My best imperfect couple

I am kind of tired of having to say that it has been a long time since the last time I wrote. I have not been able to push myself enough to write daily and I will try to do it again. It has been an amazing journey with lots of stories, but I have not been able to write them down here in my blog for you to read. Now I have just too many stories that I am confused of choosing which one should go first. But let me share with you this one: my best imperfect couple of all time – my parents.

When I was younger, I used to think that my parents were the worst parents. They are not as educated as other parents, and they are not as wealthy as my friends’ parents. I did not like it when they always asked me to to the extra work to earn things in life. I used to question them and also myself, “Why aren’t you able to afford me those things I want like other parents are?” They always say that to earn things in life, you have to work hard. For an immature little girl, I hated that. I hated that I had to work harder than everybody else. They never spoil me, they always challenge me to find solutions when faced with problems. They let me struggle and make decisions, they let me suffer and experience the bitterness of failures. It took me years to finally be able to see the fruit of their teaching of hard work. They planted in me the seed of hard work and strength. All the hard stuff they let me through and swallow are the preparation of the real life. What they were trying to say is that life is not easy and never going to be. I am thankful now, all the lessons that I have been taught have made me strong today.

My parents never went to college. They only graduated from high school and they are definitely not as educated as many other parents are. I used to be so embarrassed when it comes to talking about my parents. I did not want to tell others that my parents never went to college and received higher education. But they are my great teachers. They never received any higher education, but they always tried their best to make sure I get all the best education I could get. They have always had high expectations on me, especially I am the firstborn in the family. I remember my daddy said to me when I was little: “If those wealthy kids are successful, it is normal. Because they have all the things they need to get it. Their parents are able to send them to the best schools and get the best education they could have. They have all the resources to succeed. But if you start from nothing and you become successful with all the limited resources that you have, that is something. You have to keep dreaming and reach your dreams.” That’s what keeps me going. They planted in me the seed of persistence and perseverance. All their sacrifice to make sure I received the best education has kept me moving to achieve nothing but the best.

My parents always believe in me. They believe in my potentials and they have faith that I can be successful in life. And another amazing thing about my parents is that their idea of success is unlike the mainstream. As many parents value success as making lots of money, they value it as something beyond typical. “Money is temporary and it will be used up anyway. Yes, you need money, but that should not be your main goal.” Daddy said. They have set an example of extending the goodness to others and focusing on something more eternal – touching people’s lives. They always encourage me to take the opportunity to share life with others because by sharing life with others, we can be even wealthier than the wealthiest person in the world. The small things that we shared with them will live in them as long as they live. That’s the riches that money cannot ever buy. They planted in me the seed of eternal values. Without realizing it, they have taught me to follow what the Lord said in Matthew 6:19, 19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

Above all, they love and accept me for who I am. I do not need to be someone else in front of them. They know my weaknesses and love me anyway. I am blessed to have them as my parents — my best imperfect couple of all time. Through them I learned all the most important things in life, although I had to learn it the hard way. Thank you mommy and daddy for all the love and lessons you have taught me. I am who I am right now is because you have invested a lot in me. In your imperfections, you two are my best. Ever. 🙂

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I am thankful for my parents. How about you? I’d like to hear your stories, too! 🙂

Love,

–superriska

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Write again…

This and that

here and there

you and I

life…

questions and more

some have no answer

just yet

or maybe never

too many, too much

stories and more

some have no words

just yet

or maybe never

some even ended

before they started

why?

I am clueless

I am just tired

of looking for the answers

I just want to sit still

I just want to think

I just want to write

Yes, I want to start all over again

I want to write again.

-superriska

 

Celebrating loss.

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First post on March project on birthdays.

The title sounds antithetical, doesn’t it?

On birthdays, people celebrate the adding of numbers of their age. Like this month, in a few days, I’ll be celebrating mine, God willing. What do people usually do on their birthdays? People like to celebrate birthdays as they want to be thankful that God’s been with them along the way to that very day. The day of remembrance of their coming to this world for the very first time. People like to be with their loved ones on their birthday. I mean, who doesn’t? We always love to share the goodness of days with the ones we love the most, don’t we? We want to be surrounded by our familiar people, our family and friends. We want them to be part of it, too, as well as they want us to be part of theirs. People like to ponder and reflect on their birthdays, especially those who are in older and higher stage of life. They like to think of what they have done the past year and they like to think of what they want to do in the next.

People do things on their birthdays.

But, how many of us realize that on birthday, we actually are celebrating loss. The loss of another year of life. As a believer, I believe that God has ordained it all. A lifespan for each person. Nobody knows where it ends, nobody knows how long it will last. But from a certain lifespan we are given, on birthday, we are actually losing another year. From the only lifespan we’re given, the question is, have we done our best? Have we put our maximum efforts on living out the best of what we’ve got?

