Thursday, March 6, 2014

Life's little joys


“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” - CS Lewis

On a particularly rough moment in my life, I sought a counselor whose one advise helped me climb out of the pit of depression. She said that I should, renew my thoughts daily.

"Start with positive affirmations," she said. "It doesn't have to be big and grand, maybe just that you will have Joy today."

And so I began my day with a short prayer that I would have Joy. It seemed simple enough but on days when it was hard to pull myself out of bed I thought - fake it till you make it!

And so I prayed, "Fill me with Joy, Lord." And I pushed through another day. Every day I prayed for Joy, I felt tensions releasing. Another day I survived a destructing habit, was a victory which filled me with hope.

The Lord's word says in Romans 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

In the New Living Translation it says, "...let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

I knew that I was not intended to live a life of despair and I should be living a victorious life. But here I was writing morose poetry about being lost in the dark and realising that I was in the lowest possible time in life. It's just that hopeless feeling where you think this couldn't possibly get any worse and then you find new levels of low! It seemed never ending and there was no way out of the vicious cycle.

Christian's aren't exempted from depression. It happens. I'm glad I was equipped with the right tools for battle and I had friends who would encourage and nurture. I fought hard to pick myself up and even though I sought answers though the Bible, I was still left with hopelessness.

Reading Jeremiah 29:13 left me in tears when it says "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." I thought to myself, I have no strength to seek. I just haven't got the strength to do ANYTHING wholeheartedly. Does that mean He wouldn't come and find me instead?

I read something recently which I wish I had known then. The article was about Thomas' encounter with Jesus. 'Jesus didn't rebuke him for doubting. Rather, he gave Thomas what he needed. He invited Thomas to touch his wounds, and only then did Jesus tell him he could stop doubting.'

The article goes on to say that, 'The beauty of this is Thomas had an encounter with Jesus none of the other disciples did. Nowhere does Jesus condemn doubt, rather He meets people right where they are in it.'

He meets people right where they are in it. As you work out your faith. As you work out your unbelief.

He meets you right where you are.

I'm going to say that again... He meets you right where you are.

Where I am today is a little different from where I was in my early twenties. I'm no longer the disturbed, suicidal, melancholic youth I used to be. My good days outnumber the bad ones. And bad days don't last as long as they used to.

I've found that Joy I prayed for so fervently. I think about how my outlook on life and my attitude has a way of influencing others and I think about words that have power to build instead of words that destruct. And I look for little reminders to get me through the day.

Today's reminder came in another one of Bob Goff's interviews. Bob Goff said, “I think you’re a better advocate for yourself and others with some joy in your back pocket.”

So I think today, I'm packed and loaded and ready to roll.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Music Monday: Ben Abraham



I discovered Ben Abraham after my friend Felicia's giddy Whatsapp message about waiting on his table at the Hyatt in Melbourne.

After listening to a few songs I was already hooked. I love this particular one and the story of how it came about. I love it when songs are borne out of desperation and despair but yet speak of hope.

Read about it here.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

One Word: Thrive

I watched the perfect movie to kickstart the new year. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

The soundtrack for it felt like it was right out of my college playlist with songs by Jose Gonzales, Jack Johnson, Rogue Wave... well my playlist hasn't strayed very far but gosh, I was one excited cinema-goer.

I just soooo connected with Walter Mitty's character in a way. Well sorta.

I zone out. A lot. My daydreams don't happen like Walter's do but they kinda revolve around the coulda woulda shoulda scenario.

Things I should have said. Things I could have done. Things I would do. should I? Could I?

Thinking bout all these at once brought such a heavy feeling as I retreated on new years and this led to writing my first post of this year. I've been blogging since 2004 and boy has it been marvelous to look back and see how much I've grown. In thoughts and words and deeds.

As I welcome in 2014, I think about words. Well I always think about words. But I was thinking about Words that can be used to describe a year. 2013 was about being present. To be all there. And I was. I think I lived out my promise to be present in 2013.

So what would 2014 be about? As I go through the motions of day-to-day life and experience moment after moment, sometimes merely scraping by, I realise that 2014 should be more. It's not merely about surviving another year. 2013 was good. But I'm ready for more.

For 2014, I want to THRIVE. To flourish, to grow, to develop vigorously. Although the word vigorously scares me but I know it's time. To truly thrive. To be more than I could be. More than I believe myself to be.

Sometimes when I'm alone with my thoughts it feels like I'm flying solo and and I'm just gliding but never landing. Just kinda coasting through life bearing the brunt of turbulence and rain clouds and hail on my own. I know flying solo has got me across many hurdles and I will continue to overcome. In that achievement of overcoming, I want to thrive and not just survive.

Besides 'grow vigorously', Wordweb defines Thrive as to "Make steady progress; be at the high point in one's career or reach a high point in historical significance or importance". Those are high goals, and I'm not sure if being a 'historically significant or important person' is high on my bucket list, but making a significant difference in someone's life is.

As I reach forth in an attempt to attain this goal for 2014 I'm reminded about running this race with a spirit of excellence.

