Death

Death has a way of putting the world in perspective and it doesn’t matter if it was “expected” or came as a “shock”.

The news of the death made me realise how foolish I am to think that I have any control of my life. This is an illusion that the world tells us – that the world wants us to believe.

That in turn, makes me realise that all my fears of the unknown (ie. the future) is pointless. Because the future has not happened yet…and from now (this very moment) till then (future) a LOT of things are not mine to control. But is that a bad thing?

This is where Faith comes in.

“Look at the birds…why are you worried?” (Matthew 6:26-34)

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Faith means to place the scary unknown into His hands. Faith means to Trust in His plans for me.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. – Woody Allen”

Yes of course to some extend I do plan my future but ultimately whatever happens is beyond my control, beyond my imagination. This, of course, freaks me out, but not being in control does NOT mean the future is going to be bad…in fact, it could be beyond my wildest dreams! The key is to have Faith…to Trust…

Not easy. Definitely not easy! This is where prayer helps. A lot!

9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11)

11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)

Petitions are not the only part of prayer of course, but it IS an important part of it. This is where we surrender all our future plans in His hands. We plan…but He determines. He and He alone.

Pray and do so incessantly.

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)

And with that realisation comes Peace.

Don’t worry about the Past for it has gone, nor the Future for it has yet to come. Instead focus on the Now because it is a gift…that is why it is called Present.

By all means, make plans and decisions today based on how you think it will help your future – BUT do NOT live in the future NOW and jeopardise your Present based on how you think the Future will be because without the Present, there won’t be a Future.

Only God knows the future…and only He ever will.

Have Faith. Trust in God. PRAY. Live in the Present.

P.S. Guess what? God conquered Death too!

Friday The 13th is a “Christian” thing

OF COURSE IT IS NOT!

I was wide-eyed & shocked when my colleagues made such association – and turned to me for clarification.

Not caring if they saw the expression on my face (I was unimpressed, much less amused) I said, “No, it is NOT a “Christian” thing. It’s a Superstition.”

Yes kids. Listen up.

“Friday The 13th” has NOTHING at all to do with Christianity – or any other religion that I know of! and I wonder how they even came up with such affiliation.

Then again, Easter brings a “Bunny” to the mind of some as does “Santa” to Christmas and presents – which also has NOTHING to do with each other actually (Do I hear gasps?) – but that can be on a post on its own so I shall not elaborate.

So, what IS “Friday The 13th” actually about then?

Quoting wikipedia:

One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day

…which I find interesting because while people can intentionally “erase” one, the other isn’t possible.

13 is an unlucky number

You may have noticed that some buildings do NOT use the number 13.

This is normally done by either making sure your building does not have more than 12 floors (or that each floor has not more than 13 rooms) OR by renumbering the number 13 to “12B” with 12 being “12A” OR simply “skipping over it” (11, 12, 14, 15, etc) – Superstitious. I have also seen buildings who apply the same rule to anything with a 3 in it (3, 13, 23, etc) or in another culture, the number 4 as that is considered the unlucky number.

Friday is an unlucky day

Somehow, I think this superstition has died off somewhat? I guess that may be in part due to the fact that unlike the number 13, as much as certain people would like to perhaps?, there is no pretending it does not exist, or renaming it, or skipping it! And on the contrary, now people have gone from treating it to an unlucky day to it being a day most looked forward to during the week – especially by wearied workers and partymakers who long for the weekend – what else would Rebecca Black have sung about right (below)?

Quoting wikipedia:

The fear of Friday the 13th has been called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named in English and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen), or paraskevidekatriaphobia a concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”) attached tophobía (φοβία, from phóbos, φόβος, meaning “fear”). The latter word was derived in 1911 and first appeared in a mainstream source in 1953.

That’s a mouthful to pronounced, huh?

Well, I don’t know about you but I for one am looking forward to the weekend!

Leaving you now with today’s anthem. Enjoy!

Rebecca Black – Friday

The Madness that is March

We’re near the very end of March and boy has it been one mad (read: so-busy-it’s-just-crazy) month!

For 3 main reasons:

1) I started another blog

No, I am not closing down this blog, if that’s what you’re wondering. 😉 Perfect IMPerfections is my default blog and will stay on for a foreseeable number of years into the future. That said however, I felt it time to start another blog to specifically address a major interest of mine, ie. Travelling.

At the moment, I am slowly recalling back my travels for the past couple of years but I will get to writing my newer travel tales as soon as I can cough up some time on my hands. In the meantime, please feel free to browse: A Road Once Taken. (You can also find the link on the sidebar on your left.)

2) I was playing Hostess

My bro and his family were in town a couple of weeks ago and it being their first time in Brunei in a long time (and a first for my niece), I was on hostess cum tourguide mode. They were here for the 1 week school holidays and I must say, within that 1 week, we covered quite a lot of ground! I’ll do a mini travel guide on Brunei on A Road Once Taken later. 🙂

More importantly though was the fact that the family was able to get together and having my niece over was just super nice!

