Take up the challenge to expand your interests this year

I think most of us have certain interests/hobbies/pastimes right? Reading, music, star gazing, gaming, photography, and so on. And what most of the passionate ones have likely done is, say music lovers, bought and downloaded music online, bought records from shops, attended every gig in cafes in their city, attended the city’s annual music fest, and maybe attended a concert of an international artist or DJ if they happen to live in one of those cultural cities.

What next?

Now challenge yourself to take your interest a step further. For the passionate music lover bloke we just talked about above, look beyond your city and experience your interest someplace else. No city or country is like the other. Even the same thing can be perceived differently by your friend. The thing about art, music, literature or anything for that matter is that everything is open to interpretation, which manifests in change, resulting in a certain unique outcome to a particular group of people, or region.

Art, music, and literature are also a form of expression of a region and its people, reflecting the way of life, sociopolitical scenarios, and issues plaguing society.

My pastime is reading books. I either buy them online or borrow them from libraries. I generally read books whose synopsis interests me, is a literary prize-winner, or maybe a bestseller. I have been recently pondering over how I could take my reading interest further this year. Read 100 books this year? Join a book club? Choose one author and read all their works? Or save up to attend a literary fest?

I’ve decided to do none of them now thanks to a TED talk I heard yesterday by writer Ann Morgan on “My reading a book from every country in the world.” Her inspiration for this project came from the realization that she mainly possessed books from English-speaking countries. I love her ambition and project, so I’m going to follow in baby footsteps; set the goal to read a few books this year from different parts of the world.

If any of you are interested in charting Ann’s journey or looking for recommendations, you can take help from the interactive maps provided on go.ted.com/readtheworld. You can find book recommendations from 196 countries along with a short review from the writer.

Follow your heart, your interests, and let them take you to wonderful places and new experiences.

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Silver Lining

poppy

It’s really easy to feel disheartened, then feel sorry for yourself, and finally feel defeated, disappointed, or cross.

It was my birthday yesterday and the weather went from sunny to raining. I was upset at this change because it meant I couldn’t have a picnic outside as I had earlier planned. I was also looking forward to wearing my new kurta, but it turned out to be too long, so I had to make do with something old in my cupboard. When it was time for dinner, we headed to the restaurant I wanted to eat at but it happened to be closed, and after scouring for other restaurants to no avail, we finally headed back home.

If someone had asked me how I was feeling when I reached home, I would have said terrible. Things didn’t work out as planned and it was supposed to be “my special day” devoid of glitches.

As I got ready to sleep, I rethought my day. Was it really that bad?

I’ve changed my mind. My day was as good as could be. I enjoyed the heat of the sun and the cool of the rain all in one day. I got to snuggle with my husband under the umbrella. If I had worn my new kurta, I would have been conscious of mud splattering on it all the time and not enjoying my walk. And though simple, my husband cooked up a delicious meal.

So, what I’ve learnt is, and what we should all take away from this is, is to see things from two different perspectives. See it for what it was and then see it in a more forgiving light. Was the other route or option unacceptable or something to get upset over?

Let’s not be harsh in our views; Let’s seek the “silver lining” for a healthy and happy life.

What would you ask for if you were the child of a king?

wild-flowers

I was attending our church’s weekly prayer session yesterday and after the service my husband and I were casually chatting with our pastor, sharing  each other’s plans and aspirations for the new year, and then our pastor said something which took me by surprise because I never really thought deep about it. He said, “I say dream big because our God is a king. Why ask for something small when nothing is impossible for Him?”

He is right! If we were friends with a king, say the king of Brunei, and he told us to ask for anything we wanted, wouldn’t we get all excited and ask for something which is so much beyond our means? Such as a ginormous beautiful piece of land, or a palatial mansion, or lots of money.

We are sons and daughters of a heavenly king who tells us to just ask and we shall receive. Do not underestimate His power for He is our creator. He has entitled us to riches both on Earth and in heaven.

So dream big this year, place your plans before the Lord, and wait patiently. The Lord will make paths to fulfill your desires and show His glory.

Happy New Year 2018

 

Some of you, like me, may have jotted down a few new resolutions for this year or maybe not. Well, whatever the case may be, we can’t help but feel a sense of a new beginning when we step into a new year.

I’m not going to list down wise suggestions or tips on all the different areas of your life I think you should focus on in improving this year. By gosh, we have enough of those circulating around since November of last year.

I do want to, however, share one encouraging thought: You are you, you only live once, so live with fierce passion every day in the midst of the ordinary to see the extraordinary.

Have a blessed year ahead and thank you for all your support in 2017.

