Monday, December 17, 2012

The One Grand Plan of God

Pastor Joshua said in his sermon on Sunday that Christmas is not a last minute plan. And I have always been reminded that the salvation plan is not Plan B but that it is the plan of God. That sparked a thought in me. Of the many thoughts I have lately, I pursued this one.

On another front, what has been filling my mind lately is the book of Genesis and its theology. I never had any issues with Genesis, with it being the book I have been taught since my childhood days. But ever since Pastor Marvin preached several sermons on Genesis some months ago, it has been filling my mind, my thoughts and generating many questions.

So here I tried to put these two things together - and I now firmly conclude that the creation event and the salvation work of Christ on the cross is God's One Plan for his creation of the human race, i.e. the creation of man and woman is not merely just a creation of man of woman, followed by the fall and then the birth of the Messiah to save man. But that the creation and salvation plan is literally one plan, from start to end, which God had from the very beginning, even before he formed anything in the universe (c.f. Eph 1:3-4).

And I may be treading on thin ice here but here is what I think. The Gospel of John begins with the same words as in Genesis, "In the beginning", and when Jesus was nailed on the cross, the last words he said was "It is finished". Jesus completed the creation plan, in that from the day man and woman were created, it will lead to the completion of the creation work with Jesus on the cross. I know scholars tie tetelestai, it is finished, to the completion of the work of salvation and atonement, and his obedience to the Father, but looking at the bigger picture, he is in effect completing his creation work. Creation of man is completed with Jesus's death on the cross, with continuing results in the present.

Moreover, after he said that, he gave up his spirit, breathed his last. Inasmuch as God breathed into Adam the breath of life, Jesus breathed his last so man will have eternal life.

So this is no Plan B. From the creation of the first Adam to the death and resurrection of the second Adam, it is the one Grand Plan of God.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Painful Lesson

Winning into Freedom by Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (18/11/12)

If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed —John 8:36

If there is even a trace of individual self-satisfaction left in us, it always says, “I can’t surrender,” or “I can’t be free.” But the spiritual part of our being never says “I can’t”; it simply soaks up everything around it. Our spirit hungers for more and more. It is the way we are built. We are designed with a great capacity for God, but sin, our own individuality, and wrong thinking keep us from getting to Him. God delivers us from sin— we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience.

God pays no attention to our natural individuality in the development of our spiritual life. His plan runs right through our natural life. We must see to it that we aid and assist God, and not stand against Him by saying, “I can’t do that.” God will not discipline us; we must discipline ourselves. God will not bring our “arguments . . . and every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)— we have to do it. Don’t say, “Oh, Lord, I suffer from wandering thoughts.” Don’t suffer from wandering thoughts. Stop listening to the tyranny of your individual natural life and win freedom into the spiritual life.

“If the Son makes you free . . . .” Do not substitute Savior for Son in this passage. The Savior has set us free from sin, but this is the freedom that comes from being set free from myself by the Son. It is what Paul meant in Galatians 2:20 when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ . . . .” His individuality had been broken and his spirit had been united with his Lord; not just merged into Him, but made one with Him. “. . . you shall be free indeed”— free to the very core of your being; free from the inside to the outside. We tend to rely on our own energy, instead of being energized by the power that comes from identification with Jesus.


Friday, November 09, 2012

I am really getting more denying that

I think I have presbyopia, which literally mean "old eyes". I have had 20-20 vision all my life and suddenly I find myself not being able to see far or near. The most comfortable distance of sight now is computer-screen-distance: from where I sit to where my computer rest on the table in front of me. Any distance nearer or further than that is now a problem.

On top of that, I did not realise it until I have strained my eyes too much trying to focus that I am seeing double. This means other than having presbyopia, I also have diplopia.

I now have 2 pairs of glasses. One for shortsightedness and one longsightedness. I did not make any bifocals because before I used my shortsightedness glasses, I can still see near but I think when my eyes got adjusted back to seeing far without straining too much, I can't see near as clearly anymore.

I feel very tired now, as I do every Friday (after 5 days of waking up early at 5.45am and sleeping late at midnight). My double vision right now is quite bad. Everyone from afar now has four eyes as far as I am concerned.


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Book Reminisce

I am a book buff, right from when I was a kid. I still remember the good old times when I could stay for hours in bookstores to the chagrin of my mom and brother -- my dad and I would get lost in space and time in them. But they were usually just browsing sessions. Books weren't very high on the priority list of our family budget and it would be a rare treat if I do end up with a book or two, usually from The Famous Five or the Trixie Beldon series.

