As a child, I hated Chinese New Year. This was before the adolescent years of fashion consciousness and make-up wearing hit, when Chinese New Year felt like an endurance test of being shuttled around to various homes, having to make small talk with everyone I didn’t know well, and trying not to say the wrong thing at the wrong time so as not to offend someone. Sure, it was nice getting ang paos, but it’s not like I got to keep any of the money for myself anyway at that age.
When I reached my teens, and began putting more thought and interest in my fashion choices and gaining confidence in who I was, Chinese New Year became an annual opportunity for me to, well, dress up. I started connecting more with my cousins, aunts and uncles – began to see our conversations with less apathy and more meaning.
Inevitably, the questions came over the years…
“Which JC/uni are you planning to go to?”
“What are you going to do when you graduate?”
“When are you getting a boyfriend?”
“When are you bringing your boyfriend to meet us?”
“When are you getting married?”
“Are you going to have a baby?”
“When are you going to have your No.2?”
“When are you going back to work?”
and most recently, “Why don’t you try for a girl?”
During the September holidays (which now seems like half a lifetime ago – time gets really fluid when you have kids), the boys had their first taste of basic carpentry at the very charming and cosy Touchwood Workshop, the craft arm of Ground-Up Initiative (GUI).
Last week, I was listening to my daily fix of Class 95FM in the car, and the DJ said this phrase “As long as it make you happy, do whatever you want, right?”
Her words stuck with me. Hmmm… really?
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.
Life has been pretty much a roller-coaster ride this past year, with a whole lot of changes in our family lifestyle and schedules. For one, Daryl started school this year, and Dottieshop began to take off. Then, there have also been changes in the ministry I serve in in church, and the start of swimming lessons for the boys and drum lessons for David. Some days are a mad rush of appointments and tasks, while other days are languid and leisurely enough for me to just sit and reflect. (I’d like more of the latter kind, please!)
I’m not really sure if I’m considered a SAHM anymore, since I also do quite a bit of freelancing work and run my little business, Dottieshop. But I don’t know that all that ad-hoc work adds up to being called a WAHM?
Well, anyway, here’s a peek into what my typical weekday is like these days, as a SAHM-sorta-WAHM. 😉
On our last morning in the Five Lakes area, we had made plans to take the Kachi Kachi Ropeway up the mountain, admire the view, take a look at Usagi Shrine, eat tanuki (dumplings baked over charcoal), then take a slow walk down to the base again. However, we woke up to gloomy grey skies and the kind of rain that you know is here to stay for quite a while. Mount Fuji herself was so shrouded in fog and rain that we couldn’t see anything on the horizon. Oh bother. 🙁
While the boys soaked and splashed in the onsen, we put our fingers to work the Google way. By the time we went upstairs for breakfast, we had a tentative plan B for our day. Hurray!
So you might have noticed the radio silence this past fortnight, if you’re a regular reader of my blog. Well, to be honest, I’ve been slightly obsessed with my new hobby (watercolour painting), these past couple of weeks. It only occurred to me last night that I have not blogged for almost two weeks! Then, too, on a related note, there has been a steady stream of Dottieshop orders since December. And lastly, we are (still) setting up and getting used to new routines that work for us.
But today, I decided to intentionally STOP. Take a break. Listen to my heart, listen to His, and write.
All the children were sitting by the pool side, following the teacher’s instructions, trying out some superhero floating action, kicking their feet in the cool water while they waited for their turn. But not Daryl.
He sat on a step near the poolside, snuggled close to me, watching intently.
“Do you want to go in and have fun with kor kor and learn all the cool swimming stuff?”
“No. I don’t want swim.”
“But you like to play water right? How about you just sit there with the other kids and listen to aunty?”
“No. I don’t want.”
We ding-donged back and forth for the rest of his third swimming lesson. As a result, someone hardly got his feet wet that day, and we walked home in mutual silence. I wish I could say my face wasn’t some shade of black, and that I was perfectly fine with him choosing not to participate, but I wasn’t. A fellow parent at the pool gently reminded me, “It’s ok, Dotz. Don’t get frustrated.” But that didn’t help me really, just made me feel terribly guilty and ashamed about being so frustrated in the first place.
Where can you find a tee shirt that allows you to customise your design not just once, but pretty much every time you wear it? With Tangram tee, you can! We were amazed by the simplicity of the concept, and yet how practical, durable and FUN these tees can be. The boys were beyond excited to open their shiny silver packages from Fabricate and get started…
(Note: The boys were so very excited and happy with their tees that they barely held still for me to snap photos!! So, um, most of the photos are kind of blur. But I love the joy captured. :))
Our boys, no our family, LOVES pizza. Every now and then, the boys pester me to make ’em pizza for lunch, so we have our amateur homemade version every few weeks or so. We aren’t big fans of the usual fast food options like Pizza Hut or Canadian Pizza though, neither do we love the overly “healthy” versions like Skinny Pizza. Heh.
For now, we have a few selected restaurant-cafes we would buy our pizza from, which don’t burn a hole in our pocket or leave us with a greasy taste in our mouths. And after last night, we can definitely add Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar to our list of favourites!