Day 362: A Place For Everyone – Lumpini Park, Bangkok

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Find your place at Lumpini Park.

“When I’m old I shall give up writing the big stuff and shall wander round the park thinking of songs.” George Lloyd

We’re pulling out the socks and hot chocolate today in Bangkok.  It’s cloudy with a chance of rain at a frigid 70 degrees, which is quite cold for our city.  Believe it or not, you’ll find all of the street dogs sporting winter clothes and people wearing long sleeves or jackets.  In a tropical city, it’s our cold season which brings on some special events at our fabulous public arena, Lumpini Park.

Whether you prefer running, walking at a hefty pace, sitting for a leisurely picnic, or joining the ranks of one of many exercise groups, you’ll find your place at Lumpini.  I love that people of all levels of society join together for public fun.

On Christmas night in Lumpini, we had the pleasure of hearing the free concert by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra.  For 30 Baht (around $1) we rented a family mat, sat with our books, and awaited the concert.  In a crowd of about 2,000 we enjoyed the music–or mostly so–since the two men beside us chatted rudely throughout the concert.  We were on the outskirts and therefore also endured the booming music from the nearby aerobics class of about 250 people oblivious to the outstanding concert.

That’s how it is in Lumpini.  So many varieties of events happen at once that one just bumps right into the next.  To enjoy this plethora of activities, hop on over to Lumpini in the early morning or around 5 in the afternoon when the various groups are getting organized.  I enjoy seeing the senior citizens early in the mornings doing Tai Chi and then sipping hot tea over a morning news chat.

For variety, you’ll have a hard time finding a place more accommodating than Lumpini Park.  What’s your favorite hang-out?

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Day 361: Things Remembered – Things Forgotten

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A sparkling ornament holds a memory to shine or to put away.

“Every man’s memory is his private literature.” Aldous Huxley

Seeing the tiny elves again drew a smile on my face.  I’m not even sure of the memory I associate with it because it has grown in size.  I don’t know where to start thinking back.  With the ornament in my hand, I embrace feelings of hope, joy, and warmth.

A box of Christmas ornaments holds more than decorative pieces.  As we hang each one, a plethora of memories flow through our heads.  The associations are likely different for each person.

Recently, my children shared how they hung ornaments for their grandmother.  The tree was completely weighed down, yet the memories behind the ornaments were important to her.  None could be left in the box.

Today, we will begin taking down the tree.  We’ll keep the ornaments safely in their places.  What sorts of inspiration will they provide for our new year?

Family – Some ornaments remind me of my family and of the close connections we shared.  It reminds me of simple times when we ate cornbread, cream potatoes, and sat together at the table.  Like an ornament, we choose which memories are best to keep and which ones are best to throw away.

Friends – We came across an ornament of our first year of marriage given to us by a special friend.  It reminded me of a different period of life.  How exciting that time when we were working and learning to love each other daily.  We had another set of friends then.  We are still connected with many of these friends.  It made the difficult times easy to forget.

Hopes – Sometimes ornaments remind us of a hope we have lost.  Perhaps we’ve lost the joy that we once held daily.  Ornaments can trigger a memory that can help us change our present.  Bringing back the hope into our lives can be a gift in disguise.

Dreams – As time moves onward, we often abandon dreams which were either foolish or forgotten.  With each ornament, the dreams we wish to shine up and pursue again can be a treasured challenge.  We can also realize our need to abandon a dream for something even better.  Age and wisdom can help us know which to keep and which to discard.

If these ornaments connect our past and present, they are meaningful.  Yet, if we allow an associated memory to propel our future, then we have captured their great value.

What ornament holds special meaning for you?

Day 360: Thank You! Thank You! To You and to You!

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Thank you, Nadie for your nomination!

“He’s my friend that speaks well of me behind my back.” Thomas Fuller

This 365 day challenge has been a wonderful ride.  I’ve learned so much and have met so many wonderful people.  Today, many thanks are in order.

First, I must say thank you to Nadie at Lil Lady…Giant Brain.  She uses her creativity to encourage others, and I appreciate her nomination.

Thank you Photo Poetics for this nomination!

