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TGIF! {The 17th}



TGIF! is my personal commitment to cultivate an attitude of gratitude this year.



♡ I received convenient parking spots at work all week long :) Rarely happens … but somehow managed to avoid basement parking throughout the week. Hurrah.


♡ Secured seats to watch Iron Man 3 this Sunday! Thanks to my forward-thinking boyfriend and‘s convenient service :)


I love that with Tiket, we can always plan ahead and save our seats for movies, concerts, even flights before they’re all fully booked.


♡ The usual freebies :)



♡ A free, priceless view I’ve enjoyed … even from a parking garage :) Something often overlooked and taken for granted.



♡ The most adorable visual greeting I’ve ever seen appearing in my mailbox last Thursday XD Really brightened up the gloomy room I was in … It was raining heavily these days.

♡ Gulped one half of a delicious, belly-filling okonomiyaki the other night.
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♡ … as prepared by my other half :)


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♡ The Saddleback Church Weekend Services podcast. It’s becoming my morning ritual to listen to sermons while driving 4+ hours on my way to and from work.

When your brain is drained and your body is beyond exhausted, the emptiness you feel cuts so deep, you almost feel like your existence is irrelevant, like that of the energy-sucking bottomless pit. As if you’re nothing but a garbage of endless waste whose mere existence can only add burden to other people’s already-busy lives. It’s a stupid feeling I once suffered from, which caused me to stop menstruating for more than one year.

So I’m really grateful that I get portable reminders like this (hurrah for modern technology) for me to hang on abiding by the spirit and the truth, as well as those same reminders available in other audio formats, such as iTunes U and audiobooks.


♡ A gift from my mother. Funny thing is, I never ask, but the blessings keep pouring in. Grace constantly gives me a bigger responsibility to give back.


♡ I’m grateful I’m in an environment where I’m learning to P-R-I-O-R-I-T-I-Z-E. The biggest and probably the hardest lesson I’ve learned so far, in work and in life, is … you can’t blindly say ‘Yes!’ to everyone and everything. It’s great to keep that big heart alive, that idealism holding up the highest possible level of integrity while practicing being a servant of others. But it’s wiser to restraint the self from taking any initiative, no matter how well-intentioned it is, when you don’t know what to expect.


I learned that it’s okay to say ‘No’ in certain situations, because you can’t be in all places at once – even God, the only omniscient and omnipresent Being, can not make every person in this world happy. The most important thing is that you tried, you do the best that you can, with the amount of time that you have, and deliver quality results for the most number of people relevant to what you are doing during that time.

While we’re on topic, I think I’m slowly changing, waving buh bye to the people-pleaser I sometimes still am, as well as the perfectionistic tendencies that surface now and then.

♡ Which brings us to this:

Our notebook, our script

He believed in me even before I believed in myself, back during my first departure to San Francisco since we started dating. I still don’t, really, but I think I’m slowly changing …


Glad to have a TGIF! list to look forward to every week, as I don’t know how else to cope with the difficulties in life when they can only get more and more challenging, other than make it a habit to count my blessings. I hope you enjoy the slightly revamped look of the list, which, by now, I’ve grown to treasure.


I challenge you to list down all the ways you’ve been blessed. While you’re at it, enjoy the weekend to the fullest :)




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The 3 types of men



Recently I stumbled upon this book extract from a friend. It’s from Debi Pearl’s Created to Be His Help Meet.

When it comes to romantic relationships, I still very much consider myself a traditionalist. While I believe that women, like men, are created with an equally independent streak, I also believe that a committed woman has to adjust to her man and his needs, the man who’s going to stand by her side for the long haul. It’s not supposed to be hard, as women generally fare better at compromising than men.


Suffice it to say that I haven’t read the book, or that I’m not yet a married woman, but I think it’s wise to get myself prepared for the role I’m going to play in my S.O.’s life.

Ladies, just read on. I’m sure you’re going to recognize every men you’ve met, dated, or secretly pictured yourself dating, as one of these types.


Mr. Command Man

God is dominant — a sovereign and all-powerful God. He is also visionary— omniscient and desirous of carrying out his plans. And, God is steady — the same yesterday, and today, and forever, our faithful High Priest. Most men epitomize one of these three aspects of God. No single man completely expresses the well-rounded image of God.

