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Saturday, 21 April 2012

Second Chances

First Impression is harmless but Jumping into Conclusion can be very dangerous.

A lot of us jump to conclusions when we half-overhear something or see only part of what someone's doing, and to make it worse we relate our mistaken conclusions to others.Sigh ... it can raise difficult ethical issues when we start believing our imposed stories.

"We look for meaning. Even staring at the sky, we look for familiar shapes in clouds. Studies show how we make out words when we see only some of the letters or the letters are jumbled. When we see or hear someone do or say something, we invariably impose meaning on it: we assume what's gone before, we surmise what's intended; we construct instant plots to make sense of a snatch of conversation or an action partially observed."
When we see someone doing something, if we know what they believe and what they intend, we understand their action. When we overhear someone say something, if we know what they believe and what they intend, we understand what they've said. But too often, when we see or overhear someone, we assume a lot, using things we know they believe and intend and applying them to the half-seen action or the half-heard remarks. And sometimes when we add up what we think are two and two we get a dangerous five." Getting It Wrong by C. G. Prado

“You must understand that seeing is believing, but also know that believing is seeing.”

Well, some may say the source of trouble is gossiping, and I agree. But however wrong it is to gossip (talking about someone), it is worse if I get the story wrong. Always remember that jumping into conclusion can be very hurtful to others (especially to someone you care), I have to admit it is stupid for me to act on false or inadequate information.

Lesson : Next time I will choose my words carefully (wisely) because they may come back to destroy me. I must learn to refrain from giving advice, since I'm not even involved. If you are reading this, I am deeply sorry ... all I can say is when you feel like God is doing nothing, that's probably when He is doing the most.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Awaiting Bryson

Dear Sturdey,

There are times when you may feel fantastic and that everything is falling into place. But then there are other times when you can feel very insignificant and far from success.

It is on these less-than-brilliant days that you will notice your fallibility. And yet, it is often on these days that your faith in God grows. Indeed our Heavenly Father ‘has done marvellous things’. While sometimes you may fall short – in exercise ... at work ... with relationships – deep down you know that He has offered the salvation that you need.

When you feel like you’re having a difficult day, don’t forget that God is on your side. He is not focussed on what you are driving (Terri or Bryson), but where you are heading.

Remember to praise and worship Him everyday, even though you may be imperfect may you draw on His perfection.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Playing to Win

What is a common hurdle that trips you in your faith? 
Why Do People Play Games?
Playing to Win? Becoming the Champion? Or merely just a hobby?  

I am not very competitive when I was younger. Maybe that's why I never liked it when parents compared their kid's born talent or personal achievement. This does not mean I do not study hard. This is no excuse for not working hard. I just set a target and be thankful when I achieved my best. 

Looking back at times when I had some spare time, friends taught me how to play bridge, poker and mahjong. It was fun spending time learning new tricks from new people. The question is was I happier then or now?

Lately I haven't done much activities with my church group but I would love to allocate some spare time to them. Every Wednesday we will have dinner together then we kick start the night with ice breaker  before studying the word of God. You get to know the person very quickly and by the end of the night you may learnt the truth about the other person (if they are honest or course)

Is Life Just One Big Gamble or A Series of Games?

You can get hurt by a paper cut while some lose their arms and legs in car accidents; others die ... every day. You just don't let yourself believe it will happen to you.
When I attend a conference or a seminar, I ALWAYS envy those audience who step up on stage bravely as volunteers. While it can be a little scary to begin with, audience participation are often the moments I remember the most.

Over a decade ago LB went to a Church Ministry seminar. She cannot remember what the theme of the conference was, who was speaking, or even the particular seminar she had selected, but  she certainly remember the activity. The speaker taught the audience a quick little game they could do on paper in pairs. They could play the game over and over and the winner was the person who won the most rounds in a certain period of time.

The speaker gave them 60 seconds to play as many rounds as possible. The person who won the most rounds would win a ticket to the conference the following year. They all faced their papers in anticipation for the time to start and worked diligently. When the minute was over, she had only won four rounds while her opponent (a lady she had never met before) had won about six. Either way, she was a loser!

The speaker then asked the room who had won the most rounds. Her opponent were quickly overtaken as someone yelled out that they had won 13 rounds. At first she was impressed by this and thought they must have won all the games played during the 60 seconds. However, amazingly it did not stop there. As the speaker went around the room, they discovered that some people had won 30, 50 and even over 100 times. This was remarkable, as they had all been given the same amount of time.

Soon everyone discovered what had taken place. Instead of acting as opponents in the game, pairs had worked together, allowing one person to win all the rounds so that they could gain the prize at the end. While LB was ashamed that she had viewed this game as a competition and not as an opportunity to let someone else shine, I was impressed at their quick strategy.

