Thoughts on Us

I am mushy, cheesy, and am a huge fan of sweet things so forgive me for this saccharine-filled post. If you’re a fan of ooey goey music, this post is for you. If not, you can come back on Friday or Saturday. By then, I’ll probably be over this very acute sugar shock.

I’m listening to the musical duo US’ debut album. Last December, a friend who knew I liked “cutie patootie” music sent me the YouTube links to two of the songs from the album —  I clicked on the links and I was instantly hooked.

I like US. US is made up of husband and wife Michael Alvarado and Carissa Rae. I’m a big fan of husband and wife musical team ups, you see. Of course the duo’s music is really good, too. I particularly like their self-titled album because it’s a good soundtrack for people who have been/are in/will be in long distance relationships.

Favourite tracks: ALL. Thus I shall just highlight my favourite lyrics from the 10 songs included in the album.

  1. Never gonna leave you – “I’m the kind of guy who wants to show you why love can conquer all / Don’t be worried don’t be scared / Just know that I’ll be there”
  2. Before we go – “Before we go far away I should say / Before we go far away I should say this / Before we go far away I should say that I’m in love…”
  3. Close to You – “I can never have enough of you / In every little thing you do I just wanna be close / I just wanna be close to you”
  4. Fall Asleep  – “I just wanna fall asleep / I just wanna fall asleep / I just wanna fall asleep inside your arms”
  5. Girl in L.A. – “The one I love’s in California / What can I say / I’m in love with a girl in LA”
  6. Missin’ You Like Crazy – “Just me and my mornin’ coffee / thinking about how you’ve got me inside your heart / Wherever you are”
  7. I Will Wait for You – “No one can choose who they fall for / Or when they fall / Or how they fall / or why / I, well I fell for you and I must wait / It’s only a matter of time”
  8. Make You Love Me – “Do I have to go away to make you love me?” 
  9. Near or Far – “I’m here you’re there but my love is with you everywhere”
  10. Take Me Home – “Home for me is where you are”

So. Much. Cheese.

But hey. Let’s all have a cheese sandwich together. Check their music out! You can purchase their album from iTunes or from their bandcamp page if their music strikes your fancy.

And now, a YT vid:

Enjoy!

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The Shepherd

I don’t know what we’ll do without him. His tattered robe, his dusty feet, his bushy chin, the way he smells like the earth and grass combined — everything about him gives us a sense of comfort, a sense of assurance that everything will be okay and that everything we both want and need will be provided for.

He leads the flock well. The younger ones frolic too much, the older rams and ewes are not too keen on moving about, but his gentle yet strong nature persuades them — persuades me — to move steadily onto the meadows where the grass is always fresh and tastes as sweet as the cold morning dew, to the pastures right beside waters which restores and refreshes our ever thirsty baa-ing souls.

He always knows where to bring us. There are many paths that we could follow but he always nudges us to the one which would lead us to the fields where we will flourish the best, where we can have ample rest, and where we can eat, drink, and live joyfully to our heart’s content. He does this because he has a reputation to uphold. Yet I know he also does it because he cares for us tremendously and because he loves our ragtag sheepfold.

At times the roads that we have tread on are strange and dark. Many times the shadows scare both the lambs and the aged ones. But his presence gives us strength. His presence gives us comfort. When he stands next to us with his rod and his staff, we know that we are well protected and that we can keep moving on. We know that we can keep going forward even if foxes, lions, and bears might lurk behind the shadows. He will keep us safe. He will even prepare a feast for us, though we might feel like we shall turn into the feasts sooner or later on.

The shepherd honours us by pouring oil over our worn and dishevelled heads. The oil overflows, runs over, reminding us that we are more than blessed.

The shepherd will be with us forever. As we dwell with him, goodness and unfailing love shall follow us and will be with us forever, too.

END

Based on Psalm 23

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New Project: 10 What If’s

While the question “What-If” sometimes creates anxiety and paranoia, it can also be a source of thrill, and in the story making, plot idea. If your “What-If” question is strong enough, it can render you a plot proposal.

The Daily Somersault

So. 2013. We’re already one month in. I do believe it’s timely to take on a new writing challenge, wouldn’t you agree?

