Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My dependence on my iPhone

Right now, amongst all the things that I own, my iPhone is one of the most important. In a list my husband sent me last week about life these days, it scares me that this actually rings quite true for me: leaving the house without your mobile phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

I used a management diary to manage my work and appointments until around year 2000 when I got my Palm V. I do have a Filofax now, which I am still using as a journal. I still do like the act of writing though it's quite dangerous not being able to keep it under lock and key, but the switch from the "manual" Filofax to the digital kind has practically changed how we manage our lives.

TEDBlog posted this recently - 25+ apps to make your everyday life easier.

Here are my most-used apps. What are yours? (The default ones like phone, message, mail , alarm, calendar not included)

Week Agenda - I see my whole week's events in one screen
Momento - my digital journal
Marvin - my faithful ebook reader, it's the best!
ABBYY BCR - a business card reader, my digital calling card box
Merriam-Webster Dictionary - I've replaced Dictionary.com with this, it's more complete
Pocket - my digital folder of all online articles that catch my attention, all in all my personal magazine
BlogPress - I don't use my PC any longer when at home and so this is how I do my daily blogging
ESV Study + - the digital ESV Study Bible, comes with audio
Goodreads - my book list and database
Appsgonefree - I check this everyday for free apps and many times I got really good ones, some of them in this very list
uPackingList - I use this everyday as I pack for morning gym, I can be very disorganized
Highs & Lows - keeps me mindful of my day
Waze - I use this everyday to ensure I don't get stuck in traffic unnecessarily
Askt - gets me to think about something important everyday
Logos Bible - where all my digital references and commentaries are (some IVP editions, the full series of WBC, TOTC and TNTC)
1Password - the best password manager around, with iOS 8, I can now use the fingerprint security function in Safari
Spotify - free music, what more can I say
VoiceReader - reads my PDF files, especially when I'm in the gym.
Speaky (not shown) - reads what's in my Pocket, especially when I'm driving
Wikipanion - the best Wikipedia reader
Chime - chimes on the hour every hour to remind me of the time, since I am so disorganized
Dropbox - how could a smartphone exist without this
LinkedIn - helps me keeps in touch professionally
AppShopper - gives me apps deals everyday and it notifies me whenever any apps in my wishlist becomes free
OneDrive - DropBox is more connected with the other apps but OneDrive has the largest cloud space for me

I'm an app junkie. I try very hard to only keep apps that I actually use - not!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Isaiah, God Saves Sinners (Preaching the Word Series)

Isaiah - God Saves Sinners
by Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr.

As I have blogged before, I found the Preaching the Word series by Kent Hughes very useful as devotional materials for me, and I thought I'd do Isaiah now.

I've finished the edition on Proverbs and do not think I can continue with Exodus.

So, Isaiah it shall be.

Isaiah is an important book in the bible and for me it is the least understood. Ortlund quotes and Ortlund says:
"God spoke eloquently through Isaiah. If you have any interest in the Bible at all, Isaiah will reward a close reading. It is “the most theologically significant book in the Old Testament.” “Of all the books in the Old Testament, Isaiah is perhaps the richest.” “From ancient times Isaiah has been considered the greatest of the Old Testament prophets.” The scholars who know what they are talking about prize Isaiah. What Bach’s first biographer said about his music applies to Isaiah’s prophecy:

[Bach’s music] is not merely agreeable, like other composers’, but transports us to the regions of the ideal. It does not arrest our attention momentarily but grips us the stronger the oftener we listen to it so that, after a thousand hearings, its treasures are still unexhausted and yield fresh beauties to excite our wonder.

Isaiah deserves better than to be a “classic” — a famous book nobody reads anymore. His prophecy isn’t always easy to understand. But every day all around the world people take on challenges, from climbing the Matterhorn to learning Japanese to launching a new business. If God has spoken to us through Isaiah, let’s explore this literary Matterhorn. Let’s enjoy the view from the very top, and even the effort of getting there. Let’s reach out for new understandings."

