Entering The Next Decade Of Life

I turn 30 today. My birthday was supposed to be a simple day like any other Saturday. The morning was set aside for catching up on household stuff. The first order of business was doing laundry, followed by tidying up the house, which mysteriously gets strewn with stuff over the work week. While I was putting away stuff in the living room, I heard a pop and a crash in quick succession from my kitchen. I thought a small animal had flown in through the window and was knocking over stuff, so I ran to the kitchen. To my shock, my kitchen sink had become a a fountain gushing water into the air and my tap languishing in the sink. People pay big money for a water feature in their home. I got mine for free!

I tried in vain, putting the tap back on and covering the water fountain with my hands... In the mean time, my kitchen was quickly flooding as the water swiftly flowed across my kitchen counter and onto the floor. It finally dawned upon me to turn off the water supply. When I finally found it, I was thankful that an episode of How I Met Your Mother taught me the saying, "righty tighty, lefty loosey". But try as I might, the main tap wouldn't budge and I watched the water meter roll along super quickly. I ran down the corridor hoping to get the help of one of my stronger neighbours, but alas, everyone was not at home. Thank God that after some immense efforts, the tap moved and I was able to turn it off. So I was left with a partially flooded kitchen, wet cabinets and appliances, and a broken kitchen sink/tap. 
I wasn't sure where to begin and Mr Kwek had not returned from his cycling, so I called the other man who I knew would always come to my rescue- my daddy. And after looking at the photos I sent over, my daddy went home to get his tools and swiftly swooped down to my home to save the day. 

Through the whole episode, there was so much to be thankful for. From the fact that I was at home (imagine if this happened on a work day. Horrors), to having a daddy who is a great handyman, to the water somehow avoiding the electrical points of my kitchen appliances (I could very well have been electrocuted eeks!). And I realised that even in such mini crises, God is in control. 

What a way to start my birthday. But as I enter into a new decade of life, I guess this is a sign of things to come. The increase of responsibilities, the learning of new skills I never knew I needed before, and the renewed appreciation for our parents. Above all, whatever the decade ahead throws at me, I know I have a sovereign God who is in control of everything. And with Him as the anchor for my soul, I have nothing to fear.

Counting My Blessings

Today I thanked God for being able to read.

In the morning I wake up and am able to read the Bible. What a privilege to be able to read and understand the word of God.
On the bus, I whip out my Foreign Policy, Harvard Business Review and New Scientist magazines and read about the ins and outs of our world at large- of scientific breakthroughs, diplomatic scandals and start-up successes.  The horizons on my world have expanded far beyond my physical sight.

At work, I analyse countless pages of text, in order to ensure that my country's interests are preserved. It is a joy to have a decent job which serves a greater purpose.

In the circles that I move in today, the skill of reading is something that almost everyone has. Because of that, it is a skill we often overlook, but it enriches our lives immensely.

So as I give up my Tuesday evenings to teach a bunch of little ones how to read, I am reminded that I am not just trying to teach them a bunch of new words. I am imparting a skill which would enrich their lives, expand their horizons and hopefully open their eyes to the Maker of heaven and earth.


Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep

Today, I attended a wedding, a baby's first birthday and two wakes. 

To be honest, having been ill and not sleeping well the past two weeks, my body was begging, "just let me sleep through this scorching day with the aircon turned on at full blast."

But with the husband's encouragement, I pulled my protesting body out the door, and with that I learned lessons of life and faith while sitting on the back of a bike and travelling across the island.

Today I witnessed love. Between a newly married couple, between family members who gather to rejoice, between friends who become family, and between brothers and sisters in Christ. I have much to learn from these examples. 

Today I learned what it means to practice love in action. If my almighty God would love me enough to send His own Son to die for my sins so that I can be reconciled to Him, how can I not have love for others. And the bible tells us that one way in which we can show this love is to "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." (Romans 12:15 NKJV) And so, we do so, even if our mortal bodies protest. 

Today I learned the brevity of life.  As I gathered with my friends for life's major milestones, I also see the limits that each of us have in time. And I am reminded and rebuked by the passage in the bible which states, "For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." (James 4:14, 17 NKJV) I know how often I know to do good and choose not to because it was so much easier to just do the acceptable. 

So today my prayer is that I in my life, I seek to do the will of God which is so much greater than me. That I will not choose the easy, but the good, the right, the excellent. That I will walk so much closer to the One who first loved me, as He is the beginning and the end of all things and there would be no better way to walk. 


