Thursday, December 29, 2005

A "Mary Moment" anyone?

I just received this article from Christianity Today's Leadership Weekly. It's another take on what Melissa was preaching about last week but it's also done a fine job of trying to explain what I was trying to get across on my last post.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Before I keep going, A Very Merry Christmas to all! It's been a very nice and relaxing day for me today one of the better Christmas'. There have been many years where there would be a big blow up between mom, dad, Ian & I during this time of the year and it's been great to not have that this year. Dad being back in Malaysia helped too.

Last nite, we at cession, had our yearly Christmas eve service and it was great. Started off with supper at 10.30pm. I was finally able to enjoy the joy of giving Christmas presents that I had been making over the past month. I had great fun making them and definitely enjoyed giving them even more. They were sitting in the lounge for a week or so and it was so hard not to spill the beans. Anyway, we then proceeded with the service at 11pm. Melissa finished off our Advent series: 10 Things I Hate About Christmas with a great message.

For the pass year, I've been trying to make sure that I am able to take something away from the messages preached every Sunday, process it and try apply it as I continue to travel on this journey we call life. And sometimes when I may not be having such a good day and not get anything, I'll ask around to find out what the message was about.

Last nite was a good nite also coz I was able to take something away from the message and have had today to process it. It hit me when Melissa share a poem by some Irish dude about prayer and justice.

Mary knew that it would cost here greatly when she was pregnant with Jesus and what would eventually happen. But she knew God enough to know that it will all be ok despite her circumstances and she was excited about Jesus' birth. If you were in her shoes, would you be as excited and at peace?

When you pray for justice, things may get over turned for the worse in the process before it all works out for the better. Are you willing to go through that time of testing that will cost you? Will you hang in there? Do you REALLY know God well enough that it will all work out for the better even though it may not seem that way at that point in time?

Change of template

Yes...I am officially an obsessive compulsive template changer. I think I've finally found one that I like rather than using a template coz there's nothing better. Anywayz, hope you like it too.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Our Gift

As promised, I will finally tell you what Sarah's and my gift was for the Gifts for Jesus service. But before I do that I'll do my best to fill you in on some of the other gifts that were brought by others...

  1. Ian & Aaron did a cover from a band call Acceptance with Aaron on lead guitar, Ian filling in at various spots and Ian singing! Ian was real good...Melissa even offered him a spot in the worship team...He was quite delighted. Aaron did a fab job on guitar-all in all they were great.
  2. Rhett did an amazing job at the teaching. Though short, it was the best 5 mins sermon ever! Rachel and I decided that he was a "Brett Junior" and from now on we are gonna call him BJ!!!!! He is so much like Brett, I found it quite amusing. Anywayz, he talked about giving and gifts (funny-ly enough) and how the greatest gift you can give anyone is yourself. How true...
  3. Frank shared a prayer by Bono. I found it very thought provoking and good.
  4. Juanita & Neta did a Samoan Slap Dance. Very well done indeed and definitely very original.

These were the few that really stuck out and struck a chord with me. There were a few others that brought lovely gifts too but as I was in a very stressed out state which resulted in a gianormous headache (I was worrying bout our gift) I wasn't quite with it.

SO here goes...Our gift: I kinda asked Sarah is she wanted to do something together and she very nicely said yes. We decided it would be cool if we wrote our own song (and I've always wanted to write my own songs & Sarah is amazing at it. She's written some GOOD stuff) and so we did. Overall we did a good job despite a few hiccups...Oh well, what can you do? I thought I'd share it with those of you so kind to read my blog so here are the words (if you weren't at church last nite, sorry you don't know how it goes but enjoy the words anyway).

By Sarah & Jean

Living a life full of uncertainty
At every turn I find myself incomplete
Darkness seems to consume all of me
And I can't help myself from falling down

But when I look at you
Your face speaks truth
I am renewed
You bring me something I've been needing
Some hope for tomorrow

Every journey holds a lesson to discover
Though it may be hard to find your way
In the end it will be worthwhile
With every step I take

Everything around seems to be changing
I never know what to expect
But You are the same always
The joy of knowing You are the only constant in life sax lessons are back on again with the same tutor. I decided that after my chat to him over the phone the other day I'd give him one more go and he turned up for our lesson today-much to my surprise. It went well and I'm looking forward to getting better. It will be fabulous when I am able to play in a band of some sort. We'll see what happens.

I had a great chat with Kath the other nite. It was great catching up with her again and just hearing how she is growing in her faith. Some great stories there. But most of all, I can't wait til she visits me and meets the crazy bunch of people, that keep me sane, I call my friends!

I start work this week at Celsius. I'm anticipating a very tiring 32 hour week for the next few weeks. However, it'll be good for replenishing much of the money that I've spent over the past few weeks, good training and a good way to keep me from boredom.

In the midst of the busyness of life, I have to get a Christmas cake baked for our Christmas Eve service this Saturday. It's my first go at it so I am expressing my deepest apologies in advance to those that I am inflicting my baking skills on this coming Saturday. How it'll turn out is a mystery to me!

Well, it's off to bed for me to rest up for the week...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Random thoughts

There's been quite a few things running round in my head so this post will be a mixture of everything and anything-basically nothing in particular...So here goes:

Champagne tasting a week or so ago was great fun! I had such a great time tasting some real expensive grog. Champagne is on Champagne if it is made in the region of Champagne. Everything else is called Sparkling Wine. So for $20 we tasted 4 Champagnes and 3 Sparklings accompanied with some real yummy food. It was the best spent $20! Apart from a very well spent $20, I had a great time with Melissa, Jacob and Becs. I haven't had a chance to get to know her so that was a nice nite to start. So anyone thinking of being very nice to me, you are very welcome to buy me a bottle of Taittinger or Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut anytime!

Melissa and I had our last meeting for the year yesterday and it was productive. We started talking through the 2 chapters that I've read of Richard Winter's Perfecting Ourselves to Death: The Pursuit of Excellence and Perils of Perfectionism. As promised, here's the low down on what I have (been allowed to) read. From what I've read so far it's been rather insightful. He classifies people into 3 categories: the Non-perfectionists, Normal Healthy Perfectionists & Neurotic Unhealthy Perfectionists. And I think we all know which category I fall into! Anyway, what I really like is that he's been able to put into words the different characteristics-likes and dislikes, common behaviours, types of responses to situations etc for each category. Very uplifting. The most interesting thing so far was the study they did on some 6th graders. They classified them into the different categories and the outstanding factor that put kids in the Neurotic Unhealthy Perfectionists category was the presences of parental expectation and criticism. My instant thought was, "And I thought I was the only one!". So, it's been a real good read so far and I can't wait to keep going. Unfortunately, I am under strict orders to read ONLY one chapter a week.

On Sunday nite we continued with our Advent series and Brett spoke on Peace. What struck a chord with me was when he said, "To be able to have peace with others is to make peace with yourself first.". However, the questions that popped into my head were what is this thing we call peace? What does peace feel like and how do you know when you've attained peace? Anyone who has answers...fell free to comment. I would really appreciate it.

My sax lessons with the tutor I started with are officially over. He's stuffed me around after our first lesson and I've had enough. I gave him enough opportunities to redeem himself but he didn't. Therefore, I'll be asking my money back from him and looking for another tutor. Sucks but that's life, huh?!

I'm officially on the roster at Celsius. I did a shift during the day today and it was good. A nice slow lunch service. Looking forward to replenishing my back account! It's so empty it's not even funny.

Last nite Sarah and I finally managed to get together, amidst our busy-ness, to finish our gift for the Gift for Jesus service coming up this Sunday. No...I'm still not telling what we are doing until after Sunday. At this point in time I'm really liking what we've done, I just hope that I don't stuff it up! We'll see...

