Post a Week: Rain Walker

Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

I’m a rain walker. What I mean to say is that I like walking in the rain.

There’s something about the coolness and the refreshing that faint drops of water bring over weary battle-worn souls. There’s something about the way that it washes out all the pain, all the burdens, all the troubles that heavy shoulders hold.

I am thankful I have a pretty good immune system. Or else, I might have gotten sick a number of times because of this unusual habit of mine.

But sometimes an Inner Voice tells me not to turn to rainwater for respite. Sometimes — well, most of the time — a Still Small voice tells me to go under the Waterfalls, to drink from the Well which shall never run dry.

I like staying under that Waterfall more than I like walking in the rain.

But when I walk under the rain, I know that He walks with me, too.

via http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/daily-prompt-in-a-crisis/

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Thoughts on One Short Year

20130115-160814.jpgAuthor: Diane Dunning
Genre: Fiction, Short Story Anthology
Purchase: Amazon, B&N, Smashwords (free for a limited time)

Summary: College student Greta endures a shattered attempt at sophistication through wine class; teen surfer Kai struggles to find meaning as he copes with his father’s death; Andy, a wanna-be corporate climber, fumbles his image makeover before he even makes it into the office. Through a series of haiku-like vignettes, One Short Year takes you to the lives of 10 characters coping with a variety of poignant, sometimes funny, situations. (via http://www.dianedunning.com/)

* * *

I read One Short Year in one short sitting. I’ve been challenging myself to expand my reading horizons lately so I scoured through the internet and found this short story collection in smashwords.com. I’m glad this book has put that challenge off to a great start.

According to the author, One Short Year is actually a selection of posts from a previous blog of hers — ones which have generated the most reader interest. I found that noteworthy. I have a couple of stories here and there in this lil’ ol’ blog right here and — oops. I’m supposed to be writing a review, aren’t I?

Dunning’s collection reminded me of O. Henry. There were surprising “twists” at the end of certain stories (I liked the one about Andrew/Andy) but there were ones that I had to go back to just so that I could understand what really went on. Her prose wasn’t too wordy and I liked how she introduced sections with descriptions of the different seasons in that short year — fall, winter, spring, and summer. These really set the scene for the series of stories that followed.

My personal favourites would have to be Love, Mark (one of the longer and more emotional ones), Cellphone Conversation (one of the shorter ones), and A Career in Politics (the Andy story — one of the more humorous ones). Love, Mark was told from a young girl’s point of view. There was a lot of sibling rivalry, a big surprise at the end — it was rather heartbreaking, actually. Cellphone Conversation was a witty breaking-up exchange — who breaks up through phone anyway? A Career in Politics, meanwhile, was just something that made me laugh aloud. Go, Andrew!

I’m not really one to give ratings. If it makes it to my blog, it is because I believe it’s very read-worthy.

Read more about Diane Dunning here.

Did you enjoy this review? I plan to read more books this year – classics, bestsellers, and ones by independent self-publishers to mix it all up. Expect more posts under this category. I still believe in the profound effect that books — fiction and nonfiction — have on us, even in this tech-savy, fast-paced, internet-loving, film-consuming world. Here’s to more book reading!

Just a Touch

I need healing. There’s no doubt about that. It’s been 12 years — 12 years of bleeding. I am constantly in pain. I am constantly weak. I constantly feel as if every ounce of life is being steadily drained out of my spirit, out of my soul, out of my body.

And I am constantly unclean.

Perhaps — no. I am sure of it. One touch of his robe and I will be made well.

* * *

She looks as if she’s just sleeping. How like her to lie in bed without a noise. How like her to look as if she is barely breathing. How like her to fool people into thinking that she is dead. She has always been such a joker.

“Sir Jairus, I am sorry, but it doesn’t seem as if she will make it. In a few hours — nay, perhaps a few minutes — sooner or later, your daughter is likely to cross over –“

Cross over? Die? No.

“They say the man named Jesus is in town. They say he is a prophet. Watch over the little one. I shall find him and ask him to make her well.”

* * *

There he is. Why are there so many people surrounding him? They are not making this easy. He is so near – yet so, so far. I will make it through the crowd. I will touch his robe. I will —

* * *

“Rabbi! My little girl is at the point of dying! Come at once! Lay your hands on her and she will be healed.” I have fallen to my feet but I do not care. My daughter is in need of healing. If he would come quickly enough, she will be —

* * *

Healed. I am healed. There is no denying it. The blood has stopped flowing. For years the physicians have been trying to keep the blood from discharging. For a thousand or so dinars they have used medicine to try to get me clean. But now — I can not believe it. All it took was a moment. All it took was a single touch. All it took was —

“Who touched me? Somebody touched me.”

“I am sorry, Rabbi. It was I who touched you. It was I.” My trembling voice betrays my escalating fear.

“Go in peace, daughter. It is your faith that made you well.”

