October 27, 2012

Les Misérables Movie 2012!!

Duhh I'm super excited for this movie. During my highschool time, I remember watching the broadway dvd over and over again and trying to find out as many version as possible. The best is still the 10th anniversary Dream Cast in Concert.

I even remembered all the lyrics back then. Such a geek I know. But yeah, I think it'll be great too to involve all the pretty people like Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe in the movie. Spice things up.

Are you a fan of broadway? My interest is only limited to Phantom and Les Mis, somehow.

October 24, 2012

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2013 Runway: Squares, Checkers, Grids

Escalators! The Louis Vuitton girls were coming out of mirrored wall and walking down the escalator to a square-patterned floor, one pair at a time. Marc Jacobs said that he is hugely inspired by the work of Daniel Buren to produce this runway. It's very graphic, very bright, and very cheerful (my fave is the yellow-whites).

No monogram at all. Only squares and squares and squares in various sizes.

Alert on the super slim pointy shoes with kitten heels. Also alert on the Sixties sleek hairdo. The tiny scarf wrapped on the head is so cute.

October 15, 2012

Israel Houghton ft. T-Bone: Te Amo!!!

Nothing to beat some awesome beat and tunes that make you feel like you want to shoooooout for the Lord and enjoy Him thoroughly. I heard this song last Sunday at JPCC after service. Apparently, they were playing the concert dvd of Israel and Newbreed's newest album.

I think it's been out for quite a while now, but yeah, true to my nature I'm not really updated with current songs. So here we go. The awesome Israel featuring T-Bone steak (I'm hungry) with their Te Amo ie. the Spanish I love you.

Everytime I hear this song I'm imagining King David's feeling, when he was dancing like crazy in his victorious moment, entering the city, dancing in front of everybody and just go mad with his expression of love to the God of Israel, YHWH. I'm hugely drawn to that inexpressible joy.. Sometimes it feels like I want to just dance for God and just dance away my life with Him (while burning some calories).

It's nice you know, to have some upbeat Christian music with normal lyrics I can relate with. Dance music nowadays.. errr how do I say it? Come with so many abnormal words and suggestions? What's so cool anyway about seeing a hot girl in the club who makes a guy feel like he wants to bang her and touch her and do anything he wants with her. And what's so cool anyway about a girl falling in love with a guy she found in a club whose last name she barely knows. Sometimes I just don't get kids these days (-_-)

Te Amo - Israel Houghton ft. T-Bone

Te amo, I love You
Con todo me corazone
Te amo, I love You
Con todo me corazone
With all my heart, oh Senior
With all my soul, oh Senior
I love You Lord

Are You A Happy Man?

"Joy is the serious business of heaven." - C.S. Lewis

Are you a happy man?

I'm not sure that I am.

Dictionary defines a state of happiness as a feeling of pleasure, contentment, or satisfaction toward something or someone. Biologically, it's really related to our brain and hormonal system. I might say that happiness is the serious business of serotonin (or dopamine, or adrenaline, in such term). And although it's a good thing to have a boost of serotonin-inducing activities every day of your life, hormone is still hormone. It lasts only in a short while.

When life gets boring and flat, or things start to feel empty, I practice healthy behaviours healthy people do to get down that happiness road of life. Sometimes when I feel down, I have so much fun reading manga or looking at bags or buying new things (that I don't exactly need), or go for some hair spa just to feel that excitement of spending money for myself and taking a good care of myself. It's good, it's okay, but it only works temporarily.

Thus, I won't say I'm really a happy person. How do you be a happy person anyway? By being happy 80% of the time? I think happiness is just a state - a fragmented phase of life measured in hours or days that can last only in a short period of time. And it's really volatile. If today you're happy, who knows what will happen tomorrow that will flip you mood.

Joy is the real deal. Dictionary says its a state of extreme happiness and pleasure. But here I'll coin it as a state of happiness in a longer period of time (months or years). And to take it further, joy is somewhat a state of happiness even during our dispirited or gloomy moments. If happiness is measured as the absence of sadness, normal people then won't be able to feel happy and sad at the same time. But joy? Joy can coexist with sadness.

It's when you're reminiscing about the past and be able to tell people, "Ah, it's the best years of my life" even when your family died in a plane crash." It's also something warm inside your heart that enable you to endure the rough times. You're sad, but you're also happy knowing that your sadness is nothing compare to the joy you have.

Psalms 47:1
Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

Psalms 96:11-13
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth...

October 10, 2012

Insomnia, Insomnia

Lately, I keep on waking up late in the morning no matter how early I sleep the night before. Somehow it seems as if my sleeping hours have increased. And the fact that I've quit my gym membership (hence less exercise hence less energy expenditure) doesn't really justify this extended hibernation mode.