We finally sent the Gerten's off on Monday. It was sad to see them go but it's ok. It just means that there's more of an excuse for me to head to USA for a visit. Makes the trip more worthwhile when there are a few more people to visit-I have other friends there too. I'm looking forward to when they update their blog so that we can see what they're up to. *hint hint*

I received 2 amazingly thoughtful packages over the past week. They were both from Melbourne and both from friends at my old gym, BUGS-one from Wendy and one from Binni. They both contained World Championship merchandise. The best thing of all was the album that Binni put together! She got a whole heap of newspaper articles of the Worlds and compiled them into an album. I couldn't believe my eyes when it came! It really made my week and not going to Melbourne a bit easier to take. They were such thoughtful gifts and I really appreciate them. Thanx SO much!

I'm off to watch Narnia with Jenna now so I'd best be off.

Friday, December 09, 2005

An "I can't sleep" post

As the title of this post suggest...I have been trying to get to bed for the last hour and a half but have been very unsuccessful.

I had an AMAZING dinner at delicious tonite with the Gerten's as a going away present. It's the first time I've been there but have heard so much about it during this past semester from Ray McVinnie, my lecturer. And boy was that a great meal. I am SO full now that I can't even get to bed! I was originally meant to work tomorrow morning but thank goodness I don't have to anymore.

It was nice to hang out with Ryan & Angele again, tonite. I'm gonna miss not having the crazy Angele to entertain me and keep me sane and the quiet but sometimes very animated Ryan when they leave on Monday. However, the memories I'll have of the times we had together are beautiful. I'm lookin forward to either them coming back here for a visit or me visiting them in the US, which ever happens first.

I do apologise for the rather random post. I had to some how entertain myself...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Holidays happenings

The past week has been good but not all that eventful. Last Wednesday I met up with Melissa for our usual meeting (and for my hassling fix) and it was another very productive evening. I came away with another book to read: Perfecting Ourselves to Death: The Pursuit of excellence and the Perils of Perfectionism. Melissa found that book and one of the first thoughts she had was me...Funny that! The thing is, Melissa was told to read it first but she was slack and made me do it instead...I am under strict orders to only read one chapter a week which I'm really struggling to do. I'm one to plough through books rather quickly so this is quite a challenge. Anyway, it's going alright so far. I'll fill you in once I've finished the book.

So I had my first saxomophone lesson last Friday and I had a blast! The good thing is that we have been able to wiz through the first half of the book due to my background in piano. And it's not that hard to play. I'm still working on the blowing through the reed but otherwise, I've actually surprised myself at how quickly I've picked it up. I have my next lesson on Thursday. I can't wait.

The service on Sunday was another good one-a nice continuation from the week before. It was a message on and of Hope. It's nice to be reminded once in a while that there is hope in the midst of all the crap that is going on-beit in the world or just personally. Thanx Melissa, it was a great message.

On Monday, Sarah and I had a brain storm and decided on what we were gonna do for the Gifts for Jesus service. I'm not gonna tell you what it is now coz I wanna keep it a surprise but I'll spill the beans after Dec 18. It's going really well, we were actually quite surprised at how far we got that nite. There's still more that needs doing but it's looking good.

Went into uni yesterday for our handback day. Wanted to make sure that I passed all my papers. And I'm very happy to say that I passed! Yay...No resits. Last nite we had our cell group Christmas break up. It was a great time filled with great food, games and people. I'm looking forward to starting up again next year.

I've been looking forward to tonite for a few weeks now. Melissa invited me along to go for a Champagne tasting class with herself and Jacob at their local bottle shop. I'm really excited. Having learnt about wines from France, Germany, Italy, NZ and Australia this past semester I wasn't passing up this opportunity. Don't worry...the Ass. Pastor is not taking Jean out to get drunk! Even is she wanted to she couldn't-Brett has been told about this 'excursion' so we'd get in quite a lot of trouble if we decided to be naughty!

The rest of this week is filled with a going away dinner, on me, with the Gerten's, a cessionconnect breakup/Christmas do and Sarah and I finishing up our gift for the Gifts for Jesus service.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Just came home from an amazing dinner with some girls from church. This dinner was planned quite a while ago but was rather hard to organise so that everyone (well, almost everyone) could make it. For me, it wasn't the food that made the nite (although that definitely helped) but rather the people I had dinner with. It reminded me of Brett's message on Sunday nite.

We've just started our Advent series: 10 Things I Hate About Christmas, and the message on Sunday was on Joy. Brett did an amazing job with the sermon on Sunday and I just want to say that I really enjoyed the service. And Brett, you always do a great job! Anyhow, it made me think about all the things that have added joy to my life this past year. I do apologise in advance if I miss anything but I'll try and get them all down. So here goes...
  • Being able to call cessioncommunity home. cession has helped me grow in ways that I never knew I could. It helped with the move to NZ and settling in. The people are so encouraging and friendly.
  • Friends. I have the most amazing bunch of friends through being part of cession. They keep me sane, keep me accountable and help me to have fun! We share the good and bad times. They are a great support group that I am so dependent on.
  • Gaining a mentor. Melissa has played a big part in helping me in my journey of discovering who I am, what part I play in cession and just helping me be a better me. I love how she is just always has challenges up her sleeves waiting to unleash them onto me.
  • An accountability partner. Sarah, I met about June/July this year and we just got on like a house on fire. We then decided it would be cool if we started an accountability relationship and it's been going well. We catch up as often as we can fit each other into our busy lives.
  • Discovering that how cession works is what I have always needed. cession is real big on authenticity and community. Being real with each and everyone means we have an honest relationship, no hiding behind masks. The leadership is so different but it works! There's non of this "I'm better than you" nonsense. We are all equal and have all been put in this world for the purpose of furthering God's kingdom. But we all have different parts to play.
  • Having to opportunity to be a leader. Being a leader within cession has helped my personal growth and I'd like to think that I have helped those I'm leading and those that lead me grow in their walk, too. And next year, Juanita has passed on the privilege to lead cessionchow (this is the ministry I have been co-leading) to me.
  • Being part of the different ministries I am involved in. cessionchow is such a great ministry. We are the first people that you see each week as we serve you dinner. We are the first to ask how your week was and the first to meet new faces. cessionconnect is where I have learned to be a better singer and more importantly better worshipper. It was great to be back singing again this year after a 4 year break. Reminded me just how much I missed it. cessioncontact just reiterates how each of us can be of help to others. I was asked if I wanted to be part of it and I said "Most definitely". This is a way that I can offer my help to others that may be in need of help-baby sitting or a meal on the table.
  • The great girls I coach. I have left them but they have been a great blessing to me and made coaching at a crap club slightly more enjoyable. Just watching them improve each term and winning at competitions is such a great thing. There is nothing that can describe that feeling better than JOY.
  • Doing what I love. Stuyding something I actually wanna study makes such a difference. I absolutely love going to uni despite the 5am starts and 9pm finishes. How cool is it to be able to do something you love so much rather than doing something coz you just have to?
  • Realising just how much Melbourne means to me. I do miss Melbourne very much but the move has helped me appreciate all that I left behind. I didn't realise just how much I took everything I had in Melb for granted until I moved. The gym I love so much, the friends I made and had great times with and just the memories...
  • NZ isn't as bad as I thought it was! Well, I think I have gone insane. I haven't. God has just made NZ such a better place by surrounding me with the most amazing bunch of people I have ever come into contact with. I couldn't ask for anything better.

