Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Old Violin

Posted by Dawn at Thursday, January 30, 2014 0 comments Links to this post
Recently, I was told by a pastor who shared this story about an old violin. He reminded me of why we worship God as he tells us to see worship as "worth-ship". Whenever we worship God, we are expressing His worth.
 
 
How about our worth? Many students I encounter do not see their worth. When I used to teach and talk to students, I tell them how smart and good they can be and they always brush it off by saying words like, "cannot or impossible." What saddens me most is when people don't see how much they are worth.
 
 
God didn't create us just for us to feel lousy about ourselves. In my opinion, that shows you are self-centred. However, when we look up, give thanks for this life He has given us and know that you are justified by the blood of Christ and not by your good behaviour, the perspective changes and you won't start to think about how lousy you are etc etc.
 
It is not what you do, it is all about what Christ has already done on the cross for us. His work is finished on the cross and because of that, we have unlimited resources in heaven! We do not know the worth of our life until you allow the Master to use you and play it!
 
Enjoy this poem!



 
'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"
But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.
"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.
The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."
"And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.
But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.
- by Myra Brooks Welch

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BFF

Posted by Dawn at Wednesday, January 29, 2014 0 comments Links to this post
Since a year ago, I told my 4 year old then that we are BFF (Best Friends Forever). I don't know whether I brain washed her or not but she's buying it and we have been doing things together that I really enjoy. We seemed to enjoy each other's company and I am seriously treating her as my best girlfriend! (hope she doesn't go breaking my heart now..ha!)

At the beginning of this year when Caleb went off to his school early in the morning, I could spend time with Danielle as her school started a week later. She makes great company!

Having cheap Jap lunch near our house

She also accompanied me to cut and colour my hair..for 2 hours plus with no complains, just waiting for me.. Where can I find such great company who is so patient and cheerful!

 
 

Even after she starts school, her school bus would come pick her up at around 10am. So we have the mornings alone as well and we would have breakfast together- either at home or in coffeeshops.


Sitting together with her and eating is a joy as we would either be reading a bible story or just simply talk. It's such a girly thing to just yak yak yak.

Some mornings, I would bring her to the park or rooftop garden at my block to just have fun and exercise..

 
Do you happen to notice anything wrong with the above picture??  I asked my hubby and son the same question and they can't spot it. Give up? Well, the bicycle handle is turned the other way round. Danielle changed it and tried cycling with it which she could. She has been doing all sorts of tricks to cycling like standing up while pedalling and riding it with the handles and front wheel in the wrong way.
 
 

In the mornings, we would do something together and few weeks ago, I was hooked to the Rubik's Cube and she got hooked as well. So, she would watch the Youtube tutorials on how to solve it and we do it together.



When it's time for her to go school, I would try my best to tie her hair up. I have yet to master plaits as I always end up tying it so loosely. So in the end, I just go for simple ones! Tying her hair is another bonding activity as she would patiently wait for me to do up her hair and we would just laugh at how pathetic I am doing it.


After donning her school uniform and bag, I always notice how cool my girl is. She would insist on only carrying her bag on one shoulder, wear her watch (even though she still doesn't know how to read it properly) and puts her hand in her pocket at times.



While waiting for the bus is yet another major bonding time when we just have fun under the void deck playing. We would first pray together to commit her time in school to the Lord but as the days passed, she is now independent enough to pray on her own. So she starts talking aloud to God when we are down waiting for the school bus and refers herself as the third person in her prayer. Its cute. Then we would go on to do something like checking out insects..

Here's the ant's nest undisturbed made up of leaves. (Super amazed at how the ants know how to build this on their own)

 
And I would cheekily flick my finger on this and voila! The ants all start appearing!
 


We also spotted this interesting spider..


Also spotted this which I am very curious as to why I can't touch this..


My guess is that there may be dog's ashes in the soil..Oh well..

Besides spotting all these interesting stuff in the morning while waiting for the school bus, we would also start playing games like hide and seek, "crossing the crocodile river", "what's the time Mr Wolf?", "Scissors, paper, stone" running game etc etc..

So much fun and laughter..

Here's the many funny faces of my best friend taken while waiting for the bus







 
 
Can you see how much she cheers me up? It gets even better when I pick her up after school from the bus. She would be waving at me in the bus before the bus stops and once the bus doors slides open, she would be greeting me with squeals of delight and jump right in my arms as I carry her. She would sound so excited...
 
 
I can't stop thanking the Lord for allowing me to give birth to Danielle as she's truly a joy and a blessing to me. Lord, may you continue to grant her a heart that yearns and seeks for you. I also like to start praying for her husband that you will grant her a godly Christian man when the time is right, a man that is prayerful and loves you with all his heart and will love my dear daughter too! Pray for your joy to always be with her! In Jesus name I pray, Amen!
 
