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I enjoy being at Cedar Springs retreat center in Sumas, Washington.

It is a beautiful and inviting place; a home away from home that helps me to have a time of rest, reflection and rejoicing in the Lord!

The area is enfolded with peace-filled pray-ground and play-ground for those who want to find space with God for personal soul care.

Cast your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)

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Sitting by the dazzling waterfalls and listening to the thunderous sound of crashing water is a delightful experience. 

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Having the mist sprayed gently on the face by the breezy wind over the icy water is cooling; and it’s like being blessed in an air-conditioner room on a sizzling hot day.

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This  outdoor ambiance of lush green trees, fresh air and bright sunshine by this idyllic waterfall is soul refreshing!

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https://hikeinwhistler.com/index.php/best/best-whistler-waterfalls/359-train-wreck-falls

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Someone who was an outdoor educator along sea to sky corridor suggested me to check out Petgill Lake hike; since a few of us haven’t heard of this place, we went to explore it.

To get to the trail head, we had to cautiously walk across the busy sea to sky highway and looked for an old wooden sign, which is hidden among the congested bushes, with the word “Petgill Lake”.

This trail has several geographical features that switches from boulder climbing, to shaded forested uphill, then open space old logging road, and back to wooded area. It also has several look-out points of the idyllic Howe Sound.

After 3 hours of tracing through the moderate trail, Petgill Lake finally came to view.  It was not that spectacular but it was serene and the air is so clean.  While we were about to lunch by the boulder overlooking the calm water on this misty late afternoon, the rain cloud came rolling in; and we decided it was best to pack and head back before getting drenched.

Thinking of having to trek the arduous steep trail back to the parking lot wasn’t too thrilling.  Instead, thinking of revisit the gorgeous viewpoints motivated our dragging feet to stride faster down the slope.

When I retrieved the message on what my friend wrote on the hike recommendation, I was like what?? “… There’s a hike up to Petgill lake that joins up with the gondola so you could then take the gondola down.”

Sign! If only I had finished the sentence to the end that the gondola station isn’t that far away ’round the trail!

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Nonetheless, Petgill Lake is one enjoyable hikes that was less crowed and our group appreciated being out in the wilderness to ourselves.

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The viewpoints of Howe Sound from the cliff is incredibly aesthetic with beautiful jade water, stunning fjord valley, green trees, blue mountains, white velvet clouds dancing in the baby blue sky… every view is breathtakingly beautiful!

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Blessed be Your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship You.” (Nehemiah 9:5b-6)

https://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/petgill-lake/

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While walking along the shore in the early mornings, I often see discarded crab shells and claws lying on the beach which ruined the peaceful sight by the sea.

My first thought, “Why would people be so irresponsible, eat the crabs and not clean up after themselves the night before?”

On second thought, perhaps the empty shells are good for the beach’s ecosystem.

Then one day, I was being enlightened; I found out who the real culprits were!

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See, when the tide comes, it rolls in some of the best fruits from the sea such as clams, fish or crabs;

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and these creatures are the ones that that are sharing and enjoying a daily feasting of fresh seafood by the ocean, and leaving the mess behind!

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The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time. (Psalm 145:15)

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Blue Uke loves travelling; Uke’s owner and I made a pact that whenever either of us goes travelling, Uke comes along.

Last time, Uke went to Cuba with its owner and they even strummed a few chords for the locals and tourists by the deep blue sea.

It’s freezing cold now and Uke needs another

It lamented:

Please

And so Uke was whisked off to the faraway island of Hawaii.

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and was thrilled to be reunited with some of its charming cousins at the tropical climate.


While basking in the sun and enjoying the waves of peace, 

Uke trolled,

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Yup, I totally agreed!

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Winter turns into Spring, and songbirds returning to rebuilding their nests.

While enjoying the birds singing in the woodland, I have the tendency to pick up feathers of birds that are fallen on the ground.  Somehow I feel compassion for the fallen feathers and I want to pick them up and comfort them.

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Holding onto a real feather makes me feel lighthearted and free-spirited.  I marvel at the softness and the beauty of  feathers and how they provide a protective cover over the body of avians.

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Reflecting on the bond between me and feathers, one real life encounter with a bird floated across my mind:  

Once, my landlord told me that the house we lived in needed to be vacated and that I needed to find a new place to stay within a short frame of time. After scouting at various options, I was still unable to find a place to stay, the deadline to move out was fast approaching, and I was getting anxious.

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So one evening before dusk, instead of busing, I decided to walk the long route home so that I could spend more time praying.  As I was walking, I was startled by a small moving creature beside me;  It was a tiny bird! 
Normally, birds only approach humans if there is food to feed them but I had none!  I continued my prayer walk wondering why a small bird would walk so calmly alongside me.

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Suddenly, my heart felt a tug, and tears sprung from my eyes. I felt as if God was speaking to me through the tiny creature, saying that He would take care of me and to provide a new dwelling place for me.  Then I remembered the fascinating story of how God asked the ravens to feed to the prophet Elijah on the remote ravine for a number of years (I King 17); then Matthew 6 came tweeting in my ears, “Look at the birds in the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

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As I contemplated the little buddy beside me and the verses about God’s care, my feet seemed to feel lighter and my pace faster than the bus ride that I usually took. I felt as if I were like the tiny bird spreading its wings and gliding home! 

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God acted swiftly, for within a couple of days, I was assured  a comfy nest to dwell which was way beyond my imagination.

Through feathers and nests, I have experienced God’s presence, protection and provision in season and out of season.

The Creator God not only use the flying creatures to interact with humankind and to tell His story; He also use the image of a bird as a metaphor to show His protection, love and care!

Psalm 91 states that whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty; God is our dwelling place, and that He covers us with His feathers, and under his wings we can find refuge.

 

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Wintry Joy

A walk in the wood


blanketed with pristine white snow on this sunny blue sky


is magical and sheer wintry joy.

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

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