Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Ending of Blogathon

Today is the day...the blogathon ends...I'm thankful for the experience of competing in yet another blogathon. I skipped a beat- not posting on May 18th, but that is fine...although I can't say I officially completed the blogathon--- I'm glad that I didn't stop there and give up. My last few days of the blogathon were my best!

I'm thankful to my two guest post bloggers- Jenny and Kusum. They made my blogathon just a bit easier. 


Although this is not my first blogathon, I think I learned the most during it. I am thankful for all I am coming away with. Here are just a few things-


1. The need to be focused and prepared with posting blog updates


2. The desire to want to post nice pictures with each post-- better still to TAKE those said pictures!


3. The need to be consistent


4. Make good use of keywords and use links generously

A hearty congratulations to all those who faithfully blogged for the 31 days without missing a beat!!!!! GOOD JOB!!!!! Keep on spinning out those blog posts for all to read.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wild Wednesday: Top Five

I've seen a couple blogs which looked at their statistics to determine which blog posts were most viewed. Thanks to blogger.com, I was able to go to my statistics page easily...click on what my top five blog posts were for ALL time...that means from the beginning of this blog...

1. Just a Peek- a blog about Boulder, Colorado- I suspect it was most viewed because it had key words like 'Boulder, Colorada'- so people were probably searching for the place and stumbled on that particular post.

2. Reflective Thursday: Lady Jane Grey - This was the predecessor to my now "Feature Friday" where I feature various books, people, memoirs, biographies. In this particular post- Lady Jane Grey was featured. People searching for her must have stumbled on to this post.

3. Wild Wednesday- Crutches vs. Wings - an impromptu post which has surprisingly has made the top five- of all time! I'm not sure what it is about this post which made it one of the top five.


4. Unbirthday Parties - This post is one I was surprised made the top five. It happens to be one of my favorite, but I am pretty sure no one stumbled on it- so they had to make a conscious effort to come and read it. A post about seizing each and every moment and making the most of life!


5. Feature Friday: Mitford Sisters- This is another post which I think could possibly have been stumbled upon. The Mitford sisters are historically well known- and so it makes sense they would attract attention.


After looking at those five posts, I decided to check on what the top five posts were for this month. I was curious to see if there was a difference in the posts which attracted attention during this blogathon. Two of the posts from the former list made the top five. The Crutches vs. Wing post was number one on the list. Just a Peek made it to the number two position.  


The third post which attracted attention was Feature Friday: Tender Mercies. This was a post featuring a book of poetry. The fourth post was the Wild Wednesday: The Wild guessing game. This post definitely attracted a bit of attention because of the interactive aspect of the guessing. The post which placed fifth was Thankful Thursday: Unexpected Friends


There were some posts which I wish had made it to the top five, but they were not there. When I realized that key words probably brought greater traffic flow to certain posts, I know I must be more specific on my key word choices.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tree Tuesday: The Newest Leaf

Letta Evangelyn Hanae Kubo
Forgive me if I showcase the newest leaf on my family tree AGAIN....She is 4  days old today....My daughter, Katrina, writes a touching background story  on how this little sweet heart exists.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Birds: Sleepy Head

Once again we are featuring Kusum who has been doing a guest post each Sunday with the topic Sunday Birds. Kusum has a marvelous ability at capturing scenes with her camera and bringing them to life. Kusum just concluded a year long blog full of pictures from her travels. She has recently started a brand new blog with more wonderful pictures. Be sure and check out her new blog!

 Another sunday and I am here with another bird expressing another mood! Tell me who doesn't love early morning sleep? That too on a Sunday morning! We see all hands raised huh?

My niece is one of them ... she sometimes got off the bed at 1:00PM :) Not that she slept through out. She was just lazy to get out of the cozy bed. In between she peeped out of the blanket to check whether her Mother is angry :)


I took this picture in the Central Park, Fremont. These mallards stood on one feet, tucked their face in their own feathers. Occasionally opening their eyes to check what is happening around! They do this to conserve body heat and energy! What do we do it for?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Welcome, little one...

What does my latest granddaughter have in common with 40 former Presidents of the United States?  She was not born in a hospital. Only four presidents were born in a hospital-- Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush & Obama. 

It is amazing- on May 24th, I had not idea what my new granddaughter would look like....and then on May 25th, she made her debut. I can already tell that she will be a rambunctious little thing. 

Hey dad- how are you? I've been waiting to meet you!
 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Feature Friday: Second Acts

Since this will be the last Friday for the Blogathon, it seems appropriate for various blogs to be featured.  One of the suggested posts for the blogathon was a look at each person's 'second act'....there were various people to took up the topic and covered it well.