So, I think that's me and why I am so filled with joy. It is mainly thanx to cession. By being involved in cession, the joy I found there has permeated into the rest of my life. And Brett, thanx for a great service. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I finally have a saxophone! It is a rented one but it's still great to finally have one. Liz gave me a quick lesson after we got back from the shop and I've been playing round with it since. I'll be sorting out lessons with a tutor within the next few days. I'm really looking forward to being able to play properly rather than just mucking round. Should be good.

Well, the past few weeks have been a time of processing. Processing what? I've been thinking a lot about prayer. Melissa and I have been talking a bit about this subject and she passed me a book to read bout it a while back and it's these questions about the book that we've been talking about at our meetings.

Some of the stuff that I questioned after reading the book, No Easy Road by Dick Eastman, were things like: What is real prayer? What if what you are praying for isn't what God wants for you? Why is there so much grey in Christianity?. Prayer is an area I never really explored much of before and I pretty much thought it was a fairly straight forward thing. Melissa passed me this book to read and told me that I have to note down at least one thing that was challenging, helpful and question. This was a good exercise coz it meant that I have to actually read and not just skim through stuff I didn't understand. I ended up with a LOAD of questions (Melissa will be nodding furiously) and it's been good talking them through.

So what is prayer? I use to think that prayer was when you knelt by your bedside at nite before heading off to sleep and asking & thanking God for stuff. And you pray at church too. But Melissa helped clear that misconception at our last meeting. She explained that prayer is essentially communication with God, beit in the traditional sense of prayer or through worship (by singing, drawing, playing an instrument etc etc) or even if it might just be a thought that popped into your head. And so this lead to answering the question, What is real prayer? Well, we came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as real prayer. A prayer is a prayer- a way of communication with God. There is however, inauthentic and authentic prayer.

It's been an interesting past few weeks trying to get my head around what prayer really is. It's hard to change a mind set of so many years. But this meaning and image of prayer is a much more pleasant and comforting one. One that makes a whole lot more sense.

Another thing that has struck me recently was that, I've found it rather frustrating (at times) that the more we want to find out about things it just seems to get more and more complicated. And the more I seem to want answers, the less there is to give! Questions just keep leading to more questions. Sigh...

I hope this post makes sense. I'm not even sure myself if it does but it's just some stuff that's been running round my head that I thought I'd blog about...

Monday, November 21, 2005

I am knackered!

Well well well...I am officially out of uni for the year. Woohoo! Exam results will hopefully be out in a few weeks and in the mean time we play the waiting game. So much has happened in the last week that I thought I'd best start from where I left of last.

Monday I headed to the library to get some study done coz nothing gets done at home. Got some study done but not as much as I should. No surprise there. However, what I did a lot of was processing the message from the nite before. It was a very thought provoking message and service. Then headed of to gym to see my lovely girls.

Tuesday I decided that I really was so over studying that I procrastinated the whole day! Not cool, I know but I was in one of those "I don't care" moods. The best thing that happened was that I was over at Melissa's for our usual fortnightly meeting. It was one of the better sessions coz Melissa was quite "harsh". I don't mean that in a bad way...It was good coz it meant that I had to talk and open up. Over the past 3 weeks or so I bombarded her inbox with a whole heap of questions that have been popping into my head as I've been processing life and my faith. So we looked at some of the questions and no matter how detailed I made the questions so that I didn't have to say anything and just absorb, Melissa was bound to find something to pick out and throw a question back at me! It was a great session and I had a fabulous time. Spent the nite getting ready for the first of my assessments for the next day.

Pastry theory and practical assessments were on Wednesday. Managed 86% for theory without studying so I was quite stoked! Not very sure yet what I ended up with for practical but it went rather well. Hopefully I find out my marks soon. Was at uni til 8pm.

Thursday I sat my IT exam. This is the extra exam that no one else sat but me. Why? Coz computers are stupid! When I sat the exam last semester, the computer decided to delete my project of the database so there was no exam to mark. So I went and saw the lecturer and they decided to give me a Conditional Pass, on the condition that I resit the exam. So that's what I did and it was good; much the same as the last exam just worded differently. I did my last shift at this gym I was at. It just wasn't working out with me and the head coach and it would benefit me to go to another gym. One of the parents actually came running out the door after me to get my number so that they could go with me to this other gym I'm going to. I couldn't help but have a bit a a cry! It was so touching and lovely that theier daughter enjoyed my being her coach so much that the parent is willing to go with me and continue to have me as her daughter's coach. I'll miss the others though. These girls have come a long way since I first had them. They have worked extremely hard without complaining and they have reaped the rewards!

Friday was a LONG day. I had 2 exams on the same day with about a 1 hour gap in between each of them. So the day started with a cramming session before the Gastronomy exam. I'm glad we had that cramming session coz I would have failed without it! The results will be interesting. Then it was Beverage exam after lunch. It went really well. After the exams it was a whirl wind trip to get shopping for cafe done. I left uni at bout 2.45pm and didn't get home til 5.30pm! Then it was a little rest before starting the cooking for cafe. Had a friend over to watch a movie as a wind down session after the exams. It was nice.

Parties parties parties was the highlight for Saturday. It was Mel & Tyrone's engagement party, Tyrell's 1st birthday party and Liz & Scott's engagement party all shoved into one day! It was a lovely time of relaxation but also meant that I didn't get any cooking done. So got home at bout 5pm and started cooking. Didn't stop til bout 10.30pm! I really thought that I wasn't gonna get to sleep that nite...

The day of cessioncafe arrives! Sunday was hectic. A whole heap of running around, last minute cooking and last minute shopping. All in all it was a good nite. I think we managed to get about 80 people to cafe. There were a bunch of people that came just from the newspaper ad we put out. How cool?! Let's hope they come back...The team that helped in the kitchen were fab. They were complimented on the amazing presentation. Talk about talent! Coffee's were good too despite the rookies working the machine.

So, I am absolutely knackered! I woke up this morning really sore all over. Must be all that running around like a headless chook-I was doing that for most of the nite. If the Jones' are moving today I'll pop round and help them unpack. I'm trying to keep myself busy or I'll go insane. Actually, I really need to be looking for work. has been a really busy week and now it's a bit of an anti climax! Will be trying to catch up with some friends that I haven't seen in a while. Cassey had the baby on Saturday so I'll probably pop round to see her and baby.

Sorry if you were expecting an informative post...This week hasn't been good for that kinda post.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Relocating anxiety

"There are two types of people. There's the one who work themselves up and worry. Someone's already smiling. Eventually, the subject of their worry totally consumes them and probably blows it out of proportion. And I'm not talking about you! Then there's those who are rather carefree and every little thing is a distraction." I've paraphrased it but that was kinda how Brett started off the final message, Relocation, of our Freedom series. That someone he was referring to would be me...Funny that!

Before Brett spoke, Vania shared a testimony with us about casting her worries unto God and not doing the worrying herself. Then Brett spoke and something in me just started stirring.

With this week being exam week and cafe coming up on Sunday, I've just been my usual stressed self. There never seems to be enough time for me to study and I'm worried about failing and having to repeat subjects next semester. Then there's cafe. I'm really struggling to get people to help and it's starting to frustrate me! Coz I'm so busy I'm worried that cafe won't get the attention it needs and I'm worried it'll be crap. And me being me, I put all these expectations on myself and that in turn creates more worry.

So all this was going through my head as I was listening to Brett and it was hard to stay focused. My heart just got heavier and heavier as the nite went by. I've recently come to realise just how bad my stressing gets and why I actually allow myself to do so.