A few men are born with more than their share of dominance and, on the surface, a deficit in gentleness. They often end up in positions that command other men. We will call them Command Men. They are born leaders. They are often chosen by other men to be military commanders, politicians, preachers, heads of corporations, and managers of businesses. Winston Churchill, George Patton, and Ronald Reagan are examples of dominant men. Since our world needs only a few leaders, God seems to limit the number of these Command Men. These men see life as if they are looking from a high mountain, they see the big picture rather than individual needs.

They are known for expecting their wives to wait on them hand and foot. A Command Man does not want his wife involved in any project that prevents her from serving him. If you are blessed to be married to a strong, forceful, bossy man, as I am, then it is very important for you learn how to make an appeal without challenging his authority. We will discuss how to make an appeal later in this book.

Command Men have less tolerance, so they will often walk off and leave their clamoring wife before she has a chance to realize that she is even close to losing her marriage. By the time she realizes that there is a serious problem, she is already a divorced mother seeking help in how to raise her children alone. A woman can fight until she is blue in the face, yet the Command Man will not yield. Yielding would be against his personhood. He is not as intimate or vulnerable as are other men in sharing hi s personal feelings or vocation with his wife. He seems to be sufficient unto himself. It is awful being shut out. A woman married to a Command Man has to earn her place in his heart by proving that she will stand by her man, faithful, loyal, and obedient. When she has won his confidence, he will treasure her to the extreme.

A King wants a Queen, which is why a man in command wants a faithful wife to share his fame and glory. Without a woman’s admiration, his victories are muted. If a wife learns early to enjoy the benefits of taking the second seat, and if she does not take offense to his headstrong aggressiveness, she will be the one sitting at his right side being adored, because this kind of man will totally adore his woman and exalt her. She will be his closest, and sometimes his only, confidante. Over the years, the Command Man can become more yielding and gentle. His wife will discover secret portals to his heart.

If you are married to a king, honor and reverence is something you must give him on a daily basis if you want him to be a benevolent, honest, strong, and fulfilled man of God. He has the potential to become an amazing leader. Never shame him, and do not belittle him or ignore his accomplishments. Make it your life’s goal to become his queen.


Mr. Visionary

God is a Visionary as seen in his person, the Holy Spirit. He made some men in the image of that part of his nature. Prophets, be they true or false, are usually of this type. Some of you are married to men who are shakers, changers, and dreamers. These men get the entire family upset about peripheral issues, such as: do we believe in Christmas? Should we use state marriage licenses? Should a Christian opt out of the Social Security system? The issues may be serious and worthy of one’s commitment, but, in varying degrees, these men have tunnel vision, tenaciously focusing on single issues. They are often the church splitters and the ones who demand doctrinal purity and proper dress and conduct. Like a prophet, they call people to task for their inconsistencies. If they are not wise, they can be real jerks who push their agendas, forcing others to go their way.

Visionaries are often gifted men or inventors, and I am sure it was men of this caliber that conquered the Wild West, though they would not have been the farmers who settled it. Today, Visionary men are street preachers, political activists, organizers and instigators of any front-line social issue. They love confrontation, and hate the status quo. “Why leave it the way it is when you can change it?” They are the men who keep the rest of the world from getting stagnant or dull. The Visionary is consumed with a need to communicate with his words, music, writing, voice, art, or actions. He is the “voice crying out in the wilderness” striving to change the way humanity is behaving or thinking. Good intentions don’t always keep Visionaries from causing great harm. They can stir up pudding and end up with toxic waste if they are not wise. An unwise wife can add to the poison with negative words, or she can, with simple words of caution, bring attention to the goodness of the pudding and the wisdom in leaving it alone. Every Mr. Visionary needs a good, wise, prudent, stable wife who has a positive outlook on life.

The wife of Mr. Visionary should be just a little bit reckless and blind in one eye if she is going to enjoy the ride. If this is your man, you need to learn two very important things (beyond how to make an appeal). Learn how to be flexible, and learn how to always be loyal to your man. You will be amazed at how much happier you will be and how much fun life can be if you learn to just go with the flow — his flow. Life will become an adventure. You will actually begin to feel sorry for the gals married to the stick-in-the-mud, steady type. And once you get it into your head that your husband does not have to be “right” for you to follow him, you will finally be able to say bye bye to your overwrought parents, even when they are screaming that you are married to a crazy man. People looking on will marvel that you are able to love and appreciate your husband, but you will know better because you will see his greatness.