I am certainly looking forward to reading it and learning from Isaiah, admitting I'm nothing but a sinner and being convicted of my dire need for God and God alone.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Lazy Sunday

I used to play Shrooms Solitaire on my PC back in those days when I actually used to sit at a desk at home to play computer games.

There is now a similar iPhone version call Jolly Jam, which is something like Shrooms Solitaire but with a much more advanced interface and gameplay.

Well, it is (again) a lazy Sunday for me today and all I did was play games and catch up on YouTube vids.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Such a disappointment

Today was one of those times, thankfully it's rare, that I had expected something but got absolutely nothing.

I had paid and signed up for a talk on a subject but the speaker talked about something entirely different. And I feel like I've been had.

It was supposed to be a talk on adolescents and self-esteem, but the speaker spent the whole time getting us on our own self-awareness, about strengths and weaknesses, and MBTI - not that I don't already know, being a former trainer on types and now a certified coach on strengths and performance.

The thing is I signed up for a session on adolescents, not self-awareness.

What would you do? Well, I didn't do anything. Not yet. But I plan to write in to at least comment about it.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Review: Proverbs, Wisdom that Works

Proverbs, Wisdom that Works, Preaching the Word
by Raymond C. Ortlund Jr.

This is a very good commentary to read on Proverbs. When I first bought this book, I didn't think to check how the author would manage a preaching commentary on a book with proverbs scattered across the book.

Ortlund did a marvelous job by handling it by topics, only that he was not able to cover them all.

The topics are:
1   Why the Book of Proverbs Matters
2   Let’s Begin (1:1–7)
3   Violence !(1:8–19)
4   A Storm Is Coming (1:20–33)
5   How We Can Grow (2:1–22)
6   The Wisdom That Helps Us (3:1–8)
7   Wisdom at the Extremes of Life (3:9–12)
8   Why Wisdom Matters, What Wisdom Creates (3:13–35)
9   The Only Path into Life (4:1–27)
10   Bitter Honey and Sweet Water (5:1–23)
11   Responsibility, Opportunity, Unity (6:1–19)
12   Why Our Sexuality Matters to God (6:20—7:27)
13   The Worldview of Wisdom (8:1–36)
14   It’s Decision Time (9:1–18)
15   The Tongue (18:21)
16   Humility (22:4)
17   Family (22:6)
18   Emotions (15:30)
19   Friendship (18:24)
20   Money (10:22)
21   Life and Death (12:28)

One of the most important thing about this book is how he centers the message on the Gospel of Christ. Ortlund says, "It leads us to Christ. If you look for him here, you will find him."

For now, Chapter 19 on friendship is extremely relevant and timely for me. This is one I will revisit very soon.

And here are some great quotes from the book:
Life is a journey, and the end of it all is not just a place but also a condition.

Through the book of Proverbs, God coaches us in the wisdom we need throughout the long and complicated path of our everyday lives.

We need wisdom to fill in the blanks moment by moment, and God gives us his wisdom in the book of Proverbs.

However we are suffering, our real business is with Christ. He is saying to us here in his Word, “Come to me. Deal with me. I am able to restore you out of your past failings and defend you for the future. Hurl yourself at me in all your need. I will give myself to you in all my grace. My wisdom will enter your heart in ways you’ve never known before.”

Wherever you turn in the Bible, remind yourself, “God has a blessing for me here.” Never dismiss a single verse. Even if you don’t understand it, you can still say, “I don’t understand this yet, but I will not despise it. I will not dismiss it as irrelevant or archaic. This book is Jesus speaking to me, every word of it.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book Review: Remarkable Creatures

Remarkable Creatures
by Tracy Chevalier

Having already read two of Tracy Chevalier's books and loving them, I was looking forward to read this one, and I was not disappointed.

I did not realise however that the book is based on a real person, Mary Anning, as I have not heard of her before. I only found out when I read more than 80% of the book. Now I'm glad I have read of her, albeit historical fiction.

Mary Anning was indeed an amazing person, for a woman in the 19th century. According to Wikipedia, "Mary Anning (21 May 1799 – 9 March 1847) was a British fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist who became known around the world for important finds she made in the Jurassic marine fossil beds at Lyme Regis in Dorset, a county in Southwest England on the coast of the English Channel, where she lived. Her work contributed to fundamental changes that occurred during her lifetime in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth."