I'm one to not handle uncertainty well. I need things black and white and not grey! When I lose control of a situation, stressing my way of staying in control of something. And as years have gone by it's gotten worse and worse to the point where I actually start to feel sick! And letting go of that control and relocating the struggle, stress and worry to God is hard for me to do. I've been able to do it occasionally (the Melb trip would be a great example) but it's still a constant battle I have with God and myself.

However, a good thing happened last nite! As we responded to Brett's message by communion, meditation and worship I parked myself by the meditation corner and had some one on one time with God. The lovely Marilyn was in the meditation area too. After the service she came over and asked if I was all good and of course I said yes! There's that wall going up again but then she asked if there was anything I wanted to talk about and to my surprise I actually opened up about cafe! So, I think this series has served part of it's purpose with me. There's still other areas in which I need to work on but that was a start...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What a relief

One of the few things I wanted to get done before the planned trip to Melbourne was to get my "full drivers license". Well, I've just got back from the test and I'm pleased to say that I passed. I'm glad I did, coz if I didn't it would have made not going to Melb even more suck! Apart from that, it would have been $115 down the drain...

The other thing that's on my mind now is......a saxophone! I told myself that if the Melb trip didn't happen that I'd get a little retail therapy. So I went and checked out Tom Kroon's (a music store) yesterday with Ian and I was rather pleased at the prices. They weren't as expensive as I thought they were gonna be.

I've always wanted to play the sax and it was on the list of things I was saving for after Melb. It's just moved up the list! I'll prob settle for a rented one first just to make sure that I truly like playing the sax. If I do, then I'll get one! Liz, I'm still holding you to that offer bout going with me when and if I buy the sax...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Well, the inevitable happened...I am not going to Melbourne! Yea it sucks but I'm alright with it. I prepared myself for the worst before I got to the High Comm. However, I am pissed off...not at the fact that I can't go but at the fact that they couldn't tell me why I am not able to go when I made my first trip to the High Comm.

So why am I not going....? Well, apparently if you are on a visa and leave the country before the visa expires you are meant to inform the immigration Dept. Someone forgot to tell me that little bit of information. So I left Australia thinking that it'll all be groovy and it shouldn't be a problem. After all, I am leaving their country. It's not like I'm jumping ship! So I found out today that I was meant to have informed the Immigration Dept when I left and because I didn't, my visa got cancelled. And when a visa is cancelled, you are not allowed back into the country for 3 years!!!! Therefore, if I ever want to make a won't be til after March 26, 2007!

It sucks but what can I do...? Oh well. I am bummed that I'll miss the World Champs, Comm Games & not see my friends. But on the other hand, that will be my excuse for getting you guys over here! *hehe*

Anyway, just thought I'd keep you updated and I'll probably give you guys a buzz this weekend just to catch up proper.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Restored? Maybe...

Last nite was the second week of a 3 week series called Freedom. Brett talked about restoration. Restoring what? Well, restoring life. Forgiving what and whom needs to be forgiven and asking forgiveness from those you need forgiveness from. Once that is done, you can then head down the road of letting things that have had a grip on you for a long time-past hurts.

At the beginning, Brett had warned us that he would probably hit some raw spots for some people, if it hadn't already. Well, it sure hit me real hard. As I've been through life, I have been hurt by many whom I thought were my friends. I invested so much into those relationships but in return got everything thrown back into my face. And this happened in Malaysia, Australia and even in New Zealand. And the baggage I carry around is not only from past friendships, it is also from within the family and boy does that hurt even more!

Being an introvert, I am not one to seek for help. I then to just isolate myself and hope that the situation just diffuses and if it becomes like what it used to, then that's great. Otherwise, we'll just pretend that nothing ever happened. And this vicious cycle repeats itself over and over again everytime I get hurt. So, I am someone who is carrying a whole heap of excess baggage and have yet to get rid of it.

So Brett's message...Well, it was hard to hear that we need to know and be known, celebrate and be celebrated, love and be loved. This is what cessioncommunity is all about: being real. I know that's what Brett goes on about every week but when it comes to actually putting that into action in tough times it's not so easy. It's all good and well talking about it but I guess I have to walk what I talk, huh?!

So here's a challenge for you (and me): Have someone you truly trust and be totally honest with them. It'll be a hard start but I hope that you will be able to start heading down that road where you can start restoring your life. Sarah has been fabulous. We have an accountability relationship going and it's been great for me and I hope for her, too. I am still rather reserved about stuff that's going on but I'm getting better at opening up. SO thanx Sarah.

This relationship has also helped me restore my trust in people. With so many past hurts I have a real hard time trusting people. I tend to think that there is always an ulterior motive behind why they want to be my 'friend'. But Sarah and others at cession have proved that wrong.

It's class at 2pm today and then coaching at 4.45pm. Had a nice sleep in-it was much needed. Tomorrow, I'm off to the Australian Consulate General in hope of handing my passport over to them. If that doesn't happen I'll probably be packing the trip in. Then I'll be having lunch with Jenna. Lunch should be good. I'm just hoping that the trip to the Consulate doesn't ruin lunch.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I am truly blessed

Well, I have definitely had an extremely rough week-rougher than usual. After Monday, things just kinda got worse and worse and I cracked it on Wednesday nite.

Dealings with the Australian immigration department has not been going well. I have been down to the Consulate General 3 times now and have yet to put my application in. Each time I'm down there, there is bound to be some document that I require that I don't have on me!!! Well, if they gave me the list of things I need to bring with me instead of stuffing me around I might have everything! I really dislike Immigration Departments-Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia!

Anyway, so I'm gonna make one more attempt at getting this visa either Monday or Tuesday. If I can't hand over my passport when I go down next I am not gonna make this trip to Melbourne. It will be a hard decision to make but I have been preparing myself for the worse. Why? Well, I just don't have anymore energy, stress and time to give to this anymore. I have never cracked under pressure but I did on Wednesday nite and I think that's quite a clear message that I just don't have any more to give...

However, despite the nightmare of the week the support around me has been another confirmation that I truly am meant to be in NZ. The Lord constantly shows me just how amazing He is and that although crap really hit the fan this week, He was there. A HUGE thanx goes out to Melissa, Juanita and Sarah. They have had to endure copious amounts of txt messages, phone calls and emails from a very frantic and emotional Jean but have been such an amazing source of comfort. The church has been SO great and everytime I've been in need of help and I have these selfless people around me offering their shoulder for me to cry on, their ears for me to let things out I am constantly reminder of what Katherine said to me one phone call chat we had many months ago.....and she said, "Jean, I really think you are meant to be there (NZ) even if you might think otherwise". And I have to say, "Kath, I agree whole heartedly and think you are very right". I don't mean to single out Melissa, Juanita and Sarah...I am also very grateful for others whom have allowed me to let off some steam on them.

So, I am truly blessed! Credit goes out to Brett for running such a fabulous church, cessioncommunity. He has done such a great job with us leaders...making sure we constantly have our eye on community and being real. And this week, I have seen that real-ness through the amazing support I have received. So Brett, thank you. I have found a home at cession and I love it!

It's 2 weeks til I finish off for the year and hopefully get to enjoy my trip to Melb. In terms of work load, I have 1 essay to go. This week is study week for my theory papers but I still have cooking. I don't mind that though. Pastry has been going well but my cooking did reflect my state of mind this week...Not the best I have produce but still edible-I think. I have subjected many with my cooking so I hope it was alright.

Guy Fawkes tonite. Heading over to the Jones' later in the evening to chill out with others from church and hopefully meet some others. Should be a good nite-filled with yummy food and great fellowship.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Free & Unbound

I am a bit worse for wear this morning. Sunday was rough...and after the chaos that engulfed quite a few of us we all kinda needed a good nite's rest. Unfortunately, I couldn't sleep-must have been the adrenalin still pumping.

