Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 to 2007

With the beginning of every new year, I would make myself a notebook, one that is thick enough to last me for a year to write down notes, dreams and some important dates. I was to make one for my sister this year as she has use of it. The interesting thing is that while I was making them yesterday, I ran out of papers and while trying to ration the papers between my notebook and my sister’s, I realize my selfish nature surfacing, keeping all the nicer papers for myself, suddenly it reminded me again that only God can give up His best, His only beloved begotten Son, for a people who were against Him. It is already quite hard for us to give something to someone else other than ourselves, much less giving the best and giving it all.

As the year 2006 draws to a close, I have decided that instead of staying up to watch the fireworks (which I always love watching), I would like to pen down some thanksgivings to Papa God for this year, to remember God’s goodness and faithfulness towards me.

It has been an eventful year, some ups and downs, yet my Shepherd sees me through them all. I thank God for His unmerited favour for the year 2006 in my job, having great grace there, and for the coming year, I can again trust Him for putting me at the right place at the right time, and increase my skill by His grace for His glory. And for the coming year, greater satisfaction in my work, doing projects that I enjoy or dream to do. Only by Him can this be done!

Year 2006 is a year of testing to my relationships, a time to re-evaluate the priority in life, and a time of awakening, seeing myself rising up from my unknowing slipping into complacency state, for Papa God is able to turn all things around, even things that seem seemingly evil, around for good, for we are His beloved ones.

This is the year for the first time that I ventured out on a holiday, to as far as to States, truly speaking, to go on a tour all alone by myself. Learning to just trust the Lord, believing that He takes care of me, taking a great step ahead, relying on Him, based on His promise. It was fun, and I suddenly realize I can actually travel alone, though not really alone because my Shepherd is with me always, and it is truly quite fun after all, I think I can do that again in year 2007. I am not afraid anymore.

I thank the Lord for everything, a year of learning to hear a bit more from Him, relying on Him more, a year of learning to let go a bit more, resting a little more, of not trying so hard to please man, a year of not being led too much by my feelings… a year of drawing a little more….

And 2007 will continue to be a year of resting even more, I will take my work a bit lighter, doing more by doing less, letting Him take over, perhaps travel more (my Shepherd will have to provide), more time spend at home, in drawing, in learning new skills and software, and most of all, spending a little more time with Him and listening to Him more.

My prayer for you will be the same, accomplish more by resting more, sound contradicting but why not for this coming year, just take Papa God at His word and see what He can do for you! Blessed New Year!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Over The Rainbow

It feels like Christmas already since yesterday, with the actual day of Christmas falling on a Monday this year, it just makes the whole celebrative atmosphere to start slightly earlier with the beginning of the long weekend.

Thinking that I would be very busy today, preparing for the small family party tomorrow on Christmas Eve, etc, yet to much of my surprise, there is really nothing much to do, after I got the drinks and snacks this morning, I practically was quite bored, wasting time before the TV. The thing about me is that I almost always finish everything that is to be done much earlier than most people, such as shopping for gifts, I almost finished doing that the last weekend. As for the preparation for the party, I had already started ordering and buying the food about 2 to 3 weeks earlier, therefore leaving me extremely free just before the actual event. Since young, perhaps this runs in my family, I had been trained mentally to finish the things that has to be done asap so that I can have time to play. And eversince, in my subconscious mind, I would unknowingly hurried to finish off my task, be it studying for exam, my project, work, etc asap, so that I would have time to rest, to do other things, to play; falling into a hurry hurry syndrome, which to outsiders, they may think of me as highly efficiently, but in actual fact, it is not something to boast about, I simply have to learn to enjoy the moment, and to learn to rest intermittently.

I read two very interesting articles today that seem to address this issue. In this present age everyone seems preoccupied with many tasks to do, multi-tasking, being caught in a situation of "continuous patical attention". A person may be conversing to someone, with one ear plugged to a mp3 player and typing away on a pc, doing 3 tasks at the same time, yet giving each other partial attention. The article said we become"so accessible, and so inaccessible", being everywhere except where we are. With more gadgets which are supposed to help us, we ended up busier than the past, no longer single-minded in one task, and perhaps never fully given one's full potential to fully complete a task to its perfection as we become busier with multi-tasking.

The other article discussed on rest. Studies show that the lowest mortality is related to sleeping between 6 to 7 hours a night. Lack of sleep could harm the body and sleeping more than 8 hours a night may not necessarily means better. Somehow all these studies simply prove the bible true although the bible needs no proving, for it is the truth, for the bible says " it is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late...", and that we are to labour to enter that rest. I believe we truly can do more , or walk further by resting more. Selah.

It is especially at such a wonderful season as this, that let us truly forget about work at least for these few days, and spend some wonderful time of partying, resting and getting together with loved ones, family and friends. Stop, rest, breathe in deeply and take time to smell the flowers with your loved ones. Remember the Lord's goodness and His promises to us, for He is always faithful! Blessed Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas round the corner

I have finally finished reading "Chasing The Dragon" the second time yesterday. It was great, perhaps more impactful than when I read it the first time. The book was so good that my eyes were trying hard to hold back the tears on my train ride to the hair salon to have my hair trimmed. I finished the book in the salon, feeling so overwhelmed by all that was written. The simple gospel of love, of our beloved Shepherd who gave His all for us, with the gift of the overcoming power of the Holy Spirit changes countless lives. Those who cannot read are taught by the Spirit Himself of the wonderful love of God, that Jesus would die for even such as them. Indeed, because they truly knew what it means to be "forgiven much, therefore love Him much." They truly understand what it means to be saved by the grace of God, the unmerited favour of God. Christian living was never meant to be lived by our self effort, it is impossible, but is only possible by His Spirit, and that is how these lives are transformed.

I am still dwelling on the many stories in the book, need sometimes for me to think through. Praying in the Spirit... a gift given by Papa God to help His beloved ones, His children to pray. How powerful this gift is, as we use it often, up to individuals!

Just 1 more week to Christmas, always a delightful time to me, despite of the amount of hectic activities that are generated as a result of this special occasion. I simply love Christmas, a time when all things can finally slow down, or even stop, and loved ones gather together to celebrate Jesus' love for us! Yah, it is true that it may be "troublesome" to get presents for loved ones and people around you, even to the point of burning a huge hole in one's pocket, I can't deny that, it is true for me already, but nothing beats the wonderful excuse once a year for a chance to prepare a little gift to express your love and gratitude to them, even to those who have yet to hear about the love of Jesus for them in their lives. For this is an opportune time for me to "loudly" proclaim my Shepherd's love legally with no fear! No one can say "no" to a gift given during Christmas, I have yet come across any, and no way can easily shut one's ears at this time to hearing the gospel preached, thank God for Christmas!

Many loved ones to thank, many loved ones are again brought up to my mind. Many gifts are bought and made this year, but within my heart, my desire is that my gratitude and love can be send via them, but most important of all, that they can feel the love of Jesus for them!

(The above is a compilation of some previous illustrations showing the Shepherd and the lamb. Hope you like it. If I didn't send you a gift this year, I dedicate this compilation to all my dear friends out there! It is no coincidence that we cross paths in life, it is divine!)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Remembering

Recently I picked up an old book to read again, "Chasing The Dragon" that I probably read it more than 10 years ago, partly due to the fact that my pastor briefly mentioned about the author recently. I could still remembered how touched I was by that book, the compelling real life stories of many individuals mentioned in the book, how the love of Jesus touched them, changed them from triad leaders, addicts, etc to Christians, totally overwhelmed by the unconditional love of God, and how each of the addicts overcome their addiction by the power of praying in the holy spirit (in tongues). I had almost forgot all about this until I read it again. I knew the benefits of praying in tongues, but over the years, it has just become a prayer that I would pray every now and then, but for a few short minutes, or during worship, but rarely as diligent as I would on reading my Papa God's love letter to me.

I recalled the day I spoke in tongues many, many years ago, how it changed my life, and at that very moment in life, I just knew that I knew all that I believe is true, the truth. Jesus is real, the gospel is real, the bible is real, praying in the spirit is real, not something made up in my mind, though it may seem so to people outside. I simply just knew.

It suddenly dawn on me recently, perhaps again, that this powerful gift could likely be the way to overcome prolonged sickness, depression, stress in life. Despite the fact that my pastor taught so much on it, it has never yet compelled me to want to pray with this wonderful gift on a regular prolong basis, until my recent reading of the book again. I suddenly realise my complacency. I felt awaken suddenly.

Perhaps this is the first time I ever wrote so much on a particular truth found in the bible, yet I felt it extremely important, even the key to many breakthroughs in many lives, which is more than any worthwhile mention of it! Just felt like saying, if you have time, do pick up this book and read, how it used to thrilled my heart, and even with my 2nd reading of it, it didn't fail to touch me again, causing me to rethink a lot of the once very important truth to me, causing me to remember.

