Have A Grateful Heart

I have followed Pope Francis’ trip to the United States via  Vatican Radio and CNA (Catholic News Agency). I am grateful for his inspiring words. Yes, I am grateful too for the many blessings. Here’s a partial text  of Pope Francis’s address during Vespers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, a beautiful message that truly inspires and touches the heart:

Joy springs from a grateful heart. Truly, we have received much, so many graces, so many blessings, and we rejoice in this. It will do us good to think back on our lives with the grace of remembrance.

Remembrance of when we were first called, remembrance of the road travelled, remembrance of graces received… and, above all, remembrance of our encounter with Jesus Christ so often along the way.

Remembrance of the amazement which our encounter with Jesus Christ awakens in our hearts. To seek the grace of remembrance so as to grow in the spirit of gratitude. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves: are we good at counting our blessings?


What, Books Again?

The other day, I was updating my journal, transferring some quotes and one-liner words that I have accumulated in my thought box when I saw this printed list of books that I have culled from my account at shelfari.com, the first virtual library that I have painstakingly updated when I started using social media (think Friendster and Multiply) several years ago. I could no longer access my account there since I have already forgotten my password. When most of our books were destroyed by typhoon Ondoy last September 2009 I haven’t visited the site as much as I wanted because it pains me to  see the titles of those volumes  and book titles. It makes my heart bleed just seeing that all those lovely books that I have collected over the years are now gone. The Shelfari site was where I met book nerds not just here in the Philippines but from some other countries too. From there a friend created a book club which is still active until now though I haven’t attended the monthly sessions for a number of years.  When I got sick, I stopped joining the group in their book discussions but I follow a number of those who have separate book blogs  both at WordPress and at Blogger.

I now keep tract of the books that I’ve read and the books that I want to read via Goodreads. My wish list back then was quite long but I have found several books through the years of searching for those copies either at National Bookstore or at Booksale. There is nothing like finding one particular book in your list when you least expect it. Here is my updated wish list for 2016. It would be nice if I could find even half of the remaining ones that I haven’t read yet.

  • Ada by Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Caught In The Quiet by Rod McKuen
  • Happy All The Time by Laurie Colwin
  • Hello From Heaven: A New Field of Research-After-Death communication by Bill Guggeinheim
  • I Am David by Anne Holm
  • If Not Now, When? (Penguin Twentieth-Century classics) by Primo Levi
  • In Search Of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
  • In The Dark Before Dawn: New Selected Poems of Thomas Merton by Thomas Merton
  • Looking For A Friend – Rod McKuen
  • Love’s Been Good To Me – Rod McKuen
  • One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  • Rites Of Passage by William Golding
  • Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Christmas Box Miracle: My Spiritual Journey of Destiny, Healing and Hope by Richard Paul Evans
  • The Devil In The Flesh by Raymond Radiguet, Alan Sheridan
  • The Graduate by Charles Webb
  • The Heart Of A Woman by Maya Angelou
  • Honorary Consul by Graham Greene
  • The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
  • The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka
  • Too Many Midnights by Rod McKuen
  • Traveling Light by Max Lucado
  • Watch For The Wind by Rod McKuen
  • West Wind by Mary Oliver
  • Witness To Hope: A Biography of Pope John Paul II
  • Your Name is Renee: Ruth Kapp Hartz’s Story As A Hidden Child in Occupied France by Stacey Cretzmeyer.

And last but not the least is P. Anciers’ Libertine’s Destiny. I read this when I was in college and the only copy of  UST’s Main Library was never in the shelf. Back then, when somebody returned the book, there was always someone who wanted to borrow it. The story started in Germany during WWII. If I were to rate it now, I’ll give it five stars. There is a discussion group on Goodreads about this book and some have sourced different libraries in the US to no avail.

What about you, do you have a favorite book that you want to reread and makes you smile just remembering  it?

A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.–Neil Gaiman

Something To Think About

“You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips but with your heart; in fact on certain occasions you should speak to Him only with your heart… One searches for God in books. One finds Him in meditation.”

Happy Feast Day St. Padre Pio, one of my favorite saints.

I love Sundays.

