December 4, 2011

Daddy's Girl...Like Mother Like Daughter

"I read your blog in my office." 
Those words came as a beautiful tune and set my heart to dancing. My Pa reads my blog. Hah! I can't be prouder. 
I skyped with him this morning and was excited to hear that he just got back from Macau and Hong Kong. It's not his first trip abroad. He's been to Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. But I'm just thrilled to hear stories from his trips especially to places I've been so I asked a time to skype with him. Guess, I'm just being a Daddy's girl.

As I watched my daughter the way she relates to her Dad with much endearment, I could identify with her. 
I wished I have photos of my moments with my Pa to show my daughter how much I'm like her. 

On the train to Malaysia in 2010
My children are blessed to be born in digital age and I enjoy the job of framing moments for them.

On the train from Penang to Thailand in 2010
I can no longer remember the details being alone with my Pa but I know the feeling was always of love and security when he was around.

In Bangkok on January 1, 2009
"Think first before making a move." That's what he would always tell me when playing chess with him. "Don't ask for help unless you've used up your brains." Sounds strict but that's how he motivated me to pursue academic independence. I aimed high because I was confident that he's there to catch me if I fall. He did and never failed.

On the plane to the Philippines in July 2009. Naomi always wants a seat beside Dad.
So this morning, we talked about his recent trip. I mused as I listened. I knew what he's talking about. I've been to those places, and even to more countries than he's been to. At some point, we're even. I'm no longer that little girl anymore. I've grown and now have my own "daddy's girl". 
My Pa reads my blog, and he'll be reading this soon. He will smile and his heart will dance to the same tune I'm dancing now. 
Happy *Father's Day to my beloved Papa. I'm older than 40 now but a part of me is still a "papa's girl".

The only picture of me and my Pa together.

*In Thailand, where I reside at present, Father's Day is celebrated every 5th of December, in time of his majesty King Bhumibol's birthday.


November 14, 2011

There's Another World Out There!

I was enjoying my milk tea and roti in the living room when I saw Nashima came in from the kitchen and was ready to leave the house through the main door. "Wait!" I grabbed my camera and, with hand gestures, asked her to pose for me.

Nashima, though shy, was kind enough to pose for me.
When I'm in a foreign land I tend to get too excited taking pictures of everything that appears different from my own culture. I have to remind myself to be careful not to be too aggressive with my camera. I don't want people to feel violated and harassed so I would always ask permission before I take photos of people.
But I think I got too excited when I saw Nashima with that jar. She was like one of the women I saw in Bible stories! I felt being transported back in time.
 
Nashima preparing the coconut for a curry dish.

But Nashima is a woman of today. She is not wearing a costume or acting a role of a woman in the Bible story. She is living out her normal life. A kind of life most women in Bangladesh lived.

Nashima using boti in the kitchen.
Nashima is my friend's neighbor. My friend asked Nashima to come to help her prepare food for me and another friend. I watched her skillfully worked with both hands peeling onions with that boti, a unique tool she used to cut and slice vegetables. Her hands moved so fast against the blade that I had to take several shots to get a clear picture. Her foot kept the tool stood still on the floor. I was fascinated. Bengali kitchen is very different from mine.


I sat beside Nashima and as I watched her work, I was beginning to wonder.... Is she happy with her life? Her life, seem to me, is bound in the kitchen. No wonder why Bengali dishes taste very delicious. It's a lot of work to prepare each dish.

She worked quietly and at few times threw a glance toward me. I smiled each time our eyes met. She never smiled back. How I hoped she would show me a sign of happiness in her countenance. She didn't. I thought she also didn't approve of me watching her every move.

It was only after she left that I realized that she would tilt her head each time I smile at her. Oh, how I forgot I was in another culture!

Just like in India, a subtle tilt of the head could mean a thousand words in Bangladesh. It's a way to connect to people. And when I started doing the same instead of the usual smile I learned in my culture, I felt more locally attuned and that made a big difference.


