Friday, December 31, 2010

About Me

Hello! Thank you for visiting this blog, dear Reader. Let me share with you a little about myself and God's mercies to me.

My name is Nancie. I am a Chinese Christian living in Singapore. The Lord Jesus Christ saved me in 1990 and my life was wonderfully changed when I became a Christian. I went through many challenges just like everyone else, and have been wonderfully upheld by the Lord Jesus Christ through all the ups and downs.

In Dec 2006, I had a severe relapse of clinical depression. At first I was thought to suffer from major depression. But I was diagnosed in late March 2007 to be prone to Bipolar Disorder also known as manic-depressive illness, a brain disorder that causes extreme mood swings from very happy or high moods together with lots of energy (and I am prone to over-strain myself during such times) to very low and depressed moods with low level of energy and constant tiredness (at times with severe feelings of hopeless and worthlessness to the point of having suicidal thoughts and tendency).

I think I have experienced these extreme mood swings for over 20 years or so. But I can only remember more clearly of the 10 or so relapses over the last 18 years prior to my recent diagnosis. These are relapses that occurred just before I became a Christian and then the years after. I could remember them more clearly now because my life was changed significantly after I became a Christian. I have very little memory now of my younger days without Christ. It was through an episode of severe depression that I questioned the purpose of life and whether there is really a God, and if there is whether He cares for me as I was suffering intensely. By God's mercies, I was led to go to church with 2 of my colleagues to seek an answer and God changed my life ever since. I found comfort in God through all the ups and downs in life.

These episodes of depression in the last 18 years usually lasted for a few months before my moods returned to normal. Different from the normal ups and downs we all experience every now and then, Bipolar Disorder's symptoms are very severe. It is a long term medical condition just like diabetes and hypertension that needs to be carefully managed throughout a person's life.

Through this severe relapse in end 2006, I was led to seek medical and counselling help for the first time, besides praying and reading God's Words plus some other helps. I thank God that after so many years of roller coaster rides with extreme mood swings, I have finally understood the reason behind them. To know that I suffer from this medical condition, that it has a name for it, is helping me to learn to manage it better so that I can live for the glory of God and be able to serve Him more effectively.

The medication, by God's grace, is helping to stabilise my mood and enable me be more functional, so that I can continue to seek and serve God. I thank God for my doctor's valuable helps in treating my illness and helping me to learn to cope so that I can live for the glory of God and serve Him. Currently my condition has improved a lot.

In January 2007, I have received professional help from a group of counsellors who are trained to manage brain disorders such as bipolar, clinical depression, OCD, etc etc and my Pastor also counselled me on spiritual matters. The professional counsellors are trained to use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is a form of counselling with a focus on understanding how our thoughts affect our behaviours. Bipolar alternates between 2 extreme mood swings ie. mania and depression, and our thoughts and behaviours are shaped by these mania and depression episodes which can at times be very confusing. CBT helps to make sense some of these confusions, and help to pick up skills to manage these mood swings so that one can be more functional.

I am thankful to God for providing me with a team of very compassionate, kind, understanding and encouraging Christian counsellors at Counselling and Care Centre, Singapore from Jan to Apr 2007. My sessions with my counsellor were most fruitful and encouraging. Through her counselling sessions, I embarked on a new journey of self-discovery, of knowing God, myself and others better. The benefits I derived from my sessions with her continues to help me as I journey on. Now I am helped by my Pastor's prayers and counsels, and that of some of my elders and brethren in my church, besides doing my own reading and researching on the internet to understand this condition and how best to manage it. I am deeply indebted to the above persons for their valuable prayers, counsels, encouragements and kindness during my most difficult times.

I am now learning to look to God and learning to use a combinations of available means which our Lord has graciously provided to cope with this brain condition. You can read more about these coping means/strategies from the category "My Coping Strategies" on my blog.

With God's help, I am hoping to share my journey of understanding this brain condition and God's mercies to me with you, dear Reader. If you know of anyone suffering the symptoms similar to that of my condition, please do pray for him/her and let him/her know that it is a medical condition that can be treated. Do advise him/her, if possible, to seek professional and medical help, counselling help, some natural remedies and other helps. Do not hesitate to tell him/her about this blog.

Just click on the links in the "Label" box on the right to read my postings.

