teaching blood

I can officially say, 1 down and 2 more to go now :D.

Boy, it’s been an eventful day already and it’s not even 3pm hehehe.  I learnt a number of valuable lessons today on 3 hours of sleep (or maybe because of only 3 hours of sleep):

  1. 1L Milk costs $2.60 at the local milk bar
  2. A bit of preparation really does make all the difference when it comes to teaching (I know – revelation of the century right?)
  3. How to stay calm in high pressure situations
  4. Always leave a Yellow Pages in your garage
  5. Never leave the house without your phone or driver’s license
  6. Somehow my parents always seem to end up being right (it’s a reality I can’t deny anymore!)
  7. It costs $125 to….

That last one shall be elaborated at a later date.  All I’ll say is that I really need to work on being less careless (i.e. more careful) and less absent-minded (i.e. think through things before actually doing them… this has been my greatest character flaw to date).  In other news, my lil five-year old student brought along her lil THREE year old brother who was sooooooooo cute!  He was quietly colouring a Bob The Builder page in his mother’s arms during the lesson and he gave it to me at the end… your cue: ‘AWWWWWWW’. Such a darling!

It just occurred to me that I actually do come from a family of teachers.  My grandparents (on my mother’s side) were actually principals of a school in Vietnam back in the day and my aunties and my uncles (and my mother as well) all had tutoring jobs before they left the country.  Now in Australia, my uncle runs a music school in Sydney, my cousin’s wife (not exactly blood relative but family enough) teaches Grade 2 at my old primary school, my cousin teaches bass guitar on the side of his day job and my cousin in Chicago is a music teacher too.  So I guess, if this law thing doesn’t work out, I know what I have as back up :P.

Bonus news: The domain has been registered and the blog name has been chosen!  Should be up and running after exams, and after I get a proper chance get a few blogger opinions on my choice, tweek it and make it home-y :).

Double bonus news: I entered my first ever online blog competition… hope I’ll be inspired to brush up on my french if I win ;).

Now, back to study.

TTFN.

♥ Ames
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Passing Points

Promise that this will be the last death-related post for a while…

I learnt or was reminded about these things in the last few days:

  1. The Chinese death traditions (e.g. giving funeral attendees a sweet and a gold coin to leave with)
  2. We’re all on a journey to a final destination…earth is but our temporary home
  3. There is a time and place for everything (the funeral Bible reading happened to be from my favourite passage in Ecclesiastes)
  4. There is definitely power in prayer (a few drops of rain but nothing that made proceedings difficult, praise God!)
  5. Even if we hate what they do or say, at the end of the day, family is family
  6. Being a mum is a lot harder than it looks lols (I got a taste of motherhood when looking after lil H at the post-funeral lunch)
  7. Life goes on… we can’t stay sad forever… we’ll see him again one day :)

At the funeral, it was mentioned that my grandpa was a man of few words but a phrase that he would be assured to say often during a single conversation was, ‘Praise the Lord.’  He was a person with a thankful heart who was always generous with his time and money… I hope people can say that of me in my eulogy one day.  He loved food a lot too… I guess that’s where I get it from :).  Funerals are also a good time to think about what kind of legacy we might be leaving behind each and every day of our lives… what will people remember most about us when we are gone? 

Selah.

♥ Ames

givin’ up

People often say that near death experiences will change your perspective on life… why do we have to wait until we ‘almost’ die before we decide to truly live?

As some have been informed, my grandfather when to be with the Lord three nights ago.  His health had been declining so it wasn’t entirely unexpected but it was still the sudden kind of passing that you can never quite prepare yourself for… the last we’d heard was that he has lost his appetite and then the next thing we knew, he was gone.  I didn’t know how to feel after we heard the news… I wasn’t as emotional as I had been when my grandma passed away, but at the same time knowing he was at rest and at peace didn’t stamp out the numbness that I felt settle in my heart.  I turned to the many mindless game apps on my iPhone… I can understand now why people play computer games to keep their mind of things.  But the thing is, it’s always temporary, it’s never satisfies as an effective and permanent distraction… you eventually have to come out and face the reality of the situation…

For me, the reality that I was confronted with after another ‘brush with death’ (so to speak), was that:

 life is short, make every moment count.