Guess many of you must be really blurred by now, hope it didn't turn some of you off, which I hardly care, cos it is more important to please my Papa God than to try to please everyone who read this blog.

Much about the book I read recently, the above illustration was one of 2 pictures of a request by a friend to draw something for her devotion notebooks, and it was not the one chosen in the end. In fact, I had sort of made up my mind to publish all the past 1.5 years summarized illustrations for the next few weeks for this year instead of drawing new ones, but as a result of her request, with the theme being on "devotion", I ended up drawing 3 more illustrations, which may nicely last me till mid January 2007, praise God, how He always supplies more than enough!
My daily life is still as busy, as Christmas approaches, with the preparation for the festive season occupying almost all my free time after work, yet I always feel it is worth it all, when you can show your love and appreciation to those people who mean a lot to you, especially during this wonderful season of giving, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son! Cheers!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Busy Busy Busy But Very Happy!

It's been quite a while since I last wrote. The week passed by with my tender going out smoothly, although the preparation did not start well, but all praise to God, everything turns out alright finally, we are on time, though the quality is not the best, it is still passable.

I was busy not totally with work, but with getting Christmas presents, getting them ready etc, and I am "proud" to say that about half the gifts are ready! It was pretty tiring, but so fun, I simply love Christmas! The fun of getting presents, going through the list of people, imagining the gifts to get that will fit different individuals, etc.

And because of this, I have to say I had no inspiration this week for new illustrations for the blog, but I did something quite memorable, while I pondered on the type of gifts I am giving for Christmas. I went through a memory journey, looking back at the illustrations I did for the past 1.5 years, and I started compiling similar themes or methods of illustrating into groups, such as above. I felt it is totally appropriate for this festive season, though not with new illustrations but with a collage of past works, to end 2006. Each illustration means a lot to me, as each speaks of a story, or a particular phase I was going through at that moment when I drew them. The above series are more personal moments, about my dieting, my holidays abroad, my dream, my mom's birthday, my addiction, my memory of my dad, my wanting for a break, and a much needed rest, but not all personal illustrations are in here due to limited space.

The new year 2007 will come with some changes in my life, a year that I would want to rest more, learn more and greater indulgence in what I like to do. Looking at this year 2006, many things have happened, both good and bad, and as a result, there is a change of the way I look at certain things, of how I want to prioritise what matter to me in life, of how I would want to use my time, and also the type of architect I want to be, the type of buildings I want to play a part to design, and the type of focus and design methodology I would take on in future.

I am glad that I am allowed to start all over again, from basic, starting from designing the smallest dwelling, to institution, the latter being a building type that will always mean a lot to me. I thank Papa God that the thoughts in my mind has become clearer since the trip I made to NY. And I thank Him for this wonderful season, creating opportunities to catch up with loved ones. Hope you too will have a wonderful festive December season, and a wonderful time of shopping! Have a great week ahead!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Task percentages

I came home with a "heavy" heart, with a project tender going out next week, and the drawings are in really bad state, wrong ways of drawings, bad details, mistakes almost everywhere... how can I let such drawings go out for tender.... sigh... I wish my assistants can know my heart, understand exactly how I wanted them to be drawn. worry worry worry... terrible word!

Yesterday as I was on my way home from office at 8 plus, there was a sudden desire if only I can be translated immediately back home with a blink of the eye, without having to travel etc. At that moment, I did something really crazy, I took out my mobile phone and started calculating, if I take 1.5hours a day to travel to and fro from work, I would take 4.5% of my time a year just for travelling! Then I started tabulating the following list on the train home:

Travelling to work: 4.5% (1.5h/day, 5 days a week)
Sleeping: 29% (7h/day)
Work: 27% (9h/day, 5 days a week)
Eating: 8% (2h/day)
Shower/Toilet: 4% (1h/day)
Church: 3.3% (5.5h/week)
TV: 6% (1.5h/day)

All the above totalled up to 82%, with 18% unaccounted for. This 18% would include dreaming, shopping, watch movies, reading, travelling to destination other than work or even OT etc. Then you may even say how about multi-tasking? The above is just an estimate, taking the main activity engaged at a particular moment. Giving an example, you can be travelling to work and reading on the way, but the main purpose will be placed under travelling to work. It was quite an interesting finding. Just when I thought my work takes up so much of my time, but when I tabulate it over a year it is only slightly more than a quarter, all thanks to weekends! (I use 9h to include OT etc. However, the OT for my line is definitely more than 0.5h per day, this is balanced off with annual leave etc, so it should be pretty accurate, at least for my case.)

Anyway, the above is just food for thought... and another interesting finding is that I only take 1% of my life to read my Papa God's love letter, taking an average of 15min a day.... so sad... hmmm... so little...

Just need to think a little more about the above, whether the proportion of the time spent relates to the priority of that item, but one thing seems true, rest is extremely important, taking the highest percentage, "to labour to enter the rest", indeed i will attempt to talk more about it next time after I have thought through.

Meanwhile, the above illustration is an out of the world attempt by me. A good friend of mine while chatting over msn, gave a passing remark that one day she hoped I would draw a lamb on a motorbike (I have drawn one illustration of a couple on a motorbike before), and that explains the above illustration, specially for her, as a birthday gift!

Now, while I look forward to the weekend, remember that all things shall be alright, as I walked home from the MRT station today, I told myself in my heart, all shall be alright, and I cast all my cares on Him who cares for me. And you too!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Midweek

I have been pretty busy this weekend and it takes me till about mid of the week to put my hands on my laptop to post this. In fact this illustration was completed quite some time back, the little lamb resting in wonderful peace, within the arms of the Shepherd, take a look at the expression of the lamb, peaceful contentment.

Been back from NY for more than 2 weeks, and having a holiday is really good, even to the point of being addicted to it, wanting more breaks, and I am right now "suffering" from this "withdrawal". Christmas is round the corner, and I am looking forward to it with great anticipation, even thinking about it makes me very happy. Yet not forgetting that this also means the drawing to an end of this year with a new year standing right before us.


For the past years since I can remember, I have been busy with studying, and after completing that, I moved on and became busy with work. Yet now looking back, I won't say I regretted the time spent, I did enjoy my studies and work most of the time, yet perhaps for the new year ahead, I would embark on some small changes, indulging in being a little lazy (quite a difficult thing for me to do, as I am quite a "too hardworking" person), spending a little more time at home even during midweek, this may mean some loss in income, yet I know my Papa God will provide for me, who knows, it could be the other way round, resulting in overflowing abundance than when I labour hard at work.

For a start, I have attempted to leave office before 8pm as much as possible, so far so good, I can watch my TV programme, have dinner at home, laze around. I learnt to only blog when I feel like it, not like the usual routine me, that must publish every Saturday. In the past, I used to wait for people to initiate gatherings, perhaps subconsciously fearing of "rejection", but now I decided why don't I do it instead, there is nothing to lose anyway? Initiating gatherings become something not so difficult for me after all, lining up 3 parties for Christmas, for friends and family. Learning to wake up a little later (even wanting to take leave to sleep, just that I can't as I had used up all) is a great step forward for me. Learning to live a life a little less demanding on myself, loosening up a little, trusting in Him a little bit more to provide for me. Live a day at a time. Do what I like to do. Live for and in Him. It is life awakening.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

New York.Illustrations.Summary

My "suffering" on the plane for more than 20 hours, but of course I had a short transit in between. But I cant't remember I drew this on the plane or after I had landed.

My visit to Miss Liberty on the 1st Monday. Up close, seen her from different angle. It is quite amazing that someone can construct such a huge sculpture such a long time ago.

I prayed for sudden good weather when it rained during our Niagara Falls trip. Though it continued raining in the end, we still had a good time, Niagara Falls are beautiful. Heard it snowed the week before we went, and later, i heard it snowed again in the following week. Guess we still had good weather?

This is our "maid in the mist" ship ride in Niagara Falls. So fun! I want to go back again another time. This time I want to see the rainbow in the mist.

Sketched this at central park, if you compared this to the photos, you should be able to find it. I actually wanted to do a ink and wash, but the paper I used was not suitable, and it was too heavy to bring watercolor out everyday... so... this explains why it is kept black and white still.

On the plane back, I drew this, kind of miss home, so this explains the illustration. All the above are just a simple cartoon summary of some events that took place.

This week, I will keep my writing to just these few lines, but with lots of illustrations for a change. Hope you all like them and they put a smile on your face this week! Papa God loves you all! Jesus our Shepherd will ever be with us always, cos we are His beloved little lamb!

Monday, October 30, 2006

New Beginning

Time to go back to work this morning, though the desire to sleep in, take a day’s off today is so strong. I touched down at the airport on Friday, almost midnight. Still adjusting back to our time, and despite the fact that I slept at about 2am on Saturday morning, I woke up at 6 plus in the morning. A lot of thoughts to compile, photos to sort, perishable gifts to be distributed, and I manage only to finish the sorting of food part, and partial of the photos….

