Small Things Matter

There are times I feel tired and want to quit, but those tiny eyes that looked at me in awe, said something else. From the way they look at me, they want to say that I should not quit. Words may not come out from them, but eyes could talk.

I always believe that it is God’s grace that has made me doing things I have been doing all these years. I know it must be Him that brings me to this point. It is through the work that I do, that I learn to slow my pace and read the silent cue.

Thus, the moment I feel weak and tired, He constantly reminds me to keep moving forward. He does this through the children with whom I work. Small things matter. We celebrate small progress, because we hope to see more progress coming out from these children.

Be thankful for what you already have. Celebrate life because we do not know what is going to happen in the future. Appreciate those who have been with you through good and bad times. Pray hard whether you are happy or sad. Pray more when life storm hits you from all directions. Love your children regardless of their conditions. They know how you feel. They could feel whether you genuinely love them or not. Believe that nurture wins nature. If you have both, it’s good, but if nature isn’t that good, nurture them so that they could be useful when they are older.

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33 Things You Want and/or Wish to Achieve in Your Life.

What would be on your lists if I were to ask you to write 33 things you wish you were doing it, or you have accomplished?

It took me a few weeks to compile, but here’s my 33 things:

#1. Study abroad

It was a privilege to be able to study abroad. On another note, it took courage, support (moral and financial), and perseverance to make it successful. If you are given an opportunity to study abroad, I suggest you to go for it.

#2. Go outside the comfort zone.

No one likes uncertainty, and so do I. It triggers anxiety, but doing something new could also benefit you. I experienced this moment when I had to move back to my hometown. The process of leaving the comfort zone was hard, but I actually was proud of myself once I passed the “storm.”

#3. The act of proving.

The decision whether to prove something to someone or not is solely based on individual’s personalities. I chose to prove because of numerous personal reasons. I continuously show to my loved ones that the work that I do is worthy and the life value that I have been holding on is not completely wrong.

#4. Travel more

I’ve always believe that traveling opens our minds and expand our knowledge. I think whenever possible, we should travel more to see what’s going on outside our communities. This is definitely something that I want to do more in the coming years.

#5. Wisdom

Getting older doesn’t guarantee us to be wise. It has to do with one’s ability to acknowledge both strengths and weaknesses, and to take criticism without judging. Practice, practice, and practice.

#6. Letting go

Keep the good and supportive ones and throw the bad ones. The rule applies to all segments in our lives.

#7. Become a philanthropist.

Ever since I learned about the meaning of the word “philantropist,” I have been dreaming to become a philanthropist one day. I have not accomplish this goal yet. It may take xx years to achieve this particular goal. But, who knows I could be a philanthropist?

#8. Passion

This is something that I am proud of myself. It took me 4 years to find my true passion. The searching process was unique and meaningful.

I am a forefront believer that when the work that we do is aligned with our passion, we are likely to give our best performance in the job and to the people with whom we work.

#9. Listen to and respect your parents.

It’s so easy for us to forget that we cannot be the person we are now without our parents’ guidance. Similarly, we tend to dismiss our parents’ advices just because we think we have higher education than our parents are. Little do we know that our parents know the dynamic of life better than we do, so they actually have wiser advices than what we think they are.

#10. Understand and accept that nothing in this world is eternal.

Something happened to our family 3 years ago. That event has taught me very valuable lesson.

I would say that this is an ongoing progress, too. I am learning to accept that one day my loved ones including me have to depart from this world. I am learning to accept that our loved ones cannot physically accompany us forever. This is a tough topic, but I am trying.

#11. Tell me about your first love.

First love, perhaps, is something that I cannot describe very well. Love is a broad term and everyone has his/her own unique love stories. Mine is dated back some years ago when I was still in a college. What bothered me so much at that time (and still, by the way), is to decide which one is better, to be loved or to love? I had beautiful two years love and friendship experience. Knowing that someone loved you that much was priceless and unimaginable. We know that what we want do not mean we could end up having it. This concept applied to my first college love story.

#12. Friends come and go.

Moving several times cost me a lot in terms of friendship. There’s always lose and gain. Keep the positive thinking.

#13. Explore hobbies.

Writing and blogging were among a few things I were interested in, but I did not have time to make them happened. The blogging started because I missed someone so badly, and the way to cure that feeling was to write.

#14. Patience

Most people were quick to think that I must be a patient person due to my job. The truth is that my patience is derived from years of practice and training. But, no, I am still far from perfect. Therefore, I need to practice more.

