edlina & the lynns
Motherhood is for the long haul. Many people love children. Oh, it's really nice to play with them for a little while and when you are tired, all you have to do is return them to the mums. Indeed being a mum is an incredible calling and the exchanges are simply too wonderful to mention.

Ashton has been unwell for the past 3 months. Nothing that serious compared to many who are suffering. Yet it is still demanding whenever a baby is ill. The cold has turned into post nasal drip and stubbornly stayed on despite medical treatment. Oral medicine and nebulizer. Now resorted to inhaler for prophylaxis treatment. My patience has been tested with the long nights and deprived rest. What can be more unbearable with my new neighbour's house renovation! The banging, knocking, drilling and cementing. Definitely not helping the situation at all. In fact, adding more stress and physically contributing the dust factor :(

Just a while ago, as I cuddled Ashton in my arms soothing him after administering his treatment for the morning round, I sang a song of praise. The song spontaneuosly broke forth my lips gently just before I fret feeling sorry for myself. I smelled his head as he rested upon me. My hands stroking his back and feeling the smooth baby skin as I watched him close his eyes to slip into dreamland after struggling consuming his awful medicine. Have you wonder why the pharmaceutical company manufactures such horrible tasting cure?! My girls always ask whenever they are ill.

No matter how depressing the moment is for me and Ashton, our skin touching each other is magical. A soothing transmission takes place. My child calms down. I am comforted to know I could be present to help ease the distress. That bond is beyond words. I am thankful I can hold him in my arms as I nurse him back to health. A quick flash of the neonatal intensive care unit came back. It was nine years ago. Nat was lying in the incubator. I stood by that box and sang, "Jesus Loves Me This I Know". That song has never been so meaningful and powerful to me until my 29 weeker was born. Daily I stood and watched helpessly. I couldn't cuddle and coddle my newborn. The few superficial touches through the tiny openings of the incubator was totally unsatisfying. It was not until 2-3 weeks later I happened to be at the hospital when she was taken out to be pricked all over. They failed to get a good IV site. The moment was magical when she was handed to me to be cuddled for the first time. I guess I was more comforted than the fragile premature baby weighing slightly more than a kilogram. I felt we met properly for the first time ever since her arrival. The touch - the magical moment.

The power of the touch. I know I am being touched too by my Father. Something extraordinary took place the day my Heavenly Father touched me. That encounter was the beginning of the everlasting bond. I am still been soothed and sang over (Zephanianh 3:17).

As I struggled through the distress of life,
I stay contented knowing my Father is by my side.
No matter what the strife,
I regain my strength in the secret place where I hide.

The magical moment of the touch,
To know I am loved so much!
edlina & the lynns
It is not a typo error. Yes, the word is messy.

I can't find any spotless corner every angle I turn. There is some kind of mess piling at every corner of the house. My melancholy self is falling apart. I am trying to keep my sanity in the midst of all the mess. The Christmas tree is up. Thanks to children at home. Little hands helped to add the mood to the year end festival. Christmas has never been a big do in the family. As a matter of fact, every celebration like Chinese New Year is never such a big bang in our home. Yes, we rejoice with family and friends. The usual gift exchange and food (but not too elaborate). Nevertheless, I still like to clean up the house NOW but my body is protesting.

"Merry Christmas", "Merry Christmas"- is all over...the papers, magazines, radio...and my own kids labouring with love getting their home-made Envirolynns products ready for dear ones. Oh, what's that? Hmm, young entrepreneur at work. That's enough to kick in the festive mood. But I am still in this mess! Can I have a merry Christmas in the midst of the mess?

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes...I see the manger...

Was the scene of the first Christmas truly a merry one or...perhaps it was messy too...afterall, it was in a stable. My imagination took me to different parts of the stable as I read the account of Luke on the arrival of God's Son. I wish there are more details in the story of the birth of Jesus in the initial arrival right in the stable. Luke 2:7 only mentioned Mary wrapped her son in cloths and placed him in a manger. I am still trying to understand the sentiment of the scene and experience the scent right in the humble arrival. It was so simple yet glazed with such splendour. Can all the fuss of our contemporary Christmas really display it all?!

From a mother's perspective, I wonder how did Mary felt besides the anxiety and excitement anticipating the birth of God's precious One through her. She didn't have a choice to welcome the King in the stable. I would think it was pretty messy too physically but I am pretty sure her heart was merry because she had met God's messenger and prepared for that day in welcoming the Miracle which would give hope to the entire human race. I see her sitting in the mess with a merry mood. Merry is an understatement. Totally awesome. Simple but in great splendour!

There's no way I will be able to clean up every mess in my house, but I certainly praise God for the merry hearts in this home...and my prayer is we will not miss the essence of it all.

Mary didn't have any clean hospital sheets, sterilized medical instruments, skilled obstetrician, fresh smelling air to await her delivery. Nothing seemed organized or clean enough. But she was ready. I want to be like Mary ready for whatever God is birthing forth through me despite the "mess" around me. I want to be ready to catch that miracle promised to me. I want to be ready to capture that moment of joy. I want my heart to have space to welcome the unexpected magnitude of God's promise, and my hands to be ready to catch the evidence of it; and proclaim his glorious acts.
edlina & the lynns
For three days I've been enjoying quiet days apart from occassional cries of Ashton when he needed some attention. It has been relatively peaceful. I knew I couldn't be too ambitious to do spring cleaning while the three girls were away at Adventure Camp with Daddy. There's so many things I could do, home alone with baby. Cleaning, reorganizing the rooms, read read and read, catch up my sleep...ah, how I need it! Long prayer time. I had to prioritize.

Had to discipline myself to do just enough cleaning so that I would not be too engrossed in it till exhaustion point. Afterall, cleaning is neverending. Ah, it just feel too wasteful to sleep when I can indulge in other luxuries. No heavy cooking. Oats, soy and apple diet - simple and soothing. Made sure I had enough protein and calcium as I nourish Ashton and myself.

A mini retreat. Did some work on computer while baby napped. It was nice to be able to concentrate on some work without any interruption by kids. Oh, and to unwind myself out of the norm - watched DVD. No brain digging tale. Just pure entertainment - High School Musical 1&2 and concert. Those were sweet treat. Though my girls had watched them umpteen times, I sat down for the first time to enjoy the music and the moves. I felt tickled to get moving to the beat too :)

Did I miss them? Oh yes. Indeed. Though it was splendid to enjoy the serenity of the home but a home without kids' noise for three days felt rather empty.

This morning I woke up surrounded by giggling girls with Ashton been the centre of attraction as he had been missed dearly too. The silence of my days is broken...but I feel complete.

A friend once told me a home without children is like a house without garden. That's a beautiful image.

The idiom says, "Silence is Golden".
I say, "Kids' Joyful Noise is Heaven".
King Solomon says, "There's a time for everything".
So balance is good.
Enjoy every moment of life :)
edlina & the lynns
Particularly in America, people are celebrating Thanksgiving. Just like every event whether Christmas, Mother's Day or Father's Day, Valentine's Day...you name it whatever day...the commercial world loves it to the bit. Another opportunity to demand our attention into gift giving. Absolutely nothing wrong to give and receive a gift from dear ones. But there's so many other ways to demonstrate our love than a physical gift.

