Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Enjoy Cooking, Enjoy Life

Confucius said, “Eat, drink, man and woman, are human beings’ basic desires.” Western people say, “You are what you eat.” Scientific studies prove that what you eat could determine your health, look, even your intelligence. You have to take cooking seriously.

My mom is a very good housewife, who could make delicious food with limited resources when the supply was scarce during the hard time. Since I got married, I really enjoy cooking for my family and enjoy the dinner time with my family.

It is a great joy to cook for someone you care for and see them enjoy the fruits of your creativity. And having a meal cooked with love and care gives you warmer feeling than cooking itself – an experience your whole family should be able to revel in.

Cooking is an art. How to make a dish with good color, shape, taste, and smell is a big knack. I always go to a cooking forum to learn a new menu. Then, I will give my family a surprise with a new dish.

Cooking is a science. How much vitamin, protein and fiber you consume is determined by the material you choose and the way you cook. Eating well, you can get natural beauty, a vigorous body and a sharp mind.

Cooking is system engineering. If you have a general plan ahead and a roadmap step by step, you can cook with less time.

Cooking can be a team work. You can have a good time to pick vegetable, cut meat, fry food with your loved one. Someone even said that cooking is the best way of flirting.

If you really love life, cooking can be relaxing and fun. You can really taste pleasure in cooking as well as in eating. Life is a feast, especially sharing with persons that you love. Enjoy cooking, enjoy life.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Something to Look Forward to

This is a guest post by Ian Scott - An Englishman Abroad.

Bali, Bangkok, Kyoto, Colombo, Istanbul, Samarkand, Des Moines, Ulan Bator, Rio, Marrakesh….

When I was seventeen, I entered that list in the back of my diary, as I lay on my bed, looking out of the window at the pictures made by the clouds in the sky. I never really believed that I'd ever visit any of those places, but I'd just read On the Road, The Great Railway Bazaar and The Lonely Planet Guide to South-East Asia, and I was so full of wanderlust that I was fit to burst.

One day, I just stood on the road in front of my house and stuck my thumb out. It's really true: the first step is the hardest. I've been traveling pretty well ever since. I have visited 94 countries, but I still haven't been to all of the places on my original list, and, in a way, I don't want to...yet. I want to save a few for later.

I've visited some of them though and who'd have believed that I'd wind up one day riding a bicycle around Bali, sleeping on a tatami mat in Kyoto, staying for more than a year in a house on stilts at the edge of the South China Sea, sleeping in a yurt in the Gobi Desert, or traveling overland, half-way round the world by train from Beijing to London or by bus from Mexico to Chile?

I have kept lists of things to do ever since because I think it's important in life to have something to look forward to. Just before the beginning of every year, I get a new diary and the first thing I do is write three lists in the back: countries to visit, books to read and films to see.

Here are the top tens from my current lists:

Countries to visit:
  • South Africa

  • Swaziland

  • Zambia

  • Lesotho

  • Namibia

  • Mali

  • Ghana

  • Kazakhstan

  • Turkmenistan

  • Bhutan

    Books to read:

  • Miss Chopsticks by Xinran

  • Strangers by Taichi Yamada

  • To the Edge of the Sky by Anhua Gao

  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

  • Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

  • The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

  • Travels with a Tangerine by Tim Mackintosh-Smith

  • Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

  • Losing Nelson by Barry Unsworth

  • Films to see:
  • The Boat that Rocked

  • Frost/Nixon

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  • Departures

  • The Reader

  • The Wrestler

  • The Cave of the Yellow Dog

  • The Story of the Weeping Camel

  • Milk

  • Take Care of My Cat

  • Why not try making some lists of your own? Then you'll always have something to look forward to.

    Welcome to

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    The Angel Inside

    The Angel Inside, by Chris Widener, is one of the best inspirational books I have ever read. The book integrates life wisdom into a fictional story that a young American businessman, called Tom Cook, has travelled to Italy to search for meaning of life and he meets a mysterious old man who teaches the young man to follow his passion by showing him the art and life of Michelangelo.

    Tom Cook just turned thirty, recently dumped by his girlfriend, and regarded to have zero career potential by his boss. He lives a life chosen by his parents and he is disappointing his parents and himself. He takes his time away from the United States to do soul-searching. In his final day at Florence, he meets an old man, who tells him a story,

    “One day, Michelangelo was working on the marble that would become David, and a young boy came by and asked why he was working so hard hitting a rock. Michelangelo answered, ‘Young boy, there is an angel inside of this rock and I am setting him free.’”

    Then the old man tells Tom there is an angel inside him, a person of beauty and a person of power, and that he is valuable just for who he is. There is a masterpiece within each of us, waiting to emerge. It is important to follow our passion, be confident in our strength, master the details, think big, start from small, plan well, take swift action and persevere on the journey.

    Many people looked at that marble but saw nothing. But Michelangelo envisioned that the marble could become a masterpiece, the great David.

    At the end, the mysterious old man turns out to be Michelangelo himself and disappears like an angel. The book is educational and entertaining, and better to read in one sit.

    At this point, I reminded that I left a comment for a book review of “The Diamond Cutter ” in the blog Awake Your Authentic Self: Everyone is a diamond in rough; he can’t shine just because he hasn’t met the right diamond-cutter.

    Saturday, April 11, 2009

    April, the Poetry Month

    Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, every April is National Poetry Month.

    Poetry can distill our life, uplift our soul, ease our emotion and heal our wounds.

    Poetry can bring gentle pleasure and delightful wisdom to the shrine in our heart.

    Poetry is love in words, passion on paper, music in silence, and life in distillment.

