Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happiness Is...

...when I attack and demolish a mountain of laundry until all that's left is an empty laundry basket.

Yay! High five! Yippedee doo dah!

CORRECTION 29 May: It was a mountain of clothes to IRON that I conquered, not laundry.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Move of the Spirit

Last Sunday was simply awesome.

Pastor Gideon led us to wait upon the Lord during worship and encouraged the congregation to move in the Spirit. When I was lost in worship, the following scriptures kept coming to me:

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest."

1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

Never having demonstrated any prophetic gifting before, I dared not bring forth the word. What if it's me and not the Lord? Fortunately I was taking the offering, so I simply incorporated the verses into my prayer.

Then Pastor Gideon started to preach. To my dismay, I found out (too late) that the two verses were in absolute alignment with his message that morning. When I told hubby, he confirmed that he also received those two verses.

What an opportunity to bless the congregation, glorify the Lord and encourage my pastor! And I missed it.

I repented and promised the Lord that henceforth I shall take the step of faith to speak whenever I receive the word of the Lord. No holding back. Easier said than done.

Lord, hlep me and grant me the boldness to obey you in all things big and small!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Royal Surprise

Yesterday 'bee gave me a surprise - actually surpriseS - that rekindled my royalty mania.

Her 2 surprises ended up being 3 (yay!)
because of the special wedding issue

When they promise "photos you've never seen before", they really deliver. The mystery of who lifted her veil was solved!

The TV cameras missed this shot of her dad lifting her veil.
They probably thought William would do it later on in the service.

Thanks 'bee.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Delectable Tea-time Treats

Yesterday I spent the whole afternoon trying to level a mountain of clothes. After all that drudgery I decided to reward myself with a hot cuppa peppermint tea and cupcakes!

Delectable for the best cupcakes ever!

The contents of the first box featuring a 3-D orange duck

Close-up of the sugar paste duck

Box no. 2 featuring a 3-D lamb

I think the lamb looks more like a baby than a lamb

Sunday, May 22, 2011

US Visa Approved

We went down to KL for my US visa interview that was scheduled on Monday morning.

1st miracle. God provided us with free accommodation for two nights at Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur with breakfast and a dinner. Go here for full story on what impressed us most at the hotel.

2nd miracle. The hotel was only 15 minutes' walk away from the embassy.

3rd miracle. I dreaded the long wait for the interview so I was delighted to meet an old friend and his wife who were also at the embassy for their interview. We had a lovely time catching up while waiting for our interviews.

The interview was a breeze and, thank God, we weren't interviewed by the nasty ABC.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mother's Day Lunch 2011

I am more adventurous when it comes to food but it's very hard to get the rest of the family to try out new places for our meals. Since it was Mother's Day, and I was given the choice to choose where we go to for lunch, I decided on lunch at the newly opened Sri Malaya Heritage Restaurant at Rope Walk.

The restaurant is located just round the corner, on the left hand side, when you turn into Rope Walk from Chulia Street.

You cannot miss its bright yellow facade

Cream of Spinach Soup to start off our set meal

Beef Bolognese for me

Fish 'n Chips for hubby

Herbal Soup with Rice for 'bee

We concluded that:
1. I cook better Bolognese
2. The fish 'n chips were soggy
3. The herbal Soup does not have enough flavour

We were so disappointed that we did not bother to take photos of the brownie, which turned out to be the best of the dishes.

But this is the icing on the cake for me.

Mother's Day is only really Mother's Day
when you get to spend it with the one
who makes me a Mother!

Saturday With Sis

After attending the SGGSEPA Exco meeting, Sis and I decided to have early lunch at Amelie.

Amelie is a quaint little place located at Armenian Street

Interesting plant-holders adorned the walls beside our table

Orange Ginger for me and Orange Mint for Sis

We shared a Portobello Mushroom & Pesto Sandwich and...

...a Pesto with Sausage Pasta

A lot of stuff inside Amelie to take you down memory lane but menu choice is limited, which is usually the case with these small boutique eateries, and the owners are not friendly.

Next we had our hair done and then it's tea-time at Muntri Mews at (where else?) Muntri Street.

Muntri Mews sounds so "ye olde English"

Sis looking good with curls fresh from the hair stylist

Someone I knew mistook Sis for me (this is me)
when we walked into Mews Cafe

The view from where we were seated

We shared an Affogato and...

...a Pulut Mango served with coconut ice-cream. Yums!

