Dec 31, 2009

Hope Renewed

For you my friend,
this prayer of love
and grace I send
so goodness shall serve.

The year is past,
that time is gone,
what light have we cast,
what do we mourn?

A new year brings
fresh breadth and tomorrows. 
For new hopes we sing,
and goodbyes to shadows.

- HA

A joyous New Year to you.

Dec 29, 2009

Give a Hug , collect a Hug today

I have been making a deliberate effort to hug my kids more often but it does not come so naturally because I was not brought up on it. Simple for many.
My folks were a traditional sort, 'me parent you child.... don't talk till you are asked something '. In fact. talking was rare then...we were not encouraged to be expressive.

Hugging is something that is relatively new to me that started in church among friends. And since then the practise has spread some but among the rest of society here it is still a rare deed.
But I am of a different generation that 'should know better',  I realise and observe this in other families too, that it is very much a two way thing.  I shall have to try harder, so that the kids will follow suit more comfortably.
I have been advised that this will reduce their tensions and stress inspite of everything that is going on, ... it is the physical contact, a warmth that helps and so I must keep remembering to do so.
You give one and you get one back.

Dec 24, 2009

My first Blogging Christmas

This year I enjoy an ADDITIONAL wonderful and different experience for Christmas, because it is my FIRST blogging Christmas. It has been an interesting journey because for the first time I share it with many more beautiful individuals across the globe who are/ have shared their thoughts and expressions for the season.  

It has added to my awareness and made me appreciate more of what this time of the year means from different perspectives for different lives, how they celebrate it, their favourite recipes,  what they think of it, how it depresses some,  how simple and beautiful it can be and how it provokes giving and sharing for many.

This is a BLESSED medium too that enables interaction for lots of lonely people in this world and by reading between the lines you will discover them. Comments do more than you realize in many instances. There is a lot of love and prayers being passed on and that is a marvel and a joy to behold.

May the good Lord bless you for your sharing.
May God spread his peace and grant you all his special blessings this season and in the coming New Year.
May He continue to bless our blogs and guide our minds and hearts as we circulate, meet and reach out to others through our posts. May those who are lonely where ever they are,  find a blessed hand to reach out to touch them.

Love and hugs to all.
A Blessed Christmas and a Joyous New Year to you

Dec 20, 2009

Sun Rise

Did you see it today,
it rose somewhat hesitant.
Glorious rays seemed penitent,
generous hues slowly unfolding
a deep orange haze yielding.
The morning clouds seemed hungover,
in shadows they were.
Rudely roused from their bower,
they were slow to awaken
to make way for the one, so golden.

A little sparrow eyed me as I watched
waiting for the light and warmth; to be touched.
It moved not from its' bough, a soft tweet,
yet not impatient.
I was woken by a whisper you see
to watch creation,
to witness a sight,
the coming of light. 

(HA- 2009)

Dec 18, 2009

'Christmas feeling'

This colleague of mine was going on about the ‘Christmas feeling’ and that was why she had ‘no mood to work’. I asked her what she meant, she said it’s like the feeling of a holiday coming up, lots of associates away from the office (on vacation), add that to lots of special cakes and food, extra lunches which come with year-end and receiving presents.  I suppose that’s what it sums up to for non-Christians, a combination of these factors at this time of year which creates that ‘Christmas feeling’.

That ‘Christmas feeling’ for me has always been the anticipation of the Lord’s coming, the Christmas mass and the preparations that include lighting the advent candle,  looking forward to a pageant, singing carols, Christmas music, the decorations, helping mum make special biscuits, putting up the crib or tree or both and the family get- together on the Day. There is an excitement as it draws nearer. Add warm greetings and well-wishes, it is a 'special' time of the year.

Very little has changed during this time of year since my childhood really, except that I do appreciate it better and instead of receiving gifts, I now give more than I receive, and that’s the extra activity involved for the season.

The Nativity reminds me of these words from St Louis De Montfort  "the world was unworthy to receive the Son of God immediately from the hands of the Father, he gave that Son to Mary in order that the world should receive him through her "

Dec 17, 2009

Crowds - not my scene

Yesterday I went down to Orchard Road (THE Shopping Hub) to do some present shopping. I usually avoid the place, if I can help it.

The bright lights and horrific crowds are always never my scene.
When I got there,  I just couldn’t wait to get out fast enough. 
People everywhere, milling on the sidewalks, taking pictures next to Santa and the figurines along the well decorated sidewalk. 

I don't know why but I felt lonely, all of a sudden.
Have you ever felt that sometimes and in certain activities you want to be alone and there are other times or places where you would rather be with family and not alone.
Is it the place or is it the moment ?