October 23, 2011

The Sun Rises in Bangladesh


 It was the biggest sun I've seen!
My camera couldn't capture the sight as we were moving very fast so I used my friend's more advanced camera and though it worked well, still it's nearer and clearer to behold with my naked eye.



 It looked like a red fire ball above the misty green field.
The country's banner then made more sense to me.



Verses came flooding to my mind as I behold such magnificent and powerful thing that could scorch the whole earth!



Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
 for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22 (NIV)



 Because of tender o f God's tender mercy, 
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, 
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, 
and to guide us to the path of peace.
Luke 1:78-79 (NLT)



As we drove fast at dawn from Dinajpur down to Khulna for 12 hours,
the sun traveled with us to the extreme side.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, 
so great is his love for those who fear him;
 as far as the east is from the west, 
so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 
Psalm 103: 11-12 (NIV)

So, now when I wake up in the morning, I'm reminded that the sun also rises in Bangladesh, 
even more beautifully.


Scripture and a Snapshot


October 18, 2011

Images of the Floods in Thailand

Yes, it's floods in plural form. 
Monsoon rains and high tide caused extensive flooding in Thailand. Many provinces are already underwater and we, in Bangkok, are not yet safe. In fact, many areas in Bangkok are already flooded.

I admit, I'm hooked watching the news on TV and on the internet these days. It's more than just curiosity. I need to know what's going on in my host country, especially so around the city where I live. And it looks like one area after another is inundated and it's getting closer to ours. 

There are many sad stories that are yet to be written and figures of loses to be reported. Thailand needs your prayers now.

Just in case you didn't hear the news yet, here are images I randomly picked from the internet. You will find more details if you clicked on the link under each photo.

Thai mahouts ride their elephants through the flooded streets October 10, 2011 in Ayutthaya, Thailand.  Around 200 factories closed in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya because of flooding, which is posing a threat to Bangkok as well. Over 260 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Some areas of the country are experiencing the worst flooding in 50 years, mainly in the centre, north and northeast.
Photograph by: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
Photo from Bangkok Post on 10-15-2011
Photo from TMG Buzz on 10-10-2011 

Photo from The Nation on 10-14-2011
Photo from Ottawa Citizen on 10-17-2011
A food vendor gives change to a customer along a flooded street in the town of Sena, Ayutthaya province
Photo from The Telegraph


























One thing you may want to note in all these photos is the CALMNESS amid calamity. Life goes on and you don't see much negative emotions. That is very Thai.

October 14, 2011

My Rose of Sharon is Blooming But.....



I finally have my first bloom! After months of waiting, my Rose of Sharon is now flowering but may not last long as we are expecting a flash flood anytime soon.The major river in our city is overflowing and heavy rain is expected. We have secured the house and I only hope that the flood would not be as bad as expected so my garden will be safe. Read more....


September 26, 2011

We have one but fragile life....

The sudden death of a dear uncle is still a shock to me until now. We chatted online and 2 days after that I received  the sad news. He's in his prime age where his business was booming and his first 2 sons graduated from college while the other 2 are also finishing their degrees. He's just gotten his new SUV and life seemed pretty normal until that day when he collapsed at work. Heart attack, that's what they said.

Every now and then, my husband and I would talk about our own death to kind of prepare us for what is sure to come. It's hard not to get emotional but the more we talk about it, the easier it gets. "It's part of being responsible parents" he said. "I know that God will take care of our family but we also need to make a plan for the children."  So we have made some agreements on how it would be if either one of us go first.  We had to talk about things like education funds for the children. Maybe we also need to talk more about insurances like accident or Medicare supplement plans and even Social Security Administration. With the passing away of my uncle recently, the more we talked about those things more seriously.

Aside from preparing for our own exit from this side of life, my husband and I are now more conscious about taking care of ourselves.We are not getting any younger! We are given only one life and we have to be good stewards of that precious life that is given to us. I am not afraid of death because it is my entry point to my eternal home with my Heavenly Father. But if I could add a minute to my life here on earth, I would do so and make the most it.

