Monday, August 29, 2011

For My Mom

Never more these floors her feet will grace.
Never more I'll greet her smiling face.
Never more she'll say "Well let's just pray".
Never more I'll tell her of my day.

Days go by, then months, now soon a year.
Not a day I don't wish she was here.

Jesus whispers to my soul "Be still."
"Twas time that she came home, it was My will."
Angry, lonely, scared, I fight His word.
"Perhaps", I think, "that isn't what I heard."

Deep inside I want to cry and rage.
Alone. Not on some type of stage.
God! Can you not see me? Don't you care?
Don't you know I need her here, not there?

If I could have her back for just one day
what is it I would want the most to say?

I'd say, of course, I love her. But what then?
What about my kids, now eight and ten?
What of all their days would I first share?
Would I say her loss I cannot bear?

But no! A day would never be enough!
I'd waste it, as before, and speak of fluff.

I need to have her here each time I cry.
I need her wisdom when I wonder "why?"
I need her understanding, miss her voice.
And yet, as days go by, I have no choice.

I must go on without her. I must try.
I'll give myself some time to sit and cry.
I have no answers, nothing yet but doubt
that I can rise above this, work it out.

Perhaps it helps to take up pad and pen.
I'll write my Mom a letter now and then.
I'll tell her all the things I long to say;
and maybe, when I put the pen away
I'll send the note to heaven with a kiss;
though yet her smile and voice I'll always miss.

Lotus Ponds

The kids and I had been home in the States just a few days when I suddenly remembered the lotus ponds at the Taipei Botanical Garden were supposed to be in bloom. My friend Sandra had told me they bloom in June and July. July was almost over so I rushed us out the door - I did not want to miss this!

Before we get to pictures of the actual flowers, I want to try to give some perspective on how large the plants and flowers are.

And I'm throwing this picture in just because. Because he doesn't like his picture taken, because I love taking his picture, because there are 3 pictures of his sister AND because if you look at the picture full screen you can actually see sweat under his eyes! It was a HOT day. HOT!!!!
I almost (almost!) like the flowers better after the petals fall off. I think the part that remains is so cool!

I even thought the decomposing leaves were pretty.
But of course, the piece de resistance is the flower.

I am a little amazed by the fact that this beautiful garden is set within the heart of Taipei. It is sort of a hidden gem. Sandra told me there are seldom any tourists there. The park is really tucked away and I don't know if you would see it if you were just passing by. My guess is that is purposeful on the part of the people of Taipei - maybe not, but I can imagine them wanting to keep this island of serenity for themselves.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Eluanbi Lighthouse

Perhaps you already know that Taiwan was formerly called Formosa. I didn't know that until I was moving here. Formosa means "beautiful island". Living daily in the grit that is Taipei, I often forget that this truly is a beautiful island. So it was good to get away from the city and see some of the beauty.

We attend church with a fascinating 92 year old Chinese gentleman. He was captain of a ship in his younger days, speaks perfect English, carries himself with dignity and is always smiling. When Eric told Mr. Dawson that we were taking a trip to Kenting, Mr. Dawson said we should not miss the lighthouse. And because it was Mr. Dawson who said so, we were sure to make the trek.

The grounds surrounding the lighthouse are superbly manicured, and the vistas are spectacular.
I think I should use this picture for our Christmas cards, although now that I'm putting it here perhaps everyone who gets a card from me will already have seen the picture.

On the trail up TO the lighthouse there were several vendors selling trinkets. I was a little disappointed in that as I thought they rather spoiled the serene beauty of the place. Interestingly, on the way down the vendors were gone. I don't know if they were chased out or if, more likely, it had simply become too hot for them.
While us Americans took pictures of each other in very stiff poses, the Taiwanese had more fun with their pictures.
The lighthouse must have been a military fortress at one time. The surrounding wall was full of these openings (are they called gun turrets? I cannot remember!!) I tried and tried and tried to take a picture through the opening to the beautiful ocean beyond. But because I do not know how to set my camera manually I was completely unsuccessful.

(This is why I am hoping to take a photography class. I was all prepared to sign up for Karen Russell's online class but, due to the time difference and my forgetfulness, I blew the sign up deadline. Her classes fill up in about 2 minutes!)

