He Is (at 32:45)

Old notes taken mostly from my personal time with God. We're moving house again, so, I guess we're back to being, literally, pilgrims on the Rough Roads of Planet Earth. (Photo taken on a road to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, North Auckland, NZ, Dec 2009.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On the 9/11 10th Anniversary Commemorative Service at Church (Part 2 of 2)

Dated 19 Sept. 2011

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A photo of the Statue of Liberty I took on my visit here in Sept - Oct 2007.

What was once a distant horrific event that we only saw on TV 10 years ago had become real to us even when we just came here 8 months ago. Our New Yorker friends told us people had to walk home from work that day because all the trains and buses stopped operations, and all bridges were closed, just in case there were other planned bombings. Our friend's husband who works in Manhattan borrowed a bike from the gym of his office and rode two hours to get home. Most people had to go on foot. For many days they would burst into tears whenever they watched the news reports every day as the city dealt with the aftermath.

As I walked home from church that day I remember pondering why am I here? Exactly four years ago I came here to send my son to his university and my sister and her family drove me to Virginia for a visit. On the way there we dropped by Wash., DC and I saw the place for the first time. It wasn't just the "touristy" places that impressed me. We passed by some residential suburbs and I saw the most beautiful and impeccably-landscaped townhouses I have ever seen. I thought, this must be the most beautiful man-made place on earth and the cost of living here must be among the highest in the world. Of course, I was right, especially about the latter. I remember thinking, "Wow! It must feel like a dream living here!"

When I went back to Malaysia I told my family about Wash., DC. I said I would love to live in a place like that, just to feel what it's like, even for just a few months or even days. But it must be the most dangerous place to live in, with the Pentagon and the White House sitting right there. When I was there we actually drove by the Pentagon and my brother-in-law showed us the part that had a gaping hole from the bomb that was dropped there. It was only "fortunate" that that part of the building was not really occupied that time and thus, nobody was hurt.

One year later, when my son came back to Malaysia for his Summer break, I told him the same thing, that DC is so beautiful, but I wouldn't want to live there, even if I could, in the light of 9/11. After 9/11 the world has changed.

In Feb. this year, my son was short-listed for 2 jobs, one with a consulting firm in Manhattan, NY and the other, a job with a bank head-quartered in Wash., DC area (Arlington, VA). We were hoping he would get the one in Manhattan so he would be near us, even if he decides to get a place of his own right there, rather than stay with us here in Bayside. But the consulting firm was taking too long in making their decision about hiring him whereas Capital One Bank offered him at once a business analyst position, and they gave him a deadline to decide. Thus, he took the latter offer and now he's living in Wash., DC. And now, I am wondering, in the light of 9/11, why are we spread in these two most dangerous places - Wash., DC and New York City?

When we moved to NZ three years ago, my family in the Philippines were saying we'll have a relaxed life and we'll be far from the political turmoil, NZ being so far and isolated from the rest of the world. I called it "the edge of the world," and "the last stop to the South Pole." So, I said, "Yeah, while the rest of the world bomb each other, we will be sitting in front of our TVs watching, together with the seals and the penguins." And I actually felt good about that, although I reminded my brothers that NZ actually sent peace-keeping troops to the Gulf War. In the event that a similar thing happens again and NZ would draft men into military service, my own sons may not be exempted.


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Auckland CBD as seen from the top of Mt. Eden, Oct 2008.

But now, I am truly pondering, "How did we end up here in the most dangerous cities of the world, when I had actually expressed the fear of living in these places before?" Of course, the obvious answer would be to think that probably, God didn't mean us to be by-standers and spectators in the sidelines. He probably really meant us to be where the action is!?  Exactly 3 years ago we were packing and getting ready to leave K. Lumpur for Auckland. Months prior to that my friends had doubts whether it was God's will for us to move to NZ. But I assured them that I had prayed about it and God clearly showed me it was meant for us. I would have a "refreshing" in NZ. And I did. NZ was "paradise" compared to this, and looking back now, we were really meant to come here, too, eventually, although of course, at that time, we didn't know it. If we had known, I'm sure we wouldn't have made that move to NZ. But God really meant to give me that respite in NZ, at least from my younger daughter's homeschooling, albeit it was very brief, before bringing us to this cauldron.

