31 Oct 2012

Our Mice, and Special Art Project for a Special friend

Can't believe how fast time flies. It's now almost 2 months since I underwent surgery to remove a tumor found near my pituitary gland.  I've gone back to work, but am still cautious about my activities. Just last weekend, I thought it'd be safe to swim. What a huge mistake.

After the swim, I began developing a headache, and by night, the pain was so unbearable I thought I was surely going to end up in the ER again. It felt like there was a knife and electricity in my head. Since my husband was away, all I could do was just to pray and pray and pray. The horrendous pain lasted till about 3am, when suddenly I felt like ice cold water was being poured inside my head. Then somehow, I fell asleep. In the morning, the headache had reduced to a dull headache. Thank God that there is prayer and God to turn to in time of need.

Since I can't do much outdoors yet, we've been doing lots of reading, and little projects. Kids have made a huge variety of playground for their mice. Sadly, I didn't take pictures and playgrounds have been torn down. However, here's a few pictures of our mice. Not very good shots as it's been gloomy and rainy outside, and there was insufficient lighting. Nevertheless, here are some pictures.

First mouse to land on planet milk. :)

Our kids named this male Pipsqueak. Here he's trying to conquer the world in 80 seconds.

This is a blur picture of Lucy, she looks like she's guilty doesn't she? Plotting an escape perhaps? ;)

Another blur shot of Lucy. She was attempting to play this traditional instrument, but fell in instead. haha...

Finally, today with all classes canceled, we decided to work on a special project for a special person who's not been well. We're just praying and trusting that he will be well. Nothing is impossible. These pieces will be mailed tomorrow.

Jo's art work  -ink and colour pencil.

Nel's art work - Ink, colour pencil and water colour

Mine done in watercolour. It's been sooo long since I picked up the brush. This was a third attempt after two failures. Get well C! Prayers with you.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012

. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With sadness, Mr. Choo from Save our Seahorses passed away in June 2013. An excerpt taken from their webpage.
    "9 Jun 2013, Save Our Seahorses Malaysia bade farewell to its Founder and Team Leader, Choo Chee Kuang after a long but incredibly brave struggle with cancer. Chee Kuang will fondly be remembered for his pioneering work on seahorses and the conservation of their precious seagrass home in Sungai Pulai, Johor."

Rest in peace my dear friend.

25 Oct 2012

Best Friend Wanted

Do you remember the time, when you thought you'd finally found the truest ever, truest Best Friend? Then one day your new best friend's bff walks in.  Your new best friend then suddenly forgets you exist, leaving you  with an utter feeling of dejection. Remember what that felt like?

I've been having struggles with Jo for some time now, regarding the issue of best friend. We've told her that best friends will come and go,  best friends can hurt, and that it is best to just have one to two best friends who are true friends. The problem is, despite all the friends she has, she thinks that she hasn't found that special best friend yet. Very often, she comes to me, laments, cries and says "Nobody likes me. Everyone hates me." 

Jo tends to get along with boys, much older teens and adults. She's not easy to describe. She's usually a chirpy lil girl, highly inquisitive and full of crazy imagination. But she's also sometimes too frank with her words, and sometimes overly emotional. Sometimes reclusive, sometimes aloof. She's got friends, but problem is, her friends already have other best friends. And then when she starts acting aloof, naturally people stray away from her, seeking easier/calmer characters.

