Archive for November, 2011

Falling leaves…

Autumn wind

whistling and breezing

I know if I don’t respond to the invite

soon the autumn foliage will be bare as skeletons

I head out to this bright blue sunny day

and ride with the wind to the park

I see fallen leaves and broken branches scattered everywhere

I wonder how many leaves it  takes to transform the field into a carpet of leaves

I enjoy watching falling leaves flowy and dancing gracefully in the air

I try chasing after them and taking snapshot of them.. oh boy, it is hard work!

It’s fun but I feel pretty dizzy twirling with the leaves

I think I shall lie down for a little nap on this field of fallen leaves

Fallen leaves… reminds me of an experience someone shared with me recently —

The Lord spoke to her that…

“Just like the wind shaken off the leaves from the trees…

God too will shake off all her problems…”

Yes, I need that word of deliverance too!

p.s. I will be away on a short trip so the next round I  show up, it should be on snow falling for I am anticipating a thick carpet of white snow awaiting my return!

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Bleeding Sacrifice…

Every time I went to see the salmon run, this idom ‘力争上游’ ‘lì zhēng shàng yóu’ always popped up on my head.  I learned this phrase during my elementary school year.   It means to strive harder or to aim higher.  Our teachers always used this idiom to challenge us to excel in our studies.  I think they also used the fish story to illustrate the idiom but at that time I couldn’t quite grasp the meaning of it all. 

Not until I met these fish friends had I understood and appreciated the profound meaning in the idiom. It is not only aiming to strive harder but one has to face life head on to triumph life’s obstacles.   

After watching intently how hard the salmon had struggled in order to reach their resting place, I got the meaning of the idiom.  I could feel the spirit of  ‘力争上游’ ‘lì zhēng shàng yóu’ in me… I need to exercise the idiom on some of my tasks ahead

Witnessing the bleeding sacrifices that the salmons displayed at the run is a must-see!   Watching the salmon parents’ determination to swim upstream, against the forceful current, and up the torrentous river until they reached their birthplace where they could spawn is truly heart wrenching.   Seeing is feeling!

I see a parallelism between the sacrificial act of the salmons and our Savior.   Just as mind boggling as it can be to watch the determined spirit the salmons have to preserve their future generation; it is worthwhile for us also to ponder how much Jesus loves us by sacrificing  His life on the cross for us in order that we can have eternal life in God.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

Revelations 22
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

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Mountain Talk…

Here I was, lamenting about not hiking any significant mountain this past summer, a mountain goat pal from the States came along and chimed, “Oh what a shame that you haven’t even climbed the Grand Rocky Mountain High!”  She even brought up big names like Mt. Elbert and Mt. Sopris which I have no clue where on earth they are.

Talking about mountains, people who know me know that I love hiking.   When I hike, I like to reach to the mountaintop.  As I hike, I enjoy contemplating on life and God. Below are some mountain talks I have had with the Creator of the mountains.  

On Grouse Grind:

“God, I know everything about You. You have revealed Yourself to me. You are super-kind, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love and all that.   There is really nothing else I need to know about You, right?”  I rumbled on and on as I looked up to the thick and impenetrable cloud above.

The next time I looked up, the dense cloud on top of me was cracked open and it formed into a deep and tunnel-like hole.  I paused and  peered through the opening and saw a very vast and inviting clear blue sky at the end of the “tunnel”.   

As I was marvelling at the sight,  I heard a voice saying, “No, you don’t know everything about me yet.  What you do know right now is only a glimpse of who I Am.” I was still for a moment and felt so embarassed and naive and for being so prideful in thinking that I knew everything there is to know about the Almighty. 

It was a humbling experience to be awakened. I praised the Great One for this revelation. I know He will continue to manifest His majetic and truth to us and may glory and honor and power be unto Him who sits on the throne above!

On Mt Kinabalu:

The elevation of Kinabalu Mountain is 13,455 ft and required a two-days journey.   The highlight of the trip ought to be taking a picture beside the sign ‘Top-of-the-peak’ at the summit to prove one’s great staminar to conquer the peak. There were hundreds of groups at this overnight hike and our team consisted of 6 people including the mountain guide.  We had to get ready by 3 a.m. to start the second half of the journey upward.  

There were many memorable incidents and vista views but the most impacting one ought to be this one:  

When we were nearing the summit, there were only me and one youth left behind in the wilderness. Due to the sharp steep slope, the piercing mountain wind and the thin air, it was indeed very strenous to continue on with our wobbly feet.  The guide gently prodded us to speed up but to no avail so he decided to abandon us and catch up with the rest of the group.

