Drowning into Books 

Happy weekend, everyone! 

These past few weeks, I’ve noticed on my Facebook wall numerous people shared the status on Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary. I can’t believe how fast time flies! 

I was not a good reader when I was young. My mom used to tell bedtime stories for me and my twin brothers, but never with any books in her hands. She always came up with her spontaneous ideas and some of them stick with me – up until today. The only one who read when I was young was my youngest aunty – who signed up for weekly Donald Duck magazines. I finally decided to read her collection when I was at year 5/6. 

My habit of reading gradually grew when I was at high school years. I started with easy and light readings, such as Chicken Soup. Then I upgraded my level of persistence into novel and fiction stories. That was when I started to read Harry Potter. Little I knew that this series will be the most memorable one! I love the characters as if they are real people who live next to me. I was in agony for months when Sirius Black was killed by Bellatrix Lestrange! I was hoping that he would came out from that darkness and waiting for Harry at his place – sit next to the fireplace. But he never did!  

I was crying out loud when Sirius Snape killed Albus Dumbledore. That plea of “Please” from Dumbledore was the trigger of my never-ending tears that one night. I ended up with swollen eyes at 3am! I was deeply lost. 

I do believe so much in the power of books and reading. I’m so blessed and grateful that I am able to buy books and read the good books. Most importantly, I can also introduce this good habit to my son since he was very young. Nowadays, books are something that close to his heart. He always asks for story time and he has to choose the book. He would ask,  “Book again?” whenever we finished with one book. Even if he promised that the next one would be the last one, he would ask for another one. 

I’m hoping that I can introduce him to Harry Potter once he is able to read independently. But before that, I am thinking to re-read the whole 7 books during my free time. Hopefully I will do so accordingly. 

At The End of The Day, We All Need Company 

I met one young little girl just a while ago. She looked fierce and I could see it from the way she rolled her eyes in front of me. Fortunately, she did not refuse when I escorted her to my counseling room and within a few minutes, the wall was down completely. She told me implicitly that she chose the way to look (and to be seen) as a mean girl because she felt lonely. A lot of her friends would call her a liar and keep her out of the circle, just because she has no branded school bags and shoes. I was speechless. 

She was only 9 years old and somehow she had to deal with such issues – the importance of being rich, in order to load oneself with branded stuff. She lost her so-called friends, because she is different. 

I love to be alone and have the time to myself. But I also enjoy good company by good friends. In my line of work and personal life, I path crosses with numerous people and some of them are sticking around with me, as my friends. We see no brands nor level of richness, we only see the importance of being together as a friend to each other.  

Like these two friends of mine from Jawa Pos media – @ashfaisal and @arthurrusli. I started to meet these guys and work together as a part of my role with QUT, Brisbane. However, in one of those good days – I realized that we are now not only colleagues, but we are friends. 

It was all started when QUT was sponsoring two journalists to Brisbane for a week. One of them was @ashfaisal. He posted a picture of Toby’s coffee in Brisbane. 

I was in the mood of missing Brisbane and its coffee. So, out of the blue, I posted on my Instagram one photo of my favorite cuppa from Starbuck and told @ashfaisal that he needed to mend my jealousy. 

At this point, @arthurrusli was joining in. He posted a picture of his cuppa!  This guy is definitely into Indonesian coffee. 

I was so happy and delighted with the fact that we were having fun out of something silly. I had to admit that I am no fan for silly things – movie, songs, drama or books. I don’t like to spend my energy and time enjoying something silly. But then, it was not true at all. Sometimes, being silly with good friends is a good thing to do.  

At the end of the day, I am more than honored to call them both as my friends. And I am sincerely wishing that the little girl at my counseling room will be able to mend her broken heart and meet with good friends of her own. 

Rubber Duck and My Son 

Around 15 years ago, at Child Psychopathology class, my favorite lecturer shared her own experience of handling separation anxiety symptoms showed by her son. Back then she had to leave her two-year old son to pursue her study at the Netherlands. When she returned, her son started to show specific behavior, in which he would touch my lecturer and whisper to himself: Mommy is here. Then he would walk toward the door, just to return and do it all again for several times. 

That story sticks with me throughout these years as I met numerous children at my professional life. And turns out, I have to face it now with my son. 

I just returned from a week long business trip. I was feeling abnormal to leave him at home for so long. I had no doubt that my parents and family will look after him very well, but at the same time, my guilty feeling strikes. The thought of ‘I should’ve stayed longer at home with him’ was never out of my head. 

