Posted in Nature observations and thoughts, Photography

Photo of a determined tree

Can’t stop this tree

How does this happen?! And how do you fix it?

Still an interesting sight, and a great reminder that fences can’t bind nature.

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall that sends the frozen ground swell under it.”

“My apple trees will never get across
and eat the cones under his pines,I tell him. He only says,’Good fences make good neighbors.'”

“Mending Walls” by Robert Frost

Posted in Nature observations and thoughts, Raising kids

We want a furry, cute pet!!

Kids want a pet: anything furry and cute. This topic is brought up on a daily basis and potential animal choices run the wild gamut: dog, cat, bearded dragon, baby otter, or a cub cheetah. Their latter choices baffle me. I’m like, what?! How do you cuddle a cheetah?

We’ve had various tiny pets over the years, like butterflies, ladybugs, frogs, fish and snails (still our pets), and now a horde of ants. Yesterday two plastic vials of ants were delivered to our mailbox.

Thankfully, they survived the journey this time. The first batch died from overheating in the mailbox.

So we’re excited to spend the next few weeks learning more about ant behavior, life cycle, and characteristics. They’ll be released outside after a month or so. Attachment is little and care minimal. So for a month, kids will be preoccupied and less prone to badger me for a furry pet. Oh yay!

But when I’m feeling energetic, I wonder how much fun it’d be to have a small Corgi. Their tailless tooshies and short legs are so cute. Chris is unlikely to say yes unless I surprise him by getting one. Lol. Nah, too big a commitment to decide myself.

Pinterest photo
2 hours later. Busy building tunnels. We added some water and a halved grape.

Couple hours later: building new paths. Peculiar behavior observed: ants carry a dead one to the top of the hill or drop them into a tunnel.
Almost 24 hours later. New workers have begun digging on the back side of the farm.

Newborn kitty getting fed at animal shelter. Kids wanted to see what kind of animals you would find at a shelter.
Our Silver Molly, named Shiny, resting on the Betta hammock.
Posted in Nature observations and thoughts, photo challenge

Twisted: Finds in nature

In nature twisted things are beautifully complex, elegant, and harmonious in its surroundings. So for this photo post I looked through my photo gallery and picked some that I had taken in the past without knowing that they could be interpreted as twisted.

I hope you enjoy them!

One of the amphibians’ windows at California Academy of Sciences. Can you find the camouflaged frog?

Found this 2-legged carrot in a bag of store-bought carrots. We decided to draw it a smiley face.

Twisted stems of flowers all clambering to say hello

Posted in Faith journey, Nature observations and thoughts, ocean, sea life, tide pool, slipping on a rock, emergency room visit, Personal growth, Uncategorized

Who knew the dangers of tide pools

*I started this post ready to write about the calm that comes from watching waves and feeling the crisp ocean breeze on my face. But thinking about it diverted my attention to a painful incident that happened a few years back. Letting you know the thought processes leading up to this post.*

esther at carmel
One of my favorite past times…exploring the rocks and tide pools at beaches. At Carmel Beach before children. No fear until my 2016 incident.

The ocean is beautiful, mysterious, and refreshing to see. I love to hear the rhythmic sound of waves rolling onto the sandy beach. Then there is the tide pool: in small crevices between rocks live small sea creatures camouflaged or swimming around in their small habitats. It gets me bubbly excited, and these are times when Chris, my practical and vigilant spouse, tells me, “Don’t go too crazy.”

In 2016 we took a trip down to San Diego for our first family vacation since Ellis’ birth. My excitement level was beyond normal. I couldn’t wait for my kids to experience the joy of looking closely at tide pools and touching the ocean water.

This place was familiar to me since Chris and I briefly lived in San Diego as newlyweds. Pleasant past experiences made me overly confident and careless. I quickly discovered that safely walking around tide pools with small children is very challenging. The result: disastrous.

I overestimated my physical coordination and underestimated the danger.

Painful lesson learned that day: Never. Never. Never walk barefoot on mossy rock surfaces holding a small squirmy child. One misstep taken. I slipped and fell hitting my head on a rock. In that mind-numbing moment, I realized that dying can happen just like that. It was a bone chilling realization. People around me stared with dropped jaws as I rocked back and forth cradling my head between my arms. The goose egg that you see in cartoons was what I had.

Thankfully, Ellis did not get hurt from the fall: only the hem of her skirt got wet.

After Chris registered me in the emergency room, I asked him to go back to the hotel with the kids. It was hard to mask the pain and cry comfortably without getting asked every minute if I were okay. It’s a harmless question you ask people after an unpleasant event, but this was different. I was NOT okay. I wanted to be left alone.

Once they walked out of sight, an explosion of tears (mainly regret for my carelessness and fear of permanent head injury) let loose. It must have been a sight: wet clothes, crazy hair, bag of ice on my head, and a sobbing middle-aged lady crumpled up in a chair.

CT scan showed that the injury as a hematona: a fancy word for bruised. Thankfully, I was discharged with simple recommendations: take Tylenol for headaches, ice the goose egg as needed, and rest to recover. The latter was the hardest to do.

We came back from our vacation slightly traumatized and disillusioned. Although we made some good memories visiting family, the most vivid memory was the beach day fiasco. My kids reenacted the mommy falling scenario for weeks while they played, reminding me of what I wanted to forget.

For weeks I wondered what meaning I could take away from this experience. If deep insight or lesson were gained, I would’ve been less angry at myself. But I couldn’t derive any meaning from what happened. Self-forgiveness did not come easily or quickly.

Then the take-away lesson began to take shape. It was so straightforward and simple that I couldn’t believe it: I must physically slow down and take precautions to avoid future falls. Sounds like common sense but it made a big impact on me.

Another take-away lesson: have deeper reverence for nature in realizing how small and vulnerable I am to its greatness.

Deep inside I wondered if God was punishing me for missing church that morning. But God is not petty. If he operated like that, I would have been struck by thunder a million times already. He is God, the Almighty: not an emotionally volatile and revengeful being.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

This incident made me think how things happen in life because of choices I made, effects of other people’s choices, events out of my control, or overwhelmed by the forces of nature. What a good reminder to slow down and be mindful of my actions and thoughts, in the holistic sense of mind, body, and soul.

Next time at the tide pools I’m wearing a helmet.

Posted in Nature observations and thoughts

A little flower blooms despite hostile conditions

Words from my six-year-old son gazing at our abandoned plants: “Mommy, we are terrible planters. Everything dies.”

My gardening skills are disastrous. I could take a perfectly thriving plant and kill it in days. But my hopeless optimism convinces me to plant seeds each spring. Occasional crops that sprout drive this desire: a mini watermelon; a tiny zucchini; couple of jalapeno peppers; and a handful of green beans and basil.

  • Our many gardening attempts through the years. The photos above show the flowers and plants at their best. Photos were not taken at their worst state.

In spring 2017 we opted to plant flowers instead of vegetables. We implemented good gardening habits: watering daily, supplementing with vitamins, and trimming. Then, life got busy and flowers neglected.

Maybe it was denial or laziness (probably the latter), but I left the plants to just dry up. I think I silently hoped they would disappear or disintegrate on its own. Other times I convinced myself that it had a cool vintage look. However, the recent rain and warmer weather bloomed new flowers; little spurts of life in dried soil and stiff stems.


We screamed with surprise! The resilience of these little blooms remind me of beautiful wildflowers blooming along the highway and in unlikely places. So wild, charming, and untamed.

Life is resilient too. When we think there’s nothing left, something begins to sprout and gives hope that all is not lost.

β€œLike wildflowers; You must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.” – E.V. Lucas