Yet before I start work today I just want to pen this down, some of the thoughts that I have while on the plane back on Friday. For close to 3 weeks, I wandered about in New York, made short trips to Niagara Falls with my friend and Washington alone. Walking is the word, so tired, perhaps the distance I covered is able to circle the equator once? Exaggerating again! There are some rare moments when I may feel slightly lonely, moments I felt great to be able to have times of solitude, refreshed, in certain areas of my life, enlightened, and began to see things differently, from another angle.

“Re-prioritizing” is the word. Changing the importance of the areas of my life, re-focusing. There is no denying, my Shepherd and sheep relationship will always take the foreground, first place. Family will always be next in line, follows by friends and dreams, both sharing almost the same position, perhaps with friends having a slightly edge over. Dreaming I still do, but I have let my dream become dormant for some time, not giving it time to flourish. If the Lord permits, I would want to spend some time on this in the coming months, to almost full attention, grace grace!

Sorry to say, career seems to come last. Too much time has been spent on the latter for the past few years, perhaps even to the point of sacrificing time that should be spent for family, reading, catching up with old friends, drawing, etc. This has to change. No more a “quantity based” or “fast” architect, I still would enjoy my work. Learning to design slowly, enjoy the process, analyse, re-invent, only my Shepherd can change this, changing me to a quality based architect… elaborate more next time perhaps.

Enough is said, to start a new working day today, felt like I am starting from ground zero again, almost from the beginning, which is great. Felt like a white board, nothing written on it yet, so exciting. Talk again next time, so much to say, but so little time….

The above is a wood carving that my friend has, I drew it on the plane, by looking at the digital photo on my camera. Pal, hope you like it! Blessed fruitful week ahead, everyone!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Flying Back Singapore Tomorrow

This journal won't take too long, just drop a last line from New York today, before I head off to the airport tomorrow morning, and should be back in Singapore by Friday late night. I am already homesick, practically seen most things I wanted to see, except for a few places that I decided to forego, since it will eat into my shopping time. Today marks my last shopping day. I intend to "drag" my friend back home Singapore with me... just a joke... she has work to do.

See you all back home soon, miss you all, hope you all miss me too! Home sweet home! Nothing beats home! Ciao! Jesus loves you all!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Coming Home Soon!

I am now at Apple Store using one of their ibook to check my emails and blog. I am leaving for home on thursday, finally. Kinda of missing home, and there are so many temptations all around, so many things to buy, yet when I convert it back to my currency back home, oh-no, no way. So i am trying very hard to be thrifty, yet there are so many beautiful toys, clothes, muscials etc....

Did I mention I watched another musical, "Mary Poppins", and it is really great, in fact much better than "Beauty and the Beast". I am not sure should I go for another musical, just as I would very much want to or should I control?

I have almost finished every place I want to visit except for Chelsea, which I will be heading to later, once I finished this blog. That is the place of art galleries, so I am heading there soon. Just a while ago, I was caught in the land of toys, can anyone help me find out if Singapore sells the special collector's set of Disney Monopoly? It looks so good.... not sure if to buy or not.... And there are many old memories, toys of the past that my brothers they all would have played, I think.

And better to pen this down, my friend and I saw a shooting of a movie at Columbus Circle 2 weeks ago, the title of the show is "I am a Legend". Maybe we maybe caught in the background.

A good news, my friend passed her test! She just smsed me! Yeah! I am so happy! God is good all the time!

Finally, not to mention, I visited Washington DC over the Friday weekend, and made a friend.... ok ... all the thoughts sound so fragmented, because I am typing whatever comes to my mind, don't want to hold on to the ibook for too long, paiseh lah! See you all soon, Jesus loves me and loves you! Tata!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Already Half My Trip

It's been almost a week since I last wrote. It was quite an eventful week.Received a call from my mom, really miss home when I heard her voice, love you, mom.

I just came back from Niagara Falls on Tuesday night, the weather was not so good for the 2nd day, and to be honest, I was quite disappointed, yet I know all things work together for good still. Despite of it all, Niagara Falls is magnificent, so beautiful, beyond words, no picture or photograph can ever capture the immense power and majesty of the falls, you have to see it, feel it, and then imprint it in your memory forever. If ever a chance arises, I would want to see it again, but I would want to stay on the Canadian side, to see the falls in daylight, not at night this time. (I saw from both NY and Canadian Sides, but the latter only at night.)

The events before this,I visited Guggenheim Museum, and saw Zaha Hadid's exhibition of her works in the past 20-30 years, I forgot. Frankly speaking, I was never a fan of her, never really understand the philosophy behind her work. But this exhibition was a great eye opener to me, she is a woman architect who has been very persistent in pursuing her dream, despite of the fact that many of her works were only on papers, only until recent years, she has some of her projects built. I am beginning to understand her work, every piece is like an art, opening up to you with unexpected spaces. I was awed by the exhibition, one of the best I have seen during my trip here, not to mention that I was caught up in the spiral Guggenheim design by FLW, it is so beautiful, a very clever piece of architecture, its spaces engages you in and out of spaces.

My dear friend, despite of her upcoming test, brought me around to see Chinatown, Soho, Morgan Library, Prada shop by Rem Koolhaas and Apple Shop, Hearst Building, during the weekend. Many are so powerful in their architectural statement, some as an insertion, some loud and almost signature as their creators. Thanks pal. I had a wonderful time too with you at Niagara Falls, I am pretty quiet by nature on the bus, hope it didn't shock you, just not to feel giddy, that is why.

Strange as it sounds, I have fulfilled 2 reasons why I come, to rest, to see and learn more, yet the most important is yet to be fulfilled, I have yet spent some really long quiet, serene time totally alone with the Lord to hear from Him. Just manage to be quiet with Him for a few minutes here and there. However, this is what I am going to do, this Friday and Saturday I hope. I have booked a trip to Washington DC tomorrow, for 2 days, hoping to also give my friend some room to study for her test this Monday, I pray my Papa God gives her great wisdom and guidance, thanks.

Lastly, to end off the note here, I watched a beautiful musical yesterday, "Beauty and the Beast", at half price TKTS' ticket. It was enchanting, almost addicted, I hope I get to watch Les Miserables (not sure if I spelt it correctly) on 24 Oct, when it opens again in NY, just in time before I leave for home. Musical truly can get one addicted to them, bringing you into a dreamy state, just that it is too expensive a form of pastime...B, you want the Les Miserables' cd if I happen to see? If want, sms me, no promise though.

Love ya, my family and friends! see you all soon, I am already starting to miss home and church services... I miss my pastor's teachings, when I listen to my mp3, I can almost feel home.... love ya!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Short Update

Just a short one, I suppose, so as to document what I did. I went to Union Square yesterday, followed by Wall Street, visited the Trinity Church there, and by God's grace, happened to be on time for a free concert at 1pm, by Manchester Chamber Orchestra. The sky looked pretty gloomy that day, so I was thinking of going to American Museum of Natural History to look at dinosaurs, to at least just stay indoor in case if it rained, but just as I came out of the church, the sky was blue and sunny. So I changed plan, went to Empire State Building to take a look at beautiful NY from above.

I went Macy window shopping, checking out the things and prices, according to advertisement, Macy is the largest shopping centre..."in the world", wait till those huge shopping centres in Dubai and China come up... Then it was already about 530pm, I rushed to the Empire State Building, to be in time to catch both the before sunset and night time NY. I have gotten the "City Pass", that allows me to go 5 listed attractions within 9 days at a much lesser price, and with this pass, I can actually jump queue, in fact twice, at the security check and the ticketing booth, praise the Lord! I may have only taken less than half or even quarter of the time what a normal tourist would need to advance that fast in the queue. So take my advice, get the City Pass next time you visit United States, they seem to have different one for different states, but really cheaper and useful. I caught a bit of NY before sunset, but as the cloud did not clear in the distant, I did not see the sun, sob...

Just a quick update, not sure if I would log on over the weekend, so to keep my loved ones posted, I will be visiting Guggenheim Museum and American Museum of Natural History today, and departing for Canada's Niagaras Falls on Monday morning and be back on Tuesday evening. Doing some laundry tomorrow, and perhaps go Chinatown with my friend over the weekend, will be really fun.

So, everyone, our dearest Shepherd keeps you all strong and healthy! Ciao!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

God Is Good!

Enough of talking about pay back time on the enemy. 5th day since I arrived, the hardest is slowly passing, jet lag and all, the worst has passed. 2 days ago, I went to MET (a museum), while trying to consume all the artworks, I guess it must have been the jet lag and the whole day on the ship and hot sun the day before, I felt quite sick, and I quickly rush home to sleep, since I was only getting about 4 hours sleep previously for 2-3 nights. Waking up in the early evening, thinking I should be well, I decided to visit the Grand Central Terminal and catching the Empire State Building at sunset. On the way to the 2nd destination, I knew I could not make it to the top as I felt like throwing up, and I rushed back to the subway to go home. Yet to my dismay, I vomited on the train, thank God with a paper bag in hand, and that I ate only just breakfast, so there was not much substance....(Keep me in prayer hor, dear friends!)