The youth beside me started looking pale and throwing up and couldn’t continue any further.   I wasn’t in that great shape either, panting and exhausted, yet was determined to face the challenge head on.  I decided to totally ignore the boy. After all, I thought, since the tour guide and the brother didn’t watch over him,  why should I? 

Just as I started to move, I heard an inner voice saying:
“If you could climb to the highest mountain but have no love, you are nothing.”
What a profound statement that was.  I stopped and absorbed what was being said. 

Then I looked at the poor young man who now was having an intense tummy ache and was in much agony, I suddenly felt compassion towards him. Reluctantly, I stayed behind to keep him company until the rest of the team triumphantly returned from conquering the summit.  

I was sad and happy at the same time…sad because I was not able to make it to the peak since it was so near and yet so far away; happy because I had obeyed the silence and strong voice prompted by the Spirit of God to practise compassion in the midst of wilderness.

After tackling down the challenging mountain trails, which took forever, we were relieved and celebrated the success of our adventure with a refreshing bar of chocolate coated ice-cream at the foothill of Kinabalu.

Through  this mountaintop experience, I knew the Lord was testing me and desiring that I live a sacrificial love for Him and for others.

Tough lesson… but I have tried to obey.

Like what Saint. Julean of Norwich said:

On Mt. Sinai

Many years have gone by before I plodded on another mountain, Mt. Sinai, my dream mountain!  This time I reached the top of the mountain.  Everyone gasped with awe and in silence as the glorious sunrise creeping slowly up behind the mountain ranges of Sinai.

As I descended down the trail feeling exhilirated, I suddenly heard a gentle and soft voice whispering to me, “Janice, do you know why you are so happy?”

I answered as a matter-of-factly, “Of course I do! I have conquered the summit of Mt. Sinai!”

Then the Spirit of the Lord spoke again, “Do you remember the incident from 12 years ago on Mt. Kinabalu?”

At first, I was thinking which incident and then I remembered.

The conversation continued, “The Lord remembered. And today He honors you with a special mountaintop to experience!” 

I felt so flattered that my Lord remembered the drama that happened 12 years ago at Kinabalu Mountain.   He knew how grieved I was at that time when I didn’t make it to the summit and He graciously rewarded me with Mt. Sinai. What a climb!

Another 12 years have almost gone by since Mt. Sinai excursion.  I am longing for another significant mountain to venture on and to have another mountain talk with the Creator.   Hmm… maybe I should google out where in the world are these majestic Grand Rocky Mountain High, Mt. Elbert and Mt. Sopris that my mountain goat friend boasted about.

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On Seeing God

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance…

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

I was reading John 20 and noticed the repetitive words such as “look”, “see”, “saw”, around 16 times, just in the chapter alone.

As I finished reading it, I got misty eyes and kind of longing that I could see Jesus too.

I asked the Lord, “Will I ever get to see You face to face? Or will I have to wait till I get to heaven?”

Then I felt the assurance from the Lord that surely I have been seeing Him all along.

-I was in desperate  need for people to assist at a special children program.  A Japanese friend called and brought me some lunch.  When she arrived, I told her to pray so we could have enough volunteers and she immediately offered herself to serve for two consecutive evenings.

-When I was looking for a fresh story to share with children, the Lord serendipitously let me stumbled upon a tiny acorn thus the amazing acorn story was sprouted.

-Our children ministry was having a pumpkin carving event and everyone was concerned as to what kind of knives I would be using to ensure the safety of the children.  I was kind of anxious too as I had never carved a pumpkin before. Then one of the church members, without knowing my anxiety, swung a bagful of colorful knives,specifically for pumpkin carvings, in front of me and asked, “Would you be able to put these knives to use?”

-I had been looking for a decent pair of shoes for quite some time.  Then two weeks ago while shopping for other stuff, my friend and I someone ended up in a shoe store.   Within seconds, we found a perfect pair of shoes fitted for my feet.  How timely for I desperately need that type f shoes for a few functions.

– I was looking for an artistic person to design a sample for the “God is Light” contest and tada, it was dutifully presented to me ;p

John 4:12 states “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”

Yes, I have seen my Lord, Jehovah Jireh, my Provider, through the generously acts displayed by those people above.

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You light up my life…

A friend and I were reminiscing about our cruise trip from last year ‘cos this week is our one year cruise anniversary ;p

As we recalled some of the fond memories, one thing that stood out for me was me romancing the moon for the very first time.

I normally didn’t pay much attention to the moon for I used to think its existence was so ordinary.

However, my delight for moon watching was ignited one lovely evening under the Caribbean sky 12 moons ago.

