December 31, 2009

Phew! Free Wifi

I have been trying to download some videos for the last 24 hours and more. Big files from my brother to show my parents on their golden anniversary dinner because he and his family cant be here .... with no success.

Then we decided to take a drive to the nearby hills. We're on hols here on the other side of the South China Sea.

We decided to take our laptops.

Just as well.

Managed to download all the videos and am happily blogging here for just the price of a cup of coffee. Phew! Now I can work on the presentation for them!

December 29, 2009

New Old Friends

One of the nicest things about having had my parents over is this - the making of new friends. And yet not so new...
They found out that there were links, not only because of friendship of their offsprings, but also through other relatives. Then there were also links because they had common topics and had mutual friends and acquaintances. They got on really well!

December 23, 2009

Eating the Moon

Did I tell you that my parents are here on holidays with us?

Well, since their arrival, we have taken them to many of our favourite haunts for meals. Honestly, we havent waited for Christmas Day to start stuffing! Our FAVOURITE places! How to control.... sigh....

Along the way, when we stopped off at one such place and guess what. Hubby decided to be adventurous ..... he decided to try to eat the moon!

It was a tantalizing thought. Indeed, an intriguing idea.

But how?

Here's how!
What a vessel-clogging, pressure-rising, cholesterol-peaking sight.

Not to mention the taste!

Behold the stir fried koayteow with moon.

December 19, 2009

Simpang Mengayau

What a glorious day it was. After a pleasant drive, we visited the Tip of Borneo, aka Simpang Mengayau.

Seemed the right thing to do with my parents. Did I tell you that my granny was born in Kudat? Well this was a good reason to go and visit!
After this long walk to the top, we walked to the tip and more. My Dad didnt follow to the end, but on the way back, he was scarcely breathless! I am amazed and thank God that we all had a good time!

December 10, 2009

A Little Scare

So the results came out a bit weird.

Initial reaction is to ask WHY? How can someone seemingly so fit come out with such skewed results?

Then a mental scramble for answers takes place.

Followed by resolve to find the right answer.

Then only do I recall I have hotline to the One Who is always there.

So I shoot an SOS to the Ancient of Days.

In return, I get peace that passes all understanding.

And so I relax.

And today, that is justified. That is proven correct.

My Arrow IS fit and fine. It was a skewed result, probably because he ingested something prior to the test being done previously.

Lesson learned - shoot SOS out earlier!

December 3, 2009

Living From a Distance

What do you do when someone you care for falls ill and you are physically apart?

Does the sense of helplessness overwhelm?

Does the desire to step in and take action rise up?

Does the maternal instinct take over?

Does the paternal instinct rear up?

In my books, the hardest thing to bear is having to watch someone you love suffer and be totally unable to alleviate the suffering.

At that time, a decision has to be made. A stance has to be taken. A belief will be lived out.

But first, the question "Is God in control?" needs to be answered.

Then only can the rest take place.

November 28, 2009

Christmas Trees

I know some people dont think too highly of Christmas trees. But when my firstborn came along, I made the decision to have a tree and have done so every year since. It has become somewhat like a tradition for Christmas, which some people would say is pagan.

I think that it is more making memories as a family. We make it clear that Christmas is not about the trees and decorations and gifts, even though we do do gift exchanges. We explain what Christmas is all about, and by now, the children know already.

But a tree? Lights? Decorations? That is our family memory-making moment of the year.

For more tips on how to decorate a tree, go to EADotCom.

It is Done

The pictures speak for themselves.
I had mine done at around the same age. Old enough to be able to care for them by myself. In my time, it was done by hand and a needle. I will spare you the gory details here. Now they use a gun that is like a stapler.
And presto! All done =)
Simple, nice, and two weeks ago. She swam yesterday.

November 26, 2009

The Q & A of Cough

Questions and Answer? Sure of course you know about things like that.

But wait - the Q & A of Cough?

No?

Well, go check out a few spots.

Here's Setting the Example

And here's the Q & A of Cough.

Have fun - like I did.

November 25, 2009

JOCHEBED

I was chatting with some friends last night.

Suddenly I remembered this woman - Jochebed.

And how I prayed to be like her.

May my prayer come true.

And may you discover her too.

November 23, 2009

Underwater Answered Prayer

Prayer works.

You know that, I know that.

But when your offspring tells you that, it's cool.

Arrow #1 came home late tonight. He was out for surprise birthday party for a friend. It was at the beach and they had repeatedly thrown the friend into the sea. Of course they had taken her handphone away first to make sure it wasnt spoilt by the sea water. After she came out of the water, they then threw flour and eggs at her. Yes, that sort of party. After she got cleaned up, they let her be for a while and then , yes, they threw more flour and eggs at her.

All in all, a fun time....

Until they had to go home.

That's when they discovered the birthday girl's car keys missing.

Yes, it was probably in the water.

Can you imagine trying to find that a few hours later?

Well, try they did. They had no choice. So everyone panned out and searched. And searched.

Arrow #1 was obviously in the search party. A nice evening would have ended on a low if the key wasnt found.

After some time, he decided to pray. He stood at one spot for some time and prayer. He felt and searched the sand below him with his feet. Then he felt with his hands. He went through the sand a few times, sweeping from side to side. Normally, he'd just sweep through once and move to another spot. This time, he stood so long in one place, even another person noticed.

That's when he found it.

Yes, prayer works. He came home to testify.

Praise God

November 22, 2009

Comparisons

They were visiting. Just a few hours.

Conversation turned to the children of course.

Wow. Theirs seem to get the right scholarships and jobs all the time. Especially those which are hard to get.

Wow. Even children have to be "special" - twins.

"O tell me about your children," she says. Hmmmm

Ten years ago, I would have felt uncomfortable with such people. I would not have given them much of my time. I would have felt it a waste of my time.

Today, I felt cool, calm and collected.

And I shared. I gave testimonies of how God is so good. How God is so awesome. How God is so caring.

I told of how God leads and cares for us.

And left the rest to the Holy Spirit to do.

Compared to a decade ago, I have changed.

November 17, 2009

Tired? Who Me?

I was sitting there minding my own business. Then a family came by. The mother stared at me and insisted I was tired. Very tired she said.

But frankly, as I said in reply, my spirit was alert and alive. I was not feeling tired at all.

Then later I realised that

1. my matted hair really should have been washed yesterday
2. my stuffy nose left me puffy bags under my eyes
3. my mascara had probably left streaks of black under my eyes

That, my friend, is the best way to create the optical illusion of being tired.

Though I must say that I was grateful for the caring Mother!

November 9, 2009

Perfect End to the Day

After a great time of fellowship over dinner, we adjourned to the house - young folks from the university and some adults.

There, we indulged in further fellowship.... and more.

Here, folks, is Big Mmmmommmma's indulgence.
It's a great way to end the day. Fellowship and Fei-low-ship.

November 5, 2009

Gout Giver

I know, I know, I shouldn't.

