random thoughts, pictures and colors of friends

Friend is a word we often use to depict any kind of relationship. I decide to use a set of pictures from the coloring book to show what we can make of friendship. We start with plain colorless pages. The relationship adds colors, some messy, some quite beautiful. We can have entirely different tastes like the two houses in a picture or we can have exactly the same appearance and lifestyle like the two adjoining wooden doors. Yet we are still different. You cannot be me and I cannot be you. There is always a boundary between us no matter how buddy we are. We may be close enough to takeover a friend’s role sometimes if needed, like helping one another in crisis. When things resume normal we each return to doing our own stuff, staying at a distance. That is the unspoken realist’s rule of friendship. On the other hand there is a friendship that calls for more, and it borders the common ground of love. That is another story.

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how fleeting is evanescence?

How short or fleeting is the time span of Evanescence ? Can anyone give a definition in exact measurement?

I encountered this question when visiting an old abandoned/transformed mining town. How short is short? We just cannot tell. For the miners who used to live there during boom time, some might have thought the precious ores would last a long time in their own life span. Others might have joined much later and perhaps sensed time ticking away and soon they would have to move on. They were not alone. History does not change much. Any man would know soon that we are not getting younger. Man’s glory fades with time as the source we consider precious (in this case, valuable ores) depletes.

I quote excerpts from Wikipedia: “Virginia City was the prototype for future frontier mining boom towns, with its industrialization and urbanization. It owed its success to the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode. After a year in existence, the boomtown had 42 saloons, 42 stores, 6 restaurants, 3 hotels, and 868 dwellings to house a town residency of 2,345. At its height in 1863, the town had 15,000 residents. The mines’ output declined after 1878, and the city itself declined as a result. As of the 2010 Census the population of Virginia City was about 855. Today, Virginia City is but a shadow of its former glory…”

For those interested in knowing more about the historical and mining background of the above photos, here are some links to wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_City_Historic_District_(Virginia_City,_Nevada)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comstock_Lode
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_City,_Nevada

taking root: the use of heritage

 Heritage I decide to share a few pictures of silver vessels from the heritage I came across recently. The owners passed on long ago and they left behind items which were kept in boxes for many decades. The items looked used but later possibly with the demise of the original masters (great grand parents) were packed up and stored away. No one seemed to notice their existence until I was led to dig them out of their dusty boxes. I brought them back to the heirs and they are not selling. As I mentioned in my previous post they are of value in terms of sentiments to those who inherit them. Although some individuals do not speak of their feelings, some do take grief seriously and for quite sometime. The man of the house passed away over a year ago and he left behind a very small family.

At first I thought they would rather sell off whatever old stuff they inherited as they had left home long ago and hardly returned. I even offered to get them restored to their original shine and was surprised when the new owners said they wanted to keep all.

I start pondering over the issue of root. We do not come from nowhere. We all have ancestors. Sometimes I wonder what they were like but most time I find it hard to even imagine their lives. Some families keep old photos and some keep old things. The things may or may not be of significant monetary value but they mean something to the descendants. And that meaning is very personal. Because they do not say why they decide to keep, I have not ventured to ask for a reason. No, I am not a nosy parker. I would like to know because I like to put pieces of history together so they form a complete picture like jigsaw puzzles. The whole piece of picture makes sense only when all the missing pieces are found and fit perfectly into the empty spaces which otherwise leave gapping holes. Once I spent half a year in a sibling’s house and witnessed the laborious way in which the whole family pooled their effort to identify the right spaces to fit the pieces which somehow seemed impossible to fit anywhere. Everyone who walked pass the puzzle tried to have a go at it in vain. Some pieces were dismantled and reassembled. Sometimes someone stayed up until the early hours staring at the pieces for inspiration. When the picture was finally completed they framed it up and celebrated the victory!

In a way we rely on disjointed pieces of old things to compile and preserve our own history. The root is never separated from the stems. Time is not really made of unconnected pieces. It’s just we cannot see the whole picture as each of us stands on a single spot at any one time on the time continuum. As we increase in our speed of life travel on this continuum we find it harder and harder to slow down and look back.