Despite the madness and tension leading up to last nite, all went surprisingly well. God is good...Jacob did a great job leading worship and to his surprise, there were a few more people who turned up for team other than himself! Ian debuted on drums and he did a great job. All in all the service was great.

Megan did an amazing job with dinner last nite. Seeing as it was mostly a one (wo)man show, it was a wonder that she wasn't stressed! But then again, it is Megan we are talking about. Thanx Megs. Thanx goes out to Sarah, too, for stepping up and giving Megs a hand or two when she needed it.

Started a new series on Freedom last nite. Melissa preached a message on renovation-renovating our thinking, ways & lives. What I got most out of it was renovating my thinking. It's something that most of us struggle with and I am no exception. For those who know me well enough, I can see you nodding your heads furiously. Despite how well I accomplish anything, I always find a fault (even if there isn't one), focus all my attention on it and make the biggest deal of it.

But it's times like that that I forget that I am the of God's work and His work great. Actually it is beyond great, there is no word that can describe how wonderful His work is. And it's not just me, everyone is the result of His work. And because God is perfect, none of us are mistakes. We are all put in this world for a reason-each one for a different reason. So, though it might not be easy to renovate my thinking starting with small steps always help. And I must say...though I still have a long way to go to where I need to be, I am getting better...

Thanx for the message(s), Melissa. You did a fantastic job at both services.

LONG day ahead today. Been up since 5.30am and am already at uni. So, I'll be "trying" to get some more essay done before Gastronomy at 10am. Then I'll be heading to the Aust High Comm to sort my visa situation out, then it's Beverage class til 4pm. I am also coaching tonite from 4.45pm to 8pm and the day is rounded off with a cessionchow meeting. I don't see myself getting home til 9.30pm! Sleep in is looking good tomoz...

Saturday, October 29, 2005


The past few weeks have been rather hectic. Not surprising really. It's that time of the semester where assignments are all due in and exams to follow. So, it's 3 more weeks (including exams) til the end of the semester. It's all very exciting but I'm running on a really short fuse. With 3 essays due in the next 2 weeks and exams in the third week, that's not all that's on my plate at the moment. So I'm kinda in stress mode-getting short with people and irritable. Not good, I know but I am trying to keep my cool.

Last Friday, Melissa & I had our usual fortnightly meeting. Well actually, it wasn't usual. Melissa invited me over for dinner. So it was dinner with Melissa, Jacob & Melva. Jacob cooked dinner and it was REALLY yummy (despite the fact that it was a little too spicy for me)! After dinner Melissa, Melva & I headed to the lounge to watch America's next Top Model. Then Melissa & I had our little meeting, which we finished up just in time for Rove. David Hasselhoff was on so we just had to watch Rove!!!! But all in all it was a great nite. It was really nice to be invited for dinner and not have people wondering whether or not their food is good enough for me just coz I am a chef! Thanx guys...

Exam week is Nov 14-Nov 18. The current line up is Pastry practical (this assessment scares the crap outta me! I am not pastry chef material so I just hope nothing goes wrong) & theory on Wed, IT exam on Thurs (this is the stupid paper that I have to re sit the exam for coz somehow my exam got deleted off the database!) and Gastronomy on Fri. I will have an exam for Beverage too but the date is yet to be confirmed. So it'll sit nicely in that week some where...

What else is on the plate for me? Well, that week is also the week when we will be having our next cafe at cessioncommunity. And when cafe comes round, it means that I will be on full force for bout 2 weeks before the actual date recruiting people and cooking round the clock. Cafe was originally planned for Nov 27 but coz I was gonna be away then it got moved to Nov 20. I'm glad they moved it coz it means that I can be part of an amazing event but at the same time it's more stress...It'll be good though.

SO, that week is going to be interesting. I'll be juggling exam study and cafe organising. The day after cafe, I leave for Melb! So I'll be worrying bout packing for 3 weeks too. It will be interesting to see how I come out at the end of it all. This is advance warning for those in Melb: Jean may be crazy when you see her!!!

Well, I booked and paid for my plane ticket on Thursday. It was very exciting! Unfortunately, this thing called a visa has decided to put my plans on hold for the moment. The travel agent tried to apply for the visa electronically but the Aust High Comm wouldn't approve of it. So I had to return the ticket, get a new itinerary and head to the Aust High Comm on Mon. It shouldn't be a big deal but some prayers would be much appreciated. I'll update you on the result when I get it sorted out.

Also on Thurs, I had a one on one meeting with Juanita. Juanita is currently the ministry leader of cessionchow, which is one of the ministries I'm involved in. So over she came at 8.30am on Thurs and we talked. I had an inkling about what is was about and it was exactly what I thought it was! Well, Juanita took on the role of ministry leader when it first started coz there was no one else to do the job. For a while now, I knew she wanted to pass it on and start up another ministry. So, we threw some ideas around and when I get back from Melb I'll be taking over some responsibilities, such as menu planning and rostering. And as 2006 rolls around, I'll pick more and more up and eventually take over the running of all of chow. However, this won't happen til I am finished at uni.

Last nite, I cooked for the Dunn's. I headed over at bout 5pm but no one was home. I finished off the rest off my errands and went back to their place but still no one. So I hung around for bout 30 mins but no one came home...Oh well, it was Lamb Navarin & mash for dinner last nite!

Tonite, I'm off to do my first shift at a place called Celcius Gastrobar. Dad works there too so that's how I got the job. It should be interesting. I'm kinda rusty in terms of working the hot line so I hope that there won't be any major hiccups.

But before I head out to work tonite, I'd better get my ass into gear and work on my essays. So that's me for now...

Monday, October 17, 2005


You may be thinking, "What the.....?" Well, Supersize me is the title of the current series we are tackling at church. We are concentrating on the Holy Spirit-who he is, what his role is etc. The first two weeks were an absolute blur to me. It was really hard trying to make sense of it all and whenever I thought I came to some sort of a conclusion about what the nite's message wasit just wouldn't make any sense. Those were quite fustrating and challenging weeks.

However, last nite was amazing! Ryan led worship with Sarah and I on vox. It was Sarah's and my first time singing together and we had a blast. Sarah did a great job on harmony (even if she may think otherwise!). So many came up to us after saying we did a good job. It was so encouraging and up lifting. It's people like that that remind me, time and time again, why I love cession SO much. These people are real...not fakes. They are not hiding behind masks.

So tonite Brett spoke on the Holy Spirit as oil-how the Holy Spirit is the giver of gifts. What impacted me most was the songs Ryan chose for the second bracket of worship. The song that hit me most is called Blessed be the Name of the Lord. I'll give you the words...

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name
Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord Blessed be your name

How appropriate-the bridge especially so. How often do we sing songs like that? And how often we only give God lip service but not actually heart service? Do you really mean what you sing?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Just a quick update

Well, it's come to the end of the first week back at uni and I'm pleased to inform you that it's been a blast! Well...most of it anyway. To my surprise, I've been digging my kitchen classes more than I thought I would. Why I say that is coz we've just started our Patisserie component and I HATE making pastry by hand with a HUGE passion! However, I have been doing rather well and the product is turning out reasonably well....I just might start loving Patisserie.

On Wed, we made short pastry, from scratch and by hand, and turned it into a Parmesan & Thyme Tart, a Spinach & Feta Tart & Parmesan Sables. Today it was sweet pastry, also from scratch and by hand, and turned that into a Caramel Walnut Tart & Lemon Curd Tartlets. They were yum! Deadly but yum...

