It was a cold day in December. A little boy about 10-year-old was standing before a shoe store on Broadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold.

Boy peering through the window

A lady approached the boy and said, “My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?”

‘I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,’was the boy’s reply.

The lady took him by the hand, went into the store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her.

She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with the towel.

By this time, the clerk had returned with the socks.. Placing a pair upon the boy’s feet, she purchased him a pair of shoes.

She tied up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to him. She patted him on the head and said, ‘No doubt, you will be more comfortable now.’

As she turned to go, the astonished kid caught her by the hand, and looking up into her face, with tears in his eyes, asked her,   ‘Are you God’s wife?’

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“Voyage de la Vie” or the “Journey of Life” is the first ever theatrical circus spectacular originating from Singapore in the league of world-class theatre productions. The 90-minute show made its World Premiere on 2 July 2010 at the purpose-built 1600-seat Festive Grand showroom at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). 30 months in the making, the multi-million dollar Voyage de la Vie is a bold move into originating a major permanent production for Resorts World Sentosa.

Voyage de la Vie

A scene from Voyage de la Vie

Combining the energy, physicality and athleticism of circus arts and gymnastics, the show is a contemporary cutting edge rock circus theatre spectacular told through pulsating music, extravagant costumes, awe-inspiring sets, high-flying acrobatic acts and death-defying stunts which fully engages the senses and will keep you at the edge of your seat. With a  international cast of world-class circus stars and crew brought together from 16 countries, Voyage de la Vie will be an entertainment experience like no other.

Some of the cast members of Voyage de la Vie

The show, a collaboration between RWS and The Generating Company UK, also brings together some of the most illustrious names in show design, most notably Marc Fisher at the helm as show conceiver and creative producer, with co-conceivers Philip Wm. McKinley (direction) and Ray Winkler (set design). Best known as the internationally renowned and acclaimed designer behind the stunning sets for the Beijing Olympics and Cirque du Soleil’s Ka in Las Vegas, Fisher is also the long-admired celebrated set designer for Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, U2, Tina Turner and Robbie Williams’ world tours.

Amazing set of Voyage de la Vie

Viktor Kee  is one of the most recognised figures in the international circus scene today. This Ukrainian juggling master first discovered his passion for the art of juggling at the tender age of four, and has come to be known for his unique incorporation of theatre, contortion, acrobatics and dance into his act. Since then, he has toured around the world with top circus arts companies, including Cirque de Soleil’s Dralion as a principle performer. In Voyage de la Vie, he plays the role of the Lantern Keeper.

Voyage de la Vie is a story of a boy’s metaphoric journey, or a rite of passage before he becomes an adult. It tells the tale of a young man Boy, tired of the ceaseless tedium of the corporate rat race, searches for a life with more fulfilment and meaning. One day, while playing a computer game, he gets sucked into a land of fantasy where he uncovers the hidden depths of his imagination to find meaning and fulfillment.  He meets the Lantern Keeper, the charming Crystal Cat, the mesmerizing Diva, the Game Master and an assortment of curious characters symbolising Temptation, Love, Conflict and Resolution, and finally Life and Death. Gradually he comes to terms with his inner struggles and realises that it’s not the destination that counts, but the journey.

The Boy and the Lantern Keeper

Each “lesson” and stage in Boy’s journey is magnified by the thrilling contortionistic feats and death-defying acrobatic stunts performed by the impressive international cast and crew to a beautiful “live” soundtrack. Jonathan Leong (runner-up in Singapore Idol 2006) plays the lead role of “The Boy”.

From stunning cloud-swing trapeze acts by Finnish rope aerialist Liina Aunola (Life) to harrowing flying daggers and flaming arrows timed and executed to perfection by her crossbow partner Martti Peltonen (Death), and amazing bodily contortions by Russian contortionist prodigy Alexey Goloborodko (The Game Master) to beautiful trapeze acrobatics by Aurelia Cats (France) as The Crystal Cat, Voyage de la Vie succeeds in blending together a mind-boggling variety of acts in a single production with surprising finesse.

Viktor Kee plays the Lantern Keeper

Finnish cloud-swing aeralist Liina Aunola as Life

Martti Peltonen plays Death

Aurelia Cats plays Crystal Cat

Melanie Chy plays The Diva

Performers of particular note include 15-year-old contortionist Goloborodko, the youngest member in the cast. Audiences tend to drop their jaws in awe at the ease with which the puckish figure twists his limbs in improbable positions.

