Sad and poignant New Year's Eve

Have you ever felt like you are trying the live out the whole year in one day?

That is how I have been feeling on the last day of the year for the past several years.

It's like having a feeling of disbelief that the year has passed by so fast and I am not able to catch up to it. And now on the last day of the year, I feel like I should have a blast of a day to finish of the year and welcoming a new one, but by the time half the day is gone, I am nowhere near having it mean something let alone having a blast.

I have had sad and poignant New Year's Eve for the past few years and looks like I'm having another one today.

So what gives?

It's no wonder some people go to parties and get drunk senseless. There is just too much to be expected from the last day of the year that we know we are going to fail miserably to make something meaningful and profound out of it.

I have not been attending any watch night services in church for years now. I think it will be a good idea that I go tonight.

...

I went. And this was the covenant I made with the Lord:

Minister: And now, beloved, let us bind ourselves with willing binds to our covenant God, and take yoke of Christ upon us. This taking of his yoke upon us means that we are heartily content that he appoint is our place and work, and that he alone be our reward. Christ has many services to be done; some are easy, others are difficult; some bring honor, others bring reproach; some are suitable to our natural inclinations, and temporal interests, others are contrary to both. In some we may please Christ and please ourselves; in others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves. Yet the power to do all these things is assuredly given us in Christ, who strengthens us. Therefore, let us make the covenant of God our own. Let us engage our heart to the Lord, and resolve in his strength never to go back. Being thus prepared, let us now, in sincere dependence on his grace and trusting in his promises, yield ourselves anew to him.
O Lord God, holy Father, who has called us through Christ to be partakers in this gracious covenant: we take upon ourselves with joy the yoke of obedience, and engage ourselves, for love of you, to seek and do your perfect will. We are no longer our own, but yours.

People: I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will, put me to doing, put me to suffering, let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you our brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and heartily yield all things to your pleasure and disposal. And now, O gracious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you are mine, and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

...

Technically it is no longer 2015 but I didn't want the night to end yet. I just spent the last half an hour skimming through what I've posted over the year, the first time I've actually posted every single day of the year in a long time.

It was good looking back. It was a bitter sweet year - of frustration and hope, of learning and growing. And I thank God for it. I pray his direction for me will be clearer in 2016, that I will grow closer to him in listening to him, in following his leading.

Abba Father, I again commit myself to you and you alone. Amen.

pearlie

Solitude and Loneliness

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
~ Mother Teresa

Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.
~ Paul Tillich

We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness.
~ Albert Schweitzer

Friendship needs no words - it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.
~ Dag Hammarskjöld

Loneliness was the first thing that God's eye named not good.
~ John Milton

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever.
~ John 14:16

pearlie

I completed the course on coaching



I've only signed up for two paid courses and this is the second one I've completed.

I've also completed these without any certificates, bringing to a total of six:


I have two more to complete and after that, I think I will take a break from lectures, though there's one on Early Christianity: The Letters of Paul and one on What is a Mind? which I think are too interesting to pass up. Here's learning getting the better of me, again.

pearlie

I'm bored to death

When you pay attention to boredom, it gets unbelievably interesting.
~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

I fell asleep reading a dull book and dreamed I kept on reading, so I awoke from sheer boredom.
~ Heinrich Heine

Boredom, after all, is a form of criticism.
~ Wendell Phillips

If I planned everything out in advance, I'd expire of boredom.
~ Peter Straub

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.
~ Marilyn Monroe

pearlie
Shout out to KC Bob who gave me the last quote above

A Thousand Words uhh...People #181



We planned a short family trip to nearby Genting Highlands but I'm beginning to feel that it is an absolutely terrible, horrible idea.

There were seven of us and we decided for a few of us to take the cable car up and not strain the car engine driving us all uphill.

Well, it took us more than one hour lining up to board a cable car what with more than 1,000 people in the line.

And I can imagine how massive a crowd there must be when we reach there. Oh dear...

pearlie

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I joined my family church in their combined celebration service today, which was held in a school hall. It was certainly some school hall. Amazing stage, lightings and I'm still in awe of the humongous LED screen. Just wished that the sound system was better.

Merry Christmas all! May the birth of Christ fill you with much hope and joy. May we live our lives filled with the Holy Spirit, with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Amen.







pearlie

My Christmas reading


The First Days of Jesus, The Story of Incarnation
by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Alexander E. Stewart

"The birth of Jesus stands as a pivotal moment in the history of the world, marking a dramatic turning point in God’s plan to redeem creation from sin and death. Much to the world’s surprise, redemption had arrived . . . in the form of a lowly baby.

Aimed at stirring your affections for Jesus, this meditative book will lead you on a step-by-step journey through the Gospels’ birth narratives, clearing away common misconceptions, making messianic connections, and setting the stage for Jesus’s later life and ministry."

pearlie

Happy I finally found a good book

No, not this one.


The Magicians
by Lev Grossman

My brother was telling me about this new TV series that I must watch, especially since I liked the Harry Potter series and movies.

