Category Archives: Love

Happy New Year! Stay the Course in 2014.

The old has gone, the new is here!  Indeed, today is the first day of a brand new year, 2014.

Six practices that will help me stay the course this year:

1.  Practice my faith.  Listening to Charlton Heston reading the Bible is a great way of reminding myself of God’s words.  The Word lives!  Pray when I need guidance, courage and encouragement.  The Holy Spirit understands.  I praise for who God is and for God’s deliverance.  Worship God whenever and wherever I can.  Participate in the collective worship and fellowship of believers.  My faith sustains me. 

2.  Practice the spirit of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer.  Accept the things that cannot be changed.  Have courage to change the things which should be changed and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.  Living one day at a time…accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, trusting that God will make all things right.  Truly, when I let go of my expectations of how things/people should be, and trust my God for all things, I seem to have more peace and contentment, and at times even more fun of living my own life.   

3.  Practice living one day at a time.  Life is full of joy and sorrows.  With this skill of focusing on the here and now, I am able to experience both without feeling overwhelmed.  When I was going through several rounds of chemo a while ago, each time I only focused on the one that I was about to do, then on the recovery.  One by one I completed the task and recovered.  The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu’s thought that “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small.  A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” is one of the most practical advice that carried me through the dark time. 

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

Lao Tzu


Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

Lao Tzu


4. Practice enjoying the present moment whenever I will.  Here, I want to emphasize on the joy of living or on “taking in the good” (Rick Hanson’s, Ph.D. expression).  Make the good feelings last by savoring the positive experience.  Every morning, I take time to smell the aroma of freshly brewed coffee then drink it with abandonment.  I also indulge myself with a rich chocolate croissant every now and then.  I make time to spend with my loved ones and friends and catch up on their latest.  When I choose to be there for them, I wholeheartedly enjoy their presence. 

5. Practice getting out of my house.  When I am in the great outdoor, nature has a way of cheering me on and reminding me of the wonders of this physical world…that’s earthy and real.  I walk, run, hike, snowshoe, kayak and maybe even bike.  I have never regretted the time I spent outside. Fresh air has always done me well and exercise is the key to not only physical health but emotional and spiritual as well. 

6. Practice hobbies. I love to write, paint and play a little bit of piano.  My hobbies keep me interested in my life and the lives of others. They also challenge me to grow.  I find great joy in learning and mastering new tasks.  They also define some parts of who I am.  Hobbies that arouse my curiosity, activate my brain, and enhance my senses are worth of my lifelong pursuit.

Have a blessed New Year and may you live long and thrive!





Invisible: The Dark Side of Love

I really thought
you were my family,
Believing all the while
You would always stay.

However long I’ve learned.
The demons of your past
Are more powerful than
The promises that you made.

We were too blind to see:
This invisible war
Of unyielding hearts
Was doomed from the start.

Who’d have ever imagined?
Your love for me
Once overflowed;
Now is not enough.


Beach Planter: A Narrative of My Painting

I completed this painting on May 24 this year. I am inspired by how Vincent Van Gogh documented his thoughts on many of his paintings.  Here is my narrative:

I have a special fondness for this particular beach planter.  It took me to a simpler time when love was innocent, light and happy.  I was there when he picked out the planter and we took it together to the beach house.

Typical of this area, a rainy weekend it was. After the rain, the planter was potted with soil and a handful of small green plants. I like how the planter was set on top of the clean banana-yellow wood rack and underneath the rack was this messy, moist, dark brown mud.

Against the brand new planter, the fence was covered with seasoned moss here and there. It was also adorned by tube-shape buoys of white, grey and yellow, next to a big red ball.  Some twenty years ago, they were lost at sea but later recovered at a beach nearby. And when I squinted my eyes just a little, I could see the fresh, rain-washed lawn peek through the old fence.

Something about the whole setup moved me.  So I painted. The contrast of dark and bright colors, of blurred and crisp lines, and of the spaces separated by the fence evoked in me emotions of old and new. Yes, even today, this familiar object/scene keeps moving unto the time continuum of new interpretations. 

It speaks to me with its vibrancy ever so quietly.


1 + 1 = ? >2 Three Ways to Add Values to Your Relationships

No worries.  This post is not about calculating math.  It’s about ways to add values to your relationships.

It all started when the other day, my dear friend challenged me to look at relationships as a math equation.  On an one-on-one level, do I add to or subtract from a relationship?  (Hope I add to).  Hence, 1 + 1 = > 2.

A fair and sound question and here are three simple ways to add values to any relationships:

1.  Be Mindful. It’s in our human nature that we spend most our time thinking about ourselves.  However, to be in a mutually nurturing relationship, it really helps to pay attention to the person you care about.  Deep connections usually form when your partner/friend/family member feels listened to and understood.  What are his/her likes and dislikes?  How are things going for him/her lately?

Here is the test.  Recall the last three conversations you had with that person.  What percentage of time you talked about yourself vs. what percentage of time you truly listened to the other person?  Did you learn anything new about him/her?  If the ratio is off, you probably talk too much.  It never ceases to amaze me that people can talk up a storm but rarely listen. When we don’t listen, we miss the opportunity to learn and connect.

2.  Be Thoughtful.  Do you go out of your way to help a friend?  The little things do make a big difference.  My dear friend who is very handy often goes out of his way to help me and others with any repairs he is capable of doing.  No joke, he almost always leaves the place or appliance in a better condition than it was first found.

Saying “thank you” or “I appreciate you” is not overrated.  One of my good friends has a knack for writing the sweetest thank-you card.  A person who picks out a card, sits down, takes out a pen and writes a couple meaningful sentences really sends out a message to me that she cares.

3.  Be Equitable.  Do you take more than you give in a relationship?  Granted, not all relationships are 50/50 but when one constantly takes more than gives, it usually leaves the partner/friend/family member feeling resentful and discontent.

I know it’s not warm and fuzzy to look at your relationship like you look at your bank account.  At the same time, it’s rather an useful analogy.  it makes one examine the balance sheet of his/her relationship.  Have you made emotional deposits lately to offset the withdrawals?  Emotional deposits can be kind words and/or kind deeds.  Withdrawals, well, you guess it, it’s the opposite of kindness or lack of.

Okay, it’s your turn, what are some ways you add to your relationships?

Sand Dollars