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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

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The sun is shining, the tide is receding, and I am enjoying a sabbath by the sea.

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The gentle whisper of the wind and the rhythmic sound of the waves, echo the soothing voice of the Creator of the Universe.

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The glistening light illuminates on the surface of the sea, looks like millions of sparkly stars dancing on water.

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Sabbath-ing by this splendid scenery, my soul recounts the oceans of blessings that this Lord of the Sabbath has bestowed upon me…

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indeed they are as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore!

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The incoming tides splash over my feet; and I frolic joy-freely with the swirling waves…

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on this day of relaxation by the serene seascape in front of me.

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I am most alive when I am outdoors; I feel more happy… more free… and more me!

A group suggested to go hiking at Mount Baker National Forest; my heart… uttered with unspeakable joy!

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On the day we headed to Mount Baker, the weather was exceptionally cooperative – not too hot and not too cold – a perfect day for a hike with a bit of autumnal breeze in the air to cool us along the way.

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The amazing view up here was phenomenal — Everywhere we turned our eyes feasted on a bonanza of snow-capped mountains, vast valleys and glacier lakes.

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The delightful folk song “Happy Wanderer” always rings in my ears whenever I hike:

“I love to go a-wandering along the mountain track,
and as I go I love to sing with my knapsack on my back…”

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At times, these beautifully breathtaking views made me felt like I was in the movie scene from “The Sound of Music” where Julie Andrew roamed the open space on the mountain high and burst into: “The hills are alive with the sound of music…”.

The splendid scenery we pleasantly experienced under the clear blue sky was indeed lively!

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The mesmerizing looming snow-covered Mount Baker and the towering jagged Mount Shuksan;

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the blossoming alpine flowers that grow wild and free on the meadow that we stumbled across;

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and the glistening emerald glacier lakes; — all proclaiming the splendor of their majestic Creator.

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Their delightful echo, from the mountains to the valleys, must have caused many happy wanderers to slow down, admire the breathtaking nature, and be in wonder of who this great Creator might be.

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“…Oh, may I go a-wandering until the day I die!
Oh, may I always laugh and sing, beneath God’s clear blue sky!”

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The Best Buddy

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Our amigoes from South America came to town so our fabulous guide ‘Buddy’ suggested that we all go paddling. Splash!

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Before we headed out to the water, ‘Buddy’ made sure that we learnt the proper canoeing tips from our one and only Mr. Bear who sponsored the boats for us to use!

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Paddling along this fabulous tidal creek is very surreal;

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It’s like entering into a whole new enchanting and mystical world!

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After an hour of paddling on this serene slough, we got off to the shore.

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Then ‘Buddy’ led us down to a narrow hiking trail filled with shrubs and berries hovering over us.

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‘Buddy’ was a great tour guide who constantly looked back and watched out for our safety; and keeping an eye out for some of our team members who trailed behind.

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We had one of the most joyous and serendipitous outing that day; we’re not sure who had the most wondrous time, us or ‘Buddy’?

Here is our/the best ‘Buddy’ basking in his glory!

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Here’s Buddy playing “Follow the Leader” with us.

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Here’s Buddy waiting patiently for the people trailing behind.

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Here’s Buddy splashing into the alluring water to cool himself off as we watched with envy under the scorching hot sun!

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Here’s Buddy again waiting for us to enjoy the thunderous sound of fast flowing waterfall under the vast blue sky.

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Oh, did I mentioned already that we encountered a big black bear on our way back!!

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Thank goodness the bear just walked by and ignored us as he was more interested in browsing through the bushes for more juicy salmon berries.

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I have been on this scenic country road many times.

With speedy traffic coming towards us or passing us by during the peak season when we traveled, it was impossible to fully enjoy the beautiful scenery in such a rushed pace.

Today I decided to head up to the road early, hoping for minimal traffic so that I could take in the majestic view along this road; and my wish came true.

With little to no traffic I was able to roll down my car window, turn off the stereo, and simply cruise slowly as the endless road led me to the horizon.

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To my delight, I could even park the car by the roadside and hop out to revel in the breathtaking landscape before me.

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 In the moment of sacredness on this crisp morning air, I embraced the calmness of the crystal clear water,  the blue ridge mountain ranges, the gentle swaying soft glasses,  and the  melodious  tune of the early songbirds chirping out from the nearby serene slough.

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In my quest for beauty and quietness, the Maker of heaven and earth drew me to humility, as I traveled on this road less traveled.

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I enjoy singing hymns because the lyrics are often descriptive and full of images of God and His wonderful working.

Take for example, a line from one such hymn is “Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace“:a strong image of God’s peace.