Every year I am not spared in thinking of the gift list. Every year I've to keep it simple due to budget. Oh, don't get me wrong. I love to shower people with gifts. Budget is the only problem. "Keeping the main thing the main thing" as my professor and mentor calls it. Never to deviate from the focus of the celebration. Anxiety creeps in whenever the event draws nearer and I want the best for the recipient. I am thinking of Christmas now...

As for Thanksgiving today, many are deliberate in giving thanks. I remember when I was in primary school, every year the pupils were asked to bring something to contribute to the gift baskets for the poor. I would urged my mum to get me something each year. As we were also in the low income category, I remember bringing one or two canned sardine to be added to the pile. I felt so proud as a little girl to be able to do my part. In a convent school, we had mass and thanksgiving session. Perhaps that created an awareness in the little Selina to give thanks although it was not easy to grow up seeing my parents labour when I went to school seeing friends being driven in big cars and stayed in big houses. Ours was a tiny room in a pre-war house that housed more than 20 families. Situated right in the smack of the gangsterism community. Mum would hastily shut the door and windows whenever a fight had been aroused. I never knew how it looked like till I saw the wounds and the intensity of such attacks when I nursed assault cases in the hospital years later. Mum feared for brother. Many boys grew up becoming one of them. I give thanks for God's grace and rescued us. My heart feels deeply for this community.

My baptismal verse became my life verse, Philippians 4:6-7 says:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

In Christ Jesus, I pray and praise,
I give thanks and shall sing in my heart today! Everyday.

The reality - it is not easy to give thanks daily but I purposed in my heart to do so. When I can't shout joyfully, I will hide a song within...and whisper, "God, thank you."

(Thankful I learnt to multi-task. Finished this post while baby nursed and slept in my right arm. In between he soiled himself, my pants and floor! I would scream years ago, but I've learnt to sing :)
edlina & the lynns

Every grey cloud has a silver lining...how true is this famous saying by poet John Milton! Giving thanks has to be so intentional till it becomes so natural. Aren't we called to give thanks all the time? Good or bad, give thanks! Easy???

My eyes searched behind every grey cloud, and I saw a silver line in each...counting my blessings...

  • What a lovely baby I hold in my arms each day - for me to soothe, love and care...when I feel like fretting, he smiles at me...aww...
  • Children has been sick. One after another. Now all! Thankful for the nursing experience I had that made me stay calm and compose as I nurse each one. Oh and the night duty! Good training for mothering now.
  • Neverending cleaning of the house...hmm...what spacious shelter for the kids to explore!
  • Homeschooling...spared from rushing kids out of the house each day, and avoiding crazy Penang traffic jams.
  • Kids' noises throughout the day...but I've been kissed, hugged, loved and reading sweet notes...what else could I ask for?
  • Work and more work...means I've been trusted.
  • Tough season never last but tough people do :)

    Above all else...thankful to God for listening to every loud and silent prayer. The virtual world's latest fad is micro-blogging...is that something new, I wonder? Perhaps the method seems different but we can practise spiritual micro-blogging...the Father is interested to know every detail in our lives...it's even quicker than technology. No need to create a profile (He knows it all). No need computer or handphone. He is present all the time.

edlina & the lynns
Walking into any hospital always bring back some memories of my vocation in the past season. More so when it is Lam Wah Ee Hospital where the making of the nurse in me took place.

The hospital has undergone massive extension through the decade. I stood in the hallway of the male ward of the new wing listening to the medical update of our uncle from his son. My eyes couldn't stop roaming about looking at the familiarity of the routine unfolding before me. The nurses dispersed from the nursing station after the report. Another shift of staff had taken over. The busyness of the ward continued. Young faces with pipless uniform eagerly walking through the ward with their report checking on patients. They looked a little aimless and nervous for some. But to the patients they are nurses anyway. There will be certain expectation although they are first year in training. Memories flooded back...

The hospital had been the last place I wanted to be. Its the other side of life I wouldn't want to know as a youngster. Dreams never include that miserable and eerie place. Oh, how I hated the smell of disinfectant! I remember holding my mummy's hand every time I visited hospital. However, at the deciding point of a career, a little voice within prompted me to pursue a vocation that changed my entire outlook in life, my vision and mission and further built the woman I am today. There's a whole barrel of stories stored - lessons learnt, rich experiences and exciting encounters which not only make good memories but strenghten me. Life was not easy in nursing training but looking back, I am so grateful for it although it didn't end the way I had envisioned. Always wanted to teach. So I was going to have the best of both worlds - nursing and teaching...that makes nursing tutor. Coming close to that personal ambition, the Lord called me to full-time ministry in a most incredible way.

Though the years in the hospital wasn't as long as I thought it would be, I know God never make mistake in directing his children's paths. It was in that supposedly miserable place, I saw the other side of life I refused to see, the frailty of life - pain, agony, sorrow, despair, denial, fear, helplessness and hopelessness and walking into the unknown - death's passage for many. There was more than just physical pain...I was positioned there that season to hear the heartbeat of God. It was also in this place I met my Savior - the very first year I entered the hospital. It changed my whole destiny.
edlina & the lynns
What a great delight to retire for the night and greet each morning with sweet notes posted in my little mailbox on my bedroom door. They are from my girls. Perhaps only daughters do such thing :) Oh, I shall wait a few more years to see if Ashton picks this good habit of writing and sending love notes to me.

Today I thought there isn't any mail for me. Maybe they were too tired to write last night. Instead it was a surprise. At the entrance of the bathroom hung a white piece of paper with the tip flapping gently as though waving to me as I walked pass. Nat's morning note to sweeten my day. A simple note of thanks and gratitude; and blessing for the day.

I was about to sit down for my quiet time with God and it reminded me...to be thankful and grateful to Him just like my girl is towards me. Yes, and blessing the Lord with words of love and asking Him for today's agenda as my girl asked me.

I am anticipating two more mails as the other girls wake up..... :)
edlina & the lynns
Dance has always been a part of me ever since young...not that I am old now :) just some years older (smiling to myself). I had wanted so much to do ballet (that's the only dance lesson I knew available at that time, and I think it was and still very much is in this part of the world). Mum would tell me she couldn't afford to send me for any form of extra class; be it tuition, music, ballet or swimming and the list goes on...I used to watch and listened to my friends' accounts of their extra lessons. Fortunately, I must say no tuition was indeed fabulous. Otherwise I would be caught up in a kiasu education life. Yay! Half a day in school is more than enough for a child. That's more than just academic studies in life. Did I feel deprived? No. I've more than enough to cope after school completing homework and housework. Being the eldest there were some responsibilities to help at home and I am grateful for being trusted. That was education itself in helping mum cooked, washed, looked after my siblings and running errands. And yes, I played a lot...letting stories run wild in my mind, pretend play, talking to the mirror (my mum would call me "seow char bor" meaning crazy girl in Hokkien. Who do I talked to? I was always teaching. The cupboard was my blackboard and the mirror image of myself was my students or anyone I was communicating with. Eeks...some people think this is creepy. I think there's a place in the imagination of a child's mind where this thing called 'creativity' lurks. You will never know what can be birthed forth as long as the environment is healthy and conducive for growth. That explains why I always wanted to be a teacher though I ended up being a staff nurse. Later had envisioned to be a nursing tutor which I came close to the ambition then the Lord called me into full-time ministry and this crazy thing called homeschooling when I courted Edward. I thought what a tall order if I marry this radical guy who always have impossible dreams to share. That was more than 10 years ago when homeschooling was quite alien in town.