Dec 16, 2009

A Midnight Walk

A dog is barking,
it goes on and on.
No one is listening.
All else is quiet,
but sounds are abundant.
Televisions strain
through the night air,
like conversations
at each other.
Eyes scan the drive,
my ears have
gone before me.
Soft guitar strums,
a whiff of barbecue
floats by.
Tiny Christmas lights
wink through fences,
and shyly out windows.
A gentle breeze
lifts branches,
black leaves do a jig,
the clouds start to part,
enter a lofty moon.
Shortly she departs.
In and out,
playful stars dart,
disappearing too soon.
Faraway, a faint wail sounds,
alas, another dog
begins his revelry,
the stillness is broken.
A taxi drives by,
to drop a neighbour,
a dog begins howling,
a cat screeches,
dashes for cover,
a trash bin lid falls.
Stillness returns,
the road glistens,
sleep beckons,
televisions chatting,
no one is listening.

(HA -2009)

Dec 14, 2009

O Holy Night

Got my tree up (it's 5ft), done with 25% of my to-do list..and still working on it...almost 10 days more...

Here's a little info about one of my favourite carols - 'O Holy Night'.

Did you know that 'O Holy Night' ('Cantique de Noël') was based on a French poem 'Minuit, chrétiens' (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877). The music was composed by Adolphe-Charles Adam(1803-1856) in 1847, and translated from French to English by John Sullivan Dwight (1813-1893).  Cappeau was  a wine merchant and a poet and  had been asked by a parish priest to write a Christmas poem.

It is a beautiful carol, hymn and prayer.
Below is the direct English translation of the poem which was composed in French, the English version of the carol 'O Holy Night' is not a direct translation. 

Midnight, Christians, it's the solemn hour,
When God-man descended to us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of His Father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Savior.
People kneel down, wait for your deliverance.
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!
The ardent light of our Faith,
Guides us all to the cradle of the infant,
As in ancient times a brilliant star
Conducted the Magi there from the orient.
The King of kings was born in a humble manger;
O mighty ones of today, proud of your grandeur,
It is to your pride that God preaches.
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
The Redeemer has overcome every obstacle:
The Earth is free, and Heaven is open.
He sees a brother where there was only a slave,
Love unites those that iron had chained.
Who will tell Him of our gratitude,
It's for all of us that He is born,
That He suffers and dies.
People stand up! Sing of your deliverance,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer!

Dec 12, 2009

Be Happy

I have been hopping through the bible according to questions and incidents that occur and interestingly, I found a response (feels more like a retort)  to my brooding of late, actually it (Ecc 30:21) found me.. Many of us are reaching out for the same thing, I hope you find comfort too in these words of wisdom.

Do not abandon yourself to sorrow,
do not torment yourself with brooding.
Gladness of heart is life to anyone,
joy is what gives length of days.
Give your cares the slip, console your heart,
chase sorrow far away;
for sorrow has been the ruin of many,
and is no use to anybody.
Jealousy and anger shorten your days,
and worry brings premature old age.
A genial heart makes a good trencherman,
someone who enjoys a good meal."

...  . let's try to be a genial heart.

To-DO LIST ... working up the spirit ..

I haven’t had the flu in a while. This past week it caught up with me. I suppose the wet weather and ‘fickle’ weather as they say have helped the bug along.
My colleague said it’s God’s way of trying to get us to slow down. You think?
Well it got me thinking while I rested at home.
The Christmas spirit is somewhat slow on catching up with me this year, it's never been like this. I've always started preparing like 2 months ahead. It’s probably the weight in my head, like a clogged drain I can’t seem to go forward. Some 10 of my colleagues in the office have gotten together to do carols for a short session for the office, and the practises haven't quite put me in the spirit yet either.

But at least for the kids I need to kick up my feet, pull up my 'stockings' and get a move on it.
I’m really VERY LATE on my Christmas to-dos this year. 
I have decided that I am going to get a 4 ft tree as I can no longer put up the 7 ft one and it is sort of sad not to have a tree up even if you have decorations.

My daughter has done an excellent job of decorating the living room and the compound now I should just add some lights and that would be with The TREE.. I have a little crib, that will go with the TREE.

So the TREE is my project this weekend and hopefully the start of the to-do list.