So I had high hopes and looked out for the premier pilot episode. I was sorely disappointed. I felt that they were trying to fill in too many things in one episode and what they had wasn't very interesting or profound. It's was just boring.

I then found out that the series was based on a bestseller book, and I got a copy to read. It was interesting but too bad it was only for the first half of the book. Soon I was getting bored and my mind kept drifting away as I was reading. I find that there isn't much of a plot and development of characters was very thin. I found myself having to track back several times, pages to re-read, when I got drifted off. It was frustrating. The narrative often go on a tangent to something else.

I seldom ditch a book once I've started reading it, but at the thought of forcefully trudging through it, I decided I'm not going to torture myself, and stopped with much relief.

And off I went looking for another book and found this.


The Mysterious Benedict Society
by Trenton Lee Stewart

I have just started and it is really good...so far, after reading 32% of it. (Weird right? It's no longer the number of pages I've read, but percentage.) I know it's a kid's book but it's really amusing and it even made me actually laugh out loud. It's clever and it holds my attention with no problem at all.

I'm happy now.

pearlie

Bethlehem's Treasure by Integrity Music


Bethlehem's Treasure
Integrity Music (1992)

I used to listen to this album every year during the Christmas season for several years in a row. I've lost the CD but found it in Spotify here.

It's lovely to listen to it again after so many years and be amazed with the wonderful gift of love that God has given us in Christ.

My favorite carol here is We Three Kings of Orient Are. The classic carol is given a superb rearrangement. And what more, the carol has the whole gospel in it. It's beautiful.

pearlie

I'm a fourth generation Christian

It may not mean much, but I just found out I'm a 4th generation Christian and not a 3rd, which I thought I was all along.

I have always thought it was my grandfather who accepted Christ first, making him the 1st, my dad 2nd and me 3rd.

I just found out that it was my great grandmother who was the 1st, making me a 4th. Most Christians I know around here are 1st generation Christians, and I thought me being 3rd was already quite a big deal, heritage wise.

And that would make my son a 5th. Wow.

People would say that God does not have grandchildren. I get that. We are all his children, but I'm proud that this faith in Jesus is a heritage in my family for so many generations. The LORD has been good to us, in good times and in bad times. He remains faithful.

And my prayer would be for it to continue, for our future generations to continue to grow to have strong personal relationships with God, with Jesus. Amen.

pearlie

Do the Epley Maneuver at home



If you have the vertigo, it may help if you could try the Epley Maneuver at home.

My hubby was telling me the story that this man was about to get his head operated on when one of his doctors got him to do the maneuvers saving him a trip into the operation theatre. I am not sure if that's a true account - I can't find any of such stories in the Internet. But the Epley Maneuver works.

You first need to find out which kind of vertigo you have for the right maneuver. Check the links provided in the video above in YouTube.

pearlie

Christmas Cantata: Come to the Manger



Grace Notes combined with the Kuala Lumpur Chinese Chinese Methodist Cantonese Church Choir presented a Christmas Cantata today: Come to the Manger, by Joe E. Parks.

The choir have been practicing for about 4 months now and I must say, it was quite well done - to the credit of the conductor and Grace Notes's director Joanna Lau.

The cantata carries a message that the angels have invited you to come to the manger and even if the inn had no room for him, do you have room for him in your life?

pearlie

Christmas Team Lunch



I was down for three days - the longest I've been sick and I had to drag myself back to work today. I've also been postponing my team's get-together lunch because of it.

We finally made it for lunch today at Pigs and Wolf in Pavillion KL. The food is quite good. The juices were too - I had Funny Strawberry!

pearlie

Spasso Milano @Pavillion KL

I wasn't feeling very well today but I have been missing the last divisional dinner we had and so I thought I had better turn up for this one.

No regrets. The food was good. The company was better.




Wild Mushroom Rissoto


Beef Tenderloin Steak


Tiramisu

pearlie

Is anyone still blogging anymore?

I found it hard to keep blogging lately but I kept at it desiring to have a complete year of blogging this year. I blog to keep a public journal, which I believe nobody reads other than my current sole blogger friend Kansas Bob (thanks Bob!), who drops in once in a while. I know I do need to connect with other bloggers but I lack the time and energy.

I wrote about blogging before:
Why do I blog? and Why do I blog? 2

I still like to write. I don't have any other places where I can get my thoughts out, not that many come by but no matter. I still like what I do here.

pearlie

Me in a video? Oh no!

My friend Phong, from Vietnam, is getting married this 19th December! I am so happy for him. He and his wife, Phuong apparently have many friends from other countries and they have decided to make a video montage from friends from all over the world. It is such a good idea.

Except that I was asked one. Oh no...

I hate being photographed and worse, I hate being videotaped. But for Phong's sake I have to do it, and I did.

I am not going to post it here, no way Jose. I would just like to talk through the experience doing it.

