Walking is the New Running For Me

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Manifesto

A pair of trainers to run the earth,

With people I hold dear;

A pair of sunglasses to watch the sky

As the day is drawing near,

A prayer in my pocket, the Word in my heart

And love to tell me why —

These are the things that I must keep close

And all I need to get by.

It was in 2009 when I wrote the above “manifesto”. I was ready to take on the world. I was single. I was smart. I was strong.

It’s 2018. I am not that young anymore. I am married. I have a loving husband. I have the sweetest daughter.

I still have people I hold dear, sunglasses to watch the sky… And the prayer in my pocket is still there, and the Word, it still burns my heart.

But I am not as strong as before. And my trainers, well, I use them for walking now. No more running like a girl.

In fact, I cannot jog. I cannot jump. I cannot run. Those have been the restrictions emplaced upon my person by a doctor who has studied my spine.

 

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I was talking about my condition to a woman who’s out to conquer the world (like I was in 2009). She expressed her surprise. The health buff in her couldn’t see how anyone can still be okay.

The feeling I had when the doctor told the news was nothing close to sadness. Instead, it was gratitude, and a little bit of uncertainty — but not sadness. The medicine for whatever heaviness I was feeling then was a vivid memory of happy days under the sun.

I remembered my childhood. Climbing trees, wading through rocky rivers, hiking steep terrains, and catching grey tadpoles with my sisters and friends — life was an adventure when I was in the outdoors!

And though I can’t jog, jump, run, I can cook. I can prepare a good meal for my family. I can encourage my husband. I can read to my daughter and sing a lullaby.

I can work with my hands (though there’s a challenge there, sometimes, due to referred pain), but that’s not frequent, yet.

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And I can type on this keyboard. I can write letters, verses, songs. My lips can shout or whisper a hymn for my Creator who does all things well. I can help someone in need. I can pray for them. I can serve the Lord where He leads. How can I complain?

My manifesto may have been changed in the running part, but it is a change that is welcome. If anything, I’d say that my life now is slower, and there is time to “smell the roses”. I am looking back with gratitude, and looking ahead with hope in the Lord — come what may.

Come to think of it, the Turtle won the race! The Hare was running, but was distracted. But yes, the Turtle —- what an encouragement from Aesop! Slowly, but surely, that’s it. But Solomon had already thought of it in Ecclesiastes 9:11 long before Aesop did:

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to me of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Now what happens to my manifesto? It still holds. Walking is my new running. And now, by God’s grace, here I am! I am loving my life for what has been given, and what has been taken away.

The walkathon continues and the finish line is still ever before me, calling out to me — “Run with patience! Don’t give up!”

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Ecclesiastes 7:10

(KJV) Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? For thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

(NASB) Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.

Replaying: I Am Jonah by Lion of Judah

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There are a few songs in my list that I consider hauntingly beautiful. This song is like a Littmus Lozenge. It’s sweet in that it tells you about Jesus and His love. But it also reminds you that your love for Him often falls short. You feel sad about this.

And there’s a good balance between sweet and bitter in this song. The sweetness comes from the promise that the Lord’s redemption is free and available, and by God’s grace you’ve been forgiven.

But like the Littmus Lozenge, it is balanced by the realization that you’re not going to the world to preach the good news as you should be. There are people out there who must have Jesus, too — your family, your neighbor, your friends.

I’m guessing if it’s all too sweet you didn’t get the message of the song.

If it’s all too bitter then I think you’re getting it all wrong.

(For several days now, my husband and I have been enjoying the vibe and the verse of Lion of Judah’s I Am Jonah. This song is one of the songs we love playing in the background during those long trips. It’s a source of encouragement, rebuke and hope. Plus we love the bass notes.)

I Am Jonah Song Lyrics

You have forgiven

You were willing to call my name

Now You call me to love the same

As one of Your children

Displayed Your love to me recklessly

I see Your passion upon a tree

You won me a kingdom

And I will live in a paradise

I will worship You day and night

You gave the commission

That I should seek to love the lost

Show the love of the King whatever the cost

[Chorus]

I am Jonah, I keep running away

Three nights in darkness, three days in the grave

Without Your grace Lord, that’s where I would stay

But there’s golden shores where washed-up sinners lay

I’m undeserving

A broken mind and a heart of stone

Another Pharaoh upon his throne

I am unworthy

You drown my sin in a sea of blood

Then lift me up with the cords of love

You tell me to love where there’s none

Where it’s dark to preach Son

To speak life ’til it’s done and your kingdom has come

You tell me to go but I run

So give me Your courage

Make me willing to count the cost

To take my place on my knees in the shade of the cross

[Chorus]

I am Jonah, I keep running away

Three nights in darkness, three days in the grave

Without Your grace Lord, that’s where I would stay

But there’s golden shores where washed-up sinners lay

[Bridge]

There’s golden

There’s golden

Where washed up sinners lay

There’s golden

There’s golden

Where washed up sinners lay

[Chorus]

I am Jonah, I keep running away

Three nights in darkness, three days in the grave

Without Your grace Lord, that’s where I would stay

But there’s golden shores where washed-up sinners lay

Where washed up sinners lay…

A Bit of A Background

Jonah according to Bible scholars is a type of Christ, for Jesus Himself likened three days in the grave with the three days spent by Jonah inside the big fish.

