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Ebenezer: I am (almost) 27

Two weeks ago I was teaching Indonesian history to my 7th graders. We were talking about Indonesian kingdoms and the artifacts that prove their existence. The artifacts of these kingdoms are in forms of writing on different media such as stones and leaves. I remember one of the questions that I asked my students was: “Why did people write or build memorials?” And some of the students said almost in unison, “because they want to remember it.”

It made me recall one part in the Bible about Samuel building the memorial and he called it Ebenezer which means “the stone of help”, for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” (1 Samuel 7:12) Samuel built this memorial because the Lord had just helped him lead the people of Israel to victory against the Philistines. Samuel wanted to remember that he and the people of Israel were able to get to the point where they were because the Lord had helped them.

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Today, just a month before I turn 27, I’d like to also build my own Ebenezer memorial by writing this post on my blog. I’d like to take time remembering how the Lord has brought me this far in life with all the ups and downs that He has allowed me to go through. I didn’t always get to taste only the sweet moments, but also the bitter ones. Both moments of rise and fall have helped me be the person I am today and I am thankful for both.

I remember almost ten years ago, I had to bury my dreams of getting into university because my parents could not afford sending me to one. I remember feeling like my world has ended because I ended up staying at home after graduation. But through a friend of mine I heard about UPH Teachers College and I applied for it. Today, almost ten years after that day, I am an alumni and in my fifth year of teaching. Oh how time flies so fast!

I remember almost five years ago, I was unhappy with the teaching assignment that I got. I had to leave my family and all the comfort of living in a city to go to a small town in a far away island to teach something I wasn’t trained for! But those years I spent in that small town had helped me grow to appreciate life and even find my deeper calling as a Christian. Today, almost five years after that day, I am missing to go there again to see my little students have grown after I left. They are not so little anymore, now! Oh how kids grow so fast as well!

I remember one and a half years ago I missed my flight to Jogja because I was so caught up with the news that I have been awarded with a scholarship by Indonesian government. It is definitely an amusing story to remember and to tell to my kids in the future for sure! Today, I am still striving for my IELTS score and waiting for the result to change my offer status to be unconditional upon meeting the English proficiency requirement. If the Lord wills, I am leaving for London in September this very year.

There are indeed so many things that I can remember on how the Lord has been good to me. Today, just a month away from my 27th birthday, I am recalling all the great things the Lord had allowed to happen to me. He allowed me to experience the trials but He turned it into praises for His own glory for it is not I, it is He who made all of them possible.

One thing I learned, welcoming myself into late-twenties is not that scary for they are just numbers. Instead, as I remember how good the Lord has been to me, it turns my heart into a joyful heart. Age is just merely number and His blessings are even more important to number. ❤

Love always,

-superriska

 

 

I miss my friends.

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I have only a few good friends that I would share all my craziness and insignificant cheesiness with.

All of them, I did not plan to find but the Lord gave me along my journey. None of them are near me now, we are scattered in different places upon the face of this planet. It is hard when your great friends are not around. That kind of situation doesn’t let you communicate with them easily. We are busy with our own lives and we are separated in different time zones. My morning is their evening and of course it affects how we communicate.

It was easier when we were together, I could just randomly knock at their doors and started my completely insignificant cheesy stories without asking if they are busy. They also could do the same way to me, even more rude haha. We would spend the night at each other’s place and leave a mess without saying sorry. We would turn off the lights and talked until we fell asleep. We would just do random things together like eating ice cream late at night and talking about some random topics. Sometimes we would just be silent in our room without talking to each other but feeling perfectly fine because we were together. We could cry, we could laugh until it hurt, we could do those crazy little things together. We also would jog together after work and talked for a very long time that we forgot to eat dinner. Yes, I miss those times together with my friends.

Today, as we are in different places, going to different directions in life, it is just not the same. We will have to wait for the other to respond our texts for a few hours because it is still their sleeping hours. Or we will have to record our voice messages because texting is just too long! Although we don’t get to see each other often now, we know our hearts are still the same. We know that we still pray for each other in time of needs. We know that we will still listen to each other’s stories no matter how silly they are. We know that life is always better with friends.

I am thankful for having a handful of them even though we are now apart. I miss you, friends. I’ll keep you in my prayers and I always look forward to the day we get together again. ❤

Love always,

-superriska

His Word soothes my soul.

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This is just one of the many favorite verses I have.

I am thankful that I have a God that reveals himself through his Word.

I am thankful that He does listen when I come to pray to Him.

