It's been quite a ride this year - been a good one indeed. We decided to take God seriously when He said that He desires to be in every part of our lives, and indeed, blogging/the internet is a big part. We are one season late (kind of) but it's never too late to give thanks isn't it?
This is our thanksgiving post (:
Ange: Because You put us through what You have us write before we write it, and because there are times where it is totally evident that You are orchestrating it. The beginning, the starting-off, and even now. I believe You will see us through to the end. (: Oh and thank You for having an awesome sense of humor. Haha. Happy Birthday.
Jess: Because You saw exactly what I needed at the exact time I needed and gave it to me. For loving me whole-heartedly and helping me realise (gradually) that femininity is nothing to be afraid of. For showing me that if there's nothing there, then to step forward and do it myself.
Ange: You are absolutely awesome. Thank you for your commitment to the things that you are passionate about in life, for being a wonderful sister and friend. Thank you because you showed me that I can be braver than I used to be, and that it is perfectly okay to snort in public. Hahaha. Thank you.
Jess: You were perfect for that time and that place I was in. Thank you for going along with everything- even the hare-brained ideas that cook up in my mind. Thank you because you are one of the bravest, unflinchingly honest people of my year. And for all your tech genius!
Ange: For all the moral support, for the encouragements, for the coffees, for the company, for being you. Thank you. (: and thank you for introducing me to Indie music and Jane Austen. Lol. For the little stuffs, for your awesome chicken porridge. Thank you.
Jess: For the music. Literally and metaphorically- I can count you as one of the soundtracks of my year.
Ange: For beautiful (literally) posts and the one of the most amazing birthday present I have received. Thank you so much. (:
Jess: For the gorgeousity that is your character and integrity and the gentleness that runs through your veins.
Ange: For being our first, and probably the most enthusiastic and loyal reader and Man-Day contributor. Thank you for letting us know your thoughts, for supporting us and boosting our site hits. Lol. You're awesome.
Jess: For giving us the thumbs up from the very beginning. For coming to our defence when we were criticised and for showing us how a man should act towards sisters- not the overly flowery, florid language but in your respect of us.
Ange: For sitting Jess and I down to talk about why we are doing SFTW (and for that cherry beer. Mmmmm.) so that we know what we are doing, and that what we are doing is being affirmed by people who are godly, and who matters to us. And for contributions to SFTW more than we see on the blog itself. (:
Jess: For seeing the very best in us. For the beer, yes but also for the conversation from it. For allowing me to take pictures of you whenever I want and for being a damn good sport about it. For making me snort in public no doubt.
Jess: For keeping it real. For keeping it grounded, in-touch with life, the music that we've never heard of, the moral support and the late-night conversations about life and love. For using the word 'titties' in a post.
Jess: For being so damn awesome in every department. For putting SFTW in your Facebook status and getting people to read us. For emailing through stuff that you want discussed and not being afraid to do so- a sign of a man indeed!
Ange: For always an honest opinion, and writing with passion. For paragraphing your posts. Haha. Thank you.
Ange: For reminding me that it's not about the writing, it's about living it out. Thank you. (:
To our sisters,
Ange: You guys keep us writing, and you guys inspire us to want to be better than who we are. Thank God for all of you.
Jess: Without you, we aren't either.
To our loyal readers,
Thank you for blog hits (I kid). For supporting us and feedbacking to us that you appreciate what we do. Thank you.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
It's been quite a ride this year - been a good one indeed. We decided to take God seriously when He said that He desires to be in every part of our lives, and indeed, blogging/the internet is a big part. We are one season late (kind of) but it's never too late to give thanks isn't it?
Friday, December 19, 2008
I've only done it once, but it is something I would want to do again. Some friends told me that it is a liberating experience, and yes! It is! However in doing so, there were a few hits and misses - some stuff that I had to *facepalm* to upon realizing the decisions I made. But yea, here's a little how-to guide on watching a movie alone.
Choice of movie
Unless that is your motive (I don't know why you would) to sit in the midst of couples making out, don't choose a romantic comedy. Or in fact, don't choose anything to do with romance. I suppose unless you're forgoing the company, emphasize more on the environment. And snogging couples, kind of accentuates your alone-ness more. Of course, all genres are okay if you are watching the show because you want to e.g. Twilight. Hehh.
Go for: Arty Farty/Indie Films (Darjeeling Limited, Diving Bell and the Butterfly), Disaster Moves (Twister, Day After Tomorrow, The Perfect Storm), Shows that requires a lot of concentration (Ocean's Eleven - it's so genius you have to pick up the details!, Eagle Eye), Brainless Action Comedies (Rush Hour, The Simpsons Movie)
Avoid: Romance (Secret, Love Actually, A Walk To Remember, Sex and the City), Family Movies (Cheaper By The Dozen)
Move Timings and Location
To get a good seat without having to be squashed between two groups of school girls, or just throngs of people, choose movie timings that there will not be a lot of people. Also, instead of choosing to watch a movie that has just opened, choose to watch at least two weeks after opening. Location is rather crucial as well, location dictates the amount of people in the cinema theater.