I thank God also for my family and friends - for all their prayers, encouragements, support and kindness. In particular, I am indebted to my dear Pastor, my brethren in my church and other Christian friends in other parts of the world, for their love, prayers, supports, concerns and kind love gifts which enable me to recuperate away from work and also to providentially work on this blog. I realized these are tokens of God's love, mercies and faithfulness to me in this difficult trial. These give me the courage to press on, to look to God daily, and to seek and serve our Lord as He enables me. I am thankful to God for His mercies and lovingkindness to me despite my many sins, failures and weaknesses.

I found it helpful and therapeutic to verbalise my thoughts and feelings and share it with others who can benefit from it. It is my prayers that, God willing, this blog with all its information will be used by our Lord to help others, particularly those who are afflicted in like manner and for their loved ones and friends, just as God has used many information available on the internet for my benefit and comfort as I seek to understand my illness and manage it so that I can live for Him and serve Him.

May the testimonies of God's love and faithfulness, through all the changing scenes of life, will continue to bring glory to Him and some comfort and encouragement to His people.

To God be the glory!

"My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." Psalm 73:26

Warm regards,
Nancie
First published on February 2008

Coping Strategies

Bipolar Disorder or Manic-Depressive Illness is a chronic and life-long illness. It is imperative for me to learn as much about this illness as possible and how best to manage it so that I can continue to serve God.

Thank God for His mercies upon me daily. I know that He has a purpose for allowing this illness in my life. It will continue to work for His glory and my good, and that of His people too. I thank God for His presence with me as that is my greatest comfort and strength in my battle with this illness. I also thank God for the prayers and encouragements of many friends and family members. I thank God that I live in a community of people who love God and love me with an extraordinary unconditional Christ-like love. To God and to them I owe a debt that I can't pay. I can only seek to walk with God and glorify Him and serve Him and His people to the best of my abilities and as the Lord Himself enable me.

I thank God for making available various means and resources to enable me to understand my illness and to manage it better so that I can be more functional and useful for the Lord.

One important thing I realize in my learning to manage this illness, is the importance of accepting it. I have heard of others sharing about how their loved ones would not accept the fact that they are unwell and need help. Some reject medications because of the long term side-effects while others refuse to believe that they are ill.

For me to know that I am suffering from an illness and that it has a name for it, is a great relief to me. To finally understand that my past roller coaster life was due to this illness, my ups were shaped by the hypomania while my down by the depression, helps to unveil the mysterious and confusing pasts. It helps me to understand myself better and how this illness shaped my life.

I hope to share with you how the Lord is teaching me and equiping me to manage this illness better. I am still in the process of learning to make use of all the means and resources, and still in the midst of discovering new ones. I will do so slowly. So stay tune to my next posting for the Lord's leadings and provisions :-)

Warm regards,
Nancie
First published in February 2008

My coping means


Some Useful Health Links

More resources about:

Anxiety Disorder

Finding meaning in a life with mood disorder

Living meaningfully


One of the missions of my blog is to share with others God's goodness and mercies to me in managing clinical depression and bipolar disorder, as well as resources that will benefit a person with a mood disorder and information for their family and loved ones.

Last week, I shared an article "Trust during rough times" which is an excerpt taken from a new book "A Firm Place to Stand" written by my friend and fellow blogger, Marja Bergen. Marja is also the author of "Riding the Roller Coaster: Living with Mood Disorders".

Today, I like to share another very encouraging article written by Marja for CanadianChristianity.com entitled "Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder". It is a personal testimonies of how God has enabled Marja to find meaning in a life with bipolar disorder. This article is reproduced here with Marja's kind permission.

Bipolar Disorder or previously known as manic-depressive illness is a mood disorder with extreme mood swings ie. manic/hypomanic and depression. It is a medical condition that can be treated.

It is possible for people with mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, clinical depression and other mood disorders to live a close to normal life with medical helps and other helps. Support from family and friends are crucial to their recovery and well-being too.

I am thankful to God that with medical and other helps, I am able to live a more functional and productive life.

It is my prayers that resources and testimonies shared on this blog will continue to benefit people with mood disorders and their family/friends who love them.


Finding meaning in a life with bipolar disorder
by Marja Bergen

Mental illness is not all bad. I have lived with bipolar disorder for over forty years and have found it has many benefits. I couldn’t imagine living without it and am not at all unhappy with my life. In many ways, I value what this illness has made possible for me.

