Hey

Why this candle?

Why this cake?

The day of my birth

is not today.

I was born

when you said,

‘Hey’.

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Groomed

I have to find a place to hide;

an island in the sea;

surrounded by a racing tide;

where I can live with me.

Life is so tough,

without sea salt and sand ….

World Vision Trip to Zambia Africa – June 2019

Following my previous post of Curtain Call, I’ve compiled a series of amazing footage to capture the highlights of our trip to Zambia Africa.

A few weeks before our Zambia trip,
I was in Australia.
I saw kids running fearlessly,
with their hearts carefree.

When I landed at the Musosolokwe AP,
I saw kids running wildly,
with their hearts muddied with concerns.
Plates scattered on the ground,
filthy water in their cup,
they live with flies and call them a friend.

Children are the gifts from God,
their childhood should be equally measured by a similar standard.
While going the distance,
I saw the most genuine smile reflected from their heart
– it is called the simplicity of life bring forth true fruit of happiness.

So little they have in hands,
so much they produced from heart.
Indeed, our vision for every child,
life in all its fullness,
our prayer for every heart,
the will to make it so.

Thank you, World Vision,
for being a platform for us to reach out to the underprivileged.
I am so blessed today.

June 2019 – Lusaka, Zambia, Africa.

I can see His heart in everything He’s done;
every part designed in a work of art called love.
If He gladly chose surrender, so will I.

I can see His heart eight billion different ways;
every precious one, a child He died to save.
If He gave His life to love them;
so will I.

Curtain Call

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“What’s there to find in a broken heart;
if not assembled pieces of love for a pristine start.

What’s there to see behind the curtain;
only things that you don’t know for certain.”

At the boarding gate at 48, my heart was full of uncertainty.
I looked at my toes and blank in mind:
“I will do it better, for this time …”
I promised myself.

After more than 30 hours of journey, we settled down in a delightful place in Zambia – Urban Bliss Hotel at Kabwe; welcomed by all the lovely faces.
My mind was still clobbering with 3 different time zones within a day, and full of butterflies in my stomach.

Day One, I can’t believe I missed home and wanted to go back right after I’ve landed.

Tossing and turning in bed, I woke up with the pounding in my head.
(ouch, today is gonna be a long day)
Swollen down a paracetamol, I started my day with the most adventurous task which later on I’ve discovered that this need to be repeated daily
Sarong Chitenge* wearing !

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We hitched up the bumpy rides, towards the Chimwala community reading camp!
The nostalgically smiley little black faces surrounded me have finally embraced me with a sense of belonging. Yes, that’s the African sentiment I’ve tasted so long ago !
And I can’t believe I miss them very much.
Mulibwanji*? they said.

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Heading towards one of the households which deeply impacted by the bad water points that bring adverse effects to the well being of the people.
As a cultural practice in Zambia, children wake up early in the morning to help the family with chores which include fetching the water from the well.
After my first attempt at pulling up the bucket from the well, I was secretly whispering in my heart “God, I thank You for everything that You’ve given to me, I am so blessed”.

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We heard the story of Cleo (pseudonym) who fell into the well and traumatized with flashback ever since the incident happened back in last year October, our hearts hovered with grief and anguish towards the people of this land.

We went back to the hotel in darkness (due to short circuit of the electrical supply) and our emotion was very much synchronized with the surrounding – a dim vastness was spreading before our souls!
God is gracious toward the softhearted, under the move of what we have seen in the morning, the trippers decided to raise funds for the built of a borehole / mechanical water pump for Cleo’s community !
By the grace of God, He multiplied our five loaves and two fishes
and made our dream comes true.
Zikomo* they said.

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Indeed, no one is ever satisfied where he/she is, only the children know what they’re looking for …
I was overwhelmed by seeing Cat C. after years of sponsoring her. In my memory, she was a shy and sad little girl on the first glimpse of her picture.
To my great surprise, I was received by her spontaneous and warm hug on our first met !
That smile, I would never forget.
Every single second that I’ve spent with her, I was mindful that her well being is harmonized with mine.

As much as long conversations, laughter riots, and wild meetups are desirable, there’s still beauty and satisfaction in knowing via a simple gesture that you wish someone well and they wish you back the same – we dance triumphantly to celebrate life with the rhapsody in our hearts !

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Day Five, on the last day of our stay

I can’t believe we were about to leave this place.
Wandering at the hotel front desk and looking around at all the now-familiarised faces, I was reminiscing the first night when I stepped on this ground, I was covered with fears and all the people that I do not know.
However today, new friendship has brewed and I started to miss everyone already!
We stood there, looking at each other, hardly saying anything.
But it was the kind of nothing that meant everything.
Our hugs uttered it all !

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Like what Mother Theresa said:
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today.
Let us begin.”
I brought back the smiles of everyone, full of gratitude in my heart. Noting that this moment is so precious that I would love to treasure every single minutes of today.

If I ever go looking for
my heart’s desire again,
I won’t look any further than my own back yard.
Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.
Thank you Jesus, for everything.

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Goodbye, Zambia ! I will see you soon.

June 2019 – Lusaka, Zambia, Africa.