Then for some reason, I stopped reading when I was in my mid teens. I am not sure why but most probably, it was at a time when I felt I was neither here nor there. I felt I was too grown up for the books I had loved but not ready for the more serious ones. I don't think there were any books for young adults back then, unlike these days.

By the time I was in my 20s however, I was already a fan of Sidney Sheldon books, and soon after was into novels by John Grisham, Jeffry Archer, Patricia Cornwell, Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown. I would scour the stores for them, as well as borrow them from friends and even rent them from second hand bookshops.

Into my 30s, I began to delve mainly in Christian theology and soon I became a firm fan of anything C.S. Lewis. His books are tough reads but packed with gems and great insights. Some of the memorable reads I have experienced in this period of my life were C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, God in the Dock and The Screwtape Letters, the Five Festal Garments by Barry Webb, Exploring Protestant Traditions by David Buschart, Shades of Sheol by Philip Johnston, and Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. I also found the fantasy genre a very interesting one. The ones I like included The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan.

Right now, my choice of reads is quite diversified. I am game for anything interesting, fiction or not. Among the most interesting books I have read recently include a book on alternative medicine, Trick or Treatment by Simon Singh; on time, Time Warped by Claudia Hammond; on music How Music Works by John Powell; on dead bodies, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach; on personalities, Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe; on blood, The Immortality of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skoot; and of all the novels I have read recently, only these two stood out: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks and Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones.

I also noticed that I have been reading many more books now that I have gone digital. I am quite surprised I actually ready 29 books in the last 10 months.  However, I did not meet my 50-book challenge for 2011/2012. But I am still quite satisfied nonetheless.

I have also found some very useful websites. Although I have gave up on, I became active in and I simply love this website called Although it does not feel or look as spiffy as the other book recommendation sites, I find it much more effective.

Reading a book is like unpacking a valuable gift slowly but surely. When I read a really good book, it is like I have unearthed a treasure from the depth of the sea. When I read a truly good novel, I feel like I am living another person's life and listening to a different voice unlike mine. I like books that make me think and wonder. I like it when I discover even simple things. I like it when a book gives me the urge to google or wiki for more information. I like it when it makes me imagine. I like it when I can just read, and read, and read.


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

How to handle nosy people

I encountered the nosiest person today and I could not stop thinking about it in frustration: the nerve of her.

I have this thing that I usually get asked about, something I do not like to talk about at all. I always defer it by saying I am alright, thank you very much. Though what I really wish I can say is: mind your b*#+=/ business.

But this is the first time I have ever experienced someone who just do not get the cue that I do not want to talk about it, period. She was clueless and keep on asking me about it and even had the nerve to make guesses asking me if she was right. Argh!!!

Anyhow, what came out of this was that I began to formulate a standard response if I ever encounter such people again. All I need is to be calm, to pause, smile and deliver.

Except that right now, hours after it happened, I am still affected.


Monday, November 05, 2012

This is one clock I seriously want


Designer Siren Elise Wilhelmsen has created “365,” an interesting clock concept that tells time in a different manner; instead of just displaying the minutes and the hours, it knits round the clock for 365 days. Once a full year has passed, the knitting clock will have created a two-meter scarf for you to use and remember the year by.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Christians should not practice yoga

I nearly signed up for a stress management workshop at work but when I was told that the facilitator will be using yoga as part of the stress management tools, I am relieved I did not.

I am one with the conviction that Christianity and yoga are not compatible. They have differing beliefs and spiritual foundation. I have heard of Christians who justifies it by saying, "it is just exercise". It is more than that and even the Hindu practitioners agree that yoga is more than just exercise and that it cannot be reduced to just an exercise. From the moment you take part in yoga, you delve into the very core of what it is.

For more information, check out what Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has to say about it: The Subtle Body — Should Christians Practice Yoga?  He says, "When Christians practice yoga, they must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga. The contradictions are not few, nor are they peripheral."

And here is a surprising agreement from Rajiv Malhotra, the founder of Infinity Foundation, The Dharma Initiative in his article in The Huffington Post: A Hindu View of 'Christian Yoga'.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Eternity of God

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
~ Psalm 90:1-2

Our God is everlasting, eternal. Eternity is something hard for us to fathom. We are too bound and limited by time. I find the concept of time quite mysterious - I find that there are two possibilities. Either there is no present time, only past and present - the moment you think are at that present moment, it is gone, past and moving onto to future time that almost immediately become the past. Or there is not past or future, it is present, now.