So now, you ask me, is God really with us? Sometimes I wonder, too. After all, this is not really the best of economic times for America, and as my high school friend who also just moved here puts it, "America is no longer the land of milk and honey that people once thought it was." Of course, I agree. But I believe that God brought us here for a purpose. (Jer. 29:11). I will never be sure whether we are in the center of His will but He continues to take care and provide for us.

Last month, when Hurricane Irene was here, my sis and her family in NJ had a few hours of power interruption, and so did our friends who live, just 15 minutes away from us. Our cousins in Lincoln Park, NJ even had it worse. Their house got flooded and they had to evacuate for a few days. My other cousins in Lafayette, NJ also had flooding in their basement. Just a few blocks away from us here, some people also had power interruption. As for us, God heard my prayer when I told Him, "Lord, I have a full house. My sis-in-law and her family are here. We can't take any more inconveniences like water or power line cut offs on top of this over-crowding." (My younger daughter, i.e., special needs child went hyperactive in those 4 days they were with us and we had to take her to a doctor and my in-laws had to move to a hotel!) Thus, I believe, we were miraculously spared by God. And I continue to believe that because He brought us here He will continue to care for us. I continue to put my hope on our truly merciful, faithful and loving God.

On the 9/11 10th Anniversary Commemorative Service at Church (Part 1)

Dated 19 Sept. 2011


The cover of the service program for that morning of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Sept 11, 2011. (Shocks, I just realized, that's double eleventh hour!) I didn't notice the American flag at the bottom until I took this photo this morning.


I have not attended Sunday morning service for quite a while. If I bring my younger daughter, who's a special needs child, along she can't stop talking repeatedly, nor can she stop pulling my hair, so, people around us end up distracted by us. If I leave her at home, almost always, nobody is awake yet to child-mind her. But that was a special Sunday and I was blessed that my younger son was already awake, so, I left her with him. He knows that nowadays, in order for us to go to church, we have to take turns going to church / caring for her.
There was a general feeling of disappointment among New Yorkers for Mayor Bloomberg leaving out the religious leaders from the official commemoration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 at Ground Zero. The pastor mentioned it in his sermon and for him this was a sign that America is falling into that false sense of security, just because there had been no similar attacks in the last 10 years. (Later on, I found out that Pres. Barak and First Lady Michelle Obama and ex-Pres. George and ex-First Lady Laura Bush came to Ground Zero for the early morning observance and Pres. Obama read Psalm 46. I believe that the reason they left out the clergy this time was to prevent any controversy arising from the different religious groups. Hence, I am glad that still, the text the President chose to read for the occasion is from the Bible.)
The pastor, a soft-spoken medium-sized guy, preached a simple and succinct message on that mournful Sunday. Titled, "America, Beware!", his message warns Americans that what happened on 9/11 ten years ago was not an accident; it was a deliberate act of war. Muslim extremists attacked America because of their hatred for Americans and their way of life, as well as their close ties with Israel. America remains to be a defender of Israel because we believe God's word saying, "I will bless those who bless you." That is, God will bless those who bless the nation of Israel to whom He was speaking when He said that. When I heard that, I became genuinely glad that we have chosen to make the move from the church in front of our house, to this church, which is also in our neighborhood, but a bit further. I guess, the pastor's candid and humorous statement best describes the "statement of faith" of this church: "The Bible is never PC – politically correct – instead, it is always BC – biblically correct." He elaborated on his commemorative message by preaching on Ephesians 6:11-13.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
He reminded us that we are in a spiritual war, a religious war. He went on to remind everyone of the heroic act of the passengers of Flight 93, which landed in the rural fields of Pennsylvania, averting a potential attack on the Capitol. Ten years ago, on 9/11, New Yorkers came face to face with evil. They experienced the horror and devastation of loved ones suddenly going missing, the city paralyzed by terror and panic, transportation coming to a total stand-still, the whole metropolitan going on "emergency" mode. Suddenly, heroism and patriotism came to an all-time high, there was a unity making people come together in prayer due to the acute awareness of the existence of God and His importance in their lives, a coming together to give support and comfort to one another, forgetting whatever earthly differences they may have had. But despite all that, soon after, people started forgetting the lessons learned and put political power of utmost importance again. By not welcoming the clergy to the 10th Remembrance of 9/11 he said, we are dismissing our main source of security – God. (Psalm 121:1) He emphasized that an attack similar to 9/11 can happen again and that we have to remain strong and vigilant. He called upon us to come to repentance and mourning, that we should humble ourselves and seek the Lord for help. He quoted Joel 2:11-15, Psalm 51:17 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.
After the preaching and prayer, members of the church came up to the front and read aloud from Isaiah 40, Psalm 62, Psalm 24 and Psalm 91. There was also a corporate reading of Psalm 23. A widow of one of the members of the church who died on 9/11 read an essay titled, " If I Knew It Was the Last Time…" Another member read another essay titled, "On Monday,... On Tuesday...". 9/11 happened on a Tuesday and the essay was enumerating details on how New Yorkers' lives and attitudes changed in just one day between those momentous Monday and Tuesday. A slide show titled "9.11.07 Never Forget, Never Surrender" was also shown with the instrumental version of "Be Still My Soul" as soft background music. The service was so solemn and meaningful. There were no dry eyes at the end of it. It was also the first Sunday service I attended in that church and it was a most memorable one. (The first services we attended there were on Wednesday nights.)

