Saturday, April 28, 2012

wheee it's a

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

on having too much information

Shortly after I gave birth to Ro, my gynae said, "You lost the pregnancy weight really fast; is your thyroid...?" And because he -- a medical professional -- just threw this out at me, and I was a little headachey and having the baby blues, I had my thyroid tested. Praise the Lord, it was perfectly fine, but I started to notice this "trend" among certain (many?) doctors -- you see them about something, and after giving you their "diagnosis", they add, "Well you know, it might also be...". Like, how many bases can you cover -- really?

I remember talking to my girlfriend about this, and I remember "coining" the phrase "internet doctoring". That's the other side of the Internet, isn't it? Too much information. You look up something, and you get 10 million definitions, all offering and linking you up to 10 million more options and possibilities. And that's what I meant by "internet doctoring" -- you see the doctor and you get a bunch of choices to choose from. Gone are the days when my Mom would take me to the neighbourhood GP, some grandfatherly old fellow who'd write out his prescriptions with a sure, almost dismissive, confidence. You'd absorb his self-assurance as if by osmosis, and certainly you wouldn't rush home and check WebMD. Simplicty was bliss.

Don't get me wrong -- I thank God for advanced medical knowledge and expertise, and, in this day and age of lawsuits, I can understand where some of these chaps are coming from. But again, that pursuit of certainty can also make one a nervous wreck... I am so grateful that God has helped me in those areas of fear and worry, but sometimes when my girlfriend calls, anxiously listing her symptoms and forming extreme, panic-filled conjectures, exacerbated by doctor ambiguity and internet overdosing, I am reminded of how important it is to be grounded in God's peace, goodness and love.

"Peace I leave with you," Jesus said, "My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled]" (John 14:27).

Paul wrote, "We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose" (Rom 8:28).

Recently, my husband showed me an article in Newsweek magazine, entitled The Psychology Behind Cyberchondria. It was certainly insightful, and I think it could be both enlightening and helpful to anyone who suffers this anxiety.

"Web-enabled hypochondria, dubbed 'cyberchondria', is becoming increasingly common... But why should simply reading an online write-up about, say, Hodgkin's lymphoma convince us that we've fallen victim to the disease? A new study in the April 2012 issue of Psychological Science suggests that the irrational tendency at work in the brains of cyberchondriacs is the same as that in the brains of gamblers.

"Gamblers make the mistake of seeing patterns in a set of randomly generated events, deciding that a positive result on one or two rolls of the dice will continue. For cyberchondriacs, that same tendency means deciding that hitting a streak in the list of symptoms (headache, followed by nausea, followed by fatigue) means you must also have all of the other symptoms in the list...

"According to Virginia Kwan, a psychologist as Arizona State University and lead author on the paper, the results demonstrate the kind of unconscious pattern creation in which the human brain excels -- and which frequently leads us astray when it comes to the basic logic of probability. The way gamblers say they have a 'hot hand', she says, cyberchondriacs believe they have 'hot symptoms': if they hit the first two in a list, they believe they must have the third one as well" (extracted from the article by Britt Peterson, in Newsweek, Apr 16, 2012).

I plan to tell my girlfriend this the next time she calls, but also to "[Cast] the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully" (1 Peter 5:7). Have a super blessed Friday -- you're fine :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

on peace and immortality

The White Orchard, by Vincent Van Gogh

Hi, everyone. I know I've been away from the blog for awhile; my grandmother passed away, and we were busy with all the attendant observances of such an event.

My grandmother had lived well into her 80s, and with her own family the entire time; she had seen her grandchildren become adults, and the birth of great-grandchildren as well. She had died in her own bed, surrounded by her loved ones. These are all wonderful blessings I think.

It sometimes takes a funeral to make one really think about a person, doesn't it? I mean, really think. Because in the busyness of our everyday lives, we often take the people around us for granted, like fixtures... In my grandmother's case, I basically grew up; I got married, I started my own family, I didn't need her anymore. She had helped look after me as a child and young teen, but later she had lived with my aunt; their home is far from us, and we tended to meet up only on occasions like Christmas or Chinese New Year.

When I first learnt that my grandmother had passed away -- she had been ill for awhile, so it was not entirely a shock -- I could only think of our recent interactions; I mean my interactions with her as an adult, on those few yearly occasions. There would of course be many people at those parties, so we would never really get past the hug-and-kiss greetings and the fleeting questions about how the other was doing.