Hebrews 12:1-29 ESV

"...run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith."

"...and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe..."

I kick off from 2013 to 2014 and fall back on this constant prayer, that I reach from one great height to the next, in all areas but especially in my walk with The Big Guy, the ONE who's gonna help me THRIVE.



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The one where we all turn 30


Come October, I always think about life (more than usual) and begin to reassess and evaluate the year I've had. I also have my medical checks in October, doing my bit to take care of this life God has blessed me with.

I also look forward to posting an epic and memorable blog post which I've been doing every birthday since 2004. This year however, I decided to do something a little different. I wanted to appreciate the people who have made an impact in my life and who have really helped shape me.

I decided to write 30 letter to 30 individuals whom I've had a life-changing experience with. The catch was, I had to hand-write these letters. It was no easy task as I've developed carpel tunnel over the years and I feel like I'm beginning to lose the ability to do the everyday things like turn on a tap, or open a bottle of water, and even to take notes at church has become quite agonizing.

The more I thought about it, the more I knew I had to do this last bit of letter writing to preserve this dying art and maybe to prove that I've still got some strength in these hands yet. I've written 20 letters to date and I'm still at it, penning the last 10 which I'll deliver over the next few weeks.

In writing these letters, I've rediscovered the many wonderful things I've learnt from friendships made and I tell the recipients of my letters just how much their life and actions have impacted mine. I believe we really do learn a lot and pick up things from our family and peers so it was nice to actually put into words the practices or traits which I've adopted from the people I look up to and I've grown with.

My birthday weekend was spent on an island. I woke up bright and early, at 4:30am to catch the sun rise. I was at Pulau Gaya in Sabah for work and my colleague and I picked our way across the darkened resort compound (praying there were no snakes around) towards the deserted beach to hopefully catch the sun rising over Mount Kinabalu.


As the first sign of daylight began to prick the sky, I felt as if a song was bubbling up inside me. Light orange hues slowly spread across the sky and I couldn't help but sing:-
“Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!"
As cliche as it sounds, I was so glad to be alive and so blessed to be able to wake up to see 30 in such spectacular fashion. It's like He made the morning perfect, just for me :)


Monday, September 30, 2013

Music Monday: Brooke Waggnoner

This song first caught me offguard as I was sitting in my car driving home from work. The radio station I had on generally play pop songs on repeat so this was a pleasant surprise. Of course when you hear something this awesome you just have to Shazam it and I found Brooke Waggoner!

Her lyrics are simple and yet, just beautiful.


Fresh Pair Of Eyes
'Cause I want to be seen
With a fresh pair of eyes
The single white tree
In a black hood of disguise

I want, I want to be seen
With a fresh pair of eyes
The single, the single white tree
In a black hood of disguise

I miss God, I miss God
I miss God, I miss God


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

in the stillness of morning....there You are


Have you ever had an overwhelmingly glorious yet surreal moment?

A time of day when you stir into consciousness and flicker your eyes open, blinking away the sandy wisps of sleep and feel at that exact moment that God was right there with you. He brushes your hair away from your eyes, caressing your cheek. You say good morning with a wide spread grin and he says,"Good morning my love. Good morning my daughter. Good morning my treasure."

As thoughts of the day ahead start to fill your mind and the worry of work and meetings and dirty dishes and laundry and the lists you make of lists of things you have to do and should do and MUST do, they overwhelm you.


And you wish, oh you wish that you could just linger a while longer, in this quiet wakefulness of a perfect morning.

Curtains drawn yet that dim yellowy light forces you right into the reality of a new day.

You shut your eyes and just for awhile, everything ceases. Your thoughts are affectionately quiet, you experience a tremendous calm.

He says, "Be Still". And there you are.

Your heart swells and something I can only describe as Joy fills it as you emerge to greet a brand new day with renewed hope.

As a writer and editor, I am passionate about the right words, in the right format, with the right spelling and punctuation. But sometimes maybe words are not enough to describe the glorious feeling of God's face shining down on you.

It is ok fumble words. Use fragile words or angry and honest ones that sound far from perfect but yet, have to be heard and can only be heard by the One who hears your every cry and lament and prayer.

Oh He's there in the unspoken words too. On such days, you rise and rub the sleepiness from your eyes and march into the day with purpose, and He still sees an overcomer and a warrior.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Music Monday: Capital Cities

Capital Cities is an indie pop duo formed by Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian. The band is pretty new to me but they've been around for a couple of years and I found Safe & Sound on YouTube while clicking through video after video one weekend.

The band premiered the official video of “Safe and Sound” on April this year on VEVO which was directed by Grady Hall (Beck, Modest Mouse)!

The video featured work from Emmy-nominated choreographer Mandy Moore (who also choreographs for SYTYCD). The video was nominated for two 2013 MTV Video Music Awards: Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects. The video won a 2013 MTV Video Music Award for Best Visual Effects.

It's such a fun video so check it out!



When that's done check out "Kangaroo Court" which features Darren Criss! This sooo explains the Instagram pic!