Michelle Ratner, who is the reason we have a blogathon, gave us the story of her second act. She blogged her way to the reinvention of a second career. As she lays out her blogging journey, I got some ideas for my own blogging. 

When reading Jackie Dishner's blog about her second act, be sure to have be sitting down. She writes a powerful blog post about how she came to her second act. Don't miss this!

Barb Freda gets in shape for her second act. She ends by telling each of us, if we want to get into our second act- it is up to us. In later posts, she lets us know there is more than just a second act...there are unlimited acts we can be involved in.

Annette Gendler may not have written a specific post on second acts- but go check out her blog anyways! She has been doing a wonderfully colorful series on Shanghai. When you go through her post, you are transported to exotic places.

Joan Lambert Bailey is living her second act. Her blog features gardening, organic gardening, vegetables, flowers. She lives in Japan and often features various gardens, farmer's markets and vegetation in the area.


There are other blogs which I could feature along these lines- but let's not overwhelm you. I'll wait for another Feature Friday to showcase those blogs!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Bits and Pieces

I'm thankful for all the things in my life. For the friends he brings into my life. 

I'm thankful for all the stages my children have been through. I'm thankful for their health. 

I'm thankful for who they have become.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wild Wednesday: dead words talking

Pull them out
one by one

Each word
standing, 
straight and tall
stiffly moving, 
side by side

Each line
stretching,
solid and long
flat lining,
dead words talking

Put them back
one by one


 * there are so many times I feel the stream of words inside me-  fluid and ever so flexible...but when I pull them out and put them on paper (or the screen) they march stiffly across the page-- taunting me. I scratch my head, wondering where the fluidity went....I play with each line attempting to make it move to the rhythm in my head....but the lines mock me with their deadness.The words shrivel up...my attempts at writing are "prune like phrases"...."pickled lines"...causing me to choke as I reread each sentence. They strut along stilted...wooden words lining up side by side. No life emanating from them; they just stand awkwardly, awaiting dismantling.  

I explore means and methods to revive my words. I breathe on them wishing for them to touch me. They stare back at me like matchstick drawings instead of oil paintings....click clack...words rubbing the wrong way against each other...knick knock...the idea is in my head...I feel the flow.... I look at the words...turn them upside down....plop.

Oh for layers upon layers of words...words slipping through my brain and onto the paper in front of me...like honey or intoxicating perfume...seeping through each pore... but no, each word stands in defiance....no matching pair can be found. I put them back for now...in the meantime, the above piece was born.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tree Tuesday: The Colonel

What is intriguing about researching a family tree is all the life stories you stumble upon. Some are happy stories...and others make you cry...as I've gone through my family branches, I realize how short life used to be. Most of the men on my tree died well before they were 50! The death of children appeared to be a normal part of life. 

Some parts of the tree resemble an ancient soap opera. Others appear to be parts of a fairy tale. Whether it is drama or sweetness, every branch has their own story to tell. 

A couple weeks ago, I was revisiting a particular branch of the tree- my  2nd great grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Buzzard. I had never given his name much thought....but you see this is why all clues count...this time when I looked over his siblings, I noted his brother's name was "George Washington Buzzard"-- hmmm...what a patriotic family, I thought...then I decided to climb higher up the tree. With the help of ancestry.com, I manage to discover more links in my tree.


I went up via my 3rd great grandmother's line...Elizabeth Gilpin...and oh my- as I went up higher...things became clearer. Col. George Gilpin- my 6th great grandfather, was the aide to George Washington during the American Revolution. After the war, Col. George Gilpin was made surveyor of the Potomac and did many public improvements. It is said, he was one of the pall bearers at George Washington's funeral. He married two sisters- one after each other- they were said to have been Martha Washington's cousins- however, although I've read this in various research documents- I cannot find the proof of it yet. 


I later discovered that George was related to the Washingtons of Westmoreland, England- and this is why there was a close connection between he and George Washington. My 15th great grandmother was Elizabeth Washington- who is somehow related to George Washington. I've yet to figure out the exact relation-- something like a gr-gr aunt.

For someone, like me, who was not born in the US and until recently had very little connection with this country- I have found it amazing to see different connections which tie me to this place. Branches which come from Ellis Island (my other gr-grandfather was an Ellis)- branches spreading all the way from the Mayflower- the Winthrop ships- the civil war and now the Revolution. 


