Category Archives: Love

Lens-Artists Challenge #115 – Inspiration

This week for Lens-Artists Challenge, Tina invited us to explore the theme of Inspiration. I could name many aspects around are my inspiration. I finally decided on three for this post.

Gardening is my hobby and my joy. My life is enriched by the inspiration from gardening. There are several basic things for a healthy garden. 1) Good soil. I started a butterfly garden and vegetable garden this year. Several sections have heavy clay soil. I dug at least one foot, soaked the soil and drained, mixed in several inches of organic soil. Use the correct amount of fertilizer periodically. 2) Watering. Test the daily watering to ensure the soil is moist, not just wet on the surface. 3) Proper planting space. The full-grown milkweed will be several feet in diameter in the butterfly garden, whereas the Zinnias are several feet tall but several inches wide. 4) Trimming the withered limbs according to different plants by season or regularly.

Learning from gardening, I need to continuously cleanse, nourish, and make changes to my mind, my heart, and my action to be a healthy person.

Traveling gave me the opportunity to see the wonderful nature near and far. We were at awe with the vast Denali wildness in Alaska, over 10,000 hydrothermal features such as geysers, hot springs, mud pots, travertine terraces, and fumaroles in Yellowstone, and four active volcanos in Hawaii, to name just a few.

Nature comes in all shapes and forms, all kinds of temperature, and different colors as reflected in our human life.

The maternal instinct in the animal kingdom was my inspiration and touches my heart at the deep spot. Humpback whales migrate farther than any other mammal on earth. They can travel around 3,000 miles between their breeding and feeding grounds regularly. During the migration with the newborn, the female Humpback would lift the calf above the water for it to breathe. The female and the calf are caressing each other constantly for affection.

A nest in my front porch was a cradle for four births of baby Mourning doves. The dove eggs are smaller than chicken eggs. I observed the female doves lay two eggs at a time. It takes about 35 days after hatching for the baby doves to fly. Last year, one baby was ready to fly and left the nest. The female dove left for a while but came back in the evening to stay with the second baby, kept him warm until he was ready to fly. The bigger baby also came to keep the little brother company. Then they flew away together.

Even though I was not able to be a stay-home mom when my daughter was a baby, I’m now a big fan of stay-home moms for them to treasure and enjoy those precious moments.

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LENS-ARTISTS CHALLENGE #115 – INSPIRATION

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107 – Winter

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107, Ann-Christine invited us to look at the difference in the winter when we compare the Northern Hemisphere with the Southern Hemisphere. 

The first time I saw snow was my first year in Portland, Oregon. It was in November. I walked along the hallway from one classroom to the next. My eyes glanced through the floor to ceiling window. A thin layer of white stuff drifting down in the air. I stopped and observed. Each layer above seemed to get thicker and whiter. I realized what happened and called out while jumping up and down, “It’s snowing. It’s snowing!” Some male students walked by and looked at me. Probably the last time they saw and heard of it was from their little kids.

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When I finished school in Portland, I went on to Seattle Pacific University for my second graduate study. The city welcomed me with seven inches of snow. When the snow came to a pause, I put on my knee high, custom made leather boots and my leather gloves to make the first snowman. The leather gloves got hard and stiff after they were dry. My boots were fine, probably they were made differently.

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Is winter warm or cold? I think winter is warm because it’s the time for events such as Christmas concert, Christmas light cruise, Christmas parties with family and friends, and my daughter’s birthday the day after Christmas.

One New Year, we visited my sister’s family in Vancouver B.C. We couldn’t go skiing in Whistler B.C. because the heavy fog came in. We managed going to a nearby mountain for my husband, niece, and nephew to do snowboarding.

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Back home in southern California, our chorale started rehearsing for the Messiah concert first week of November, leading to the two performances before Christmas. This is the highlight of the year for me.

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The adult fellowship group at church has many Christmas parties. One year we had a catering dinner at a deluxe retirement home. The chef built a gingerbread village every year. He made one gingerbread house at a time throughout the year and froze them. By early December, he assembled the village with a train track and an electrical train going around it.

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The last two years, we went on the Christmas Light Cruise and watched the Christmas Boat Parade.

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Two years ago was the first-time snow and Christmas met. My husband and I went to Portland, Oregon to spend the holiday with my daughter’s family. I saw snow before the plane landed and was so excited to have a white Christmas.

Most exciting of all during Christmas time is my daughter’s birthday on the day after Christmas. Here, Mercy opened the birthday card from her daughter Autumn.

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Is winter warm or cold in your part of the world? I would like to hear from you.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107 – Winter

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 106: Autumn

The theme from Patti this week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #106 focuses on the season autumn.

