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.


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


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.


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.


This garden is located behind someone’s home.


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


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!


Friday’s Random Photos – China

I’ve decided to do a Friday’s Random Photos category where I can share a few snapshots that don’t fit into a blog post for that week. I’ve discovered I have a ton of snapshots in my archives that would be fun to share outside of a wordy post. Hope you enjoy!

Lotus Seed Head – Shanghai, China

Did you know the seeds from the lotus seed head were edible? I love learning new things and this certainly was new! While researching for this post I found a great article written by Joel Savage from The Reading Cottage (<– click to read the article).

An excerpt from Joel’s article: Lotus seeds also contain a powerful anti-aging enzyme which researchers are now trying to add to various anti-ageing products and cosmetics. The dried seed heads are sold for decorative purposes across the world. These seeds are commonly used in dried flower arranging.


The street vendor was selling the seed heads for only 3 RMB a piece. That's the equivalent of $.50

The street vendor was selling the seed heads for only 3 RMB a piece. That’s the equivalent of $.50


The article states there are anti-ageing properties in the seed’s. Guess what I’ll be learning  Ito eat and incorporate into food? Yup, you guessed it, ha!

Have you ever tried Lotus seeds and did you like them?

Catchy Advertising –

Ever see a billboard, sign, or an advertisement that stops you dead in your tracks? What would be your reaction to this advertisement and these types of gifts?