#15. Cooking

You could call me an eater rather than a cook. I would consider myself a decent cook, but I am just not really interested in expanding my skills. I cooked a lot in the past to push down the expenses. Now, I am not cooking as often as I used to do in the past.

#16. Act of kindness

Being a responsible citizen is not sufficient. One must exercise the act of kindness to others even to your enemies (if you have one) without asking to get paid in return.

This part is an ongoing process. Like wisdom and patience, the act of kindness requires positive attitudes and unselfishness. Now that’s hard.

#17. Relax and breathe

Work and house chores are exhausted but still bearable. Work, house chores and family matter are emotionally exhausted and could be unbearable. Practicing to simply relax and go with the flow is tough, but possible. Life goes on.

#18. Accounting skills.

This skill is highly important. Now that I have a big responsibility to run a place, I realize that I need to learn more and seek advices to ensure I have the money to manage the place and support myself.

#19. Sleep more

Oh, well! I need those quality sleeping time.

#20. Stay young!

…and be responsible. Aging is unavoidable, but having a spirit like young people do, added with tons of responsibility is a must. This spirit will keep us to move forward and do daily things on our own without bothering people.

#21. Healthy lifestyle

Busy life should not stop us from practicing healthy lifestyle. Cutting the consumption of unhealthy food and beverages and practicing positive thinking together with moderate exercise should be incorporated in our daily routine.

In the past, I could drink approximately 4 cups of coffee (grande-size cup) in one day. I reduced my portion to 2 small cups since 2 years ago.

#22. more action less unnecessary talking.

Speak concisely is one of the few things I have been practicing for sometimes. I like the idea because it allows me and the other conversation partners to have productive meeting.

#23. read more books.

I used to read more books when I was in a college. Barnes and Noble is my fave bookstore. I read less fiction and non-fiction books as my working hours are getting longer. I bought lots of books, but those books are for my students.

#24. Personal Robot

I wish I could have a robot that could help me running the household. This means I don’t need to deal with the household tasks and when I get home from work, dinner is ready and the house is clean.

#25. More money

Back when I was in school, I look forward on entering the days when I could earn my own money and had a privilege to spend+open my own saving account. I remembered vividly how good it felt on me to be able to buy things without relying on my parents’ money.

However, as I am getting older, I have to ensure that I earn more than enough, so that at the end of the days, I still have money left to put in a saving account. Adult’s life is complicated.

#26. Pray more

I pray everyday, but I still think I don’t pray harder.

Saying thank you is counted as prayer, but I need to do more than saying thank you.

When life turbulence keeps hitting from all directions, prayers need to go harder.

#27. Doing greater things

Make positive impacts in community has been my indirect goals for the past four years. I would like to broaden this impact so that many families in the community could receive more helps.

#28. Meeting fantastic people.

My definition of fantastic people is anyone who has brought tremendous impacts locally and globally. Anyone who is humble, yet so charismatic and could bring inspiration to anyone who hears and talks to him/her.

#29. Build a family.

This is either yay or nay. You have to put lots of efforts added with extra patience, support and love to build and maintain a family. So??

#30. Laugh more

Laugh is a medicine to wrinkle and depression and sickness. Therefore, as much as we frown a lot, we need to laugh more.

#31. Dare to acknowledge mistake and apologize.

This is very crucial both in work and personal-related matters.

#32. Make use of talent to the fullest.

God gives us talents. We need to use and cultivate those talents to help others and make our world healthier.

#33. Hakuna matata.

Don’t worry be happy.

Take the day one at a time.

Always believe that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

You are Still My Home

This the final chapter of the love story between Gray Cloud and Sonny Sunshine. The three other previous stories could be assessed in this blog with the title “2gether is Better Than One,” “You are My Home,” and “On My Way to London.

London has been good to Gray. She loves the city and her new job. Gray admitted that it was not easy for her to interview parents about their journeys raising children with medical illnesses. She often had to hide her tears as she was listening to their stories. The editorial team at work has been helpful to her, and this has made Gray felt relieved. She kept herself busy and often forgot to call Sonny. She used to think about Sonny day and night, but now, she likes her solitude life here in London.

“Hey, Gray ! Your friend is here. He has been waiting for you all day long,” said Cassie, Gray’s housemate.

“What?? Who? I don’t expect any guests…”

“Well, he’s sitting on the couch and reading a book. Go see him.”

Gray enters the room and sees Sonny sitting in the living room. She is speechless.

“Hey, Gray! Long time no see you! No food in London?? You are super skinny!!” said Sonny as he walking toward Gray. He then hugged her tight and kissed her forehead. His heart feel warm and happy.

