right here, I am still the same
I could start again, I could wait or I could find a way back to you even if you are far away
Some may say I am a dreamer but I am not the only one
She may be a realist or an opportunist ... a romantic with a hint of cynicism
I accept who she is,  we may be different but we are still friends
Right now I am just not ready to give up hope on her and our friendship.
"You may not think that you can have a huge impact on our world, but I believe that you can."
Exodus 38:1-31
When the time is right, when she is ready, I know she will realise this "If you, and everyone else around you, contributed just a small amount of time and money to the needs that cross your path then our world would truly be a better place."
Lord, we should be blessed with all we have. I pray that she could hold loosely to the things that she owns and be a little more generous with all that she has.

If you are having a rough day like me? Place your hand over your heart. Feel that? That's call purpose. You're alive for a reason. Never give up. As long as you are still breathing, you still have hope.
While writing this, the song "Same Mistake" started playing, listening to the lyrics ... timing couldn't be any better. I will have a good rest tonight for tomorrow is just another day that I'll probably never forget.

Friday, 9 December 2011

A Shooting Star or a Falling Star

Ten years flew past so quickly,every thing I have learned, every moment I have hold on to, every step that I have taken, it all comes down to this, last night was the ARBV Certificate Conferring Ceremony.

Proud of myself? Maybe just a little. I did achieve my ambition.
Any celebration? Not really excited about the whole event. The clock did not stop and life still goes on. It is just the beginning of the next season.

Mum, Dad, I have finally achieve my dream ... just like how you have advise, it requires hard work and many late nights, it was tiring but I never gave up, it was painful yet rewarding and worth it at the end. Thanks for showing me the world.

Ahh SUCCESS ... it is not just about what I accomplish in my life, it's also about what I inspires others to do. Such a shame Lawla can't make it, she really wanted to attend, but I believe her time will come, one fine day her name will be called to receive the cert. We will wait for your turn. By the way, thank you for the lovely gift. 

Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they're always there.

God's funny sense of humour...a few friends I invited to the event, couldn't make it last minute. I was a little disappointed and was just joking to God that it is going to be a long boring night. As I was sitting alone, little did I expect the other person seated next to me not only looked familiar, she actually knew me. It's a small world.
The HARDEST part of realizing A dream...catching a Falling Star or being a Shooting Star?

A star fell from heaven, right into my arms.
The brightest star I know I've ever seen.
Then I found out that it was only you with all your charms who came into my life to fill my next dream.
A fallen star that's what you are.
Thank you for attending my short ceremony.

Lately, I have seen a few people stepping down as leaders. Is it too much to handle for them? Are they sick of it all?
or Are they are merely giving an opportunity for someone else to step up and take over? Well as long as they step down gracefully. It should be a smooth transition to the next great leader.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Believe Begin Become

Remember ... Reflect ... Respect ... Resolve ... Renew ... Refine ... Rejoice ... Restore this journey

Clear my mind, feel, watch, listen to the tune, look deep down to find the my inner strength again.

I know He is looking out for me way up above, I have Him to thank for it.

I have nothing to fear, right now all I can do besides waiting is to smile and trust.

Let Him take the lead and pray I have the strength to follow .

I just hope one day when I get to heaven, I'll see my friend and be able say, "Yea, I helped you get here."

Below is one of my favourite video of ThePianoGuys called Desert Symphony filmed in Southern Utah's. Enjoy.

Subscribe and become Founder of ThePianoGuys help them fund future productions of great music and looking forward to more awesome videos.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Travel wide and far...Travel boldly.

The article 3 Reasons to Travel while You're Young was sent to me various times over the past weeks by different people. But I will still take time to I click on the page and re-read the inspiring post over and over again.

This morning I received a thank you email from a good friend, how nice if everyday I can wake up to kind messages and encouraging notes instead of nasty comments or bad news. The email in short "You are amazing, wonderful person and have a beautiful heart... Enjoy your blogs, your stories, your updates on facebook, your tears even, that is just so true! The more I know you, the more I like you. You always reply messages and email asap, this is not something everyone can do. But you made it. We sometimes will find excuse to leave for the next day, but you never!" 

I know how she feels, cause I feel the same way when I meet a certain inspiring individual. In life when I choose act on inspiration, amazing things happen to not only myself but to everyone around me.

Just the other day, I had explained myself to my directors that I have too much emails flooding my inbox, I want to know exactly which team member should responsible for each projects. Every day I am replying to emails and answering phone calls on projects that I am not even involved in, I end up not meeting my own datelines or staying back later and even to the extend of working on weekends. I don't mind putting some extra hours on productive work, but I can't accept the company having poor management system.Why are non-clients sending me emails? How did these consultant find my contact? What is the rest of the team busy working on? Who is responsible to act or give instructions on the matter? When you perform a task well at work, automatically everyone will come to you cause they know you gets things done, but be real careful, to avoid conflict or getting into trouble with other people's mistakes.