Yet last night I had a good 7 hours sleep, only waking up at almost 6am, what a breakthrough, thank God my body is slowly adjusting to it. How strange our bodies actually have a routine of its own, and it really takes quite a bit to adjust. This speaks of life, how much more we need to be renewed in our thinking, from pessimism, from depression and guilt, to constant hearing of the affirming word of Papa God, which is most important!

Yesterday was quite a dramatic day, and it rained, so I got to have backup plan B. Today isn't that sunny either. Sigh! I had a good time walking along 5th Avenue, window shopping, and my visit to MoMA (another museum) was great! Not so much being entertained by the paintings, though I enjoyed tremendously, but more by the building itself. I love its simple elegance of black and white, the internal minimalist effect, with clean sleek form, huge immense volume of space, grand and yet a sense of not too overpowering, good old architectural planning, and well crafted details typical of the Japanese, as it is by a Japanese architect. I love the courtyard exhibition space, and for once, the use of marble was most appropriate here I felt. (This last part has to be added, as my boss changed some of the finishes in one of my projects to white marble, which I was a bit apprehensive about, not really appropriate there, though I can't put a word to it, but my feel for it just isn't right.) This puts me to thinking, I have been trying with many style of designing, being a young architect, we experiment and learn by imitating masters, their style, their effect, with no logical reasons but simply for beauty sake, which I sometimes adhor. Do we actually need a style, a language of our own? In fact, many world renowned architects have developed their own style or language and just by looking at the form or space, we can boldly guess it almost right who is the creator of a building.

Yet there is also another school, no style, but site generated, concept motivated, though this school is often less famous, as they don't produce iconic buildings (buildings that catch your attention at first glance), but rather one that engages you slowly, to fall in love with it. I love this type, as it cannot bore you, just that it takes longer to get someone to walk in and give it a chance. I think I prefer to develop along this line, no style, but space and planning orientated, and the facade is all about creating an ambience within, with good detailing, though this will definitely take a longer path than an iconic methodology, yet I wish to stand in the position of the users of the building, rather than an onlooker... selah. At least for now, I may change my mind again...

Sorry for boring you with my job. Now back to the dramatic incident which I have yet written about. Yesterday was 11 October, exactly a month after September 11. I received a call from my worried friend while I was at MoMA, whom I am staying with, she was concerned that I could be at home, just like what I did the day before, due to jet lag, as there was a plane that crashed into a building 2 blocks (2 streets) away from where we are staying! She was so concerned, wanting to be sure I was okay and wanting to meet me to go home together as we are not even sure if we can make it home that night, as most probably the road was blocked, and at that moment, we were still not so sure what was the actual cause of it. But come to think of it, so close, I knew in my heart, a thousand shall fall at my side and 10 thousand at my right hand but it shall come near me! Thank God I was well and up running yesterday! I maybe pretty shocked if I stayed at home, hearing the crash. My God is good! My Shepherd is with me, yeah? Yeah!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Initial Thoughts...

This is the 3rd day I have arrived in NY. I am still adjusting to it, especially in terms of timing, "suffering" from jet lag, waking up in the wee hours of the night at 4, 5am, so widely awake for the past 2 days. During those moments, been thinking a lot, re-thinking a lot, adjusting, re-focusing life purpose. I would not elaborate too much, after all I did not want to bore my friends with them.

The flight here was undescribable, pray with me for an upgrade. To be cooped up in the plane for 12 hours was no joke, no place to stretch my legs, no where to turn... and most of the movies shown on board was what I have already watched in Singapore. Yet I am grateful, for the smooth flight, and the unfailing assurance from Jesus' word "let's go over to the other side."

My dear friend's place is great, cosy and nice, and she showers me with so much "love actions", pumped up my mattress, prepare my breakfast, and most of all, cook up a delicious dinner for me, I was touched, though I didn't say, I am not a person good with spoken word, but indeed am touched, thanks, pal, though not sure if she will ever read this.

Yesterday began the first day of my adventure. Taking things slowly, I got to learn to take the subway. Had a morning walk along Brooklyn Bridge, and the view was quite cool. Followed by a trip to Liberty Island to see Miss Liberty and Ellis Island, and got to understand a bit of the American's history, sound so similar to our forefathers' story who came over from China. Yet I enjoyed it, the excellence in their museum amazes me, the enthusiasm by the local tourists with headsets and all, they are really here to learn, gain knowledge, it humbles me. (Though the ship ride was quite... I felt like puking...)

I had quite a thought provoking visit to Ground Zero after that. In fact, I was quite filled with emotions, tears filled my heart, though I am not an American, yet I could almost feel the lost, the pain, the agony that went through. The entire display of the event was simple, yet powerful. This was to have an effect on my thought in the wee hours of the night.

With the thought of a friend urging me to take a look at Time Square at night, even though I mentioned I would not want to venture out at night too much, I decided to drop by, since I got to change a train there. It was truly quite amazing, the last time I saw something like that was in Tokyo 6 years ago. The light, the vibrancy, the night life etc, wow.... I must go back for a musical, at least one. And I visited the Toys 'R' Us flagship shop, really quite amazing, a place I will definitely go back again to grab somethings home.

Finally I come to write why I am writing my journal today, not just to keep my loved ones informed of my happenings (B, do tell my mom what's happening to me, and my siblings, thanks). So far, I have drawn 2 illustrations, but not coloured, and no scanner around, so can't post them till I am back, most likely will be in B&W, since at this rate of drawing, I would have produce about 20 or more illustrations by the time I am back, how to colour them all?

The recent event that took place back home 2 months ago, left my heart feeling down, exhausted for a while, therefore, I escape here for a breather. During the early morning of the day when I was wide awake in the dark, I thought through a lot. My Lord must have been wanting to speak to me for quite some time, and the story of John the Baptist's death, how Jesus went quietly aside to be alone, and yet people came streaming to Him while He must be feeling sad at that moment, He had compassion and healed all those who came to Him, like the Chinese saying "hua4 bei1 fen4 wei2 li4 liang4" (convert grieve into strength) jumps up at me. Jesus is never defeated. I am not making myself equal as Him, but I took courage, no way will I be stepped all over by the past. It is not over yet, the enemy better watch out and be on his toes, cos my Shepherd will surely gain back many times more than what was lost! Though I can't understand why such a thing happen, even for September 11, one thing I am sure, all things will surely turn around for good, and cheers, we are born winners, we aren't going to be trodden down! That's it, I am awakened!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Holiday Time

I am embarking on my trip in less than 18 hours' time. This is the first time in my life, to fly over the biggest ocean, Pacific Ocean (quite malu to say though). The thought of being coop up in the plane and airport (transit) for more than 20 hours did put me off slightly at first, even now, as I think of what I should do on the plane. I brought my beloved bible, a book, mp3 player, sketch book, note book, and not sure what else, plus on board entertainment, should be able to keep me occupied for that 20 hours there, and another 20 hours back at the end of the month. (Plus my Shepherd with me...hmmmm...)

Even now, I am still wondering if I should bring my laptop along, though the thought of its weight did deter me a great deal, yet I only has a small sling bag that I am bringing with me on the plane, so the sheer weight of it should not be too much. I am in a dilemma... any advice? I can do a lot of research if I have my laptop with me...(I like to do word search online....) sigh, what should I do? There should be an invention, a very small light laptop, size of a handphone, that can be enlarged by a press on a button.

While I am away, my dear family, nieces and nephews, do visit grandma, ok? Or give her a ring on the phone! Also, I will be delighted to receive smses from friends, though not necessary phone calls, knowing the time difference is quite big! But do pardon me if I did not reply, you all will always be on my mind.

And hope you all have a wonderful time today at the gathering at the dear couple's place, though I would very much want to join you all, but spending time with my beloved mom (now), just by being at home is far more important and I know you all understand! Just heard a song by Jay Chou on MTV today, title about his mom, though I am not a great fan of his, (most of his songs sound very similar to me), yet I was caught by surprised and almost touched to tears by that song, the simple lyrics, the second greatest love in the world: our parents' unconditional love for us.

