Thursday, April 28, 2011

Concerned

Met up with Sa last night to receive CV registration form and just to catch up. Now that CV is bigger, we have not met up for dinners and just yakking and I miss that awfully.

Sa has really been a strength throughout this year of CV M'sia and just having someone to bounce thoughts off and to plan with has meant so much. Without her, I doubt I would have continued CV. I would have caved in from the workload!

One thing we talked about was on the relationships that the youths we meet are in. One trend that I've noticed is that the youths, not being used to good care, quickly get attached to guys who show them care.

Sometimes that works out. Sometimes not. Sometimes I get more than a wee bit concerned about the guys they choose!!!

I'm not sure how to address this area though. Without seeing healthy relationships mirrored, it is hard for a youth to ascertain what is a loving, real relationship. One without frills and furbelows, but with steadiness, mutual trust and loyalty. One without drama, but with love running deep below.

And of course, one thing that makes me wince is when I see youths entering into physical relationships without knowing fully the consequences.

Oh, I don't mean they don't know that sex can lead to pregnancy. They do.

It is the parenting, that I'm concerned about.

I don't know if they are old enough to want a child, and bring the pregnancy to full-term. I don't know if the boyfriends they are with are willing to marry them if they fall pregnant and assume the burdens of being a father and husband. I don't know if they can be mothers with all the responsibilities it brings when they do not have a strong family support surrounding them to help them when they get frazzled or frustrated.

I dream of solid foundations for my youths. I dream of love and care and mentoring that will wipe away the old slate and prepare them for a new one. I dream of a bright future filled with possibilities and hopes and expectations.

I don't know which dream can come true.

Honestly? I have too many children! ;>

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Whew....

It seems to be a tough day today for a LOT of people.

It is the anniversary of the passing away of a close friend's mom. She is feeling sad and misses her mom...

Another friend is very cross because of miscommunication...

And dear CP is anxious because of a woman in an area of Africa inaccessible to doctors. The woman has swollen up and is feverish and may die...

Doesn't it put things so much into perspective to realise, many people out there are hurting with real hurts?

Why am I sitting around wallowing in my own hurt?

And surely, God knew this was coming, because I have felt His quiet and gentle prompting and wooing away to spend more time in His presence these past few days.

Hidden in the shadow of His wings, I still sing.



28/4 The woman CP was anxious about has passed away... :(

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Being a light

I just haven't felt like blogging lately :>. A lot on my plate.

Some days I need to step back, look at what is being created, and just smile. And I always shake my head that God would ever entrust this beautiful creation to me... but... He does! He gives me the chance to make a part of the world beautiful for others... and I am silent with awe.

I'm really excited about the Amazing Race this Sunday. At first, it seemed like a chore. Volunteer work gets like that when things get too heavy. But then, friends came alongboard and asked, "How can we help?" and before I knew it, things were falling into place, people were signing up to help, and it became so exciting.

I'm triply happy because of the beautiful souls that we are meeting ... youths from East Timor Leste who are here because they need urgent medical attention. Knowing that this will be a fun day for them too, makes me so squigglishly happy!

I ranted on FB yesterday :>. So sorry, but I did!

I have been meeting with a number of adults who are struggling with depression lately. Not the kind caused by abuse or abandonment or neglect. But just low self-esteem and a weariness, I think, with making their place in this world. And I'm ashamed to admit that I find myself getting impatient.

When I think of the refugee youths... when I think of my kids... when I meet survivors who have come out strong to help others who are in the same desperate situation they were in before... I just want to shake these adults and tell them, "Please, look around you - you are so fortunate! Get up and do something with your life, don't sit around and be depressed when you don't have to be!"

And ironically, every single one of those who replied to my rant on FB either by way of a comment or a 'like' were inspirational, amazing people. Every single one of them makes a difference in others' lives.

And they gently encouraged me, "Listen to them. Just listen."

I was so touched that L quoted me. I wanted to shout to some of the people whom I was thinking about who are in their depressed state, "Just look at L! Look at how much she has accomplished! Look how courageously she attacks life and grabs it by its lapels and lives life full out!"

But... I've learned the hard way that people stuck in depression cannot hear. The clouds of depression whirl so thick around them, muffling all sound and dimming all colours... locking them in to a self-centred world.

I don't know how to penetrate that cloud of self-absorption. All I can do is cry out to God for wisdom. Because I know there must be a purpose why He brought all these people into my path... or they wouldn't have crossed my path. I just asked Him for grace not to 'murder' any of them ;> ... be it by cruel words or impatient tones.

Some thing too that I have been learning lately... This was the third person in a month who has quoted me on Facebook... Either for a status or a note that I wrote. It reminds me to be careful of what I write... to make sure my words are seasoned with salt and not careless.

The words others choose to quote, I notice, are inspirational words. I think the world wants to hear 'hope'. They want to know that in this world of darkness, there is a light to aim for and a way to climb up to reach it.

Thinking about that, I picked up again Darlene Zschech's book on the Generational Transition. I am reading that now, reminding myself again what it means to be a 'leader'. I may not like it, I may not want to be one, but I think we are all called to be leaders in just the way we influence others by the things we say and the ways we choose to behave.

I have to run, this post is way long! Agape, everyone!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Achieving dreams

A few weeks ago, I met up with Christine Phang to discuss a program that I wanted to do with her children in Kenya. The theme for the program would be on living their dreams.

I asked Christine, what were the dreams that her children had? Christine told me, when the children are small, and barefoot... having nothing... their dreams are endless. To become President, a doctor, a judge...