Last night I was invited to join a group of friends to watch the Victory vs Galaxy friendly match, David Beckham was playing on the field. I could see him up close from my seat. The feeling I used to have for him when I was younger has now changed. I realise I am not getting any younger but I have indeed grown up wiser, learning from all the past immature relationships and friendships. I guess this is what make us all different, the road we travelled yesterday, brought us to where we are today, the path we choose or decide to follow tomorrow will shaped our world and define the future.

In short "What we do in life echoes in eternity"

Most people I know who waited to travel the world never did.
Plenty of people waited after graduating from university, after getting a steady job, after meeting the right partner or even after saving for a car and a house. Eventually these people are still looking to travel, let's be honest, how many years are they going to take to pay of their debt on a car loan or house mortgage before they can start saving for holiday. NEVER!

My ex-flatmate recently decided to quit his job and he finally bought a one way ticket. I encouraged him to just go, don't hold back or wait any longer. He is now heading over to China a few weeks before me, for whatever intention he has over there, I am sure he will not lose sight of what's important. I am glad he put his foot down and no more excuses. He keep telling me the risk he has to take, but I promise him that one day he will look back and be really proud of his current life changing decision. The few regrets now will not matter next year.

Travelling teaches you to live life an adventure, helps you encouter compassion and allows you to experience some culture...
You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. It’s worth whatever investment or money or sacrifice of time required on your part. It’s not about being a tourist. It’s about experiencing true risk and adventure so you don’t have to live in fear for the rest of your life.
Your heart will break.Traveling will change you. It will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you. You’ll witness the the sweet and ugly side of every destination.
You will learn to care.You will begin to understand that the world is both a big and small place. You will have a new-found respect for the pain and suffering that over half of the world takes for granted on a daily basis. And you will feel more connected to mankind in a deep and lasting way. - Jeff Coins - 

I used to read all the travel books I can find in the stores to prepare for my trip but physically getting there is a different story. I can only describe to my family and show them the photographs, but they really have to see if for themselves to experience the world for all it’s worth.

So my friend, I know you will be reading this tonight, my reply to your email; "We won’t always be young and life won’t always be just about us. So travel freely, the world is a stunning place, let's see it, you will not regret joining the adventure. There is a funny thing about travelling together, at best, we'll forge a lifelong friendship with complete strangers in a couple of days, at worst, we'll never speak to each other again. It is risky but I choose to see it as an opportunity to invest in the next season of our life's. Whatever we sow, we will eventually reap. Become a person of culture, adventure, and compassion."

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Looking Back on 2011

"When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.

That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again."

- Steve Jobs -

1. Do what you love, and do it often.

If you don’t like something, change it.
If you don’t like your job, quit.
If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV.
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.

2. When you eat, appreciate every last bite.

3. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating.

4. Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences.

5. Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them.

6. Life is short. Live your dream, and wear your passion.

7. Travel often; Getting lost will help you find yourself. 
Some opportunities only come once, seize them.

8. Life is all about choices, Good or Bad; Right or Wrong; Your destiny will unfold according to the choices you make.

9. Life is simple so stop over analyzing.

10. Life is life. Sometime we spend it trying to please others, while other times we spend it just cause we feel we must. However, there is only one true purpose in life, and that is that we must live life for ourselves. For the moment we live it for others is the moment we cease being individuals and start conforming to the boredom and idiocy of society. So, when someone ask “How shall I live my life?” look no further for an answer then by asking them what they want to accomplish in their lifetime.

Finally next week I will be attending the Awards & Certificate Conferring Ceremony after spending almost the whole 2010 preparing for it. It has been such a long tiring process, somehow I am not excited to go on stage to receive it anymore.

However my highlight of 2011 would be meeting David Gotts, founder of International China Concern, he is an awesome man with great ambitions, at a very young age of 18, he went to China, he saw children were abandoned because they were disabled, he wanted to bring love, hope and opportunity to them.

I started the year with a very simple resolution, to find things to challenge myself. I wanted to change spiritually, mentally and physically. First step was I moved back closer to the city, joined the gym and found a local church. I took a short vacation; travelled to the States and came back fully recharged.

Mid 2011, I explored my career option overseas but decided to start my own practise called Sturdey Designs. I was very lucky that I had a few small residential projects and manage to handle it on the side. With the extra income from this commission, I saw the opportunity as a volunteer with my air flights, accommodation, food and visa fully funded. I started Sturdey blog to document My Story, My Feelings, My Dreams while waiting for Sturdey Designs website to be ready.

ICC accepted my application and I received tremendous support, my directors allowed me to be away from work for almost 6 full weeks. (Two years in a row I am blessed with two months of annual leave) I am also glad that Bridge provided outreach training and the connect group had weekly prayer support.

