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(Part 3/4) 12 Things I Am Grateful For In 2012

December 21, 2012

The third thing I am grateful for is..

God’s Favor.

In particular, favor with the people whom I’ve met along the way this year.

Truth be told, I felt really ALONE earlier this year.. meaning to say, I felt like I was fighting a lone battle. Reason is because I felt that I couldn’t help my mother with her illness, I couldn’t get myself together and I didn’t want to burden Calvin with my family “problems”. I didn’t want to worry my father (simply because I felt he was stressed out enough) and so I’d rather keep up my brave front only to crumble inside.

But I really thank God that my family & I had favor with the people we met along the way.

Firstly, my mum’s presiding oncologist – Prof Simon Ong. He was a supportive, empathetic, wonderful doctor who really understood a patient’s needs and who really made an effort to clear a patient’s doubts, fears and worries. I felt that the security he was able to provide my mother was something that NO ONE could be able to offer her, apart from God. (LOL) He was supportive of both my father & I and really went out of his way to show his concern for my family. The gratitude towards him is really deep and I believe that things do not happen by chance and God introduced Prof Simon to us because He wanted us to be comforted throughout the journey.

Secondly, the nurses in the Ward 48, 78 of SGH. God really knew how to put the right people in our lives and to help us. And sometimes, I feel that we had good relationships with the nurses and they were able to care for my mother well.

My The Card Room wedding card printer, Shi Ling. I was panicking as I had to get my wedding cards printed in short notice and I had a budget I was working with. I just happened to find The Card Room through my online research and then I scheduled an appointment with Shi Ling. After going through the cards and talking further in the meeting, she was so helpful and willing to work within my budget and print the cards on time! Little did I know.. I bumped into her in church & found out she was attending NCC too!

My InterContinental banquet manager, Scarlet. There was actually several issues with my wedding banquet booking as it was actually made for 10 Nov 2012 and in the event of cancellation, the entire banquet fee was due. But she was perfectly helpful and willing to work with us to make the 31 March wedding possible!

And many more.. I’ll gradually add them to the list.

I really feel God’s footprints were everywhere throughout the year and I thank Him for letting me have favor with the people I meet.

After going through the year, I’m more aware of such divine occurrences/appointments/meetings that only God would have been possible to orchestrate. 🙂

Have you met someone whom you feel only God could have created that opportunity?

It could be His way of showing His favor & love to you! 😉

 

(Part 2/4) 12 Things I Am Grateful For In 2012

December 20, 2012

As I was reflecting on the second thing I’m grateful for, I was disrupted by a Whatsapp message and then when i finished replying.. What I saw were multiple Whatsapp chat groups. Each chat group had a different group of friends. I was totally stoked at how many quality & wonderful friendships I have developed over the years..

Being an only child, I’ve grown up relying on a lot of friends for company. I never felt alone or sad that I didn’t have siblings because my friends were always with me.. studying, playing sports, shopping.. you name it.

And this year, my friends were really a pillar of strength to me.. And I’m really grateful for them.

  • Ahmad Ibrahim secondary school girlfriends – AI Jie Mei
This was taken at Peiling’s 21st birthday. She and the 3 ladies at the back, Huai Yu, Yizhen & Shi Ling are what I call golden friends who just know the remedies for a bad day and really embrace my flaws. They have been supporting me throughout the years after secondary school and more so recently, when my mum fell ill. I can’t say how grateful I am to have their friendship.
  • Amber Gang
I simply love this group of friends cos we really grow together in life, experiences & have so much fun together.. 3 couples got married between 2011 to 2012 while in the group we have three very eligible bachelors too. Actually, this group is Calvin’s group of secondary school friends whom he is extremely close to. And they have been so wonderful to me ever since we dated and we just love spending evenings together – playing kinect, mahjong, chit chat and whatsoever. It’s never a dull moment!
  • Fuchun Primary friends – I’ve known them more than 14 years!

