My training challenge

I was facilitating a training for managers on communication, influence and teamwork today and I was quite stressed out about it because of the topic on communication.

Being an introvert, communication does not come easily to me. But through the years, I have developed my ability to communicate well in small groups. But I would choose not to relate to a large group of people unless I really have to.

With that as my challenge, I have obtained content for the 1-day training from so many sources for just a 1-day training that it's almost going overboard. I hadn't realized it until I listed them out.

Crucial Conversations
by Kerry Patterson, et. al.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
by Patrick Lenzioni

Type Talk at Work
by Otto Kroeber, et. al.

Games People Play
by Eric Berne

I'm OK-You're OK
by Thomas A. Harris

Games at Work
by Mauricio Goldstein and Philip Read

Unmasking the Face
by Paul Ekman and Wallace V. Friesen

The Like Switch
by Jack Schafer

Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion
by Robert Cialdini
I have also just purchased this book that was on sale this month and will be adding content to the training sessions in the coming months.

I will be facilitating the same session for a different group tomorrow and I pray and hope it will also go well.


Languages: speak to their hearts

I love this quote by Nelson Mandela: "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."

I think it's everyone's dream to speak multiple languages. 

I was introduced to, a language learning community social website, by my good friend Ee-Tan back in April 2014. Didn't realized it was so long ago. I was hoping I was able to sustain my learning of languages there but it remains a pipe dream. I wasn't able to put in the time and as Ee-Tan have told me, to learn languages I need to be more serious about it and it would work better if I got myself a teacher. 

A teacher, maybe not yet. But I do need to get more serious and keep at it. But mostly to keep it fun. 


Though we are many

I learnt this song many years ago. I can't remember when but I think it was when the group Vineyard visited us and taught us this song. I like it so much it has stuck with me all these years. And whenever I find the chance, when the theme is right, I will use it for worship when I get to lead in songs. 

Though We Are Many - Tom Inglis


My most favourite melancholic song

I would always listen to this song when I am feeling melancholic. I love the melody, I love the lyrics - no need to say goodbye. 

The Call - Regina Spektor


Migraine and memory loss

I have had migraines since my university days and I've suffered through them with as little medication as possible. I would usually just take painkillers and once in awhile I'd take migraine pills when it's really bad. 

I took some yesterday and I noticed something quite unusual. I found that I could not remember the simplest of stuff, yesterday and today. I was in a few conversation with my boss and colleagues and I could not remember names and words. 

I did some research and learnt that memory loss is one of the many side effects of migraine medication. 

I think that is quite scary and I will now not take any until I really, really cannot stand the pain. 


Walnut Cafe & Bar

My son and I had dinner in Walnut Cafe & Bar in Bandar Puteri, Puchong. The food there is quite good and it was quite crowded. 

Lemon Grass White Tea in a barrel 

Spaghetti Carbonara 

Soft Shell Crab Risotto 


From aerogrammes to messaging apps


In my project to learn a new language and to improve my dismal command of the Chinese language, I made some friends in today and chatted with them on and off for the whole day yesterday. 

It was good to connect and make friends to speak the languages we want to learn and from whom we are free to ask questions.

But I just realized something interesting that only people my age would understand. This in comparison to my childhood days when I was writing letters on aerogrammes with pen pals from the other sides of the world is just amazing. 

We now can have conversations with anyone anywhere in real time. No more composing of long letters, no more travelling to the post office, no more waiting for a reply. 

How things have changed. 


Is learning a new language difficult?

I happen to see this video in my YouTube page today and found it good. I especially like his 3 golden rules to learning a new language: live the language, make mistakes and make it fun. 


Do not be derailed from our walk with God

Today's sermon was on Luke 4:1-13, on Jesus's temptations. It is interesting for me because this pericope of the Gospels have always intrigued me: why should Jesus be tempted and what were the implications of the temptations? 

We see here that Jesus was tempted both of his Sonship and Messiahship. He suffered through it all and is qualified to be our Saviour and Messiah. He shared in our humanity and suffered through the most extreme form of temptation. As much as the first Adam has failed, the second Adam was victorious.

Satan's desire is for us to fail and be derailed from our walk with God. 

So it is of great importance for us to find out for ourselves what does it mean for us to live as an obedient child of God. Satan would always want to drive a wedge between us and God. What are our weak areas or even areas we think we are strong, that nothing with move us?

Based on Jesus's three temptations, we need to be careful about:
1. Being tempted to use our own power and position for our own purposes. We must be obedient in our afflictions.
2. Being tempted to take shortcuts to glory. We may be offered a crown without the cross, without suffering, but it will not be real crowns in the end. 
3. Being tempted to test God's faithfulness.

We also need to be alert at all times because even if we think we are fine now, Satan is still at work and will look for every opportunity to derail us away from God. And he will be deceiving and we might not even realise it until it is too late.


Mikey's Original New York Pizza


My son told me that pizza is best in Mikey's Original New York Pizza in Midvalley. I am not so keen on pizzas anymore after eating loads of it when my son was growing up. But since he said this is really good, I gave it a try. 

I must say, it is indeed very good. I ordered a slice of Tony Soprano Pizza. Its base was crunchy and topped with pepperoni and beef and tomatoes, it was yummy. 

Photo source: EatDrinkKL

Ringing in the ears

I got to know about someone who can't sleep at night because of tinnitus or ringing in the ears. It must be a bad one if one can't sleep because of it. 