    Today, let me share with you my favorite quotes about poetry and poets:

    Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; morals, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend. ~ Sir Francis Bacon

    Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. ~Leonard Cohen

    Poetry is man's rebellion against being what he is. ~James Branch Cabell

    Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. ~Percy Byshe Shelley

    The poem is the point at which our strength gave out. ~Richard Rosen

    Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason. ~Novalis

    God is the perfect poet. ~Robert Browning

    Poetry is life distilled. ~Gwendolyn Brooks

    Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn. ~Thomas Gray

    Poetry, like the moon, does not advertise anything. ~William Blissett

    A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman. ~Wallace Stevens

    A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom. ~Robert Frost

    Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth. ~Samuel Johnson

    If you've got a poem within you today, I can guarantee you a tomorrow. ~The Quote Garden

    Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them. ~Dennis Gabor

    Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things. ~T.S. Eliot

    Wednesday, April 8, 2009

    From Broadness to Focus

    CN Tower from CBC Tall Some people develop a clear goal and a focused interest at their early age, but some people have a tendency to be interested in a broad array of subjects all along their life. The former are more likely to become successful in their career and life than the latter, as my previous post “The Power of Focus” suggests.

    If people who have diverse interests and talents can knit together the full diversity of their experiences, they can also become highly successful and reap the harvest of their intelligence. Likewise, after you build a wide and solid foundation, on which, you can build a taller and stronger building.

    A person, with a diverse interests and a breadth of knowledge, may feel he is good for nothing and unqualified for anything at some period of his life. However, as a multitalented person has a focused mind and starts to concentrate his multiple skills toward one small task or one small project, he is able to do things others cannot, and he even can work as a one-soldier army – carrying on and completing a project on his own without outside help. All the information is processed in a single brain, coordinating the right and the left hemispheres, streamlined, without the inconvenience of miscommunication and misunderstanding among several people, thus in an emergent situation a one-soldier army even can produce better result than a team does.

    For example, if you have good database, mathematical, analytical, writing, design and computer skills, you can actually collect data, analyze data, summarize your findings, create diagrams, do page designs and write a report all on your own. If you have a general understanding of a lot of subjects and have very sharp learning ability, you can develop your knowledge to a higher level in a short time to meet the project’s need by using all the free resources from internet and library.

    A versatile person with collective intelligence can make contribution to cross-disciplinary program or project, can apply technology in the understanding human diversity and can conduct scientific research with an insight of complex social issues. As a lot of disciplines ramify to narrower and narrower branches, and the society becomes more and more technology-driven, we may need broad-based efforts to grapple the vexing problems faced by humankind.

    Sunday, April 5, 2009

    Be Free

    If you are quick to take offense, then you will be under the control of those who find you offensive.

    If you are easily angered, then your actions will be dictated by those who anger you.

    If you are obsessed by what other people think, then you will be imprisoned by their thoughts.

    If you yearn for easy answers and quick solutions, then you’ll fall prey to people who offer you nothing but promises.

    If you find the truth too difficult to bear, then you will be enslaved to those who tell you what you want to hear.

    When you have the courage to think for yourself, the strength to accept what is, the commitment and discipline to make a difference…

    Then you are free. You are free to live with purpose, joy, and fulfillment. Let your life be defined, not by reactions to what others do, say, or think but rather your own unique vision.

    Raise your eyes above the pettiness and follow the path of the greatness that is within you. Be free.

    ~ Naseeh Sharafudheen

    I found this from an inspirational forum.

    If we are easily influenced by other people’s opinions or let negative voices balk us on our course, we can not achieve anything. If we try hard to gain other people’s approval, to please or impress others, we may lose touch with our real self.

    It is very easy to fall in line with discouraging voices. Only if we have courage within ourselves to be what we can be and do what we can do, we can realize our highest dreams and goals.

    If we don’t have control of our own feelings, emotions, thoughts and dreams, we will be controlled by other people. Be free to find our real, true inner meaning. Be free to follow our dreams. Be free to be ourselves.
    Be free.

    Continue to read Positive Attitude

    Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    The Power of Focus

    Grass rustled in the dark woods as wind blew
    In the dimness General Guang Li drew the bow
    At crack of dawn they searched the white feather
    In a corner of a stone buried deeply was the arrow

    Hearing the sound of the wind in the dark woods, General Guang Li mistook a stone for a tiger, exerted all his strength to pull his bow back, because he was so focused, he was able to shoot an arrow into the hard corner of a stone. He initially acted from the mind of sincerity that had no wandering thoughts, thus, the stone was shot through. The next morning, General Guang Li realized that the tiger was actually a stone, he tried several times, but unable to repeat his previous accomplishment. Once he intentionally shot the stone with pride and vanity, he couldn’t make it.

    “Utmost sincerity thus evokes a response from Heaven.” A miracle is achieved when the mind attains a certain point of purity as we sever our wandering discriminatory thoughts and attachments. When the mind is pure, there are no obstacles. With a mind of utmost sincerity, intensity, and dedication, we can do a lot of things we think we can’t achieve.

    It has been claimed by social researchers that the number one reason that stops people get what they want is lack of focus. Lisa Haneberg ever wrote a book “
    Focus Like a Laser Beam: 10 Ways to Do What Matters Most”. Laser light is of one frequency, rather than diffusing off in all directions, running parallel to each other to a tiny target. Due to the extraordinary focus, a laser beam can melt a hole in a diamond.

    Find a right cause and focus on it is not an easy thing to do, for there are too many distractions and temptations, we can be easily thrown off the track. Learning how to harness and implement the power of focus will help you enjoy more time off and improve overall performance. Focus our passion and skills into lasered energy, we can achieve more than in an incoherent mental state.

    If you really want to accomplish something in either your career or personal life, stay focused on it, don't let short-term opportunities or roadblocks distract you. If you are focused on the right things, the payoff can be tremendous – you are a big achiever.