 Unfortunately, I can’t find a picture of the group! Cos it’s buried in my Facebook account and I can’t seem to find our group photo. Nonetheless, I’ve known them for more than 14 years now. It’s funny how cos we stay near each other in the same area of Woodlands, that we never lose touch! Our regular meeting place is Causeway Point. Go figure. 😛 But I’ve since moved out of the area.. but Whatsapp group is still very much alive!

  • JC – AC & YJ mates
3 months in ACJC was all it took for us to establish a long term friendship. The four of us have supported each other in every single way and we just love spending time chit chatting over a meal or playing board games. They are my friends who keep me rooted — rooted to a character of humility. LOL. Why? Cos they are really amazing people yet are humble of their achievements. Are not pretentious at all. I simply love them.
My YJ Makkals.. Haha.. I think that’s the word. This group is what I call ethnically diverse. NO way in a Singapore school can you find an almost equal no. of chinese, malay & indian in a class, except in my class. Maybe things are different now. But I remember walking into the class in sheer amazement. I learnt a lot from them and they have been so open & supportive of me regardless of race and religion.
  • NUS friends

Last but not least, the NUS friends. The funny thing is, I wasn’t in the same course as any of them. Haha.. I got to know them when I did cross modules in the Business school. I study Psychology but I had a strong interest in Marketing and hence, I think I took as many business modules as my core Psychology modules!  This group is interesting because.. despite coming from different backgrounds, workplaces, schools etc. we could converge cos of one thing – we just enjoy each other’s company. Chill out dinners, KTV sessions.. It’s a must-have after 2-3 months of jaded work in the workplace. Or so I think. Haha..

The friends I’ve made and their support in the past year is so important to me. Hence, I really treasure their friendships and will continue to cultivate them such that they can become life long relationships.

I hope you’ve got friends that you treasure as well.

Are you thankful to have them as well?

Is there anything special you can do for them in the coming year?

Let’s commit to having genuine friendships with others and treasure them. Do make the effort to let them know you care!

My wish for 2013 is for God to bless them with happiness and health and all of their hearts’ desires! Amen! 🙂

(Part 1/4) 12 Things I Am Grateful For In 2012

December 19, 2012

I was actually inspired by a Facebook post my friend, Adam made yesterday to start this series: 

But instead of thinking how to get my unfulfilled goals done in 12 days, it got me thinking about what has already been done in 2012 which I am grateful for. And this reflection has made me realized, there’s no way I can cram all into one post and so I decided to spread it across 12 posts. 1 per day starting from today and leading up to 2013.

The most unfortunate thing is, my blog has not been updated since 31 dec 2011. So there’s a lot of “catching up” to do. But I reckon, the 12 things that I’m going to share will probably cover how my life went for this year.

In short, this is NO ORDINARY YEAR. 

To be frank, when I was thinking of what I wanted to blog about and thought of 12 things I am grateful for for this year, I was squeezing my brain dry.

I initially had GREAT hopes for this year — my dream wedding, my honeymoon (thank God for providing us with a beautiful wedding & honeymoon which I will touch on in subsequent posts :)), my parents’ retirement, our first home, our business achievement of breaking the million dollar mark annual revenue for this year. But this year has got to be one of the most challenging years I have ever had in my entire 26 years life.

And I thank God for accompanying me through the ups and downs, for blessing me with a great family and with friends & leaders of great faith who stood by my family.

Before I get carried away..

The first thing I am grateful for in 2012 is quality time with my family. 

I will always remember Chinese New Year this year. It was the day before CNY eve when my mum had to be admitted in A&E for anemia. My mother has always been the “SuperMum”, Iron Lady to me and for the first time, she was weak, pale & frail. And the doc actually said if we had delayed her admission, she could have died from cardiac arrest from lack of oxygen in the body.

At that time, I had to witness my mother undergo blood transfusion cos her hB level was 4.3 which was dangerously low. A lot of pints. I can’t remember how many. And we requested for her discharge to spend CNY for one day before readmission. That she wanted too.

