writing-300x201

Saturday’s Story: A letter to my children about marriage

Written by Kelly.
Published on Raising Homemakers.

Dear Children,

Should the Lord give you the good gift of a husband or wife, and I hope He does, there are a few things I want you to know. Things that you may not hear from anyone else, and certainly not on TV or other media. Sadly, your church may not even tell you.

Marriage, sweet little people, is not for the purpose of your happiness. Happy as I want you to be and hope you will be, you must yet understand that marriage is God’s design and His purposes must be pursued in order for you to be truly happy. His end is holiness and He will use all things in a life devoted to Him to fulfill that end.

To my girls:

Marry a man whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, he is not hard to please. Admire him, cheer him on and show gratitude, and he will fall over himself trying to please you. Smile often, speak well of him always, and do whatever necessary to try and maintain a pleasant mood about you so that it transfers to your home, making it a place where he and your children love to be.

You’ll have bad days of course, crying days even, and that’s when you go to your bedroom, kneel on the floor and beg the Lord to carry you. Then get up, get a fresh perspective (crayons will come off the wall), and try again. Above all else, make a home.

To my boys:

Marry a woman whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, she may be hard to please ;-) only if you don’t know “the secret”. What is that? I’m glad you asked. The secret to pleasing your wife is to make her feel safe and treasured. You may have to move out of your comfort zone to do this at times. She won’t always readily translate the oil change to love, though it means that. But let me give you a “secret question”–a question you need to ask her often. It’s not just in the asking, though. Be sure to focus your eyes on hers, maybe even touch her shoulder or face, and then ask: “What’s on your mind these days? “ And then be ready to listen. She wants you to draw her out. She will perceive this as your protection over the matters of her heart. Tenderness, listening, protection. That’s what she wants.

To you all:

If your wife or husband does something really stupid, forgive. If they do it again, forgive again. Forgiveness must be the propelling force in your lives each day. Dwell on the strengths, push out thoughts of their weaknesses. Take every thought captive–choose to love.

Here’s that part you are not going to hear often:

If you find yourself “not happy”, having lost attraction, disinterested, etc., you are not permitted to even think about a divorce. If you find yourselves arguing more and more, don’t think for a minute that “the children will be better off out of this”, because they won’t.

The vows you took on your wedding day were not suggestions. They were covenant vows, before a Holy God, family and friends, to stay with this person the rest of your life, even if you don’t feel like it. You swore a solemn oath and if you can’t live up to it, don’t get married. Decide up front that your marriage is irrevocable. There is far more motivation for getting along if your “marriage house” has no door.

Do not share intimate thoughts or feelings with anyone of the opposite sex. Do not find yourself alone for any length of time with such either.

Divorce is not a “private option”. It will affect multiple families for many generations. When you “separate what God has joined” you permanently injure far more than just yourself.

Guard your marriage as fiercely as you would guard your own life. Treat your spouse as an extension of your flesh, just as God sees you. Treat your spouse like other family members. You know, “you gotta love ‘em, they’re the only family you’ve got”.

I want you to be happy, I surely do. But I will pray for you to be holy.

harry-potter-hunger-twilight

The Hunger Games: a curious viewer’s take to sum the reviews up

Interested in knowing more about The Hunger Games and its reviews from people, but too lazy to do actually find it out? Don’t worry, I’ve done the legwork, so just sit back and enjoy the ride.

First of all, if you don’t know what The Hunger Games is, it’s a novel by Suzanne Collins that has been adapted into a movie. It’s released about a week ago, and since then the movie has gone viral. If you have no idea whatsoever and yet too lazy to Wikipedia it, read my review on The Hunger Games (2012).

Reviews are storming in, both good and bad, both critics and praise, towards the movie. What’s interesting is that the movie is reviewed from all sorts of angles: from the basic comparing it with Twilight series or Harry Potter, to racism, boy-girl relationship, and even feminism.

And as a big fan of Harry Potter (totally one of the best series I have ever read in my life), a hater of Twilight (hate is a strong word here, I might need to lower my hatred a bit), and a neutral viewer of The Hunger Games (the social discrepancy intrigues me, but to be honest I’m not even half-amazed), here’s what people are talking about:

1. The Hunger Games vs Harry Potter

First of all, my friend, Andreas Chan, made a decent point about the unfairness of comparing these two very different sets of books. Given both are fiction teenager novels doesn’t mean that we can just say that one is better than the other, or vice versa. He said:

I think it is not fair to compare Hunger Games trilogy to Harry Potter, since the story, setting and plot itself is totally different. If Hunger Games includes elements of wizardry, potions and a character like Snape then I will compare it to Harry Potter. …Basically they have their own charms, so don’t buy the idea that every book must have the same charms.

