Category Archives: Haikus

Stars of Spring

“Stars of Spring”

CrocusesDrawn through snow to sunWrapped in a mantle of leaves,Purple flowers bloom.

ForsythiaLemon drops of gold, Sunburst star-spangled blossoms,Harbingers of spring.


VioletsFragile, drooping headsWith leafy hearts extended,You lead me in praise.

DaffodilsDancing on the breeze,  Persevering through spring snows,Joyful in trials.

Hyacinths
Rainbowed breath of springYou fill my heart with perfume   Like God’s sweet Spirit. (Kathryn W. Armstrong, April 11, 2017) Some of the most beautiful poetry in the world is in the Bible’s Book of Psalms. Here’s one of my favorites, which speaks of spring:

Psalm 65

“Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple. By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power: Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people. They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice. Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.”

Not Shock, but Cultural Surprises in Asia via Haiku

Alan and I had a lot of wonderful experiences in Asia, many of which were surprisingly pleasant (such as green tea ice cream),a few that we pretty much all disliked (such as silkworms), and many that were very different but turned out well even though they weren’t at all what we were expecting!I was constantly struck by the beauty of South Korea and the immaculately manicured cities in Japan. Just for fun, I wrote a few haikus commemorating some of the cultural surprises.

On Asian Restrooms   (Yes, this is a bathroom…in the Seoul Tower) Such fancy bathrooms!  Soap on bars and heated seats, But—don’t stand on them!
(In some rural areas, you squat over a hole in the floor. Twenty-two years ago,
I rode a train where the toilet was a hole in the floor emptying onto the track! Times have really changed since then! Now some restrooms are ultra modern, with music, heated seats, and several types of special wash and dry options!!)

On Asian Cuisine  The food looked so strange  I was afraid I would not  Like it, but I did!

On Asia’s Beautiful Flowers  Flowers overhead,  Underfoot and all around.  Asian majesty.

On Pets  Everywhere you go There are pampered pets in tow Like happy children.

But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34; may we embrace each other all over the world, even in areas where others seem strange!).

The Gift of Easters Past (…and Present and Future!)

Most of us have probably heard of “The Ghost of Christmas Past” from Dicken’s classic book, A Christmas Carol, and it’s in that spirit that I address the topic of past Easters in my life, although they’re more giftly than ghostly!                                           Easter was sweet but quiet this year. We enjoyed a lovely sunrise service centered around celebrating the resurrection of Christ and the incredible wonder of God’s delight in showing us mercy, but for the first time in forever, there were no colored Easter eggs or the fun of watching children have an Easter egg hunt, & I found myself feeling rather sad. What did you do yesterday? Did you have a happy or rather lonesome Easter?  To cheer myself up, I searched through my photos, relived some of the joys of Easters past (such as last year was with Jon’s family in Spokane, Washington), and wrote a few haikus to share with you from Easters past with Mike’s family. I hope these photos put a smile on your face and perhaps bring to mind happy Easters from your own Easters past.

On EasterResurrection Morn:   Dress up; worship; fellowship,   Hunt for Easter eggs.

On the Inevitable Messiness of Little ChildrenWhy is it each day  That after breakfast’s over  I need to bathe again?

On Asian Delights (Which also Delight Americans!)Ice cream, popsicles,  Cotton-candy stickiness…  Sometimes life is sweet.
(Yes, even if it’s “Green Tea Ice Cream.”)

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love” (Micah 7:18, ESV).  God loves us all!! I hope that no matter what your Easter Day was like, you’re cheered by this wonderful gift of Easter present and future: Jesus! Please accept God’s gift of love to you in Jesus!If you live in some part of the world where you don’t have access to the Bible, you may not have read the resurrection story from the Book of John, chapter 20, in the Bible, so I wanted to share it with you:

 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,“Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

Hiakus and Photos: Shopping in South Korea

“Love is the poetry of the senses.”  ~Honoré de Balzac

On Busy Public Transport in Asia   To go by subway    Train or bus is cheaper, but  You might have to stand!

