Christmas Reflections 2014

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Christmas Carrot Cake with Strawberries Santa

Christmas Carrot Cake with Strawberries Santa

Ooooops……it’s ONE long year since I had not blogged. Gosh….that’s really way TOO long! Had been reminding myself too often to get back to blogging but it didn’t work…..*big sigh*. So sorry! But I must write something at least before Christmas this year which is only 3 days away. And… I am! But no, it’s not done yet until I hit the ‘publish’ button….*grin*.

I do hope that things have been well with you and all your loved ones this year. It’s only 1+ week and we will be into another new year……2015. How quick time passes! But the year seems very very long for me…..hmmm.

As for me, this is a very stormy and painful year. Words can’t fully describe what I went through. My dad passed away in Feb, exactly a week before my birthday, and my mom passed away in July. I rushed home when my family said that my dad’s condition didn’t look good. He passed away 3 days after I arrived home. SO PAINFUL! And my mom passed away too quickly. I rushed back on hearing that she had passed away and was JUST in time for her funeral. Again, SO PAINFUL! I was actually very traumatised after my second trip. It was the day MH17 was shot down. I would have been on that flight had my hubby not booked my flight wrongly. A divine intervention!

After returning from my dad’s funeral, I was too much in grief. The pain was so intense. I knew I had to fight against spiralling into depression. I did all the normal things that I could but looked like it wasn’t enough. Finally I got myself into a cafe business in a very interesting way. To cut the long story short, that was such a great distraction and also what would make my dad happy if he was here because the very last time when we talked, he asked me to open a cafe. My dad knew me too well….my dreams, my abilities, my strengths, my weaknesses.

I’m always ever thankful to awesome friends here who are always very supportive and helpful. They came and helped me clean up and re-organised the cafe because it was untidy and dirty when I took over. Running the cafe was great fun and I fully enjoyed it. My friends kept introducing and bringing in friends. News soon spread fast that there’s a Malaysian cafe in Aberdeen, the one and only one here. I met so many wonderful people and the business was good. A lot of my customers are Malaysians whom I would not have met without the cafe. They are all so friendly and supportive. My cafe often looks like a busy Malaysian Club…..haha. People love my Malaysian food. That really made me very happy.

Unfortunate it didn’t last long. I decided to quit after 1 month. 1 month???? That must be the shortest job I had ever done! Talk about quitting in life…..hmmm. Am I such a quitter? I am not but I need to in this case before I collapse. It looks like it’s my cafe but it’s really not. The cafe belongs to a church and a small hotel. I need to prepare buffet breakfast for the hotel guests every morning and also cook for church functions every week. Leftover time I sell my Malaysian food. It means I didn’t have much time left to make more Malaysian food. I only could manage a small menu of chicken rice, nasi lemak, roti canai, prawn noodles, fried rice and fried noodles. Oh yes, curry puffs and char siu puffs, too. By the time I close at 3, I was extremely tired even though I have a worker to help me each day. Working 7 days a week and not being able to cook more Malaysian food is not what I want. And together with several other issues, I decided it was enough. It was a great experience though. I felt, and still do, feel really bad to disappoint so many people. They are still waiting for me to start again. Of course I am…..soon. Feeling very excited, as always, about my food business.

The days after I quitted, it was lots of rest for me as I was overworked at the cafe and felt very exhausted. But sadly, it wasn’t long before I had to rush home. This time my mom passed away! I was glad I left the cafe. Immediately after the funeral I rushed back to Aberdeen, unpacked and repacked, and off to London the next day for my daughter’s graduation from her Master’s in Physiotherapy. Spent some good time with her and her hubby before coming back.

It really looks like the intense pain would never go of. I had not had time to recover before another big blow of pain hit. Behind all my smiles, the cruel pain remain sharp and intense. It’s apparent that theory and practical don’t work. Then I hit an all time low and suffer from severe chest pain from front to back and severe indigestion. Even breathing required some effort. I thought I’m getting heart attack but then I could still play badminton. The pain was less when I played badminton. I could breath better. So, it’s definitely not heart problem. Then I thought I had lungs problem. A gastro-intestinal consultant friend told me it’s due to the indigestion. Nevertheless, I went to see my doctor and was referred to a specialist. By that time, shingles broke out. A LOT of tests were carried out but there was nothing wrong. The specialist told me that shingles broke out due to low immune system.

Soon after, I met my friend’s mom one day. She’s a Chinese doctor. She came from China to visit her little granddaughter. She told me I looked sick. Oh dear! She could tell by the colour of my face. I told her what I had gone through. What she told me shocked me. She said that grief harms the lungs! Wow….I didn’t know that. She gave me some good massage and taught me how to do it myself. I really felt good after that. I’m forever grateful to her. She’s SO friendly. She wants to get so many things from China for me when she comes again, something for health use. Anyway, all this health scare was a wake-up call for me. Each day, I am reminding myself that my parents are together in heaven, a better place for them and no longer suffering. That is theory but I have to make theory work out. I know I still miss them lots and will not see them again when I go back to Malaysia to visit my other loved ones. So painful to think of it….*big sigh*….sob sob.

A couple of months ago, I visited my girl in London again. After the flight scare, I decided to take a train. But I found that not only does it take much longer time but it’s more expensive too. My family persuaded me to use flight. Eventually I gave in. The flight was very early in the morning which means I had to get up early. Asked my sweet hubby to set the alarm clock at 5.15 a.m. Sure enough I got up when the alarm went off. After getting a few things done, I took a look at the clock. It was 4.30 a.m.!!!!! My gosh… hubby set it at the wrong time! No wonder I was so tired and sleepy. When I got on the plan, I must have fallen asleep pretty soon. But suddenly, I heard an announcement. The plane would be landing back at Aberdeen airport in 15 minutes time! What????? You can guess. There was technical problems. We landed back safely. Huge relief! But we had to change to another airline. All in all, it took longer than if I had taken the train! That was such another scare. Just wonder if I want to take a flight again so soon……hmmmm.

