A Positive Spirit

I accomplished quite a lot of work today. So did my mom. *grin*

While I began work on the paper I will be presenting at the GSCOPE conference, pots and faucets in the kitchen were silently polished to a shine. Clean dishes and cutlery kept mysteriously disappearing into cabinets throughout the day. The laundry room got a rub-down while my laundry got done. The two drawers that I haven’t had time to clean out during my ‘spring-cleaning’ got reorganized. Cables and wires got re-bundled and neatly tucked away.

And everytime I took a break, I would be called to my mom’s side. She would show me what she’s done, or how she’s done it… actually, the emphasis was on how easily done it is with the right technique and if done frequently. Mom’s ‘technique’ in teaching me stuff has always been the same since I was little… show me how easy it is to do things when done in the right spirit and technique, whether it was studying, scheduling, organizing activities or doing household chores. And it’s quite funny cos in order to be convincing, she’d really be chirpy and confident when demonstrating to me.

Ah yes, confidence. Ever since I could remember, my mom was full of confidence when doing things. And she’d always show confidence in what I do or what I was attempting to do. Whenever I am doubtful about my ability to do something (anything at all), I’d get that vote of confidence from her even when I’ve done badly. “You can do it, Ann.”

Do you know how powerful it is to have someone really believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself? Ivy blogged about how her JC physics teacher’s vote of confidence in her in the face of her ‘demonstrated incompetence’ made a difference in her life. (She went from ‘O’-level pass and wanting to drop the subject to getting an A in her ‘A’-levels a year later.) It really can work wonders. People can grow wings and fly… accomplishing things they never thought they could.

My mom’s been preparing me for marriage and motherhood, in some sense, ever since I was a little girl. But much more so now that I really am getting married soon. And it’s always with that same ‘can-do’ spirit. The message she’s been drumming into me: Marriage and motherhood (as well as anything else worth doing) takes effort, dedication and commitment, yes… but it’s a joy, it’s not that difficult at all if you have the right attitude, and if you’re always willing to learn from mistakes.

One thing about Mom: she has a way of making the most tedious things look easy, and she’s able to convey that enthusiasm for living and loving to me. I’m nowhere as disciplined or as tidy or neat as she is of course. I received plenty of jibing today about expired products (“Wah, you want to open a museum here is it?” “You have things dating back to B.C. times huh…”) But even my lack of excellence in house-keeping (by her own very high standards) was met with an encouraging response. “I wasn’t always like this (so systematic, neat and organized) you know. I picked it up quite late… Auntie San picked this up before I did. I’m sure you can do it too if you want to… in time.”

Some people complain that my mom’s a perfectionist. Well, she really is one in many ways, and that is sometimes pretty stressful on lesser mortals (i.e. me). But then again, I don’t think I would have learned so many things if not for her constant drive for excellence in her own life and in teaching me. And believe me, she really takes time to teach me things… no short-cuts.

And when I get discouraged and tell her, “Mom, I don’t know if I could do what you do.” She always tells me, “How can you compare yourself with me? I have 30 years head-start and more experience than you. When you have my experience, you’ll be able to do just as well, even better, than me, because you’ve already learned so much more than I did at your age!” And then I’d think, as I always do, “Maybe I can do it. I’ll give it my best shot.”


My mom’s always showed me the way to do things… not just by words, but by demonstration. And always with zest and confidence. Now I’m old enough to know that it’s not that things are always easy for her. It’s just that she lives the philosophy that a positive ‘can-do’ spirit not only makes life more joyful, but also helps to infuse some much needed confidence in oneself and in other people. :)

Furthermore, we are people of faith. We just need to keep our eyes on Jesus. Seek only to please Him with our lives. That’s something definitely within our ability to do because He has promised that His grace will be more than sufficient. Let’s walk on with confidence!


  1. Ditto on the expired products thing! One of my pet peeves has always been expired stuff in the fridge that get too comfortable in the chill chest. And the moldy stuff (aside from cheese, which is GOOD mold) that grows on waaaay-past-their-best fruits…arghhh!

    I used to have a housemate who left his banh mis(vietnamese subs) in the fridge (bread, filling and all) for half a year. From perfectly respectable sandwiches to a sea cucumber-looking black masses of microbial flora. When I came back and ‘cleared out’ the refrigerator at home over here also found some dried up gecko mummies (which sorta looked like those sea horses/dragons used in chinese medicine which is why I accidentally handled it with my bare hands!) and multi-colored mold on some stuff which should’ve been thrown out a long time ago.

    Probably explains my obsession with keeping refrigerator shelves clear of any food scraps or stray pieces of solid/semi-solid/don’t-really-know-what-it-is/organic/semi-organic stuff at all times on top of arranging stuff so I can (hopefully) see the back of the fridge.

  2. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW… that’s gross!!!

    Ha ha at least this time the expired stuff my mom found wasn’t in the fridge cos we cleared them all when Melissa moved in. :P

    I did have expired medicine, eye-drops, and granola bars though… *lol*

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