Thursday evening like this is an evening for reflection for me, a way of feeding and nourishing my soul. I always make it a habit to grab any books from the shelf, I invisibly labelled “spiritual”, and read and ponder from it. Tonight, I opted to open a verse from the Book of Mormon, that old one that Mormon missionaries usually gave to the “investigators” of the LDS church. With eyes closed, I chose a page and when I opened it, I was surprised that the verse is my all-time favorite, 1 Nephi 3:7. Yes, I remembered it well, during our Sunday school, we were told that this is about Nephi’s obedience to return to Jerusalem to obtain the brass plates (a very important record of Lehi) because it is God’s commandment. I noticed that I colored the scriptures green with side note, “obedience”. I looked my other scriptures, that one we called in the church as the “triple book” and visibly observed the color red with a side note, “challenge”. Maybe because returning to Jerusalem and obtaining the brass plates heavily guarded was a very difficult task. And by the prompting of the small, still voice, I scanned the pages of my KJV Bible and landed on the New Testament page at Philippians 4:13 which every student of the bible can memorize – about doing anything with Christ who strenghtens. I just paused to seek some inspiration, then I saw the eco-bag I bought from SM, those ones with printed words ranging topics from environmental protection to anything with spiritual value. This one reads, “It’s not the load that breaks you, it’s the way you carry it.” As if a spark of sudden thought, I remembered I downloaded some pictures from the internet on how some men carried heavy objects in a peculiar way. Thought after thought, many things came to my mind like the song, “He Will Carry You”, the “Footprints in the Sand”, etc. All these things were quite jumbling in my head. For a while. I don’t know how all these pieces fit together… Then I pondered the words – obedience, challenge, how you carry, God strengthens… Now maybe, Heavenly Father tries to teach me this evening that once you obey Him, all problems have solutions. Just pray and trust Him, and His will be done. Amen!
Is this Lemon “worth the squeeze”?
Tamang-tama nung Friday ang officemate kong si Jackie ay may dalang lemon. Tinda nya. Bumili (umutang) ako ng isang kilo. Tamang tama sya dahil may sipon at ubo ako. I really need Vitamin C. Pagdating sa bahay that night, binalatan ko yung isa, just like how I peel off the buongon, kahel at orange. Yes, nabalatan ko naman sya pero mas makapal ang balat nya. I tried to eat the lemon kagaya ng pagkain ko sa kahel, pero di ko nakayanan sa sobrang asim. I have no juicer, so I have no choice other than slice them and squeeze off, so I could extract its juice. Mahirap mag squeeze. But after all the squeezing, the byproduct was a lemonade. Nilagyan ko ng konting asukal. Ang sarap! Natural juice… I did all these every after meal through the weekend, at ngayon medyo nawawala na sipon at ubo ko. Lesson in life: When life throws you lemons, make a lemonade… and, lemonade needs all the squeezings… Patience + hardwork = success
Now watching the movie adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, that tells of Edmond Dantes imprisonment at Chateu d’if for 13 years because of alleged treason, which in fact, an act of betrayal, selfishness and political ambition of people whom he trusted. At Chateu he met a fellow prisoner, a French priest, who teaches him the principles of physics, economics and literature, and how to fight like a swordman, they both dig the tunnel, and eat rats. The rest of the story is yet for me to be seen… Will Edmond escape from prison and seek revenge? For almost a year now, I seek for a copy of this book at NBS and Fully Booked, but to no avail. I saw one only at Barnes and Noble. Meanwhile, this movie will do just fine. For now.
I first heard of the book, The Little Prince during our recollection for graduating high school students when the seminarian/facilitator quoted an excerpt in Visayan dialect, “nganong makipag-amigo man ka nako nga fox man lang ko,” dealing with the topic on friendship and taming. Years back, I was able to watch its movie adaptation, and lately its animated version. Early this year, it came to my knowledge that another author tries to write its sequel, The Return of the Young Prince. I noted some drawings on its pages just like the original written by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. Still don’t know its content, that’s why I’ll be reading this book tonight, asap!