 
 


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A path less travelled

Posted by Dawn at Tuesday, January 21, 2014 3 comments Links to this post
Since late last year in December when I started my children on swimming lessons, so many thoughts and images ran through my mind. My children are 5 and 6 years old now and for the longest time, I have been hesitating to sign them up for lessons. One of the reason was I had way too much on my plate and too tired to take them for classes when I was still working as it takes commitment not only for the children but more for the parents as they are the one who is going to drive it.

And the other reason for this hesitation is because of my past. I have started swimming at the age of 3 and started competing since I was 6 years old. Represented the Republic when I was in Primary 4 till I was in JC1. Life as a swimmer from young was not an easy path. It was gruelling, and many times, I just had to either play sick (which most of the time didn't work) or just grit my teeth, wipe my tears away and just do it. I remember there was this one time I saw lightning through the water I was swimming in and also another time when I cut my finger really deeply that I still had to just wrap it up and continue training by swimming with one hand. That was the kind of discipline(if you like to put it) and commitment we had.

Training in Chinese Swimming Club where everyone of your friends also went through the same thing.Waked up early for training at 5:30am till 730am. Rushed to school. Allowed to skip the first lesson of school. Then training again from 4pm-7pm. Then rushed for tuition. My meals were mostly in the cars as I gulped down breakfast and dinner. Of course, there are benefits to what I went through and how I have turned out but would I want this on my children?



So most of my friends who knew me since young all wonder why I have not started my children on swimming and why am I not teaching them on my own? Since December, I signed them up for lessons at my nearest public pool which I found to be reasonably priced for my pocket and my children's experience now is so different from what I went through. Whenever I see them, I start to wonder what kind of children I want them to be- enjoying what they do but end up maybe not as good as they can be or just get a fierce coach, force them to train so that they can be stretched and be good in something...

To be honest, on the contrary of what my friends think, I am not a good swimmer. I just end up doing well because I swim so much. I am sure any child who went through what I went through, would also end up being good in swimming.

Aside from swimming, the other thing was which school should my children go to- branded or neighbourhood? I had the ability to send my children to a branded school since I was from there and I thought it would be fuss free as I do not have to go through any balloting.


Coming from Tao Nan, Raffles Girls' and then Temasek JC, obviously I would send my children to branded schools. Right?


I have never felt stress being in those schools even though I was not a bright student. I enjoyed my education in all those schools- the environment was good and conducive. That was what I wanted for my children too.

So for the longest time, I was dead set to send my children to Tao Nan since I had the opportunity...so why not? But when crunch time came, I opted for a school nearest my house- a neighbourhood school. I do not have a car so it is just a way more practical decision since it is just 10 mins walk from my house.

So the key question that has been asked- is every school a good school? In my opinion, no but all schools do strive to be a good school but I think given the culture and bad reputation of some neighbourhood schools, it is quite difficult and challenging for them to be a good school.

Do I worry now that I placed my child in a neighbourhood school that he may end up bad? On the contrary, I am happy and glad I did. He is a happier learner in this school and hopefully with the teaching and values I have been imparting at home, it is a good foundation for him to withstand most obstacles or temptations he faces in school.

As for which secondary school, I already have in mind but once again, when the time comes, who knows what I may choose?

So the questions I have been asking myself is whether I am short changing my child by sending them to a public pool for swimming lessons with some coach who most likely swim slower than me or when I am sending them to a nearby neighbourhood school where most people would not even have known the existence of such a school in Singapore.

In conclusion, all I want to say is this-no matter how hard I try or not try, we will never be perfect and we can never dictate how our children will turn out as a result of what we do now with them. All I can do is trust the One who created them, who loves them more than I do as I surrender myself to Him.In His time, God will make all things good. So why fret and worry so much?

For the record, my children is happy learning swimming in a public pool and enjoying their school!

 


Like to end off by sharing what I read one day during my quiet time.

GOD'S MERCY

The parenting journey is full of mistakes. We will never be perfect. But, we can be comforted by the fact that God knows us, He knows the mistakes we make, and He loves us just the same. He doesn't expect perfection.

God expects us to offer our parenting as an act of worship. When we renew our minds by internalizing His truth, and parent according to His plan for success, He is pleased. You know what this is like — when your child presented you with a project ...they made you hung it on your wall or refrigerator because it represented their love for you. It wasn't the artistic excellence you prized, but the motivation behind it. It is no different for God.

