#HelloSeptember

New month. New hope. New adventures.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13/KJV) – at West Wing on 4th

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Tuesday, Today

Today is December 31, the last day of 2013.

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Started the day reading the Word. Isaiah 43:1-5. The highlight was in verse 1 – “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.” Once again, God confirmed me, telling me not to be afraid. I was a perfectionist who very much preferred things to be well-organized and I wanted to be in control. Apparently that was not what God wanted. Things started to happen that changed my perspective, my life, basically they changed me. I hated it at first. Oh I did not like to not be in control. But God had His ways that will eventually either put me or drag me into His plans. I’ve started to change, one day at a time. Now I can say I’m SO grateful He DID NOT give up on me.

This pic below is from Pastor Kimberly Jones-Pothier’s Instagram. And may I say – this was oh-so-definitely ME:

@realtalkkim (YEP! THAT'S ME ALRIGHT!)

After reading the Bible, I listened to Hillsong United’s “Zion: Acoustic Sessions”…

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I love all the songs in this album and my favorite is “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”. But this morning I put “Stay And Wait” on repeat. As I was listening very carefully to the song, then came a part where I felt “wow, God, these words are from me to You”:

Who loved me through my rebel way
Who chose to carry all my shame
Who breaths in me with endless life
The king of glory Jesus Christ

Those words struck me; not in a dark, feeling condemned way, but in an enlightened, content way knowing that Jesus loves me NO MATTER WHAT. If you ask me, I wouldn’t put up with me sometimes. Well that is what so great about God – He does. To be honest, I’m still learning to do that, to love myself and others unconditionally. But I’m glad I have Jesus as the amazing example.

2013 is not exactly the best year for me; I have rebelled against God, endured pain and struggles no one knew, endless sleepless nights and silent tears. Yet I will still say that through it all, GOD IS GOOD.  Of course I’ve also experienced happy times, laughter and wonderful moments. But my favorite moment in 2013 was when I “found” myself again, when I found that my worth was not in what I did or what I could do, but my worth is in Christ Jesus; He loves me, I am His and He has a purpose for me being me.

I love what Lucille Houston upload on her Instagram (yes, I was checking my Instagram before I log in to write this):

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Along with the quote, she put these words: “Whether you have had a year of highs, celebration and success or whether it has been one of hardship & hurt. This is a truth that applies to us all. And one that I wholeheartedly believe for your 2014.”

I believe it.

Thank you, Jesus, for 2013.

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My Journey Continues To Be Unexpected

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“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” [TH:DOS]

I waited 1 year for this movie and unlike last year, I stood in line on the very day the movie came out, which was yesterday (December 13). I was first in line and was also the first person to get TH:DOS ticket.

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When they announced to those who already had TH:DOS tickets to enter the studio, I couldn’t believe it was time for “The Hobbit” again and I was so excited like a child in a toy store, and entering Studio 2 felt like I was entering Middle-earth once more.

And so the second journey began.

The movie started in Bree with Peter Jackson (PJ) and his daughter Katie as cameos. From that very second until the end, I was TOTALLY MESMERIZED. I was back in Middle-earth; it felt surreal and yet at home. The movie, cast, script, music, everything was perfect – except that love triangle between Legolas-Tauriel-Kili. Not sure if that was a good idea. But overall, the movie was AMAZINGLY BRILLIANT!!!!! PJ and his team has done it again!

Loved seeing more Elves and Elvish being spoken in this movie and to finally see Mirkwood – oh my! Thranduil was sophisticatedly cruel, Legolas had more grit (finally!!!) and surprisingly Tauriel was kinda cool. Enjoyed every bit of Legolas-Tauriel fights with the Orcs.

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Don’t think I’ve forgotten the barrels scene – that was AWESOME! Loved it!!!

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Bard and Laketown were stunning. Beorn was absolutely a sight to see. But Smaug, goodness gracious, it was like the dragon just came out of the book and decided to stay in the movie instead! PJ and his team did a SUPERB job on Smaug! And that voice – Benedict Cumberbatch IS Smaug. I remember being terrified the whole time when Smaug was on the screen; I didn’t blink, eat or drink because of all the tense. And that voice.