Go For: Weekdays shows in the afternoon, and preferably not in the city.
Avoid: The Weekend Crowds, and timings that coincide with the time school kids get out of school.
I realized that on Tuesday when I watched the movie. If you get to choose seats, choose seats with an odd number of seats in between. I decided to sit near the middle for a view, figuring that two seats away from the other people is good enough. What I didn't realize is that two seats fits a couple nicely. Ah.
I suppose, take note not to buy a usual two persons' share of food. And yes, if you're going to buy that amount of popcorn, it'll be good to skip dinner.. I think. Popcorn and a drink is rather filling, but for me, that portion of nachos and cheese is enough to get my craving of that away for the next month.
And yes, enjoy the movie. (:
Have a good weekend and see you again next week. 6 days to Christmas!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Blogs are a weird sort of creature. Formed from any number of motives colliding with determination and the knowledge of "teh internets" and finally some small narcissistic vein that wants to see just how far the "experiment" will go- blogs have only their creators to blame. Blogs are so varied- they can either be personal blogs (like Angel's and my own), blogs with a purpose/genre like this one, blogs can provide commentary on any number of social issues, they can showcase art like photography or textual (poetry) and blogs can provide a platform for readers to interact with the bloggers and vice versa. The next step up is vlogging (video blogging) but only supremely geeky-awesome people like Brian do those. Where we fit in the ginormous blogosphere- God only knows.
Blogging started way before I was even aware that there was something called the internet (oh, those lost, dark days!) and someone called Justin Hall, right back in 1994 is recognised with started up one of the earliest blogs while he was a student. Kudos on him if he's still blogging. The word blog was coined in 1999 when someone as a joke, broke up the previously used weblog into "we blog". From 1999 onwards, blogs went right up in popularity- turning into huge beasts that were fed by online popularity. I can't write about blogs as an Asian and not mention Xiaxue- a Singaporean blogger who (beyond my thought processes entirely, sorry) has become huge in blogosphere and subsequently, the majority of Singaporean social strata. There's also- Kenny Sia, also relatively famous in Asian blogger circles. Personally, I don't like reading stranger's blogs, I prefer to stick to people I've had contact with in real life or at least know. There is an element of voyeurism that's contained in blogs but whether or not that's an ethical matter of "well, they're posting it", that's for another day. Preferably over drinks.
So why did we start this blog?
Angel and I were reading artofmanliness.com from a recommendation and we were going "awwww!" over the post on "How to write a love letter like a dying soldier" when one of us (don't remember who) said via MSN, "Hey, is there a female version of this site?" and the other replied with "wouldn't that be awesome" and from there the ideas flew thick and fast. We don't want this site to become massive but we're aiming for some structure and a small audience who (hopefully) can gain or contribute to this experiment haha. From our viewpoints as single, Christian women who have had some experience in leading small groups of youth and young adults- we've seen our fair share of girls struggle with issues that don't seem to have been exposed or commonly discussed in their social circles (how many times do we need to hear about "waiting to find the perfect man for you" or "how to live life as Godly women" without ever actually going into the nitty-gritty of it all?)
So here we are. Hopefully you're still reading =)
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
How honest can you get in a friendship with someone from the opposite sex?
Honest, yes. Completely honest, very hard. I'm not saying that it is impossible, but it is very. hard.
(At this point I am tempted to end off the post because that summarizes everything I want to say but because I am a nice person I will elaborate further on and promise to use punctuation for the rest of this post.)
Things we can't really talk about
I think the point of this point, is that you can share EVERYTHING, but what SHOULD you share. You can share about how bad your cramps are, or how sore your breasts are, but should you? How about private details of struggling with personal sexual sins? There are reasons why discipleship programs strongly encourage same-sex discipleship, to mentor someone of the same gender. There is a certain line, or boundary to observe between opposite-sex friendships, I reckon, as compared to between husband and wife. What's more, if you share everything with your friend now, what do your future husband or wife get?
Expressing oneself and communicating
It is known that girls stereotypically wear their hearts on their sleeves - putting their emotions on the table when say, 'thrashing it out'. It is known that guys stereotypically internalise more, and a lot of response come as a series of 'Yea', 'Cool', 'Okay', *grunt*.
For girls, we want to settle issues there and then, face to face, tears and screaming and all. But for guys, it is after the anger dies down that they talk it through, a lot of times over food, beer, coffee and XBox360 (I hear).