Sadly, there is no cure yet for this condition and the only thing that may help is to listen to something else that will help cancel out the ringing. 

The app I like best is Brain Wave, 32 Advanced Binaural Programs by Banzai Labs. If I need to get to sleep I'd listen the sound of rain, which gives a very comforting feel that helps me sleep. If I'm reading or at work, I'd either listen to the forest or the sound of a running brook. 

But these days with Apple Music, my favourite songs work too. 

Anything is better than constant ringing that won't go away. 


Going by gut feel

I have made many decisions in my life by gut feel and I just made one today. I have felt I need to do something about it but I still gave it a try and I was right, it is a right thing to do. 

Do you depend on your gut feel when you make decisions? has this article and it says, "There is no such thing as a purely logical decision. The brain uses a combination of logic and emotion when making decisions of any kind. That specific emotion, innate to us as humans, is intuition. We possess the capacity to feel, and thereby the ability to know things without consciously reasoning. The 'gut feeling' is real, and we use it all the time."

I depend on it quite a lot. I tend to have a feel as to what I think should or should not be done. But sometimes I may depend on it too much and make the wrong decision. 

As such, when it is a big decision that I need to make, I'd then pray about it a lot, talk to my husband and mentors before I do anything. 

But I'd still go by gut feel in the end. 


Are you a traveler or a tourist?

Most people I know love to travel. I don't travel much, though I would love to. I think it is because I see myself more a traveler than a tourist. And what a traveler needs most is time and money. And those are what I don't have. 

I would love to spend three months in a place and live with and live like the locals. I would want to immerse myself into the culture and learn their way of life. 

Maybe later in life I may get a chance to do this, at least once in my life. 

Photo source: Getty Images

Time is sprinting faster away from us the older we get

We had dinner with my mother-in-law yesterday and she said something quite interesting: she felt that the years go by so fast once you've hit age 50. 

Well, time is subjective and it does travel faster the older you are, and so by the time we are in our 50s, I can imagine time sprinting away before we can catch up with it. 

2016 sure passed by very fast for me and it's a new year now and this too will be gone in no time. 

This reminds me of one of my favourite books which I should read again, Time Warped, Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception by Claudia Hammond. 

As summarized by, "As we grow older, we tend to feel like the previous decade elapsed more rapidly, while the earlier decades of our lives seem to have lasted longer."

When time actually feels faster as we grow older, it is then more important for us to spend it wisely and treasure the moments we have with our loved one. 


My projects for 2017

I gave up on making resolutions years ago, since I don't keep any of them for long. And what my hubby told me is so true: if you want to do it anyway, you won't need any resolutions, and if you do not want to do it, making a million resolutions won't help. 

But at the start of the new year, I do think about what projects I would like to start and see if I will form a new habit or learn something new as a result. 

I started on three projects last year, to get back to cooking meals for the family, to start knitting and to take weekly sermon sketchnotes. I only somewhat succeeded in one, that is I am cooking more now but still not enough. I gave up on the other two, with no regrets. I soon found out they are not the things I really wanted to do anyway. 

I haven't really mulled over what I would like to do in 2017 yet but I have three things in mind. 

It goes without saying that reading is on top of the list. With the amount of ebooks I have been buying from Amazon, I have loads to read. 

I have also signed up to join a choral group that majors on sacred music. This will be a challenge for me because there will a lot of homework and learning of scores before appearing for their weekly practice sessions. 

One more thing I would like to do is to learn a new language. I am not sure though if this will materialize. I have always wanted to learn a new language but it will be tough when I do not have anyone to speak the language with. I also have been trying all my life to improve my Mandarin to no avail. Maybe I should try it again this year - in small ways at least. 


We are sons of God

It is good to start the New Year on a Sunday, beginning it with corporate worship and the preaching of the Word. 

We began with a song of calling, Lift Up Your Heads. It's an old song by Don Moen but it's the first time I've heard and sang it. A very appropriate song to start the year with!

Don Moen - Lift Up Your Heads

Rev Wong Fong Yang spoke today from Luke 3:21-23, on the baptism of Jesus. Rev Wong asked a very good question: why would Luke include this in the gospel, the fact that Jesus was baptized and seen as one baptized amongst sinners when he has no sin? John the Baptist was reluctant to do it, as we read the same account in Matthew, but Jesus insisted that it should be carried out as required by God. 

Rev Wong suggested that Jesus did it in solidarity of the human race and from it we can also see the three eschatological signs:
- the opening of heaven
- the descending of the Spirit
- the audible voice from heaven

The voice from heaven said, "You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy." God has shown both affirmation and affection to Jesus, and in the same way, God has also given us affirmation and affection as adopted sons of God through his Son. 

This is a very important lesson for me as I start the new year. I am reminded that I do not need to seek for any affirmation from anyone or from anything I do. We are first and foremost sons of God, we are not affirmed by who we think we are or wish we are, not by our work, not by our accomplishments or lack of. 

With this I will begin the new year being affirmed and loved by God as his adopted son, through Christ. That is my identity, my position - a son of God. 


Just Enough by Allie Hill

Just Enough
by Allie Hill

My good friend Allison has just published a book! It's titled Just Enough, a wonderful story about a blanky from granny, about love and memories. 

It certainly reminds me about my pillow which my own granny had made me, and I miss her.