Categories
Contemplative prayer Hiking

November goals

One of my goals in November is to work on physical fitness.

It is no surprise then that I have gone hiking more this month than the whole year (not counting the camino walks) put together. It has been a challenge initially but once you build a momentum you simply carry on in the motivation generated by previous exercises.

Hiking with Kenneth my brother in law
With hiking group after AWOL for many months

This is rainy season so more than once the weather played me out. It said rain; I stayed home, but there was no rain. I have since removed the weather forecast link from the home screen. I will depend on what I see in the sky.

Paid $40 for good Quechua hiking shoes clearance price

When it rained, I either took to the gym or the pool or to cycling the Jurong Lakes.

I am encouraged that pants that were tight before my sabbatical were now fitting. Well, we are now near the end of November and to some extent I am on track to getting healthier.

I refer to this only after first meditating on the passages

I am also enjoying my meditations on the Song of Songs, taking my time to savour, imagine, the love songs-poems. Not rushing but relishing. Not analyzing but allowing the words, phrases and lyrics to be woven into the fabric of my soul. May my love for God deepen as I dwell on His love. Amen.

Categories
Personal and family

64th birthday prayer

 

Jurong Lake Gardens have a few spots for reflection

As is my custom, on my birthday I take off to a solitary place to spend some time with the Lord, reflecting on my journey thus far.

Lord,

Today I’m 64

Thank you for being with me

For saving me

For guiding me

For using me

For keeping me

For blessing me

For calling me

For giving me peace, meaning and

A hope that is living and lasting.

I want to see You more clearly,

Love You more dearly and

Follow You more closely

For the rest of my life

Till I meet You in glory

Face to face.

Amen.

Categories
Meditations

Invited to Song of Songs

Song of Songs. That prompting is so slight, so silk, I could have ignored it. But I did not and am thankful for following it. I figured that perhaps it may be the means through which my main prayer for my sabbatical, a deeper love for Jesus,  may get answered. I personally find this  Old Testament book forbidding. I am very much left-brained, and appreciating the Song of Songs is a right-brained activity. It’s like appreciating the poetic lyrics of a popular love song. This is outside my comfort zone. Which is good because at the later part of life we should be moving towards wholeness and wellness, and taking on new frontiers in learning.

I began listening to YouTube videos on appreciating poems and writing and interpreting poems. I listened to David Pawson give an overview of the book. I saved Mike Bickle’s talks on the book. I listened to audio readings of the book. I bought a book titled Love of Loves by Philip Riken, and this week I started to savour the text and talk to the Lord from it. I am excited because the Lord is making the song come alive. I hope it is awakening my love for the Lord. It is making me aware of God’s loving action towards me, His many kisses of love through the many gifts He showered on me. Yes Lord kiss me again and again, till passionate love is awakened in me again, and joy overflows from receiving Your love.

Categories
Personal and family

Colonoscopy peace

I had a colonoscopy done. I entered the hospital with peace of mind. I had occasional reminders to not take things for granted even though both my parents were cancer-free. After all, cancer can happen to anyone. So the “what if they find tumours?” question surfaced a few times. And routine medical procedures can get messy through a surgeon’s mistakes. Each time such anxious thoughts surface, I had to commit the matter into the Lord’s loving care.

Life is unpredictable but we who trust in the Lord can walk around with a serene and smiling face because we are secure in God’s love.

I did not like the idea of colonscopy. Why allow intrusion into your body when all is fine? As they say, Do not trouble trouble lest trouble troubles you! My wife had done the colonscopy and kept encouraging me to do so.  Since I am almost 64, it is a good time to do a check up.

Ng Teng Fong General Hospital is 5 minutes from home so I had the examination done there. Everything went smoothly and painlessly. I remembered feeling a slight embarassment as female nurses in businesslike voices and brisk movements prompted me into a fetal (not fatal, thank God) posture. This is very awkward, being introduced to strangers from the backside. “Your name and i.c. number?” I answered the question, and soon I lost consiousness (and embarassment) in the examination theatre.