Amongst many childhood dreams one remain strong in me besides teaching is dance. I was always dancing in my imagination. When I had the money to take lessons, I was too busy taking care of sick patients and now a young troop at home. When I was positioned in the previous church to lead the Creative Arts Ministry, a new dance spring forth in my spirit. It was a totality in my expression of worship for the Creative Creator. There is something about dance that no words or music can express.

Then came the day when Ashlynn was 3 and she begged me to send her for ballet class. I delayed till she was 7 mainly because of budget and by then I thought ballet is too rigid. We still had lots of fun exploring our body movements without structure at home. All we did was dance, dance and dance! We even did our lessons like geography through dance. Oh the magnitude and depth through the power of movements...can you explain? I can't. It was sheer delight for us, mother and daughters. They have always been dancing. A big part of their days is spent making dances. I marvelled at their abundant energy and creativity. Even multiplication is woven into cha-cha moves. Family time is creating funny dance with and for Dad, presenting rumba, foxtrot, or whatever ballroom dance they learnt from Kong Kong (my dad).

A few months ago they were selected to be trained with the Anak-anak Kota group under the programme, Rentak Penang. It is the effort of the Penang Cultural Heritage Programme. Their first showcase explored the celebration of life. Ashlynn and her team celebrated "The Rustling Leaves" and Nathalynn's team displayed the "Colours of Flowers" and others like "Rain" and "Thunder". Ordinary elements yet in all these ring loud and clear the songs of nature through dance.

Last night they presented a mural piece of the scene of a local wet market to some children of shelter homes in conjunction of a belated Deepavali and Hari Raya Celebrations organized by the Rotary Club. Indeed it was an energetic piece of the marketplace. The children had gone to the market to observe and interview local sellers. Their interesting findings were woven into a mural piece which moved from scene to scene - chickens clucking, ducks quaking, slaughtering of the poultry, fishermen bringing in their catch, fights and thefts, daily trading with minimal props. What an interesting piece showcasing a tiny bit of cultural rich Penang!

As I observed my girls passionately bringing their talent out, I smiled to myself...indeed life is a piece of dance. We moved from scene to scene, discovering bit by bit along the way. For me from a rigid ballet-life to a total new dance exploring the many facets of life's beauty together with my eternal dance partner, my Lord.
edlina & the lynns
I dashed into the kitchen to do the final clean-up and put one more load of laundry into the machine before I hung up the first two loads - yes, third load for today as we were away for 2 days at a leaders' retreat. I told Chrisa I needed a shower before I could sit down with her to wrap up the night. I walked into the bathroom and..."Oh, I still have diapers to wash". Chrisa stood by the door and smiled. Her hand held my towel. I whispered, "Thanks, dear. I need to wash these up. Go lie down first." Without fussing she went off.

Felt clean after the shower but came out to find Chrisa had dozed into dreamland next to Ashton who was asleep in the car since we came back from dinner with some special friends. Her little corner was cleared up, much to my delight.

I walked to my computer to find little notes written in complete cursive by Ashlynn and telling me she will be praying for me. That's so sweet to know I'll be remembered in her night prayers. I looked across the room and found some clothes staring at me, waiting to be kept. Hmm...and I thought, "Can work ever finish?" Quickly I cleared them off and was feeling a bit glum then I thought of the little things...Chrisa bringing me the towel without being asked- she noticed I forgot, she cleared the corner and waited patiently tonight, Ashlynn's love note and Nat who slept off by then but had been helpful throughout the day. Seem like little things...but what a difference they made to a mum's heart as I retire for the night.

Give thanks for the little things...they make my heart sing!
edlina & the lynns
Six months flew by just so quickly...my blogging has been in hibernation as you can see the gap. A sudden activation since yesterday. Writing is helpful in aligning my thoughts but somehow I haven't been able to do that for months. Yes, busyness is one thing but not entirely. Who isn't busy living in such a time like this?!

I am so glad I am able to put down some thoughts here. It is a good sign to me personally. It is simply an expression of a relaxed mind. Mental block been purged. A relaxed mind doesn't necessarily mean I am physically free in any way nor nothing to think about mentally. Somehow there's this cognitive liberty - it's like a blockage been drained off. I don't quite understand what happened. But God answers prayers. He let the words flow and it feels like my mind stepped back on track.

The day never ceases to be FULL when one has 4 young children 24/7. There's still laundry unfinished and dishes just cleared. The clock was already 9pm. Baby to be nursed, the girls awaiting for bedtime story and family prayers...but I somehow feel really good tonight even though it took a long hour to complete the night routine with the kids. Ashton was cooing away and trying to "talk" to us while we read the life of Florence Nightingale the second time round...first time for Chrisa. The biography was so inspiring and captured the attention of the girls fully with questions thrown in very often in between my reading by Chrisa who thought it was a very sad tale. Though I've read it so many times about the first nurse but it never fails to strenghten my inner self as I read of her compassion and courage in following God's leading. A good read like this always sparked off discussion as the girls gathered around me. We haven't been able to do that for months. The baby gets priority attention. I am sure the girls were extremely happy too to get mummy read tonight though they have been doing that by themselves most nights.

As we did that, we couldn't stop looking at Ashton as he charmed us with his sweet smile and excited gestures luring us to play with him. Today marked exactly 6 months since he was born. Another milestone in his growth...today he tasted food other than faithful yummy mummy's milk! Not that it is tastier :) Plain porridge for a start. This week he significantly progressed in his crawling movement. He was traveling around the room by rolling for a long while but since yesterday he lifted his right knee to push himself forward. He would then look at us and smile again. I realized he was actually moving pretty fast. This afternoon I rested on the bed and called him. Almost immediately he swam up to me from another end and ducked his head before he gave me his sweetest smile. Oh, I thought how fast he has grown. Memory flashbacks of all the girls' growth. Wasn't it just Ashlynn's, Nathalynn's and then Chrisalynn's...and now Ashton. The images of each of their crawling style came rushing back to my mind...and I thought if only I can preserve every moment. Here today gone the next...I am so thankful I am given this extraordinary privilege to witness these precious moments of life which seem so ordinary. It is the miracle of life.

