Saturday, August 30, 2014

How do you spend your weekends?

I was checking out weekend practices around the world when I also found the stats above on how Americans spend their weekends.

It may or may not reflect how it's spent here in Malaysia but for me I'd gladly be the 12% of "avoid seeing anyone".

I have been invited to concerts and weddings and get-togethers. I'd of course attend weddings of close friends, which only happens once in a blue moon and that's all. I have turned down concerts and any other invitations.

But me being me, I do feel bad about it though. And I have not told them about my need for weekend downtime. I wonder if they would understand it if I did tell them.

It's just that I spend at least 10 hours a day, Mondays to Fridays, with people, people and people and I want to spend my Saturdays and Sundays alone (except for a couple of hours on Sunday for church service and on some Saturdays for worship practice when I'm scheduled to serve).

I love my alone time at home. I read, think, write and watch TV and wind down with the family. These are very important to me.

It's a long weekend this weekend, with Malaysia's Independence Day being celebrated on Sunday, making Monday an off day. It gives me such a feeling of comfort now that I can be alone for longer than usual. Ahhh...


Friday, August 29, 2014

Young Adults Fiction

Lately, I found myself reading books for teenagers and I must say I feel a bit embarrassed about it.

I've just finished reading Ann Brashares's Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. I like the movie better. I've read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and loved it. I've read these because of the movies I've seen or about to see.

I've even read a kid's book: Henry Cole's A Nest for Celeste. I've stuck at it because I loved the pencil art in the book and it was nice to go back to the innocence of childhood.

I suppose in reading them, I also wanted to check out what kinds of books are out there for my son, though I strongly doubt he will ever read these books.

On the other hand, he seems to be more interested in books like Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and George Orwell's Animal Farm. And I must also admit I have not even read these two books.

And now I think it's time I get back to more serious stuff, and these two books may be a good start.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kedai Kopi Ming Sing, Jalan Ipoh

This used to be my breakfast haunt from 2011 when my son started school in that area, to 2013. I would drop him in school and go there almost every day for my usual breakfast before going to work. I only stopped going there when I joined the gym.

But I dropped by this morning. I had a meeting nearby and thought I'd skip the gym today and give myself a good breakfast treat.

I must say I really missed the place and the food. I ordered my usual dry beehoon with char siew and fu chook with liong cha.

Wish I had more space for the curry laksa too.

Hmmm...I shall go there again soon, when I feel like missing gym...

Photo source: Bangsar Babe

Kedai Kopi Ming Sing
456, Batu 2 3/4
Jalan Ipoh
51200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 40429329
GPS Coordinates: N 3 10.764 E 101 41.033

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What makes you loyal to a product?

You know how you hate it when you walk into a store and the sales personnel makes you feel like you don't deserve to use their products? That was how I felt I when I walked into a MAC store today when I had wanted to check out some compact powder.

I am very simple when it comes to cosmetics. To me, it is as long as it does what it is suppose to do and since I am not one who want to spend time touching up, it must last till the day is out.

I am running out of face powder and so I thought I'd try something I've not tried before.

First, I checked out Shu Uemera. The girls there were genuine and nice, even when I have not bought anything and was just looking.

Not so with the girl in MAC. I read people quite well and all I could sense from her is disdain. I am not going there again. Why when I am clearly not appreciated.

It's time I head back to the Shu Uemera girls.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Walk the walk, not walk the talk

I just found out that the phrase "walk the talk" is listed in Paul Brian's Common Errors in English Usage.

The correct usage is actually "walk the walk".

It says, "Aristotle’s followers are said to have discussed philosophy while walking about with him—hence their name: “peripatetics.” I suppose they could have been said to “walk the talk.” For the rest of us, the saying is “if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk”—a modern version of old sayings like “actions speak louder than words” and “practice what you preach.” Another early form of the expression was “walk it like you talk it.” Many people now condense this to “walk the talk,” which makes a sort of sense (act on your speech), but strikes those who are more familiar with the original form as confused."