I started with getting a short script out. In brief, I wished them a happy married life, of love and companionship, of happiness and lots and lots of laughter. I also gave them a pair of wishes in Cantonese:
bak lin hou hap, bak tau dou lou.
A hundred happy years of marriage, being together till hair turn white.

Next, I had to find a suitable place to do it and I finally settled for my bedroom. I get a private and quiet place with natural light coming in from the windows. Perfect.

Then it was take after take after take. I think I did twenty of them and I'm glad I finally did one without any mistakes or being tongue tied, and one where I sounded more natural and not reading from my script.

Ah! I will not do this again for a long, long, long, long time to come.

pearlie

No coincidence

I often unwittingly double-book myself and I did it again. I really thank God that there was a change in plans not in my control. The thing is I didn't even realised I double-booked myself until the day of one of the two events was changed. Both the events are very important and I cannot miss either any of them. And so I am so, so, so, so grateful they are now at different dates and time.

This is certainly not a coincidence. It has happened too many times. God is definitely the captain and pilot of my life.

pearlie

Writing Social Science Field Notes

I learnt something useful today. I used to take notes about happenings with people around me but I wasn't doing it very well and it soon turned out to my my venting journal and so I stopped it. But I found this website today about writing social studies field notes.

Scientist often write fields notes and and we should emulate them. For example, these are field notes by a biologist studying birds:


I must learn the skills of writing field notes and more objectively. The guide is found here.

pearlie

Why did I think it was Wednesday today?

The brain is weird sometimes. I actually thought that it was Wednesday today, when it's clearly Monday with the usual busyness at work on the first day of the work week.

So why did I think it was Wednesday?

It happened when I was in a meeting in the afternoon when someone remarked that it was a Monday. I raised my eyes and thought to myself, "Monday? Isn't it Wednesday today?"

When I realised my mistake, I was really curious as to why I felt like it was a Wednesday. I thought about it a bit and realised why.

I started my day attending a training at 9 in the morning in a hotel several floors above my work place. But I had to step out at 10 to attend a meeting back on the office. I was back in the training session at 10:30. I stepped out again at 3 in the afternoon for another meeting. With the in and out and in and out, my brain actually thought 3 days have passed!

It's just too weird.

pearlie

We will be complete when he returns

I learnt about the concept of protogospel from this morning's sermon on Genesis 3. And on checking my commentary, Derek Kidner says on 3:15, "There is good New Testament authority for seeing here the protevangelium, the first glimmer of the gospel."

The first glimmer of the gospel... Wow.

With the gospel beginning right from the start, we are clear that God's redemption plan for us is The One Grand Plan of God, which I have posted three years ago in December 2012. (Wow, I did not even realized I had posted that so long ago. The thought I had still feel fresh to me, which means I should continue developing it.)

Although Gen 3:15 happened after the fall, it does not preclude that it is still God's one grand plan to create us in his likeness, who will disobey him and die, who will need the Incarnate Son of God to die and be raised for us to live. And as his kingdom is already upon us now, this Advent is where we are reminded of our waiting for his coming again, to bring completion to his prefect creation of the world, the universe and us, his chosen people, his royal priesthood, his holy nation.

Our story began back when he created us, and we will be completed in Christ when he returns.

pearlie
Source: Derek Kidner, Genesis, An Introduction and Commentary, TOTC, IVP 1967

Another new old



I was talking about the brand new Atria Complex a few days ago and how much it has changed from the old. Today, I experienced the same nostalgia with the Port Dickson Methodist Center.

Grace Notes was invited to sing in the Trinity Annual Conference's (TRAC) 40th annual conference. I was told that the center was renovated but I hadn't realised that it has been given such a complete makeover that I could not recognise it. Worse, I could not remember how it was before.

Anyway, I feel we did just fairly in our singing this round because the acoustics in the hall was really so bad our voice sounded dead.

Anyway, it's a good thing I found these pictures of the old center:

Entrance to the center


The Main Hall


Inside the Main Hall


Dormitories

pearlie
Photos: disciples

Completed my practical coaching assignment

I've completed my practical coaching sessions with the final session for my second coachee today, as part of the Coursera Conversation that Inspire: Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change course.

I've started the course back in October and it has been quite a good experience, learning the useful Intentional Change Theory (ICT) model developed by Richard Boyatzis and having very interesting coaching conversations with my coachees.

I've submitted the required written assignment. I will be required to do several peer assessments in the next few days before coming to a completion of the programme.

pearlie

A useful MOOC aggregator



I was introduced to this useful MOOC aggregator that helps group all your MOOC courses in one place. It also allows you to keep track of courses that you are interested in without enrolling, which was what I wanted to do in Coursera.org but was not able to.

And my list in Class Central is certainly growing.

pearlie

Seeing psychological disorders everywhere

I was trying to catch up on the Mental Illnesses lectures in the Introduction to Psychology course in Coursera. Professor Steve Joordens kept cautioning us that "learning about [psychological] disorders makes you see them everywhere, even in the mirror!"

