So Much Love

I woke up to a birthday song and greeting that made my heart melt.

The day was filled with lovely messages, hugs from my Summer School mates and a flood of Facebook greetings.

It ended with ice cream and smooth jazz music in a beautiful colonial building. Almost as if I was back in 1929.

Though miles from home, on a work trip, my life is filled with so much love. It has been 28 years of a blessed life.


Days 107-108: OHana in Hanoi

The Oldham Hall family extends to Hanoi! I thank God for this extended family that we have been blessed with all over the world.
Thanks for taking me out and sharing your favourite local food with me.
Unfortunately the weather did not allow us to explore the streets, but I enjoyed chilling at the cafe with a view of the lake and the old quarter, over the famous Vietnamese iced coffee. Now let's hope I can sleep tonight.
Outfit of the day: reversible top and black pencil skirt.
Exotic local food

That's yesterday's outfit of my pink dress and black heels.

Our workshop organizers brought us to a rather kitschy cruise dinner last night. We shared the cruise with a Vietnamese family celebrating a birthday over hotpot n karaoke. We could hear everything from our dining area upstairs. They were clearly having fun. 


Days 101-102

Last week was a busy week as we were hosting an international workshop in Singapore.
Dress from Gan Ann's sewing room, jacket from Bangkok, shoes from Tangs
Dress a hand me down, jacket from Bangkok 


Day 106: Hanoi

Hello friends! I'm now in Hanoi. I'm here for a workshop for 2 weeks. I'll be eating, learning, hanging out with the same group of people for 24/7 the next 10 days. Hopefully, it will be a good time of learning. 
Sadly, I'm here alone, so there's no one to take my daily photo for me. At least, my room has a full length mirror. So we are just gonna have to live with the poor lighting.
Today's outfit was in anticipation of being cooped up in an economy class seat, as well as the heat of the Hanoi summer- top from Sisley, and jeans from Mango. Good choices, if I may say so myself :) 
P.s. let me know if you have any good recommendations for hanoi or sapa. Or if you are here, let's meet up!

100 Days of a Different Outfit Everyday

We have reached a milestone. 100 days of wearing different outfit everyday. Many of my clothes finally got to see the light of day because of this challenge. I also came to terms with the fact that some clothes, no matter how pretty they are, and the memories we have shared, will no longer be part of my ensembles. And I have given them away to bring joy to others. Most of all, the challenge has shown me how greatly blessed beyond measure I am. 

Catching up on Different Outfit Everyday: Days 95, 96 and 99

We were so excited about getting the keys to our home on day 99 that we forgot to take my outfit post. This was the only pic I got. But it was good enough since our house keys are the hottest accessory.

Just to catch up, here are the outfit pics from the public holidays
Purple flora dress from bag of goodies from day 95
Day 96: The day I became a pizza delivery girl. In my "eat me!" singlet and yellow shorts.
We were helping our friend's mom who owns a pizza delivery place on National day. It seems pizzas are a popular accompaniment to the parade so orders came in fast and furious. I apologies if anyone had substandard pizzas on that day. We were "massaging" stretching dough till my arms ached. I also got a chance to do a delivery run with my friend's dad. It was pretty fun presenting people with their pizzas and facing confused looks as I was not in the usual uniform. Lol

We were rewarded at the end of the day with a delicious pizza that's not on the menu. If it were, I'd order it ALL the time.

Hello! Can I Help?

I got out of bed before the sun rose on National Day and drove to a nondescript industrial building in the Potong Pasir area. I was a little apprehensive as I stepped out of my car. But I pushed my uncertainties aside as I took the old industrial lift up to the 4th floor.

As the heavy doors trundled open, the buzz of activity was palpable. I was at the right place. Welcome to Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen. A 100% volunteer-based organisation which feeds about 3000 people 365 days a year. 

I was told that there is no roster system so I should just show up and pitch in wherever needs help. 

Upon entering the premises, wasn't quite sure what to do with myself, so I just went up to the first person I saw and said, "Hello! Can I help?" with what I hoped was as much of a dazzling smile as I could muster.

I was immediately put to work packing buns into individual plastic bags. Soon several other helpers gathered around and the task was completed swiftly.

