Valentine’s Day is tomorrow… You’ll never guess who I’m spending it with?!

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CONVERSATION MAKING VDAY PLANS-

Mom: So how come you and your brother are cooking dinner together at home tomorrow?

Me: I asked him to spend it with me and if he wanted to go out and eat, but since it was expensive he said we should cook at home.

Brother: Actually, it’s embarrassing to go out on Vday and not have a girlfriend.

Mom: (laughs)

Brother: But it’s even more embarrassing to go out on Vday and have people think SHE is my girlfriend.

Never mind romance for Valentine’s Day – it’s always a riot with my ever so adoring brother.

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If you’re going to be looking for love this Valentine’s Day, you might be happier finding it in something that will last. Being with family who truly love you (even if they insist they don’t), is always a good way to spend not just Valentine’s – but any other day.

Wishing all of you lovergirls lots of love from me, for tomorrow!

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CNY Freebie Giveaway! And BEST Moments From My Chinese New Year 2014

TOP 4 MOMENTS OF MY CHINESE NEW YEAR 2014:

1) Getting my pet Jack Russell Terrier, Cookie, to fetch me some Kumquats.

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Good girl! Stay!

2) Spending time chasing my darling niece Emma Grace around for a photo, but not before she tries to show everyone her bellybutton.

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3) Assisting my Dad as he made delicious suckling pig aka Lechon for Chinese New Year.

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Not so delicious looking BEFORE cooking, eh?! I don’t know if I will EVER be able to cook confidently like the men in my life, because I will NEVER want to hold a dead animal in my arms before having it for dinner. How am I going to eat CNY dinner after seeing it?!?!?! :0

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Ugh, think of this little piglet who never got to go home before you eat your CNY dinner! I think I’ll skip Bak Kwa too and go straight to dessert. (So impressed that my Mom made Pavlova this year, it’s a first!)

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3) For our customary DVD family time, one of my favourite uncles suggested watching Twilight part 2. The shocking part is – he is not joking. Even more shocking – this is because he already watched Twilight part 1!
No one else wanted to watch it, not even me (not that I don’t like it, I’ve watched it 5 times already!). So, I convinced him to watch Cloud Atlas instead… I don’t think he liked it much. Haha.

Last year to celebrate CNY, we watched Ah Boys to Men and all the older men in my family mused how much harder NS (National Service) was back in the old days. You young boys nowadays, very lucky!

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I got so many compliments online and from my relatives this year on my super red lace number – can you believe it’s only SGD$38 from my favourite fashion blogshop, Lexi Lyla!? There are so many other dresses I really want to get soon. I look like a tiny happy ang pow!

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As you can see, Chinese New Year is good for many things – overload of oranges, pineapple tarts, Kuih Pie Tee… but also excessive questions from all your aunties. Like that how?

Heaven and Earth® has launched #CalmComebacksan interactive Facebook app – armed with practical comebacks and instant responses to help you deal with all the questions that will be asked. And trust me, you will definitely have to answer them smartly, so your relatives won’t dare to bully you with other stupid questions!

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I love how the app categorizes different calm comebacks ranging from looks, salary to relationship status.

“Eh girl, why skirt so short?”

“Why not married yet eh?”

“How come don’t have baby yet?”

Ahah! You can answer it all now!

I think my frequent follower-friends here know which categories apply to me right? I very quickly clicked on “relationships” and “marriage” – I need some good answers for those questions. Right now!

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Since you have bothered to spend your precious Chinese New Year week reading my blog instead of collecting Ang Paos, thank you ah! I would like to give 1 box of exclusive Heaven and Earth® Chinese New Year Variety Packs to FIVE of you!

Each pack contains a mix of 4 flavours – Jasmine Green Tea, Honey Chamomile Green Tea, Ice Passionfruit Tea, Ice Lemon Tea, and comes in a 24-can pack. Yum!

All you have to do is SHARE THIS FACEBOOK APP on your own Facebook profile, along with a link to this blogpost and a status of one of your favourite calm comebacks listed in the app.

Do tag my Facebook profile (ESTELLE KIORA) or message me on Facebook when you’ve done so!

FIVE LUCKY READERS who have shared the app on their Facebook page will each receive the 24-CAN HEAVEN AND EARTH ® CHINESE NEW YEAR VARIETY PACK.

To see the calm comebacks in live action, check out this Chinese New Year instructional video. A lot of my favourite Singaporean YouTubers and friends are starring in it too. Gong xi gong xi!

WINNERS WILL BE PICKED BY WEDNESDAY 5 FEB, 5PM.