Greatness is a state of soul, not certain accomplishments. Over time, this type of man will become more practical. If you are a young wife married to a man whom your mama thinks is totally crazy — then you may be married to Mr. Visionary. Right now, purpose in your heart to be loyal to him, and to be flexible; then, let your dreamer dream. Lean back and enjoy the ride; it should prove interesting. Visionary Man will talk and talk and talk to his honey if she approves of him. He will be subjective, thinking about feelings, moods, and spiritual insights. One of his greatest needs will be for his wife to think objectively (proven truth) and use common sense, which will help keep his feet from flying too far from solid ground. He spends his life looking through a telescope or microscope, and he will be stunned that what he sees (or thinks he sees), others do not seem to notice or care about.


Mr. Steady

God is as steady as an eternal rock, caring, providing, and faithful, like a priest like Jesus Christ. He created many men in that image. We will call him Mr. Steady — “in the middle, not given to extremes.” The Steady Man does not make snap decisions or spend his last dime on a new idea, and he doesn’t try to tell other people what to do. He avoids controversy.

Being married to a Steady Man has its rewards and its trials. On the good side, your husband never puts undue pressure on you to perform miracles. He doesn’t expect you to be his servant. You do not spend your days putting out emotional fires, because he doesn’t create tension in the family. You rarely feel hurried, pushed, pressured, or forced. The women married to Visionary Men look at you in wonder that your husband seems so balanced and stable. The wife of Command Man marvels at the free time you seem to have. If your dad happened to be a Steady Man, then chances are you will appreciate your husband’s down-to-earth, practical life for the wonderful treasure it is.

When you are married to a man who is steady and cautious, and you have a bit of the impatient romantic in you, you may not see his worth and readily honor him. You may be discontent because he is slow and cautious to take authority or make quick decisions. A bossy woman sees her husband’s lack of hasty judgment and calls her Steady husband “wishy-washy.” His steadiness makes him the last to change, so he seems to be a follower because he is seldom out front forming up the troops. There is no exciting rush in him, just a slow, steady climb with no bells or whistles. You wish he would just make up his mind, and that he would take a stand in the church. He seems to just let people use him. There are times you wish he would boldly tell you what to do so you would not have to carry all the burden of decision-making.

Some women equate their husband’s wise caution and lack of open passion as being unspiritual. His lack of spontaneity and open boldness may look like indifference to spiritual things. However, he is like deep, deep water. The very depth makes the movement almost imperceptible, but it is, nevertheless, very strong.

He will be confused with your unhappiness and try to serve you more, which may further diminish your respect for his masculinity. Disappointment and unthankfulness can make you wearier than any amount of duties. His very steadiness keeps him on his middle-of-the-road course, and it will drive a controlling woman crazy.

This is why many disgruntled ladies married to Mr. Steadys fall victim to hormonal imbalance, physical illness, or emotional problems.


Know your man

Wives are very much flesh and blood, and as young women, we don’t come to marriage with all the skills needed to make it start out good, let alone perfect. When you come to know your man for whom God created him to be, you will stop trying to change him into what you think he should be. The key is to know your man. If he is Mr. Steady, you need to learn to be thankful and to honor him as the one created for you in the image of God. Your husband’s gentleness is not a weakness; it is his strength. Your husband’s hesitation is not indecision; it is cautious wisdom. Your husband’s lack of deep spiritual conversation is not a lack of caring; it is simply the cap on a mountain of intense emotions.

If this describes your man, you need to learn how to stand still and listen; then let God move your husband in his own good time. Ask God for wisdom and patience. Seek to always have a gentle spirit. Stop expecting him to perform for you, to pray with the family, to speak out in witnessing, or to take a bold stand at church. Stop trying to stir him up to anger toward the children in order to get him to feel as though he understands how badly you are being treated. Let him be the one God made him to be: a still, quiet, thoughtful presence — for you!

A Steady Man likes a woman to walk beside him, yet grow in her own right before God and him.

He needs a resourceful, hardworking woman with dignity and honor. It is important to Mr. Steady that his wife is able to be self-sufficient in all the mundane tasks of daily living.

These men can be some of the most important men in the church, because their steadfastness is sure, and their loyalty is strong. They make wise, well-thought-out decisions.

Typically, Steady Men do not become as well known as Command or Visionary Men. They are not odd or stand-out men. They are not loud. They are neither irritating nor particularly magnificent. Women and men alike envy and desire a Command Man. People are often drawn and compelled by the Visionary. But the Steady Man is taken for granted.

Much of this book has been written to help young wives learn to honor, obey, and appreciate the Steady Man just as he is.