But my grandmother's answer to those questions was always a stout "I'm OK!", despite the fact that she was actually very sick, and you could tell she meant it, because that was the kind of person she was, or that I always knew her as -- calm, stoic, pragmatic (she'd already chosen which clothes she wanted to be buried in, and had prepared her red packets for the next Chinese New Year). I think that placidity somehow rubbed off on me, because I was equally placid when I first learnt of her passing. It was almost as if I was simply being told that she was doing something new, like enrolling in some university program, or moving house. I could not seem to think of her beyond the past decade or so, and paradoxically, that calmness disturbed me not a little.

But it was when I got home, and was saying my prayers, that the Holy Spirit brought to my mind things about my grandmother which I'd not thought about for a long time, things from my childhood and teenage years. They were things I could never have thought of without divine help, and they were wonderful little things -- walks to the bookstore, sweets, her floral suits, playing with her powders and perfume. And always her placid practicality -- so that after I had cried, and finally mourned her, I felt peaceful and reassured, not only about my grandmother, but myself as well. And these verses came to mind, so fitting also to this Easter season:

Take notice! I tell you a mystery (a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of God). We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed (transformed)

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the [sound of the] last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [in Christ] will be raised imperishable (free and immune from decay), and we shall be changed (transformed).

For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us, this nature that is capable of dying] must put on immortality (freedom from death).

And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory.

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

Thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Cor 15:51-57)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

on hanging in there


These verses from my Bible reading this morning were so, so timely for me, I felt compelled to share them with you:

"And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.

"So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God's family with you, the believers]" (Gal 6:9-10)

Time and time again, God has shown me that when I'm going through a challenging time, the "trick" is to keep steadfast in faith, and go be a blessing to others. When I put my trust and reliance in God -- essentially, when I focus on God, rather than my circumstances, when I get my mind off myself -- I can endure with a peaceful, if not a cheerful, heart. And God is always faithful to deliver me! I can say it now, on hindsight; that's what experience with God does. It's like that hymn, 'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus, written way back in 1882: "Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!" goes the refrain, "How I've proved Him o'er and o'er!"

Then, my devotion for today was entitled: Go to God first. The quoted Bible verse was: "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him" (Ps 91:15). Isn't that lovely -- I felt so full of God's comfort and reassurance when I saw that.

This devotion began with the author describing an emotionally painful situation she'd gone through. After it had happened, she sat in her car and prayed, "God I need you to comfort me. I don't want to feel like this... I'm having trouble handling it and I have to have Your help".

"God took the pain and all my bad feelings went away... We tend to do everything we can think of before turning to God, and nothing ever changes the situation. We would be so much better off if our first response to every emergency and every kind of emotional pain were to pray" (extracted from Hearing From God Each Morning, by Joyce Meyer, italics mine).

And then, as I stuck my bookmark in for the next day, I saw that devotion was entitled Sometimes You Just Stand. Well of course I couldn't resist a sneak peek, especially since I noticed I'd underlined parts of it from the year before. Quickly, I read this bit: "Often in our lives, we take action naturally and do little or nothing spiritually. But when we discipline ourselves to be still and wait on the Lord, we are engaging in powerful spiritual activity. Our willingness to be still says to the Lord, 'I am going to wait on You until You do something about this situation. In the meantime, I am going to be peaceful and enjoy my life while I wait on You'".

Have a blessed, peace-filled Tuesday :)

(PS. some people have asked me what version of the Bible I read, that's so full of brackets and things. I read the Amplified Bible, which, as its publisher describes, "takes both word meaning and context into account in order to accurately translate the original text from one language into another. [It] does this through the use of explanatory alternate readings and amplifications to assist the reader in understanding what Scripture really says. Multiple English word equivalents to each key Hebrew and Greek word clarify and amplify meanings that may otherwise have been concealed by the traditional translation method").

Friday, April 13, 2012

building a roof garden


OK, so you may know about my thing for recycling old boxes. And you may know about the kids' Sylvanian Families. Well one of Becky's buildings is Berry Grove School, where all good Sylvanian children go (see cute little website picture on left).

For the longest time I kept eyeing that little triangular platform at the top, where the clock and schoolbell are (that is a working clock people, no kidding), wondering how I could make use of it to build an extra floor (trust me, the way those critters are, they're always needing more space) (I meant the Sylvanians) (I think).
Now the bell is attached to the clock and the whole piece is slotted through that triangular platform. It's not actually triangular though; it's really a trapezium, so I knew fitting a cardboard box there, with the clock piece going through it, might be a little tricky. Also, the scalloped edges of the school walls only offered a tiny ledge of about 2mm -- still, I felt it was something.

Well, after considering it every now and then over several days and weeks, and what with those critters murmurin' and complainin' about how they don't have enough space to sleep, I finally decided to give it a shot.

