Saturday, December 24, 2011

101 things I am thankful about in 2011 (part one)

The year is almost over and it is a good time to reflect. So will see if I can list 101 things I am thankful for 2011. Obviously can't do it in one post and I have no idea how long this will take BUT I think it is a good exercise :-)

No specific order of preference - will be fun to see what pops into my head! Will be a fun exercise too in "word association"
OK. Here goes

1. God
2. Father
3. Son
4. Holy Spirit 

Hahaha. Not trying to cause a heresy by naming four but this is actually how my mind works. Often in quiet or difficult moments I return to how thankful I am that I know God and that God is with me. No matter what people say "God is indeed great!"

But then there are times when I specifically think of God the Father, then often God the Son, and at other times, especially over the last couple of months, God the Holy Spirit. Not going to try to explain this theologically but those who are Christians will probably understand what I mean.

5. Merv

As I think of the Holy Spirit I also think of Merv Coates who gave us three messages recently on the ministry of Holy Spirit  in our lives. And his contribution to me and us as a church at KCC. A wonderful example of a man of God with a huge pastoral heart - especially for the poor and marginalized.

6. Uncle Max
7. Aunty Helen

So much to say about this couple. So I won't try.... except to say that I am grateful for two models of godliness and Christian maturity that have helped me keep my path straight.

Hmmm.... looks like this list contains lots of people, so one more and I will go off on a tangent and come back to more people. But it does remind me that people are the most important (and of course I will get back to my wife later!!! :-))

My sharing a little on Beryl before giving her the PTBK award
8. Aunty Beryl - as I have a picture of her to post - getting the local "Proud to be Kelston Awards".  What to day except she has been a wonderful sounding board and counsellor to me and the words of someone at the awards said it best "Thanks for nominating Beryl. She is is an incredible woman"

9. Strawberries - specifically my strawberry patch. Such a wonderful harvest practically every day. Have eaten them as is, with ice cream, as strawberry shakes, as mixed fruit smoothies, and given away bunches to some many people - neighbors, friends, church members, my wife's colleagues (especially them as they love strawberries). And the best part is, the original two plants are still spreading its roots and if I look after them well as I always do, harvest for 2012 may be even more abundant.
Took this a week ago. As you can see, a lot of fruit each day
and many are now getting bigger!
Something special about picking my own strawberries realizing it is a miracle of God that plants bear fruit and yet it also requires me to do my part. I planted, I watered etc but God gave growth!

10. My old DELL Inspiron notebook. It's really slow and HDD is but 60 GB but it still runs well. It's now 7 years old ... My son's much newer Toshiba died after 4 years (just when the extended warranty ran out - conspiracy! :-))

Everytime I use it I remember and quickly pray for Dr. Cheah Wing Yin who bought it for as a surprise graduation gift. Old blessing but a wonderful blessing that keeps on "giving" especially for the encouragement he has been to me - making that effort to let me know that my "personal sacrifices" despite the many hurdles to finish my 2nd masters was the right thing to do

11. My LG external DVD writer. It is now also 7 years old and setting up takes time - power source, usb port, get adapter etc and it is slow .... But it still serves me well. I use if fairly often to back up my DVDs etc as the DVD drive in my office PC is a ROM (can't even burn CDs), and the DELL notebook only burns CDs. Grateful for it!

12. Star Trek! Hahaha. This one is true. Watching ST: TNG when I am free is a very relaxing thing. Will one day get all the DVDs.... And I love the optimism of Gene Roddenberry (even if I disagree with some of the basic assumptions of his philosophy). And it is amazing that a couple of decades ago, he already predicted the use of ipads! :-) And many episodes give me lots of food for thought.

13. My biomag mattress protector. It has helped my sleep improve tremendously!!

14. My 2nd hand $6 blender. It is now 4 years since I bought it on trademe and I use it so often. Makes funny noises at times but has served me so well. The lemonade, the ice slushees, milkshakes, fruit cocktails, my version of "tagalog" and even blending my soyabeans

15. Trademe. Love it. Got so many things cheap via trademe. Can probably list off hand 20 things bought from trademe that are blessings but that would not be as challenging for this exercise.