The tree doesn't just stand in this country- it spreads its branches across Europe. Each branch tells a story of those who went before me with courage and strength. I will continue to climb through the mass of branches, some broken, and see what new life stories I can find.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Memory Monday: Haiku Challenge day

Instead of Memory Monday- this will be Haiku day :)...maybe we can somehow mix the two....we'll see....

New beginnings start
farewells said, postcards written 
memories are made

 *memories is counted as three syllables--mem·o·ries
although not specifically about a season- it speaks of spring in the sense of a new beginning.

P.S. For those who want to know what the postcard says- you can either click on the picture and enlarge it- or read my transcription-
Dear Folks-
Just a line to let you know things are going as scheduled. We got up at 5 .15 am this morning so we could get to the airport on time. Taxi driver went a block out of his way to show us his house and some trees from which they make leis. We got one for Deb and one for Pam and took their pictures at the airport. Travel expenses in Honolulu were 7.00 for Taxi, 8.71 for room, 40 cents for Pepsis (4) .75 for stamp and postcards. Food is very delicious and we got plenty- this morning scrambled eggs- orange juice- milk- toasts- fresh pineapple. All our love- Fred, Margie, Deb & Pam
The card was written in September from Hawaii in 1955 when my parents were enroute to Singapore. My mom was two weeks away from delivering my elder brother- amazing that she made it on the long flight out without delivering on the plane!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Birds: Leave Me Alone!

Here is another wonderful  guest post by Kusum. Kusum is a solo female traveler who has traveled all over the world and India. Her blog, Scrapbook, features wonderful pictures from her various trips....she adds appropriate text for each picture. Now let us enjoy her Sunday Birds post for today.

 
Had fun party yesterday night! Saturday night parties come with a package- Sunday morning exercise, Don't they? After having fun and all that yummy food and drinks I had to burn calories :( I thought of taking a long walk along the lake which is one of my favorite Sunday activities.

Today blackbirds seemed to be having a fun-fair in the open! The morning light was great and I couldn't resist taking pictures.


I saw this blackie sitting atop a bush. It turned away when I focused on it ... hopped on to nearby bush then ... I followed ... After playing hide and seek for some time it gave me this look ... a look of being annoyed! ... as if it was saying ... Leave me alone lady, will ya?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

And so it happened...

Despite my horrible schedule and scads of things to do- I was tumbling along. Each day, I would make a post and keep up with the blogathon. Sometimes, I would squeeze a post in just before midnight....by a mere hair...make it across the line for the commitment of a blog a day for 31 days. Until yesterday....

The day started off at a running start...

"I'll write the post in a bit


Then there was a relative I haven't seen in many years....we had to have lunch...we had to squeeze it in no matter what....


"I'll write the post when we get done"


The lunch went longer than I had anticipated...and so it was a mad rush out the door to get 'things done'...and by the time I got home...all I had time to do was jump into the van and rush to my evening meeting...all the while thinking...


"I'll write the post the moment I get home"


I calculated my arrival home to be about 9.30 pm...that would give me enough time to get the post up. The meeting went well...it ended on time...I was picking up my things to head out the door. 


"I need to talk to you and Pastor....could you spare some time?"


My purse slid back down to the floor, and I sunk onto the chair. "Sure no problem....we are here for you..."


"I'll never get that post written....but who cares...this is more important!"


and so it happened...my May 18th post never was written or posted and I fell out of the marathon....I'll still try to keep up for the remainder of the 13 days...but such is my life...and I love it!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thankful Thursday: For the little things

Something I used to love about Ghana was the way my friends there were thankful for everything! At our church, we had 'testimony' time and most of the testimonies were, "I'm so thankful that I'm alive today"- wow- or...."I'm thankful I was able to eat today"..."I'm thankful I was not sick and was able to go to work today"...if we learn to be thankful for everything in life we will rarely find time to gripe and moan.

Have you tried to grumble and complain and still be thankful? It doesn't work. You either end up doing one or the other. 

I Thessalonians 5:18 tells us "In everything gives thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you...

I've always seen it- not as thanking God for the circumstance or situation- but thanking Him in the midst of the situation.  Thanking Him for being there with me, through the situation. Thanking God for helping me make it through, if it is a difficult one. Thanking God for blessing me, if it is a wonderful situation. He becomes the focus, not the situation and circumstance I am facing. 

