Moving to Melbourne (with Christ)

img_9951Wow…it has been almost 2 months since we first made a start to packing in Lane Cove, Sydney.  These past 2 months have been a duck in a pond, paddling at a consistent velocity under the water yet seemingly calm and wading above water.  Those who look at me from the outside will see how beautiful and easy it seemed.  Those who don’t know of my OCD tendencies may imagine that it still needs unpacking and settling.  The truth is that the home was basically picked up and set down in a new location in a matter of 7 days.  Within one week, the new home was 100% all completed and the kids were in a new environment, new school, new day care, new routine.

And with this seamless transition, I have many people to thank (and yes, I’m saving the best for the last :P).  First, it is our crazy awesome nanny who worked so tirelessly without grumble to get everything packed and unpacked.  From disassembly EVERYONE’s bed frames to assembling everything plus clean sheets.  Every hook, every detail in our home has been meticulously managed by this capable and unimaginably strong woman.  Second is Willie’s EA, Lisa.  The lady who gave guidance, emotional support and made sure that my heart was in the right place at all times.  Never a moment did she let my schedule slip with the flying back and forth between the two cities and never a moment did she let the details of logistics get past her eyes.  Then, I have the tribe of friends from my Holy Yoga sisters and Kingdom women to my closest and dearest friendship circles.  Their grace for me and support has meant that the physical and reality of the burden was much less heavier.  The prayers that were said me gave me such strength.

I once boasted how I was nicknamed “Wonder Woman”.  Now, I realise there is really a whole tribe of us.  We just need to look around.  These are the beautiful creation of God.

Lastly and most importantly, thanks be to the big man above, our King. I have felt the presence of Jesus every step of the way.  Even at times when I felt the epic project was slipping, He was there with me.  I know because the Holy Spirit spurred my heart to lean in to Him.  There were moments that were really tough.  The physical heaving lifting of the move.  The emotional flurry of leaving a city where I have lived half of my life in, with my closest of friends and family.  The spiritual home that I find peace in every Sunday.  All these were things I had to farewell and confront that my identity is not rooted in where I live on earth, but where my soul resides in His Kingdom.

On a lighter note, of course, it’s fun to talk logistics.  I kept tabs of everything for fun.  So let’s have a look at this:
Cost – $10K*
Boxes – 180
Hours – 180^
Number of fights with hubby – 3

*not all out of pocket, but you get the point
^inc. everything move related, including packing, unpacking, getting the home set up, rental in and renting out, bills, change of addresses, etc)

Not too bad, huh?!

***
Logistics and jokes aside, I am really sensing that the Lord is blessing me in abundance with my time here in Melbourne.  Multiple times, I have been asked what I’m doing here (like I always need to be doing something!) Honestly, it has been a challenge to let go of my ‘career mum’ identity and embrace that I’m being a mum-of-leisure, working on projects to spread the Word.  Am I involved in Efficient Media?  Short answer is ‘not really’.  Am I teaching Holy Yoga?  Short answer is ‘not yet’.  So, what am I doing?

Well, I’m treasuring this time that Big Daddy has gifted me with to spend with my children, cook and bake, soak in His word, improve on my yoga…and working on different projects to serve His Kingdom.

For a long time now, I have been wrestling with just ‘serving’ vs ‘growing’ His Kingdom.  The apostle Paul says, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”  ~ 1 Cor 15:58 (NIV). There isn’t always the promise of ‘growth’ and that isn’t for us to say anyways.  But there is the trust that the labour is not wasted.  Having the time now to really ponder this allows me to fix my eyes on Jesus and know that ‘growth’ is not the bullseye but the ‘serving’.  I’m still learning much in this journey and for now, being settled in what has been voted the best city in world, Melbourne, there is no better time and place to soak in and learn “servitude”.

Until next time, my friends… hit me up when you’re this world’s best city!

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Yes, we’re moving to Melbourne

For those of you who have been wondering about all the chatter of my Melbourne move, it’s real.  Yes, we are moving to Melbourne.

As much as this news comes as a surprise and shock to some of you (me too!), this event deserves celebration as it has come with much prayer and discernment behind the scenes.