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I believe my eyes popped out and my jaw dropped to the floor when the hidden passage to Erebor was revealed, let alone opened!!! I waited many years since I read the book plus I waited 1 year since “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and then there it was…the secret door…and then when Thorin first entered through that door, I cried. Not of sadness, but of feeling that the Dwarves were home again and yet they still have to fight Smaug to retake Erebor.

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No doubt seeing Gandalf and Radagast was always a pleasure, but the feeling was totally opposite when I saw Azog and especially Sauron. Dol Guldur and the Tombs of the High Fells were completely creepy, which means PJ and his team has nailed it again.

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All in all, I love all the details in everything. Of course you can’t expect the movie is exactly the same as the book, but I believe PJ and his team has done their utmost best and I also believe Tolkien would be proud; you try making movies of such epic, amazingly written books!  I thought I knew everything because I have read the book and that nothing would surprise me. I was wrong. My journey with “The Hobbit” continues to be unexpected.

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Can’t wait for “There and Back Again”!

(And still hoping for “The Silmarillion” somewhere in 2015…)

PS: I am STILL besotted by New Zealand! Still and always will, I believe!

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35

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September 3, 01:45 pm.

At this time, 35 years ago, I was born.

It has been thirty-five years God entrusted me with this life and as always, I can never thank Him enough; no words can ever cover even the slightest of the incandescent happiness I feel.

Funny thing is, some people think I turned 25 today, others 28, a few 30. No one went for the big 3-5 – except for my family who definitely already know my exact age. I believe it’s not because of make-up, since I ever so rarely wear them, but because God is with me and His joy overflows in my heart, and that I am very grateful for the life I’m living.

I am grateful for too many things…

I’m alive and breathing

I’m healthy

I’m happy

I have a job

There’s a Starbucks near where I live, just 10 minutes walking distance (oh I definitely count this as a blessing!)

…and many, many, many more.

These last few years  I’ve been trying to appreciate what I have more than getting stressed about what I don’t have; learning to say more of, “Thank you Jesus for…” rather than, “If only I had…”

Thank you Jesus for everything.

Thank you Jesus…for me.

“I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” – Psalm 139:14 / King James Version (KJV)

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Unconditional Love

Go ahead and drive the nails in My hands
Laugh at me where you stand
Go ahead and say it isn’t Me
The day will come that you will see

‘Cause I’ll rise again
There ain’t no power on earth that’ll keep me down
Yes, I’ll rise again
Death can’t keep Me in the ground

Go ahead and mock My name
My love for you is still the same
Go ahead and bury Me
But very soon, I’ll be free

Because I’ll rise again
There ain’t no power on earth that’ll keep me down
Yes, I’ll rise again
Death can’t keep Me in the ground

Go ahead and say I’m dead and gone
But you will see that you were wrong
Go ahead and try to hide the Son
But all will see that I’m the One

Because I’ll come again
There ain’t no power on earth that’ll keep Me back
Yes, I’ll come again
Come to take My people back

* * *

I just heard this song for the first time today on YouTube. I was actually looking for Salvador’s “David Danced”; after I found it and watched it, somehow my eyes were drawn to another video…and it was this one, “Rise Again”, by Salvador’s Nic Gonzales.

As you can see  from the lyrics above, this song is about Jesus saying these words to the people who crucified Him, mocked Him, who didn’t believe that He is the Son of God. Tears didn’t stop falling from my eyes from the beginning until the end of the song; Nic sang it beautifully and from the heart, and I felt God’s love throughout this song. This is a beautiful song, with a powerful message.

