healing after the rain

I feel incredibly grateful to have woken up to such sights on this lush Monday morning.

wet rose


The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. Anne Frank

wet rose 2


Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. Ralph Waldo Emerson

white drops


The poetry of the earth is never dead. John Keats

maple sugar

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature–the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. Rachel Carson

green glitter


For more quotes on the healing power of nature go to THE 44 BEST QUOTES ABOUT NATURE


42 Years Married; 2 Trips to Asia and Counting

On our last night in Kuala Lumpar, we were all walking back from Central Market on our way to an Irish Pub not far from the Petronas Towers. We had all immensely enjoyed the Malaysian food, but it seemed somehow symbolic to share an old fashion beer and fish n’ chips with my parents.

You see this was the second time my parents made it to Asia to visit me. The first time was 9 years ago when I first came to Korea. I think we all figured they should come right away. How long would I stay in Korea anyway? 9 years later I pitched the idea of a family trip. We decided on Malaysia. I’m so grateful they came because still two months later I smile with joy. Navigating the hot humid streets of Penang or KL wasn’t always easy, but that is what life’s about, right? It always comes back to love

After 42 years together, I’m sure my parents would agree.

I took this precious shot of my parents that night. For the two days we we were in KL, my father kept wondering out loud about the night fountain shows. Luckily Byongchan reminded me about it. We took a detour before settling down at the pub, and as soon as we sat down, the  water show began. It as if they were waiting for us.




Bonne anniversaire mame et pape. On vous aimes. XOXO20140311-204528.jpg


Weekly Photo Challenge: A Sun(day) in My Life

I think what I love most about this week’s photo challenge is that it encourages me to find beauty anywhere. You can see my first entry here and my second one here.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. – Melody Beattie

Join the Happiness Project

The basics:

Make a poster that describes what makes you happy, and tell us about it. It’s that easy!

Find details on how to enter at, The Happiness Project. This fabulous project is the creation of two amazing educators, Chuck Sandy and Vladimira Michalkova. Help them spread the joy!

My entry:

My Happiness

This project brings me happiness! It’s such a fantastic idea, and I’m excited to be a part of it. I can’t wait to see how far it goes!

I feel happy in my communities! I’m so grateful for my communities:

– My families & cultures (Korean, Canadian, and Acadian)
– My Nonviolent Communication (NVC) practice group
– My School for International Training (SIT) soul mates (MA TESOL colleagues)
– My blogging communities …and now my Twitter community!
– The participants in our training program

And last but not least, the happiness I find in love, fun and beauty.

i.e. My husband and I riding off into the multidimensional, Nova Scotia sunset.

Can you find the corresponding pictures?

My Happiness

Happiness in my creative side: privatemixture.wordpress.com
Happiness in my professional — and also — creative side: tokenteach.wordpress.com

Combine these two sides, and you have one happy lady :)

Thank you, Chuck and Vladimira!, for giving me the space to reflect on my happiness.

Happy 90th Grandmère!

I knocked on grandmère’s back door. No response. I walked in. As I announced my arrival, she walked out of her bedroom looking at me with a sheepish grin,

“Quoi?”, I chuckled.  “What?”

“Oh… ehhhh…rien,” seeming to beg me to ask what was up.  “Ohhhh…nothing.”

“Vraiment?”, I said coyly “Really?”

“Oh, I was just about to throw this away”, pointing the wastebasket with photo in hand.

With her arthritic hand, she slowly gave it over to me.

Grandmère! C’est-tu toi?” “Is it you?”

“Hi hi hi, oui”, slightly shouldering her head as she looked up at me with an open-mouthed smile. The smile she gleams when she realizes she has been caught telling us something surprising.

A bit like this one.

I couldn’t believe it. In all my life, I never imagined grandmère kicking up her heels for a photo shoot in her maillot!

That’s grandmère: full of surprises and stories!

These days her stories of times past are muddled together with memories of moments just passed. Now this wartime nurse, and resolved Catholic mother of 3 equally tenacious men, needs assistance doing what she always helped others to do: living a life with integrity and dignity.

Grandmère spent the better part of her life fighting for the equal rights of mentally and physically challenged people in our province. Her fight wasn’t in vain. Our community (Clare, Nova Scotia) now has two facilities that care for and support the well-being of such individuals. Grandmère was indeed a force to be reckoned with!

And so now, at 90, she needs similar care and support. She can’t cook for herself, and she spends most of her time napping in her rocking chair. She can’t tell us stories anymore.

But she still has the same smile, and for that, our family is grateful.

On Monday, it’ll be her 90th birthday. I won’t be able to be there, and she may not realize who I am if I call. Instead — in honor of the yarns she used to spin — I wanted to share this with all of you, and maybe through this process, she’ll somehow know that I am thinking of her.

~~ Bonne fête grandmère ~~

Feeling Blessed These Days

I just wrote the following excerpt in my Morning Pages and wanted to share it with you.

I truly feel blessed.

I can wake up in the morning and say, “What do I want to do today?” Just being able to ask that question is a blessing. So many people don’t have the choice to follow their hearts, and here I sit with a world of possibilities before me. Here I sit at my computer on a Monday morning, freshly brewed coffee at my side, no classes to teach today, with the warm September sun shinning upon me through my window: a window that filters the green hues beginning to alter to states of yellow and red.

So blessed.