Florence Nightingale declined fame and glamour. She retreated in her old age to a low profile life. She fought a good fight in Crimean War (not in the battlefield) but for human dignity helping the wounded soldiers. Her quote, "If I can be of any use, here I am". My name may not be recorded under the great men and women list. But here I am...to be used to nurture lives. Such is the power of a mother. I stay contented and satisfied in walking through the milestones with these young ones. And yes, I thank my Father God for knowing my thoughts even when I cannot fully express them rightly...I know He touched me today as He released freedom in my mind.
edlina & the lynns
Letter writing is a dying art. The advancement of IT has quicken communication like never before. Shooting an email is just within minutes or even seconds; and we can receive a reply almost immediately. However, with that speed and convenience many of us still find correspondence a real challenge. Then there is chat line, sms...and latest, facebook (though not that new anymore). It is a common question now instead of asking for email address, the phrase will be, "Are you on facebook?" From scribbling down lines of snail mail address to a quick one line email address...now is just knowing your friend's name...and tadaa! You are connected. The power of IT still baffles me. For a long time I refused and also been advised not to get into facebook simply because it is time-consuming. Then one fine day, I was desperate enough to get in touch with friends whom are only accessible through this mode...and so my face and name made way into the web. Indeed I was glad as within days my friend list grew tremendously, locating long lost friends globally without any effort. I am still amazed :) and certainly very pleased.

IT advancement is one great achievement in this fast-paced world. We all can't live without a computer now, can we? Once it was a luxury now a need. Having said that, there's still something about the "old fashion way" which is very captivating to the heart. It is the art of letter-writing. I've always love to write letters and receiving too. The handwriting itself conveys a personal touch. Not to mention the thrill of opening a letter that the postman drops into the mailbox especially from someone dear. And then there's the stamp to enjoy if it's flown from overseas. I remember my Australian pen-pal pasted the whole border of the envelope with stamps of different denominations. They were added into my collection. Oh yes, they are tucked away in my home library now...which had since been passed on to my cousin during his schooldays and now bcak to my home for my own kids to enjoy!

I have resorted to emails, sms, and facebook in order to keep up with the pace. Of course, kinder to the pocket too :) Postage is real expensive now. However, letter-writing continue in my life - right here in my home. It is a norm to write notes to each other in my family. It was intentionally done for many reasons. One being to preserve the art of writing. Amongst others are for teaching purposes. The children learnt to read and write hugely by just doing that from as early as they understand pen and paper concept. From a simple "I love you", "God loves you", "I am sorry"...these notes have progress into long letters...be it love/encouragement, dates with Mum and Dad or even apology letters. We never fail to be thrilled each night or morning to find our personal mailbox contain gems for the hearts (all of us have a mailbox each except for Ashton who shares with Mum now. The girls' are lavished with colours and creative accessories).

Last week had been stressful trying to keep some order at home. Obviously my standard of cleanliness differs from the kids. I have to keep reminding myself. However, I decided to impose some discipline action upon them for certain disorganization. In a nutshell, it was implemented but I was somewhat guilty as I evaluated on my action/reaction. Afterall, kids are kids. They should not be expected to perform to a melancholy adult standard. But there's always this balance I try to strike - truth and grace, which is definitely a challenge. As a mum, it certainly melt my heart as I begin to get love letters from my precious ones expressing their love, respect, apologizing their negligence and shortcomings, and also been transparent about how they felt...and obediently accepted the discipline process. I am so thankful for this art as reading a handwritten letter by a child(ren) and understanding their thoughts help me to put perspective back into my role as a mum. Inevitably it helps me see my own relationship with my Father God. So many times I fail but yet He forgives.

"Mum, you got mail!" This phrase has become an evening tradition. Chrisa cannot wait for me to pick them up. She will excitedly inform me when she sees one or two, or more. This art has been successfully passed down as I watched the girls writing to one another every night. Excitement fills the room while they read their letters. Giggles and more giggles...

The man of the house also has lots of them. In the beginning he didn't know what to do with all those love notes...and now he is learning to respond to them...ahem...he's a man with few words, and so he sends them emails with a concise thought. What do you expect? The girls call Dad a laconic.
edlina & the lynns
The house is quiet...finally...

Some nights like this I get to enjoy absolutely quiet moments. Is it a luxury or is it a need? Hmm...
Some nights I am just too tired even to stare into space, I will knocked off into dreamland putting either Ashton or Chrisa to sleep, then to awaken in the morning finding myself in another cycle of the day.

Day in day out caring for the needs of children demands ALL of me. Am I complaining? Absolutely not. I believe totally in my calling to be a MUM...and not just mum, but homeschooling mum. Post-modernity in an immense degree has deceived many to believe otherwise. The enemy knows too well that a mother is the key and heart of the family.

Moment like this helps me regain perspective and purpose for my day as God's peace gently rest upon me. For two weeks I've been meditating on Joshua 1:9, "Be strong and courageous". A very concise verse. Do strength and courage come by mere reading of it? Yes, it begins with reading it, but it doesn't and cannot stop there simply because these two words are compelling words. They naturally propel the reader into action. Strength and courage are so needed in this generation in order to make a positive difference.

The more I meditated on it, the more I find myself drawing back to my Source of strength and courage to mother the children my Father entrusted me. Only He knows my limitations. Strength and courage are also demanded in other areas of my life in this season. God never promises life is a bed of roses but He definitely promises His strength and courage to go through each challenge and turn every feat into a magnitude of His faithfulness.
edlina & the lynns
Green trees sway, and waters rush by.
Squint my eyes when the sunlight shines.

Close my eyes and feel the breeze,
sniff the air, O dear, I sneeze!!

Busy ants scurry by,
In the air were dragonflies.

Monkeys jump from tree to tree,
O my! Look out, they're after me!!

edlina & the lynns

My home is...

full of books

and cuddly toys.

It's overflowing with love

and God's abundant joy.

Sometimes it's messy

when I am lazy.

Kids make lots of noise

and drive mummy crazy.

But our days are fun and happy

so Chrisa says, "We rejoice!!!!!!"

(The kid poet had some help from mum)


edlina & the lynns
Faith the Christmas Sheep (holding a small bible) belongs to a special child, Chrisa!

Faithzgirl Bible, the long awaited "real" bible of Chrisa - is there a fake bible? To her real bible means a complete version so she can refer to the verses as others do (she wasn't contented with just a kids' bible stories volume).

Chrisa is one creative and imaginative child; never lack of fun and always busy with something. She knotted Faith with her new bible. The sheep was hanging on to the bible everywhere she goes. I thought it added weight and is clumsy for her little hands. So I asked her to remove Faith from the bible. But she responded with a profound statement, "Faith must be connected to the bible!". And insisted it remained that way.

"Let it be, mum."

I was left with the statement hanging over me over the days...indeed faith must be connected to the bible...how else do we feed out faith...it must be fueled with the Word.
At the beginning of this month, while in Sabah I had the privillage to do something that I had longed for since my youth - To get under the sea! To be able to dive and observe the wonders of the underwater world. It has always been the cost that hindered me from taking my divers licence. Well, this time I made it a point to live in Kingdom mentality and go ahead to take the open water divers certification. The blessing is that when we choose to live in Kingdom mentality, the King himself provides! In fact, the course in Sabah is very cheap compared to what we get here in Penang, but above that God's hand was in everything. All glory belongs to Him!