Chevalier painted her as a simple but inquisitive girl who became an ambitious woman in her entrepreneurship and contribution to the world of prehistoric science when women were then considered as "spare part"!

On the part when a Lord Henley was chided for putting his name as the discoverer of a complete fossil specimen instead of Anning's as it was she who found it, he said:
“Mary Anning is a worker. She found the crocodile on my land-Church Cliffs are part of my property, you know. Do you think these men-” he nodded at the men shifting mud “-do they own what is on this land simply because they dig it up? Of course not! It belongs to me. Besides which, Mary Anning is a female. She is a spare part. I have to represent her, as indeed I do many Lyme residents who cannot represent themselves.”
It is indeed frustrating to read how women were regarded back in those days and I am thankful we are who we are today and regarded as equals.

The book presents the narrative with the relationship of two women, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, who was also obsessed with fossils. It tells of their unexpected friendship and relationship that grew in spite of their differences all because they were both drawn to the allure of finding skeletons and remains of remarkable creatures.

Chevalier's portrayal of Mary Anning is quite uncanny though for me because her voice really reminds me of a friend that I have. They sound so alike that I got chills reading the Mary chapters (the book has alternate chapters between Mary and Elizabeth being the first person). And on top of that, (spoiler alert) the part where they fought and had a major fall out also reminds me of my fall out with the same person, although of course it is not exactly the same. It's just quite eerie.

I now look forward to getting and reading her other books: Falling Angels, The Lady and the Unicorn, Burning Bright, and her latest The Last Runaway.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A really old photo

It's wonderful when my friends post old pictures because I can now at least have a digital copy of them.

But the irony is I now think I look kinda good when I thought I look ugly back then.

So in a sense, I shouldn't say I look ugly now because 20 years down the line, if I'm still around, I'd probably say the same thing.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Back to the gym

I've been "pontenging" the gym for almost two weeks and it felt so great to be back on the bike!

Note: "ponteng" is "playing truant" in Malay (the participle -ing is my informal English use of the word)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Beginning with this Scripture

The sermon this morning was by a pastor from Melbourne, Rev Dale Stephenson, who spoke about the apostle Philip in the book of Acts.

The lesson I learnt was from Acts 8 where Philip was led by the Spirit to "go over and join this chariot." (v. 29) He found the Ethiopian eunuch in the chariot who invited him in and read to Philip a passage in Isaiah about the Jesus.

He asked Philip, "about whom does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?" Then Philip spoke and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.

"Beginning with this Scripture": God leads us to work where He is already working.

Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel. He will not disappoint.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Askt - another journaling app

I am currently using a couple of journaling apps and I just happened to find another interesting one call Askt.

I use Momento to write my journal. It also include my daily blog post in it as well to give quite a nice round up of my days. It has become a must-have app for me since I write as a therapy to manage my emotions and thoughts.

Surprisingly, I am still using Highs and Lows, as I document my highest and lowest point of my every day. I find doing that help bring meaning to every one of my days as I live them. It also helps me realise that some days are kind of wasted but on the other hand these mundane days are also days that give me a sense of peace and thanksgiving to God who is always so gracious and faithful.

Askt is quite intriguing. It gives you one question every day and gives you space to type out your answers. And as you come back to the same question in the next year and answer it, you will see how you may have changed.

I am just on day two with Askt today and I look forward to the next few days' questions. I do think it will actually my interest as long as the other two journaling apps.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Word Lens

Something really funny and interesting happened in CG today. Someone brought a box of cherry jaffa cakes which they bought during their trip to Austria to share with us.

One of us took out his Android phone, took a picture of the ingredient list in German, highlighted the words by swiping the lines with his finger for the translation to English to appear in a text window. He then jokingly said, "iPhones can't beat this!"

And I obviously took the challenge and said, "Of course we can!" (Notice I used "we", as if me and my iPhone are one...err, sorry hubby dear...but you know what I mean.)

I know I have my Word Lens app stashed away somewhere in my iPhone and there it was in my Travel folder.