I Know Who Goes Before Me

I like what I do, though leaving is never easy. But as I leave for my next sojourn into climate change land, I am certain of who goes before me- the Lord of angel armies. Go watch the video. https://youtu.be/qOkImV2cJDg 0 comments

Sew Happy- Long Weekends

Public holidays means I get a little breather from my usual commitments to do what I like doing. So during the recent Easter weekend, I eked out a little time to make new bags for Mr kwek and myself.

Mr Kwek got a faux leather messenger bag lined with a black and white spotty cotton and dark blue satin binding around the edges. I found sewing such a thick and stiff material really difficult especially when I got to the corners. Probably didn't help that the pattern was just dreamed up by yours truly who has zero experience sewing with such materials. It turned out decent, though kinda rough around the edges. I'm so gonna try sewing with real leather next. But maybe with a more manageable project. *excited*
For myself, I made myself a little stripey cross-body sling bag by modifying a 5-minute-sew idea I saw on Pinterest. I'm clearly a terrible sewer as it took me a whole hour to complete. But I'm still mighty pleased. It is made to fit my Bible, a notebook, my wallet and phone. All the essentials I need. :)
I love long weekends. Raise your hands if you do too!

Making Pants from a Dress- Upcycling!

I have never made pants before. Mainly because I hardly wear pants so I have never had the inclination to learn, and also because my sewing teacher a long time ago said pants were difficult to sew and that totally turned me off.

On my way home from teaching little kids to read the other night, I chanced upon a you-tube tutorial on making pants the easy way and as you may have noticed, I love sewing shortcuts, so I was inspired to try the technique.

But being a bag of lazy bones, I made a sewing shortcut even shorter! I dug out a dress that I haven't worn for awhile (because many people asked if I was pregnant when I wore it...) And upcycled it!

That saved me from having to hem up the pants and doing a waistband or any closures. So here's my very first sewing tutorial: upcycling a dress into a pair of pants :) *beams*

Step 1: Pick out a dress. It should have a skirt portion at least the length that you want your pants to be. Maxi dresses work well for long pants. My dress was an empire-cut, just below the knee length which was just right. It was a cotton halter with elastic smocking at the back, but any jersey material should work as well.
Step 2: Lay the dress on your workspace as shown in the pic below.
Step 3: Fold it in half length-wise. Like the picture below.
Step 4: Take a pair of pants that currently fits you and align the waistband to where you would like the new waistband to be on your dress. The crotch of your pants should be aligned with the open side of your dress and the legs aligned with the folded edge.
Step 5: Cut the dress based on how wide you want your pants legs to be, leaving about a 1.5cm seam allowance. I wanted loose pants so I cut roughly along the line shown below.
Step 6: Open up the dress. It should look something like the pic below. Then with your dress inside-out, pin the edges together starting from the crotch.
Step 7: Sew the edges together!
Step 8: Try on the pants and see if it fits. Then fold down the top part of the dress which is no longer needed.

Step 9: Cut off the extra portion and sew it down so the top of your pants looks neat. If you are using jersey material, use a zig-zaged stitch.
Step 10: Admire your new pair of pants! Hope you liked my first tutorial and my first pair of pants. Let me know if you try it out. 0 comments

Channels of Joy this Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year is one of the biggest festivals for all ethnic Chinese around the world. At the top of the agenda is returning home for the reunion dinner and feasting with family and loved ones. 

However we know that not everyone gets to enjoy that privillege. Our office cleaners are two ladies from China who will not be celebrating this festive season with their friends and family back home. Instead, they will be working through the holidays to keep our environment clean. 

Knowing this, my colleagues and I wanted to bring them some festive cheer so we pooled together contributions and gave both our cleaners a little red packet each. 

Last week, when I was in Geneva, I received an email from my colleague saying that the cleaners had bought us some new year goodies! That brought a special sense of warmth to my heart despite the freezing temperatures and yet humbled me at the same time. 

The simple act of our cleaners taught me that no matter our situation in life, we can always give and bring joy to others. It also caused me to reflect on how much I have been blessed with and how my response must be to give praise to God for whom all blessing flow and how I should seek to be a blessing to others as well.

So happy lunar new year everyone. May we all experience love and joy this festive season no matter where we are, and may we also seek to be a channel of love and joy to others :)