I still remember her telling me, “I feel like this is my last Chinese New Year” when we went out visiting on the first day and I just had tears in my eyes. The picture you see above, was taken with a heavy heart but still with a smile in my face as I always like to remain optimistic even in times of difficulty/uncertainty. Let me tell you, it’s not easy going house to house wishing everyone Happy CNY, and then return to the car to check if my mum was feeling alright.

On the first day of CNY, we went straight to hospital to be readmitted after all the visiting.

It was during the admission that my mother underwent further tests & was suspected to be with stomach cancer. The days of waiting for the results was really agonizing. My mum who knew the results still couldn’t bear to tell us. And when the doctor broke the news to me for her, I remember it was just sheer confusion and distraught. I remember going home, crying in my bed.. asking God why this had to happen.

But as I began to accept the news, it just made me treasure time with my mum & dad more.

I still remember during one of the consultations, Prof Simon Ong, my mum’s presiding oncologist said something like… cancer is a very destructive & curious disease. It’s devastating news to the family but somehow, it brings the best out of everyone as people start to make time for each other, seek spiritual help, find time for things that meant the most to them.

He was right.

I started trying to spend more time with my parents, as much as I could. But it was challenging as I had to manage commitments from the business, employee management and at the same time, deal with the falling USD & economic changes.

And I was the only child. (LOL)

But seriously, I did not have the luxury of calling a brother, a sister to help out in the family, to spend time with my mum on my behalf.. etc.

Hence, the emotional burden was actually really really heavy, that I started developing skin problems on my face (unnatural break outs).

But I felt it made me work harder to strike a balance (thank God for Calvin to keep me in check) and also to rest in God for Him to do His work in my life. It also made me treasure our time together more.

I think it made us more resilient against this unknown thing called cancer.

And I felt I finally got something back that I kinda lost from the past 3 years of working, to understand what was truly important to me — time with my family.

The last three months of my mum’s life was spent in and out of hospital. But that did not deter my father & I from going to the hospital to spend time with her almost every single day. Watching my mum indulge in her iced milos and say, “This is Simple Joy” and she glancing at us from the hospital bed to see what we were eating, reading or watching.. How she tells her guests “Thank you for coming”..

The pieces of advice she tells me with regards to life, “Don’t work so hard”, “Be kind to others”, “Be yourself”, “Be strong”, “Be nice to your husband (lol)” etc. are things I will keep in my heart.

All these memories I have of time spent together with my mum & dad… I am thankful to have them.

Right now, I treasure the people who continue to be important in my life even more and will continue making it a priority to spend quality time with them in the coming year.

I hope that encourages you some way to do so too. 🙂

Think about the people who are important to you.

Have you been spending as much time with them as you can to continue cultivating the relationship?

Why don’t you commit some more time in a month to just have a meal, catch a movie, have a coffee or even just be in each other’s presence?

You’ll realize how valuable time spent during interactions and relationships is, and it’s something which no amount of money can buy.

I hope you have benefited from my sharing.

Till the next post tomorrow to continue with the 2nd thing I’m grateful for in 2012.  Good night!

My Eulogy

November 15, 2012

I was thinking twice whether I should post my eulogy on Facebook. But I felt that it’s something really personal which I would very much like friends or family to discover it on my personal blog, then for me to post it on Facebook which will appear as “READ ME! READ ME!” on the news feed.

It’s funny how this eulogy got written. It was written in a haste as I originally thought I would be delivering it on the day of the cremation. However, Pastor Pauline (the Pastor for the Memorial service) suggested that I delivered during the memorial service where most people are present.

Having to entertain guests and write an eulogy at the same time was NOT easy. Basically cos I had to keep my emotions in check while writing something that was so meaningful to me. I wanted to put in more thought and heart into it. But the presence of all the visitors.. friends, colleagues, family etc. actually made me realize the central theme of my eulogy — my mother’s unconditional love for others..

