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

Vanity of vanities

I like writing poetry and as much as I am so bad at it, I still do it. But how I wish I could write it like this one on the vanity of life.

Grass
by Carl Sandburg
 
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
I am the grass; I cover all.
And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?
I am the grass.
Let me work.

pearlie

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom


The Hiding Place
by Corrie ten Boom

I blogged about forgiveness two weeks ago and Kansas Bob sent me a link to his review of the book. Reading an excerpt of the book in his blog brought me to tears, and I thought it was time I read it.

I have a faint memory reading it in my youth, but when I read it these few days, I did not remember anything from it.

It is an excellent book, and I'm going to include it in my 10 most influential book list except that I would first need to remove one title from the list.

The book taught me the never ending wonder of God. Just when you think you're at the end of the rope, you will find him there. His power is inexhaustible. You only need to rely and depend on him, fully.

I also learnt about forgiveness. In the bigger scale of life, the people who have wronged me cannot compare to God's everlasting love.

These are the few portions where I've highlighted for keeps:
...our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need—just in time.”

Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings, Corrie. It’s something we make inside ourselves.

Dear Jesus, I thank You that we must come with empty hands. I thank You that You have done all—all—on the cross, and that all we need in life or death is to be sure of this.

Whatever bravery or skill I had ever shown were gifts of God—sheer loans from Him of the talent needed to do a job.

...the key to healing turned out to be the same. Each had a hurt he had to forgive.

And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself...It took a lot of love.
pearlie

Skies are clear, finally

We have been experiencing really bad haze in the last month or so, breathing in really, really bad quality of air. At times we can't even see past 200 meters in front of us. The view from my office cubicle is all gray, the city scene hidden in smog and smoke.

Until I walked into my office today at 6pm to this:


What a glorious view.

I'm usually the quiet one. But I exclaimed out so loud at the view that everyone who was there smiled and laughed with me. It felt wonderful to have clear skies again.

pearlie

Nothing much

The day went by in quite a blur
It happened like it never did
I woke up and went to work
I worked and went home lickety split
That's just about what I did
Nothing much to it

All rights reserved © 2015 Pearlie Ng

Total waste of time



I'm getting good at this - doing absolutely nothing over the weekend, and by the time I realised it, it is too late.

I need to be more mindful in the future.

pearlie

Doubting God

I started contemplating about asking for signs from God, which inadvertently resulted in these following questions.

If I am not to ask for signs, it is because I should trust him all the time:
- and if I am to trust him, is he for real?
- and if he is for real, is he all-powerful?
- and if he is all-powerful, why are we born in different context, some with more and some with less, i.e. why isn't he fair?

In my search for answers, this book crossed my path, again.


The Case for Faith, A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity
by Lee Strobel

I read it in year 2003. I felt it was a good book back then but I remembered it did not speak to me as personally as his previous book did, The Case for Christ.

But as I leafed through it this time, I came to the second last chapter which began with these two quotations:
In their most inner thoughts, even the most devout Christians know that there is something illegitimate about belief. Underneath their profession of faith is a sleeping giant of doubt...In my experience, the best way to conquer doubt is to yield to it.
~Dan Barker, pastor-turned-atheist

Those who believe they believe in God but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at time without despair, believe only in the idea of God, an not in God himself.
~Madeleine L'Engle, Christian
With that, I embarked on re-reading the book.

Getting to it again 12 years later, the book really speaks to me now. I appreciated the doubts raised, the questions asked and the answers that were given.

The book is divided into 8 Objections:
* Objection #1 "Since Evil and Suffering Exist, a Loving God Cannot" with Peter Kreeft, PhD
* Objection #2 "Since Miracles Contradict Science, They Cannot Be True" with William Lane Craig, PhD
* Objection #3 "Evolution Explains Life, So God Isn't Needed" with Walter L. Bradley, PhD
* Objection #4 "God Isn't Worthy of Worship If He Kills Innocent Children" with Norman L. Geisler, PhD
* Objection #5 "It's Offensive to Claim Jesus Is the Only Way to God" with Ravi Zacharias, D.D., LL.D.
* Objection #6 "A Loving God Would Never Torture People in Hell" with J.P. Moreland, PhD
* Objection #7 "Church History Is Littered with Oppression and Violence" with John D. Woodbridge, PhD
* Objection #8 "I Still Have Doubts, So I Can't Be a Christian" with Lynn Anderson, D.Min.

