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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

As I trouble over following my mother’s health directive to administer more pain medications to relieve her of the ongoing suffering bone cancer inflicts, I worry about whether or not she has said goodbye. Not so much to each of us, as we have all been saying goodbye for some time now. I wonder if she will have another chance to really take in the trees outside her window, and the blue sky. Will she ever hear bird-song again and does she need a spin in the wheelchair to enjoy that. I don’t need to ask myself if it matters to her. She is the one who first tutored me in its treasures. Perhaps she has been saying good bye for some time and we are just unaware of that. After all, she is already traveling in both worlds, here and beyond.

I realize some of this is a projection of my own needs and what I want. There is a post going around on Facebook of a forest ranger who was in hospice care and wanted to be in her beloved Nature again.  It never fails to move me. I know that deep call of nature and its healing resonance. If I were ill and could not go outside, I would want the sounds in my room, birdsong, ocean waves, breeze in the trees, whale calls.

Today, Earth Day, I am also thinking of another mother and, in both cases, what it means to say goodbye and how goodbye lives in relationship with hello.

Our earth, Pachamama, Gaia, is our mother and we are her children.

photo of dogwood copyright (c) KJLoh

Thinking how important it is to me to say goodbye, to her, I ask myself, “Have I said hello to Pachamama today? Have I honored her and thanked her, offered my respect?”

As I walked the woods pondering this, offering my gratitude to the trees in particular, I was greeted by more birdsong than I have heard since the approach of winter. I soaked it up, let it re-organize my cells. I regularly say “hello” out loud to the flowers, mushrooms, trees and many creatures I see on my walks and hikes. I wonder, having said hello so often, will it be easier or harder to, someday, say goodbye?

When I consider my own passing, I imagine having said hello more often, having received, really received the beauty and gift of this Earth, will make my goodbye more rich, and sad, yes, but very sweet. I wonder too, how often do I protect myself from a painful goodbye by withholding my hello? Do I imagine keeping my love and appreciation contained will somehow save me from deeper heartache?

If I have not said hello enough will I care enough to preserve the Earth and her creatures. Will I really know what it means to recycle, to conserve, to celebrate the biodiversity, to appreciate the bounty?

One of my teachers, Don Oscar Miro-Quesada, encourages us to honor Pachamama with song, ritual, dance, drumming. Yes, this is a profound and sacred way of saying hello.

And, please know, that if you are not inclined to perform ceremony or join a beach cleanup, your simple hello by way of true observation, connection and reception is more powerful and more healing than you might imagine.

You matter and you may be the only person to ever see that particular blossom, that dandelion seed in flight.

I invite you to join me, to celebrate our beautiful Earth mother, by taking a moment to say “hello” to her. Commune with a tree, take in the beauty of a wildflower, sit by a body of water in reflection. Listen to the birds singing. Stop, pause, if only for a minute, and say “Hello.”

Like beginnings and endings, hello and goodbye exist in the same moment, in a unity. We need to be aware of what we are unconsciously throwing away (and the many more painful goodbyes it may create) when we forget to say hello.

Pachamama, our beloved mother Earth, gives and gives. Your hello says “I see you and I appreciate you.” Say hello, not just today, but every day.

Copyright © April 22, 2015 Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved
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A search engine will return many blog posts related to how to do a ceremony at the full moon to let go of that which you no longer want to think about, carry, or have in your life. This is not an instructional post. This is a personal account of the impact and outcome of moon energy coupled with exquisite attention and commitment.

My last post was about the natural rhythm of the seasons vs the calendar. Natural rhythms ebb and flow and we observe cycles in their comings and goings: cycles of day and night, cycles of the seasons, cycles of the moon. We, as humans are such a curious mix of three brain types. We still have the responses of a reptile, albeit it tempered by a cortex with ever evolving consciousness. So, I maintain that there is something comforting for us in harmonizing our lives with natural rhythms rather than with time clocks and the dictates of the cubicle nation.