* Please check out my post on the previous trip to Lesotho, Africa back in the year of 2013 here.

Footnotes:

Chitenge – The chitenge(or kitenge) is an African garment similar to the sarong, often worn by women, wrapped around the chest or waist, over the head as a headscarf, or as a baby sling.

Mulibwanji – How are you

Zikomo – Thank you

Letter to Miss Lewis, Oct. 1, 1841

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Is not this a true autumn day?
Just the still melancholy that I love
– that makes life and nature harmonise.

The birds are consulting
about their migrations,
the trees are putting on
the hectic or the pallid hues of decay,
and begin to strew the ground,
that one’s very footsteps
may not disturb the repose
of earth and air,
while they give us a scent
that is a perfect anodyne
to the restless spirit.

Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird
I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

May 2019 – Aravina Estate, Perth, Western Australia.

Stay

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You can run away from yourself so often,

and so much,

just because the broken pieces of you cut your feet too deeply if you stay around for too long.

But then what if someone were to come along;

and pick up those pieces for you?

Then you wouldn’t have to run away from yourself anymore.

You could stop running.

If someone sees you as something worth staying with

— maybe you’ll stay with yourself, too.

March 2019 – Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Tokyo, Japan.

Silence speaks

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There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing.

There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest,
and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city.

There is silence after a rainstorm,
and before a rainstorm,
and these are not the same.

There is the silence of emptiness,
the silence of fear,
the silence of doubt.

There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used,
or from a piano with old dust upon its keys,
or from anything that has answered to the need of a man,
for pleasure or for work.

This kind of silence can speak.

Its voice may be melancholy,
but it is not always so;
for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay.

There is a silence appears like fine flakes at first,
but becoming gradually heavier;
a blue and white dazzling light on everything one sees,
the ice-covered branches of the hemlocks sparkle,
bending low and tinkling in the sharp thin breeze,
and iridescent crystals fall and crackle on the snow-crust
with the winter sun drawing cold blue shadows from the trees

Whatever the mood or the circumstance,
the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows.

It is a soundless echo.

March 2019 – 湯沢高原スキー場, Tokyo, Japan.

Eat, Pray, Love

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The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying;

the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.

I didn’t want to destroy anything or anybody.

I just wanted to slip quietly out the back door,

without causing any fuss or consequences,

and then not stop running until I reached Greenland.

November 2016 – Zaanse Schans, the Netherlands.

One day

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Every quote,

every book,

every film seemed to suggest that

one day’ someone would

come into her life

and love her with an intensity

and a passion she had never experienced before.

And to their credit they were right;

It all came;

and went so fast;

it really did feel

as if it were just

one day

February 2019 – Sabah, Malaysia

Love strikes away the chains of fear

Capture
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free…

March 2018 – Bali, Indonesia

Hymn to a Good Wife


Finish my book of Proverbs on the last day of the new month.
This last passage has become my goal.
Wisdom gets you everywhere !

Hymn to a Good Wife

A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.

She shops around for the
best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship
that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.

She’s up before dawn,
preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.

First thing in the morning,
she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.

She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.

Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.

When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,and keeps them all busy and productive.

Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise: “Many women have done wonderful things,but you’ve outclassed them all!”

Charm can mislead
and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.

Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!

Proverbs 31:10-31

Mouthful of Forevers


There will always be those
who say you are too young and delicate
to make anything happen for yourself.

They don’t see the part of you
that smolders.
Don’t let their doubting drown out
the sound of your own heartbeat.

You are the first drop of rain in a hurricane.

Your bravery builds beyond you.
You are needed by all the little girls
still living in secret,
writing oceans made of monsters,
and throwing like lightning.

You don’t need to grow up
to find greatness.
You are so much stronger
than the world
has ever believed you could be.

The world is waiting for you
to set it on fire.

Trust in yourself;

and burn.

So Will I

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God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I

I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I
So will I …

2018 – Borneo, Malaysia.

Return from Rainbow Bridge

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Have you ever walked along a beach?
You walk towards something in the distance.
For the longest while it never seems to get any closer even though you are walking and walking.

Then all of a sudden, you are there.
You’ve arrived at last.
That’s what grief is like.

Meanwhile we are running with you in the spray of the surf at the edge of the shore where the sand meets the sea.
We are cheering you on.

March 2014 – Bali, Indonesia.

Oksana Rus

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Tipani flower skies blazing rapture of color laced tree crowns silhouettes along the ocean diamond necklaced beach…
of my heart in fragrance of love spilled by caressing kisses of the sun opening the gates to dive deep through away to horizons with no return…”

Silhouette
/sɪlʊˈɛt/

noun: silhouette; plural noun: silhouettes

1. the dark shape and outline of someone or something visible in restricted light against a brighter background.

March 2014 – Bali, Indonesia.

PS. You have to be brave

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You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole.
You fall like falling through space.

It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear.

It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signaled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump…

And you can bring your friends to visit.
And read your favorite stories to each other.
And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without.

That’s it.

March 2014 – Bali, Indonesia.

Remembrance Year – the long way

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Remember how we forgot?

