Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement – The Not So Easy 24 Form Tai Chi

The first time I saw the elderly people exercising in the park I wondered what form of exercise they were doing. It looked interesting and easy to do. Hmm I thought, I could do that too. At the time I didn’t realize that Tai Chi is a form of martial arts exercise combined with breathing techniques, meditation, and controlled slow movements. Tai Chi looks easy but it’s not. Every step is intentional with a count of 4-7 seconds each.

When I first expressed interest to Kevin (Tai Chi Master) he was only too eager and willing to teach me all about Tai Chi. He indicated it would take approximately 3 months of concentrated time to learn 24 steps. Because exercise is no fun all alone, I invited and had my friends Brandy and Linda learn right along with me. Boy, we were in for quite a surprise as Tai Chi is not easy at all.

After weeks of practice and exercise, Kevin informed us that we would perform what we had learned in front of a graduating class. Oh dear, I thought, I’m going to fall on my face and how will I keep from smiling (I’m always smiling, can’t help it). The other ladies were catching on pretty quick, I felt I was still going left when they were going right. During the training my name got worn out quite a bit with no Maria, other side Maria, slow down Maria, too fast Maria, Kevin didn’t realize he was very close to getting smacked! Ha!

The following chart shows what our forms should have looked like. My steps were nothing like the picture shows. In the end, we got through it with a little soreness, lots of laughter, and great fun!

I didn’t run a marathon like Michelle witnessed in New York City; but, for me this was a great achievement which falls into this weeks category. This week the Weekly Photo Challenge is Achievement. I hope you enjoy our video!

Chart credit to: bluesparrowtcc.wordpress.com

Chart credit to: bluesparrowtcc.wordpress.com

I would love to hear about something you have done that makes you feel accomplished. Enjoy!

 

 

Gardens Everywhere – China

There is so much to appreciate here in China. My list is long and full of gratitude and appreciation. Today, I’d like to share just a few shots of small gardens. Gardens, no big deal right? But, these gardens are unique in that they are not in someone’s backyard, front yard, or even in containers. These gardens are planted by the locals in open spaces or public spaces.

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This garden is right next to the street. We have never seen someone disturb the gardens.

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A garden along the canal that runs behind the apartment complex where I live. I love the look of the garden vs a grassy area.

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Some of the trees were transplanted to this area. The grass had become a little overgrown before the locals started using the grounds for a vegetable garden.

As strange as this may seem, I find these gardens full of inspiration. The local people take the time to clear the land, prepare the soil, sow the seeds, and then they get to reap the harvest.  IMG_4469

Then we have the homeowner that has a small space behind the house or next to it. I’m not saying that every single person uses open spaces for gardening; but, there is a large percentage of people who utilize every area with soil for gardening.

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This garden is located behind someone’s home.

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On a hot summer day, Mike was able to visit with this older gentleman who was lovingly tying his plants up.

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The locals are proud of the gardens and some can be found selling their vegetables on the side of the street near the open market.

Right now I’m really encouraged and inspired by John and the folks at  Food Is Free project in Austin, Texas. I’m so inspired that I would like to do something like this in Wabash, Indiana. What about you, what do you think of small gardens? Do you have a garden?

I’m so in love with life!

Maria

Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

This weeks Weekly Photo Challenge is all about signs. Please take a moment to check out Cheri Lucas Rowlands banner page on her Signs post. I personally love that banner, awesome!

The following snap shots were taken while visiting Macau, China. I was not planning to use them for anything other than cutouts for a scrapbook collage; but, I find it appropriate to use them for this weeks weekly photo challenge.

My fear of being up so high and getting too close to the window kept me from focusing on what I was doing and almost every snap I took was with the iPhone 4s. I was too nervous to take out my camera.

Enjoy!

This was the registration desk and I loved the sign that was displayed. I think it's inspiring!

This was the registration desk and I loved the sign that was displayed. I think it’s inspiring!

I so wish I would have been a bit more comfortable to be at the top of the tower.

I so wish I would have been a bit more comfortable to be at the top of the tower.

A note to my husband to let him know we missed him. While the girls and I took a holiday away he stayed behind and had to work.

A note to my husband to let him know we missed him. While the girls and I took a holiday away he stayed behind and had to work.

 

My Daughter Jumped Off The Macau Tower

Our beautiful dare-devil and youngest daughter Mari decided she wanted to do something extreme while taking a small vacation to Macau. Available in Macau is the worlds highest bungy jump created and developed by AJ Hackett. Read the amazing facts of this jump here.

Bungy jumping from a height of 233 meters (764 feet) and speed of up to 200 km/h is pretty darn extreme if you ask me. Our daughter, Mari, loved the jump as can be seen in the video below and is now talking to Mike about a free fall jump. Yikes! By the way this video was taken with a Go Pro camera. I think we added an addition to our collection…hmm

Last night after returning from a late dinner we all sat and watched the video. Mari was radiating with excitement and a little pride for doing something that was on her bucket list. It’s hard to believe that she’s only 14.

Have you ever bungy jumped? Do you have children who love extreme sports and how does it make you feel?

Building Blocks

A few week’s ago we were walking home after having a very filling and wonderful dinner. The evening was dense with heat and no air movement to speak of. The town was filled with people strolling about enjoying the evening and trying to find some measure of comfort. The only smell in the air was the lingering smell of fireworks. The sounds were the same, crackling fireworks and horns blaring from cars, trucks, scooters, and even bicycles.

As we were walking home we noticed a little boy and his mother. The mother was busy enjoying the little boy’s giggles and didn’t notice we had slowed down to watch the scene before us. The young boy was busy playing with left over cement block as mom watched on. The little boy would pile the blocks, move them around, stand back and look at mom for approval. Mom would then praise the little boy and clap.

I found such pleasure in the scene before us. I thought to myself, now there’s a mother truly spending time with her son. You could clearly see she was enjoying the boys creativity and being encouraging to him as well.

We knew she had noticed us when we heard the word, “Laowai”, which means foreigner. We all said hello and pointed to what the boy had done with the blocks, gave a little clap, and touched his head. Of course he shied away from us (it was Mike’s towering size and bald head, I’m sure of it… :)) and went to his mother. As we were walking away the little boy resumed playing with the blocks and I asked mom if I could take a picture. A quick nod from mom and I was able to get 2 quick shots (although not very good ones) before he went to mom again.  Enjoy!

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