Mr. Steady will enjoy the company of others and be most comfortable spending time in small talk with whoever is around. Of the three types, he is the one that will be most liked by everyone. Mr. Steady is always in demand. He belongs to people. He does not focus on the eternal picture like Mr. Command, nor is he looking through a microscope as Mr. Visionary, but he does respect both views as important. His vision is as a man seeing life just as it is. He can shift his sights to the sky and know there is more up there than he can see, and he wonders about it. Or, he can stare into a muddy pond and appreciate that there is a whole world in there that he knows nothing about. In most of life, he is a bridge between the other two types of men. He is a very necessary expression of God’s image. Of the three different kinds of men, it is more important that Mr. Steady have a help meet who likes him just as he is.


Which one of these godly types sounds most like your man? More importantly, are you ready to be his help mate? (I know I don’t. At least not yet :p)




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On balance and the three things money can’t buy



Being a wordsmith is far more than taking control the ceaseless movement of a pen. Sad to say that most people still think it that way.


Writer Anne Bernays, better known as the daughter of Edward Bernays, once said: “As writers, we lead double lives. We live in the world as writers and observers ready to see a story anywhere; to note a detail that simply couldn’t be made up, to record an overheard line of dialogue, to borrow the stories of family and friends, to explore our enemies’ points of view, and to sift through memory …”

Thus my main task is to observe. It’s a fascinating activity to view the world as it is, before skewed by our flawed, human judgments.

At some point, more so in this information-loaded generation, you’ve got to pause and ponder for a sec and wonder: What’s the pattern here? Is there still a stable difference between facts and opinions? (As you know, opinions, when agreed upon by the larger society for years, can turn into conventional wisdom).

What I’ve observed today is that the world’s fastest-growing economies are slowly coming into realization on a time-tested truth: A nation founded on knowledge and education is quintessence for steady, long-term GDP growth.

Okay. That’s a fancy way of saying that you can’t go wrong with facts.

But then again, I wonder: Is that just my own opinion?

Every one has differing, if not nuanced objectives. As a flourishing population, is it wiser for us Indonesians to seize every minute of our waking hours with a purpose of purely to increase our rupiah-expressed worth, or simply to grow to become a better person every passing day, in hopes to contribute to the greater good?


The latter sounds blatantly naive, but I believe the choice would encourage every person to cooperate and grow into a culture of fruitful producers, as opposed to the looming wreckage caused by consumptive behaviors.

I’m probably the most girly-looking-but-not-a-girly-girl girl you’ve ever met who’s constantly searching alternatives to maintain economic balance in everything I prioritize in life, especially in personal grooming (thus the girly-looking part). I consciously spend less, whether it’s chronology or monetary output, in order to condition myself to require less of externalities and to reap the most benefits out of the seeds I’ve sown.

I found that it’s easier to satisfy my own needs, while still capable of exceeding others’ expectations, when you take rupiahs, dollars, or [fill-in-this-currency-blank] out of the equation.

All over the world, economies thrive on trading the following three vitalities, which are all exchangeable with monetary digits:


Your time


Everybody’s short on time these days. Just a few hours ago my colleagues and I were prattling on how we’re all getting sleepier earlier somehow, and that our minds can no longer operate once the clock strikes at midnight. It’s ironic, considering most writers are chronic night owls.

Not that we’re a bunch of Cinderellas or anything, but the fact remains: Most people are not getting enough sleep on weeknights and opt to push those precious snoozing hours for the weekend instead. I can’t even begin to fathom how mere drowsiness can cost another life by your having insufficient sleep, as there’s been an increasing number of deadly accidents on the road whereby alleged murderers were charged as driving drowsy.

Point is, ever since the day we were born, each of us were freely given 24 hours each day to live our lives, however we want to spend it. But the fact remains: People can buy your time with money. Your 9-to-5 job, assuming you sleep 8 hours a night, is a precious half-day-long taken from your 16-hour freedom to do whatever you wish. Also, the unwritten rule states that some of the remaining 8 hours from your total freedom time are taken to endure the God-knows-how-long-it-will-take traffic, to invest quality time in your closest relationships, and to maintain your overall wellbeing … in order to continue operating efficiently at your job.


Your energy

Since the moment I signed the paperwork, I’ve made a personal commitment to maximize the experience I paid for in my gym membership through frequent visits. The purpose was and still is economic: To capitalize on physical and mental wellbeing with minimum cost. Positive results continue to show up, but life always has its ways to get you burned out.

The way I see it, the gym is my training ground to strengthen self-control. At any given challenge in life, you are required to pay a share of your self-control to exert positive energy, and it’s a whole lot of self-control to exert if you’re a natural pessimist like me.

