Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
Welcome to our exotic world of everlasting summers and tropical rainforests!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas, Winter Solstice 2011 and Happy New Year 2012!

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself...
~Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976

1-Utama Christmas 2011 - The theme this year is "Splashing Over the Big Blue" (Updated: 21 Dec 2011)

"The more you praise and celebrate your life; 
the more there is in life to celebrate."
..... Ophrah Winfrey

Dongzhi Festival (Updated: 22 Dec 2011)

Today is Dongzhi Festival that coincides with Winter Solstice the shortest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere. According to Yin-Yang philosophy in Chinese culture, the sun is at its weakest and most yin.  The days that follow will enjoy longer daylight hours and increasingly positive yang energy. For some of you it is the beginning of winter, for others it is summer but for me, I will be busy with preparations for the Lunar New Year which falls on Jan 23rd.

I have chrysanthemum flowers, tea, fruits, a sweet dessert (tong sui) with glutinous rice balls (tangyuan), joss paper and incense prepared as prayer offerings to the gods. This is to thank them for their blessings during the current year and also to wish for a better year ahead. The round shape of the glutinous rice balls signifies a  united family while the sweetness is to denote happy times. At home, we normally have a family dinner with dishes like chicken, roast pork, fish, lotus root soup, cooked and raw vegetables like lettuce, spring onions and coriander.  Our elders say that Dongzhi is more important than Lunar New Year. Kids will be reminded that they are now considered a year older, hence should be better behaved.  

Candy canes, sweets, lollipops and cotton candy - a child's favourite things (Updated: 23 Dec 2011)

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow,
yet we forget that he is someone today. 
..... Stacia Tauscher

United Buddy Bears are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia now. (Updated: 24 Dec 2011)

"We have to get to know each other better.....
..... it makes us understand one another better,
trust each other more and live together more peacefully."
- United Buddy Bears motto.

It's Christmas day! (Updated: 25 Dec 2011)

waves a magic
wand  over this world,
and behold, everything is
softer and more beautiful ... Norman Vincent Peale
“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


  1. Didn't realise that the year is coming to an end that quick. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you too.

  2. The same to you also. Hope next year is wonderful.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  3. Likewise Autumn Belle, Merry christmas and happy New year!

  4. Wow so fast "siew kang liao" 'collect job already' for 2011? Happy New Year and a Merry Xmas.

  5. I wish you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Greetings Karin

  6. Wishing you a merry Christmas and another year in your nice garden.

  7. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

  8. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

  9. I thought you will really be travelling when you said this is your last post, then i smiled at what you said. I hope your holidays will be full of cheer, contentment, peace, love, health and ... money. hahaha! Happy New Year!

  10. To you too!

    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >


    < ° ) } } > <

  11. Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you too. :)

  12. 2011 has been a wonderful year since I stumbled unto your blog. Thank you for giving me the gift of Malaysian flora and fauna. You can go back!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year my new friend.

  13. I love the photo and the poem it's the perfect poem for the Christmas Season!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too!

  14. Wishing you and your love ones a joyful celebration of Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous new year.

  15. Firstly, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my commenters!

    Sean L, Yes! we have come to the time of the year for reflection, resolutions and moving forward. Thank you for all the things about nature that I have learnt from you in your blog "Half a pound of treacle". I even had to find the dictionary for the meaning of treacle, a word I have not used for a long long time!

    Cher, I'm so glad to find the Sunray Gardens blog. I almost deleted your very first comment some time ago because I thought yours was a commercial/biz site.

    Dewi, I love your photos at Garden at Nina's Place.

    Bananaz, "Wa siew kang liao". I wonder how it'll be if you write all your comments to me in Hokkien! Anyway, I think I have 'known' you since you started your BananazPeople blog. Thank you for giving a clear definition of 'banana people'. I guess I am one too, since I am not a mango. Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to you and Mango and Cheri (daughter)?

    Karin, love your photography, artwork and crafts at gartenzwergswelt. Thank you very much for your greetings from Germany!

  16. Cathy@home, I'm so glad to know a blogger friend from Israel.

    Lona, so nice to follow your stories and exquisite photos about Christmas at Hocking Hill's Garden. Hey, I can see snow in your blog!

    Melanie, even though you are so far away in Canada, I always think about your Chistmas in Malaysia and the casuarinas.

    Andrea, my dear friend, I always do enjoy 'travelling' along with you in your trips around the world but the best is about your trips back to your province, hehehe!

    Cloudia, so nice to view Hawaii through your eyes, and thank you very much for the Alohas from Honolulu!

    Missy, the flowers in Brisbane seem so similar yet so much more pretier than ours here.

    LifeRamblings, I do enjoy your posts about travel and trips.

    Mom on Blog, we met in cyberspace via our bragging about our baby BKs. It is indeed unbelievable that I have never met you in person since you are from the same place in Malaysia but now you are so far away in the USA. Haha, maybe I'll drop by for some delicious Chrismassy food at your blog soon.

    Asha, my friend from India. We share the same interest in such things as herbs, flowers, medicinal, eco-friendly, biodiversity and etc, etc. from your Rake and Spade blog.

    Vetsy, it was nice knowing you via Vetsy's View!

    Solitude Rising, you do fascinate me. You are a 'non-gardener', your garden is 12,000 km away and you are growing plants you don't get to touch! Hey, I havelearnt so much from your blog about your farming ventures and adventures.