From Puffers to the poisonous Stone fish and the Lion Fish , Barracudas, Giant Clamps, Lobsters, Green Turtles, the Yellow Box fish, Angles, Butterflies, Sting Rays and the rare Ghost Pipe fish were the few amazing sights of God's wonderful creation under the sea. The only things that I missed out was to have an underwater camera to capture all the sights. Perhaps next time I go for a dive there will be the provision of an underwater camera.

Together with dive instructor Jason (centre) and my dive buddy Dale from England.

edlina & the lynns
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle,
I just wish that he didn't trust me so much.

-Mother Theresa

I've been stepping on the accelerator of my life for the past two months since Ashton's birth (woah, ya...he's already 2 months' old and put on 2 kg). I hit the climax the past week with Ed's absence - having to hold the fort for home and church. Running on high speed and trying to beat the clock - continuosly from one task to another. I wonder how Susannah Wesley did it in her time!

Tending to unending physical needs of an infant, answering endless questions of a curious barely 5 year-old, and meeting the emotional needs of two preteens...grappling with my own insecurity of 'have I done enough?' for homeschooling...and to top it all up in a tall glass to drink - to preach on Sunday...I survived and thankfully didn't get choked!

I know it full well God's grace is sufficient but I am only human to echo the quote above. I wish there is less to do for now. However after catching my breath today (got some moments to regain my sanity), I know God never make mistake. Whatever He entrusts in my hands, I pray He'll establish each of them for His purpose. As for me, there is no higher calling, no greater honour than to be at service for my Lord and King. I praise and thank God for work!

edlina & the lynns
The room door was closed when I walked past my daughters' room one morning. It's usual morning routine of breakfast, devotion, house chores and school work. Some times, the girls need some reminders to speed up so we can all finish what need to be done the first part of the day. With baby Ashton around, I left the girls to be independent and responsible for many tasks.

Being a task-oriented person, I opened the door and was about to question Nat on dawdling when I spotted her holding her devotional book. On her door hung a sign which read, "In the progress of creative dreaming....."

I smiled at her, closed the door and thought a little about that phrase.

Perhaps it is in such moments big dreams and visions are birthed, creative ideas flow, and masterpieces produced. This is the essence of homeschooling which I thank God for - the opportunity to allow creativity and not having to rush through when the school bell goes.

Just quite recently, I read that we must learn to waste time with God.

Time with God - ever wasted?
edlina & the lynns
Life is a battle. Different people fight for different things in life. These few days there's been quite a bit of sibling rivalry at home. I was trying very hard to be as fair in my judgement and treatment as possible to avoid the problem or at least not to contribute to the cause. However, no matter how hard I tried, I wasn't spared this common parenting challenge. It is one tiring feat.

The girls were fighting for the least important things (at least in my opinion). Though they reconciled quickly every time it happened, it still bothered me as a mum. We were driving home and I began sharing some thoughts from a recent Mandarin movie I watched - Three Kingdoms.

It is not such a spectacular show but I was reminded again of my Christian journey - it is a battlefield warred with courage and determination. Zao Zilong (Andy Lau) though wounded declared to his comrades that he will not remove his armour when he is in a battle. He threw his buddy a crucial question, "What are we fighting for?" His buddy's response, "I don't know about you. I am fighting for myself." His buddy betrayed Zilong because his vision was to carve a name for himself. Zilong's cause was to unite the nation. He died with dignity and honour for the cause he fought for.

That is so true for the Christian walk. We cannot and must not remove our armour - Ephesians 6:11 commands us to 'put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.' The whole passage gives details of that armour and with that we stand our ground; and declare our faith fearlessly.

With that I asked my girls how will they channel their energy, what is worth fighting for in life? The challenge lingers in my own mind..."What am I fighting for?"
edlina & the lynns

My baby brother is so cute, so wonderful, and so great.
He's to be a great warrior of God as he grows.
I know it very well.

It seems a little funny.
Only one boy in the house.
With three girls in the family just seems so odd around.

The size of him is like my doll.
From far away he is really small.
But anyway we're a family.
So what's the matter?
Just let it be.

Horton says, "A persons a person no matter how small".


edlina & the lynns
Today I watch a capable young girl adorned with an apron fully occupied in the kitchen. She has made herself available for service as a "kitchen police" this month helping Ah Ma to prepare meals as mum rest in her postnatal month. Every morning she awoke at the break of dawn, cleansed and changed waiting for her marketing date with Kong Kong. She crept into my room, collected the soiled nappies and clothes for laundry. It saved Ah Ma a trip of the tiring staircase.

She sneaked in a corner for her quiet moments with the Lord before she quickly completed her daily academic assignments. In between the day, she grabbed a book for a good read, made a dance with her sisters, played a board game, taught her 4 year-old sister reading, writing and math, practised her times-table with an incredible creative idea - cha-cha moves! She urged her sister to dance along. They had a swell time dancing gracefully while doing math. Times-table was a dreadful feat before this!

The newborn cried...she jumped at the opportunity to carry him. How well she handled him - so much more confident than most adults! She sang her own composition to soothe him and he calmed down at the sound of the melody as he snuggled in her arms. She is a big sister for the third time.

She helped Ee Ee with the Sunday school preparation before she pulled out all that she needed to bake her own birthday cake. She has always been a leader. I watched her gave orders to her sisters who eagerly wanted to help with the baking. They baked a chocolate cake which was later coated with Betty Crocker's rich and creamy chocolate topping. She carefully sprinkled the silver beads to create a figure of 10 and lots of almond nuts around it. I could see a satisfied look on her face.

It has been a decade since she was born, making me a very proud mum! It seems like a wink of an eye. The day I held her for the first time, I cried the tears of joy and then a gush of anxiety flooded me. Suddenly such a big responsibility was entrusted into my hands. I've been enrolled into the School of Motherhood - an enormous volume of life training modules with no certificates nor graduation; but blessed with a life-time of divine exchanges.

I held in my hands a precious gift from heaven.

I have every reason to be thankful as I watch her grow from a tiny tot to a terrific ten. Ashlynn - the strong and beautiful is 10 today!

edlina & the lynns
Being a fourth time mum, I kind of expected what entails in a labour process...just that I have no say in the timing of baby's arrival. I never reach - not anything near to my expected date of deliveries. All my girls came really early with one premature baby of 29 weeks. Even though I quite expected this fourth offspring will also be early but on one hand prayed that he will be carried to term.

Gateway City Church first church camp ended with my session on "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross". I stood there heavily pregnant preaching what God had laid in my spirit. As I urged the church to look ahead at Jesus our focal point, I was also reminded no matter how difficult and heavy I felt with my small frame supporting a growing baby at 33 weeks plus in gestation, my comfort was to endure for the sake of the joy set before me. Soon...yes, soon I will be holding my baby tangibly in my hands. Interestingly during the night before, I dreamt I had given birth but awaken at night only to rub on my existing protruded abdomen realizing it was just a dream. Somehow dreams have been significant in many of my life's stories. Deep down my heart I knew he was coming.

