Experiencing God

Parenting with the Fruit of the Spirit

“A soothing tongue is a tree of life but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

The catchy tune of “Fruit of the Spirit” by Uncle Charlie has been a recent favourite on the girls’ playlist and they managed to pick up the tongue twisting lyrics in no time. Living our lives with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control is a lot more daunting than singing it. Head knowledge does not translate to daily life application and God sees the latter. God sees our heart.

I had created fruit of the spirit family devotion, decorated Christmas tree with the nine fruits of the spirit previously and repeatedly told the girls off for not applying what they learn. It’s always easy to tell the girls’ the expected behavior in a situation but yet as an adult I can’t behave as I should when I am put in a difficult situation.     

Modelling good behaviour and living a godly life to my girls has proven to be a daily challenge and God presented me a test.

Couple weeks back, hubby came into the bedroom with a letter in hand as I was about to read the bible to the girls before their bedtime…

Hubby: “You had the car last Wednesday morning right? Speeding ticket; $150 fine plus 4 demerit points.”

Oh my, it’s like returning the GST vouchers I just received! I recalled after finding out the location of the mentioned offence. I had brought older Gem to the zoo that morning before picking younger Gem from school and the fuel tank was running low. Knowing hubby needed the car that evening, I decided to be nice and make a detour, a deviation from the usual route, to fill up the tank for him. The following was my response/excuse in my defence.

Me: “Ya la, blah blah blah… had to fill up the tank for you. All your fault.”

Why did that even come out from my mouth? All the fruits of the spirit I know and taught crushed in the bin. No love, no joy, no peace, no patience, no kindness, no goodness, no faithfulness, no gentleness, no self-control. The ugly side of me displayed before my girls. I know speeding has no connection to the route, to me being nice to go pump petrol etc. but the natural reaction just like Adam and Eve was playing the blame game; creating excuses.

Oh, I just wanted to dig a burrow and hide! Ashamed of the summon, my reaction and in my heart, I remembered I took the same route the day before, anxious if I will get another summon.   

As parents, hubby and I quickly turned this into a lesson for the girls. A negative example, exactly what we should not do because mummy made the wrong choice and my reaction is not pleasing to God.

There was no love as I thought only for myself.

There was no joy as my reactions did not reflect my sovereign God was in control.

There was no peace as I was anxious about receiving another summon.

There was no patience as I sped.

There was no kindness in helping to top up fuel as true kindness does not expect anything in return.

There was no goodness. I was not ready to give.

There was no faithfulness as my actions did not glorify God.

There was no gentleness in my speech for playing the blame game.

There was no self-control as I spoke in haste.

One of those days where you rate yourself a zero for parenting! Let me try to be better tomorrow!

Anyway, hubby furnished my particulars and I have since received the notice. The Traffic Police has very kindly treat this incident as a warning. Thank you very much!

Experiencing God

Finding Hope and Strength from Psalms

Grim news of covid-19, floods and unrest in numerous nations and lost of life at RVHS brought me to the book of Psalms to seek solace. Art is truly therapeutic as I mediate on the word of God.

Through it all we can only put our hope and trust in our faithful God…

Day One of Seven

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” Psalms 31:24

Day Two of Seven

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalms 37:23-24

Day Three of Seven

“The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalms 27:1

Day Four of Seven

“His love endures forever…” Psalms 136

Day Five of Seven

“When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” Psalms 73:16-17

Day Six of Seven

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope come from him.” Psalms 62:5

Day Seven of Seven

“May you unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalms 33:22

Art & Craft, Books

Henri Matisse Inspired Activities for Kids

Our Matisse inspired space

My first encounter with Henri Matisse’s art was a visit to the Rosary Chapel located in the South of France. I was 14 then on a school trip to Europe for an art history tour. The facade of the chapel was white and plain looking; a stark contrast to the majestic churches filled with Gothic and Renaissance frescos, which I was used to seeing earlier during the trip. It was a welcome change for me I recalled. 

I remembered sitting inside the chapel and in front of me just behind the altar was a mural of a man drawn in black outlined. I thought to myself “Hey! I think I can do that too!” It was Matisse’s masterpiece of Saint Dominic. What caught my attention was the bold coloured stained glass which stood out against the white interiors. The chapel was designed by Henri Matisse in his final years.

Using resources from the Singapore library, I borrowed two books “Henri’s Scissors” by Jeanette Winter and “How the Snail Found Its Colours: The Art of Matisse ” by Jeong-Yi Kee. These books opened the world of Matisse’s cutouts to younger GEM.

Book I: Henri’s Scissors

The story briefly details the life of Matisse from how a young boy who enjoyed the arts became a lawyer but eventually followed his passion to become an artist.

Matisse’s art in his later years were putting together coloured paper cut outs as he was no longer able to hold a paintbrush due to his ailments. Despite his inability to paint, he didn’t give up but channeled his passion of art to another artform. He formed collages using his colourful cut outs on walls. I am a fan of his collages!   

I planned for younger GEM to create her own coloured paper and make cutouts to decorate the wall and a recycled milk bottle to be used as a vase. 

Materials & Tools:

  • Drawing paper
  • Paints
  • Brushes
  • Scissors
  • Recycled milk bottle
  • Double sided tape

Our Process:

  1. Just like how Henri’s assistants painted the paper for him to cut, younger GEM painted the drawing papers with the colours she chose.
  2. I traced the some of the designs found in the book for us to cut. Both the “birds” were cut by younger GEM while the rest were too challenging for her.
  3. Decorate the milk bottle with the cut outs using double sided tape. A little fine motor skill practise from peeling the tape!
  4. Create a little Matisse inspired space! See image at the beginning of the post!
Painting papers for the cutouts

Practising her cutting skills.

Decorating her vase with cutouts.

Book II: How the Snail Found Its Colours

This is a story of a colourless snail embarking on a journey to find its own colours and along the way met a number of artworks by Matisse. Finally, the snail found its own colours from Matisse; from a colourless sad snail to a colourful fabulous one!    

From this story, younger GEM saw some of Matisse’s art such as “Dance (II)” and “Music”. The highlight was “The Snail”, which we will attempt to replicate. 

Materials & Tools:

  • Picture of “The Snail” by Matisse  
  • Square drawing paper
  • Crepe paper: black, orange, dark blue, dark and light green, yellow, red and pink
  • Scissors
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Tray

Our Process:

  1. I cut out the shapes similar to the original piece using crepe paper.
  2. Display the cut outs and place square drawing paper on tray.
  3. Younger GEM to place them on a blank piece of drawing paper according to the original artwork.
  4. Spray water over the entire piece of artwork and let the crepe paper colours “bleed”.
  5. Wait for a while and remove the crepe papers gently.
  6. Let dry.

The end product looked similar to a water colour painting and it was perfect as a birthday card for grandma!