11

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My dearest Faith, my best friend, my beautiful wife.

Thank you so much for the past 11 years of marriage. It still feels like we’re still in our teens, holding hands and figuring God’s will for our lives together.

I don’t ever want to grow up. Let’s stay right here. Always.

365 Days

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It is hard to believe that it has been a year since Joshie’s arrival. The initial days of taking care of an infant demand an almost unconditional surrender of your most basic human rights, whether it be sleep, food or leisure.

Joshie at birth

Before Joshie, we were at a stage where Caleb was finally getting a little more independent. Date nights were possible, and having another baby meant starting everything anew. But it seemed that God was calling us to plan less and trust more. It wasn’t a natural inclination to obey, but it was a step of faith and divine providence that brought Joshie into our lives.

The last few weeks have been especially trying as the flu bug made its rounds within our family. Joshie in particular has gone down a number of times, his fever hitting the grand 40 degrees Celsius at one point. In the midst of this parched and barren stretch that has pushed us to the point of complete exhaustion, there have been little spots of reprieve amidst prayer.

We had committed to going for church camp earlier in June this year, and I was supposed to help out with the youth programme. But the weeks just before camp the whole family fell ill. We were at the paediatrician the day before flying over the Kuala Lumpur, unsure if it were wise for Joshie to spend a week away from home. But in the end, we packed up a whole bag full of medication (and a huge nebuliser) and had a week of good fellowship with many other parents.

Joshie’s health held up; Anne and Caleb were the very best helpers.

Things were looking up for a while, but Joshie fell ill again and even right now, is still running a temperature. The last few nights - I laugh a little when I say “few; it feels like months - have been spent monitoring, medicating and cleaning up vomit.

So with all the night duties, Faith and I were pretty exhausted as it approached his birthday. Thank God for Joshie’s super aunts who put together a party, baked a rainbow cake and even roped Anne in to help with decorating the cake.

Super Aunt!

Super Aunt!

Truly, truly, it takes a village to raise a child, and we have been very blessed to be so close to so many family members who love our children so much.

With grandparents

With grandparents

Cousins

We don’t know how long it’ll be until Joshie gets totally well, but we’ll take it one day at a time — God’s mercies are new every morning.

Joshie smiling at his birthday party

The three amigos

Happy birthday little one.

Loss

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There has been so much I wanted to capture here: the joyful moments during these holidays with the kids, or how fast Joshie is growing up. But I can’t bring myself to write anything happy because whenever I think about blogging, I head over to Eric Meyer’s blog and reread what he wrote as his daughter slowly died.

My heart breaks into a million pieces as I read about how he had to tell her that their search for a cure for her cancer failed. My throat literally goes dry, my eyes well up and I grieve.

Late for Mothers' Day

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I know that Mothers’ Day has passed, and I wish that work didn’t delay this post, but it did. I guess an expression of gratitude should never be withheld.

This goes out to the mothers in my life.

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:10-31

To my mother,

I don’t seem to remember much of my childhood, except that I was always in some sort of trouble. I remember being thoroughly disinterested in homework, and I can only imagine the grief it must have caused you. I remember the mornings you spent, labouriously ploughing through my homework with me, only to find my mind unfocused on the tasks at hand and always someplace else.

I remember you as a young woman, at a loss as to what to do with your firstborn. When I think back, I can still feel your frustration of trying to get through to your firstborn who seemed more interested in imaginary worlds and storybooks. I am glad that you gave me the space to find my own bearings and be my own person.

In more recent years we have had so much more to share, and I am so constantly in awe of how giving you are: how you’d bring elderly people you scarcely know to the hairdresser’s, or be so willing to help others with financial problems.

When I was about nine or ten, you scolded me for being too generous with my belongings. I can’t remember the exact situation, but I remember Daddy and you saying, “So you think you’re Santa Claus?” I didn’t dare answer back at that time, but I wanted so much to tell both of you that I was only following your example.

Even to this day I walk in the very large footsteps the two of you leave behind. It is my pride to inherit this legacy of generosity of spirit, and it is one of the most important lessons I hope to pass down to my own children.

To my wife, my partner in parenting the three little people in our lives: I still stand amazed at where God has brought us. You’ll always be the little girl I fell madly in love with; the teenager with whom I exchanged letters on life; the junior college student who read poetry assignments to me over the phone in the dead of night; the young woman who found her calling as a teacher of young children; and the one who gave up all others to spend her life with me back when I was broke and jobless.

I miss the days when I had you all to myself, but I know that this is season of our lives is a shared experience while our children find their wings. I am so thankful for having you in my life, and I often step back and marvel at how you have become a mother.

Indeed, “a wife of noble character who can find?” And here I am, blessed that I have so many beautiful women in my life.

Shutting Down or Up

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There have been a number of petitions lately to shut down websites: namely to close down STOMP and another to shut down The Real Singapore.

Now I’m a fan of neither and I think the world is a better place if the type of content prevalent on these two sites were never produced. I have previously suggested that STOMP relook its function because it offers SPH a means of circumventing the need to adhere to intellectual property laws.

Asking for these sites to be shut down hardly addresses the key problems. They are merely platforms upon which content is created, and if they were removed, producers of these content would simply relocate. The counter to undesirable speech isn’t the suppression of speech, it is the proliferation of speech, particularly expressions against said undesirable values. There is a place for censorship, but it ought to be exercised very judiciously. Values considered undesirable to one may be ok to another, and force of suppression could very easily be misused.

We currently suffer a deficit of good content. We often speak of this “silent majority”, who in our minds is made up of sensible people who are able to tell right from wrong. I’m not so sure. I think we’re all a myriad of different emotions and viewpoints. We are sometimes sensible and other times irrational. What we do need very much in our society is to have some balance in our utterances. We need to be able to speak when motivated by things and thoughts that are noble and good as much as (or better yet more than) when we are angered.

We could look at this as teething problems associated with a maturing society. But it starts here. Our voices need to find a greater range of tones and colours. While it is necessary at times to tear down structures that shouldn’t be, it is even more essential to build better and more praiseworthy ones.

About

The weblog of Lucian Teo who resides in Singapore. He is husband to the most beautiful wife, father to the most amazing kids. Photographer, storyteller, all-round nice guy [citation needed].

He also blogs about Gov2.0, Storytelling, User Experience Design and Social Media at blog.lucianteo.com.

He can be contacted at lucian@tribolum.com.

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