A Christmas with Christ in it

Nativity-HR-resized

Merry Christmas to one and all

A day for feasting, fun, and toys

But did you put Christ in the center of all of this

And remember His gift in the form of a baby boy

To redeem us sinners from the first Fall

With eternal life in His presence for evermore

 

Did you seek Him like the Magi did

Make haste to be in the presence of the King

Did your heart lift with praise just like the angel choir

For the babe in the manger in a cold stable with no fire

No greater gift can we receive

Than the love of our Father in the form of a swaddled babe fast asleep

 

Let’s remember Christmas for all the right reasons

Spread joy and love in the name of Jesus

As we’re surrounded by family and all Christmassy things

Let’s honor the Lord for all the good things

Let our hearts stay true to the meaning of Christmas

Put Christ in the center and for good reason!

The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly: Book review

The hen who...

A beautiful book. Have to admit, I teared up several times while reading it. It’s soulful, poetic, heart-rending, melancholic, yet triumphant.

One is instantly connected to the lead character, Spout, an egg-laying hen whose soul desire is to hatch an egg of her own:

“She had no desire to lay another egg. Her heart emptied of feeling every time the farmer’s wife took her eggs…She couldn’t so much as touch her own eggs, not even with the tip of her foot, And she didn’t know what happened to them after the farmer’s wife carried them in her basket out of the coop.”

Sprout fantasizes about a jolly life out in the open, frolicking in the fields, mingling with the other barnyard animals and birds, and becoming a mother. A day comes when she falls sick and is unable to lay eggs. Useless to the farmer, she is thrown into the “Hole of death” for the weasel to devour. Luckily, she survives and is coaxed out of the pit by a mallard duck, the only barn occupant who befriends her but being at the bottom of the pecking order is unable to help her as she gets kicked out of the barn by the others.

Henceforth begins a daunting and adventurous journey for Sprout; a journey best explained in the meaning of her name:

“Sprout is the best name in the world. A sprout grew into a leaf and embraced the wind and the sun before falling and rotting and turning into mulch for bringing fragrant flowers into bloom.”

As she sadly leaves the barn, she soon discovers an abandoned egg, fulfils her dreams of hatching one, and spends the rest of her life defending her “baby” from the weasel. Interestingly, like most readers I presume, I looked at the relationship between the hen and her baby as successfully capturing the essence of motherhood; however, the South Korean author, Sun-Mi Hwang says she drew inspiration from her impression of her dad.

Written as a children’s book, it was observed with skepticism as the lead character is killed off at the end.

“And then, like a feather, she was aloft. Gliding through the air with her large, beautiful wings, Sprout looked down at everything below—the reservoir and the fields in a snowstorm, and the weasel limping away, a scrawny hen dangling from her jaws.”

Elucidating on this, the author in an interview opines, “Sprout did everything she wanted to in life. She went out and saw the world. It was hard, but she raised a child like she wanted to. She went up against everything one can in life and persevered. You can’t call that a sad ending. I wrote it believing that all things die. We don’t accept that as sad.”

I definitely recommend this book to every adult.  Only 134 pages long, grab your tea mug, a blanket, and read away.

(Don’t forget to keep a box of tissues at hand).

Work from home? Learn to still rock it

 

work-from-home-tips

I work from home and like most of my type, I tend to stay in my comfy PJ’s all day long with my uncombed hair tied up in a quick knot and exhibit the usual telltale sign of “working from home” with wild-looking eyebrows. Or am I the only peculiar one who stays this way?  Well, if you can relate, it’s time to shake this complacence off right away.

You can ‘rock’ the whole work-from-home thing

  1. Get ready

wake_up

Get ready in the morning like you would if you were heading out for work. Yes that includes getting up in the morning (not noon), taking a shower, and getting dressed (do not slip into another set of PJ’s). Which brings me to my next point.

 

  1. Dress up

dress up

This is the fun part. While we tend to wear “appropriate” clothing if we were working outside because we need to catch public transport, maintain the decorum of the company, and appear like we know our shit, working from home gives the advantage of wearing whatever we want. Feel like wearing high-waisted denim shorts and a tank top? Why not!  That cute white cotton dress hanging at the back of your cupboard that is a bit too thin for outside wear? Put it on! Feel like a quirky bow tie guys? Go ahead.

 

  1. Have a relaxed pre-work ritual

 

 

 

morning tea

Enjoy a quite morning tea/coffee with some light music on, whip up an easy breakfast, and sit in a comfy corner having a “me” moment. Staying relaxed will make you more productive and tune your mind for a positive attitude.

 

  1. Create an inspirational work space

 

work desk

We have the advantage of customizing our work space however we want. Keep your work space clean, decorative, inspirational, and productive. Which means, have your notepads and pens all ready, a to-do list of things you need to tackle right away, some inspirational quotes to remind you to stay focused and happy, and maybe a table plant or two to add that touch of serenity.

Have a great day guys!