It uses the phone's camera and translate the words in real time. They were all so mesmerised but the few who just came back from Austria so wished I have told them earlier before they went because they were practically typing every word into their iPhone to be translated!

Anyway we soon discovered the app is available in Android as well.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

What else to read?

Now that I have finished reading my "must-read" book list - not difficult since there only two titles in it - what will be my next read?

I am now finding it tough to get book recommendations. I use goodreads.com now but I must say, it still can't compare with the days when I scour the book stores for interesting books. It somehow felt better in the real bookstores. However, on the other hand it is so much easier to just pop into a site than into a store.

But maybe it is time I take a look at the pile of books and ebooks I have bought but not read.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Couch Potato: Guilty

I have been taking leave from work - basically just to utilize my annual leave but I spent time at home. It's good except that there is nothing much to do except be a couch potato.

This is bad. Can't wait to get back to the office and gym in the morning.

Photo source: www.unsv.com

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tsunami, Caught On Camera

I watched the movie, The Impossible, again.

And this time I checked the YouTube for some related videos and found this documentary, made about 5 years after the disaster - Tsunami Caught On Camera.

It's a documentary made up from footages and live videos taken by the victims themselves.

It was a very moving piece and those scenes will certainly never be forgotten for a long, long time. And this year will be its tenth year anniversary.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Movies: over and over again

I am the kind that watches movies or even some TV shows again and again and again. Do you?

My husband and my son don't. They find it a waste of time. But I find it comforting but of course it has to be movies I like.

I am even the kind who can forget how the movie goes even though I've watched it before. And for those I remember, I watch it from different angles, notice things I have not noticed before and I pay more attention to the dialogues.

I do waste a lot of time now, don't I?


Saturday, September 13, 2014

An Education Plan

I attended a seminar in church today on "What to do after Form 5/O Levels?", which was very much an eye-opener for me.

Back in my school days 20 over years ago, there wasn't much of a plan. My parents didn't do any research. It basically just boiled down to whatever appears as the the next step, just take it.

As such, I did not realize there is much to do with regards to my son's education plan. But now I know and there is much for me to do - to perform some research, to talk and help my son discover what his interests are and what options he has for a career.

There is much to do and I'm glad I know that now and I'm glad I'm given a good head start with what was shared during the seminar and I'm glad it is not too late, but it is time to start.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Led by the Spirit

We complete one bible study chapter in one sitting in CG today, which is something that has not happened before! So everyone was quite amused and glad. We are moving quite slowly but steadily in our bible study, and so it was a good experience to complete one lesson in one sitting.

The take home from the lesson for me was this: the phrase "led by God" and "led by the Spirit", whilst it usually means God leading me to make a decision has a more holistic meaning in Scripture.

Being "led by the Spirit" means living a Christian life. It means putting to death the desires of the flesh, living in Christ, being sons of God, being heirs and co-heirs with Christ and suffering with Christ in order to be glorified with him. (Rom 8:13-17)

That is what it means to be led by the Spirit, not so much being led to say something, or take this job, or marry this person. I'm not saying it is not, it's just that these are a smaller part of a whole.

Let us be led by the Spirit everyday of our lives.

Oh yes, one more thing. As it always happen, I have friends who asked me why they have landed themselves in problems and bad situations when they felt they had been led by God into it in the first place. Well, it will be interesting to note that the phrase "led by God" and "led by the Spirit" almost always refers to both the leading of Israelites out of Egypt into the wilderness and leading of Jesus into the wilderness. So don't be surprised if you have been led into the wilderness too.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

I mentioned two weeks ago that I should give up on young adult fiction and read more serious books. I find that I am getting lazy in my reading and had preferred easy-reads - those that I can speed read and those that does not need much thinking. I felt I must stop reading those and get back to proper reading.

And I am glad I read Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. It was a very interesting and engaging read and as I read it, I noticed how prophetic the book was. It was written about 61 years ago but most of what I read are very reminiscent of today's world.