This eulogy is a tribute to my mother Lucy U Po (18 Sep 1956 – 8 Nov 2012) and I hope it speaks to you if you have known her. And if you don’t know of her, I hope this short synopsis of her life is suffice to give you reason to think about your own life and of how you can live it such that you too can say “I think I have lived my life well. I have no regrets”

—Start of Eulogy—

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift. that’s why it’s called the Present.” Thank you everyone for being here. It’s the best present you have brought along for my family today. To my relatives who travelled from overseas to make it for today, thank you very much.

My name is Patricia, and I’m the only daughter of Lucy. I know you all know my mum personally in one way or another. It could be at school, at work, it could be in the neighbourhood or probably, simply because she’s my mum, or an aunt or cousin to you. But there’s only one way I know her. To me, she’s my dearest mother. The mum that I couldn’t have chosen but the mum whom I would choose again if I could.

My mum is an incredibly kind, helpful and generous person. She never fails to lend a helping hand to friends, family and even strangers. She makes the effort to know the bus 900 bus drivers, the cashiers at Shop & Save, the neighbour who just moved in and the child sitting across her in the MRT. Her smile is ever radiant and genuine that it warms even the coldest person in the room.

That’s how she stole my dad’s heart.

My mum is originally from the Philippines. She’s the baby of the Po family who grew up as a young, intelligent woman who later went to medical school with the plan of becoming a doctor. However, little did she know, my dad, her penpal for 14 years from Singapore, was to be her soulmate and life partner.

The first time my dad went to the Philippines was for a practical reason, to go on a holiday. He was choosing between the USA and Philippines but figured Philippines was nearer and cheaper. And he had a penpal who was excited to meet him for the very first time. My dad and mum always recall the faithful day with laughter. She was so excited about his arrival that she was jumping in the crowded airport to catch his attention and welcomed him with a beautiful smile.

That is the smile that stole my dad’s heart.

And that smile continued to radiate in so many people’s lives.

The friends, family, neighbours and colleagues who have stepped forth during the past few months to comfort her, console her and even care for her.. are the fruits of the seeds she has sowed in their lives over the past 56 years of her life.

When she was first diagnosed with cancer, she told the doctor, “I have no regrets. I think I have lived my life well.” Now I can’t help but agree.

As my father and I experience the love, care and concern from everyone during this journey, we truly understood the unconditional love my mother gave out of herself to those who crossed paths with her.

Today, in the presence of everyone, we want to say we are very proud of her – of the many things she’s done in her life, big and small.

And …

We thank God for being with her in this ardous battle against cancer.

We thank God for the victory she has had.

We thank God for making her a blessing in so many people’s lives.

We thank God that He has received her with open arms.

She fought a good fight in her battle with cancer and remained faithful of God’s love and grace.

What holds for us tomorrow is a mystery.

But my mum always says, Trust in the Lord.

And in the Lord we will trust.

We will dearly miss Lucy, a great mother, a loving wife and a faithful child of God.

We will always love her and remember her for who she is and she will always be in our hearts.

Before I end, I’ll like to share with you an SMS my mum sent me on Valentines’ Day.

It goes like this, “Love is d greatest Healing Power – at d end of our lives after all our successes n failures the value of our lives is determined by how much we have loved – :-)”

I hope we’ll always remember her unconditional love for us and remember to love others unconditionally as well. Thank you.

—End of Eulogy—

In memory of Lucy U Po, my dearest mother

Year 2011 – Truly Crowned with Goodness by God

December 30, 2011

It’s already the 2nd last day of the year and it’s funny because usually the end of the year does hint that my birthday is fast approaching so it really concludes by life for a certain age and for this year, it’s the age of twenty five.

Let me start off by saying that this year has been a really amazing year.. Truly crowned with Goodness (as declared in church in faith at the start of 2011). The miracles & blessings that God has showered us with have certainly far exceeded our expectations and He just made Himself seem MORE REAL &  FAITHFUL than ever before. Amen.

As I was looking through the little blog posts that I posted here, I think it’s evident that my faith in Him has grown even more stronger and why shouldn’t it?  When He has left His footprints all over my life!