The wonderful thing is that the experts whom Strobel interviewed were people I respect and whose books I read. Interestingly, I read Dr Lynn Anderson's book mentioned in the interview, If I Really Believe, Why Do I Have These Doubts?, just two years ago, without realising that I have read about it 10 years ago in 2003.

In answering the questions I had, the first chapter was enough. But I got hooked into Strobel's interviewing style of writing and finished the book in no time. It was brilliant.

pearlie

Asking for signs from God

Do you ask for signs from God in larger decisions that you make? I do and God is gracious to give me signs but not all the time. I get into what Dallas Willard would call a conversational relationship with God, and I will hear him in a quiet inward voice.

But sometimes I fear that I should not seeking for signs but to fully trust in him, particularly when I falter in my faith in him and keep asking for sign after sign on the same matter.

So what I did this morning was to commit my weakness to God. And on top of that I started to Google for articles on asking for signs from God. True enough, there is this article with the title, "Why You (Probably) Shouldn’t Pray for a Sign".

However, there is this one article that actually teaches you to flip a coin to find answers from God. I was aghast but at the same time curious as well, and so I thought I'd play along just for fun. It begins with the first step of flipping a coin and if you get two heads consecutively, you can go ahead and flip it again for an answer. But if you get two tails or one of either, God is not allowing you flip a count for a sign.

So I tried the first step, and what did I get?

Two tails. Case closed.

If you are interested to check out Dallas Willard's book, it's Hearing God, Developing Conversational Relationship.

pearlie

It's Back to the Future Day Today

Back to the Future Day Official Trailer


I still remember those days when I was so excited about the Back to the Future movie. I still think that the movie is pretty cool. I just might watch it again tonight except that I have too much to do and to catch up on my Coursera lectures.

pearlie

The right not to listen to music

I have this belief that everyone is entitled to our space when we are in public areas, and this include the sounds we hear. I'm okay with white noises, or when people are talking as long as not too loudly, but I hate it when people play their music or videos aloud from their smartphones or tablets. Haven't they heard of earphones?

My colleague does the same in the office. I got so sick of listening to her endless renditions of Norah Jones and Adele. I did ask her several times to switch it off but she ignores me. Sigh... I'd end up putting on my own set of earphones and and listen to a series of white noises so I can get back to work.

We have the right not to listen to your music. Please use your earphones.

pearlie

Is stress good or bad for you?

How to Make Stress Your Friend


As you know I have been checking out on TED talks recently and I noticed this one about making stress your friend. Now, really? I have always believed stress is bad for you and so I dismissed it. But it came up again in the discussion forum of the coaching course I'm currently taking in Coursera. So I thought why not, and I watched it.

Well, I don't know. The speaker claimed that recent science has proven that if you think stress is not bad for you, it will not be bad for you. And on the flip side, if you think stress is bad, it will probably end up killing you.

I'm not sure how this will hold up. I mean, isn't this like the egg yolk is bad for you, then egg yolk is good for you, and then egg yolk is bad for you (or is it still good?), that they can't even decide.

Now it's stress's turn?

But I do like what she said in the last part when someone asked her if it's then true that we can go for extremely stressful jobs if we know we can handle it. She said, "chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort...that's the best way to make decisions...go after what it is that creates meaning in your life, and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows."

Go after what creates meaning in your life - now she's talking.

pearlie

Endurance

I posted a couple days ago about forgiveness. The preacher said this morning that forgiveness is not to be based on feelings. We must forgive even though we don't feel like it.

This also reminded me of the Chinese word for endurance, 忍 (ren):


The Chinese character is a combination of two words - the edge of a sword 刃 on top of the heart 心. That is a picture of the extent we need to endure, when the sword is perpetually stuck into your heart.

Forgive and endure - that is what I need to continue to learn to do.

pearlie

Forgiveness

I realized today that I need to forgive someone. I was so unhappy about the situation that I was blinded by own principles and standards and not see the person.

I found these quotations that speak to me. They are from Lewis B. Smedes, a renowned Christian author, ethicist and theologian.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.

You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.

It takes one person to forgive, it takes two people to be reunited.

The Holy Spirit, thank God, often enables people to forgive even though they are not sure how they did it.
pearlie

When I can't sleep

What do you do when you can't sleep? I couldn't sleep last night.