Where Was God on 9/11? by Anne Graham Lotz

Dated 11 Sept 2011
"Have you ever thought, "Where was God on 9/11 when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked?" Well, I know where my God was on the morning of September 11, 2001, and He was very busy!
He was discouraging people from taking those four flights. Together they could accommodate more than 1,000 passengers, yet there were only 266 aboard. He was on those four flights giving the terrified passengers the ability to stay calm. And on one of the flights, God gave strength to the passengers to overcome the hijackers.
God was also busy creating obstacles to prevent people who worked in the WTC from getting to work on time. The work day had begun, more than 50,000 people worked in the two towers, yet only 20,000 were at their desks. On that beautiful morning, God created scores of unexpected traffic delays, subway delays, and commuter train delays. A PATH train packed with commuters was stopped at a signal just short of the WTC and was able to return to Jersey City. And far more meetings were scheduled elsewhere than was usual.
God held up each of the two mighty towers for a half hour so that the people on the lower floors could get out. And when He finally let go, He caused the towers to fall inward rather than to topple over, which would have killed so many more people. The foundations of six surrounding buildings were demolished by the fall of the towers, but God held them up for many hours until all the occupants were safely evacuated.
And when the WTC and Pentagon buildings went down, my God picked up almost 3,500 of His children and carried them to their home for all eternity. He also sat down and cried that 19 of His children could have so much hate in their hearts, that they did not choose him, but another god that doesn't exist, and now they are lost forever.
He sent people trained in dealing with earthly disasters to save those that were injured. And he sent in thousands of others to help in any way they were needed. And He brought people together across the world in a way that moved thousands to tears and hundreds of thousands to prayer - and caused millions to turn to the one true living God.
He still isn't finished. Every day He comforts those who lost loved ones. He is encouraging others to reach out to those who don't know Him or believe in Him. He is giving the leaders of our great nation the strength and conviction to do the right thing, to follow His will, not a popular poll.
So if anyone ever asks, "Where was your God on 9/11?" you can say, "He was everywhere! And, in fact, He is everywhere to day and every day. " Without a doubt, this was the worst catastrophe most of us have ever seen. I can't imagine getting through such a difficult time without God at my side. Without God, life would be hopeless."
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From a leaflet that came with today's Sunday worship program at our church here in Queens, New York, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

