Countdown to Joash's 6th Birthday

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Countdown to Jayna's 5th Birthday

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Countdown to Jaide's Birthday

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Countdown to Joram's Birthday

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Jaide Is Six!

When her older sister chose to celebrate her birthday with her classmates in school, Jaide told me she wanted to do the same. Knowing that this option is the most expensive one, with party favours for all the classmates and the humongous cake big enough for everyone, I said that she could only do it when she is in K2. True to my word, I gave her what she wanted.

From experience, I realised that getting multiple small gifts to put into the party bag adds up to a lot. Yet, I have not changed in my determination not to succumb to using cheap junk food to pad it up, I figured that getting a single good quality gift for each child would be a better idea. We decided to buy caps in Jaide's classmates' favourite cartoon characters. I made a list of available options and asked her friends each to fill in his/her name beside the one he/she would like. Of course, Jaide got to pick out her pink princess cap too!

All the options chosen by the children

On the actual day, despite it being a school day, I let Jaide miss the morning lessons because she wanted the full princess outfit; a Princess Aurora gown complete with tiara and nail polish. It took me quite a long time to doll her up. After which, I brought my kids out for lunch and Jaide enjoyed a nice mango pudding after her meal. 

Then, it was time for the appointed celebration. The 2kg Sleeping Beauty cake was so big and heavy that I had a hard time carrying it to her school with 4 children in tow! Jaide also handpicked the number 6 and two butterfly candles for her cake. When we reached, her classmates kept asking me why Jaide was so pretty that day, much to the birthday girl's delight. LOL

Jaide's teacher offered to take this
family pic for me. How nice of her!

After the entire class had their fill of the birthday cake, Jaide went about distributing the caps to her friends. For those who were absent for the day, Jaide put the gifts into their cubby holes. She flitted around the classroom in her pink dress like a lovely butterfly. All my hard work was worth it to see her grin from ear to ear the whole time. Blessed birthday, Jaide! May God continue to grow and mature you into a good servant leader.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Joram accepted Jesus!

I have asked Joram whether he wanted to invite Jesus into his heart a couple of times over the past one year but he would flash me a cheeky grin and say no. I figured the he saw no need for God in his life and thus I waited upon the Lord for his heart to be ready. 

In the recent weeks, he has been uncharacteristically oversensitive and cried at the drop of the hat even when there seemed to be no clear reason for him to be upset. He could suddenly burst into tears upon being asked an innocent question. I tried being extra gentle with him and gave him lots of affection but it was no use. Joshua also complained to me that he was very whiny and weepy these days and asked me if it were an extremely delayed "terrible twos".

I was puzzled too so I started seeking God for an answer. Last week, it suddenly dawned upon me that he might have become aware of the God-shaped vacuum in his heart. Since Jaide is celebrating her 3rd spiritual birthday soon anyway, I decided to wait a week before asking him the ultimate question again. If he were to say yes, they would be able to share the same spiritual birthday.

Today, I called him into my bedroom after breakfast. I asked him if he knew that he was crying a lot lately and I asked him for a reason. Was it because he was bullied? He shook his head. Was it due to feeling unwell? He replied no. Was it because he felt empty in his heart? Tears started to pool in his eyes and he nodded his head slowly. So when I asked him if he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart to fill it up with love and joy, he agreed readily. 

I explained the gospel using the same Good News material I used with his siblings. I was surprised that it all seemed new to him despite going to church and bible study with us all his life. I guess he heard bits of it here and there but no one has yet to help him piece them together. He kept asking me how to ask Jesus into his life but I did not want to skim over the important concepts since he was unfamiliar with them. After I made sure he understood what I was showing him, I led him through the sinner's prayer. He was thrilled when I guided his hand to write in his commitment card. He kept saying that he was writing to Jesus. 

His very own commitment card and 
spiritual journal for future use

To be fair, I also brought him out to get a cup of ice-blended chocolate to celebrate his new life in Jesus before he went up the school bus. He was smart to ask whether his older brother and sisters had the drink too when they received Christ in the past. LOL Check out his siblings' day of salvation HERE and HERE.

I pray that Joram will gradually allow God to pour into his life so that his cup will overflow with His mercy and grace. May he experience Jesus to the full and know that he will never walk alone again!

