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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