See you all in 3 weeks' time! But I will write my blog and hopefully post some cartoon illustrations from NY! Jesus loves you all!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Back To Basic

My Saturday morning routine is always a nice simple breakfast time with my mom, followed by reading the papers, which I only do once a week. Weekdays are too hectic for paper reading, so I chose to read the thickest set (which I always feel is the condensed set of the week), that is the Saturday’s papers, especially my 2 favourite sections: Saturday and Life!. Special report for today is on the yellow ribbon project, which somehow seems to be in the flow with my string of thoughts for the week. Been thinking about the youth, their lifestyles, their actions, many such acts are viewed as irresponsible, attention seeking, self-hurting and filled with unthinkable consequences. I thought of my teenage niece and nephews, their generation of young people. A short span of concern floods into my mind unconsciously at times when I witness their acts, that I almost forgot to cast them to the Lord, who loves them more than I do. As I read the report, I am back again to the same simple conclusion, down to the simple basic,

unconditional love + unconditional acceptance = extraordinary life

Lives are very vulnerable. Every human has an inner desire, seeking for love and acceptance from family, friends, peers, teachers, etc. If they are unable to receive love and acceptance, they would go to the other extreme, to agitate, to provoke, to upset. Yet I believe, many are not satisfied, many experience an emptiness within, which unknown to them, can only be satisfied by the Shepherd’s love. Many broken lives, heartaches, etc can be turned around if they know that Someone, the Greatest Being loves them despite of their imperfection, accepts them with no conditions attached. Many have a misunderstanding of the wonderful love story of the Shepherd and the sheep, if only all are to catch a glimpse of it, even just a tiny glimpse of it. I believe that there is no problem too big in this world that cannot be overcome once the comprehension of this great love is caught. The gospel of love: back to basic: unconditional love.

Since the day I made up my mind for my holiday destination, my stomach of butterflies has slowly been transformed into anticipation and excitement (must be because of the prayers of all dear friends), looking forward to all that I will be seeing. I zapped the maps, colored the places I wanted to see, and wow, I wonder if my 2.5 weeks are sufficient to finish all, plus the fact that I want a slow restful holiday. Been feeling so restless since August or much earlier, a need to retreat into Him suddenly seems more urgent than before as the days went by. I have little time for Him everyday, being bogged down by work and daily routine, so this holiday season shall be a break with Him, a time to restore my body, soul and spirit.

The second reason is, I think it is finally time to let go, a time to completely trust the Lord. Let me be a bit vulnerable, to speak my mind freely here. The day my superman assistant joined my team, an unconscious insecurity crept into my life, which I only begin to detect recently. I am agitated whenever I am challenged by him, his capability, his talent. An unknowing fear crept in, that my design will not be accepted but his instead, or that I would end up assisting him, fulfilling his design vision…I was fearful that as a result I would have less chance of designing. How scary our imagination can be? And even if that really happens, what does it matter? All things will surely turn around for our good…. And the desire of the righteous shall be granted.

The third reason is I need to go out and learn more, see more. There are times I feel, like the Chinese saying, a frog in the well, know so little, seen so little. (Plus my artist-friends gave me that picture, is that meant to be …? Joke lah, thanks for the picture, but I still dare not bring it home, I don’t want to scare my mom.) Yap, I want to learn more, absorb like a sponge all the beautiful visuals that I would encounter in this trip, storing up in my memory harddisk a library of designs, as future vocabulary to readapt, remodel and use!

Finally, why the above illustration? When I was deciding to choose between Beijing or NY for my holiday, I kept seeing myself sitting at Central Park reading, enjoy my simple quiet time with my Shepherd. (The illustration is a re-adaptation of Forrest Gump.)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Prata Meal

Today I went to the tree-top walk again, but with another group of dear friends. Interesting to know that a few actually do not like suspended bridge, very strange reaction came from a few of them... I believe this is the first time we gang of friends venture into such an activity that is so healthy... other than church, karaoke and food. It was fun, let us conquer Sungei Buloh next? Hope we have lost a couple of kg in the process, but then, the roti prata meal that we had after the walk would most likely have upset the weight lost. Hope you all like the prata illustration above, notice the hand on the right bottom corner? Guess who is with us all the time?

So many things have happened recently, or it seems like so many things, or the repercussions from just one thing, that I lost sight of some of the good things that happened around me. Yes, indeed I have been blessed in my work, despite of the seemingly increased number of administrative workload. The assistant I was horrified with, had finally left and a new one has joined my team for about 3 weeks. I was initially quite concerned that this new one would be the same as the old, but all thank to Papa God, this one turns out to be quite good after all, God knows my limitation and level of patience. Now as I looked at my team, I have a superfast 3d design expert architect, excellent administrative project architect, and 2 willing to learn cum hardworking assistants, I am truly contented, with the 4 of them, I almost feel we can conquer most tasks... and so I can go for my long holiday break, with no worry at all, because they will be able to handle everything well while I am away. Thank Papa God for them!

For several weeks, I have been deliberating as to where to go for a break this year, finding it so hard to find a travel partner at the last minute. Even willing friends and family members either didn't want to go to the places I wished to visit or unable to get leave from work. (Thank God I have a good boss, that I believe he will definitely approve my leave no matter what, come to think of it, I am truly blessed.) I considered joining a package tour alone, but it does sound really pathetic, one most likely will feel more "lonely" in a crowd than when truly alone. So yes after deep thoughts, I bought a ticket to NY, flying alone there, and bunk in with a friend who has kindly let me stay at her place while I am there. Thanks truly, friend, if you happen to read this, though I am not sure if you would. However, most of the time I will roam around alone, which does sound pretty exciting to me, though there are butterflies in my stomach now whenever I think about it, as this is the first time I travelled so far alone, but I know my Shepherd will be with me at all times. (Though I have gone to China on several occasions alone for work, it was just a few hours away by flight and China is a place where I always feel very comfortable with.)

Yet, I believe this will truly be a great time of refreshing for me, having 2.5 weeks in NY, I will take on a really slow holiday, on a real budget though, perhaps having to cook or just 2 meals a day, and may finally have a time to sketch and even paint over there. Perhaps I should bring my littlelamb series of postcard illustrations and sell along the street? Each at US$5-10 to earn some pocket money? And I would definitely go visit my dream, Niagara Falls in Canada. And all dear friends, do keep me in prayer for the month of October, while I venture to NY alone! I know my Shepherd is with me always!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Too Beautiful

I have been listening to this album “Too Beautiful” for a couple of weeks. It is definitely quite different, not loud and outstanding as the previous, which is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact almost too soft, and would definitely need time to digest, understand, and slowly likes it, perhaps a bit like wine.

I would say that this album came at a very appropriate time, to me at least. The past few weeks were not exactly time I would want to relive again, in fact it is a memory that I wished to erase or forget if possible. When my thoughts were overwhelmed with grief and questions, the album came almost like a gentle breeze, and I almost mistook several of the songs as gospel songs, or were they actually conceived as such but not openly proclaim? I wonder.

I first got to hear this song “Too Beautiful” at about 1140pm one night, when a dear friend informed me that it will be broadcast over TV. Nothing spectacular or deeply impressed I was with my first encounter. But being a “fan”, I bought the album days later anyway, and slowly began to digest the songs. Yet through the past few difficult weeks I went through, this song has the effect of momentarily freeing my mind from the circumstances around me, and the image that stands before me is my Lord, my Shepherd as I savored the song. Strange as it sounds, part of the song actually painted the above illustration in my imagination.

The song starts very gently, almost surreal, as if you are standing before a huge, still lake. And as the lyric gently unfolds, it speaks of the love of Someone, who never gives up, stands by you, and even with repeated mistakes on our part, this Person never leaves, making life worth living. How great this Person must be, who can melt a heart of ice…. I was overwhelmed, because in life, I believe there is no other who can be so, except our beloved Shepherd. (Put a link here, you may want to hear it for yourself, but the website only covers half the song, better buy one to listen, but please be reminded that this album needs time and patience to slowly savor it. http://www.davidtao.com/beautiful/ )

There is another song that rings a bell “So Beautiful”. Strange as it sounds, it seems to describe a female character initially, yet as you slowly digest the song, it has a bit of “Song of songs” effect in it, and as you look at the lyrics, the Chinese character “you” is a “male you”. The description of the Person in the song, about Someone altogether lovely, and strangely, the image of John leaning on the bosom of Jesus is painted in my mind. It speaks of Someone strong yet gentle, lovely as silk, forever beautiful. Speaking of being loved by this Person is an enjoyment, and to think of this Person is pure luxury. Honestly, as I listened to it a few more times, I am reminded again and again the loveliness of the Shepherd. Very powerful indeed.

Guess enough is said, it is not meant to be an album review, just want to mention a few songs that have helped me through a very difficult time. Thank God for them! And I am glad to say, I have come out of it all! Life is worth living because of Him, Jesus!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Waiting


Not sure if any of you remembered one of my very old entries on 18 January this year? It is about a bag that I wanted to buy, but it went out of stock. You know what? I saw a very similar one recently at the same brand shop a few days ago, and today I went to get it. I believed it was cheaper than the last time when I wanted to get it. It taught me a very precious lesson, about waiting patiently and not be discouraged. I remembered I wanted it so badly then, yet with all my might, I could not have it. Despite of that, my Papa God has answered my prayer a few months later, though now I knew I can live without it, I bought it anyway, as it taught me something. Some incidents we viewed as disappointments in life may in fact turn out to be real blessings later on when we look back. In life, I know if we are willing to wait, we will never be put to shame, especially when we have already cast all our cares unto our Shepherd, who loves us so much that He gave His life for us. We only need to wait, it will surely come to pass.