Also, when confronting certain issues, girls tend to cushion their words more, making sure that the other party isn't crushed (only happens when both parties are not hysterical yet). But for guys, they believe in tough love more than girls do, I suppose. And very often, unfeeling, direct, pushing the line into crude, or brutal honesty.
So theoretically, when you have such different creatures expressing in such different ways, it is inevitable that there will be HUGE clashes. What I see quite a bit is how when confronting issues, the guy states everything in brutal honesty, while crushing the girl's ego and heart to a million pieces. Dear brothers, it hurts. A LOT.
And yes, I've heard, and have personally tried this - a girl crying renders a guy helpless if he has not been taught on how to deal with it. Guy either freaks, gets frustrated, gets angry, and well.. all in all does not help the situation one bit.
Therefore, it seems easier to avoid the issue, to pretend it isn't around, to bitch about it to other friends or to bottle it up, and just explode it all another day. In all ways, it doesn't settle the situation, but in fact, makes it worse that what it initially was.
So, how now brown cow? The word that comes up to mind is 'effort'. Being honest is making an effort to take time to share, to open yourself up. Being honest takes making the effort to convey the message in a way that your opposite sex friend can accept, can understand, can take in. It involves stepping out of your comfort zone and how you would naturally handle stuff. For girls, to approach your guy friend with more rationality and simpler no in-between-lines messages. For guys, to tone down perhaps, spare the brute and crude, throw in the empathy. And sometimes, your girl friend needs a good cry before she can talk about it.
Most importantly, to recognize that God is the God of the friendship, those are brothers are family. Also, the main purpose of any friendship is to grow each other, by walking together and as they say 'do life' together, and to honor God and bring Him the glory through the friendships. We need His wisdom to know what to say and what do, His love to love others, His grace to forgive ourselves and those friends who have hurt us before, His discernment to know which friends to keep.
I've learnt to commit my friendships to Him. But humans forget, don't we? Before you know it, we're back to the tears and screaming all over again. Commit them day to day, and place God above them. All turns out better when we do that.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." - Matt 6:33
Monday, December 15, 2008
I had the first of three cervical cancer vaccines today. The Aussie govt. has allowed them for free for 12-26 yr olds but that ends in June next year so my mother had to force me to go get them. It canes when it goes in because of the acidity in the vaccine to preserve it. The sting fades to a dull ache though and it does depend on your pain threshold (mine's decently high). My doctor was all thumbs up when I said I wanted to get the vaccine so now I have to go back twice more to get the follow-up shots. Yay for injection fun. The moment someone makes a prostate cancer vaccine, I'm telling every guy to go get it. The more painful the better. They have a whole faculty for Women's Health in hospitals. Does anyone know if they have a Men's Health ward? When you really think about it (like I am right now for this post, first and last time I assure you), female health issues are huge. It may have something to do with the fact that we give birth and our hormones seem to run far more amuck than the average male. We have to wear more articles of clothes, endure pain every month, spend so long to get ourselves ready for anything, spend more money on stuff like cosmetics that guys will never need to buy (if they're not drag queens that is) and to top it all off, we're encumbered by social perceptions of beauty all the time- men are also but for some reason, I think it starts earlier for females and it affects us more. No wonder many girls want to be men and many men are so thankful that they're not female.
But there are definitely some major pros in our corner. We get to wear dresses! I know that guys can wear suits (which I'm deeply envious of) but there are so many dresses and so many different colours and cuts and fabrics and textures! Heels, hurt as they may, have that crazy ability to make our legs look awesome. We have the "female" licence to cry in public, weep at sad movies, let our emotions out, show affection without fear of ridicule and we can get other people to carry heavy stuff for us =)
There's plenty of other pros about being female right?
The following post comes from chatlogs between a male friend and I, and I have obtained permission to use them. I suppose we're touching on the topic of best friends. Just, friends, and best friends. As usual, chatlog friend remains anonymous. :D
I'm not sure if theres an ideal best friend scenario where the relationship between the two parties is such that its just perfectly ideal.
It's hard pinning down that one best friend in your life - sometimes I think of myself as a friend to most, but a close friend to one person I'm not so sure. They say "Jack of all trades, master of none". It's two sides of the same coin, isn't it? In a friendship context you can be good/ok friends with most ppl you know, but still not have that one really close friend in ure life who you can share even the deepest things with.
I get what you mean. (: It's interesting to hear different people's opinions about best friends. For me, I dont want best friends. They are too much work, too much expectations.
But it's good having one. I wouldn't say its necessary or vital, but it works out to be good for both parties, it can be something mutually beneficial and you grow and do life together.
Compare that to a sea of friends: sure you all are friends, but it sort of stays like that - it doesn't go any deeper. That's not to say that the majority of those friendships are fruitless or stagnant because a lot of them do go on to be quite strong friendships. But the thing that separates those from a 'best friend' scenario is the ability to go that one step further.