But "walk the talk" is so commonly used in my working place now that it will be useless to change it. And reality is I truly wish people will just walk the walk or walk the talk and practice what they preach.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Pearls before swine

"Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you."
Matthew 7:6 (ESV)

I never thought much about this verse, not until a few years ago when my mentor referred to it when I was frustrated about some people I was with.

And I am again reminded of the verse today.

What it means is that "holy and valuable things (the reference is primarily to teaching, probably) must be given only to those who are able to appreciate them. C.f. Paul's emphasis that only the 'spiritual' can understand spiritual teaching (1 Cor 2:13-16)." (R.T. France, Matthew, Tyndale New Testament Commentary)

And this hits the nail in the head. I find it so frustrating at times when I talk to some people, or in some cases when they talk to me. And sometimes they actually sound like Frank Sinatra's My Way.

I heard that song too many times over karaoke in my early career years, and had hated it so much, and I wouldn't even want to put the words here in my blog.

I would though gladly quote Raymond C. Ortlund Jr. here from his Preaching the Word Series on Proverbs.

In referring to the song he said, "That’s stupid. But it has over three million views on YouTube. We glorify the know-it-all who does it his own way. But the Bible says, “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 26:12)."

So I'll keep my pearls to myself, thank you very much.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Love Test

Pastor Marvin's sermon today is a continuation from last week, a second and closing part to the topic of "Test Every Spirit", based on 1 John 4:1-8. (The mp3 sermon for Part 1 is here. I will append this section with today's sermon when the link is up.)

He refers to Jonathan Edwards's four ways to test the spirits taken from these verses in the 1 John epistle. They are:
1. The identity test
2. The association test
3. The biblical test
4. The love test

Check to link provided above for Test #1. For the other three tests, as promised, I will post the link when it's up.

What I like to bring up right now is my thoughts today on Test #4, the love test.

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."
1 John 4:7-8 (ESV)

What Pastor Marvin said this morning reverberates with me because I have been evaluating my relationship with some people.

There are many kinds of love in the world. But the most popular one of them all is the love of self. If you look around, you are bound to see Narcissus everywhere. Think about it, no matter where you go and whomever you speak to, most people will be for themselves, and only themselves. Seldom will they ever be for you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against being for yourself and taking care of yourself. I am referring to the downright selfishness and conceit of humankind, those who seldom spare one thought for another. Those whose actions and words are only self-serving. They may sound like they care for you, but sadly, they don't sound at all genuine. It's only a fa├žade. They only think and do for themselves.

But God loves us so much that he gave us his only son to die for us that we may live. God's love is supreme and whatever message we hear must be tested against this love of God that commands us to love one another because God is love.

But love is not easy. In its purest form, it's hard to understand, to live out and to practice. But love we must.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
Luke 10:27 (ESV)

And who is your neighbor? Jesus's subsequent parable makes it very clear that your neighbor is whomever you come in contact with. And we are to love them with the love of God.

How we understand the love of God is then a very, very important thing.

Check out D.A. Carson's two excellent volumes on:
1. The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God
2. Love in the Hard Places

I have read these books some years ago and it is now a good time for me to dig them out from the shelves and read them again.

We need to really know and experience the love of God and we need to test every spirit with the love of God, to ensure we listen to the right things and live our lives right in Christ.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Games that stick with me

I was feeling unwell over the past few days and feeling all the more worse today and so I stayed in bed. I ended up wasting away in iPad games.

There were quite many games that I like but these were the few I have been playing for a long, long time.

When in Rome by Realore

This is a strategy game in the Roads of Rome series. Every level, you will be given several workers to achieve several goals with the time limit given. Unlike the other games below, this is one game I have not played more than once, only because I have not finished it. I have started with Roads of Rome 1, 2 and 3, and now I'm playing When in Rome.

Tower Defense by Com2us

This game was introduced by my husband and I am still playing it after completing all the levels. I have not tried the challenge levels yet though. He has tried several tower defense games and this is by far the best of them all.

Plants vs Zombie by PopCap

This is my all-time favourite. I am still playing it even though I have completed many, many rounds of it. I guess flowers zapping zombies kinda appeal to me.