This past Sunday we had Bob Mortimer speak for us. He has an amazing life story and is a great example of someone who is thankful in every circumstance. What a great reminder to me to be thankful for even the little things! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wild Wednesday: The Wild Guessing Game

Who can guess what these two pictures are all about? Mrs. Shields and Belinda you are not allowed to guess. I will allow comments to be seen right away- because I have alot of confidence that you won't be able to guess the correct answer off the bat (now isn't that a challenge? hah!)
The first person to guess the correct reason for the room looking like this will get a 25 dollar Amazon.com card-hey you could buy yourself a e-book or something ! :)* p.s. I'm pretty sure the Amazon card will stay safely in my possession.
p.p.s. There are clues around the room- so you might want to zoom in on the picture to figure it out.
p.p.p.s. It all has something to do with my Second Act


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tree Tuesday- Obscure branches

I guess researching your family tree is not just for your grandmother or grandfather to do. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal modern technology and dna testing has opened up wide new fields of research. The blogger from Exploring the branches of my tree is definitely not a grandma....and yet she is researching her family tree. Although she is just beginning in the exploration of her family tree, she already has some great ideas for how to go about doing it.

I've found some obscure things as I have climbed my family tree. One thing I discovered recently was an old photograph in my grandmother's suitcase. I've seen the photograph before, but wasn't sure what it was doing in the suitcase. On the reverse side of the picture is inscribed, "From Aram G. Hejinian" ... Who in the world was this man, Aram...and how did his picture happen to appear in my grandmother's suitcase?

I began to research about him, wondering if possibly he had been on my family tree. There was a surprising amount of information about him. I even tried to contact someone on ancestry.com to inform them that I had his photograph- because I could see he was on their family tree. They did not respond at first, so I continued to research...wondering why his picture was in my grandmother's suitcase. It was after I read several 'write ups' about him online, that I made the connection. Aram G. Hejinian left Armenia to come to the States- he later studied to be a dr....however, prior to his medical education, he graduated from Chicago Theological Seminary. Why is this significant? My great-grandfather, Adolph Teuber, graduated from Chicago Theological Seminary the same year as Aram G. Hejinian. Aram's picture was taken at the studio in which my gr-grand uncle (is that what he would be called?) was the photographer. Mystery solved!


Exploring your family tree or roots forces the detective in you to surface. Clues are found on the back of photographs, hints are discovered online and puzzle pieces come together to form a better idea of where you came from. Sometimes you will be very surprised to discover who lurks in the branches of your family tree! I certainly was this week...when I discovered a Colonel from the Revolutionary War...but you'll have to wait until next Tuesday to find out how I unearthed this particular root of my tree!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Guest Post- It's London Baby Part I

Jenny who blogs at Perky Hours!! has been so kind as to do a guest post for me today. I know you will enjoy her Part I of her first visit to London!


London is a roost for every bird. - Benjamin Disraeli

London holds a very special place in my heart. To begin with, it was the first time I was travelling to a foreign shore and this fact made my family swell with pride. And secondly, for the 1 year and 10 months I was there, every single day was a  new experience; some wonderful, some horrible and some just ok ones. But each one of them gave me a new teaching and changed the way I behaved, reacted and thought about so many situations. Made me a more bearable person in short :-)

Oct 2008 is when I traveled to this city of opportunities (or as some may say the city of beers). Fortunately for me, I was travelling with a colleague, on whom I also happened to nurture a secret crush on. Nevertheless the journey was futile. At the end of the 9 hours, I realized there was nothing in common, and the nurturing had to be stopped immediately after arrival. He too had felt something initially, since he took great pains to change his itinerary and ensure we had the same flights, when he realized I was travelling the same weekend. But just like me, the efforts were fruitless for him too. So there, we had the shortest love story on the plane.

On landing at Heathrow terminal 3, I was received by one more colleague of mine, who all my friends thought had nurtured a crush on me :-0 . Anyways, leaving aside all the nurturing, its nice to have someone to receive you, in a foreign land at 8 in the night.

The first thing I noticed about the arrival area was the air. The air had a particular odor, and when I asked my colleague, he smiled and said, 'That's because its so fresh'. This odor was something, which stuck to me, and each time I landed on Heathrow in times to comes(which happened a lot of times), the first thing I always noted was the odor. Peculiar, fresh and cold air, this is what I can best describe it.

Next, I called my parents. I had spent a good 1 hour after take-off crying my eyes off, and I resumed that once I heard them again. They felt so proud, but I could feel the pain in their voices because they knew I was so far. My dad said some very beautiful things. He always believed that girls could go places, and since he had traveled so much more than me, he told me to be strong and make the most of it. He told me to be brave and learn, keep learning till the time I was there. And most importantly, to call home every single day. I felt comforted and safe after I spoke to him and tried not to feel home sick. 

