Winter Leopard, Triangles & Spring Flowers

It’s during one of those days where mother and daughter bonding happens in between chores and homework, over messy counter and dining table. Part of the daughter’s homework is to practice playing violin for at least 30 minutes. She was complaining of how difficult for her to do her recital piece. I hope she won’t give up on that Vivaldi. Anyway, I encouraged her to repeat after me, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13). She then continued and finished her routine practice with some (playing by ear) Jason Mraz songs. I offered her some Ferrero chocolates as a booster. :) We decided, we want to relax and relieve some stress so we started painting. We’ve done fall painting last time, so we thought of doing different seasonal painting. We came up with these:

Mich painted this using our tiniest paint brush, 5/0 Princeton spotter. She wants to torture our brushes, you know. And she wants to use the newer ones. Anyway, she combined different neon and metallic acrylic to produce this artwork. She called it “Winter Leopard.” So those are leopard footprints. :)
IMG_4091

One season ahead than Mich, I did this “Spring Flowers” using a big brush on an 11×14 watercolor paper. I need more brushes! That concluded our bonding moment. We love to paint not only our nails, but also using different media.

IMG_4089Earlier that day, I painted some triangles inspired by the challenging geometry homework done by Mich with the help of her uber patient tutor, her dad. Haha! Common Core! This is for you, father and daughter tandem! Solve my triangles.

IMG_4071

High School AMPD Camp

camp

 

High School is starting for me. A new and somewhat long part of my youth. As a teen, there can be many obstacles that will trouble me through the years. Here at the camp, we discussed the various things that we, as Christians, believe will help each other and ourselves to stay strong through this times.

The beginning of the camp was very fun. Most of us have come to camp in the previous years, but some are newcomers. A lot of us, as soon as we got there, were looking for our friends. Others were looking for new friends. Going on in the evening, we started to play some games, like infection tag on a playground, which seemed childish, but it was fun. I eventually found myself making quite a few new friends in the process. We continued on that first night with dinner and worship. Worship is always fun at camp, you would find yourself praising God with your friends. Sometimes you would unexpectedly get chosen to do some games in front of the crowd, like having a team member throw eggs that you must catch into a plastic basket on your head. Overall, the first night was fun. The guys definitely didn’t stop there, after all the commotion of great and disgusting mini-games, we continued to play some sports in the dark. One example of the things that we did almost at midnight were some basketball. Some got injured, but they took it well and kept on playing. Sometimes the bad things can help us bond closer to each other. Once we had to go back into our ‘cabins’, we had a great time talking to each other, making jokes and whatnot. There was a very unexpected twist to the night though, right as we fell asleep at 2:30AM or so, our leaders woke us up very suddenly to go play games on a wet field. 2:30 in the morning is just great for sock wrestling in the wet and cold night. It was tough but i managed to play a few rounds against some older highschoolers. We then made some s’mores, very early in the morning.

After the fun stuff, we did some discussions about who we were spiritually. First day, we discussed about how we could be more aware of what we do and who we are. Some of the leaders spoke about their stories leading up to who they were before and who they are now. The next day was plentiful of games and fun events. The guys didn’t seem very tired on the outside, but they really were. One thing that stands out to me was how much nicer and outgoing the guys were when they were without their parents, other friends and society in general. Since phones weren’t allowed to be brought, most of us were talking a lot more to each other rather than texting or look through at their social status. Every morning and evening, we had group discussions about some bible verses that explain to us that we should be serving God and other, not ourselves as it says in 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms“.

After lunch, we started to play some games that really helped us be stronger as a team, and some for fun. One event that we do yearly is something we like to call the “Dye-Wars”, where the entire camp is divided into two teams and we soak each other with colored water in a full on battle across a large field. We do that just for fun. The games ended and we were allowed some free time. That night, we were discussing about making a difference in the world and what our purpose could be. One of the leaders, came up and talked about his mission trips to places around America. He went on a mission trip to Haiti, living there for 6 months in a very small and cramped room with another friend. They were building houses and preaching to the people, changing some of their lives. One man was saved with the leader’s help and continued on throughout the rest of their trip to help and spread the Word of God. Because of that leader, and other people, I feel encouraged to do some mission trips to help the people who don’t have God in their lives.

Some night games ensued the discussions and the worship. Dodge ball and Mission-Impossible were the more popular games we played. Mission impossible is a game where we, as a team, must reach a goal without getting caught by ‘guards’ who were people with flashlights. We also must get to the goal as fast as possible, but if the ‘guards’ catch us moving, we had to start over from he beginning. That night was the most fun I’ve had with my friends. One of the leaders offered to go to a nearby “45 minutes away” grocery store, almost at midnight, to purchase some snacks for our all-nighter. We gave him some cash and it turned out great. Some of us made it through the night while the others fell asleep. Jokes and our stories, as well as root beer, chips and candy, got us going through the night. I felt like we’ve been there for a week during that night due to how close we got to each other.