It did in fact happened exactly as he cautioned. I noticed that I became quite down as a result in these few days, and it just might be because of the lectures, what with panic attacks and phobic disorders, depression and schizophrenia.

pearlie

The new heaven and new earth

I am still reading NT Wright's Surprised by Hope and learning a lot from it and I'm especially glad that it somewhat conforms to what I thought about heaven and what we bring to heaven, or rather the new heaven and new earth. With it, I'm now able to be more firm about my thoughts on the subject.

For one, Wright's gist of the book is about life after life after death, and on one of his favorite subject, the kingdom of God, which he interprets quite differently from the other writers and scholars.

One of the important things that he brought up is how wrong our regular thought of heaven is. After we die, we do not get transferred to a distant and disembodied heaven. But rather, we come back to this very earth, but renewed, like it was supposed to be, good and perfect as created by God.

I blogged before about my nagging thoughts on the existence of God. I made a general reference to the Star Trek series where the beliefs of gods in alien civilisations are seen to be stupid and childish. What I did not refer to was this episode where there is this civilisation of people, or humanoids as they call them, where the dead are sent to "heaven" where they will start a new phase of life with the departed, but it was found that they instead remained as corpses in a cavern in another planet.

That episode stayed with me because I find it a parody of what I believed in. And for that, I'm being denigrated to a childish sort person who believes that I go to a place when I die but actually I still remain dead.

But with what Wright has proposed, that is we finally come back to this earth, fresh and renewed, it certainly makes more sense and I feel more comfortable now that I no longer felt belittled by such parodies.

I highly recommend you to read Surprised by Hope and let your understanding of what heaven and what life after death is be challenged by Wright's proposition.

pearlie

My dad's philosophy for now

I took time to check out some places we can go for a short holiday with my parents and we thought of going to Ipoh. At first, I thought we could just be thrifty and book a budget hotel in town. We've stayed in Ritz Garden Ipoh before and found it decent and thought we book rooms there.

But no. My dad wanted a better hotel. His philosophy? If he doesn't enjoy life now, when can he do so? :)

And so we booked an apartment in this award winning hotel and we are certainly looking forward now to our short holiday.

The Haven Resort Ipoh 




pearlie

The New Atria

My hubby suggested that we go to Atria for lunch today. I thought to myself, why does that place sound so familiar and yet I can't place it at all in my mind what and where it is.

It was only when we got there that I realized it is the good old shopping complex that I used to go to back on those days for get-togethers with my old friends.

And how different it is now. It was apparently under massive renovations since it closed for business back in 2008. It was reopened in May this year.

It has changed so much it is unrecognizable, and it no longer bring back any of those good old memories.


Before


After


Before


After

pearlie
Photo Sources: Julian Si, Go Where, Visit Malaysia , The Malaysian Insider

How to best do your peer assessment assignments in online courses

I have again used up my weekend to catch up on my Coursera courses, and time well spent.

However, I was finding it hard when it comes to assessing the assignments of my peers. As much as I want to be generous in my assessment, which I usually am, I found it hard this time in the peer assessment of the final exam assignment in On Strategy: What Managers Can Learn From Philosophy - Part 1.

And from what I have learnt in my own submission, my peers' assessment of my work and my assessment of theirs, I think these will be good pointers on how to submit a good assignment in Coursera.

1. The most important point to take note is that the people who are assessing your papers are not experts. They probably just know as much as you do. Therefore, you need to present your paper clearly in the simplest form and language as you possibly can. If your arguments are all over the place or if your explanations are too complicated, most probably you will not be getting good assessments from your peers.

2. Read the assignment question properly and ensure you have met all the requirements. You need to know what exactly is required of you. For example, if they want two arguments, make sure you do have exactly two clearly different arguments.

3. Take note in the length required. This paper for example puts the requirements in number of characters, not words. I was assessing a paper which was 1500 words in length, when it was actually just 1500 characters required!

4. Arrange your assignment in sections according to the requirements. For example, if they asked for two arguments, title your sections Argument 1 and Argument 2. This will simplify it for your peers to give you the marks you deserve.

5. If you were to write a paper based on a topic taught in the online lectures, state the title and lecture number at the beginning of your paper. Not everyone will remember if your chosen topic were actually from the lectures. And you would have saved them the time to go check and keep their attention on your paper to give you your points.

6. Before you submit your work, check it though the evaluation criteria, i.e. what exactly will award you the points. This will enable you to ensure that you have included stuff that will actually give you the points. I have assessed assignments which have good information and views but because it does not meet the requirements, I could not award any points at all.

This is what I have so far. I will add on more when I come across more examples and when I submit and assess more assignments.

pearlie

Dazed

I was feeling absolutely dazed today. And in reading this article, I have what which is called the Fuzzy Brain!