Alexey Goloborodko plays the Game Master

Rounding out the impressive lineup of captivating performers include Vegas magician and maestro duo Jarrett & Raja (US), who have wowed audiences around the world with their own show of illusions, including working with celebrated choreographer-director Kenny Ortega (best known for his work on High School Musical and Michael Jackson’s last tour, This is It).

Voyage de la Vie is an amazing theatrical experience. Don’t miss it if you happen to visit Singapore!

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I have previously written a post about the Chinese movie “Aftershock” by Feng Xiaogang. A few days ago, I finally watched this movie and it has been a wonderful experience. It really tugged at my heartstrings and I just could not help tears from welling up in my eyes.

"Aftershock" movie poster

“Aftershock” is not your typical disaster flick but more of a family melodrama revolving around perennial themes of love, choices, human trauma, pain and forgiveness. The movie has a number of serious tear jerker moments, it tells a very touching story and it will have you thinking about it long after.

“Aftershock” is a fictional story set during a real-life event and benefits from the unflinching powerhouse portrayal of the director’s actress wife Xu Fan as a mother who was caught in a heart-wrenching dilemma of choosing between saving her son or her daughter during the atrocities of natural disaster. It is a strong, textured drama with very decent CGI work that doesn’t detract from the primary focus of building on themes of guilt, abandonment, closure and redemption

Yuan Ni (Xu Fan), the mother who is the focus of the movie, lost her husband in the Tangshan Earthquake in 1976 and, forced to make the difficult decision between saving her son Fonda or her daughter Fan Teng, she chose her son. What she didn’t know was that her daughter overheard her decision and survived the calamity. The daughter Fan Teng suffered from the painful memory of her mother’s decision to abandon her and was traumatised by this childhood experience.

Mother frantically searching for her daughter and son

Mother carrying her seriously injured son to seek medical attention not realising that her daughter had also survived the calamity.

The daughter all alone after regaining consciousness

Fan Teng was adopted by a couple from the People’s Liberation Army and grew up in comfortable conditions, while her mother and her twin brother (who lost an arm in the quake) struggled to get by back in Tangshan.  The story follows the diverging path of the siblings (who are twins) as they grow up, as well as the rough experience faced by her mother.

Fan Teng adopted by a military couple

When the Sichuan earthquake struck in 2008, Fan Teng volunteered to join the rescue team and returned from Canada to her homeland China. As she witnessed the tribulations people suffered, she finally unlocked the pain she had felt all these years and found forgiveness for her mother. She was finally reunited with the mother and twin brother after 32 years.

The daughter Fan Teng, now an adult, returning to China to help out during the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake

Let me warn you again that this is a movie that will really tug at your heartstrings and bring tears to your eyes. Make sure you have tissue paper with you when you watch this movie!

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In 2003, police in Warwickshire, England, opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog.  The dog had been locked in the shed and abandoned.  It was dirty and malnourished and had quite clearly been abused.

In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a female greyhound, to the Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, which is run by a man named Geoff Grewcock, and known as a haven for animals abandoned, orphaned, or otherwise in need.

Geoff and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims: to restore the dog to full health and to win her trust.  It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved.  They named her Jasmine and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home.

jasmine

Jasmine, however, had other ideas.  No one quite remembers how it came about, but Jasmine started welcoming all animal arrivals at the sanctuary.  It would not matter if it were a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or, any other lost or hurting animal.  Jasmine would just peer into the box or cage and, when and where possible, deliver a welcoming lick.

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Geoff relates one of the early incidents.  ”We had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line.  One was a Lakeland Terrier cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman cross.  They were tiny when they arrived at the centre, and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the settee.  Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them.”

“But she is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits.  She takes all the stress out of them, and it helps them to not only feel close to her, but to settle into their new surroundings.  She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs, and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose.”

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Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted waif, became the animal sanctuary’s resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born.  The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, fifteen chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and fifteen rabbits – and one roe deer fawn.  Tiny Bramble, eleven weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field.  Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into the full foster-mum role.  Jasmine the greyhound showers Bramble the roe deer with affection, and makes sure nothing is matted.

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“They are inseparable,” says Geoff.  ”Bramble walks between her legs, and they keep kissing each other.  They walk together round the sanctuary.  It’s a real treat to see them.”

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Jasmine will continue to care for Bramble until she is old enough to be returned to woodland life.  When that happens, Jasmine will not be lonely.  She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next orphan or victim of abuse.

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Pictured from the left are: “Toby”, a stray Lakeland dog; “Bramble”, orphaned roe deer; “Buster”, a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; “Sky”, an injured barn owl; and “Jasmine”, with a mother’s heart doing best what a caring mother would do…and such is the order of God’s Creation.

