Posted in Bookworm

Book Thoughts on The Girl Who Drank The Moon

“It is the word that could not stick in your mind, but it is the word that defines your life. As it has defined mine.” ~ Grandmama Xan, The Girl Who Drank The Moon

“Knowledge is powerful, but it is a terrible power when it is hoarded and hidden.” ~ Ethyne, The Girl Who Drank The Moon

This book was magical, but it was not just about MAGIC. For me, the story was about loving another in such a great way that you willingly give up your life, your future, for this other. It was expressed in the love of a mentor for a student, a grandmother for her grandchild, and parents for their child.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (image above from Goodreads) was my first read for 2019 and although it was a slow start, it had a great finish. A witch taking abandoned babies from the forest and giving them to loving families. A girl enmagiked as a baby because she mistakenly drank from the moon and whose magic grew to be so strong that it had to be locked away, hidden from her memory, until she turned 13. A mother forced to give up her child and then locked away in a tower, called crazy by the town, but who was always, always looking for her child. A young man once forced to take a child from its family, now having to give up his own. So many interesting characters in this book whose lives cross with each other, so much love between them.

My favorite character in this tale is Ethyne, a cheerful, positive soul. She did not allow sorrow to overwhelm her, she sought knowledge, and she was a strong woman who went up against a system that no one else even thought to question. But what really endeared her to me was that she wanted knowledge to be shared, given to others, and not just kept between an elite few.

Like I said, this book had a slow start but it had me crying towards the end. If you’re the kind of reader who likes neat happy endings, you won’t get that here. After turning the last page I found myself staring into space for a little while, with a slight ache in my heart. In my opinion, that was the best feeling-at-the-end this book could have had.

Posted in Daily Musings

The Year That Was 2018

I haven’t written in a long while and that’s because life happens. Truth be told, I’m not even sure why I insist on continuing to blog when there are so many things that need to be done “in real life” but here I am. The year will end in a little over 30 hours and I thought it would be a good thing to look back and acknowledge that I’ve grown. Even if it seems like I haven’t.

I got this idea from a friend who, more than a decade ago, would do this every year. I wonder if she still does this? It’s 40 questions to answer about the year that was. Here we go…

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

I walked along the Great Wall of China. I was actually on top of the Wall. Something we would only talk about in history classes and I never thought I would get to visit but I was there. And all that culture? It was amazing.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I haven’t done New Year’s resolutions since 2014, instead I started coming up with a word that would guide me throughout the year. Although last year I wasn’t able to come up with a word. 😦 This 2019 my word is BETTER. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! 🙂 R to a baby girl and A to her third baby boy.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. But a number of my friends’ parents did and that was always so sad.

5. What countries did you visit?

The US and China.

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

The discipline to be consistent in developing good habits.

7. What date from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

October 24. Sary broke her leg and she had to have an operation done to put a metal plate and pins. A month later we were back in the OR because her scar opened up and had to be sewed back up. As of this writing, I’m actually panicking because her leg is curving outwards after some days of walking without the crutches and she says it hurts to move.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I moved to a different department. After holding onto a post for nine years it was an achievement to move forward.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Having such a cluttered home.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My Garmin watch since it has a run/walk interval timer. It’s going to be a really big help in preparing for that marathon next year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Definitely Iya for being such a brave and helpful eldest child.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Our President. 

14. Where did most of your money go?

To the kids. For their tuition, daily needs, and other expenses. And especially Sary’s hospital bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The NMUN-China event.

16. What song will always remind you of 2018?

I don’t really listen to the new songs of the year. 2018 will remind me of 90s songs because this year my high school batch celebrated our silver jubilee and it was a flashback to the 90s.

17-19. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? Sadder. I have a child in pain.

ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner.

iii. richer or poorer? Richer, despite the unexpected medical expenses because I’ve paid off debt.

20. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spend time playing or just hanging out with the kids.

21. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Screen time. Computer. Netflix. Phone. Television.

22. How did you spend Christmas?

With Junjay’s family in Negros Occ. We spent the morning up in the farm and the rest of the day at the home of his parents.

23. Did you fall in love in 2018?

No.

24. Who got together and who broke up?

Oh no. I wasn’t really paying attention to these things.

25. What was your favorite TV program?

Madam Secretary and How To Get Away With Murder. And then there’s Grey’s Anatomy.

26. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is too strong a word even if this person is being really, really difficult — so, no.

27. What was the best book you read?

The Art of Racing in the Rain.

28. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Ben and Ben.

29. What did you want and got?

I wanted to sign up for The Bull Runner Dream Marathon and I did.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

Ready Player One. I enjoyed it but really it’s because I don’t remember other movies I’ve watched this year.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 42 and I spent the day travelling to Beijing, China.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If I ran more. Went home earlier from work.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

The teacher look. As always.

34. What kept you sane?

Massages.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Our VP, Leni Robredo!

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

The competency of our current President. I mean, I really, really, really tried to make it all about the issues but he is just so infuriating.

37. Who did you miss?

I missed quite a number of people. People who were really only just there but we couldn’t find the time to meet up. That’s got to change next year.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Not new people because I’ve known them for some 25 years now but have never really talked to them or shared stories. The best “new” people I met this year are my high school batchmates during our silver homecoming. Reconnecting, making new old-friends was a blast.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

I need to be honest with people, even if it scares me and it hurts them, because I care about them.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser. You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger. You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together. All I know, all I know is love will save the day. ~ Des’ree

So that was 2018. Here’s to a better 2019 for all of us. 🙂

 

Posted in Faith Life

God’s Grace Isn’t One Size Fits All

When we say that we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour and that we have a personal relationship with Him it really is personal. It will not be the same for each one.