Then, I must also give a warm thanks to Photo Poetics for the nomination for the Liebster Blog.  Hop on over to the blog and enjoy poetry inspired by wonderful photographs.

As part of these awards, I’ll need to tell you some random things about myself!  Here are a few:

  • Travel – I love to travel and have spent two years in South Africa, my growing up years in the United States, and most of my adult life in Thailand.
  • Art – I’ve never had an art class, but I have a great appreciation for artists.
  • Coffee – I’m a coffee lover.  I like it with milk and medium strength.  Coffee is my best friend in the early mornings.
  • Work – I love teaching.  It’s fun to share new ideas with others who get excited about learning too.
  • Student – I’m a perpetual student.  I love reading books that teach me how to do something new.
  • Goals – I like have goals I’m working toward.  It gives me a direction.
  • Projects – Getting projects completed makes me happy.  I like a project that I can finish quickly because for me, I like the finished piece of work.
  • Wife – I have an awesome husband who puts up with my great need to learn and to change.
  • Mom – I have three of the most awesome children I know.  I guess I have to call them adults now.  I’m proud of them.  They are all creative and love dabbling in many projects like I do.
  • Life – I love God and have a passion to share God’s love with people I meet.  Whatever I do, I hope that others know more about God because I’ve helped point them in that direction.

Kreativ Blogger Award Rules:

  • Thank the person who gave you the award
  • Share 10 things about yourself
  • Pass the award to 6 or more bloggers
  • Copy and paste the Kreativ Blogger Award onto your blog
  • Notify the new nominees

Here are my nominees:

Film is Love – Here, you’ll find some amazing photographs!  I always enjoy the unique perspective I find here.

Indulge, Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences – Lesley will take you everywhere doing just about anything.  I don’t think it would be easy to try more things than this young lady has tried.

3rd Culture Children – I relate to this blog since I also have 3rd culture children.  Enjoy the creative touch at this blog.

Savoring Today – I love the recipes and links shared at this creative sight.  I’m not very creative with food so Savoring Today gives me inspiration!

Liebster Blog Award Rules:
  • Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
  • Reveal the five blogs you have chosen and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Copy and paste the award onto your blog.
  • Request that people you have sent the award to forward it on to their favorite bloggers.

Here are my nominees:

Taking the World on With a Smile – I love the way that Karen puts a positive spin on life.  Stop over and visit her blog today.

Healthful Momma – Here’s a fun new blog that reminds me of the early years with my sweet children.  Give Healthful Momma a visit and send a nice comment her way!

Thank you again for your vote of confidence by stopping in this year. May the Lord bless all of you during the holiday season!

With much love here at BrainCaviar,

Claudia

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

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Choose between the middle and the outer biscuits.

“Time is the longest distance between two places.” Tennessee Williams

Biscuits, though close together on the pan, are very different depending on the proximity.  My mother makes the best homemade biscuits, and in return requests the middle biscuit.  She likes its texture, I guess.

I have wonderful memories associated with biscuits.  Christmas with the family will mean biscuits and gravy during some part of the day.

Like biscuits on a pan, families, though very similar in look, surely have differences.   Some are the middle biscuits–soft and mushy.  Others have a kind of outer shell.  They’re harder to break into.

This Christmas, I’m on one continent and my son, my parents, and my sisters are on another.  I’m used to this distance, but It’s not always easy.  Though we are all connected in many ways, there is a great distance between us today.

Merry Christmas to you all.  I miss our time together.

Day 358: Merry Christmas From The Land Of Smiles

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Even the plants are displaying their Christmas colors.

“A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles.” William Hazlitt

Being in Thailand on Christmas is always a highlight.  The weather is nice. The Christmas lights are beautiful, and walking downtown puts a smile on my face.  Here, we get to celebrate with family and friends, and we have a chance to tell the meaning of Christmas to many who want to know.

A few nights ago, we met with a group of friends we call family along with our two daughters.  We missed our son, but it was a cozy time as we each shared what God has done to encourage us this year.

Christmas is not white in Thailand, but I love the tenacity of our Thai brothers and sisters.  We’ve been through a lot together with the severe flooding this year, the Tsunami that came the day after Christmas several years ago, and the political troubles we had last year.  Through it all, the Thai people remain kind, patient, and full of smiles.

