Monday, April 9, 2018

Joseph restoring joy to a friend

We were at a family retreat at Cameron Highlands. Children were having a fun time playing frisbees when one child, Ashton, threw the frisbee out of range.....down the steep mountain. Efforts were made by everyone, trying to retrieve but to no avail. Graphs were charted to estimate where the frisbees could have been landed, manpower mapper out.. but alas, the steep mossy hill had declared its sovereignty over all of us. Hence, the rescue mission was called off, everyone went on to their next activity which was worship. As we were about to get started, Joseph came up to me and say "I'll go get Clarissa and Ashton to come?" "Clarissa is already on her way." I replied as I looked around the hall and found that Ashton was missing. "Please get Ashton." I concurred with him, though a bit reluctantly as he would have missed out a little on the session.

Minutes later, Ashton entered the hall with drooping shoulders with Joseph following behind. I made room for Joseph to sit next to me and whispered "What happened to Ashton?" "He was angry at himself for losing the frisbee and retreated to his room. But I told him to come worship with us." Joseph replied. I was moved by my boy's sensitivity to his friend as I had no idea that the failed rescue mission meant that Ashton had piled guilt and unforgiveness on himself!

When the worship session was over, I told Joseph that he had set his friend free from his own guilt and restore joy to him. I can't imagine how Ashton's day would have turned out if he had thought everyone was angry at him for losing the frisbee when in fact no one was! By him coming to the worship, he could see that for himself. Praise the Lord for both Ashton and Joseph! I pray both have learnt valuable lessons through this.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Joseph, Humble, Kind & Thoughtful

Today, I was in the car with my sister in law CY.  She commented she will be running out of petrol in car soon. "Joseph will remind me when he gets into my car," she remarked. It was a remark that mark my heart. Yes, Joseph is one who will keep a look out when no one is looking. He is one who observes quietly at the background, unexpectedly, when he sees a need, he steps in. I must admit, I didn't impart that to him, much as I wish I did.

In fact last weekend during breakfast at a hotel, I was both tired and stressed from a nagging flu. Out of frustration, I told both him and Prissy, that they should grow up instead of relying on me to get food for them at the buffet line. And when I was done helping them and started to dig into my food, they had finished and wanted to go home! I was MAD! Lecture from Mummy follows suite....telling them that how inconsiderate both of them were to behave this way, and its time that they step up!
By the next morning, I have forgotten about this incident (thank GOD that I have short memory) but my kids didn't. Both of them helped themselves to the buffet line, even when it meant that Joseph had to order and carry a hot bowl of noodle soup and prissy having to tiptoe to reach the bread. Yes, I'm both touched and proud of their immediate improvement. This just challenges me that being the more mature one, I too should aim for immediate improvement, not delayed nor laden myself with excuses to stay status quo!

So in the car, I continued the conversation about Joseph with God.....The same message was emailed to him!
 Joseph is observant on matters where others aren't! He will observe a need to help out without being a self-directed way, without drawing attention to himself.
I love your humble spirit, kind and thinking of others! Praise the Lord for you! & I love you!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It all started with a stye!

2 months ago, Prissy had a stye growing on her right eye. Thinking that this would go away on its own, I ignored it until some time later, my brother observed that the stye had grown into a small round ball about the size of our pinky! By then, i realised that almost half her eye was obstructed. Flustered by the inconvenience of having to consult a doctor, it was time for me to step up to be my girl's personal physician: I took her to the pharmacist, showed him the problem, got the medication and end of the story. But NO, the stye had to grow! I don't know what is wrong with bacteria these days! When I was a child, my stye just went away even without my mother realising it being there in the first place! In 21st century, the bacteria had to get mothers busy, school teachers stressed up from having to help the ill child catch up with missed home work and doctors' pocket filled up! (ok perhaps I'm exaggerating!).