I then wandered further into the kitchen and discovered that the place was huge and there was an army of volunteers chopping vegetables, frying eggs, cooking curry, washing ingredients and boiling rice. There was such a spirit of joy as everyone was working together for a common cause.

Another friendly "Hello! Can I help?", and I was put to work peeling onions. But not before the Aunty insisted that I had rubbed my lips with salt, which she said prevented one from tearing while peeling onions. It was a humbling yet enjoyable experience as I worked with a student, a housewife, a wrinkled old Aunty and an urban professional to peel sacks of onions. Most of us still ended up with a bucket of tears, but the Aunty seemed immune. We must have been doing it all wrong.

As the food deliveries went out, I asked if they needed help. Uncle Tony said they had enough delivery help for the day, but he asked if I could go "love an old lady". He called the lady, and got me to take down her address, then passed me a packet of food, a box of biscuits and sent me on my way. I wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into. But a few minutes later, I was at a block of 2 room flats. I was first greeted with the smell of damp and urine then the sight of a cluttered messy place. 

"Hello?" I called. I heard a response from inside and an old lady hunched over came shuffling out. She apologized profusely for the mess and for taking a long time to get to the door as her body just didn't allow her to move any faster. She then invited me in. I ended up staying for almost an hour. 

I said a silent prayer and asked for wisdom and the words to encourage this lady, as I listened to her pour out her tales of her history and her ailments. I wanted so much to help, but I didn't know how. So I did what I knew. Before I left, I offered to pray for her, which she graciously accepted. And I trust that our loving Heavenly Father will hold her close and give her sufficient grace. 

I thank God for organizations like Willing Hearts that reach out in practical ways to those in need around us. In a society with so much, nobody should have to go hungry.

Extending a hand could be as simple as a willing heart and a  "Hello! Can I help?"


Day 98: Perfect for Me

To celebrate the first year of our life as Mr and Mrs Kwek, we shared a Zion road char kway teow, and a cup of soya bean milk for tea. For dinner, we had zi char. We spent the rest of the day looking for tiles and lights for our new home.

We are simple people like that. 

Dress from Bonn
Looking back, we have much to be thankful for. The Lord has truly done for us more than we could ever ask or imagine. All glory to God.

"And I'd just like to say
I thank God that you're here with me
And I know you too well to say that you're perfect

But you'll see... you're perfect for me" 0 comments

Day 97: Climb On

Dear rock wall, it has been awhile since we met. Thanks for being kind. You were worth waking up for. Especially with wear red and climb for free day :)
Red singlet from Phuket, dance pants a hand me down, harness from Neh, climbing shoes my very own


Days 93 and 94: Getting Through the Week

It seemed as if the weight of a usual week demanded that it be compressed into the short work week. And so we faced unreasonable demands, contradictory messages and abrasive attitudes. This made for angsty and discouraged troopers who were on the verge of developing collective high blood pressure.

But God is good.

My desperate prayers were met with warm encouragement, from people, books and songs. One thing that truly lifted my spirits and changed my perspective was reading the writing of Amy Carmichael. This passage particularly struck a chord.
When seen in the light of eternity, what are these momentary troubles? 

At times like these I thank God for friends at work. People who trudge on together and bring encouragement and practical help. People I actually like hanging out with outside of office hours. People who entertain my dress code days like today's red+white = pink!
So even at the end of the short thought week, my heart can say, God is good. 

Happy long weekend everyone!

Day 93- white top from KL, pants from G2000, shoes from Itti&Otto
Day 94- pink dress from London

Day 91: Sew Happy Tile Shopping

We are getting the keys to our new home in just a couple of days! *jumps up and down in excitement* Renovation planning has ramped up. So we went tile hunting on Saturday. It's amazing how many types of tiles there are with only slight variations. The search continues.
This top is the first "copy" top that I did. It was based on a top with a mandarin collar and Chinese buttons. I was lazy to put in the Chinese buttons, so it is what you see today. It's paired with my only pair of jeans and my white loafers from Scotland.

Day 90: Batam Day Trip

Headed to Batam in a black top that I bought about 5 years ago that I never wore, Thai wrap pants from Bangkok, and my rainbow cloth bag, and a whole lot of stuff to give away!

