Sunday, March 29, 2009

Letting God Be the Boss

Whoopee, I’m back after 3 weeks of “missing in action”. Haha. It’s a pity I don’t get to write as much nowadays. I used to blog 3 times a week. Now I only get the luxury and time during weekends!

Easter holiday is coming next Friday. It’ll last 2 weeks. Next Friday we’ll be going to Phillip Island for a family camp with Casey Life International Church (CLIC). Haha, you must be wondering since when did we join such a church. Well, I haven’t had the chance to tell you guys about it. Here’s my chance.

Just over a month ago my dad met up with the CLIC church’s pastor through a friend. We visited CLIC in Berwick, just about 30 minutes from our home. CLIC is a family church with about less than 100 members. They don’t have a youth group established yet. Pastor Ken invited my dad to join the church to help build the youth and young adults’ ministry. My dad prayed about it and made the decision to go ahead with it.

It’s nearly been two months since we first visited CLIC church. We’ve been mingling around and settling in easily. There are only about 3 other kids my age. Haha yes, it’s a big change and I find it pretty scary but exciting at the same time. Meanwhile, I have decided I’ll commit to help out in the worship ministry. They found out that I play the violin, and last Sunday I was blessed with the opportunity to play with the team. Thank God it was all good, considering it was my first time!

So there you go – a short update on another new chapter for us. Meanwhile, my sisters and I have gotten into a daily routine. I’m surprised that we’re actually able to get up in the less-than-15-degree morning chill each day! My mum has also been so kind to prepare yummy school lunches for us. =) She says we’re having too much of a good life!

My school friends tell me that I’m so lucky to have my mum prepare nice food for me. Most of them will make their own lunch and go to school on their own. The kids here learn to be independent once they start school. Compared to them, I feel kinda’ spoiled. Haha.

Oh hey, I learned an important lesson this week that I must share with you! On Thursday, I had an English essay test. I must admit that I was a tad bit overconfident. We were given a topic that was related to the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet (we’ve been reading it the whole term). Incredibly, although I thought I won’t have a problem, I ended up with a writer’s block! I just didn’t know how to go on.

I barely made any progress and time was soon up. Thankfully, the teacher said that we have another period to continue the next day. I looked at the miserable paragraphs I managed to pen out and breathed a sigh of relief that I’ll have the chance to think up something so I’ll be better prepared the next day. xD

Although it was an incident that shook my self-confidence, I really must thank God for it. These few weeks, things have been going pretty well and I haven’t been feeling lousy like on the first day of school. It’s true that when all is good, you tend to bump God from being center-stage in your life. Well, I didn’t bump God off, but I do know I had shifted my confidence in God to myself. I guess that’s what happens all the time.

I realize that when I start to rely on my own abilities, I won’t accomplish anything as fulfilling as when I decided to let God be my boss. Like in writing the essay, I’ll end up with a “writer’s block”. So what does it take for God to get back my attention? By allowing problems to surface! At least that’s how it happens for me sometimes.

Problems draw me back to God because I realize that only He can give the solutions. It’s not that I fall away when I’m having a good time, but I just lose focus a bit. Nonetheless, God is always there whether I lose focus or not. The catch is, whenever we lose focus, we miss out on God's plan. We think we’re living life, but in actual fact we are heading nowhere.

I’m sure this is a lesson I’ll re-learn all my life. It’s no doubt that I’ll fall into it again. But we can be assured that God’s grace is always sufficient for us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Man, what an awesome proverb! My dad got me to memorize it ages ago. But it is only now that I can grasp and embrace its full meaning. =)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

An Answered Prayer

It’s always exciting to share how God answers my little prayers. God is just so, so good. Sometimes I get so caught up with everything that I don’t even realize that He has already answered my prayer! Things may go wrong, but if you commit it to Him and do what you can, your character will be refined. Now here’s a testimony I’ve been waiting to share…

Recently, my piano went kaput. It was play-able, but I was slowed down due to the “sticky” keys. I couldn’t play the fast songs effectively and it was out of tune. I think it was due to the erratic temperature changes. I was really upset about it. It’s really untimely because I’ve been getting some tough pieces to master. And oh, talking about lessons, I’ve wanted to tell you about my awesome piano teacher!

I really enjoy learning from Ms. Sandra Birze. She’s fun and quirky. My previous teacher certainly wasn’t like her. I am captivated and inspired each time she plays a piece for me to hear before I try it. Ms. Sandra’s encouraging and she’s quick to correct me until I get it right. I feel that I’m advancing to a whole new level. My previous teacher was pretty slack with the technical stuff, so I’m learning a lot of hard-core stuff this year. But I still look forward to every lesson because Ms. Sandra gives me room to make mistakes and be expressive. I love it.

So anyway, back to the kaput piano. I was nearly in tears one day when I was trying to play the Fantasie Impromptu. I knew it was no use to pester my parents about it or worse, stop practicing. My best hope was to commit it to God and pray that something can be worked out. I didn’t know what or how, but it was a relief to just leave my worries to God and keep practising much as the piano allows.

Some days later, Ms. Sandra gave me the contact of the guy who tunes the school’s pianos. We got our piano tuned, but it was still a tough piano to practice on. Of course, there are always better pianos; nevertheless, I’m thankful that I have one.

A week later, my teacher surprised me when she asked if my piano was tuned. I didn’t think that she’ll remember. Moreover, she said, “Oh, I talked to Mr. Farrell (the tuner) about it. He told me it’s amazing that you’ve gone so far because your piano is a difficult one to work on.” She gave me a sympathetic look and smiled.

What Ms. Sandra said next was the answer to my prayer. She kindly suggested that for the time being, she could open her piano room for me to practice during lunch! I was thrilled. I like playing the school piano. It’s almost a luxury. In my heart, I knew that it wasn’t a coincidence that she had spoken to Mr. Farrell and found out about my sticky-keyed piano.

