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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Photographers Make Lousy Companions

On the way home from our recent road trip to the Big Four Ice Caves, Jean Yves told me he felt alone and neglected. Even though we go on the road trips together but when we arrive at our destination, he always end up having to babysit the furry kids and I’m usually off somewhere else with my camera. I know… I have to admit he’s right. And I have to say he has been quite supportive about my photography addiction and never really complain much… I do spend most of the time exploring on my own with the camera when we are out and about. While I do try to make time to be with him and the furry kids — oftentimes, the addiction to my camera is just too overpowering. It’s so hard for me to not to see something I want to photograph. And yet, it’s difficult for me to concentrate when he waits for me. I do my best work when I’m alone.

As always, we started out walking together and then… as soon as we got to the pond, I took out the tripod. Knowing the routine, Jean Yves and the furry kids went on ahead to see the ice caves. I told him I would take a few pictures and then catch up with them. Of course… as usual… easier said then done. It took me over an hour to walk the short 1 mile trail to the ice caves.  There were so many beautiful and interesting things beckon me to photograph them:

Thick rainforest filled with tall, moss covered trees.

Tiny mushrooms with interesting textures, details and colors.

Cloud covered mountain peaks with water falls.

Finally when I made it to the ice caves, we did explore the area and enjoyed the beautiful scenery together.

I had the intention of walking back with them but… the views going back looks different. With out a word, Jean Yves and the furry kids — once again, headed off with me trailing behind.

YES!  I admit, I make a lousy companion when I have my camera with me. But… I have a feeling I am not alone in this predicament with our domestic partner. 😉

A Bump In The Road

Looks like I hit another bump
In this long and winding road
The view is still ugly
And not very friendly

I am so tired
I’ve lost all desire
Wishing for my destination
So I can see salvation

Guess this is a sign
I need to pull aside
And take a good look
At the mistakes I took

I have fought for my share
It’s only fair I ignore the stare
And follow my heart
To continue where I start

Not sure how to proceed
Though I do believe
With certainty
My heart will lead the way
To better days

The Mask We Wear

The mask we wear to show the world and yet it is so different from the one we really feel when it comes off. As we all struggle to find our place in life and live with the mistakes we have made… in the end, it’s your inner strength and seeing the truth of who you are that will give you the freedom to the peace and happiness you desire.

Shooting Ducks

Trust is very important in any relationship… human or not…

I’ve tried to shoot these ducks living in the golf course pond – with my camera of course. Yet… every time when I come near they would swim away. I tried sneaking around to get close; of course they could sense what I was up to and would swim to the far end of the pond or fly off. Finally, after a week of chasing… and getting mostly blurry images, I decided to respect their boundaries and left them alone.

Yesterday, I tried shooting the ducks again and was surprised they didn’t swim away this time. Instead, they started to swim towards me. At first I thought maybe they think I was going to give them bread; which I didn’t have any. However, after a few minutes, they continued to play in front of me. It was as if they were giving me a free show to take all the pictures I want. It occurred to me that perhaps after a couple of months of seeing me hanging out in the bushes… and respecting their territory; I have finally earned their trust…