The air down under must be very clean for the new crescent moon I saw was crystal clear and studded with glittering stars.

From the heated and cozy outdoor jacuzzi,  I felt the radiant crescent moon  winking at me and happy to greet me.

The moon must have lighted up my life for my heart was swelled with joy and I started to get misty eyes.

I wondered if out of the multitudes on the ship, I was the only one romancing with that smiley moon.

While others were sipping a glass of wine, biting a slice of freshly  baked pizza, or giggling and happily splashing  in the pool like what my friend and sister did, I looked up and whispered a prayer of thanks to God for the lovely moon and the blessing of hope.

The bible has much to say about the moon which helps me to appreciate the God behind the moon even more.

Psalm 121:5 & 6
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

Ever since the Caribbean moonlight encounter… be it by day or by night, be it crescent moon or half moon or full moon, be it trying to play hide and seek with me behind the clouds or the trees… I have become very aware of its glowing presence reminding me that the God behind the moon is the One who lights up my life and my path.

Today is Rememberance Day.  There is much to be remembered and to be thankful for.

Janiecross’ blog has much to celebrate; she has reached 100th post today – a milestone – ;p

Went to this special 11-11-11 Gathering… & the buzz was on the amazing journey of this broken horse.

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Fall Fling

They came, they saw, they conquered!

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Care for a cup of tea…

Good afternoon!

Most people somehow know that high tea originated from England. What many people may not know is that the merriment of high tea was initiated by this 19th century Victorian-period woman, Anna Russell, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, England. The light refreshment between early brunch and late dinner was so delightful that the Duchess decided to welcome all her close friends to join her. 

This afternoon tea party became so well-known that, lo and behold, the rest of England discovered that adding fanciful china and good company to this teatime is enriching both to one’s inner well being and social life.

No wonder when people ask us out for coffee or tea, it’s not just about drinking only. This social gathering reflects our longing to be connected with one another, to catch up, to enjoy each other’s company and to feel loved.

I stumbled upon a devotional article that briefly touched on high tea. It points out that just as late afternoon teatime can nourish our souls, likewise “spiritual teatime” with God, like whispering a prayer on a hectic late afternoon or meditating on bits and pieces of God’s word throughout the day can be uplifting.

The times of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19

He fills my life with good things. Psalm 103:5

Not sure if we were influenced by the English movies or literature, a few of my friends have been prattling about wanting to go for high tea at a downtown hotel.  We even thought of  wearing fanciful outfit and putting on a large hat or fascinator for the occasion.   I am still waiting for this special event to happen 😛

When I went on a trip to the British Isles, one of the highlights was experiencing a teatime near the countryside called Widecombe-on-the-Moor in Dartmoor, Devon. The weather on that late afternoon was chilling, misty and drizzling. We were seated by the fireplace near the window enjoying hearty fresh-baked mini-scones with clotted cream and fruit jam with English tea.  It was such a delightful treat to be able to enjoy this mini-break after a long day of touring. 

Traditionally everything in high tea is served in miniature… tiny sandwiches such as egg sandwich with cucumber, bite sized desserts such as mini-scones, tarts, brownies, cookies, a fruit and cheese tray and a varieties of tea with sassy teacups.

This past summer, a group of my book-worm friends picked the #1 New York Best-seller ‘Three Cups of Tea’ for their book club. Their intellectual discussion always ended with delicious food.  I called this book club my elite food club for I usually joined them for the foodie goodie part only ;p 

At this particular gathering, the ladies decided to do something sophisticated. Upon hearing it, I quickly dashed in and crashed the party… with various homemade jams, courtesy of my sister.

Imagine how filled we were by all those sweets and savories prepared by these Martha Steward-liked ladies!

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Heaven is just within my reach

Hi, I am “Little Giant”.  Oftentimes I feel intimidated by my two cousins for they always looked so proper and grooming and a bit snobbish.

Unlike them who prefer to stay indoor, I love to venture outdoor into the wood and in the wilderness.  I am tiny but tough. I love to bring god-mother Janie to places where it is hard or not possible to be reached by cars.

Oh, I also love posing in front of the camera.  My aunty Lynne  just loves this pose of mine that she was inspired to compose the following poem.

Cool breeze blowing on my face
as I hum a hymn of praise;
The mighty Fraser River rushing by
as the bald eagle soars up to azure sky;
Wild flowers dancing with abandon and utmost glee
as my bicycle friend watches happily with me;
Simple beauty, simple joys –
Nature’s gifts, God-given toys,
All mine to savour as I stop at the beach.
Heaven is just within my reach.