As usual, I started thinking and thinking and ending up not sleeping at all. This reminds me of a Mr Bean episode where he counted sheep to get to sleep. Hilarious.



pearlie

Stress and the Amygdala

Panic Attacks and Stress Caused by Amygdala


I watched this video as part of one of the lectures in Coursera's Introduction to Psychology. It is interesting to know that we can find ourselves stuck at a high anxiety level as our norm and we can reset the needle back to normal. Easier said than done though.

pearlie

Don Moen's Concert and a Car Accident



I was invited by my friend to attend Don Moen's concert today. It was ok. I must say the songs are a bit old for me though I do have a couple of favoritea, which are God is Good All the Time and I Just Want to be Where You are.

But I wasn't really in the right mind because in going to this concert, I asked my mom to help me drive my son to his tuition class but my mom got into an accident on the way there. I am thankful they are safe. It's the car was badly battered.

I feel sorta guilty but then she is literally an accident about to happen. I have been warning her about the reckless way she drives. So I think it's a good thing it happened without anyone being hurt. I do hope she learnt her lesson.

pearlie

My book of the day


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
by Judith Viorst

Well, my day wasn't entirely that bad. Just that when I got to know about this book, I wish I had a copy.

pearlie

I am forgiven!

We had our third session of Christianity Explored this morning and what impressed me the most was this video with the analogy of a room where what if all the walls in the room were to be filled with all your life, everything, good and bad.

What if you were to stick on the walls all records of your thoughts, good ones or lewd ones, all your words how gentle or rude, all your deeds how decent or indecent they are. You obviously would keep the room tightly locked and if you could put a spell on it to be locked forever to anyone but you, you certainly would.

The video's message was that we are not inherently good, not at all. We can readily admit we are bad, and that we need help.

When we returned to our discussion group to discuss it, it was through the discussion that I had some sort of an epiphany. I imagined I had all of my life pasted on the walls in the room. They are real. I have thought, said and done those things - some good but mostly terrible.

But the amazing thing is that God then comes into the room and tells me he forgives me through the blood of Jesus! All of them. He has removed them. Sure, I still face the consequences, but they are no longer in my account.

I am forgiven! And I thought that was awesome.

pearlie

My surname is Ng

I was watching the movie Aloha but I did not finish it. It wasn't a very compelling movie.

I know many did not favour the casting of a Caucasian actress for the part-Asian character Allison Ng. And the writer-director Cameron Crowe had to apologise for it.

I too felt it was a miscast. Chloe Bennet would have been perfect in that role, wouldn't she?

But what irritated me more was how they pronounced Ng, which is my surname.

It is transliterated from the Cantonese 吳 (wú, in Mandarin) and it should be pronounced vowelless. The Cantonese pronunciation is in fact vowelless. It is not ing as in "ring" or eng "engage". The closest if you need to include a vowel is ung with the u as in "urn" or "umm".

I know the non-Chinese do have a problem pronouncing my name, which I'm ok about it. They just need to know better in a movie production.

pearlie

Why do we love meetings? I don't.

I blogged about long meetings a couple of days ago and found this article on meetings in BBC by Eric Barton, which was brilliant. My days are seriously inundated with meetings after meetings. The rule of needing to explain to every single person invited why they should attend is a good one.
Sick of Meetings? Ditch them
It slowly dawned on Ian Hughes that at least half of the meetings he attended were a waste of time. So he rewrote the rules.

Now, if someone schedules a meeting at his research company, Consumer Intelligence, they must explain to every single person invited why they should attend. And anyone can walk out halfway through if it’s unproductive.
Crucially, there’s no such thing as a mandatory meeting.

The number of meetings per week, or even per day, seems to be increasing, and people are really fed up.

“Every single meeting in this company is now optional,” Hughes said from his company office in Bristol in the UK.
For more, read here in BBC.

pearlie

I speak way too fast sometimes

I spoke to someone today and the feedback I got was that I was speaking way too fast. I had not realized it until my other friend started talking and he was considerably slow, steady and calm, whereas I was fast, excited and energized.

I checked out the speed of speech and I found this.
Studies show speech rate alters depending on the speaker's culture, geographical location, subject matter, gender, emotional state, fluency, profession or audience.

However, despite these variables, there are widely accepted guidelines.

These are:
- Slow speech is usually regarded as less than 110 wpm, or words per minute.

- Conversational speech generally falls between 120 wpm at the slow end, to 150 - 200 wpm in the fast range.