Addendum: ok I added the clock to stress me out more ...:)'

Dec 10, 2009

Old Photo of Myself

Here’s another little fact about me, I hate being photographed, always have. In my Church’s recent 50th Anniversary Souvenir Magazine, I saw an old group photo which was taken 32 years ago. It was a picture taken at a church camp for all the teenagers involved in church groups – both boys and girls.
Firstly my hair was tied up(could see the frizz around my head), my face looked round and moody and I was sitting hunched. I was wearing some strange batik short sleeved blouse (ugghh!) .. and guess what of all the photos they had to sift through to put up here, they found THE ONE where my eyes were closed.

Back then I’d probably have looked at this picture and wished the ground would open up for me to disappear. But today I am getting a good laugh out of it and a good doze of nostalgia.
Good grief, I looked at the young faces of familiar kids and friends – everyone’s hairstyle was just AWFUL. And ok, I don’t feel too bad, not everyone had wonderful T-shirts. But then their eyes were open.

Fondly, I remember BUT I wouldn’t want to re- live those days, care-free though they were, I was so self-conscious then about mingling, (I would call it suppressed too), always sticking close to the clique (this is what comes out of schooling in a convent all the way til 16, plus little exposure otherwise) and didn’t know how to behave around the boys. But fondly I remember this bunch.
This was the bunch of kids including my brother, I hung around with mostly for church activities for several years –  we organized Christmas pageants together (created our own costumes), we played Rounders( version of baseball, and I could bat too to the boys' utter astonishment), Church campfires (put up skids),  we rode each others’ bicycles around the church compound, went to annual church camps.

It's so sad but campfires are almost extinct today. Unless you are in a uniformed group you would probably not have such things organised as outdoor camps.
All familiar faces in this old photo, some of whom I still see today in the same church. Mostly we have all gone our separate ways.

One photo, one moment yet so many moments of memories.

Dec 8, 2009

Ranting- moody, meloncholy, angry., frustrated..

WARNING: reading this post could seriously depress you.

Jealousy, envy lately ....  I have been thinking and comparing my life with others who just seem luckier, happier,  and much more comfortable with not a care in the world.
Generally feeling sorry for myself!.
Why me?
Trouble is just there hovering above, ahead, behind..

It's would be so easy to give it all up, run away. Have thought about dying. What if I had pretended that this was normal and let it be and just wait for the kids to grow up. What if I not rocked the boat.

But I could not - I have a responsibility to the children, they would suffer; don't I have a responsibility to my folks too?.  But they seem to be doing more of the looking out for me than the reverse.

I am tired of living with a sociopath.  I'm not being objective right now,  I know that, I'm looking at the jungle as a whole - a big mess.  I'll break it down once I've blown off steam.
There is a solution and yet not a solution, there are consequences and yet it will be better once I get over the next mountain. I believe that right now I am looking at the mountain.

Dear St Jude I'm still waiting for our peace of mind.

God does not give us more than we can handle, I hope that is seriously true......

Gentle reminder - HAVE NO FEAR

I had an earlier post in which I was ranting and feeling sorry for myself etc etc but decided I couldn't post it for young prying eyes.

I've been trying to ignore it by pretending it's not there hovering, so that I can regain my hold...but it just won't go away.
Fear seems to be my worst enemy. Life goes on and I think I am in control but it creeps up time and time again even when I think I have shoved it out the door. Courage where are you?
Have I ever revealed that by the Chinese zodiac calendar, I am a rabbit and my husband a tiger - I have always thought of myself as the sitting rabbit (like a 'sitting duck' if you guess my meaning), but on the other hand on the astro chart I am Leo the lion.. I hope the latter wins out.

I keep reminding myself, keep the faith, sometimes I do and sometimes it's difficult when anxiety comes along.   Then I think back to inner struggles, on all that has been accomplished and all that has passed and try to find my courage again so that I can face the new challenges that are about to come along. There are just some things I must do by myself .

Believe! .. let it go and leave it at HIS feet.. I will persevere.
My favourite prayer of late, still it's like I'm clinging to a vine so desperately tight before a thousand foot drop and only I know I am there :-
My Lord God
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that
I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire
in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything
apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this,
you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me
and you will never leave me
to face my perils alone.
[The Road Ahead by Thomas Merton]

Dec 7, 2009

To Awards and Friendships

St Augustine reflected that 'Friendship constitutes a country for those in exile, a fortune for the poor, a remedy for the sick, and a life for the dead. It provides pleasure for those who are well, strength for the weak, and a reward for the strong.'

From two of my favourite blogs, thank you Andrea Arise to Write and  All God's Creatures for the Circle of Friends Award and Farila Chapters From My Life and Discovering Myself for the Lemonade Award..Thank you both very much for your presence in my blog, I truly appreciate it..
Both these lovely ladies have created their own rules,  so I'll modify some too ...just so we can share in the receiving and the giving to be enjoyed. ...So to all bloggie friends visiting please take them for yourselves and pass them on to your friends.