Gastronomy oral presentations are becoming a real drag but it has to be done. I can't wait til all assessments for this paper is over and done with-I hate them! On a happier note, in Beverage class, we have started our Wine component. We did our first wine analysis on Thursday. Most of it was new to me but some of it I knew already through a lot of cooking/food programs I fill my brain with. It was a good class and I'm looking forward to the rest of the semester.

Talking bout the rest of the semester, I will be done with this semester in bout 5 and a half weeks. This also translate to.....I'm off to Melbourne in 5 and a half weeks!!!!!! I'm SO excited and I really can't wait. I think my friends are getting quite sick of me mentioning it, actually. But they understand where the enthusiasm is coming from.

I had some amazing conversations with some really good friends from Melbourne over the past week or so. Had our usual amazingly long 3 hour chat with Kath before my birthday. I always enjoy those chats coz, without fail, everytime we finish off the conversation I am left feeling very encouraged. Kath was my room mate for a whole year back at PLC and we share many fab memories. Then I called Mrs O on my birthday and, that too, was as always a lovely chat. I love catching up with how she's going and she always feels me in with the latest PLC gossip. It's funny how I get information before most people at PLC even do! The last phone call I had to Melbourne was to Tania. Great friend she is...We hadn't caught up in bout 3 months so I thought I'd surprise her with a call from across the Tasman. Another lovely chat...

It's times like this that make me miss Melb even more! But I guess this way it makes me realise how much more important they are to me. As the saying goes, "Distance makes the heart grow fonder..."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Back to uni!

Well, I'm finally back at uni. I am so glad to be back and have been looking forward to heading back into madness after the first week of holidays. I know......I can hear SO many of you saying "Jean, you are insane!" but what's new? REALLY?!

I have just managed to get my stupid oral presentation typed up so I'm blogging as a reward...I had to do something productive during my 3hour wait for class! So it's gastronomy and beverage class today. I'm also meeting up with Sarah (I can't wait!) and back to seeing my lovely girls at gym tonite.

The second week of the holidays was much the same as the first-boring! The only exception was that I had my birthday on Friday so I went out for afternoon tea with Liz, Juanita and Sarah. It was the highlight of my holiday and day and I had to great time. Thanx guys! Dad came back on Saturday, which was excellent! I love having the whole family together...Then last nite I was on chow duty. Fish pie was on the menu and it went rather well despite a few hiccups.

We started a new series at church last week: Supersize Me. I'll give you a run down on it when I get my head round all these questions I have in my head. But til then....

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

My family

Since I've started blogging, it's all been about what's been happening with me. So I thought it would be nice to share a little bit about how the Lord's hand had worked in the lives of the rest of my family. But first, a little background info...

Let's start with dad. He grew up in a family of 12-my grandparents and 10 siblings-in a little town bout 30mins from KL city centre. He left for Melbourne for uni studies in 1975 and was there til 1979. While in Australia he gave his life to the Lord and he met my mom there, too! They got married in 1981 and, I think, spent a year or two working in Melbourne before heading back to Malaysia to settle.

Ok, I'm gonna digress to mom for a bit now then I'll link them both up again. Mom grew up in a Christian home with 1 older brother and 2 younger sisters and of course my grandparents. She lived in KL city centre most of her life and left for Melbourne to uni in 1975, too. She finished her studies before dad did and applied for PR, which allowed her to hang around in Melbourne to work while dad was still studying.

SO, they were back in Malaysia probably about late 1981-early 1982. From what I have been told, they attended church an a regular basis and hung out with friends etc. Then I came along. I never remembered dad ever going to church while I was growing up. I think it was my mom's parents that got me going to church; so you can say that I have always been around church . Even though mom and dad didn't go to church, we were raised in a good Christian environment and I have to say that they did a rather good job (I think so anyway). 3 years later, Ian came along. It was the same routine with Ian as it was with me.

About 1996, we shifted to a slight bigger place and just down the road was a new church. Mom was invited to go by a friend and we (Ian and I, dad was out of the church going scene for a long time now) tagged along. I rather enjoyed it and a couple of years later I became really involved with the youth group and worship team. Mom eventually stopped attending coz she didn't feel comfortable there. So that was mom out of the church scene too! Ian was always more interested in sleep so it was me that was left going to church.

In 2003, mom and Ian moved a little closer to me-they migrated to NZ. I don't know how, but mom found ECW. They were located in Bucklands Beach but moved to Botany. This was handy coz now church is only 2mins away! Mom's been attending ever since. She is not too involved in the church as such but she has taken on the responsibility of BSF admin coordinator for her class. This is just so amazing to me because from seeing her not going to church at all while back in M'sia to now being invovled in the Lord's work, I just find that really cool. Apart from what she does for BSF, she is also an ESOL tutor. This means that she teaches English to new migrants for free. She is currently tutoring a Croatian lady and they are both having an absolute ball.

Then Ian. Where do I even start?! As much as Ian is a pain, I do love him. To see him grow from year to year has just been such a testimony in itself. I would have never thought he'd wanted to be involved in the worship team let alone be excited bout church every Sunday! So now, he's playing the drums for the 10am service and is really trying to play for cession too. He practices everyday (which often drives me up the wall) and I just think it's amazing how far he has come.

Now dad relocated to NZ with us this year to go back to uni to pursue his first love, (well, maybe second!) cooking and food. So since he's been here...he goes to church EVERY Sunday! I couldn't believe it when it first happened. Now, he not only goes to church every week he is also always wanting to see what he can do to help me out for chow. Recently he has had this burning desire in him to do something for the less fortunate-possible even volunteering to cook for them. We'll see what comes of it.

*I do apologise for the photo! It is rather ancient but I don't have a recent one.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


A lady named Claire, posted a comment on Frank's blog in response to Frank's post of 'How Can We Know There Is A God?" and in her comment it was full of questions. These weren't just any old questions but rather very valid and good questions. This got me thinking..."Why don't I ask these questions?". It's not like there is a clear cut answer to those questions.

I used to think that I got it all figured out and that Christianity was a very clearly laid out religion and all you have to do is follow the 'rules' and you'll be sweet. And so, when a question like "How do you know that God cares about you?" would pop into my head I would tell myself coz the Bible says so, the pastor says so and I would feel really guilty questioning God like that. So I would just brush it off and then another question like "What happens when you encounter a situation that you feel that God isn't enough, when it says very clearly that He is enough and that you don't need anything/anyone else?" and I'd go through the same process of feeling guilty and brushing it off.

SO, reading Claire's comment really got me thinking and also reminded me of something I read during my devotions: Honest doubts are ok. Why? Well honest doubts can lead to a greater understanding of God and to a greater relationship with Him. It may also lead to a new level of trust for the Lord. Thanx very much Claire, for getting me thinking and reminding me that asking questions is ok and Frank, thanx for getting the ball rolling.

Well, it's coming to the end of my first week of holidays now. It's been very low key and, I know this may sound crazy but hardly surprising, I am going insane with boredom! But the weekend is looking up-well, kinda. I've been down with a cold, that has been trying to strike for the past month but wouldn't hit. That shows how much my body needs rest, huh?! So, the weekend...I'm hanging out with Sarah for the most part tomorrow and I now have Saturday free coz Leadership Training has been postponed til Nov. Looks like I have to tackle some assignment. YUK! Then Sunday. Got a baby shower to go to and I'm looking forward to that. Also, I have been rostered on to sing for cession but I'm not sounding too crash hot at this point in time so we'll have to see. However, I have a strong hunch that I'll have to get someone to replace me. Aahhhhh.........good times.

I'd best be off then. And remember, keep asking!

