Monthly Archives: June 2012

Bloom Where You’re Planted


“Whoever would have thought I’d be planted here?”
Photo by Ellie Kuykendall

In a million years, I never thought I would be living in South Carolina. This is NOT where I wanted to spend my “golden years.” But you know, God had other plans for me. And this is where I am.

So, I was thinking the other day that I need to remember the simple phrase, “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” I remembered it while I was putting plants into the above unlikely containers. We’re used to seeing plants in pots of all descriptions: clay and plastic, bright and dull colors, large and small, patterned and plain, and hanging baskets. However, we’re not used to seeing plants in tea tins or ceramic pitchers that were designed for liquids.

And that’s like me in South Carolina. At times I feel like a flower in a pair of kid’s rain boots. Most of the time these days, though, I believe I’m exactly where I belong. Why? Because of the many blessings I’ve been given since I moved here almost four years ago.

I thought I’d be traveling the world, preferably with a husband. Neither of those retirement dreams has materialized. Maybe they still will, and maybe they won’t. How I accept the circumstances in my life is more important than the conditions in which I find myself.

Will I complain about what I don’t have, or will I be grateful for what I do have? Will I seek out new opportunities to help others, or will I isolate and feel sorry for myself? Do I do a check each day to see whether I’ve offended someone and then make amends if I need to do so? Can I look for the gifts I bring to others instead of wondering why I’m not more like so and so?

Each day is a new opportunity for me to grow, listen, change, be still, and add something to someone’s life. If I keep these things in the forefront of my mind, I’ll remember that I have done some traveling to different countries in the world. This is much more than many other people have experienced.

If I remember that I am a child of God, the negativity slips away.

And more than anything, if I continue to have faith, then I realize that God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself.

I hope you have a blessed day!

One more thing…I would love to hear about your blessings, so please feel free to leave a comment.

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Filed under Behavior, Feelings, Helping Others, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Ulsan, South Korea: What If…


Playing games at orphanage in Pusan, South Korea

What if we all sat in a circle and talked about our similarities and our differences? Would it make a difference? I think it might.

Living in another cultures gives you a different perspective on just about everything. It’s impossible to ignore the differences and it’s a joy to discover the similarities.

What if we left products for sale out in the open each night, with just a tarp to cover them up? Would people in the United States steal them all? Or would they get used to having them there?

What would it be like if we all took time a few times a year to rest and reflect on our lives in a peaceful and serene spot? Would we still allow the stress to get to us all the time if we did that? Somehow, I don’t think so.

A mountain retreat near Ulsan, South Korea

If we left our shoes at the door, our floors wouldn’t get dirty as quickly. Would our minds stay cleaner as well? Who knows?

The girls came to my room at English summer camp in Pusan, South Korea.
They left their shoes at the door. So had I.

If we celebrated birthdays simply and elegantly, would it be enough? Or do we have to have more gifts, bigger cakes and larger parties to show our worth? Not only was this cake simple, but it was also scrumptious.

“Tis a joy to be simple, ’tis a joy to be free…” Shaker song

At the end of the day, I think it should be enough to stop, to stretch, to take deep breaths, and simply, to rest, and to enjoy the view. What do you think?

Good night, Sun.

Travel to another land and take in the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes. Celebrate a world filled with people who are different, but who are the same. Believe in yourself and your dreams. Hold onto your hopes. Cling tightly to love and family. Forgive freely. Live large. Don’t give up. You will not pass this way again.

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Haeundae Beach Sand Festival, Pusan, South Korea


Gone fishin’ sand sculpture, 2008

I fell in love with the “Land of the Morning Calm,” within hours of arriving there for the first time in 1997. Ten years later I went back, and my love affair continued unabated. Pusan  (or Busan), South Korea is located on the east coast of the South Korea.  As with other large cities in South Korea, a stark  contrast lies between miles of huge concrete apartment buildings and women sitting on the sidewalks hawking their fresh veggies or fish.

One of Pusan’s famous summer events is the Haeundae Beach Sand Festival. Artists, families and individuals come from all over Korea to try their hand to sculpt all manner of things. The boardwalk booths offer tempting food, information about various services and businesses, and giveaways such as pens and bumper stickers — much the same as any American fair.

This particular artist told me he had worked since the sun came up to sculpt this lovely lady.

Here’s a popular Korean cartoon character.

Love this little bug!

Korean women take a great deal of pride in their appearance and always dress to the “nines” when going out…even for a sand festival. This is one of my favorite photos, because I just couldn’t understand why any woman would wear heals to an event like this!

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