While she watched and listened to others, she was not impressed. Some were selfish, greedy and lacking in integrity. Let’s just say that if they were playing the seminar game mentioned above, they would have been out to win rather than blessing someone else with the prize!

It’s often easy to read passage in the Bible and feel better about ourselves, however, each one of us is a representative of God here on earth. We are all called to have integrity and offer justice, mercy and faithfulness. After reading her shared story,  I must admit, many times I have thought of myself above others. It’s a challenge I constantly face. We all have our hurdles that can trip us up in our faith, but we must continue to look to Christ’s life and serve Him with all our hearts.

Lord, forgive me that I put my own needs before the needs of others at the moment. May I find time to sit back (rest) and take in nature. To look at the birds, listen to their singing, go hiking, camping and jogging and running, walking along the beach, playing games and sometimes being alone with the great outdoors. Only You understand my situation and You are very special to me.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Greatest Fish ~ Story on Integrity

He was eleven years old, and went fishing every chance he got from the dock at his family’s cabin on an island in the middle of a New Hampshire lake.

On the day before the bass season opened, he and his father were fishing early in the evening, catching sunfish and perch with worms. Then he tied on a small silver lure and practiced casting. The lure struck the water and caused colored ripples in the sunset, then silver ripples as the moon rose over the lake.

When his pole doubled over, he knew something huge was on the other end. His father watched with admiration as the boy skillfully worked the fish alongside the dock.
Finally he very gingerly lifted the exhausted fish from the water. It was the largest one he had ever seen, but it was a bass.

The boy and his father looked at the handsome fish, gills playing back and forth in the moonlight. The father lit a match and looked at his watch. It was 10 p.m.—two hours before the season opened. He looked at the fish, then at the boy.

“You’ll have to put it back, son,” he said. 
“Dad!” cried the boy. 
“There will be other fish,” said his father. 
“Not as big as this one,” said the boy. 

He looked around the lake. No other fishermen or boats were anywhere around in the moonlight. He looked again at his father.

Even though no one had seen them, nor could anyone ever know what time he caught the fish, the boy could tell by the clarity of his father’s voice that the decision was not negotiable. He slowly worked the hook out of the lip of the huge bass and lowered it back into the black water.

The creature swished its powerful body and disappeared. The boy suspected that he would never again see such a great fish. That was thirty-four years ago. Today, the boy is a successful architect in New York City. His father’s cabin is still there on the island in the middle of the lake. He takes his own son and daughter fishing from the same dock.

And he was right. He has never again caught such a magnificent fish as the one he landed that night long ago. But he does see that same fish—again and again—every time he comes up against a question of ethics.

For, as his father taught him, ethics are simple matters of right and wrong. It is only the practice of ethics that is difficult. Do we do right when no one is looking? Do we refuse to cut corners to get the design in on time? Or refuse to trade stocks based on information that we know we aren’t supposed to have?

We would if we were taught to put the fish back when we were young. For we would have learned the truth.

 ~ Throwing the Big One Back: a moral tale for the fishing opener by James Lenfestey

Once grandma told mum and then she told me, "If you lack integrity, you lack everything. If you cannot be trusted, you have nothing to offer." I will pass it on to my children someday.

My parents and their parents, aunts and uncles, teachers and ministers. If these people hadn’t been in my life when I was a child, I don’t know where I would have ended up. They kept me in place. They passed on hundred of previous generations experience and advice down to next generation. Thank you.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Visual Culture or Struggle?

"Before you judge someone walk a mile in their shoes. 
That way you're a mile away and you have their shoes."

As I was reading Linda's daily devotional "For All the World to See" on the train this morning, her observation instantly reminded me of the few videos and articles on human trafficking, slavery, sexual exploitation and forced labour which I came across the first quarter of this year. It is mid of April now, how time really flies when you're preoccupied. Anyway she reminded me of how little we know of others when we only look on the surface.

In Matthew 23, Jesus observed the actions of the leaders of the church in His time and saw through their religious façade. While they paraded their beliefs around for all to see it was Jesus who pointed out that they did things for show rather than respect for God.

Lesson of this week : While it’s easy for me to point the finger at leaders (whether it is my boss, client, family or friend) it’s also a challenge for me not to walk the same path. All it takes is for me to meet someone who really gets under my skin and suddenly the gossip and the bad thoughts feel justified.

I am sure there are many injustices done in this world that people have justified .
I know it is not easy for anyone to life lives of integrity but it should be what we all aspire towards.

