Photo challenge. Reflections: years later

2005 or 2006 Engagement photo. Been a long time: all the years blend together!
Sibling photo_December 2006

When sorting through pictures last week, I found two pictures with interesting similarities between Chris and I, and the kids.

How in the world are both pictures in similar poses with a Christmas background?! They’re like mini versions of us. I’m sure when they get older, they’ll scream when they see this photo. “Ick,” they’ll say. It’s was the photographer’s idea…I think they have standard poses for siblings in that age range.

I will cherish these photos for a long time. I took pictures of pictures on my cell phone, rushing, in case we had to evacuate from the wildfires. Pictures are memories of times past, good and bad, and the thought of losing them made me nervous. Since the fire warning lifted, I can now scan the pictures slowly and do so without the cellphone shadow.

(These pictures I took from the original photos, so you’ll see the shadow on the latter half of the picture.)

The many memories I will forever treasure. 

K. Hooton

Thanks City Sonnet for hosting the photo a day challenge every month!

Flower of the Day: August 28, 2020

“This morning, the sun endures past dawn. I realise that it is August: the summer’s last stand.” – Sara Baume

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”

―Sylvia Plath

Thanks Cee for hosting this challenge! It’s been over a week since I joined this challenge. Missed it!

Near CA wildfires & evacuation possibility last weekend…major freak out

Hi everyone! I missed days of blogging this past week. But it’s been hard to sit down to write during the height of California’s wildfires blazing near our home. The fires sparked around the bay area from over 12,000 lightning strikes that struck 2 weekends ago. It has destroyed more than a one million acres of land, many homes and structures, wildlife, and even the loss of people’s lives.

The lightning sounds and lights jolted me awake in the middle of the night. Dry lightning with rumbling sounds are new weather phenomenon for us in CA, so I thought it was a very real-like dream. But when it didn’t stop at one or two of those lightning strikes, I realized this may be the day the world ends.

Those bolts sparked wildfires in different cities, which were exacerbated by the wind and blazing temperatures. The next day the sky turned brown and orange; smoke smell lingered stagnantly outside. It seemed like the prelude to a nature horror movie; blazing temps, smell of smoke, people wearing masks, and stagnant brownish-orange air shrouding the sun’s bright rays.

The extent of the fires didn’t register until my neighbors updated me via text about possible evacuation orders. Our area was under Red Flag Warning from early Sunday morning to Monday afternoon. It hit close to home when I realized the fires could reach us if the wind speed and direction suddenly changed. The CAL Fire map updates lit up red and orange in many areas; all you could do is zoom into your neighborhood and pray that it stays colorless.

Wednesday evening 8 p.m. from the passenger seat

The Redwoods state park was initially reported destroyed with flames torching the trees up to its crown, but thankfully not all of it was burnt down and people were not hurt. The nature center and office were burnt however. ugh. I read these trees can regrow and many of them have survived past fires; it’s still awful that trees who have withstood time for 1-2 thousands of year fell. I recently posted our outing to this park and was in awe of the uniqueness of the trees and its grandness. It’ll take many years for them to grow back to its glory.

This is the first time I’ve packed bags for evacuation. I started packing 11 p.m. and finished around midnight. I could’ve organized more effectively, but the kids kept following me around asking why I was packing and where we were going. Elliot must’ve felt my stress and released it through non-stop talking the next day. He talked nonstop and asked endless questions; no quiet moment. His verbosity was unusual, and to check if my observations were accurate, I texted Chris in Korean, who was sitting right next to me on the couch, to ask if Elliot seemed out of sorts. He agreed.

We couldn’t take the chance of texting in english in case Elliot jumped on one of us and wanted to sneak read our texts about him. I can already imagine tears and him hiding in the closet clutching his blankies. (I usually take lots of care to help them handle emotions, but this day I needed to double check with Chris that his talking was more than usual. It was a lot of talking and asking questions). I don’t think Ellis had a particular reaction; she just kept to herself digesting all the commotion.

Lovely surprise at my doorstep from my Bible study girlfriends. Thank you for these blooms!

For a few days, sleep was erratic and nerves on edge. Possibility of another lightning strike from Sunday evening to Monday afternoon made me simultaneously lethargic yet mentally vigilant to make quick decisions if evacuation were to happen. This led to multiple Thankfully, no onslaught of lightning strikes and the Red Flag Warning was cancelled hours earlier than previous schedule. Best anticlimactic news ever.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”  ~ Psalm 56:3

I’m thankful for God’s hedge of protection around our neighborhood and city; also, thankful for the firefighters, emergency personnel, leaders, and many more who are working countless hours to contain the fires. During a live FB update, a fire commander mentioned monitoring “fire behavior.” Seems so obvious that fire is an active force that reacts to certain conditions and materials, but it didn’t click in my mind till then.

Although I’m thankful that the fires did not cross over to our neighborhood, it’s heartbreaking that so many have suffered personal losses and of loved ones. These are fears turning up in nightmares. ugh….unimaginable how difficult it will be to cope. God help us all!!

2020 is a dramatic year: first COVID-19, which is still ongoing, and now the wildfires. Whew, this year is stretching all of to the limit. But I am choosing to trust God’s will and His supernatural peace to guide us through the experience. That’s a frightful thing because God can ask of me more than I think I can.

I hope wherever you are that you stay safe and out of harm’s way!! So many life obstacles this year that keeps all of us hyper vigilant. But God can…

“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” ~ John 14:27

At the Redwoods. I’m sauntering way behind my 3 peeps; taking my sweet old time taking pictures while Chris takes care of the kids. A big perk when he accompanies us on outings.
Running forward to brighter things.

Photo a day. Serene. August 19, 2020

2020 has been a challenging year, and for us in the Bay area, we currently have orange skies and smell of smoke swirling outside from wildfires that started with lightening storm this past weekend. It’s easy to feel hopeless in all the bad news and fear of the future.

But a source of peace for me is being around trees and living things that ask nothing of me. When I feel discouraged, turning to God’s creation shows me his goodness, depth and breath of his glory, and his endless creativity that he holds together. In recent months, our family has turned to walks outdoors to spend time together and do something other than stay indoors (although this activity will be postponed until the air quality improves). We come home in better spirits and big smiles from soaking in the beauty of trees, rocks, sightings of critters, and unexpected discoveries.

In the meantime, here are some pictures from our various outings in the past year. These images spark serenity to me: a little world unto itself. Hope you all find moments of serenity and time to savor God’s marvelous creations.

Montalvo Arts Center
Sea anemone and mussells in tidepool habitat at Natural Bridges, Santa Cruz
Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.

Thomas Szasz

Jellyfish hangout @ Monterey Bay Aquarium
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, outdoor sitting area




Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

Thanks citysonnet for this photography challenge!

Hairspray the puffy part of the Dandelion

We picked two fuzzy dandelion heads to try our experiment. As is usual with dandelion puffs, any movement blew away the little florets. And I just learned that a seed can travel up to five miles and the part that blows away is called parachutes; a descriptive and suitable name.

Kids walked carefully shielding the puff with their free hand. Once outside our home, we hair sprayed a dandelion puff to see if it would keep its form. It did! A few days later, only the stem withered but the hair sprayed part remained the same.

Comparing the 2. As I’m looking at the picture now, I don’t remember the control dandelion puff being so squished at the time (honest: did not do that on purpose to show a vast difference). Anyways, you can see the one of the right holding its shape from the hair spray.