Tradition, love, family and all sorts of goodies with our tea. Stay calm and keep enjoying Chinese New Year!
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Do you want a great family? Solid friendships? Unlimited travel? Career happiness? High net-worth networks? You can have what I have, right here.

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Once in awhile, I get messages from friends and internet peeps, asking me how I have so many friends, influential contacts, free holidays and travel, cool experiences, vip access, awesome loved ones, and usually why I’m always so positive and deliriously happy…

Thank you for living vicariously through me – I worry that I’m not a good role-model at times to people who may dislike or misunderstand certain parts of my life. Of course, I’m not perfect so be prepared for my mistakes as well. I don’t want to inspire your envy, but instead, I want you to know that you can actually have what I have (seriously).

Let me start from the beginning.

On Christmas Day, sometime long ago and far away, a baby was born from a virgin. Say what? Yes you heard it, born from a virgin, not from lust. This baby was a pure and perfect man – different from any of us. He was holy, sent into this earth to walk among the evil, the sick, and the broken. We all know how f-ed up the world can be. If you have a horrible boss or deal with awful people, you know this already.

GOD almighty in all his glaring glory is too great for any of us earthlings to ever reach, there is no bridge – but His Son Jesus actually came right here, to walk among us sinners. He made HISTORY healing people, I see miracles everyday in the PRESENT, and the bible has proven and clearly documented the events of the FUTURE – some have already happened, other things will.

Jesus died with nails in his bloody hands, pierced by the same people who knew of his eternal glory and power – but were too scared of the selfish consequences from admitting it. He came back to life after death, because after all, He was God’s Son. Life is created from God’s breath.

“Oh this is all just a story,” Some people tell me. And I ask them, “then why is God so real to me?”

Once a year, the world looks for a joyful father figure that gives gifts freely and generously. You’re looking at the wrong man – it’s not Santa. Jesus Christ is this meaning of Christmas, but His love overflows in my life not just on this day, but everyday. It’s such an amazing gift I would even wish it on my worst enemy. It’s life-changing, hey look at me. There was always something missing in my life, until God found me. (I will never forget January 2013, the day I encountered God for the first time.)

Life is basically just incomplete without God (in fact it can even be awful), because HE is the one who breathed life into you. How can you doubt all the awesome things that he wants to do?

He knows the differences between what you want and what you need, the thoughts in your head, and the secrets in your heart. He also knows better than you, because He created you.

I’m not promising things will be perfect, but God promised good things to those who truly love and follow Him. Do I get stressed? Sure. Do I worry about things sometimes? I guess I do. Do I have challenges that stumble me? Wa lau eh of course lah. But I’m quite possibly, living the happiest and fulfilling life – I may not be the richest kid around, but I know I have riches far beyond (and better than) money.

“ALL, GOOD things come from The Lord” – This means, nothing bad is from God. Everything good is from God. It’s totally none of my business if you don’t believe, but hey it just means that you’re blocking yourself from the blessings that he wants to pour on your life. Why refuse something good that someone wants to give you?

Life is good not because I was good enough to deserve it, but because God is great. I’m just an ordinary girl living an extraordinary life.

Ask me or a Christian friend about Jesus. I’m not hard to find online, visit New Creation Church sometime, or you can even just Google “Jesus”. Give some meaning to your Christmas. Give God a chance to show you His love today. The sooner you realize it, you actually receive it.

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Merry Christmas everyone. What an incredible 2013 I’ve had since I decided to pursue God first and all other good things have started to chase me. Thanks to everyone who has brought joy to my life. May you all have a blessed 2014!

 

– CHRISTMAS 2013 –

Christmas has always been undisputedly my favourite time of the year. I countdown the months to this very day, but this year’s Christmas celebrations has been the stuff of sweet dreams. Maybe I’m just in high(er) spirits. It was a month filled with family, good friends, excellent food, lots of catch ups and the obligatory hugs and laughs.

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2013 has significantly been the first year that I’ve ever been officially unemployed and ventured out into starting my own business. It’s really bewildering that this has also been the first year where I’ve been able to afford brand name gifts for loved ones, and have also likewise received some really incredible, undeservedly amazing gifts. (Most of the time, I’m already happy to receive gifts like iPhone pouches and coffee mugs.)

I’m not very brand-conscious and wouldn’t care less, but for a new and struggling entrepreneur, this is really quite ironical?! I feel blessed to bless, I guess.

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I’m very thankful to my Mom and Dad who always give me a Christmas with a meaning – we went to St Andrews Community Hospital this year on Christmas Eve with their church group, spreading some joy to the sick, young, and elderly.

