Weekly Photo Challenge: Object (or Objective of the Object: Kung Hei Fat Choi!) 2

Traditionally, Chunlian or lucky red papers are hung in doorways of homes in China. I learned the papers are red because the Chinese word for red sounds like prosperous and red symbolizes joy, virtue, truth, and sincerity. Today the messages are for success, health, wealth, prosperity, joy, peace and harmony, etc. It is important to take down and discard the old Chunlian just before Chinese New Year.

Today is the first official day of Chinese New Year although Honolulu has been celebrating for a couple of weeks. Therefore, when I saw today’s WordPress weekly photo challenge was object, I knew I would be using photos I took last weekend during our Chinatown celebration to wish you many blessings in 2014 while sharing the objects I photographed.

Kuan Yin is the Chinese name for the bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara, who can be depicted as either male or female. Many stories about her remind me of the stories of the Christian Saints. She also is known as the Goddess of Compassion and Mercy which makes her a favorite of mine. You can learn more about her by reading: What is Kuan Yin? at Religion Facts (dot) com.

While the bamboo was my object in the second picture above, I love the lady in the window. She was photographing the lion dance too.

I took video instead of pictures of the parade.

I took video instead of pictures of most of the parade. Thus, this is a screen shot from my video.

This year my photo objects were different from a couple of years ago, thanks to Photography 101.

Kung Hei Fat Choi! (Happy New year! May prosperity and all good things be with you and yours!)

Weekly Photo Challenge: ‘Ohana (Family) 3


An old picture of my ‘ohana, edited to protect them.

‘Ohana is family, but not just those with blood ties. It includes calabash cousins, the people close to our hearts, the ones frequently invited to share the food at our table. Today ‘ohana also loosely describes any place where you belong like your child’s school community or your work community. Therefore, all of my ‘ohana are not pictured.

‘Ohana embraces all aspects of affection and being connected. The origin of the word comes from ‘oha, or corm of the taro plant. Cecilia Kapua Lindo explained this in great detail in “The Spirit of ‘Ohana and the Polynesian Voyagers” for those who want to learn more about Hawaiian culture.

Obviously, family is very important is every culture. Reading Ms. Lindo’s article made me keenly aware of cultural parallels especially when she mentioned that the first written record of taro came from China.

Chinese New Year is a time to honor family too. The celebrations begin days before the New Year which officially begins on January 31, 2014. I’ll be celebrating with some of our extended ‘ohana. Of course I will be sharing gau with my family to help us stick together. This year my new addition to celebrate is this blue double fish water feature representing tenacity and happy union for marriage, family and business. The Conch Shell at the top represents safe travel, wisdom and good judgement. I wish all of you Gong Xi Fa Cai or Kung Hei Fat Choi during the Year of the Wooden Horse. May it be a year of peace, joy, harmony and prosperity for all of you.

Josh R’s post at The Daily Post inspired this post. Be sure to read it for your own inspiration.

The Year of the Water Dragon 9

You might have noticed that I was off-line most of last week and the beginning of this week. We have been celebrating Chinese New Year. This year we are taking no chances with our luck.

Not only did we attend the Chinese New Year parade and feed the lion, we also decorated for the New Year. I couldn’t resist buying these guys when I saw them at the street vender during the Honolulu Chinatown block party.

I brought a steamer and spent a full day making gau, a sticky pudding made with mochi flour, brown sugar, vegetable oil, and water. I even made it the old-fashioned way this year instead of in the microwave.

Here’s how it turned out! I gave some to my in-laws since gau is supposed to help families stick together.

Hubby and I got these to bring good karma to our home.

And this big one to place in our entry way.

I also spent time organizing and cleaning the house, and of course we had a wonderful Chinese meal that included a whole chicken for family harmony combined with a whole lobster for a harmonious marriage and noodles for long life and shrimp dumplings for wealth.

Kung Hee Fat Choy! (May prosperity be with you!)

Mahalo to All of My Readers! 8

Even when you fail to comment, seeing that someone looked at my posts still warms my heart. I debated about sharing my blog stats; finally, I concluded that this is important. My family celebrates New Year’s twice since my husband and children are of Chinese descent. Therefore, sharing the fireworks now actually makes more sense.

A special Mahalo to my top five commenters in 2011. FYI Four of them are not connected to the autism community. God Bless them for continuing to have my back! Oh and they were also the first to respond to my e-mails about Miranda’s blog and three of them repeatedly commented on her blog too and the other two still read her blog and made sure I knew they understood. God bless them!

Mahalo to Charlotte from Lifes a Charm, a mom offering insights beyond her years as she raises two young boys. Mahalo to Grace from Blessed Elements, a grandmother and very creative soul, offering ideas about ways to go green to help save our planet while sharing her beautiful jewelry. Mahalo to Aspergirl Maybe, a mom sharing her journey from questioning whether she is an Aspie to the actual diagnosis. Mahalo to Karma Per Diem aka White River Bluff, who shares her amazing photography, knitting talents and stories about overcoming workplace bullying and breast cancer.

I am putting my last, top five commenter in a separate paragraph because he is probably the one who actually has the least amount of time to comment, and I owe his entire family more than I can ever adequately express. Mahalo to Phil Dzialo from Healing, Empowering, and Thriving, a retired high school principal and father, sharing his young, adult son, Adam’s story on his long road to recovery from a near drowning. He also shares my book and my blog on his site, and as a retired principal, he offers wonderful insights of how to change our school culture to overcome bullying.

Phil’s equally wonderful wife, Sharon is a former teacher and school counselor and author of a book detailing Adam’s story. She also offers her supportive insights and her positive energy through e-mails and comments too. They both literally have their hands full caring for Adam, yet they never have let me down. I haven’t actually gotten to know their daughter, Aimee except through their stories, but I admire her too.  God knows I love this family as much as I love Adam’s smiling face.

Last, but far from least, mahalo to Bobbi Sheahan, who brought the largest numbers to my blog with her two wonderful guest posts, Your Child Has Autism and I Don’t Know What to Say: Seven Ways to Go the Extra Mile to Keep Your Friendship Thriving and The Friends of Special-Needs Parents Respond and They Have a Lot to Say.

Least you missed it there are many others who helped me through 2011 including others who guest posted and who were featured on my blog. I wrote about many of them in November and December. I may still be a misfit and a small voice, but I now know at least some of you are listening because having enough views to fill the Sydney Opera House five times is no small feat.

May 2012 be a year of blessings for all of you!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.