The moon will be full Tuesday, February 3rd. (You can find a calendar of moon phases here) If you like to align your commitment and energy with natural forces, then it is also a great day to do a release ceremony.

moon copyright(c)2012KJLoh
The premise is simple enough. When the moon is full, it is a good time to let go of things because its waning process will symbolically represent and encourage, the withering of, or gradual disengaging from, that which you release. When the moon is new, not visible in the night sky, it is a powerful time to invoke that which you want to see grow in yourself and your life. As the moon waxes, it mirrors the growth you intended.

The full moon illumines the dark, helps us see in the night. It empowers us to see with great clarity and humility that which we need to offer up, to surrender, in order to be and become more of our true selves.

Not long ago, I created a release ceremony for myself. I did so by writing names and things, I wanted to let go of, on pieces of paper and ceremonially burning them. Then I buried them in the ground next to my apacheta and stuck jay feathers in the mound of fresh dirt at the burial site. This is one example of what you can do for your own release ceremony.

I encourage you to create your own full moon ceremony, because it works.

Is it the moon? Maybe, maybe not. Certainly, as Goethe tells us, commitment is key:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

If we don’t have commitment, then I would not expect the moon to do the heavy lifting for us. If we are willing and fully committed, then the moon may be an ally.

First, there is something powerful about inviting the power of nature, planets, moon, earth, whatever works for us, to join forces with is as we make our commitment.

Second, we will likely see the moon every night thereafter and when we do we will be reminded of our commitment.

Third, when we go to the effort of creating a ceremony and we go about it in a sacred manner, we lock it into the body, it takes on meaning.

Finally, as icing on the cake, there is power in others doing the same at the same time (when two or more are gathered) whether with us or in their own full moon ceremony.

One of the things I released in my last ceremony was the ghost of a man who had come and gone in my life in a powerful and disturbing way. Because he lived in another state, our entire relationship, as brief as it was, consisted of phone calls and visits that took place only at my house, on my property, in my town.

Ever since his abrupt departure, I have had trouble shaking the memory of him and his energy, from my space. There were so many reminders: the stain from his maca root tea in my coffee cup, the Tupperware top that no longer fit because he put it in the bottom rack of the dishwasher, the dreams we dreamed woven among the trees on my property and the path I walk with my dog every morning and evening. I could feel him watching me from the living room chair, as he had most mornings, while I did my stretches and Qi Gong. It did get better over time, but I still felt haunted.

I discarded some things that reminded me of him, but I was and am stubborn about the coffee mug. It was a gift a friend gave me that symbolized my emergence after divorce. I didn’t want to allow him to steal that away from me and somehow the mug became a symbol of that.

When we are ready to release something, the intention has more focus and the commitment more power. If we are not really ready yet, it will spring back like something attached to a bungee cord (more about the bungee cord in my post Bye-Bye Now). Call it the saboteur, call it our inner doubter, call it lack of readiness, call it neural wiring, it all has the same effect. But, when we feel our readiness and we have the self-respect, compassion and self-restraint to continue along the path of release, then attending to it with ceremony and adding the power of nature and her cycles may be just the extra kick (dare I say, in the rear) that is needed.

Between the last and this full moon, I began to notice that my first thought, when I saw the coffee mug, was less and less about him and more and more about my friend and her gift of acknowledgment. What really surprises me is that the stubborn stain is suddenly and almost magically disappearing. No elbow grease was involved. I assure you, but plenty of soul and moon grease came into play, for sure. Additionally, the dreams we dreamed sailed off with the winter winds and my living room chair is empty in the mornings.

photo of path copyright(c)20-14KathyJLoh

This morning, I stood on the pathway, in a slit of sunlight between the tree shadows and took in the warmth as I waited for my dog to catch up. The most incredible freedom came over me. I am no stranger to seeing energy in the forest and feeling the waves coming off the trees, but this was different. The ghost was gone. The memories had no substance.

I felt space, lots and lots of space all around me. My body relaxed and I was breathing a little more freely. I wasn’t pulling my skin in to protect myself and make myself small. Instead I was allowing myself to merge with and be touched by the space around me. I only knew my prior constriction and armor by contrast to this new-felt freedom.