But in one day alone, I did.

This was my morning fare. Pork innards noodles. Honestly, it was worth the drive all the way to the other side of town near the beach. Initially we worried if there were any seats available! There were none the last time we went. We meaning Hubby and I of course.

When we got there, voila, just one table left - just for us.

Needless to say we enjoyed this meal immensely!
Then in the afternoon, the children asked to go out for lunch together. So I suggested another place. This time, where my favourite beef innards noodle dish is served.

This dish, where the noodles are covered with a dark sauce, is one of my favourite morning meals. I like the innards more than the dry, stringy meat. There's something about the soft texture sliding about on my tongue, with the delicious sauce coating it.... hmmmm
Specially arranged that bit of intestine to show it off!

Yeah, this is Big Mmmmommmma's glorious grub moment.

October 31, 2009

Lessons from Grandma's Hands

This was emailed to me. Just had to share it here, the Big Mmmmommma site...Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands.

When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. 'Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking,' she said in a clear strong voice.

'I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,' I explained to her.

'Have you ever looked at your hands,' she asked. 'I mean really looked at your hands?'

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled and related this story:

'Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

'They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor.

They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child, my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.

'They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special

They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.

'They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.

They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

'These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life.

But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of God.'

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home. When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God.

I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.

October 30, 2009

The PUB

TRUST - a crucial factor in all good relationships. When trust is lost, the relationship is broken.

A story is told of telephone operator who one day received a phone call.

She answered, 'Public Utilities Board.'

She was met with silence on the other end of the line.

Sensing that there was someone there, she spoke again, but this time, said 'P.UB.'

Still the silence.

Then just as she was about to hang up, she heard a lady's voice speaking faintly, "Oh, so this is PUB."

The lady went on to explain, "Sorry, I got this number from my husband's shirt pocket. And errr... I did not know whose number it was."

I wonder what would be the outcome for this couple had the female telephone operator answered with just 'hello' instead of 'PUB'?

October 18, 2009

Auf Weidersehen

Auf Wiedersehen (German pronunciation: [aʊfˈviːdəʁzeː(ə)n]) is German for "goodbye". The phrase more literally translates as "when we see again" or "until we see again".

That's the phrase my second Arrow learned while with us. He came back for his semester break having lost some weight. It is hard as a mother to see his already thin frame look even more thin and frail. Have been trying to put back some meat on him and I think we have succeeded to some extent.

Why German? He's going to take the language as part of his studies. Hopefully he will continue to do well and get selected to go to Germany for part of his course.

His course. Today he flew to go back and continue it. He probably wont be back end of this year for Christmas. We probably wont see him over Chinese New Year either.

And I didnt get to see him off at the airport. It was hard to worship in song this morning.....

October 14, 2009

Passion

This grows wild in our garden and just outside our fence! It's passion fruit! A yellow version.
Here is a friend eating it as is. Too strong for me though. I prefer it made into a juice with some bananas and a few cubes of ice. Yum!

October 5, 2009

Naughty but Nice

The other day Hubby and I suddenly fancied this dish. Can you see it? Dripping with the fried fat pieces, the sauce is sticky and thick and tasty. The noodles are thick, and covered with this dark sauce. Priceless.
Amazingly, this dish though simple, is actually difficult to recreate well.

My favourite part? The cabbage. Yum!

October 3, 2009

Good Food Good Fun

I nearly didn't want to go. For the dinner I mean. I was tired and a little low in spirit. I didn't want to spoil the fun.

But as six o'clock approached, I felt a second wind. So I agreed to go.

And I am so glad that I did!

The food was really nice. For more, visit here.
But the conversation around the table was wonderful.

The laughter continued to our house where we chatted like old friends over a hot drink.

There's something about the fellowship of the saints.

October 1, 2009

Teaching the Child

Excerpt from: The Heart of a Teacher
by Paula Fox

The child arrives like a mystery box...
with puzzle pieces inside
some of the pieces are broken or missing...
and others just seem to hide

But the HEART of a teacher can sort them out...
and help the child to see
the potential for greatness he has within...
a picture of what he can be

Her goal isn't just to teach knowledge...
by filling the box with more parts
it's putting the pieces together...
and creating a work of art

The process is painfully slow at times...
some need more help than others
each child is a work in progress...
with assorted shapes and colors

First she creates a classroom...
where the child can feel safe in school
where he never feels threatened or afraid to try...
and kindness is always the rule

She knows that a child
can achieve much more
when he feels secure inside
when he's valued and loved...
and believes in himself
...and he has a sense of pride

She models and teaches good character...
and respect for one another
how to focus on strengths...not weaknesses
and how to encourage each other

She gives the child the freedom he needs...
to make choices on his own
so he learns to become more responsible...
and is able to stand alone

He's taught to be strong and think for himself...
as his soul and spirit heal
and the puzzle that's taking shape inside...
has a much more positive feel

The child discovers the joy that comes...
from learning something new...
and his vision grows as he begins
to see all the things that he can do

A picture is formed as more pieces fit...
an image of the child within
with greater strength and confidence...
and a belief that he can win!

All because a hero was there...
in the HEART of a teacher who cared
enabling the child to become much more...
than he ever imagined...or dared

A teacher with a HEART for her children...
knows what teaching is all about
she may not have all the answers...
but on this...she has no doubt

When asked which subjects she loved to teach,
she answered this way and smiled...
"It's not the subjects that matter...
It's all about teaching the CHILD."

September 28, 2009

The Value of a Person

We have always said that we would not compare one offspring with another.

That's hard to do. But we try. We try to say that each one is as valuable as the other, no matter how alike or how different. That is not to say that we do not encourage improvement or aspiration of better and higher goals. It's just that we try to put one next to the other with pointing fingers.

So when one child does better than another academically or in sports or some other field, we try very hard not to say, "See what so-and-so has done? Learn from him/her" We try to exercise restrain, we try to exhibit total acceptance and love.

But

When one is particularly outstanding, it is even harder still to bite one's tongue

Because you DO want the others to learn....

Any suggestions? Thoughts? Opinions?

September 19, 2009

Packing a Punch

Man years ago, when in England, I went for a friend's birthday party. My housemates and I walked there and by the time I got there, I was pretty thirsty. So I grabbed a drink. It was the first time I tried this drink named Punch. It was very nice. So after I'd gulped it down, I asked for a second glass.

What I didn't know was that there was alcohol in the mixed drink.

Worse, in between the two drinks, another so-called friend had slipped in with more additives - the tasteless spirit called vodka.

Put that together with an empty stomach, you can imagine what happened next.

I vaguely remember walking home, trying to walk on the pavement and missing. Thank God for good friends.

But it didn't end there.

The next day I was rostered to go to work on the afternoon shift. I must have looked a right mess because when I got there, the ward sister (I was a student then) took one look at me and sent me to the Accident and Emergency Department to get treatment. She was convinced that I had measles!