Forty years ago, I came to the graduate school in Portland, Oregon. One thing I appreciated Oregon is the distinct four seasons. Autumn is the most impressive with its red, yellow, and orange foliage. The highway by the school lined up with trees displaying the splendid colors for miles and miles. I finished my studies and moved to southern California, and I left the four seasons behind.

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My daughter went to the university in Portland, Oregon. She continued to stay there to work and then got married. Even though I visited her often, but somehow those visits didn’t fall into the season of autumn until my granddaughter Autumn was born.

Autumn was born on September 28, 2017. I was there to help such as doing laundry so Mercy and Will could concentrate on taking care of their newborn.

I took these photos early October in Mercy’s neighborhood. Trees started changing colors. One tree was indecisive, so half of the tree changed to yellow and the other half wanted to wait. Other trees around the corner had green and yellow and orange and red.

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There was a park nearby surrounded by Acorn trees. Squirrels were everywhere collecting acorns, ate some and buried some for the winter. Another squirrel was chewing something. It turned out that what he had was a fruit, not an acorn.

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During my stay in October when Autumn was born, we went to the Cathedral Park. Someone was making giant bubbles. The kids had fun chasing them.

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In Portland, Oregon, one annual fun thing to do in the autumn is going to the pumpkin patch. Autumn picked her favorite pumpkin last year. We don’t know if we’ll go to the pumpkin patch this year but I’ll be at her third birthday party for sure.

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This is the park with the Acorn trees. Autumn is in the center of the autumn leaves.

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I would like to conclude this post with one of my favorite song “Autumn Leaves” sung by Matt Monro.

“Autumn Leaves”

The falling leaves

drift by the window.
The autumn leaves of red and gold.
I see your lips

the summer kisses.
The sunburnt hands I used to hold.
Since you went away

the days grow long.
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song.
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall.
Since you went away

the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 106: Autumn

Sunday Stills: Home is the Happiest Place

The theme for Sunday Stills this week from Terri is: Home. 

As much as we enjoy traveling, I always looked forward to coming home before the trip was over. Perhaps the tours I booked were too vigorous, and I got tired by getting up early or sitting on the bus too much from city to city.

I’m comfortable at home. This morning I spotted a Swallowtail butterfly staying on one flower for twenty minutes. I thought she came to lay eggs. I checked after she was gone. No, she didn’t, but I found a tiny grasshopper only 1/3 inch long. 

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About a dozen mourning doves, many house finches, and sparrows perching on the telephone wires around 4:00 p.m. every day, waiting for me to feed them. A pair of mourning doves came to fix up the old nest on Friday, June 5, and the female dove came back last Sunday to lay eggs. Now she is patiently incubating her young.

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My home is shared by a family of four hummingbirds.

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My home is the happiest place to me!

I’m even happier when I’m at my second home, my daughter’s home. Nothing gives me more joy than being with my granddaughters. So far, I only spent time with my two-and-a-half years old granddaughter, Autumn. I love playing with her and reading to her. I haven’t seen my second granddaughter Nora in person yet because of the coronavirus. I look forward to seeing Autumn and Nora when it’s safe to travel.

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My daughter’s home is the utmost happiest place to me!

I love to hear what make you happiest. It could be something, some place, some people, or something you do.

 

Sunday Stills: Home is the Happiest Place

Lens-Artists Challenge #90 – Distance

Tina looked at the “Social Distancing” and invited us to focus on DISTANCE this week as a challenge to serve as a reminder of its importance.

I grew up in a big city and now live in one. When we traveled, it amazed me to realize some people live in a great distance from each other. It made me think that these people do not have the convenience to access many things, things at our fingertips we take for granted. These people also don’t have the luxury or technology city people have. I asked myself why people choose to live in these locations and live in this lifestyle. “Are they happy?” Then the next question is, “What makes people happy?” I think people either have no choice or choose to be content wherever they are and however they live.

 

The first set of photos is the distance in the land.

“Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity.”Robert Morgan

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Longleat in Somerset, UK, is an English Stately home. The house is set in 1,000 acres of parkland with 4,000 acres of let farmland and 4,000 acres of woodland.

 “Ocean separates lands, not souls.” – Munia Khan

Four Miles Beach Port Douglas, AU

Four Mile Beach is considered the premier beach of Port Douglas, Australia, beginning at the northern rocky headland and continuing for four more miles without any buildings or construction interrupting the pristine views.

 “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller

Denali National Park, AL

Denali in Alaska is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet (6,190 m) above sea level. With a topographic prominence (measures the height of a mountain or hill’s summit relative to the lowest contour line) of 20,156 feet (6,144 m) and topographic isolation ( the minimum great-circle distance to a point of equal elevation) of 4,629 miles (7,450 km).