Unlike what you may have thought, the opportunity and decision came about very recently.  For me recent is a few ‘days’, if you know what I mean 🙂

So, thank you to all of you who have sent on your blessings and well wishes for the relocation.   Due to the spontaneity of this, it’s fair to say I’ve encountered a flurry of emotions over the past week – mainly oscillating between excitement and sadness.

Some of you will know that, for many reasons, Melbourne would be the LAST place on earth that I would imagine moving to (sorry Melbourne friends 😆).  This is testament that when God uses you and calls you, He does.  He does it gently, compassionately and in His time.  No amount of my own effort would have resulted in such a decision had it not come from providence.

With such privilege, I’m confident that this path ahead is bright but winding, of course.  The coming months will see a lot of learning in the family dynamics and yet again, polishing of my marriage.  So, I’m expecting friction.  I’m expecting tears.  Yet no precious stone reflects its true shine without some hot laser-cutting and polishing.

I’m already excited about Efficient Media’s expansion into Melbourne and of course, HOLY YOGA MELBOURNE!

Congratulations to my husband, who has stayed so dedicated to work and family.  He probably doesn’t deserve the role.. HAHA….but as Wonder Woman would say, “It’s not what you deserve.  It’s what you believe.”

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End of 2016, Come 2017

“2016”

A yearful of hard work.
A yearful of rewards.
A yearful of vulnerability.
A yearful of courage.
A yearful of pain.
A yearful of comfort.
A yearful of sowing.
A yearful of reaping.
A yearful of sickness.
A yearful of health.
A yearful of serving.
And so…. a yearful of JOY.

Looking forward to a new year of new yearfuls. Bring on 2017!!

***

The end of 2016 is approaching. I’ve spent less time doing yoga and more time with family and friends this last month of the year. It has been an amazing year full of achievements, happiness, migraines even but full of love and joy spurred on by the Holy Spirit.

The man in the background, hardly ever seen on this Instagram page. He’s the MAN “behind the scenes”. Literally. He’s not always physically around. But with him, is how I grow in Him (with the big H). My husband, my best friend, is the great reminder on SERVITUDE.

The one in front of him is our little boss in this household. Together with my older son, we form the circle of bosses where we boss each other around.

Nevertheless, in the centre of this is our BIG BOSS, our loving Father G-O-D, whom my husband reminds us to always centre ourselves around.

So thankful for this year of serving. Thankful for my husband’s guidance. Even when he is at his peak annoyance index.

#thankyouJesus #2017 #bringiton 

A Thing or Two about Marriages & Relationships

Social media may mask the shadows of everyday life and relationship problems that we all have. In a broken world we live in, we experience some difficulty in relationships. Most often, it is with the ones we are closest with. Much of my posts seem happy go lucky but behind the scenes, there are rough days of course! BUT there is ALWAYS LIGHT in my life. 🙌🏻

Every time I feel suffocated from the depths of deep water, I know I just need to use my last breath to reach my arm out to Jesus and not to give up. Because He is the ultimate reconciler. This morning, He came to the rescue.

“Donʼt urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.” ~ Ruth ‭1:16‬

Holy Land Tour | The Chinese Christian

What started off as a throw-away comment six months ago became a reality – A father-daughter pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  I’m back from my 12 day tour and yet it still feels so surreal.  Thinking about my experience is still like flicking through postcards of key landmarks.  Between all the social media updates, I have been describing this experience to friends as ‘full of flavours and emotions’.  I can’t say I feel any ‘holier’ or a heightened sense of spiritual growth but I’ve certainly learned a lot more about the history and how it all fits in with the theology of the different Christian denominations.
Dad & IAs part of this dream of touring with Dad is literally just that.  Touring with Dad.  We signed up for a Chinese-speaking tour to make it easy for my dad to understand the biblical references.  In all honesty, this posed a language barrier for me.  I’m a fluent colloquial Cantonese speaker and have limited capacity to digest Biblical references in Chinese.  If there is anything to complain about my tour, it would literally be just that!
Originally, I was going to put up a post every single day to capture my learnings of each of the Holy Land landmarks and my feelings on each.   Well, clearly that went according to plan… NOT!  Our itinerary was very tight. We had 44 spots to visits within 10 days across Jordan, Palestine and Israel.  Most days started at 6am and ended at 7pm, after which we would have dinner and back up for the following day.
To honour the best experience for myself and my dad, I decided to cut out the ‘daily blogging’ from the itinerary. I mean, it’s not like I don’t have 1000 photos to remind myself of the places I’d been to.  Facebook will have a backup as well. So there, I didn’t need much convincing to drop that part of the schedule.   If you’re a blogger, you might appreciate this…sometimes, you just NEED A BREAK from your blog.