The release was complete.

My inner doubter proclaimed “This s()(*& works!”

There is no continuum to be had going forward, no story about how damaged I am or was, rather the opportunity to start here, today, now, with no ghosts hanging around; no baggage to carry into new relationships. I have a blank canvas before me and I can splash the colors of the ghost all over it if I want to. Retracing my steps and bringing them forward again is an option, but I prefer and choose the colors of spaciousness, breath, and freedom.

With the help of ceremony and the moon, it is easier for me to hold this new resonance.

With great gratitude to the teachers before me who have passed down the ways of ceremony and to the moon and forces of nature and all the unseen helpers who assist us in our Earth walk, I now turn to you, dear readers.

What are you ready to release?
What will you create as your own unique ceremony?
How willing are you to be free?

Be it this full moon or the next, I send you my heart-felt wishes for powerful ceremony and blessed release!

Thank you for walking the full moon path with me.

Copyright(c) Feb 2014, Kathy J Loh, all rights reserved

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The Gift of Trees

Trees Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

All week, the pristine quiet of my new foothill home has been disrupted by the roar of chainsaws, the hacking of axes, the deep bass drone of earth movers and trucks and the all too distinct crack and thud of a tree going down.

IMG_5989 copyright (c) March 2013 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved IMG_5987 IMG_6029copyright (c) March 2013 Kathy J Loh All Rights Reserved

I would estimate more than 50 trees have come down so far. That first day, I could feel the shock of the trees, the earth, the birds. I reassured the trees on my property that the chainsaws would not be coming for them. I spent the day feeling completely rattled. A hawk flew overhead screeching as one tree was being cut. Was its nest high up there in the branches? I saw the same hawk fly down to the ground from a low limb the next day. Were there young ones to feed that now found their home on the ground? I don’t know. I only wonder.

My heart hurt and I cried. I also heard an internal voice chastise me saying “Where do you think the lumber for this house and this deck came from?” I also found myself curious about the process of cutting trees and furious about the destruction of the landscape to pull the logs out.

As I felt into all of my reactions,  I came to understand (among many other insights) that what bothers me most is (and this is an assumption) that they have not been honored. They were not taken down in a sacred manner. No one offered their prayer or blessing or gratitude.

As I said, that is an assumption. So, it all comes back to me. Have I offered my prayer, blessing or gratitude?  I spent that first evening in my sacred space doing just that. It created peace in my spirit and gave my heart a bit of rest. I am reminded to continue the practice of walking in the Beauty Way, honoring all of life. It’s so easy to forget.

The felling continues. As I write, I hear the drone of the tree mover with the big pincers creating roadways through the forest and dragging felled trees to waiting trucks.

This leads me to my invitation to join me in a healing ceremony, of sorts.

IMG_5975 apple blossom copyright (c) March 2013 Kathy J Loh

I invite you to join me in expressing gratitude to trees.

Leave a comment with your words or write a blog post on the subject and post the link in the comments section below.  In this way, we can practice some earth medicine and send energetic healing to trees being felled everywhere. In addition, if you feel so moved, speak your gratitude directly to a tree today.

I will start:

Thank you to the trees.

Thank you for your beauty, shade, blossoms, shelter.

Thank you for offering yourselves to become my home, furnishings, books, bags, paper.

Thank you for giving me your limbs for warm fires on chilly evenings.

Thank you for your medicine and the wisdom you always convey to me when I seek your counsel.

Thank you for harboring birds and squirrels.

Thank you for my guitar, violin, piano and the sweet songs that come from them.

Thank you for your sweet aromas, your waving branches in the breeze, your reminder to remain grounded.

Thank you for your teachings, sometimes painful, through the taking out of power for a day or two, or falling through a roof of a house or car.

Thank you to the giants for living so long as to remind us of timelessness.

Thank you for reaching high and pointing the way to the stars and that beautiful silhouette you create encircling me as I stand in a clearing stargazing.