This shows the thing sitting on my sewing machine, drying. I managed to make slots for the clock piece to go through.

This shows the thing with some furniture in place. Some of what was previously the nursery was moved here, so that the old nursery is now a bedroom.

This shows the thing mounted on top of the school. I had to build a pillar in the bedroom below to support the weight.

And this shows everyone enjoying it. Yay for recycling! Have a super lovely Friday :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

on chickens and eating right

I think he is a wild Red Junglefowl. But I call him Arthur.

Well I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but we have a bunch of roosters and hens in our backyard. Note, non-chicken people -- male chickens are roosters, or cocks (for some reason I just prefer calling them roosters okaay). If they're under a year old, they're called cockerels. Female chickens are hens, and if they're under a year old, they're called pullets. So don't be saying "chickens and hens", 'cause that would just be uncool.

Anyway, these roosters and hens have been hanging out in our backyard for years -- we've literally seen generations come and go. We don't know where they came from, they just appeared one day and stayed. Needless to say, we've gotten rather fond of the little things (well, not very little really), and have gotten to know their various ways and idiosyncrasies over time. Knowing them personally does pretty much mean that we'd never dream of touching them for any part of their... um... bodies; happily, the whole neighbourhood does seem to feel the same way.

Well obviously, one of the big challenges for wild chickens is eating right. Everyone in the neighbourhood helps feed them, but I'm sure it doesn't really help when well-meaning people throw any leftovers they have at them. Man, I even remember my Mom asking me one time if I felt it was inappropriate to give them her leftover chicken rice (this is made with rice cooked in chicken stock, so um, yeah) (we didn't).

So I'd give them the sort of things which I felt was ok for them -- birdy things, like bread, oatmeal, sunflower seeds and rice. But then I started wondering what healthy treats I could give them, since sometimes they did look like they could do with some. I was curious if they could eat bananas, cheese, and well, yes, cat food.

And wonderfully, I found this awesome page! Isn't it great? An entire chart of chicken treats, as well as what not to feed (and yep, it included cat food). I especially like what the author had to say about feeding chickens cooked chicken: "They may like it and it won't kill them, but it just seems so...... ummm......... wrong"... hahahaha...

And then, in the list of what not to feed: "Candy, Chocolate, Sugar". Why? "Their teeth will rot… No, it’s just bad for their systems..." hahaha... Well I thought I'd share this great site with any of you backyard chicken feeders and breeders out there -- you know who you are ;)


O! And just as I was running out into my backyard to take a picture of our rooster, I saw this lovely yellow bird fly down into one of the trees. Unfortunately, it only stayed about two seconds, and I could only catch its back, but it's still very pretty non? Anyone know what type it might be?

Monday, April 9, 2012

and the world is her canvas


anti-slip floor stickers

Aw, who doesn't love a hippo in a shower cap. With a rabbit.

OK, have you ever tried those bath mat sticker thingies? They're for people who want to have the anti-slip protection of a proper bath mat, but without the inconvenience of stripping off the darn thing every time they're done showering. So yeah, I'm one of those people. But if you've noticed, those sticker things invariably last like maybe, two showers, and then they're coming off and proving twenty times more dangerous than if you'd just left the slippery tiles bare (and yes, that includes the supposed "child safety" ones made by certain... um... mother... care... type companies).

Well guess what -- I think I've finally found the bath mat stickers of all bath mat stickers. They're Anti-Slip Floor Stickers, from 3M's Safety-Walk line. It seems 3M's Safety-Walk tapes and treads are being used in the military and at construction sites, so I guess they can handle doing some cute little stickies for the bathroom.

The things come in packs of four, and measure 13x13cm. They have a fine-grit surface, with easy peel-and-stick application, and of course they boast 3M "High-Performance Adhesive" (I mean, c'mon, these are the guys who bring us good ol' Scotch Tape right?). The stickers are supposedly "maintenance-free, with little or no adhesive residue upon removal", but after using them for only a couple of weeks, we've yet to verify that. But they've been great so far, thankfully exceeding the two showers of certain... um... mother... care... type brands.

* Psst -- don't miss out on this giveaway, ending April 10th *

Saturday, April 7, 2012

blessed Easter!

Guess who dressed herself.

The verses from my Bible reading this morning coincided so beautifully with the wonder of Easter that I thought I'd share them with you; I encourage you to read the chapter in its entirety. A blessed Easter to you and yours :)

"For we know that if the tent which is our earthly home is destroyed (dissolved), we have from God a building, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens...

"For while we are still in this tent, we groan under the burden and sigh deeply (weighed down, depressed, oppressed)--not that we want to put off the body (the clothing of the spirit), but rather that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal (our dying body) may be swallowed up by life [after the resurrection].