God doesn’t gift the birds in the air this capacity to think about it. They were out of their eggs yesterday and they don’t care about doing something on the given lifespan they’ve got. God also doesn’t gift the flowers in the field this capacity to celebrate the day of their bloom. They are here today and gone tomorrow. They don’t care about maximizing the lifespan they’ve got. They just don’t care if they’re blooming beautiful enough to bless the people who see them. They don’t. They don’t.

But we are more than the birds in the air and the flowers in the field. Not only God cares for us more than all other creations, God gives us the ability beyond all those other creations.

While celebrating the losing of another year, I am thinking to myself: have I done my best effort to maximize what I’ve got? One thing I want to keep in mind, I don’t know where it ends, I don’t know how long it will last, I’ve got to seize the day as long as I am alive.

Have a great day, everyone!

Love, Riska.

I am thankful today – A smile

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I was thinking of what I could share today. Then there she came, one of my students, standing by the door, smiling and greeting me good morning. I felt somehow filled with her smile. The smile was so beautiful that I felt like I was ready to start the day again. Then I remember this!

This is one scene in one of my favorite movies, You Stupid Man (2002).

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Nadine and Owen were celebrating Valentine’s day together and they decided to have gift exchange. They were out of the shop with a present for each other. They gave each other the present. Owen opened his and he got a pair of Snoopy sandals. Nadine opened hers, a small present wrapped in a small box. She opened it up and she got a mirror. Her face was puzzled, questioning the reason why she got a mirror for a present. There was Owen said to her,

I think that you have a really beautiful smile. Your smile cheers me up when I am down. So, every time you feel down, you just need to see the mirror and give yourself your beautiful smile.

They hugged each other and they walked home happily that day.

***

Life can wear you out but a smile can cheer you up! 🙂

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Luwuk Banggai, Central Sulawesi, Christmas break 2015

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For the first time in forever, spending Christmas away from home. I made one of the best decisions in my life to go to this place. And this is so far the best Christmas experience I have! Overwhelmed with the goodness and warmth of the people, the incredible encounters and experiences. I am thankful for the great two weeks spent in this place. This could be the longest distance I’ve gone on land, 32 hours on a bus to get there from Palopo. Unforgettable memories like riding on a rough roads to get to a hot lake on the mountain to praying in people’s houses on Christmas day. I am so blessed!!

Batuputih, Southeast Sulawesi, October 2015

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The first unexpected journey to the other part of the island where I am residing now. It’s 7 hours away from Palopo and is located in a neighboring province. Lots of new things I experienced, from hair washing in a river and bathing in an emergency bathroom. I met lovely and precious people as well! What an unforgettable journey to the Province of Southeast Sulawesi!

Young and inspirational. -The reason I start this.

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I believe that everyone’s called to do something extraordinary. Everyone’s called to live a life that brings colors to the bigger picture, the Master’s plan, and every soul matters. I believe, whether young or old, man or woman, rich or poor, simply everyone, has some best thing they’re good at and each has the same potentials to inspire.

But potentials stay potentials if they’re not cultivated. Potentials are great initials, great starts, and a fresh start line doesn’t make any difference on the road. It will be simply a thin line, people see it because it exists, but it doesn’t matter to them. What makes it matter then is that it drives people to cross it, to start taking the first step, to start running. Indeed, people have potentials, but not too many of them cultivate their potentials. Not many of them do something about it. not many of them put maximum effort on developing it. even sadder, too many of them don’t realize that they have potentials.

I remember quoting Lecrae’s quotes, “Believe the best about people. Pray for their shortcomings. You are not the standard. We all need grace.” Believe the best about people. When we meet a person for the first time, say that he or she is handicapped. We must start feeling sorry for him/her and start thinking about how this person overcomes life’s struggles with that situation. We tend to see the shortcomings than the potentials deep within. Even to ourselves. We tend to be stuck with our shortcomings and weaknesses that we don’t realize that God has also graced us with strengths and just something we’re actually good at. I have seen so many people, ordinary people, directly and indirectly, with many life’s struggles and limitations but did overcome and make brilliant breakthroughs. It all starts with the minds. Do we, today, choose to believe in the best of people and even ourselves, or in the reverse? Not an easy question though. There are times that we failed and things seem to be falling apart. There are times that we are trapped in inferiority because there are people around us seem to belittle us. But there are also times that we are trapped in inferiority because we just can’t stop comparing ourselves with others. Again, it all starts with the minds.