Well, this was what I felt exactly:
...there are days when it just feels like your brain isn’t all the way there. You stare blankly at the computer screen, your eyes glaze over, and no matter what you do, you can’t quite pull your head out of the fog. Ah, yes—the dreaded “fuzzy brain.” Its cause is unknown, but if left untreated, it can be quite detrimental to your productivity.
For more, check out the article here.

pearlie

I'm no traveler

I'm not a proper traveler. I don't like to be challenged or have too much change and prefer a week just to relax.
~ Karl Pilkington

My mom was proposing that we go for a trip end of the year - somewhere in Asia, not near but not too far.

I spent these two evenings checking out places, flight fares, hotels and interesting places to do and visit. The thing is with just two evenings of research, I got so tired I don't feel like going anymore.

I think I will just stay right here at home.

pearlie

Worrying Times

I read this in CNN today: How is this not World War III?

With the recent attacks in Paris, and then with Turkey shooting down a Russian plane, CNN reported that "If this had occurred during the Cold War, we would be bracing for the possibility of a nuclear war. Thankfully, that conflict is over...Don't misinterpret the moves as evidence of calm; a furious Russia has called Turkey 'accomplices of terror' and Putin warned of 'significant consequences.' And these are just some of the latest developments in the world's most complicated conflict."

It is indeed worrying times.

pearlie

Questions I had with Genesis

In my recent commute to work, I was listening to Genesis on mp3 and it was very interesting as I began thinking as I listened. These were the few thoughts and questions I had.

1. I realised Adam and Eve actually had quite many years in the garden of Eden before they became discontented and wanted more. They bore another sin names Seth after the death of Cain, when Adam was 130 years old (Gen 5:3). So they would have had many years in Eden before they sinned and were banished.

2. Adam and Eve didn't seem sorry for what they did when they disobeyed God. They did not feel that they needed forgiveness. Was forgiveness something that "existed" then?

3. If Genesis counted for the hundreds of years men lived as literal years, why do we take each of the creation day as millions and billions of years? Moreover, other parts of Scripture interpreting the creation days as single days. 

4. Why did God go through all the trouble with the flood? Why don't he just wipe them all out expect Noah?

pearlie

Wonderful, how wonderful

Glorious Day by Casting Crown


I was worship leading today and the bible passage was on 1 Corinthians 15, the passage on resurrection. and I chose amongst others, this song by Casting Crown.

And I don't really believe in coincidences in that I have been reading quite a bit about resurrection lately, and still reading Surprising Hope by NT Wright.

Wonderful song. Wonderful book. But much more than that, what a wonderful God.

pearlie

Addicted to Learning

I have to admit that I am currently addicted to Coursera! What else am I when I'm currently actively enrolled in a total of five courses. I kept finding courses that interest me. One on coaching, one on psychology, one on philosophy, one on thinking and one on both thinking and philosophy for managers.

And I had to catch up with my coursework in Introduction to Psychology, having kept it aside for too long. I spent my entire day on it today and completed the mid-term exam which was a 64-question quiz, and a peer assessment written assignment.

I was to write a 500 to 700-word paper on a current event relating it to a psychological concept from the lectures. I decided to write about the Bystander Interference effect from the tragic death of Wang Yue.

I might post it here later, after the deadlines are passed. It is a very, very tragic story.

pearlie

Today is a five-star day

Today was a good day. I did not have high expectations but it turned out surprisingly well.

I spent the day in a Learning and Development Seminar organised by People Potential. I learnt quite a lot, reconnected with a former colleague and met some very nice people.

For one, I inadvertently took part in a situation game in stakeholder management and we came out as the winning team. However, I was quite left out because I'm not used to being in simulation games. In my previous experience in taking part in case study games, I normally take a really long time to even get myself into in right context. The other team members were really good. They catch on very fast. But at least it was a good first experience for me.

Next, I was in an Emotional Intelligence session and one of the tool that was introduced to us was the gamification of emotional conversation. The objective of the game was to share our lives and our feelings to inspire one another. I enjoyed it a lot.

Finally in the evening, I received my Coursera third peer assessed assignment grading in the What Managers Can Learn From Philosophers, and I scored another perfect score. Three assignments assessed, two left ungraded.

And when I retired to bed, I assessed my day with a full five-star in my Momento journal app. I can't remember when I last gave myself a five-star. Must have been a long, long, long time ago.

It was a wonderful day. Thank you Lord.

pearlie

When I'm so tired

I found out today that when I'm very tired, I have a very short temper. And I also heard that the thinking part of our brain is six seconds delayed compared to the emotional part of our brain. This means that when we feel anger for example, we only begin to think and respond properly six seconds after we felt it. And it can spiral into reaction after reaction without realising it, which means our thinking and evaluation never kicks in at all.

I'm not sure if that is true, but I certainly must remind myself to wait and not react in emotions when I am tired.

pearlie

It's all because of love

I am reading NT Wright and in two of his books, he used this saying by Ludwig Wittgenstein, "It is love that believes the resurrection" - a deep and profound statement I am still unpacking.

And I'm still figuring out what Wright means by "Love is the deepest mode of knowing because it is love that, while completely engaging with reality other than itself, affirms and celebrates that other-than-self reality."

