Jumping In
Jumping in (the dark spots are stingrays)

Fortunately I was able to take 2 whole weeks out of my full schedule to share a family vacation with 16 members of my extended family in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands. Sitting on the peaceful, sun-drenched beaches listening to the ocean waves, some profound feelings of appreciation welled up within me. The people with whom we share our lives, I thought, greatly influence the direction, quality and value of our journey.

My journey has been adorned with the greatest treasures of all – treasures of the heart. I’m deeply grateful to everyone who has helped me grow, learn and become joyful. Throughout the world, past and present, thank you from the core of my being. The list of those whom I’d especially like to shower praise upon is simply too difficult to compile. # 1 on the list, however, is easy. “The Best” is my mom. She’s always been there for me as unshakable and steadfast as a mountain, under any circumstance. She’s been my best teacher, my best fan, my best influence, my best confidante. She continues to shine as a great example, a great inspiration, and a great lighthouse for my life.

Grand Cayman
View from my room in Grand Cayman

During our vacation, my cousin Alex captured a candid photo of me in which my mom appears in the background. I particularly enjoy this image because I did not realize she was standing so close behind me when he took the photo. It reflects the reality that throughout my life my mother has always been there, proudly sustaining and watching out for me even when I don’t realize it. Thanks mom! Two other favorite photos are from my room in the Caymans, and from a magical experience I had swimming with wild stingrays in the Caribbean Sea – a life-changing experience. After playing with the stingrays, I kissed one good-bye, and my sense of appreciation and wonder for this life became heightened evermore.

Bahamian Club
Taro and Mom at the Bahamian Club