I came home from an early morning mass and thought of trying a banana bread recipe which I copied several days ago. I found this site . It’s a Japanese array of cuisines and desserts where I  found several recipes using pancake mix. They had me at “sugar-free”. I love it.

You could try this, here’s how.


150 grams Pancake mix

3 ripe bananas

1 egg

50 ml milk

Use a fork to mash the banana until creamy. Add the egg and mix thoroughly with a wire whisk. Stir in the milk.

Add the pancake mix and roughly mix it with a spatula. Lightly grease the cake pan with a little oil or butter then pour in the batter. Bake for 40 minutes at 180 °C.

That simple, I adjusted the amount of ingredients though using 4 ripe bananas, 200 grams pancake mix and 100 ml evaporated milk. It turned out like this, a yummy sugar-free banana bread.


Have a blessed Sunday everyone!



Today’s Quote


“Be a child again. Flirt. Giggle. Dip your cookies in your milk. Take a nap. Say you’re sorry if you hurt someone. Chase a butterfly. Be a child again.”
― Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name

Crazy Friday

It’s one of those  relaxed and lazy days of the week.  I asked Josef if he could accompany me to the newly opened library in our town and he readily agreed. I told him bringing the car was probably a mistake because of the horrendous traffic. Such common daily routine of  everyone ….traffic. He had all his IDs laminated while I waited at the library to talk to their assistants there. There is no licensed librarian yet and most of the volumes on the shelves were donations from the National Library.They have a sizable collection of National Geographic and several children’s story books, various local publications of food mag, travel and leisure. I had a good time chatting with the library assistants and I promised that I would donate some fiction/non-fiction books to add to their shelves. Finally, we have a modern and lovely town library with lots of computers and free wi-fi.Most shelves are still vacant though.




Nissa gifted me with a lovely Zen Mandalas coloring book complete with a  set of Faber-Castell  colored pencils, sharpener and eraser. The designs look so complicated and challenging.  I was happy before having an ordinary coloring book, this one needs a lot of time before you finish a page. Coloring is a stress-buster. Josef  told me early this morning that I could upload Mandala on my tab. Practice, practice, practice. It is so addicting.  The final picture depends on how creative you are in choosing a combination of colors. Here are some photos that I practiced on before we went to the library.

image1image2image3image4image5image6   I  set aside reading again. I can’t wait to start coloring on an actual page.

So This Is Bora

The first words I heard from my son when he came home from a week-trip to Boracay were,  “Enjoy talaga,  umitim ba ako Ma?” I laughed and he embraced me and said, “I’ve missed you Ma”. Of course I’ve missed him too.

He said he was sorry he was not able to find sea glass for me. It was just a lovely powder-white  sand all throughout. That’s okay though because based on his accounts, he enjoyed his one-week stay there and that what really counts. He didn’t take pictures but took videos of the activities they did there. Aside from swimming and exploring the place,  he enjoyed parasailing, one of the many things they did with his friends. When I saw the video, it was really, really beautiful.  Imagine yourself high up in the air with just the blue ocean underneath.  One thing that he would like to experience again if he ever has the chance to come back was the helmet diving. It was his first time to dive. They  were briefed on how to equalize pressure in the ears,  taught  hand signals to the divers and just enjoy the gifts of the sea. They gave a small packet of bread to feed the different species of fish they saw there and he enjoyed that too. The corals are just so lovely. The diving package comes with a CD where you will see yourself  feeding a school of fish and admiring the lovely corals. They tried the ATV ride (buggy cars, one of the many options to go around the island) but it was not much of a challenge compared to helmet diving and parasailing. The place is open 24/7. The whole story-telling itself was just as exciting.



Banana boat ride...

Banana boat ride…

About to experience the best of all....helmet diving!

About to experience the best of all….helmet diving!

So there is a grotto there, an image of Mama Mary..

So there is a grotto there, an image of Mama Mary..

Boracay is one of the many (if not the best) tourist attractions in our country. A lot of tourists, foreign and local visit this place throughout the year. To view some photos of the place, just click this link. It is one of the world’s top beach destinations.

He brought home sweets, lots of key chains for me, for Nissa and for his office mates and t-shirts.

My Boracay loot

It’s more fun in the Philippines.


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