If you’ve been following this month’s entries, you’ll notice that I’m trying to stick to a more or less predictable pattern. Scripture Scribbles, Thoughts-slash-Impressions, Post A Week prompt replies, an occasional DP Challenge — hey, you could start tuning in to my entries the way you stay tuned to your favourite TV shows! I shall try to write as much as I can and will give you the assurance that you can expect those regular posts like a regular series. At least for a certain season.

While I am starting to love writing on end on a regular basis, there’s still a different sense of accomplishment when you take on and finish a semi-time-bound challenge. What I mean is, things are always different when you have a goal in mind. Because I can post, post, post, post in this blog forever but where’s the accomplishment in that?

I’m not sure if I’m making any sense. But it’s much more fun running in race with a finish line at the end than it is to run on a treadmill without end, right?

On that note, let me introduce you to this new project of mine: 10 What If’s. I started playing around with the idea after reading the blogpost (see blockquote above) by Miss Daily Somersault

It might even make a good short story anthology if you readers deem it worthy enough. ;)

Well, let’s do this. Here are my 10 What If’s:

  1. What if you, like Alice, fell down a rabbit hole?
  2. What if you woke up next to a complete stranger?
  3. What if the fly on the wall suddenly started talking to you?
  4. What if you turned into a coffee cup?
  5. What if the person you are engaged to suddenly found out that he/she was dying?
  6. What if you were given a chance to talk to a prostitute?
  7. What if you were able to revisit any moment in your childhood and live it out again?
  8. What if you found yourself married to the President of the Philippines?
  9. What if the Internet suddenly came to a complete shutdown?
  10. What if you fell down the rabbit hole, but had to come back up again?

Let’s see if we can answer them in the weeks to come.

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Post a Week: Fragments

Set a timer for ten minutes. Open a new post. Start the timer, and start writing. When the timer goes off, publish.

Memories. Fragmented dreams. Making their way into my subconscious. Reminding me of moments. Treasured moments, yes. Precious moments with you.

Conversations inside coffee shops. Me, drinking coffee; you drinking none.

Malunggay pesto. You, reading poetry from one of the books by the shelf; me, just listening, silently pondering.

Pizza. Pasta. I’m not sure why, but we usually eat Italian.

FX rides, tricycle rides, me stumbling and bumbling around.

You, in your boat shoes and “ballerina socks” as you call them.

Me, talking into my phone’s speaker, tears leaking out of my eyes.

So I’m waiting for that moment – two months, three months, four months from now. When I’ll get say “hey” to you again in person. When these fragments become real and not mere wistful imagination.

via http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/daily-prompt-free-write/

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Thoughts on Les Miserables

On the last Sunday of 2012, La Familia and I hit the Midvalley Golden Screen Cinemas to watch Les Miserables. They had already seen The Hobbit (I hadn’t) so I let them choose between Life of Pi (which I didn’t mind watching again) and Les Mis (which I had wanted to watch ever since I saw it on the list of upcoming GSC movies last October).

Les Mis won, thus our final 2012 Sunday was a very musical one.

While my brother bought us snacks and refreshments, I gave my Dad fair warning. “This is going to be a musical, Pa. Expect the actors to break out into song every now and again.”

I should have done more research because it turned out that “every now and again” would equate into the length of the entire film. Which isn’t exactly bad.

For my thoughts:

  1. BE WARNED THAT THIS IS A MUSICAL. When you enter the cinema or hit play in your computer, you should already condition your mind that the whole cast will be singing and there would be no speaking. Okay, there were perhaps five or six spoken lines in the movie. But all other lines were sang out loud so don’t go holding your breath while waiting for them to cease singing. Some lines seemed to be awkwardly sung (and it would have been better if they were simply spoken out), but again, Les Mis is a MUSICAL.
  2. Mind you, the singing was SUPERB. Who would have thought Wolverine — err, Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) — could sing like that? Crowe, who plays Inspector Javert, could have put in more emotion (I felt his singing was rather flat) but Anne Hathaway (Fantine) more than made up for it with her very emotional performance.
  3. I liked how the film added a deeper dimension to the musical by giving the viewers close ups thereby magnifying the characters’ emotions. What I mean is, when you watch a show on Broadway or on any stage, you only get to see the characters from afar. Yes, you feel their voices. Yes, you are moved by their actions. But seeing their anguished faces up close — so close you can already see their nostrils flaring — WOW. This was probably one of the reasons why watching Hathaway’s “I dreamed a dream” was so chilling.
  4. The movie is deep. I read somewhere that Victor Hugo’s book was less Valjean-centric and that the other characters had more opportunities to shine, but I like how his quest was wrapped up in the end. As Hathaway sang, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”
  5. And while Les Mis is a drama (what would you expect from a film with the word “miserables” in the title?) I am thankful for the comedic relief that Sacha Baron Cohen (Thenardier) and Helena Bonham Carter (Madame Thenardier) brought into the film. I found it hilarious how the “loving father” kept messing up his precious “Colette’s” name! Fun!

So even though one of my officemates confessed that he walked out of the movie theatre after one of the more dramatic scenes played out (he grew bored) I’ll watch Les Mis again, if I could. After all, it made my parents cry. You can get insights on fathering, love, and dying for a cause there, too.

Les Miserables is next on my reading list this coming February. Let’s see how the book plays out and if the movie indeed did Hugo’s masterpiece justice. I’d like to dig deeper into the characters and see how social and religious issues are tackled in the text.

How about you? Have you seen the movie? Hated it or loved it? Share you thoughts!

Writing Challenge: The Boy

A boy plays in his front yard. You have three paragraphs to help us imagine this boy. What country are we in? Which details help communicate this? Is there an elm tree or an olive tree in his yard? Maybe there is no tree at all. How old is this boy? What color is his hair? What is he wearing? You get the idea.

“Felipe, halika na, uwi na.” Murky brown mud sludges in between the gaps of his moss coloured rubber tsinelas as he makes his way through what had been his family’s front yard. The boy, barely seven years old, walks with the gait of one who is seventeen.  His wide brown eyes carefully survey the wreck before him — aside from the refuse of soil and water, there are bits of rusty ochre tin scattered around. There are also spikes of mud-covered wood thrown about the ground. Yet his eyes are searching for something. A hint of red gingham submerged in muddy debris catches his attention and he quickly scampers towards that.

“Felipe, halika na, uwi na.” The boy pays no attention to his elder cousin’s voice — the treasure he’s been set on finding is just inches away from his reach. His slight fingers wrap around the fabric. He gives a gentle pull. The treasure is buried deep. He carefully digs through the rubble with his bare hands until at last the prized possession is uncovered.

“Felipe, halika na, uwi na.” The pretty little rag doll is not as damaged as he had thought it would be. He had thought it would need a lot of good sewing, but upon inspecting it, it seems that all the limp, pale toy with the red checkered dress and big black button eyes with faint chew marks would require is a good washing. Ate Ella washes clothes really well. His school uniform — the faded blue cotton one adorning him now — was in an even worse condition when his cousin found him floating through city’s cloudy flood waters in it. Yes, Ate Ella can wash Lily. A small smile makes its way into the boy’s dirty brown face as he imagines his younger sister’s eyes lighting up as they meet Lily’s button ones. He skips towards his cousin, charcoal hair bouncing; his springy steps full of childlike innocence. For that brief moment, Felipe turns seven again.

via http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/writing-challenge-details/

Camels and Needles

The teacher must be kidding me. Sky high, that’s what his expectations are. Sell all my possessions and give the money to the poor? Exchange everything I have for treasures in heaven? And then – *gulp* – leave everything I have and follow him down untrod dirt paths? I’m not like those fishermen he likes to hang out with. I’m not like those swindling tax collectors, not like those dusty vagabonds.

He can have that eternal life he’s talking about. Just the thought of being separated from my camels, from my horses, from my antique pottery — I can think of no greater hell than that.

I had only asked him what good thing did I have to do to inherit eternal life. He said there is only One who is good. But I could keep the commandments, he had added.

Which ones, I had inquired.