I used to feel for her regarding this issue. I used to seek playdates, in hope that she'll find that perfect best friend. Now I've given up, and just pray "God, bring that best friend to our doorstep." You know, like how a stork drops that newborn baby into the chimney.  :p

As for Nel, she doesn't bother with this issue, although I wonder if she thinks about it. Nel's not very good conversationally, especially with making new friends, just like me when I was her age. When I was Nel's age, my answers to people's questions always came out in one to 2 words, preferably in one syllable (yes/no) . When I see my own weakness in Nel, I get frustrated.
She too prefers older girls (early 20's) for a friend, or younger children. Which means, both she and Jo fight over older children, and that all play dates I arrange for Jo, end up being Nel' friend. See the dilemma, thus the increased intensity in prayer for a best friend. haha..... Anyway...I give up. I suppose, with time, this issue will settle itself....yes? 
Anyway, yesterday Jo bugged me and bugged me about baking. Having a headache, I grumpily, reluctantly got her the ingredients, opened the recipe book (with a thump and bang!), took out the mixer grouchily and left her in the kitchen giving her strict orders not to ask me for help. After a while (feeling guilty), I went to check, and that lil fella was following instructions from the book pretty well. She needed a lil help with the mixer, and then she was on her own. So she pretty much did everything on her own, except for putting the tray and removing the tray from the oven. Proud of you Jo!

Jo's first ever muffins (butter cake), baked entirely by her.

They were really moist on the inside, simply delicious. Her grandma, cousins and I gave her full thumbs up.

Her future ambition for now, is owning a restaurant. This explains her craze for calculators. To date, she owns about 5 calculators and is begging for a real cash machine. I'll have to look out at second hand stores.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012


18 Oct 2012

A storm passing ... Bits from my journal.

It's been a rainy day this part of the world, not just rain, but heavy, thunderous downpour that makes driving difficult. Still I made my way to the hospital, and saw the neurosurgeon, followed by Jo's dental appointment in the noon. After not driving for so long, it was quite nerve wrecking to drive through that storm. It also reminded me of the time my car hydroplaned a couple of years back, smashing against the divider that separated us from a deep, large monsoon drain, causing the side windows to break. Yet thankfully, the Lord protected my children and I.

Anyway, just as I was about to go to sleep after a long day, it started pouring heavily again and thundering. Camel our little pooch started barking frantically, and so Nel and Jo went down to soothe and comfort him. They brought him extra cloth to keep him warm, sang songs to him, and played some soothing violin music on our CD player just to calm him.

Soon the storm began to die out, our little pooch began calming down and my children went back upstairs. As for me, I stayed a little while more with my poodle, feeling peaceful from listening to the lovely music. As I contemplated, my heart filled with peace, realizing that just as that storm was dying, so was the storm in my own life. Healing has been taking place, and I'm so much better now. :)  I believe my doctors did a good job, but ultimately, it's God who will complete the healing, the healing of the wounds, the heart and mind. I'm now trusting that He will remove the IBS, and that the random headaches (which have ceased in intensity) will totally diminish, and I know it will happen soon. :)

Anyway, a few shots of the journal which I kept while in hospital.

1st attempt at a drawing and writing using my left hand! (I am right handed) (coz there were needles in my right hand)
This verse in Isaiah 55 spoke a lot to me. About how I will go out with joy, and instead of a thornbush, I shall be like a strong pine tree. It spoke a lot to me, about the sort of person that I was/am (the thornbush), the changes I need to make to all the parts about my character which were just not right. I know, change doesn't come over night, but through this time, I've been praying, that God will change me, help me with my weaknesses, in order to be closer to who He intends for me to become. I know, through Him, I can be better. :)

 This is a 2nd  ATTEMPT at drawing using my left hand!  So this is my first ever, left handed modern(?) art. As you can see, the picture is of people with healthy pituitary glands. (seen in middle of forehead.)  :)

 A 3rd attempt at drawing/writing using my left hand, coz of the needles in my right hand. A nurse came in and saw this and commented "Wow, you did this with your left hand? I can't even do that with my right." haha...Yup right. But it helped spark of conversations with different nurses. :)

 FInally, during one of my devotions, I happened to chance upon John 11:35 which reads "Jesus Wept." Only 2 words, but it brought me to tears. It helped me realise that God is NOT some great, untouchable far off being. He is very real, and His love and care is real..so much so He wept for his friends. He is real. As I wept, I closed my eyes and drew a random line. When I opened my eyes, it was a forehead and nose. I then began to just sketch and sketch, still deeply touched to the core by the realization of God's love....and this was my impression of what Christ might have looked like, when He wept.