- People who read books for radio or podcasts are often asked to speak at 150-160 wpm.

- Auctioneers or commentators who practice speed speech are usually in the 250 to 400 wpm range.
My friend said he was mirroring the person we were talking to. The advantage he has was that he knew that person beforehand and I didn't. Moreover, the person wasn't talking much at the start of the conversation for me to mirror him, but I did slow down as I moved along.

I must be more mindful of this and to slow down in my speech rate and speak at the right speed at the right time, which I think I usually do. Just that this time round, I was too excited and energized.

pearlie
Source: write-out-loud.com

Completed: Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

Yay...I have completed the Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management course in Coursera and obtained 99.4% in achievement with a Statement of Accomplishment.

I did not sign up for a certificate, and had not expected it. So it does give me a sense of satisfaction to have some sort of a "certificate of attendance" but most of all, it is good to brush up on my skills and know-how in Project Planning and Management.

pearlie

This will be a busy month...but it is good busy

I suddenly have quite a lot to do in terms of my own learning and development activities. I have been reading the office politics book but I have stalled halfway there.

I have started on a new book: Crucial Conversations, and it is quite interesting, in spite of some bad reviews in Amazon.com.


Crucial Conversation: Tools for Talking when Stakes are High
by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson and Ron McMillen

I have also started on two Coursera courses. Coincidentally, both of them begin on the same day today.

Introduction to Psychology
I was watching the 2-year old lectures by Professor Steve Joordens still available in Coursera a couple of months back and stopped at Week 6 or 7, when I found out that they are offering it again. Now that it started and I begin from the very first lecture, I found out that they are still using the same videos recorded 2 years ago. It really doesn't matter as I can get the working memory become long term memory. The only issue is that some of the links in the old videos no longer work. I hope they would fix it for this round.

Conversations that Inspire:
Coaching Learning, Leadership and Change

I signed up for this and I am really looking forward to it. I have been certified as a Gallup Strengths Coach but I would love to learn any additional skills and know-how to coaching.

I only hope I can manage my time well this month, going through two lectures at one go.

pearlie

Feeling oh so lazy

Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.
~ Jules Renard

Periods of wholesome laziness, after days of energetic efforts, will wonderfully tone up the mind and body.
~ Granville Kleiser

I like the word 'indolence'. It makes my laziness seem classy.
~ Bernard Williams

pearlie

Do it all for the glory of God

I was in church today for the evening service (I was on worship leading duty) and the sermon was on the last portion of 1 Corinthians 10, particularly on 10:31b, "...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

The speaker spent much time on that fact that the chief end of man is to glorify God. He spoke on these three points:
1. To glorify God is a command. It requires obedience.
2. It is a very serious command with awful consequences of disobeyed.
3. The glory of God is more precious than anything in the world.

The thing is I get all that, but I decided to ask a simple question: what does it mean exactly to "do it for the glory of God."

I feel that it is a very deep question. It boils down to the very purpose why God gave us life.

In the general sense, it may be easy to answer it. To glorify God is to obey him on all things that we do. It is to read God's word, to know him, to love him and to serve him. It is to live our lives in him and being involved in his work and the Gospel. But that sounds like a pat answer.

Our lives are complicated. We have dreams, relationships, desires, habits. To put it simply, we are sinners and our motives are more often than not questionable.

So how do we glorify God in all that we do?

I think we do it by surrendering our lives to him, daily -- to acknowledge that he is God and he is King, and that we are nothing on ourselves without him. All that our lives are is because of Jesus who died for us on the cross. And do all that we are and all that we do, we offer ourselves at the foot of the cross.

And the fact is that we live because of him. It's not us, but him. If we recognize that every moment of our lives, we will be living our lives doing what we do with gratitude and worship in our hearts.

It's living our lives for him, and how we live it that will bring him glory.

pearlie

Red Kettle @Taman Bukit Desa

My brother made arrangements for us to have dinner here in Red Kettle this evening, and it was fabulous.



I now have tasted the best carbonara ever.


And this plate of Sausage and Mash was so, so good.


pearlie

A lucid dream I had

I had a good experience of a lucid dream last night. We had quite an intensive meeting yesterday and there was much to do.

In my dream, I was aware that I was dreaming and I dreamt of the stuff that I need to do and how I need to do it. There wasn't any details to pick up, but I dreamt of a good general idea on how I should get on with what was due.

Wouldn't it be nice to have lucid dreams more often.

pearlie