Indeed it was fast. The night I returned from camp, I went into labour. I was so ready to deliver, but my doctor wasn't, being a preterm case again! I was transfered to another bigger hospital just in case baby require neonatal ICU care. All necessary treatment were administered. I was left completely contraction free the entire day time and lying down in the labour room talking to God and claiming His promises. I had read earlier in Isaiah 66:7-8 which declares:

"Before she goes into labour, she gives birth;
before the pains come upon her,
she delivers a son.
Who has ever heard of such a thing?
Who has ever seen such things?"

No. Never, unless one uses medical intervention. Though I knew I cannot escape labour pain yet this portion of scriptures was very comforting and I boldly asked God for his miraculous intervention. I confessed the Word throughout and hold it dearly in my heart. God had walked me through every childbirth; and each has its own story of his faithfulness. The nurses always marvelled at my childbirth processes - fast and easy. They would tell me I should have more babies! And I laid in the labour room wondering what would be the story this time?!

Since my nursing days, I've watched patients using epidural. However, in the recent years this medical technology has caught up significantly with many educated women requesting it in order to be pain-free. Never did it crossed my mind to ever ask for it all these years. Had always thought the labour process is part of the beauty of motherhood. For some reason, as I await this round, I was wondering if I should try epidural this time to compare and perhaps come to a conclusion of certain thoughts of the debate of the usage of epidural. My smart husband smiled at me and threw back the question to me, "If you've asked God for a miracle, why do you need epidural?" Afterall, I never used in the past 3 times. Hmm, I was left with abandoning myself in my Father's Hands again. Surely he will take me through it once again. I empathized with the women in the next rooms. I could only whispered prayers for them as they groaned and cried in labour...and then rejoiced with them silently when I heard the cries of every newborn.

The night came and I began experiencing some mild contraction. It was getting more frequent and I knew the labour couldn't be prolong till the next day anymore. I informed the nurse and she checked on me regularly and commented perhaps my threshold of pain is high as my response had always been "bearable". But I believe it was my Father's Hands holding me. I was in full control of my situation, composed and washed by God's peace. Then...the much awaited moment...the bearing down sensation came upon me but unbelievably mild compared to all my past experiences! I told the nurse "baby's coming"...the obstetrician and Ed arrived shortly. Withing less than 15min, a son was born unto us...and he shall be called, Ashton - the strong fortress or settlement, the supplicant; "I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfil his purpose for me" (Psalm 57:2 NLT).

The Lord released his word in Isaiah 66:7-8. I watched the word come to pass. Although not completely without pain but significantly less in intensity. Tremendously less that I could still talk and discuss with the nurse during the bearing down sensation (which I remember were the worst part of labour for me in the past 3). Indeed a miracle. Who needs epidural when carried in our Father's Hands? And preterm Ashton is doing great at 2.4kg and ruled out the need of respirator and incubator. All because we were in His Hands.

edlina & the lynns

The Lynns has been looking forward eagerly to the movie, "Prince Caspian" after their craze over "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". We are into the last 3 chapters of this classic literature and getting ready to enjoy the visual effects and seeing the unfolding of the book at the big screen; then plunging into an adventurous unit study on it. Every night, they will excitedly sit around mum for this bedtime reading and tapping over my tummy to talk to sayang. Yep, sayang had no choice but to 'join in listening'.

Every time we passed by the billboard of Prince Caspian...Chrisa never fails to remind us of the classic hitting the cinema in town on May 16. However, another prince decided to race in first taking over Prince Caspian as he has been quietly listening all this while.....he arrived 6 weeks earlier than expected on May 6!

Announcing the early arrival of Prince Ashton (Lynns' sayang)!

You think Prince Caspian is cool? Here's one cool pic of Prince Ashton with his "first sunglass" - sunbathing under the phototherapy :)

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of the warrior are sons born in one's youth." - Psalm 127:3-4

edlina & the lynns
...Is the Cheese.

Cheese to us(dad,ash,chrisa and me) are gold. We are crazy about cheese. When mom went to Australia, she brought back so much cheese that it filled the chiller.

:)12 blocks ,can you imagine!!

She brought back many kinds of cheese, like...Fruit Cheese(melon and mango, cranberry, almond and apricot) we will love to share with you some cheese,if you like cheese!!!

edlina & the lynns
Fellowship and food are inseparable. When there are people, there are food. I am so thankful we live in lands with plentiful food - all sorts in colours, aroma and flavours.

Australian's very owned fast-food chain, Oporto Chicken. Didn't tried the last trips. Finally, got one this time. Value for money. This whole chicken set for A$14.95 for Penny, Poh and I to enjoy to the fullest. Hardly could find any hot meal for this price.

Korean BBQ with Hun Por and Soo Wei in Sydney.

Lebanese treat from Marjoree and Gaik Peng in Brisbane, totally loved it...followed by...

...rich and delicious dessert at Freestyle dessert house. Ed missed this mouth-watering creamy array.

Hot and spicy Northern Indian lunch...food was good but everyone will think twice going to this restaurant. Waiting time was more than an hour. The big gang after church service was impatient but thank God for a good fellowship which kept the hunger in control. Of course, thanks to Ju Min who bought some bread to fill us up for the hour.

There's more to the food in all our fellowships...can't list them all...there's Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, authentic Australian pie (yum, you must try the Beefy's), and of course simple home-made dishes.

Thank God for fellowship and food!

edlina & the lynns
The Women's Colour Conference was the main aim of the trip to Sydney. However, Penny had another quest. She MUST get a good sight and snapshot of the Sydney Opera House. Her last trip many years ago allowed her to have a night view but she didn't manage to get a good snapshot. She was determined this time to have one. So by hook or by crook, she's gonna go for it...bus, train or ferry...she's going to make it there.

And yes, she did! So here's one for the girl!

And many more in her album this time...puas puas. What's with the Sydney Opera House? You must ask her.
edlina & the lynns
what do you think this is??

yes, people!

what kind?

one of its kind - WOMEN, the kind the man "wow" at!

A sea of 16,000 women.

3 of the 16,000 taking a brunch break at the celebration of sisterhood at Hillsongs, Sydney.

It excites my heart to see the gathering of the King's beautiful daughters giving the best expression of adoration to the King. They are called the "Salvation Daughters". They are saved and gathered for His cause and purpose.

edlina & the lynns
The long planned trip has finally arrived...heading Down Under again after 7 months. Difference is leaving my kids and hubby behind. It must be a luxury for any married woman with kids! A getaway :) But trust me...it ain't easy at all...to part. There was tears of separation anxiety.

On board the much boasted SIA new aircraft A380 which has a capacity of more than 500 and comprises two decks...I must say, I was impressed by the upgraded aircraft. However, the much awaited rest on board turned out to be a disaster. The supposedly serene night flight was a nightmare to many. A fussing baby cying the entire journey. No joke. It was a string of neverending loud cries! And the father was pretty much cool about the whole experience. He simply enjoyed his inflight movie with an occassional, "stop it, keep quiet" hoping the distress baby would settle. Sigh.

We landed feeling so groggy and exhausted from a 7 hour buzzing of cries. Our plan to walk the city in Sydney crashed...we knocked off at the hotel. Woke up after a long rest and went for a walk. Penny and I roamed the suburb of Concord West awaiting our hostess, Soo Wei to pick us up after work.