But the words that really got me was when Jesus said, “Go ahead…“. Imagine you were the Son of God, did absolutely nothing wrong and were sentenced to die on a cross. Don’t forget those painful whips, that crown of thorns and those non-stop mockings thrown at you loud and clear.  What would you do? Let me tell you what I would do. If I was the Son of God and had to endure all those things, I would’ve come down from that cross and make sure those people suffer slowly to Kingdom come. (Sorry, I’m just being honest)

Yet here Jesus said, “Go ahead…” – which means He literally let those people do whatever; mock Him, torture Him, crucify Him, bury Him.

And they did.

Even then Jesus said, “My love for you is still the same.

Society tells us, when someone hurts us, we shouldn’t be nice to them and when someone gave us hell, we should never forgive them, let alone love them. But Jesus did neither. He didn’t have an attitude towards the people who hurt Him and He forgave them for all the painful, cruel and disturbing things they did to Him. I CANNOT fathom THAT. I seriously cannot. But I’m glad He showed them what love really means.

Personally, I can’t imagine after all the awful things I did in the past which hurt Him and were definitely rebellious against Him, He still loves me just the same. Already have teary-eyed just writing that last sentence. It is most definitely a privilege to be forgiven by a loving God, to be chosen to serve a living God and especially to be able to call Him “Father”.

No words can ever express my gratitude, but I know two words that define what both God the Father and Jesus have: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 / New International Version (NIV)

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Different? No Problem.

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”Polydactyly or polydactylism (from Greek πολύς (polys) “many” + δάκτυλος (daktylos) “finger”), also known as hyperdactyly, is a congenital physical anomaly in humans, dogs, and cats having supernumeraryfingers or toes.” – Wikipedia

That’s my feet you see up there. See my right foot? It has 6 toes instead of 5 aka Radial or Preaxial Polydactyly. It has been like that since I was born. I know many people who are ashamed of being polydactyl, but I can honestly say I’m not one of them – thanks to my big brother’s reaction when he saw my right foot for the first time; he was 3 and I was 2, and one day we were sitting with our legs stretched out, he saw and pointed to my right foot and screamed, “Mummy, Mummy, look at Ella! She can glue her toes together!!! I can’t, but SHE CAN!!!!!!!” Mum said he tried so hard to “glue” his toes, but of course he couldn’t.

Growing up, Mum would tell me that story whenever I was feeling down and it never failed to put a smile on my face. She said, “Oh I will never forget his face when he was screaming hysterically about it – as if you were a superhero or something! And you should see your face – my, my, you looked so proud!” Now combine that reaction with the words my parents instilled in me: it’s okay, it’s not something you should be ashamed of, it’s an extra gift from God because you are extra special in His eyes. An old family friend even said that it brought good luck to my family. So you know why I never feel ashamed of being polydactyl.

When I was little, some doctors suggested operation, but my parents declined, as long as it did not affect the way I walk. And I walk just fine. As I grew older, I also learned the medical facts and clinical studies about polydactyl. Nevertheless, nothing’s changed.

I know some people who have the same case, but they never wear sandals when they go outside because they don’t feel comfortable when people can see that their toes are “different”. Me? I wear sandals as much as I like. I couldn’t care less about people’s reactions.

I’m so, very blessed to have my brother’s reaction and my families’ support. But if you don’t have those, I just want to say:

1. God NEVER made mistakes. When He made you, He thought you were perfect. He still thinks so, you know.

2. If someone tells you you’re abnormal–a mutant even–NEVER let it get into you. If they just want to see you from the outside, it’s their loss for not knowing the awesomeness in you.

3. ENJOY your life. Being polydactyl is not the end of the world.

God made each person different, in and out. Thank Him for it. Can you imagine how BORING life would be if all men and all women looked the same or shaped the same way? Geez. Thank God He loves variety!

I’m aware that we can’t blind ourselves from the fact that some differences are shown, while some not. And I’m not against people who opt for operation to remove their extra finger or toe because it’s a personal choice and I respect that. But for those who don’t, I believe we should do our best to accept and live with it – in a positive way, of course.

God has a purpose for everything and He’s way too great for us to understand. All we have to do is trust Him. He knows best.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9 / New International Version (NIV)

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