But I love it when he said that, "All knowing is a gift from God, historical and scientific knowing no less than that of faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love."

I am here beginning to see love very, very differently. As a thinking person, I'm always for logic and truth. Love I have placed it under emotions and feeling, though in a much deeper and substantial worth.

I remember when I read the conclusion of the Harry Potter series, I felt disappointed that the reason for it all was love. Really? I remember remarking to myself. I couldn't see it or understand it. I dared not speak up about it because love is what my faith is all about, in that for God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son. I had realized then that I need to know love from its very basic.

I have read DA Carson's The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God two if not three times but it is only until now reading NT Wright that I am finding myself beginning at the lowest rung in knowing it.

I see now that love should be the very basic in all that we do. From work perspective, I am in charge of employee engagement at work. An employee is only engaged at work if he love his job and as a result commits himself to contribute. Forget KPIs. If he loves what he does, he will perform.

Why is there peace in the family? Why is there joy? Because there is love. Why are you so committed to them? It's because you love them.

Just think about it, in everything that you do, it is all because of love.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13

I have so much to learn about love.

pearlie
Source: 'Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church' by N. T. Wright

Confidence vs. Arrogance

When you really believe in something with all your heart and would do anything to stand your ground, you can come off as arrogant, even though that is the last thing your want to be.

There is indeed a fine line between confidence and arrogance.

This is what I have observed:

One will listen to you and ask you questions to let you have your own opinion. The other will just insist he is right.

One will genuinely appreciate your accomplishments even though you both know you are not in his league. The other will put down or dismiss what you have done.

One respects those he does not agree with. The other bad mouths them especially behind their back.

One is humble. The other is proud.

What other behaviors have you seen?

pearlie

YouTube Weekend

I spend the entire weekend with videos in YouTube by CBN and Answering Islam.

As much as I have no conversion experience, being a third generation Christian, I could experience it vicariously through the testimonies of people in those videos. They were amazing.

pearlie

I'm already overwhelmed

I had a meeting in church today discussing about teaching youth in church next year, and the topic chosen was Theology.

With the topics that was listed out, I am feeling seriously overwhelmed, even though I will not doing all of them.

1. The Evidence of God
2. The Knowability of God
3. The Names of God
4. The Attributes of God
5. The Trinity
6. The Divine Decrees
7. Calvinism and Arminianism
8. Creation
9. Providence
10. The Origin of Man
11. Man as the Image of God
12. The Origin of Sin
13. The Covenant of Grace

pearlie

Isn't it painful when you need to hold back your laughter

I was standing at my colleague's table today taking a break at work when I took and opened up a book on Dilbert's comic found on her desk. I leafed through the pages and read this strip. I found it so utterly funny and not wanting to laugh out so loud in the quiet office that I was really having a hard time!



pearlie

The King or the Fairy?

My hubby and I were watching Arrow when we heard a piece of music being played in the soundtrack. My hubby asked me if it was the piece from the Nutcracker Suite. Possible I said, and I tried checking it out via SoundHound. (I just hummed the tune to get it identified - the things we could do these days with technology).

It turned out it wasn't the Nutcracker piece but Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King.

You take a listen to both these and tell me they don't sound alike. I hear or sing one and would not be able to remember the other.

But one does seem more masculine and the other feminine, don't you think so?

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, The Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky


In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg


pearlie

Saving my blog in PDF

I have been blogging since 2006 with daily blogging till 2009, after which it was intermittent till I was back to a daily from 2014 till now.

I have a total of 2,256 published posts including this one and I thought it would be good to save an offline copy of my blog.

I tried it here in BlogBooker and whilst the results may not be perfect, it can still generate a reasonably good one and it's free.

pearlie

My recent interest in superheroes on TV

I seem to be watching a lot of superheroes on TV lately, with my latest on Arrow. But with both Marvel and DC, which do you prefer: DC Vs Marvel: Who Is Winning The Superhero TV War?

I am not really a superheroes fan but I grew up with Superman and Batman movies, and I like them. Marvel came with Spider-Man and I was just okay with it. But soon I was into X-Men and The Avengers.

And when it comes to the female leads, I am definite for Marvel. I simply could not stand the female leads in DC and I couldn't agree more with this writer when he said the scriptwriters could have done better and develop better characters rather than those that are "narcissistic, vindictive, incredibly self-righteous, and sometimes passive-aggressive," like that of Iris in Flash, Lana in Superman and Laurel in Arrow. Especially Iris in Flash...urgh...

