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Mother’s Day

May 08, 2018
Single mother but with an awesome partner that raises the children of the future. Their children give me hope for the betterment of the world we live in.

Celebrating the 20th Century Moms & what I call myself as the 3rd Millennium Mom

As we prepare to celebrate moms and motherhood this Sunday, I realize that many of us occupy a space in-between—honoring our own mothers, but as mothers ourselves, striving to raise the next generation of extraordinary individuals, while tackling personal challenges and goals.

My inspiration while growing up was my strong, hard-working mother Alice Tsang, and my dad Wilson, who immigrated to Hawaii together almost 48 years ago.

Starting a new life in the United States was very hard for them. They didn’t have money, so as typical Chinese immigrants all they could do was focus on work, which did not leave enough time for family. As the eldest daughter, I realized how important it was for them to provide for us. I definitely get my hard work ethic from my dad, whose creative thoughts flow endlessly. My mom, who is a strong businesswoman. She could sell anything.

Not married, but they have been together for 9 years and don’t want to get married. They are raising this little precious beauty in a loving home and doing a better job than parents that are married.

Although my mom was not raised to be physically or verbally affectionate, she shows her love through her cooking. She makes me breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s her way of keeping our relationship healthy and strong as we chat one-on-one, or with the family sitting around the dinner table, catching up with what’s going on in each of our lives.

Whenever I have a problem, my mom is the first person I think of. She’s the person that I go to when I need advice, or want to share any sadness, joy, or celebrate anything good that happens in my day. I don’t know what I would do if I ever lost my mom. 

Hard working Single mom and making it look so easy to do it all.

Being a single mom with two kids “3rd Millennium Mom” —Adonis who is now 25, living in Las Vegas and very successful in his own right, and Achilles who is 12—I put in the long hours that my mom and dad had always done, but I am raising them in a more hands-on way. 

I work 12 to 14 hours a day Monday through Saturdays, but I’m always juggling my family life. At around 2:30 p.m. I pick up Achilles from school and take him to sports practice, or I will train with him—football or basketball—whatever his interest is at that time. Then we have dinner together, which is very important. 

Then I drop him off with his dad, and boom, I’m back at work again. I love work, I’m passionate about it, but always strive for balance in taking care of my mom and trying to be the best mom myself. It’s important for me to be mentally, physically and emotionally there for Achilles, and to be home when my mom wants me there for dinner. 

Mother of 2 sons and 2 daughters with an awesome father/husband.

All the sacrifices are worth it at the end of the day when I’m in bed, feeling thankful and blessed that I am able to share time with my mom, my kids, and of course, with Mr. Fox, my lover.

Sunday is a mandatory family fun day, everyone knows that we do everything as a family unit from the time we wake up. We’ll cook up creative loaded breakfasts, then go out to try something new or some kind of activity, whether it’s football, ping-pong or just spending time in the yard gardening, ending our day with supper. Eating as a family is a Tsang tradition.

As you celebrate this Sunday, every mom should know how much she deserves and has earned this day of respect and gratitude. But keep in mind that for all these strong women, the challenge of balancing work, family and personal lives goes on every day.

First time mommy and daddy. The best at it already, they should have more.

If you’re not sure how well you’re doing as a parent, just ask your child. They’re likely to have a list of do’s and don’ts. I asked Achilles to share what he expects from me, and here are his thoughts about what a good mom should do:

“Be there for your children. Don’t ignore your family members; ask them how their day went.

Push your children in school because it only make them better when they’re older.. 

Support your children in sports, like go to the games and stuff, even if you don’t like the sport.

Push them to get good grades in school. To motivate them, give them V bucks or a small gift or something to say good job.

Lastly, be mindful of your child’s feelings.”

— Achilles McCartney

Always in our hearts, you are soooo missed and loved Puna.
Sticky

Buddha’s Birthday

April 08, 2018

In this country, we celebrate the birthday of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, on April 8. 

Born to a royal family between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, he was troubled by witnessing the human suffering his father tried to hide from him, and eventually renounced palace life to live as an ascetic. He found enlightenment at age 35 while sitting under a bodhi tree and began teaching people how to break the cycle of human suffering.

I find it easy relate to and live by Buddha’s principles, expressed through sentiments such as “carpe diem” or Nike’s “Just Do It,” revolving around the idea of living our one life fully by living in and enjoying the present.

His teaching tells me I have the power to make a difference and seize opportunities each day, without making excuses, without waiting to go to heaven or hoping to try again in my next life. 

That his teaching has lived on for so many centuries speaks of Buddhism’s relevance as a philosophy and way of life that resonates with people around the world.