Knowing that I can't delay matters any longer, I brought Prissy to see Dr Chai, who in turn recommended an eye specialist who is located in a bigger town called Ipoh, 40 minutes drive away. Much to my dismay (apart from the distance and time ), the specialist checked her eye thoroughly and gave me a grave look, saying "Based on my experience, such stye would not go away on its own. Since Prissy is still a child, we need to put her on GA and make an incision on her inner eyelid in order to thoroughly remove the puss." I was fighting to contain my disbelief! Gosh, this is not a tumour we are talking about....only a stye. I had goggled enough to be informed that it would go away by itself. Perceiving that I must be resistant to the idea, the doctor suggested to put Prissy on one week's medication before making the final decision.

The following one week was painful for me. Whoever we met, whether at school or on the train, had endless solutions to offer Prissy. "Use the method taught by my grandma!" shared a kind lady who happened to be sitting next to me on the train. "Take a rice kernel and tap lightly on her affected eyelid. The stye would be gone in no time!"  But to those with medical training, they would give a sympathetic nod when they see Prissy.

My dilemma at this point was: I know I have to pray for healing but too many external sources of information tell me that I could solve it on my own - whether its via the knife or rice kernel! "Dear Lord, please forgive my disbelief and lack of faith. I do believe that you can heal. At the same time, I don't want to be disappointed should you choose not to heal without intervention." Memories of unanswered prayer came flashing by, challenging my faith. One day as I looked at Prissy, although with one eye swollen, she carried on with her usual cartwheels and sports. "Prissy's faith matters too" came a small voice.  I knew at that very instant that God will do something but still not quite sure what, when or how.

The 2nd visit to the specialist only confirmed that the incision is inevitable. "Next Monday would be good!" I suggested as I wanted this done and over with. "I'm sorry but the doctor is only available next Thursday for the procedure." The nurse replied.

In the days that followed, I was down with the flu and had to skip the prayer meeting on Tuesday. When Wednesday morning came, Raymond woke me up excitedly and showed me Prissy's stye. Lo and behold, the swelling was gone! Disbelief, I woke up my princess and inspected her eye closely. "Last night, Aaron (my nephew) prayed for Prissy. Half an hour later, Prissy started vomiting profusely. When I came to her to clean her up, I noticed some yellow fluid was stuck on her eyelid." Raymond related last night episode to me. At just the nick of time before the operation on Thursday, God had healed her! And I observed that Prissy's faith in God had grown over this period. What an adventure! Praise the Lord for He indeed will always stay true to His word.

The Lord is Good and His Love endures forever Psalm 100:5

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Letter from a teenager...

Happy Birthday Mom!

I rather type this out than say it to you so that I won't jumble up my thoughts and leave out some stuff I wanna say. Anyways, thanks for being such a wonderful mom to me. I feel touched every time you tell me that you bought breakfast on a Sunday morning. Cause I know that you didn't have much sleep on the night before but still got up just to buy us breakfast.

Also, thanks for being so supportive on what I do and choose. Honestly, I think it makes a huge impact on my life. I have talked to my friends on their parents and compared. I noticed that encouragement and support is pretty vital for a teenager who is trying to get through life.

Thank you for not pressuring me to do more and understanding my right schedule. It gives me a sense of freedom and allows me to manage my time better. (I don't have to worry of not finishing or joining something in case that it will disappoint you)

Thank you for having those long talks about random deep stuff. It helps me relax and free because I can share it with someone that can give me good advice. Despite the reckless mistakes I've made. I really value sessions like those because it brings us closer.

Sorry for all those random outbursts in anger that I have tend to have. There are many times I regret shouting because 1. The reason I am angry is has nothing to do with you. 2. You don't deserve it. So I'm trying to have a more level headed mindset.

Last but not least, thank you for supporting me on my stray dog feeding thing. I often wonder why do you still allow me to buy when I know that it is really costly and annoying to buy. When the dog bit Aunty Tammy's shoe and I asked why you weren't angry, you said "because in the end, it is your happiness that matters" I felt really touched because 1. No one has ever said it to me before. 2. Someone is putting me first. Which is very hard to accept 3. In the Asian culture, phrases like these are never said. So yeah, I was really touched and stuff.

There is still a lot more, but I don't want to make it so long.

All in all, mom, you are one of the most selfless person I know. Thanks for being my mom and friend. Love you :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

How Do We Sound to our Kids?