 Indeed, it is in Jesus name, and faith in Him that will bring complete healing.

Finally, I have one more special picture, which I saw in a dream. But I shall not post it here. It is as my friends described, unique. I intend to create an oil painting of that, as I saw it in colour but my sketch was only black and white (done in between sleep and dreams while in CCU). Will share that later when I complete the painting.

God bless.........
Martha@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012


16 Oct 2012

Tower of Straws

Five doctor's appointments this week! In the mean time, it's been a long time since I've posted stuff on the children's activities. Here's something we did in August, before my surgery.

Earlier this year, I gave Jo some toothpicks and playdough and had her make shapes. She discovered the tetrahedron's strength on her own.

This time, I gave my children and their friends a whole bunch of straws. Their goal was to build a high tower, that would be able to support a bag of beans. The first group, comprising of younger friends, built a really tall, wobbly tower, (which I called the tower of goo.) :)   The tower which was taller than 4 feet, stood for a while, and then twisted and folded like jelly. But they had lotsa fun building it.

The second group, had to build a tower, while taking note of length of straws (especially when cutting), stability, and I wanted them to incorporate the tetrahedron shape. They weren't too meticulous and the mums came in last minute to help even out lopsided sections. (And the mums had fun doing it too. :)  )

Building the base of the tower.

Tower getting taller (and really didn't get very tall at all). Lots of red tape, I think the children rather enjoyed the process of taping more than measuring!

Finally, the tower that started off well, began to become lopsided when they lost focus. However, it managed to withstand the bag of beans (in plastic bag on the top right corner),  for a total of 19 seconds, 1 second shot of the 20 second goal!! .:)

During the weeks where my constant headache started, it was public hols, and so I kept the headaches to myself and continued activities as usual. One of those days, we went for a picnic at the Templers waterfall. It was great fun.
 Going behind the falls
Climbing slippery rocks carefully,  and just enjoying the cold cold water.

 A pretty damselfly dropped by

 Lots of fun just watching children build castles, catching tadpoles, collecting rocks,  shooting waterguns and just having fun. :)
The trek to the falls though was heavily guarded by leeches! The brave children made it. :)
 A group of strangers who wanted to trek in with us (1 hour ++trek), freaked out when one of the teen girls got bitten. They screamed, jumped and ran off still screaming despite us shouting "Come back, come back!"  (and they didn't even look back or say thank you or goodbye, it was really like a comedy! :D) 
 So that left the falls entirely to ourselves.  (wink) Lovely. :)

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012


10 Oct 2012

Home sweet Home..My piano

After recuperating at my mum's, I decided I'm finally ready to head home. It's a wonderful feeling to be home again. :)  I'm truly thankful, that my parents graciously and lovingly took care of me in the post op days. My heart is filled with gratitude, for all that they've done.

Post op there are still weird symptoms, like last night, I woke up with the walls spinning and a weird burning sensation in my head. I won't bother with all these crazy symptoms, but reading a pituitary operation forum I chanced upon, I know each person will recover in their own way, in their own time. I also got a second opinion from a different ENT, Doctor Ng Kee Sang in Klang, and he said, it was too risky to undergo another surgery right now for sinuses. I've just been given more medication, but I trust this doctor.

Anyway, first thing on coming home, I took in the familiar smells, hugged my ecstatic poodle, peeped in to check on my mice (female is pregnant!) and jumped into bed and hugged my familiar pillow, opened the windows and took in the refreshing scent of my teeny garden. Ahh...sooo good. :)

Next...I headed.to my beautiful piano that I've missed so deeply. Before my op, I played and sang some random heartfelt songs on my piano, which I recorded on my handphone. And these songs brought me through the op. As I listened to them again recently, I could hear cracking in my voice at some points, showing the tears and fear at that time. But all that is over now. I'm thankful to God.