The DC Earthquake and Hurricane Irene

Dated 25 August 2011


I had been feeling sick for a week but didn't feel too badly, until that day, Tues., Aug 23. I thought I better go to the doctor because I couldn't stand another day / night being sick. So, I took the bus and went to our doctor. There was a long queue as usual, an assortment of old and young people, some babies and some middle-aged ones like me. I felt the chair I was sitting on being gently rocked but there was a toddler holding on to the chair next to mine, so, I thought he was rocking the chair. But a middle-aged guy standing next to a bookshelf, talking quite loudly on his cellphone, suddenly looked up and said, "Oh, earthquake!" So, I said, "Yeah, it's an earthquake." He was standing a few feet away from us, so, I thought if he felt the shaking, then it couldn't have been the baby; it was an earthquake! The same guy walked to the window at the end of the room and said, "I thought it was just because of the construction going on downstairs," examining the construction site just outside. We were on the second floor (meaning, third floor, if you count the ground floor as first floor). I think the building had up to 6 floors and that moment, I was thinking, "Why did I happen to be in this multi-story building when this earthquake occurred?" At the same time, I was thinking, good that it's just a small one, or we would all be rushing to get out of the building and the hallways are very narrow. This was congested Queens, New York. I can't remember the last time I felt an earthquake. Probably in Japan? There was an earthquake or two when we lived in Malaysia but I didn't feel them because we were too far from the epicenter or we were on the ground floor. The vocal guy said, "Facebook time," and went on to check his FB in his cellphone. He said, "Hmmm, Washington DC." I thought, "The epicenter is in DC?" I texted my older daughter  who was at home to ask if they felt the earthquake at around 5 min. before 2pm. I texted the same message to my niece in Jersey and to my older son  in DC. My niece texted back saying it was a little shaking but my son said he was in Richmond, VA for a one-week training and they have evacuated the office. Almost an hour later he texted again saying they have gone back in. When I got home my older daughter said she didn't read my txt message but she did feel it. The rest of my family didn't feel it at all because they were either napping or sitting in front of the computer. So, we didn't think too much of that little earthquake although it was a 5.8 magnitude in Virginia.
Then last night, Wednesday, when I was reading my younger daughter her bedtime story my older daughter was looking at her Tumblr and exclaimed, "Mommy, a hurricane is coming to hit us!" He explained that it's headed for Miami and North Carolina but will eventually reach us in New York. And then I said, "That sounds bad, a hurricane in New York?" And she said it's predicted to be big, probably not as big as Katrina, but big. And when I think of Katrina I think "chastisement" (on New Orleans). So, I said, "Could that be because of Wall Street?" And she said, "Why?" "Don't you know? In the past few weeks the stock market crashed and people are saying the people behind Wall Street are the ones who made the money from that crash." Then she looked at her computer again and said, "Mommy, somebody did comment saying, 'I hope it goes straight to Wall Street!'" And I said, "Earthquake in DC and now hurricane in Manhattan? This doesn't sound good. Reminds me of 9/11." (The Pentagon was hit in DC when the World Trade Center was bombed in 9/11.) My daughter knows that I have always dreamed of going back to DC again, because I really do think it's the most beautiful man-made city I have ever seen, and had hoped I could live there, even just for a short while. I was there in 2007 when my sis and her family brought me there for a visit after we sent my older son to Dartmouth to start his college education. But at the same time I had expressed that it's probably the most dangerous place to live in in the whole world because of the Pentagon and the White House sitting there. And then now, my older son is actually working there (!) and most likely, I would see DC again, this time with my whole family, the Lord willing.
Then this morning I found in my email the news that I had been thinking of looking up since the earthquake occurred. I am subscribed to Christian Breaking News and one of the news they posted is on the earthquake and the impending arrival of Hurricane Irene in New York this Sunday (Aug 28). I read the news from the link they recommended and I found the details more alarming than just the" gentle swaying" we experienced here in New York. The vid associated with the news also says that the epicenter was in Mineral, VA, 40 miles northwest of Richmond where my older son was when it happened. The dismal side of the news is that:
1) "The East Coast gets earthquakes, but usually smaller ones and is less prepared than California or Alaska for shaking." That means the buildings here in the East Coast are not built to withstand big earthquakes, unlike in California and Alaska.
2) There were two nuclear plants in VA that were taken offline for a while after that earthquake, and there is also a nuclear plant here in New York (Indian Point). The reason Japan had radioactive leakage from their nuclear plants in the earthquake of 11th March there is because those nuclear plants were built to withstand only earthquakes up to 5 or 6 or 7 magnitude, not an 8.9 ! Because this area has no history of big earthquakes, I doubt if these nuclear plants are built to withstand them either.
3) A few months before the "killer quake" of Christchurch, NZ on 22nd Feb this year, they also had a big-mag. quake (in Sept 2010) but it didn't kill anyone and it was considered a miracle by the NZ Prime Minister, considering that it's a highly populated area. However, both "killer quake" and it's "prelude" in Christchurch were later deemed to have come from an unknown fault - meaning, there was no history of big jolts coming from that particular fault line.
Well, these thoughts are far from happy ones, but I always try to see the worst scenarios that can happen, and then I pray that they would never happen. I really think we cannot be complacent with the "small earthquake" we felt here in New York the other day. So, there. I pray that you my friends out there would pray for us here in the North American east coast. Now I also understand why I had been sick lately. I lost my appetite and because of the diarrhea I was really forced to fast, or at least, partially-fast. Then right after the earthquake I felt better again. And this is not the first time this has happened to me.
Today it was rainy-cloudy the whole day, a sudden contrast to the bright and cool-breezy weather we had in the past week. We went out shopping for food and the lady at the till was commenting that she hadn't had any break since they opened at 7 this morning. People have also been shopping for food in preparation for this hurricane weekend! And tomorrow, Friday, it could be worse. As for me, my older daughter  attends her first day of classes for the Fall Term tomorrow and my sis-in-law and her family (3 of them) are arriving from Malaysia. They are on holiday here, but they'll probably be staying a while longer with us before they can't go anywhere, with this hurricane coming this weekend!

