Let the little children come!

“Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:13, 14

More and more in recent years, this verse is beginning to hold more meaning for me. I do not naturally like children, especially young kids. When I was younger, I used to find them irritating and a nuisance. However, over the years, the Lord has been doing a work in my heart with regard to children. In my first job as a teacher, He began to mould me and give me a shepherd’s heart to love, guide and protect my students. After my teaching stint, though I had a heart for youths (I was teaching in a secondary school), I was still not particularly fond of younger children. I could never understand why Jesus said ‘Let the little children come to Me’ and he was even displeased with His disciples for forbidding the children to come. On the other hand, I could understand why the disciples forbade the children to come – children are so noisy and active – they are disruptive and would wreck havoc! The Lord so many times had to use this passage to gently rebuke me for my attitude towards young kids. And every time, it blew my mind when He would whisper to me how much He loves children.

It was only until I had Daniel that I begin to appreciate little kids so much more. As I watched him grow and am part of the process of nurturing him, it began to open up my perspective of kids. In the midst of loving my own son Daniel, the Lord enlarged my heart to love other kids as well. As I went for children’s activities, attended Sunday school etc with him, I began to fall more and more in love with children. Just the other day, I was picking Daniel up from his childcare and I heard the children singing a song. The chorus of their voices seemed to me the sweetest sound I had ever heard and I just melted.

I feel that I am finally beginning to understand a little of the Lord’s heart when He said those words “Let the little children come”.

First lovely meal of the new year

Went for our first lovely restaurant meal of the year last Sunday (5 Jan) at one of our favourite restaurants – Ichiban.

Had been unwell for the past 2 weeks and fish soup/noodle soup/porridge have become my staples. So, to me, this Sukiyaki I had at ichiban was like such a treat. Still battling a slightly sore throat and cough, so decided to still go with the soupy option. But I really enjoyed this meal soooooo much. It was warm, comforting and full of flavour. I have been here many times and eaten this dish many times. But somehow, it really felt exceptionally good today. A nice break from the fish soup/noodle soup/porridge!



Christmas cookoff

This is a much belated post but one that I must definitely do!

Christmas 2013 was spent with cell group. This year, we had a food/cooking competition. It was a potluck format where everyone had to bring a dish, with the option of either cooking it or buying it from somewhere. Each person got to pick an invitation card with a specific food category (eg. Meat, dessert, veg) that they had to prepare. The dish also had to be in line with the theme Christmas/Western. There would be prizes for Best Chef and Most popular dish so as to recognize efforts to cook as well as effort to source out and bring a really tasty dish.

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What was amazing was that 90% of the dishes were cooked with love by our cell members. A lot of effort went into each and every one of the dishes. Most of the time these days for potluck, we just da bao something out of convenience. Guess the competitive element helped to motivate us all to cook something. I like what one of them said – that he would rather attempt something and have it fail rather than just simply buy something. And it turned out that his dish was quite a hit! So the event was a successful one because everyone participated. The dish that was bought were really good too!

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The food category that I picked was vegetable!! Not my favourite food and not easy to make it shine ….. how to win with a vegetable dish?? Nonetheless, I tried my best and was quite pleased that I managed to do a yummy coleslaw – almost like the one at KFC. My dish did not win but it was quite palatable and enjoyable and I was happy with it 🙂 I used this recipe. There was a lot of love that went into it for sure! Was quite sick during that week and had contemplated abandoning the dish. But decided to do it anyway donning a mask and all. Glad I managed to pull off quite a pleasant dish in the end.

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My husband won the best chef. He picked meat and chose to do ribs. Good choice! It was a winner! Not bad considering that this is the first time he is cooking ribs.

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After lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon exchanging gifts and chillaxing over card games.

What a lovely Christmas day spent with my spiritual family!

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Mentoring lessons gleaned from Chef Colin

Have been watching MKR (My Kitchen Rules) an Australian production featuring a cooking competition. One of the main highlights of the latest season and something that is new is ‘Comeback Kitchen’. This is where participants who had been eliminated previously had a chance to get back into the semi-finals of the competition. They go through rigourous training and competition under one of the guest judges Colin Fassnidge in his restaurant kitchen. There, they will be put through a gruelling training under him and have to overcome challenges like working in a small kitchen, sharing ovens and preparing food for paying customers.

On first impression, Chef Colin is not the most likable. He does not mince his words when he is judging the food and is very direct and straightforward. However, in ‘Comeback Kitchen’, we saw another side of him – that of a teacher and some of the teams really flourished under him.