I hope the patients liked our red-themed team love, as I try to croon out some rusty Christmas carols!

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What a heartbreaking but amazing day, don’t think I will forget this Christmas Eve for a while. Sometimes, Singapore gets so comfortable that it’s easy to forget how many under privileged and less fortunate people there are around us. Everyone could do with a bit of love and a whole lot of Jesus. Grateful to my parents who continually remind me of compassion, especially this Christmas. Where do we start? With the elderly and sick who were so thrilled to see us, that they couldn’t stop clapping? The young girl in pink who followed us in her wheelchair all around the wards, squealing with excitement everytime we sing? The 5 year old who spasmed or couldn’t look at me straight, and yet she’s so beautiful?

Loving people is tiring, but I’m glad we did it. Thanks to Mom and her amazing church peeps.

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That’s a wrap! Couldn’t wait to unwrap presents with some of my dearest friends, and some much needed turkey time to total up my Christmas celebration coma.

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Thank you, Christmas 2013. Looking forward to the next.

Child-like happiness and family time bubbles

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To be a child, is a lovely thing.

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How incredible it must be, to be able to rest in the knowledge, knowing that you are provided for? Not having to worry about what lies ahead, for your every step is watched?

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A child is never bored of the same toys, and she finds delight in exploring simple things.

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Every day springs forth a freshness. Curiosity begets experiences.

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A child can teach you more about happiness than what you can imagine.

I hope to always have a child-like sense of wonder, for there is so much to learn from children.

(A tribute to the young ones around me, my beautiful niece Keira Rose and our ever-loving family, the stars in my life).

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“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” —Henri Nouwen

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
~Matthew 18: 1-4

How to be a BAD boy with a GOOD heart

A girl told me recently that while my brother was in ACSI and RJC, there were a number girls who thought he was hot. Of course, as an older sister who cannot fathom my brother in any sexy way, I find this extremely funny. Girls were digging his bad boy rep on the outside, but alas, no one seemed to be onto his squishy soft good-naturedness on the inside. Well, I’m about to pop the bad-boy-bubble RIGHT NOW and announce that my dearest little brother, who I love very much, is indeed a bad boy with a good heart.

He will be done with his studies soon in London, and to celebrate the excitement of having him back in my physical life, here’s a list of how (and why) my brother is a bad boy with a good heart. Feel free to take a tip or two.

PS: My brother hates me Facebooking/blogging/posting about him, and he really hates attention. (I know, so unlike me right? They don’t make them any more opposite than this!)

So, for the sake of your entertainment (and I will probably be scolded for this), I hope you like this post!

BAD BOY TIP #1:
Have piercings. On your eyebrow, nose, ears, tongue, or really just anywhere.
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GOOD HEART TIP #1:
Don’t be afraid to love and cuddle animals.
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BAD BOY TIP #2:
Take up bad habits like clubbing.
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GOOD HEART TIP #2:
But you should only really enjoy it when you’re with your sister.
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BAD BOY TIP #3:
Make a fuss everytime you have to be seen with your sister. Say that she embarrasses you.
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GOOD HEART TIP #3:
But really, you love your sister. Cook for your sister, and do her laundry even.
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BAD BOY TIP #4:
Hang out in a wolf pack with the coolest boys.
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GOOD HEART TIP #4:
Occasionally allow your sister to borrow your boys for her blog advertorials.
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BAD BOY TIP #5:
Always look moody. Even in the presence of stunning scenery.
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GOOD HEART TIP #5:
Smile in the presence of special occasions, such as when you come across good coffee or whisky. Especially when you’re with your sister.
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BAD BOY TIP #6:
Wrestle with the biggest fishes and win the battle.
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GOOD HEART TIP #6:
Eat them for protein. Fish is literally, good for the heart.
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BAD BOY TIP #7:
Work out.
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GOOD HEART TIP #7:
Put those muscles to good use. Like helping your sister to carry her stuff.
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BAD BOY TIP #8:
Look like a bad boy vagabond.
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GOOD HEART TIP #8:
Actually is a very decent homely and family boy.
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LAST BAD BOY TIP:
Wear a leather jacket, of course.
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(Bad boys shop at Zara, apparently.)
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Disclaimer: I hope you are mature enough to know that this is just a tongue in cheek post for fun, and not to be taken seriously. Bad boys are only cool if they have a good heart. Stay in school and study hard like my brother does.
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Countdown to the month of his return! *JUNE 2013*

Yesterday, I discovered something about my Dad

dadseniorcitizenIf you read my blog at all, you would know that my Dad is pretty awesome. (You would know this for sure if you at least followed my Facebook/Instagram!)

