- I'm starting to realise where my hard earned money is going (besides to the government) - in the past few months, i've managed to save quite a bit, because I've avoided one place: amazon. Go figures, eh? Unfortunately, I did some shopping there this past weekend. Not looking good.
- I need a life. Or rather, some other distractions in life. While watching two TVB episodes of "Shine on You", I was nearly moved to tears. I mean, w/ a show name like "Shine on You", doesn't that imply the show's cheesy enough as is? And trust me, the scene I was nearly bawling about is really cheesy. I think working 10 hour days on average has really made everything else in life much more amusing and meaningful.
- Learning what faith is all about in the past few months - from the big things to the little things in life, such as work-related things and struggling not to be such a kid about some other things. What a wonderful feeling to learn how to simply rely on Him. Knowing that He knows the best. Yet, at the same time, it can be incredibly long... especially for an impatient person like yours truly. Learning one step at a time though!
- I haven't started Christmas shopping. Card writing has begun for once this year... although the count is only at 10 cards, out of the 40+ cards I have to write.
- Looking forward to some quality family time this weekend. Hopefully a 1 day wk next week, but we shall see.

I need to sleep :) Ciao!


The HH Update

I never thought of this until tonight... but writing Christmas cards is more tiring than writing a comp. (corny accounting/ufe joke; the comp is a five hour exam on day 1 of the ufe) Hey, at least it's definitely a more entertaining and pleasant experience. However, my progress has not been good tonight - in two and a half hours, I've written only five cards. At this rate, I'll never finish.

In other news, this has been the end of me... of course, having only one hour to enjoy the sights and sounds of South Bend, IN, we headed to here. Oh my, are they ever soooo good. Honestly, I'm in love with these... it's almost Godiva-like. Maybe even better!

I also got a new badminton racquet this weekend. My 15 year old raquet has retired, unfortunately. It's been a good journey w/ the old one though.

Highlights this weekend: having Him work through this Sunday morning's service, playing food games during a potluck, a quick yet enjoyable Starbucks fix, and spending time at home. Oh yeah, and totally procrastinating and NOT doing work-related things. :)

Stay tuned for more HH news coming your way. Until then, this is moi, signing off.


i don't have the heart to tell my mother i forgot to buy the globe and mail on december 10th. she'll go nuts.



will i have time for winterlicious?

who's interested?!


Having a Blessed weekend...

Here's to:
- Starbucking
- Narnia - I agree w/ Phoebe's thoughts on Narnia... I am in awe of the themes and
- A quick, yet heartfelt 15 minute conversation w/ a big sis and a great friend (thx for the candle and ornament!)
- Belated birthday gifts and early Christmas gifts
- Mailing out gifts!
- MSN-ing w/ friends from afar
- A quick, yet yummy, lunch at ten ren's w/ a good friend
- Taking the first step to a long journey that will draw me closer to Him
- Being reminded that He is in control and He is the El Giblar
- Winterfest w/ a lovely date ;) thanks Kat for a good night!! :D
- Dutch Blitz. and of course, great company.
- Some downtime...
- Experiencing my first time being a standby passenger. I have never wanted to leave an airport so badly
- Being reminded of the deeper friendships that have formed in my past 18 years at NTCBC, and knowing there'll be many more years of these friendships to come
- Christmas cards!!! (and some hidden recipes...) Which reminds me that I have yetto start writing mine... just started a few today
- Homemade Chinese soup :) from mom, as she knows I have had too many unhealthy meals as of late

A Funny Conversation at Starbucks

H: Jess, I can't eat too much; going down south has fattened me quite a bit this past week.
J: Nah, don't worry too much about it. Just eat at home lots this week.
H: Yeah... must eat healthy.
Then my Starbucks barista friend Tony passes by w/ a tray of snowflake shortbread cookies, catching J's attention
J: Hmmm... that looks good. Let's get one... on me!
H: Were you listening to me?
J: Sure! There is also something call prioritizing... cookies are important.
Few minutes later, Tony is preparing samples of the cranberry bliss bar, or something like that
J: Ooooh, samples! Hol, let's get some!

You get the point... starbucking with a friend that really does listen ;).


This is awesome... thanks Nev for providing me some entertainment. :) I can now forsee a longer credit card bill as a result of increased usage and shopping on iTunes.

This is also hilarious but extremely useful... thanks Em for the podcast pick!


Greetings from South Bend, Indiana!