* * *

“Sir Jairus, please get up. I am afraid we have some very bad news. Your daughter — she’s — she’s — do not trouble the teacher any more. Your daughter is dead.”

My little girl? Dead? That can not be! If only Jesus had only gotten to my house sooner! Why, if it wasn’t for this crowd! If it wasn’t for that woman! If — it’s too late. It is too late.

“Jairus.” I hear him speak my name. “Don’t be afraid. Believe. She will be well.”

But…

She’s dead.

* * *

Go in peace. Go in peace, he said! My faith – he said my faith has made me well! Oh what joy! Oh what freedom! Oh what peace I have inside of me! I am made well!

* * *

“Why are you crying? Do not cry. She’s only sleeping. See, watch her rise.”

The good teacher is inside my home. Yes, he is finally inside my home but he is too late. My little girl has already crossed over. My little girl is already dead.

“Rise up, my dearest.”

Great heavens! Her fingers are moving! Her feet are trembling! Her eyes — is it true? Is it true that her eyes are bright and opened wide?

“Abba… I am hungry…”

“Yes, dearest! Yes! At once! At once, my dearest!”

I can not believe it. My daughter is finally well.

END

Based on Matt 9: 18-26, Mark 5:21-43, and Luke 8:41-56

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Post a Week: This is Your Life

If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.

Thanks for the great idea, Tom!

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The cover looks more girly than I imagined. Quite dainty. Quite… Pink. Quite flowery, too. But it looks like it’s made of strong, solid material. I could use it as a chopping board, if I wanted to. I could use it to hit an unsuspecting fellow on the head or — to be less brutal and to be more practical — to hit an assaulter of human or animal form as an act of self-defence.

I look at the volume in my hands. Should I open it? Should I not? Oh, to open or not to open, that is the question.

The being (a burly and muscular angel, not a whispy Gandalf-like or Dumbledore-type person as one would expect) who gave it to me gave me a fair enough warning: “If you choose to read it, you must read it from cover to cover.”

Cover to cover, eh? The first few pages I could handle. I’d love to mull over the 24 chapters though I know there’ll be sections I won’t be particularly proud of. But I have mixed thoughts about reading the pages from chapter 25 onwards. What if I won’t like what I’ll read? What if I do? Would knowing my future in any way affect the way I live my now?

Don’t get me wrong. I would love to know about my future, too. But just snippets of it — not the full details. And not so much that I would feel like I’ve already lived through my whole life by reading a book in one sitting.

Oh but it looks so tempting. Oh but the pages seem so rich and inviting. Oh…

I take a deep breath and place my right palm on the back cover and my left on the front.

I raise the book up.

“Hey, angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom His love commits me here — thanks, but no thanks!”

The muscular fellow appears as I say the words aloud. He gives me a wink before he makes off with the pink flowery book.

Sure, the prospect of discovering what’s in store for me was enticing. But I shall live my life unwrapping each day as a present, one day at a time, one page at a time.

How about you? Will you?

via http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/daily-prompt-your-life/

Thoughts on Life of Pi

A young man. A boat. A tiger. An unbelievable journey. An ending that will keep the wheels of your mind turning.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you MUST see it – watch “Life of Pi” folks. You will not regret it. And watch it in 3D if you can.

This is a slightly overdue review. Well, it’s not really a review. It’s more of my thoughts concerning the movie since I don’t really write formal critiques. But I shall be writing more pieces like this this year so as to challenge myself to think more critically.

I saw this movie last year with some friends. It was our pre-Christmas treat and what a treat it was!

“Life of Pi” is a film directed by Ang Lee based on a book by Yann Martel with the same title. It tells the story of — what else? The life of Pi. Or Piscine Molitor Patel, to be exact. The first part of the film paints a portrait of his childhood — his evolution from Pissing Patel to Pi 3.1416, his encounters with different religions, and his life living with a zoo as his playground and backyard. The second (and major) part documents the 227 days in which he is shipwrecked in a lifeboat with none other than Richard Parker — the tiger. And the third part —

Well, the third part I shall leave it for you to discover. All I can say is that it involves Japanese men and a thought-provoking final question.

So what are my thoughts regarding the movie?

  1. The cinematography was EYE CANDY. I found the opening scene a bit too slow for my liking but it did paint a picture of the easy and serene life Pi had pre-shipwreck. And the animals were great. And the scenery made me want to go to India. Fast forward to his 227-day stay in a lifeboat — can a shipwreck be any more breathtaking? The reflections of the sunset, the glowing undersea creatures, the HUMPBACK WHALE. Oh. My. I’d consider being lost at sea if it weren’t for all the danger and battle for survival involved.
  2. Suraj Sharma, the Indian actor who portrays the teenage Pi, deserves a standing ovation. Considering most of his scenes involved “just” himself and a CGI tiger (monologue anyone?) — let me just say that Suraj Sharma is one actor to watch out for.
  3. The film had just the right mixture of drama and laughs. I guess we’ll have to hand that to Martel because most of the humorous lines came from the book itself (I am still halfway through the book — yes, I am reading it because I still can’t get Richard Parker out of my mind).
  4. ************************ WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD **********************