Well honestly, I've never really had trouble sleeping and going off to the dreamland. Except perhaps the occasional cycle of maxed-up anxiety score during assignment submission/final exams. College years.. ah.. how wonderful it is to know it's all in the past. But yeah, I think being a temporary insomniac is really a great experience. It helps me realise how important a peaceful sleep is.

I've seen and personally known many people who are really insomniac. It's quite interesting to gather all the stories, listen to their reasonings, explanations, and see their coping mechanism.

- One person told me that if she drinks coffee during dinner time, she's gonna stay awake till 2-3 am. Even drinking chinese tea can give her similar effect. So she decides to opt out consuming anything involving caffeine (mostly coffee), tannin (mostly tea) for dinner.

- Another person told me that sometimes she found herself so restless on the bed for whatever reason unknown to her consciousness. She can close her eyes trying to sleep for 1-2 hours but still to no avail. When she gets really frustrated because she needs the sleeping hours, she'll resort to sleeping pill.

- A businesswoman told me that her mind is so active, that even during the night she have trouble trying to stop her chain of thoughts. When she's on the bed, her mind still races on the business mode and she can't switch it off. She then tries the pill as well.

- A male coworker shared that he really needs to stop drinking alcohol, because he thinks he's a borderline alcoholic now. He experiences trouble falling asleep at night so he drinks regularly, only for the sake of sleeping. Half a glass turns to one-two glass of whiskey each night, not mentioning his drinks on the off-office hours (with clients, etc). He mentioned that increased workload may be his insomnia's major culprit.

And many more.

My bible reading in the past few weeks is on the book of Proverbs - the old sayings of the kings and the wise men. It's 31 chapters fully packed with teachings and life wisdom, applicable to both Christian and non-Christian. Apparently, some proverbs strike me to the heart and stays within my thoughts. So I've been pondering about this for quite a while now.

Why do people become insomniac? As a psychology graduate, I've learnt that some sleeping disorder cases stem purely from the physical cause. Some stuffs such as alcohol, drugs, caffeine, or other chemicals can alter the body's metabolism and it really depends on the individuals. For example, some people are really caffeine sensitive, while some are okay with midnight coffee (me). Some people can't sleep within 2-3 hours of dinner time, while some sleep easier after a meal (me). In general, this group of insomniac will be fine once they alter their diet.

Then, some people also got insomnia because of their irregular sleeping habit. For example, those who work or do activities that require high mental stimulation on the resting area (bed), frequent partygoers (start at pm and finish at am), travellers who go through many different timezones, and other activities that alter the body's natural clock (Circadian rhythm). This group can do behavioral therapy (with psychologist or on their own) to set the body's clock back to normal. We can do simple things such as using our resting area exclusively for resting purpose, as the name implies. Don't do anything heavy on the bed. Associate your bed with a good night sleep. Try to sleep and wake up at a regular hour, etc.

The most difficult issue is when the insomnia is caused by something else other than physical or behavioral - mental issues. By mental I don't mean wacko. It's cognitive issue, what's going on inside the person's mind - or as psychologically coined, the subconsciousness. I know that some people really have trouble sleeping because of this. I myself experienced this in my college years.

During those extremely tensed moments, I feel so anxious and when I lay on the bed, my body is resting but my mind wanders off somewhere. I keep feeding my thoughts with worry and uncertainty about the future. I'm not at peace. Another time, I'll just feel heavy with no apparent reason. Life is okay, family is fine and friends are awesome, but somehow I feel so empty and I just can't bring myself to sleep. And once again, I know that I'm not at peace.

Have you ever felt that absence of peace? In the previous posts I've said that the first thing that attracts me the most to Christianity is the unwavering faith of the believers. For me, that reason alone is enough motivation to learn more about Christianity.

But there's a second major reason that propels me forward and believes that the Christian God is true. It's when I experience God for the first time in my life. I feel his peace flooding my heart, all over my body and entire existence. It's truly something wonderful I've never experienced before. It's the presence of absolute peace. An unquestionable, incomparable, immeasurable peace of mind.

October 6, 2012

Wisdom is A SHE in The Bible

Proverbs 2:10-11
For wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
    and understanding will guard you.

Ever concern yourself with your lack of wisdom? Are you the impulsive person who rarely "think" before "doing"? Have you always been associated (by your friends) with emotional outbursts, short-temper, and poor judgment?

If you are, that's great, because I am. Welcome! People normally call us immature, childish, shallow. Yeah, you know, all those popular terms. But that's okay. Having enough courage to admit your weaknesses is one step closer to maturity, and that's great news!