Between a busy schedule of attending events, meeting up with friends and business contacts, going for drinks, travelling and editing pictures of myself, I was looking forward to a mid-week movie break with my Dad this week. Oh finally, a much deserved break! If you know anything about my Dad (and you probably don’t), the men in my family are massive DC/Marvel comic fans. One of my cousins has a room glorified dedicated to these colourful action books, and another has a room adorned with affiliated and limited-edition memorabilia.

So of course, we made plans to see the notorious Iron Man 3. Let me point out here that my Dad hates to spend money on anything fun or frivolous. Especially if it’s for himself. He is so incredibly selfless that he would wear the same shirt for 10 years so that me and my brother can have new ones. Half of his shirts are free or torn, and my brother has the nicest computers and the latest technology in our house. Anyway, I celebrated this momentous movie by trawling the internet for discounts on movie tickets.

My hands were jittery and my heart fluttered with excitement at the thought of this long-awaited date with Daddy. I couldn’t wait for the day to come, and it finally came. Being the champion that I am, I fell sick.

“Boohoo, Daddy I think I’m sick. I really want to watch Iron Man 3 with you and your friend, but I can’t last 2 hours in the theatre. I’m going to go back to bed. Are you OK to watch it with your friend?”

“Sure, you better rest.”

“I did all the research for you Daddy. Go to any Shaw theatre, and make sure you use your UOB credit card, NTUC card or Passion card for the cheapest movie rates. The best you can get on a weekday is $7.50. It will be more expensive if you watch in 3D though. I picked all the best timings and locations for you and whatsapped it to you too.”

“Ok thanks, love you, see you later!”

The door slammed on my dreams, but I soon had some of my own. I drifted off into an afternoon slumber.

(The stuff of sweet dreams.)

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My Dad came home from the movie as I was pulling myself up from my afternoon siesta.

Rubbing my eyes, I said sleepily, “How was the movie Dad? Was it $7.50 at the places I picked for you?”

“It was good. Me and my friend watched it for $4.50 each. We watched at Filmgarde.”

I jerked straight up, indignant. “$4.50? Cannot be! I checked every single major movie theatre website in Singapore and went through 50 over bloody promotions to get you the best rate. (OK, I didn’t say bloody in front of my Dad but you get my drift.) How could you have gotten such a low rate? Why you watch at Filmgarde?! Got $4.50 meh?”

“Ya. We got the $4.50 senior citizen rate.”

“You’re a SENIOR CITIZEN!?!?!?”

“Haha. Yes dear I am.”

“But how come?! You’re not that old, right? How old are you?”

“58. My friend was over 55 too, categorizing us as Senior Citizens. ”

“Good grief.”

I can’t believe it. My strong and awesome father is a senior citizen. Before I know it, we’re all going to be senior citizens too. Let’s all gather at the void deck, complain about the younger generation and their internet, and play chess together.

Here’s a slightly more “senior citizen”-looking photo of us.

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#things are not what they used to be

 

Prophetic words and why prayer works – “Thank God life is UNFAIR”

I’ve always rushed around life and people, but recently have had the luxury of more time to appreciate what’s around me. It’s a good great feeling.

Stopping to smell the roses… It’s nice.
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Of the last couple of months, a lot of people have been giving me “visions” or a “word” from God. (“Visions” or “Words”: These people who walk closely with the Lord usually get visions or words popping up randomly in their head. It is usually random to them, but extremely meaningful to the receiver that they are meant to share it with.) It’s amazing how much you HEAR when you actually LISTEN.

“Hey Estelle, I have a word for you. Let me pray for you.” Mr Glasses came up to me at a Christian group gathering.

We sat down and I happily stretched out my hands, eyes closed. Mr Glasses didn’t know me very well, and I don’t think he knows much about me. In my mental blankness, I was open to receiving, but mostly waiting to hear something about me (me Me ME!)! Instead, Mr Glasses gave me a special word about my Mom and Dad. He felt from God that my parents were very anointed, and prayed a prayer of thanks for them as he was compelled to tell me that I am extremely favoured by God. A lot of bad things could have happened to me and my siblings, he said. “But they don’t happen, because you have very prayerful protection from my parents.”

