My scars do not define me

The long ugly scar that runs down my abdomen is a visual reminder of a surgery I never wanted. An operation that robbed my dreams of ever having a son or a second child to cradle in my arms.

As my birthday approaches, I take stock of life by doing some self-reflection. They say that to move forward in life, you should not be looking over your shoulder at the past. But without seeing how far you’ve come, how can one truly appreciate where you are standing now?

My birthday last year was spent in the hospital. The last place I’ll ever imagine myself to land up in especially after returning from a blissful vacation for two with my husband.

But the physical pain after the operation was nowhere near the heart wrenching anguish where I will not experience being pregnant again. The recurrence of fibroids has grown aggressive over the years and there was no way my body could take any more operations.

“Just remove your womb. It’s all for the better,” my doctor advised very matter of fact.

God, I don’t want this to be my story

I naively tried to fight against this sentence by cleaning up my diet, exercising, getting more rest, not stressing myself and praying.

Praying and pleading with God for a different outcome. An outcome that was on my terms.

But over time, the greatest lesson from months of praying was learning to surrender my will to God. Because I know my Father’s heart for me, I know He is with me even through the deepest valley. I know His plans for me are to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans to give me a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.

 

His plans are to prosper me and not harm me. Plans to give me a hope and a future.

 

The assurance from God gave me peace to undergo a hysterectomy eight months later. An inevitable operation that could no longer be delayed due to multiple issues that surfaced. There was an unspeakable peace as I laid on the operating bed, knowing that God is in control and the op will put an end to my troubles as I look forward to a new me in the new year.

Even though my body now looks battled with so many ugly scars from multiple operations, I have accepted that these scars are a part of my life story. But my scars are nothing compared to the nailed scarred hands of Jesus.

Because the Son of God died and resurrected on the third day, overcoming death and sin, I can have confidence and renewed hope in a living God for my future especially as we celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday this week.

What are the scars in your life?

Perhaps for you, your scars are well hidden from sight.

Or perhaps they are not scars on your body, but emotional scars that have left you with broken dreams, hurts and disappointments.

No amount of scar reducing cream can fade or erase them and what you need are healing and forgiveness.

Your scars may have been a part of your life story, but they don’t define your future.

 

Trust that your scars are still within the plans and purposes of God. Your scars can be a beautiful part of your life story and have a bigger purpose to bring God glory as long as you’re a willing vessel for Him.

Everything that we’ve gone through will not be a wasted experience if we can share and touch someone with God’s hope.

 

Easter Weekend at Hope Church Singapore

I’m especially moved by the testimony of Francis and Suliani Yap, parents of Nigel and Donavan who  forgave the driver who killed both their sons in a road accident 6 years ago. Their unspeakable loss is something that no parent should ever have to go through but they chose to forgive and continue loving and serving God.

They will be sharing their testimony in my church this Easter Sunday and I’ll like to invite you to come. There will be Marvel-theme program for kids too.

 

Inspired by real-life incidents, Hope Singapore presents “Viral” – a drama production that takes an insight look into some of Singapore’s most trending stories. Join us this Easter on 20 & 21 April, as we discover the truths behind the unforgiving world of the internet.

 

I’ve shared my journey on these other posts and hope they bring you comfort that you are not alone.

 

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Floral Fantasy at Gardens by the Bay

Floral Fantasy (奇幻花园) is Gardens by the Bay’s (滨海湾花园) latest attraction at Bayfront Plaza opening on 14 April 2019. It’s close proximity to Bayfront MRT, makes it hard to miss as it is a major entry point for locals and tourists.

We’ve always been awed by thematic display at Flower Dome and were certain the new permanent attraction will be another captivating floral tapestry.

This cosy 1,500 square meter indoor space features more than 3,000 plants and more than 150 species in four diverse garden landscape, each showcasing a different artistic concept.

Here’s a sneak of what each zone offers.

Four garden landscapes in Floral Fantasy

Dance

Once we stepped foot into the space, we were greeted by rainbow pastel blooms hanging upside down. The dreamy canopy makes a welcoming entrance and sparked childlike wonder having us ohhing and ahhhing as we were led into a world of floral fantasy.

As we followed the pathway, another whimsical sight awaited.

A world of floral fantasy at Gardens by the Bay

Pendulous floral balls bobbing gently up and down from the ceiling.

As soon as Sophie caught sight of it, she cheekily said they resembled her favourite Nonya kueh, Ondeh Ondeh. Oh my little foodie.

Being the ever patriotic National baby, Sophie posed with the orchids and asked for a photo.

Float

In the next zone, Float, we were drawn by the soft bubbling stream as it meanders through grassy knolls.

Here you’re welcome to linger and take in the relaxing atmosphere as you sit on the wooden bench or get comfy on the grass.

The calming environment was lost on the little miss as she got up to cheeky antics humouring some guests when she flossed and even surprised me with a sneaky kiss.

We spotted an interesting tree, the fried egg tree, with white flowers and yellow stamens that resembled a sunny-side up egg.

Waltz

As we entered the third zone, Waltz, we experienced walking through a forest in the rain. Flowers and plants from driftwood structures frame the landscape, enveloping us in the wonder of nature.