“What?!? You don’t say anything to me? Like how handsome I am now??” said Sonny. “Ha ha ha ha.”

“Why are you here?” asked Gray.

“Of course, I am here to visit you. I am jealous that you could fly to England meanwhile I am stuck at work.”

“But, you love your job.”

“Hahahaha, well, I love you more than my job.” replied Sonny.

Gray rolled her eyes as she heard this.

They both went out for dinner after that. Gray couldn’t believe that Sonny flew all the way from Singapore to London to see her. Sonny hasn’t changed that much. He is still a man with countless jokes, though he is completely a different person when he is on the job. She could tell how happy Sonny is from the look on his face and eyes.

Sonny, indeed, is a very happy guy at this moment. He just cannot hide his excitement from Gray. He doesn’t want to let go Gray’s hand from his hand. Occasionally, he pulls Gray closer and kisses her cheek. This sounds childish, but he is a happy guy. As he holds her hand, he is thinking, he doesn’t want to return to Singapore alone. He wants Gray to come back to Singapore with him. He just have to find the right time to convince Gray.

Sonny doesn’t have to wait because Gray actually senses that Sonny is hiding something from her, and she wants to know the truth now.

“Tell me again why you are here?”

“Hahahaha. I told you the reason.”

“No, it has to be something else.. do you get into a trouble back home??”

“Nooo!!! Hahaha” Sonny continues to laugh and shakes his head.

“You want the truth?” said Sonny

“Yes, please.”

“I am here to convince you to come home with me. I mean, I want us to live and build a family together.”

“You know I am sick right?” asked Gray

“Yes, I know, I am the one who has always been there for you. I still want to live with you.”

“What if I am too sick and cannot have kids?”

“Gray, I don’t care. We could buy a dog.”

“Now, what if I die?”

“Come on, Gray! You will not die. If you die, I still want to live with you before you die.”

“I don’t want to leave London.”

“I figure you will say this. I will still wait for you. I have to go back to S’pore this Friday, but I will visit you again soon. The point is I want you and I live together. Remember what I said in the past? Two is better than one. So, you can’t live here alone because I won’t let you live alone.”

Sonny hugs Gray and whispers, “Now, will you dance with me? Because I am tired arguing with you.”

They dance without a background music in the bedroom.

Sonny suddenly pulls out a Tiffany’s box and asks Gray to open it.

Inside the box, Gray sees a ring covered with diamonds.

“Because you are way too precious for me, so this ring represents how I feel about you and our journey. You could keep it, and please wear the ring on your way back home.”

“You are still and always be my home, Gray. Come home with me, because I am your home. You have to admit it.”

Thanksgiving: Past, Present, and Gear up for 2018

Thanksgiving, which marks the beginning of the holiday season, always leave me with mixed feeling. This particular mixed feeling has been remained the same from time to time. It’s always the combination of happy because Christmas holiday is approaching and sad because this season reminds me of someone and something I have been wanting so much. Although the memories of past hope and love stay intact, time heals the wounds and disappointments. 

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the courage and mercy that God has been given to me. I surely could not make it this far without His kindness. It took a big courage to go back on track and build a strong foundation of a new life. I’ve learned that there is a beauty in every imperfect situation. This realization could and will happen when we acknowledge our weaknesses, ask for His guidance, and move forward. Once we move forward, we cannot look back on our past too often because we could forget what our goals are. 

We could look back on our past once we achieve at least 80% of our life goals. When we reach that point, we could compare and contrast, and then redefine our life purposes. 
Happy Thanksgiving!
Keep spreading the love because our world will remain and stay healthy when each of us share love with others

Us and Kids, We are Family

Asking a child to choose a mom over a dad or vice versa is like asking someone whether he needs to breathe or not. The child may struggle to answer this type of question because he/she wants both. Similarly, parent could not tell the child something like, “You stay with Dad and I take your brother/sister,” because the child does not want to be separated from his/her siblings. It is understandable that parents face daily challenges, and there are times family life is just tough. Sometimes and perhaps often, children are suffered the most due to tough family life situations, such as divorce, infidelity, poverty, etc. However, it is unwise to put children in difficult position while you as a parent knows that the problem could be solved between husband and wife. 

Parenting and marriage are two different topics but are interconnected. When you decide to commit in a marriage, you should aim both for happy marriage and successful parenting. These two topics must be discussed seriously before you say “I do” and after you both say “I do.” It is also important to practice being unselfish because once the child is present in the family, roles and lifestyles need to be adjusted.  