Throughout Asia, Buddha’s birthday calls for celebrations that include temple visits, food offerings to monks, the lighting of lanterns and the bathing of Buddha, a tradition with roots in China that in Japan, became the Flower Festival. The Japanese developed a tradition of pouring a beverage prepared from a variety of hydrangeas over small Buddha statues decorated with flowers, as if bathing a newborn baby.

In Malaysia, Buddha’s Birthday is known as Wesak Day, a holiday celebrated with prayers and chants. Temples across the country are decorated and caged animals are set free.

Based on Buddha’s principles, this is how I, Nikolai Tsang, live my life daily.

It’s Up to ME 

I wake up every morning with joy in my heart and positive intentions. I go to bed with my heart full of gratitude and love for the life I am given.

Buddhism maintains that we are responsible for our own well-being or suffering. Rather than expecting others to press me to meditate, work hard, or make me happy, it is solely up to me to create the circumstances for my own happiness or release from negativity. 

It’s Easy to Be Good

I believe in karma and that the way we treat others will ultimately affect us.

Five precepts are often cited as guides to actions that often lead to beneficial outcomes. They are: do not lie, steal or defraud, kill or injure others, hurt via sexual relationships, and do not cloud your mind with too many intoxicants.

It is always easier to smile and be a good human than to be an angry bad human. While smiling is effortless, being mean floods your body with toxic energy. That’s why I am often the first to smile and offer a kind word or greeting to everyone, including strangers, and why I am able to give a little of myself and what I have to others without expecting anything in return.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.

Compassion is a must!

Compassion is a natural extension of understanding and wisdom. With true wisdom we grow more compassionate for the people we meet, and with compassion we grow wiser. I watch and learn from others daily. 

Healing Comes from our Minds

Buddhism suggests that our external circumstances are created by our internal minds. This is also true for our health and the state of our bodies. Keeping your mind clear and open will help your physical and psychological state.

I meditate three times a day, first during my morning drive, while running or swimming, and before I go to bed. This allows me to release stress and clear my mind so I can approach daily tasks with clarity and focus.

You only have One body, don’t take it for granted

Life is precious. To have a long life is a rare, so it’s important to stay healthy. I work out every day to help me achieve my maximum potential.

Keeping the body in good health is a duty that goes hand in hand with keeping our minds strong and clear.

Spiritual Community is Important

You do not need to go to a temple or meditation class to practice Buddhism, but every object, being and concept is interconnected and we cannot escape the circumstances of our surroundings.

Keeping company with positive people and giving back to the community are beneficial for motivation, finding a sense of purpose and deepening one’s understanding of life. I share with and listen to others and bless others with the living stone daily.

I Strive for Balance

Some Buddhists suggest that enlightenment is a quick process that can happen at any moment. Others say it is difficult, and can take many lifetimes. But both sides agree it is never too late to start practicing and thinking about the right way to live. The less ignorance you have, the less you will suffer.

It is never too late to begin seeking Enlightenment. Even if you learn you are going to die tomorrow, be a happy human being today.

If you can learn to be happy, in spite of the difficulties thrown in your path in your life’s journey, you will gain wisdom and experience Enlightenment, just as the Buddha centuries ago.

Sticky

Youth Art Month

March 08, 2018

Standing Up for the Arts

March is Youth Art Month, established by The Council for Art Education to emphasize the positive influences of visual art education. The organization raises funds to advocate for visual arts education for all children, encouraging funding for quality school visual arts programs for grades K through 12.

Even so, funding for school arts programs has been whittled away over the past decades, and it is important for those of us who care about the arts to step up when we can.

So I will be working with six students, one student each week, from Saint Francis, Saint Ann, Kaimuki Christian School, Midpac, Kaiser and Waldorf schools, teaching vital skills to those who have expressed an interest in jewelry design. For example, the child from Saint Ann’s wants to learn how to wire wrap jade, so we will teach him how to do that. Another child from Saint Francis wants to see how we cut the jade. Will be following their interests to help them express themselves through jewelry making.

It is important for me to nurture the next generation, as a way of sharing what has been passed on to me. I will always be grateful for the knowledge of hand-skilled techniques passed down to me by family and jade masters.

Sadly, due to automation, financial challenges and a lack of time, I feel that craftsmanship is dying and to make things by hand is becoming a lost art. We need to keep that alive the legacy of creating with hands, not machinery.

Having worked with both heritage and modern techniques, I believe that computers cannot replace hand craft in turning out specialized artistic work, especially with jade. It takes a lot of patience and the ability to read each stone to determine the best way to bring life to this living masterpiece.

Jade requires the human touch. Due to its hardness, you cannot use machinery on jade. To do so risks burning the stone.