We tried spotting the pint-sized poison dart frogs displayed in the vivarium and they are exceptional at camouflaging themselves.

This purpose of this exhibit is to highlight and educate guests how deforestation can have adverse impact on even the smallest aspects of biodiversity, especially on these vulnerable amphibians.

4m by 2m poison dart frog vivarium housing more than 30 tiny poison dart frogs

Drift

The final garden landscape likens a cavern, ringed with terraced rock formation.

As my eyes trailed the hanging ferns draped down from the ceiling, glittering lights sparkle above creating a magical and enchanting atmosphere.

4D ride – Flight of the Dragonfly

Rounding up our visit to Floral Fantasy was a 4D ride which simulates the journey of a dragonfly’s flight path through Gardens by the Bay. Our sense of sight, sound, touch and smell were engaged on this interactive ride and we enjoyed the many surprising elements like bubbles and rose scents on this ride.

If you have little children, do note the height restriction of 1m and above.

A scene from Flight of the Dragonfly 4D ride

 

Opening Special Ticketing Details

Floral Fantasy is a ticketed exhibition. Visitors to Floral Fantasy and Friends of the Gardens will enjoy opening special rate between 14 April and 13 May 2019.

Local Resident Rates

Adults: $9
Senior (above 60 years) and child: $5

Friends of the Gardens
Adults: $6
Senior (above 60 years) and child: $4

Visit period after 13 May 2019
Adults: $12
Senior (above 60 years) and child: $8

Friends of the Gardens
Adults: $9
Senior (above 60 years) and child: $7

There will be a special opening of Bayfront Plaza on 14 April where there will be stage performances, roving acts with free flow of popcorn and candy floss to keep everyone entertained.

For more information, do check Gardens by the Bay facebook page here.

Floral Fantasy at Gardens by the Bay Bayfront Plaza

Venue: Bayfront Plaza, Gardens by the Bay (nearest MRT Bayfront station via circle line or downtown line)

Time: 9.00am – 9.00pm

 

 

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Overcoming differences in our marriage

“Stop calling me a heartless man”

That was Alexis’s last straw when my attempts to guilt trip him incited his anger. Before this eruption happened, Alexis suggested throwing out everything that didn’t spark joy as he grew tired of the clutter in the home.

Being more sentimental and admittedly the hoarder between us, I found it hard to let go of many things, especially items that may well serve those just in case moments.

In my mind, I pictured myself throwing up both hands, and retorting, “But you are heartless!” If this scene did play out in real life, a war of words with escalating voices would be exchanged in the heat of the moment. So I bit my tongue and kept silent.

Marriage doesn’t get easier with time

You would have imagined that having lived together for 13 years, our living habits would be more in sync, complimenting each other in perfect harmony.

Instead, I’m resigned to believe that we will always live with differences and perhaps that’s the way it will be until forever and ever, Amen.

When we got married, we got together with our eyes wide open. That means knowing each other’s strengths and flaws and accepting that they come as the whole package.

So why do we assume that our partners need to change and conform to be like us?

Going from a C to A Marriage

Even though we are married to our partners whom we’ll go to the ends of the world for, most of us are still very me-centred. Over the years, I’ve learnt that if I want a Christ-centred marriage, I have to “die to myself” every single day.

My husband is not perfect but neither am I. So how can we take our marriage a notch higher and move from C to A? 


Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

 

From complaining to accepting

Instead of complaining, I’ve learnt to accept our differences. I’ve learnt to accept that God uniquely designed and fashioned us. And frankly life would be boring if we were all cookie cutter made.

The person that we are is an accumulation of our upbringing, personality, gender, life experiences, and neither of us is better than the other in our relationship. When we accept that differences in a relationship is the spice of life, we will have a different perspectives about the need to change our spouse. .

A practical approach is to express what you want your spouse to do instead of complaining about it.

  • Honey, please remember to turn off the lights when you come out of the kitchen.
  • I know you prefer to stay home, but this family gathering is important to me. Can you accompany me to it.
  • I can see that you are busy, but I would appreciate if you can make time to tidy up the house this weekend.

From criticising to appreciating

Having a thriving marriage goes beyond merely accepting our differences and feeling like we have to tolerate each other. If I’m still harbouring resentment, I will always find myself in a never ending cycle of frustration.

The moment I find myself on the verge of saying unkind words, I pause and think about all the things I appreciate about Alexis. Depending on how mad I am, sometimes the list can be very very short and I’ll need to focus on those points and remind myself why I married him in the first place.

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

 

And you know what, even though our husbands don’t say it, they need affirmations just like us. Compliment him opening and show your appreciation for your spouse. I often joke with Alexis that I always sing praises of him on my blog and I need more compliments from him too.

From comparing to adjusting

While it’s one thing to accept our spouse for who they are, I feel that personal sacrifices or what I call dying to self is also needed.

I change because I love my husband and I endeavour to be a better wife to him. As a couple, we are one and no longer live separate lives. While there may be times when living out that oneness becomes trying, we are not without help. Only when we submit ourselves and our marriage to God, can He bring about a lasting change in us that is rooted in love.