I have experienced God’s peace in my Christian journey but sometimes it’s hard to express the feeling I was experiencing.

I am thankful to song writers who were attuned to God, and were able to attach vivid words to express their sentiment with God.

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While on a river cruise recently, I experienced the metaphor of a river representing the peace of God that the song speaks of (主所赐的平安…仿佛江河流).

Our team was on a tour to scout the proboscis monkeys (long-nosed monkey) in the wild. This trip was like a safari to see wild creatures of the jungle; instead of travelling on a Land Rover, we were on a river cruise.

There was no guarantee that we would see the monkeys. For if the weather is too hot, the monkeys will be in the hiding; and if the day is cooling, they will play by the water.

As we traveled along the water, we were all excited to spot some monkeys dangling on the branches and swinging from trees to trees in family units. Its like watching a circuit show outdoor.

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Since we were in the open jungle, we could only watch the playful monkeys in the distance, not up close and personal, like at the zoo.

Drifting along the swampy river in the open raft, and marveling at the scenery of local villages on both banks was restful and pleasant.

After a while, I found myself more interested in the crystal clear water in front of me than the acrobatic monkeys up on the faraway woods.

While taking in the soothing and breezy cool air on my skin, my eyes continued to mesmerize by the calming flowing water, and it was glorious — just like what the hymn writer, Frances R. Havergal, penned:

Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way.
*Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

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As it was near sunset, many of the river boats started to head back to the docks.

Our awesome tour guide however motioned our boat guy to cruise further down the stream to the mouth of the river… where the river meets the open sea.

He stated that since it was such a great sunny evening, he didn’t want us to miss the rare opportunity of experiencing a fantastic sunset by the swelling South China Sea!

There, we were allowed to step on the secluded shoreline, dip our feet into the warm water and soak in the orange sunset for a good half hour.

As I stood in front of this alluring sea and listening to the soothing sound of the waves rolling in gleefully from afar, I seem to hear their gentle whisper: The Lord may calm your storm, but more often He’ll calm you(quote taken fr. Our Daily Bread).

Indeed *Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

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Painting by my artist friend Phoebe Wang.

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When strolling along the beaches, many people like to take picture of their footprints in the sand.

Perhaps it’s a way to make a statement like “hey, I was here & here’s the proof”;
or maybe it’s just a sheer joy to take pictures of our footprints by the surging waves!

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Footprints on the beach are definitely a fun sight to stumble upon. These are the footprints of my sister while we were enjoying the dramatic twilight by the South China Sea.

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I delight in this famous poem, “Footprints”, which has brought comfort to many souls.

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One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scene from his life.
He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him he noticed that many times there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it was at the very lowest times in his life.
He questioned the Lord about it.

“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.”

The Lord replied, “My precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

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This poem is an oasis to weary souls; It brings to mind the invitation Jesus gives in Matthew 11:28:

“Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Years ago, I had the opportunity to pose with the author of Footprints, Margaret Powers, who happens to be the mom of one of my fellow students at Bible college.

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Here’s the story behind the poem.

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Guatapé Escapade

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During our first long weekend in Colombia, our host brought us outskirt on a visit to an idyllic town called Guatape.

All I heard was that we were going to climb a big rock, and I got so excited as I love adventure of any kind!

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As we approached the place, we were greeted by this distinctive and gigantic boulder in the midst of a lush and green rolling hills.

Many people visit Guatape to climb this rock known as El Penol de Guatape.

At first, I didn’t find the rock appealing because to me, it looks mystical and resembles a massive mammoth.

There is no natural trail to hike up the rock, instead we were ushered to a study man-made stairway which someone commented it’s “stairway to heaven”.

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The narrow stairway was a great way to test my fitness level; I had to catch my breath every ten steps.

As I stepped into the steep spiral staircase, I also felt like I was on a pilgrimage journey heading up to a monastery.

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While I caught my breath, I took time to enjoy the peaceful picturesque lake view and its waterfront vacation homes surrounding the reservoir below.

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We were told that the land below used to be a farmland and in the early 70s, the government flooded the old town and transformed the massive land into a reservoir to build a dam to generate hydro-electricity for the nearby cities.

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On weekends, many city dwellers would escape the hustle and bustle of city life and come soaking in the serene countryside.

Whether one is up on top of the world or down at the platform, the view of the lake and surrounding area is just as scenic; since the path meandering up to the parking lot at the foot of the big rock is high in elevation for tourists to enjoy the vista.

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After a satisfying lunch, we strolled along the cobble streets and marveled at the funky and colorfully mismatched town of Guatape.

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We also explored and tasted some of the local goodies at the food vendors along the the lively promenade.

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It was a great Guatape Escapade experiencing some of the local culture and people in this quintessential town.

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