"Now He Who has fashioned us [preparing and making us fit] for this very thing is God, Who also has given us the [Holy] Spirit as a guarantee [of the fulfillment of His promise].

"So then, we are always full of good and hopeful and confident courage; we know that while we are at home in the body, we are abroad from the home with the Lord [that is promised us].

"For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance" (2 Cor 5:1:7).

Friday, April 6, 2012

a Good Friday prayer

This was our Good Friday litany at church this morning (a litany is a series of petitions used during service, generally recited by the worship leader, and responded to by the congregation. I believe this one was written by the Rev. M. Ashley Grant; please correct me if I'm mistaken).

The words are so simple, and yet so powerful; I think it would do me good to regularly meditate on them:

Lord, when we feel sorry for ourselves
and think we have sacrificed so much for others,
Remind us of what You did for us on the cross.

Lord, when our patience wears thin
and we are ready to give up,
Speak to us through the example
of Your endurance on the cross.

Lord, when we get angry and feel like fighting back
against those who would be our enemies,
Help us remember Your words to Your enemies
from the cross, “Father, forgive.”

Lord, whenever we suffer in any way,
Keep us near the cross.

Lord, when we are afraid to stand up
for what is true and honorable,
Strengthen us with the courage
with which You went to the cross.

Lord, when we come to the times of death,
Uphold us with the assurance
that life did not end for You on the cross.

Fill us with the hope of resurrection and new life
which Your cross continues to teach us each day. Amen.

A blessed Good Friday and Easter weekend to you and yours.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

beside the everlasting why


Way back when I was a teenager, I'd very much enjoyed a film by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory called A Room with a View. It was a beautiful, brilliant adaptation of E. M. Forster's novel of the same name, and starred many British acting greats, including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Daniel Day-Lewis, and a very young, very pretty Helena Bonham Carter. It also starred a very swoonworthy Julian Sands, who unfortunately, despite his excellent turn in this movie, went on to star in such dubious things as Arachnophobia, Boxing Helena, and (hm) Smallville.

Well anyway, there was this one part in the film that made a great impression on me at the time (I mean, greater than the other parts that also made a great impression). The scene takes place, I believe, in the Church of Santa Croce. There, Lucy Honeychurch meets the elder Mr Emerson. Both of them start walking together, and then they see Mr Emerson's son George further off, ingeniously putting off an annoying local touter.

Mr Emerson says to Lucy, "My poor boy has brains, but he's very muddled... I don't require you to fall in love with my boy, but please try to help him. If anyone can stop him from brooding... and on what? The things of the Universe. I don't believe in this 'world sorrow', do you? Make my boy realise that at the side of the everlasting 'Why?', there is a 'Yes', and a 'Yes', and a 'YES'!"

For some reason, those words stuck in my head, even as teenager, perhaps because I was a little like George. That "world sorrow" Mr Emerson speaks of, comes, I think, from the German Weltschmerz, which, broadly speaking, refers to one's sadness over the evils of the world. As a child, I had something of that, and I too was continually brooding and asking "Why?". This continued into adulthood, but of course, even as an adult, there is no intellectually satisfying answer.

Strangely, I would periodically recall that scene from the movie, and I did so again just recently. Then this morning, as I read my Bible, I found this:

"For the Son of God, Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who has been preached among you by us, by myself, Silvanus, and Timothy, was not Yes and No; but in Him it is [always the divine] Yes.

"For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes [answer] in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God" (2 Cor 19-20, italics mine).

Intellectually, I was somehow always stuck at the "everlasting 'Why?'". For uncertainty and not knowing can sometimes drive one crazy... If I felt I had come to some sort of conclusion about an issue, that I'd reasoned it out or got my head wrapped around it, I'd feel better, perhaps deriving comfort from being "in control". But the reality was, I still knew nothing; the fact remains that one cannot have any certainty about anything however much one broods and reasons and thinks.

Since growing in my faith, however, God has lifted me out of that pit. The Bible tells us to "stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life... who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life?" (Matt 6:25-27).

"[Cast] the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully" (1 Peter 5:7). I remember Joyce Meyer saying once that faith does require some unanswered questions.

I've realised that in order to live at all sanely, if not victoriously, one simply has to stop questioning and asking "Why?" -- one has to accept that one cannot know, but it is enough to know the One who does. So I will have confidence, and put my trust and reliance in God, and press on in faith, realising at last that "at the side of the everlasting 'Why?', there is a 'Yes', and a 'Yes', and a 'YES'!"