I agree on this view, however, many people say that The Hunger Games is the next Harry Potter, and I highly doubt that. Let me rephrase it, I completely reject that idea. Whether you like it or not, Harry Potter is phenomenal. It changes the society view of how good and entertaining a book can be, both on the teenager level and the adult level. You can have a heated argument with me about this, but let’s keep that for later.

Don’t believe me? Read Phelan: The Hunger Games vs. Harry Potter.

Harry Potter has seven books (eight movies), while the Hunger Games has three. Suzanne Collins is enjoying her success, but J.K. Rowling is the world’s first billionaire by books, according to http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com.

People waited at midnight for the release of the seventh Harry Potter book, and I refused to sleep until I finished it. I never finished the last Hunger Games book, and I know I wasn’t alone in my feelings about the less-than-spectacular ending.

2. The Hunger Games vs Twilight

This is even more… ehm, how should I say this? Let Andreas Chan said it for me again:

…to compare it to Twilight is like comparing European luxury cars to American muscle cars..one is built with quality and technology to ensure customer’s satisfaction while one is built with massive engines that kills polar bear every 40 miles while ensuring customers their cars are ‘green’ but yet people still buy them for reasons that are unquantifiable.

I can’t deny the fact that Twilight is not phenomenal. It is, in its own rights (we’ll have a very good heated argument about this). But seriously, I believe in every word of this infamous quote:

Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.

(ps. before you throw rocks at me, I’m not saying that Stephen King is the one who says this. There has been a heated debate about this matter, I’m not going there. I’m just saying that for me, it’s really true).

I would like to see someone trying to add one more sentence about The Hunger Games… But anyway, you get what I mean? (Twilight fans out there, I’m sorry, we just have to agree to disagree).

To get more factual rather than emotional, let me quote this from Hunger Games vs Twilight: Why Games rule, … vampires suck which is published on the Strait Times:

One does not like to compare apples with oranges but The Hunger Games versus Twilight is more a case of apples versus artificially fruit-flavoured chewing gum.

Just. love. that. sentence.

Not convinced?

Here’s another criticism from literacy point of view on The Case agaisnt Twilight:

Stephenie writes some weird sen­tences. And I don’t mean in the sense of, “Oh, Bella is expe­ri­enc­ing vam­pires for the first time; obvi­ously things are a lit­tle weird.” I’m talk­ing about sen­tences that are like run­away trains that ram­ble on and on, using semi­colons as period place­hold­ers. No, Stephenie. Finish the thought and be done with it already.

3. The Hunger Games vs Twilight vs Harry Potter

I won’t be repeating myself for the third time, but I find this article beyond hilarious: An Imagined Girls Night With Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, Bella Swan And Buffy Summers.

Conversation beyond hilarious #1:

Katniss: Moving on… So, how was everyone’s week?

Hermione: Oh, same old. Quidditch match, Ron being a whiny, emotional middle-child, a few random assassination attempts by the Dark Lord, saving Potter from certain doom. Y’know, the usual stuff.

Buffy: I was saving the world.

Katniss: I was also saving the world!

Bella: I jumped off a cliff to get the attention of my ex-boyfriend.

Conversation beyond hilarious #2:

Katniss: This conversation is getting weird. Can I have some of those Doritos?

Bella: So Katniss, who are you going to choose between Peeta and Gale?

Katniss: Well, I hadn’t really thought about it. Leading that whole revolution thing has left me super busy and all.

Bella: But who will it be!! Which one makes you feel complete inside?

Katniss: Um, neither? It’s mostly just trying to decide whether I want to have a good hunting partner or a boyfriend who knows how to work the bread machine.

Bella: OMG I have no idea what I would do in your situation. …What about you, Hermione: Harry or Ron?

Hermione: Um, Harry has always only been my friend. It’s always been Ron for me. But I thought tonight wasn’t talking about boys, and that’s all you seem to want to do! I came here for a girls night, not a “bitching about boys” night!

Katniss: I only care about guys when it comes to how they can help me save the world.

Buffy: Absolutely. We have far more exciting things to talk about. Like weapons.

Bella: But boys are obviously the emotional crux of our lives! Edward practically looks at me the wrong way and I go into a helpless, emotional coma for eight days! He is my absolute everything and I can’t be a functional human being without his existence! What else could be more important in your lives than your man?!?!? What the hell else could ever be harder in your lives?!?