Once upon a time, we were young
Our dreams hung like apples
Waiting to be picked and peeled

And hope was something needing
to be reeled-in
So we can fill the always empty big fish bin with the one that got away
And proudly say that “this time, impossible is not an option”

Because success is so akin to effort and opportunity they could be related
So we took ‘Chances’
We figure skated on thin ice
Believed that each slice of life was served with something sweet
on the side

And failure was never nearly as important as the fact that we tried
That in the war against frailty
and limitation
We supplied the determination it takes to make ideas and goals the parents of ‘Possibility’

And we believe ourselves to be members of this family
Not just one branch on one tree
But a forest whose roots make up a dynasty …

December 2015 – Death Valley, Eastern California, USA.

Nightingale


You are such a potent wine, my friend.
To escape your withdrawal effects,
tomorrow I will drink in excess.

I was a harp you immaculately
plucked at will.
Your score, the nightingale song within
notes composed to imprison
and bear me wings.
Oh, if only they could hear how it sings!

I am now beyond parched.
My strings left untouched.
You are no longer an oasis, my friend,
but a mirage soon coming to an end.

A Map of the Known World

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They say no land remains to be discovered,
no continent is left unexplored.
But the whole world is out there, waiting, just waiting for me.

I want to do things
— I want to walk the rain-soaked streets of London, and drink mint tea in Casablanca.
I want to wander the wastelands of the Gobi desert and see a yak.
I think my life’s ambition is to see a yak.

I want to bargain for trinkets in an Arab market in some distant, dusty land. There’s so much.
But, most of all,
I want to do things that will mean something.

March 2014 – Bali, Indonesia.

West with the Night

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We swung over the hills and over the town and back again,
and I saw how a man can be master of a craft, and how a craft can be master of an element.

I saw the alchemy of perspective reduce my world, and all my other life,
to grains in a cup.

I learned to watch, to put my trust in other hands than mine.
And I learned to wander.
I learned what every dreaming child needs to know — that no horizon is so far that you cannot get above it or beyond it.

September 2018 – Up above the 36,000 ft.

Sara Teasdale

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I thought of you and how you love this beauty, and walking up the long beach all alone.

I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder, as you and I once heard their monotone.

Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me the cold and sparkling silver of the sea —

We two will pass through death and ages lengthen, before you hear that sound again with me.

August 2018 – Brighton, Victoria, Australia.

You Speak

You liberate me from my own noise and my own chaos
From the chains of a lesser law You set me free

In the silence of the heart You speak
And it is there that I will know You
And You will know me

In the silence of the heart
You speak, You speak

You satisfy me till I am quiet and confident
In the work of the Spirit I cannot see

In the silence of the heart You speak

Nicole Bailey-Williams

I was a dandelion puff…

Some saw the beauty in me and stooped quietly to admire my innocence.

Others saw the potential of what I could do for them,
so they uprooted me, seeking to shape me around their needs.
They blew at my head, scattering my hair from the roots,
changing me to suit them.

Yet still others saw me as something that was unworthy and needed to be erased.

Flower Dance

Lucy:“They serve the purpose of changing hydrogen into breathable oxygen,and they’re as necessary here as the air is, on Earth.”

Ray:“But I still say……they’re flowers.”

Lucy:“If you like.”

Ray:“Do you sell them?”

Lucy:“I’m afraid not.”

Ray:“But, maybe we can make a deal.”

Lucy:“What do you mean?”

Ray:“Oh, you see, you won’t have to send them anywhere. I’ll pay for them, and then, I’ll leave them here, for you.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

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There was a wall.
It did not look important.
It was built of uncut rocks roughly mortared.
An adult could look right over it,
and even a child could climb it.

Where it crossed the roadway,
instead of having a gate it degenerated
into mere geometry,
a line, an idea of boundary.

But the idea was real.
It was important.
For seven generations there had been nothing in the world more important than that wall.

Like all walls it was ambiguous, two-faced.
What was inside it and what was outside it depended upon which side of it you were on.

November 2016 – Zaanse Schans, the Netherlands.

The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

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The sand in the hourglass runs from one compartment to the other, marking the passage of moments with something constant and tangible.

If you watch the flowing sand, you might see time itself riding the granules.

Contrary to popular opinion, time is not an old white-haired man, but a laughing child.

And time sings.

May 2018 – Sabah, Malaysia.

Peace, I leave with you …

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Another round of self battle left me with the swollen eyes and pounding head.
Indeed, the words came beforehand so that my heart could sustained ….

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27

Who can accept us wholeheartedly?! – only Jesus does.

The Spice Box of Earth

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A kite is a victim you are sure of.
You love it because it pulls
gentle enough to call you master,
strong enough to call you fool;

because it lives
like a desperate trained falcon
in the high sweet air,
and you can always haul it down
to tame it in your drawer.

A kite is a fish you have already caught
in a pool where no fish come,
so you play him carefully and long,
and hope he won’t give up,
or the wind die down.

A kite is the last poem you’ve written
so you give it to the wind,
but you don’t let it go
until someone finds you
something else to do.

Leonard Cohen.

July 2017 – Sabah, Malaysia.

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