With effective medication to keep symptoms under control, people with bipolar disorder can live a close-to-normal life. Yes, moods will fluctuate and cause occasional problems, and treatment will need adjustment. Suffering will always be part of my life. But I accept the way God, the Great Potter, made me. I am rich on many levels.

Like many people with this disorder, I am very creative. I receive a lot of pleasure from photography and using my imagination. The deep emotions I experience, although painful, are a source of richness; I feel completely human. My frequent hard times have helped me appreciate the good times and I make the most of them. Spiritually, I’m stronger for having had to deal with great trials. The fires I’ve passed through have refined me.

Most of all, I appreciate the compassion I am able to have for others who suffer from depression and other mental health issues. Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1: 4 hold true for me. I praise God “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received.” God has shown me his love, and I want to pass that love on to others.

Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to be part of a church community that has supported me and helped me grow spiritually. With the Christ-like love they have shown me, I have come to understand how great God’s love is. In turn, I now help others through a support group and one-on-one, in person and through my blog. I feel fulfilled. The language of suffering I’ve learned helps me connect with people in trouble. I am able to understand them in a way many others could not.

I feel a bit like Patch Adams in the Robyn Williams film. While Patch is a patient in a psychiatric hospital, he discovers his ability to connect with people. He learns to understand his severely disturbed roommate to see the person behind the illness and helps him through his problems. Not only does this delight Patch, it makes him a well man.

Patch eagerly tells his doctor he is well and needs to leave the hospital. I connected to another human being, he said. I want to do more of that. I want to learn about people. I want to help them with their troubles. I want to really listen to people. Connecting with other people gave Patch joy. It gives me joy, too. When God places you in this role a role he made for you joy happens. Walking with people through some of their toughest times is rewarding and a privilege.

Bipolar disorder will always be with me, and I suffer many high and low moods. But, I don’t feel I’m a victim of the disease. God has helped me find a way to make my illness work for me instead of against me.

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ (Jeremiah 29:11) God has a plan for each of us. Though we might have a severe illness such as bipolar disorder, God has work for us to do. Eventually, we can use what God has given us even the bad and turn it into something good.

Marja Bergen is the author of Riding the Roller Coaster: Living with Mood Disorders (Northstone, 1999) and a new book for Christians about living successfully with bipolar disorder (to appear). She is the founder of Living Room, a faith-based Mood Disorders Association of BC support group. Her blog, marjabergen.blogspot.com, deals with mental health and faith issues. She can be reached at info@candidsbymarja.com.

This article is published on the website of CanadianChristianity.com and reproduced here with the kind permission of Marja.
Here are some information about these 2 very useful books written by Marja:

Books by Marja Bergen:

1) Riding the Roller Coaster: Living with Mood Disorders


Mood disorders, such as depression and manic depression, affect up to 10% of the population. Marja Bergen is one of those people. Over the 30 years that she has had manic depression, she has gradually adopted a lifestyle that makes it possible not only to cope, but to live a full and productive life. In Riding the Roller Coaster, she shares very practical tips on such things as escaping the blues before they grab you, what to do when you don't feel like doing anything, and keeping life stable.





Buy this book:



2) A Firm Place to Stand : Finding meaning in a life with Bipolar Disorder



"A Firm Place to Stand is a must-read for Christians who struggle with mental health challenges and the faith communities who minister to them.

For too long, society has misunderstood and feared individuals who live with mood disorders. This book dispels the lingering stigma attached to mental health conditions and encourages people to lovingly welcome the sufferers into congregations by understanding them better and supporting them in practical ways.

Most importantly, for the sufferers themselves, A Firm Place to Stand shows that it is possible to have a mental disorder yet be close to God and derive strong support from a growing relationship with Christ.

In her sincere and candid style, Marja Bergen reflects on her forty-two years with bipolar disorder, showing how faith in God can help a person with a serious illness turn weakness into strength. She describes how God transformed her from an insecure, withdrawn person into a leader, an activist, and the founder of Living Room, the growing Christian support group for people with mood disorders."

Buy this book:




Do visit Marja's blog, if you can, and get to know her. You will be greatly encouraged by her.