There's just a catalyst for change and growth I guess.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I met some Perth friends for a sushi buffet today and we really stuffed ourselves up. I'm sure most ladies don't ace in the area of stuffing your face in buffets (and we shouldn't, it screws your digestive system and bingeing is just as bad). But in any case that you need to go to an All-You-Can-Eat buffet (like some guy brings you to a buffet for a date - what was he thinking!, or a gathering with the girlfriends), here's some points I've figured after a few buffets:
Purpose: You're on a date, and you have to maintain your dignity as a lady and not gorge yourself with the food.
Show healthy eating habits by starting with a salad, observe good table manners even at a buffet and do not eat with your mouth open. However, don't declare that you're full just after a salad unless you really are. Then again, why should that be if you knew beforehand that there is a buffet. At least eat the money's worth yes? (:
However, many guys say that they love girls who love food. And admit it, most of us do love food. I suppose the rule of thumb is still to be true to yourself, eat as much as you like, but don't force yourself to eat more than you can.
Purpose: To eat your money's worth, and image? What image?
Don't drink soup first - apparently that is the dish that will fill you up very fast. More protein - meat costs more, and its much less filling. Less carbohydrates - rice and all that fills you up fast too, and eating too much carbohydrates apparently makes you depressed as it releases a certain chemical that works opposite to the effect of adrenaline.
Don't drink too much fluids, because they fill you up too. However, if you're at the brink of having to stuff the food in so that you are not fined for food wastage, drink some water or tea helps you to cleanse the palate a bit. The consequence of that, however, is feeling stuffed and sick for the rest of the day.
Buffets should never really be a weekly affair if you plan to stuff yourself with food. As a nutrition student, I would tell you to work off the excess calories, and to eat lesser for the next few days. But as your awesome sisterhood sista - yes, just enjoy the food and the company, and don't overeat if you can help it. (:
See you after the weekend! <3
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I hop online today to discover that my youngest sister has spammed our iTunes playlist with all the Christmas songs she can download. Christmas. That slightly odd scary season where rationality goes out the window and people think with their hearts and feelings. Why are so many films set at Christmas? Why do so many artists do covers of Christmas Carols and then release them as special edition, limited, super-extended versions? Why is it that most often, confessions of love are made at Christmas? The adage, "If not at Christmas, then when?" is used to great effect in films like The Holiday and Love Actually. Every major city has a Christmas budget where they go all out to decorate their city- storerooms of Christmas decorations. Everyone gears up for the end of the year- fresh produce, postal services, television adverts, carols, gift shops, department stores- it can all get a little frazzling. Especially if you're like me and haven't started your Christmas shopping. Oh dear.
The effect of Christmas on your average person is already quite strong so what's it like if you're female/Asian/slightly cynical of all the hoopla/all of the above like I am?
Female: As per usual, our tendency to think far too in between the lines is a bit cumbersome. You're either lumped with doing the cooking or the decorating and the clean-up because if you try to leave it to men who don't really want to do it, it all goes to pot. Do you get that person a Christmas present or would a card suffice? Is the fact that you're weighing up their friendship in terms of gift/card worthiness a sign that you're turning into a Scrooge? What happens if you get that particular guy a present- is he going to think more of it? Do you want him to think more of it than a mere Christmas present? Why is it so damn hard to shop for guys? "If that pushy sales assistant tells me that "this is the perfect gift for ____" one more time, I'm going to shove that shiny Christmas bauble where the sun don't shine."Why do girls feel the need to dress up like slutty Christmas elves at Christmas-time? Same reason why they have to be slutty Easter Bunnies at Easter and slutty French maids at costume parties.
Asian: WHY IS CHRISTMAS SO EXPENSIVE (lah)?? Look at all these cars- there's not going to be any parking spaces left unless I start to break out the prayer warrior right now. Being Asian is a bit of an odd thing because in my experience, a lot of people assume that you don't celebrate it which is bit of a contradiction because their version of celebrating Christmas has nothing to do with the little Baby Jesus. There's also the extended family who may or may not celebrate the festive season and who are just thankful for the time off (or grumbling that they're not allowed to open for trading over the break). We regard turkey and ham at Christmas as bit of a novelty rather than tradition and you'd be far more likely to find laksa and curry at our Christmas luncheon.
Cynical: Look at all the lemmings going off to celebrate something that very few of them have any understanding of. Stupid Jess, don't be so ungrateful- that's your job as a Christian- to share the real meaning of Christmas to these consumers spending away to strains of Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You. And who on earth redid O Holy Night to a hip-hop beat?!? I have to battle with these thoughts every year- I get a little disheartened at my own behaviour as well- in all actuality, I should be out there serving food to the homeless or contributing/organising something for the people that have nothing this season but I don't. I usually end up selling out and join the lemmings at screaming at people in car parks. I just want one Christmas where I'm not thinking of myself but in turn- that means not thinking of my family because we always spend all of Christmas together- is it abandoning family for strangers, even if it is for a good cause?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I was sixteen and we had chicken rice for lunch. Well actually in fact, he did; I had no appetite. Time came to pay for the meal, he didn't take out his wallet, but looked at me. And I understood. I paid for the meal - that plate of chicken rice that I didn't even have a mouthful of.
