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.