‘Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow’.*  ‘How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? [Life] is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.’**

So after some contemplation, I think I’m ready to give up a few things so that I can give in to God’s amazing purposes and plans He has ahead for me.

As a pre-note, there’s nothing inherently wrong with these activities, I just don’t want to invest my time extensively here anymore because I want to make the most of the 59+ years I’ll have left should I get the privilege of living until I’m 80 years old (hopefully longer).

First, my on-again-off-again obsession with Korean dramas.  It probably sounds like a silly and insignificant thing but I remember a time when I would stay up to all hours of the morning, unable to physically stop after just ‘one more episode’.  I guess some people have cigarettes and alcohol, for me, it doesn’t take long for me to get wrapped up in the fantasy world of a Korean romantic comedy… to the detriment of my studies and sleep-patterns!  I haven’t watched one in a while so perhaps it seems like I’m making a big deal out of nothing but I just want to make a conscious decision to not wander down this path again… I just lack the self-control and will-power to stop once I start…and honestly, there’s not much that can be gained from watching these dramas :P.

Secondly, (which kinda relates to the first) no more addictive computer role-play games such as The Sims and Civilization 3.  Lols, I know these games are so 1990’s and again they aren’t games that I’ve touched in a while, but I’m conscious of the crazy girl I can become whenever I start playing these games.  I’m ready to give these up and find more worthwhile and useful past-times and will be reminded of this decision whenever I get tempted to pick up these games and just give it a ‘try’.  I guess in the same way that you should not tempt a recovering drug addict with drugs, I know it’ll take a lot to get me off these games should I be silly enough to play them again.

Thirdly, (and perhaps the most important of all) I’m giving up the pen to my love story.  Over the past few months or so I’ve been inundated with a lot of material from various sources that has led me to this decision.  I realised that one of the reasons why I did go through that valley was because I grabbed the pen from the Great Author of Love and decided to write my own story. Even though I had prayed for guidance, my choice was made when I’d given myself emotionally and mentally months before there was any serious physical intimacies… praying for God to bless it when I’d already given away my heart was clearly NOT the way to go.  I obviously made a botch job of the whole thing lols so the pen has been given up and given over to the Great Author… there’s such a relief in that… I don’t have to worry about it when I know I’m no longer the one responsible in ‘making things happen’.

I’ll be expanding more on the last ‘giving up’ over time because I think it’s a daily and lifelong task I’ll be doing until he comes along :).

For now, I should probably concentrate for the last bit of my Crim Law seminar before heading home and helping with preparations for the funeral.  I had no one to talk me out of singing a song this time so hopefully I’ll hold it all together…

[edit] For those who believe in the power of prayer, please pray that we’ll have clear skies in Melbourne until at least 1pm… it has been forecast to rain tomorrow. Thank you.

♥ Ames

*Psalm 144:4 (ESV)

** James 4:14 (NLT)

complexity vs. simplicity

I had the pleasure of the company of one of my law buddies for lunch today :).  A topic that came up in conversations was the complexity of relationships.  I concluded, with his agreement, that all relationships have a degree of complexity.  Afterall, each individual is made up of so many intricacies that when you put two uniquely different people together with their own issues and emotional baggage… it becomes complicated.  Whether or not you continue in a relationship will depend on whether you want to overcome and work through those complexities or….not.

I can see now that towards the end of my last (and first) serious relationship, I just didn’t want to deal with the complexity anymore.  I wanted a way out; I wanted to get off that emotional rollercoaster that I had not signed up to.  I guess at first I did want to unravel the complexity that was, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t my complexity to have… if that makes sense.  Right now, I’m quite content to live in simplicity, free from those kinds of complicated relations.  I think the thing that requires the most time when coming out of a serious relationship is relearning how to live independent of another individual.  Learning to not to turn to the person you were once so intimate with whenever something good or bad occurs.  It is a process (that always takes longer than you’d like it to) of detaching yourself emotionally from the one you used to share every mundane or beautiful detail of life with.  It’s learning how to be comfortable in your own company, it’s learning the beauty and enjoyment that can be found in solitude.