What on earth was that? Thank God I came to my senses and broke off with that guy. That also happened to be the one and only meal we ever had together.
I remember distinctly one Sunday afternoon and I was out with some friends for lunch. When it came to settling the bill, this couple had this conversation -
Girl: It's your turn to pay this time.
Boy: No, it's your turn.
Girl: No, I paid the last time. It's your turn now.
Boy: No, that last time at xxx restaurant, I paid.
Girl: Well that was the last last time. Last week at xxx, I paid.
*Boy sensing that any further exchange may lead to the doghouse for the next two weeks, went to pay for their share of the meal.
Some people say that when two people go on a date, the person who initiates the date pays. Some people say that the guy should always pay. Some people say that we should always go dutch. And in my case above, the one that gets stepped over pays.
What do you say?
And yes, feel free to comment after the post to express your opinions as well. (:
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
For the past few weeks, I've been working with Murray Edwards, a professional production designer for film and television. He's widely regarded but most of my peers at WAAPA haven't heard of him because he's just returned from 8 years in Tokyo, working for Disneyland as a scenic designer and painter. I've been incredibly lucky to work with him on this short film I've been doing and it's been inspiring to learn from him how the professionals do it. So here are some practical tips that I've picked up from Murray on how to be a pro- whatever field you're in. It's damn well important to know these things- you don't even have to be a professional in order to impress.
The first three seconds when you meet someone new are the most critical. They form impressions about you- how you meet them, what you're wearing, etc. The next minute is when opinions are formed. After half an hour, they start adapting/reacting to those impressions and observations made.
1/ Timing. If you're not 15 minutes early, you're 15 minutes late. Let's say a meeting is at 9am. You arrive, introduce yourself, get seated, comfortable etc- it means that the meeting starts at 9:10 or later. No good. If you're on time, it means that you're late.
2/ Handshakes. I hate, hate, hate getting a handshake that's basically sticking your hand out and touching a cold, dead fish. Floppy- it's like they're just brushing your hand. It doesn't give me a good impression of you at all. Shake hands with everyone that you meet for the first time- it gives better first impressions than a nod, smile or glance. Give a good, firm grip- firm for you though, no need to try making them wince with the strength of your grasp.
3/ Repeat their name when they give it. It'll help you remember it and avoid situations of "Hey....you...how's it going?" If in doubt- Sir or Ma'am is only proper and respectful (if they're older than you though, someone younger may not mind you going "I'm an idiot here but I've forgotten your name.")
4/ Eye contact. It's terribly impolite to avoid their gaze from the outset- again, with the first impressions. If you can't look them in the eye- look right between their eyes, it works just as well.
5/ Appearance- dress to suit the occasion! Someone on a building site isn't going to think too highly of you if you rock up in heels and someone at a formal meeting isn't going to want to see your new strapless dress. Be neat- iron and hang the night before which leads me into
6/ Be prepared. If it's a creative sort of meeting- bring a sketchpad and pens. If it's a more formal thing, bring a notebook, pens and a diary for dates. If you're on a blind date- wear just enough perfume, medium size heels and a getaway plan with a friend in case it goes hideously wrong.
7/ Put your phone on silent! No-one likes to be interrupted by YOUR life when they're talking about something that concerns theirs. Be considerate and mute your phone if you're in a meeting or meeting someone new or doing a business transaction. Even doing the check-out at my uncles shop, I hate it when people come through talking away about "Charlene's new implants!" Be quiet and listen first off- you're keen but don't be rude by trying to anticipate someone that you've just met. Also- change the ringtone to something that you won't mind having potential bosses hear- "Who Let The Dogs Out?" is not a good one.
Monday, December 8, 2008
- Dominate your Tertiary Entrance Exams
- Get into a job where you'll earn respect and money
- Marry and produce grandchildren to carry on the family name
- And above all things, save face.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I'm working on a film at the moment that requires a lot of props- massive ones. I was at a huge rustic props nirvana haven today and together, our team managed to make off with about 5 tonnes worth of metal, tables, chairs, twisted farming equipment, rusty everything etc. If you know me, you'll know that I'm not built for manual labour. It was an incident today that sparks off today's post- I was walking out wearing huge gloves to protect my hands, carrying a full-length trestle table. A guy who was on my team walked right by me, said hi and proceeded to walk back out with me as I talked to him about other stuff to take- without lifting a finger to help with my load. The table was easily 2.5m long by the way, I know I'm sturdy compared to a lot of girls but even so.