I like to think that this is why the millennials decide to keep something like old tea canisters or coffee cups made of comparatively more lasting matters, so that they can take a break at intervals on the very fast track. By the way, in UK I often have tea breaks and in US I have coffee breaks. In China? Both, these days.

whose heritage?

heirloom
Heritage
means something that is handed down from the past: as a tradition, a national heritage of honor, pride, and courage; something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; ; something reserved for one: the heritage of the righteous; something that has been or may be inherited by legal descent or succession. any property, especially land, that devolves by right of inheritance.

It is no coincidence that I recently came across a small heritage through a relative. The items are not exactly that old. The original owners lived around the time when the formation of the Republic of China as a constitutional republic put an end to 4,000 years of Imperial rule. The Qing dynasty, (also known as the Manchu dynasty), ruled from 1644–1912. I brought some of them back to the heirs who have confirmed that they are not selling. The above photo shows two Chinese Swatow (Shantou) Pewter Tea Caddy Containers (possibly a hundred or less years old), a Vintage Chinese Hand-carved Cork Art and a collection of modern poetry published in 1987 included because they were found together.

According to China Daily, Shantou people “drink more tea than anyone else in China. Shantou became a city significant in 19th-century Chinese history as one of the treaty trading ports established for Western trade and contact, sited both American and British Consulates. Today the historic quarter of Shantou features both Western and Chinese architecture. Online source states that about 2% of the population belongs to an ‘organized’ religion, with 40,000 Protestants, 20,000 Catholics and 500 Muslims.

What are the real values of heirlooms? No one can place any intrinsic value on any item except the heir herself/himself. In this case, I have checked the websites of some auction houses and found varying values have been cited on similar items. But the final word is from the heirs and they say, “No, we intend to just keep them.”

I try reading up the history of those who fled the strategic trading and battle port occupied by the Japanese army during 1939-1945 and moved to the rest of the world. I cannot imagine how they could have carried and preserved heavy tea canisters and other intricate sets of silver and beautiful fragile bone China tea sets which I have also found in that house.

There are many things we do not understand about the generations before us. I cannot understand their values and priorities. Perhaps I am too engrossed in the modern technology-savvy world in which we give high value to anything close to ‘weightlessness’. We grumble about a laptop weighing 3lbs and above. On the other hand, we do not mind going to the gym to lift heavy metal to get our muscles in tune.

Well, here are some realistic observations from a book I am reading, by a futurist.
“…For example, today’s high school students have a hard time understanding why Columbus risked life and limb to find a shorter trade route to the spices of the East. Why couldn’t he simply go to the supermarket, they ask, and get some oregano? But in the days of Columbus, spices and herbs were extremely expensive. They were prized because they could mask the taste of rotting food, since there were no refrigerators in those days. At times, even kings and emperors had to eat rotten food at dinner. There were no refrigerated cars, containers, or ships to carry spices across the oceans.) That is why these commodities were so valuable that Columbus gambled his life to get them, although today they are sold for pennies…”

Yet, on the other hand, the futurist admitted this, “…The point is: whenever there is a conflict between modern technology and the desires of our primitive ancestors, these primitive desires win each time. That’s the Cave Man Principle.” ”
― Michio Kaku, Physics Of The Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny And Our Daily Lives By The Year 2100

Agree. I would rather take a cup of hot tea with a spot of fresh milk than staring at the cold laptop in the cold, unheated cave. You know, the value of a laptop easily depreciates to zero within a couple of years. But a tea canister appreciates its value with decades/centuries and is still going strong.

more words to reflect on: identity

i found this at random from the internet. i marvel at the use of words like identity, name, seed and step. The definition is coined for programmer and it reflects a meaning deeper than its intention!

Quote:”Definition (Identity Columns in TSQL*)
An identity column has a name, initial seed and step. When a row is inserted into a table the column will take the value of the current seed incremented by the step.” Unquote.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

When I plant a word (seed) in my heart (mind), I can see an image of me. That image of me will produce an identify of the “me” I see in my own thought image.

what word seed am i planting in my heart today? this moment?

what current seed incremented by my thought step?

Jesus said in Matthew 15:18 “But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you.”

a man’s identity can be defiled by what he thinks he is.

Romans 3:22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

Romans 5:9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.

Romans 5:11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Galatians 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 3:26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.

Galatians 3:28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

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*Note:Transact-SQL is Microsoft’s and Sybase’s proprietary extension to the SQL used to interact with relational databases.