With positive thoughts, I stepped out of the airport with my colleague in the lead along with my luggage, and that's when it hit me. I pinched myself hard. I was actually in London, all on my own, and I made it this far independently. It may not be a big deal to a lot of people out there, but it was for me. It was a special moment and the feeling was over powering. 

I stood outside Heathrow terminal 3, shivering in the cold October night, looking at nothing in particular for few seconds, to just let the feeling settle and to take it all in. 

When my colleague turned back and looked at my dramatization, cheekily asked me 'Overwhelmed?'. 
I nonchalantly passed him, and haughtily replied 'Mumbai's better; Haah!'

Till the next part, gorge on this view and stay safe :-)


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Birds: There is alot to do...

Here is another great post by Kusum from Scrapbook. Sit back and enjoy her "Sunday Birds" guest post!

 
Sunday again! We all seem to lazy around! But, there are few who keep themselves very busy ... especially on Sundays! Mothers ... aren't they? I remember the time ... a decade ago ... my Mom worked hard on Sundays! She waited for me and Dad to wake up and cooked wonderful breakfast! She cooked great lunch because me and Dad were at home! She
worked hard so that our picnics went flawless! She always had a lot to do ... even now, she calls me to check if I had good time!

My Mom inspires me to post this picture of a bird who is building her nest. The bird, when sensed my presence, didn't go near her nest at all ... she flew over here and there around the bush ... may be that is how they protect their homes! The look on her face with those bits of dry grass in her beak had a feeling of responsibility. She possibly meant ... no time to fool around! There is a lot to do ...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

oh great!

I woke this morning to the knowledge that the Huffington Post had featured a video my son did a few years ago. I should be happy- but no, I'm a bit mortified! The subject of the video is Mother's Day Surprises- and guess who is the star? Me...at my heaviest weight ever...screaming and looking like a general crazy woman! oh my! My daughter said, "Well at least mom it shows you how much you have lost!" ha ha!!

Well at least I got to enjoy some of the other videos and had a great laugh at the surprises. Maybe you can do something to surprise your mom this mother's day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Feature Friday: Tender Mercies

Tender Mercies is a book by Mark Stratton, a blogger who writes at Aggaspletch.  This book contains Mark's first collection of poetry. Mark says the reason the poems ended up in Tender Mercies is because "....As they were being written, they said they belonged together. "

The poems were written within a period of about two months. Unlike other volumes of poetry which focus on one theme or one direction, Tender Mercies explores life as a whole. It pushes back the curtain on life at its lower ebbs in Tender Mercy #13.

"Living in a depression, basting in the blues, 
Searching for caution in caustic waters 
Living in regression, bankruptcy court blues
pleading for redemption Don't gimme no I.O.U...."

Tender Mercy #19 and 20 pick at the futility of regret.
"....Yesterday is fairy dust in a 
pocket, overshadowing the now
Blinding all to the presents of
                              the ahead


Regrets, I live them
Breaking shoulders
with the       weight
of going nowhere
                 endlessly."

"Regret, 
             Hoarse grackles chittering
             On sullen ropes"

Tender Mercy #18 remembers the freedom of being a child with no worries or cares.

"...of itchy scratchy places and 
we didn't seem to mind it so
much when we had summers
as a kid now did we?"

From Tender Mercy #1A all the way to Tender Mercy #28D, Mark Stratton uses words beautifully. Even when he purports to have '...misplaced my words, I kept them in the lee of a tow sail..." He throws in phrases which repeat in your head long after you have read them. 

"...The airbrushed memories Fade as they dry..."


or


"The Cowboy Rides through invisible societies
He is recognized yet barely acknowledged..."

The words in Tender Mercies come alive to the reader. They may have been penned to mean one thing, but as they rise up from the page they emerge into what the reader sees. When I read the first few lines of Tender Mercy #6,

"And it came to pass in bonded black leather 
frayed at the corners soldered with duct tape..."

I immediately saw my old Bible...frayed at the corners, barely hanging together with duct tape... I didn't want to read further- I wanted to sit and contemplate this forgotten image. I knew, as I read further the words would confirm this was not the true meaning of the words...but for a few moments, I chose to read the words over and over again. The words brought a smile to my face.


Tender Mercies by Mark Stratton fits neatly in the book shelf right above my desk. I reach for it from time to time...flip through it...and reread my favorite poems.  If you would like a copy of Tender Mercies you can purchase it from online either at Amazon or at  Createspace.  It can also be downloaded as an e-book. I think it might fit neatly on your bookshelf too, don't you?   

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thankful Thursday- REBLOG ABOUT MY MOM


As Mother's Day approaches, I am thankful for my own mother, Margaret Belle Hansen was born in Peking, China. She spoke only Mandarin until the age of five, after which she learned to speak English. 


