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Relationships

Pride That Blinds

As we argued over a petty little issue (in my mind, that is!) in the car on the way to Krysta’s school, we heard a little voice in the background saying, “Say sorry, mummy and daddy!”. It grew louder and louder as she realized we had ignored her for the 4th or 5th time.

“SAY SORRY, MUMMY AND DADDY!”

My mind went back to the times when this same 4 year old toddler was forced to say those very same words to her 2 year old brother after a fight. Over some toy or something like that. She had ignored me, refused eye contact with her brother and just muttered the barely audible words, “I’m sorry.”

I was cornered. I had to say sorry, though inside, I just wanted to hang on to my anger. Or my pride. I couldn’t tell the difference. So with no eye contact, I muttered the words, “I’m sorry” trying my best to have the most sincere tone I could muster, while failing miserably. She must have thought it was sincere enough as she started singing to break the deathly silence that was in the car.

That evening, I was in a rather bad mood as I was driving home. I was stopped at an intersection, but since I couldn’t really see the road clearly, I had to drive a little too far forward, partially blocking the road. In the distance, I saw a bus coming, and I thought briefly, maybe I should reverse, but I didn’t. The bus driver actually stopped his vehicle right in front of my car and gave me a signal to prove I was in the wrong. And though I knew it, I felt pride welling up inside and excuses coming out of my mouth, though no one was in the car.

It was then that I realised, how easily we allow our pride to blind us of our mistakes. How as human beings, we don’t like feeling inferior or wrong. How natural it felt to be defensive and angry even when the fault lies with us. And how difficult it is to admit that you need to back off, say sorry and just move on.

My marriage needs my humility, not my pride.

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And so the adventure continues: The 10th year milestone

20160813-ALEX_GRACE_10TH_ANNIVERSARY-06910 years ago, the adventure began when we said our vows to journey together through the calm seas and raging storms. Ever since then, we’ve gone through adventures together as we camped in the freezing White Dessert in Egypt and cycled through pitch black darkness to view the sunrise over temples in Bagan, Myanmar. We’ve also experienced challenging moments as my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s shortly after my wedding and deteriorated through the years until the remnant of the strong man he was, was gone.

We’ve worked through differences, argued about which way to press the toothpaste, made conscious decisions on how to live life God’s way and also shed tears of joy when our two children, Krysta and Kyle were born. (we also shed tears when we had to carry them through the streets of Japan recently, but that’s another story).

20160813-ALEX_GRACE_10TH_ANNIVERSARY-144I can’t believe 10 years flew by, just like that. Some people say we hardly aged, but that’s a lie. I think my wrinkles are a testament to how much wiser I am now, but also how much joy I experience in life, through the relationships I share with friends and family. I learnt that it takes a lot of hard work to make a marriage exciting… the routines of life can easily drown you and soon, you start to take person next to you for granted. Even more so after kids arrive, as our focus tends to be on the children, hardly the spouse.

So we’ve done things like go on planned dates, holidays alone, random hugs in the middle of the day… just because.

Ever since I was a young child, I have been an idealist. I want to believe with all my heart that love can flourish and grow stronger through the years… that marriage can indeed prosper even when I am old and grey.

And so the adventure continues…

20160813-ALEX_GRACE_10TH_ANNIVERSARY-005On the 13th of August, we had a party at our home to celebrate 10 years of marriage and moving in to a new home. We were blessed to have family and friends pray for us as we acknowledge God’s goodness in our lives over the past 10 years. Pr Kee from DUMC who married us 10 years ago prayed for us, and Pr Shaun from Kingdomcity KL blessed our home as we use the space to connect with people from all walks of life. Rachel and Jin Ann’s team did a great job with the styling (and yummy desserts!) and Michelle exercised her magic make up skills on myself and Krysta (who was delighted to have curly hair for one day). I am also appreciative of Jennifer, Chi Yin, Nigel and Johan who took some of these amazing photos you see here.

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The Wedding Photo Collection: 2015

Last year, we had the privilege of photographing many amazing couples – many of whom have ended up as friends. One of the greatest satisfactions we get as a photographer is being that connection – we help people connect with their emotions as they recall their joyous wedding occasion. So much love is present at all the weddings we have photographed – last year, we photographed all sorts of cultural weddings – from the traditional Chinese wedding to a modern beach wedding and even two middle eastern weddings.

Personally, today, I celebrate 10 years of marriage to my husband Alex Lam, who have been such an amazing pillar of support. It’s hard work to make a marriage flourish, but I thank God who helped nudge me in the right direction when I needed to change an attitude or swallow my pride at times. You can be in love with someone even more than the day you say your vows!

As you listen to the vows of all our clients, may you be touched and reminded that love is the greatest emotion of all.

Challenges of a cross-cultural relationship

JJ-02Over a year ago, I met Joseph while rock climbing. As much as I would like to say that I fell, he caught me and we fell instantly in love.. that was not the case. Like many Malaysian (or Asian) relationships, it started off at a mamak with some friends.

Fast forward 9 months into the relationship, it is safe to say that being in a cross cultural relationship is enriching and fun, yet it comes with its own set of challenges. I forgot to mention that Joseph is Filipino and I am, of course, as Malaysian as a girl can be. When I was younger, I always had this idea about dating a foreigner. I have always enjoyed getting to know people from different cultures and I thought how much fun it would be if that was a lifetime thing.

Obviously, I was naive. Every relationship has its challenges, and adding cultural differences into the equation is like asking for more work to do! Learning and adjusting to each other’s worldview, lifestyles and beliefs wasn’t as easy as I thought. Food habits was one of the first hurdle I had to learn to accommodate. Not only do Filipinos refer to ‘dinner’ as ‘supper’, their taste in food are at the extreme ends. Something that is bordering diabetic to me is not sweet enough for him; something that is bland to him is too salty for me. Although English is our first language, Joseph had to adjust to my Manglish slangs. Teaching him the difference between lah, meh, mah etc was quite a challenge. There were even times when he had to ask, “Like this cannot.. lah..? ..meh?? ..leh???”.

Despite our differences, I’m ever thankful that we share the most important thing, which is our love for Christ. It is not only about sharing the same faith, it is sharing the same values and principles that are fundamental to both our lives.

I am no expert in relationships, but what I have learnt so far is that: communication is key; and having the support of your family and closest friends is more important than you think. At the end of the day, it is all about choosing to love a person, and making that choice is a daily decision in which you have to let your selfish desires go. And when I’m at the altar, I can finally say, “I choose you!” (pun intended – but probably only Pokemon players can understand).

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Reminiscing: Portraits in Kelantan

A year ago, the Stories team headed to a small village in Kelantan to photograph portraits for the families affected by the devastating 2014 flood. We were just so blessed to be able to meet these families and to replace precious family photos that were lost in the flood. We braved the Hari Raya jam and drove up north, to a place we had never visited before and ate Raya kuih with families who welcomed us with open arms. Have a look at the behind the scenes video that describes more about what took place over the few days we were there. It was a one of a kind experience for all of us. Wishing a great time of family bonding for everyone celebrating Raya!

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