Jaide's 3rd Spiritual Birthday

As I looked through my photos and blog, I realised that I had not been consistent with documenting the children's spiritual birthdays. So before Jaide's graduates from my blog, I decided I've got to remember taking photos and writing a post to commemorate the occasion. 

It is nothing elaborate. As with the previous years, I simply had a private session of spiritual evaluation with her using the same three questions, jotted her answers down in her journal and took her out to celebrate with some ice-cream.

I must say that she has improved a lot over the past one year. From someone who used to disobey me at every turn, I can see her honest desire to try listening to my instructions nowadays. She is far less fickle-minded and puts in effort to do her chores without complaint. Even though her careless clumsiness and penchant for mischief are still evident, she is much more loveable than a year ago. 

Praise God for her spiritual growth!

Joshua wanted to take a pic of us
cos we looked so similar. LOL

Saying grace before digging in

Monday, November 6, 2017

Transfer of Ownership

2 years ago, my eldest chose to give up on his Chinese. You see, he started failing his Chinese at the beginning of primary two and us parents worked exceedingly hard to help him out. During the day, I supervised his 听写 revision while Joshua drilled him with flash cards and iPhone apps at night before bed almost everyday. We borrowed interesting Chinese comics for him and read them with him. I even did a complete Chinese homeschool curriculum with him during the school holidays. It was a constant struggle in getting him to put in the effort to improve, ending up in much protest and crying from him. 

Eventually, after countless ineffective heart-to-heart talks with him, we decided that our relationship with him is far more important and told him that he will get to choose how much effort he wants to put in for his schoolwork. We will be ready to help him whenever he wants and asks for it. Otherwise, if he is happy with failing the subject, we would not argue with him anymore. After all, the whole year's worth of pushing him only served to improve his grades by a mere 4 marks to marginally pass the exam. Thus, even when he refused to go for the school supplementary classes at primary 3, we did not object to his decision. I figured that if he really can't make it in the education system, I can always pull him out to homeschool, worse comes to worst. 

I never thought that I would have to "let go" in such a heart-breaking manner with my second child too. For all her 8 years of life, I had put in herculean efforts to help manage her eczema. I tried all sorts of creams and supplements no matter how expensive or difficult to administer. I personally cooked and prepared her every meal for a special detox diet. We went gluten-free and dairy-free despite having to spend double the amount on her groceries. I bought truckloads of tights to protect her legs from dust and allergens. The most tedious thing was that I had to nag at her everyday to moisturise, hydrate or even shower to keep her skin clean. 

Yet, she was constantly balking at the dietary restrictions. I am half-deaf from hearing her incessant complaints. She would even lie about having moisturised. So when she started crying the moment we asked her to shower and screamed at us each time we reminded her to moisturise, I decided finally to transfer the ownership of her skin-care entirely to her. She'll get to decide what she wants to eat as with the rest of the children in the family from now on. She can choose whether or not to moisturise or shower.

I can only pray that her condition will not worsen to the point of affecting her daily life. Today marks one of the two most heart-breaking moments in my parenting journey. It is only such moments when I truly understand the father's heart in the parable of the prodigal son. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Jaide Learnt Cycling!

Earlier this year in May, I bought Jaide a new bicycle to learn how to ride. Unfortunately, during the subsequent cycling sessions, I was not available to help her learn. Joshua did not know how to coach so she was left to her own devices. To her disappointment, she couldn't get it on her own.

Thankfully, today, I have the chance to teach and encourage her and she finally overcame her fear of falling and conquered riding a bike. Hallelujah! I'm so very proud of her! Check out the first time Jaide learnt to ride in the video below:

Now, Jaide can join the ranks of bike-riding kids with her 2 older siblings. Here's a video of them having a friendly race. Joram, of course, is still using the strider. But it looks like it won't be long before he learns it too. *wink*

Thursday, October 19, 2017

My Last Will and Testament

When I was 15 years old, I attempted suicide. I found the world so ugly, evil and meaningless and that I am completely insignificant. I wish I never existed. But God brought me back, whispering to me that there's more to life. When I gave myself to Jesus at 18, I decided that if God had created me and kept me alive, He must have had a reason for it, even though I still can't see it.