As I watched him trained the participants, I gleaned some precious lessons on mentoring and teaching.

Chef Colin has standards and expectations of those under him. He does not compromise on this and is the no nonsense type. He gives helpful feedback, some of which can be harsh. He is always keeping a close watch over the participants, making observations, and stepping in when necessary when he sees something that is unacceptable or has potential problems. But at the same time, he does not always tell them exactly what to do. He helps them to see the problem, provides support where necessary but yet does not tell them all the answers but leaves them to figure it on their own. In this way, he makes them think about what they are doing, understand what is wrong and come up with their own ideas of how to do it better. I find this very empowering and this is really what I want to do in my relationships with others be it in a mentoring/teaching/leadership capacity or just as a friend. What I like about him also is that though he is harsh, he can be very encouraging too if need be, believing in the participants and giving them the confidence to continue and finish with what they are doing when they are defeated by obstacles and setbacks. And it is also heartwarming to see how he is genuinely very happy when he sees those under him flourish and growing.

Quick Batam Getaway 15-16 Dec 2013

We did a quick one night Batam Getaway with Aunty Linda and family when they were in Singapore this December. Though it was short, it was definitely a good and relaxing trip and a refreshing time with family.

I realised that this is actually probably my fifth trip to Batam! Through the years, have been to Batam for school trips, planning retreat, church camp etc. My last most recent trip was just 2 years ago. It was one of Daniel’s first overseas trip. One of the things I like best about Batam is that it is an hour behind Singapore. But somehow, though it is just an hour, the pace seems much slower and that fast paced Singapore. It is a good place to just chill and slow down. I remember the last time I was there 2 years back, my watch actually stopped working. And amazingly, the moment I got back to Singapore, it started ticking away again. And during that trip, I actually felt as if I stopped noticing the time and simply just relax. No rushing to beat the clock and to complete tasks!

Thus was looking forward to this trip after a hectic week – post renovation cleaning and preparation for Yuping’s wedding the week before. All in, it was a good trip. Love our hotel – Harris Batam Centre. It was contemporary with vibrant colours. And it was just 5 minutes walk from the shopping area too. We had some great food too. Love the Indonesian meals we had. We also had a seafood dinner. I have had seafood at Batam at the same place (Golden Prawn) numerous times but what was so special about this time was that we chose our ‘live seafood’ that we wanted for dinner. That was fun!

For activities, as it was only one day, we didn’t do much other than just R&R. Wanted to do a massage but somehow, the timing was not right. As always, bringing the boy on a holiday meant that it was difficult to get any kind of shopping done. So we didn’t shop much too. I just got the main thing I came to Batam to buy and that was it. Wacoal undergarments are really a good buy in Batam and it is a must buy whenever I come since I discovered that the last time I came 2 years back.

Another highlight was the one hour or so I spent with Daniel and Adora at the arcade while Daddy went for spa. The arcade in Batam costs so much less. Paid for about five sing dollars worth of credits and had about slightly more than an hour of entertainment. Can never get that in Singapore arcades! What I also like about the Batam arcades is that the games are much simpler and fun …… although some might say backward. But I actually prefer these than some of the complex machines back in Singapore. In Singapore, I don’t really like walking into arcades as it is super noisy and has a scary atmosphere (for lack of a better description!).

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Enjoying Christmas at the malls

One thing that I love about Christmas is the special shows and themes that malls have during this time. Before Daniel came, I seldom look out for what’s going on at the malls for Christmas. The only reason that I go to the malls would be to dine and to shop. But now, I am also on the look out for shows and activities at the malls during this season of the year.

I am actually quite amazed that almost every major shopping mall is dressed in a certain cartoon theme and has activities going on. Am thankful for Singapore family blogs that make an effort to compile the list of activities going on in the malls during the year end holiday period. We only managed to catch a few of them but it was good fun, even for an adult like me. Having children sometimes makes you relive or go through children activities that are really fun for adults too. Once again, I am reminded of how it feels like to be a child and do kiddy things.

Managed to catch a few of these shows in Dec. We went down to Junction 8 to catch the Care Bears. Closer to home, we went to Changi Airport which featured Spongebob Squarepants and Downtown East which featured Doraemon. I thoroughly enjoyed the Doraemon show even though I am not a Doraemon fan. Simply cute!

And the best thing about these shows and activities – they are mostly free 🙂

Doraemon @ Downtown East

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Spongebob @ Changi Airport T3

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Too short to take the slide