Conversation beyond hilarious #3:

Katniss: I’ve been kind of tied up dealing with this whole reality TV death match I’ve been forced into, that’s also turned into a full-scale rebellion against the leader of my dystopian, totalitarian society, all the while trying not to starve to death and provide for my family.

Hermione: I just had to wipe myself from the memories of my parents, as I set out on a road trip where my two best friends and I are being hunted by a band of insane fascists, working under the instructions of the wizarding equivalent of Hitler. One of them tortured me, and there is a constant fear of being hunted down and assassinated.

Buffy: I spend every single day of my life battling evil vampires, and am constantly saving the world from demons, angry Gods, and the Root of All Evil itself. My mother is dead and my sister isn’t technically a real person. I have technically died twice. You and your man troubles take the entire women’s movement back decades.

Bella: Hmmm, I think I’m going to take this moment to go to the washroom.

If you are interested in reading more about the books, a fellow blogger has done it for me: Harry Potter vs. Twilight vs. The Hunger Games. I strongly encourage you to read this post.

Okay, basically these stuffs are the meat of what I want to share, the other reviews are great, so if you’d like to take a look, please consult:

The Hunger Games is a great movie with its own charm. It talks a lot about our social issues and makes us redefine what it is to be ‘humane’. However, so does Harry Potter, and Twilight. Hard-core fans of these stuffs out there, I respect your own preferences, so please don’t throw rocks at me.

Sure, for me, Twilight wrecks my mind about what I think as an ‘ideal’ boyfriend and all the stuffs that I should be doing (finding my ‘Edward’) at 18 instead of finishing my education and living my life, but so do Nicholas Sparks’ books, and so do Hollywood chick flick movies.

My own grudge against Twilight is just… I wish Stephenie Meyer does a better work in developing their characters (we don’t know much about Edward and why is he that charming and romantic, don’t we? We don’t even know much about Bella’s character development, and damn, why does she love Edward so much? To me, it’s more like infatuation and obsession instead of love…).

Okay, Kirk out. May the odds be forever in your favour.

Weekly Wraps

This week’s inspiration: life, writing, relationship, and everything else in between.

1. 1 MIN READ: If I had my life to live over | Paul Coelho’s Blog

What a fantastic read. When I read the title I thought that I would be reading something like, “I’ll laugh more. Worry less. Do things right the right time.” But you know what I read?

“If I had my life to live over, I would try to make more mistakes.
I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary troubles.
Oh, I have had my moments. But if I had it to do over again, I would have more of them – a lot more.
I would go to more circuses.
I would seek out more teachers who inspire relaxation and fun.”

Just. inspiring.

2. The 5 Types Of Men Who Make GREAT Husbands | Hufftington Post

Are you single, taken, or married? Well my fellow Eve’s descendants, you might want to read this. Adam’s descendants, we would actually love to have a husband like this.

The article says that there are five typical characteristics of a terrific husband: provider, supporter, critical thinker, believer, and the free spirit. The first and foremost, of course we would like a husband who can provide! Girls like to know that their future is safe and secure, and even though there will be problems ahead, they know that their husbands will not give up and they will strive together.

But I think I’ll add one more point: a great husband is a great lover. He knows how to make a girl feels secure, and and he can express his love. A lover will never have the word ‘affair’ in his dictionary, will prioritise family over anything else, and will be committed. That’s what we need, a husband who is committed towards the marriage.

3. Need to Find a Job? Stop Looking So Hard | Harvard Business Review

Oh, I desperately need this. With graduation just around the corner (nine months to be exact), I will need every inspiration and support that I can find. The application for graduate positions will be closed in a week’s time, and I need to move fast.

But even when the deadline honks frantically, I’m still not sure of what kind of job that I like to do. I’d love to become a journalist or a writer, for sure, but I’m just not sure if anyone would want to hire such a newbie like me.

And this is such a great reassurance.

“Don’t waste this time. The job search. The client search. Do it. But do it in a way that excites you. That teaches you new things. That introduces you to new people who see you at your natural, most excited, most powerful best. Use and develop your strengths. The things at which you excel. The things you love.

It’s well known that people have a harder time getting pregnant when they’re stressed about getting pregnant. And it’s unlikely you’ll get into a relationship if all you think about is getting into a relationship. The same holds true for finding a job (or, for a company, finding new business). However hard it may be, force yourself to do things you love with other people. Let the work find you.”

4. How to Have the Best Year of Your Life (without Setting a Single Goal) | Zenhabits

Over all pieces of advice, I think this is the one thing that I have never heard from everyone. People always tell me that I need to set goals. I need to dream higher. I need to keep myself organised and make a 100,000-word thesis, a step-to-step guide on how to I achieve my goals.

