Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year End Reflections

As the year draws near to a close, it is time to ponder and reflect.It was only 365 days ago that I reflected on 2007 and made my New Year resolutions for 2008.
2008 has been a year of much happenings in terms of financial tsunamis, terrorist attacks and all the other unhappy events that made life difficult for many.
However, it is through difficult times that we sobre down and take account of our lives to seive out what is important and what is not.
I am fortunate to be comfortable in my financial circumstances, thanks be to God who watches over me.
It has been a year of commitments as well as constant reflections.Part time job takes up quite a large chunk of my time everyday but it is a matter of time as measured against remuneration.
Physically, I have time for qigong, swim, brisk walks and folk-dancing.Mentally, I have time to stimulate my brains with Sudoku, reading and writing.
Spiritually, I have my Daily Bread and teaching from His Word, as well as Bible Study Fellowship.
Emotionally, I have my family and friends to sustain me.
I have got to travel too to see the beautiful mountains, lakes, valleys created by the Almighty.
I have learnt to welcome stillness, enjoying everything that life has to offer.I delight in the simple joys of food, music, books and companionship, as well the moments of being alone. God has taught me to live in the present and appreciate all things around me.
His Word has so much wisdom in it that I wish all can gain from the lessons that He has so patiently set down to teach us.
Visiting church members, the elderly at home and in hospital has taught me the importance of patience and forbearance.God has given me the time and love to share the love that He has for us.
Soon it will be 2009.It will be another year of learning. God never fails if we only wait with patience and humility. May the new year give me the hunger for His Word and the wisdom to do His work and share His love and blessings with others.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

How to make the rest of your life the best of your life- Henry Legler

To make the rest of our life the best of our life, we are advised to cultivate a positive fundamental attitude.

'We must so plan our pattern of life that the golden period lies ahead'- a quote from Lin Yutang .

According to the writer, retirement is not a bed of roses, in fact, it is hell on earth often beset with boredom, disillusionment, frustration and often a devastating blow to our ego. Therefore it is critical that monumental preparations be made to make the rest of our life the best of our life.
Most essential is that we have our financial considerations taken care of. We should be mentally prepared to let go and psychologically prepared to start life all over.
Most people envisage retirement life one of bliss and leisure with time to do absolutely nothing but we are reminded to keep active by the followiing quotes:

'Thank God when you get up in the morning that you have something to do'- James Russell Lowell.

'Action may not always bring happiness but there is no happiness without action'- Benjamin Disrael.
The question to ask is " Am I content to drift along from day to day without any real purpose to life?"

"Am I making a sincere effort to keep busy doing something I really like to do?"
" Do I wake up in the morning eagerly anticipating some tasks or activities that I have planned for the day?" "Is tomorrow just another day?"

Voltaire says, " Shun idleness, It is a rust that attaches itself to the most brilliant metals."

The writer advises that it is important to being enthusiatic and that the cure for worries and anxieties lies in the power of prayers, the logic of rationalisation and the habit of postive thinking.

Dean William R. Inge advises that we must adapt ourselves to changing circumstance and to keep busy, interested and alert.

Dale Carnegie remarks that the world is filled with interesting things to do. We can take up full time or part time job, start a small business, engage in hobbies, community service, travel, research,study, reading, games and sports.
W. Benam Wolfe advises us that to find happiness, we must seek for it in a focus outside ourselves.
Victor Hugo shares that he has winter on his head but spring in his heart.

Retirement needs not be hell on earth if only we have a positive attitude and do things that will benefit ourselves and others. Life is exciting if we continue without fears and anxieties as life after retirement is an adventure that we all take in another phase of our exciting life.

Jesus-Life Coach by Laurie Beth Jones

Chapter One entitled "Have Your Tent Stolen" uses the metaphor of a tent to show how our view is often limited when we are too comfortable and complacent in our life.Our limited perspective as well as fragile and segmented understanding keep us from seeing the universe. It is only when the tent is taken away that our eyes are open to new ways of relating, seeing and doing. So instead of focusing on the stolen tent, we should focus on the sudden expanding view of the universe.
Chapter two encourages us to practise planned abandonment. We are to understand what to pick up and what to put down, letting lesser things go in order to choose the higher part.
Subsequent chapters remind us to keep our focus and learn to use the sword, cutting away what is holding us back- false beliefs, distracting assignments and unhealthy relationships.
To redefine reality, we have to be willing to make major changes to our script. To know where we are going, we must identify our source of light. In order to be healed ,we must be willing to move forward with heart and mind. It is only through finding the centre, that we achieve the balance in our life.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