2011 for our company, Zion Global Marketing Pte. Ltd. has been nothing short of a great year.

1. We ran another successful internet marketing seminar in June which garnered great reviews!!

iem1

We had close to 200 participants again and were blessed to receive many written and video testimonials after the event. Sad to say, our video camcorder became corrupt and we lost more than 20 video testimonials left for us for the event. (It was a REAL bummer.)

2. We created and launched over 30 brand new digital products in the form of  ebooks, video training courses and digital reports for internet marketers!

3. We launched our first Clickbank product, Affiliate Earnings Booster together this year!

4. We generated a mid 6 figure income for the 4th year running! (Praise God! Now that’s a real feat based on the small, close-knit team we have..)

5. [Only Internet Marketers Would Know] Our products were voted WSO of the Day in the Warrior Forum a total of 12 times (in just 6-9 months I think), generating more than $300k in sales over the same period of time and Calvin’s the Top 5 Most Popular Sellers on Warrior Plus!

We did go through “several bumps” earlier this year but I believe that those bumps helped us become more clear of and redefined our vision, mission and even direction, especially for the coming year. The truth is, Calvin and I did go through several learning lessons this year which caused us time, effort, heartache (sometimes) and even despair.

But at the review that we did yesterday of our entire year as a company, as business partners and as a couple, we had nothing but thanksgiving for God’s guidance in riding us through the storms (lol.. it’s actually not as bad as it sounds)

The important lessons we learnt corporately which I’ll like to share with you:

#1 Importance of Clear Communication

We know of its importance (definitely.. especially after running the business for the past 3-4 years) but this lesson is a HARD lesson that never fails to come up. It’s as though.. we went through Stage  1 of learning how to communicate before and then Stage 2 and now Stage 3.. I like to think that Life has impromptu examinations that cannot be anticipated but you can certainly prepare for it.

– Communication with business partners

When you communicate as business partners, it’s a MUST to set aside your personal relationships (friends, lovers, family etc.) There shouldn’t be the GREY area where you both (or the group) tread dangerously in. Communication should be clear, concise and to-the-point and basically, if you have your own interests to protect or concerns, you should voice it out and do not assume that it’s mutually understandable. (That was a big mistake I made but thankfully, rectified).

– Communication with employees

It could be the fact that Calvin and I are rather inexperienced in employee management and perhaps that’s why it’s an area which we particularly learnt the most this year. Goodness, the supposed GOOGLE inspired office policy of fun, fun, fun then work is DEFINITELY too idealistic  especially for small companies that strive on performance (yes, look at the tons of products we launched for this year.. we certainly are a performance-driven company.. haha)

When communicating with employees, in-house or outsourced, you have to be straightforward in your instructions, in your feedback and objective criticism. The mistake I made was I was overly sensitive and concerned about HOW the other person would feel when I directed him/her, when I corrected and when I reprimanded. I didn’t consider that the gravity of the issue outweighs my need of being nice. It didn’t help that the employees we had were of the same age group and that could have created a greater sense of familiarity and thus, developed that strong sensitivity towards their feelings. So when communicating, be objective.

#2 Be VERY Clear of Your Vision, Mission and Direction

When you are clear of  the vision and direction you have for the company, you will steer the company towards projects and plans that will support this vision. Once, when Stuart Tan (our personal friend and business mentor) learnt of the projects that we were interested in starting, he asked “Is this aligned with your mission?” and we realized that it’s so important to determine if what you are working on is CONTRIBUTING to building the path towards your goal. If it isn’t, chances are you’re wasting your time.

Also, when you are very clear of these 3 important elements of your business, you will then avoid shiny, golden opportunities (that may seem to have tons of potential & even bring in lots of money but be at the expense of the resources for your other important “vision-building” projects).

#3 Black & White

Everything has to be in black & white. You have to draft contracts and  binding agreements to safeguard your business and company against ANYTHING that can potentially jeopardize your company. Calvin likes to say, the closer the relationship, the MORE you should draft a binding contract in black & white, simply because more is at stake and having it in black and white just makes the expectations from both sides legal and transparent.