There, once the truth was known, I was given anti-histamine and THREE DAYS leave by the doctors and nurses who made their sentiments known about this naive Asian girl!

Folks, I found I was allergic to the stuff. A good reason to be teetotal!

September 7, 2009

Gifted

With a kiddo like this, you could earn lots!

Haha!

August 30, 2009

Creativity

Moms have to be lots of things.

Nurse. Driver. Cook. Cleaner. You name it. Amazing how many attributes can be ascribed to women!

Including being creative.

Recently while visiting a friend, I saw her packing little gifts for her daughter to give to the teachers in Teachers' Day. That brought back memories!

Of course as they grew older, the novelty wore off. But initially, it was good to make the effort indeed! In the meantime, it was just fun to watch my friend do her bit. Perhaps she will recemember and bless us too!

August 18, 2009

Change.... Not

I was supposed to make a change. Whilst one thinks it's stable and nice, another thinks it boring to always stay the same.

I sometimes (read often) think the latter.

So it was with lipsticks No, no bright red stuff for me. A bit of shine is fine. But not red, and certainly not lashings of it. After all, I needed to set an example for my little one!

But a change was needed.

So I decided to do it. I didn't want to be a dowdy old mom!

Read more about my exploits here

August 17, 2009

Making Decisions

It used to be simple ones - which colour crayon to use to paint the trees, sky and faces.

Then it moved to where would you like to have dinner.

What was the reason for choosing this shirt over that one?

Along the way, choices of friends came in too.

What about the barber or hair dresser? Which should you go to?

Then came the big step of deciding further studies. I thought that was pretty major.

Later came the natural next step - where to stay. Amazing how things got settled about this.

Then came the seemingly sudden revelation - you decided to move out of the present place to go somewhere else. You wanted our blessings on this.

After discussion and prayer, we decided to let you decide.

And you did.

The field of making decisions suddenly got bigger.

There will come a time when such decisions need not go through us.

Wow. Time flies.

August 14, 2009

Lactose Intolerance

OK I have found a new thing.

Apparently being allergic to milk is very different from being lactose intolerance.

She might be more lactose intolerance - not allergic.

I have to study this more.

People sometimes confuse lactose intolerance with cow milk allergy. Milk allergy is a reaction by the body’s immune system to one or more milk proteins and can be life threatening when just a small amount of milk or milk product is consumed. Milk allergy most commonly appears in the first year of life, while lactose intolerance occurs more often in adulthood.

August 10, 2009

Problem Solving

For some time now we had been perplexed. Frequent stuffy nose episodes, terrible debilitating headaches, heavy head days. It was mind-boggling. We couldn't understand what the problem was. We even wondered if there were other problems we hadn't thought about. You know, problems with school perhaps. Or relationships that were not helpful. Maybe it was psychosomatic you know. How about her spectacles? Did they need changing?

And so it went on.

For months.

In the end, it was God's inspiration.

Spelt D-I-A-R-Y.

Yup, she is allergic to dairy products.

She's been off it for a while and she is fine.
Then one day I got another phone call from school - another headache. She was almost in tears from the pain. She could barely focus.

Later when she had recovered, she thought back and found the culprit. It was a new dish that the school canteen was serving. She tried it and discovered cheese in it.

The rest, as they say, is history....

Praise God!

August 7, 2009

Something

There is something about going for a prayer meeting with your own child because he/she wants to go.

There is something about being able to hold hands in public with a praying child who is of your own.

There is something about agreeing in prayer with someone praying fervently who is your child.

There is something about knowing that your child is storming the spiritual realm over the same matters that you are.

Whilst humbling,

it also feels good.

July 31, 2009

Dairy Products

She stopped dairy products. It was a trial.

She loves cheese. It is going to be hard.

She is desperate to try. It is a test of wills now.

She succumbs and grabs a piece of cheese. In it goes, her mouth channeling it to where it is need most.

Tomorrow the allergy will show.

But tomorrow is another day

July 24, 2009

Allergy Suspect

I suspect an allergy.

Sniffy nose. Congestion in the upper respiratory track. Coughing on and off.

Surprisingly, all ceased when I banned milk and dairy products from the diet.

What do you think?

July 22, 2009

Bullying

"You can never fight their fights."

"Let them learn by themselves."

We have not only heard those words before; we have used them ourselves.

But what happens when the child is being bullied?

And the child has been taught not to fight back?

And despite pleas with the teacher, nothing effective is done?

Do you take things in your hands and go to see the teacher?

What would YOU do?

July 18, 2009

From Me to You....

Though not what it meant originally,
this is pretty much what I told my Hubby.

July 13, 2009

Saving Yourself, Saving Others

Many years ago, when my own father was a lad, his friends threw him into a disused mining pool. They weren't being malicious. Just playful.

He had told them that he didn't know how to swim.

In typical exuberance of youth, they didn't believe him.

And decided to test their theory using one of the then many pools in my home town.

Alas, if you knew my dad, you would know he doesn't tell lies. Especially on matters such as this.

He nearly drowned.

We are so glad he didn't. Otherwise I wouldn't be here today.

Years later after that, my own sister nearly drowned.

I still remember the day. My cousins were in town. We all went for a dip at the local pool. I barely knew how to swim then, but as the oldest, I felt responsible nonetheless.

At one point, I suddenly missed my sister's bright lemon yellow swimsuit. Looking around, I could not see her at her usual spot near the steps. So I went up to the adults to see if she had got up without letting me know. Six years separated us. She was only a toddler then.

When I got to the adults and asked if she had come out of the water, they all said, "Noooo". Then I saw my dad move. Like never before. I knew he could move fast - he could outrun men younger than he.

He got up super quick and made a beeline to the pool. Without missing a beat, he VAULTED over the fence, plunging in feet first! As a trained lifesaver (following his bad experience), he knew time was of essence.

There was my sister, head bobbing above water. Paddling away with her hands and feet, almost vertical. She had been knocked off from the steps by a rogue wave.

And the lifesaver on duty thought that she was a particularly clever girl who knew how to swim... and left her to it.

Subsequently, I learned to swim well, as did all my siblings. We all represented the state.

I went on to take up life saving and got my distinction award.

My children learn to swim too.

Better safe than sorry.

July 9, 2009

Different Strokes

It is as if God used a different paint brush each time He worked on one of my children. They might look similar, talk the same lingo, and even sound alike. But their personalities? More different than chalk and cheese.

It makes it interesting to care for them. Communication is diverse too. One has to be rather creative. What works for one doesn't always work for the other.

And yet, one has to be fair and not seen to take sides or favour one over the others.

I believe this is training more for the parents than for the children.

Someone one said that there are no bad children. Only bad parents.

I agree.

July 6, 2009

Sign of the Times

When my sons laugh, they just chuckle. Sometimes if it is really funny, they laugh out loud, with broad "Hahaha"'s.

My daughter, when she laughs, she announces that she is laughing by saying, "LOL". No, she doesnt spell it out. She just goes, "lol" as in "poll".