Here are several of his predictions that is true to us today:

• Seashells and thimble radios, which they wear in their ears --> our earbuds and Bluetooth headsets

• Viewing screens that take up the entire wall in their houses --> our large flat-screen televisions mounted on our walls

• Talking to their friends through the digital walls --> our Facebook

• People taking part in real life games as seen in the digital walls --> our reality shows

• The loneliness the husband felt as the wife was constantly on the thimble radio and with full attention on the digital walls --> our being glued to our devices that we've lost quality in our relationship with our close ones

• Automated banking machines --> our ATMs

• The banning of books and the dissemination of non-combustible data so that they will be chockfull of information but not give them slippery stuff like philosophy and sociology --> our dumbing down of information into broad, repetitive and simple

It's quite eerie reading it and seeing so much of our lives now had existed in that book written in 1953, it's just amazing.

My next serious read? George Orwell's Animal Farm!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's our 20th year

My husband and I aren't much of a celebrant, but it's our twentieth year wedding anniversary after all and we decided to at least go out for dinner.

And I also have a splendid idea. We lost our wedding rings several years ago when our house got burglared. And we never did get them replaced.

I shall go get them tomorrow.

But most of all, I thank the Lord for all these years He has so graciously given us, the joys and the pains, the ups and the downs, the smiles and the frowns, all good things come from Him. With this, I pray for more years of growing and being together in love and in Him. Amen.

Photo (c) The Cake by Mildred

Monday, September 08, 2014

月光光, 照地堂 Bright moonlight, shining on the ground

I learnt a Cantonese children's poem when I was a wee kid - 月光光, 照地堂 - literally, bright moonlight, shining on the ground.

I was just three years old then, I think, when I could recite it in full. I still can.

I am being reminded of it today, being the Mid Autumn Festival (though the poem refers to the lunar new year eve) - the night sky tonight is so clear and the moon is so round, full and bright.

In relation to the poem, this is a lovely Cantonese lullaby, quite nicely done, in the same theme, and with the same opening.

Here are the lyrics and literal translation. Hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

月光光 照地堂
yut6 gwong1 gwong1 ziu3 dei6 tong4
Bright moonlight, shining on the ground

haa1 zai2 nei5 gwaai1 gwaai1 fan3 lok6 cong4
Little Shrimp [a term of endearment given to the child], you obediently go to bed

teng1 ciu4 aa3 maa1 yiu3 gon2 caap3 yeong1 lo1
Tomorrow mother needs to quickly plant the seedlings

阿爺睇牛去上山崗 啊...
aa3 ye4 tai2 ngau4 hoei3 seong56 saan1 gong1
[Paternal] grandfather watches the cows will need to go up to the small hill, ah...

haa1 zai2 nei5 faai3 gou1 zeong2 daai6 lo1
Little Shrimp, you'll soon grow tall and big

幫手阿爺去睇牛羊 啊...
bong1 sau2 aa3 ye4 hoei3 tai2 ngau4 yeong4
Help your grandfather watch the cows and sheep, ah...

月光光 照地堂
yut6 gwong1 gwong1 ziu3 dei6 tong4
Bright moonlight, shining on the ground

haa1 zai2 nei5 gwaai1 gwaai1 fan3 lok6 cong4
Little Shrimp, you obediently go to bed

teng1 ciu4 aa3 maa1 yiu3 bou6 yu4 haa1 lo1
Tomorrow your mother needs to catch fish and shrimp

阿嫲織網要織到天光 啊...
aa3 maa1 zik1 mong5 yiu3 zik1 dou3 tin1 gwong1
[Paternal] grandmother weaves a net until daylight, ah...

haa1 zai2 nei5 faai3 gou1 zeong2 daai6 lo1
Little Shrimp, you'll soon grow tall and big

waa6 teng5 saat3 mong5 zau6 gang13 zoi6 hong4
Row the boat out to cast the net and becoming an expert

月光光 照地堂
yut6 gwong1 gwong1 ziu3 dei6 tong4
Bright moonlight, shining on the ground

年卅晚 摘檳榔
neen saa maan, caak bun long
During the Lunar New Year eve, harvest the betel nuts

ng gong fung sao dui moon cong long
The abundant crops fills the granary

老老嫩嫩喜洋洋 啊...
lou lou luen luen hei yong yong
Everyone, young and old alike, is beaming with joy, ah...

haa1 zai2 nei5 faai3 ti mei mai ngan lo1
Little Shrimp, quickly close your eyes

一覺瞓到大天光 啊...
yaat gao fan dou dai teen gwong
Sleep until the daylight comes, ah...