I love the story of Jonah. If he were in the New Testament times, he could be friends with Peter.

Jonah writes his story with utter truthfulness. No sugar-coating there. It’s like standing behind a pulpit Sunday morning and talking about your sin and the salvation of the Lord. Or writing a memoir without leaving out the shameful details. He’s not ashamed of his sin, but he exposed them, for he knew the grace of God is greater.

Jonah’s story is not his story. No, not really. And it’s a tiny part of the metanarrative of grace that like a thread connects every event in Scripture.

If you look closely at Jonah’s displeasure at the salvation by the Lord of the Ninevites, you may be reminded of how sometimes, you want your enemies to suffer. But wait, God is not finished with your enemies, and he’s not finished with you! God redeems Jonah’s ideas about God, redemption, and forgiveness. And He even redeems Jonah from himself!

Why do I love this Band?

I am always in the lookout for great Christian bands with integrity. I love bands that sing Jesus as Savior and Lord. And this band is unafraid to sing Jesus. No, they’re not! I love it when they just live their love out for Christ loudly, through music, and their testimony.

I also appreciate the fact that they have posts where they talk to their pastor. In one video, it was mentioned that the pastor acts as a trustee of the band. This band I believe is holding itself accountable and that is just great!

I do hope and pray that their ministry would continue. Don’t change your message, guys. Some bands do on their way to stardom. Please don’t. God bless you.

Click here to head straight to their YouTube Channel.

Click here to watch a live recording of the song.

I’ll be reviewing other songs of Lion of Judah when I’m tired of this. Perhaps Treasure is next. Next.

My Darling May Bud

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pexels-photo-1007228.jpegMy May Bud

How precious you are, dear daughter of mine,

And if my heart were a garden of roses —

The Lord planted you in its bosom where

The rays love

to sit first thing in the morning.

 

Ruth Solitario

Last night, I told my daughter a big truth. It is this: Her life is not her own. And this is good for her. Even in bad times knowing this would be good for her.

Before you were born I set you apart to serve me. Jeremiah 1:5

Someone Almighty, it’s God, the Lord of heaven and earth, is orchestrating the events of her life, and this is something to be thankful for, eventually, everything should end in gratitude or despair…

Before I was born the LORD chose me to serve him. He appointed me by name. Psalm 139:16

That she is not the master of her fate, she’s not the captain of her soul, and this is good for her, although this truth may not be appealing to men and women who are doing great, but I want her to remember this, and if it takes me my entire life to teach this to her I would do it — and learn with her for I am still in this school of learning this myself, that even when life is great or we are in pain, I want her to know that life is more than pleasure, life is more than pain, there’s more to life than what we feel, or think, eat or possess.

I am sure that the One who began a good work in you will carry it on until it is completed. Philippians 1:6

I guess not a lot of people who are on the road to self-actualization will like being not in control. I didn’t like it. But one day, things changed. I gave the control to the God I trust. I began to hate that road and I am thankful I left that road before I crashed.

My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

I know, I’ve been there, it sure feels good to gain a little bit of credit for what we have become, are becoming…

Lord, I know that people don’t control their own lives. They don’t direct their own steps. Jeremiah 10:23

Or, it might be wonderful to have the cosmos to blame if they are on a downward spiral from bad to worse, or, they to justify self-inflicted pain when they turn to themselves and attack themselves for their misfortunes, or for the sake of having to attribute the evils of their life, they can turn to their idea of God and raise their fist against Him if they believe or profess to believe a supernatural being who is almighty, omniscient and omnipresent. That is rebellion, but it would be pointless, actually.

Those who trust in themselves are foolish. But those who live wisely are kept safe. Proverbs 28:26

And another thing, I tell my daughter that she was not born a good person. A lot of people, well-meaning ones, of course, would probably try to cheer her up or boost her ego one day. I hope she will not fall into the trap of believing them. I hope she remembers the Word of God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Proverbs 6:23

 

 

 

 

Phonics First

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I didn’t know sight words existed until my daughter turned four. A mom told another mom, and I was eavesdropping, this:

“What? Your child doesn’t know sight words? She should know sight words at the age of four!”

That sent me to panic mode.