Check out the article here.

pearlie

When We Grief

Words will not express the grief we feel
But by words are how we are made
When God said, "Let there be light,"
And "It's not good for man to be alone," he said
The special people he places us with
Are those we have come to cherish
With whom we spend our time together
But some leave us sooner than we wish
We suddenly become as lonely as we can ever feel
God is with us we know we're told
And yet we feel we can never get away from
The pull of the darkness, the vortex, the hole

Yes, we can, my friend, yes, we can
You may not believe it now
For God is our best companion
It's that simple, that's how
Speak to him, he hears
He is just by your side
You may not see him but feel him
He is with you, before you to confide
Speak to him as you would any other
Your dad beside him is as real as you can imagine
The moment you feel you're going to lose it
Call to Jesus, he listens, so trust in him

And of all the people he has placed you with
As small as we are we're part of it
We feel for you, we're here for you
We're with you in person, in prayer, in spirit
We are all in the Lord
He made us not just one
But he has made us all
To comfort each other as we abide with the Son
So look to Jesus
You are not alone
That's what he promised
With him you'll never ever be alone

All rights reserved © 2015 Pearlie Ng

My Gallup Top-5 Strengths and Coursera being a big part of it now

My top-5 Gallup strengths are Connectedness, Intellection, Input, Learner and Empathy.

When I first got the results I had no idea what is Connectedness, I don't know why I have Input as one of my top-5, I was proud of my Intellection, I thought Empathy for me was more like a given and I wasn't too impressed with my Learner.

My thoughts about my top-5 has now completely changed as I began to understand more about myself and the five Gallup themes.

My now most troublesome strength is really Intellection. I can lose myself in it and lose you in a conversation. You'll still be talking away but I will be busy thinking about something you have just said. That's bad.

I am most proud of my Input strength. When I finally understand what it represent, I began to see its utility, pun intended (Input is where I collect things because of their utility). This is where my resourcefulness is at its best. Ask my friends and they will attest to the fact that I can usually get them what they need when they ask for my help.

I am still discovering what Connectedness means to me, and this is what I believe is the hugest theme in all of Gallup's 34. Or I may be biased.

There is no change in how I feel about my Empathy theme, in that it's a given for me. Though there will be a time when I discover it more in relation to my values and action.

This brings me to final one of the five - Learner. I said I wasn't too impressed with it. It's like, "yeah, I learn. So what?"

I was in a full learning mode when I was taking my Masters in Christian Studies for 8 long years before. And after that I had wanted to take up something in psychology but I didn't do because I have to manage my family priorities. So in that sense, that left me with not many opportunities to learn. Yes, I read and yes, I watch TEDTalks (though only recently) but those really are just small snippets of learning that never really satisfy me, though I do learn a lot from reading but it's very challenging to find my right next read.

This was the situation till I rediscovered Coursera. I went to it in the mid of this year, and found that since I discovered it in 2013, it has improved a lot and maybe it is also because I'm more ready for it this phase of my life.

Coursera is a dream come true to me as a Learner but I think it will be my undoing as well - because I keep signing up for courses and how I am going to keep with lectures and assignments I have no idea!

So far I have completed one course in Fundamentals of a Project Planning and Management.

I have completed all lectures and quizzes in Conversations that Inspire: Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change, pending a submission of reports on 2 coaching assignments, which is still on-going.

I am midway through Introduction to Psychology. I have started on the lectures in August and almost finished them when they offered the course again in October and I signed up for it. A mid-term exam of 60-question quiz is where I am at the moment. I have not attempted it yet. Sixty questions! Oh boy...

I have just started On Strategy: What Managers can Learn from Philosophy and thoroughly enjoying it. The assignments are really challenging but I find them brilliant. Come to think of it, this course is like an amalgamation of my two strengths - Intellection or Thinking and Learner.

I should be happily settled with learning from these three courses running in tandem but I went and signed up for two more! Most probably I will not be actively following them. They are Introduction to Philosophy and Think Again: How to Reason and Argue.

But then again, looking now at the titles, I might just make time. So now you see what I mean by Coursera is both a dream come true and my undoing.

pearlie

Reverting to a Previous Version of an iOS app

I usually view through my Apple apps before I update them in my devices but I didn’t do that yesterday and simply proceed to “Update All”. I wouldn’t have known anyway, but Waze’s update was a major one and I was very unhappy with the new version of Waze 4.0.

I am so used to the interface of the previous version, but that is not the reason why I was unhappy. New interfaces just need some getting used to and some rewiring of the brain to relearn where to tap and slide for what I want. The reason why I was mad with it was the fact that with my not-so-great eyesight, with both shortsightedness and longsightedness, I could not really see the extremely thin directional lines in the app.

So I searched the Internet for a solution and found it here.

I managed to revert it back to the previous version, but do take note that when you find the old .ipa file you need in your PC, save a copy of it somewhere. I followed the instructions provided but the file went missing. Thankfully I did save a copy of it.

So much for the reverting but when I viewed my husband updated Waze in his iPhone 6, the directional lines were thick and lush. And why mine in the iPhone 5S is minutely thin I have no idea. Go figure.

But whatever it is, I will settle for the old version for now.

pearlie

My Coaching Assignment



I began my coaching assignment today as required by the coaching course I am taking under Coursera, using the above Intentional Change Theory (ICT) by Richard Boyatzis. I am obviously incorporating the Gallup StrengthsFinder tool and it went very well. It is helpful to place it in a framework like the ICT.