Happiness and Joy

Dated 31 July 2011

HAPPINESS

Whatever is going on in your.... (brain); 89...(0); chicken ten... (ders); see Imo...(gen); Pass by Lincoln... (Heights); Barney's Great Adven...(ture); "Parade of Num...(bers)"; And so pull your hair now!; Sky... (High); I have fun making pooh...(pooh) - some of my conversations with my younger daughter. Of course, my replies are the ones in parentheses. :)))))

Yup, it's Sunday evening and it's the weekend after my 50th birthday. Do I feel old? No, I'm young at heart. hahahaaa!!! But yes, I am old and getting even older each day. It's kind of cool being old, really. :) For one thing, you don't have to worry about looking old because you just look your age. bwahaaa!! The day before my b-day my children and I attended Wednesday evening church and that felt good because I never could bring my teens to church with me on Sunday mornings because they can't wake up in time. Well, my younger daughter made her usual noise of : "What time is it over?" (Yeah, constantly asking what time the church would be over and we had to keep shhhh, shhhh-ing her.) But we made it to church!

Then on my birthday I had to rush getting her fed and washed so I could be on time for my driving lesson. I was praying I wouldn't make the same mistakes in my previous lesson (on the Monday when we just got back from our Poconos trip and I didn't have enough sleep!). I wanted it to go well badly because I wouldn't want it to go down in history that I had a slight skirmish on the road on my 50th b-day!! Thank the Lord, I didn't. The lesson went well. My teacher said I am now allowed, based on his assessment, to drive without him (but by law it is required I drive with someone who has a license and we don't have a car yet for me to practice on, anyway). I'm really glad I am able to keep on the right side of the road now (not the left) and when my instructor says turn left (or right), I actually turn on my signal lights instead of the wind-shield wiper!!! bwahaaaa.... It was confusing and daunting the first time I went on the road here because of that disorientation.

And then I had this great urge to shop and cook but am glad I resisted that. And we didn't have to go out for dinner either out of compulsion, just because there was an occasion. If my husband were around we usually do that and we end up in the Chinese restaurant and my children and I are quite sick of Chinese food. Phew, I'm glad that didn't happen on my 50th b-day!!!! (Probably God's gift for me on my special day. LOL!!!!) And so, I had all the time to go online and reply to all my birthday greetings. I don't know exactly how many but it's safe to say it's close to a hundred. And I do reply individually, because they greeted me individually. If they took time to greet me personally I have to take time to reply to them personally.