Hope the above article and resources are helpful to you or your loved ones/friends with mood disorders.

May God continue to enable us to know His love and mercies through all the changing scenes in life. May God enable us to love, pray and support our loved ones/friends with mental illness or mood disorders, and reflect Christ's love and compassion for His suffering people.

Thanks again for stopping by! Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements!

Take care and God bless :)

Warm regards,
Nancie

First published on 9 August 2008

How do I cope with the hypomanic or manic phase of bipolar disorder (hypomania or mania)?

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by! Trust you have had a blessed and wonderful weekend. Thank God for the beginning of a new week to walk with Him and serve Him.

Recently, I received an email from one of the readers of my blog. She noticed that I don't touch much on the manic state of Bipolar Disorder and on how I am learning to cope with manic state. I have written much on the Depression phase of bipolar disorder and been sharing about how to identify the signs and symptoms, and what are the coping strategies that I have been learning to use to help me to be more functional besides medical help and looking to God.

I have found some helpful articles on the internet on bipolar disorder and the mania / hypomania phase.

Bipolar Disorder causes dramatic mood swings—from overly "high" and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in energy and behavior go along with these changes in mood. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.
 
What is mania? What are the signs and symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include:
• Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
• Excessively "high," overly good, euphoric mood
• Extreme irritability
• Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
• Distractibility, can't concentrate well
• Little sleep needed
• Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers
• Poor judgment
• Spending sprees
• A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
• Increased sexual drive
• Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
• Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
• Denial that anything is wrong

A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for 1 week or longer. If the mood is irritable, four additional symptoms must be present.

A mild to moderate level of mania is called hypomania. Hypomania may feel good to the person who experiences it and may even be associated with good functioning and enhanced productivity. Thus even when family and friends learn to recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder, the person may deny that anything is wrong. Without proper treatment, however, hypomania can become severe mania in some people or can switch into depression.

Descriptions offered by people with bipolar disorder give valuable insights into the various mood states associated with the illness:

Hypomania: At first when I'm high, it's tremendous… ideas are fast… like shooting stars you follow until brighter ones appear…. All shyness disappears, the right words and gestures are suddenly there… uninteresting people, things become intensely interesting. Sensuality is pervasive, the desire to seduce and be seduced is irresistible. Your marrow is infused with unbelievable feelings of ease, power, well-being, omnipotence, euphoria… you can do anything… but, somewhere this changes.

Mania: The fast ideas become too fast and there are far too many… overwhelming confusion replaces clarity… you stop keeping up with it—memory goes. Infectious humor ceases to amuse. Your friends become frightened…. everything is now against the grain… you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and trapped.


This is taken from an article from the website of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH said "NIMH publications are in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without the permission from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH encourages you to reproduce them and use them in your efforts to improve public health. Citation of the National Institute of Mental Health as a source is appreciated."

Read more here.

Another helpful website listed Some ways on How to cope with Hypomania:

1. Get enough sleep. Patients experiencing a hypomanic episode often feel a decreased need for sleep. This is an important warning sign of the condition and stabilization is key. Try your best to return your sleep patterns to normal. If you are unable to sleep, contact a doctor or mental health specialist.

2. Refrain from making important decisions despite the impulsive urge. Wait until you feel normal before rushing into any action you may regret later. Maintaining awareness of your character and patterns are important.

3.  Refrain from excess caffeine, sugar and alcohol because they are stimulants and may keep you from getting the rest you need.

4. Engage in calming activities and refrain from over-stimulating environments.

5. Identify members of your personal support system, such as family members, friends and loved ones, and reach out to them as necessary.

6. Contact your local medical and/or mental health provider for ongoing help.

7. Call 911 immediately for assistance if you are thinking about suicide

Read more here.

Actually, for me personally, my depression episodes have been more severe, prominent and paralysing, and I have been learning intensively how to manage it besides medication and looking to God. So I was able to write and share what I am learning along the way and what are my coping strategies thus far.

As for manic, whenever I am well, I am a little hypomanic but I don't really get very manic. I am still learning to identify when I am hypomanic and what are the things I do when I am hypomanic. So I don't really have much to share yet and that is why I have not written about it on my blog.

My hypomania is partly controlled by medication. I am taking an anti-psychotic (Seroquel 25mg) every evening which helps to slow me down and sleep through the night.