I was not feeling exactly uplifted or joyous recently, despite constant reminder that my name is written in the Lamb's book of Life. And I have been looking for escape or refuge, and I think a little break will surely do me much good, a break that I have been wanting since last month, with the accumulated work pressure that I must have imposed on myself,etc that happened. Just pray that I would have the courage to travel alone this time since no travel friend is in sight for this time round. In fact, I know I will not be alone for my Shepherd is with me. Papa God gives me courage.

Sometimes, the people you least expected bring you the greatest laughter. This was exactly what happened today, having a simple Uno game with my niece and nephews, we have the noisiest fun I ever had for the longest time (2 months?), perhaps finally laughing from within me, forgetting the past for that brief moment, putting powder on the faces of the losers of the game, taking pictures, etc, the simple pleasure of being with your loved ones. How simple the game was, but how powerful and full of impact the joy of being with my family. Lastly, just a reminder, Jesus our joy, and His love comes through the people He placed around us.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Friends Together

It’s been through an indescribable week, almost wishing it was just a nightmare every morning I woke up for the past few days. Working was never that draining on me, although there were times of frustration and incidents that did not turn out the way I anticipated, or clients did not express the same excitement as I hope just as the way I had when I was designing, or even when disagreement happens between my boss, colleagues and myself. Only yesterday I realized mental and physical workout is not as draining and tiring as emotional workout. I went through this perhaps the 3rd time in my life, it was never easy in the past, neither is it easy this time. But I sort of went into “auto-pilot” mode for a few moments, just like what happened in the movie “Click”, fast forward some moments.

Yet I am thankful to God, I have come out of it, I believe. I slept well last night. Sleep was not like sleep the few nights before, though I slept, it didn’t feel like I had slept. And I ended waking up much earlier than I had planned. Doing my work was hard, I always feel that design has to come from that inner part of me, and when I know right within me that “this is it”, I know this is it, yet, for the past few days, I just produced design for the sake of design, and I just know the product is not up to par. If the presentation turned out well yesterday while I am absent, it must have been the mercy of God.

Though the week was difficult, I was glad at least I finally put down my “so-called” important daily engagement (or simply routine), having a little time with my friends, finding comfort in one another, though little was spoken. I had reflections of the wonderful times we used to spend together, doing props, studying for exam together, chatting over lunch and practicing our songs. Those good old days shall be wrapped up as treasures in my heart. And I realized that several of those wonderful times together, someone dear has been the one who put those times together, arranging the gatherings and entertaining us, thanks dear. We will meet again someday in the future. Friends bring comfort, just by simply being there, not even with a word spoken.

Finally the above picture is for those friends whom I have found comfort together for the past few days, though we were too tired to enjoy the movie yesterday, I am just really glad I have you all with me. Actually, I wanted to drew our Shepherd as the 7th person, but then it would be unfair to draw Him sitting close to just one of us, so just imagine He is right within. (And also I was a bit lazy today.) I have learnt and must further learn, take some time off, man! We shall all move on, dear friends, and come out stronger than before, through our dear Shepherd, Jesus. He is ever so faithful and things will definitely turn around for good! We shall meet up often from hence forth! I hope I will not forget! I need constant reminder on this! Forever friends.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Memory

Memory seem to play a very important role in our lives. Watching so many drama series, especially the Korean dramas, with storylines that revolve about people suffering from amnesia, this topic is worthy of our discussion, though it is not my intention to discuss it in depth here. Our memories can be evoked by certain familiar items or incidents. Today, almost as a routine, I had my favourite Ah Kun’s toast and half-boiled egg with Milo. Just as I was enjoying the egg, I suddenly recalled that my mom used to prepare half-boiled egg for my breakfast when I was in primary school, and how strange this would sound, I actually found it yucky then.

Also many of my illustrations were done with imprinted images that may have taken place in my life before, and stored as memories in my mind. The above image was also conceptualized from some remnant memories of the past. I used to enjoy standing on my mom’s or dad’s feet when I was little, and let the movement of their feet carried me around, and it was really fun. Not just that, even when my feet were weak, my parents would still hold my arms tightly, and there was no way that I would ever fall. Now that as I recalled, perhaps in life, we should just live our lives like that, take it easy, stand on our Shepherd’s feet, and let His feet carries us around. And don’t be afraid, His mighty arms are always there to carry us even when we seem like falling.


Time to learn to take things easy. No more struggling or striving on my own to make things happen! True, that is just the attitude we should have. Take it easy for this week! Who cares? He cares!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Work out

It's been more than a week, my situation has not really improved, I am still as busy it seems, though Papa God seems to have somehow solved the problems differently for me. The problems did not seem to me that big after all, and perhaps I have come to reconcile the fact that He will not let me be in the situation where it is beyond me, that I am unable to handle (of course, with His help).

That feeling of feeling like an hypocrite during the last week, when my behaviour did not line up at all with the fact that I am His beloved child, saddened me. Yet this experience gives me a wonderful opportunity to share with my friends, and I realised that in fact I am not alone, who says being His beloved child, means we are totally free from uprising of anger, frustration, etc. I felt I was freed after a time of sharing with them, in fact, my position to encourage them has ended up the other way round, thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve, and thank God for my dear ones who uphold me in prayers always. Though I still felt heavy laden at times, I know His grace is more than sufficient for me. He will see me through with rest.

I have been wanting to exercise for a while, in fact the above illustration was done 2 weeks ago, by my own self-effort I made the resolution to exercise and reduce a bit of my weight. Yet shortly after deciding, I broke my resolution almost instantly, finding every excuse to not to work away the extra fat. Yet today, I finally posted it, because without any effort on my own, I actually had some work out after I came back from service, it is a miracle! Therefore it explains the above posting. Meanwhile, nothing much to say, just to wish you all a blessed week ahead! If you are going through a difficult time, take courage, for our Papa God surely has made a way out for you, He will never let you be in a situation tempted beyond you are able! He surely has an escape plan planned! He is more than enough! Cheers!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Too Heavy . Little Lamb Pte Ltd

Since end of last week, there seems to be a dark cloud looming over my head, and a heavy heart I carried throughout the week, creating traumatic waves to my assistants, I am sorry, I apologized. The sudden activation of 2 projects, the daunting impossible “datelines” that my boss promised the clients and a seemingly lost of a beloved job, all these overwhelming workload and disappointment trouble me, looking at myself, my limited resources, I am hurting, unable to produce, unable to do anything, as my mind is troubled. I hated all the administrative work I am doing, I just wanted to design. I was caught in a web of jealousy, over my capable assistant, the opportunity of him to just concentrate on design. Despite his offer to help me, I know it is not appropriate to pass on the administrative work to him, because I would still have to check and perhaps “redo”, knowing precisely his capability is in design, not in administration. And if I pass on my design workload to him, what is left of me? Just a shell… doing hateful stuff, writing letters, checking and meeting “datelines”, meeting clients, writing report, but no design. I am frustrated, annoyed, at being forced to do things I hated. For a few days, I felt I have fallen into a deep pit. Even when it is finally time to do design, it is already past office hours, crossing over the public holiday. And my troubled mind and a heavy heart simply cannot work anymore.

I prayed for a miracle, out of my own effort, I wrote a long email to my boss. I hated the feeling of my feeling being manipulated by my circumstances. I thought I have already been free of external elements, suddenly I realize I am just as vulnerable as before, only my Lord Jesus can help me. Listening to my pastor’s recent sermon about the feeding of the 5000, I identified with Jesus’ disciples, Philip and Andrew, one looks at his own limited resources, while the other looks to the tremendous need around. I am caught. I am Littlelamb Private Limited. Yet I took courage, that Jesus did not look at their unbelief, He still worked out a miracle. I realize miracle does not depend on my faith, but on Him, and Him alone. Lord Jesus, I look to You, and You will not put me to shame. I am tired. I hated this cycle of having to do things I hated. Thoughts of running away emerges again and again and again…

Yet, this episode brings me to one thing, I realize I am simply nothing without Him. My tireless trying suddenly made me realize that I have unknowing fallen into the trap of self-effort, trying to please man, the hateful rat race that I always hated. I don’t want to be the No. 1 Rat. I have decided, who cares, so what if I cannot meet the “datelines”? Yet the so called “responsibility” ME keeps haunting me down… However, I have decided “who cares”!

The above illustration came to me at the moment I woke up this morning, after I read my assistant’s blog, it troubled me last night. I realized I am quite influential, even when I kept totally silent, I am still capable of moving external mountains with my inward troubled feeling. I am sorry, I am really overwhelmed with the administrative workload.