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The next set of photos is our family practice of social distancing.

Because of the Covid-19, I canceled my flight to be with my daughter, Mercy, for the birth of her second daughter. I planned to be there to watch Autumn while she was in the hospital. They live close to Washington sate which is on the top three states with most Coronavirus cases and death. I live in California which is one of the three states among the top three. It was for the safety that I canceled the flight. If it were not for a dangerous situation, they could have friends volunteer to watch Autumn. Under these circumstances, on Sunday, March 22, my son-in-law was able to take my daughter to the hospital but not staying with her during her labor. They did video chats during her labor. After baby Nora was born, their friends watched Autumn in the afternoon so Will went to the hospital and held Nora in his arms. They continued to do video chats in the next two days. The hospital discharged my daughter on Tuesday. Baby Nora had the first check-up appointment on Thursday.

Mercy and I did video chats and sent video messages to each other. She set up a Tinybeans.com account for her older daughter Autumn. She also posted many photos of the family and Nora on that account. That is the account I don’t miss checking every day. I can’t get enough to look at the photos and videos again and again.

“Distance means so little when someone means so much.” – Tom McNeal

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Happy mother and daughters. I think Autumn read to Nora!!

“I exist in two places, here and where you are.” – Margaret Atwood

2. Autumn practices

Autumn practiced care for the baby in the car seat.

“Love knows not distance; it hath no continent; its eyes are for the stars.” – Gilbert Parker

4. Autumn & Nora

Autumn had Nora on her laps. She was very gentle with Nora.

Let’s do our part and keep social distancing. Stay safe!

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #90 – Distance

 

 

 

New Granddaughter

Yay! I’m a grandma of two granddaughters now!

 

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I visited my daughter Mercy at the end of February. Her friend planned a baby shower on Saturday for her second baby. I arrived on Thursday. Her friend called on Friday to cancel the shower because she was exposed to someone who might have exposed to the Coronavirus. She didn’t want to take the risk to cause any harm to my daughter’s pregnancy.

Mercy has a headache and runny nose. She worried that she might have the virus. Nobody knew exactly the symptoms of the new disease. I didn’t want her to add any worry to her pregnancy. I told her that the Coronavirus may have flu-like symptoms, but not all the flu-like symptoms lead to the new disease.

My son-in-law Will took Autumn out for a bike riding. Mercy and I spent time talking about various things while I gave her a head and shoulder massage. She had a good night sleep and felt better the next morning. She was released that it wasn’t a Coronavirus.
After I came home to southern California, I booked the tickets to fly back on March 24, four days before Mercy’s due day. They needed someone to watch my two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, Autumn.

On Thursday, March 11, The California Governor announced the social distancing policy that the gatherings should not be over 200 people. By Friday, March 12, the school districts announced closing of the classes. Our church announced cancelling all the meetings, including small group meetings. The world was crumbling down like an avalanche.

On Tuesday, March 17, Mercy and I had a video chat. She said she worried about my health and didn’t want me to get sick from the pandemic. I tried to ease her worry for me and still wanted to go. After talking for a few minutes, I sensed that she also worried that if I got sick, it would affect the babies. I then canceled my trip.

On Sunday, March 22, Mercy went to the hospital at 5:00 a.m. with 7cm dilation. She video called me at 9:00 a.m. before taking a nap. Baby Nora was born at 12:30 p.m. weighted 6 pounds and 7 ounces. Will sent me a couple photos of baby Nora. Mercy video called me again around 1:00 p.m. and chatted.

The doctor discharged her on Tuesday afternoon, even though the baby didn’t eat too much and didn’t have too many pees and poos yet. Because of the Coronavirus, the doctor sent her home with distant support. She called me again on Wednesday when she was feeding the baby. They were thrilled to have Nora.

I later found out that on March 22, they left Autumn at home while she was sleeping. Will dropped off Mercy at the hospital and rushed back home. Will was not with Mercy when baby Nora was born. In the afternoon, their friends watched Autumn for a couple hours so that Will could go see Mercy and the new baby. How I wish to have been there!

Will started taking paternity leaves. When he resumes working, he still works at home because of the Coronavirus. It’s so good to have him working at home in times like these.

 

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #88 – Joyful moments in Chaos

The theme of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge from Ann-Christine correctly depicted the state of the world at the moment, “Chaos.”

According to Wikipedia, Chaos Theory is defined as “the field of study in mathematics that studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions – a response popularly referred to as the butterfly effect.” In other words, Chaos Theory refers to how meaningful and profound even the most seemingly insignificant things are and teaches us that nothing is trivial.