Two days ago, I was spending time with him in re-arrange his toys and cleaning up the shelves. He reached out to his rubber ducks – with one mother duck and four ducklings. He was choosing the mother duck and said to himself: Mama. I was watching him closely. When he finally touch the mother duck to me and said: Mama again… I knew something was not right. I asked him, did you miss Mama so much when I was away? He nodded. Then he stood up and hug me. 

He is only twenty months old, but he certainly knows how to express his feeling. It is killing me as I know what is the message that he conveys to me. 

Last night, he insisted to bring his mother duck to bed. I was next to him and whispered to him that he doesn’t need the rubber duck, as I am there with him. 

I believe this is the challenge that every working mom can relate to. Therefore, it is very important to always remember what is our priority. I heard a lot of super moms who finally put down their careers for their children. Brave decision can only be taken by brave people. I hope I do remember my priority and act accordingly. 

How Much Time?

Time is an issue for everyone. Some would feel that they need 27 hours a-day (I used to think so too!). Some would feel that they have all the time in the world, therefore, they drag it as much as they can. I always envy those people who can discipline themselves with time, and somehow, they always have time for everything.

I like to follow writers or bookworms in their social account, especially Instagram. I am amazed with their discipline to read every morning for 1-hour. Or how they manage to write in the midst of their hectic life. While for me, I am so bad at time management.

After my son was born, I soon back to work. He was not yet 3-month-old when I took my first business trip out of town. And it is still ongoing at the moment. Somehow my guilty feeling strikes in, especially when I am away too much from him. Thankfully, I still have the pleasure of breastfeeding, and I am doing as much as I can to embrace those moments. His little hands holding onto me, his eyes would gaze upon me and how he rests his body to me. I feel trusted, I feel so close and so loved.

These past few weeks have been uneasy for me. Work is loading up so quickly and I need to make a decision. I spoke to my closest circle and discuss with them – and finally enable myself to make a decision in reducing my work load. I am working two part-time jobs at the moment. Both are professional job and I need to give my best effort for both jobs. As hard as it could be, I have to let go one of it. A very big decision to make.

I spoke to the director today and he mentioned that parenthood is a big thing – and he would not keep me in the loop if I decided to let go. Again, my self-guilt is striking in. I perceived his comment as a confirmation that I did it all wrong, I made a lot mistakes and he is ready to let me go.

So, during my 3-hour driving back to my hometown, I put on my iPod and chose one Podcast that was there for years – Time Management by Randy Pausch. I stumbled into this amazing lecturer during his last battle with pancreatic cancer and fell in love with his Last Lecture instantly. I played that particular podcast for so many times and I made that as my official reminder of achieving my childhood dreams. The same thing happened with Time Management podcast. One important advice that I took seriously is to always have planner or agenda, either digital or pen-and-paper kind of thing. I took the latter. He mentioned that we do not need to spend more of our brains on what-to-do lists and all the appointments that we set. We need to have agenda that can tell us what will we do next week at certain time.

time

The closing on his lecture was a reminder to do the right things and not just pushing ourselves to do things right. Sometimes we spend so much time to do things that might not be the right things. We need to manage our time, because that’s all we’ve got! I do not want to regret all those moments that I can create with my son, with my family. I want to be feel at peace one day, knowing that I have done my best to be with them.

God bless me and my decision then.

Love Until It Hurts

Love is something magical.

When people in love, they would do anything! Anything. They would change everything! Why? Because they are in love. People will translate falling in love as a LOVE itself. But it is not (Read: The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck – for further insight). Love is way beyond that scope.

Have you ever been in a situation when you do not love someone, but you have to help that person? In that scenario, you are the one who is there at that moment (might be wrong for you) to offer help. If you give your help sincerely, then you know what is love.

After I read the collection of private writing by Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light, I was amazed with the scale of her heart. She would do anything to please God, not because she is merely in love – but because she loves God. If she was merely in love with God, she would walk away when God started to keep her in silence (for more than 20 years!). But she stays. She is hurt by the love that she has, toward God and people around her.

Mother Teresa

I am in the position where I have to love others that I do not love. For me, it is hard. Let me spell it for you: H.A.R.D.