I still recall organising a team called Footprints, few friends generously sponsored me to finish the 10km walk-a-thon in Sept. Once again thank you.

By Oct/Nov, F4Team or Four Friends was formed, as a team we wanted to explain to our friends and family that beyond us going to China, they can also choose to contribute, 100% of the donations will go directly towards purchasing items (gifts) for special children in the welfare centre. (similar to Operation Christmas Child concept just without the shoebox) We realised a lot of people were interested and curious to know more, SanMenXia2012 blog  was created to enable everyone to follow our progress and received updates.

It is now Dec; we did not expect to go beyond our Fund Raising target. There will be a lot of product research, shopping and packing to be done over the next few weeks. I am sure this would be an easy task for the gals in the team.

During the training, I still recall the Pastors reminding me to be sensitive to the local culture and pray to serve in God most honour way. I trust He will change and utilise my full potential for His work in China.

In the mist of everything, I know that I have to start preparing my heart and rest my body in order to go as a humble servant in the team.With so many exciting Farewells, Birthdays, Xmas (BBQ, drinks, lunches and dinners) keeping me very busy, this is the only time to catch up with everyone before I head off on my journey. Not forgetting all the project datelines to meet before closing the office. It is a challenging time, I have limited time to recover from my injury. My discipline and prayer are crucial for healing/strength to cease the pain and release from fear / all worries.

Anyhow by practicing the above ten rules which is basically a summary of all the blogs I had written over the past few months, I reckon My Life has been pretty good so far. Bring it on 2012 J

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Counting My Blessings

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. – M. Kathleen Casey
Last week was thanksgiving season, it’s a joyous season in the United States and Canada; but for me I had time to reflect upon loved ones, blessings, the favour of God, and the undeserved mercies that had been granted on to me.
Unfortunately, sometimes I do take for granted and don’t show gratitude or count the blessings the way I should. Too often, I get in a mindset of doing the opposite. I end up focusing on the curses instead of the blessings. 
Just last week as I was sitting in the waiting room at the clinic, I find myself focusing on what’s wrong in my life, instead of what’s going right. As a result, I start a downward spiral of negativity, strife, and turmoil in my life. Every consultation I was referred from doctor to another, each time they requested for different examinations. Finally it was Saturday,wet and gloomy, I didn't expect to be sent to the Emergency Department, as I look out the window holding back my tears I told myself that there’s a silver lining in every situation.

The reality is God hasn’t promised us that everyday would be sunshine. Instead, He chose to mix it up with a little rain. It’s the rain that causes us to appreciate the sunshine. Our sorrows cause us to appreciate the joyous times. It’s the hurt and pain that causes us to appreciate the pleasures of life.
In a week alone, I had 5 blood samples taken and 2 drips insertion, considering that I had a blood test was 5 years ago, this was a bit of a shock. I did not enjoyed the needles; my arm became so sore following with bruises. Every normal result was actually a relief but does that mean, I have to go for further testing to find out the cause of the pain? And would the next test be more painful? When will it be the final test? What happens when the result come back abnormal? It was no fun waiting to get tested (for hours) or even waiting for the results (for days). I was nervous but yet I had to perform my daily routine, acting normal in front of everyone to avoid attention. Emotionally and mentally I knew that I would not want/able to answer any questions. Lucky enough, work kept me busy; I was so tired, got home late and all I wanted to do is climb into bed to rest.
During my free time, I thought a little retail therapy would help me clear my mind; I started online shopping for Christmas presents. Year after year I notice there is no easy gift that I can buy for people. Is there such thing as the "Perfect Gift"? 
Speaking of appreciation, have you ever given someone a gift, and after opening the gift, they showed a lack of gratitude for the gift? Maybe it was something they couldn’t appreciate. Maybe it was a gift that they couldn’t use. And instead of showing gratitude and thanksgiving, they complained. They seemed to miss the whole point giving.
Well in the same way, when I go around with my head down and focused on all the negativity in life, I’m indirectly saying to God, the ultimate gift giver “Thanks, but no thanks.” 
James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift, comes from above.”
A good thing to remember is that everything works out for greater good. Even if your enemies attack in a bad way, God can work it out for your good.
The bible says God wouldn't put more on me than I can bear. Every bad storm, every heartache, every disappointment will eventually work out for my own good. Even the seemingly small and insignificant blessings are specially tailor-made for me. 
I pray as I visit the doctor again tomorrow, it would be for the final time and she will deliver some good news because a friend once told me ...

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, 
it is about learning to dance in the rain,
and to see the rainbow you must first endure some rain.