For the uninitiated, that is short for "Laughing Out Loud" in chat and sms talk.

LOL....!

July 5, 2009

Sweat!

It was supposed to be well organized and smooth sailing. He was scheduled to go back for his studies. I baked lots of cupcakes for him to take back. I even packed them in his check-in suitcase for him.

Then last night he came to me and asked for his passport.

What????

I never laid eyes on it since the last time I passed it to him month ago!

Needless to say, that sparked off hours of searching. Involved Hubby who was away facilitating at a retreat.

Hubby searched his things. I searched mine. He even went to his office, (taking time out from the retreat). So did I.

I searched at home till after 1am this morn. Finally told him to go to sleep and so did I.

Nothing turned up.

But I left his packed bag in the middle of the passageway. I refused to give up!

This morn, I had to go for Sunday service, and work. I left the two guys to continue their search.

Then just as the message began, the sms came. "Found it!" it said. Praise God! I then called my son to tell him where the lock for the bag would be.

Later I rushed from work to the airport to send him off, giving him a hug.

I should hug my other son too - for finding the passport and for sending him there. Phew!

July 4, 2009

Just Being a Mom

Spent yesterday night and will spend tonight baking.

Orange cupcakes yesterday.

Brownies today.

I don't have "free time" since my maid went on emergency leave. But I have to MAKE time.

Why?

Because my son, who is back for mid-term break, is going back to studies tomorrow. I've promised to give him some goodies to take back. Both for himself and to pass out to people such as his aunt and family, his mentor, his flatmates and whoever else he fancies. Last but not least, he can freeze the balance for himself.

Photos coming up next... IF I have the time!

June 30, 2009

Hungry

I dont know about you, but this makes me feel hungry.
Taken at garden barbeque in England.

June 27, 2009

Our Anniversary

It was a casual remark - telling an old friend that it was our wedding anniversary.

"Where are you going for dinner?" asked the friend.

"Oh," I replied, a little embarrassed because we hadn't discussed dinner plans due to our busy schedules of late, "probably eat at home." Grin in a silly way. "We haven't got a maid," I add. As if that was a good reason to eat at home! (Actually rather illogical, I know)

Friend shakes head and mutters something like, "Amazing". I continue in flustered tones because I don't want it to seem that we aren't a loving couple, that our anniversary isn't important, etc, "We just came back from England. That's good enough!"

End of conversation.

Or so I thought.

Later, I met this friend again.

A surprise was sprung. Suddenly before me was an envelope. It contained a dinner voucher for a lovely Italian Restaurant downtown. It had to be just obtained. Specially obtained.

"Have a good dinner, enjoy yourselves. You deserve it".

Wow.

So we went.
Upon arrival, the Captain came over to our table and asked for our voucher. How did he know? He mentioned our friend's name. As I suspected, the voucher was obtained a few hours earlier upon learning of our special day. It made the evening more special as we gave thanks for good friends.

This is what I ordered - roast lamb with apple sauce. It was absolutely delicious.
This is what my husband of twenty-seven years had - roast beef with a lovely sauce and side dishes.Good food with good company, thanks to good friends. A memorable evening indeed.

P.S. It was our anniversary, but because we very rarely have dinner together as a family in this nice restaurant, we brought the children along! It was also an opportunity for them to experience the generosity of friends, and as my eldest said, "Giving of vouchers is an excellent idea" Hence they learn from example and observation.

June 26, 2009

Eating Well

All parents want their children to eat well. But eating well is one thing. Eating healthily is another.

When in England, I somehow managed to put on weight. Our food was not exceptionally rich. Perhaps it was the sheer volume as I ate more than usual, eager to taste flavours my tastebuds had forgotten.

One lunch, however, we had typical simple fare.

Cheese - cheddar of course - sliced just so.
With a touch of tomatoes. Victoria tomatoes that come with their stalks. You are see the freshness. Of course, our hosts bought British!
And then we had lovely salad - washed and ready to eat. Fancy that! Just open the packet and tuck in.
Which is what we did.

And it tasty yummy!

June 23, 2009

Wisdom

For more such goodies visit EADotCom for the link.

June 22, 2009

Across Cultures

This is my friend G and her husband O whom we met after a lapse of more than twenty years. We did our midwifery training together. By the end of the course, they were expecting their first of three children. They remain happily married, worshipping at a local vibrant church in east London.
My family tree has inter-marriages of all combinations. Different faiths too. It makes to more flexible to the idea of cross-cultural unions, despite my marrying one of the same race. Hubby and I are from different dialects and backgrounds, which could in a sense, be totally different too! But cross-cultural combinations like G and O above mean there are more differences to consider.

As Christian parents, it is our duty to train the children to be able to handle cross culture because Jesus Himself commands us to go and make disciples of all nations. Nations here means ethnic groups. We should have emphasis on cross cultural training in order to fulfill this often-called Great Commission.

The challenge is whether we would go as far as cross cultural marriages.

June 17, 2009

Visiting Mentors

We should always be willing to learn, to sit at the feet of others. This is one couple we have learned much from. Sacrificial giving is just one aspect of their lives. They were constantly giving of themselves and opening of their home. They were the ones from whom wise counsel always flowed. Their perceptions and insights were sharp and beyond the normal train of thought. Inspired, one would say. They invested their lives into the lives of others.

And we have been blessed to have tasted a small part.

We love you Bill and Shirley and are so glad to have spent those precious few hours with you. This was one of the highlights of our recent trip.

If we are but a fraction of what they are and have been, we would have touch lives indeed.

June 16, 2009

Would You Do It?

She is only fourteen.

She wants to earn some credits and merits.

One way is to go on a hike. Overnight. Long distance.

She has to carry the 3-person tent with her.

Would you let her?
My friend did. And so her daughter did. They took a wrong turn and added 3km to their walk, but they made it to the end. She had bruises on her shoulders, she hurt where the bag rubbed her back and her calves screamed with each step the next day.

And she has to do 800m training tomorrow.

My initial reaction was, "WHAAAT?!" This is insane. Such torture!

Then I realised this girl wanted to do it herself. She excels in playing the viola, her studies and now she asked to do this challenge!

That makes me breathless.... and tired!

June 14, 2009

Thunderstorm Moments

Does this resonate with anyone?
Hahahahaha!

June 13, 2009

Examples

We often talk about setting examples for our children. As we talk about this, we often think about anger issues, being hardworking or just being good people.

However, have we ever thought about fear issues?

For instance, when a mother is squeamish about spiders, often the children grow up with intense dislike and similar fears. If an adult influential in the life of a child screams at the sight of a cockroach, you can be sure that the child will pick up that fear and imbibe that.

"Fear not", the Lord said. 366 times I am told. We are meant to only have fear of the Lord, and even that, is then the beginning of wisdom....

June 8, 2009

Coming Home

Yes, my second son is heading back for a short break. I am so looking forward to that!