Throughout the world, people are being replaced by computers. In Southern China, you no longer need to interact with a person for credit card or phone transactions at convenient stores and gas stations.

I cannot help but believe that by choosing machines over people, we are losing some of our humanity. I still believe that the beauty of the arts has the power to touch us emotionally, returning to us something that is being lost in today’s culture as machines have made humans more machine-like.

I am happy to share works of beauty with others, blessings of jade that allow us to connect to something real and organic, and to ourselves.

Sticky

15 days of Celebration for the Year of the Earth Dog

February 08, 2018
This meal is all carved out of China Jade.

15 days of Celebration for the Year of the Earth Dog

While the Western world celebrates the new year on Jan. 1, the Chinese mark the start of the lunar new year with a 15-day celebration that this year began on Feb. 4. Everything in China shuts down for 2 weeks for the following:

The lengthy festivities involve honoring gods, ancestors and family. When done properly, each rite helps set the tone for an auspicious year. Here is how households mark the special occasion:

Day 1
The first day is spent welcoming heavenly and earthly deities. Individuals abstain from eating meat to  ensure a happy, long life.

Day 2
This day is recognized as the birthday of dogs, so we show our appreciation by showering them with kindness and edible treats.

Days 3 and 4
On these days, we visit our in-laws to pay our respects and show family support.

Day 5
This is the day we welcome the God of Wealth into our homes. At this time, we refrain from visiting friends and family in the belief that this will bring bad luck to all parties.

Days 6 to 10
These days are set aside for visiting friends and relatives, praying and blessing them with good fortune and good health.

Day 7
Harvest Day is marked by eating noodles to promote good health and longevity. We do not cut the noodles because cut or broken noodles signify poor health.

Day 8
Families unite for a dinner that lasts into midnight, when we offer a prayer or blessing for the new year.

Day 9
Offerings to the Jade Emperor are made on this day out of respect for the creator of the universe.

Days 10 to 12
We celebrate these days with friends over sumptuous meals, always making sure there is fish on the table, an indication of surplus and abundance for all. Dishes of shrimp ensure laughter throughout the year. Fat choy, a black algae that has the appearance of fine black hair, is also served because of its association with wealth. Also enjoyed are mustard greens, described as “long-year vegetables.” They are associated with longevity because even when overcooked, they never turn out bad. The proper way to eat them is from the top to the bottom, one by one, for good health and longevity.

The dish most closely associated with the new year is meatless jai, which contains 18 varieties of vegetables, each symbolic of an aspect of good fortune. Turnip cake is also said to bring good luck, and dumplings shaped to look like golden ingots are eaten at midnight on the eve of the new year for good fortune. Another dish that is eaten is gau, to ensure your recognition, fortune, wealth and happiness will continue to rise throughout the year.

Day 14
After days of feasting and celebration, we usually enjoy simple congee and choy sum before dawn to cleanse our bodies. We never eat all of the congee, leaving some in our bowls to indicate surplus in the new year.

Day 15
This is the day of the Lantern Festival, when we welcome friends and family to our homes, which we decorate with poetic red paper to bless all with happiness, fortune and wishes for continued good health.

It’s also important to dress the home with pretty blossoms, lucky platters of oranges and tangerines with color representative of gold and wealth, and “Trays of Togetherness” bearing eight varieties of Chinese sweets.

Chinese believe that every household should contain plants to symbolize rebirth and growth in the new year. Flowers are also symbolic of wealth, success and recognition in one’s career. Most popular is the narcissus. A narcissus plant that blooms on New Year’s Day foretells prosperity. We also like to have bamboo in our homes as a symbol of strength, perseverance and reliability.

We like to give gifts of gau, oranges, tangerines, plants and flowers with a red envelope called lai see when we visit friends and family during the two-week Chinese new year celebration. This year, we will be making 100 gaus to give away in celebration of the Chinese new year. This to ensure that our relationships are strong, important and an indication we wish good fortune, success and good health upon those close to us.

Sticky

What color will Nikolai’s hair be?

January 17, 2018

On fire: Why I’ll be a redhead in 2018

People often ask me why I color my hair in such bright hues at the start of every new year. It’s something I started 12 years ago, not for the sake of fashion and not to attract attention, but because of my heritage.

Everyone born in a certain year is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals. But Four Pillars astrology goes further, taking into account the amount of five elements—metal, water, wood, fire and earth—present in the universe at one’s time,date of birth and place.

I like to have my chart prepared before the start of a new year to be aware of how these elemental energies will affect me. This allows me to be proactive in trying to attract positive energy and outcomes, while avoiding potential difficulties.