I am thankful that His Word is always available for me in time of need.

I am thankful that His Word soothes my soul when I am worried or discouraged.

 

What are you thankful for?

Love,

-superriska

It doesn’t mean you have to.

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Research shows that the more time you spend on screen scrolling down you social media accounts the more stressed you’ll be. Especially, when you look at your timeline and you see your friends’ updates: some got engaged, some got married, some got babies, and some graduated for their masters and even doctorates already! Then your heart starts to sink and think like you’re not getting anywhere.

This is the thing: you have your own timeline and it doesn’t have to be the same as your friends’. It is wonderful to be reminded that God never used cookie cutter when he created each person’s story. Here are some implications for you to put it into perspective:

When most of your friends got their second degree at the age of 27, it doesn’t mean you have to.

When most of your friends tied the knots by the age of 25, it doesn’t mean you have to.

When some of your friends who went abroad for studies found their soulmates there, it doesn’t mean you have to.

When most of your friends got their first baby at the age of 26 or even younger, it doesn’t mean you have to.

You are on your own timeline and you are fine! You just need to live your life as if you’re gonna die tomorrow. Don’t let those thoughts worry you. Don’t let those thoughts wear you down. Remember that God makes everything beautiful in its time. Your story doesn’t have to be the same as your friends’. Your story is special, specially woven by the hands of the Lord Himself.

Everything doesn’t have to happen now, rest assured that the Lord is at work and He will make it happen in His time.

Have great evening, great people!

Love always,

-superriska

People will always have something to say.

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Familiar with the picture? I bet you all are.

We always worry about what people think or say about us. We always worry that we sort of have to please everybody around us. But the truth is, we don’t have to. Just like what we can see from the picture, no matter what they do, others will comment. Well, that must be exhausting to live like that. Living a life that is bound to other’s perception and judgment. It is impossible to please everyone and it is definitely not your job.

In the beginning of her diary, Anne Frank wrote:

I haven’t written for a few days, because I wanted first of all to think about my diary. It’s an odd idea for someone like me to keep a diary; not only because I have never done so before, but because it seems to me that neither I – nor for that matter anyone else – will be interested in the unbosomings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl. Still, what does that matter? I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.

To be honest, I had the same thought when I began this blog. Who will be interested in reading my writings? Who will be interested in my ideas? Who will bother reading my shallow writings? Oh well. Just like what Anne Frank said, “I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.” Then I started it and I will keep writing no matter what. I know that it is a practice and it is good for me.

So, if you’re thinking about doing something today and you’re afraid because you worry about what people would think about it? Better throw that thought away now. Do what is right, do what makes you happy, do not bother the hearsay. Remember, people will always have something to say anyway. So, do what you believe is true, you’re not doing it for them, you’re doing it for you.

Love always,

-superriska

Just keep going.

I was talking with a good friend of mine about skin care tonight. We realized that we are kind of behind about this whole thing about skin care that in our mid-twenties we just started seriously paying attention to it. At the end of our conversation we encouraged each other that it is not too late to start now. We reminded each other that “The expert in anything was once a beginner.”

Yes, the expert in anything started from scratch as well. Just like you and me, they were not born great. They’ve got to learn and they did have a starting point when they were nothing but a beginner themselves. They kept going and they did not stop. They kept pushing themselves beyond their limits and they reached where they’re at right now. It took time, yes, years and years of doing. It did not come overnight. They worked hard to get to where they are. In between the beginning and the peak of their achievement, there are failures, tears, perspiration, and heartbreaks. But those are part of the process and it is normal to have them around.

So, this is an encouragement to all of you. If you don’t yet succeed, there is nothing wrong with you, those great winners have been in your shoes but they have passed it long time ago. It is fine to fail now, it does not mean you’re not gonna get there. You are just in a process of getting there and all you’ve got to do is get up and try again. Keep this in mind, nobody’s born great and winners are not built overnight. You need to keep going, you need to keep doing, you need to keep moving.

Whether you just start exercising or writing, learning a language or just anything, just ceaselessly tell yourself: “The more you do it, the better you get.” Don’t give up!

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Have a great week ahead, great people!

Love always,

-superriska

 

Because heroes are humans, too.

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Well, yeah, I guess we have excessively expected from our heroes. In order to be heroes, we subconsciously demand them to transcend their humanness. We want them to always look happy, we want them to always look pretty. We want them to always be successful and their business to always be fruitful. We want them to be always smiling and not failing. We set a standard for them like a superhuman.