From then on, I began to look for materials to use to teach my child “sight words” to be able to read. But I also read “What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know” by E.D. Hirsch and I somehow was convinced I didn’t need to be scared in the first place for my four-year old YET. Good thing.

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Sight or Sound? BOTH!

From experience, I know being partial to and relying heavily on sight words instruction may not be good for my child. I don’t remember memorizing sight words when I was little!

What I know is that our teacher engaged us in class reading everyday. And we had to read together pages and pages of Henny Penny and other stories ALOUD. The reading material was reproduced on the board or written on Manila paper so that Mrs. Flores, my Grade 1 teacher can point to misread words on the board with her rod, errr stick. So it was that she read to us, and we read together as a class. Sight words skills just fell into place, I believe.

A reading expert named Hazel Loring wrote this:

“All of my teaching experience has confirmed my belief that directional guidance, inherent in the blend phonics system, is the key to success in teaching reading.” 

 

My Child’s Reading, So Far

Insofar as my child is concerned, who is a work-in-progress, she is reading wonderfully already (and I’m proud of her!”) and she has learned to use phonics to her advantage. How did she do it? Well — she sounds ’em out words!

I don’t discount the fact that many parents may think books about teaching your child to read can be quite expensive, ’cause they are.

If you like to buy SSRW books, go ahead! Bob Books are also wonderful! But I remember dreaming of having the SSRW but it will cost an arm and a leg (for me)!

And anyway, I don’t believe that I needed it really, because of the loads of free stuff and good deals everywhere! (If there is a freebie, or one I can get in the cheap, I will NEVER buy the expensive ones, even if I’ve got money to burn. But that’s just me. ❤ )

 

Phonics Book Published in the Philippines

So let’s go local. Yes. In the Philippines, National Book Store and Anvil got together to print a book entitled THE NEW Reading with Phonics by Julie Hay and Charles E. Wingo. This book is only 145 PESOS — talk about a good deal!

But wait till I share the merits of this book.

 

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Via the National Bookstore Online Shop.

 

The New Reading with Phonics by Julie Hay and Charles E. Wingo by NBS and Anvil is a wise choice for the following reasons:

1.  It’s a tiny book. It’s one-half of a short bond paper in size, and the slim title is very easy to handle by a kid, and to carry along in your tote bag, mama!

2. It’s nicely bound.  It won’t stay open when you lay it on the table as you read, but the binding is great and seems durable! Just cover it with plastic and you’re good to go. This one can be passed on to the next sibling!

3. It’s colored! The illustrations are fun! The layout is simple and intuitive and no-nonsense. I love books like these!

4. The leaves are smooth and glossy. Oh, thank God for a book that is aesthetically appealing and affordable at the same time!

5. The technique is great! It is phonics based and at the end of every lesson is a short but level-appropriate reader. For practice, you can buy readers for your child from Booksale or Chapters and Pages or Books for Less.

Just be careful to wait for your child to be ready to read the more complicated ones. Sight words knowledge will come almost naturally. Try sounding them out, too, why not?! When in doubt (since we are not Native English Speakers — listen to the Word from a dependable online dictionary.) You’ll be amazed what your child can accomplish when you follow this path.

But the most important thing is this: READ TO YOUR CHILD! The more natural approach in mixing phonics and sight words instruction is reading to him. Soon, he will make connections with sounds and sight and boom! A child who is frequently read to will be soaring with you in reading before you know it.

SO BE THERE WHEN IT HAPPENS! AND SCATTER BOOKS AROUND THE HOUSE SO SHE CAN HELP HERSELF WHEN SHE WANTS TO READ MORE!

If you want an entirely FREE resource, check out this site by a generous educator! He’s got GREAT (I’m jumping here!) resources you NEED to check out BEFORE YOU BUY ANY BOOK to teach your child to read.

You might find out you don’t need to buy any book when you find out the AMAZING FREEBIES he’s got organized for you. Mr. Don Potter’s website is AMAZING, do check it out and PRINT HIS BLEND PHONICS MATERIALS OUT! Potter, by the way, had this to say of Loring’s Blended Phonics method:

Loring’s method is taught from the chalkboard or overhead. Students learn to blend the sounds of the letters from left to right, one after the other. They do not see the whole word at a glance; therefore, they are required to look at each letter in proper sequence. The blending is done in this order, for example “bat:” b+a = ba, ba+t = bat.” Dr. I. A. Beck calls this “sequential or cumulative blending.”

***

If you want to buy THE NEW Reading with Phonics book you can buy online from National Book Store here

This is not a sponsored post, mamas. 🙂 I just love promoting local publishers and free resources online, that’s all!

 

 

Good Old

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I know, the effects are WONDERFUL in new movies, but hey, let’s set that aside for a while.