Here’s sharing on How I count my Blessings (even during difficult moments)
Make a choice to focus on every good and perfect thing in any and every situation. Start by count the blessings, not the curses. The good news is that in the end, I’ll look back and realize that even the curses were blessings in disguise.
Take a sheet of paper and draw a vertical line down the middle. On the right column, list all the things that are blessings. And on the left column, list all the things that seem to be a curse. I was amazed at how the blessings outweigh the curses.
I know it sounds cliché, but things can always be worse. But be encouraged and make a habit of counting blessings. 
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrowfor tomorrow will worry about itself. 
Each day has enough trouble of its own”.
Tonight I experience an overflow of joy and peace as I charge forth on my journey of life tomorrow just like how I change my mindset around (after a week of painful experience) and embrace my blessings again.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Take Away the Pain

Whatever you want to do ... Do it. 
There are only so many tomorrows.

Last year a friend bought me a gift, a Try Diving experience. I was very excited. At first I was not comfortable but I adapt quickly, I started to explore and discover the shore around the bay. Everyone I knew went away for their Christmas holidays, I was alone and looking for activities to do, I decided to challenge myself and took up the Open Water Course. Every morning before sunrise I woke up and drove down to the beach for some recreational scuba diving. Of course there were course fees involved, plus on-line home study and medical examination. On the first day I bought my dive booties, mask, fins and snorkel. Wetsuits, buoyancy vest, tank and air fills were provided. After four full days of pool, shore and boat dive, I received the SSI Open Water Certified Diver Card. :-)

I started researching early this year and planned to dive in Asia (Sipadan, Philipines etc.) Sadly I wouldn't be able to do this any time soon :-( Over the past few weeks I had not been in my best shape, I was really looking forward to heading down to the beach to do some diving and surfing this summer.

But just this past week, I visited the health centre so frequently that the nurses joked that I should bring my bed into the clinic. At that point, it didn't sound funny but I did enjoy talking to her. I felt less nervous. As I was sitting in the waiting room patiently, I read Paul's Vision and His Thorn.
 1 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  
For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:1-10 NIV)

Prayer: Lord, during times of trial I often ask the question "Why?" While I may not always know the answer, may I draw closer to you and be swept into your arms of compassion and grace. Amen.

Speaking of pain and fitness ... a friendly and sporty friend I once knew back in Tassie recently started True Colours Foundation which aims to help people to overcome physical, mental and emotional challenges after major road traffic accidents. 
Read her blog called     My pain is different to your pain! 
Learn how she loss her memory of the actual trauma (self-protecting mechanism) and why she cracked and when she broke, she finally found the peace and tranquillity of pain-relief medications.

  • Pain can cause stress and feelings of immense discomfort but never underestimate pain.
  • Some are more sensitive to pain and feel the slightest prick, pinch, cut, etc. 
  • Some of us start crumbling when the level of pain start increasing 
  • Some appear to be able to stoically sit through 'torture'.
  • Talk and laugh together to help distract the patient from feeling the pain
  • Focusing on breathing which might help to relax the body and reduce the effects of the pain
  • Be patient with those in pain cause we all differ in way we cope with pain, always be sympathetic, do not judge, cause if someone were given a choice, anyone would rather go without medications.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

When life hands me lemons

Last week I received a bag of lemons from our client, since no one in the office was interested I gave them away. While catching up with some friends over dinner last night, listening to our conversations made me realize how much I have grown up and changed. I am sure everyone’s heard this at one point in their life ...
"When Life Gives you Lemons...Make Lemonade!" It means making the best of an undeniably bad situation, even if it involves complete and utter denial, mixing lemons with cup loads of sugar until they actually taste sweet. Dale Carnegie used the phrase a lot in his famous book “How to win friends and influence people.”

When life hands me lemons - do I make lemonade? or ask for salt and tequila!
In the past I think when life gave me lemons when no one is looking, I will throw them through life’s window and run away haha ... Yes I would try any possible way to avoid any confrontation.

Now I would probably find someone else whose life was handed a bottle of vodka, and have a drink together ...
So last night when I was faced with a difficult situation, I told myself ...
"When life hands me lemons, why not throw a lemon party!"
I don't know what is in store for me in the future but we could probably look at life differently at various stages of life.

At 10, When life gives you lemons alter their DNA and make super lemons!
(young and naive, anything is possible)
At 20, When life gives you lemons, be sure to say thank you note for the lemons sincerely. 
(taught to suck it in, life is never fair)
At 30, When life gives you lemons, make orange juice, then wonder how the heck you did it. 
(lucky escapes)
At 40, When life gives you lemons sell them online. 
(everyone is looking for financial freedom)
At 50, When life gives you lemons, squirt the juice in someone's eye 
 (teaching the younger generation a lesson )
At 60, When life gives you lemons, ask for the receipt 
(longing for security)
At 70, When life gives you lemons, collect them, one day life will stop and you would have the most lemons ever. 
(at this point does it matter)
At 80, When life gives you lemons just shut up and eat your damn lemons 
(well no one cares anymore)