Giving my care and attention to someone that I consider as undeserving is not easy. But then, somehow I hear a soft voice in my heart saying that I need to give even more – to teach me how to love sincerely. I did, and yet, the battle inside of me is not yet over, because the help that she needs is still there. She still needs help.

I can choose to quit at all time. That’s the lesson I’ve got from the society – why bother giving to someone that never gave to you. But then again, the image of Mother Teresa at our dining room (yes, a huge paint ordered by my Dad) reminded me of her saying. The paradox of giving and loving until it hurts will eliminate the hurt … and let love remains.

I am not yet there to understand, but I want to give it a try. Now. Today. It might be hard, but I could not find any reference to prove that it is impossible. So, it is hard, but it is possible to do.

Leave Your Judgment Unto God

Once I read in the Bible that judgment is not our part, but His part. I didn’t understand back then, for I thought that we could freely judge others – because we have common sense and knowledge on what life should be. But I was wrong.


When I judge others, I actually express who I really am. When I talk about others, I actually judge them as worse than me. As if I’m saying that ‘I am better than the others’.

I know how it feels to be judged by others. It is rarely a fair judgment. Why? Because as Jung said, it is hard to think through and stop judging. It is easier to judge. Even though those who judge won’t be happy if they are judged the way they did to others.

As I grow in my professional work, I learned to see that life is not just one-sided story. My success story won’t necessarily be successful for others. Therefore, there’s no point of judging others because they are simply different than us. They have their side of the stories. If they share it with you, keep it. Embrace it. Value it. But never judge them – for we know nothing of their struggle.


We may judge a mother as being lack of discipline and time for her children. We never know that she is a single parent with 3 children and she has to work 2 jobs everyday. We may judge a fat man as being greedy. What we don’t know is he has genetic condition that he ought to bear for the rest of his life. We may judge one as being unprofessional because she wears jeans to a wedding party. We might not know that those pair of jeans is the best clothes she has.

You may judge others, if you are not a sinner. Just like what Jesus said to those men who were about to stone a woman to death. When He allowed them to throw the stones, as long as they have no sins – one by one they left the woman alone. So, leave your judgment unto God. And make a better life for your neighbor.

Have a good start of this week!

Past-Valentine Love Stories

It may be a little late to write about my Valentine’s Day, but I am going to write anyway.

This year marks the 4th of knowing my husband. We met on January 2011 and got married on September 2013. But this year is the first time we celebrate Valentine’s Day, well sort of. On the day, I woke up with a cute doll in front of me. I did not know where he hid that or why did he buy that cute doll. When I opened it, I just realized that the doll has recording system. So, there it was, my husband wishing me a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day gift

After I unwrapped the gift, I left to take my morning shower. He did not tell me that he had something else, the real V day gift for me. It was himself being wrapped! You know, when it comes to silly stuff, my husband is the master!

The real V day gift

The real V day gift

But that was not all. Last night, I got another surprise from my best friend’s parents. It was started when they were having their own family time and somehow my name was mentioned by my friend. His father was a sweet, funny and silly old man, whose heart is very sincere. My friend and I used to laugh together when we remember his father. Out of his love for me, he suddenly said to my friend that they (his father and mother) would love to have me as their daughter and love me with their parental love. You know, I was crying when I heard this! Sometimes when the time is rough, you don’t need some extravagant gifts, you only need small action of love from those around you.

I am loved!

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Ash Wednesday: The Mess and The Broom


Today is the first day of Lent. Since a few days back I’ve been thinking to myself, what should I give up this Lent? I read some of my friends were asking the same question through social media. I couldn’t figured the answer.

Not until I hurt someone close to me through my expression. It happened a few days ago and I didn’t know how to get rid of the guilt. My guilty feeling is overwhelming and I know that on the other side she is still hurt.

From that moment, I found my answer on what to give up this Lent – or hopefully this whole life. I have to give up on being a mess or making a mess – through my expression, written or spoken. I need to stop talking or making comments. It won’t be easy, since people will ask for my opinion or answer, but I will give my best effort to keep quiet.

As the eldest in my family, I’m used with the pattern of cleaning up the mess, being the broom when problems came. I’m so used with that role and unconsciously, I do the same thing to others as well. I took care of their problems, I had headache and heartache over their problems and sometimes, I felt mad at them because they asked for my opinion and didn’t do it whatsoever. I thought I gave my best for them, but the truth is I made them unable to grow. I took the place of too many people and at last, I threw it all up – because I was too full.