Yesterday, I had to tell my child that what she considers “new” things (whether stories, toys or ideas) have been lifted/patterned/inspired by/from the old, so the old is just as important (and in many ways, more important) as/than the new.

Just go to the website of Project Gutenberg and browse their “Children’s Literature Bookshelf” to see what I mean. Here’s a link.

We were watching Jungle Book and we were debating on whether the new version is better for watching than the old version. I explained to her that the story by Rudyard Kipling is pretty much the same in both the new and the old.

And on its third or fourth run (the Bare Necessities song already ruining my concentration in the kitchen), she argued that she needed to watch the movie (again) to be creative (’cause she was going to draw something), and my wise self was quick to hand her the book from our shelf to end the argument.

I love homeschooling because I get to be so close to my child as to address her questions when I need to. (*wink)

Here’s the thing:

Just like any meticulous parent who’s got an old soul, and see a good reason for it, I don’t want her to grab the newest trends without thinking. Many of us are being programmed actually to take what’s new over what’s been written or made years before on account of the criterion of AGE alone.

Likewise, I am careful she won’t be caught in the trap of buying new stuff when we have an older version (say, of books) no matter how updated the freshly pressed ones may look for commercial purposes.

I was preparing her for a lifetime of learning, actually, and literary appreciation, and creative pursuits. Wells of ideas for any endeavor flow steadily from classics. Just check out Project Gutenberg and you’ll know that the old are still good and a plus for a frugal mom like me, they need not be purchased.

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The old is constantly given new garb, so don’t be fooled! If you have a good printer, you can print the books of Thornton W. Burgess and save money. You can also print readers, phonics sheets, etc. and other books that interest you or at least read them in ebook form if you don’t want to print them out.

So why defend the old? (Not everything of the old needs to be defended, though, but only the good ones! Choose wisely!)

As a Christian mom, I want her to see the beauty of good, old things, and in this category is the Word of God. The latter can be read afresh and anew daily regardless of how antique it may seem to some.

God’s faithfulness is new every morning to His children, and through the Holy Spirit, God’s Word is new every day and is valuable to us TODAY. God still accomplishes His salvific work through His Word as we speak.

That last one was really the point of the conversation, really.

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Isaiah 55:10-11

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

 

 

The Fables of my Ancestors, Part 1

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still-life-teddy-white-read.jpgIt is sad fact that I must relate, and probably, many of my peers will agree with me, that when we entered school as wide-eyed toddlers in the 80s, the first stories we heard were stories concocted in the West by our Caucasian brothers.

I do not discount the fact that the likes of tales of Beatrix Potter, Jill Barklem (who just recently died at the young age of 66) and others (like Thornton W. Burgess, or his naturalist equal (I believe) Arthur Scott Bailey) who have managed to hold distinctive chairs in literary boardrooms through the test of decay and time are excellent books that will give children a taste of the best literary and artistic works at an early age.

However, I have a feeling that if we were to look at fables of which we are familiar, we don’t hear our voice. Our stories, told by our forbears, who ate saluyot leaves just like us (I’m talking about my Ilocano heritage, for the tale before us in this post originated among the Ilocanos), need to be up there!

(I tried translating them into Ilocano and it’s funny that the connection was easily established —- It was like hearing my dad’s voice in my head, as he told similar stories to us when we were young!”)

And may I add that the wit that was put into our own stories is altogether a reflection of the wealth we have in literature which we may have unwittingly disregarded what with the influx of all the good books from our Western brothers!

Although I am not for boycotting Western fables, I am however for the dissemination of the news: “We have good stories, too!” At least, I am more convinced as I unearth evidence to support my contention that no country or group of people monopolizes charming storytelling and engaging wit in describing people and displaying moral lessons through the lives and times of animals.

I don’t know of a kid who hates animals. Really, I don’t. The importance then of fables to children can be two-fold. First, the moral lesson injected in the different relatable tropes we love where courage wins, generosity prevails, etc. Second, information loaded storytelling making concepts in zoology leap from the page in a way that engages and inspires.

That stated, let me share a story entitled “The Monkey and the Turtle”, an Ilocano tale which, though  Mabel Cook Cole identifies to be “Christianized” in its elements and bears the likeness of European stories, is still very much original in the sense that no one has ever claimed it to be theirs! And by the way, the following story has not been sanitized, for unlike the version we are all accustomed to, this one might be too gruesome for you.

C.S. Lewis comments on the issue of originality nicely:

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

Happy reading!

The Monkey and the Turtle

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A monkey, looking very sad and dejected, was walking along the bank of the river one day when he met a turtle.

“How are you?” asked the turtle, noticing that he looked sad.

The monkey replied, “Oh, my friend, I am very hungry. The squash of Mr. Farmer were all taken by the other monkeys, and now I am about to die from want of food.”