I just ate a bowl of oatmeal with nuts, yogurt and peaches because I wanted to. I have the freedom to eat what I want. The freedom to maintain my health.

So blessed.

My husband is now at his weekly swimming class, and after this he will take my car to the service center for a checkup. Not only am I blessed to have a car that takes me where I want, but I am also fortunate to have a husband who supports me. He knows I will be busy today, and he has the time. Now when I commute to work tomorrow, my car will be in good condition.

So blessed.

I am able to be creative and share my ideas and dreams with the world via my blog. I have the freedom to create to the limits of my imagination and share it with a community of like-minded souls.

So blessed.


The Versatile Blogger Award!

Each day, I learn something more appealing about the collaborative spirit of the blogosphere. Two days ago, this cooperative trait became even more apparent when I was given the Versatile Blogger Award by a new blogging neighbor, Kate, at Believe Anyway. What fun! Thank you so much for the compliment on my photography! Kate describes herself as perennial optimist, so if you need a little hope in your life, please meander over to her blog.

Since receiving the award, I was motivated to find out more about its origin. When I Googled it, all that popped up were the blogs of other recipients. There wasn’t any information on how this award system all begin. So it’s apparent to me that Versatile Blogger Award was started, and is now maintained, by bloggers who want to support each other. I’m all for that, so here are the rules of how you are expected to pass the award down:

  1. Thank the blogger who gave the award and link to their blog. (See above comment. Thank you Kate!)
  2.  Share seven things about yourself that people may not know.
  3. Give this award to up to 15 bloggers (and link to them).
  4. Comment on their blogs to tell them of the award.

Here goes!

7 Things about Me

  1. I commute one hour to and from work each day because I live in the Korean countryside, and I teach in the city (pop. 3 million). I love driving, despite the notorious reputation of Korean drivers, because this is the only time I get to listen to my favorite podcast, Q with Jian Gomeshi.
  2. I came to Korea in 2005 to teach English and to travel. Now I’m a teacher educator, and instead of traveling, I’ve created a home here. Check out my teaching blog, Throwing Back Tokens, which is a collection of reflections on teaching practices, or the state of education in general.
  3. I met my husband at this temple, three months after I arrived in Korea, and I have no doubt that in-yeon 인연 connected us once again. My friend at Somewhere in Dhamma translates this as “karmic affinity”.
  4. In a past life, I was a fire spinner. I used to teach the art, and once performed at the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick. I’ve since retired the fire, and now play with LED instead.
  5. At the end of the day I find nothing more relaxing than wiping my face with a warm face cloth. Ahhhh!
  6. I hope to go to film school someday to learn how to shoot and edit film. Click on my video category tag to see videos I may add to my portfolio some day.
  7. Before I moved to Korea, I was a perennial pessimist. Notice that I’ve changed?

My Award Nominees

  • To my synchronistic friend Hailey, at Thanks for the Blues, for having posted 70+ blog posts in less than 2 months! But most importantly for writing about what she is grateful for, and for sharing this gratitude with the whole world. Oh, and also for her fun & funny (yes these are two different adjectives :P ) writing style.
  • To my partner in Korean adventures, Joseph, at Somewhere in Dhamma. His musings and reflections about Buddhism — and how the teachings relate to his family, his life, his photography, and the music he loves — are a great source of inspiration and joy for me.
  • To my Acadian/Cajun cousin, NicoChic for her hilarious prose that weaves in stories of parenting and fashion.
  • To Rick at A 19 Planets Art Blog for his wondrous haikus, which always accompany equally captivating visual art. He can do amazing things with the Zen Brush iPad app.
  • To Aaron Leamon who just clicked “like” on my previous post. I just took a quick browse through his blog, and I’m totally digging his layout, photography and short films. I just subscribed to his blog and look forward to the gems that come forth in my mailbox.
  • To Pseu’s Blog for her amazing close-up photography and haiku poetry.
  • To FrizzText for his musical, alphabetical, visually stimulating posts at Flickr Comments.
  • To Sarah at Sarahverse for her kind comments and her willingness to share her self-exploration.

Spread the love!

Faces I Love – Mame et pape 부모님 (weekly photo challenge)


Despite the blur of their faces, the love radiates through.

They are our parents. Je les aimes

Pape isn’t known for his rhythm, but in my mind’s eye, his social harmony is unsurpassed. He has taught me that social change is possible, and that there is still room for hope and optimism in this world. He is the beacon who has quietly guided me along my adventures.

Mmmm…Mame. Mame’s home-cooking. Her fricot brings flocks of friends to her colorful, immaculate kitchen. She has taught me about taste, but more importantly about grace. She supports us in the toughest of times, with such compassion and love.

On a side note, I just love that they wore the same colored shirt for this concert :)

To enjoy more “face” photography, visit the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Faces I Love – Ma soeur 여동생 – weekly photo challenge

She’s my sister. Je l’aime.

She’s in Louisiana; I’m in Korea. Our beach is in Nova Scotia.

My sister is one of the most beautiful people I know, but she isn’t aware of her beauty and strength.

She’s an adventurer and a seeker. She’s searching for a meaningful, virtuous track, but she also seeks peace. Sometimes these two desires clash.

“do not fear going forward slowly, fear only to stand still.”

She loves to dance. She has a funky groove. Wiggly.

Hence, she’s a music lover. Really, a producer at heart.

I dedicate this song to her: Dog Days Are Over.

Pis c’est vrai.