Best lesson for me!

And to end this, I want to share one quote from @rudyfransisco. A poet that stole my attention, except for today. I would say that on hard days, I won’t be mess or the broom. I would just watch and be quiet.

That was my resolution during the mass earlier today. May God bless us and everything that we give up this Lent. For the glory of His name!

An Old Man and His Broken Heart

That day, when I walk home from my work, I saw you.

You were so tiny and fragile. You laid there on the corner of the street, waiting for loving hands to carry you home. I was about to walk past you, pretending that I didn’t see you, little one. But when our eyes met, I had no other choice but to admit that I felt the love between us. I held you home, I put you close to my heart.

Day after day, I saw you grow up. Your tiny feet were getting stronger. Your small paws were getting bigger. And your little tail was not so little anymore. You grew so beautifully. And still, I love you, little one. I knew that you loved me too. I could see it.

The white flowers

The little white flowers

Years after years, you were my companion. Whenever I arrived home, you were the first one that I think about. The food on your plate, the blanket on your little bed when the winds were too cold, and some prayers from my mouth. Sometimes I forgot to even fed myself. But I would never forget you, little one.

My love for you were so real. Even if you ask me now, I will say that I am still loving you.

My heart broke when I saw your body on the corner of our house. On that day, when I arrived home from work. I was walking home, wishing to embrace you and enjoyed our time together. My life is now so different. Empty if I may say. My life has gone when I saw you leave. I could not even say goodbye …

——-

This writing is inspired by a real event. I saw an old man who got his heart break after knowing his beloved daughter was about to leave. He had loved her since the first day he saw her. He would fight the world to share his love for her. His love was even wider and deeper after he had two grandchildren from her. He would really fight the world for them.

Now, his world crumbled. He really has nowhere to go, because he had given his all.

I can only wish that one day he would be able to love again. For others, for his grandchildren. For himself.

Who’s to Blame?

I know one family of 3 children and their parents. Two of the children were born sick, they were unable to form the enzymes needed for digestion. Therefore, their parents had to buy special milk, which cost them three fold of normal baby milk. It was a struggle for them, but their parents never asked why.

When these two children grew up, they became very active. They fight in school, their academic achievement was always at the border of failed and they got into the wrong crowd. As teenagers, they got into more serious fights – and they ended up at police station a few times. They went home in a very bad shape, after being hit by some gang members. They involved in accident when driving a friend’s car and their parents had to pay for the service and fixing fee.

Now they are adults. They gambled now and then. They lost and repent – only to fall into the same pattern again. They borrow money from whoever want to give them the money – because they tend to forget how to count the interest. Some debt collectors come for them, and they hide behind their parents. They lost billion of their family savings and still, no regret, no repentance. Nothing.

The eldest of the children then think to himself. Why is it so different between me and my brothers? He asked his father since he was young, but he never got the answer. One day, when he was a teenager, his father admitted that he did that out of guilty feeling – that he wasn’t a good father and therefore those two boys were born in a bad shape. Unconsciously, his father pay his regret by covering and protecting his younger brothers.

When this eldest son became an adult, he asked his father if he could change his treatment toward his brothers – because he could see that the two won’t go anywhere if they don’t change their behaviors. His father replied, give me time to fix this and after a while, if your brothers still do the same, you can call me a failure.

—-

The story above represents our families, somehow. There’s no such thing as perfect parents, perfect children, nor perfect family. But we can always strive to be one. The end of the journey is the last day before we close our eyes for good. What have I done for my partner? What have I done for my parents? My children? My siblings? If I ever made mistakes, did I admit it and apologize for it? If I ever wreck their dreams, have I apologize and rebuild the dreams together with them?

Ability to accept and forgive others are necessity in this life. We can’t go on with anger and hatred in our heart. The same philosophy goes with ourselves as well. Have you forgive yourself? Have you accept your flaws and limitation? Because if you haven’t, you are hurting yourself. And those who close around you will get hurt as well.

Family life is very complicated. I heard a lot of people think and say that it is easier to live away from their families. Because at least, they don’t have to deal with such family issues. I come from a very complex family – both in size and dynamic. It shapes me to be a strong person. It shapes me to prevent a lot of things in the future. I have to admit at last, that those fights and arguments, those irrational actions and belief, those high-pitch voices – are the color of my life. I can become who I am today – because all of them.

What about you?