“Do not be discouraged,” said the turtle; “take a bolo and follow me and we will steal some banana plants.”

So they walked along together until they found some nice plants which they dug up, and then they looked for a place to set them. Finally the monkey climbed a tree and planted his in it, but as the turtle could not climb he dug a hole in the ground and set his there.

When their work was finished they went away, planning what they should do with their crop. The monkey said:

“When my tree bears fruit, I shall sell it and have a great deal of money.”

And the turtle said: “When my tree bears fruit, I shall sell it and buy three varas of cloth to wear in place of this cracked shell.”

A few weeks later they went back to the place to see their plants and found that that of the monkey was dead, for its roots had had no soil in the tree, but that of the turtle was tall and bearing fruit.

“I will climb to the top so that we can get the fruit,” said the monkey. And he sprang up the tree, leaving the poor turtle on the ground alone.

“Please give me some to eat,” called the turtle, but the monkey threw him only a green one and ate all the ripe ones himself.

When he had eaten all the good bananas, the monkey stretched his arms around the tree and went to sleep. The turtle, seeing this, was very angry and considered how he might punish the thief. Having decided on a scheme, he gathered some sharp bamboo which he stuck all around under the tree, and then he exclaimed:

“Crocodile is coming! Crocodile is coming!”

The monkey was so startled at the cry that he fell upon the sharp bamboo and was killed.

Then the turtle cut the dead monkey into pieces, put salt on it, and dried it in the sun. The next day, he went to the mountains and sold his meat to other monkeys who gladly gave him squash in return. As he was leaving them he called back:

“Lazy fellows, you are now eating your own body; you are now eating your own body.”

Then the monkeys ran and caught him and carried him to their own home.

“Let us take a hatchet,” said one old monkey, “and cut him into very small pieces.”

But the turtle laughed and said: “That is just what I like, I have been struck with a hatchet many times. Do you not see the black scars on my shell?”

Then one of the other monkeys said: “Let us throw him into the water,”

At this the turtle cried and begged them to spare his life, but they paid no heed to his pleadings and threw him into the water. He sank to the bottom, but very soon came up with a lobster. The monkeys were greatly surprised at this and begged him to tell them how to catch lobsters.

“I tied one end of a string around my waist,” said the turtle. “To the other end of the string I tied a stone so that I would sink.”

The monkeys immediately tied strings around themselves as the turtle said, and when all was ready they plunged into the water never to come up again.

And to this day monkeys do not like to eat meat, because they remember the ancient story.

N.B. This story was taken from Mabel Cook Cole’s public domain book entitled “Philippine Folktales” via Project Gutenberg. 

Hope and Dream

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Hope’s got a friend —

her name is Dream.

When the roads don’t end,

when the light is dim —

 

Hope takes a look;

Dream holds her hand.

And together they cook

a wonderful plan.

 

Hope says, “I hope—”,

Dream says, “I wish —”;

Hope says, “It’s possible!”,

Dream says, “It is!”

 

When they travel together,

with Faith on the side;

the horizon is brighter,

and the shadows hide.

 

(c) Ruth M. Solitario

https://courtofreverie.wordpress.com/2008/11/08/hope-and-dream/

 

From Rote

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I am fascinated by how painters work. I do not paint. My canvas is the blank computer screen and my material are thoughts and their counterpart in words. I was imagining what it would be like to paint from rote, or when the subject is absent, missing or gone. Time is fleeting, and so is memory. Do you sometimes forget things? My uncle suffered from Alzheimer’s. How painful it must be for his children when their father couldn’t even remember the names of the faces that appeared from nowhere, so it seems. Here’s to remembering and forgetting and being human.

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From Rote

The painter sat on his stool, his colors with him.

The colors were handpicked by his own hand.

The canvas was spread out before him.

The blue was a true one, from the sky.

The red, from a heart that is punctured.

The pink, from a love that won’t die.

The black, from a galactic hole, an abyss.

And all the other colors, from the finest

of the stars commingled in his palette.

Matched by the orchestra that played in his heart,

now, his baton must conduct the turmoil.

But the lady is fading,

and no color can restore what is going — is gone.

The master sat on his stool with the most beautiful colors

to paint an altered memory.

 

19 September 2010, 17 April 2018

https://courtofreverie.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/from-rote/

Blossom Friends

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When God made friends,

was he looking at flowers

with lovely colors

and splendid scents?

Flowers grow from seeds

that sprout from the ground;

friendships abound

because of kind deeds.

Flowers are pretty and

charming, too —

friends make days blue

a little sunny.

When God sowed seeds

Flowers grew…

me and you

among the weeds.