But the reality is, such standard is unrealistically unreal. No wonder we are surprised that they are apparently capable of being sad, plain-looking, and also… failing just like we are! They also shed tears when life is rough – and yes, their lives get rough, too! They also look plain without makeups and those pretty outfits. And most importantly, they fail too, many times, just like we all do!

Well, our fallen nature has made us believe that in order to get acceptance we need to meet some kind of unreachable requirement – perfection. But the truth is: nobody is perfect. You and I are not perfect, neither the famous celebrities and heroes. We need to stop overvaluing our heroes and start seeing them as our fellow human beings with flaws and failures as well. Because just like me and you, our heroes are humans, too.

Jika kita tidak lagi berekspektasi terlalu tinggi, mungkin kita bisa lebih bertoleransi. -Fiersa Besari in Catatan Juang

I hope this rings the reminder bell in our hearts.

Peace and love,

-superriska

Why do you think you need to know?

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That’s still taken from my latest read, Catatan Juang by Fiersa Besari.

The news about Ahok’s file for divorce from his wife has been spread tremendously quickly in only a few hours. I mean, of course, we are talking about Ahok’s divorce here, the former governor who is sentenced two years in jail for blasphemy. Up till now, there is no official statement regarding the cause of the divorce and public has been left curious about it. Since the background reason remains a mystery to the public, some speculations have grown. Some say it is the wife’s disloyalty, some say it is Ahok trying to protect his family, and many other stories that we do not even know which one is true. Even just a few hours earlier, one social media account published a letter containing details of the reasons why Ahok filed for divorce from his wife. Surprisingly to me, many people are buying it. I am not underestimating but I am just being skeptical of that letter. These days, it is really easy to create and spread fraud. People can easily claim something as a proof of truth in the media, but how can you tell? How can you be sure?

My most honest response to what’s happening is this: I don’t think the public has some kind of right to know the details of why Ahok filed for divorce from his wife. It is not something for public’s consumption since it is a family issue. I mean, seriously, this family is now going through one of the most perilous roads of their family life and you are feeding your curiosity by posting and sharing things that are not at all helpful to them? Why do you think you need to know the reasons why? You don’t need to know and they are not obliged to let you know. Will your knowledge about what is really going on in their family be helpful to them and you? Think about that. Why do you do what you do? Is it just for feeding your curiosity? Instead, why don’t we just silently watch while pray for the best for them?

Some of you may disagree with me but it is okay. I am just saying what I have in mind. I hope we can be a wise generation in the fast growing media world like today.

Jadi, lain kali, sebelum posting dan kepo tentang kehidupan orang lain di medsos kamu, coba pikir ulang lagi dan lagi dan lagi, biar apa?

Peace and love,

-superriska

My version of happiness.

Yang terpenting itu bahagia atas semua keputusan yang sudah kita buat. Ini bahagia versiku. Kenapa harus mengikuti bahagia versimu? (Besari 256)

That’s a quote from the last book I read, Catatan Juang by Fiersa Besari.

I realized that there are two types of life in the eyes of society: the so-called normal life and the one that is considered wild, weird, and even stupid. What is categorized as normal is a life that is comfortable, when you have good jobs, earn high salary, settled in a nice home, happily married, and raise nice kids. Such a typical life almost all parents I have met desire for their kids. To be honest, my parents are also included in that group.

When someone asks you about your plan in life and you answer them with a crazy answer like: “I am going to get my doctorate and then live a celibate life as a missionary in some third world country, building libraries and teaching the people how to read and write.”, they are going to think that you have lost your your mind. They think that your idea is insane and your education is wasted. They definitely are not expecting such answer. Instead, they expect something like, “Oh, I am going to get my doctorate and then work in a multinational company in some big city in America. I’ll get married and build my family there.” They will praise you and adore you. They will agree with your plan and they will say amen to your answer.

I always have hard times explaining to people what I have in mind. When I mention about going to some remote places to teach kids there, people roll their eyes. When I get emotional when talking about how miserable life in the streets is, they don’t understand. I don’t understand why people define success only by how much money you earn, how big your house is, how happy you look from the outside. They don’t even care about what you feel deep inside, right?

Well, sometimes we have to just shut our ears from people’s comments about us. Their comments are just words unless we let them define us.

Go get your dreams, friends. You don’t have to worry if society categorizes you as wild, weird, or stupid just because you don’t make decisions as they expect you to. You are not defined by what people say about you. You have your calling and live it out. You have the right to define your own version of happiness and it doesn’t have to be the same as theirs.

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love,

-superriska