Category Archives: Nature

Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world

This week, the theme from Sheetalbravon is ‘A Glimpse into your world’She invited us to show the things we love that make our world spin or things about our world that make us delirious with joy.

The immediate world that fills me with inspiration and amazement is my garden. My morning routine, especially in the summer, is to visit the garden while I drink my coffee. After coffee, with the gardening tools in hand, I check the flower bushes, trim the dead branches, or dig up weeds.

I started feeding birds from 2014 and the regular visitors are Ruby Throat Hummingbirds, mourning doves, American Finch, American God Finch, Scrub Jay, Song Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, and a few I couldn’t quite identify. Over the years, there were baby Mourning Dove, baby House Finches, and One baby Hummingbird born in my garden.

There are other animals such as squirrels, stray cats, and lizards roaming during the day or at night.

I have many hobbies, more than I have time to fully enjoy each of them. Not included in the images here is photography, which I started as a teenager when the photos were black and white. Another hobby is ceramic. I did the whale free hand with clay. I made it into a nightlight for my baby daughter. When my daughter was nine years old, we took a ceramic painting class together in the summer. It’s something we continue doing separately until these days.

I learned to draw and watercolor painting as a young adult. After retirement, I took classes on both and used some watercolor painting to illustrate the poems in my book.

My immediate community of 35 years is a church fellowship and the group of ladies. They are a part of my world for fun, for friendship and support. Some of these friends’ kids and my daughter grew up together. The ladies gave a bridal shower to Mercy for her wedding. Some friends still send gifts to my granddaughters as their own.

Music has been my world since I was a kid. I didn’t have a family background to nurture my love of classical music. It seems to be a natural favorite. The first time I performed Handel’s Messiah was when I was still in Hong Kong.

Most of my family except for one sister are in Hong Kong. Lynton’s family is my extended family, and we see each other regularly.

The biggest world to me is my daughter’s family. My granddaughters lighten my heart and give joy every day. My daughter has a TinyBeans.com account where she posts multiple photos and videos daily to chronicle the kids’ growth and family activities. There was not one day I go without checking on what they do. Nora’s birthday on March 22, and I wish to visit them.  

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Thank you for reading. I hope to hear what the things you love that make your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy.

Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122: The Sun will come out Tomorrow

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122, we are excited to have Ann as the guest host. Ann invited us to look at the theme, “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow.”

I follow the theme to meditate on the sun will come out tomorrow. This thought also led me to contemplate the idea that on a cloudy day, the sun is shining bright in the sky even when we don’t see it.

“What I know for sure is that every sunrise is like a new page, a chance to right ourselves and receive each day in all its glory. Each day is a wonder.” – Opera Winfrey

When something went wrong, instead of spending too much time asking why it happened, I found myself asking, “What should we do next?” It’s valuable to assess what went wrong so we could avoid making the same mistake. Staying in the pity pit for too long and we could be drowned.

Sunrise at a beach

“Hope abides; therefore, I abide. Hope abides; therefore, I bide. Countless frustrations have not cowed me. I am still alive, vibrant with life. The black cloud will disappear, the morning sun will appear once again in all its supernal glory.” – Sri Chinmoy

On one Maui trip, we drove up to the Haleakalā or the East Maui Volcano. The tallest peak of Haleakalā (“house of the sun”), at 10,023 feet (3,055 m), is Puʻu ʻUlaʻula (Red Hill). Halfway up the mountain, the black clouds gathered, and it started to rain. We droved past the low clouds. I saw the bright sun in the clear sky. It was an experience I never forget. How often do I stay below to see the black cloud and forget the sun is still there even though I don’t see it at the moment? The similar experience applied to traveling on the plane. I could see the sun above the fluffy black clouds.

Haleakalā National Park
Key West sky

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some people say they don’t have any pleasant memories in their lives. I wonder if we could create a good memory today. When tomorrow come, we would have one day of good memory. It’s like making a deposit of one positive day at a time to the “Good Memory” bank.

Anchorage, Alaska

“Grace comes into the soul as the morning sun into the world: there is first a dawning, then a mean light, and at last the sun in his excellent brightness.” – Thomas Adams

My husband Lynton said to me, “I kiss you and tell you ‘I love you’ before we go to bed every night because I don’t know if we would die asleep. I hold you tight in the morning because I’m happy that we are alive to welcome a new day.”

Laguna Lake, California

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” – Helen Keller

There’s no doubt we have shadows in our life, the matter is our choice. We choose to face the sun and focus on the energy that carry us through the darkness.

A local park in Portland, Oregon

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122: The Sun will come out Tomorrow

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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 Weekly Photo Challenge #109: Under the Sun

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge theme from Amy for this week is “Under the Sun.” It’s about photo captures anywhere under the sun. I applied the theme to both indoor and outdoor.