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https://courtofreverie.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/blossom-friends/

Gladness in the Valley

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Though I walk through death’s valleys, I will fear no evil.” – King David

 

Will you drink the cup with gladness

Or would you rather complain of the trifles

of existence, the inconveniences,

the nonsenses and caprices or whimsicalities…

Will you raise your hands in adoration even

when they are heavy with age, tumors, boils, or chains…

Or when arrows pass by and you are taunted by the spears

of friends who are singing elegiac songs…

When a cross adorns your shoulder

And your eyes flush out tears in the presence of your captors

When your flesh is a bag for thorns

And your enemies step on your gardens

Will you drink the cup with gladness

Or would you rather complain of the trifles

of existence, the inconveniences,

the nonsenses and caprices of your life?

Of Traitors and Criminals and Bibliophiles

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I feel like a traitor, peddling books from outside my country to my fellowmen. I sell preloved books you know, and I get them from thrift shops. And here’s what’s worse — it’s what parents are looking for. There are people like me.

You see, I love classics, living books and other books that are excellent but are not listed among booklists as either living or classic (or what have you). So I stock up on such books. I also hoard workbooks like those from Evan Moor. And quite recently, I’ve been scouring titles written and illustrated by Racey Helps, Hans de Beer, Shirley Hughes, Arnold Lobel, Leo Politi and Jill Barklem, to name a few.

At a time when people are suffering from a different kind of identity crisis never before experienced in the present magnitude (Are we Kapuso or Kapamilya; Red or Yellow) and more children in the private schools speak English confidently while their public school educated counterparts smart-shame them (I have evidence) for their funny tongue, my action is treason.

I do believe though that a healthy balance is not atrocious to the cause of my nation, although I feel like I am not doing anything to do my part as a Filipina mom. I look at my shelf, and lo and behold, so many books are by those wonderful writers from the West that if there were a war between titles in my house, my Filipino books will suffer bitter defeat in their homeland.

How Are We So Far?

So what to do, what to do? I have to address this issue once and for all! But first, the reasons why I sometimes find it easier, or more practical and convenient to get imported books more than the books of our Filipino authors. These are my observations as a bibliophile with regards to workbooks and textbooks ONLY and if you don’t agree, enlighten me please.

  1. Aesthetics – Imported books win in this regard, generally. Yes, I say that with sadness.
  2. Content – We are doing great here but some books are still low on the quality so no, we don’t win here yet.
  3. Price – Hmm, well, I saw a newsprint textbook that costs 1,300 pesos and I couldn’t quite get why. Do you have any idea why? Booksale, Chapters and Pages and Books for Less have good books as cheap as 30 pesos… 😦

So there, that’s just my unsolicited and amateur assessment. But wait…

I was looking for good textbooks for my child last weekend when I saw a workbook made by a local publisher and it just blew me away. A spark of hope was lit. Yay! So I’m looking forward to more books that are big on aesthetics and content while easy on the pocket.

Great Read-Aloud

Meanwhile, let me just share that Mr. Robert Magnuson’s Duck and Croc series from Anvil are great. My daughter loved them to pieces that I had to actually rescue them from impending obliteration because she took them to her bed and literally slept on them for like a week.

The rhyming words of Magnuson’s book are especially appealing to my beginning reader and the illustrations are awesome too, that I wish there more of Duck and Croc’s crazy adventures to see print in the near future. An added bonus is a character lesson tucked in every book which you can discuss with your child during a teachable moment.

By the way, let me just share that I dislike Filipino authors’ titles landing on bottom shelves almost hidden from view, like you can actually see them only when you bend to pick up something you drop on the floor.

The Big Reveal

What follows is a big reveal, you know, and I’m sharing this to prove my point that I am still very loyal to my Filipino writers and illustrators whom I look up to.

So anyway, I saw these Duck and Croc books displayed in NBS on the bottom shelf and since I already have the latest three from Mr. and Mrs. Magnuson I didn’t buy anymore. I just helped myself with the hero complex and dislodged other books at the middle shelf and put the Duck and Croc and other books from Hiyas and Lampara and the like where they are supposed to be just so children can see them at eye level and parents can check them out without straining their backs and necks.

Well, I hope my love for my country is a justifying circumstance, if my activism is a crime!

***

Here, let me show you the wonderful autograph Mr. Magnuson made especially for my daughter.

Duck and Croc’s Magnificent Race by Robert Magnuson

 

 

 

 

For my pen

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I like to dance

Like a firefly

Darkness will be a stage

And nothing to be afraid of.

 

I like to dive

Like a penguin

Without a prospect

But only to swim

 

I like to sing

Like the lyrebird

I will surprise with notes

Never heard before

 

I want to grow

Like a giraffe

And eat leaves atop trees

While smaller ones feast below

 

I love who I am

But there is no harm

When I dream dreams

For my pen.