Whether we sing near an open fire or with palm trees swaying, we’ll remember the importance of family and friends.  May the Lord speak personally to each of us today as we prepare our hearts for celebrating the coming of the Christ child.

Day 357: Honesty Can Be An Interesting Policy

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Don't expect a lot from the coffee. After all, they share a garden cafe with Starbucks!

“Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” George Burns

There are several signs around town that amuse me.  This one is quite honest.  Basically, if you want coffee, they have it, but it’s not their specialty.

Sometimes I like honesty.  I’ve found it interesting to listen to stories told by different people.  When I was about 30, a friend of mine died, and his wife, a great story-teller, began to give me the details.  Each time she told the story, it was different.  I found myself completely frustrated, because she was still working out how to tell the story in the best light, and I wanted the real facts of how my friend died.

Stories, though believed to be true by the teller, are usually told in one of these ways.

1. An Honest Story – I’m not a great story-teller, probably because I tell them as true to the fact as possible.  Facts are important to me, and I suppose I don’t like hearing a story that leaves me wondering about its truth.  Inspirational true stories, like the story of Helen Keller, tend to motivate me.

2. An Embellished Story – The great story-tellers tend to stretch the truth.  For some, it’s not that they mean to stretch the truth, it’s just that if the story keeps to the heart of the truth, the details don’t matter to them. That’s fine for me, as long as I know it’s embellished–and I usually do.  I’m closely related to a great story-teller, and it works for me when I know how to separate my emotions from the story.  When I listen to these kinds of  stories, I try to think about the purpose.  Often the story-teller wants to play on our emotions in order to help us see our need for change.  If these stories help us to make needed changes, I can agree they are needed “truth” in our lives.

3. An Honestly Detailed Story – Some people cannot tell stories because they give so many details that they have forgotten the story part.  In essence, we never hear the meaningful part of the story because we lost interest when the story-teller and the spouse got into an argument about a detail.  Yet there are times, like when someone dies, that the correctly presented details are very important.  In these cases, the more honestly detailed the story, the more it is appreciated.

So what kind of honesty will it be?  I guess it’s a matter of mood or need.  If we want to hear a heart warming story, we’ll choose a different kind of person than if we’ve been diagnosed with a dreaded disease.  Children instinctively know who to go to for fun and who to go to for truth. Many stories seem to have truth, but the kind of truth we need might change based on our situation.

What kind of honest story do you tell?

Day 356: I Hope You Dance – A Christmas Wish

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In a sea of flowers, we may not notice this beautiful, quickly wilting rose.

“The sharp thorn often produces delicate roses.” Ovid

She finds herself in a hopeless situation.  She asked me, “What can I do?”  The words rang in my brain this morning.  After all, what can she do?  She no longer has parents. She’s overstayed her visa. She can’t work.  She is locked in a temporary prison. This is one of hundreds of people, all with a desperate story.  Yet, she is so fragile–looking sick, frail, and perhaps anorexic.  Who knows how long she will call this existence her life?

As I sit here sipping coffee and eating a slice of pecan pie, I’m trying to make sense of this daily life I lead.  Sure, I get to rub noses with people who have real problems, but what is this hope I have to offer them?

In Luke 2:6, we read how Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem to be taxed.  He traveled this route because he was fulfilling his right as a citizen of his country.  Yet, more than a thousand years before the birth of Jesus, it had been foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.  Joseph may have questioned God about why he was to travel all of this distance when it was time for the birth of the baby– as he probably didn’t know about the foretelling of the birth.  Yet, it wasn’t necessary.  In this story, we can see clearly that God’s divine appointments happen in His time, as a result of what we might call circumstances.  The bottom line is that He knows them all and well in advance.

Since God cared so deeply about the place where Jesus should be born, doesn’t it make sense that He also cares that each of these people I met are in a seemingly hopeless situation?  Does He hear their prayers and answer them?

Yesterday, I met a delicate rose.  It seems she is wilting quickly.  My prayer for her this Christmas is that somehow she will dance in the hope of a living God.  I believe He cares that she is far away from her home in a situation that I deem as hopeless.

Is it possible that He has a purpose in her long distance travel?