But no one ever tells me to forget making goals.

I am no planner, I have no plan to ‘aim for the star’, or ‘land among the moon’. I am goal-less, plan-less human being. I live on a day-to-day basis, and I love being impulsive.

And now, I believe in Jeff Goins’ words:

“There is an alternative to setting goals that will bring you closer to the life you want. Focus on a few practices you can enjoy doing on a regular basis. The trick here is consistency.”

Thank you for writing that!

5. 12 Life Lessons Learned in 12 Years on the Road | Marc and Angel Hack Life

This is a very great reflection on life (it’s like the author has lived a full life… e.n.v.y.). Anyway, we know most of the stuffs written there, but sometimes we just need some other people to say them straight to our face for them to make sense. My personal favourite is this one:

You’re not perfect, but you’re great at being you. – You might not be the most beautiful, the strongest, or the most talented person in the world, but that’s okay.  Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.  You’re great at being you.  You might not be proud of all the things you’ve done in the past, but that’s okay too.  The past is not today.  Be proud of who you are, how you’ve grown, and what you’ve learned along the way.

Isn’t it just beautiful?

6. Why You Should Write First for Yourself | Writetodone

And this is the second piece of advice that I love. Every blogging tip that I have encountered on the net says, “Less you. People don’t care about you. They don’t care who you are. Don’t talk about yourself. It’s boring. You write for your readers.”

So what have I done so far? I keep on writing about me.

Jeff Goins writes, “You need to write first for yourself and second for your audience.” Oh how I love that sentence.

“There is a story that only you can tell. It is your story alone. And you begin to tap into by being yourself, by writing first for you. The paradox of all this, of course, is that the truer you are to your voice and message, the more you will attract a true tribe of followers committed to you.”

Thank you, once again, for letting me know that I can write for myself.

7. What will your legacy be? | MamaMia

Do you live in Australia? You must have heard of Jim Stynes. Do you live in Australia but haven’t heard of Jim Stynes? It’s time for you to know.

His death was on every major newspaper and TV channel. He has inspired people with his battle with cancer, and he has become hope towards others who need one. It’s a bit ironic that I never heard of him before he died, but with him dying I feel like I have known one more great person in life.

Jim Stynes left a great legacy. What kind of legacy you’d like to leave behind?

good listener

The art of being a good listener

Being a listener is an art that needs to be learned. Or is it an option?

The title is a bit misleading. Those of you who know me best would doubt that sentence, for I am a lousy listener. All I do is cutting people’s speech and offering lots of words of affirmations or advices to them. All is done while they just want someone to talk to.

I like to talk; I like to give my opinions on stuffs. I don’t know if I do it unconsciously to make me look smarter, but it actually makes me look dumber. Silence is gold. Even the Bible says that those who can keep their mouths shut look like wise people. I am not one of them.

On my 17th birthday, my best friend who has known me for 14 years told me that I am not a very good listener. But some friends do talk to me about their private problems. So what kind of friend am I if I can’t offer any solution towards their problems? I would think I have failed them.

But most often I cut their speech and start telling my own personal anecdotes. Not that they want to hear anything more about me…

The other day a friend was chatting with me through WhatsApp to talk about her relationship. After a long one hour talk, I felt happy because I knew that I had been given the privilege to be trusted enough by her to talk about her problems.

But after a couple of hours, I started to reflect back.

Why did I cut her story? Why suddenly I jumped from her story to mine? She was the one having problems, why did I feel the need to talk about me? That was unfair. If I were her, I would like someone to listen, not someone to mention the things she has done to make it right!

Luckily, she didn’t scream at me, or even told me her hatred; she just thanked me for my advice and moved on, probably to find someone who can keep her mouth shut while she is telling her stories, someone who is definitely not me.

I’m a lousy listener, and to top it off, I’m a lousy friend.

I’m the type of girl who is really lazy to go socialise constantly. I like one on one interaction, I love catching up with old friends, but I don’t really crave to be social. Going out with a lot of friends in groups? Nah, it’s not my thing. I prefer spending my day reading a book in a cafe or ironing while watching the latest news.

Maybe that’s why when I am meeting someone, I tend to talk. Like, just talk. Maybe it’s done to fulfill my female’s word quota for the day.

But after being exposed to befriend my sister’s friends (the ones who are 28-year-old and above), I learn to become a listener.

And it’s fun.

In fact, I am forced to learn to become a listener. Why? Because, they are 28-year-olds, and above. While they are talking about their proposal stories and wedding preparations, I am still at the stage of listening to my peers who have found a keeper or a douche. While they are talking about professional work, I am still at the stage of not-yet-finishing-my-undergrad studies.