Renew your mind and parent your kids as a spiritual act of worship to please God.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:1, 2 NIV)


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The reality of Primary School

Posted by Dawn at Tuesday, January 14, 2014 0 comments Links to this post
Finally, I am facing up to my fears (as if I have a choice) - Primary School! Fears definitely created by the environment and people as horror stories from the weight of their school bags, to never-ending homework, out-of-this world, seemingly-impossible-to-solve, long essay Math questions that confuses both the children as well as the adults and as well as stress by the teachers and principal to perform as they prepare the kid from Primary 4 onwards for the PSLE which is taken in Primary 6!

This is why I quit my teaching career of 10 years to guide my children..so that we can probably face this together ( I think I am more frightened than they are since they are ignorant of what is to come) but that is not the main reason. I felt convicted that the responsibility of raising my children and household matters should not be left to my helper. In the end, I do not know how my children will turn out but at least I know I have tried my best as a mother to be there for them as I continue to trust God to give me the wisdom to guide them.

So far, I have to admit, my fears are unfounded. So far, the school bag is not as heavy as what most make it to be. I have to give credit to my son's school who prepares a list for the first 2 weeks of Orientation to bring their books to school per subject to be kept in their locker. So now that official lessons have started, his bag is just made up of his pencil box, his school journal notebook, storybook and only one or two textbooks. Its relatively light.

Regret buying such a big bag for him
On his first day of school, he seemed to be able to cope well. My boy has grown up!

 
 
 
The school only allowed the parents to see them in the canteen. So during recess when I went back to visit him, he was all over the place. After eating, he started hanging out with his buddy.
 
 


I had the feeling he didn't need me around as he was happily walking with his friends. So just after peaking at him for a minute or two, I decided to go back home.

Viewing our children from outside the canteen made it seems like they are animal exhibits
Anyway, I am just thankful that I have chosen a school near my house and also am happy so far at the way things are running as the Parent Support Group is quite good. They have set up whatsapp group for parents of the various Primary one classes and by joining the whatsapp group, we are kept in the loop and can link up with other parents whose child is in the same class.

The Parents Group aim to set up for all other levels too. They also include the chairman or Vice-Chairman in the Whatsapp group to guide us in any way if we have any questions.

So far for 2 weeks in school, Caleb seemed to do ok. He looks forward to PE lesson so that he can run about! As for homework, it is manageable.

I know the road ahead is only going to get tougher but frankly speaking, I am comforted and assured for I know the Lord is with me and helping me as always.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Family time

Posted by Dawn at Tuesday, January 07, 2014 0 comments Links to this post
During the Christmas and New Year Season, the family has been spending lots of time together because of the public holidays. On New Year's Eve, the children went cycling while me and hubby just laid a picnic mat, relax with a book and just talk about thoughts on 2013 and what we look forward in 2014.

I enjoy time when we can just be still and not rush. It was pouring at certain times, but the children loved it!






 
 
 
I was also pleasantly surprised when my ex-colleague (Chinese Teacher), Joyce whom I am not very close to came specially to my house and gave this to me.
 
 
 
It's a Chinese and English Dictionary to help me with my children's Chinese. The gift is so appropriate and useful. She is sooo sweet. I thank God for Joyce and pray God will bless her thoughtful heart!
 
On New Year's Day, we went out to the Asian Civilisation Museum and walked to Collyer Quay area to take a look at the art sculptures which was featured in the newspaper.
 




 
We also walked along the Fullerton Bay area and can somehow imagined last night's scene at the very spot during the New Year's Day Countdown..
 



 
Just outside Fullerton Hotel, we spotted these beauties..




 



There were quite a lot to see at the Asian Civilisation Museum but frankly speaking, I wasn't too interested in the Asian Culture..
 
 
I was more interested in the History of Singapore



 
 
But still, it was just an experience for my children to see the various cultures and religions.
 
We then walked to Fort Canning Park..
 





 
 
You can imagine at this stage, how tired our legs were..
 
We still persisted and walked to the Philatelic museum. Danielle and I were dead tired already. So we opted to just walk and stay on the ground level while the boys went up.
 
There was this section where they show pictures of the past of Singapore various areas like Orchard Rd and the Singapore River. That was interesting to see how much Singapore has developed.
 




 
 
After that, we had an early dinner at Funan before going back. Danielle wasn't feeling well saying how uncomfortable her tummy is. After just a mouth of food, she vomited so much all over the floor. What a sight! Poor girl. She felt so much better after the vomiting and just thank God, she did not vomit in the car. Haha.
 
This whole time, I felt like we were tourists as I learnt so much and saw things I have never seen before.
 
Great time with the family!
 
Up next, got to prepare Caleb as he goes to his new Primary school tomorrow
 
 

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