  17. Merry Christmassy to you Belle.
    You have been a wonderful gardener friend who always being like a garden fairy to me - visiting & encouraging with all the lovely and warm thoughts of beautiful flowers and plants.

    May the coming new Year brings more brighter and bountiful moments!

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2012

  18. Ah, James, so nice of you to drop by! I certainly do remember that you were among my very first few commenters when I first started MNG blog. This is so auspicious to have you here in this final 2011 post of mine. Happy New Year and Merry Christmas, James!

  19. Merry Christmas, Autumn Belle! Peace and joy to you and your family.

  20. 1 utama Christmas decoration this year so hebat. Hope you have a joyous time with your love ones during this festive season.

  21. Plant Postings and Diana, thanks for the seasons greetings. What a coincidence to have both of you here. One is from the Northern Hemisphere having winter and snow while another is from the Southern H. having summer and sun!

  22. Merry Christmas and Happy New year to you and your family! Have a great day!

  23. Malar, thank you very much for dropping by with the seasons greetings. Looking forward to another wonderful year ahead visiting your little garden.

  24. Merry Christmas, Autumn Belle. May 2012 be filled with many blessings.

  25. Share with us - what is our appropriate wording to you for your festival?
    I wish you and your family peace and happiness in the year ahead.

  26. Diana and Diana of Elephant's Eye, TQTQ, I'm so blessed with the wishes from 2 more Dianas (Total = 3 now).

    The wishes for Winter Solstice is "Happy Dongzhi". And yes, we wish for blessings from the gods, for peace and a united family (and world) and happiness.

  27. Have a lovely Christmas and a wonderful 2012.


  28. A lovely quote, Autumn Belle. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the coming New Year!

  29. Flower Lady and Rose, May you have a blessed Christmas!

  30. Just dropping in to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and joyous New Year!

  31. Curbstone Valley Farm, thanks! Merry Christmas to you too!

  32. Autumn Belle,

    Thanks for these beautiful photos. What great detail.

    Also thanks for your kind words on my blog.

    Best to you... happy holidays and a great new year!

  33. Seasons greetings Autumn Belle!

  34. K and B-A-G, Thanks! So good to have you here.

  35. Merry Christmas to you! I enjoyed your photos so much and lovely Christmas sentiments. May you have much joy this season!

  36. Love your updates especially the pixz in 1U. Chin swee leh.

  37. Rosey, thanks so much for coming here with the festive greetings.

    Bananaz, thanks for the double appearance - Kam siah lu!

  38. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you. I so enjoy learning and seeing of celebrations in other countries. I is one of the best part of blogging.

  39. Dear Autumn Belle
    I wish you and your Family a wonderful Christmas, happy Holiday and magical New Year!

  40. Selamat Tahun Baru Saudari!

    Semoga bunga sentiasa kembang, pokok sentiasa segar, anda sentiasa sihat, sentiasa ceria, sentiasa muda!

    Saya suka laman anda, saya akan datang ke sini selalu untuk memetik bunga dan menikmati buaha-buahan dan alam semulajadi.


  41. Donna, Christine, Thanks! and me too.

    Saudara Awang yang dihormati, Ribuan terima kasih dan Selamat Tahun Baru 2012! Semoga anda sentiasa selamat, bahagia dan sihat-sihat selalu.

  42. Hi A.Belle! Your posts are always very educative and informative with lovely images and uplifting words. Thanks for sharing your wonderful joyful spirits with us all. Appreciate too your visits to our website and taking the trouble to pen your kind thoughts and comments. John and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the rest of the Festive Season and may God's blessings be overflowing in the coming New Year for you and your loved ones.

  43. Beautifully written, and I learned a lot. I want to eat at your house. All that food sounds delicious. Happy New Year! I am grateful that we are in longer days again with more sun.~~Dee

  44. Jacqueline, thanks a million!

    Dee, welcome to MNG and thanks!

  45. Very interesting to read about your description on the solstice... the Japanese still follow the lunar calender but they do not really celebrate them like we do...

  46. Rainfield, Thank you for counting down to 2012 with me here. Happy New Year!

    Lrong, for me Dongzhi Festival is a time to reminisce about old times. I still remember what my late parents and grandparents had taught me. After Dongzhi, CNY is really not far off, hence it is time for spring cleaning. Happy New Year 2012 to you!

  47. Hi Autumn Belle, thank you so much for dropping by at my blog and leave your comment too. Appreciate it so much!

    You also having a "gun yam zhuk", at home. It is a very beutiful and green plant right? I love it so much.
    Recently I just trim it to a lower height. It was so tall and heavy till it bended and fall during heavy rain or strong wind.

    Anyway, thanks for giving me so much info about this special plant of yours and mine. I am sure we both will treasure this special plant from our parents:-)

    Have a nice day!

  48. Merry Christmas, Autumn Belle! And all the best wishes in the coming year--in your garden and in your life!

  49. Sarah's daddy and mommy, Happy New Year 2012! So glad we got acquainted via a Lucky Bamboo plant. Mine bends and fall under heavy rain and wind too. I have been growing the same plant in a flower pot since 1998 which adds to more than 10 years already. Those novelty ones won't last so long because the treatment (production) process is different.

    This year our Guan Yin bamboo will be called Dragon Bamboo. I just found out at Jaya Jusco.

    Beth of Plant Postings, Happy New Year 2012 to you too!

  50. Happy New Year to you! Thanks for sharing about the Dongzhi Festival. Loved the thought-provoking words under each photo, particularly the last one.


Words are like the voice of the heart... Confucius

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