The next day was the end of camp. Most of us started packing up our stuff after the morning worship session. We didn’t do much that morning but talk quite a bit to each other, getting other’s information so we can still talk. The third day’s discussion was about Doing Something, whether is to join Life Group at our church, or even do mission trips. A leader, Patrick, spoke of the definition of Baptism. It is not something that we should do because others want to do it, but because it is a public example of our beliefs. I got Baptized and it was a great opportunity to do so with my friends. After the Baptism, parents started arriving and picking up their children. It was a little sad, but we will be seeing each other again. I can’t wait until next year….

 

Ripple

Ripple

11×15 Acrylic by Che

IMG_3852

I was inspired by a young lady’s story about her calling to be a blessing to the nation of Jordan. We prayed for her and the word spoken to her as she goes back to Jordan to do humanitarian works was “ripple”. That her passion will cause a ripple effect in the lives of people in Jordan, both the locals and the hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria. With what is happening there right now, so many things popped in my mind. The reality of us being blessed and comfortable in this part of the world is overwhelming while millions of people in the war torn places in Middle East are continuously suffering. It’s heartbreaking to think that those people don’t have the time to grieve and can’t even bury their dead. Being displaced in a different country and being uncertain of future was mind-boggling. The least that we can do is to pray for them and donate at least.

 

 

 

Abstract Painting: Specks

Specks by Che

(acrylic 11×15 in archival paper)

Celebrate life’s unique episodes of glorious success and pain in suffering. Life is not perfect. Specks of black paint symbolize hardships & the colors represent chapters of life. In totality life is beautiful & interesting.

specks

 

Car by Champ

Made from recycled board & laughing cow packaging designed by Champorado for his physics project. After receiving grades for their projects, the boys enjoyed racing their cars to the point of destruction. And they had fun doing it. rubberbandcar

Acrylic: Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom by Mich
Acrylic painting on canvas

cherryblossom1

cherryblossom2

Acrylic Painting: Waves

wave1 wave2

Waves (20×30 Acrylic) by Che

“Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.”

Psalm 89:8-9

Moonlight Beach

It was one of those days we get to spend time with new friends. We love to meet people and look forward to lasting relationship with people who loves the Lord. We had BBQ, bonfire, friends, cake for Laurence, ukulele playing by Michelle & a chance to see for the first time, Chinese lanterns afloat the night sky at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. I was so thrilled to see those lanterns especially it was so dark in the beach. I love Tangled the movie because of the lantern scene. It was so pretty watching in 3D (that makes Tangled one of my most favorite movies of all time) & it’s so pretty in real life!

We are thankful to our friends who secured a place and fire pit early in the day so we could hang out in the evening. They even brought this bag toss game for couples (with Mr. & Mrs. on them to be played by two teams). So cute!

moonlightB

Mich spent much time digging the sand while Ad was busy taking photos. moonlightA

We’ve never heard about Moonlight beach until this meet up. We were surprised that there’s such a beach in San Diego! It’s quite small compared to the more popular beaches but it’s more family friendly.
moonlight3

When I was a kid, I don’t like sunsets. It signals the beginning of night and you don’t get much to do when it’s dark but to sleep. I am talking about sunsets in our province. That was the kind of sunset I have in memory. Sunsets in the province are way too different! They make me feel melancholic and I don’t like it. But now, I love sunsets! It brings the dark sky with twinkling stars. And it’s another time to enjoy. I love it when my boys love stargazing. It makes night time enjoyable and interesting.

Amazing, amazing sunset! How can you not love that specific day when you have everything needed for a perfect beach night? This is one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in the US so far. I’ve always been chasing sunsets in America whenever there’s a chance but this was so special. It feels like you’re closer to the water and sun. The sky was filled with bright red, orange and yellow. It was a happy sunset! Everybody paused for a while and took photos (a lot!) of the lovely sunset.moonlight2

After the sun had set, it’s time for bonfire! It was cold so our bonfire was a refuge. We had a blast! I can’t believe that almost all the groups with bonfire had birthday celebrations each or at least something to celebrate. Hoping for more of this kind of activity with my family and some more friends. :)moonlight1_edited-1

Let’s Recycle

I’ve always been drawn to save-the-earth activities even in its tiniest form. What is the least thing that I can do to help preserve the earth for the next generation? Call me an OC but I can’t throw a clean plastic bag into the garbage bin. I would still keep it and wait for a chance to bring all my reusable plastic bags to a recycling bin in any grocery store. Any form of plastic packaging that still can be used once more in any way, I would keep. At least there’s one last way of using it before sending to landfill. A regular plastic bag takes up to a thousand years to degrade, fyi.