I have promised to bake for him to take along when he goes off again.

But I hope I can keep to my word as my household help has had to go on leave. HER son is unwell and might need an operation.

I think I need to prepare for a time without household helpers.... I have always said I would try to be able to manage without one. Now I have to prepare just in case it truly happens!

June 5, 2009

Inquisitor

Non-stop. Well, at least until the last bit.

It was a constant trickle.

Laughter.

Singing.

Questions of "Why?"

Finding out more and never satisfied.

Asking intelligent questions too.

He was only three and a half.

Stark contrast from the older on in the row in front. That one didn't even understand we were in Malaysia. He looked out the window and wondered aloud. Someone should tell him yes, Sabah is in Malaysia too.

Different parenting styles showed. The former was patient, answering everything. Treated like and adult but without equal status. The latter was almost mumbling in replies.

Yes, I was on an aeroplane recently...

June 3, 2009

Repetitions

Repetitions.

Another word for nagging?

But what do you do when something wrong happens repeatedly?

Worse, what do you do when the character flaw shows up again and again?

Nag.

Repeat in different forms.

Do so in love.

Pray. PRay. PRAy. PRAY.

And thank God that the problem was spotted early.

May 30, 2009

It's Scary

A teenager shouldn't be making decisions on his/her own, involving travel of long distance in the company of people whom the parents do not know.

Parents should be aware who the children are keeping company with.

Whose fault would it be if the child is put in a compromising position and the parent is not around to protect him/her?

Not the child. A teenager is still a child.

It would be the fault of the parent....

There are no misbehaving children. There are only misbehaved parents.

May 24, 2009

May 19, 2009

Cute

Sometimes it is amazing the kind of snaps my little camera can take.
Meet someone I just met last night.
Meet Joshua.
That cheeky look reminds me of my second son who is away in Singapore right now.

May 10, 2009

A No-No for Dieters

As usual, even after dinner, we were talking about food. Amongst friends, we shared about Hubby's famous crispy skin pork. None of those days of preparation beforehand for him. None of that hanging up to dry for hours.

He does his in one day. Cooks it for an hour.

And this is today's outcome.
Verdict of all present - finger licking good! "You can open a Chinese takeaway", "Worth its weight" etc!

So much for trying to maintain one's weight!

May 8, 2009

A Cutie

All babies are special.

All babies are gifts from God.

All the more when one is eagerly awaited and anticipated.

As is this little fella.
Awww... isn't he the cutest?!

May 4, 2009

Celebrating Birthday Away From Home

It was nice of our relatives to do something special for Arrow #2 for his 18th birthday. No idea how they found out, but they did.

He enjoyed their kind and thoughtful gesture.

May 2, 2009

Cigar Eating FIsh

You thought I was joking, right?

What do you think he has in his mouth?
Some cool guy - a cigar even as he fries.

Even James Bond couldn't beat that.

April 29, 2009

Further Punishment

But this time, it is not the physical kind.

I just lost years of electronic data resource.

Learning to give thanks in all....

April 27, 2009

More Punishment

I did it again!

I went for more punishment.

Self-inflicted punishment.....!

I went to the gym and walked and ran on the treadmill.

This time, I covered more than 3km at a faster rate!

Then I went for even more punishment.

Yes, folks, I went on the thigh buster machine and worked out for another ten minutes!!!

P.S. Son got his room and is happy with it. Praise God!

I am certain I will suffer for it tomorrow.

I am certain I will not be able to wear my heels tomorrow.

I am certain I will walk like a penguin tomorrow!

I will certainly keep you posted!

April 26, 2009

Room to Let

Why is it so hard to get a decent room to let in Singapore?

My son is looking for a place. We have had daily online chats and have found it almost tiresome. We don't want to impose on relatives, and certainly don't want to outstay his welcome!

Anyone out there who might be able to help?

April 20, 2009

I Hurt

No, it's not emotional pain. Nor is it mental.

It's pure physical, and self-inflicted!

I went to the gym. (See The Hinge for more information)

Now I sit here and my butt hurts.

When I walk, my calves protest.

Later I am certain my arms will join in the chorus.

I can forget the heels tomorrow morning!

April 18, 2009

Smoking and Health

In a mood for video.
Saw this one and thought you might find it interesting...
Maybe even use it to deter your children from smoking....
video
Hahahaha!
That
sort of humour....?

April 16, 2009

Broody?

Just look at the little fella! Doesn't it make you broody?
Yes?

Not me!

April 14, 2009

Seeing the Doctor

She had what we thought was a stye on her eyelid.

But unlike others, it was still there days later. In fact, it got worse!

So we were asked to go and see a specialist.

After some trying-to-decide moments, we settled on the one near our old place of stay. We had to get to the eighth floor!
Once there, we walked down a long corridor which reminded us of a hotel, not a specialist hospital!
Needless to say the view was spectaculer.
It was fun to see familiar landmarks.
When we finally saw the doctor, she gave some antibiotics and told us to return after 24 hours.

Which we did today and praise God, she doesn't need an operation!

April 13, 2009

Being a Momma (Continued)

I interrupted my planned walk down memory lane. So now let me tell you how I found out I was pregnant with my first child.

After years of infertility, I had finally got used to the idea of being able to travel as and when we liked. We traveled light and saw many parts of England. I finally released my desire to have children. It was up to God, I said, and meant it!

Then the opportunity came where both Hubby and I were able to go study together. It was something we had always wanted to do. So we dropped everything, sold our flat in London, packed up and went.

While there, in the first term, I went for aerobics in an attempt to get fitter.

I was sitting on the floor of that dining room twenty years ago (yes, it would be THAT long!) I still remember the moment it somehow dawned on me. It was my second session, and we had to warm up as usual. We began with stretching exercises. Hence I was sitting on the floor.

To my amazement, for the first time in my entire life, I was able to reach my toes.

For those of you who don't know me very well, I have never ever been able to touch my toes with knees unbent unless I almost do the splits!

But here I was, reaching those fat little bits at the end of my legs with reasonable ease.

Somehow, from the deep recesses of my mind, I remembered that when one is pregnant, one would have higher levels of hormones. One such hormone relaxed smooth muscles to prevent premature contractions. The uterus is made of smooth muscle. So are some other parts of our bodies, such as our back.

Amazingly, I made the connection that I was pregnant easily. My back muscles were relaxed - so I was able to bend forward and touch my toes!

It was with uncertain hands that I held the results of my pregnancy test for my Hubby to see. We could barely believe it. A new phase of our lives had begun!

April 12, 2009

April 10, 2009

The Worst Pain

It's not childbirth, though research seems to indicate so.

It's not suffering from illnesses either.

Toothaches can make you lose sleep, but I don't think it comes close.

Long term pain from backache and such might come close. But only close....

How about the pain of losing someone? Hmm that's pretty close I guess.

No, I have decided.

In my books, the worst pain is seeing someone you love going through something awful and being powerless to do anything about it. Don't you agree?

