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Saturday, March 17, 2018

I Can Only Imagine Movie Review



I Can Only Imagine (Movie Review/ Reflection)

The old lady beside me was wracked with an onslaught of sobs. My husband was sniffling and so were the people in front of us. It’s been a while since I watched a heavy-drama movie and apparently, I Can Only Imagine has moved a lot of movie-goers in an unbroken stream of tears.

I knew the song long before the name of the singer. The titular, I Can Only Imagine became my source of comfort during the really low point of my life. The lyrics speak through the core of my soul offering both solace and assurance when I thought that I lost everything.

Movies adapted from books are fairly common and I think it’s a bit odd that a song would be the heart of a movie. I expected it to be a bit tedious and desperately sentimental but the movie far exceeded my expectations. The characters gave in-depth justice to the roles they played and while obviously based on a Christian faith, the movie succeeded in conveying the message without overwhelming the audience with Biblical references. While trying to convey the message of abuse as the source of deep pains and hurts, there’s no overpowering graphic images of violence yet the emotions were tender and poignant.


Finley as Bart Millard impressively brought us into his painful journey that gave life to the lyrics of the song. Surprisingly, Quaid as an abusive father was the reason of the first tears I shed. The scenes were relatable and one could surmise it does happen in real life.  

While the song was mainly about a promise when the time to face God comes, the movie was undeniably a journey of forgiveness. More than the lyrics, what really got through me was the celebratory tone of the music despite of all the pains and sufferings Millard went through in the hands of his father. It evoked feelings and memories long buried inside.

Millard’s journey through forgiveness is certainly a beautiful story that’s worth your time. My husband and I were thankful that we spent our Friday night watching it.

“Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine.” 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Wrinkle in Time Movie Review



Though there is this great attempt to focus on the all-encompassing rationality and order to the cosmos and the beings within it, A Wrinkle in Time is mostly an allegory about life in general. It is overtly a children’s movie but at the same time, it teases the imagination of adults about choices and life’s decisions. It is easy to get lost in the realm of our dreams and aspirations without really looking from deep within about what matters the most.

The movie was an adaptation of a novel and thankfully, I have not read it yet so I was able to spare myself from the usual disappointments that come after watching a movie adapted from a book. More often than not, the book is better than the movie.

The movie tried to be thrilling but I felt like there were missing aspects that could have filled me with more wonders. It is definitely a cerebral story because it leaves you contemplative about the universe and what lies beneath, however, the movie also contains nondescript scenes that left me condescending about the fact they didn’t seem essential at all. 

The story revolves on the three children in search of a physicist missing for four years and three magical creatures. The magic was definitely magical but not enough to fill me with thrill and wonder. What appeals to me more is the didactic nature wrought by the journey of searching and finally finding the main protagonist’s (Meg Murry) father.

Though it failed to fill with that ‘awe factor’, it did leave me pondering about life and it’s definitely worth watching.

“You mean you're comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it? Yes. Mrs. Whatsit said. You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.” 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks Book Review


“This, I remember thinking, is what life is really about. Love and laughter and friendship; happy times spent with those you care about.”

When reading the novel of Nicholas Sparks, I always need to prepare myself emotionally for cataclysm of emotions that usually come with his works. The thought that he makes me fall so much in love with a character that he’s just plotting to kill is disturbing not to mention heart-breaking. But, more often that not, that is the case.

Surprisingly, this novel is less formulaic and predictable which is a bit dissimilar from his style- an emotional powerful story not of falling in love but falling apart. Every story usually starts with two people falling in love and the ending is a happily ever after. Clearly, Sparks decided to experiment.


The characters are not subtle, enigmatic or complex. But, Sparks still managed to make them interesting. The protagonist, Russel Green lives in his comfort zone with his beautiful wife and a daughter. Seemingly, he enjoys a successful career, and an almost lavish life- style. As a character, there is this gnawing feeling of his inability to explicate himself and yet that’s what made him excelled in his career. His wife, Vivian, would give you a glimpse of every person who makes each relationship fails. Among all the characters, it is with Emily that I hardly feel connected.

When you are blissfully living in your safe haven then suddenly lost everything, the pain is incomprehensible. This part of the story and some vignettes probably moved me the most. Some situations seem palpably unfair and yet could happen in real life.

The whole reading time was heavy. Just when you thought Russel lost everything, then he lost more; it would leave you aching for the character.

I highly recommend this for the Sparks fanatics but expect to feel dispirited the whole time you’re reading. There are many faces of love and one of them is sadness.   

Sunday, March 11, 2018

We Beat the Odds!

The struggle started early morning realizing that Daylight Saving Time has started. Meaning, we lost an hour of sleep. It was so tempting to just stay on bed and sleep in but we reminded ourselves that we missed church for three weeks and it would not be a good idea to miss it again today. So, off we scrambled out of bed trying to wake up.

While at the shower, I heard my husband and I knew something was wrong. The truck’s tire was flat and he forgot his air pump at work! The car was not a choice since he just found a leak on it. Needless to say, we had more reasons to stay home.

Somehow, David found a way and we made it in church on time. Our experience however reminded us that life would always be full of vicissitudes. It’s easy to take the easy way out by simply staying at home and taking care of the problems of the cars but I’m glad that we were able to figure out a solution without getting overly stressed. We feel immensely blessed by the church service and seeing family and friends. 