I assume this was housing for the men who manned the guns at the lighthouse. They were not open to tour, but I think they are pretty.

I thought this staircase was interesting. For quick escape?
And I love, love, LOVED these arches and their view to the sea. Wouldn't this be a spectacular backdrop for wedding or graduation photos? Or if I could paint, I would paint this scene. Just beautiful.

I will leave you with one last beautiful scene. The mountains in the background are beautiful. We thought the one was rather funny - it went to a perfect peak, just the way a child would draw it!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Kenting Vacation

Here are some of my photos from our recent trip to Kenting, Taiwan. First, my two favorites:
The water looks pretty dirty. I am not sure if it was or if the waves were just churning up a lot of sand. I prefer to think it was the churning. I think there is a strong chance that was the case, as the beach was actually closed to swimming this day due to a strong undercurrent.
There were hammocks strung up along the beach. One night after sunset everyone in both of our families (our and our friends) lazed in the hammocks. That was one of the most wonderful parts of our vacation for me. At one point Anna laid with me in a hammock and told me about how much she loved her family and why. It was a special time.
Though several years apart in age, Anna and our friend's daughter seem to be very much alike in personalities and interests. They both loved playing in the sand and waves.

The obligatory crashing waves picture:
I think the only pictures I have left to share are those from the lighthouse. After that I will be out of pictures to share! (Unless I post some more flower pictures. I generally have lots of those!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Three P's

Here's a look at what I've been doing lately:

Partying -

Painting -


(...and after)

and parting (no "y"). The kids started school last week.

Oh and, by the way, can I just say I really love my daughter's shoes?

I want them! She's not quite to my size yet, but soon.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Old Man and the Sea

While the kids and I were in the States, Eric fulfilled a long-held dream of being certified for scuba-diving. He did it with a friend whose family was also in the States. Anxious to put their new training to use, the men planned a vacation for our families wherein they could dive and we could play at a beach. So about a week after I returned we set out for Southern Taiwan. Kenting, to be exact.

We did spend a lot of time playing at the beach and I will post beach pictures soon. But we also went on one little adventure and I decided to start with that because it seems I go from beach to beach to beach and I want to show that I don't JUST sit on beaches.

We set out for a lighthouse. (I am also not showing those pictures today.) On the path toward the lighthouse there was a sign that said "Path to Beach". No, we did not go to another beach instead of the lighthouse! But we did take the path AFTER seeing the lighthouse. The path led through the jungle that is everywhere in Taiwan.

When the jungle gave way to beach this is the scene that greeted us:

Very beautiful, don't you think? This was not my typical sandy beach. Some of our party decided this was lava rock. It was full of sharp edges once you got out a little ways.

Between the jungle and the sharp edges my boy let me take his picture.

As I took pictures the others scampered on ahead of me.

I tried to keep up, in between taking pictures, but the scampering became more difficult due to the jagged edges, the fact that I was wearing fashionable sandals which were not meant for rock climbing. and the fact that I was trying to protect my camera.

Our friends little girl was having a bit of trouble scampering with the crowd too, and so her Daddy came back to help her. So sweet...

As the others scampered ahead of me they found all sorts of interesting things. My daughter spotted a Lion Fish in a small pool of water and everyone excitedly gathered around to see it. I had never even heard of a Lion Fish before but everyone else seemed to know what it was. I wanted to see it but (ahem) no one came to help ME down the rocks!

Eventually I did make it to the pool and I did see the Lion Fish very briefly before it disappeared into a rock. Sorry, no picture of the fish, just the pool.

And by the time I got to the pool everyone else was on to other adventures. I hung around the pool hoping the fish would reappear and taking a few pictures.

Meanwhile, the others found an old fisherman working away. You cannot see it, but behind this rock there was another pool of water. As the man caught fish he would carry them to this pool where he left them. I imagine at the end of his day he gathered all of the fish from the pool and took them home or to a market.

The man didn't seem to mind that all of the foreigners were congregating around his catch. In fact he held some of the fish up for them to see. I'm told they had very sharp teeth.

I never did make it to that pool. I was willing to make the journey, but it was blasting hot that day and after their visit with the fisherman everyone decided they needed to get out of the heat. It was a wise decision. The return trip was uphill and I honestly didn't know if I was going to make it. Hot, hot, hot! But worth it. It was a fun adventure.