Mall Garden

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Ang kapirasong kalikasa’y mainam na kaysa sa wala.

Ang pag-usbong ng mga punla sa semento’y nakakatuwa.

Dito, sa tuktok ng bundok na nililok ng tao’y naaaninag ko

ang panginorin sa likod ng mga batong may paningin.

 

Parating na ang dilim ngunit ang mga bata’y nagtatakbuhan

At naglalaro pa rin na para bang kakagising pa lang ng araw.

Ang hanging banayad ay inaawit ang mga kanta ng mga paang

mabigat at bisig na pudpod nilang obrerong gusto nang umuwi.

 

 


 

Mall Garden
A little piece of nature is better than none,
Sprouting seeds on concrete better than bare.
Here atop a man-made mountain I see the sky
Behind a foreground of rocks with eyes.

The day is leaving yet the children run and
Play like it has just begun! A gentle breeze sings
The song of heavy feet and worn out limbs
Of tired laborers who will rest on closing time.

Anong Gamot sa Ubo?

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Hindi mo pinaunlakan, ngunit nanghimasok

At sa iyong bibig ay palaging pumuputok

Hindi mo ninanais, ngunit nananahan

May sariling oras, may sariling paraan

Upang yanigin ang dibdib na marupok

 

Maging ang kaibiga’y lalayo dahil sa kaniya

At ang kasintaha’y makakalimot bahagya

O ubo, ang baga’y di makatulog dahil sa iyo

Kailan ka titigil, kailan ka maglalaho at

Kailan ka tatahimik upang may kapahingaan.

 

Gaya ng paninirang galing sa mapanibugho

Gaya ng pagnanakaw ng kapitbahay sa iyong bunga

Gaya ng pagbabalatkayo ng kaibigang matalik

Gaya ng pagpapalaot ng budhing napakaitim

Ang ubo’y may dalang apoy sa dibdib, mapanira.

Malong

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Kung saan-saan maari kang dalhin ng iyong diwa —

Sa tabing dagat, sa pusod nito, o sa isang isla;

Sa iyong paglalayag mayroon kang makikitang

Mga batik, ikat, at daluyon sa iyong panginorin.

(Kung minsa’y bulaklak.)

 

Tulad ng mga marinong napapadpad sa kawalan

Anong ganda ng luntian kapag ito’y nasilayan

Tulad ng mga naglalayag tungo sa kalayaan

Ang malawak na karagatan ay isang kanlungan.

(Kung minsa’y kulungan.)

 

Oo nga’t marami nang nasawi sa kanyang hele,

Ngunit sa kaniyang nangangarap ito’y paanyaya

Na suungin maging ang malalim at kayamanan nito —

Kahit malong ay layag sa kaniyang matapang.

(Kung minsa’y duwag.)

 

Ang Kangkong

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Kangkong Image

Agahan_Setyembre 24, 2017. Beef tapa, nilagang kangkong, ginisang bagoong, nilagang itlog at kanin.

 

Ang Kangkong

Ang kangkong sa palengke ay piliing mabuti —

Mabuti pa’y tanungin ang ale kung saan ito galing.

Pagka’t ang kangkong na parang Pilipino lang din

Ay uusbong, dadami, yayabong saang tubig man dalhin!

 

Noong ako’y bata pa, madalas kaming kumain ng sayote dahil sa aming bulubundukin at malamig na lugar ay maraming sayote.

Bihira kaming makatikim ng kangkong, dahil ang kangkong ay manggagaling pa sa “baba”. Samakatuwid, ang mga kangkong ay magbibiyahe pa mula sa malayo bago maiparada sa mga palengke.

Nakilala ko ang kangkong noong nasa high school na ako, at nagustuhan ko ito dahil si Mama ay magaling magluto ng adobong kangkong. Siguro noon din mas naging madalas ibiyahe ito mula sa mga karatig-prubinsya.

Sa mga panahong iyon, kapag ang kangkong ay may halong giniling, para bang napakayaman na namin. Tuwang tuwa ako sa pagkain ng niluto ni Mama na ginisang kangkong, adobong kangkong, o bilang sahog sa sinigang. At hanggang ngayon, masarap pa rin ang luto niya.

Una kong natutunang lutuin ang adobong kangkong ngunit ang bersiyon ko ay may konting asukal. Konti lang. Si Mama kasi ay hindi mahilig maglagay ng asukal sa aming mga pagkain mula pa noon. Ito na rin ang minana niya sa kaniyang ina, ang aking Lola Ana.

(Nitong huli, paminsan-minsan ko na rin siyang nakikitang naglalagay ng asukal, pero patago.)

Adobong kangkong — mura, masarap, masustansiya, at higit sa lahat, madaling lutuin!