 "Margie" sitting on her mom's lap, picture taken in Peking, China.

Little "Margie" could never have imagined 12 years after her birth she and her family would be prisoners in a Japanese Internment camp in Wei Hsien, China. 


Dec 1943 marked the date Margaret and her family arrived in New York as exchange prisoners of war. Before she knew it, she went back to Asia as a married woman.  
 
Margaret on her wedding day 

In 1955, Margaret Belle Seaward settled into life in Singapore where she made good use of her childhood Mandarin. One day I must write a book of her life, as it was filled with grand adventures and marvelous miracles.

Margaret Seaward now resides in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. She flies between Singapore and KK regularly. In a given month she will fly over to Australia to speak for a conference and then zip back to Malaysia to speak for some meetings; a quick dash down to over to Indonesia and back up to Kota Kinabalu....then she wonders, "why am I so tired"

"Mom, because you are 81 years old and you act like you are 21!"

My mom, Margaret Seaward, in 2011
I want to wish my mother a Happy Mother's Day- and thank her for all she has instilled in me.  The words -"Impossible"...."no"...."it cannot be done"....were never part of her vocabulary. She taught me above all to put God first. She taught not only by word, but by her very lifestyle.  I can only hope that when I am 81 I will be as 'young' as she is. :)

Margaret and Fred Seaward- taken in Singapore 2009

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wild Wednesday: This will not be politically correct

I've been hearing a lot lately about how children who are spanked will have a lower IQ....and be more prone to violence. Okay, let me set the record straight- I'm NOT talking about abuse, I'm talking about a spanking...maybe the concept of this is like a dinosaur: people don't even really know what it looks like anymore. All that aside, where are the statistics coming from which make the correlation between IQ and spankings??

I spanked my children. 

In Singapore you can get nifty little canes- a swift flick on the open palm- does not cause any damage but it does send a point home. Let me see...now my children are all grown up...all three of them have above average IQs- my son works in a field which requires high intelligence. He holds a degree in Physics. My daughter graduated from university with honors and was her class speaker. My youngest daughter is pursuing her nursing degree. I guess they decided not to poll my family. 


I grew up in Singapore where spankings were accepted as a normal form of discipline. I don't see the IQ of the nation suffering in any way. I'm just curious about these studies. Where actually do they do their testings or research? Do they go to some out of the way place and recruit a group of people that are a bit slow to begin with. Then do they find out those people spank and conclude that the spankings caused the slowness? 


Spanking a child- if done correctly- will not make a child smarter or make them dumber. I'm sorry to tell you- whether we like it or not- there are certain of us who are not going to be as smart as the next person no matter how hard we study. My elder brother is a genius....literally....he graduated early from high school and started University just before he was 15- graduated at with his BA before he was 17. My two older sisters were 4.0 students. I had a mere 3.6 average in University...and no matter how I tried I could not raise it. I learned long ago in life to accept the fact my siblings were just very gifted in the head department and I just had to work a bit harder to 'get things'-- that is life-- spankings....etc didn't change that fact. 

In fact, my three elder siblings- with their 4.0 GPAs- got alot more spankings than I ever got! I was the 'baby' of the family- and my mom slowed down a bit when I came along. So that seems to actually support the reverse of the statistics.


Again, I'm not talking about abuse. And I'm not advocating using a switch when 'time out' works well enough. There is a time and place for everything, and discipline can come in many forms...to eliminate one form completely will have sad lasting effects. (which will only be seen as the child gets older)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tree Tuesday: Lost branches

One of my pleasures....when all work is done...when there are no commitments...is exploring my family tree. I've been amazed at some of the things I've discovered in the process of this exploration. There are different tools you can use to study your family tree...I choose to use ancestry.com.

I started out using their 'free' membership...I started a simple family tree. As the years went by, I upgraded to a paid membership because I wanted to access to more documents. I've also found other sites which provide great resources...one of said sites is...familysearch.org
This offers ample free resources which can help one build a substantial family tree.

One of the blessings of researching your family tree is that you find relatives you didn't know you had. Just recently, while I was in Denver, I was contacted by someone who was researching my gr-grandfather's family....I had been told my gr-grandfather had brothers....but I never knew what became of them. They were from Chicago....only my gr-grandfather came to Washington State....now suddenly I was introduced to a 'lost branch' of my family tree.

Amazingly, we both realized that we were in Colorado at the same time. We made plans to meet up...can you see the family resemblance? Our gr-grandfathers were brothers. 