    The ending. At first I thought the film was just about an adventure. I thought it was just about surviving with at tiger in a lifeboat. But no. It was more than that. It will really make you think. It will make you think about what Pi’s father had said to his son — how animals have no souls and what we see in their eyes is a mere reflection of our own emotions. But then it will make you think of what Pi himself said in the end, “And so it is with God.” Well, reading other reviews, I found out the final question also wasn’t just about Richard Parker and Richard Parker alone. It also questioned Truth as Truth, considering all the different religions Pi had involved himself in. That’s why I’m reading the book. Knowing the ending sort of spoils the “surprise” experience, but going over the pages with the twist in mind now allows me analyse all the different encounters and lets me see beyond their face values. So which truth is truth? Does it matter? For me it does. But in the end, it’s all up to us to decide for ourselves.  
    ***************************** SPOILERS END HERE ******************************

What about you? Have you seen the movie? What were your thoughts about it? Any favorite scene? (Make sure to add a spoiler alert for the sake of those who haven’t seen it yet! ^_~) Do you plan on seeing it after reading this impression-slash-review? Share your thoughts in the comments section. I would love to hear from you!

By The Well

Too much water. I don’t understand why that fellow consumes too much water. If I fill my jar up at Jacob’s well today, I still have to fill it up on the morrow. The water never lasts up to a week. Why doesn’t it even last a week?

Oh, the sun is unbearable again. Well. Better the torment of the scorching rays than the torture of the stinging words from — them. Well. At least I can take on the heat of the sun. They flinch at the very thought of sunburn, at the very thought of the sun tainting their porcelain skins. Ha! Don’t they know that men prefer rich coffee to pale goats’ milk?

Strange. There’s someone else by the well today. I’m usually alone at this hour. What an odd fellow. No matter. Just hold your head up high, deary. Don’t let him get to you. Just take your water and go. Oh, he’s a Jew. Again, don’t let him get to you. Just take your water. And go.

“Please give me a drink.”

Oh. No. Fine, the man has spoken. I can not just take my water and go. Can he not get water himself?

Wait. The man has spoken? To me?

“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” I look at him half-bashfully, half-incredulously.

There is a hint of a twinkle in his eye. “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

He must be playing with me. He’s joking. “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket. And this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor, Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his animals enjoyed?”

His reply startles me. “Anyone who drinks this water will soon be thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

Never to thirst again? His words grab my attention. Water that will satisfy? Water that will quench every thirst forever? The fellow needs this! Heck. I need this!

“Please sir, give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

“Go and get your husband.”

My heart sinks. The Jew is only messing with me. Why is he asking for my husband? We’re talking about water! Why does he have to bring my husband into the picture?

“I don’t have a husband.”

He looks at me with eyes that are kind but at the same time fiery, boring into my soul. “You are right! You don’t have a husband — for you have had five husbands and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

I almost drop the jug I am holding. How. Can. He. Know? Yes, the women talk, yes the men do, too – but – how can he know I’ve had five? How can he know about the one I’m with now? Nobody knows about the fellow! How can he know?

“Sir, you must be a prophet.” I pause. Is he? There’s a question I’ve been dying to ask all my life. “So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshipped?”

He smiles. “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews.” He pauses and gives me a meaningful glance. “But the time is coming — indeed it’s here now — when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him tat way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

I take some time to process what the man has just said. It’s still foggy. Nonetheless, I say, “I know the Messiah is coming — the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

“I am the Messiah.”

I freeze. He is the Messiah? The man — the prophet — talking to me is the Messiah? I hold shakily on to my still empty jug.

Several men approach the well. They look at me oddly for a second and I know I can not stay any longer. I drop my jar and run to the village —

“Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he be possibly the Messiah?”

Somehow, my heart tells me it’s true. I forget about my thirst. I forget about the fellow’s thirst.

I have found living water which will never run dry.

Could he possibly be the Messiah?

Oh, but I have found living water which will never run dry.

He must be the Messiah.

END

A retelling of John 4:1-29. Text in violet were directly lifted from the text in the NLT version.

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New Year, New Look, New Things

Hello, 2013!

As you may have noticed, Sketches and Scribbles (reloaded) has a new look. Here’s to a new year, a new look, new things, and new pieces of writings!

I am still brewing up writing ideas. This year, I am likely to fill this blog up with scripture rewrites, retellings, and paraphrases. I’ll be writing book reviews, movie reviews, and perhaps a couple of music reviews as well.

And, of course, prose about the fanciful things that, of course, strike my fancy.

I shall write about travel related stuff in my other blog, Stories from Distant Shores, so you better watch that space, too.

I’m excited! And with that, I shall leave my “excited face” with you.

Cheers!

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