I absolutely love her! Almost 4-yrs old, she’s simply adorable!

But firstly though, I had to earn her friendship…

You see, she’s the type that takes a while to warm up to people (including those she knows but seldom sees, like me) – in fact, I was in Kuching for a week last month and she didn’t even give me the time of day! (But that may also be due to the fact I was mostly out meeting up with old friends and she went to the nursery.) So I was more than thrilled to have her on my turf this time, secretly hoping she’d be not so tough a cookie to crack.

And I was right! Also, UNO was a great icebreaker, that much I can say. 😉

3) Famine

Apart from the 40acts challenge which I am doing throughout Lent, the 30-Hour Famine was a major event during this season of fasting, prayer and almsgiving.

Last week, we had 200+ youths in our Vicariate (and about 50 of us who made up the committee/service team & helpers) who fasted for, as the name suggests, 30 hours, eating nothing at all and only drinking water. There were, of course, more to the event than this, but basically, as part of the committee/service team, this 3D2N “camp” really had me tied down. (If you’re interested to know more, please note I will blog about it on this other blog of mine.)

So yeah, now with 3 active blogs to keep updated, my career, family, social, spiritual & personal life to juggle and not to mention travels in May & July (and maybe April & August too?), looks like I got a lot to look forward to for the rest of the year!

In the meantime, I have got to squeeze in at least one proper training for the Run happening next weekend. Ai yai yai…

July came and went

“Hey baby brother! Opened your card yet? 😉 Juz wanna wish u a Happy Sweet 16 and all d best in everything! Love u bro! God bless. C u soon ya..”