Thank you for peace laurels, Christmas trees, wreathes and garlands.

Thank you for opening my heart and reminding me of the sacredness of all life.

 

Will you join me? Thank you for posting your gratitude for trees in the comments below (click on “comments” the last word of this post, below the likes and tags)

Many blessings!

Copyright © March 2013 Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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With the help of a small pre-lit tree, borrowed from a generous friend, and a Christmas music channel on Pandora, I am beginning to feel like it might be Christmas. Which is helpful, since today is Christmas Eve.

I moved in early December and I am still getting things into place. Last night, I finally got my home theater components hooked up and in the entertainment armoire (which took a lot of reaching, bending, flexing and patience). I’m still missing the speaker wire for the sub-woofer, no boom-boom sounds for now. My printer is still offline since it was not installed to communicate with the AT&T wireless modem that AT&T insisted I buy to use instead of my perfectly good Netgear model.  (Yes, I’m complaining. AT&T has always brought out the best in me – challenging me to find my most patient and compassionate self.)

I think I have bought  two gifts. Thank goodness our family event is not until the New Year, almost.

I have had the magic of snow, the frustration of things gone missing, the unnerving of trees swaying wildly with the wind and rain and power outages that, in this neck of the woods means I can’t pump water either.  It also means I wear long-underwear and polar fleece jackets indoors.  I have had ice that dares me to go anywhere in a car and forces me to walk with tiny baby steps across my deck to the garage and laundry. I know, it’s all sissy stuff compared to what most people live with.

Today, though,  the sun is shining and I am absolutely in love with my new home. Trees make for wonderful companions. The other day, I saw two jack rabbits that came right up to my deck and peered at me through the window. Today, I saw the coyote who is their likely enemy, chasing after something down the hill in the direction from which I’d seen the rabbits come the other day. Though my first view of the coyote was right out my kitchen window, by the time I got my camera, it was weaving in and out of the trees. Coyote was so intent on the hunt, it did not even notice me as I stepped into the yard for another peek. They are fluffier and healthier looking up here than the ones I’ve seen up in the Marin Watershed.

Here are some photos of the coyote in the morning woodland fog. I did not touch them up. I like them looking as mysterious as it felt.

copyright (c) Dec 2012 Kathy J Loh All Rights reserved coyoteEnlrg

Animal sightings are pure magic for me.  My delight rises from my wild nature through my heart and out my mouth as a simple gasp and single word of surprise “coyote!”

Coyote is the trickster; reminds us of how we lie to ourselves in a way that makes rational sense. My lie was that I did not need to decorate for Christmas. It’s Christmas Eve already and I am having holiday meals at other people’s homes. Why would I go to all the trouble to get ornaments out of boxes and deck my house and then have to go to all the trouble to put it all away in a few days? Why?

Coyote reminded me of magic. There is a magic I want to feel around the holiday and there is a child in me who insists on decorating the tree. So, I listened to her. We put on the music, we chose just-right ornaments that speak to me now – most of them woodland creatures. Enchantment rose in me and illuminated my new home.

Later today, I will go for a hike with my friend who is now my neighbor. We might even go snow-shoeing which would be a new activity for me, one I look forward to experiencing.

I said I moved here because I wanted adventure. I have not been disappointed yet. It’s just the sometimes it is hard to remember that adventure is not always comfortable. There is no predicting the Mystery and yet, there is no need to wait for enchantment.

We are all magicians traveling this Full Moon Path.

What illuminates your path?

How is the Mystery speaking to you today to get you to follow it into the woods of timelessness and create a little magic of your own?

Sending you all love and enchantment!

copyright (c) Dec 2012, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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Earth

She is a place we call home

She has a life of her own

On any one day

In any one moment

She is active

Always breathing

Sometimes easily

Sometimes fitfully

Ever sacred

As are we

Familiar with each other from the outside in

What is it to experience each other from the inside out?