Now putting the book, “Everything, Everything” after reading it for five nights, to its predestined spot in my YA bookshelf. Also today is the first screening day of its movie adaptation, but to my disappointment, it isn’t screening in either SM Cinema or Robinsons Movieworld here in Isabela, so after putting the book down, I content myself now in viewing its movie trailer and video clips via Youtube.
“Everything, Everything” is the first novel written by Nicola Yoon, and it’s a New York Times best seller. What I love most in this novel is that, it is not racist, a proof of a paradigm shift of modern YA authors that romantic dramas don’t really need white, beautiful sick girls to make us care.
The lead female character in the novel is Maddy, an 18-year old aspiring architect, plagued with a rare illness called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), a rare and incurable immune disorder that means she can never go outside, so she has to spend her whole life in a glass smart house designed to keep her from getting infected. Her protective mother, a doctor, closely monitors her every move. Maddy takes an immediate interest in the cute neighbor boy, Olly whom she spies moving in next door. They get to know each other and managed to converse through texting and gmail. Further on, it develops into flirting and soon, fine romance. SPOILER ALERT: (if you haven’t read or watch it yet, stop reading it now) Towards the final chapters of the book, it turns out that Maddy was never actually sick. After her father died, her mother convinced herself that her daughter was ill, terrified of losing her. But of course, love conquers all —-
This month, I am really hooked into South Korean teleplays and films, the like of the Goblin and The Legend of the Blue Sea, which more often than not, I got hard time following through its English sub. This morning I came across this film, MY ANNOYING BROTHER, downloaded it, and just watched it in my laptop. Yet, I felt betrayed because what I thought the film to be a comedy focusing on sibling struggle, a shift in tone suddenly came in conflict towards the second half of the film. That’s the selling point, that thing called “just when”, the film delve much deeper, leaving me torn between laughing and devastating tears, almost I was like being pulled out of a buddy comedy and thrust into yet another tear-jerker film. Yes, just when the two half-brothers are starting to make amends, the elder bro found out he’s on the final stage of terminal cancer. He has only a short time to say farewell to his brother and help him win gold at Rio Paralympics, which will secure his future. Perhaps going in with perceived notions about the film hinders the viewing experience, so watching with an open mind might make all the difference.
I intentionally delayed my “guilt-trip” to write something on what I read, listened and watched about Jay Asher’s THIRTEEN REASONS WHY because it’s my choice. Yes, a choice – just like Hanna’s choice, your choice, or just anyone’s choice, because we all have this freedom. Though, the novel or the hard-hitting tv series via Netflix is a work of fiction, yet it gains controversy because it deals with varied topics most of us rather won’t talk about.
I don’t know where to start. . . Just like creating thirteen recordings on cassette tapes is not an easy task. In the advent of the digital world, maybe some of us, most notably the millenials may not even know how to use cassette tapes. But on my part, my very first job after college revolves on tapes. From the news room, I recorded aired news from radio and tv, and transcribed the same – all in my 8-hour shift. What happened to those transcribed news scripts were sole resposibilities of the news editor and the news anchors who would afterwards deliver the news on air.
I remember during the early ‘80s, aside from the snail mail, the use of the cassette tapes was very useful to those working abroad, particularly those in the Middle East. It was a medium via voice recordings as a means of an exchange communication between a nanay or tatay working abroad and their families here in the Philippines.
What compels me to write something about Thirteen Reasons Why, is because even at the most holy of all weeks, I can almost hear Hannah’s voice, recorded on seven cassette tapes the night before her suicide. Hanna’s recordings are different. She elaborately planned it, even distributes individual starred maps to her listeners, which they’re supposed to follow as they listen to her recordings. She isn’t using the tapes for self-reflection, to try to figure out how she can gain power over her surroundings. Instead, she’s trying to put her listeners in her shoes – to show them how it feels to be on a list, how it feels to be accused of things and have rumors spread about them, and further confirms her belief that her problems are unsolvable.