I am looking forward to my second coachee tomorrow and subsequent sessions for both of them.

pearlie

What Managers Can Learn From Philosophy



I have signed up for this course in Coursera some weeks ago but have forgotten about it. On top of that, I am currently busy following two courses under their signature programme anyway, and so I wasn't actively looking for any new courses to follow.

I was reminded of it by my colleague today and I went to checked it out: On Strategy: What Managers Can Learn From Philosophy.

I spent some time on it this morning and almost finished the first lecture and it is really very interesting.

There is indeed much to learn about strategy and change from the philosophical point of view - the lecturer posits that there are two kinds of change and the one that he is teaching here refers to change in perception, as opposed to change in reality.

I have actually joined in quite late but for this course, I am allowed to readjust my time line and I did just that. I will be finishing the first lecture soon and looking forward to the peer reviewed assignment due end of this week.

I am very happy for these MOOC programmes now so readily and easily made available to us. With the Learner theme (under the Gallup StrengthsFinder) as my #4 strength, this is really like a learner's dream come true.

I will soon have 4 completed programmes under my belt and looking out for more.

pearlie

Enjoy your life!

I received an email from Faithlife.com on a special price for this book. And since I am (always) seeking for my purpose in life and with Ecclesiastes being one of my favourite books, I bought a copy and started reading.


A Life Well Lived, A Study of the Book of Ecclesiastes
by Tommy Nelson

I like the way the book began. Here are some of the portions I like:
The Book of Ecclesiastes is as close as the Bible gets to pure philosophy. But it's different from most philosophy in that it is not so much an inquiry of one man's mind as it is God's declaration of the meaning of life.

Solomon begins with the position that life is vain. He does not mean that it is totally meaningless or that it doesn't have any ultimate purpose. By vain, he means that you live for sixty or maybe seventy years and then you're gone.

Life just doesn't have any natural reward of itself. It doesn't automatically head to a climactic point of happiness, meaning, and fruition.
It was alright as the book proceeds into its subsequent chapters, but I do find that Nelson tends to repeat himself a lot. Granted, Ecclesiastes does repeats itself a lot actually.

All in all, the lesson is that life in itself is meaningless. You would want to search for meaning through intellectualism, hedonism and materialism, but in the end, you die. You might leave a legacy, but that's about it, and that would depend on how big you can make it to be. But even if you are as big as Steve Jobs, you are still dead.

In the end, what matters most is our relationship with God.
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
~ Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (ESV)
This was the same lesson I have learnt from Ecclesiastes and other books on Ecclesiastes that I have read. But I did learn something new from Nelson, something I am still considering because it is quite different from the usual.

Nelson commented on the verses where the Qoheleth or teacher said to enjoy life.
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil-this is the gift of God.
~ Ecclesiastes 5:18-19

And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.
~ Ecclesiastes 8:15

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.
~ Ecclesiastes 9:9
I thought about it and I conclude that as long as we live and enjoy the life that God has given us, where we are, we are doing it right by him. And I like it when Nelson said, "If you love God, do what you want to do. God will control things in His sovereignty. Remember, though, that God will bring judgment. Make sure you play within the rules." (emphasis mine)

Here are some of the things he said that made me think:
Do some things that will matter for eternity. Serve Christ as long as you can until your number comes up, then die well. Enjoy the things you do know and don't be so concerned and distraught about things you don't.

The people with the greatest gifts often end up with the most tragic endings because they're not wise. So enjoy your life and work hard. But don't think that your natural abilities will give you automatic success.

Solomon is saying to live boldly and let the chips fall where they may. Live fearlessly in a life you can't always control. If you live scared, you won't have a life.

We don't always have to turn everything into a mystical decision. If you love God, do what you want to do. God will control things in His sovereignty. Remember, though, that God will bring judgment. Make sure you play within the rules. God knows that the only way truly to enjoy life is to live by wisdom. You can't enjoy life outside of the context of holiness.

Solomon reiterates the central point that he has made six other times: We should enjoy life with wisdom. You will get old one day, so enjoy life now but remember God in the midst of your fun. Don't become an old person who talks about what you wish you had done. Instead, be able to talk about what you did. Live a godly life. Get up early and spend an hour in the Word. Read your Bible all the way through every single year. Read three great Christian classics. Cultivate great friends. Travel. Do the things you like to do.
Hmm...now what would I like to do?

Oh, so much!

pearlie

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl ★★★★★

I thought the title of this movie was quite interesting and so I watched it, and it was actually pretty good. It's not a love story but a story about awkwardness and friendship.



It's is based on a book written by Jesse Andrews, and it's quite creative. I am not very familiar with the movie titles in the parody movies Greg and Earl have made, but I'm sure they are hilarious. Check them out here.

On top of it, Rachel, the dying girl, was into book art. Aren't these fabulous? Except that I would never cut up a book like this, how lovely it will turn out to be.





pearlie