“Thnx a lot big sis. 😄 Nice to be 16 haha X) See you guys soon!! Oh yea, I oledi can take motorbike lesson ;)”

~~~

I just realised something – I haven’t posted anything for ONE whole month (and more)!!!

(My last post was on June 26th.)

I mean, I knew I haven’t been here a while, but I didn’t realise it’s been more than a month!

Well, looks like “July 2009” will be missing from my blog archives. -_-“

Anyways, in the last post of mine I did mention why I have been MIA, so I’ll not explain myself again.

However, I’d just like to say that July had been an extra busy and extra eventful month for me (which I hope to share in specific posts after this one.)

So in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this piece of my July:

Performed by the VYAs (Vicariate Young Adults) of Brunei during Life Nite @ COLA on 18th July 2009.

I was supposed to be one of them but unfortunately I was out of the country at that time. However, I really like my replacement! I wouln’t have been able to justify the character as much. 😉

Anyways, WELL DONE GUYS!

Hope we have more of these in the future! GBU!

The Last 2 Weeks

Aramaitee! KOTOBIAN TADAU TAGAZO DO KAAMATAN

&

SELAMAT ARI GAWAI! Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai!

…hw ur gawai will b dis year?..y u so silent since last week? bz kah?

– my BFF via sms early last week.

Yes, I owe everyone an explanation why I dropped off the radar after my birthday…but where do I begin? Well, if you want to know the details…read on. Be warn, it’s very very long! 🙂 Otherwise, skip to the “FINALLY” part at the bottom…

Indeed, the past 2 weeks have been very busy! Let’s just say I have an alter-ego, 2 separate lives, a secret identity…Career woman by day, an active member of the COLA’s Young Adult by night! 😉

My usual weekdays (apart from the “career woman” part) would be somewhat like this…

After work, I would head straight to COLA for daily mass and spend the remainder of the night there, usually arriving home 10pm (earliest!)…After mass, Monday nights, we have Bible Study. Tuesday, Holy Hour. Wednesday, Adult Faith Formation. Thursday is usually “free” (my 1 night in a week which I usually spend at home doing chores). And on Friday, I would take the 1hr drive back to Seria for the weekend and come back up on Monday morning…and that cycle begins.

But the past 2 weeks was a lot MORE than my usual weekdays…

Week 1: 18th May-24th May

That Thursday, I was NOT “free”. We had to go shopping for food for the young adult activity that we were having on Sunday. So after mass, we went shopping (Part 1) and had a late dinner at the newly-opened branch of Escapade (a popular chain of Japanese Restaurant in Brunei) in Kiulap before calling it a night.

Friday, after work, I did not attend mass (and also missed the 1st day of the 9-day Novena to the Holy Spirit in preparation for Pentecost) as I had to go to for the Firm’s badminton session and after that, went for dinner with colleagues. This was the FIRST weekend whereby I did NOT go back to Seria for the weekend.

Saturday, spent the day doing chores (in place of Thursday) and in the afternoon, after some minor hiccups, went shopping (Part 2) and late lunch. Another mini shopping spree (Part 2.5) and just enough time to get home and bath, attended the 2nd day of Novena – a few seconds late at that. After Novena, went for the final shopping session (Part 3) before 5 of us went to tapau some late dinner from WYWY (another well-known chain of eatery in Brunei) and went to A’s house where we would be preparing the food for the following day. More like the next few hours actually as it was almost midnight when we actually began our “preparation”…

Sunday, midnight. In the midst of the “preparation”, we took a few minutes to surprise one among us with a birthday cake for it was her birthday on Sunday! “At least this is better than spending my 28th birthday alone in my bedroom” she said gratefully, not realising that she would perhaps regret saying so in a few hours! 😉 Anyways, we were finally done with the food around 2am and after bathing/washing up, all retired to bed. Between 2am-3am, the 4 of us (1 slept in a different room) were far from asleep. We were talking and laughing and joking around and at one point, well TWICE actually!, 2 of them decided to form a human pile crushing the birthday girl, fulfilling her birthday wish? Haha! However, I was beside the birthday girl so I was partly crushed as well. LOL! It was only at 3am that we actually slept…

And we woke up at 4am!!! Only 1 hour of sleep! Why so early? Because our Sunday activity was “Easter SUNRISE Beach Party”…meaning we had to be at the beach to watch the sunrise! I know, we are one crazy bunch of young adults! 😉

So yeah, we left for the beach when it was still dark and rays of the sun gradually crept from beyond the horizon as we made the half-hour drive to the beach. And we were the first to arrive in time to watch the sunrise. Only about half of the people managed to catch the sunrise as the others only arrived when the sun was well up. I admit though, I was kinda dissapointed that the “beach” wasn’t quite as I expected. This was my first time to Serasa Beach and well, it had a lot less sand and a little more grass than you’d expect at a beach. It was more like the side of an isle(?) rather than a beach beach if you know what I mean…but that didn’t prevent all 20-odd people of us of having a great time all day!!! 😀

The eating (there was lots and lots and lots of food!), the company and the activities were super AWESOME! Bishop even came to join us for a while after he was done with the Sunday Mass!

Some had to leave earlier as they had other activities to attend to in church, but the rest of us left around 2pm. I reached home at around 3pm, washed the pots and etc from the BBQ, bathed and freshen up and managed to take a 1-hr nap before it was time for Mass. During Mass, most of us were well exhausted and had body aches from all our physical exertions that day. After mass, a quick dinner at the nearby stalls and then its the 3rd day of Novena. After that, I immediately went home and slept. It was 9pm.

Week 2: 25th May-31st May

Only about 9 hours’ of sleep later did I wake up (more grudgingly than usual!) and spent a torturous Monday at work trying to stay awake! Gosh~ After work, I immediately went home to grab a quick 1-hr nap as I still have not recovered from the previous weekend. Then after bathing, went for the 4th day of Novena and began work on the activity for this weekend – “The 43rd World Social Communication Day”. A contest had been run for the Friday and Sunday School children and the COLA Youth and we needed to shortlist the entries to be passed to the judges. Imagine this: There was 3 of us, all exhausted, and it was late (and we still needed sleep!!!)…we resorted to judging ala American Idol, “YES!”, “NO!”, “THAT’S A DISASTER!”, and shortlisted 6/40 essays and 10/40 posters.

Tuesday, I intended to go to mass but missed it as I had to buy paper for the contest certificates – for ALL 80 participants and the winners. So I went home to bath and then left for Novena. After Novena, printed participation certs for those that were not shortlisted but had to stop as the printer ink ran out on us. Also, it was already 10pm+…and we still needed sleep!!!