As much as I don't even fully understand time let alone eternity, it would be an amazing thing when I am finally in God's eternal presence. I am not sure if God's eternity is temporal or nontemporal, though I am leaning more towards to former. But whatever it is, I am glad that God is eternal and is operating out of our limitations. He is from everlasting to everlasting God, no beginning and no end.


Friday, June 08, 2012

Colours of the week

I am reading a book that taught me a word that describes a condition that some people may have - well, a good kind of condition I'd say - synesthesia, where stimulation of one sensory experience leads to a automatic and involuntary real experience of a secondary sensation. I've seen documentaries where some people actually see designs and colours when they hear music.

I am not synesthetic, but if I were to have a colour for every day of the week, I could feel it, not see it.

Here's mine. Click and drag to view. But if you use an iPhone or iPad, select and "speak". What're yours?

Monday is black
Tuesday is yellow
Wednesday is green
Thursday is orange
Friday is brown
Saturday is blue
Sunday is white


Sunday, June 03, 2012

Saturday, June 02, 2012

O My Problematic A4

Ever since we moved on to attend a different church, I have not served in the worship team for two and half years. Wow, I wasn't counting and I did not realise it was that long. No wonder I missed it so much.

Which explains why when Ee-Tan, my cell group mate who will be worship leading tomorrow, called me yesterday to fill in for a back-up vocalist who fell sick, I gladly agreed.

We just had our practice and it lasted for more than two hours. My fellow back-up vocalist sort off apologized for the many songs we need to sing because of the Holy Communion service, but I was so happy I wouldn't have minded it at all. In fact, the more songs the better, to make up for the lost years!

The experience of being a back-up vocalist however, is interesting I must say. This is indeed my first experience in being a back-up vocalist. I have always been the worship lead. As we began to practice, the other vocalists were harmonizing, and so I decided to sing it all in melody to back-up the lead. It was a good experience.

Then I was asked to take on a short verse in solo to be sung during the communion time. All of us have at least one solo part to sing. I am ok with singing solo, quite used to it being in Grace Notes, but the song was really not in my range - it is low in D major. It builds up to A4 and B4, just above the middle-C. The A4 is my most problematic note. I have to use my chest voice to sing in that range but on reaching A4, I had problems maintaining it in the same quality as my lower notes. I tried it a few times, it wasn't working. It wasn't nice and I was wobbling. I knew I had homework to do.

And homework I did. It sounded nicer using a softer and rounder voice without forcing it. Indeed I pray I will sound ok tomorrow.


Friday, June 01, 2012

Psalm 62

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;
I shall not be greatly shaken.

How long will all of you attack a man to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;
I shall not be shaken.

On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah

Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God,
and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man according to his work.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

What Should I Read Next?

While I was keeping up with my  reading lately, I was hunting around for a good tool that I can use to recommend me  books based  on the books that I have read and loved. I have used several,  and found this the best of all: What Should I Read Next?

The site may not look or function as sleek as Your Next Read, but I still prefer its simplicity. The more important thing though is that the books recommended are by far better and more interesting. The titles given are more varied because I prefer not to read any more books of the same theme but is interested to know what other books that I might like.

When I used Demick's "Nothing to Envy" in both the websites, YNR gave me more titles related to North Korea. In WSIRN however, one of the titles caught my attention -- Mary Roach's Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, which will now be my next read.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Review: Legacy

The Acclaimed Novel of Elizabeth, England's Most Passionate Queen -- and the Three Men Who Loved Her
By Susan Kay

I finally finished this book. It is good but not an easy read. I tend to keep referring to Wikipedia to check the facts as well as to figure out who's who. The author has the habit of changing the characters' names and reference fluidly. For example, Robin Dudley, which she refers to as Dudley from the start suddenly became Leicester at the same breath, after he was made Earl of Leicester.

But all in all, it is good. It is fascinating to read of whom historians regarded as England's greatest monarch. I know that this book is considered fiction albeit historical, in that other than the known facts, the rest are all made up. I am not sure if the book's portrayal of the queen's personality and character is accurate. If it is, she would then be quite an amazing person, cool and calculated, sometimes with empathy and yet most times ruthless and cold.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Men in Black III

I had not planned to watch this. I just happened to have a complimentary movie ticket and this happened to be the only movie that fitted the time I had today. I would have preferred to watch The Avengers or Battleship or The Lady.