It’s Christmas again. It reminds me of all the wonderful times when my parents spent Christmas with us when we were young and this is the first Christmas without them around! As I think of this Christmas, my heart swells up with total thankfulness to my God for giving me such great parents, the very reason that my heart is so much in pain when they are gone! And it’s my prayer and aim that the joy of Christmas floods my heart and heal all the pain that is still lingering on. I can still trust Jesus who is my healer and my greatest friend. He is the true reason for Christmas.

You may be wondering what I’m up to these days. Well, I am still playing badminton a few times each week. It’s a great game to help me de-stress and I’ve always enjoyed it. But unfortunately I had a slight injury to my knee a few weeks ago. It’s Christmas season so we are taking 2 weeks break. That’s actually perfect as it gives my knee some time to heal. I also attended quite a lot of short business courses and also meeting up with my business advisor as I’m starting my food business from home pretty soon. Went through quite a lot of hassle looking for a shop but decided not to go further. It’s very time consuming and very expensive. Then I had family members who came from far. They love my food so I was busy cooking and baking everyday while they were here. They had just left. We had a great time together.

Well, days may be cruel and challenging but my dad used to tell us that no matter how tough a day is, it has to pass. And so, I look forward to each new day, believing that it will always be a better day so that I can keep smiling…..*big smiles*.

You may wonder if I had been cooking and baking. Of course I did. Cooking and baking, as I always say, is very therapeutic. I had just made a cute carrot cake for Christmas the other day. My friends and guests liked it very much. I had made it a few times, but only one time with the strawberries santa (picture right at the top). When you cut it, there are 3 layers (below here). You like it? You have to come and visit me if you want a taste of it…..*big grin*. I know some people like to have walnuts and raisins added to it but my girls like it without them. Just pure carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is what they like. This is a very moist carrot cake and I like it very much. I would call it a healthier cake as there’s lots of grated carrots in it.

3 Layers Carrot Cake

3 Layers Carrot Cake

I’m coming to the end of my post. Giving myself a VERY big pat on my own back for writing this post today…..*big smiles*. Thousands of apologies again for the long gap! Thanks LOTS to many of you for your emails and messages telling me that you are missing my posts. You have given me so much encouragement and the courage to write again! I will surely keep up with my blogging. Its something that I had always enjoyed. I want to believe that 2015 will be a great year, a year of breakthroughs and success. I pray that it’s the same to you too.

Thanks a zillion again for following my blog! Till then, see you again in my next post! Would be in 2015!

To all friends far and near, I wish you a MOST BLESSED Christmas and New Year!

Quote of the day……

‘Affirming words from moms and dads are like light switches. Speak a word of affirmation at the right moment in a child’s life and it’s like lighting up a whole roomful of possibilities’

– Gary Smalley

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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suituapui  on December 22nd, 2014

It has not been a very good year, some sad events for me too in the year. Christmas brings hope so let’s look forward to the coming year with hope in our hearts…and love for one and all.

A Blessed Christmas to you, Mary & Steven and all in the family and may God bless you all abundantly in the year ahead, 2015. Cheers!!!

wok with ray  on December 22nd, 2014

I missed receiving your email notification whenever you have a new post. I am glad to see you again. Merry Christmas to you and God bless you always, Mary. :)

Juliet  on December 22nd, 2014

Lovely to hear you are back. I lost my beloved grandmother last Summer too. My family kept it from me till it was too late to attend her funeral. I was deeply in grief, but am feeling much better now. Nonetheless, I think it’ll remain an irreparable wound. I feel for you and would be keeping you in kind thoughts. May you and your family be in God’s loving protection and wonderful blessings today and forever. Have a very Merry Xmas and Wonderful New Year.

Cheers from Edinburgh!

Somewhere in Singapore  on December 22nd, 2014

It’s not a very good year for me this year as one of my dear aunty passed away this April… Miss her…

Blessed Christmas & Happy New Year to you and your family…

Angie@Angie's Recipes  on December 22nd, 2014

Good to see you back again, Mary.
Have a beautiful holiday season!

makcikmanggis  on December 23rd, 2014

merry christmas mary

Ann from vancouver  on December 23rd, 2014

Good to see you back, Mary. Please post if you do have your food business. If I get the change to visit Aberdeen, will definitely drop by to visit you.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Ann from Vancouver

faye  on December 23rd, 2014

Oh Mary, so sorry to hear of all your painful happenings in your family. In time all wounds will heal. Your parents would surely like you to be happy instead of grieving all the time.
I never attended my mom’s funeral, but I felt that she visited me in Vancouver. I smell a nice fragrance and I woke up and said mom, then I immediately slept again. I felt so happy that she visited me, and I think of her often, and wish her a happy after life, if there is such a thing. I want her to be happy. Somedays I miss her and some days I talk to her, but I don’t grieve as much. I hope this is helpful.
As for running a cafe, think hard. It is very stressful. I had worked in several restaurants, and it has wrecked my health. My digestion was shut down dued to the adrenaline rush and as such I keep losing weight, and a little burnt on my hand wouldn’t heal. Many accupunctures, herbs, etc, helped only for a short time. Finally I got a new job cooking in a daycare for little children. This is the best job ever. Like you, I enjoy cooking, but running a restaurant takes all your time away. It is not just cooking, but organizing and the finances, big headache. All the best for the holidays and have a happy healthy new year.
Faye (Vancouver New Westminster)

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