Last year in June I babysat my granddaughter, Autumn, by myself while my daughter, Mercy, and her husband went to Iceland on vacation. Some friends said I was brave. Some said it would tire me, but I could handle it. The advice was, “When she sleeps, you sleep.”

Mercy made a spreadsheet of suggested daily schedule and activities, a list of her friends and phone numbers, the doctor and phone number. My mind was at ease without worrying of what to do to fill the days. They rented a car even though I wasn’t planning on driving.

They took a late afternoon flight to arrive early the next day to make the most of their trip.

“I missed Autumn already. Please send us a lot of pictures.” Before boarding, Mercy sent me a message.

“I will do that.” I returned her message.

When Autumn woke up in the morning, she looked for mommy and daddy. I said, “Mommy will be back. Daddy will be back.” She said, “Daddy went to work. Mommy went to work. Daddy will be back. Mommy will be back.”

We went to the park in the afternoon. There were kids playing with the water feature. I looked at the backpack, there was a change of clothes, no I let Autumn play with other kids.

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The next day before nap time, Autumn had a temperature of 101.2. After she woke up from the nap, the temperature went up to 103. I kept Mercy updated. Deep down, I regretted to let Autumn play with the water for too long on the previous day. I hoped her temperature wouldn’t prolong. Most of all, I didn’t want Mercy to cut their vacation short.

I called Mercy’s friends to pick up a few items from the store for me. They came after work. One of them was a nurse. She checked on Autumn and wrote some instruction for me. The other friend bought what I needed, plus some Popsicle.

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Autumn had a good night sleep. I put her on a soft diet, plus the Popsicle. We didn’t go to the park and just did some quiet activities around the house. By the afternoon, her temperature came back to normal. It was such a tremendous relief for me. My first-time babysitting Autumn full time was okay.  I’m glad Mercy didn’t have to cut their vacation short.

“It seems to be a 24-hour thing.” Mercy messaged me.

“I think so. I’m glad it was a 24-hour thing.” I returned the message.

The remaining days, we went to the park, the library, and walked around the neighborhood.

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Mercy and Will had a fabulous trip. We exchange messages and photos many times a day. They got home in the late evening on their return. Autumn was excited to see Mommy and Daddy when she woke up the next day.

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Iceland by Mercy Rossi

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Iceland by Mercy Rossi

 

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #109: Under the Sun

 

Thank you for reading. Wishing you a fabulous day under the sun.

 

 

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

Xenia at Tranature is the guest host for Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge this week. She invited us to look at the theme of Sanctuary.

We have been in lock down because of Covid-19 since March 11. The initial projection was to close schools and stores for several weeks. Five months have gone by, we see new surge of cases in many countries. This is an unsettling time of the history.

Xenia’s theme is timely for us to think about and find sanctuary among the chaos.

 

Sanctuary is the tranquility where the mind and soul find serenity and peace. It could be in the ocean, a park, or your garden.

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It seems to be miles away but Laguna Lake is in the midst of the residential homes.

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My garden

Sanctuary is the harmony where the chaos, strife, and discords dissipate. It could be somewhere in the forest or the perception through our filtered lenses.

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Trees find their way toward the sun at Laguna Lake.

Sanctuary is the quietness where the demands, interruption, and disturbance fade away. It could be a bench under a tree or in the depth of your heart.

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Benches like this one are facing the water around Laguna Lake.

Sanctuary is a resting place where the struggles, conflicts, and confusion subside. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.

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Tucking the head under the wings is a perfect way of napping for the ducks.

Sanctuary is a hobby you emerge yourself in for leisure and pleasure. You may find it in reading, hiking, or fishing. I find mine in singing and painting.

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This family enjoyed fishing at Laguna Lake

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My watercolor painting

Sanctuary is a haven where one finds security, love, and care for the young.

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A content mama duck with eight fuzzy ducklings

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

 

I love to hear where you find your sanctuary. Please share with us in the comment. Thank you!

 

 

 

Sunday Stills: #Plant Life in My Garden

This week’s photo challenge by Terri Webster Schrandt is about plant life. Many folks are still limited to where they can go, but we can all walk in our backyards and gardens and enjoy plant life.

Garden is a sanctuary where my soul rests, my mind cleared, my strength renewed, and my heart rejoices. It is a place where I go every morning to listen, listen to the voices of the plants and the small creatures, and listen to the voice within. The garden nourishes my being more than the time I put in it to nourish the plants.

One Daylily plant I have is Wineberry Candy. They are low-maintenance perennial and have showy colors of flowers all summer. The bulbs multiply and I dig up the fresh growth to transplant in various spots.

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Both Lily of the Nile Blue (Agapanthis africanus) and Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violace) multiply continuously. For years, I transplanted the fresh growth to landscape my garden. It turns out the hummingbirds love to suck the nectar of both plants.