I was just astonished- what happened to the days where, if a guy saw you holding a stack of books, he'd offer to help? I wish I could say that it was the guys' fault but I'd be wrong. In this modern, politically correct world, the most a guy can expect if he tried to help would be a death glare and a "Sexist pig!" thrown in his direction. Yes, this is still a girl writing this. Feminism has a lot to answer to, despite its awesome perks. You know what though? We do need a guy's help sometimes. Whether we need them to lend their strength (both physically and spiritually), if we need a silent shoulder to lean on, if we need them to be chivalrous, when we look for beer mates (just me? sorry), when we need to learn how to change a tire/check our oil/clean gutters/anything mechanical bigger than a computer. We've somehow managed to portray that we don't need help at all anymore and that saddens me because as men and women, we're meant to complement each other fully. We're not made to be redundant to each other at all and yet the modern woman is taught to think that way.
So how to tell a guy that you do need help in some way without him throwing it back in your face ("See woman, your sense of direction fails you. You're only a woman, don't be too hard on yourself) or holding it over your head ("HAHAHAHA, I knew you couldn't do it")?
1. Ask outrightly and add the please and thank you. Showing manners tells the guy that you're not joking around and that if he doesn't come over there quick smart and help you with that desk, you're going to drop it on your foot, have to be taken to hospital to have it sewn back on and every girl and guy out there will know that he was a useless twerp that caused your limp.As much as the woman is ordained to be the 'helper' doesn't mean the man doesn't need to help the woman along. There are plenty more ways I suppose but I'm very tired from lifting heavy things all day. Next time, I'm going to point it out and challenge his masculinity in not helping me.
2. Challenge him to rise to the occasion. There's nothing like pushing that "I AM a Man!" button embedded deep within every guy. Utilise that part of him that wants to prove himself! Whether its physically or more growing-wise, every man wants to be told that he's done it.
3. Bribe him. Stomach. Company. Beer. The secret to why women always go to the toilet in pairs.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Edited: When I finished this post, I googled and found out that what I'm feeling is called Reverse Culture Shock. Thank you Wikipedia.
My deepest impression of a culture shock was going to a developing country in Southeast Asia and having to lock hands with a girl I've only met only an hour before. What I know is that it is perfectly normal for that culture to do so, but whether it is for us to accept it or even getting used to it (especially if you are planning to stay long term). Perth was relatively much easier - very friendly people even on the streets, courteous on the roads most of the time, and yes, a lot of beer drinking, partying and socializing to go with that.
So when it's time to get back home, I started preparing myself mentally, emotionally, spiritually - thinking about local food, start keeping contacts with friends back home and making dates to meet up, and seeking God for His direction and His will in these few months. I've got plans, I've got big ideas of impacting people I'm going to meet. That they will have awesome God encounters, that some pre-Christian friends might come to know God, the likes. I was excited. Really, I was.
Tonight I found myself frustrated. (Yes I've been frustrated this week) It's only been a week since coming back, and I am frustrated already. A lot of the frustration came from not being able to spend as much me-time, the ungraciousness of locals in public places, how having mountaintop experiences with God seemed to disappear with a change in environment and new commitments I found myself with. Along with meeting the culture I have grew up with and finding it foreign (suppose shedding fobbiness does that to you), the change in routine and figuring how to continue placing God as number one in life proves to be difficult.
I asked Him why does it seem like in light of all that is going on, I seem to forget His purpose and His will for me in this period of time. It came to me as part of what my discipler told me before I left - that there will be people who will rob my joy, rob my treasures, things I have accumulated in this spiritual journey. Therefore, I should keep stock of what I have regularly and know what is missing, or even stop anyone from taking them. Seems like it doesn't it?
Also, the daily SCL read came timely, reminding me that the purpose of any part of my journey, any season in life, is to have a closer relationship with God. And that is enough. Because anything else will follow from that.
The consolation, the hope I have is that He is with me, in me, for me wherever I go. Being the only constant in my life, it counts for a lot doesn't it?
At least there wouldn't be any culture shocks or counter-culture shocks with Him - the same everywhere, every time. Thank God.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I really hate being single in a church. Honest week? OK. Here we go.
It's not that I hate being single- there are plenty of good things about being single that I adore. It's just that being single within a church environment means that whatever social stigma singledom endures, it feels double-fold within a church. Perhaps more so for a single girl. I have no idea about the statistics but why does it always feel like there's more desperate girls church-hopping in order to nail down a "successful, Christian man"? I swear, it's only a few shameless females doing it- they're just giving the rest of us a bad name. It makes me think that couples have it so much easier in a church- that churches are massive family and couple gardens. They pop out of the ground and people go "awww" and applaud. There's such a celebration of coupledom and families and babies and don't get me wrong- we need those things in order to grow. But why is there not a celebration of singleness?