I’ve always believed that it is a privilege to be a parent. If you are a parent, I want you to know how precious your job is. Not everyone could become a parent. Some people struggle to have children. Some people either too sick or too old to conceive a child. So, if you are a parent, I want you to treasure your journey. Raising children is exhausted, but it is rewarding. Your children will always remember the time you have spent together because memory is irreplaceable. Therefore, even if a family life is under “turbulence” tries at your best to control the situation in the peaceful way so that they will not get traumatized due to that event. Family is the first and foremost child’s life experience. It shapes child’s personalities which will continue to grow as the child gets older. Family life and every little experience in the family influence how the child sees the world and him/herself. All of these become a foundation in the child’s overall social and emotional development. When the foundation is healthy and solid, the child will grow healthy and thus could become a responsible citizen. 

Will you do it? 

On My Way to London 

This is the third part of the fictional stories of Gray Cloud and Sonny Sunshine. All names here are fictive.Both the first and second parts of the stories could be accessed on this blog

Sonny Sunshine couldn’t believe what he has just heard on the phone. Gray is off to London for 6 months to interview and photograph families of children with serious medical illnesses. This girl always does something unthinkable. He never imagined that Gray would dare to leave him for this project. Sonny had a long day at work, but this one is the hardest of them all. He sighed, put down his phone and recalled the first time they met. 

It was Sunday night in April when he met Gray at the church. They sat on the same row and apparently their cars were also parked next to each other. Gray had a flat tire that night and Sonny helped her by calling his friend, who owns car service, to come and fix Gray’s tire. They exchanged business cards and two days later Gray called him and offered to treat him lunch as a way to say thank you. Gray who worked in the non-profit foundation at that time invited him to her foundation’s social events on monthly basis. Sometimes, Sonny felt tired of responding to her invitations, but he did not want to sound unfriendly to her. Checking on Gray’s LinkedIn profile, she indeed is a smart woman with long lists of achievement. He noticed that Gray liked him just by looking at the way she was staring at him. This was not the first time he had female friends who grew fond of him, but Gray definitely was not his preferred one. Sonny decided to ignore her invitations and chats, though it did not last long

Gray found so many excuses to keep in touch with Sonny. He wondered why this girl did not leave him alone. He knew at least some legitimate guys laid eyes on her, but she just ignored them. Sonny wanted to trade space with some of those guys. He deliberately screwed up things and acted somewhat childish to make Gray giving up on him. Unfortunately, all of those tactics did not work

It was not until he changed to a new phone and open his unused LINE account that he learned Gray has been leaving him thousand unread notes addressed to him on her timeline. He seldom opened LINE and so he did not know that LINE users could customize their timeline’s audience. He read those notes from bottom to top and spent the whole day to read everything. The last note was written 6 months ago from the date he read it. The note stated that Gray asked for his prayer as she was heading to hospital.

Sonny thought long and hard. He could not understand why Gray did this to him. Who would write thousand of notes online and did not tell the intended recipient about those notes???? He shook his head again in disbelief as he skimmed through his LINE

Sonny’s attitude toward Gray changed since then. He was more genuine and nicer to her than before. He slowly showed Gray his true behaviors not the fake ones. Gray never wrote on LINE again, but she did not bother Sonny as often as she used to be. This made Sonny felt weird because he has been used to be annoyed by Gray’s endless excuses and invitations. He wondered if he slowly became interested in her. No way, he thought. 


Once he learned about Gray’s conditions, Sonny accompanied Gray to almost every doctor’ or lab’s appointment. They both knew the lump was not cancerous cell but they knew it could change at any moment. Understanding the fact that it could become a cancer made Gray feeling down. Life was hard both for Sonny and Gray during those time periods because Sonny had to go back and forth between two cities to care for Gray’s health. His contractor’s job required him to travel and check construction sites. Likewise, Gray could sense how Sonny became irritated and overwhelmed with these changes. He tried to make up the time he was away, but perhaps he was too tired that Gray knew he treated her as if she was his “construction job” that needed to be supervised

The week Gray decided to take the project in London, Sonny was out of town. He is usually gone for 4 days and stay with Gray for 3 days. This pattern has been going on for a few years. He never left Gray longer than a week, but this time he had to complete this final touch of his construction work. Gray used to call him everyday before she found out her condition. Now, it’s Sonny’s turn. He usually checks on her 3x in a day when he is out of town, and when he is in town, he will come over and cook dinner for her

Sonny’s faraway thought is stopped when he hears his phone is beeping. He grabs his phone from desk and sees that Gray is sending him a message. She wrote “Hey, I arrived in London. We rent a house in suburb area. There are 2 other students who are in this project. I am going to change my number. I will send you my new number along with the address. Take care!”  