Thank God I can pray, and that is more than enough. HE is a God Who hears and answers prayer!

April 7, 2009

And the Answer is....

I miss them already and I cried.... Still crying....
But they are grown and it's time to release them to a new phase of their lives.

Do well my sons. May you hit the bullseye of God's intended targets for your lives.

April 6, 2009

A Fast-Diminishing Sight

What's big, red, steadfast and sturdy, and previously a prime instrument of communication?

That's right - the one and only postbox!
I still recall my aunt sending a US greenback for each and every one of her nieces and nephews on particular year. Apparently I was the only one who wrote back to say thanks!

Ah the written word - there were unique ways of communicating. One could read the frustration in how the "t"s were crossed a little harder. One could see the jerks from sobs in the misalignment of each word. Not to mention the science of understanding the writer from the writing.

Alas, with advent of the internet this is no longer so often seen. Indeed, letter writing by hand is a dying art. Even buying letter writing paper seems to be harder these days - you have to go to a specific corner in the stationery shop!

But I am hoping that with modern technology I will still have contact with my sons when they go - if not better contact. We have webcams and headphones etc these days right? I wonder how often they will communicate? Or will it be only when they need Vit M....?

April 4, 2009

Will I or Wont I?

Saturday is followed by Sunday.

After Sunday, there is Monday.

Following Monday comes Tuesday.

And that's when the question I ask at the start of this post will arise.

Will I or won't I.... cry when they board the airplane to go for further studies?

I'll let you know....

March 30, 2009

Going Places

We went with Arrow #2 recently to his future place of study. His scholarship required him to take two sureties with him. So Hubby and I went.
When I was his age, I was already overseas, studying and working at the same time. I too had to learn how to navigate as a foreign student.
The advantage for him is that the culture he is in is not too far different from ours, and he is not that far away from home.
The letting go has begun.

March 24, 2009

Being a Momma

I am going down memory lane for the next few posts here. Hope you enjoy the trip with me.

After a few years of marriage, Hubby and I decided to stop taking family planning measures and to try for a baby.

However, unlike the many women I nursed and took care of, I did not fall pregnant so easily. This was a shock to me because even before I had married, the Lord seemed to have promised me sons when a particular passage spoke to me.

It brought me much heartache to nurse women who were falling pregnant so easily, some of whom were giving up their offspring for adoption, for various reasons. I still remember one little chappie called Jack. His parents couldn't keep him because they were both of a different race and culture and so they named him, loved him for a day, gave him toys, and signed the papers to go. I would nurse him each night I was on duty while the paperwork was being finalised, I dreaded the day, which inevitably came, when his cot would no longer be in its usual spot in the nursery.

When my friends fell pregnant, cooing over their babies, my heart hurt and I envied them. Yes, I envied them. It added to my low self-esteem when I discovered I could harbour such feelings towards my own friends. I felt incomplete and not sufficient a woman.

I would cry out to the Lord much like Hannah did in the Bible. I alternated between asking God to hear me and telling Him to have his way. It was a time of huddling close to Him and to Hubby. It helped a little that Hubby was patient. But how could he understand?

There was no cause for my primary infertility, as they called it. Hubby checked out great and I had a mild case of endometriosis which wasn't enough to do anything to me. This, together with monthly reminders added to my sense of poor self worth which the Lord had to deal with.

Being offered IVF (those days it wasn't called IVF) was tempting. I was staff on the British National Health Service and it would have been free. But we decided to hold off for a while so we could think more about it. We ended up not thinking more about it for another four years!

During that time, my best friend fell pregnant and asked me to be present at her delivery. I was a good midwife and a good friend in other aspects. But I could barely even look at her bulging belly. Could I consider being there to help with her birth?

Thank God, in the end I did go. And whilst I did not actively take part in the delivery, just being there began the healing.

I began to enjoy not having children - we could get in the car and go anywhere anytime for short breaks and do whatever we wanted with ease. I could enjoy other people's children, baby sitting for them, and giving them back at the end of it all.

We began to honestl y be able to say, "Lord, if you want us to have children, we could be on the highest dose of the pill and we would still have children. If You didn't want us to have children, we could try and try and nothing would happen. You are Lord."

And then it happened. God has a sense of humour. I'll tell you more in the next post how things worked out.

March 23, 2009

Arrow #3

Did you have an eventful pregnancy? Or labour? With all three of my offspring, something happened. Take my third arrow for instance.

Early in my pregnancy, I woke in the wee hours of the night and found the bedsheets and bolster soaked in blood. (No, I am not exaggerating; there was that much blood.)

As I lay in bed, momentarily shocked by the discovery, I sent a prayer-thought up to God. I asked Him, "I thought You told me that I was supposed to have this baby. What's going on here?" (Someone who prayed for me on March 13 2004 had said that I would have fruit from the womb - not miscarriage!)

I didn't immediately get an answer.

My midwifery training switched on and I went on auto. I decided that I needed to change into clean clothes. Entering the bathroom to wipe myself down, I felt an urge to go to toilet. Even as I sat down, my maternal instincts screamed, "You are going to miscarry the baby!" I could feel something coming out.

Again, my training took over. I gathered the clot that I passed. Somewhat shaken at handling the almost hand-size clot, I then slowly and gently looked through it. Macabre? I had to see if there was any sign of my baby.

I couldn't find anything. The negative thoughts came that my pregnancy was too early to see anything. I dismissed it. I did not want to linger on such thoughts.

Finishing what I had to do in the bathroom, I went back to bed. Hubby had changed the sheets. I told him what happened, and we prayed.

Finally such peace descended upon us at around 4am and we drifted to sleep.We felt somehow assured that the baby was fine.

Later we went to the doctor's clinic. There, we saw the ultrasound scan screen showing her still fine.

What the devil had intended to steal and kill and destroy, the Lord had intended for life.

Overheard Conversation

Following my last post, I overheard a telephone conversation between Arrow #2 and a friend.

Arrow#2 was giving advice to his friend on the other end of the line. I could hear him encouraging his friend to put an ice pack on.

What? No ice pack? No problem. "Get a bag of mixed vegetables instead", says the online consultant, to Big Momma's delight!

I guess he did learn something from all my past nagging!

March 21, 2009

Lessons from Hot Water

Yesterday I accidentally splashed some boiling hot water on myself. As I ran cold water over the affected parts, I mulled about first aid, wondering if I have taught enough to my children, especially the ones leaving home.

Would they remember to use bags of iced peas/mixed vegetables on certain burnt areas? (These mould and shape well) Would they know what to do if they twisted an ankle, knee or wrist? Did those unwanted lessons on strapping and bandaging stick in their minds? Would they be clear minded enough to know what to do if feverish? (Get the fever down!)

I wonder what sort of first aid kit I should prepare for them? The ones from shops aren't usually enough. I suppose I had best go into Singapore first....

Yes, that's where one of them is heading for next month. He has a scholarship to do a special course - digital and precision engineering.