My psychiatrist is training me to identify my hypomanic phase. Keeping a Mood Chart is one of the way to track and see how my mood fluctuates and what may have caused it. I try to chart down my mood for each day, whether it is depression, normal or hypomanic. This way, I can kind of identify the triggering factors and try to work on resolving it from getting worst or do what can be helpful to get better.

Recently, I have been learning to identify that one of my hypomanic behaviour is I tend to write long emails to many people, or make many gifts or buy many gifts for many people when I am hypomanic. I tend also to take on many projects and have many ideas on what to do. These often lead to over-exhaustion, burn out and eventually depression. So now I am learning to cut down on these whenever I notice it. That's if I notice it :) I am learning to let go and set my priority on choosing what I need to do now and what can wait. Thank God also for some friends around me who constantly remind me to slow down when they sense that I am doing more than I ought to do.

Do you know of any other strategies that is helpful in managing mania or hypomania? Do feel free to share with me and my readers. 

Thank you once again for stopping by. Take care and have a blessed week!

Warm Regards,
Nancie
11 August 2010

Therapeutic hobbies : Nature walks and Photography - Seeing God in the beauties of His creations in nature

Dear Friends,

How are you? Thank you for stopping by.

Thank God it is Thursday! I am reminded to give thanks to God.

♥ Today I am feeling a bit down. Not sure whether it is because I have been too busy and stressed up with a new freelance work assignments plus some visitations of the sick and elderly. Thank God for reminding me that He loves me and there are many things I can be thankful for daily. As I write this thankful post, I am beginning to feel a little better. I need to remember to count my blessings daily!

♥ Thank God for giving me an opportunity to go for a walk recently. I am often too busy to remember to slow down, relax and re-charge my batteries. I need to make time and effort to consciously take a break and spend time in nature. I love to go for walks in the nature park. Nature always remind me of what a great God we serve, He loves us dearly and is with us each day. He takes care of the lilies and feed the sparrow, we are of more values than many sparrow to Him. So today I thank God for the nature walk that refreshed me and help me to connect with God once again and remember His love and care.

♥ I thank God for giving me the joy of photography and of capture something of the beauties of His creations as reminders to me always of His majesty and love. Here are some pictures I took at Hort Park, Singapore. Hope you like them :)




















To read more Thankful Thursday visit Laurie. Thank you for stopping by. Take care and have a blessed day!

Warm Regards,
Nancie

18 March 2010

Holiday Freebie Festival, Day 31! {FREEBIES}

It's the final day of our HOLIDAY FREEBIE FESTIVAL, and what better way to wrap things up than with some printables that will help set the tone for 2011.

These New Year's Resolution Cards from One Charming Party are perfect conversation starters at a party tonight or for your kiddos to share their plans for 2011.


30 Handmade Days put together this great goal sheet for the new year.  I love how they're categorized by things you're determined to do, deciding on and just for fun!


And Kacey at Stay-at-Home-Artist designed some goal sheets too.


Apparently, people who write their goals down are more likely to achieve them so download one of these fun files via the link above and start jotting down your resolutions for 2011!

*If you are reading this in via our e-mail newsletter or RSS feed, the link up won't show up. You have to visit the post on our website to view it.

Early Snow: An Original Memoir Poem

We had a BIG snowstorm earlier this week. I took the two photographs posted here last December. My backyard looks pretty much the same at the moment. The snow reminded me of a poem that I wrote about my childhood about fifteen years ago.


Here is another memoir poem from my unpublished collection titled A Home for the Seasons. In Early Snow, I wrote about my memory of a snowy day when I went sliding with two of my cousins in my maternal grandparents’ yard. My cousins, both girls, lived on the other side of my grandparents’ duplex. The older of my two cousins was just two weeks younger than I—and her sister was a year younger. We three cousins spent a lot of time together when we were kids—especially during the summer months.


EARLY SNOW
By Elaine Magliaro

Just before Christmas
we have an unexpected storm.
Now snow covers the yard,
Dzidzi’s garden
with a downy quilt.
The apple tree, the plum and pear trees
have grown thin white wings,
look ready to fly away.
The stout lilac bush
floats above the ground
like a fallen cloud.
We get our sleds, the silver saucer,
and race up the incline to the snow-crusted hedge.
We whoosh down to the garden
through a light whipped cream world.
Everything has turned the color of winter.
Even the sky, marshmallow-white,
has forgotten how to be blue.