A DICTIONARY FOR NAVIGATORS ON SPIRITUAL ROUGH WATERS 42: “Call for Daniel”

daniel-512DANIEL: God is my judge, or judge of God. He was a Jewish prince, probably born in Jerusalem about B.C. 623, and was taken to Babylon as a young captive for training in the court of Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel was distinguished for his proficiency in the “wisdom” of his day, and was brought out into public life. He soon became known for his skill in the interpretation of dreams ( 1:17 ; 2:14 ), and rose to the rank of governor of the province of Babylon, and became “chief of the governors” over all the wise men of Babylon. He made known and also interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream; and many years afterwards, when he was now an old man, amid the alarm and consternation of the terrible night of Belshazzar’s impious feast, he was called in at the instance of the queen-mother to interpret the mysterious handwriting on the wall. His interpretation came to pass and the Babylonian king was killed that night.
During the two years of the new king, Median Darius’ reign Daniel held the office of first of the “three presidents” of the empire, and was thus practically at the head of affairs. His fidelity to God exposed him to persecution, but was miraculously delivered (from the lions’ den); after which Darius issued a decree enjoining reverence for “the God of Daniel” ( 6:26 ). He “prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian,” whom he probably greatly influenced in the matter of the decree which put an end to the Captivity (B.C. 536).

Daniel 5:12 Expanded Bible (EXB) (Daniel as described by the Persian queen mother)
The man I am talking about is named Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar [1:7]. He ·was very wise [L has an excellent spirit] and had knowledge and understanding. He could ·explain [interpret] dreams and ·secrets [riddles] and ·could answer very hard [unravel] problems. Call for Daniel. He will tell you ·what the writing on the wall means [its interpretation].”

A DICTIONARY FOR NAVIGATORS ON SPIRITUAL ROUGH WATERS 41: start afresh in A, B, C

matthew-1128I rested for one year. The last blog in this series was aptly named: “MORE WORDS FOR HARD TIMES”. Today I start afresh and dive into my ocean of God’s words. Be refreshed and spurred to ponder more as you dip into the ocean of God’s treasure chest.

ADAM’s famous quote: Genesis 3:12 Expanded Bible (EXB)
The man said, “You gave this woman to me and she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.” The Bible recorded only two sentences that Adam uttered to God and this was the second and last.  A rather sad precedent for mankind.

BANISHED: Adam was banished from the Garden of Eden after his fall. His first-born son Cain was banished from the presence of God after murdering his brother Abel. King David banished his son Absalom from Jerusalem after his murder of his brother Amnon. But here is a little known prophetic statement made to David by a nameless woman who had a great reputation for wisdom.
2 Samuel 14:14 “We will all die someday. We’re like water spilled on the ground; no one can ·gather it back [collect it together]. But God doesn’t ·take away [discard] life. Instead, he plans ways that ·those who have been sent away will not have to stay away from him [will bring back/home the banished]!”

COME to his senses, COME home, COME celebrate:
Jesus has given us this story to show the EXTENT OF THE LOVE OF GOD FOR HIS CHILDREN. In this story a son was lost to the world but came to his senses and returned home. His father who waited daily for his change of heart and return was overjoyed and called for a great celebration. The word “COME” is a great word when we turn back to God. Jesus has extended the same call, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest!” (Matthew 11:28)

Excerpts from the story of the prodigal son from Luke 15
Expanded Bible (EXB)
17 When he ·realized what he was doing [came to his senses; L came to himself], he thought, ‘All of my father’s ·servants [hired workers] have ·plenty of [more than enough; abundant] ·food [bread]. But I am here, ·almost dying [perishing] with hunger.

20 So the son left and went to his father.
“While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt ·sorry [compassion] for his son. So the father ran to him [C an undignified act for a family patriarch; evidence of his unrestrained love] and hugged and kissed him. 21 The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against ·God [L heaven; v. 18] and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’[a] 22 But the father said to his ·servants [slaves], ‘Hurry! Bring the ·best clothes [L first/best robe; C either the father’s own, or a ceremonial robe for an honored guest] and put them on him. Also, put a ring on his finger [C probably a signet ring indicating sonship and authority; Gen. 41:42] and sandals on his feet [C slaves went barefoot]. 23 And get our ·fat [fattened; C prepared for slaughter] calf and kill it [C people only occasionally ate meat; such a large animal indicates a major celebration] so we can have a feast and celebrate. 24 My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!’ So they began to celebrate.