Even though I’m happy living with organised chaos, it’s undeniable that living in a more organised home gives a sense of order and calmness. So, I try my best to lean in and change and keeping the home neat. It may not match Alexis’s expectations but he sees that I’m doing my best and gives me props for that.

 

While I may have called Alexis a heartless man, I am warming up to the beauty of minimalism because we simply own too much stuffs. As I learn to let go of clutter, there is a new lightness in my spirit. My heart now finds contentment with lesser things to distract me from what matters most.

Reading this book together as a couple, The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker was also life changing. I strongly encourage everyone to read it to redefine what truly brings value in your life. It’s available as an E-book from the NLB too.

Work at your differences together

Regardless of where you are in your marriages, whether you are a courting couple, newly weds or even empty-nesters, conflicts are bound to happen. Overcoming them may take a lifetime because we are all unique. But remembering to accept, appreciate and adjust will put us in good stead for a happier, stronger and more fulfilling marriage.

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share my heart about marriage and relationship.

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Superpark Singapore – Super Fun Indoor Playground for the Family

Superpark Singapore for a super fun time

“Superpark means super fun right?”

Sophie shot me this question cheekily when I told her we were going to SuperPark.  This girl had her expectations way up high for her visit to Superpark Singapore and Sophie certainly was not disappointed.

Spanning 40,000 square feet over two levels (level 1 and 2) in Suntec City Mall, this all-in-one indoor activity park from Finland gets our stamp of approval!  Not only is it indoors and fully air-conditioned (YEAH!), it is humongous with over 20 fun and wholesome activities where both young and young at heart can have an adrenaline-charged time together no matter rain or shine.

For Sophie who’s soon turning 10, this park is perfect as she has long outgrown kiddy indoor playgrounds and there are SO MANY activity options in SuperPark to choose from.

I am absolutely sold by their #madetomove tagline, which is what our little digital natives and quite frankly we as parents need to be encouraged to do more of as well. Best of all, SuperPark is not only for the kids and youths as it has been purposefully built for all ages to join in the fun and stay active.

So yes parents, forget about watching your kids from the side and jump into action to get moving with the kids.

#MADETOMOVE

So where do we get started? Let me take you on a tour with a review of the activities and find out which made it to Sophie’s top 5!

(more…)

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Multi-award winning Matilda The Musical Debuts in Singapore

If your favourite children memory includes being lost in a good Roald Dahl book then you don’t want to miss Matilda the Musical as it debut in Singapore for the first time.

Matilda the Musical is a stage adaptation of the novel written by the incredibly talented and iconic childrens’ author Roald Dahl who needs no introduction.  When Sophie heard that the musical was coming to town last year, my nine-year-old was overjoyed and promptly finished the book in a few days after I promised to take her for the musical.

The empowering message that Matilda, a five-year-old, witty and fearless book-loving heroine can change the destiny of her life was so inspiring that Sophie couldn’t stop talking about it after the musical ended.

So what can you expect from the musical?

Matilda the Musical comes to Singapore

This captivating musical follows the novel closely with a few surprising additions that lends added dramatics to the story.

For one, the birth of Matilda Wormwood explains why she’s so unloved by her cruel and self-absorbed parents and the odds she had to overcome from being dealt with a bad hand of card in life.

Despite being born to dim-witted parents who thinks that you can learn everything from the telly, Matilda’s taught herself to read at the age of three and even learnt the times table by five.

But her quick wit is soon challenged when she enters school and has to outsmart her formidable school headmistress Miss Trunchbull. A larger than life tormentor who disdains children and comes up with all kinds of terrible punishment for them.

Thankfully, Matilda’s extraordinary intelligence is noticed by her teacher Ms. Honey who takes an interest to protect and groom her brilliant mind.  An unlikely friendship ensues as they stand up for each other in the face of bullies overcoming obstacles and fighting to change their destiny.

What’s more incredible is the amazing performance by nine-year-old Sofia Poston from Singapore who exuded confidence and stage presence as she brought Matilda to life on stage.

Miss Trunchbull, was so gleefully menacing and the audience roared with laughter as she danced with ribbon sticks and tumbled during the Pys Ed scene.

Till now, we are still flabbergasted at how they pulled off the incredible pigtail spinning act which you must witness for yourself.

 

Universal themes of rising above challenges, facing up to bullies and being positive change agents are empowering messages conveyed in the musical making it an inspiring performance for children and adults alike. You’ll laugh, you’ll sing along and you’ll even be moved by the spectacular musical.

With an incredible cast who put in so much energy and passion in their performance, this is one musical that I highly recommend for all ages. Book your tickets before the musical ends their run on 17 March 2019.

 

Matilda the Musical Singapore Ticketing Info

Dates: 21 February 2019 to 17 March 2019

Show times: Tue – Fri: 7:30pm, Sat: 2pm & 7:30pm, Sun: 1pm & 6pm

Venue: Mastercard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands

Duration: Approximately 155 minutes (including 20 mins interval)

Ticket Pricing: Prices start from S$68

Book your tickets for Matilda the Musical through Sistic website here.

 

 

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