But it’s really fun to hear their experiences and learn more about ‘real life’ before you are reaching that age. It’s like being given a sneak preview.

I never know listening is a fun activity to do. You get to laugh, you get to know more stuffs, you get to enhance your knowledge, and basically, you are not spending that much energy to keep thinking on what to say.

I’m still not that good at being a listener, but I have improved my skills. I am still struggling to not dominate a chat, or to see the need to keep coming up with new topics to talk about, but I’m trying.

Everyone can talk, but I think only a few can master the art of being a good listener.

thinking what to write

The world has migrated to typewriters, but I’m still craving for a pen

When people use pen for writing, I use pen for thinking. Here’s how.

Last week I went to try a famous cafe in Brunswick, bringing my brand new Walt Disney’s memoir book, my notebook, my iPad, my sunglasses, and my iPhone. But I forgot to bring a pen.

As soon as I sat down and ordered my latte, I opened my bag to take search for a pen. To my horror, I changed my bag yesterday night, and completely forgot to chuck in one.

But I already have an iPad, so why do I need a pen?

Ironically, I don’t use a pen for writing, I use a pen for thinking.

How?

By turning it.

I learned the art of turning pen by the time I was 8. My older sister came home with a new skill she has gotten from the boys at her school, and I envied her. I sat on my bed, frantically trying to copy her skills of turning pen. After three hours of struggle and countless times of dropping my pen, I gained success.

Soon, I was learning new tricks, and now I have mastered quite a few for them. When I was younger I used to brag about my pen turning skill, and to teach my friends who were keen to learn. Then it became a habit.

In high school, I bet everyone knew that I love turning pen. Teachers got angry at my class because the constant sound of pens dropped, as it was very distracting.

When I receive a pamphlet in shopping malls, I would curl it into a small pipe and start turning it.

Until now, I am almost never seen without a pen, even when I am typing on my Mac. I will type, and during those brief moments between finishing one sentence and starting the next, I would grab a pen, turn it, and go back to typing.

So why am I so obsessed with turning pen?

For one, I believe it makes me think better.

I don’t know if it’s just a habit, or a fact that my right hand feels incredibly itchy, craving to hold a pen right now because I have none to be turned in between my typing. But I believe turning a pen makes me think. It helps me formulate my words and gives me enough time to arrange them before I start to write the next sentence.

If people used to say that we need to stop for a while and think before we speak, turning a pen forces me to stop for three seconds and think before I write.

And to type without one is a very big mistake.

Do you have any habit that enables you to write better? Share your story below.

Tuesday’s Tale: Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti

Here’s another way to be entertained even more with our differences as Adam and Eve’s descendants. Yes, we are programmed differently.

Bill and Pam Farrel wrote a book, Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti (my sister is reading it at the moment), and she has told me this important truth:

Men are wired to think about stuffs in boxes. These boxes in the waffles are separated by walls. They can’t multitask, why? Because they spend one box at one time, and one box only. When men do multitask, they are not multitasking. They just jump from one box to the other quicker than they used to.

Women, on the other hand, are like spaghetti. We are great at multitasking. Why? Because we are used to touch everything at once (spaghetti touch each other all the time). Every problem in our lives are tangled with everything else. If we are thinking about the problem at work, we will still be thinking about that problem even when we are at home with our family.

Interested? Watch this video.

we write to taste life twice

Why we write

To write is to create art.
To write is to reflect on the past, to retell the present, and to recreate the future.
To write is to experience, to imagine, to dream.
To write is to fly, to let yourself consume you for a moment, to believe, and to fall in love once more.

To write is to fear, to be challenged and yet be rewarded.
To write is to learn seeing the mirror, to be honest of who you are, whoever you are.
To write is to smile, to cry, to laugh, to kiss.
To write is an act of loyalty, to not cheat on the game of solitaire.

To write is to taste the beauty of life.
To write is to stay silent in the solitude of a few words, and to speak countless stories for those who don’t have a voice.
To write, is to keep sanity.

And we writers, write.

We write to freeze the moment, and to create a time machine of our own.
We write to to tell a tale in words where no melody can sing.
We write to remember, to revive the memories that unless would be long forgotten.
We write to travel to the places unknown, to the places that do not exist.
We write to make a world of our own, where dragons and unicorns live.

We write to create magic.
We write to gain a sense of eternity.
We write to live forever.
We write to live, and yet we do not live to write.

We write to understand life, and most of all, we write to give life a second chance.

Marcella Purnama ’12.