I did not expect much and it wasn't so good. It has its moments, like the one on the beach, but that is all I can say about it.

I suppose it is not my kind of movies after all, but a free ticket is a free ticket.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Coincidently bored

Can I still say that there is no coincidences in life?

I posted on Tuesday on the subject of boredom.

On the next day as I was scanning the news, I found an article on work boredom.

Now on Sunday, the speaker preached about bored Christians (link coming up).

Three strikes.

Is this getting somewhere?


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lazy Saturday

It is nice enjoying a lazy day reading and watching TV. I don't sleep in the daytime, but found this song by John Lennon so apt.

When I wake up early in the morning,
Lift my head, I'm still yawning
When I'm in the middle of a dream
Stay in bed, float up stream

Please don't wake me, no
don't shake me
Leave me where I am
I'm only sleeping

Everybody seems to think I'm lazy
I don't mind, I think they're crazy
Running everywhere at such a speed
Till they find, there's no need

Please don't spoil my day
I'm miles away
And after all
I'm only sleeping

Keeping an eye on the world going by my window
Taking my time

Lying there and staring at the ceiling
Waiting for a sleepy feeling

Please don't spoil my day
I'm miles away
And after all
I'm only sleeping

Keeping an eye on the world going by my window
Taking my time

When I wake up early in the morning,
Lift my head, I'm still yawning
When I'm in the middle of a dream
Stay in bed, float up stream

Please don't wake me, no
don't shake me
Leave me where I am
I'm only sleeping


Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Review: Great Singers on Great Singing

Great Singers on Great Singing
By Jerome Hines

I have not finished reading this book yet, but I thought I'd review it anyway, since I am not sure when I will finish it. And that is with the fact that I am kind of reading 9 books now at one go.

The book started off well, and it was quite interesting to read what the singers have to say about some of the basics of singing. The author, Jerome Hines, interviewed about 40 opera singers to write this book, a chapter for everyone of them. He tries to find out several common things, namely breathing technique, the passagio of passage in the voice, vocalising and warming up, support, open throat.

I don't attend or listen to opera much, but I did learn some useful things reading into their accounts and views on singing.

For example:

"The voice starts in the mind, not in the body." This is very true, Joanna, our Grace Notes conductor always ask us to think of the note first, of how it should sound before singing it.

"No gasping...ever!" This is very interesting because if you notice most of the pop singers these days, their breathing is so loud that it is disconcerting. My husband blamed it on me as he now could not listen to Kat Deluna sing without noticing her loud breathing. The other singer I found with extremely loud breathing is Lea Michele, who plays Rachel in the Glee series.

"We all have a little phlegm in the morning from sleep, which disappears by midday." No wonder! We at Grace Notes finds it hard when we have to sing in the wee hours of the mornings when we were invited to sing in church services.

"The piano you cannot learn." I am saddened to read this, that "a real good piano...a head sound, this you have to have. You have to be born with it." Christine, my fellow Grace Noter, sing high notes in piano (soft and quiet tone) very well, which I can't, however much I try. Now I sadly know why.

However, when I got to the middle of the book, I lost interest. Even though each of the singers have different views on their technique, being an amateur in singing, it becomes quite repetitive to me.

But finish it I will, the one thing that will motivate me is the chapter on the late Luciano Pavarotti that I have not read. But then again, it is only because of all the singers interviewed, he is the only one I know about.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rose-Coloured Glasses

Do you find yourself looking at the past with rose-coloured glasses in regret? Do you feel that things used to be so much better than now, that you wish you were back where you were, when in actual fact, you have forgotten past hardship and struggles?

Some people tend to live in the past as a result. They forget that they have suffered through the same problems as they are facing now. It is just that these problems come in different shapes and colours.

Let go of the past, live the present and look forward.

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.
~ Jan Glidewell


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Are you bored?

Boredom. This subject came up in my training session today when I was to role play a high potential employee but one that is bored. I do not like role playing because I just can't act, but playing bored isn't too difficult, I found.

I read somewhere that boredom is a complex process. I wonder what is meant by that. A process? As in what happens when someone is bored?