As of today, Schools in eighteen states in the USA are closed, affecting 20 million students. It does not include some states such as California, because districts closed schools voluntarily so far. Los Angeles Unified School District which is the second largest school district in the US with 734,640 students just announced closing of schools as off Monday, March 16, 2020. I went shopping the last few days. Within a few days, two major stores ran out of paper products, water, cold and flu medicines, can goods, bread and a lot more except some perishable items so far.

The California Governor announced on Thursday, March 12 to stop any gathering over 250 people. Disneyland is closed. Our church with several thousand members stopped all Sunday services and group meetings. Sunday services will continue with online streaming viewing.

My friend Debbie and I signed up to host a Spring Brunch on March 14 as a fundraising activity for the missionaries. After the church announcement, Debbie and I continued with the brunch for the fourteen ladies who purchased the event. Our logic was the gathering had sixteen people and some of them were in a meeting together less than a week ago. None of these ladies had any symptoms of illnesses.

It turned out to be a joyful gathering at Debbie’s beautiful home. We teased each other by giving elbow hugs. The ladies appreciated us for keeping the brunch. They lingered for a long time to chat and enjoy the cozy social time together.

Ann-Christine reminded us that, “Let us focus on the possibilities, staying on the right track. Maybe nothing will be quite the same again – but let’s hope this chaos is the beginning of something new and positive.”

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #88 – Joyful Moments in Chaos

 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to you

Lynton retired in November 2016. He said, “You’ve done the cooking for twenty years. From now on, I’ll take over all the cooking for you.”

Yes, I had cooked for us for twenty years. When I was teaching, school was out at 3:00 p.m. As soon as my preparation for the following day or week was done, I was on my way home. I either picked up to-go food or made something simple. When I got the 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. administrator’s job, I didn’t have dinner ready until 7:00 p.m.

When he volunteered for cooking, I took his word with a grain of salt and didn’t expect him to carry through consistently. Three plus years have gone by and he kept his word literally.

 

We eat twice a day, a brunch and a dinner. He prepares the same things for brunch which includes eggs, tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, apples, pears, fresh orange juice from our tree and sometimes a bread item. I love eating the simple and healthy food every day, especially he does the cooking.

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For dinner, he alternates the salmon, chicken and hamburger plus peas and mixed vegetable of broccoli, carrots and celery. No bread items. Occasionally he makes a thin crust pizza and perfected his home-made recipe for the crust. Several times a year, he barbecues the top sirloin steaks.

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We dine out once a week. He tried to make a reservation at our favorite steak house for Valentine’s Day but there are only super early or super late hours are available. He made a reservation for Saturday which is tomorrow. Our Valentine’s Day dinner will still be his home-made cooking. Hooray!

On top of the cooking, he does dishes which is something he has been doing all the time. Doing dishes is the guy’s job in his family. I love that.

Does your husband cook or do dishes occasionally?

Oh, husbands: do you cook or do dishes for love or fun sometimes?

 

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What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

Wishing you and your family a Happy Valentine’s Day?

 

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge, 2019.09.12 – The Greatest Gift

September 12, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the greatest gift. Answer it as if it were a question, or show what it could be. Go where the prompt leads you!

 

 

Gifts come in all sizes and forms. Some are tangible, others are elusive.

My baby daughter is a miraculous gift. She was tiny, weighed one pound thirteen ounces. The nurse wrapped her in layers of blankets to put her in my arms, and placed a heating lamp over us to keep her warm. My daughter is now a mother of a heavenly gift, a healthy and intelligent two-year-old daughter.

Mothers may resonate with the selfless love we have for our children. We wish to take the place of their illnesses and pain. Love is a great gift we received as children and pass on to our children.

My husband told me when he woke up at night, he inched over and put his ear closed to my nose to make sure I was breathing. I survived from stage IV melanoma cancer. The life I have is a gift of a second chance of life.

I could think of many tangible gifts received, but they come and go. As to the indescribable gifts, it is the sum of great gifts come along my way that mold my present being.

 

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The Greatest Gift

 

“It’s easier for me to give than to receive.”

“I know, Martha. When you receive, you feel weak.”

“You’re right, I feel helpless and vulnerable and admit other people are stronger.”

“Being able to receive gifts is a gift. When we receive gifts from others, we give them a gift of giving.”

“I never thought of it. When I receive a gift, I feel obligated to precipitate and feel guilty when the chances to return the favors become impossible.”

“The movie Pay It Forward comforts me and changed my understanding of giving.”

“I can tell it’s a great concept.”

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Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction, 2019.09.12 – The Greatest Gift

 

 

 

 

 

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