**********
The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Carol’s Corner this week.
Happy New Year to All!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cybils 2010 Announcement


I’ve been busy since Christmas. I'm a member of the 2010 Cybils Poetry Nominating Panel so I was rereading poetry books and trying to decide which ones to nominate as finalists. I'm happy to report that this has been a great year for children’s poetry!

All of the 2010 Cybils finalists will be announced on January 1, 2011—so check out the Cybils website on New Year’s Day! You can find out all the children’s and young adult books that were nominated for the Cybils Awards by clicking on the links below.

Happy New Year—and Happy Reading in 2011!

Holiday Freebie Festival, Day 30! {FREEBIES}

With just one day left until New Year's Eve, today's picks from the HOLIDAY FREEBIE FESTIVAL are more fun printables you can use to ring in 2011.

I love this set from Simply Creative Insanity - the red and gray color scheme is so pretty.


And the midnight snack labels are perfect for a dessert table or little takeout boxes of treats!


The Giving Madam created a stylish set in pink and gray to benefit Operation Shower.


Piggy Bank Parties designed a disco ball collection for Catch My Party that will add some sparkle to your soiree!



And also at Catch My Party is this elegant black and white damask option from The Paper Doll Shoppe.
And here's one more that I just found out about - Kristy at Posh Pixels Design Studio has two stunning signs that will dress up your table instantly.



Oh, and don't forget to check out the New Year's Eve party printables I shared on Day 27 and Day 28 too!

Download the all of these freebies via the links above and if you have a free holiday printable you'd like to share, enter it into the link up below.

*If you are reading this in via our e-mail newsletter or RSS feed, the link up won't show up. You have to visit the post on our website to view it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More than Conquerors through Him Who loved us in this year and for ever more...


My brother took this picture in New Zealand.


...in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8:37

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by! Thank God for seeing us through another year. I wish you a very Happy and Blessed New Year in advance.

♥  I thank God for His goodness and mercies to me in this year. I have experienced God's abundant love and mercies in many wonderful ways that I don't know how to describe with Words! This year has been a very challenging year for me in health, work, some family matters and as I serve our Lord in my various callings. I thank God for His many grace and mercies as He has seen me through all the ups and downs in this year and works all things for His glory and my good.

♥ I thank God that we are more than conquerors through Him Who loves us! No matter what we go through, His grace is sufficient for us. He is faithful and full of loving kindness. I praise and thank Him for His graciousness to me despite my many failings. I know I shall continue to praise and thank Him in the year ahead because His compassion fails not and His mercies are new every morning. And He is the same yesterday, today and for ever! May this be your blessed experience too! May you too continue to be more than a conqueror through Him Who loves you!

♥ I thank God for restoring Madam TAM whom I shared with you previously. She is 83 years old and attends my church's evening service whenever she can. She has heart failure and recently suffered a fall. She was hospitalised for 2 months. Thank God that she is well enough to return home now though still recovering. May God continue to be merciful to her soul that she may know more and more of His love, mercies and comfort as she waits upon Him. Thank you very much for your prayers for her! Please continue to pray that she may truly know the comfort and mercies of God in her evening years, and be enabled to put her complete trust in Him as her Saviour and Lord and experience the peace that passes all understanding which He alone can gives.

♥ I thank God for using various physical illnesses eg vertigo, asthma, cold and flu, knee pain and chronic fatigue, to help me to slow down and rest in Him from time to time. With bipolar disorder, whenever I am well, I am a little hypomanic. I am more creative and tend to do many things and take on more and more projects unknowingly, which then will lead to burn out and relapse of clinical depression. Thank God for using various physical illness to help me to slow down and pace myself so that I was preserved from relapse of clinical depression and able to walk with Him and serve Him in little ways. I thank God that His grace is sufficient for me and He hears and answers prayers in many wonderful ways.

♥ I thank God for the beauties of His creations and the joy He has given me in enjoying them and taking photographs of them. I thank God for giving me the joy too in making homemade gifts using these photographs. I have been making Free Calendars 2011, Free Homemade Bookmarks and Free Homemade Cards. Do feel free to download the above calendar 2011 and also the following 12 monthly 2011 Calendars with encouraging Bible verses.

