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Archive for the ‘Trees’ Category

The Forbidden City

I have seen this familiar building in movies and tv shows, so it was quite intriguing for me to visit the place in person.

The Forbidden City is also called Imperial Palaces or Gugong (故宫) which in chinese means “former palace” and now has become a palace museum. The palatial architectures were massive and impressive and I hope to watch a detailed documentary about Gugong fascinating history one day.

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The distance of the palace from one end to the other (entrance to the exit) is approximately 9.5 km.

Across from the street at the exit of the Forbidden City is the beautiful Jingshan Park; Jingshan 景山公园 in chinese literally means “scenic hill park”.
Because we had been on long walking tour at the palace for the whole morning, we decided to skip Jinshan.

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When a friend heard that I didn’t visit this scenic garden, she made sure to take me there as she said this gorgeous place is not to be missed. A couple of days later, she happily gave me a scooter tour of various highlights in the capital city, with a stop at Jingshan Park!

This famous park is especially pretty during the spring season as many auspicious flowers such as peonies are in full bloom; I could only imagine the beauteous.

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Autumn, however has its alluring attraction — The roadsides were decorated in glistening gold by the ginkgo trees. The blowing wind made the little cute fan-shaped leaves fall like gentle snow and the pavement is adorned with yellow leaves — like street of gold.

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Some people picked up the ginkgo fruits that dropped from the trees to use as herbal remedy.

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As we ascended up to the garden hill, my friend couldn’t wait to show me the aerial view of the magnificent ancient Imperial Palaces, as well as the modern city surrounding it – a mixture of the old and the new; I could even spot the area of where our hotel was situated!

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I am so glad I went up to the scenic hill ‘cos the panoramic view was indeed breathtaking from the top! As I looked at the tourists from across the street down below, I could see myself being one of those exciting crowd there just a few days ago, what a thrilling feeling!

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That evening, six of us took three scooters for a ride to enjoy the vibrant night scene of Beijing and we ended our night surrounding a Korean hotpot to keep ourselves warm from the biting cold autumn weather.

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Visiting Ancestor Home

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A group of us decided to go on an adventure to explore our ancestral home, the village where our late great-grandfather, grandfather and father used to live.

We didn’t have any relative there but we knew only the name of the village; so we had to depend on kind-hearted souls to graciously and happily lead us to the right house.

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We were so thankful to be able to witness where our ancestor used to live.

The neighboring villagers were really excited to see us — the news about visitors from another country spread by word of mouth, and the friendly neighbors came by one by one to greet us and share fascinating life stories.

Now if you want to know about your ancestors, it is sometimes best to check with their neighbours, as they may know more than your own family.

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While there, we were told many stories about our ancestors. In one, we learned that my great-grand father was born in a hut behind the papaya tree more than 100 years ago, to be exact, he was born in 1879!

The reason this 82 year-old uncle knew about our family history was because he said his grandpa and my great-grand pa were best friends! He even point to the spot where the hut was located; I think the so said birth place is definitely picture-worthy.

Even the pig were nosey and curious to know who these foreigners are that caused such commotion!

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As the house that my great-grandfather lived in was vacant for a long time , one of the neighbours decided to let a family who raised pigs stay there and watch over the house.

Before we headed back to the city, the villagers insisted that we take some fresh produce such as papayas and lemons back with us as an organic gift from our ancestors’ land.

To celebrate the success of our adventure and remembering our ancestors, we had a sumptuous meal of delicious papaya soup with clams and lemons for sauce dipping. It was the best, most hearty meal we had in our ancestral land!

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An artistic friend was decorating the church with beautiful palm leaves; and its time again for our Children in the Sunday School to reflect on the meaning of Palm Sunday and sing praise songs related to “Hosanna”.

What exactly is the meaning of “Hosanna”?

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This link from Got Question.org provides a really good explanation on the meaning of the word.

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The weather is wet and windy and my mood has turned gloomy, especially after days with a bad flu; And the trees outside are groaning and hoping for more sunshine to stream down so their naked branches can once again be adorned with budding leaves.

Out of the blue came a sunny sky!

With the sun sneaking in, I quickly grab my camera and scurrying out to take advantage of this lovely spring weather; And the first tree that catches my breath is the magnolia tree – what a pleasant surprise!

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Standing under and looking up the tree is most delightful — branches decorated with bunches of pink flowers against a background of clear blue sky with fluffy pearly-white clouds; I feel the presence of God and His gentle love liberating me from my gloomy self.

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Since Good Friday and Easter celebrations are round the corner, I stand beneath the pretty pink tree and reflect on the joyful season; and this beautiful poem by Carol Wimmer came to mind:

~ ~ ~

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I’m not shouting, “I’ve been saved!”
I’m whispering, “I get lost sometimes
That’s why I chose this way”

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I don’t speak with human pride
I’m confessing that I stumble –
needing God to be my guide

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I’m not trying to be strong
I’m professing that I’m weak
and pray for strength to carry on

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I’m not bragging of success
I’m admitting that I’ve failed
and cannot ever pay the debt

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When I say, “I am a Christian”
I don’t think I know it all
I submit to my confusion
asking humbly to be taught

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I’m not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible
but God believes I’m worth it

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache
which is why I seek God’s name

When I say, “I am a Christian”
I do not wish to judge
I have no authority
I only know I’m loved

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Yes, beneath the beautiful blue sky and the blossoming pink, I’m feeling loved!