Banyak sharing today. I like! Allows us to try out more food without bursting out of our clothes.

Lovely surprise! Kuih Ketayap on the house

Hmmm, we were taking many photos. Maybe they thought we were famous bloggers. Were they trying to butter us up?

Muntri Mews from outside

We resolve to do more "girly" Saturdays on a regular basis. Next time with 'bee and her future mother-in-law.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Best Mother's Day Ever

'Bee was around to celebrate the day with me and on top of that we had a beautiful Mother's Day service yesterday.

It all began with the baby dedication of Chloe Tan. Alvin and Eunice could not have chosen a more suitable day to dedicate their baby but the thing that elevated this baby dedication to new heights was what Pastor Gideon did after he gave his charge to the parents.

He then turned to the congregation and requested that all those who wished to partner with the parents in the raising up of the child in the ways of God to stand up. We all rose to our feet and extended our hands as he led us in prayer for baby Chloe.

I was overcome by an awesome sense of community and I love it! I hope this standing together with the parents will continue to be a permanent fixture in all baby dedications.

The happy family with grandparents at the back

After two princes, the Tans finally have their Princess!

Then Pastor Gideon gave out flowers. First of all to his lovely wife to wish her "Happy Mother's Day" and then to the mom with the most number of children (6!) and the youngest grandmother who is only 48 years young!

Sis Sim Bin also received flowers. She deserves them for the many sacrificial hours she puts in at the church office.

Before his message Pastor Gideon gave husbands 5 tips on what NOT to buy their wives on Mother's Day. After the service I heard one husband telling his wife that she will not be getting her iPad2 'cos that comes under the something useful category!

After Pastor's simple but heart-warming message, Oliver sang "You Raise Me Up." The song brought many a tear to the moms gathered at the altar.

Normally we would expect Pastor to pray for the moms but he asked his wife to pray. At first I thought that it was not very appropriate since she herself is a mom and would covet prayers on Mother's Day. When she started praying I realized that it was a Spirit-led decision on Pastor Gideon's part. She accurately discerned the heart's cry of the women she was praying for. Not only did she pray for us, she also prayed with us.

The service concluded with the youth giving out gifts to the moms.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Royal Wedding Fever

Don't know about you but I succumbed to the Royal Wedding fever on Friday afternoon and it lasted over the weekend.

I have always been a royalist. My fascination with the royal family started from my primary school days and I remember reading an old, dusty commemorative issue of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II which I found amongst my aunt's old books.

Part of the massive crowd who turned up to celebrate the wedding

If I live in London, would I be crazy enough to join the crowds on Friday?
Maybe not. I hate the jostling and crush of the crowd.

Here are my favourite pictures of the wedding.

Kate's simple and elegant wedding gown is a classic
but it was the bridesmaid's
gorgeous, figure hugging gown
stole the limelight.

English field Maple trees transform Westminster Abbey into
a fairytale/enchanted forest

The newly weds riding the carriage back to Buckingham Palace
after the wedding

My favourite of all the official wedding photos

No royal wedding is complete without the kiss!

May the wheely happy couple live happily ever after

Every Wedding Day A Day of Hope

The Bishop of London gave this sermon
at the wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton
on 29th April 2011. Every sentence is so beautiful
and so meaningful.

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.

A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely a power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:

“Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,

Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.”

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen, that way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:

God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.

In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.

Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chinese Satay

In the past it used to be quite easy to find Chinese satay. I remember an old man with a push cart selling Chinese satay that used to come by our house when I was a little girl. Then I grew up and he also stopped selling at our neighborhood.

In the nineteen eighties hubby and I found another stall selling Chinese satay at the coffee shop at the corner of Kampong Malabar and Penang Road. But that coffee shop eventually closed down and is now an antique shop.

Through the years we have managed to stumble across a handful Chinese satay stalls but such occasions are few and far between. Taste-wise they are disappointment, nothing like the Chinese satay we were used to enjoy.

Many people have told us that authentic and the best Chinese satay can be found at Bangkok Lane. Somehow we've never bothered to check it out because parking is always a problem there. Then last Saturday I had an invitation from my brother-in-law to join him and sis for breakfast at Bangkok Lane.

When I arrived - late after parking at Plus Zone and walking over - I was overjoyed to find Chinese satay on the table.

Chinese satay made with lean pork and a slice of fat in the middle.
Special toasted bread that goes perfectly with the satay.

The creamy sweet potato sauce

I must go back for more.