The next thing I knew was gently regaining consciousness in the preparation room, feeling that I want to sleep there forever because I felt so drowsy and it felt so comfortable.

The results were later given to me in an envelope with photographs of a clean colon. Praise the Lord.

Categories
Contemplative prayer Pastoral ministry

Sabbatical reflection

It has been a month since my sabbatical began. I feel better rested physically and psychologically. Longer hours of sleep, exercise, and disengagement from pastoral duties does wonders. Being overseas helped too because you became unavailable physically.

I also feel thankful for the many blessings of God. Never thought of touring Spain, never was interested. But in pursuing the kingdom, in seeking rest and restoration, I ended up in Spain, beginning in San Sebastian and ending in Barcelona, staying at many towns and cities along the way, in Basque and Catalonia regions, often walking in the streets and countryside. I love silent retreats, silence and solitude. I love hiking. And I was blessed by Ignatius Spiritual Exercises and spirituality. All these three elements that nourishes me were present in this sabbatical program. What a blessed trinity!

This was followed by a vacation and catch up time with Mike and Amy in Bolton. They were very gracious and availed themselves to us for five days. We had significant time catching up usually over meals – restaurant, home-cooked and takeaways. It was around 7 to 18 degree centigrade with gloomy clouds and rain on quite a few days. This restricted our plans but it meant more rest, early to bed and late to rise. It was a contrast to the Camino Ignaciano– late to bed, early to rise.

Now I am glad to be back home. I feel relieved. Spanish and English food and weather are good – for a while, usually tolerable for two weeks or so, in my experience. I like Singapore. I like the smells, tastes, sights of home.

I don’t like the haze though. This morning, I saw the haze and told my wife, “Thank God that in the last three weeks, we were away overseas breathing fresh mountain and countryside air”.

I had an inspired thought this morning as I reflected on how to use the rest of my sabbatical wisely: treat each day as you would a sabbath day with an eye on REMEMBRANCE (spiritual nourishment), REST (physical and emotional self-care), RELISH (life-giving engagement and activities).

“Lord, help me do this and experience more of your love.”

 

Categories
Writing and blogging

Blogging with a mobile

I am used to blogging on a laptop. Then two years ago, I started blogging with my iPad when I travelled, which I found cumbersome because photo transfers from my phone to iPad was ponderous.

This time round, due to restrictions on luggage weight, I tried using my Galaxy Note 9. It was not as difficult as I had thought. I only had to install an image resizing app. My pics are already in the phone gallery;  the story is ready in my mind; and I am used to typing with my index finger. Everything else is the same. In fact the the process was smooth and  convenient and required less steps!

It means I can write on the go, or while waiting I could redeem the time with blogging.

I do not have to go home and transfer and resize photos with the laptop.

I will also write with brevity and conciseness.

All the previous posts beginning with the camino were posted via my mobile. Its too early to tell yet, but I am liking this method of blogging thus far! I do hope the ease of writing will encourage more posts. However, with longer posts I would still prefer using a laptop.

Categories
Personal and family Travel

Canal Boat Cruise of Riley Green

I am now in Bolton in my wife’s sister’s home. I am feeling blessed and well cared for. I have returned from a well planned day trip to near Blackburn. It was a boat cruise along a stretch of the Liverpool to Leeds waterway – a gift from the Blyths. My wife and I enjoyed it thoroughly and we felt blessed for what was a misty, gloomy morning suddenly became a bright, sunny day as we drove 30 minutes along the highway!

Getting ready to board the “Romance”
Jenny all excited to get in

The canal used to be the transport arteries for coal, agricultural and industrial products but are now more for leisure and pleasure trips.

The front view of the boat
Ready for lunch

The  slow cruise took three hours and included a tasty three course meal – starters, main meal, and dessert. The service was good, and so was the food and of course the company.

My choice of starters: melon and strawberry
My choice of mains: mushroom pie

 

My choice of dessert: apple pie with custard cream
Alternative starters: shrimp salad

Alternative mains: beef
Alternate dessert: strawberry with sherry custard and cream
Sides: potatoes, carrots, green peas