Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I've been negligent. Beth at By Hook, By Hand has an amazing blog with lovely images; simply extraordinary, beautiful dolls; and wonderful sewing, crochet, crafting patterns and tutorials. It is one of my favorite spots in blogland. I am a beginner crocheter, but I so enjoyed using her skirt and top patterns.

Thank you again Beth!

Monday, November 1, 2010

What to Write

I was looking through my pictures today, hoping for some inspiration; and found that my heart most resonated with this image of our terribly spoiled, though at the time worn out, family pet. Speaking of pets, our apartment complex neighbors across the way brought home the cutest little pink pig with a black saddle-like spot on its back and black on its ears. They are clearly keeping this dainty creature as a pet, but my husband says it will be dinner some day. Such is life in an upper middle class Chinese neighborhood. Nothing much has been going on of late as you can probably sense by this post, and yet there is a recognition in my heart that life could or should be continually rich when a person is loved and gives love. There is wonder and beauty to be seen in the ordinary if eyes are opened. I love the following quotes from "The Black Cauldron" by Lloyd Alexander:

"There is much to be known," said Adaon, "and above all much to be loved, be it the turn of the seasons or the shape of a river pebble. Indeed, the more we find to love, the more we add to the measure of our hearts."

Adaon smiled gravely. "Is there not glory enough in living the days given to us? You should know there is adventure in simply being among those we love and the things we love, and beauty, too."

If only the head and the heart could communicate better.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Heart Travels


i came in search of an entertaining synthesis of commercialism and ancient tile-roofed palaces
of rainbow-color-saturated markets and vibrant neon signs
tongue tantalizing fermented spice
and slippered feet tucked under child-sized tables in elegant sparse rooms
but in your mountainous heart i found a wide gaping wound
i stumbled unexpectedly over my history
and grieved for brave faces and valiant lines lost
how can wholeness be
when your right hand scavenges for food and your left bare foot is swollen and bruised
when your grandfather sleeps in a lonely, unfamiliar grave
and your grandmother overtaxes her memories and dreams to imagine your face
when the great divide does not mean
a barrier between you and your enemy
but a tourniquet strategically applied near your heart
may this horrific disease never spread and consume you
may the warmth of true, unforgetful love
and a miracle do
what only a miracle can
rescue your suffering members
restore you... whole.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hakka doll by Ada Lum

I originally created this post for my vintage cloth doll blog,
Asia With Embroidered Eyes;
but since it has some cultural significance, I decided to include it here too.Hakka women photo by Grant Gouldon Flickrcc

The Hakka people are said to have migrated South from north central China in as early as the 1400s due to times of wars and famine. Not being the original peoples of the lands they came to inhabit; they were known as the "guest people," which is the meaning of Hakka (in Chinese 客家 Kejia). Hakka communities can be found in Guandong, Jiangxi, Fujian, as well as other parts of China (including, of course, Hong Kong), all around the South China Sea, and even in Australia and the US. One article I read, referred to them as the gypsies of China.* The Hakka of the mid-1900's were a unique people... due in part to speaking their own dialect, not practicing footbinding of women, in a fondness for education, and in their unusual living structures and cuisine. Though known for their hospitality, some Hakka clans previously resided in round fortress-type multi-story, earth homes called tulou. A tulou could house hundreds of individuals all sharing a common family name.

The Hakka people were typically farmers, though there may have been fisherman among them as well. Hakka women worked the fields while the men sought jobs in the cities or as soldiers. Hakka cuisine is notoriously different, as the people are said to "have made an art of salting and preserving ingredients (pickling), as well as developing tasty dishes from whatever cheap produce was available." Their more well known dishes include: ja dai cheung (deep-fried intestines), yim guk gei (salt-baked chicken), and poon choy (literally dinner in a bucket)." (*Lonely Planet: World Food Hong Kong by Richard Sterling and Elizabeth Chong, 2001, p25) Some internationally recognized Hakka include actor Chow Yun-Fat and former government leader of the People's Republic of China Deng Xiaoping. There are actually many others as well. These "guest people," though often left with the least desirable land, living in poverty, and looked down upon; seem to have a persistent, patient will to triumph over their circumstances.

Clearly, Hakka people were a special and distinct part of the cultural diversity that was Hong Kong during the time that linen crafter, business woman, and dollmaker Ada Lum made her life there; as seen in one of her following creations....

Information gleaned from:
Lonely Planet: China's Southwest
by Damian Harper, 2007, p372
More information about the tulou can be found in:
Lonely Planet: China by Damian Harper et al, 2005, p340
Frommer's China by Simon Foster et al, 2010, p533
Wikipedia: Hakka People

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Z is for Zàijiàn 再见

Zàijiàn 再见 is the Chinese word for good-bye, but literally means, "See you again."

I just wanted to say "Thank you." to Jenny Matlock for starting us on this amazing, Alphabetical Adventure; for being our biggest cheerleader and encourager; for challenging us to imagine & express; and giving the wonderful opportunity to meet and hear from such diverse, creative, incredible bloggers.

Zàijiàn 再见!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

X is for Xièxie 谢谢

The Great Wall

I have a lot to be thankful for. We traveled safely from our small southern city in China, through Beijing, and on to the US with no troubles. I am sitting here typing this e-mail from the peaceful, temperate front porch of my parents' lake cottage as my fellas sit around me using their various electronic devices after a day out in the sun.

Xièxie 谢谢 is the Chinese word for"thank you," and while not commonly used in the past; it is becoming a little more prevalent. Such "polite language" as "please" and "thank you" are considered to create relational distance and are therefore awkward and can even carry negative connotation.

Also a Chinese person will most likely seem to brush aside or put off a compliment such as, "This meal is delicious" with an, "Oh no, it is really nothing." "The reason is because the Chinese community is much less focused on individualism than our western society is. In China, people are more concerned about the communal impression. Chinese people are very modest and not accustomed to show their feelings in public. So, when they are praised or complimented, the customary response is 'no, no!' instead of 'thank you'"(All About China)

So this Thursday, July 1st 6pm EST, I thank my Heavenly Father for bringing me home with my family to loved ones & friends and a country for which I am very grateful. I also thank Him (感谢主) for the rich and wonderful opportunity we have to live in a land so different in culture and life from our own (and yet so similar in matters of the heart).

After several weeks absence I am linking to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. You can find other X-cellent posts here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What have I been doing?

Well, I guess I've just been doing life. We went away for our anniversary In May and I felt a real free-ness in not posting for this blog; so I thought I would just take a break for a while. In the mean time ... we saw three boys through the last few weeks of school and sent them off to camp. Tomorrow, they take the 8-11 hour (depending on the roads) bus ride back to us, we wash LOTS of laundry, and then head for the states. I can hardly believe it. Leaving on a jet plane in less than 48 hours....

Kitten Nap image by arbyreed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Celebrating 21 years.

Can you see Borneo Island off the wing?

View from our room

Fishermen's pier

Catch of the day

On the grill

Fishing boats

Munakan Island

Jesselton Ferry Pier

Totally ignoring us

Brother and Sister


Find out more about Kota Kinabalu (KK).
A good read: Land Below the Wind by Agnes Newton Keith (about her life in Sandakan prior to WWII).


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