If you need a mirror to check on how you are doing as a mother, try leading a pre-teens bible study! A few weeks ago, I was scheduled to conduct a bible study for kids aged between 8-12. We were focusing on the book of James - the taming of our tongues. “Therefore, let’s all try to speak positive words to each other?! Joseph, could you try to say positive words to your sister this week?” I asked my son expectantly in the study. Before he could reply, my eldest Clarissa who was also in the study, interjected by spilling our family secrets: From how negative mummy (aka bible study leader) usually is with her words on their school homework, behaviour to other people in the family. If there is a list she could make, I suspect it would be longer than Santa Claus's present list!

I was left red faced, hot from embarrassment. It dawned on me that the study IS for me! As soon as she finished which sounded like forever to my ears, another child also commented on how negative parents generally are! “Gosh! We parents also have a lot to learn about taming our tongue! So kids, we are in this journey together, & as a mother I will try to be more positive in the weeks to come!” I tried to sound as convincingly as I could!

Dear God, forgive me that I was blind to my own negativity. I need to have more faith in You, in order for me to speak word of life to my children.

James 3: When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

My Testimony

At a very young age, I recalled asking myself & people around me, what was the point of life? I didn't understand why people were born, lived, earned a living, raised children and eventually died. The worst part was, when I asked the adults about what happened after death, they would either shun the question by telling me that it was an inauspicious topic to discuss or that we would only know when we died! There was no answer!

Being in a Buddist family did not help. I was told to good works so that I could have a better after life, but when I asked how much good work I needed to do, no one could give me a definite answer. One thing did stand out though, if I did anything wrong, my mum was sure to send me on a guilt trip making me feel lost & frustrated: No one offered me forgiveness or assurance that life was going to be alright, I could always start afresh.

However, God heard my plight and sent a Christian domestic helper to work in our household. When I was seven, Vera brought me to church & my parents were not happy. Church going was prohibited by my family, but that just made me want to go to church more, as I was excited to break house rules! Gradually, I became more rebellious & my mother would clamp down on me even harder through various punishment: I retaliated wherever possible, thinking that I would be happy. The truth was the more I disobeyed my mum, the more guilty & unhappy I grew.

When I was ten, I went to Singapore to study. There, I had all the freedom to do what I wanted but strangely enough, I didn’t do anything that would upset my parents. Eventually when I reached teenage, Vera came to Singapore to study at a missionary college. We were re-united and this time, I went to church for myself. There, I found forgiveness through Jesus dying on the cross for my sins. I could start afresh not just on the day that I accepted Jesus but daily! I felt set free from my years of guilt heaped on unconsciously! The best part didn’t end here. The bible says that Jesus is preparing a room for me in heaven. Therefore, I have no fear of death, as death is only the beginning of my heavenly relationship with God. My life now has a purpose: I felt completed with Jesus in my heart, as now the hole in my heart is filled!

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Monday, May 12, 2014

My Perfect 3

In the past year, I’m learning and relearning how to be a parent. In fact, as my kids grow, I need to be more creative in connecting with them. What worked last year, may not work this year!

Just today, my eldest is teaching me that SHE can be sarcastic and when I responded with disbelief, she spelt out the word to make sure that I got the picture! Thankfully, God has sent a little package in the form of Prissy to remind me to take life a little easier, preferably with humour. J

Joseph on the other hand, likes to say harsh words with a smile at the corner of his lips. He has a soft heart but a hard shell. Punishment has now reduced down to: “If you don’t finish your work, I’ll punish you with a kiss!” A peck on the cheek has become his most dreaded discipline. “And, I used to hug and cuddle him!” I do miss him as a baby, but despair not, when he’s asleep I would have my fill of stroking his head.

And of course there’s Prissy, who is hoping to become like her sister or brother one day! She would remind me of the many good years I had had with Clarissa and Joseph. Although she is only 3 y.o, she behaves like a little lady. She loves being the centre of attraction, and copes with my outburst of emotions exceedingly well. Thank You God for giving me my perfect 3. I have learnt so much from them and I know, there is still more to be discovered.

