Tag Archives: reflections

Nooks, Holes, Cracks, and Crannies

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The cracks define the path.

“Sculpture is the art of the hole and the lump.”  Auguste Rodin

Last night I found myself at a funeral, where a thick carpet of grass lay on the platform under the casket.  Tempted to take off my shoes and enjoy the grass between my toes, I actually felt the casket inviting me to visit.

When life is too busy, I walk past the outlines that form the beauty of the day.  I fail to notice the cracks and crevices filled with their carefully selected grout.  I’ve grown accustomed to the beggar needing a piece of bread and the downcast face of a colleague.  The things in life that invite me to experience real joy go unnoticed.

Jesus shows me a life of real contrast.  Even when pressed in by the crowds, he noticed the touch of a woman with great faith.  He stopped to converse with a small man sitting in a tree.  He heard the cry of a blind man begging for sight.  Of all people who could have been too busy to notice, his example calls me to a different kind of lifestyle.

Today, I hope to consider the nooks, holes, cracks, and crannies.  I hope to notice those things put in front of me rather than passing them by.  I hope I’m reminded that life is brief and that a layer of grass is inviting me home.

Like the grass under the casket, it’s the small details in life that create the big picture.  What’s in the cracks and crevices outlines the events that invite me to involve myself more deeply in life.  As Rodin shapes the clay with its holes and lumps, my life should be the same–a work of art shaped by the master artist.

Day 365: Mission Accomplished! Looking Back At PostADay 2011 Challenge

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This has been an amazing challenge! Thanks for joining me!

“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.’ John Wooden

With a great sigh of relief, I’m posting my 365th post this year!  I’ve imagined this day many times.

In mid-January, I was ready to quit posting when WordPress spurred me onward.  They highlighted my blog so that I gained new friends and followers.  My audience is not large, but they are patient and encouraging.  Knowing that someone reads my daily posts keeps me writing.

Setting goals makes life fun, but knowing what goals to set is most difficult.

Here are my reflections (as suggested by WordPress) of completing these 365 days and my reasons for doing it:

  • Why did you start the Post a Day/Week Challenge?  I was looking for a challenge last December when I happened upon the daily challenge by WordPress.  They suggested we get a blog (which I didn’t yet have) and tell the world that we would be posting every day.  That’s how I started.  I told the world that I was starting what I have found to be a very long, but exciting, challenge.
  • Describe the state of your blog at the time you started the challenge.  As I mentioned, I had never created a blog but did have a website when I began the challenge.  I didn’t even understand posting at the time.
  • How did your blog evolve over the course of the challenge? Initially, I wanted my followers to join me in creating something every day.  I tried to challenge the readers to do an activity with me.  Over time, I simply posted about things I had noticed with my camera or during the day’s activities.
  • Did you post as often as you had hoped? Why or why not?  Yes, I posted every day.  On a few occasions, I posted something very simple because of my schedule that day.  Generally, I tried to write a post that connected something tangible with something intangible.
  • What type of blogging strategy works best for you?  I fell into a pattern which helped.  I would first look at a picture and choose my topic.  Then, I would search for a quote about the topic and include it in my post.  From there, I could compare my topic with my thoughts.  I often looked for related links to put into the post.
  • If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently? I’m sure my first few posts would be more in line with my other posts.  As it stands, I’m happy with how it went and wouldn’t change it.
  • What are you most proud of accomplishing this year?  I’ve met some great people this year.  I’ve learned to post, and I’ve enjoyed other blogs.  Finally, I completed this daily task all year long.
  • Name 3 great blogs you discovered through the challenge.  I have enjoyed Fruitful Words, Julia’s Place, and Savoring Today.  I felt especially connected to Susan and Julia.  We’ve befriended one another during this process.
  • What surprised you about the challenge?  I found that this daily post made me look more closely at my day-to-day activities.  I started taking pictures of interesting things, and I noticed more of the little details I often overlook.
  • What advice would you give to others who want to blog regularly?  I highly suggest the PostADay initially.  If you can make yourself commit to that long length of time, it will change your daily thinking pattern and make you more vulnerable.
  • What are your blogging goals for 2012?  Basically, I have no blogging goals this year since I thoroughly blitzed myself out in 2011.  I’m in the process of putting together a BrainCaviar for Educators site.  It’s just starting up.  I will not commit to posting daily, but will post at my own pace.