Source: Lyrics/Pin Yin (pin yin without the tones are mine) and translation


Sunday, September 07, 2014

A Wasted Day

Another day let slip! Its hours have run,
Its golden hours, with prodigal excess,
All run to waste. A day of life the less;
Of many wasted days, alas, but one!

Through my west window streams the setting sun.
I kneel within my chamber, and confess
My sin and sorrow, filled with vain distress,
In place of honest joy for work well done.

At noon I passed some labourers in a field.
The sweat ran down upon each sunburnt face,
Which shone like copper in the ardent glow.
And one looked up, with envy unconcealed,
Beholding my cool cheeks and listless pace,
Yet he was happier, though he did not know.

~ Robert Fuller Murray


Saturday, September 06, 2014

Ten Books that Affected Me in Some Way

I received a Facebook tag from Ee-Tan today to list out 10 books that affected me in some way.

Well, Ee-Tan, you got me at "books". So this post is in dedication to you, Ee-Tan.

I listed these 10 books that have been influential to me. Well, not all of them have been directly influential to me but most have at least affected me in some ways.

The Holy Bible and featured here is The ESV Study Bible
It goes without saying that The Holy Bible tops the list. Read it since I was a kid and reading it now and will read it till my deathbed. It is the living word of God that feeds and nourishes me, corrects me and directs me in the right path. With it I speak and pray to God and with it I embrace the Gospel of Christ for life everlasting.

The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence of Jesus by Lee Strobel
Check out my book review here.
As mentioned in my review, this is the book that is the catalyst of my faith-seeking-understanding pursuit to seek Christ and seek life. I owe a lot to this book that started me thinking seriously about my faith.

People of the Book, A Novel by Geraldine Brooks
Check out my book review here.
This tops my list in the novel category. Firstly, it is a book about books. And secondly, it has amazing characters and an astounding storyline about lives in different times tied to this one book that exist through its fictional history (it's based on the Sarajevo Haggadah, a real book by the way).

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Check out my book review here.
He is my all-time favourite author and this is just to include one of his book to cover all his other books that held me amazed at both the glory and marvel of God and his astute brilliance as an author for the decade long period of my faith-seeking-understanding time.

Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones
Check out my book review here.
Ken Follett was the one who started me on historical fiction but it was this book that really hones it on. (I just realised there is a pun here since both books by Follett and Falcones are about sculpturing and building of cathedrals, and so pun unintentionally intended!)

Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength by Laurie A. Helgoe
I still remember quite clearly the time when I was reading this book and how I have personalized some advice I got from there. The one thing that I have ingrained deeper in me is the practice of journalling.

Genesis: Beginning and Blessing by R. Kent Hughes
This is an amazing book. It brought to me an in-depth study of the book of Genesis like never before. I suppose Genesis has been for me since my childhood days a book of stories and important stories they are. Hughes has however, brought me much need thought and lessons, both theologically and practically. I remember reading the last several chapters on Joseph and Tamar and Joseph in one go, and with tears rimming my eyes.

Redeeming Love, A Novel by Francine Peters
Check out my review here.
I must say I should have listed Francine Peters's Unveiled: Tamar instead of Redeeming Love but I'd say both have a special place in my heart. She brought life into the stories of these people, Hosea and Gomer, and Tamar. Her version of Tamar and Hosea-Gomer has really opened my eyes with regards to the salvation and redeeming love of Christ.

Business for the Common Good: A Christian Vision for the Marketplace by Kenman L. Wong
Check out my book review here.
I have always been wondering about what it means to work and I always felt like a round peg with a square hole when it comes to my career. Through the years God has opened my eyes through what he has brought me through in my working life and he has resolved it when I read this book. I am now at peace.