To download and print these Free Big Monthly Calendar 2011 with encouraging quotes:

1) Click at the picture to see a bigger image. Put your cursor on the picture, right click and choose "save as" and save into your computer

2) Go to the folder where you saved the picture and double click at the picture. Then print from there.

3) Or you can open any word processor program such as Microsoft Word or OpenOffice and insert the picture into it. Then you can format the size, etc, and print from there.

I made this monthly 2011 Calendar using the pictures my brother took in New Zealand. There are 12 pieces for the 12 months. Feel free to download and make these calendars as gifts. To download all the 12 months, click here.



I made this monthly 2011 Calendar using the pictures I took at Singapore Botanic Garden. There are 12 pieces for the 12 months. Feel free to download and make these calendars as gifts. To download all the 12 months, click here.


You can also download other Free Calendars 2011, Homemade Bookmarks and Homemade Cards with colorful pictures and encouraging quotes.

♥  I thank God for my family, my church, my friends and everyone of you, my dear blogging friends, and for your prayers and encouragements. They mean a lot to me and I thank God for every one of you. You have made a great difference in my life and used by God to encourage me and show me His love by your friendship and encouraging notes. You are in my thoughts and prayers too.

Thank you for stopping by. Take care and have a blessed day and Blessed New Year ahead!

Warm Regards,
Nancie
30 December 2010

Holiday Freebie Festival, Day 29! {FREEBIES}

For day 29 of the HOLIDAY FREEBIE FESTIVAL, we're sharing our favorite artwork and signs for New Year's Eve.

Custom Printables has a stylish subway art design in a really chic color palette.


Kim from It's a Crafty Life is offering three fun options.  A generic Happy New Year print that you can use ever year.


An optimistic way to welcome the new year.


And this colorful 5x7 that you could either frame or send out as a card.


Speaking of colorful, I love this subway-style print from Maria at Agape Love Designs & Photography.  Isn't it fabulous?


And last but not least, Eye Candy Events created this delightful damask door sign which is perfect for welcoming your guests on the big night.



Download the all of these freebies via the links above and if you have a free holiday printable you'd like to share, enter it into the link up below!

*If you are reading this in via our e-mail newsletter or RSS feed, the link up won't show up. You have to visit the post on our website to view it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday Freebie Festival, Day 28! {FREEBIES}

New Year's Eve is quickly approaching so we're featuring some more fabulous printables to help you ring in 2011 with today's pick from our HOLIDAY FREEBIE FESTIVAL!

Stefanie from Anna and Blue Paperie design four party circles in a festive combination of purple, silver and black that you can use in, oh, 100 different ways.


You can top off your desserts.


Or add some celebratory cheer to your cocktails.




And look how fabulous they are tagging favors!


Print the circles smaller for napkin rings or wine tags or larger for welcome signs or banners.  They possibilities are endless!

Download the New Year's Eve Party Circles from Anna and Blue Paperie HERE and if you have a free holiday printable you'd like to share, enter it into the link up below!

*If you are reading this in via our e-mail newsletter or RSS feed, the link up won't show up. You have to visit the post on our website to view it.

reading list Nov 2010

C觀點 - 施永青
誰最不想韓國統一

(2010年12月24日)

近年南韓的經濟發展得非常迅速,一些電子產品已行銷全球,攻佔了原先屬日本產品主導的市場。相反,北韓的經濟卻長期停滯不前,且經常發生饑荒,人民不斷外逃。因此,即使北韓有核武器,但若以綜合國力計,南韓絕對比北韓強。

這種發展,已令朝鮮半島的勢力失去平衡。上次朝鮮戰爭,之所以會在三八線停火,是因為勢均力敵。但現在蘇聯已不復存在,而中國與北朝鮮的關係又不如毛澤東與金日成時代友好。這本是南韓統一朝鮮半島的大好機會,但南韓在天安艦與延坪島事件上都沒有乘機發難,原因是南韓受制於美韓安全條約,韓國軍隊已交由美國統一指揮;美國如果不想打,南韓單獨是打不起來的。