Now, I must thank many of you!

  • Thank you Julia, Ruth, Susan, Cooky, and Brad for being my top commenters this year.
  • Thank you to those who have “followed” my posts.  It made the journey worthwhile knowing that someone was reading!
  • Thank you family for putting up with me during this crazy year when I would have to rush home to finish my post of the day on many occasions!
  • Thank you to the readers who put up with my ramblings and who laughed with me all year long!
  • Thank you  WordPress.  You supported me daily, sent weekly photo challenges (which helped a lot), gave me this free place to post my thoughts, and connected me to a wonderful blogging community.

If you’ve stopped in this year at BrainCaviar, please leave a comment!  I appreciate each one!

Goodbye to this PostADay 2011 Challenge!  I promise never to take another one, but I will pop in at BrainCaviar from time to time and share my latest thoughts…just not every day!

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

Day 348: 3 R’s To Stay Charged Up

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Staying charged is not as easy when you have to borrow someone's plug.

“Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.” Paul Cezanne

For awhile now, my MacBook cord has been slowly severing.  I was down to having a few strands of connective wire. I began to need several hours to recharge it, and it hit me that perhaps my three-year protection plan was almost out.  So I took it to The Apple Store.  The word is still out on whether or not it is covered by my $250 plan, which incidentally was due to expire the very day I brought it to be serviced.  (Lucky me.. we hope.)

Now, my computer says I’ve 3% charge time left, which means that I’ll need to attach my daughter’s plug before I finish this sentence.  There– I made it, and now I’m reconnected at 1%.

This made me think about life in general.  I’m in a state of needing to be recharged.  The warranty is coming up soon, and if I don’t get it fixed in time, there will be repercussions.  Christmas can be a great season to recharge if we choose not to  overextend ourselves.

Here are 3 R’s needed to avoid power problems:

1. Rest – In addition to the busy Christmas season, I tried to do an on-line registration at a University in the States.  Something went wrong, and instead of saving $50 for registration, I’m short sleep after getting up to try the conference call which was at mid-night our time.  That’s how life is sometimes.  We know that sleeping helps us stay charged up, but sometimes things happen.

2. Relaxation – We have a couple who comes down and takes us to a foot massage ever so often.  It is not my thing to do, but when we finish, I do feel relaxed.  My perfect day of relaxation would be a day to stay in my pajamas all day, drink coffee, read a good book, and use the computer.  Every now and again, we need time to relax in order to recharge.

3. Renewal – Every year, I like to think through last year’s achievements and determine what I should do in the new year.  The best scenario would include time to think, to pray, to read the Bible, and to plan.  I like to end the year making new goals.  Renewing my MacBook contract would be great though not possible, but renewing ourselves is much more important.

Are you experiencing a power shortage?  If so, please take some time to get your electrical charge flowing again.

This River We Call Life

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Life on the river marches on.

“Here, on the river’s verge, I could be busy for months without changing my place, simply leaning a little more to right or left.” Paul Cezanne

From time to time, we use the river taxi to travel from the political district in Bangkok.  On most auspicious occasions, it’s the best way  to avoid a heavy traffic jam.

Catching a glimpse of daily life there seems almost intrusive as I observe people carrying out daily routines.  They’ve become accustomed to onlookers and don’t seem to let it bother them.

It reminds me that I do quite the same.  Without changing a lot around me, I might get involved with a project that keeps me afloat but has little impact on my world.