Sonny was browsing on the travel website as he read Gray’s message. He searched for outbound flights to London. Five minutes later, he secured his reservation. He booked one way flight from Singapore to London. His flight is two days from now. He could see the Singapore flyer from his window. Pretty night, he thought, but it was meaningless without Gray. There is a smile on his face. This time is a genuine warm smile. Gray’s birthday is on August 18. He wants to be there to surprise her. He needs a vacation anyway, and London is just perfect for him. 

Sally and Willy Tie the Knot

The first two parts of this fictional story were written in Bahasa Indonesia and were published on the community writer platform (idntimes community) under the titles “Sally dan Kisah Cintanya di New York” (Sally and her love story in New York) and “Sally dan Tetangga Dokternya: from New York to Atlanta” (Sally and her neighbor: from Atlanta to New York). This is the third part of the stories. You could access the previous two stories on: https://www.idntimes.com/wieke-sutrisno 

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Sally met Willy, who was her next-door neighbor two years ago, in Atlanta. Sally is a wedding planner, and the only reason she moved to Atlanta because her boss offered her higher position and salary. Willy, on the other hand, is a medical doctor. He moved to Atlanta with his brother who is also a doctor. It all started with lunch and dinner appointments that turned into dating relationship. Willy asked her out on Christmas Eve while they were in New York for vacation. Their friends referred them as a workaholic couple because they spent more times at their own work than being together as a couple. Both Sally and Willy are forefront believers that so long as there is a trust and mutual understanding between them, even if work situation is busy, their relationship will remain the same. They even argued that they looked forward to seeing each other after long hours at work or after being separated for a few weeks due to work load. 

Last year, Willy had to move back to New York for their medical practice, and this means the time they could spend together is getting shorter and rare. Although some close friends warned them about the challenges of long distance relationship, Sally and Willy never thought so much about it.  Willy traveled to Atlanta to spend time with Sally whenever he could. Similarly, Sally would go to New York every major holiday and when she could get longer off days. Thus far, this arrangement has been working really well. 

Neither Sally nor Willy planned to upgrade their relationship status. However, close friends and families urged them to make their relationship official and legal. Willy took neutral position in this matter. Sally was rather anxious, and the reason was because there is a huge age gap between them. Sally is four years older than Willy. Sally’s relatives frowned when they learned that she dates Willy. Although Willy has been convincing her that age has no issues or whatsoever in their relationship, Sally is still not sure how this will turn out in the long run. Willy is secretly planning on proposing her. 

The proposal day is arrived, and that day falls on Willy’s birthday. Sally flies out to New York to celebrate Willy’s birthday. Sally booked a dinner at a fancy restaurant near Lincoln Art Center. Sally plans to watch Jazz after dinner, but Willy insists that they need to visit other places. Sally is surprised when Willy takes her to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Willy says, “I asked you out after attending Christmas mass. The church we went last time is already closed now. This church is still open, and so here inside this church, I want to tell you how important you are in my life. I know you are concerned with our age differences, but let me tell you again, here in the presence of God, at His house, that a good marriage is not solely based on age. A good marriage is mutual understanding and continuous effort between two loving persons. So, again, don’t worry so much about that. Here in this church, I ask you to be my lifetime partner, to stay beside me, and to cherish every moment. Life is unpredictable but my love to you remains the same. I am a doctor, so if you are too old and fragile to care for yourself, I could take care of you. So, are you in?”

Sally remains quiet. She doesn’t know what to respond. Willy says, “My little thinker, thank goodness you are not a doctor, because your patient could die when you are their doctor. You think too long and far.” 

Sally responds to him, “Shut up!” and laugh. She then says, “Fine, I am in.”

“There you go, what it so hard to say yes.”

They both laugh and spend a few minutes at the church before heading home. Instead of giving Sally a ring, Willy gives Sally a necklace with a key pendant. The key symbolizes how he finally could un-tie the knots inside Sally’s heart. 

They both set the wedding date on December 26, 2 days after their anniversary. The wedding is small and attended by close friends and family members. The wedding color-theme is tiffany-blue color because Sally likes Tiffany and Willy likes blue color. Guests compliment how pretty Sally is on her wedding day. Her look and style remind them of late Princess Grace from Monaco. Willy looks gorgeous on his tuxedo. He gets butterflies on his stomach as he watches Sally entering the church, walking toward him.