It Was The Best of Times… It Was The Worst of Times… It’s Life.

As 2017 comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect back to the last few years of my life and how far I have come from the worst of times to the best of times. Those of you who have been following my blog for some time, have witnessed my struggles and celebrations. Thank you for your support and kindness.

The Best of Times…

Four years ago, just when I thought life would give me a break, I fractured my left ankle during the first day of my 7 day Hawaiian vacation. It wasn’t exactly the break I was looking for. At the time, all I could see were regrets and pain. If only, I wasn’t so eager to chase after that turtle! If only I wasn’t so clumsy… if only I didn’t take that step… If only… Oh the regrets that occupied my mind…

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That step took me down a hole so deep that I thought I would never be able to climb out. But somehow, I did. As terrible as that step was for me, I realized; I would not be where I am today had I not taken that slippery step. The broken and painful step took me on the path of living a purposeful life — where I can use my life experience to help other people who are still stuck in their own deep holes to see a way out. The job affords me the opportunity to live the independent life I had lost so many year ago.

For my 52nd birthday last month, I went back to Hawaii to celebrate my independence.

IMG_3426_resizedI finally fulfilled my dream to swim with the turtle after three years of waiting.

DSC_8226I rediscovered love with me, myself and I.  And found myself at the end of the rainbow.

IMG_1508Life Lessons learned: Things happen for a reason, good or bad. No regrets. Learn from it and move on. Have faith. The right opportunity will show up when you are ready to receive it. You never know where that next step will take you.

The Worst of Times…

After I got back from Hawaii, a very difficult decision was waiting for me to make. My beloved Max was having hard time walking. I took him to the vet and was given the bad news that cancerous tumors have invaded his entire body. I could prolong his life for a few months with surgery and chemo. Given the fact, Max was 12 years old; I decided to help him live the rest of his life as comfortably as possible. And hoping, maybe… by some miracle that he would get better on his own. Unfortunately, after a couple of weeks; I knew I was only being selfish keeping him. I did the inevitable and took him to the vet for his final check-up.

Now that he’s gone, I realized I took him for granted. Maximus Minumus, a true friend and companion who never complained, never hurt me or anyone, was always ready to play and most of all give unconditional love.

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DSC_8238This photo was taken two hours before I took him to the vet. Even to the end, he was ready to play; even if all he could do was to sit there and enjoy the the moment.

Life lessons I learned from Max:  Live life in the moment. Accept the good and the bad. Enjoy what you have. Give love and kindness even if the person doesn’t deserve it. Smile even when you hurt. Don’t complain. It’s Life.

May All Beings Be Happy and Peaceful… Happy New Year.

 

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My Daily Commute

Hello fellow bloggers! I can’t believe it has been over two years years since my last post. Many events have taken place in that time and I’m happy to say, mostly good. It has been a long and winding road but I finally found the way out of the detour and on to the right path… there were dark moments where I had my doubts that I would ever find my way out; it was also during those moments that I found myself, and the courage and strength,  I would need to take me back to the purposeful life I’ve been praying to God for.

In the last couple of years, I’ve been given the opportunity to have a purposeful job that allows me the financial independence I’ve lacked for so long… while the daily train commute is long, it gives me time to enjoy the beautiful passing views. These shots were taken with my Samsung tablet on auto setting.

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Thirty Days of Changes…

It’s hard to believe that it has only been thirty days since I left my old life behind to seek a new one… facing the unknown head on. I didn’t really know what life was going to be like in my new home. While I am very happy with my new hometown, I certainly wasn’t expecting the emotional adjustments I went through in the last month.  I have to admit… for the first couple of weeks, I felt like a fish out of water. All of a sudden, I went from the fast pace, urban life full of glass tower buildings, congested cars and people to a small town life that is much slower, no traffic jam to speak of and at least half million fewer people to deal with.  I find myself having to readjust my speed constantly both on the road and with the residents. And what really surprised me was that; I never thought that giving up my Washington State driver’s license and the plates on my car would bring tears of sadness and abandonment.  I think the reason being that it really represented the end of my old life… the familiarity of what I had known for the last 21 years. I guess that’s what they mean by being stuck in your comfort zone… you just get used to it, even if the zone isn’t exactly comforting. After taking some time to readjust myself, I finally took out my camera yesterday and went for a walk at a lake about 10 minutes from home. Here are some shots I took of the lake and its surrounding trails.

The rock formation in my hometown is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. Most of  the lake is surrounded by these giant boulder hills, with various type of trees and vegetation.

As I was exploring around the lake, I came upon an area where I could hear the loud singing of birds. I followed the wonderful sounds to a patch of dried grass and to my amazement, there were a large flock of birds. It was a fantastic sight to see so many birds all in one place. Of course, they were all hanging out on the other side, just out of my lens range for a closer shot. As quietly as I could, I tried to sneak closer…

Of course, the birds knew what I was up to and before I could even get half away… they all took off at once. But… at least I was quick enough with my camera to capture their take off.

This is definitely going to be a wonderful new playground for me. It will be interesting to see what changes each new season will bring…

Creative Reflections in The Pond

Finally there was a break from the rainy weather yesterday. I wished for the sun but after days of gray, rainy weather; I was very happy to settled for a cloudy day. At least I can get out and shoot some fall colors. We took a road trip to Big Four mountain or also known as Big Four Ice Caves. I have never been there before so I was excited by the prospect of taking pictures of ice caves. The trip was short. It took about an hour to get there from my house. As I stood in front of the majestic looking mountain peaks, I felt very grateful to be able to experience such beauty.

The elevation of the mountain is about 6,135 ft (1,870 m) and the ice caves are easily accessible with a short hike through the dense forest on a very well maintained trail.

On the way to the ice caves, I came a cross a nice little pond with the mountain reflection. I took a few shots. Unfortunately, the clouds were thick so the lighting condition wasn’t the best for getting the bright fall colors I was looking for.

I didn’t like the dark clouds in the water. And decided to zoom in and use longer exposure to brighten the water.

The result was better but overall, I still find the scene rather boring looking. So… I zoom in some more… all the way up to the maximum of the lens — which is 250mm. And when I looked into the view finder — something clicked in my creative brain. I was very excited by what I saw.  The reflections from the vegetation and tree branches created an amazing array of colors, textures, and details. I knew this was the kind of shots that would get my creativity working.




As I was busy composing, I saw a trout jumped out of the water causing ripples to form. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough to shoot the fish jumping but very glad the ripples changed the stillness of the water. I love the painterly feel the ripples created.

It took me over an hour to make the 1 mile hike to the ice caves. Hey… there were a lot of distractions along the way. And yes, I did take photos of the ice caves — but since it was too dangerous to go into the caves — the photos from the outside wasn’t too impressive. A black hole covered with dirty snow is about as attractive as the yellow snow. 😉

Life have a way of creating opportunities when you least expect it. I certainly enjoyed the creative reflections in the pond. 🙂

Architectural Reflections

Seattle, Washington