I’m so glad to see the evidence of my own personal growth.  I’m glad that today, as I shared with the law buddy, who’d I’d intentionally kept oblivious to all that happened in my personal life last year (contrary to how it may seem on this blog, I am quite the private person), there was no residue emotions – no anger, no bitterness, no pain…. nothing.  It has become simply a fact of life.  What happened was horrible, something no one should have to go through, but it is a thing of the past that I can’t go back and change.  BUT, I can choose to live my life in a way that doesn’t continue to be affected by the past.  I’ll take the lessons learnt from it and continue moving forward on the path that lies ahead :).

 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
      do not depend on your own understanding.
 6 Seek his will in all you do,
      and he will show you which path to take.

 – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

And so ends the easiest 448 words in the last few hours…. if only I could submit this for assessment :P.

♥ Ames

Blog Babble: I’m no better

Lots of things running through my mind at the moment…. one thing I have been contemplating for a while (maybe for only the past day or two) is that I may revert back to using my real name (or at least nickname) on this blog.  It has felt a bit odd signing off as ‘April’ when no one calls me that in real life… and if I’m ever going to break out into the food blog community (which is highly improbable since I seem to like writing up random posts while I’ve got heaps of food-related material stacked up to write about), I don’t want to get mixed up with an actual ‘April’ at My Food Trail :P.

I’ve finished and sent off my essay plan, I’ve finished my preparations for the parent/teacher meetings I’m conducting for my piano studio on Saturday (kinda, maybe a tad proud of putting together individualised progress reports and goals for each student!) and now I’ve just finished browsing through a few blogs that have made me do a bit of self-reflection…

If you’ve been exposed to some of my past offerings at the old blog, you’ll know that self-reflection is something that I do every once in a while (read: a lot)… I guess it comes from a place where I want to be constantly growing and improving myself, to be the best ‘me’ that I can be.  Sometimes it comes at a price though… a price that I never thought I’d have to pay.  Even though 2010 is long gone and so yesterday’s news, I still like to look back at times and try and squeeze as many lessons as I can from the past so that I won’t make the same mistakes or have to go through the same learning patterns again… once was enough :D. 

One of the lessons I learnt from the past is to never become so prideful that you don’t listen to the wise counsel around you.  I know my Heavenly Father own heart must have broken when He saw me walk away from the plans that He had set out for me from the very beginning, but I think He allowed me to make my own choice since He foresaw that it would eventually bring me to my knees, wide-eyed to the reality of my brokeness and the imperfect being I’d truly be if not be His grace and love that covers all offences… Now that I look back on it, I think I may have developed a bit of a Phraisees-kind of attitude: the religious people of Bible times who thought they were ‘better’ than others because they followed the Jewish law to the T.  I wouldn’t say that I looked down on people, but I think I may have become a bit self-righteous, thinking that because I didn’t smoke, drink, do drugs, gamble or sleep around, I perhaps was doing pretty well at being a ‘good Christian’.  I thought I knew it all.  I thought I had enough strength and will-power to mend another’s broken heart without becoming ‘too’ emotionally involved.  Many had given me warnings at the beginning of the ‘saga’.  They told me it was a baddddddd idea.  But I didn’t listen.  I thought I knew better than the years of experience others had on me.  More importantly, I ignored the still small voice inside me that was telling me ‘it’s better to be safe than sorry’. 

Instead, I convinced myself I was doing a good deed and that God was using me to help a friend in need (that rhymes!)… *sigh* I’m not sure if I’m making sense (these self-reflections usually don’t) but  I think if anything, I’ve realised that no matter how ‘good’ I try to be, I’m no better than the boy who has sneaked glances at pornographic websites in the privacy of his own bedroom.  I’m no better than the girl whose slept with her boyfriend so he won’t leave her.  I’m no better than the guy who sweet talks to his parents and then curses them behind their backs… because at the end of the day, I can’t do anything more to make Him love me more and I can’t do anything less to make Him love me less.  His love is unfailing, unchanged by what I do or don’t do.  I’m only made righteous by His righteousness, that was given to all mankind by the sacrificial gift of salvation through The Cross. 

Through the grace and mercy that has showered over my life, I’ve been empowered to do what’s right and pleasing to the One who has won me back. 

As I reread all that I just typed, I’ve realised it doesn’t flow and doesn’t make sense ^^’.  But it’s been typed and my back is sore and I’ve got a big day tomorrow so I’m just gonna leave it as blog babble of a tired but very grateful girl, ready to hop into bed.

♥ Ames