My first out-of-the-country business trip has been more or less pleasant. Sure, I pulled some late nights, sleeping at 2:30 and waking up at 6:45, but all in all, it's been a good trip. Hopefully, all the work that is left to be done will be finished later tonight, and I can have the day to mosey around town tomorrow before flying home.

I've had a fairly good time in South Bend - went to the Studebaker Mansion for dinner tonight with the clients and my team and it was awesome! Not only was the food good (gosh, I probably gained like 10 pounds from eating out for the entire week!), but the house itself was a museum, as the Studebakers had quite a history in the town of South Bend and in the history of wagons. This actually isn't a new client for me (as it is part of the door making company that i've been auditing on and off throughout the year), but the culture and environment is so much different down south than it is in the Canadian corporate office. It was also encouraging to see how many Christians actually worked at the plant that I was performing work at.

However, it is snowing like crazy here in Indiana. Hopefully I can fly home tomorrow without delays. 'Til next time... ciao :)


Just wanted to share with you one of my personal favourite songs as of late...

Reaching for You Raymond Badham

I can’t believe the way
Your love has got a hold on me
Each morning I wake to find You near
You lift me above my fear
And set my feet on solid ground
All of my days belong to You

And I breathe in Your breath of life
That fills my heart
You are my all-consuming fire

I stand here before You
In wide-opened wonder
Amazed by the glory of You
The power of Heaven
Revealing Your purpose in me
As I’m reaching for You


What a weekend... finally winding down here in Indiana. To be honest with you, it's a first of everything this weekend:

- my frist business trip outside of Canada (my first one was in Orillia...)
- my first time being the 'in-charge' on the engagement (as out of the four team members, I have the most experience w/ the client... not necessary the most acctg knowledge); please pray for me as i am honestly a bit scared... not of the job, but of my own confidence, or lack of.
- my first time buying a book at the airport and nearly finishing it... but then, it is ONLY one of the seven books of the narnia series (yes, Nevin, I succumbed... i bought it)
- my first time in years playing hostess of a get together - i'm glad ppl in my different walks of life got to meet each other!
- my first time playing karaoke revolution - it's hi-larious! (ray - can we have another karaoke night?)
- my first time having to walk OUT to the plane/jet and get on at toronto pearson - never did i do that in the past... only other time i had to walk out to the plane was in corfu, when heading for athens.

anyway, must get ready for bed... i miss home already.


My Long Journey...

(warning: long post ahead)

What a way to start of a "new year"... ah, another year older, another year um... wiser? Haha. Reflections - seeing how God has been at work in the past year. Therefore, the year in retrospect.

So Holly passed another exam... the UFE (Uniform Final Examination, in order to get my accounting designation). :) To many, it's not surprising. However, to me... it is! On the surface, it didn't seem to a big deal (as it is "just another exam"), but to me, it meants quite a bit... symbolizing God's providence and grace that He has bestowed in the past year and a bit. To me, it isn't simply just about passing an exam; it's about realizing how God has guided me in the past year... and how He ultimately has the control in everything. Let me share with you.

Basically, I started working in September 2004 - at that time, I thought my biggest challenges were: a) adjusting to the working life and b) getting through this UFE (Uniform Final Exam) process, which comprised of three exams - one in January (CKE), one in June (SOA), and the harest one in September (UFE). Work started off with two weeks of training, which went by quickly. However, on the first day of actually being at the office, I came across the biggest challenge of my life - learning how to cope with the known fact that my grandfather was terminally ill, and only had several months to live. To make matters worse, days later, I found out my dad had a really bad heart condition, and was in need of surgery ASAP.

A month passed, and my grandfather was admitted to the ER on 11/01/04, barely conscious. At that time, I was juggling between adjusting to work, studying for the CKE on weeknights and weekends, going to CKE training sessions on weekends, and spending as much time as I could with my grandparents. With grandpa in the hospital, studying was totally out of the picture... (I would study next to to grandpa's hospital bed). My dad went for his surgery during this time too. Fortunately, all went well. It didn't help that I had to pull myself away from my church for fellowship nights, as seeing grandpa was my first and utmost priority. Through the whole experience, I slowly lost touch with the people at my church.

With God's grace, he made it through in November. Christmas 2004 crunch time for me... having only two weeks to study for the CKE - with family coming in for my grandfather's last Christmas ever, it was emotionally tough. The withdrawl I had gone through with friends also didn't help, as I found it hard for people to relate to my situation with the exception of a few close friends. Fortunately, during this time (around November), I started working with a group of amazing people at this *lovely* client that made doors (those who know about this company know it's one of the bigger clients I deal with). I got to know one of my seniors, Renee, really well - and through the weirdest conversation about a drunken senior manager, I found out she was a Christian. God gave us an opportunity to work alone one afternoon, and we ended up getting to know each other and share our faith and what not. At that time, I knew God was working as I had longed for consistent fellowship and friendship from fellow Christians. What better place can He give me but at work, where 12 hour days are considered to be normal?