Not to be outdone by Aunty Lynne, Aunty Amelie also unleashed her poetic juice below about me and my mom.

Jacob had a ladder,
Janie has a bike,
to reach heaven from here,
not just a dream stand-by.

Jacob journeyed alone
Janie has many a pals,
Away not from trouble;
but to face life proud and bold.

Jacob turned Israel, crippling, not in soul;
Janie Israel’s daughter, biking with heart and soul.
Lynne her faithful friend, writing and scrap-booking,
While Janie, biking and playing, blogging and what else?????

I heard from god-mother that my two dear cousins will be coming to town again.

This time I really want to drag them out to enjoy nature.

I hope to persuade them to  give those two aunties a ride so we could all go for Tour de heaven-on-earth together.

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Disturb us, Lord

by Sir Francis Drake

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

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On the Crest of a Wave…

It has been over a month since the ONP trip and the trio are still reminiscing about their great times at the oceanshores. Their sweet communion included inspiring each other through tasty food, daily devotional readings, laughters, teasing and edifying conversation which added beautiful colors to their already enriched lives.  In fact, their journey could best be summarized from a quote by Tolkein —
“A place where fear and anxiety are lifted from people’s mind;
A place where future, good or ill is not forgotten
but has no power over the present”.

“Colors of the Oceans”
by Amelie the Alluring Artist above 🙂

Ocean Shores, ocean roars!
Three ladies left for the ocean.
One a naturalist, another a poet,
the third an artist-want-to-be!

Each carrying something,
a blanket, a journal, a lens
to this rendezvous with their Beau.

Ocean calls, ocean speaks!
No one can resist.
Early hours, late night,
each hurrying,
Nightie, camera, canes…
keep forgetting,
to respond to the beauty of the call.

Ocean dances, ocean sings,
Seagulls catching the rhythm,
Sand dollars dotting the music scores,
Pelicans circle-dancing in the sky,
Free to dance,
even our buggy spins a joyful double “O”!
Who can stand still in such a scene?
Not even the stomach!

Ocean waves, ocean colors
who can tell the changing of attire?
Sesame, latte, white chocolatey,
who can predict the next catwalk shows?
Ladies giggling, ladies imagining,
what a joy to delight in their Beau.

Ocean cries, Ocean yowls
wind joins in
rain comes in
cloud closes in.
Time to go,
hurry on,
pack up,
clean up.

No one wants to leave,
lingering, splashing, worrying,
now savouring, now editing,
creating memories with thier Beau.

~ ~

“Strength of the Waves”
by Luminous Lynne below 🙂

As I gazed at the horizon with its glow of the rising sun,
and the strength of the Pacific waves, garbed in frothy white,
coming in to shore – wave upon wave, I felt sorry that my camera was not with me so I could capture this amazing moment.
As I enjoyed this awesome scene, the words which came to me were:
“I would rather you worship Me, the Great I Am, more than the mere images of who I am. I am the One who loves you so –
My love is warmer than the bright glow of the rising sun
and stronger than the waves that caress the shores.”

God spoke.
I listened and simply enjoyed His gifts.
I watched the waves as they came in strength upon strength hitting the rocky jetty at the beach, then leaping in wild sprays of ecstasy.
The waves then deposited kelp and presented other sea gifts before me on the sandy shores.

Pelicans flew in V-shape formation as they migrated to warmer regions.
Seagulls on the shores played with the ebb and flow of the ocean waves.
I was reminded of what Jesus said in Scriptures:
“Look at the birds of the air; that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”
His calm assurance encouraged and comforted me.

The world gradually woke up.
A young lady came into my beach sanctuary with her dog, and waved at me. I reciprocated in like manner.
Two friends watched the powerful waves carefully as they rolled in to shore. One was wearing a light green windbreaker over what appeared to be her white laced nightgown, and the other had a fleece throw wrapped around her with the inscription “Compassion” on the pink blanket, and both of them were not wearing any shoes at all.
I imagined their intense discussion was about the colours of the waves.

I walked backed to the beach resort,
refreshed, strengthened, and ready to face a new day.
I followed someone’s footsteps on the sand.
I thought about the advantage of following the footsteps of those who have gone before me in life – however, it takes greater courage and creativity
to forge my own path in life.
May all glory, honour, and praise be to God!

Psalm 93

1 The LORD reigns, He is robed in majesty;
the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
2 Your throne was established long ago;
You are from all eternity.
3 The seas have lifted up, LORD,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the LORD on high is mighty.
5 Your statutes, LORD, stand firm;
holiness adorns Your house for endless days.

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