In fact, the above illustration is supposed to be 2 comic strips, the first strip, with the 1st frame showing a lamb with a heavy load, then in the 2nd frame the elephant came to help. After the writing is done, the 2nd strip will appear, with the 1st frame showing a lamb with a heavy load, and in the 2nd frame showing the Shepherd removing the load off the lamb’s back. Which means in actual fact, the Shepherd sent a help through the elephant to help the lamb. Anyway, due to my laziness, I combined the 2 strips into 1, therefore the above.

Finally, I know my breakthrough is coming. And I know all along, good design only comes to me when I am in a peaceful state, hearing from Him. Lord, remove all the cluttered thoughts from my mind, move me into the state of peace. And only You alone, when I am weak, You are strong, I am nothing without You. Move me on…. Thanks Lord, I know You have already done so.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

What an experience!

Went to watch the Superband Final a few days ago, and the experience was really quite extraordinary. Gotten tickets through one of the finalists’ fan clubs, and we ended up standing at the very front row just behind the yellow barricade, almost exactly what I feared, fearing of being captured on TV. Then I remembered I was joking with my colleague earlier on that we should make some banners to hide our faces just in case. The funniest thing was that the fan club actually made several banners and boards, and distributed to the people standing in front, therefore I was given one, and I actually use that to cover my face, whenever I see a possible camera coming around… what a joke! Though that episode of my life was funny, it was fun indeed. Watching the show at such a close distance, you really caught hold of the atmosphere, the thrill at that very instant was unspeakable.

Looking at all the “glamour” that man was trying to create on the stage, brought my imagination to the time that one day we will be standing before our beloved Shepherd, perhaps in a similar setting, yet the crowd will be many many times more, and there will not be any need of props or lighting, as He would be so beautiful, that there is no need for any backdrop to enhance His beauty, for His presence is beauty itself. That fleeting image caught my imagination for a short moment.

Watching all the finalists at such close distance, in fact they all look so much more talented in real life than just on screen, somehow, some things just got lost through the one eye monster. Thank God for the experience, not just blessing me with the opportunity to go, His blessing is way beyond what I could even imagine, I got to stand front row! Thank You Lord, that You made me special.

Been listening to the latest David Tao’s album, and I have several thoughts, about life, about the album, about many things. Hope I can pen all these down simply. The first time I listened to it, I was a bit surprised, because it is not a “loud” album, very simple, down to earth, with a very very simple theme, but in fact it is the hardest theme in life, “love”. In fact, it seems to be about love of a different type, not the boy-girl type of love, but one of a different level. The second time I listen to it was on the train, when I was heading to the final. The 3rd time I listened to it was when I was heading to church on Sunday. It was then I had a clearer mind while listening, perhaps it was because it was morning, or perhaps it was after I had my beloved Ah Kun bread toast with my favourite drink, milo, just a sidetrack, it was heavenly!

I was standing in the train, listening to the song “Too Beautiful” and the scene before my eyes was the beautiful reservoir near my place, in its stillness. Although the lyrics using a female character for “you” in Chinese, the song, indeed, just like what my friend said, sound so gospel like. The song oozes a sense of great happiness and contentment from within, a sense of being overcome by a great compelling love. Music can connect people, you can almost feel the feeling of the composer, strange as it may sound, yet that was exactly how I felt.

At that very instant, several people flashed through my mind. I saw people around me using their God given gifts for His work in different forms, the composer uses his music to reach out to people, as a channel for God’s love to flow through. I saw my friends, using their time, their talent, to mould little lives. I saw my artists couple friends, using their art talents to produce art that portray the Lord’s love and work, spreading the gospel in a silent visual form. I saw my niece and her friends using their compassion in their jobs to help rebuild broken lives. I saw a little of myself using God’s given gift to serve Him. It is really fun to serve God, the one who love us unconditionally. Work is fun, especially when the work you are doing is as unto Him, nothing matters anymore, all that you are doing, are just for Him. Someone who is enjoying what he or she is doing, is the most charming and beautiful. I caught a glimpse of that at the final. I feel a sense of that in the songs. I saw glimpses of that in my friends. I guess we human feel times of frustration when we could not fulfill our God given potential. And yes, these are just some of my thoughts. I really think too much… Paiseh, for boring you, if I did. Remember, you have a God-given talent within!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

So In Love

Wanted to write on this, though it sounds really mushy, but then it is as it is. Reading and now responding to my friend Dialogismos’ blog on the “singles”, perhaps, one of those friends she was thinking of would be me, I suppose. (Come to think of it, I have a close group of friends, strong, independent, many are good-looking singles, yet ever so wonderful to spend time with.)

Crazy as it may sound, I am deeply in love, with my Shepherd, not sure why, but as the days go by, through all these past 13 years, that feeling of being loved by Him has not lessened. And the more I see the weaknesses in me, even the unlovable me, and the more I see Him, the more I realized how unconditionally I am loved, crazy it seems, I also am not sure why. I never felt really lonely, and yes indeed and only when close ones, colleagues, even superiors, who would say things as “she is single” etc, then I realize “O yah.” Yet many times I feel I am more loved than anyone else, with a sense of great gratitude within me, thank You my Shepherd. His love for me has never failed to amaze me even till now, and I believe, till eternity.

So many wonderful little things happened in the past week. One thing that amazes myself was that my design was criticized by a client with great cynical comments, I was caught with great wonders that I manage to stay cool headed, using that incident as a joke later on. Perhaps in the past I would even stand up, slam the desk, give him a nasty look, walk out, and the next day, just handed in a letter to my boss (so drama, watched too many TV dramas). This has to be Him in control, phew! Thank God that He taught me to work as unto Him and not unto man, and in all my undertaking, I know I have put my heart into it, therefore I am not ashamed.

However, just a few days ago, I actually lost my cool over a small incident, over that assistant that I have, for taking too long a time smoking, while I needed an urgent document he had when he was out smoking. Sigh, that was when I tried with all my best not to be angry with him, and yet all the more I am with him. My trial will soon be over, he is leaving at the end of this month finally! O God, please speed up the process! I really cannot stand him, only You can help me!!!!! Help!

Yet 2 really small incidents happen that add spices to the week, giving me such great unspeakable joy, that I must pen it down. A dear friend of mine, knowing that I am a great fan of David Tao, sent me a sms, informing me that she saw his latest MTV, about a song that is so gospel like in its lyrics. Due to the nature of her work, which I am not at liberty to explain more, she even sent me the full day time schedule for the broadcast of the MTV for me to catch on TV. I was deeply moved, not so much by the song, but more by her act, His love for me through a friend, thanks dear, you are a gift from Him!

Another crazy, almost unlikely thing happened. Remember I wrote I hope to get a ticket to watch the Superband final? I did several checks online to ways of getting the ticket, and almost announcing it to the whole world (I mean to all my friends), I want to get the ticket. (This is my way of giving Papa God no way to fail me! Ha ha!) Just as I was giving up, my lovely assistant told me she got me a ticket to watch it. I was awed, almost unbelievable, a miracle has happened, and I am reminded again in that instant, my Shepherd sees to all my little wants in life. Thanks, lovely assistant, and most of all, my Shepherd.

I know I am deeply loved by Him, all these little incidents are physical manifestations of His love, I would not say I need them, but having them is really great! I am truly very blessed, a wonderful family that is always there for me, dear friends that know me, accept and love me just the way I am, these are just some of His everyday manifestations of His love for me.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dancing with Him

It was a weird week, busy, yet fun and interesting. Notwithstanding that one of my presentations didn’t go very well, but it was fine with me, it seems that I may have grown calmer these days, learning to let go more…

So many little thoughts here and there, as many little incidents happened, that brings along all these thoughts…

Chatting . Lovely Assistants
I have always been quite curious about the past of one of my lovely assistants, so I finally “mustered” sufficient courage to ask her to share with me about herself and her family. We had a wonderful lunch, and I have yet gotten her permission to write about it, therefore, I shall shut my hands from writing it, for it sure has no small impact on my life, I salute her, for her faith, her simple trust, that she turns out trusting in the Lord than being bitter with her life. Indeed, I see the Shepherd’s faithfulness.

Another thing that I noticed is that I begin to see another of my assistants blossoms, begins to open up a bit more towards me, and I am truly very happy about that, more willing to speak up. I pray that one day she will come to know the Shepherd’s great love for her, for this is one of my greatest desires for her.

People
Perhaps the hardest thing to deal with, to me, is people, the relationship between individuals. Nothing to boast about, I knew that there are a few areas that Papa God has given me gifts for, for use in my work as unto Him, and even the personality traits that have helped me through difficult journeys in life are placed within by Him. Yet I know that what I am lacking in at several times is the compassion for the people, as I have little patient to tolerate mistakes, seeing the task accomplished as being more important than the person handling it. Something that I tried avoiding at times and if possible, let someone else deals with such situation when it arises. The task-oriented me begins to have a slow revealing of the Father’s heart, dawning on me that we are all in a people ministry, for at the end of the days, it is not how much you earn, how many buildings you have built, but the people that you have touched, the lives that have been transformed, turn around because of you, that matters. My Shepherd, give me a shepherd’s heart.