People can buy your energy with money. Society paid you to posit good vibes in meeting rooms and the workplace at large, and the last thing you want to do is burdening others in your surroundings with any form of negativity.

But nobody tells you exactly how you can remain getting through tough times with a humble smile.


Your idea

Have you ever had one of those moments where you receive a stroke of genius, a conception with promising potential to become a business idea? Perhaps you’ve done something about it, concerted clear steps in execution, and made a private decision to yourself to bring it to maturity, and then suddenly hear a success story about someone else oceans apart from you, doing exactly what you had in your silent business plan?

Often while driving, I get plenty of ideas for future articles to write and contributions I want to make, short-term and long-term. While the world’s most successful entrepreneurs are profuse risk-takers, I am the type that keeps my lips dormant about my thoughts until I can clearly visualize the conception into reality. Sadly, the risk of keeping quiet is holding a constant anxiety that someone else may already be stealing your thunder (and the fact that you and your idea may not be that creative/original after all).

People can buy, or steal, your idea with money. Everyone in the creative industries knows this.

What to do?



Here’s where I can’t think of anything more, shift my focus from self-deprecating thoughts, deplete my ego piece by piece, and ponder on the things that people can’t buy with money from the subjective self:



Every writer I know is innately curious. They’re blessed with an inquisitive mind easily enticed by differing perspectives from their own. I am no different, but the other end of this two-edged sword is that it makes you a natural skeptic.

I’m skeptical about established authorities and their reliability. I also constantly avoid promising others what I can and will do. It’s a mystery what I’m capable of doing to others, and I accept that it remains a mystery … even to myself. BUT, despite not knowing what I can do, I can never accept inertia while I am alive.

The greater mystery I’m more curious about is the elusiveness of problems not visible to the naked eye.

I believe everything happens for a reason, and to find that deep-seated, problem-solving reason is my biggest responsibility to give back to the society for the priceless gift I’m blessed with – curiosity.

Sure, people can buy articles away from your years of research, people can rob away all the energy you spent producing game-changing ideas, but people can never trade anything comparable for the depth of curiosity already living inside you.

I think it’s wise to conserve this treasured distinction as a long-term intrinsic motivation wholly dedicated for the greater good – the kind of good not seen through the eyes but felt in the heart.


2. JOY

There’s a reason why the English word en-joy exists, and I believe it’s because it’s an internal state: We’re all inherently joyful, and that in order to keep the joy through the vicissitudes of life, it requires a bit proactivity from ourselves, as opposed to letting external circumstances take over us, to continuously seek and take pleasure in fully experiencing life.

Personally, this has been quite a challenge for me. As I grow up, I tend to forget joy has lived and prevails beyond human consciousness since the day they we were born. Have you ever wondered why does an infant’s big, open, genuine eyes and authentic smile tingles your heart like no other?


People may pay you a sum of money per day, per week, or per annum for a certain task that only you can do, or for a certain activity you naturally love doing, but nobody can take away the joy you possess, create, and recreate in every challenge you stumble upon in life. Your conscious self has never taken lessons to enjoy itself; it was born knowing how to enjoy itself.



For a huge part of my life, patience is the virtue I lack most. I can’t say much, except that my emotions run like wild horses on a daily basis.

Like healthcare, it takes self-control to remain patient at every test and upon every temptation. I believe health is a God-given gift equally provided for every one; it is an internal state of wellbeing that came into existence since you were a tiny cell forming in your mother’s womb. It’s wealth freely handed to you, a source of power that can cure illnesses and prevent future dis-eases from hurting your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Most would agree that patience translates to an even temper, and I believe positing our self-control in the conscious effort to remain patient will cultivate perseverance against all odds, like a stubborn rock constantly refusing to crack, continuously processed, and finally metamorphose into a beautiful, resilient, unbreakable nacre.

Once refined, the pearl is unlike that of necklaces, earrings, or other forms of jewelry. Through the countless series of conscious efforts to push through hard times, no one can grab or steal this fully-formed gem glowing effortlessly inside of you, simply because nothing outside of yourself can touch the iridescence you exude – they can only see a beacon of hope for the greater good from the enduring persistence you uphold.


That said, when talking dollars robs the better of you, keep in mind the one invaluable thing that has been traded for all your selfish needs: Your life, all of it, every moment of it, both the good and the bad, have already been paid in full by the blood of the Most High.


The fundamental question is, how are you going to maximize that lifetime transaction? (I, as a writer, ventures forevermore to seek the final answer …)