Maturity is a very challenging notion, indeed. We can talk about this concept for hours, and hours, and varying opinions can be aired endlessly. One question you should think about is: Wordly maturity, or Godly maturity?

1 Corinthians 1:19-20, 25
For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? … For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

The bible says that the worldly wisdom, a.k.a maturity seen from the glasses of the world, is foolish. So let's presume that following God's ways can guarantee us a true understanding, because even God's greatest weakness is still much stronger than human. I don't know if God can ever act foolishly, but the verse says that even if He does, His silly plan will still be wiser than the wisest of human wisest philosophers. That gives me a peace of mind.

Somehow, people always relate maturity with wisdom. They say, the wiser a person is, the more mature he is. What is wisdom, then? This is also another challenging concept, but in a brief, wisdom is summarised in a simple idea: The fear of the Lord.

Job 28:28
And he said to the human race,
    “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
    and to shun evil is understanding.”

Psalm 111:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

Is it hard to attain? None at all. Just ask to the wisest being in this world and you'll be granted with one.

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Ecclesiastes 2:26
To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.

Proverbs 2:6
For the LORD gives wisdom; 
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Psalm 19:7
The law of the LORD is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple. 

So, if you think you're lacking wisdom in your life, ask God! He will freely give it to anyone who asks for it. Don't seek wisdom on your own, for she's nowhere to be found. Only God, our Creator, knows where we can find wisdom. And that is solely through Him.

Job 28:12-13,23
But where can wisdom be found?
    Where does understanding dwell?
No mortal comprehends its worth;
    it cannot be found in the land of the living.
God understands the way to it
    and he alone knows where it dwells.

If you think you've already found wisdom. Double check. Is it Godly wisdom, or wordly wisdom? Don't be fooled.

James 3:17
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Don't they all sound amazing? Don't you crave sincerity in this fallen world? Seek God will all your heart and your soul. There you'll find wisdom and true understanding, knowledge of good and evil, purity and virtue.

Ask Him for wisdom, and soon enough you'll find it overflowing your mind and you're transformed!

Matthew 7:7-8
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Ask, and you shall receive.

October 3, 2012

Talent is Never Enough

Talent is never enough.

- More than 50% of all CEOs of Fortune 500 ccompanies had C or C- averages in college
- 65% of all US senators came from the bottom half of their school classes
- 75% of US presidents were in the lower-half club in school
- More than 50% of millionaire entrepreneurs never finished college
(Kriegel and Patler, John Maxwell)

Talent is never enough, agree? Exceptional IQ, a savant’s level brain, amazing intellectual ability, all won't produce anything without being complemented by interpersonal skill, character, commitment, determination, and passion.

Most importantly, God-given talent is to ensure God's name be glorified even more. As Paul said, everything is good - but not everything is beneficial. Then he goes further by teaching us to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, to seek God first and everything else will come down naturally. This means we have to exercise our talent in a Godly manner, so that our ability can actually mirror the image of God in our lives. 

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive and inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

Exodus 35:10
Let every skillful craftsman among you come and make all that the Lord has commanded.

See The Parable of the Talents by Jesus, Matthew 25:14-30, to have a clearer understanding on what God says about talent.

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

“After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

October 1, 2012

Do Not Fear

Do not fear
for I am with you
Do not be dismayed
for I am your God

I will strengthen you
and help you
I will uphold you
with my righteous hand

Thus it is written
The Lord hath spoken
His promises are faithful
His decrees last for eternity

Have faith
Thou shall not fear
Be anxious of none
For He is the Lord, the God of all mankind.

What is it exactly that you fear in life?

Everybody got fear. It's part of being a normal human (I'll say those never experiencing fear are the abnormal people, or they're in heavy denial).

Evolutionist said that living organisms develop fear as a response to environmental threats, ensuring survival of the species. As we go higher up the biological hierarchy, the brain becomes more complex, and more sophisticated neural system is developed. That's why a scared fish reacts differently than a scared dog, and most obviously, different to a scared human.

We (you and I, humans) really are a complicated, beautifully ordered mess of hormones and nerves. When we're scared (stressed), our brain instantly switches to the fight or flight response. The hypothalamus will start hinting at our hormonal system to release the likes of adrenaline and cortisol to prepare us for a survival response, both physically and psychologically.

Heartbeat races, muscle tenses, more blood rich with oxygen and energy goes to our limbs, respiration increases, eyesight and hearing ability sharpens, and the brain is more alerted. We are prepared for a response. Do we fight, or do we run away from the danger?