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Archive for the ‘Oceans’ 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 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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As I gaze at this photograph that I took by the Caribbean Sea in Cartagena; a piece of insightful writing by my spiritual mentor comes to my mind:

“Christmas is here, signalling the end of the year but also heralding the beginning of the new year. Perhaps this is the significance of the Christmas season — that because Christ has come, therefore we can now have an end to our old life and a beginning of our new life.”

What a profound Christmas reflection indeed!

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Oahu Outing

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It never occurred to me that Hawaii could be such a fun place to visit — beaches, palm trees, toasty weather, pineapple plantation were all familiar having grown up in a tropical climate.

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During the short visit at Oahu, I had an immensely wonder-filled time experiencing a whirlwind of activities on the Oahu island with my friends… from dawn to dusk… waking up to the gently sunrise and driving late thru the slipping sunset.

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The plethora of hiking trails such as Diamond Heads, Punchbowl Crater, Tantalus and Pali Lookout, allowed us to explore the island in a bird’s eye-view; and we were swept away by the island’s natural beauty and ocean beyond.

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We had fun trying to figure out which side of the island we were at, windward or leeward side, which many of us were so confused in our Physical Geography class during High School years.

Now we know — “windward” has more wind and more rain resulted in lush greenery; “leeward” has less cloud, less rain, hence dry and arid region.

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Finger-licking good delicacies such as garlic buttered shrimps which we had one plateful after another from the truck stand, and sashimi tuna, spiced upped my islander experience.

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The rich aroma of the macademia nut coffee at the macademia farm made me drool; the taste of the coffee was flavorful, just the way I like it.

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The azure warm water by the beach was what I enjoyed the most! The “healing” water was so SPAtacular — the crashing waves were like jet streams in jacuzzi that helped sooth my back pain.

When we came across beaches with swelling waves, we would just dive right in. We playfully hopped from one beach to another with great excitement, just like kids in a candy store.

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The local fresh produce from the stands on the roadside are so fruitilicious; In between beaches hopping under the sizzling sun, we stopped by the fruit stand and savored the various succulent fruits to quench our thirst.

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We even had a platter of juicy prime rib and crispy chicken take-out from the famous Ray’s Cafe, and enjoyed the yummy food by the pristine and secluded Yokohama Bay before plunging ourselves into the gigantic rolling breakers.

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On the last day, we had a grand exit — we were treated to a very entertaining show by award-winning hoola dancers under the breezy hawaiian sunset; and ended our Oahu outing watching a spectacular fireworks show right in front of the hotel, before exiting to the airport.

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I had so much fun on my islander experience, wishing the days could have gone by slower…

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Bravo to my gutsy girlfriends for such a gusty and breathtaking adventure in Oahu island.

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And here’re the 4 glorious and gutsy islanders posing under the swaying tropical palm branches — Tzadik Katamar — flourishing like a palm tree (Psalm 92)!

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Watching birds flying over the water and into the evening sky is freeing and calming.

I would often pause and enjoy the flying moment.

This image taken by the beach reminds me of a beautiful Hebrew prayer song and worship dance called T’filati.

The lyric is taken from Psalm 55 on casting our burdens to God and trusting Him to free us like a flying bird.

T’filati (My Prayer)

Ha’azina Elohim T’filati (Listen God to my prayer)
Ve’al na titalam Mitechinati (And don’t over look my plea)
Mi yiten Li kanaf kayona (Who will give me a wing)
A’ufa li ve’eshkona (So I can fly and live like a bird)
Ani el Elohay ekra (I will call God)
Vehu Yoshi’eyni (And He will save me)

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During a visit to the bustling and vibrant Saturday Farmers Market at Salt Spring Island,

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I was particularly drawn to one of the vendors that displayed these cute and colorful painted seashells.

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The painted shells reminded me of my elementary school days when we painted seashells in a coloring book and reciting this tongue twisting phrase, “She sells seashells by the seashore”, to help us master the proper pronunciation of English.

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This dainty seashells stall was manned by a little girl who shared with us how her mini entrepreneur came about.

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She said she loves painting the shells since she was very young and her grandma jokingly suggested that perhaps she could sell her painted seashell one day.

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The idea thrilled her so much that she went ahead to gather more seashells to paint and showcased her colorful artworks at the market, which earned her quite a few tokens. Seeing her enthusiasm, grandma painted a brightly colored picture of the girl painting seashells by the seashore so she could display it by her “mini-artisan studio”.

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The other day I was given a handful of seashells,

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I wonder if I should paint them or just leave the natural beauty of the pearly white shells as they are.

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