Monday, May 5, 2014

When A Serious Mum meets a Humorous Child

I’m convinced that God gave us children, so that we could be better for Him. Prissy, unlike her older siblings, loves to sing, dance and wriggle (no prize for guessing her favourite shows) all day. Her cheekiness sometimes is a challenge but most times, will bring a smile to my seriousness.

I’m the serious type, in fact, I don’t know any other way as a parent but THAT.  A week ago, Prissy stationed herself on her bike, stopped at the top of the staircase and asked “I go down the staircase ok?” If there were an uncontrollable wild cat in the house, it would have been me!

Frantically, I told her in a stern and loud tone, intercepted with lots of alarming words such as needles, injections, blood and hospital. Repetition, unfortunately, is a mother’s ill habit of which I had not been spared. So, there I was repeating myself, with my hands waving in the air; while my 3 y.o moved from her bike to the sofa. She waited for me to finish, before asking “WHY so fierce?” in an astonishingly calm voice. I didn’t know whether to laugh with a snort or be mad at her. Either way, I was amazed by her ability to control her emotions, in front of an infuriating mummy! I guessed that spoke volumes about her, and about me too. “Perhaps, I should take things a little lightly, with a pinch of humour!” I told myself.

The next day, Prissy was with me in the bedroom when she slide her fingers in the gap between the door and its frame where it was hinged. Having learnt my embarrassing display of emotions from the day before, I told her sternly that she should not put her finger there. “Instead, you could put your finger on your head, or your nose, or even fold your hands together to act in a stern manner.” I told her. Together, we acted out our silly manners and had a good laugh.

It took no. 3 for me to realise that there IS a different way to approach parenting, and truly Prissy is God sent. Thank you Heavenly Father for your patience with me, and your humour, for showing me that sometimes its ok to laugh it off.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fee is Free indeed!

Due to the nature of my name, Fee, friends smiled when I told them that my blog is called Fee is Free. Literally, coming from an accountant, fee is Free is contradictory but yet, its good news. For a long time, I have wanted to write about the origin of my blog name but felt ill equipped to do so. Finally, this morning, my devotion had adequately spelt out the essence of how I felt about myself and couldn't resist to post it here. Thank you John Piper, you are truly God Sent!

The Only True Freedom (by John Piper)
Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)
There are at least four kinds of freedom. And each one adds a crucial dimension of freedom to the last until we get to the full freedom—"free indeed." Let me try to sum up these four kinds of freedom in one definition of full and complete freedom: You are fully free—completely free, free indeed—when you have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will make you happy in a thousand years. Or we could say, You are fully free when you have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will leave you no regrets forever.
  • If you don't have the desire to do a thing, you are not fully free to do it. Oh, you may muster the will power to do what you don't want to do, but nobody calls that full freedom. It's not the way we want to live. There is a constraint and pressure on us that we don't want.
  • And if you have the desire to do something, but no ability to do it, you are not free to do it.
  • And if you have the desire and the ability to do something, but no opportunity to do it, you are not free to do it.
  • And if you have the desire to do something, and the ability to do it, and the opportunity to do it, but it destroys you in the end, you are not fully free—not free indeed.
To be fully free, we must have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will make us happy forever. No regrets. And only Jesus, the Son of God who died and rose for us, can make that possible. If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed. To be happy forever, our sins must be forgiven and God's wrath removed and Christ must become our supreme Treasure. Only Jesus can do that. In fact, he has already done it. He died for our sins. He absorbed God's wrath. And he rose from the dead and is today therefore supremely precious. And he offers us that now as a free gift.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Beautiful Tapestry

A few years ago when I watched the movie, The Blind Side, God gave me the conviction to start a school that could impact lives. I have always wondered since the school started, did we really impact lives? Today, I have my answers.

Gabriel had stopped attending his local secondary school for close to 2 months as not only was he ostracized by his teachers, he was written off as “useless” by his family. Out of desperation, his mother signed up his son with us. During our term two report card day, both his parents turned up to speak to our teachers. His mother was especially overjoyed “All his life, Gabriel has been scoring Ds or Es but now for the 1st time, I see him achieving Cs!” she shared. Although I was not there to speak to the mother, I felt a tear at the corner of my eyes. Indeed, if it were not for the committed teachers and God working in his life, I think Gabriel would not be far from being a school drop out altogether.