Sunday, April 1, 2012


A fun little necklace for kiddos or grown-ups, featuring a vintage German matte white mushroom charm. You know you want to wear a frosty mushroom! Available here.

* Psst -- don't miss out on this giveaway, ending April 10th *

on praying for parking space


Yesterday there was a free outdoor pet event at Marina Bay -- people were invited to bring their pets and take part in the event activities, or just picnic and soak in the atmosphere. The Marina Bay promontory is huge and sprawling, with both tiled and grassy areas, so it's perfect for dog-walking, kite-flying, and all that sort of thing.

Well, the kids had already known about the event for at least a week before, and had been hankering to go for it. I was game enough at first, but I gradually grew doubtful, as there were massive thunderstorms in the days leading up to the thing, and it poured non-stop all night long and into the day itself.

But I had to commit one way or the other, because not only were the kids expectant, there were some church friends who were waiting to know our plans as well. I'd already spoken to a couple of them in the morning when it was still raining, and, with the sky looking so dark and sombre, I said I was quite uncertain whether to bother. Marina Bay is pretty far from where we live, the event was hours away in the late afternoon, and what with preparing all the picnic food and bringing along the animals, and packing their things as well as the kids', I said what anyone would -- I'm going to pray for God's guidance.

There's this lovely lady we know at church who prays about everything -- and that includes the so-called little things of our everyday lives, like getting a parking space, or choosing the right present, or where to eat (on why we sometimes don't getting that parking space, you might read some of my thoughts here). My Mom, on the other hand, isn't comfortable with doing that -- she feels she shouldn't bother God with her trivial, petty needs when there are people in the world suffering terribly from wars, natural disasters, and disease.

I understand where my Mom is coming from, but I have to say that since walking more closely with God, I've learnt to approach Him about pretty much every aspect of my life, particularly areas that require guidance, revelation, wisdom and reassurance. "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything," the Bible says in Philippians 4:6, "but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God" (italics mine).

When we think that God can only be bothered with some of us, and some of our needs, I think we're somehow undervaluing God's perfect love and goodness. It's also like we're undervaluing His omnipotence, as if we think He's got more than enough on His plate. Yet as Paul writes to the Ephesians, "May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,

"That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];

"[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]...

" [He] is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]" (Eph 3:17-20).

In Matthew 10, it says, "Are not two little sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's leave (consent) and notice. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, then; you are of more value than many sparrows".

As I repeatedly see God's hand of blessing and protection in every area of my life, I cannot help but know and believe that He is with me, that He will never leave me nor forsake me, and that He loves me with an everlasting love. One of my favourite verses in the Bible is 1 Peter 5:7: "[Cast] the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully" (italics mine).

The Bible also tells of the occasion when Jesus' disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. Jesus taught them what we now call the Lord's Prayer, but after teaching them that, He went on to say:

"Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and will say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves [of bread],

"For a friend of mine who is on a journey has just come, and I have nothing to put before him;

"And he from within will answer, Do not disturb me; the door is now closed, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and supply you [with anything]?

"I tell you, although he will not get up and supply him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his shameless persistence and insistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

"So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you.

For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened.

"What father among you, if his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent?

"Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

"If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!" (Luke 11:5:13).

More and more I am learning what it means to call God Abba, my heavenly Father. I know how I love and care for my own children, evil though I am -- I care about every detail of my kids' lives, and I want to help them any time they come to me, even if it's about whether they should wear the blue stripey t-shirt or the pink star one. How much more can we expect from God, who is perfect, who is all that is good, who is Love?

I do my earthly best to meet all my children's needs, but beyond that, I do many extra things too, just to show them I love them, just to make them happy. I believe, by approaching God with all our needs, we show our confidence in His love and His good plans for our lives, and we also show that we do want Him, are entirely dependent on Him, in every area of our lives. "Unto You, o Lord, do I bring my life," the psalmist writes.

And how many times, just because my kids keep pestering me, and wear me down by their sheer persistence, do I relent and say, Alright, alright, here you go, ok, let's do that. I believe I'm reflecting a bit, just a tiny tiny bit, of God's perfect love, and God as the perfect parent.

So, even as the clouds hung heavy and threatening in that dark grey sky, I said my morning prayers, and then mentioned my quandary about the evening's picnic. And up in my spirit came God's answer: "Go for it -- it's a beautiful day and you'll have fun".

Well, I told my friends that we would go, and I started making a whole bunch of sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs, and packing the leashes and stuff, and we all -- including Kip and Ming -- piled into the car and went for it. Halfway there my husband said, "Wow, look at those clouds; what if it rains". And I just said, "Nope, it'll be fine. I prayed about it".

And the sun came out, and we all had a wonderful time.


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