No matter how calculating she was about her plan, it’s very clear from these tapes that Hannah isn’t thinking straight. For example, Hannah reveals the names of some alleged criminals (Jenny Kurtz) but not others (Bryce Walker), regardless of how bad each person was to her. She also threatens to publicly release the tapes if her listeners don’t do what she asks. But the last person on her list is Mr. Porter, who will almost certainly have to turn the tapes over to officials anyway. These tapes were definitely a plan made in desperation and we can hear it both through the anger and the confusion in Hannah’s words.
That’s what these tapes are all about. It’s through her recordings, and Clay Jensen’s reactions to them, that we get to know Hannah. We hear Hannah’s description of her life at her most desperate and disturbed, which makes it easy to forget that she wasn’t always this way.
To be more honest, it’s a challenge on my part to remain objective about the characters being accused of serious illegal activity, particularly Bryce, Tyler, Justin, and Jenny whose side of the story I haven’t heard, while still trusting the voice of Hannah..#
1. the tapes
(To be continued)
I’m no fitness freak, but I like to keep myself fit by walking. Allow me to exaggerate. If I could measure all the walks of my life – from my first toddler steps up to now, I could dare say, those small steps and brisk walks could equal to the distance one can travel to the moon and back.
Roughly 10 to 15% of my high school life was spent with walking. From the break of day, while other students of my batch was still on bed, I was already walking on my way to school, and during the twilight where they were already on their families enjoying dinner, I was still half-way home, walking.
I spent the afternoons-after-work of the year 2000 walking with the elders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints doing missionary work to both members and non-members of the church in the town of San Manuel, Isabela. I never get tired of walking with the Mormon missionaries – spreading and proselytizing the gospel, the best one year of my life as member of the LDS church.
My single all-walking-week was on September 2010, a 7-day trekking from Sindon Bayabo, Ilagan City to the coastal town of Divilacan, Isabela. That was 3 years after I was diagnosed with hypertension. Yet, after the diagnosis, I could still walk for hours and hours.
These days while I am on the prime of my life, I walk from my house to the gate of the subdivision to catch a tricycle ride, going work. And during off work, I opted to walk a few hundred meters from the capitol lobby to the highway to catch a jeep ride going home.
Yet, on top of all these walking, I walk the talk. Because of human imperfection, sometimes I could make mistakes, but more often than not, I make it a point to translate my words into meaningful actions. This is more important than physical walking, per se. One sloppy note to end the month#
NO MORE ROOM IN THE INN
Whatever became of the inn – the one whose keeper could not receive Mary and Joseph on the eve of Jesus Christ’s birth?
Some ancient man built that inn of stone or bricks of clay. Perhaps this builder mixed and spread something across its walls for a smooth appearance, then hung shutters to cover its windows, tamped down the dirt floor, firm and level, and attached a gate or door.
A man and a woman had made that inn their home, prepared food and drinks, and took in guests. Was it the only inn in Bethlehem? If so, then its proprietors were surely well known in town. Perhaps he was prominent in the synagogue, and she was sought out by other women in the town‘s well. This couple may well have had children and grandchildren of their own. Could they have been pleased to turn away the man from Nazareth with his pregnant wife?
Then, after Mary‘s child had been born in one of the inn‘s outbuildings and Herod‘s soldiers came to kill all the little boys in town, whom did the innkeepers lose to this slaughter? Grandsons, sons, nephews, and cousins all fell beneath the Roman blades. Sobs of grief must have echoed throughout that inn as family blood stained its floor.
So whatever became of that inn? It is gone, it is dust. Not only is the inn dust, the innkeepers have returned to dust along with all the jars in their kitchen and guests in their rooms. Only one artifact remains to memorialize their existence – the record of the birth of the Christ -child.
Maybe the story of the “too-full inn” is a parable for us in the season of Christmas: Of all the gifts and gatherings that fill your heart this month, which of them will remain when you have returned to dust? Only Jesus Christ really matters.