Bethlehem to Patmos: The New Testament Story by Paul Barnett
This is one of the earlier books I read as a result of reading Case for Christ that was memorable. It covers an overview, forest-view, bird's eye view of the New Testament from Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus to Patmos, the Revelation visions of John. For the beginning of my journey to know more about Christ, this has given me a good start.

Going through and thinking about these books again has built in me a desire to reread them, and read them again I shall, especially those I have read a long time ago.


Friday, September 05, 2014

My son's choice of apparel

My son who does not care two hoots about what he wears now has a specific preference for a brand.

It was just not too long ago when I suggest we go shop for some new clothes, he would dismiss it with a wave. But now when I say, let's go get you some clothes in Uniqlo, he'd be more than happy to go.

But he is still quite simple in his clothing needs.

He just want plain round neck black or dark grey tees and dark coloured shorts. Nothing else. He think he now has 10 of the exact same tees, but who's counting.

I am not too keen on the selection of clothes in Uniqlo but I got for myself today two pairs of pants that actually fit me. Quality is quite good but selection is still limited.


Thursday, September 04, 2014

Gym Balls

I have been using a gym ball on and off during my personal training classes. I've used one for weight training this morning.

I also rested a bit while sitting on it and it felt so comfortable I've decided to purchase one to use at home. Although some have warned that it may not be suitable ergonomic and biomechanic wise.

Photo source: Public Domain Pictures

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Our beloved Manglish

We Chinese in Malaysia have a weird sense of the English language sometimes.

My son speaks excellent English but when I accused him of finishing all the cans of Coke in the fridge today, he denied it by saying, "Where got?", which gave me a good laugh as he does not really speak the Chinese language.

"Where got?" is a direct translation of the Mandarin na li you, which denotes a denial.

Here's more of how we localize the English language:

Don't want for "bu yao", meaning I don't want it. And we say it so quickly it actually sounds like "doe one"!

Don't have for "mei you", meaning I don't have it.

No need for "bu shue yao", meaning I don't need it.

See how for "kan je me yang", meaning let's see how it goes.

Why like that? for "wei she me je yang", meaning why is it like that?

He come already and I here already for "ta dao le" and "wo lai dao le" meaning he has arrived and I have arrived.

Got meh? for "you ma?" in asking if the matter or person or whatever, is in existence or if it's happening.

I want for "wo yao" meaning I have a need for it.

You go see for "ni qu kan" meaning you go and have a look.

I'll be sure to add on as I encounter them in my conversations with my fellow Malaysians.


Note: apologies if my han yu pin yin above is not accurate.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Chosen but Free by Norman Geisler

My good friend Noel has been trying to get me to read this book for a long while now and I finally got myself a copy.

I have started reading it and I am only up to Chapter 3 but I am liking what I am reading. I have never agreed with a Calvinist before but Geisler could be one Calvinist I will heartily agree with, so far.

Here is one paragraph I especially liked:
"A beautiful illustration
One final illustration of the congruency between predetermination and free choice is found in the shipwreck recorded by Luke in Acts 27. Paul assured his fellow travelers in advance that “ ‘not one of you will be lost, only the ship will be destroyed’ ” (v. 22). Yet a few verses later he warned them, “ ‘Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved’ ” (v. 31). Both are true. God knew in advance and had revealed to Paul that none would drown (cf. v. 23). But He also knew it would be through their free choice to stay on the ship that this would be accomplished."

And I totally agree with this:
Sovereignty and free will. Is it one or the other, or is it both one and the other? The Bible says both...The mystery of the relationship between divine sovereignty and human free will has challenged the greatest Christian thinkers down through the centuries. Unfortunately, the extreme Calvinists have sacrificed human responsibility in order to preserve divine sovereignty. Likewise...extreme Arminians have sacrificed God’s sovereignty in order to hold on to man’s free will. We believe that both of these alternatives are wrong and lead to inordinately extreme actions.


Monday, September 01, 2014

Shocking pink? Seriously?

Nothing much happened today being a public holiday with no work, except that I actually bought myself a shocking pink dress.

Not exactly like this one, but close.

I am not sure if I will ever dare wear it out.