上次韓戰停火後,中國的志願軍已撤出北韓;但美軍卻一直留在南韓。不難設想,如果南北韓統一,美軍再沒有藉口留在韓國。以韓國人的民族情緒,他們是不會在沒有需要的情況下,繼續讓外國軍隊長期駐在自己的國土上的。這種發展,並不符合美國在全球的戰略部署。為了維護美國在全球的一哥地位,美國是不會輕易放棄在外國的軍事基地的。

然而,韓國的民情與台灣的民情有別。台灣有相當一部分人想獨立苟安,但韓國人卻一面倒的傾向統一。「維基解密」說,有中國官員私下向南韓透露,中國樂於看到,統一後的韓國由南韓執政。這極有可能是真的,因為中國極需要向南韓表示,中國不會是韓國統一的阻力。這將刺激韓國人好好地想一想,誰才是韓國統一的真正阻力。

其實,國與國之間的外交關係,無可避免以本國的利益為主導。當年中國派志願軍去北韓參戰,亦是認定了美國會乘機顛覆中國。現時,中國極需要多三十年和平發展的機會,因此不可能會鼓勵北韓向南韓挑釁,製造紛爭。把朝鮮半島的形勢弄得這麼緊張,只會讓美軍有藉口留在亞洲圍堵中國。

很明顯,北韓絕不是中國可靠的盟友。過去,中蘇有爭拗的時候,北韓倒向蘇聯,而不是中國。現在,北韓表面上與中國友好,但目的主要是拿中國的經濟援助。有人認為,中國想借北韓來牽制美國。但北韓根本不會聽中國的話,他只會為中國製造麻煩,而不會配合中國的國策。

自從中國與南韓建立邦交之後,不難發覺,南韓可以替中國帶來很多互利的雙邊關係;而北韓卻只會拿中國的好處,並不斷為中國帶來麻煩。因此,中國樂於看到統一後的朝鮮由南韓來管治是很正常的。

北韓雖然說信奉社會主義,但金日成家族的政權,父傳子,子又傳孫,已與封建王朝無異。這種與人類歷史背道而馳的發展,根本為天理所不容。相反,南韓若能統一朝鮮半島,不但可以減少亞洲的紛爭,而且可使北韓的剩餘勞力找到出路,令南韓的經濟發展有更多的空間,對兩邊的人民都有利。統一後的韓國,不但會與中國有更多的經濟交往,而且會減少對美國的依賴,其外交政策將更加獨立。獨立後的韓國,不一定肯做美國圍堵中國的棋子。

Revisit: China vs USA, total GDP growth

I wrote in 2005:
total GDP of China (in PPP) could be comparable to that of US in 15-20 years, in an optimistic scenario.


Now the Economist projected it to be around 2019, one year ahead of my optimistic scenario. I still think the Economist is a bit to optimistic.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Freebie Festival, Day 27! {FREEBIES}

We're just a few days away from New Year's Eve so today's pick from our HOLIDAY FREEBIE FESTIVAL will help you throw a party to ring in 2011 in style!



Love the Day designed a stunning printable collection that includes a banner, water bottle wrappers, cupcake wrappers, mini flags, a welcome sign, food labels, candy bar wrappers, party circles, a welcome sign and more!  The party package was created to support Operation Shower, a truly wonderful cause that helps military families ease the burden of deployment.  I hope you'll read more about it whether you download the printables or not.

Download the New Year's Eve Printables from Love the Day HERE and if you have a free holiday printable you'd like to share, enter it into the link up below!

*If you are reading this in via our e-mail newsletter or RSS feed, the link up won't show up. You have to visit the post on our website to view it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Freebie Festival, Day 26! {FREEBIES}

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and Santa brought you everything on your list!  The gifts keep on coming here on AFOMFT thanks to our HOLIDAY FREEBIE FESTIVAL with great new free printables you can use to celebrate the coming new year.  Today's pick comes from the always fabulous Martha Stewart.


Whether you need to bring a gift to a New Year's party or just want to continue to spread the holiday spirit, these wine labels are just perfect!  Print them out onto sticker paper and attach them to your favorite vino and you're all ready to go.  And shhhhh - it makes re-gifting some of the bottles you got so much easier.

Download the labels here at MarthaStewart.com and if you have a free holiday printable you'd like to share, enter it into the link up below!

*If you are reading this in via our e-mail newsletter or RSS feed, the link up won't show up. You have to visit the post on our website to view it.

Saturday, December 25, 2010