The green, green grass of Home

I’ve always wanted a little home garden. But four dead basil plants, one wilted dill and two sagging beansprout cups later, I admitted defeat. Yup, even that wretched taoge plant didn’t survive my hands… I was simply NOT born with a green thumb. And so I gave up my home garden dream, and settled to admiring pretty pots in cafes and such. But last year, the boys brought home a pretty succulent in a glass jar from one of the flea markets that we visited. And surprise surprise, that little thing has been doing mighty well, and is still thriving as I type!

Emboldened by this “success”, I was quite excited when Masons Home Decor approached us to review their newly launched Terrarium DIY kit. Why not, I thought? And of course, the boys were thrilled to get their hands dirty – quite literally.

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Never walk alone

In my parent’s home, there is a stone painting of a long beach with footprints in the sand and this familiar poem:

Footprints In The Sand

One night I had a dream.

I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord..

Across the sky flashed scenes from my life..
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
one belonging to me and the other to the Lord…

When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at
the very lowest and saddest times in my life.

This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it:
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when I need you most you would leave me.”

The Lord replied:
“My precious child, I love you and would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”

By Mary Stevenson

Every day for 26 years, I must have looked at that piece hanging on the wall. And yet, every day now, I am still discovering new ways in which He had been carrying me – not just in times of trouble, but through many times in my life when I just didn’t know any better what to do.

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A grandparent’s heart

There are moments when it feels like life has come full circle, even though I know (well, I hope!) that I still have a lot more life to live.

Like this afternoon, when we celebrated my dad’s birthday with a very satisfying lunch at Baba Chews Bar and Eatery. The two monkeys were fascinated with the bar counter, but I told them not to climb the stools in case they fell off. So grandpa gamely went with them, supposedly to take a look at the counter too, but actually to make sure they didn’t fall off the stools and break their little heads. And there he stood, supporting one with each hand, and then later carrying them to the ground safely.

And I flashbacked to my own childhood, and the many outings I had with my grandpa, and remembered the feeling of him hoisting me onto his shoulders although all my uncles and aunties and grandma were all “Put her down, you’ll break your back!” How I loved that feeling of being on grandpa’s shoulders, and I knew he was indulging me back then, and it mattered to me.

I’m sure it matters to my boys too, now.

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Progress, not perfection

Last week, I attended the first of five watercolour classes conducted by local watercolour artist Tam Kwan Yuen. This week, we had our second class. We started off with a (according to him, “quite simple”) bunny, and I was quite happy with the finished result.

This week’s challenge – a mountain-valley landscape piece – was significantly harder for us, and I was somewhat not satisfied with my end product. But I think it’s a good kind of dissatisfaction that spurs me on to want to keep trying to get better at my craft.

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Yesterday once more

A few weeks ago, I took a stroll around my grandma’s garden.

It’s been a while since I did something like that. These days, we normally sit on the front porch on Thursday evenings, our weekly extended family get-together time, and watch the kids playing on the swing or scooting up and down the driveway. We chat about our week, snap photos, and chase everyone in when dusk falls and the mozzies start their nightly rounds.

Perhaps it’s because David has recently started reading his first ever Enid Blyton book – The Magic Faraway Tree. (We have a good deal going – he reads one page, I read two) Or maybe it’s that article I wrote last week, about the importance of boredom. Either way, I’ve been thinking about the past more these days, and remembering the high jinks we cousins got up to when we were young. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago, other times I remember it like it was just yesterday…

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CHICAGO || Prison break

A nightclub singer, a double-murderess, a smooth-talking lawyer and a cell block of sin. The stage is set for the return of award-winning Broadway and West End musical CHICAGO, bringing audiences back to the decadence and grit of the 1920s. Back to the “Jazz Age” of society, an era of bootleggers and booze, when sensational headlines were rampant and a revolution in morals and manners was on the rise.

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Rediscovering beauty

Growing up, I wasn’t the typical girly girl who wore frilly dresses and puffed sleeves and played lovingly with her Barbie dolls. Actually I was quite the tomboy, preferring comfort over ribbons and lace, and I chopped off my Barbies’ hair when I was about 6, then couldn’t deal with their hair loss, and promptly decapitated them and cast them down the chute – true, sad story.

But even as a little girl, I gravitated towards order and perfection, such as making sure my textbook covers were properly wrapped and uncreased, and using a ruler to draw lines on any paper before writing so that my words would always be straight. Looking back, I think those were my benchmarks of “beauty” back then. I wouldn’t say much has changed, although these days I am definitely very much in love with all things floral and sparkly.

In short, I had come to think of myself as a person who appreciates beautiful things. The glory of a golden sunset, of my child’s innocent smile, of the promise of crisp, new things and of words that touch the soul. Thus it came as quite a shock to me when I was recently challenged to examine my perspectives on beauty.

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Celebrating small adventures

As you have probably guessed by now, blogging has taken a little bit of a backseat this year, as it’s been challenging to juggle mothering my two adorable rugrats with managing Dottieshop and housework and church work. But I’m still going to blog as often as I can, and today’s rainy afternoon was the perfect opportunity to huddle up in my cosy sheets with my laptop while the boys took an afternoon nap. (I LOVE the sweater weather we’ve been having the past two days! Except during the school drop off and pick up times…)

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Our first night under the stars

In all my 35 years of life up until last December, I have never once camped in a tent overnight. Oh, I’ve been to many camps and mission trips over the years, but they all involved stays in dormitories or hostels, never the outdoor kind of tents that I would see in movies or read about in books. And I had no inclination to try anyway, since I’ve never been particularly nature-loving nor outdoorsy, but then God gave me two bug-loving, flower-plucking, ant-spotting, bird-watching boys, so…

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