Lord, give me the strength to stand up for injustice and continually strive to have integrity in everything I do daily. Place the right peers close to me, so together we can support and sharpen each other.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Safety in Numbers

There are three million species of animals living in tropical rain forests, and one of them, the red fire ant, lives underground, under constant threat of annihilation from flash floods. Nature doesn't care. If a species wants to survive, it has to prove it deserves to. When the floods come, the fire ants hold onto each other, creating a living raft that can float until the water recedes. Months, if necessary. So how does a species figure something like that out? Instinct? Trial and error? Was there one fire ant who was being swept away by the rushing water and grabbed onto another ant, only to find that together they could float? What if you were the one who knew what needed to be done, but you had no words? How do you make the others understand? How do you call for help?

We, human beings are not the strongest species on the planet. We're not the fastest, or maybe even the smartest. The one advantage we have is our ability to cooperate, to help each other out. We recognize ourselves in each other, and we're programmed for compassion, for heroism, for love. And those things make us stronger, faster and smarter. It's why we've survived. It's why we even want to.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Three Things In Life

I remember sitting on the plane earlier this year having a quality conversation with someone about three things in life and I want to share this list;

Three things in life that never change in time ~ Integrity, Truth, Loyalty
Three things in life that never fail ~ True love, Self confidence, Friendship
Three things in life that once gone, will never come back ~ Time, Words, Opportunity

Three things in life that once lost, hard to build-up ~ Respect, Trust, Relationship
Three things in life that are never certain ~ Dream, Success, Fortune 
Three things in life that may never be lost ~ Peace, Hope, Honesty
Three things in life that make a person ~ Hardwork, Sincerity, Commitment
Three things in life that can destroy a person ~ Alcohol/ Drugs, Pride, Anger

Three things in life that are most appreciated - Generosity, Humor, Forgiveness
Three things in life that are truly constant ~ Father, Son, Holy Ghost

I woke up early Easter morning and sat down watching Dhyan Vimal talked about" Exercising Your Right to Grow". What caught my attention was his phrase "I must become strong enough that I allow myself to be met and I must find somebody who is capable of meeting me and allowing me to meet them."

We all know relationship can be delicate, subtle and complicated. Normally people with good relationship swill never need to talk about it, only the bad relationships are constantly mentioned. That is why we all recognised how important relationship is. Until today, I asked myself how did I fall in love in my previous relationships, I have no answers. I hope I never know, I just pray I don't mess up the next relationship.  

Every time someone fall in love, they will feel vulnerable. Why? Because there is the possibility of rejection and disappointment. The art of any relationship is to be able to find strength in that vulnerability, only then the chances to mess up is slim because we can't find security in any relationship anyway. Trust me there is no security in this world that can make you feel 100% safe. Safety is when you start trusting love. You can marry a smart scientist and sign the papers written by the greatest lawyer but still not have a perfect marriage.

Q1: What makes love so beautiful? 
Because it is not secure, if life is secure, it is boring. We recognise we are alive because there is death, so do we start trusting because there is love? Humans need to be loved, in order to stay healthy. The way I approach loving someone, is simple, no matter what happens, even if he is gone, we had once enriched each other and I am going to be okay because I trust love. To trust, we first need to recognise love. By knowing how we have been loved, it becomes the compass to guide us to find the person who we will love or love us back more. (Watching the series 2 Broke Girls gave me an insight)

Q2: What is defines a relationship?
According to Dhyan, relationship is when two begin to act as one. Falling in love is the promise of becoming one, being in love is the process of becoming one and when you attain to love, you are one.

Relationship is unique in many different ways. We are born to meet one and another. This is why I love travelling around the world. I want to look around new places, eat good food, understand new cultures but most importantly I desperately want to meet as many people as I can DEEPLY. I focus on enjoying the time and company of others during my brief holidays.

Q3: We need more mature relationship?
We are adults, we should be able to make decisions and act on our own.
Why do men have to be superior and tell a women what they should be doing? Are men suppose to play the role of father in the relationship?
Why do women continuously nag the men? Women must surely understand that they can still love without being the mother in the relationship.
If the woman becomes successfull the man gets threaten, when the man gains power the woman gets insecure. (How amazing the series Desperate Housewives had this issue covered so differently in every household) 

The society thinking has to change now but how? Well if we are all solid and independent individual, together we can bring our ability to the table. Won't you would want to be with someone who do not make you worry all the time? As if we don't have enough troubles at work, no one wants to come home at the end of the day to more problems. Treat each other as "mature" adults and "respect" their needs, be "honest" to yourself. Jealousy is a deep seated fear and can destroy any relationship even the strong ones. It comes down to the skill of living with one another, to be friendly even to strangers and to start trusting wisely.

"If you are secure yourself, you automatically will attract the person who is secure in them."

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Put the Glass Down Today

Everyone should be very familiar with this phrase, Is the glass half empty or half full? 
It is a common expression, an optimists would think the glass is half full but a pessimist knows it is half empty. But I say the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

The purpose of the question is to demonstrate that the situation may be seen in different ways depending on each individuals interpretation of reality and that there may be opportunity in the situation as well as trouble.