Ooooh, have I hit a tender topic? Come on- how many times have you felt "the lean" on you? I'm talking about that niggling sense of "I'm being set-up!" that occurs every time you arrive at a table to find- oh surprise! that single guy from ____'s cell sitting there, looking as uncomfortable as you feel and those in the know grinning smugly all around? I've seen it in action and I've felt it myself and frankly- if I needed the help (and of course, I don't =P 'SIF I NEED HELP), I'd hope that I'd be good enough friends to ask my friends outrightly. I wouldn't ask anyone else and no-one else would have that right to influence my life like that unless I was close enough to ask you in the first place. Sorry, I'll end rant here.
It's not that I cling to singleness. Goodness me, heck no. I do want to eventually find someone, make a life with them etc- I just hate being hurried. I'm not blaming the church, my church or any church for the culture that has grown around the issue of being single. It's almost taboo to be single in a church these days- like being in a relationship is grounding for spiritual maturity. I disagree with the assumption that I'm somehow less for being single and it's someones or somethings duty/obligation to chivvy me along like I'm a sad, loner duck. Timing for everyone.
It's perfectly fine to be single in a church. I'm going to quote a book I've been reading here. "So why does the church persist in speaking as though marriage is the norm for everyone? People need help leading Godly single lives, and instead the church for the most part continues to act as though everyone is married or soon will be, thereby guaranteeing that most never-married people will never darken the door of a church." - "Loves Me, Loves Me not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love" by Laura A. Smit.
We see the proliferation of the idea that "One can either be single or one can be an adult". Say we have two people- both 35 for example, both female. One is married/with a family and the other is single. People call the married lady "Aunty" as a sign of respect. However, they call the single lady "Aunty" to (non-maliciously) tease her about her age. Now- what's fair about that? There's a gentle teasing or ribbing of those single people if they go out for drinks or dinner with another single person (oh! the scandal!) when it's perfectly platonic. I guess it is difficult to distinguish between platonic intentions and barely disguised nervousness though. It's why we should all lay cards on the table from the outset =P. Not just for your own peace of mind but to quell rumours and gossip from well-meaning people (read: those couples that just want everyone else to experience their own blissfully, happy coupledom as well).
If I do sound opinionated- I am. I'm sick to death of being single but I'm really not keen to be in a relationship (at this point in time anyway) as well. What to do?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Disclaimer: This post is written not to put down anyone or any congregations or church organizations. The matters brought up are through personal observations and convictions, and by no means representative of anyone else's stand. I only hope that this will be edifying and will spur us on to develop greater intimacy with God by doing His work alongside Him. And yes, if there is any theological discrepancies, please raise them. It is past midnight and I had only one cup of coffee today. xoxo
We always say that what differs in the churches' worship is the different styles each church prefers. May I propose today that worship style does not equal to worship? A lot of times we blame the music for the 'Spirit-less' of the worship. Is that any way true? I don't think so.
We hear of churches in persecuted areas where they might not even have instruments, but the worship they bring touches even the hearts of onlookers. Sometimes we have just one guitar, or we have an out of tune piano - but thank God, He doesn't stop working in our midst because someone played a wrong chord.
But when the band playing is so tight, along with a very inspired list of songs, the whole congregation rides on that platform, and finds that seeking God is easier, that the worship band, and the music had smoothen the road into God's presence. But in the same way, it takes just that one mistake - one wrong word said, a sudden termination in the flow, the accidental slamming of a door, to jolt people out of 'the zone'.
Music plays an integral part in worship, but it isn't everything as well. And at that, what I have learnt throughout this year is that wicked skillz on the keyboard or the guitar or the drums (or the bassoon or the tuba or the cello or any instruments at that) doesn't define whether you're a good worship musician.
I know I have committed that mistake over and over again in the past years, throwing someone up there onto stage just because he/she can play something. Spiritual maturity is a big part in it as well. Being on a certain level of spiritual maturity to bond with the rest of the musicians and the worship leader, to follow the Spirit's leading, or even just to be sensitive to the flow and the spiritual climate of the worship. I think this is what distinguishes a worship band from any of the bands out there - the purpose of it.
The purpose of worship is ultimately to seek God, and through the worship bring glory to God. And the purpose of worship leading is facilitating that divine exchange between God, every individual and the congregation on a whole.
I think that a lot of times, we do not realise how everything plays in to lead you into God's presence in a worship service, a prayer meeting, or a camp theme message. The truth is it is very rare that we walk right into God's presence once the first chord is struck. And distractions, no matter how small, can just take you out of it before you can realise it.