This very hour I am writing this, I would like to choose to believe in the best of people, and in the best of me. Not because I feel like I am good enough or people are good enough. Never. We are never good enough. We are who we are because of grace. God’s grace is so rich that we are called to take part in his grand plan. I choose to believe that, by God’s grace in you, you can overcome. I choose to believe that, by God’s flowing grace in me, I can overcome. Each of us is equipped with something good so that we can inspire others to do the same thing with their lives as well. I believe that you and I can do something extraordinary.

 

There are many experiences and encounters that have brought me to stand on where I stand right now. God has graced me with such an opportunity to have gone through almost 25 years of life. I cannot claim that I have experienced many because I know there are some others at the same age as I am but have experienced more. However, I am thankful for the little experiences I have. In almost 25 years being alive, breathing, I have got an opportunity to get exposed to education, higher education a luxury of which some others haven’t got to have.

I am thankful that I got to go to a good school and get encounters to inspiring people. It’s definitely a luxury that I got to learn inside and outside the building. I got good classes from good experienced professors and I got connected to great people from inside and outside the school. Being exposed to ideas, knowledge, and people with their thoughts has enriched my in many ways. One important lesson is this: each person is unique, each person brings unique colors to the grand picture, each person matters, each person is called to do something in contribution to the kingdom. Nobody’s left behind. In their own way people take part and function as a member of the whole body. Nobody’s too great and nobody’s too small, because each one is given his portion. Not more than he is capable of, nor less than his capacity.

I have seen so much both directly and indirectly, how people in their weaknesses and limitations strive to live bigger than themselves. I have seen many examples how people make a difference in an indifferent world. Living bigger than self, seems to be the key. When life is no more about me but it’s about the good of others and the glory of the Maker. Life gets its best meaning. We get the best reason to live. We live the best eternal purpose planted deep in our hearts, even way before we were born. I believe, God has something great for us to do. And only his grace alone drives us to keep working.

I believe that the people have once been in a desperate moments of feeling inferiority and insecurity, feeling unworthy because of their shortcomings or limitations. But they believed that they were meant to be more than who they were. They had faith that God has something great for them to do. Their faith then moved them forward to become who they are today. They realize that they are limited, they have shortcomings, they know they are not perfect, but deep inside their hearts they believe that they are given precious gifts to unwrap, ready to be cultivated. And they did unwrap their gifts and cultivate them to bless, inspire, and above all else, to give back all the credits and glory to the Maker.

 

So, what now?

I know of some people who are young and inspirational. I may not have known them personally but I have heard of what they do and how God works in their lives bringing them to the place and things they’re up to right now. They have inspired me and I hope that they can inspire you as well. So, here I am, with the gift I am given, I would love to write and share to you how God works in people’s lives that they are enabled to believe in, to get off their limitations, to make a difference, and to inspire.

Grace

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Something I’m undeservedly bestowed upon

Something that keeps me moving on

Something that makes my fire keep on burning

In the bleakness and the world spinning

It’s what makes me grateful when I look back

It’s what makes me confident upon the future’s track

It’s the drive when I make good decisions

It’s the strength when I face life’s transitions

It’s the bottom line of all my answered and unanswered prayers

It’s at the core of all my accomplished dreams and future endeavors

 

-superriska

Dear young lady (Part 4)

An encouragement to a young, vibrant soul of mine. And to all the other lovely souls. Thanks to Mrs. Obama, for her concern on girls education.

A poem.

Dear young lady,
Let us now talk about dream
No, not the mainstream
But the one that you’ve always wanted to scream
To shine and to beam

People say the sky is the limit
So never you go timid
You’ve got your stars to visit
You’ve got your brain and you commit

You study and you pray
You learn “when there is a will, there is a way”
But you understand that you too are just clay
Being molded each and every day

The long perilous road is before you
You have got a lot to do
But you have got the One who is so true
So no worry of what life may bring you

Then people may question
Why having such big and grand vision?
Aren’t there enough men in action
Doing so much for the generation?

Again they demand an answer
Why bother?
Don’t you have a lover?
You go find a man and be a mother!

Being a wife is a deep calling
Being a mother is a forever thing
Being a visionaire is what you have always been wanting
Being a fearful disciple is what you consider as the most important thing

Staying at where you are has never been enough
You seek more and more to improve
Not to show that you are good enough
It’s not the world you’re trying to prove

You know exactly you are a disciple
That you actually want to be responsible
You know you don’t have to be incredible
You just know you are to be accountable

Dear young lady,
Never give up and never give in
Never settle for less than the best
Until the flowers of your prayers are seen
Until the very last of your breath, a final call to rest

-superriska