Driving home one night, I had a very interesting conversation with a friend. He was whinging about how much reminders or to-do-list he has to have in order to not forget his duty everyday. That is a good idea, that is why I use outlook agenda, email popup , calendar task, phone notepad, post-it pad, whiteboard, fridge magnets etc ... places where I could jot my thoughts down (before I go to bed) In this manner, I no longer have to keep track of them mentally. This way, I relieve myself of the burden of having to analyse and remember the issues mentally.

Earlier this week, I had boxing and combat class ... the instructor voice was loud and his message was clear ... always keep my arms up. One whole hour of punching and holding up my fist close to my face gave me more than two days of upper body aches.

This brings me to a very interesting scenario – would “putting the glass down” be similar to writing my thoughts down in my journal or blog or saying a short simple prayer and closing it for the night ?

Continue reading to find out why ...
Once a professor began his class by holding up a glass with some water in it. He held it up for all to see and asked the students, “How much do you think this glass weighs? 50g? 100g?125g?
The students answered, “I really don’t know unless I weigh it.”
The professor said, ‘now, my question is: What would happen if I held it up like this for a few minutes?’
‘Nothing’ the students said.
“OK what would happen if I held it up like this for an hour?” the professor asked.
“Your arm would begin to ache” said one of the students.
“You’re right, now what would happen if I held it for a day?”
“Your arm could go numb; you might have severe muscle stress & paralysis; have to go to hospital for sure! Ventured another student”, all the students laughed.
“Very good. But during all this, did the weight of the glass change?” Asked the professor.
“No” was the reply of all the students.
“Then what caused the arm to ache; the muscle to stress?” After a pause the professor asked “Before my arm ache, what should I do?”
The students were puzzled.
“Put the glass down!” said one of the students.
“Exactly!” said the professor, “Life’s problems are exactly like this. Hold it for a few minutes in your head; they seem OK. Think of them for a long time; they begin to ache. Hold it even longer; they begin to paralyse you. You will not be able to do anything.”
It’s important to think of the challenges (problems) in my life, but EVEN MORE IMPORTANT to ‘put them down’ at the end of every day before I go to sleep. That way, I am not stressed, I wake up every day fresh; strong; I can then handle any issue, any challenge that comes my way!
I was surprise to find myself wake up more focused than I usually do! 
Remember to put the glass down everyday! 

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Things We Miss: Incognito Busker

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.
The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tugged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, a virtuoso violinist. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post initiated by columnist Gene Weingarten as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context? Weingarten won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing his article on the experiment.
One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Thanks to day light saving, I manage to wake up fresh and early this morning, I read this article while I was stuck in the middle of the daily inbound M1 traffic. Surprisingly, roads in the city that I was expecting heavy traffic was not, while a minor accident across the other side of the free way causes 4 lanes of cars to crawl for over an hour.

This is a reminder to me to notice people in every situation and not just in the times where it’s easy to go along with the crowd. Sometimes it is funny how I notice God's fingerprints in everything only after an incident happened, I guess it’s just up to me to be more sensitive to others, to notice the needy and to allow Him to work in my life.

Lord it’s easy for me to notice you when everything is going well, but there are times when I walk straight past you, particularly when I am in a time of struggle. May I constantly be seeking you out, even when I’m busy, tired or upset.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Incomplete Wall and A Broken Roof

Nature plays an equally important role in landscape and architecture ... The outdoors has a natural appeal to humans. The sky, earth, water, and other outdoor elements make us feel refreshed, calm, and one with the earth.

How do we get these elements from the outdoors, inside of our home?
The obvious way is by bringing plants into our living space. Although, another wonderful idea is using in eco-friendly material with natural texture & pattern. Some recommend using inspiring colour such as greens resembling the earth, grass and plants, blues are refreshing like water and the sky, yellows evoke a sense of freshness, like the sun and fresh flowers. My personal favourite would be neutral tones such as whites, tans and beige which make the interior feel light and clean. Observe how the outdoors pours into the space by allowing sunlight into a room daily.

How to bring the indoors outside instead?
The answer to all Australians dream is Al fresco living - a space for outdoor entertaining (throw a shrimp on the barbie, watch the kids play in a safe environment and enjoy the Aussie sun in your own backyard) 

How can designers break free from the four walls and a roof concept?
Imagine a spa bathroom without the need of privacy. A living space without being frame in by four walls, roof, windows or doors. 

You don’t have to feel boxed in, you make the most out of any space.
As a new home buyer I am  challenged with a garden with limited space. But just because I have little space, it doesn’t mean I need to feel boxed in outside. With a few clever design tips and simple ideas, I believe any small garden can be transformed into thriving outdoor living spaces perfect for entertaining and accommodating my need for serenity.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart ... Ecclesiastes 3:1&11