4 Pic 1 Word by Lotum GmbH

I am currently at Level 2009 with 4308 coins.

Drop7 by Zynga

For a start this game might look complicated but when you get it, it's as simple as 1-2-3.

Cookie Dozer by Game Circus

And this is my all-time favourite brainless game. I'm currently at Level 220 with 23,342 cookies.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Wasn't he absolutely talented? Sorry I couldn't find a clearer copy of the clip.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Weeping Angels

I used to like stone angels. Not that I have seen many real ones, but they are really good photography subjects.

I used to like stone angels until Doctor Who's Weeping Angels. Nowadays, whenever I see a picture of a stone angel, I remember those totally scary Weeping Angels.

They are predatory creatures that resemble stone statutes. They have been persistently nominated as one of the most popular and frightening Doctor Who monsters.

Photo (c) Elisabeth Fuchs, 2006

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I'm now a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach!

I have made it!

It all started on 10th April 2014 when I attended a breakfast talk on the topic "Achieve Higher Level of Performance through Strengths Based Development" where I was really attracted to the Gallup philosophy and concept.

I took the assessment on 17 April 2014, attended the Gallup Strengths Accelerated Coaching Program from 2 - 6 June 2014, passed my coachee evaluations on 14 Aug 2014, took my examination yesterday and received a pass today!

So I am now a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. And it has just been four months!

The first thing to do will be to develop a profile to post it in Gallup's list of coaches. I am very excited, and looking forward to more coaching sessions for anyone who is interested.


Monday, August 18, 2014

And I Quote #2

If you’re always bored then you’re always lazy, if you’re never bored then you’re always in some kind of drama.

Source: Joyce Riedl

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

That's indeed very long

The Chinese language never fails to fascinate me. As much as I dread learning it back then, it still astounds me in its beauty and depth.

Like the word for "long" here. I am not sure what the character is made out of but it has a "high table", "changed person" and "death". How does that spell long?

Another source states that originally this was an old man with a stick in his hand and with long unkempt hair.

Whatever it is, "long" certainly has that feel to it, that you are on a high table and you can't get down even after your changed, your mind or your being, even unto death.

Now, that's what I call long.


Source: &

Thursday, August 14, 2014

On my way to be certified!

I got this in the mail this morning:
Congratulations for having been successfully evaluated by the individuals you have coached. You clearly have the ability to effectively coach others and help them improve their lives via strengths-based development.
Woohoo! But I was surprised as I do have two more to go, whom I will still coach and have them evaluate me because I have promised and committed to them.

In fact, I have five and maybe six more coachees to coach. And I am looking forward to it.

And I am going to prep up myself to complete the exam this coming Monday. And if and when I pass the exam, I will then be a certified Gallup Strengths-Based Coach.



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

We are never content

I was set to finish reading Chapter 36 of Philip Graham Ryken's commentary on Exodus, and I did. (But I must say, with the help of Kate in VoiceReader).

What made me think this time was from the point of the whining Israelites.

For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, 'What are we to drink?' (Exo 15:22b-24)

If I were them, I would have said why didn't God provide good drinking water in the first without us having to ask him, because he already knows that we need it! We have no water for three days! I don't even need to ask! It's a given!

It does not work that way, not with them, not with us.

But we certainly expect it, don't we? We want everything ready at hand for us. We are really a very pampered generation. Gone are the days where we do all the things ourselves. For most of us, wherever we go, we are waited hand and foot for the basics of life - clean water, clean air, clean clothes, good food...good coffee. These are now considered a given by most.

We have lost the awe and wonder of the simplicities of life.

So when the Israelites were dying from thirst, why didn't God just provided and lead them to good fresh water to start with? It is because they need to know and acknowledge that all providence comes from God.

If you...know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matt 7:11)

The key word is "ask". We don't have because we don't ask. It is a command from God that we ask, and in his will and in his time, he will give. Only then will we know and acknowledge who the giver is, and not be like how we are these days, pampered babies.

But when the Israelites were given manna every morning everyday of their lives wandering the dessert, where they contented?

There were not. They were still grumbling and wanted something better.