Monday, September 26, 2005


Firstly let me try to define 'Missionary'. According to 'missionary' means One who is sent on a mission, especially one sent to do religious or charitable work in a territory or foreign country. This would be the more traditional meaning of 'missionary' and what most people would be familiar with. BUT, that is not the only definition of 'missionary'. This past two weeks, I have come to learn a new meaning of the term 'missionary'. It is living a life with a purpose (this purpose varies from person to person as God has a different mission for each of His children) and making the most out of the gifts He has given you to further His kingdom.

Last nite was The Great Omission: Part 2 and it was another great service. We had some people from the community share a little about what their mission in life is and how they've come to realise that the deep desire they have in their hearts in actually a mission that the Lord has called them to. This really sparked the question and got me thinking about what my mission in life is.

I have always known that God has a plan for my life and that what ever happens along the way-good or bad-that it will work out well for His purpose. But being human means that we will always question Him, beit His timing or His direction, especially when things don't seem to be going the way we want it to. So last nite's service helped reassure me that the desire I have in my heart will be my mission in life and that it will unfold and happen, in due time, because it is Him that has planted that desire in my heart.

However, it is good to keep in mind that His plan unfolds in His time and not ours. So be patient. I know it's not easy and at times it is fustrating (and this is coming from a person who hates waiting) but I guess it is in this time of waiting that we learn lessons that we need to be better people, better children of God and most importantly to be better missionaries to the people we come in contact with each day.

So what do I think my mission/purpose in life is? This current series really got me thinking and this is one hard question to answer! But I will attempt to answer this question to the best of my ability:
To most people, when I say chefs and kitchens, the picture they get in their mind will very often be a very crude environment filled with swearing, flying pots and pans & remarks that are filled with hurt and discouragement. Unfortunately, in 95% of kitchens that is and has always been like that. And this is something I have experienced myself and, I think most will agree with me, that is probably not a very nice thing to have to go through day in day out. So this leads me to what I think the area in which I have been called to. I have never liked this picture I have painted for you and I have never thought it was necessary either.

Recently, I did a few shifts in the kitchen at the Willow Park Christian Convention Centre and they proved my point right! I was delighted to see that there is hope...We had to cater for a function of 260pax and throughout the whole day there was not one word that came out of anyone's mouth that was degrading, mean or discouraging. So that is my deepest desire, at this point in my life, to make a change in kitchens where I work and show them that it is possible to change the stereotype that chefs have been labeled with.

Don't get me wrong though, I do have some level of respect for chef like Gordon Ramsay & Jamie Oliver. However, my respect for them only stops at their amazing talent to create and produce the fabulous food that they are capable of. Why? Because how they achieve what they achieve is done is a manner that I don't see as necessary.

So, if there is one thing that I can leave you with in this post is that as you go about your lives each day, ask your self this question: "Is what I say edifying the person I'm talking to?". Everything you say has an impact on some level to the people around you, whether it is a negative or positive impact. I struggle with encouraging people, especially people I don't see eye to eye with, so I am by no means saying this is easy but take a small step each day and it will get easier.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The end is in sight...

Well, where do I start?! I'm still at uni waiting for dad to finish class so that I can give him a run down on the exam I have just sat and he is about to sit. We have a deal going-I help you, you help me. I was surprised how well I did cramming at the last minute. So we'll see but I'm quite sure I'll get the 90% we need to pass the paper.

Finally got that stupid assignment handed in today. I am so glad that it is over and done with! Can say it was a very good job but I was beyond caring. I just wanted it out of the way. I still have to give a speech on it after the break so hopefully that will make up for the rather bad attempt of the essay. At least I crap on better by speaking than I do writing...That's always a bonus.

So, I finish up for the term tomorrow. Woohoo! The holidays are looking really good at this point. I see a lot of sleeping (coz I have incurred A LOT of sleep debt over the pass few years and I tend to use holidays to try and sleep it off). But firstly, I'll be doing a lot of hanging out with friends and just chilling for the most part.

I'm looking forward to this Saturday. The itinerary for the day is going for the Mercy Walk. It is a 5km walk organised by Mercy Ministries to raise money so that they can set up a home in NZ for young women in crisis. Then it's off to the Jones' for the Games nite and just hanging with the rest of the church family. Between the walk and the games nite, I'll prob chill out with Sarah or clean the house! Doesn't sound like a very nice option but it has to be done.

So yes...the end of the year is approaching at a rather scary pace. However, the next few months are looking good. Finishing up with the written papers for the Diploma, heading to Melbourne for the World Champs and catching up with friends and family and just the excitement of knowing that a new year is approaching and wondering what the Lord has instore for me.

It has been a fantabulous year and a half in NZ already and I'm looking forward to the next phase of life.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Melbourne here I come!

Well, it is exactly 2 months today til the World Champs officially kick off in Melbourne. It starts off with podium training for the men, then the women and then the games begin. Competiton starts with Men's qualifiers, Women's qualifiers, then continues with Individual All-Around Finals for Men & Women and lastly if finishes off with Apparatus Finals for Men & Women. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself! I bought my tickets for the Games bout a month and a half ago and the next thing to do will be to get my air ticket...I can't wait!

It's been a very stormy weekend-both weather wise and matter-of-factly speaking. The weather has been insanely yuck, with really strong winds topped with showers every now and again. We are defnitely back into winter; well actually, we didn't have a winter this year.

Had the elections this past weekend too. I voted for the first time and I have to say, it was an interesting experience. Back in Malaysia, I never really took much notice or interest in elections but this time it was quite different. I actually sat in front of the tv and watched most of the live coverage about how the votes were going.

National started off with a REALLY good lead but Labour caught up rather quickly to even out the votes fairly well with Labour only leading by 1%! However, that doesn't mean they have won. There is still a huge amount of Special votes to be counted and that will not be finalised til Oct 1. These votes will ditermine the next government. So in the mean time...we wait.

Started a new series last nite: The Great Ommission. It was a fantastic start and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. *If you are itching to find out what the series was on...feel free to pop round to Brett's blog for an excerpt. It does however, come with a warning! WARNING: some sections may be rather graphic for some people's liking!

So, it's a long week ahead as I finish up on assignments before heading on holiday for 2 weeks. It will be a much enjoyed break, that's for sure. But first, I have to get through this week before I get to enjoy the holidays...

Monday, September 12, 2005

The road we've traveled

It was party central at the PAC yesterday as ECW celebrated it 5th birthday. The service started at 4pm-a fab sleep in for the 10am congregation an a nice early evening for cessioncommunity.

To start off the service, we were treated to a black light puppet show which was spectacular. Fantastic job guys! It was then followed by a representative from each congregation-10am, 2pm & cession-telling their different stories of the journey of the church. It was amazing to see where we've come from and where we are at now. What was even more amazing was discovering the possibilities of where we might be headed in future! The service concluded at about 6pm and the whole family enjoyed the wonderful array of food that was brought by everyone. It was a good time of fellowship.

What excites me even more would be the future of cession (led by the amazing duo, Brett Jones & Melissa Powell). I first joined cession about 3 weeks into the plant. It was a relatively small church then but since that week, it has grown very quickly-both physically and spiritually. We have had 2 baptisms, 1 licensing, countless number of births, 4 dedications, 3 weddings with another 2 coming up & a missionary out in the field already....Go Tina! It's been a fantastic year and a half already and who knows what the Lord has installed for us next...

Well, long day today. Been at uni since it's classes, meeting up with Sarah later & then off to coach and see my lovely tackers tonite. Unfortunately I don't get home til 8.30pm!!!! Oh's all good. I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I wasn't so occupied anyway.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Good times

It's been such a stark contrast between today and yesterday. Don't get me wrong-I'm really glad that today has gone by so well and my heavy heart feels a lot lighter!