I don't know but what would you do if you were bored? I think the first to do is to find out why. I think boredom is more than just having nothing to do. It is being in the wrong place doing the wrong things, wrong in the sense that it is just not right for you.

What would make me bored would be not being able to do what interest me, what is meaningful to me, or what is fulfilling to me. The trickier thing to do is to decide what to do after that. Finding a solution to that kind of boredom will be one of the most complicated things in life.


p/s And what do you know, in my regular checking out the news today, I found this: Is workplace boredom 'the new stress'?

Monday, May 21, 2012

25G of free cloud space

I have quite a number of PDF resources for reference but they are inconveniently stored in my netbook at home. And everytime I need to refer to something, I always wished my netbook was with me. I did think  about storing them in the cloud but my Dropbox account only has 2.75G space, and it was quite used up as well. And to buy more space is too expensive in Dropbox - 50G space cost USD99 a year!

So I started hunting around for some  more free space and what do you know - it was perfect timing - Microsoft has just launched its own version of cloud storage called SkyDrive with 7G free space.
But the beauty of it was that if you were a Hotmail account holder before 22 April 2012, you will be eligible for 25G of free space. My 11G folder of resources is finally accessible to me wherever I go, in all my devices.

You better go claim it before it is too late:


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why Pray?

Prayer is one thing I struggle with. On one extreme, it is trying to figure it out in the sense that prayer is not something you demand of God to act on or it is a as-long-as-you-have-faith-or-God-will-not-hear-you. On the other extreme, I am struggling with the sovereignity of God and prayer in the sense that since he has ordained everything, I repeat, everything, then why pray - someone has said, it is as if we are trying to change God's eternal purpose, an undertaking that is feeble at best and arrogant at worst.

But what I know is that God has commanded that we pray, and pray I did, even though I could not fully understand why. I had approached it in the manner of being in a personal relationship with God, but I have now learnt whilst that in its itself is important, it is even more than that.

It is a participation in God's eternal plan and purposes. We pray because God commanded us, we pray because he fulfils his plan through our prayers as one of his means. That is what Jesus meant by praying in His name and praying in God's will - it is us participating in God's eternal plan. Wouldn't that very fact compels you to pray day and night? To pray unceasingly? To further expand our knowledge of him so that we know how and what to pray?

My gratitude to Matt Waymeyer, his postings on prayer has helped me understand prayer so much more:
If God Is Sovereign, Why Pray? (Part 1)
If God Is Sovereign, Why Pray? (Part 2)
If God Is Sovereign, Why Pray? (Part 3)
If God Is Sovereign, Why Pray? (Part 4)


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Happy people

It has been ages since I have been actively taking photographs and when my cousin brother Raymond requested that I take photos for him during his birthday celebration last week, I was apprehensive. I had to warn him that I am quite rusty at it.

But they didn't turn out too badly.

Here's Ray celebrating his 50th birthday.
He does not look a day older than 30!

He held a dinner for family and friends.
Four tables of 10-course Chinese dinner.

Happy Birthday Ray!!!

My pretty cousins

More pretty cousins

Here are my aunts and a rare shot of me
(being the photographer, I am happily out of sight)

And here are my some of favourite portraits shots. I love to take portraits. I love to capture each and every unique feature of an individual.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Seventy Times Seven

The one word that has filled me today is "forgiveness", and this reminded me of an old song that I have loved back in the 1980s: David Meece's Seventy Times Seven.

I have obviously lost the cassette with the song and even if I had it, I won't be able to play it. Thankfully there is YouTube.


This prison has no walls
This bondage has no chains
My memories have no mercy
There's no one left to blame
Wish I could force back
The hands of time
And right every wrong
Grant me just this one last chance
Before it's gone, gone, gone

How could I be so blind as to doubt your love?
How could I go on living without your love?

Seventy times seven
Will you forgive me for all that I've done
Seventy times seven
I'm so afraid of what I've become

For all the promises laid to waste
For all the seeds unsown
For all the justice I never faced
I must now atone
Is there a soul that can't be saved
Is there a heart that has no hope
Is there a peace that can still be made
Please say it's so

How could I be so blind as to doubt your love?
How could I go on living without your love?