I have to interject here and explain to YOU that I’m not a perfect Christian. Throwing back to our teenage days, my brother and I have been up to TONS of trouble. We were breaking out of our individual crowds, and we thought we could do whatever we want. My life was a focus of fun. I’ve always believed in God, yet never quite cared that HE was there, somewhere. God wasn’t that important to me – after all, I was alive, living the good life, and having a ball of a time. So how important could God be?

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I always continued going to church, but Jesus was more like a once-a-week Sunday 2-hour hobby. He wasn’t a priority. Hey, I’m a busy person. I also got distracted easily.
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I don’t pray before my meals, and I never used to pray in general. But thankfully for me, my parents prayed more than their fair share. They were regular and prayerful ambassadors of God – always praying for other people, for many families, and for us children individually. They were never shy of asking for prayer from all their Christian relatives, bible study friends, church pastors and visitors.

“What did they pray for?” You may ask.

“What did they NOT pray for”, I will say. They prayed for every single thing, big or small. It doesn’t matter if it was a complex issue with someone’s boss, or a spot in a parking lot. They prayed for me and my brother to have protection, wisdom, and favour with others. I remember my Dad’s favourite prayer – he seemed to utter this pretty much everyday. “I pray Lord that you will break all curses, chants, negative thoughts and negative words in this household or against this household. Thank you God. Amen.”

My parents prayed in the car, as they walked and they talked, and even prayed as an answer when I asked any questions. I think you get the point – my parents pray. A LOT. So Mr Glasses wasn’t very far off.

I’ve never really had anything bad happen to me, but somehow I knew that I wasn’t the kind of daughter that made them proud. I was good in some ways, but argumentative and selfish in others. I also made choices they didn’t approve of, and made them worry a lot. “You’re so popular,” they said. “But what about living a more meaningful and productive life?” They always sighed with sadness.

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I was young and rebellious, but they loved me anyway.

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And then, things started happening. A shaking of all sorts of things. The kind of things that grab you by the shoulders and scream at you for attention. A lot of things happened, and one of the most noticeable things was that my brother got into a car accident. I will never forget this moment – I was overseas and didn’t check my phone calls and messages. When I finally picked it up, my heart was in my throat as I read a long message from my Dad, explaining the details of my brother’s car crash.

The only thing he had been drinking was ice lemon tea, nor was he speeding excessively. It was raining and the car started to skid while going down a wet slope. It skidded (I imagined to the right), smacked into the railing on the side and spun around. It continued spinning as it was sliding down the slope, and culminated in crashing through – not one – but TWO concrete walls.

I remember that my Dad’s message ended in something like, “On-lookers called the police and the ambulance, because it looked like someone had died. But your brother is OK. His friend who was in the passenger seat, wasn’t wearing a seat belt, but he’s OK too. They are both a little shaken, but otherwise scratch-free.”

The car was not so fine, it was crushed like a tin can and had to be written off.

My brother doesn’t like to talk about this, but he does admit that there was no reasonable explanation for him and his friend (SANS SEAT BELT) surviving this crash (SCRATCH-FREE!). Anyone could have been burnt, hurt, killed – It’s so clear to me that the 1 reason is 100% prayerful protection.

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Actually, my brother’s life is full of testimonies – this is one of many. Somehow, things seem to affect me by always happening to those around me. Miracles, some would call it. Did good things happen to us because we were good kids? No, not really. Far from it. Good things DIDN’T happen to us because we deserved it – but because Jesus died on the cross for us. We are redeemed, and so we can claim all these good things. Oh, the unmerited favour!

Even when we didn’t care about God, he never once stopped caring about us. He knows us, and he loves us. What grace. What mercy. What goodness… It’s pretty awesome.

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I wasn’t expecting this, but I was overwhelmed with instant peace.

I hung my head low, and my eyes were still closed as Mr Glasses finished his prayer over me. I whispered my thanks to God for the testimony and revelation of my parents and their power of prayer. I started crying and laughing at the same time – it was as inexplicable as the waves of love that was overcoming my body.

Mind blown! I guess my parents’ unconditional prayers on me and my brother is but a subset of their unconditional love for us. Mr Glasses gave me a sharp take-away, and I nodded in willing surrender as he divulged, “Sometimes, what your parents tell you may sound like nagging, but open your heart to hear them. God uses your parents to talk to you. What your parents tell you might be prophetic. So don’t just hear what they say – listen to what they say.”

I don’t know if I want to tell my parents that their nagging might be prophetic… what if they use it and abuse it?! But I will keep it in mind, and remember to LISTEN to them when I hear them. I thank God everyday for them. Amen. 🙂

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Thank God today. For your friends, your family… For the good things, and for the bad things that you don’t see.