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A Colorful Journey

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A friend from Colorado paid a visit to town and begged to see our fall foliage.

I thought, didn’t she come from colorful Colorado? Why did she still want to see OUR autumn colors??

She described the place that she came from was full of Aspen trees so everywhere she turns, it glistens only yellow.

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Then I remembered that she used to live in Japan; isn’t Japan prominent for its fall season?

But she whined that where she used to live, only red Japanese maple trees were in bloom.

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Sensing her disappointment with only one-colored fall seasons, I knew that OUR multi-brilliant colored autumn blooming would revitalize her spirit!

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During the days prior to her arrival, the weather was a downpour of autumn rain. But the day we headed out for our an adventure, it was dry and brisk; so our VIP was treated to the amazing colors in the open air.

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When we drove by the leafy vistas blazing along the streets, my friend jumped out of the car, ran to the shimmering hue trees, and played hide-and-seek with the frolicsome fall leaves.

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After visiting several fabulous fall foliage, we had an al fresco lunch by a thunderous rushing stream water left over by the autumn downpour.

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As we headed to another park by the shoreline, this avid traveler noticed a narrow path leading to a small granite island; her eyes lit up and she wanted to run across the water.

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Since it was low tide, it was safe to cross the stony path.

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And of course, like any other adventurous and daring person, this athletic girl who ran half marathon not too long ago, trekked across the narrow trail and hiked up the steep granite slope like a mountain goat while I huffed and puffed, trailing behind her.

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When she reached the top, she basked in the sun and absorbed the splendorous view of the sea and sky;

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while I crouched against a big boulder from the exhaustion of entertaining her whole day long, chasing after the colorful fall.

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My chingu not only enjoyed snippets of yellow glory and flaming red that she had experienced in Colorado and Japan; she also savored splashes of leafy green, amber orange, scarlet red and mahogany brown of God’s exquisite and artistic creation!

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And behind the glamorous blushing leaves, we emerged as radiant facial cream, silky hair shampoo and dazzling eye-wear models!

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On this colorful journey during this autumn season, we also had a mini-reunion with our seasoned friends who not only look graceful but… youthful as ever — thanks to their our colored hair!

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“… for the joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

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Oh Christmas Tree

6th day of CHRISTmas

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The Christmas festive song echoes…

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, thy leaves are so unchanging.
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, thy leaves are so unchanging.

Not only green when summer’s here, but also when it’s cold and drear.
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, thy leaves are so unchanging…

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I used to think that indeed the freshness of the evergreens were so unchanging, but my perspective changed when surrounded by groves of evergreen trees…

And here’s my finding.

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Cherry Blossoms

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I cherish Cherry Blossom; they are aesthetically pretty and pleasingy! It is fascinating to notice the smiley starry eye gazing down at me whenever I look up the dazzling blossom.

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My late mother adored Cheery Blossoms. She was always beaming with joy whenever she shared about her many pleasant experiences strolling through the dazzling pink wonderland near Washington DC. She loved the sweet and soft pink petals snowing pretty-fully and playfully upon her. I think she had encountered hanafubuki!! (=花吹雪 Snowstorm/Blizzard of Falling Cherry Blossoms)!

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Cherry blossoms is a cherish-er of joy!

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These few weeks, cyberworld is graced with many stunning and candid snapshots of cherry blossoms with people reminiscing their delightful encounter with this springtime beauty!.

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The first time I ever saw cherry blossoms was from a flip-page calendar we got from a grocery store.   The elegant and mystic pinkish flowers against the backdrop of the majestic snow-capped Mt. Fuji would usually featured on one of the picturesque pages.   As soon as the calendar year was over, I would quickly tear off the page and use it to wrap the cover of one of my elementary school textbooks, so that I could glance at the splendid scenery and dream that one day I could step into this enchanting land of Sakura and experience her Hanami Festival (观赏樱花盛开)!

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Walking under the canopy of the fluffy cherry blossom and catching the blowing soft and delicate petals is happiness!

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I can totally identify what Kathleen Gillum experienced below:

I stand beneath the blossomed boughs
all touched with fairy lace,
And feel the wisp of fragile petals
on my upturned face,
I’m gazing up in wonder at the beauty of the trees,
cherry, damson, plum and almond
Dancing in the breeze.

Their branches seem like billowed sails
Against a sea of blue,
Stirred by the wind they bend and sway
And scatter beads of dew.
A pretty froth of pink and white
in beautiful array,
Adorned in bridal finery
In delicate display.

As rays of light touch tiny buds
They open one by one,
And turn their dainty petalled cups
Towards the morning sun,
And high upon the apple spray
A blackbird starts to sing,
Pouring out its praises ‘midst
The blossoms of the spring.

(taken from the publication “This England” Spring 2010).

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As I write, the place outside is astoundingly bursting, like sparkling fireworks, with cherry blossoms showing off their glorious splendour. It is glamourous!! Unfortunately the flirty sight and the floral scent of cherry blossoms are only momentary. The flowers as it has a short life span. Normally within a week or so of its blooming, the petals will give ways to new fresh green leaves.

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Long live cherry blossoms… before the next gentle wind come to “hanafubuki” your sweet smelling petals away to the neverland!

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Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary. (Psalm 96:6)

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