The rules -  remember to acknowledge the bloggers(do a link) where they came from, nominate 5 recipients (let them know about it) and tell us any 5 things about yourself.

There have been a few awards going round lately so I am not just going to select a few. There are many of you who pass through, it doesn't matter if you comment or not but I believe many read what I put down. For your participation alone, it's sufficient reason for me to pass these awards on and share them with any of you who would like to pick them up. There is a joy in receiving and there is a joy in giving or passing them on. I hope you experience that feeling too.

5 things about me .....
- I have to stop and smell a rose when I come across one;
- I love the smell of smashed raw garlic;
- I remember my 'glory days' fondly - I used to play badminton for school(my primary school days) and netball for school thereafter all the way to college..(that means I used to have sports in my blood..)
- I love cooking but not the washing up..
- I am afraid to get another pet dog, because I don't think I could go through loosing another one again.

Have fun sharing the awards..

Dec 6, 2009

A Good Cool Break Away.....

I took a break with the kids and my folks during the week. We drove to Cameron Highlands which is somewhere(Perak-Pahang) in the middle of Malaysia. It was a 7 hour drive all the way from home across the causeway to the top of the mountain 'Gunung Brinchang' 2000m(1666ft) above sea level.  Miles and miles of oil palms is what we drove past.
It was a packed car filled with bags, kids and adults. My dad and I took turns driving. We stayed at the top most town of Brinchang.
The last time I went there, was some 30+ years ago. What I remembered most about the place was the cold cold wind, the big roses and beautiful larger than usual flowers. Then, it was sparsely populated with shop house - 2 storey buildings,  rather sleepy atmosphere surrounded by hectares and hectares of tea plantations and vegetable farms. Along the winding road, you still find the 'orang asli' the original natives to the area, selling forest durians, wild honey and other exotic fruits.

This time round, WOW, the town was like 5 times the size, with lots more buildings, hotels and shops and lots more traffic. Commercialisation had to catch up I suppose.  The weather was the same - cold cold wind and beautiful (it was a little wet, but it didn't dampen our mood..) Thank goodness for hot water.. 
Tea plantations and vegetable farms all still there, but this time round there were strawberry farms additionally as well as apiaries (bee farms). We managed to do and see everything - tea plantations, honey making, tea leave processing, picked strawberries, half of which was eaten by my youngest at the hotel.
Well of course with car travel up and down and winding roads some of us got sick  (yours truly included).. but then no pain no gain !..
Colours just seem richer and more vibrant, courtesy of the climate up there, colourful flowers everywhere, we checked out the huge roses and hibiscus and the butterfly farm. There was a mini carnival at night, my son took his first ferris wheel ride and enjoyed it thoroughly as any kid would.
We managed to drive to the summit area on the second day... got lost in the process,.. luckily we didn't get stuck in the mud., managed a 3-point turn in extremely tight conditions(mud tracks)..didn't quite have to travel through forest terrain... but alas when we reached the TOP we were literally standing in the CLOUDS, wonderfully chilly BUT no scenery to take in since we were lost in FLUFF..

A different sort of 'tiring' for me, but it was a good break away from tensions, stress, phone calls, emails, the pc, work, worries and even the sun which we missed mostly while we were up there. The children were at ease eventhough they couldn't leave mischief at home (it had to come along!)
Thank you dear God for the safe safe journey to and fro, the beauty, the time, the cool weather, the food, the family.

Dec 3, 2009

Beneath the Waves

See the waves on the ocean, of constant movement,
of shifts, a rising, ebb and  flow.
It is each one of us, until finally
each crashes, breaks or fades on some shore.
Each gathers force to rise to greater heights, so busily,
to become stronger than the next, gathering more
to overcome and ride over the wave in front.
Time is of the essence.
The surface teems with agitation, chaos and impatience.

Yet look down, just beneath, the vast ocean,
a limitless expanse, where all is calm.
Step into Life that teems alongside a great emptiness.
None is harried, none is loud.
Simplicity is foremost, time takes a back seat.
Let go, surrender and be free
of turbulence, restriction or constraints.

There is much to explore, look to any direction,
feel every sense come to life.
Consciously aware,  let the mind breathe in a clarity
of experience, of beauty, colour, movements, a tranquility.
Light at our center glows bright once more.
Before long, the deepest journey of our self has begun.
An exploration of depth, splendour,
serenity and awareness will come to pass.
Live life not as a wave but as the ocean.

(HA 2009)

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