I'm rambling, but I just got back to my piano, which is an extension of my voice and soul, and just played, and thanked God in all. Anyway, here's just a very short (not so good quality)  recording of the song "Give Thanks" I just did.

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us"

Give Thanks...

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012


3 Oct 2012


just briefly jotting thoughts down. Headaches still persist, usually on upper left of head, worse in mornings. Pain near left ear, and behind the head. Sinuses still clogged.
 Also taking a variety of meds- decongestants, antibiotics, medication for heart palpitations, and meds for headaches. I think this combination is causing the abdominal pain i feel on the lower right (similar to the one I felt after my C-section op.) I did go do a scope on this before, but all they could say was IBS.

As I watched travel channel on TV today, I really really craved to be outdoors again, craved to be free. I'm just longing to be able to do anything I want without worries or nagging pains that creep up here and there. I'm really craving for this. And so I'll have to keep pressing in through prayer especially, trusting God that the healing will be complete so that my Joy may be complete. In the mean time, I give thanks because blood test results have come back, and I no longer have to take my hormone pills. :)

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012

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2 Oct 2012

Schooling when I was down

(apologies to those who commented or shared this post earlier. I accidentally deleted it, and here it's reposting. Thus those who kindly shared this post earlier will find the link invalid, and all comments gone. :(  )

Just found out post pituitary op that I have major sinus infections. ENT recommends another surgery but at the mention of the word "surgery" after my recent brain op I felt like fainting. No..no more needles for a while, there is a limit as to what I can handle. Thankfully he said I could try medication and antibiotics first to see if it will help alleviate the headaches. My reason for writing...is to tell of what happened to my children through all this.

I was fortunate that my parents were willing to take care of my children. Mum went and bought all sorts of  workbooks.  When I came back, I found my 7 year old working excitingly on std 3 science books (with ease too), grammar grade 4, ahead of her level, and on maths rather unwillingly and grumpily. :) My older girl,  already an independent learner just worked by herself mostly, only dreading writing skills. Most of all, my mother has been training them, so that they make their beds first thing in the morning, keep the house tidy, wash, dry and fold their own clothes etc etc etc. And I've  found them to be so much more matured  and disciplined in household matters now. :)

They learned sewing and craft from my mum, Nel even picked up the basics of crochet! Also in just 2 weeks, my older girl has come close to beating me in chess, which she picked up from my dad. (Note, I'm rather pathetic in chess, plus I feel tired off and on.) Still it's amazing she picked up so much chess from my dad in just 2 weeks. Apparently the deal was to play a minimum of one game a day. :)

And then spiritually my kids grew up overnight. I know that daily, when I was in hospital, they prayed and prayed and trusted God that their mama would come home well. I received cards from my girls with messages like "We will never be apart, God will heal you, and I will take care of you." And now I'm home, without fail, my girls come into my room every night, put their hands on my head and pray for me. Just last night, Jo prayed "God I pray you heal the damage that's been done, close the wounds, remove the headaches." And Nel prayed "God help me and Jo not to fight so much so we won't trouble our mummy with extra headaches." :)  So much growth in just 2 weeks.

Because of my headaches I don't school them much yet, except for random art. But I'm healing. In conclusion, it has been a real time of learning for me and my family. I'm proud that my children were able to school themselves independently when I couldn't, and for supportive parents who helped them become even more independent. There is a reason for everything that happens. Anyway, yeah, praise God in all things.

p.s forgive any spelling, grammar mistakes or sloppy writing. Have not yet tested if they accidentally removed any important cells during brain surgery. (kidding :))

(pss.. apparently they enjoyed being schooled at my mum's because there was a promise of TV everyday at 3pm! while at our home, TV is only allowed during weekends! haha...)

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012

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