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Prayer Blankie

At the Children Prayer Retreat (CPR), we provided each child with a piece of homemade cloth, the size of a beach towel, for them to use as their “prayer blankie” or “magic carpet”.

The prayer blankie creates a boundary as well as a sacred space for the children to ponder about God.

The kids really liked this calming and unhurried pace of reflecting on God as they enjoyed their sweet time on the blankie writing prayer journal,reading prayer books, and drawing for God.

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After the 3-day retreat, and when it’s time to collect the blankies, the kids pleaded to let them keep the blankie for they grew quite attached to it.

Normally we don’t let children bring the blankies home as we usually save it for future use; but seeing the eagerness of the children wanting to use it as for prayers, we gladly let them keep it.

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Although there is no magic in this piece of cloth, we know this miracle carpet is a good tool for children to enhance their prayer life; and to experience God who is the miracle maker in our daily lives.

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One of my friends loves to do jigsaw puzzles.

When she finishes one, she enjoys looking at it for a while and then puts the pieces back into the box to do again another time.

I was thinking, “What a waste of time!”, and if it was me, I would quickly frame it and mount it on the wall for all to enjoy!

For me it would be a stressful task to finish a puzzle that has a thousand pieces; But for her, it is enjoyable and therapeutic.

I once asked her why she enjoys puzzles so much and this is how she responded:

” I guess I like jigsaw puzzles because they are challenging but you know if you work at it, everything will eventually fit together and make a beautiful, complete picture. A lot of times (maybe most times), life doesn’t work that way (at least not until we get to heaven), and so for me, being able to put together a puzzle is satisfying and encouraging – reminds me that God is putting together the puzzle of my life and that when He is finished, it will be beautiful and perfect.”

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Wow, what a profound reflection on puzzles and God!

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On Easter Sunday, we are reminded of our living hope in the resurrected Christ.

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In addition to that, we also did some jigsaw puzzles which show different stories about the lives of Jesus on earth.

The children really enjoyed re-discovering Jesus through this fun visual and meditative activity.

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The Rocks Cry Out

During Palm Sunday we read about crowds of people gathering around Jesus and praising him for the miracles He has done to cure the sicks and to set people free.

Seeing the crowd exuberantly praising Jesus, the Pharisees commanded Jesus to stop the disciples and the crowd from praising. Jesus responded, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40)

“The stones cry out” implies that people will always praise God; and even if people don’t, the rock will praise Him! It has been a catchy phrase that is used to motivate each other to praise God.

During our prayer walk to enjoy God in nature, the children picked up a rock by the creek side and paint on it.

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We wonder… if their rocks would cry out, what would the message be?

Everyone has something special to praise God for.

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And their rock project was showcased at our annual Art of Easter exhibition.

Hosanna, Thank You for the cross!

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Here’s a beautiful link on Gratefulness Rocks.

http://www.teachkidsart.net/gratefulness-rocks/

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Crown of Thorns

People have told me that the thorny plant in the foyer by our office is called “crown of thorns” or “Christ” plant; the thorny crown that was placed on Jesus’ head during the crucifixion was said to be woven from the sharp stems of this type of plant, called Euphobia Milli. And, the blooming tiny red flowers remind us of the sacrificial love of Christ through His shed blood for our sins.

With that in mind, on the Holy Week during Good Friday, we let the children take a good look at the plant, touch the spiky thorns that prick their fingers.

There, we also read Isaiah 53 (on the Suffering Christ);and feel (on a very small scale) the pain Jesus experienced when he was sacrificed for our sake.

“Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.”
Isaiah 53:4-5

The Forbidden City

I have seen this familiar building in movies and tv shows, so it was quite intriguing for me to visit the place in person.

The Forbidden City is also called Imperial Palaces or Gugong (故宫) which in chinese means “former palace” and now has become a palace museum. The palatial architectures were massive and impressive and I hope to watch a detailed documentary about Gugong fascinating history one day.

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The distance of the palace from one end to the other (entrance to the exit) is approximately 9.5 km.