Here are a few ways to get more involved in this river we call life:

1. Make an effort to improve someone else’s world. Yesterday, a very poor lady came to me.  I was expecting her to ask for something, and I found myself putting up a shield.  Actually, she was just a sweet little lady wanting to talk, but this encounter told me something about myself.  Deep down, I don’t want to be bothered by other people, and that is very wrong.  If I am unwilling to be put out a bit to help others, I’m never going to make a positive impact.

2. Spend less time on the facade and more time on the inside.  When we went to visit Macau, we found a beautiful road that led to a facade.  It was the perfect place to make pictures.  Unfortunately, meeting the people of the country told us something very different.  Wherever we went, we found the people rude.  Maybe it was just a fluke, but we could not wait to get back to Hong Kong and have never returned to Macau.  Some places on the river are also inviting.  Yet, the up close version doesn’t always play out.  As a rule, it’s best that we spend time improving our insides.  The outside is bound to shine brighter as the inside grows more beautiful.

3. Do everything with gusto.  Inevitably, we see someone splashing around in the river having fun.  The river is there to be enjoyed, and I tend to smile when I see someone laughing on its banks.  The river we ride continues to change.  It’s our job to take advantage of each unique moment.

Cezanne spent a lot of time painting apples, but his depiction of the river is also quite beautiful.  Though we have our daily chores, like painting apples, we can also show others a more beautiful view of this river we call life.

What are your impressions of the river?

Day 330: All Dressed Up And Ready To Go

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...all dressed up and ready to go.....

“Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The week before my wedding, my husband took me to see Snow White at the cinema along with what seemed like hundreds of little children.  I felt a little out of place, but I relished in his romantic efforts. He still spoils me regularly with the girly things I love like teacups, pearls, flowers, and lace.

Developing a love relationship is a life-long effort well-worth the investment.  Choosing well is the first step, but the real fun starts after that.

Whether married or not, we each live better lives when we develop deep friendships.

Enjoy the sentimental.  Sometimes I think about the gushy things and feel embarrassed to say them.  When the moment passes, the other person does not get the benefit.  The words were free, and yet I chose to be stingy with them.  Why not choose a different approach? Let’s don’t let a good thought linger in our minds.  Why not spit it out quickly on a letter, an email, or out loud?

Go overboard.  Yes, it’s lavish to send flowers, to buy candy, and to spray perfume.  So, let’s do it.  Romance and friendships stay alive when we make efforts to keep them vibrant.

Think of reasons to dress up.  Whether for a wedding, a cup of tea, or just for fun, we need to think of reasons to celebrate.  I love seeing my husband in a nice suit.  He’s handsome, and I like dressing up and being his girl.

I’d love to stay and chat, but today I’m dressed up and ready to go!

When is the last time you romanced someone?

Day 326: How To Prepare For The Unexpected

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An overabundance of sandbags in case of flooding...

“One cannot plan for the unexpected.” Aaron Klug

It’s important to plan when we are forewarned that disaster might come but unfortunate when we invest too much time and energy toward things that never happen.

The flood has been a learning experience for all.  Those who were struck worse by it, might say that no amount of planning was enough.  Having moved everything to higher grounds, some were still unable to recover much of their belongings.  Yet, many  invested both time and money and did not encounter floods.

How should we prepare for the unexpected?

The unexpected can be tragic.  My friend’s husband died unexpectedly last year.  He was a heart surgeon who kept himself healthy.  He even died while exercising.  It came as a shock to all.  At the funeral, many were standing because he had saved their lives.  Ironically, they were speaking at his funeral.

The unexpected can be fantastic.  Another friend came as a single missionary using her medical expertise.  She unexpectedly met her husband, a doctor, in the process.  She had not prepared for it, but this unplanned occasion was welcomed.

Unexpected things can be good or bad.  We can plan for the unexpected, but we don’t want to be left with a sand pile that was never needed.

I suppose the best way to prepare is to remember that when everything has passed away, these three remain–faith, hope, and love.  If we invest in these three areas, we’ll have planned well.