I am

I am the waterfall

     and trickling stream

I am the wild wind

     And drifting sand

I am the bursting buds

     and new grass green

I am the snow-capped peaks

     and ancient land

I am the light

      and things unseen

The shadows, the singing, the silence between

I am

Copyright © April 2012, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Happy Earth Day my friends!

Video from YouTube – BBC’s trailer for Planet Earth

And for our sweet animal companions


					

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What a fantastic day it is for a walk in our SF Bay area!  The weather reminds me of Hawaii, temperate and humid. Thunder rumbles in the distance. Spring has arrived on time with pungent earth smells released by a week of rain, birds chirping loudly, a fledgling hawk screeching as its mother approaches with a meal in her talons, fresh green ferns and yellow daffodils popping out under oak trees on loamy slopes.

Nature’s exuberance will not be denied!

Exuberance! Remember that feeling?

It’s the dog’s tail when you say “walk?”

It’s the swagger of a young boy in his blanket cape wielding his duct-tape and wooden sword.

It’s the twirling, whirling and laughter of little girls.

It’s the giddiness and innocence of falling in love for the first time.

It’s the way the world sings, trees and all.

It’s life loving being alive.

It’s source energy reveling in the experience of physical form.

sunflower

Exuberance is the music that runs through us all, but we have become really good at turning it off, tuning it out, devaluing it, making it an obstacle to getting real. I’m not kidding – an obstacle.

As a child, my exuberant singing at bedtime often brought a “good night!” from down the hall. True, it was necessary for me to get some sleep and it never failed to scare me silly as it stunned me out of my reverie.

Other variations with which we are all familiar are:

“Somebody’s going to get hurt!”

“You’ll poke an eye out with that thing.”

 “Pipe down!”

“Who do you think you are?”

“What will the neighbors think?”  

I laugh when I think of saying these things to the daffodils or the fledgling hawk.

I knew exuberance as a kid. We were all fledgling hawks at some point, circling ever higher toward the sun, that symbol for passion. I had a passion for making things, for creating plays, for make-believe scenarios, for writing stories, for teaching other kids how to do arithmetic on the chalk board in my garage. I would not have called it passion then and I certainly would not have called it exuberance. I would have probably simply said I was having fun.  I had an idea of something I’d like to try and I set about the task of making it real. In those days it was all about what I could create simply for the fun and play of it, the exploration.

As time went by and the educational system got hold of me, my focus turned more to what I could get for succeeding and what the consequences were for failing. Let’s say I was a good student and maybe too good. (For more on success and failure see my last post “Failure and Success.

We say we have lost our innocence. We’ve become worldly. We say we are grown up now. And our hearts are in pain for it all. I’m not totally clear here, but I believe there is a way to reclaim our innocence and it has to do with holding the more real perspective of who we really are.

Say “I am” out loud and let the numinous silence that follows in-form you of a more real you than all the identities and self-images you’ve held could convey.**

Here’s the thing about exuberance – it’s not something that comes to us because of something we do, get or have. It is something that already exists as can be seen all around us on these fine spring days. Exuberance comes from exuberare which is abundance. We are abundant in our aliveness. The only reason we don’t know that, don’t feel it, is because we’ve choked it off, pruned it back, made it a cause for humiliation, embraced cynicism, let fear tell us we can be pretty much exiled for being overly exuberant.

Exuberance is not something we do, it is something we allow. When we are exuberant, we allow the life force to sing through us freely. It moves us, it makes noise, it dances, it celebrates. My guess is it also keeps us healthy.

If you’ve lost your exuberance, your passion, don’t go looking for it. Stop judging it, criticizing it, blaming it, stuffing it. Allow it to live in you, through you.

Invite life to express its magnificently creative self through you,

as you…

the only you that ever was

and ever will be.

Yes you,

my darling snowflake,

my dancing mirage of stardust,

you!