Wednesday, finally managed to attend mass and before Novena managed to print the participation certs for the shortlisted entries. However, we still had the winning certs to print which we could only do the following day after they had been judged. But that was minor considering we already printed MOST of them already…and it was only on Wednesday that I felt I had fully recovered from the previous weekend…

Thursday, after mass before Novena, we obtained the winners for the essays and posters and after Novena printed all the winning certs. But there was 1 more category which have not been judged – video making by the COLA Youth, and that was the following night. On top of that, the full preparation for the weekend began…setting up the venue, etc etc…

Friday, after mass before Novena, we got the winners for the videos and after Novena printed all the certs and finally we were done with the certs! However, we still hadn’t secured the prizes – to be done the next night but on this night, the setting up was in full-swing and almost everything was in place for the weekend! – THIS being my 2nd weekend in Bandar…

Saturday, took the opportunity to sleep-in and spent the day doing chores (in place of Thursday) and in the evening, went to COLA to help out with the gift-wrapping. It was also the beginning of the “The 43rd World Social Communication Day” and we had the exhibits going on as well and our special edition magazine was off the press! My first article in print! 🙂 and it was the final night, the 9th day of the Novena to the Holy Spirit. Only after Novena managed to continue with the gift-wrapping – which unexpectedly took a really long time as I had to make 45 small paper bags to keep the small indiviual prizes for the members of the winning videos as the entries were by class…we ended up staying till past midnight! That was a first!

Sunday, woke up at 7am and got ready for the big event. Went to COLA a little early to set up the prizes and certs before making it in time for the 9.30am Mass, after which the event was in full-swing up until noon. Main item for the event was the LIVE Video Conference between the 3 parishes in Brunei. This was the theme of “Communication” and it is the first time such a big-scale link-up was tried, and it was successfully accomplished!!! We were thrilled! And of course, all our hard work paid of and all our winners got their certs and prizes…

FINALLY

Finally, after the most exhausting-but-fun 2 weeks of my life after I started working in Brunei, I could go home for the weekend (since today is a public hol here)…it might be shorter than my normal 3 nights weekends but at least I am with family. Furthermore, when I reached Seria yesterday afternoon, it was a nice surprise that my MOM and BRO had arrived from SIBU!!! They arrived Saturday and didn’t tell us earlier cos they wanted to “pay back” for our surprise

All in all, the past 2 weeks have been very busy indeed huh? Now, its time to go to bed and hibernate…

HAVE A BLESSED PENTECOST! 😀

It is the Beginning

I had been in COLA after work everyday the past week, for Mass and etc. and while I am physically exhausted, I am spiritually ecstatic!

I focused a lot on achieving my Lenten goal, but I realised that after I achieved it (although it wasn’t a perfect score, it counted for something) I didn’t know how I was suppose to carry on with life as if nothing ever happened. Indeed, Lent is over…and I just realised that while Lent, one way or another, brings most of us back to our Faith, Easter seems to be the goal – the finish line; that when Easter is here, we shrug off and get back to our “busy lives” as if to say: “He died on the cross for our sins and now He is risen, so we are saved already what. Why do we need to do anything more? It’s time to party. It’s time to let loose…”

Imagine this: You need an organ transplant (let’s say that organ is a heart) and if you didn’t get the transplant, you would die. And someone comes along and that someone LOVES you so much that that someone was willing to give you his/her heart. That would mean that he/she would die of course, but he/she was willing – as long as it meant you would live.

Now, in such a scenario, would a party with good food and good company and having a good time be sufficient to honour such love? NO! If anything, we would be even MORE in love with that someone for the sacrifice that someone made for us. How much more should we then honour Christ who loved us that He suffered for us and died on the cross so that through His Ressurection, we might live? It took us 40 days to understand and appreciate His sacrifice but it would take much MORE for us to appreciate his Resurrection. That’s why Easter lasts 50 days (up until Pentecost).

So indeed, Easter is here. Let us remember that Easter is NOT the end but only the Beginning.

To Bro Cibol, I don’t know what happened, but whatever it was, I am glad that this Lent/Holy Week/Easter had such an impact on you, as it did me. May we both not ever wander far away again…Praise The Lord! Alleluia!

Alleluia!

The Lord is Risen!

Forty days ago, I decided that I would try and abstain from meat for the whole of Lent. That means no red meat (thus fish and seafood is allowed) or processed red meat (like hotdogs, burgers).

So how did I manage on my “vegetarian mission”?

Well, at first it was difficult, but a few days into it, it was surprisingly easy. All that while, I never really had to struggle since there were a variety of vegetarian food like seafood-, vege- and tofu-based products available. I almost thought it wasn’t much of a “mission” afterall….UNTIL the last few days.

Cool animation! All-in-one: Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good friday and Easter

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, the beginning of the Holy Week, and it was the 2nd week whereby I was actively getting involved in COLA. It was also the final week of Lent…I was tempted…3 times…and 2 times out of that 3 times I failed! Lapses? Why oh why couldn’t I have resisted? It was ONLY expensive finely-cooked hotel food…Darn. Why did the Seminar have to take place on that week…?

No point blaming anyone but me. Only when one is tempted then will one know how strong one is right? I got my answer…So because of the lapses, I decided I would add-on to my personal Lenten observance by (though this should actually have been done since 40 days ago…would I dare?) cutting out on entertainment i.e. TV, internet (thus why I am only here today) and music, and praying/meditating more. It helped that Bishop lend me this book called “The Return of The Prodigal Son” during that tempterous week. Also made me wonder that he perhaps read my last post...

Anyways. So, considering all that, I would say I scored 97% on my whole mission. The 1% is error margin and 2% is for “lapses”. It would have been much lower if I hadn’t bucked up towards the end…

So yeah, as I expected it to, putting an effort to actually sacrifice some part of yourself, part of your normal routine, REALLY makes Easter feel like salvation, like what its meant to feel like… 😀

HAVE A BLESSED EASTER!!!

God bless.