Seventy times seven
Will you forgive me for all that I've done
Seventy times seven
I'm so afraid of the man I've become

Seventy times seven
Will you forgive me for all that I've done
Seventy times seven
Your love can save me from what I've become

Seventy times seven

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Review: Trick or Treatment

Trick or Treatment, The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine by Simon Singh & Edzard Ernst, MD

I got to this book when someone in my family introduced us to this alternative treatment called the Atlas Profilax method. They attested to its effectiveness and went as far as making arrangements for us to go visit the doctor.

I am not a proponent of alternative medicine although not totally against it. For me, if it makes sense in my limited knowledge and if it does not cost too much, I don't mind giving it a try. But I must know what is involved. So I checked this Atlas Profilax thing out. It is a maneuver to reposition the first vertebra cervical bone call the atlas. I thought that to be a very risky thing to do and decided to say no to my relatives. We will not take the risk and will suffer our current condition, rather than risking paralysis or death.

My husband then told me about this book written by Simon Singh. I have read his book on the Fermat Theorem before, and was much entertained by his writing of a technical subject for lay people. I did some research and found that he has written an article in The Guardian entitled The Spinal Trap. The doctors took him to court. He won.

I was intrigued. So I got hold of the book and started reading. (I am an ebook fan. Getting the book was as easy as search and Click to Purchase, all done In a couple of minutes snuggled in my couch.)

It is a good book. My only complain is that it is a tad too repetitive between the chapters. Maybe it is written like a reference book where if you were to just read the section on one alternative treatment, it would make sense.

Being a historical buff, albeit a newbie at it, I enjoyed the section on the history of medicine, on how it got to where it is today, where medicine and treatments are empirically tested to be reliable. The alternative treatments handled by this book involves chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy and herbal medicine. The final section of the book gives short reviews of the other alternative treatments from the Alexander Technique to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the latter being very interesting to me since I almost grew up on it.

The conclusion of the book is this: there is very little empirical evidence to substantiate the effectiveness of those treatments except for several possible benefits.

All in all, it is a must-read especially if you take or consider these treatments. You should know the risks, as you should any conventional medicine.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Between Transfiguration and Ascension

For devotion in our Grace Notes practice today, we read Oswald Chambers' "His Ascension and Our Access" from his My Utmost for His Highest, and I found it very illuminating.

His Ascension and Our Access

It came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven —Luke 24:51

We have no experiences in our lives that correspond to the events in our Lord’s life after the transfiguration. From that moment forward His life was altogether substitutionary. Up to the time of the transfiguration, He had exhibited the normal, perfect life of a man. But from the transfiguration forward— Gethsemane, the Cross, the resurrection— everything is unfamiliar to us. His Cross is the door by which every member of the human race can enter into the life of God; by His resurrection He has the right to give eternal life to anyone, and by His ascension our Lord entered heaven, keeping the door open for humanity.

The transfiguration was completed on the Mount of Ascension. If Jesus had gone to heaven directly from the Mount of Transfiguration, He would have gone alone. He would have been nothing more to us than a glorious Figure. But He turned His back on the glory, and came down from the mountain to identify Himself with fallen humanity.

The ascension is the complete fulfillment of the transfiguration. Our Lord returned to His original glory, but not simply as the Son of God— He returned to His father as the Son of Man as well. There is now freedom of access for anyone straight to the very throne of God because of the ascension of the Son of Man. As the Son of Man, Jesus Christ deliberately limited His omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. But now they are His in absolute, full power. As the Son of Man, Jesus Christ now has all the power at the throne of God. From His ascension forward He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.


I have never seen it from that angle where Jesus' crucifixion, resurrection and ascension are related to his transfiguration. I know I have asked this question before: why was Jesus transfigured? What was involved in the transfiguration?

We die and resurrect with Christ and soon we will be ascended to be with him. How do we relate to him in his transfiguration?


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

To be honest with you...

I have recently noticed that this certain phrase has become so commonly used in professional settings that it has become like a virus or allergy that is impossible to cure.

I find this extremely annoying: "To be honest with you..."

Why do people say that before they state a point, and every other point for that matter? Do they imply that they are not honest at any other times?

We need to be mindful of what we say and how we say it. Interjecting statements with verbal tics will not help. If you need to buy some time to think before saying anything, just pause...and then state your point.


Monday, May 14, 2012

104 floors of Tiny Tower

I am seriously addicted to this mindless iPhone game. 104 floors now with new floors costing almost 1.7m coins and about 2 days and more for new floors to complete. It's crazy, but kinda fun, especially when I needed something to do that does not require any brain cells.