So, I’m wrapping the whole experience up in ONE post.  Here are the highlights of my trip:


1. 12 DAYS, 5 COUNTRIES, CROSSING BORDERS X 6
  • To get myself there, I travelled from Australia to Hong Kong.
  • From Hong Kong to Jordan, laying over in Thailand.
  • After arriving in Amman, it was mainly road travel on the tour bus.  We crossed over to Palestine and then to Israel, repeated that again.
  • With our final destination at Tel Aviv, I made it all the way back home through the same route.


2. MIGRAINES, MEDICS & A DRIP

Medics

I’m a migraine sufferer.  I hate exaggerating but I probably didn’t say that with enough might.  I AM A MIGRAINE SUFFERER.

This poses huge problems for me when travelling as things such as jet-lag, sleep deprivation and general stress are the main triggers for my migraines.

The packed itinerary also made it very hard to fit in any yoga, which has been the most effective treatment for my migraines.

5 days of migraines, vomit bags and think highlight 1 above, landed me in the hands of Israeli medics and a drip in the hotel room.

A little dent in the trip but hey, who can claim to have had medics administer a drip on you while travelling in Israel?

Praise God, everything worked out just the way He plans and I didn’t miss out on much on those bed-ridden days.

3. FAVOURITES

PetraPetra, for the smarts and history of the Nabateans.   Cultural appropriation at its best!

BethlehemBethlehem, city where Jesus was born.  I remember wanting to go there and imagining what it was like during Christmas Carols when i was 7.  To stand there by the manger just brought tears to my eyes.  There was a lot of dealing with my emotions of being there and acknowledging the birth of my Saviour.

Dead SeaThe Dead Sea, where they found the Bible scrolls in the Qumran caves and also seeing my dad float around like a child again in the Dead Sea.   I’m a really logical person and so I often find myself battling between the LORD and facts.  I love the fact that the Qumran caves stored the whole book of Isaiah, disproving skeptics that it was written after the coming of the Messiah.  BOOM!  As for my dad swimming like a fearless child?  That was the apex of the trip.

Heart shape rockThe Sea of Tiberius, where Jesus challenged Peter’s love for Jesus and told Peter he was going to be a martyr.  Here, one of our tasks (as per what we did with each stop) was to meditate on how much we love Jesus and to find a heart-shaped pebble by the sea.  I closed my eyes and picked up a pebble….low and behold, it couldn’t be more of a perfect heart.  Talk about red, hot tears! Jesus spoke one line to me, “I am your LIFELINE.”

  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem and Via Dolorosa – Walking Christ last footsteps before His crucifixion and stopping by the 12 stations mentioned in the Bible.  The walk was about 45 minutes in total from where Jesus was sentenced to Calvary.  Walking through paved streets with shelter from the sun, with a completely healthy body and no wooden slump on my back made me feel so undeserving of what Jesus did for us.  As walked through the journey,  I couldn’t bear to think about the circumstance the Lord Jesus had to go through. It pained my heart to think about it.  That’s when I also knew that our thought life, our emotions and physical being is one.  This verse spoke so loudly to me, “To love the Lord, your God, with heart, soul, mind and strength” (Mark 12:30).

4. RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE

  • The first question I got asked when I told or was telling people about travelling to Jordan was “Is it dangerous?”  We joined a credible tour which knew what they were doing.  In fact, I was blessed to have such an awesome Pastor leading our tour and a tour guide who is only one of maybe 20 Israeli Chinese. No amount of research I can do or planning will be more powerful than just trusting God’s protection.  The short answer is “yes, it can be” but “no, it wasn’t”.
  • What I did not expect was the mutual respect and tolerance of the religious differences.  Sure the Muslims, Jews and Christians were not living together in the same community but they are devout followers of their faith.  There is no ‘hiding’.  Yet contrary to the my imagination of ‘distinct segregation’, I saw communities, individuals, walk past one another with mutual respect.  In fact, this was very evident in Jordan between the Christians and Muslims.
  • Coming back to Sydney Australia and seeing what’s on play in the media and news, I do really question whether we can call ourselves a liberal, democratic country or really, are we religiously intolerant?
  • I’m not oblivious to extremists who terrorise in the name of religion in the neighbouring region.  What I am referring to, though, are the average Joe’s walking on the streets who really just want respect for what they believe in.  I suppose this morphs into a ‘culture and ‘sociology’ conversation, which frankly I’m no expert in.  So, I’ll leave it as that – my personal experience and observation.

5. THE CHINESE CHRISTIAN. IS THERE SUCH THING?

  • When I was in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a Christian local (who revealed himself as well-travelled) asked me whether I was Christian. “I’ve been to China before and didn’t meet anyone who has heard of Jesus. In fact, I don’t know any Chinese who is Christian.”
  • Whilst some may view the above scenario as obscure or even ignorant, the truth is that touring with a group of local Hong Kong Christians gave me a perspective of such thing as “Chinese Christians”.  It’s ‘division’ of Christianity and please don’t assume I’m suggesting that.  What I truly believe is that we are all members of the body of Christ and have different functions living in God’s creation.
  • So what are “Chinese Christians”?  Without implying ‘cultural appropriation’ in the purest form of the Christian faith, I do however quote this from Dr Sharmeen Black (School of culture, history and language, Australian National University in her interview with the ABC regarding Christian Yoga and Cultural Appropriation):
  • “If we look into history, there is little evidence of cultural traditions and religious traditions that are completely separate from each other”

  • How does this apply to the Chinese Christian?  The traditional Chinese culture has been rooted in ‘hard work paying off’ and ‘reaping the benefits of your own labour’ and being completely self-reliant. Against this cultural backdrop, it’s perhaps hard to explain, let alone accept, the notion of ‘salvation by grace’.  I found that our leading pastor of this tour made several references to how a Christ-loving Christian should behave.  And there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that except that one’s behaviour was ALWAYS the pivoting point.  If I compare this to American preachers, more often than not, there’s the emphasis of veering away from the ‘doing’ and pivoting off of a ground of ‘loving’ Jesus first.   Now, you may think I’m generalising from my experience with one particular pastor but allow me to say that the tour members comprised of members from different local congregations and they all found the messages very palatable.  This suggests to me that in a wider sense, the notion of ‘Christ-loving’ behaviour being the driving force behind one’s relationship with Jesus is likely a theological approach adopted locally.
  • I guess this is the observation I made based on the many preachings from the two Chinese pastors in the 12 days: the approach for spreading the Gospel is still in many ways rooted in the “WORKS of a true Christian”. This approach works well for the Chinese but is dangerous territory when one starts to question how much they need to do…….very interesting subject and not one I want to dwell on for too long in this post.
  • Lastly, let me repeat that this is by no way, shape or form, a theological debate.  As a Chinese and Christian, I probably wouldn’t identify as the Chinese Christian observed but 100% proud to be a different functioning part of the body of Christ. (Romans 12:4)
I do thank you, if you made it to the end of this post.  Thank you for reading. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you and I hope that in one way or another, it has given you some food for thought on travelling to the Holy Land amongst many thoughts today.  God bless!

Mother’s Day Tribute & Reflections | 2016

// MOTHER’S DAY REFLECTION  – Part 1 //


Here’s one of my husband’s and my all-time-favourite photos. It’s me and my younger son. I love both my 2 children a lot. But my older son has certainly taught me a few things about motherhood. Don’t wish their lives away. Here’s what I mean. When it gets hard, we wish our kids would grow up quickly and be more independent. When they are old enough to make their decisions, we wish at those times that they would depend on us. It is then when we look back and wished we could bottle the moments in this photo and reopen them whenever for a taste. Life doesn’t work like that, unfortunately.