Have you talked with your spouse or loved ones about these things? I know that no matter how we prepare for it, still, it would come hard and difficult but God will surely take care of us when we get there.



For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death. 
Psalm 48:14



September 25, 2011

I Got My Visa To Bangladesh!!!

We have lots of visa issues these days, so when I went to the embassy to apply for a visa to Bangladesh, I prayed really hard. More so when I went back to collect my visa. Two applicants before me were denied. I've been wanting to go to this trip so I was so relieved when I got my visa.  I'm looking forward to this trip.

My dear friend was invited to be the main speaker in a Women's Conference in one province in Bangladesh. She invited me to go with her and she gave me one topic to share. I'm excited. It's my first time to be in Bangladesh. I'm eager to see this green country,  new friends, and appreciate the culture. This is another opportunity to learn and to trust God for the unknown.

I did my research as part of my preparation, and would like to share some details with you.

The People's Republic of Bangladesh lies in a corner of South Asia and in the eastern part of the ancient region of Bengal. The nation's name literally means "The Country of Bengal." Lying north of the Bay of Bengal, where the world's largest river delta meets the sea, it borders India to the west, north, and east and Myanmar to the southeast. Its population, which is approaching 150 million, is seventh highest in the world but is packed into an area the size of Iowa.*
 I'm amazed to know how large the population in Bangladesh and how small the country is. But I'm more amazed to know that despite the congestion, the country even takes in thousand of refugees, and the local people are fine with it.

Bangladesh could serve as a model, especially for its neighbors, for how people can live closely together and remain congenial. Though it is largely Muslim, the country has a sizable number of Hindus and other minorities. But one rarely hears of sectarian strife in Bangladesh. The country even takes in thousands of foreign refugees on its already crowded soil and the world never hears of any problems or complaints with the situation.*
For now, I'm sharing to you information from another source but I will definitely share more from my own experience and observation once I get there.

*   http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Bangladesh


  I'm linking this post to:
Green Monday                           Ruby Tuesday

September 18, 2011

God's Word..Like Abundant Rain On Tender Plants


I woke up with much hunger of God's Word this morning. I listened to the audio Bible. I chose the Book of John. It's the first Book of the Bible that I read  when I became a Christian. Listening to the whole book again refreshes my soul just like the first time it did many years back then.



September 17, 2011

Another Opportunity to Show Love

October is coming and public schools in Thailand will be closed for a month. It's school holiday once again and it will be a good business for those who are running tutorial programs or any kind of extra curricular activities. It would be an exciting time for children of families who can afford to pay. 
Happy Community Foundation wants everyone happy so it will offer Reading, Writing and Craft classes FOR FREE to children who would be staying at home in October. We don't only want them to get busy and productive but we also want them to feel loved and important.
We would like to invite you to sponsor one of our classes. With the help you will send, we would be able to buy materials needed for our class. Please email us at hcf.bkk@gmail.com. 
Also, if you are interested in becoming our permanent sponsor/advertiser, we can advertise your site or product in our official website. More details here.


September 3, 2011

Stop, Look, and Listen

With the rise of technology, life should have been simpler, but it's not. The more we have push-button gadgets to serve us well, the busier we become.

These days,  I always find myself beating deadlines and running behind schedules, and at the end of the day I would crash tired on my bed.
Me, and my dh on the other side.

I'm glad that last weekend, the whole family, along with our friends, decided to have a day at the park. We dropped our regular routine and went to do something new. We exercised for 2 hours, chatted and enjoyed our packed lunch. Then we had the rest of the time strolling and enjoying one another's company and the gift of nature.



Surely, our homeschoolers needed some down time, too. 


So I had my time to stop for a while, look around, and listen to my heart.


"Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit", says the Lord. 
Zechariah 4:6



August 21, 2011

This is How Father Feeds the Birds in My Garden

 
I would have been sad to see the pomegranate in my garden last season had I not understood the ways of the Lord.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
 yet your heavenly Father feeds them. 
Are you not more valuable than they?
(Matthew 6:26)



Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
Yet no one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.
(Matthew 10:29)



Linking  this post to:




August 19, 2011

My Parents' Garden


My father is a serious gardener and he collects exotic seeds from other countries and germinate them in his nursery to be planted to the city's parks and grounds. He works for the city's Natural Resource and Environment Office. As soon as the cock crows, he's already in his garden. 
My Pa in his garden at sunrise when I last visited them in my homecountry. 
My father is more into fruit trees and decorative trees. He has more than 20 varieties of fruit trees in his garden. Neighbors are blessed to come and enjoy the fruits for free.

Pomelo in my Pa's garden. Ma is standing in front the house.
Durian, chesnuts, avocado, marang, rambutan, lychee, etc. He's got them all in his garden and always bearing in each season but almost all-year round they get to enjoy the sweet pomelo. 

The most delicious variety of avocado.
When I was there last June, I enjoyed the most delicious avocado. They're big and very rich.

My Ma is into flowers. She likes her house surrounded with blooms. Below is the collage of photos I took when I visited my parents. 


I'm glad I am a gardener like them.


Faith sees a beautiful blossom in a bulb, a lovely garden in a seed, 
a giant oak in an acorn.
(William Arthur Ward)




This is my entry to the beautiful meme hosted by Lori.
Plans4You


to the cool meme called Green Monday.

August 13, 2011

Freshness From the Local Market and From My Garden

Saturday is market day for me and my dear husband. We take 3 of this bag to carry all fresh produce home from the local market nearest us. It's a lot cheaper to buy from the market than from the grocery shops. There are many choices, too. Aside from that, it's a good way of helping the local farmers and sellers.


One good thing about living in this big city is that we get to have access to affordable fresh produce from the nearby provinces. I've live in many cities and this city has the cheapest local market (excluding the ones in China).

One can't get this freshness from the freezers of big supermarkets.

Once they get to the air-conditioned shelves, their prices are doubled.
Don't you love these greens?

Speaking of green, I would like to show you my little compost bucket that made my vegetable garden green.
It's usually used as a garbage bin but we made holes around the sides and made it our compost bin. Two weeks ago I cultivated my vegetable garden and added compost soil on top. In just couple of days, I saw how the leaves of my plants have become healthier. Here are some snapshots from 2 weeks ago.

Mongo beans, mint, lemon grass, spinach, grape vine and a yellow flower.
These are just few of what I have in my little garden. Each time I serve freshness on the table, especially the ones from my own garden, a sense of accomplishment is my worth reward. I'm sure it's more for those who are real farmers, dont' you think so?

Fresh basil straight from our garden to our table...made our lunch more delicious.


Wise words bring many benefits, and hard work brings rewards.
Proverbs 12:14

This is my entry to the beautiful meme hosted by Lori.
Plans4You

and to the newest meme called Monday Green.

August 10, 2011

Sowing Seeds

I'm a gardener and in my garden blog you will see all the plants and flowers I grow in my garden. But I also have another garden that I tend....and this is even closer to my heart than the one in my own yard.
 
Our charity foundation has a little community library. 
 
On one side of  the wall you see a tree. This tree is a reminder that in our community service, we are growing trees. So it takes time to see the fruit of our labor but the result is long lasting and even beyond our lifetime. 
 
We also call this corner the friendship garden. For the children, this serves as a reminder that they are important to us and that they all belong to a community. 
 
The children we serve come from different background - Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus. In our library and in the classroom, they become one happy community. 
Would you like to help tend this garden? 

There are many ways you can do that would mean a lot to a life of a child and to the community he/she lives in but for now we would like to invite you to join us by putting one of these badges   on your blog. We need to spread the word for we can't do this alone. We need you to help us in making a difference in the lives of these children.
Copy and paste the picture in your blog linking to www.happycommunityfoundation.com
Our special thanks to the Santos Family for hosting a penny auction and donated the proceeds  to Happy Community Foundation. Read the full story here and you will be blessed to see how children are helping children from across the continent.