 

On Shopping in South Korea  Second Market stalls  Filled with exotic wares, but   They all seem so strange!

 

On the popularity of Octopus Golden-haired children  Would you like some pie? We have  Lots of octopi!

On Trying to Buy Gifts  Shopping for presents…  Where shall we go?  We cannot   Read a single sign!

It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.  How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:2-4, ESV. God’s miracles and signs are everywhere. Can you read them?)

April is National Poetry Month NaPoMo: Want to Join in on the Fun?

“Poetry spills from the cracks of a broken heart,
but flows from one which is loved.”  ~Christopher Paul Rubero

Since 1996, Americans with a love for poetry (like me) have been celebrating NaPoMo (National Poetry Month).  In the spirit of sharing the joy, I’m inviting anyone who reads this blog and would like to contribute a (G-rated) poem…please send it to me at kathrynwarmstrong@gmail.com. If you have a photo to illustrate it, so much the better! If I publish it, I will list you as the author, so please give me your full name and the date it was written (otherwise it will post as written the day I publish it). I won’t steal anybody’s work, and you will retain your copyright. My understanding is that publishing something effectively protects it. (The other inexpensive way is to send yourself a certified letter/package with the information enclosed, but don’t open it after you receive it; it will be evidence in case your ownership is ever disputed in court.)

I also want to share some of my photos, feelings and stories from our April visits to Southeast Asia, so I’m going to be putting them into haikus with photos off and on throughout this month. Part of the time, we visited our kids in South Korea, and then we all went to Japan together. I hope you enjoy these little glimpses into how we felt being foreigners in a very strange, beautiful, and sometimes surprising culture.

On Traveling  Fly above the clouds Little faces press the panes.Where are we going?  

On Being Different  Instant attraction:Asian tourists really like Blue eyes and blonde curls.

On the Popular Trend of Wearing Masks Why do you wear masks?  To keep germs in, or out, or  Is it yellow dust?

On Riding Trains  Morning trains delight.  After noon? Well, hold on tight. Evening Train? Goodnight!

“The Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time,and in the night his song shall be with me,  and my prayer unto the God of my life” (Psalm 42:8).

 

Messages to Magnificent Kyoto

Osaka Castle 2Osaka Castle Osaka Castle  3  Stands tall against the moonlight. Girls trying to scale Osaka Castle  Fear no one but God.Scaling Osaka Castle

Kyoto 4.16.14Two thousand temples.  Kyoto City Scape+ Cherry Blossoms Kyoto, have you heard of Budhhist Worshipper 4.16.14  The God who loves you? Girls with Cherry Blossoms“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
(The Bible, Jeremiah 31:3) Buddhist Temple
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
(The Bible, John 3:16)

What Wondrous Love Is This?
An American Folk Hymn

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

Hiakus Inspired by Visiting Beautiful Asian Temples

Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社?)Main Gate#1. Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社?) 3 Magnificent gates, Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社?) Map  Orange ensigns up the mountain,  Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社?)inside Do you know the Way?

Sanjusangendo Temple 8#2. Sanjūsangen-dō (三十三間堂Sanjusangendo Temple 1 Musashi master,  Sanjusangendo Temple 5 Warrior who defends honor,  Sanjusangendo Temple 6 Do you know the Truth?

Sanjusangendo Temple 2#3. Also at Sanjūsangen-dō (三十三間堂Wiki Sanjusangendo_1979.1.55P01B One thousand fierce gods Sanjūsangen-dō 2 Aligned within the temple, Sanjūsangen-dō 3  Do you know the Life?

Sanjūsangen-dō 9#4. Jesus is the Way Sanjūsangen-dō 4 The Truth, the Life. He alone  Sanjūsangen-dō 10 Leads to the Father.  Buddhas in Beijing “Every goldsmith is put to shame for his carved image, for his cast images are a lie; there is no breath in them” (Jeremiah 10:14).

(I took all the pictures except the one of the 1,000 standing statues of the Senju Kannon inside Sanjūsangen-dō. We were asked not to take pictures of these particular deities, which I respected. That one picture was taken from Wiki and is public domain.)