In 2018, the Year of the Earth Dog, a majority of people will need earth, wood or water elements to balance their lives. They can increase this energy by wearing green, white or black, and filling their environment with nature or water elements such as plants, wood objects or a desktop fountain.

I have an overabundance of metal in my chart and because earth creates more metal, I need water and fire elements to create balance in my life. Water is already present in the boar, my birth sign. That means that what I need most is fire and the next time you see me, I will be sporting fire engine red hair!

I think coloring my hair is it easiest thing I can do to bring the element of fire into my life. This way, I don’t have to worry about wearing certain clothing or a specific piece of jewelry every day. I can simply wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, wash my face, and head out the door.

I love red and the fire element is beneficial to me because of its relationship to my jewelers craft. Fire melts metal and I’ll be able to mold and create many new designs going into the Year of the Boar in 2019. For me, fire is conducive to ideas, passion, joy and recognition.

It also has a strong, energizing quality that will be important for the interesting year ahead, which is destined to bring about important social, political, cultural and spiritual shifts.

With the strength of metal, I am looking forward to creating more of an awareness of this awakening, and with the fire energy surrounding me, I know this will be possible.

For you, there is always a specific jade element or precious stone that will be implemented for your needs in the earth dog, Just call, text or email me for details. Balance in 2018 is important for everyone!

The awakening and awareness begins in 2018 the earth dog.

Sticky

Clear the way for New Year abundance

January 04, 2018

The Chinese maintain long lists of things to do and not to do on specific days of the year.

Whether you believe in good luck, bad luck, helpful or harmful spirits, there is a rationale for the New Year tradition of “sweeping the dust.” The actions are based on the belief that one’s surroundings affect well-being. Cleaning encourages people to get rid of old baggage, old energy and resentments that hold us back. Doing this allows us to focus on setting new intentions and moving forward in a positive way, whether one follows the Western or lunar calendar.

I believe that starting with a clean slate, a clear mind and tidy work and living spaces allows my energy and creativity to soar. Whether you’re aware of it or not, a cluttered, unsafe environment represents a psychological burden. That is why people feel lighter, more focused and energized in a clear space.

It’s in this ideal state of balance and intention—which Deepak Chopra calls the starting point of every dream—that prosperity, health, happiness and many other good things can flow.

Here are things to do before Feb. 4, to have a prosperous & good health in the Lunar New Year.

3 must do’s before the 4th of February 2018

  • New wallet or new bag to bring new wealth, business, prosperity for the new year
  • New shoes so each step will stop gossip, backstabbing and bring in only positive intentions
  • Last, your element you need to carry with you this year to bring balance and good luck to you this year

YOUR HOME AND OFFICE

  • Make sure your living and work spaces are clean from top to bottom to welcome good fortune in the coming year. Open all doors and windows to bring in luck and energy.
  • Switch on all the lights. Bright lights are said to scare evil spirits.
  • Check all light bulbs and smoke alarms to make sure they all work.
  • Clean all blinds, curtains and ceiling fans. Clear out cobwebs. Wipe down everything.
  • Focus on the positive. Do not think or talk negatively because your actions set the tone for the rest of the year.
  • Buy a new pair of shoes or slippers to prevent people from gossiping about you. Maintaining a good reputation is important.

YOUR YARD OR OUTSIDE SURROUNDINGS

  • Wash down the patio.
  • Make sure all the grass is cut and trees are trimmed. Remove all weeds, garbage, broken furniture and broken planters.
  • Clean the outside of your windows and touch up chipped paint.
  • Wash out all your recycling and trash bins.
  • If you have a swimming pool or sauna, make sure they are clean.
  • Check all your security and outside lights.
  • Water your plants.
  • Make sure your tool closet or shed is tidy.
  • Clean the barbecue grill and doormats.

BATH AND KITCHEN

  • Mop the floors.
  • Clean your refrigerator and freezer; throw out old food.
  • Clean your drains, sink and tub. Replace your water filters.
  • Place a fresh fruit bowl in the center of your kitchen, particularly oranges that represent wealth.
  • Avoid using knives and scissors on New Year’s Day. Do not cut your hair or nails on Chinese New Year; do this earlier. Otherwise, it is believed you will bring pain to your relationships.

BEDROOM

  • Organize your drawers. Throw away clutter and get rid of clothes you no longer wear.
  • Donate items to those in need. Wash your clothes prior to the new year.
  • Rotate your mattress, wash your sheets and clean your bed frame.

YOUR CAR

  • Check your tire pressure, oil and other fluid levels.
  • Wash your car, and clean the interior. Replace air freshener.
  • Fill your gas tank.

By doing as much of this as you can, you will be opening your life to more prosperity and spiritual joy.

Sticky