I also thanked them all for "celebrating" my b-day with me by posting the link below. Many did appreciate that because it brought a lot of memories back for them. They say it's a great oldie, and so do I. For people my age this song would definitely bring back lots of memories. I was only in primary school when it was a hit in my country, so, for me, it brings memories of early morning rides on the "jeep" (public transpo) to school, in my school uniform, passing by the vast rice fields, with the wind in my face... while the "jeep's" sound system blares this song out loud. :) Cool. Precious and few were the moments I spent with my friends and family - who are now so far away from me - at one time or another in the past 50 years. So, I dedicated this song to them.






Then I cleaned the house on Friday and on Friday night my older daughter and I couldn't find a good tv show to watch and it was raining outside! Thank God for the rain, because I didn't have to water the plants and it was a cool night. And then I realized just how isolated I am from friends, I didn't even have anyone to talk with! Phew!

That brought to mind one of my favourite verses: "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, ..." Phil. 1:3 I am thankful for all my true friends, indeed,... but that night I really wished I could talk with them as they are all so far away from me.  And I guess I would say, "You know, my life can be sooo miserable but whenever you talk with me I feel like everything's alright again and I get this peace that I can't find with anyone else...." (Strange, I know. But I think only God could have given me that kind of friend.)


JOY



I have been negotiating with God and I have asked Him, "Dad,
can I have happiness too, besides joy?" Seems a simple thing to ask but I
probably am asking to have my cake and eat it, too.


Since the time I became a Christian at age 22 I had noticed
that in the Bible there is no account of Jesus laughing / chuckling/ smiling.
There are accounts of him getting angry, frustrated, sad, even weeping. I get
the feeling that Jesus was a very sober and serious person. Well, when you have
the project "Dethrone Satan and Save Humanity" set before you, and you're surrounded with a bunch of helpers who don't have a clue about what's going on, nor understand the gravity of the outcome, you won't
really have the heart to banter, would you??


I struggle over the word "joy". Like in this verse: "...make Yahweh your
only joy and he will give you what your heart desires." (Psalm 37:4 The Jerusalem Bible)

Or this verse:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face
trials of many kinds, because you know
that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." (James 1:2,3, NIV)

It's as if God is concerned only with us having joy, not happiness. Well, happiness is something bubbly, short-lived and it usually comes easy (no price to pay). The trouble with happiness is, it hardly stays
around. It evaporates the moment the conditions that brought it have changed.
And then sadness takes over. And then you can have happiness again only because
you know what sadness is like. Happiness is always coupled with sadness, for we
can't appreciate one without the other.

Joy is something deep and steady. As believers we know what
that is :The inner peace that comes with being in the will of God. It's not
ebullient, it's not a high or a low, it just is. It can actually be boring. I
think that's the reason we want happiness (at least for me) over joy. It's
exciting! And I believe happiness comes from God, too, and it's a good thing.
But just because it's a good thing doesn't mean we can have it, all the time,
or the way we want it. Actually, sometimes I think God purposely withholds
certain kinds of happiness from us simply because He has other plans for us.
God has taught me to think, "This kind of happiness may not be meant for me;
other kinds may be, but not this one." Or another way of looking at it is that God desires for us the excellence of joy rather than the mediocrity of happiness.

Ever wondered why people have to suffer? Why do parents have
to suffer watching a wayward kid continuing in his deviant ways, or why do children
get abused, or a loved one falls sick, suffers in pain, or a friend goes
through an abusive relationship, brokenness and divorce, and sometimes there's
really nothing much you can do to help them but pray? But when I think of Jesus, I kind of
understand. Now my 50th b-day is over and God seems to have answered
my question: "Why joy, Dad, why not happiness?" Jesus was hardly understood by
His friends, He prayed by Himself, and at the worst times of His life, was betrayed, abandoned and denied by His friends. He was helped by Simon of Cyrene, for a
while, to carry His cross, but on the whole, He actually went to Calvary alone. The angels watched in awe and silence, His friends and mother watched from a distance, even His Dad watched in silence in
Heaven, probably even thinking like David did when he cried at Absalom's death:
"If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!" (2 Sam. 18:33) But Jesus had to go through it alone. Probably, that's what Jesus meant when He said: "Take up your cross and come
follow me." He meant it, literally. And you and I have to follow, alone.