The CKE came and within weeks, I found out I had passed. For a while, things at home were slightly normal (meaning grandpa was at home, not in pain, but still only had a few months to live) but it was busy season at work. I had barely enough time to maintain my family relationships, let alone other relationships. On 03/01/2005, my grandpa passed away. It wasn't a surprise, but at the same time, it wasn't expected. But God was working through the family. There were lots of pain and hurt experienced by different family members, and a lot of it was revealed during the funeral preparation days. However, through it all, God was working, and up to this very day, I can see the family trying to make efforts to keep the love flowing through. Thankfully, the loss I had experienced, along with the pain, was quickly healed by God... by May, things were relatively normal again. I slowly started rebuilding friendships with friends and made more of an effort to be at church more. But then came the SOA exam preparation - this meant weekends in May were consumed by weekend training sessions again. Then SOA. That month was filled with stress as I had to go through three weeks of technical classes, and studying at night time... leaving me with only one day of break per week. I was also expriencing some relationship problems at that time, and had to put things on hiatus, with the hope of resolving things slowly after the SOA. Again, Renee was there to support me as she was one of the rare ones that understood the stress of writing the SOA... and she was the one I ask for prayer and moral support. Tam, another bro at KPMG, was also very supportive.

The SOA exam came and went as well. However, things didn't turn out as expected, as my long term relationship w/ my ex had ended the week before SOA results were released. I had passed SOA, thankfully, but going into UFE prep with the break up lingering was the most challenging part. Throughout the 2 week training session, our instructor kept telling us to "focus" and if things were bugging us (i.e. relationship problems, mother problems, etc.) we were to not think about them as we couldn't change anything or do anything about it. However, knowing me... I think too much for my own good. It took me until mid-august to not think about it. I was left in a situation where no one - not Renee, not Myles, not Tam - no one could do anything about me. My performance was fluctuating on the practice exams and my off-study hours were spent moping. The only one that could get me through was God. Not to get me through the exam, but just to get me through the distractions and the stress that came along w/ the UFE prep. The few people I mentioned were praying for me and with me. Tam, who was also preparing for the UFE, was a great support as he encouraged me to keep going especially when I was tired of writing cases after cases.

During this time, I was looking for a group to fellowship with, as I had no where to go due to the break up. For those of you who know my Starbucks obsession, I studied at Starbucks almost everyday during August. (Hence the really low bank balance I have, as I had no income at that time) God provided an opportunity for me to meet Ada, a fellow sister in Christ. From a casual conversation of studying, I found out she was going to be a seminary student in September. Our friendship grew, and one day, I asked her if she could introduce me to a fellowship. She was looking for one for herself at that time, and she knew of a few oher sisters that were too... and before we knew it, women's group formed. This was another lesson for me - God's timing is always perfect.

I wrote the UFE in September... and after three days of exams, I came out feeling not so great. Results were scheduled to be released on 11/25/2005. I had two months to wait. However, to my surprise, I didn't even stress about it until the morning of 11/25/2005. God was giving me enough work and things on my plate to not have time to think about it. The night before results, I told my senior manager that "whatever happens, happens."

Last friday, I found out I passed (hence, the comment about signing passports in the future... haha, as professionals in Canada can stamp passport applications as a witness). Tears were flowing when I told (moreso screamed) my mom I passed... not only because of the fact I passed, but because to me, it symbolized that God's been with me through the very first day of CKE - and all the good and bad experiences that came along with it as I've shared with you. What made passing particularly special was when I spoke w/ Renee - the first person I spoke to after my mom - and she was tearing up slightly wth me. :) The day was filled with celebrations at the office and at a lounge downtown... but despite the fun, what made the night even more memorable was when Tam and I left the kpmg party and went to grab a bite. We shared about our UFE journey, and how God worked through it all.

So yeah, that's my UFE story. And now, you'll know what it means THAT much to me. Praise Him :) The experiences still haven't end, but for all I know, this could very well be the beginning of a longer journey - one that is seeking after Him and blessed by Him.

my good friend Renee and I... very happy at the UFE party :)

my brother in Christ... Tam and I, being very thankful for what God has given to us

of course, two of my many UFE stress relievers - mui and her mom in the back