Praise
Just had a pretty good time yesterday at a praise and worship service, though my feet were tired for standing long, it was really enjoyable, indulging in Him. And during that service, it suddenly dawn on me that by 2007, it will also be the 14th year that I have come to truly know the Lord, not to mention that it is also the 7th working year in my life, perhaps I will write more on that next week, as the illustration for that is already finished. Yet one thing I would say is that, for the past 13 years, I have never regretted knowing Him, and that gratitude towards Him has not lessen or grow familiar, but in fact it is deepened, to the extent that as the days go by, my puny comprehension of His love for me has increased. All thanks to Him.

Remembered several months back, I wanted to draw the above illustration but the effect didn’t turn out as I expected. Yesterday during the service, the image was brought up again, of us dancing with the Lord, and I wanted so badly to draw this out no matter out, so that explains the above. Hope you like it, the things around just simply fade away, when we know that He is with us always, nothing else seems to matter anymore…

My Addiction
People around me would know that I am very addicted to the TV and drama series, especially the light hearted happy ending type. I am right now in the middle of a TV series (DVD), and I was so engrossed in it, that I even contemplated of taking leave to stay home and finish up the series, though I didn’t, because of the several presentations to prepare and do for the past week. Anyway this brings me to end this session quickly…. To indulge in a little wasting of time… TV here I come, who would deliver me from this addiction…. Ciao!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Dream Maker

I have been really busy for the past week, even taken a day off to do some personal things. Though I was kept busy at home from morning till almost midnight on my off day, the time was satisfying, relishing every moment of it. Doing my dream work at home, spending some really simple yet quality time with my mom, having a simple porridge lunch with her, was joy unspeakable, this is what life is all about, no worry, no fear, doing all things from the onset just for Him. Busy, and yet not busy, because work is no longer work when you enjoy it, if you know what I mean. This sparks off the idea of taking more time off and do some of those things I like at home more often in future. I may soon get addicted to this lifestyle.

I am still in awe and wonder of all that has happened the past 2 weeks, though I am still kept relatively calm on the outside, yet deep within, I am filled with gratitude to Him, the fulfiller of my dreams. Thanks, my dear Shepherd.

Just a side track, it would be wrong if I don’t even mention this here, something that has caught my attention for the past few weeks. Talking about TV addiction, as I mentioned before, I am a TV addict. Recently, I have been quite fascinated with the “Superband” programme, and I am really amazed and encouraged that there are people out there who dare to pursue all the way for their dreams. These are simple people from all walks of life, but what brings them together is the common passion for music. To me, all the groups that have gone into the final are already champions in their own right. I am not sure if I would vote for them yet maybe I should get a ticket to go watch the final…

Now back to reality, it is back to office on this coming Monday, with many things to rush and finish, in fact, with so many presentations due this week, its seems a relatively busy week ahead. Yet I am reminded again that He who has seen me thus far will continue to see me through the days ahead, for He is ever so faithful.

As for this blog, being so busy for the last 2 weeks, I have not produced any new illustration, but the amazing thing is that I actually drew 4 little lamb cartoons 3 weeks ago to last me till this week’s blog. (I think my Shepherd knows my busy schedule ahead of time, and therefore inspiration comes much earlier, phew!) So the above concludes the series of cartoons I have drawn 3 weeks ago, in search of all the friends for the little lamb, hope you like all the friends shown in the past 2 weeks.

The little lamb enjoying a cool breezy night in the open… You too take some time to enjoy your dreams!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Am I dreaming?

It is past midnight and my hair is still wet. So while I am sitting near the fan drying my hair, I started writing this week's blog. I was actually contemplating to master the "Flash" program, that somehow, someday, I will be able to produce my own little animation online, on the first ever little lamb cartoon, yet I may have to put this idea off again for a little while...

Several years ago, when I was still studying in the university, I treasured a little dream in my heart, which some of my close friends would know. A dream that I was willing to give up everything I had for that, though the dream never seemed to be forthcoming then, despite my endless prayer to almost "begging" God.

Since then with all the disappointments, I had almost given up, went back to school to complete my study and moved on with my life as a designer. Yet that little dream has always been lying deep down within me, thinking that, perhaps someday it may still happen, but now, no longer as a dream that consumes me, but rather... a happy daydream.

Yet, back then, I could never have thought that what I go through now, the skill that I picked up along the way would in fact draw me closer to seeing my dream fulfill than if I would have chosen to try to fulfill it by my own. I used to live through a season in my life when I regretted entering into this architecture journey, thinking that, the further I moved on with this, the further away I was from my dream.

But who would have thought that one day Papa God would have use of this little skill that He imparted into my life as a result? That it is after all not a wasted journey, but a more fruitful path, where I could be of greater use to Him. That puts me to ask, "Am I dreaming?" I am still trying to contain my little emotion, as I could not share my joy openly here. As I looked back through those years, I am amazed by each little step, and I can almost see it visibly the invisible Shepherd that leads me all the way by His loving hands.

Now, through a series of events recently, I was suddenly brought to see my dream come to pass, to see a group of people from the land that I loved blessed, and to use the little skill that God imparted to realise this dream. I am truly awed by the awesome wisdom of Papa God. Who would have thought that it will be done in this manner? He truly knows what is best for me. So friend, do not be discouraged, if you have been dreaming for a long time, and yet that dream is not forthcoming, do not despair, in His time, for He has a great plan for you too. He is our beloved Shepherd, He will lead us there.

As for the cute sunflower above, it is the little lamb's little confidante, whom the lamb can always confide all its little dreams and secrets to. It is a continuation of identifying the little lamb's friends to continue the story...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Struggles . Relationship . Life

This is a continuation of yesterday’s thought. Yes, I am struggling… been struggling for a few months with a young assistant of mine. Every now and then, I will ask myself why am I made to fall into such a situation when the assistant was not even employed by me, he was forced into my team when his supervisor left the office.

Pardon my prejudice here, guess this is one good place for me to vent a little of my frustration. I have come to the point of beginning to doubt myself, whether the way I am treating him was because of his poor working output, or it has already changed into a form of prejudice on my part, a judgment formed, that whatever he does tends to frustrate me, I am not sure. I can no longer differentiate the two, I am confused, who can deliver me from this?

I was so afraid of giving him any work to do, that I have decided to split the work between myself and my other assistants, until finally I was “reprimanded” by my other assistant, why is he still receiving a salary when he did so little (partly because I tend to have to redo whatever he does, I figured it might be better to do it myself), and make ourselves so miserable…. I pondered… sorry…

I also tend to ask others in my team to give him work to do, so that I do not have to. And the nasty me within, in fact rejoices when I saw the same frustration I faced happened to them, taking delight that I am not the only one, trying to justify myself for my misbehaviour, trying to alleviate my guilt and misery. The terrible me…. Lord, thank You that you love me just the way I am.

In fact, almost everyday, I am counting down to the day when he is leaving, because he would be leaving to further his study in September, I wish it can be tomorrow, I wish. To be honest, there are several times, I ask him maybe he should consider leaving earlier for his study in England, to get himself used to the new environment, trying very very hard to sound nice…. But somehow he doesn’t seem to get my hint… sigh! Help! I wish someone would forward this message to my boss… for him to take some action. I am tired, dealing with him… really tired.

I have come to the point of doubting myself, blaming myself, looking within myself, asking why am I such a person, not at all behaving like a Christian, respecting others like the way Christ does, I truly cannot, the harder I tried, the harder I fall, the angrier I am with him and with myself…. And my voice rises ever higher at him as the days go by! After that, I feel bad for behaving such. I have been pondering of even taking leave on the week that he is leaving so that I do not have to pretend to be nice while sending him away. Even if there is a farewell lunch, it would most probably be a celebration lunch deep within my heart… forgive me for my frankness…

And yes, that also half explains the illustration above. As I was thinking of the friends for the little lamb, I decided that its good friends will be the elephant and the giraffe, my favourite animals in the zoo. I love the elephant, much as it is big, it always look so kind and gentle, perhaps of its slowness. I love the giraffe because it itself is so cute, almost a joke in nature, with such long neck, but ever so adorable, almost elegant and very colourful. Yet despite of it all, they can live peaceably, though the elephant has to be careful, not to stamp on the little lamb, and the giraffe has to look out for its lowly friend. Yes, in other word, in all relationships, tolerance is important, something that always cripples me because I have little patience… Guess after the above incident, my fruit of longsuffering would have gotten so big! In life, such incidents do happen… I wish it is the last though…

My Shepherd, you will see me through this all! Let there be a miracle!