Here is my all-glorious 104 floors tower:


Sunday, May 13, 2012

The book and ebook debate

I recently had a debate with my husband and friends about which is better, book books (what I mean by hardcopy prints) or ebooks.

Being a proponent for ebooks -- since I found them so versatile, mobile and convenient, and with them so  much cheaper than printed books -- I obviously went all out to promote it. My friends were not convinced.

I do get it -- like them, I still like the feel and smell of books, but the mobility and convenience won me over though.

But my husband -- usually the smartest of whichever lot you put him in -- trumped the argument. His point was this: if you were trapped in your home during a war, you'd be more happy with a book book. Your ebook will not last for long. The battery will run out in no time, and you might not have a supply of electricity for long. It's a war.

He won.

Photo from Digital Trends

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My 50 Book Challenge 2011/12 - 2

Back in mid 2011, I challenged myself to read 50 books in 2011/12. The criteria was, as long as it is a book of any kind, of any topic, of any genre, be it print or electronic, whatever strikes my fancy. I took on that criteria because the last round I went on a challenge, I stuck to theological books. This time round, I wanted to be open to whatever that interest me.

I am reposting here the books I have read thus far, and I must say that all the books I read this year are very good. To me, they all deserve at least 4 stars, if not 5.

23. Time Warped, Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception
by Claudia Hammond (8-9/6/2012)

22. Stiff, the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
by Mary Roach (31/5-8/6/2012)

21. Ecclesiastes, Why Everything Matters
by Philip Graham Ryken (12/3-30/5/2012)

20. Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain (3 Feb - 30 May 2012)

19. Legacy, The Acclaimed Novel of Elizabeth, England's Most Passionate Queen -- and the Three Men Who Loved Her
by Susan Kay (19-29 May 2012)

18. Nothing to Envy, Real Lives in North Korea
by Barbara Demick (4-5 May 2012)

17. The Upside of Irrationality,
The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home

by Dan Ariely (1-7 April 2012)

16. Trick or Treatment, The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine
by Simon Singh & Edzard Ernst, MD (11-13 March 2012)

15. How Music Works
by John Powell (6 February 2012)

14. The Help, A Novel
by Kathryn Stockett (11-16 January 2012)

13. The Other Boleyn Girl
by Philippa Gregory (8-9 October 2011)

12. My Name is Asher Lev
by Chaim Potok (12-15 September 2011)

11. Jonathan Stranger & Mr. Norrell: A Novel
by Susanna Clarke (27-?? August 2011)

10. Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God
by John Piper (15-16 July 2011)

9. Beside Ourselves, Our Hidden Personality in Everyday Life
by Naomi L. Quenk (5-?? July 2011)

8. Stone's Fall
by Iain Pears (1-5 July 2011)

7. Counselling and Psychotherapy, A Christian Perspective
by Tan Siang Yang (14-30 June 2011)

6. Jung - The Key Ideas
by Ruth Snowden (18-19 June 2011)

5. Nine Parts of Desire, The Hidden World of Islamic Women
by Geraldine Brooks (6-13 June 2011)

4. People of the Book, A Novel
by Geraldine Brooks (19 May - 5 June 2011)

3. Cathedral of the Sea
by Ildefonso Falcones (16-19 May 2011)

2. Introvert Power
by Laurie Helgoe (12-15 May 2011)

1. Pillars of the Earth
by Ken Follett (8-11 May 2011)


Friday, May 11, 2012

My once prolific writing

I am sitting here, still in the office at 1.13am, not knowing how long more will I need to be on standby for the project team. The last time I stayed back late was about two or three weeks ago, when I stayed till 4.00am but working. Now I am on standby.

I am too tired and sleepy to read the book I have with me and so I openned up my blog which I have not for the longest time ever. I did not even know that Blogger has changed its looks.

I began reading the poems that I have written over the past few years and the apocalyptic piece which I have penned 4 years ago. I couldn't quite believe what I read! It shows that I have been really dry in my writing lately. What inspired me to write those I really have no idea. Just glad that I did.

And I hope this will inspire and motivate me to be actively blogging again. I found myself nothing much to say lately. It shows I have not been really thinking thinking. Thinking I have been, just not on the right stuff.


It is now 2.57am and I am still here.


3.31am -- still here


post-script - I left office at 5am...yawnnnn...

Photo (c) 2006 Colin Adamson