  1. Igisa ang sibuyas, bawang (ang iba’y may kamatis) sa mantika.
  2. Isama ang pork giniling.
  3. Isunod mo ang kangkong kapag luto na ang karne.
  4. Lagyan ng toyo, suka at asin.
  5. Dagdagan ng asukal, ayon sa iyong panlasa.

Ngayon, bilang pag-alala sa mga panahon na nakilala ko ang kangkong, at minahal ko ito tulad ng sayote tops, naisipan kong isulat ang tula sa itaas.

Ikaw, paborito mo rin ba ang kangkong?

 

Katamaran

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Ang taong tamad ay mabuting kaibigan.

Kapag ika’y pagod na sa pakikipagsapalaran

Ay sasabihan ka ng: “Hoy, relax ka lang diyan.”

At kung ika’y makukumbinsi’y makapagpapahinga.

 

Sasabihin niyang kayo muna’y mahiga sa lilim

ng mga punong namumunga. At pag nagutom

maririnig mo: “Buksan natin ang ating mga bibig

At hintayin ang pagbagsak nilang mga prutas!”

 

At kung ika’y buhay pa, babagal ang mundo.

Magugutom ang pamilya mo’t kakapal ang agiw

Sa iyong kubo. Pero ito ang kaniyang sasambitin:

“Huwag mag-alala’t darating din ang inaasam mo!”

 

Ang kaibigang tamad ay mabuting kaibigan.

Maliban na lang kung ubos na ang kaniyang kasabihan!

Kaya’t sa oras ng kaniyang pangangailangan

Humanda ka — ikaw ang kaniyang pipitasan!

 

Trabaho

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Ang buhay OFW ay _______. Isang pagpupugay sa mga kabayang nangibang bansa upang lumaban.

 

TRABAHO

 

Wala raw tayong pagmamay-ari, walang yaman.

Maging ang talatang naturan ay hindi orihinal.

Walang katapusan ang usapang tulad ng ganito.

Nakakapagod ang ganitong talakayan, mabagal.

 

Tumatakbo ang bawat segundo, paikot-ikot lang.

Isa-isang lumilisan ang mga araw tungo sa gabi.

At pagsapit ng gabi pagbukas mo sa ‘yong palad

Wala kang naitago, kundi ang mga linyang lumalalim.

 

Gustuhin mo mang yakapin ang kabataan, salapi

Ito’y galit na magpupumiglas, mawawaldas at mabilis

Na lilipas, mauubos. Mabigat na ang iyong mga paa—

Pero may mga naghihintay pa sa iyong pagbabalik.

 

Kaya’t ikaw ay tatakbo at parang ulol na magtitiwala.

At ang bawat segundo’y bahagyang igagapos, aariin sandali

At katumbas nito, mahahawakan at masisipat mo

Ang pangako ng langit na nakasulat sa iyong palad.

Ang Pagbabalik

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Sa gitna ng aking kahimbingan, ay may kung anong gumising
Sa akin. Marahil ang kahol ng asong ulol sa labas, marahil ang hangin?
Hindi ko matukoy sa ngayon, ngunit, walang pagtutol akong
Bumangon sa pagkakahimlay, tulad ng patay mula sa kabaong.

Nagpalakad-lakad ako at sa aking pamamasyal sa dilim naging
Mulat sa mga nangyari habang ang panaginip ko’y nakamaleta.
Tila iba na itong mundong ito! Aking nasambit. Sa takot napailing
Ako’t sinubukang takpan ang mga mata, ngunit ako’y mas nakakita!

Ako’y bumalik sa kanlungan ng aking katawan ngunit wala na doon
Ang aking isipan. Nagpalaboy-laboy ito sa labas, sa dilim, sa liwanag,
Sa kulay, at animo’y nagsipagaklas ang aking diwang pumapalag
At ngayo’y nakapaglalaro na mula sa pagkakahimlay at pagkakabaon…

Dito sa tinitignan, dito sa binabasa, dito sa blanko, dito sa puti’y binubuhay
Ang lumang hininga na sa tagal ng panahon ay iginapos nang walang awa
Dito sa pahina’y naglalaro muli sila upang magkwento, upang magsaysay —
Bagamat mahiyain, sa entablado ay isa-isa isa silang sasayaw, kakanta.

Sanggol

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Iniisip ko kung paano ko isusulat

sa papel ang mga tanda sa iyong pisngi

gayong nakikita ko ang kagandahan ng Maykapal

sa bawat ngiti.

Manginginig ang aking mga kamay

sapagkat hindi ko pa natututunan ang pagtula

nang nakapikit. Lubhang nakasisilaw ang araw

kapag ito’y iyong tinitigan.

Ruth Solitario

Ang bersiyon sa Ingles ng tulang ito ay matatagpuan sa: http://courtofreverie.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/sanggol/