#4 Always Set A Budget & Prioritize Expenditures

I think we particularly did well this year in this area for planning for our seminars, calculating the monthly costs of the company as well as for our major renovation overhaul. Setting a budget is NOT meant to limit you to a number to work with at the end of the day but it helps you be aware of what the revenue and expenses are. It’s also important to prioritize expenditures, whether for investment, for marketing, for employee welfare.. etc. The thing is, when you know what the expenditures are and for what purposes will allow you to evaluate the value of those expenditures and make adjustments in future.

#5 Hire the RIGHT People for the RIGHT Purpose

This is one precious lesson that I feel any business owner should sit up, listen and READ. Hire the right people. The mistake that Calvin and I made was we were not clear of the expectations of the employees we set out to hire. Moreover, we did not DEFINE their roles nor did we drill down to the basic expectations and key performance indicators.

Worse was.. we tried to make our company revolve around our employees and tried to create work for them to do RATHER than have our company’s direction, vision and mission CENTRAL and have all operations, staff, projects and plans revolve around it. And see if the people we had in the company were the RIGHT people.

The people we had hired were great people with their own strengths BUT we failed to consider the job fit during the hiring process.

Be clear of WHY you are creating a position and hiring. Be clear of what kind of person you are looking to hire. Be clear of the VALUES you want the person to have and if it is in line with your own and your company’s. Do not be swayed by the resumes, the presentations, the first impressions as well as the promises.. Run multiple rounds of interviews. Two is the bare minimum. Go up to 3-4 if needed.

PHEW~ Can’t believe I’m done! I have taken 1 hour to write this far!!

As for US two… the IMLovebirds (this is a cute name that Calvin came up with! I just have to tell!!)….

We made full use of the time this year to play hard and work hard.

We got ourselves a XBOX 360 Kinect! Haha.. and tons of games to play over the weekends… travelled to Hong Kong twice this year because we simply love the people, food and shopping there! We didn’t venture to too many places this year and the past few years simply because we couldn’t afford to be away when we had in-house employees in the office. haha..

Last but not least….

engage1

WE GOT ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!

ring1

Well… I couldn’t have said YES without this beautiful ring could I? 😛

After 5 years and 9 months of dating, he finally popped the question on his birthday! It’s truly a MILESTONE for the both of us.. and really, whenever I think back of how we started off this journey together, I really really start to tear…

We started dating in University in our sophomore year that was in 2006 and he learned about internet marketing in Nov-Dec ’06.. He kinda forced me to read the IMC guide book and learn about internet marketing along with him. I had zero passion but when I saw the desire he had to get this venture going, I followed. We don’t come from rich families and we decided to stop all our part-time student jobs (he was a freelance sales promoter at Singtel, our local telco & I was a full-fledged tutor teaching 7 kids) and just focused on learning and mastering IM together, with whatever resources & money we had.

Bear in mind that we couldn’t afford a mentor at all!!

To cut the long story short, never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined that 4 years later.. we would accomplish this much for ourselves and our families. If it’s not God working in our lives through us.. I don’t know who is. 🙂

This 5+years together have been remarkable… And I can only imagine our married life together to be 10 times better.. *I hope* hahaha..

We have finally committed to making marriage plans and we’re now in the early stages of planning for our wedding and we have already seen His mark on us that this is His will and the wedding is happening in His time. We’re fully aware that we need our Abba, Father to continue guiding us in this next part of our adventure & journey and we commit this entirely to Him.

This is a moment truly of thanksgiving for 2011 and we will look forward to an EVEN MORE AMAZING 2012 ahead!

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Dear readers,

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a WONDERFUL and BLESSED new year ahead and may 2012 open doors of opportunities for you in every area of your life!

Visualize your future because it is BRIGHT and continue working towards the goals you have set for yourself.

More success, joy and happiness to you!

Cheers!