A SEASON OF BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS

A few months ago, I blogged about giving away some postcards that I made (read "Jesus in my beginning and ending). Only a handful of people responded, so I asked some of my close friends if the cards weren't nice enough for people to want them. Interestingly, they said that people might feel 'pai sei' (embarassed) to ask for free things especially if they're not close to me. I really didn't expect that. I thought I was just having a 'giveway' :) 

So hence, upon encouragement from friends, I decided to sell the postcards, even though it was not my initial intention at all. . So a few friends have bought them and perhaps Carousell is not a good platform for selling postcards too. If you're interested in purchasing them as Christmas cards instead of the usual Christmasy looking ones, do drop me an email at jarfulofplenty@gmail.com :) They're now going for $7 for 10 pieces. 

jarful of plenty postcards

A brief background of these cards, they were birthed from a season of beginnings and endings - periods of disappointments, disillusionment and grief but ultimately God's love, peace, faith and hope prevailed. 

More information: 

  • Size: A6
  • Front artwork is from my original ink pen and watercolour drawing. 
  • Postcard with blank reverse side and printed on 215GSM paper, one-sided glossy with UV varnish by professionals. 
  • All postcards are wrapped and sent in a sturdy envelope

EXPLORE & CREATE SOMETHING TODAY

I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of the Create Collective Worship Nights organised by Godly Womanhood Ministries. In the September and October, part of the session included a time of crafting before worship and I was the facilitator for the craft corner. It actually wasn't about crafting but we couldn't really think of an appropriate title so "Craft Station" it is for now. My intention wasn't really for people to make another pencil holder or tote bag or sock puppet. Nowadays, there are plenty of workshops around for people to learn the skills of crafting and painting. But I still find there is something lacking, something more we need in our lives. 

I've been trying to get my children and other children to engage in more sensory and loose parts activities to create art, because I know that once they 'grow up', such opportunities are going to gradually decrease. I like how children freely explore simple materials given to them and create meaningful fantastic art. And then I realised as adults, we don't engage in exploring and creating too because we're always so busy with getting on in our lives. God has given us materials to create, we've his creative DNA. My hope is that we just pause for a moment and create something, anything, even with the simplest materials given to us, no need for anything fancy, expensive or skills needed.

So I wondered, if adults will be able to benefit from such sensory and loose parts art activities as well? Both activities were conducted with children before. In September, we made a sun catcher just using paper plates, contact paper, dried and fresh plant parts, yarn, coloured paper, markers. In October, we made a "quilt". No sewing involved but a replica of a "quilt" with cardboard, fabric scraps and yarn. At each session, I just introduced the "craft" to be created and the materials to the participants. Just before they start, I always tell them to just rest, bask in the presence of God, explore the materials and just let their hands flow. Initially, people were shy, modest about their creative abilities and skills but after that they just took off naturally. Amazingly some could spend more than an hour in creating even though they seemed hesitant at the beginning and I myself was so blessed by the sharing of their creations. 

explore and create
explore and create
explore and create
explore and create

So let's start to spend some time alone or with friends, to pause, explore, create something and express ourselves through art. I hope that as we approach the end of the year, we find some time to rest and relax, refresh and recharge. 

 

PERANAKAN PAPERDOLL

Remember paperdolls? I used to play with them a lot when I was young, especially the Japanese fashioned ones. I spent hours changing their clothes, adding accessories like special bags, shoes and hair clips. My cousin recently gave me Peranankan Paperdolls to 'play' with. Compared to the already printed ones last time, this time I had lots of fun designing the clothes myself! I also used my own Japanese pattern paper to make more dresses - fusion style. Can you guess which ones are the Japanese dresses and which one are the Peranankan styled ones :) ? 

peranakan paperdoll

I've 5 extra sets with me and will like to give them away to anyone who will like to 'play' and design these unique paperdolls! Each paper doll set comes with some patterned paper, 2 dresses and 1 doll (you can just leave them like an art piece or cut them out if you're like me who wants to see how it looks like on the doll). I also made more dresses just by tracing the ones I cut out. Kindly leave a comment or email me and I'll mail it to you :) To find out more about these unique paperdolls, check out the blog Nonya Manis

peranakan paperdoll

HE LIGHTS UP MY DARKNESS

During my second miscarriage, my regular gynaecologist was away on holiday and I saw the covering doctor instead. Since it happened just right after the first, I felt a little resigned to the situation but nonetheless still sad.