Sometimes I wonder why I go through life alone. But when I
think of Jesus, … He was alone and it was His pure joy. Sometimes, we really have
to leave people alone, so God can have the free hand to perfect His will in
their lives. Man, it's no fun because I know what that means. The road to joy
is a lonely one and most of the time happiness has no place in it. It's so
difficult to set our gaze on the things above rather than the things below - it
is so lonely. And the reason God wants us to desire joy above happiness is just
that: He wants us to be focused on the things above. I tend to think that if
God makes everything happy and perfect for me here on Earth, I wouldn't look
forward to going to Heaven anymore. But our citizenship is in Heaven; He's
training us to set our minds on the things above. The road less traveled
always ends up to be the right one, after all. And the reason God can't give us both happiness and joy is because at times, happiness is opposed to the joy God has intended for us. And I think I heard Him say: "Don't make an idol out of happiness." Yesssss, that's what it is!

 ...Hmmm, as if I really got that figured out. Yeah, maybe one day, it will become crystal clear. As of now, I am content with this shadow... of things yet to come.

God bless you, my dear friends. :-)


Four Dollars-Thirty

Dated 24 June 2011

Two weeks ago I was on an errand to bring my younger daughter's urine
sample in a hospital's collection center nearest our home. It was just a bus-ride away and was done
rather quickly. Then I realized I had time – some time for myself – if I took
the opportunity. It was still early, just a little past 8am, just a few minutes
after my daughter was picked up from home by her school bus. Then I remembered
the coffee shop my older daughter and I went to the last time we were in that
area - Panera Bread! "Oh, I have plenty of bread and green tea at home," I
thought. But then, this is time and space away from "home!" Yay! Actually, away from "work" for me! And so, I went in and looked. Their bagels looked good! I always go for the multi-grain or wholemeal one, so, that's what I did. And the cashier showed me where to get the tea and hot water. So, that settled that – tea and bagel with vegetable-cream-cheese spread for me. And it's four dollars thirty cents. Hmmm,
I chose not to convert to Ringgit or Pesos, or I'd end up gagging on my food. :-P And so I took it at
face value – four dollars- thirty. Actually, $4.28.


But, really, what did four dollars-thirty buy me?
It bought me time and space where I could sit down unnoticed.
I could reflect and enjoy the hot drink as I watched people and cars pass by through the glass walls.
I could see old folks walk in and out of the shop, in their faded jeans and tees.
I even saw middle-aged blokes in shorts, hunched over laptop and paperwork.
And I got to hear a group of oldies chatter, as they huddled in a corner, munching away their breakfast and teas.

For four dollars-thirty I got a warm, crunchy and hearty bagel with cream cheese and piping-hot Earl Grey, albeit in a paper cup. :-D
But after a few bites I knew it wasn't the food that made it a good deal for me:
It was four dollars-thirty for idling mind and limb and forgotten chores and cares at home.
T'was rest for an hour and a minute, rest for a really muddled mind and soul.
Nobody was chasing me out of that shop, nobody was ringing me on the phone – I left
it at home!
Nobody was pulling my hair, no one nudging me, "Hey, it's time!" - nobody giving me the grunt or the look just because I was idling away.
For an hour and a minute I was unnoticed, un-missed, unwanted, unnecessary, un-demanded, unneeded - missed by the radar, out-of-sight-out-of-mind; phew!!


Panera Bread - it does wonders at 8:30am! Yes, it was, pretty much, very much, money
well-spent away from home. Four dollars-thirty! >.<

Followers

Smile! God loves you and me. ^____^

About Me

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The Many Versions of Love Stories 1. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. They live happily ever after. 2. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. The marriage sours, they part, and live happily ever after. 3. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. Then boy finds out it's more fun to be girl... or girl finds out it's more fun to be boy, they part, change sexes and live happily ever after. 4.Finally, boy or girl meets God. It's love at first sight... The roads went rough, the tides rose high, the strong winds blew and the quake shook the ground... but they truly live happily ever after, forever and ever. 5. Try God's love... it's always happy forever after, and the story never ends. :-D