The time leading up to worship is important, as it paves the way, set your heart, mind, soul in the right tone. During the worship session itself, it is important to be sensitive to the way the Spirit moves, because as we are reaching to God, God reaches down to touch us as well; and we do not want to be in the way for that to happen. When the message is preached, and when the challenge is placed, it is very very real that any sudden movements or any distractions will discount that amount of intimacy journeyed with God from the start.
It has been frustrating for me because it seems to be downplayed so many times. It is like, activities planned and what is to happen next, seems to be more important than what God is speaking to us about throughout the worship, through the message delivered. And our response to Him seemed even more insignificant.
I have come to know the importance of a response. And when our pastor goes "You know and you know and you know", it is stirring something up in us. It is one thing of knowing that you are saved, it is another thing to act that way. After all, faith, without works or deeds, are indeed dead. (James 2:17)
God wants to work in our lives, and we want to be part of that for ourselves and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. But sometimes, we might be the ones who are standing in the way for Him to work.
Yes, we can never be perfect, and sometimes, we just screw up, we just fall, or even pull others along or stumble them as well. But I believe that as we go on with life, we will, by His grace and power, change for the better and become more like Christ.
May we all learn to glorify Him more and more each day.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Thad writes this week's post and in my opinion, it's frank, honest and completely from the heart. Kudos for writing what a lot of men are thinking (as if I have any basis to say that but oh well).
A few obscene and somewhat scathing opinions I have about men, women and relationships. Read at your own peril.
Sometimes men just don't want to talk. And there's nothing you can do to force them to want to talk. Especially if they have had a particularly tiring/stressful/intense week. We don't have the same process as girls. Talking about issues tends not to help us process. Common processes of guys are: playing sports, playing games, drinking beer, eating meat and watching TV. All you can do is leave them be and let them go through their normal process and they will be fine. Somehow doing these seemingly meaningless things helps us to recharge our batteries and gives us the strength to carry on. It's OK if you don't get it. You don't have to. We don't get why you can spend hours shopping, or in the shower, or... want the toilet seat up down or sideways. Some uninitiated young bucks may make some sort of attempt at getting it. That's OK. We've all been there before. Most of us have come to realise that there are some things that you need to do to make life more bearable and so we accept it.
Some guys are weak. They don't know what they want and they are insecure. So they pander to what girls want. Girls commonly misinterpret this as a high level of love and care. They enjoy this for a while. Some for longer. Depends how into themselves they are. They're soo sweet, they're soo understanding. It gets really boring when you finally realise that he doesn't want everything that you want and love everything that you love because he does, but because he doesn't have a spine. It is at that time also that you realise that you're the one driving and making everything in the relationship work - if you were silly enough to initiate one with him (because he would never be the one who initiates it with you. Sure he might have been the one who told you that he likes you first. But then after that did he do anything about it? No.). Do him a favour and dump him. Immediately. Until he grows some round things downstairs.
Men don't change. At least not in the long term. Sure, he will be on his best behaviour when he's after you. That's not deceptive. That is part of the game. Know that how he is when he's after you is the best that he can ever be and you will never be disappointed. Following from this point, know then that there is absolutely no chance at all that he has the potential to become a someone that you want him to be if he isn't that someone already. If you want to get together with him, then get together with him with your eyes wide open. He. Will. Not. Change. AND. He. Is. Not. Exactly. Who. You. Think. He. Is. If you've got high standards, good. Keep those standards. But ask yourself if you are of a similar sort of standard as to attract someone of that caliber as well. If you're not then you've got work to do on yourself. If you don't want to then you can keep dreaming or you can relax your standards. It's your choice. But don't ever get together with a guy and then try to make him change. Of course if he picks his nose in public or wears t-shirts to weddings that you can enlighten him as to the proper way to conduct himself in public. But if there is something about him that is part of who he is - like if he likes to speak his mind freely or if he values money more than relationships - that's just him. That's part of the package. If you don't like it then break it off. It's unfair to hold on to him and yet not want him for him.
Somehow in modern society there is this notion floating around that men are inadequate and men don't live up to what men should really be, their ordained roles etc. It's true that some men don't. But it's not true in the general sense. Sure, we make mistakes. Who doesn't? The more we live under this belief that men are somehow fundamentally flawed the more we live out this belief and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So let's not be apologetic about it. The fact is - people are fundamentally flawed. Men and women. If a man wants to be a better man he should ask a better man. Believe it or not, a man does not exist to make a woman happy. And a woman doesn't exist to make a man happy either. We are responsible for our own happiness. It irks me when a girl laments the lack of good men out there, as if you would need a man to complete you somehow. You don't. Sure it's enjoyable to have someone in your life and to share in the various experiences of it. But I believe you can be perfectly happy and fulfilled with or without a man. Personally I wouldn't want to be with someone just for the sake of being with someone i.e. settling for someone. You're shortchanging yourself and worse still you're shortchanging the other person. He/she deserves to be with someone who thinks that they're the best damned person that you could ever be with.