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“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”

~ Norman Vincent Peale

It is Christmas and I wish all of you a very blessed and happy Christmas and may 2010 bring you an abundance of joy, love and peace.

May Your Christmas Be As Lovely As This Baby Santa!

May Your Christmas Be As Lovely As This Baby Santa!

Christmas is about giving. If there is no joyous way to give a festive gift, give love away.

Christmas gift suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.

To an opponent, tolerance.

To a friend, your heart.

To a customer, service.

To all, charity.

To every child, a good example.

To yourself, respect.

~ Oren Arnold

Keep this in mind:

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:the presence of a happy  family all wrapped up in each other.”

~ Burton Hillis

Have a fun-filled happy Christmas……….ho ho ho!

If you do not see Santa Claus this Christmas, maybe this is the reason why.

If you do not see Santa Claus this Christmas, maybe this is the reason why.

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This moving story is from an email sent to me by my eldest brother……I hope it will touch your heart and make you realize that we human can learn a lot from this pair of baby hippo and a century-old tortoise.

A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa , officials said

The century-old tortoise and the baby hippo

The century-old tortoise and the baby hippo

The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean , then forced back to shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, before wildlife rangers rescued him.

“It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a ‘mother’,” ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP.

“After it was swept away and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together,” the ecologist added.

Baby hippo following its "mother"

Baby hippo following its "mother"

Resting next to each other

Resting next to each other


“The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it followed its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother,” Kahumbu added.

What a strange pair!

What a strange pair!

“The hippo is a young baby, he was left at a very tender age and by nature, hippos are social animals that like to stay with their mothers for four years,” he explained.

Isn't that so touching?

Isn't that so touching?

What a lovely sight!

Love is.........

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.


This is a real story that shows that our differences don’t matter much when we need the comfort of another. We could all learn a lesson from these two creatures: “Look beyond the differences and find a way to walk the path together.”

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What are your treasures?

What are your treasures?

The cheerful girl with bouncy curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

“Oh, please, mommy, can I have them? Can I have them? Please, Please, mommy?”

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face.

“A dollar and ninety-five cents. That’s almost two dollars. If you really want them, in no time, you can save enough to buy them for yourself. Your birthday is only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma.”

As soon as Jenny got home, the little girl emptied her penny box and counted out seventeen pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and went to the neighbors and asked Mrs McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she was swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother had said that if they got wet, they might turn the back of her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she went to bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he had finished the story, he asked Jenny.

Do you love me?

Do you love me?

“Do you love me?”

“Oh, yes, Daddy, you know I love you.”

“Then give me your pearls.”

“Oh, Daddy, not my pearls, but you can have Princess, the white horse, from my collection. The one with the pink tail, remember daddy? The one you gave me. She is my favorite.”

“That’s ok, honey.”

He brushed her cheek with a kiss. About a week later, after the story, Jenny’s daddy asked again.

“Do you love me?”

“Daddy, you know I love you.:

“Then give me the pearls.”

“Oh, daddy, not my pearls, but you can have my baby doll and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper.”

“That’s ok, sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you.”

And as always he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss. A few nights later when Daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed in Indian style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear ran down her cheek.

“What is it?”

Jenny did not say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy and when she opened it, there was her pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said,
“Here, Daddy, it’s for you.”

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime store necklace and with the other hand, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was waiting for her to give up the dime store stuff so he could give her a genuine treasure.

What are you holding on to that is preventing you from getting the genuine treasure? What limiting beliefs are holding you back? What misconceptions about money are you clinging to? It is time to let go.

Have the courage to seek out change. Change is painful.Most people won’t change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change. When it comes to money, we can be like the toddler in a soiled diaper. “I know it smells bad, but it’s warm and it’s mine.” Only when the rash comes will we cry out. If you keep doing the same things, you will keep getting the same results. You are where you are right now financially as a sum total of the decisions you’ve made to this point.

If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.

(Note: The above story and key points are from the book “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey.)

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I don’t know who is the artist of these feather paintings but these paintings are really beautiful.  Enjoy and be sure to read the message at the end……it is really touching!

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featherpainting13

A little something to put things in perspective…

After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno’s damage.

One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother’s wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing  that the toxic smoke would rise.

She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. Then the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast… because she had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live.

‘He will cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you will find refuge.’
(Psalm 91:4)

Being loved this much should make a difference in your life. Remember the One who loves you, and then be different because of it.

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