IMG_1980
When we were still in Utah, I had the habit of collecting all paper-made products and drive them to the nearest recycling bin (which can be found in an elementary school which happened to be my kids school) once a week to dispose them. It gives me satisfaction that something out of those recyclables can be used again. I’m glad that in California, almost everywhere you look around there’s a recycling bin. I get to throw my recyclables everyday. Even shredded paper & tissue holder can be put in the recycling!

Plastic bottles, glass jars & soda cans? If I can not reuse them at home, I try to segregate them in a separate bag so that people who are collecting them for a living would have an easier way (at least with our share). I could collect them and make money (I know it’s just small) out of it but I will leave that to those people who are in need of source. Reminded of Ruth’s life in the Old Testament where she gleaned grains from the field of Boaz to help her mother-in-law with their food, we could be a source too for other afflicted people. A small way can mean a lot to others in need.

Back in the days when Adrian and other boy scouts did a “leave no trace” cleaning in one of Kaysville’s highest peak, they picked up garbage left by people who went there. They had collected plastic bottles, candy wrappers, bullets & many more. Actually, I was one of the pickers too. I joined them and it was fun. It’s like doing two things at the same time, hiking and picking up garbage. It’s nice to let the kids be aware how important it is to dispose of garbage properly. I think we were able to fill two big black bags of litter for just about two hours of walking. And it made a difference for that mountain. Any little amount of effort that we can contribute to help preserve the earth, if we put it all together, will definitely be significant. Just like the starfish story, we can make a difference!

The Starfish Story

An old man was walking on the beach one morning after a storm.
In the distance, he could see someone moving like a dancer.
As he came closer, he saw that it was a young woman picking up
a starfish and gently throwing them into the ocean.
“Young lady why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
“The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if
I do not throw them in they will die,” she said.
“But young lady, do you not realize that there are many miles
of beach and thousands of starfish? You can not possibly make a difference.”
The young woman listened politely, then bent down, picked up
another starfish and threw it into the sea.
“It made a difference for that one.”

A parable told and retold. The original author is unknown.

Tree

Trees are my favorite. My husband knows about my favorite tree. I had the chance to show him my first ever favorite tree. We were young then (in our 20’s) and not even in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship when we went on vacation in my grandparent’s house in the province. The view from my grand’s big kitchen window was lovely to look at. There was this lone tree in the middle of the vast field that I find so beautiful. The sight makes my chores easier to do. It’s just sad that I had no actual photo of it but saved a virtual copy of it in my mind instead. Only my husband knows how it looks like and why i love it. So whenever we see a similar tree, he would point it to me and say “that’s your tree.” Yes, I have several trees around the world. Trees “I own” that they didn’t even know I own them. Haha!

Now, for my second favorite (in the picture), this tree was my favorite view from our bedroom in Utah. We had so much memories with this tree. We have designated this tree in front of our apartment as the waiting spot in case of emergencies. If something happens inside the house like fire or anything that need us to go out of the house, we will meet at the tree. Just like what the family in “Puppy Place” have talked about meeting at an apple tree outside their house when their kitchen was burning.

This tree was a witness to many of our family activities such as homeschooling, playtime, picnic, playing music, painting and many more. Mich used to practice violin under this tree. It had become a subject of her painting too. Fallen leaves were a source of happy times as my kids play with them.

It’s so refreshing to see trees after the rain. They radiate vivid colors once the rain finished watering them. They look so fresh and happy. It’s so fascinating to see trees when in springtime they show different shades of greens and sprouts. It’s so lovely to look at trees during autumn with leaves of different colors. Though during winter, it might be depressing to look at seemingly lifeless trees, but when they’re covered with snow, they’re still lovely.

Trees are givers of life to those who are in gloom. Just by looking at them in any season, you’ll see life and hope. Trees are not only beautiful. One can learn so many things from them. Even from a tree that do not have fruits but can give a shade to a weary person is a fruit in itself. Even a tree in its loneliness can provide a picturesque scenery that can inspire and motivate the viewer. A stump can give a seat to a person who can’t make another step due to his long journey. And even a dead tree floating on a body of water can be a lifesaver. In parallel, we can be a giver to those around us. No matter how we think insignificant our small deed is to another person, we can be like the tree that can inspire. Just being kind to another person could save a life who is in the verge of death. One might be undergoing some difficulties in life but overcoming adversaries and becoming victorious could paint a beautiful scenery that others can appreciate as they look at life…

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom
Blessed is the one who gains understanding,
She is a tree of life to those who hold her close
Those who hold on to her will be blessed – Prov. 3:13 and v 18 NIrV
tree1

michellepleinair1

This is Michelle’s painting of the tree above during spring time.

Page 4 of 14« First...23456...10...Last »