Take my hands and let them move, at the impulse of Thy love

Upon hearing about my 28 for 28 plan, my mom has been absolutely supportive and has been giving me excellent ideas. Many of which involve me tagging along for all the good things she is doing. Because pf this, I am discovering what a wonderful person my mom is as she does so much behind the scenes.

One thing my mom has been doing is sponsoring the education of a boy in Batam. So she suggested that we make a trip together to visit him and bring along some goodies to bless his family. She promptly got in contact with the pastor over there and set up the visit. Have I mentioned my mom is awesome?

So on Saturday we took a trip together to Batam. Between Mr Kwek and I, we managed to pack 1 big luggage full of good quality clothes for the bible school students there. We also brought over 2 bags of goodies for the church staff, and the sponsored child's family. 

Just an hour's ferry ride away, Batam is a whole different world from Singapore. Thanks to the pastor and one of the bible school students who so lovingly drove us around and served as our interpreters, we got to visit the sponsor child (Ronaldo), see their building project, and participate in a feeding programme at the slum area. I was so richly blessed to see and hear of the faith of the people there and how their faith is shown in how they live their lives. I was touched by their examples of passion, service and generosity even in the midst of having so little materially.

Ronaldo's home

Inside of Ronaldo's home

My mom, Ronaldo, his sister and me

Building of a new kindergarten at the slum area. The bible school students and church members are building it on their own.

While the new premises are being built, a church member has opened up their home for the feeding programme. The couple that own the house just sat outside during the programme as their home was overun by the kids from the neighbourhood. I was touched at their generosity and giving out of poverty

About a 100+ children were crammed into a space about the size of my bedroom for the songs and story time before the food, milk and vitamins were distributed

I was also amazed at how the older children of about 9-10, were looking after their toddler siblings

Preparing the cups for the milk

Preparing the milk

Partaking of the milk
Since coming back from the trip, I have decided to sponsor a child as well. If you are interested, this is the organisation that manages the education sponsorship programme- Care Channels. I can also link you up with the appropriate people if you are interested.

As we have been so richly blessed , it is a privilege to be given the opportunity to be a channel of blessing as well.

28 for 28 may not turn out as imagined, but the lyrics of this old hymn resonates with my heart:
Take my hands and let them move

At the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Day 92: My Dress Looks Like an Animal

Me: My dress nice?
Mr Kwek: Your dress looks like an animal. What you want me to say?

My husband has great appreciation for my clothes.

Dress from my bag of goodies

Days 88 and 89: Ordinary Days

"Not much for conversation
I still find need to pray
Sometimes I get tired of walking
Through these ordinary days
If nothing else I get to see you
Even if we never speak
The harm of words though sometimes
We don't quite know
What they really mean"~ Jars of Clay, These Ordinary Days
Day 88: dress from a flea, sunset shawl a gift

Day 89: dress from New2U Thrift Store

Days 85-87: The Invisible Gorilla

I've been thinking about how easily time can pass us by, as we live with the blinkers of routine firmly in place. Each day, I can take the MRT squashed with a thousand other people yet see no one. I can pass the same elderly folk doing exercise at the fitness corner yet we never acknowledge each other. The office cleaners can work around me everyday, yet I have never learnt their names. The world can change with revolutions and disasters, yet to me, they remain stories in a stack of papers.

This reminded me of the invisible gorilla experiment we learnt about in Psychology class, where people were told to watch a video and count how many times a basket ball was passed around the room. A gorilla appears and walks around during the video, yet at the end of the video, many people never even noticed it.
The experiment demonstrated how we could miss major details while concentrating on something else. In the same way, we can be so focused on fulfilling all the plans we have made for ourselves that we miss the little blessing, the important people and the needs all round us.

So I've been praying that my eyes be open to see all the important things around me. Let's not miss out on the abundant life.
Day 87: Top from my bag of goodies, pencil skirt from a flea, silver shoes from Berlin

Day 86: Remember my friend Angeline? That's us with a special delivery of Astor biscuits from Jakarta.
My pink top is from the bag of goodies, pants from Bysi

Day 85:  I finally got around to running in my MFA run singlet, FBT shorts and Reebok shoes :)