Across from the street at the exit of the Forbidden City is the beautiful Jingshan Park; Jingshan 景山公园 in chinese literally means “scenic hill park”.
Because we had been on long walking tour at the palace for the whole morning, we decided to skip Jinshan.

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When a friend heard that I didn’t visit this scenic garden, she made sure to take me there as she said this gorgeous place is not to be missed. A couple of days later, she happily gave me a scooter tour of various highlights in the capital city, with a stop at Jingshan Park!

This famous park is especially pretty during the spring season as many auspicious flowers such as peonies are in full bloom; I could only imagine the beauteous.

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Autumn, however has its alluring attraction — The roadsides were decorated in glistening gold by the ginkgo trees. The blowing wind made the little cute fan-shaped leaves fall like gentle snow and the pavement is adorned with yellow leaves — like street of gold.

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Some people picked up the ginkgo fruits that dropped from the trees to use as herbal remedy.

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As we ascended up to the garden hill, my friend couldn’t wait to show me the aerial view of the magnificent ancient Imperial Palaces, as well as the modern city surrounding it – a mixture of the old and the new; I could even spot the area of where our hotel was situated!

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I am so glad I went up to the scenic hill ‘cos the panoramic view was indeed breathtaking from the top! As I looked at the tourists from across the street down below, I could see myself being one of those exciting crowd there just a few days ago, what a thrilling feeling!

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That evening, six of us took three scooters for a ride to enjoy the vibrant night scene of Beijing and we ended our night surrounding a Korean hotpot to keep ourselves warm from the biting cold autumn weather.

Flag Raising Ceremony

Since we stayed not too far from the Tienanmen Square, someone mentioned that we could go and witness the daily flag raising ceremony held there.

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We had tried to reach there twice in a row but both times we missed the ceremony by just a few minutes. We then learned that the schedule of the flag ceremony at the Square varies each day as it is synchronized with the rising of the sun; People suggested to check the timetable online before heading out.

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On our third attempt, we finally made it there before the sunrise. When we arrived there was already many tour buses letting people off at the Square. People who came a few seconds later kept pushing and shuffling and trying to squeeze and push past me to get as close as possible to the front. I was sandwiched between the eager crowd and felt like being tossed among the ocean of people.

Although many of us couldn’t get to the front, we were thankful to those who brought their selfies!! Many raised their selfie sticks with live video so those who were blocked by others could witness the actual ceremony from the selfie screen.

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A live band played the national anthem as the flag was being raised and it was quite an emotional experience hearing the live music and seeing the thousands plus noisy crowd become quiet. After the flag was raised, everyone let out a loud cheer and dispersed to different corners of the Square in no time to take pictures.

Aside from tourists and school students, I noticed there were many elderly people at the square to witness the flag raising. I was told that it is every elderly wish to be at the flag raising especially at Tienanmen Square; it is like a patriotic pride to be able to witness the flag raising at the capital city. Thus many adult children who are able, help their parents who live in inner or across China make the long trip here so they can fulfill their wish.

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Even though it is only a 3-min ceremony, I’ve gained interesting knowledge related to the Flag Raising Ceremony culture here. The daily flag raising ceremony also reminds me of our students lives where every week we had to gather in front of the flag pole and sang the national anthem.

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The time we were in Beijing happened to be the same time US President Trump was there, and the City was colorfully decorated with many Chinese and American flags.


That evening we were treated to a very traditional local cuisine which has become rare in the fast-paced culinary world in Beijing.

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When travelling in Asia, I always delight in eating the food from the street vendors such as fresh coconut drink, sugar cane juice, roasted chestnuts, deep fried banana, bingtanhulu on skewers 冰糖葫蘆 –sour hawthorn coated in crystallized sugar.


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Eating food prepared by street vendors is like ordering food from a food truck. Almost every mouthful tastes delicious and finger-linking-good.

And my old time favourite —

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sweet potatoes broiled over hot charcoal — was not to be missed, especially on this chilling cold day.

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Once I paid for my share, I couldn’t wait to have a quick bite of this tender and temperature hot treat…

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that I ended up with a blister in my mouth instantly — ouch!

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