first year life after retirement

The years of toil has finally come to an end. No more long meetings and hours at work.Finally, there is time to do what I like to do.
It has been an agonising decision to retire after forty odd years at the same job. After much debate with myself, I wrote in and got my golden handshake.
The sudden break from hard work to a leisurely life takes some getting use to.
I went back to work the first few days to cover somebody on study leave.
After that, I took up relief work whenever staff went on medical leave.This went on intermittenly for the first two months. In March,we took a holiday to Macau, Zhuhai and Guangzhou. It was a cheap and leisurely holiday in China. Term two found me doing standby relief after which I was persuaded to take over a teaching class in Term 3.Of course I will have to follow the class through to Term 4 as the children had examination at the end of the year.I taught English and was in school from 11 to 5pm everyday from Monday to Friday. However, I did get to do my Chinese qigong in the morning and swam two to three times a week before I went to school.
I signed myself up for Bible Study Fellowship and was committed to do my homework every morning and attended evening class from 7 to 9pm on Tuesdays.
I did folk-dancing on Saturday afternoon and visited the library after spending one to two hours dancing.
In August, we left for a free and easy trip to Hokkaido and it was a good trip for us. In November, we joined two couples to drive in the south island of New Zealand. The scenery was astounding and it was great to go for a holiday while others have to attend meetings and write year-end reports.
I managed to write my journal quite consistently and did quite a fair bit of self-reflections periodically over this whole year. I have also managed to do some visitations in the first six months and reviewed some Christian literature for my church. I had time to meet up with my childhood friends and we had quite a number of sessions together.
The year has been well-spent over various activities. I had time to interact socially with my friends, exercised quite regularly, spent time reading, writing and doing Sudoku and part time work. There is a balance of physical,mental and other activities. On looking back, I have spent quite a lot of time working as well.
What of 2009? I intend to listen to the Lord more intently and obey His commission for me. I will spend time cooking for the family and look into improving my culinary skills. Cooking for the family involves love and care for them.
Praise the Lord for His Wisdom in teaching me so patiently. May what I do be pleasing in His sight.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My journey to My Father

I remember my childhood, full of fears and nightmares.There was always this sense of foreboding and insecurity.
Dad was always busy at work and mum too to escape from a boring existence by going to mahjong.My childhood was one of dark and empty tenement house where I was too frightened to go to sleep before my parents' return.
I remembered burning joss-sticks at the site where the house spirit would take care of the tenement house in front of the long staircase which led up from the main entrance.
The picture of Jesus Christ on the cross hung on the wall in the tiny living room. It was given to my dad by one of his father's family friends.At the age of five or six,I remember dreaming a frightfully long dreamless dream in which I walked aimlessly with no end in sight. Even at that tender age, I seemed to realise that life can be meaningless and purposeless.One night however, I had a vision. I could see the bright light in front of me and I knew that I was in front of holiness when I felt myself moved by great compassions and strong feelings.
My first experience with Jesus were the hymns that I heard every Sunday coming from the Kindergarten next door which functioned as a church premise on Sundays. Our curiosity was aroused too when our neighbours went for Christmas worships at the nearby association.
Secondary school friends shared the gospels and colleagues warm-heartedly took me to their church.
I started attending church seriously but without strong commitment, I soon returned to a carefree life.I somehow believed that God is with me even though I do not commit myself to Him.
I got married and could not have a child even though husband and myself tried so hard to have one. Finally seven years later, God bless us with a daughter and showed me how much He has loved and cared for me.However, I soon prove untrue and again slipped from my faith.Life without God was one uphill task and I found myself slipping down quickly, horribly and irrevocably. God however, never gave up on me. He stretched out His hand again and again. Finally before I drifted out completely to the open sea,I made a decision to return to Him. Since then I have hung on with His grace and He has shown that He has much to teach me, guide me and lead me. I have learnt much and know that there is much more to learn. God has been faithful and merciful towards me and it is time for me to trust and obey Him.

Leaving a legacy

It has been my wish to gather my thoughts to write down my life experiences, learning etc as we mortals cannot live forever.
At sixty, it is time to do some harvesting and consolidate my experience and learning to leave behind for someone who may gain from my writing.
I have lived a rich life for God has been most merciful to me and taught me much in my sixty years on this earth.
I learn to love when I have my parents who love me so unconditionally and completely in my early childhood. Though they have not spoken in so many words, I know that for my sake my swinging bachelor dad chose my mum and settled down to a quiet life and my mum reconsidered leaving my dad when she couldn't bear to leave me with unkind relatives.
God has also mercifully given me the love for reading and music. Both hobbies have enriched my otherwise mundane life.Beautiful music moves me, encourages me and makes me love the beautiful world that God has created. Books have taught me in every aspect of my life from young to old. The classics have given me vicarious experiences which I might otherwise not have in my limited life experiences.
It is however time now to consolidate all those learning experiences and hopefully pass them on to others so that they too will benefit from reading them.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy New Year

I have this habit of reviewing my life at the end of each year and looking forward with hope,aspirations and new endeavours for the new year.
On 1st January of 2007, I wrote down the eight principles that I hope to live by.
1. I will have a positve attitude towards all events and happenings.
2. I will live life day by day with gratitude in my heart.
3. I will be an uplifting force whenever I can and I will encourage others around me.
4. I will welcome stillness and learn to be more relaxed.
5. I will risk being vulnerable by being open and approachable.
6. I will connect with God and learn to walk more closely with Him through reading of Christian literature.
7. I will live in the present at all times and be alive, consciously aware of the people around me.
8. I will pass Grace along, to share His blessings with those around me.
Though I may have made numerous mistakes, I must say that 2007 has been a great year.
There is much to thank for- blessings from Him and time for learning to live better.
2008 is going to be another great year. I will continue to live by those eight principles but most of all I resolve to walk closely with the Lord,trust and obey Him and live without regrets.