** for more on “I am” see my post:  Tree of Life (the Movie) and I Am (not the movie)

 copyright(c) March 2012, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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“We become compassionate not from altruism which denies the self for the sake of the other, but from the insight that sees and feels one is the other.” ~Huston Smith

I want to write something and my heart just wants to put it out there while the fearful aspect of my mind suggests we may need some facts;  some hard core science. Well, I honored that second voice for a while, surfing the net and hearing all the criticism that might be tossed at me for quoting Greenpeace or for neglecting to do so. There is no way to be right here. So I’m dropping the right and returning to my heart.

Here’s what I experience. Compassion is born of an open heart. An open heart knows sorrow and joy in equal proportions. The more open the heart, the more sorrow and joy. That can be a wild open ocean sometimes, so we batten down the hatches of the heart and return to the safe harbor of the judging ego-mind. I know. I have a well-used slip in that harbor.

Sailboat copyright (c) Nov 2010 Kathy J Loh

Walking, yesterday, I was enchanted by the beauty of the day: birds singing their hearts out, trees dancing in the breeze, raptors soaring on thermals, blossoms raising their faces to the sun. Then, a wave of sadness came over me without explanation. My mind went through the files: lost love, who died, list of regrets, etc. But nothing, could explain the depth of this sorrow.

“It’s the sadness of the world.” I heard these words whispered in my ear. I heard them only in my heart. I don’t know how I heard them. I just did.

My thoughts ran defense: “What am I to do with the sadness of the world? Has it come to take up residence in me? What am I supposed to do? I don’t know how to fix it!”

My wiser self responded: “Know it for what it is and let it wash through. It’s the only way to keep the heart open. Don’t head for the dock.”

A moment later, I noticed sorrow had moved on. Or had it? Maybe it was just that my attention had been captured by an iris in bloom.

It’s all going on at once, this joy and this sorrow; Beauty in its splendor, all the currents of the heart’s seas.

An open heart is more receptive to the heart of cosmos, is an open channel for it, becomes it (and yes, that’s a double entendre.)

Sometimes I wonder if it’s true. Is there the original Divine Mind or Universal Intelligence of which I am a creative expression and as such I am both one with and separate from that Source?

If so, if it’s true, then I am the whale and the whale is me. I am the dolphin and the dolphin is me. For when I look upon nature, when I look upon others, I see myself and my heart sings with joy for what has been created. At the same time, my heart cries for what is being destroyed.

That’s what happened when I saw a certain video this morning. (I could not find a way to embed it here, but I can give you the link.) Without any interpretation, it’s a beautiful celebration of life, nature, planet and the music is as emotionally evocative as the film, if not more so.

Yet, in my state of mind (and heart) and in light of what’s happening, the dumping of toxic waste into the ocean, and radioactive rain falling into the Pacific because of the disaster at Fukushima, I could not help but think – (said with sarcasm, “Gee, I’m sure glad there’s a lot of ocean to take the radioactive waste before it gets to me in California. Thank God for that big blue hole out there where things can be buried, so that I don’t have to know they exist anymore.”

And what am I burying?

What happens when I dig it up?

What kind of courage does it take to keep the heart open in light of all the tragedy?

(Some would have me mention the human loss as well. Yes, I see it. Maybe I’m just not strong enough to go there yet. Maybe that’s your work and mine is with the wild wonder of Nature. I don’t pretend to know. I follow my heart.)

I watched this video and felt my heart open to the heart of the Source of all creation and the deep deep sadness for the potential loss of what “I” had created and what has pleased me for so long.

What have I created?

So here is a simple picture I took of spinner dolphins in Lanai. Below the photo is a link to the video. Please watch it and let it fill your screen, your heart and your consciousness.

This video shows sheer beauty.

YOU are sheer beauty.

It’s a big beautiful, mostly blue, planet and we are all in this together.

Dolphin copyright (c) Oct 2010, Kathy J Loh

Click the link below to watch the video. (Right click if you want to see it in a new window or tab. Otherwise it will pop you out of this blog post. )

http://www.facedl.com/fb/player/waPlayer.swf?VideoID=awuokwiawkioino

“And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss of one creature makes a void in any heart, so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it up. -Charles Dickens

Copyright © April 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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