We will never learn. It is only by God's grace that saves us from his wrath.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Moses and the whiners

At the rate I am keeping up with the commentary on Exodus by Philip Graham Ryken, it will be a lifetime before I complete all 102 chapters. I am only at chapter 36 today, and I only barely read the first few pages before my mind got stuck and became busy with this one thing.

But I do think this is good, because devotional reading and studying of God's word takes time and much thinking and mulling, and application.

The chapter is entitled "A Bitter Complaint" on Exo 15:22-27. The portion that made me stop and think was this:
Whining always sounds childish. Consider the bumper sticker on which the word “Whining” is superimposed with a red circle slashed by a diagonal line — “No Whining!” It is not hard to guess who is inside the car (usually a minivan). Children are notorious for whining. To be guilty of this sin, as the Israelites were, is a sign of spiritual immaturity. One day the people were dancing on the beach, singing praises to God; but only a few days later they were on the verge of open rebellion. This is a clear sign that they were still in their spiritual infancy."

I began to think about Moses. I wondered how he must have felt having to face a horde of whining people for 40 years! How could he stand it? I wouldn't be able to. I cannot stand whiny people.

But that is what he did. He did show his impatience once in awhile as we read in the exodus account, but all in all, I must say he is very, very patient indeed and he always come back to God in his frustrations.

I had my fourth coaching session with a CG friend this evening, and in our conversation, with no reference to my mulling about Moses, she talked about him.

Coincidence? I don't think so.

She brought up a very interesting point. Moses brought the people through the wilderness for 40 years, but in the end he did not go with them into the promised land. My friend commented that sometimes in our dealing with people, we complete our duty and let them move forward to their new land without us.

Is that so? Can I then let the people I deal with move on and I let them go ahead without following them. If that is the case, I can move on to help and manage other people.

However, the only reason Moses could not go into the promised land was because he sinned against God in his disobedience and lack of faith. How does this then square with what my friend say?

I think I can conclude with these observations:

1. God has chosen us to minister to some people he placed in our lives, and some of these people will be whiners.

2. We are to obey God and following his leading and bring the people into God's truth, especially the whiners, so they can mature in Christ.

3. I do not think we can apply it literally to our lives where Moses was left behind and not go into the promised land. However, when some people move on to continue to grow in God, we trust that God will arrange for new guides for them in their next phase of growth and sanctification. It is not our call, but God's.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Coaching Session #3: This is All Me!

I had another session of coaching with a very good friend this evening, and it was a really interesting and enjoyable one. By the way, she is always enjoyable to be in company with, and now I know why: Positivity is her #4 talent.

Before our session, she texted me saying that her disagrees with her top 5. I replied saying, "Hmmm...interesting. Can't wait for the session. It will certainly be interesting."

And indeed it was.

When we met, she gave me what she thought was her top 5, after going through the materials she printed out.

Her Gallup StrengthsFinder results were:
1. Ideation
2. Relator
3. Significance
4. Positivity
5. Achiever

And she felt she has these instead:
1. Positivity (#4)
2. Achiever (#5)
3. Empathy (#26)
4. Responsibility (#9)
5. Developer(#22)

But after I explained to her what Developer and Empathy were - the rest are her dominant themes anyway - she understood it a bit more. I have basically explained how she thought those were her strengths in relation to her top 5. It was soon clear what she thought she had in Developer and Emphathy were evident in her Relator, Significance, Positivity and Achiever talents.

And so we moved into naming and claiming her top 5 by going through her report.

I made a mistake in using her Insight Report rather than her Top-5 report, which I usually use in my first coaching session. I only noticed it halfway but the good and interesting thing was, it became the highlight of the session.

By the time she finished highlighting what she felt represent her in the report, she has highlighted E.V.E.R.Y S.I.N.G.L.E sentence! She was embarassed by it, but I assured her it is a good thing. It meant that she was able to identify and claim them as her talents. Moreover, when I asked her to share a success story after going through each of the top 5, the stories were top notch, especially the one on Ideation. It was brilliant.

The session was supposed to be an hour long, but I spent two hours with her.

Excellent. Three coachees done, three more to go.