We beat the odds and ended our day with this yummy treat!
At night, David cooked the best steak ever as if we didn’t just go through something nerve-wracking this morning!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Saturday Mess

There’s nothing worst than going on a vacation during the previous weekend and getting sick at the middle of the week. It would not be surprising at all for the house to end up such a disaster that I needed to spend almost my whole morning cleaning up the mess. My husband is pretty good in helping but since he needed to work, I dealt with all the clutter. It did not help that I am such an OC that every little nook and corner, including drawers, appliances and furniture must be thoroughly clean. This is the American life. No helper at all to do all the household stuff.  

While having dinner before our movie date, David reminded me to take my antibiotic. Though without fever anymore, I still need to finish my dosage. Of course, I would do anything silly to get away with it since I hate taking medicine.

Me: Beb, you said you’ll take a bullet for me, right?
David: Of course!
Me: So, can you take the medicine for me?

The rest of the time we were preparing to leave the house was spent laughing because of what I said. Yeah, I ended up taking the antibiotic. The trick did not work with my husband. 

The movie, Wrinkle in Time, was beautiful and a review is coming soon. 

The Power of Love (Speech for Kids)

(This is a speech that I wrote for a primary student in Jakarta, Indonesia that he used for a competition.)

Te amo, Mahal Kita, Wo le ni, Saya Cinta Kamu, I love you.

Friends and fellow citizens, I stand here before you definitely honored and privileged to share my dreams empowered with love. As a young dreamer, I invite you to join me and together let’s dream of a beautiful world to live in for the Generation Z.

I have a dream. I dream that when a child goes to school, he would not go home bullied and beaten by negative behaviors.

I have a dream. I dream that families would put down their phones during meals and have a meaningful conversation instead. A family that look happy in real life not just in uploaded pictures on Facebook and Instagram.

I have a dream. I dream that friends would talk and do something together instead of just liking or clicking hearts and emoticons on their Facebook statuses.

I have a dream. I dream that young children would go out of their house and play, get wet under the rain, chase animals and smell plants, run with the sun until all the energy has worn off instead of just spending time in the corner playing on an Ipad or a tablet.

I have a dream. I dream that people would not just share photos of suffering or extreme poverty around the world, instead they would go out and do something to less fortunate people out there. There is nothing more powerful than taking a proactive role in the world where millions of people are deprived of the basic needs in life.

I have a dream. I dream that one day, there would be no single child who would die because of hunger. I dream that every child would have the same opportunity like me to live, to learn, to enjoy life, and to have a decent life.

I have a dream. A dream where the only language that exists, is the language of love.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Wedding Anniversary Dinner at Red Lobster

I finally went back to work after missing two days. One of the kids asked me to lift him up then he cupped my face with his hands, kissed my right cheek, turned the other side and kissed it, too. I thought that was it, but, he took my hand and kissed it also, hugged me and said, “I love you, Ms. Nina. I missed you.” Fourteen years of teaching and I never had a welcome similar to this.  Although the day was a bit crazy, I was definitely happy to see the kids.

My husband picked me up in the afternoon and we decided to have a late anniversary dinner at RedLobster. Normally, my husband would say no to anything seafood but I assured him they also offer steak. Lo and behold! We were both satisfied with our meals.  

Red Lobster's Seaside Shrimp Trio.
I got the Seaside Shrimp Trio which includes Walt’s favorite shrimp, hand-crafted garlic shrimp scampi, and shrimp linguini Alfredo.  

Red Lobster's NY Strip Steak.

My husband of course favored the 12 OZ NY strip seasoned with peppercorns, grilled on a wood fire, and served with mashed potato and fries.

We ended our Friday night shopping for his work materials and buying chocolates for my niece. 

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Not So Gentle Bug

Being sick is no fun. My husband spent the previous night trying to lower my temperature since the medicines didn’t seem to work. I would take fever medicines and after an hour or two, my temperature’s high again.

When he woke me up this morning, my ear was extremely painful but my temperature was finally down. I hate taking medicines and I remember that the only time I got scolded when my father was still alive was because I would not take any medicines. I would force myself to throw up after taking it or secretly kept it in my pocket. Nothing really changed much. I still hate it. Having a very patient and caring husband makes things easier. He makes sure that I take them on time.

After sleeping about six hours today, I woke up feeling a lot better. It’s definitely not a gentle bug but I am blessed and grateful that my husband’s here to take care of me.

Thank you to all the family and friends who greeted us on our anniversary. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

My Husband is the Best

Flowers from the best husband in the world.
This is supposed to be a very special day to celebrate with my husband. Three years being married fill us with beautiful memories and inexplicable love. But, as fate would have it, I am stuck in the house with on and off fever and extreme pain in my right ear.

Not to be deterred by the circumstances, he went out of his way to make me feel better by constantly checking on me while he was at work. He also came home with a take-out from Asian Buffet since I was too sick to even go out for dinner.





Thankfully, we had an early celebration at Chicago last weekend and he even gave me flowers and cards in advance! At night, he was up so late trying to reduce my fever by washing my face with towel. Though we spent the night not exactly as planned, I’ve felt so much love from my husband and this is definitely the best wedding anniversary I could ever ask for- unconditional love and care.


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