Last night I did interpreting work for a Deaf couple for their Life In The Spirit Seminar with the Catholic Charismatic Community that I used to belong to.  I was sooo excited to serve with the community where I was nourished spiritually and where I grew. In my mind I was thinking all out worship, the power of the Holy Spirit palpable in that place. That wasn’t exactly what happened. It felt — so different. Not what I remembered worship with that Community to be.

And yet people were blessed. The Deaf couple felt a sense of belonging with the community that they said they do not feel with their own relatives. This couple’s hearing daughter sees this Community to be the means by which she can bring her whole family back together. The couples who took care of the Youth Ministry when I was still active in service there are still very much involved, and so are a number of people from the Singles Ministry who I know. Even someone I served with in the Youth was still there. I can see that they find God in that Community. They feel a belongingness there.

And then there’s my experience with my current community. It’s a community for me, albeit I still only know a few people and I don’t attend as regularly as I used to. Still, when I am with them, I get to worship. My heart is in the worship, all out, and even during low days I am able to make that decision to lift my hands and surrender all. I was telling a friend that I know how imperfect our worship leaders are, I could just raise my eyebrow at them when they preach and not believe a word they say. But when they lead worship, when they speak, God speaks to me. I am touched. I am filled with thanksgiving, with a great love for God. I know for sure it is God’s grace and His Holy Spirit working through them…through all of us.

So whatever Community people are called to be a part of, I know God’s grace will find them there and will touch each one. He loves us wherever we are.

When I say that I have a personal relationship with my Lord, and when others share that with me, it means that we experience His love and His grace on our own terms, according to what we need. He is not one size fits all.

Posted in Bookworm

2018 Reading Challenges…and then some

Last year was not a good year for me in both blogging and reading. I have been starting and closing blogs for quite some time now, since 2005 if I’m not mistaken. I guess I haven’t really found what I really want to write about. Family life? Teaching? Until someone mentioned that one thing constant in my blogging was talking about books. And I do love books. And so here I am with my who-knows-how-many attempt at blogging but this time talking about books. And oh I love books. 🙂

That being said, last year was also a bad year for reading. According to Goodreads I only read one book. To be exact about it, I only finished one book. I started quite a number of books but didn’t get around to finishing most of them. Well, I just finished ONE.

So this year I’m going to turn things around and read…read a lot. Whether fiction or non-fiction, mysteries, historical fiction, YA literature, I will read. And I will write about what I read. I’m not a critique and I won’t pretend I’ll be writing literary essays, I’ll just write if I like a book or not and why.

As a guide to my reading this year I am following three reading challenges. It may seem daunting now but a lot of the books will be crossing challenges so I think that’s doable. These are the three reading challenges I am signing up for:

Mommy Mannegren’s 2018 Reading Challenge (52 books in 52 weeks) – but I’m not expecting a 1 book per week performance here.

Book Riot’s 2018 Read Harder Challenge – 24 tasks that challenge you to read beyond your comfort zone

The 2018 F2F Challenge by The Filipino Group on Goodreads – these are my peeps! (I mean they’re Filipinos, I’m actually a newbie to the group) And it’s not just an online group, they meet once a month to talk about the assigned read for the month.

So…here’s to more posts and reads in 2018!

Posted in Daily Musings

Where Did The Days Go?

The last entry I wrote was in August. That’s almost 6 months ago. For yet another time I let “busyness” hijack my plans. Although, was I really busy? Or maybe the right question is was I busy with what was important to me?

I know I got things done at work. I know I was serving my community. I was present at school activities of my children. I lobbied for issues on social media. Yet somehow, I still feel I didn’t get the important things done.

What are the important things? When I think about it, it’s building relationships and “wasting time” with people who are important to me like my aging parents, my husband, my daughters. It’s being mindful when I read emails and being present in the moment when I write my response. It’s setting aside time for myself, to take care of myself and get fit, read books, take up a hobby.

You know those three books I posted a picture of in my last post. They remain unread.

Maybe I’ll start with that.

Posted in Bookworm

Catching Up On My Newberrys

Newberry Books.jpg

At the start of this year I signed up for the 2016 Newberry Reading Challenge with  goal of reaching the L’ Engle level. That is a measly 15-29 points that is gained by reading Newberry Medal books (for 3 points), Newberry Honor books (for 2 points), and Caldecott Medal books (for 1 point). Eight months into the year and I have ZERO points to my name. 😦

I didn’t want to end up in the exact same place as when I signed up for the challenge last year (with zero points), and because I needed some cheering up distraction from all the things happening in my beloved country I stopped by the bookstore this afternoon after my errands to look for a Newberry Medal book to bring home and read. The plan was one book, but see the picture up there? One ended up becoming three. 🙂 But it was almost no Newberry book because I was holding grown-up novels at one point. And then it was a Newberry and 2 novels, then 2 Newberrys and a novel, them back to 3 novels…you get the picture. I love books! And being inside a bookstore is happiness! I was walking between shelves and came upon some teenagers seated on the floor browsing books and with pained expressions on their faces knowing they could only buy one book, but how do you choose from so many treasures!? I know that expression too well. 🙂

In the end I walked out with these three books, two Newberry Medals and a Newberry Honor. I can’t wait to get started!

Do you have any suggestions on other Newberry books I should read? 🙂

Posted in Daily Musings

Half-Empty or Half-Full?

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And just like that, half the year is gone. Or I guess we can see it as half the year still ahead. Time to pause and take stock of the promises we made to ourselves at the start of the year.

When my 2016 started I chose a word to live out. That word is SOAR. I admit that’s not how I would describe how things are in my life at this point but I can say I have gotten off the ground. 🙂

Here’s to the next six months of flight.

How has your year been so far? 🙂