Archive | May, 2011

You by Joanna Briscoe

31 May

When I saw the writing suggestion for Topic #114, I just had to smile.  I had been struggling to finish a book which I had won from Waterstones.  The only thing I had to do was to read it and write a review that would appear on the Waterstones website.  I had until 10 June 2011 to read and post my review.  I managed to finish reading the book during the last bank holiday and post my review yesterday (Hurrah!  Over a week before the deadline!  My procrastination is not as bad as it used to be!).  I had to wait until the website allowed my review to be posted.

This is  an excerpt of what I wrote:

Joanna Briscoe writes with shocking but quite beautiful reality about family relations; the secrets, misunderstandings, unspoken personal guilt that drive family members’ actions.  The story draws you in, until turning each page to find out what happens next becomes a compulsion.  Her words draw you into sharing the life, the secrets and the foibles of the characters of the story…[I]n the midst of all the conflicts in the story, personal and otherwise, there is still that undeniable truth that no matter what happens, a relationship between a mother and her child is an unbreakable and inescapable bond. 

And you canread the full review on the Waterstones website, on the page for You by Joanna Briscoe under Customer Reviews.

And you know what the best part was?  It was an advanced copy because the book hasn’t been released yet! 🙂

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Tattooed on my mind

30 May

The topic suggestion was to write about tattoos.  If I were to get a tattoo, what would I get?

At one point in my life, I really wanted to get a tattoo.  I don’t know why I was compelled to do so.  I actually spent a lot of time looking for the perfect tattoo.  I wanted to include several elements: a dragon, because I was born in the year of the dragon, the Star of David, to honour my father’s chosen faith, and a triquetra…not because of any leanings towards Wicca, but because I was always drawn to that shape.  Always.

But I’ve become a lot more pragmatic about things (A lot of things!  That’s a luxury age and retrospect gives you, you become more realistic about what you want and what you actually need!  Ha!  Listen to me attempting the “adult talk”!) and I’m not quite sure I want a tattoo now (mainly because I’m concerned about the healing part as I am a diabetic).  Although, to be honest, during certain fanciful moments (mostly after buying fish and chips from the local chippy and I happen to see the tattoo place across from the chip shop), I do wonder about the tattoo.

I want something else now.  Because I want it to mean something.  If I’m going to allow myself to be marked (and hopefully, if this is ever going to happen, quite artistically) it will have to be by a hummingbird.  And no, not because I’m such a huge fan of the Hummingbird Bakery books (now that would be taking my devotion to these no-fail recipes a wee bit too far!).  I like to think that by having a hummingbird inked on, it is some kind of blessing, some kind of hope that what it symbolises will be absorbed by my psyche (I did say I was being fanciful!).

According to some circles, a person who chooses a hummingbird is a person who takes great pleasure in spreading joy and love and beauty to all around them, and have the gift of taking that inner joy into new and different surroundings.  I loved that.  It would be lovely to be marked with a symbol of positivity, right?

Hummingbird

My weekly dose

29 May

Sundays is reserved for talking to my family in Manila.  Am so thankful that technology has enabled  us to feel closer to each other.  God bless email, Twitter, international phone calls, text messaging, and most especially, video calling (I love you Skype!).  But I think my Tatay (Filipino for Father) understood the need for me to see the house so he took pictures of the 2 lovely trees that grow in front of our house.  It flowers in the summer (late March to early June in the Philippines, just before the monsoon season starts).  They usually cover the path in front of our house with lovely bright yellow petals but as I haven’t seen them in ages, my dad thought it would be an excellent idea for me to see this 🙂

And you guessed it, am so smiling right now! 😀

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I am determined

28 May

I’ve got a book to read and review by June 10.  But I know I’ll be too busy to read the book after this bank holiday.  I’m determined to finish the book this bank holiday weekend so that I can write my review.  Keep your fingers crossed for me please?

My daily dose

27 May

I grew up going to church every Sunday.  In troubled times, my faith has kept me sane.  In falls from grace, my faith has kept me hopeful that I will be able to rise above the depths I have sunk to (hey, I’m no angel!).  In times when I felt uncertain, my faith has kept me grounded.  I may not be openly religious but it has been my faith that has kept me centred.

For one’s faith to grow, I’ve always believed that it is necessary to read the bible and pray (in my head now, I’m singing the Sunday School song, “Read Your Bible, Pray Every Day”—does anyone else know that song?).  I remember my struggle to find a bible and how relieved I felt when I finally found the bible that I felt was for me (it has something to do with the version it was written in and nothing mystical :)).  I find that although I’m away from my church family, my faith, unbelievably, has grown.

Another ingredient, apart from reading the bible and praying everyday (and I’m still singing that song!) is fellowship with like-minded individuals.  I grew up in church and grew up with people who have had the same nurturing of faith.  It was a fear for me, that when I left, I wouldn’t feel as spiritual because I wouldn’t get the nurturing that I had from fellowshipping with like-minded individuals.

But because of the wonders of the Facebook and emails, I am able to keep in touch with the people I grew up with.  What does help the most is the daily devotional emails that my mother sends me.  She’s also made it amazingly easy to read the scripture reading as well because she’s included the readings in the emails that she sends.  I know she only does it because she wants to minister to us (it takes a lot of commitment to type up each devotion every single day and send it off!).

I appreciate all the effort my mom goes through because I know that it’s her way of nurturing us, and, in my case, even from afar.  Thanks Maman!  I try to tell you how much I appreciate what you do but somehow writing it down helps me express how invaluable your devotional emails are (besides, it helps me keep tabs on my mom as well–if she doesn’t send me a daily devotional for a couple of days I start to worry that she’s not well!).

One of my favourite passages from my mother’s emails is a reading from the book of Psalms.  When I am in despair, or when I need centering, reading something from Psalms always has an uplifting effect. I’m sharing it with everyone who comes to read the blog because, even if you are not religious, it is such beautiful writing, and very, very moving plea from someone who wants nurturing, direction and protection from their God.

Psalm 31:1-5

1 Lord, I trust in you;
let me never be disgraced.
Save me because you do what is right.
2 Listen to me
and save me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
a strong city to save me.
3 You are my rock and my protection.
For the good of your name, lead me and guide me.
4 Set me free from the trap they set for me,
because you are my protection.
5 I give you my life.
Save me, Lord, God of truth

Water

26 May

The photo challenge this week was for water.  I found this picture that I took in 2009.  I wondered why I took the photo and then I remembered that when I saw this then, in Christchurch Park, in Ipswich, I had to take a picture.  Can you tell why I found this picture funny?

Clue: it’s about something on the water 🙂

Ipswich - Christchurch Park (2009)

Quotable Quote: Baroness Hayman

25 May

I watched United States’ President Barack Obama’s speech at Westminster today.  It was eloquent, as I expected it to be.  Barack Obama has a way with words.  But what I enjoyed the most was not his speech to members of the Houses of Commons and Lords, but the introduction made by the Speaker of the House of Commons and the response delivered by Speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness Hayman.  While it was delivered in typical loquacious Obama fashion, I felt it lacked something, that it was more style than substance.  But I guess, I chalk up that cynical view to my slightly jaded view of politicians in general.

My quotable quote from today isn’t from Barack Obama’s speech, but from a quote shared by Baroness Hayman in her response to the address made by the president of the United States.  She quoted an unnamed distinguished New York Governor, who said:

[P]oliticians have the propensity to campaign in poetry but to govern in prose.

This is so true (especially in the case of most Filipino politicians!).  I shall stop my jaded thoughts there.

The entirety of the response from Baroness Hayman can be found on the UK Parliament Website.