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The Society Garlic is below the Lily of the Nile Blue

This Salvia started out with two-2.5 Qt. plant and has grown into a lush bush. It is the most favorite of the hummingbirds. It is also where the bees congregate. I bought several more pots and planted two pots by another hummingbird feeder in the backyard, and two pots by the plum trees.

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The always cheerful hibiscus regardless the attention I paid to it yet greets me with the gorgeous bloom every morning.

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Have a peaceful Sunday and a wonderful week ahead!

 

Sunday Stills: #Plant Life in My Garden

 

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – The Koala Kingdom

July 11, 2019, prompt: “My kingdom for a koala!” In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a koala in a kingdom. You can create a character out of Norah’s koala and give it a Vermont adventure. Or you can make up a story however you want! Can you pull off a BOTS (based on a true story)? Go where the prompt leads!

Koala

 

The Koala Kingdom

“Welcome to the Round Table. The top agenda today is on Koala.”

“We had that six months ago.”

“I’ve met with Koala King. His concerns are about the millions of acres of their kingdom being destroyed.”

“By the developers for housing?”

“And the wildfires too. There’re no consistent legislation or adequate resources from the government to protect them.”

“What do we do?”

“The researchers suggested upgrading the Koala status from Vulnerable to Endangered. We’ll recommend that the government declaring the Koala habitat a sanctuary.”

“Yes, the Koala Foundations will jointly go to the government for securing the Koala Kingdom.”

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge – The Koala Kingdom

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #47: Five Elements

The challenge Amy gave us this week is: Five elements.

Five Elements Theory is a Chinese philosophy which describes that the world changes according to the five elements’ generating or overcoming relationships.

Generating Interactions – The five generating interactions are fueling, forming, containing, carrying, and feeding:

  • Wood fuels fire
  • Fire forms earth
  • Earth contains metal
  • Metal carries water
  • Water feeds wood

Overcoming Interactions – The five overcoming interactions are melting, penetrating, separating, absorbing, and quenching:

  • Fire melts metal
  • Metal penetrates wood
  • Wood separates earth
  • Earth absorbs water
  • Water quenches fire

The interactions illustrate the relationship even though they are not necessarily in the exact order as listed above. Source

The Five Elements Theory is also related to the Chinese Zodiac and Fengshui, a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy. Source

 

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A ball of fire going down behind the silhouette of woods in my neighborhood, California

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Metal Bridge, Moulton Falls Regional Park, Washington

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Hollow wood in Silver Falls, Portland, Oregon

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One of the waterfalls in Silver Falls, Portland, Oregon

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Muddy earth after eruption in 1980, Mt St. Helen, Washington

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #47: Five Elements

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #44 – Harmony in Nature

This week, Tina has for us as the theme of Lens-Artists Challenge is: Harmony

I focused on nature in this post. Whenever I’m in nature, I have a sense of being part of it, being blended into it. I think that’s a sense of harmony with nature. When we travel, I feel at awe of what I see and wish the images stay with me forever, or I could stay with nature forever. That’s one of the reason I came home from a trip with thousands of photos. Every single one was precious except the ones I moved the camera and took  photos of my feet or something else instead of the scene.

I searched for some quotes and was happy to find the ones regarding different aspects of harmony in nature.

“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” – Aldo Leopold

My husband and I have been watching nature documentary every night before bedtime for more than two years. Conservation is a relatively new concept for only decades. We lost a big part of rain forest for new city development or agriculture.  Yet Rainforests are often called the lungs of the planet for their role in absorbing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and producing oxygen, upon which all animals depend for survival. Rainforests also stabilize climate, house incredible amounts of plants and wildlife, and produce nourishing rainfall all around the planet. When we traveled to Alaska, we heard so much about the climate change and global warming felt drastically in this region.

 

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Denali National Park, Alaska

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Denali National Park, Alaska

“He who is in harmony with nature hits the mark without effort and apprehends the truth without thinking.” – Confucius

This is such a great wisdom that when we are in harmony with nature, we just feel right and natural. When human being forces on nature to do what conceived as beneficial to us, we created discord against nature.

 

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Port Douglas, Australia

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Moulton Falls Regional Park, Washington

“The earth has music for those who listen.” – William Shakespeare

We can hear the wind, the running water of streams, the rain drops, the thunder, the sound of the ocean, the rustling of leaves, chirping of birds, howling of animals… to name just several. Together, they make great music.

 

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Moulton Falls Regional Park, Washington

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Rhododendron Garden, Oregon

“Art is a harmony parallel with nature.” – Paul Cezanne

Botanical gardens are just one form of art parallel with nature. I’m sure you can think of many art forms in perfect harmony with nature.

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The Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Garden

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Rhododendron Garden, Oregon

Lens-Artists Challenge #44 – Harmony in Nature

 

 

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