Saturday, March 14, 2009


I gave a talk at WISHES Thursday night. Sheri, the friend I made through flowers when I worked at HP, invited me. WISHES is a woman group based at Half Moon Bay. It is a very warm group. I arrived early and was in the kitchen to arrange flowers before the program started. The members arrived and were kept coming into the kitchen to get hot drink, Every one offered to get me a drink until I finally had a cup in my hand ☺.

That was my very first time to give such talk. I organized it in a PowerPoint presentation titled “Flower, Ikebana and Beyond”. In my talk, I introduced and compared the characters of the oriental and western styles of flower arranging; I gave brief history and background of Ikebana; I touched how to appreciate a flower arrangement and gain benefits in spiritual aspects by practicing Ikebana. I also shared my own path with flowers – how I was introduced and felt in love with Ikebana; the birth of Happy Monday emails and finding the way to make my own wish true.

I grew up with some psychological burdens and was finally free and happy in recent years. I knew how painful it was to live with burdens. My grand wish is to help those who are suffering as I did. I thought to get a PhD degree in psychology and become a counselor. I was holding the action since the financial concerns. Now with the feedback I got from the Happy Mondays and saw how my flowers touched others, I realized that I do not have to get a PhD, I may be able to reach more people in much larger scale than I originally thought. I found the better way to make my own wish become true.

Since I love flowers and Ikebana so much, I wish everyone practice Ikebana. But the point is, one can do anything who enjoys to do and benefit by doing it; share the benefits with others to benefit together; in turn, one can even benefit more through this process. One of my friend had shared with me her daughter Joy’s story. Joy loves to play go game (围棋), she started a go game club at her high school to share her passion with other students. Along the way, Joy learned a lot and she wrote the related stories in her essay to apply for college. She was admitted by Harvard University.

Close to the end of the talks, people asked me to share few Happy Monday stories. That brought laughter and sighs from the audience. Since that was a “friendship through flowers” event, how could I do it without sharing flowers? I made four ikebana flower arrangements to display before the program started, one in moribana style (in shallow container), one in nageire style (using tall vase), one in a tofu container and one using a paper cookie box. I wanted to show people how to use daily stuff for ikebana. I also brought with me four dozens of roses as gift to share with every one. WISHES made very generous donation to my favorite charity – SOAR Education Foundation.

When the talk finished, I had very nice chat with the audiences during the break. After the break, WISHES member Kristin reported for the status of the “care packages” project.
Lance Cpl. Christian Jensen, 19, Kristin’s son, now is serving with a military police unit in Al Taqaddum, Iraq. The unit deals with roadside bombs. Kristin worries about her son and channels her worry into sending care packages to Christian as reminders of how much he is loved at home. In one of Christian’s five-minute satellite phone calls, Christian let his family know how much he appreciated their thoughts. But, he added, many of the 55 men and 5 women in his platoon didn’t get the same from their hometowns. That touched Kristin and she started a donation drive for her son’s platoon. Regardless of political affiliation, people made donations to support the troops. In Dec. 17th, 2006, 82 of care packages with each soldier’s first name on it arrived Christian’s platoon and brought the holiday cheer to the soldiers who were not home for the holidays. The soldiers were delighted with the packages, but had little time to enjoy them. Within 48 hours of the packages’ arrival, an exploding bomb brought tragedy to the unit. Three members of the unit were killed, and two more seriously injured and taken to Germany for the treatment. One of the dead had been Christian’s roommate.

Now Kristin and her helpers are working on more care packages for Valentines Day, they are also considering getting in touch with the families of the soldiers who were killed. By the end of her report, Kristin read a thank you card from one of the soldiers who received the care package.

I was moved by the story. I gave Kristin the small flower arrangement in the tofu container and wished her best luck for her son. Beyond each individual group or personal wishes, peace on earth is the wish of all. Let’s do our best to make this grand wish come true!

Enjoy the flower arrangement picture and Happy Monday!

In Friendship through Flowers,


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