Memory flashed back...a walk in autumn...one full cycle has begun.

The walk in the last autumn, the very day we arrived in Melbourne last year after we rested...I was with Ed and kids...enjoying the autumn breeze and fallen leaves. Now, here, I stand and walking through Sydney suburb welcoming another autumn. The weather has yet to be too chilly. Trees are still green and full. What can I learn from this season? Much anticipation ahead...
edlina & the lynns
Joyce was back for a few weeks and it is always great to have loved ones return. The Lynns were very blessed to have Aunty Joyce around and did all the funny things with them. It must be a treasure hidden in their spirit when Aunty Joyce dated each of them individually the Thursday before she left for New York again. The entire day was taking turns dating Aunty Joyce and climax at the Chocolate Boutique for all. Lynns were super glad and Aunty Joyce...oh well, she was exhausted, I am pretty sure.

They certainly look forward to her next return.
edlina & the lynns
"Mum, you promise..."

It is a common statement I hear from Chrisa at home. Children remembers promises especially this child. She sures remembers details to what she's been promised. We won't make any commitment to her if we know we can't measure up to it. As parents, we know every word spoken to a child needs to be kept lest we break their spirit. There's power in a promise. Unfortunately, our human nature has flaws even in parenting. We need reminders.

God promises us too. He promises life's fullness and abundance when we walk with him closely. That sure gives hope. Life without hope is not worth living. The difference - God doesn't need reminders. He remembers them all.

Just two days ago, I talked to God as if he has senile dementia...that I need to remind him of all he had spoken and promised. Believing in the promises and living it out to see them been fulfilled is quite a different thing. But if as a mum, I ensure I keep those promises to my children, there's no reason why God won't keep his. The Malay saying, "Lelaki pandai membuat seribu janji, tapi satu pun tidak dapat ditepati" (sounds very biaise to the male species) - it reinforces the flaw of humankind. But God is not to be compared because his "goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives" (Psalm 23:6).

Perhaps I lack a good understanding of eternity and a poor vision of heaven that cause me to question his love and promises when the struggles of life overwhelm me. If only I catch a greater glimpse of heaven...

I always admire the apostle Paul who was full of strength, courage and focus; and I want to echo him, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revelaed in us" (Romans 8:18). Bill Hybels in his bible study said, "when you don't think you can hold on, when you don't think you can go the next step, when you feel like you are drowning...Think of heaven and hold on."

A promise gives hope!
edlina & the lynns
In our family, we try to make it a point to date our children individually, a practice we picked up from our spiritual mentors. Besides setting time aside to have our time together as husband and wife, we have to bear in mind our dates with our kids. That's quite a bit to keep up with though our individual dates with them are not weekly. We do it as regularly as possible. Through it we are creating memories. They look forward to each date eagerly. Their special time with Mum or Dad! Just one at a time. No sharing attention. All of Dad. All of Mum.

Today, Nat woke up early and got ready to go out breakfast with Dad - on the motorcycle. The last time they went off on the bike was up to Penang Hill; a ride that thrilled Nat and carved an adventurous memory in her. Today was simpler. Just to Grandpa's place to pick some plants for gardening. The rest of the date was gardening together (our garden needs a facelift) while her two other sisters did Art with Mum. What she did were simple things in life but above all else, she was so satisfied with the precious time with Dad. Now Ash and Chrisa are just awaiting for their turns this round to have Daddy by themselves.

A tremendous joy fills my heart as I watch my girls enjoying their Daddy, and how the man I courted and married are taking effort to make his princesses feel special. Just recently, his own sister commented how Ed has become so domestic now as she watched him do laundry for his pregnant wife :) You will never know what fatherhood can do even to the toughest man!

I am a daughter of the Heavenly Daddy. His love pursues me. Watching my own girls desiring so much to spend time with their dad, I can't help to think of my dates with my Heavenly Dad. How deep is my longing? Just like no one can take daddy's place in a lil' girl's heart, no one can fill the deep longing in the daughter of the Heavenly Father except He alone.
edlina & the lynns
I wonder how much he loves me? Seems like a silly question. A redundant one. Yet my mind raises many questions...

Can we ever understand how much our parents love us as we are growing up? Somehow we know they do but how much is a relative term. Its a norm to hear parents proclaim they love their kids. On the other hand, the kids complain their parents don't love them. The tension is real. Many times we can blame the temperament clash and the different love languages. Some kids may truly understand they are loved but how deep is questionable.

I grew up knowing I am being loved very much. Dad slogged hard to be the sole breadwinner while mum laboured at home to raise her young. Though we were in the lower income bracket but never did I feel I lack love. I enjoyed my childhood. My parents love me. That's a truth.

It was not till I became a parent myself did I realized how deep my parents' love is - or any parent for that matter. We may not always agree with everything they do yet who can compare to their love for their very own flesh and blood. The Bible says even those who are evil know how to give good gifts to their children (Matt.7:9-11).

Even the animals care deeply for their young. A couple of weeks ago, Ed discovered four kittens in our backyard. The discovery was a horror to me - simply because I don't fancy cats! The stray cats cause me lots of work. Very often they come into the backyard and leave fish bones, poops and vomitus around. Ya, sounds disgusting, right? And this is the second time our backyard had become the nursery for the newborn kitties. What is a horror to me is a delight to my kids! Ooos and aahs..."they are soooo cute..." The kids were all over the kittens that day. Honestly, they were cute. Ok, yes...they were cute kittens but not anymore soon when they are grown. That I am sure. Cats and dogs are a no-no in my home. The kids know that. Ed and I just don't like cats. He thinks cats are dumb (amongst many more valid reasons). Sorry, this sounds terrible to the cat lovers. And dogs...one got a piece of my rump when I was 8 and I've been too traumatised ever since.
Anyway, the kids attempted to plead for mercy for the cute creatures to stay. Oh well, I may not be friendly with cats but I am not as heartless. I thought hard together with Ed how to dispose them in the best way. Being a mum whom had nursed three babies and now expecting the fourth, I thought of how it would be for the mother cat to find her young missing. I was in a dilemma. Should I wait for them to be weaned off? If yes, there's a list of consequences which I may not be prepared to face. Finally, Ed drove them to a friend who loves cats and he adopted them. Don't know how they will fair but at least they are in better hands.
Soon enough the mother cat kept coming back daily meowing at my backyard. The cries were pathetic and pitiful to a human mother's heart. It is time to nurse. I remember how anxious I need to nurse my baby when they were hungry.

An earthly parent's love is no comparison to all others except...my mind was brought back to two scripture verses:

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. (Psalm 103:13)
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! (Isaiah 49:15)

As I thought about God's love, I can never ever comprehend the height, width and depth of his great love. I began singing an old song, "Think about his love...think about his goodness...think about his grace that brought us through...how could I forget his love..."