When they grow older, and have gone to school, their dreams become more materialistic... to earn enough to buy the things they want... a house, a car...

And when they are fully grown, there is huge competition for even a simple job as a dishwasher. The girls and boys normally go into domestic service, marry and have a home of their own. Thus they break the cycle of living on the streets for their generation.

But the dreams that they had as little children, those they do not reach. They cannot.

It was like receiving a slap to the face. For someone like me, who encourages youths to live for their dreams, who tells them that nothing is impossible if you're willing to give all you can to a dream... it was a shock to imagine children growing up in an environment where dreams are as unreachable as the stars in the sky.

It brought home to me, how very, truly fortunate we all are to live in the countries that we do. Yes, we do have our problems. But none of us ever had to think that the dreams we had as children could never become reality. We had the choice to make them reality.

Even the youths that I know who face harsh realities in their lives can climb that uphill path to achieving their goals. Because in our worlds, the possibilities are endless. There are barriers to overcome, but they are mere obstacles... they are not impossible mountains.

The books that I read and the videos that I watch are often of people who faced seemingly insurmountable odds and overcame them...

Liz Murray, whose life story inspired the movie "Homeless to Harvard", who went from being a homeless teen studying at nights in dark hallways to a Harvard graduate and a motivational speaker today...

Somaly Mam, who was sold into prostitution as a young teenager, who went on to establish AFESIP, a worldwide organization fighting sex trafficking and rescuing its victims...

Sr. Pauline Quinn, who was a runaway, whose shame from the abuse she went through made it impossible for her to talk to people if they looked at her, who set up the prison dogs program in America, where inmates in prison train rescued dogs to become service dogs for the disabled...

Helen Keller, who became both blind and deaf, who spoke multiple languages and was an author, an activist and a great speaker...

Nick Vujicic, born without arms and legs, a powerful motivational speaker today...

And I think of us. I think of all of us. Born with the capacities that we have, mental and physical... born in the situations that we were born in, with the gifts of education given fairly to both boys and girls... born in countries that are for the most part peaceful and rich enough in economy that we can survive and live and work...

We have so much. And the world is open before us to achieve anything we want to, if we want to.

The Bible says that, Much is expected from one to whom much is given. And when I look at how much we have in our hands... there are no excuses.

So what are the dreams you have? Hold it in your hand, face the vision, and run with it. We are so blessed to have the choice.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just plain happy

Originally, I wanted this blog to be a 'healing' blog. Then I discovered that I'm pretty private, really. But if that is what I want this blog to do, then I'll need to be more open. So here's me trying.

One new gift that this year has brought to me is the dawning realisation that I have the right to just be happy.

It sounds silly, doesn't it? Anyone would think that every single person has the right to be happy - to laugh, to smile, to enjoy themselves.

But, growing up, it didn't seem so.

I'm so very lucky. This year, it somehow just clicked for me. For once in my life, I realised that it is truly okay for me to be happy.

And life changed.

Suddenly, life had rainbows again. I could laugh at friends' jokes and silly fun. I could enjoy and savour each moment without feeling guilty for enjoying a moment. I could look forward to sunshine days when everything that surrounded me glowed with golden edges.

Sometimes, I'll see acquaintances' FBs that have a lot of complaints. But for me, it feels like life is starting anew. I have nothing to complain about because the days are so fresh with spring.

I'm truly blessed to have discovered freedom... and I wish I could bring this blessing to loved ones in my life so that they can know it too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Don't know where...

... to start! So much has been happening...

It has been a tough few weeks because of some difficulties that arose that I could not blog about.

I had a wonderful weekend in Singapore to make up for it, though.

I think that volunteering is sometimes the highest form of 'giving'... It is the one time that a person lays aside himself and thoughts of himself and thinks, "How can I be of service to you?" instead.

But you know something... the rewards you receive, are so boundless.

I have pockets of rewards... beautiful moments that make everything so worth it.

A week back, I took the RACTAR girls out under the Journey Continues program for what was a games and planning session. It never fails to touch me the way they eagerly come up with smiles and big hugs, even the one or two who normally shy away from hugs.

And nothing touched me more than seeing Z, who has left after Form 5 but came back to learn sewing skills, peer out from the workshop section and giving me a big smile and frantic waves :>.

Yesterday, I was at Ministry of Vision - CampVision's dance and drama project's concert. And I was so, so touched when....

... N said, "Oh my god!" when she saw me and rose up from where she was sitting and came over to give me a big hug! I got to spend a few minutes talking with her about her fears and nervousness. The love and acceptance I receive from N is always so precious because she is so reserved and quiet.

... H came over to introduce me to a friend of his and said, "She's the best like the best like the best..." I was so, so touched. Beautiful H, how precious a friend you are to me too. You have been such a great blessing, and no one could ever tell behind that beautiful smile of yours, the struggles you have overcome.

... J came over and talked about how moved she was by the performance and seeing the lives that CampVision has transformed. I don't even have words to describe the feeling myself of seeing the youths glow for that one hour.

... Seeing S stand by N during the awards ceremony. And H stand with U! In the absence of family, we have grown to be 'family' for one another.

My heart is so full. Somedays, there are no words... only smiles and tears slipping from a grateful heart. How beautiful moments can be.

I truly learnt these past few weeks ...

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

God, thank you so very much for the moments.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Laura Story - Blessings

This song was so timely for me.



Laura Story - "Blessings" Lyrics
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home,
It's not our home