March 20, 2009

On Leaving Home

I left home when I was seventeen. I don't remember much preparations on my part to travel half way round the world to a land called England.

I do remember having to transit in Singapore. However I was still crying by the time I landed there from Kuala Lumpur. I recall barely knowing where to go.

A stranger (perhaps an angel in disguise?) asked where I was heading. Upon discovering I was heading for England, he (yeah a MALE stranger and I trusted him!) he led me, out of his way, to the right direction. Thus, somehow I made my way to England.

I stayed for a few days with my aunt and family. Life was different. I didn't know that you didn't have to look through the rice to pick out the husks - there wasn't any. I didn't know the meat would be nicely prepacked - and that chicken bones for soup were so cheap. I remember going to the butcher and getting pig's tail for soup at tuppence... until the butcher realised that all his Chinese-Asian customers were after his pig's tails!

So many stories about my leaving for work and study far from home.

But I know my children would not be so interested in them - yet. So I now need to prepare their leaving home in a different way. Practical ways like making sure they have accommodation, getting them a rice cooker (a Chinese must!), and other such survival essentials!

"Leaving home for further studies will either make or break you," someone once said. I think that is so true.

March 19, 2009

Anticipating Tears

Memo #1 to self:
If approached repeatedly concerning a problem do not take it lightly.

Memo #2 to self:
If approached repeatedly concerning a problem with signs and sounds of distress, do NOT take it lightly.

Memo #3 to self:
If approached a penultimate time concerning a problem at an early hour of the morning (when one should be having a lie-in), do not be flippant despite being desperately groggy and half awake.

Memo #4 to self:
When all the above presents itself, make a beeline to the distressed person concerned and offer comfort immediately.

Memo #5 to self:
When offering comfort, company is more important than comfort food.

Memo #6 to self:
When applying all the above, pray unceasingly.

The End

March 16, 2009

Blessings

Each day we would send the children to school. We wanted to spend time with them.

We would also be the ones to pick them up from school. We wanted to hear their stories and "debrief" them.

We got into a habit of blessing them whenever we set out. Usually Hubby would drive and I would pray. Sometimes we couldn't be sure if they were too sleepy to register what we said, but we prayed on anyway.

What did we pray for and about?

Usually we began with praising and thanking God. Often we remembered how Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in fear of the Lord. We would pray for that. Then we would also pray for favour - just as they had God's favour, that they would also have favour from man. Of course, we had to pray for good health - mental, physical, spiritual and emotional. Often a verse would come in and we'd apply it in our prayer. Then we might also pray that the fruit of the Spirit be evident in our life. Of course we often remembered that we needed to be salt and light so we'd ask that our speech and conduct bring Him glory. And so the list went on, each day somehow the Lord gave something fresh and specific.

With hindsight, this was possibly one of the best things we could have done for them.

Thanks for the idea Lord!

March 15, 2009

Away from Home and Ill

Right now I am nursing a bad sore throat. Perhaps it will turn worse, perhaps I will be fine by tomorrow. There's a low grade fever too.

It makes me wonder. How will my children fare if they leave home and fall ill?

I remember the first time I was away from home and unwell. Since I normally enjoyed good health, I went into a pity-me mode for a while. My friends didn't know what to do with me, and I didn't let my relatives know because they were staying the other end of London and I didn't want to bother them.

I survived of course.

Later, my brother had pneumonia and he did the same thing - didn't tell anyone. It was his then girlfriend who told me about it and I forced him to stay with me while he got over the worst bit. He "discharged" himself from my nursing care before he was totally well. Yes, he survived too.

So I guess I need to learn to teach my children survival tactics before I get too worried about them falling ill while away from home.

Must start listing them down now, before they do leave home!

March 14, 2009

Further Studies

Both my foster son and my second son have done well.

Now to guide them for further studies.

For the one, it would be to encourage him to get his applications going - and soon.

For the other, it would be to fine tune whether or not to accept the offer given, or to seek other places.

In some ways, good results make it easier .... and harder. Choices are more, and therefore seeking God is all the more important.

Which is what I told him. Now to pray.

March 12, 2009

Having Cold Feet

Suddenly as the big moment looms, it is easy to have cold feet.

Major decisions ahead. Big steps to take.

Long term commitments. Financial commitments.

What does a parent do when a child suddenly wonders if he/she has chosen right?

First of all, the child needs to know the assurance of the parents. Whatever decision made is not a reflection on who the child is. What the child does is not a measure of who the child is.

Then assist the child in thinking through the steps that led to that moment. Teach the child to discover for himself/herself. It will be a lesson more powerfully learned if it was self-revelation.

Finally, pray with him/her. Big and small decisions in life should go through Him! Such examples will enable the child to develop his/her own relationship with the Lord - surely invaluable during the hard times ahead, when away from home.....

March 9, 2009

The Pelvic Floor Muscles

In Metamor4sis, I posted about a condition called LAI - light adult incontinence. A condition that plagues many women, one way to improve is to do pelvic floor muscles exercises.

"What are the pelvic floor muscles?" I hear you ask. These are the sling-like muscles which support our pelvic organs (read bladder, uterus and bowel). If they are weakened, we can have bladder and bowel incontinence. They also play an important part pregnancy and childbirth (support during pregnancy and later guide the baby's head out during labour), and in sexual function (but more of that later.....)

So how do we strengthen our pelvic floor muscles? Well, not only have I taught about this during my life as a midwife, I have past personal experience having had three children myself.

First thing you need to do is to know where your pelvic floor is and recognise when you are "pulling" or "tightening" them. (I still remember telling pregnant ladies and their partners at the ante-natal classes in my usual cheeky way ... many years ago, I hasten to add!)

The second best way is to sit on the toilet... with your knees apart. Then pee! You have to do it with your knees apart otherwise you would use other, external muscles ie the thigh and buttocks. Don't hold your breath too much!

After a while, you will recognise them. And once you do, wherever you are, three times a day at least, you can imagine that you are trying to stop yourself passing urine and at the same time trying to stop yourself passing wind. Your muscles should feel as though they 'lift and squeeze' at the same time.

It is recommended that you squeeze ten long squeezes followed by ten short squeezes. A long squeeze means you need to hold it for several seconds and then relax it for the same length of time. You can actually feel your muscles getting a little tired. A short squeeze is a minute and then relax. Again, you do it until you feel your muscles are tired.

It can take three to five months before you notice an improvement.

Oh yes, I said "second best way" earlier. You are possibly wondering what the best way is.

(Did I mention I was cheeky?) The best is during intercourse. Squeeze them and see if you get a reaction. If he blinks or gawks or goes wow, well done!

March 8, 2009

Money Wise

I was only little. Less than 10 years old. Dad had some money from his work. So he gave my brother and I some of it - one ringgit for every month of our life. It seemed like a fortune then. He got the money in 50 sen coins and we delighted in putting the coins into our metal moneybox. Since I was older buy a year and a half, I had more coins. What joy to feel the weight and hear the money jingle.