Everyday, when I wake up, I am disappointed that I am still alive and I ask God why. Every night, I pray that God would give my life to someone else who wishes to live and that I'll not wake up again. The only reason why I have not killed myself is purely because God doesn't want me to. Everything I do is to please God and be a good testimony for Him. But very often, I fail miserably and I will ask God what is the use of keeping me around.

I never wanted children. Why bring more people into this cruel world just to suffer? I didn't even want to get married because I saw my mother's agony from the irresponsible and deplorable actions of my father. However, God gave me a vision a few months after I accepted Him into my life: a vision of four children who will become God's precious missionaries. Because of that, I chose a husband who would, first and foremost, be a good and involved father for the children rather than merely focusing on my own preferences. 

I've never done anything significant in my life. It already takes all my effort to simply not offend anyone unintentionally or make mistakes which harm anyone else. Even that, I can't do well. I try my best but my best is never enough. But still, I press on. Because of Christ. 

I have no physical legacies. After being a homemaker for so long, I hardly have any assets worth mentioning. Neither am I well-known for any of my abilities. I am a jack of all trades but master of none. All I can hope is that at least I'll have spiritual legacies: my four children who God promised will do great things in their lives.

Joash, God made you creative and sensible. If you learn how to be responsible with the talents which He has given you, you will find new ways for others to encounter God.

Jayna, God made you with great capacity for love. Your physical ailments are to help you to experience God's grace and empathise with the suffering of others. If you overcome your limitations, you can be a powerful agent of charity.

Jaide, God made you a leader with a strong will. If you direct your passion toward good instead of evil, you can literally change the world.

Joram, God made you the most tenderhearted. If you resist following the wrong crowd, you can show others what it truly means to be obedient to God and glorify Him. 

Joshua, if I become incapacitated, please just let me go. I do not want to be artificially kept alive or resuscitated. I know that things will be hard if I were to leave before you do, but you can definitely find someone else better than me to help continue your life and work. Do donate every feasible part of my corpse. Since I have not done anything spectacular in life, I want to at least give others who want to live a fighting chance. 

To my non-believing friends and family, you must be sick of me telling you about Jesus, but still, I pray daily for you to know the Saviour of the world. That is my only wish for you: to see you in heaven with me.

To my fellow believers, please do not be sad if I die suddenly. Rejoice, instead! My work on earth is finally done. God is granting my dearest wish to be with Him in heaven, a place where I will no longer need to struggle with sin. I will not be hurt and nor will I hurt anyone else anymore. 

Indeed, for me, to die is great gain, to live is purely Christ. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Children's Day 2017

I just started the tradition of celebrating Children's Day last year and thus, other than the buying of presents, there wasn't anything meaningful that I'd thought of to do which could be repeated annually. Judging from the experience of going to the movies from the previous year, I figured that the younger two are still too immature and fussy for it especially if I have to manage them without Joshua's help. So watching a show would be out of the question for at least another two more years.

In the end, I brought them to Sushi Express as a treat instead. The older two were more than capable of serving themselves. Thankfully, the revolving sushi belt was entertaining enough to keep the younger two occupied while I served them food. It was a successful experiment. The food was to their liking and the bill came up to only 42 bucks despite wolfing down 24 plates of food among the 5 of us. Check out the stacks of pink plates behind the kids in the above photo!

Tea break was a disaster though. Our church gave each kid 4 Mr Bean vouchers last Sunday as gifts so I thought to use them up. They were so excited choosing the flavours of the soy-based ice-cream and insisted on having double scoops. I obliged against my better judgement when they refused to listen to my advice of getting pancakes instead. I hate to tell them "I told you so" but in the end they didn't like the taste at all, as I had suspected, and had so much leftovers. I tried my best to eat up the durian ones because it was one of my favourite flavour but that was only two out of five scoops of ice-cream. I felt it was such a waste to throw away the rest so I bought a box of ziplock bags from the supermarket and poured all the melting ice-cream into one of them. It became a nice, chilled, chocolatey soy-based shake for Joshua to enjoy when we met up for dinner. ROFL

I asked the children to choose board or card games as their presents this time round. At home, we have Snakes and Ladders, Donkey, Tumbling Tower, Chess and Checkers which the children have gotten bored of. The older two at least could play Mastermind with me but none of them have the vocabulary to play my favourite game Taboo yet. It is time to invest in more games which we can all play together. Looking forward to happy family times enjoying our purchases!