So what have been the happenings...Uni finished extremely early today so I was able to head on home at about 11am instead of the usual 3pm, managed to catch up with Sarah & a rather relaxed nite in.

We had a great kitchen class today. We cooked a TexMex chicken dish, a Salmon with Tequila & Lime Vinaigrette dish & a Pork with Onion Confit dish-all turning out like they could be sold in restaurants and the lecturer was very pleased. It's our last class today before our assessment on Wednesday. I'm not too worked up about the assessment as such but rather how well I'll do. I'm one of those real bad perfectionist and want to get 100% every assessment and if I don't I'll be giving myself crap for it til the cows come home...So, no theory class today coz the time was assigned to revision (like anyone went home and studied!).

Then later in the day, Sarah and I headed out for coffee. We spent a good amount of money and time together! Recently, we started an accountability partnership and had our first official meeting today. It was good. I guess at this stage it isn't really keeping each other accountable but rather getting to know each other at a deeper level and also for each of us to have someone to confide in and be really transparent with. *That's the way I'm seeing it now but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, Sarah* So, hopefully as time goes by and as we develop a deeper friendship, we'll be able to keep each other accountable in various aspects of our lives. I'm very much looking forward to when we get to that stage of our relationship!

It's that time again when Melva runs Cell Leaders' Training for current and upcoming cell leaders and it's happening tomorrow. Because it's a whole day thing, lunch is part of the deal and Melva gets me to sort lunch out for them. So I've just spent the last couple of hours in the kitchen cooking and it's been a fab therapy session! Talk about cheap therapy... :P I do love it when I am asked to sort out a meal for a bunch of people. There's just this great satisfaction in knowing that you prepared it and people are gonna appreciate it. There's a little more cooking that needs to be done but I can't tackle it til tomorrow before I head over to Brett's so I've got all this time to chill! A fantastic feeling...

Well that's over & out from me

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The people we cross paths with

Some things have been happening in the wonderful world of Jean this past few days-some good, some not so good.

So lets start with the good first. The girls at gym had a competition about a week or so ago. The weeks leading up to that comp, I worked their little butts off and they trained really well. I'm very proud of being their coach and at this recent comp they blew me away. They competed really well and even came back with some medals and placings! They are competing again this weekend, so hopefully they'll do as well of not better. These girls often make me wonder why they keep coming back to gym and wanting to train with me...I am a tough coach-I don't give in to excuses, I work them hard, I have them sit in splits for 15 mins every nite! But I guess it's probably coz they love the sport enough to know that hard work is needed to progress and get results.

Of all the girls I coach, there are 2 that are extra special to me. (I know as a coach you are not meant to have favourites but I can't help it.) They never seem to want to go home after each session, they are always persuading their parents to let them stay longer and their parents are fab too! I always get a sincere 'Thank you' and it makes me feel really appreciated.

On another not so good note, I've been having issues with a uni mate and tonite it's just got worse. We haven't been talking to each other and for the past few hours we have been having a slight go at each other over txt! Not good...

We started of on a real good note just a year ago when we both started this course. Being so naive I probably didn't see past her 'niceness' and earlier this year I saw her true colours. I tried to work it through but it just hasn't been the same. And this semester, it's just gone down the drains.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I didn't play a part in this relationship going to the dogs. But I've tried to salvage it and everytime I try it just slaps me back in the face and I just don't see myself taking anymore of it. So as of today, I think it's officially over.

So..........what am I trying to say here? I guess it's got me thinking about the different people we encounter each day. Why are we blessed with such amazing people but at the same time have to deal with not so amazing people? It is definitely easy to be nice and encouraging to the people who reciprocate that. But how do you go about dealing with people who just seem to constantly be takers and not givers in the relationship? There is only so much you can give until you have to take.

What do I do with this uni mate of mine? Is the door close for us and is there a lesson behind all of this or are we still to be friends?

Monday, September 05, 2005


Well, just got home from our monthly chow meeting after an extremely long day. It was a rather productive meeting but I am knackered.

I always love our meetings. We don't just cover the running of chow but also the more important stuff like what role does God play in the different areas within chow itself. That is what I find really cool-being able to reflect and see how God has worked within the ministry and also what areas we still need working on.

A great reminder that we are not to rely on our own strength to get results but on the One who intended them. All in all, it was a fab follow up to our most recent leadership training...

Finally, it's up!

A little bit bout me is probably the best place to start. I grew up in Malaysia and lived there til I was 15. I then moved to Australia for 4 yrs, 3 of which were spent in boarding school. And before you start forming ideas in your head about what it was like, I'll help you out. They were the best 3 yrs I have had so far, meeting knew people, learning about a new culture, growing up and just loving life.

After boarding school, I was adament about staying in Melb and not moving to NZ but obviously that didn't quite work out-the Lord had other plans and I had to give in. I finally moved across the Tasman and took half a year off while I sorted out life in NZ. I'm currently living in Auckland, NZ with my family. Am in my second year of a Diploma in Culinary Arts aka Chef School. I finish this diploma about June next year. What am I gonna do when I finish is a question on God can answer.

The passions in my life, in this exact order....God/church, gymnastics & anything relating to food-this includes slaving over the stove for hours! Call me crazy, I know! But I find it very therapeutic...

Gym. I was a gymnast for 15 yrs. Started as an extra curricular activity and ended being a sport I absolutely love and competed in it for 10yrs. Because I love the sport so much I have taken up coaching the sport as well so that I can pass on my love of the sport to others. And just to put into context how much I love the sport, I would eat sleep talk gym 24/7. And I am serious-just ask my room mate from boarding school. She'll tell you that I'm not lying. I have stopped trainning which is a bummer but as you get older I guess you've just gotta learn to let things go...I still coach though.

Food. I have ALWAYS loved food for as long as I can remember. I also remember being a real pest in the kitchen when I was younger but I guess that's a good clue that I was meant to do what I'm doing. Growing up in Malaysia, you are spoilt for choice and quality when it comes to food so growing up there probably added to my love for it. Cooking has been in the family for a long time now so how fitting but be a chef. I just love playing with the ingredients and turning each ingredient to look nothing like what it originally did but still taste like what it's meant to taste like. Ahh......the joys of food. The satisfaction you get from knowing that you created something that will in turn satisfy someone else is something that makes cooking for people so enjoyable.

God. I was born into a Christian home but never really took it seriously til I was about 14. I decided I would get my life straight and got baptised. It was going alright but in hindsight, I never really understood a lot of what was going on. So when I left for Australia I went off the tracks. Don't worry...I didn't do drugs and get drunk etc but I was church hopping, trying very hard to look for a place to call home. But that didn't seem to work out and I just gave up and didn't give much thought bout God. It was like that til bout Jan this yr. So moving to NZ hasn't been all bad. I've found a church that I love and, without any reservations, call home. I'm invovled in 2 ministries which I have a burning passion for and I have made a fab bunch of friends through being involved. They are great-they keep me accountable and make sure I don't go crazier than I already am!

SO, since Jan this yr I decided that I was gonna really knuckle down and really give my life to God for good. It's been going good for the most part. It's not easy that's for sure. I have up days and down days but I see it as a journey in which I'm learning what I still don't know about this being we call God and why I give my life to Him. Although it's been a roller coaster of a journey-emotinally, mentally & physically-I do enjoy it. Friends that I've had have been an amazing support system and I have also gained some friends in this process of discovery and questions.

Well, what my posts will be like in future is a mystery to me so don't expect too much...But this will be a good way for my friends, esp those overseas to know the going-ons in the wonderful mind of Jean (which really isn't a whole lot)!