Don’t kill. Don’t take someone else’s wife. Don’t take another woman if you already have one of your own. Don’t lie. Honor your father and your mother. Love the people around you as you love you.

I have kept all of them. I could put a big check mark next to each one if anyone would ask me to.

But his final requirement is far too difficult.

A camel would find it easier to enter through the eye of the needle, you know.

END

Based on Matthew 19: 16-22

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” 25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. 26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

Matthew 19: 23-26 (New Living Translation)

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Hey, Soul Sister!

Ain’t that mister mister on the radio, stereo the way you move ain’t fair, you know.

Yes, that’s me breaking into song. Guess what? I’ve been nominated for a blogging award! The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! Wee. Here you go:

sisterhood

I would like to thank Miss Monica for my first blogging award. She’s a kindred soul here in WordPress – she writes mostly about books and things Korean. I haven’t met her in real life (yet) but I’m guessing it will be a pretty interesting meet-up.

So, for the acceptance Q&A portion (I have to answer these so that I can accept the award):

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m not a picky eater. I can eat practically anything. Fried crickets. Fried frogs. Balut. Well, not the brains of live monkeys though. That’s just sick.

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?

Meaning an already deceased person who may or may not be related to me? Does the person have to have died recently? Hmmm. I’m kinda confused. Anyway, I’d like to meet King David and have a chat with him, if I could. Ask him what it’s like being called a man after God’s own heart. :D

Nightly owl or early bird?

Nighty owl. Currently writing this blog post at 11:32 PM. Will get to writing another one once I wrap this up.

Bare or with make up?

Eyeliner and lipgloss. Sometimes I look like an emo-girl-slash-vampire.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee! I’ve been trying to reduce my coffee intake but my parents gave me a Christmas package which consisted of a quarter year’s supply of coffee! LOL. I love tea, too. Especially the spicy variety.

Forest or beach?

Forest. I like shade. I don’t like the heat much.

Shoes or sandals?

Pretty doll shoes.

Favourite place to travel.

Anywhere cool and breezy. Home! La Trinidad! Baguio City! :D

One food you could never eat.

Like I said, monkey brain – the one that you eat on top of a live monkey. Ergh. Raw turtle is a close second (the scenes in Life of Pi are sooo graphic).

Favourite smell.

Cinnamon. :)

And now for my nominees! I am not sure if this is restricted to WP users. I know that this award is only for women though. Well, the nominees for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers are *drum roll please*:

Miss Eagleinflight: She is creating and being remade. She took up one of my challenges last time – miss, I am anxiously awaiting your completion of the project! Hahaha!

Miss Melancholicbutterfly: The girl who must be named. Your blog is not so secret anymore. Cheers, dearie!

Miss Spontaneoussoul: I love this little lady’s pose and poetry. Her words aren’t boring, they aren’t dull — they are full of life and spontaneity. Keep writing!

Miss Evanstarwen: Miss Evanstarwen is a dreamer I met in Palawan. Her writings contain such beauty that my heart leaps with joy whenever my reader tells me that she has published a new post. :D

Miss Dailysomersault: Another kindred soul! Haha! This may be cheating a little because I don’t think she is using the WP platform. But I met her because she’s a friend and colleague of a good friend of mine. I enjoyed chatting with her those few hours I got to talk with her. I was glad that she kept a blog which I could follow. :D

Now for the 10 questions you must answer in order to accept this award:

  1. What is your favourite dessert?
  2. What is the title of the book that you could read over and over and over again?
  3. What song do you listen to over and over and over again?
  4. If you could ask God just one question… what would it be?
  5. Most memorable memory?
  6. Skirts or pants?
  7. Bangles or earrings?
  8. Pen and paper or electronic whatevers (laptops, iPad, etc)?
  9. Who’s one of the five people you’ll meet in heaven?
  10. Why do you write?

Copy?

Rules to Follow:

  • Acknowledge the person who passed the award to you and provide their link.
  • Include the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions I posted above.
  • Nominate blogs and link those you have especially enjoyed reading. The number you can select is up to you.
  • Notify each individual that you have nominated them.

And now, if you didn’t get the Train allusion at the start, I leave you all with this YT vid. Cheers!