The Chezsven Blog has a great story about cousins meeting up. You need to go and read about it at the blog update In which Sven meets his first cousin.  An absolutely amazing story about finding family connections. 


If you haven't ever dug around in your family roots...maybe you should consider starting today!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Memory Monday: Theme Day

In the blogathon, today is a theme day....what are the five movies which inspired your blogging...I thought about this for quite sometime. I pondered. Unfortunately, I could not come up with even one movie which matched the topic. 

Although I can't think of five movies which inspired my blogging, I can think of one movie which inspired my life. This was a movie I saw many...many...ok, eons ago! The title of the movie was "Hudson Taylor"

First, allow me to give you a short background of who I was when I watched this movie. I was the the type of person who not only had a five year plan....I had a 25 year plan....I went to church...was involved in a street ministry (to the homeless)...would wake up early and go for prayer meetings...but when it came to my career, my policy was "God I know better than you...so please let me handle it." 

I knew I could not be President of the United States, because I was born in Singapore....but I aspired to be as close to that as possible. History and Poli Sci were my majors and I went on to do two internships...one at the White House (during President Reagan's administration) and then another internship at a Senator's office. I knew exactly what I wanted my life to look like and I was making sure it happened just the way I wanted it. 

All it took was one Sunday evening at a church in Walteria California. They were showing the movie, "Hudson Taylor" and I had read his biography before but I was eager to see the movie. I sat through the movie and wept. When the last scene of the movie flickered across the screen...the song leader started singing, "I Surrender All"  

At that moment...I realized I had been giving God only 95 percent of my life...and holding on to 5 percent. I had not surrendered. I can tell you I wept as I sang the song. It was not an emotional weeping...in the sense of my emotions being stirred up...it was a thoughtful weeping...I knew what I had been doing and now I was so sorry for having held out on God. I asked God to forgive me for trying to be 'boss' of my life....and then I laid my life before Him and said, "Okay God...whatever you ask me to do...I will do it..." Little did I know....He would take me at my word. My life was never the same again....even now, when I think of that movie and remember the song....I tear up, because I'm so thankful to God for giving me the privilege of surrendering ALL to Him...not just part of me!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Birds- Song of the Spring

Kusum who blogs at Scrapbook takes the most amazing pictures and has corresponding dialogue which make the pictures come alive. She has graciously offered to do guest posts for me on Sundays- and it will be titled Sunday Birds. I am looking forward to what she has for us each Sunday- and for this Sunday....this is what she has to say!

Sunday! Well, we all have plans, don't we? Plans of waking up late...stretching the bones...having a hot cup of coffee gazing through window...huh?
This morning I was aimlessly gazing out of the window, looking at nothing...I heard chirping of a bird...I curiously looked out to follow the call. I saw a beautiful little bird hopping from one branch to the other...it reminded me of a beautiful morning hike...


It was California coast...springtime...rising sun was lifting the blankets of clouds from the cliffs and the distant mountains...the ocean breeze was amazingly soothing...and this beautiful white crowned sparrow perched on a yellow lupine bush singing happily ...singing the song full of love to call its mate ...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The More the Merrier

Two and a half years ago, we moved into our church facility. We had a hundred chairs to get upstairs. My husband, myself and two other people showed up to help. Can I say we were exhausted by the end of the day? In fact, there was one point I thought my husband was going to have a heart attack!

This morning our church moved to a new location. There were more than seventeen people who showed up. It was the smoothest move I have ever been a part of. Things were carried downstairs quickly...they were loaded on and off the truck with no difficulty. No one looked like they were having a heart attack....because there were so many of us to help!

We need each other. There is just no way of getting around that fact. Yes, it is true, we can do things on our own...we might even enjoy doing them on our own...but it is so much better doing things as a team. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Feature Friday- The Ultimate Autobiography

I love biographies, autobiographies and memoirs. Some Fridays, I use this spot to feature one. This Friday I was thinking about the ultimate autobiography...I mean if you were going to do a story about your life...not just your present life...but where you came from. If you studied your family history and your roots trying to figure out how you became who you are. Isn't that the ultimate autobiography? 

There are a couple shows on t.v. which I would love to feature today...because they are involved in delving into people's family history. One show, which is on NBC, is called "Who Do You Think You Are?" This has become a show I have to tape, because I find it so fascinating to see how the people discover their family background. More often than not, they are surprised by some hidden detail or fact.


Another show, put on my PBS, is equally interesting. It is called "Finding Your Roots".  It is also an exploration of various people's family backgrounds. Often when the paper trail stops, they will resort to DNA testing. It is intriguing to find out the discoveries which are made with the latest DNA tests.