16. My KMart $15 jacket. Had it for more than 2 years now and it is so comfy. During colder weather I think I have worn it almost everyday. And though it has been washed numerous time it still looks decent and it dries fast too :-)

17. Balloons and pump. The amount of joy I have derived and given from my balloons I doubt can be expressed. I use it very often and in so many ways on occasions that surprise even me. For example, yesterday I went to my local butcher's shop and gave balloons to the staff (with the owner's permission of course) to say thank for the marvelous service and to wish them Merry Christmas.

18. Mad Butcher, Glen Eden. I must say that in all my years of going shopping (in Malaysia and NZ) the staff in this shop are the friendliest and most efficient I have ever experienced. And this has ALWAYS been the case since I starred shopping them for a year now. Hence the reason why I made the balloons :-)
They really go out of their way to help their customers and their "how are you today" greeting is actually genuine.

19. Allan and Veron. Think of balloons? I think of these two! :-) Need to say again a big thanks to this couple for introducing me to balloons and magic and for being my supplier for very affordable balloons! Still blessing me even though I am now in NZ.

20. Twenty already! Wow. That was fast. Ok, let me bring up MAGIC .... First of all "Magic" in general. Actually helps keep me sane among other things. I think magic has helped develop the creative spark in me. Long way to go but it is nice to see clear progress. And of course it is an amazing means for making friends (though balloons beats "magic" hands down) and of course ministry.

21. This year I got to know a magician Keith Garrett (amateur like me and I think my age too but way better than me) who has been very helpful to me. Really appreciate the developing friendship and his advice. Nice to have someone to bounce off ideas and who gets back to me fast.

22. Francis Wee. The budding seven year old magician. Inspiring to see his dedication to magic and nice to have someone else to pass on what I know. He actually reads the books I gave him and works out the principles and practices (with patter too)!

23. Credit card. off tangent again but I am thankful for my credit card. I use it to buy stuff online, pay bills etc and it has been a time saver etc. (BTW, I only purchase things via credit card when I have funds so I do not pay interest). A credit card helps in so many ways that I never thought would a couple of years ago.

24. My wife. Not that I associate "credit card" with wife :-). My favourite Proverb says it bests ... Proverbs 18:22 (p/s KJV rendition sounds more elegant)

25. My boys. They can drive me crazy at times but they are God's gift to m. Psalm 127:3-5 says it well.

26. My mother. Clearly she is one of my best friends. How she blesses me is beyond description. She's a "no holds barred" person whom I still look to for advice and I whom I call up regularly to chat.

27. Itouch. Gift from my mother - 3 years ago and still going strong. Very useful indeed even if my eyesight makes it a tad harder to read nowadays.

28. My mobile phone. Also a gift from my mother - a couple of years ago - one of her old phones. This one has loads of features, most of which I don't use. The ones I do use though are so helpful to me - the calendar function which allows me to out in my appointments. I have become one of those people who feel lost if they do not have their mobiles with them.

29. Facebook. Never thought I would say this but I think it is a blessing though at other times I feel like just disconnecting and de-registering". I find it interesting that many people actually follow my updates (thought they do not comment - as some tell me outside FB). Kind of nice and yet scary (but then again why should it be since no one forced me to post updates). I know, FB has loads of pros and cons etc but I think the pros at the moment outweigh the cons. It is therapeutical and it does keep me in touch with friends (main feature I like)

30. Blogger. With so many people leaving blogging in favour of FB, I still like this free blogger site as it does a  better job of recording my thoughts and ramblings (for better or worse). I deactivated years ago a previous account (Multiply site) and destroyed years of blogging and sometimes I wonder if I should do the same as there is so much talk on privacy issues etc. But then I think blogging is a good risk as it helps me remember the fact that we are fallen creatures and vulnerability while risky is one of the key things that makes me human.

OK. 30 is a good place to stop for now.


  1. Nice list Paul. I resonate with several on your list.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Thanks Bob. May you have a blessed Christmas!