So, let’s make sure we don’t wish our kids’ lives away. Savour every moment. For it is a blessing that God chose YOU to carry His child(ren).

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”‭‭ ~Psalm‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭NIV

// MOTHER’S DAY REFLECTION – Part 2 //


Here is a photo of the little succulent we received for our Mother’s Day Gift at this morning’s church service. As they were handed out, I couldn’t help but notice the different shapes and sizes of the succulents, each in different coloured pots.
As the youth ministry kids walked around with their trays, handing them out to the women in the hall, I couldn’t help but eye at all the succulents in the tray wishing that maybe I could take a moment to choose my own. When mine was handed to me, I was delighted that I got one in the pink pot (my favourite colour). But I looked at the plant and it was noticeably smaller than the other ones. Immediately, I looked around curiously to see who got the pots that perhaps I would have chosen if we were given a choice. All along, forgetting that this is a GIFT! A FREE gift. And not something I was entitled to in the first place.

On reflecting in our celebrations today, I realised today’s attitude is very much like modern-day motherhood. We are blessed, or gifted, with these cute little things that God entrusted in us to nurture and grow. Yet sometimes, we just eye at others wishing our child could be like the other. Or we wishing we could choose this and that. Or in some extreme cases, getting frustrated when we feel our CHOICES are compromised.

God’s blessing is not an entitlement. It’s not a choice either. Today, God spoke to me in the cutest of ways.

So now, I look at my midget succulent in its little pink pot being so thankful that I got my favourite coloured pot as a cherry on top! I’m growing together with my children.

Celebrating Christmas for What It IS About

2015 Christmas. It took me 33 years to get here but in the larger scheme of things, I got here nice and early. I trust, too, through God’s guidance.

Got where? Well, I got to celebrate Christmas for what it is about. Truly.

What IS Christmas about?  Simple. (Don’t be fooled by the photos.)

Happy birthday, JESUS!

It is the celebration of the 1st coming of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. And an anticipation of His 2nd coming. The latter not so generally chorused but something I personally celebrate together with the school of Christians who also celebrate this.

Advent [meaning: to expect, to anticipate, the coming] was sacred for me. I’ve never even given Advent much thought in the past other than the chocolate advent calendar. Again, this year, God blessed me with this time to experience Advent.

Practically, how do all of this differ from my past Christmas celebrations? Well,

  1. No stressing over presents and decorations
  2. No stressing over throwing an X’mas party like I’m celebrating my own birthday
  3. Keeping close to the Word (and boy, does that transform you)
  4. Clothing myself with the glory of God and hopefully, letting that shine bright to those around me about the true meaning of Christmas
  5. More time with Jesus, less time with my ‘own effort’

What was the result?

  1. I am 200% happier from within
  2. My life has transformed from the inside out. There is true joy, peace and calm amidst the usually busy and festive time of the year
  3. My family benefits from my transformation
  4. I am proud that I bring my Saviour glory

And how did those changes come about?

  1. The first was the tick off my 2015 NY Resolution – to be baptised. Some friends who have yet to know Christ chuckle at my ‘tender age’ to make this proclamation. I smile because in some ways, they are right. My spiritual age is tender and the baptism is symbolic of my rebirth to this life. This important step in my life has paved the way for so much of my spiritual growth this year.
  2. Holy Yoga has played the most significant part of this transformation. The community, the ministry work that keeps me grounded to The Word, the meditation, the connection with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
  3. Being a part of a community; a Christ-loving community. It has been my biggest blessing to be surrounded by my Holy Yoga Family, my church congregation and finally, my dear family.

So, Christmas is now behind me. I have the new year to look forward to. When I do everything in His glory, I get my returns in 10 fold.

I’m almost sad that Christmas is over. But I rejoice in the fact that this year is the beginning to many that will bring the real meaning of the celebration to my family and friends.