How could I forget his love?! I need not wonder. I just need to continue to believe and embrace the truth. He loves me and I am not forgotten. My heart is drawn to him whose passion is me (and the whole world) and my tears trickled down. I was comforted in his presence despite the difficulties and trials of daily life.
edlina & the lynns
Birthdays in our family are important although not always we have big dos. A simple hug and kiss, a little homemade card, a telephone call and the must-have makan are some ordinary gestures to say we love the birthday boy/girl.

In the midst of Chinese New Year, Kenny always become the star of ang pow receiving...coz he usually gets two portions from loved ones. He's not little anymore but he still receive much adoring greetings - especially from his nieces now. The Lynns wanted to dress their best for Koo Koo's birthday lunch and dinner. He loves wan ton mee, so we delighted him with good noodles from Noodles Station and for dinner he treated us instead :) or was is Dad who settled the bill?!

Happy Birthday and God's blessings, Kwang (more affectionately called at home)!

edlina & the lynns
How most adults underestimate the power of play. Every child needs to play. Play IS work to these tender hearts. Early childhood education emphazies play as a crucial part in the learning process. Our world is so caught up with academic achievement that so many kids are deprived of good creative play.

I love observing children playing. They tell you so much through their play. The past year end break gave great opportunites for my kids to have their friends for sleepover. As they engaged in their talking and playing, I sat quietly to listen and learn from them. It was an interesting lesson for me. The simplicity of children brings me the joy of daily learning.

Perhaps to the adults, they are merely playing. To them it is living. Learning life through the power of play. Chrisa wanted to set up her "cafe" today because she had her friends at home. I told her we would not play "cafe" today because time didn't permit. She was crossed and exclaimed, "I am not playing. I am really mending a food stall. It is real." Yes, indeed it is real - real food and beverages, real money and real ceramic kitchen ware (to any child it is a pride to be able to handle real stuff). I am caught guilty in my own thoughts for not being sensitive to a child's play. So I pacified her by rephrasing my words and not undermining her "work". Afterall, she is learning so much through her "cafe".

They ended up in the favourite kitchen corner. To any young girl who comes to our lil' nest, they never fail to be fascinated by the Lynns' kitchen corner - furnished with cookery ware and all sorts of knick-knacks from our nest. Anything from yogurt cups to spoilt microwave oven and a cardboard sink! These are real stuff and any kid will love it. The cardboard sink is almost as old as Ashlynn but still standing strong and serving the kids over the many years. The 2 hours of slogging to put the sink to reality was sure a worthwhile feat. It just cost a lil' creativity, some junks and a few ringgit as opposed to a thousand ringgit or more for a sophisticated toy sink from renowned toy shops. They served the same purpose - so that the child can play while working or is it work while playing? Anyway, for children... play = work.
edlina & the lynns
"The secret of good teaching is to regard the child's intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. Our aim therefore is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his inmost core." - Maria Montessori in "To Educate the Human Potential"

Everyday I welcome the day with much challenges as a mother and educator - simply put a homeschool mum. There's always the tension of how much to teach and allowing the children freedom in their learning. Yet one cannot deny the essence of homeschooling lies in the joy of learning. The world throws at us a sea of educational approaches and materials so that the child gets a head start in everything. After a decade of parenting, I've come to realized, and again and again my own children remind me of Maria Montessori's quote. It lies in the core of the child. My responsibility is to yield the best from within each of them through providing a conducive environment to thrive positively - a world of imagination and creative play.

Chrisa's Cafe
(health science, art, writing, socio-emotional, math lesson at play)

The happy "customers" waiting to be served
(the yummy food came from mum's kitchen - sausages, cookies, juice, milk, tea, etc. The "boss" happily collected real money and "ting", dropped them in the cash register)

edlina & the lynns
The Word of the Lord came...
The year of waiting...
The months of preparation...
The weeks of excitement...(also with some anxiety)

...we humbly present the Gateway City Church before God as we dedicated the new work to Him and rejoiced together with fellow saints as we gathered on 27 Jan 2008 evening. It was a significant moment as many came to witness the dedication, prayed and partnered with us as we seek to Empower the Generations, and Impact the Nations. Continue to dream big with us in this awesome assignment!

Bro. Chin Aik's words of encouragement was surely empowering and affirming. We are so grateful for his service and the partnership of MAPLINK. Our thanksgiving to God who made all things possible and city pastors, family and friends who walked this mile with us. Also for many who couldn't make it personally but showed their support in different ways. A big thank you!

For more information later http://www.gatewaycity.com.my
edlina & the lynns
The call was to "be still" (Ex. 14:13-14) and watch the Mighty Hand of God moved as He already issued the command for consecration. "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you." (Joshua 3:5)

"Tomorrow" is here.

We wait with anticipation as the good Lord unfolds the mystery of His doing.

As I trace the timeline of our journey, my heart is grateful for the year 2007. The call to be the modern "Joshuas" has a price to pay. It is His governing Presence that compelled us to move out from our position and followed the way that has never been walked before (Joshua 3:3-4). Armed with ambivalence, we crossed the year 2007 from 2006 full with uncertainties. Excitement married with anxiety, we only have the loving Father's Hands to hold and His promises to cling on. I scribbled on a little piece of paper as I run through the plans of 2007 and showed Ed. He glanced through and nodded in agreement what we hoped to accomplish. Yet we know it needed miraculous intervention of the Father. It did seem a long year ahead with so much planned and nothing to depend. Or at least within the limitation of the human mind.

It was a year of rest from the field and eat from our field of faith. We had to constantly and deliberately shut our ears from the voice of the world that injected doubt. Instead we had to discipline and proclaim the Father's promises to feed our faith. I thanked Him for giving me a man who was willing to walk this journey knowing that it was not going to be easy as a driven person and the sole breadwinner - to watch the year go by and supposedly rest, trusting divine provision every moment. It wasn't even daily but every moment. That spells "HUMILITY".

Those who fear the Lord lack nothing; in fact, lacks no good thing (Ps.34:9-10). What an assurance! The reality - the path is narrow. It is never meant to be easy but is purposed to quicken our spirit and awaken His grace. Some days were filled with interesting surprises. Others seemed hopeless and empty. It is never always easy to understand His doing and timing. Yet the Lord is our hope when we awoke in the morning and He is our song at night. There were tears of anxiety in the waiting but also tears of joy in overcoming.

The year passed quicker than we thought. Almost all the plans scribbled on the tiny piece of paper in the beginning of the year were endorsed and accomplished divinely. Together with the children we gathered on our bed an hour prior we bidded goodbye to 2007, we gave thanks to God who made it possible for us. Each of us shared some of the best happenings - the people, places, programmes, plans, protection, and above all else His Provision and Peace. Smiles, giggles and laughter filled the air as we talked and recalled the great times of the year. Woah! We realized we've done so much as a family. Experienced new things together. Entered a new horizon of faith.

The biblical Joshua and the Israelites laid 12 stones taken from the middle of Jordan when God parted the waters so they could cross on dry land. The 12 stones served as a memorial for them. This year we saw the miraculous act of our "sea" being parted too. Memories were created and cherished. A "monument" erected in our hearts and will be a memorial for the coming days. We echo the commitment of Joshua, "...as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)