Another boy, Isaac, has been school hopping before he joined us – he has gone to 4 different private schools in the last 3 years. His grades were dropping and his attitude follows alongside. No sooner did he enrol, he made a name for himself. Later, we found out that he was famous in his previous schools too, but for the wrong reason. Today, I had the privilege to meet up with one of his teachers, Mr T. Although Mr T is still very new to our school, he immediately recognized that Isaac stands out from his class. “If there is any glitches with my lesson, for even 5 mins, I could see Isaac getting out of his chair and starting to do his own stuff.” He shared. “Today, when I start my lesson, I told Isaac that from now onwards, I would prepare my lesson with him on my mind!” I was so impressed by Mr T’s attitude, who despite having a troublemaker in his class, is unfazed but is all the more determined to help Isaac. The commitment of teachers like him has not only impacted the lives of the students in the school, but also on me: God’s Promises are all True and Life Transforming.

This morning, one of the girls told my niece that she is leaving our school for good. Rumours had it that Naomi was bullied by her peers here and although I don’t know the girl well, I felt sadden by the news. However, further enquiry into the matter had proved otherwise. At the beginning of the year, Naomi had trouble getting along with the girls at the boarding house. One of the girls, Madeline, had been teasing her and that had really affected her. Towards the end of last term, she cried and broke down. It was also at that time, that our Character Education teacher, Mr AV spoke about bullying and made them think hard by writing about it. Madeline confessed in her essay that she didn’t realize that she had hurt her friend and made the 1st step of reconciliation by apologizing to Naomi; Naomi in turned wrote about not harbouring a vengeful heart towards those who had hurt her. The real evidence of transformation came when during a basketball practice last week, a stray ball hit Naomi on her face. Almost immediately, Madeline went over to ask if she were alright. By prying into this suspected withdrawal case, I found treasure hidden instead. In actual fact, Naomi’s parents were very happy to see the change in their girl. Naomi was only joking with her friends that she will be absent from school for a day as she has a dental appointment the next day. 

At the end of this day, I felt immensely moved that God has brought so many wonderful teachers, helpers, boarding parents, support staff, parents and students to enrich each others' lives: He has woven us together like a intricate tapestry that by being one, we are beautiful and impactful.

(Note: names of individuals had been changed to protect their identities)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom8:28)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Graveyard Speech

As our school 2nd term draws to a close, my brother delivered a moving speech to the school team that is sharing worthy.

Some time ago when the conviction to start a school here in Kampar was rooted, the pioneer team went to visit an established international school in KL. The founder of this school was not only kind enough to open its doors to us, he granted us an audience and insight into his views. “Starting an international school in Kampar will be a graveyard! In fact, with the University of Tunku Abdul Rahman setting up its main campus there? That was also a graveyard (bad) decision! There is no future there.” He concluded.

Although we were taken aback by his honest views, we were undeterred as the conviction to build a school was not from us, but from God. Interestingly, I have totally forgotten about these impactful words until now.

“Actually, he was right. Kampar IS a graveyard for our kids!” continued my brother in his speech. “This IS the place where their bad habits die, and whatever that are hindering the children from moving forward, should also perish here!” as he concurred with the educationalist from KL but from a different viewpoint.  “ Our school will be come a GREAT yard where children prosper in learning! They will become excellent learners. Over time, the poor students will become average students, the average students will become good students, the good students will become better students and the better students will become excellent students.”

That was a great metaphor, which reminded me of what Christ had done on the cross for us. The cross despite signaling death, was a God-given victory for all of us. All of us had to die to self first before we could be born again with a new life in Christ. Thank you Lord for inspiring us in this journey with your graveyard message!

Joseph restoring joy to a friend

We were at a family retreat at Cameron Highlands. Children were having a fun time playing frisbees when one child, Ashton, threw the frisbee...