Moreover, how would she have known that I’d actually want to sacrifice lunch hours to practice? Haha, frankly, I don’t think any student would willingly want to. I’m certain that God heard my prayer. And this was specifically just for me. No other student was allowed to use the teacher’s piano at lunch time.

See, I told you. God is so, so good! Many times, our tiny minds can’t see the bigger picture. I sure didn’t see it when I was faced with the problem. I didn’t see any other way out. But God can always make a way out if we will trust Him to. Every problem is an opportunity for us to lean on Him more, and it is an avenue for us to testify of His faithfulness.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Picnic at Blackburn Lake

Yesterday was a fine day for a trip to the park. My dad decided to check out the map and we searched for a nice spot to visit and have a simple picnic dinner. It’s been a while since we had the time to do something like that. The last time we had a picnic was during our holiday month last December.

I guess we tend to take things for granted when we come to realize that we’ll be staying here for good. If we were on holiday here, I’m sure we would be cramming up as many places to visit as possible. Now that we are confirmed staying here, it’s kinda’ like, “Oh, we have plenty of chance to go places. We’ll do it some other time.” But now autumn is here already, and summer’s gone. So I was thinking that we had better go for picnics and visit the beach before it gets too cold!

I think we’ll try to make it a point to visit some place new each weekend. We really still haven’t explored so many places in Melbourne! It’ll be exciting to try a new place every week. And it’s good family time, I guess.

So after my mum made a trip to Coles to buy some stuff for the picnic, we headed off to Blackburn Lake Reserve. It was a really nice spot, and we discovered it’s only 5-10 minutes away! Haha. So next time we can go on a bike trip there. Fortunately, we now have 5 bicycles! My dad bought a mountain bike and Jirene had a new bike, too. Janna’s and mine were shipped from M’sia. The fifth bike was picked up from somewhere because the owner no longer wanted it. My dad just needed to fix the tyres.

It has been pretty cold these few days. Well in fact, it will get colder in the coming weeks. We’re bracing ourselves for our first winter! According to our friends here, they all tell us that the first winter is always unpleasant. Hopefully we’ll adjust and get used to it as easily as we’ve made it up till now. Haha. But of course, like I said in the previous post, we’ll definitely feel homesick for the nice warm temp in M’sia.

Here are some pictures we took at the reserve yesterday. We took a nice, long walk around the lake reserve. It was kinda’ cold for me, but my sisters were wearing shorts! Especially Jirene Beh, she loves the cold, just like my dad. I’m more like the type who’ll bundle up and keep as warm as possible. Haha.

Me and Jirene at the lakeside.

Argh, forgive me for the hideous specks on the pictures. The sun was glaring behind them, and the flares were pretty bad. I think its a nice shot anyhow.

Haha, I have no idea what they were up to. I just happened to turn around and snap.

Oh this was funny. Haha! I wish the lighting wasn't so uneven, though.

I really like this shot! My batteries actually died a few moments before the duck waddled across the frame, but miraculously, I switched the cam on again and the battery lasted enough for one more shot. Yipee, these are the little good moments that make my day!

After the walk around the lake, we went back to the main park grounds and had our picnic.

Oh we love this thingamajig! Its sorta' like a seesaw, but it's swinging in the air. Love it. It's a pity that I was a bit too much heavier than Janna. Haha.

Look at her! She's wearing shorts! It was definitely below 20 degrees that time cause' the sun was going down already.

Whee :)

Haha, guess how this shot came about. I'll try to get a better one sometime soon.

Well that’s all for the weekend, peeps. =) God bless and have a great week ahead.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

First Time in 4 Months!

Today I had a swimming competition, so I got the chance to skip school. I was chosen to represent the school in swimming Breaststroke with Susan Pennings against two other schools: Vermont South and Forest Hill. I’d say that today was a bad, bad day to swim.

We had to swim in an outdoor pool and the catch is: it was freezing today! The weather took an unexpected turn and there was a strong chilly wind the whole morning. The sun was out for an hour or two, then the gloomy clouds blew over, and it was freezing all the way. I managed to swim anyhow. I came up at 3rd place. Not bad, considering I dived in feeling as stiff as a frozen chunk of tuna. Haha.

Anyway, I consider it a pretty fruitful day, cause’ I got to know this Year 10 girl called Laura Pennings. We hung out together the whole morning. I’ve never had to the chance to talk to her this much. So today turned out to be a good opportunity even though I didn’t expect it.

And I should explain the title of my post by now. For the first time in four months, I finally felt the achy feeling of “homesickness”. I missed M’sia! The first thing I missed was the tropical weather. Nice and warm. You don’t even feel hot or cold most of the time – it’s just nice. I guess I missed it cause’ I was sitting in an open air place, shivering with the cold wind blowing. Remember, I was dripping wet in a swimsuit. Haha.

After the fleeting thought of warm weather, I thought of some people who made life meaningful in M’sia. I suddenly thought: Man, what am I doing here!?

I guess that’s what homesickness feels like. But it’s the first time in four months. Haha. Not bad huh. Anyway, I’ve got my family here. Thank God. Sometimes I guess I take my dad and mum – and sisters – for granted. But I still remember that they’re the best people I’ve got.

Well I gotta’ run now. Tomorrow’s another crazy day of rehearsals. There’s Concert Choir in the early morning, Strings Orchestra at lunch, and Symphony Orchestra after school until 5.30. My, oh my.

Hope you guys are doing well. Keep us in your prayers. There’s so much that is uncertain! But I guess that this is a time where our faith is tested and it will be increased.

G’day mates. =)

The Visitors