As I grew a little older, still under 10, I found myself spending more than the pocket money I was given. Instead of approaching my parents, I decided to dig the moneyboxes.

I can still remember lying on my parents' bed, pulling away with a hair pin from my Mom's box of curlers. The coins would drop around my ears, sometimes hitting my mouth. Initially I would take only a ringgit. But later the thrill of having money to spend made me take more.

I didn't just take from mine of course. I needed to make sure that my box weighed more than my brother's. So I took from his too.

Then one day, I came home from school to see my parents looking strange. They confronted me with the theft.

I burst into tears and confessed.

In their love for me, their firstborn, they increased my pocket money.

No reprimand. No advice that I recall. Just a quick discussion amongst themselves and then telling me they were sorry that I didn't have enough and that I had to steal. Perhaps they felt they were inexperienced parents.

The end result of that, however, was that I didn't learn to budget. I often spent all I had. That is, until much later in life when I met my accountant husband.

So I resolved to teach with my children to handle money.

From the time they could count, we gave them daily pocket money till they went to secondary school. Then from Junior one to three, we gave them weekly pocket money. When in the upper secondary classes, we gave them monthly allowances. Constantly monitoring what they spent on, teaching them to budget. "Set aside for God first," we'd tell them. From time to time, without their asking, we would increase their allowances.

Recently I just gave my eldest one his own bank pass book. We feel confident they can manage the older ones can manager their money. Certainly more so than I did~

March 6, 2009

Making Memories

Do you make memories with your children?

There was a time when every Sunday we would take the children to the beach. Other families would be there. The children would kick a football around. The dads would (supposedly) go for jogs. Moms had the job of keeping an eye on the things and took the opportunity to chat.

Another things we did as a family was to have one Sunday meal at special "Children's Choice" places. Even though it was inevitably the fast food joints, we would let them choose and try to make a nice time of it.

Of late, we have also been inviting folks round for Sunday dinner cooked at home. Friends could be from all walks of life, different ages and backgrounds. Very often we would "mix them up"!

I wonder if my children will have memories of these times when they grow older....

March 5, 2009

Laughing Together

Today we sat down for dinner as we often did.

Each one had a little anecdote to share.

Laughter tinkled during the meal.

After some plates were emptied, we lingered on to listen and share more.

In a few weeks time, this will be no more.

Treasuring these moments.

March 3, 2009

Approach to Food

As a baby, one was particular about food. Another was more easygoing. The third ate everything.

Here they are when the youngest was only 4 months old and gnawing on a chicken bone! Amazingly her constitution was strong and I had no sleepless nights from her incredible diet.
I would get a little concerned about the fact that some seemed to be fussy with food - was I under-nourishing them? As a former nurse I would fret.

Now that they are older, I realise that I need not have worried so much. As long as they didn't have too sweet a tooth, their diet turned out reasonable. Now they have a much wider range of taste AND they are fit and healthy! Phew! It took me almost 20 years to discover this truth!

February 28, 2009

For Comfort

One would fall asleep twirling a string. It would most likely be the string from the bolster. The string would get tangled up among the toes. Funny way to sleep. I still remember being asked bashingly to untangle a knot when you were younger.

Another would hold a hand or better still, an elbow to sleep. It sometimes shocked the person next to you when your little hand would sleepily reach out and almost tickle as you felt for the bit of comfort. Another funny habit but fun too.

Then there is the one who had to have something soft and that sort of feel. Certain pieces of cloth would do, and not others. Just to feel the material between your fingers was enough to send you to sleep....

Funnily two out of three sought comfort using their fingers. One used the toes!

I wonder whether there are others out there?

February 26, 2009

Pimples

Most of the time, we have good skin. Most of the time, you have good skin too.

So how come you suddenly sprouted so many on your face? They look pretty angry on such fair skin!

Hmmmmm

Increase your Vitamin C intake.

Increase your fluid intake?

Sleep better. Cut down those late nights.

Go get some exercise and fresh air.

In the meantime, don't pick on them. They will scar otherwise.....

February 25, 2009

Age Doesn't Matter

He came up to me, looking forlorn and ill. His hair sticking out at all sorts of angles, the natural curls exaggerating the mess. I felt like putting my fingers through to comb them but I knew it would annoy him, so I didnt.

Instead I merely listened to him croak.

He wasn't well, that was obvious. I touched his arm and neck instead. He was hot.

The nurse in me arose and I prescribed paracetamol to get the temperature down. The "Christian" in me said, "Pray for him," so I did. The mother in me told myself not to be concerned... but I was.

He hardly ever falls ill, but when he does, it is in style.

Furthermore, soon he will leave home. When he falls ill there, who will take care of him?

It doesn't matter how old the child is. When they are ill, it is a matter of concern for any parent.

February 24, 2009

To Play or to Protect

This year, for her co-curriculum activities, my daughter decided to opt for volleyball. I wasn't too keen on that but she felt she wanted to. So I agreed.

On the first day of training, she came back with this. I don't know if you can see it, but there are tiny specks of red all along her arms - bruises and parts where the blood vessels have popped as the ball hit her arms.
It is not easy for me to see her arms like this. A mother's instinct is to protect and to say, "STOP PLAYING!"

But there is another part of me that takes over and says "This will toughen her. Let her continue".

So I let my more firm side take over and speak gently to her to continue even as I rub oil to soothe the pain.

After a few days, she is back to playing again. Phew.

February 22, 2009

Makan = Eat

Let me introduce you to a Malay word. Malay is very phonetical. That means each letter of the alphabet has its own sound and it doesn't change. For example, the vowel "A" is pronounced "AH", as in "master" or "father". It is never pronounced as in "water" or "later".

The word I'd like to share with you is MAKAN.

Why?

Because that is what I will be doing two weekends in a row! Last week I had functions on Sunday and Monday nights. This week will be the same - tonight I have a dinner function and I will have another tomorrow night.

Big MAKANS for Big Mmmmomma! Can you see my belly shaking as I laugh? No? Well, never mind. I can feel it! Hahahahahaha!

February 21, 2009

Treatment for Allergies

Many years ago, when we were in England, we had doctor friends with whom we were close. So close, that after our badminton games, we would go to the men's and women's showers respectively and shower in the communal areas there... yeah, I could see her all and vice-versa! (You can read more about it at Personality Discovery).

But that's not what this post is about.

You see, these friends of ours had two sons. The younger of the two was severely allergic to peanuts. The slightest touch would set him off. One day, when he was just learning to walk, he toddled over to where his mother and brother were. As he neared the table, he began to lose his balance. So he reached out and grabbed the table.... right at the spot where a smear of peanut butter was.

Suffice to say that it was good that his mother was a doctor and reasonably unflappable. She had antihistamine in him quickly and saved his life.

I am posting about this because of recent news concerning treatment of such allergies. I hope they succeed....