There were already signs of miscarriage so it was not a sudden discovery. But something hit me hard - the closing words of the covering doctor were,

You already have 2 children; so don’t feel so sad about it okay?

I left the clinic with those words in my head. The next few days, I started telling myself,

I don’t deserve to feel sad.
I already have 2 children.

I felt that by feeling sad, I was being insensitive to the struggles of childless couples. Also, I felt I was doing my children a disservice. There was no time to grieve, I’ve to care for my children, I’ve to be there for them.

 

But choosing not to grieve was the worst. I started watching Korean dramas to distract myself. It was a terrible passive activity that has no healing effect whatsoever. I started to have feelings of bitterness and envy. I decided I had to put a stop to it.

So I started to doodle and paint in the mornings when I was alone at home.  Initially, I felt that I was being lazy. Doodling and painting has no economical or tangible benefits! I should be going out to find more work, to do something constructive, cook more, prepare more activities for the children, so on and so on.

But the ever so encouraging husband told me,

You need to do it to find rest and then gain strength for the day

 

So I started painting. And as I painted, I starting grieving and the process of healing began, 

I don’t have to feel guilty for feeling sad.
I need to grieve to heal.

 

During one morning while I was painting, I came upon this word,

"You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness." Psalms 18:28

No matter what you’re going through, whether you think it’s a big or small issue, take the time to rest in His word, take the time to grieve, and He will light up your darkness and heal your wounds. 

JESUS IS IN MY BEGINNING AND ENDING

A long 6 month hiatus from blogging and I’m back. Most people start the year off with a bang, I started the year off with a break because of a series of events. The second half of 2015 and the first few weeks of 2016 were difficult. I had 2 miscarriages back to back, and then my grandpa passed away, my last grandparent in my family.

It’s interesting how when you suffer from a miscarriage, you immediately want to keep it quiet to yourself and people around you who know want to keep it hush too. I was wondering about that kind of reactive behaviour. Perhaps it’s because it’s a very personal and a private experience. But I realised the deeper reasons for me were guilt and shame.

When the miscarriages happen, the first thing I said to myself was,

It was my entire fault.
I was the one carrying the life.
I was responsible for that life.

And the guilt and condemnation worsens when well meaning friends (whom I appreciate a lot in every way) try to comfort me,

You haven’t been taking care of yourself enough.
You have been over exerting your body.
You haven’t been eating enough vitamins.

I wished that were all true, then I know what can be done to prevent the miscarriages. But unfortunately, the doctor says, they were random occurrences that could not be explained because I have 2 children already. And that made me think,

Perhaps God doesn’t want me to have any more children.

 

During these 6 months, I’ve been resting and pondering, pondering and resting. Meditating over this simple verse we usually learn when we become a new believer,

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

I didn’t cause the miscarriages and certainly God didn’t.

Then one Sunday morning, I heard Pastor Charles Nieman speak about the passing away of his wife and how he had been coping. He shared about a verse that we are all too familiar with,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was, and how is to come, the Almighty.” Revelations 1:8

 

Jesus is in my beginnings and endings. He was there during the conception, he was there during the miscarriage. He was in it with me though it all, therefore there is no condemnation, no guilt and no shame.

He is in my new beginnings and he is in my endings no matter what experiences they are. And therefore I have hope because my hope is in Jesus.

I’ve asked God one more thing, I asked Him what is the purpose of this experience,

To bring hope to others. To bring Jesus to them.

I hope you feel encouraged by my sharing, I pray you will always hope in Him because He is in our every beginning and ending, in every moment, in the same instant.


P.S. I’m giving away the postcard featured in this post and 2 others that I will be sharing in my Instagram. If you will like a set for yourself, or for a friend, do leave me a comment or email me and I’ll get in touch with you. Shalom!