The first show, "Who Do You Think You Are?" is sponsored by Ancestry.com and the second show, "Finding Your Roots" is sponsored by 23andme. Of course it is fascinating to watch how other people find out about their family trees, but I think it is even better to find out about your own tree. In my own research of my family roots, I've discovered interesting things about my background...some which I had already heard, others which were surprises. 


In my husband's case, we used DNA to discover a major secret in his family tree. The journey in finding out this secret can be seen at an old post I did.  The conclusion of finding the secret can be found in this post.


Whether it is looking through paper trails, or finding old pictures, or using DNA...the search into our family is tree is fascinating. It will take us to branches we may not have known were there. It may reveal worms in our tree. It may produce fruit. But whatever the case may be, it will be the most fulfilling adventure we have ever embarked on.  I would highly recommend watching either show....or better still...make your own 'show'...create your own family tree!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thankful Thursday- Unexpected Friends

Friends are a blessing God appears to have decided to pour out in abundance for me. I love them all. I'm thankful for them all. But today, I'm particularly thankful for an 'unexpected' friend.  She is the author of Counting My BlessingsI've been following her blog ever since I met her-- somehow through the blogathon (I believe). I look forward to Deb's posts. There is never  a post that does not make me think or encourage me!

I was always thankful for her daily posts, but little did I realize I would have something far greater to be thankful for. About 6 or 7 weeks ago something happened which was quite overwhelming. It was something which had come on the tail end of something else I had just gone through- so I think it was kind of like the straw which broke the camel's back.

I've been through alot in life, but for some reason this particular thing went deep into my heart and I was finding it hard to 'get over it'....for everyone around me, it looked like I was doing just fine...but in myself, I knew I was not quite right.

The situation was such that I was not at liberty to share with anyone near me. They would know the various parties concerned and I did not want to get into a 'gossip' fest or anything like that...so I just kept telling God everything. One night I was kneeling next to my bed just weeping and asking God to help me. "Please heal me God...I don't want this thing to get me down...it isn't worth it..." I prayed all the things I 'knew'-- but it just seemed as though I was in a strait jacket. Then God told me, "write to Deb .

"God I can't write her...I mean I am an avid follower of her blog...but my goodness, she is going to think I'm nuts if I write her with this problem!"

"Write her NOW!"

I stood up and went into my office. I began the email...
 Dear Deb,

I know we don't know each other personally.....



I figured she would think I was crazy telling her my problems...but at this point I knew I had to do this. I didn't know if I would even get a response....or if I did...what the response would be. I certainly was not expecting the response that I got. She wrote back immediately and promised to stand by me in prayer. I could tell by her email that she knew exactly what I was going through. I could also tell that when she said she would be praying for me-- she meant it! I cried with tears of relief and joy.

Over the next few days she sent me emails of encouragement and emails to make sure all was well. I felt my heart healing slowly but surely...I had to do alot of forgiving...repenting...and more healing came. Through it all, I am thankful for Deb, my unexpected friend who God brought in my life!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wild Wednesday- Crutches vs. Wings


I was reminded of something I heard years ago..."Lord, why should we ask for crutches when we can ask for wings..."   Too often in life, I seek out crutches rather than wings. I  'settle' for the mundane rather than strive for the fantastic. I am more comfortable with that which will just get me by, rather than shoot for what will cause me to soar.

These past few days have been extremely busy.... Have you had days which seem like a torrential rain is coming down and no matter where you go you can't find cover? A dozen calls coming in all at the same time-- people needing you---bills to be paid---appointments to keep (appointments upon appointments). 

You turn to the left and there are things to handle- you turn to the right and there are more things to handle...phew! There has been the temptation to reach for the crutches rather than to rise up with wings of an eagle. I took short cuts rather than getting down on my face before God and allowing HIM to give me the necessary strength I need. As He says, "Be still and know that I am God..." (Ps. 46:10)


So I have just a few moments before my next appointment...I have worship music on...and I am marinating in the music. There has been enough hurry and flurry for a life time. Even my times with the Father have been rushed because I feel as though there is so much to do. Now, just for a few moments, it is time to rest...time to wait upon God and allow Him to renew my strength...time to allow Him the chance to cause me to mount up with wings as an eagle so that I can run and not be weary and to walk and not faint.
 
Lord, here are my crutches, I'd like to exchange them for wings.                                                                                                                                              

Zero to Sixty

Phew....when did we go from zero to sixty...all in one breath. One moment I'm telling you how to set the company up-- and promising you ...