Finally, a Graduate!

Two weeks after the course, I decided to revisit my Blogging 201 notes and check if I’ve actually completed all of my requirements to claim I finally graduated. Offhand, I can already say that I’ve done so much better this time than how I fared with Blogging 101. I had a much stronger commitment. From flunking 101 to acing 201, I think I deserve a pat on the back (patting myself now), for I took 201 at a time nearer my first CPA exam, so that’s a real, major challenge (and yes, still very much employed full-time, working my ass off especially during month-ends). The good thing about 201 is it ran only for two weeks. So here’s a quick review of the course’s assignments for the first week and the corresponding links to my notes.

1. Setting Goals – Aim High, Hit High

2. Auditing Your Brand – A Closer Look at Those Lemons

3. Getting Read All Over – So How Do I Look?

4. Giving ‘Em What They Want, I – Chasing Numbers, Catching Love

5. Driving Traffic to Your Archives – My Passion is Equal to the Task

For ease of reference, I’ve compiled all of these notes under one category conveniently sitting on my sidebar: My BloggingU Notes. See, I’ve completed all of them with flying colours! But then moving on to the second week’s task is where I had some problems. I felt like the bigger tasks were all lumped into this heavier final week of the course. I should have done each of them on the day they were given out, which was what I promised myself when I wrote down my goals. But I decided to break that self-imposed rule, in favour of quality. I did choose to take my time. So here’s an update of week 2’s assignments:

6. Digging Into Social Networks – This I’ve done. I decided that for a life blog; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter would be the most fitting platforms.

6.1 Instagram: I checked my Instagram account and found it may be in tune and interesting enough for the blog. I need this especially for sharing photos in keeping with the “A Migrant’s Journey” category. I found I’ve already been posting photos documenting the things I’m experiencing in Sydney so I did not need to create a separate account. Occasionally, I also post photos reflecting God, Love and Career which are all aligned with the blog’s theme. Plus, I have one username for both WP and Instagram, so it was pretty easy to link the two accounts.

6.2 Twitter: I used to have a Twitter account which was under the username @sassycare, as in my WP and Instagram. However, i deleted it years ago. I thought I was not the popular type, enough to have people following what I have to say. I felt it was more for celebrities or at least like-minded people who have things to say that are worth being talked about in talk shows or news programs. My lack of confidence was a deterrent for me to continue on my twitter life. But years after, Flavored Lemons happened and I have a whole new reason to tweet. After all, I have thoughts I deem worthy to publish in a blog, so maybe Twitter can accommodate me this time? I have really few followers at the moment but that doesn’t bother me. My goal is to spread the word about articles I write and to reach people, who are always destined to be my audience but just haven’t found their way to the site yet. So after twenty thousand years of deleting @sassycare from tweetworld, I finally created the account @flavoredlemons and just like that, I found myself on Twitter again.

6.3 Facebook: I created a page for Flavored Lemons. It’s quick and easy to manage. I did inform my friends about it, they are all probably placing me into their “friendship over” zone because I asked them to check out a personal blog page. How uncool can I be? But I just wanted them to know I’m into something–writing articles about my life from which they probably can pick some lessons from. I wish they realise that for most of my posts their situations and stories are the inspiration behind. I always imagine my audience to be my friends. I just wish they one day they’ll appreciate my writing–especially those articles i wrote with them in mind.

7. Making the Most of Events – I’ve checked out available community events in WordPress and found this one which particularly caught my interest: Blacklight Candelabra. They post writing challenges once a week, every Monday. I participated on two of them so far and enjoyed the experience so much. I wrote my first poem and three haikus for the two challenges and am so looking forward to what future challenges may unleash from the creative corners of my mind.

8. Creating an Online Hub – This one took the most time to finish. I finally can say that after two weeks, the blog is now a hub to a network of social media accounts I mentioned in assignment #6. I have now a Social Media section on my sidebar, right below the menu. Simply click the icons to like or follow Flavored Lemons.

9. Buddying Up – I have a really exciting project that is in response to this assignment. I still don’t have it at the moment but already started working on it. Hopefully, I can tell you about it in a week’s time.

10. Giving ‘Em What They Want, II – Taking feedback from readers to another level, I found this one really worth a try. It wasn’t so hard at all. I have just recently added the “Get in touch with us” corner on the sidebar, and I really do hope to get in touch with all of you on a more personal level using this feature.

So there! All assignments in (almost, with only one as work-in-progress). After taking Blogging 201, I could say I am now happier with my blog, the direction it is going and how the brand has been built so far. I am sure it will still evolve and continuously grow as my blogging life continues. I hope you’ll all stick around and grow with me.

Thank you for being so supportive to Flavored Lemons from the start to this point; special mention to my Blogging 201 classmates who have likewise successfully completed the course, congratulations to us! Here’s to more juicing and squeezing out of the best things life has to offer.

Cheers!

Featured photo is taken from masahble.com

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Haiku 03

Pitch-black night sky cries,
lights of heaven hide from sight
hyenas laughing.

 

 

 

 

I’m getting addicted to writing haikus, been doing this since last night. I tried it first for Blacklight Candelabra’s writing challenge for the week and I just can’t get over it. Should be limiting myself to three for now, or else I won’t be able to write anything else for the next days, apart from haikus.

 

 

Featured Photo from www.listofimages.com

Haiku 02: Soldiers

Hundred feet pairs made
monotonous marching sound
in rage, off to work.

 

 

 

 

 

Featured photo edited by blogger from the www.gettyimages.com original.

Learning Soseki: My First Haiku

 

Across bushy trees:
warm winds blow leaves into dancing,
the lake lay still.

 

 

________________________________________

Tried my hand at writing a haiku as a response to this week’s challenge from The Blacklight Candelabra | Advanced Writing Challenges, a writing event I joined only recently. Thinking Japanese always gets my favourite Asian novelist to mind–Natsume Soseki, who is also considered a master of the Haiku. He’s really good, I first wrote about him here if you would like to read. For 3 lines and 13 words, I spent a good three hours imagining how Soseki would translate my thoughts into writing—I’ve decided right away that the subject will be the photo above which I took two weeks ago when I went for a leisurely hike at the Botanical Gardens in Blue Mountains. I had to transport myself back into that moment when I was right inside that scene. It was a perfect day under the hot summer sun, the warm breeze brushing my cheeks. I remember how the tranquil lake made me feel so refreshed—it was so relaxing.

Now on to what the challenge was about, more than writing a Haiku—one has to come up with a Culturally and Linguistically Authentic Haiku in three ways: (1) form – which got me reading about Haiku’s different legitimate forms, (2) Syllable structure and consonant restrictions, and (3) The subject matter NATURE–as traditional Japanese as it can be. More than painting nature into words, I’ve learned in this challenge that Haiku is about human transformations—the nature within. From the Blog Event post, this quote appears (which made me linger longer on the challenge than I would have if it wasn’t there):

“[…] one thing that I think makes a real haiku is when the changes in nature reflect deep transformations in oneself.”
-Steve McCarty

So there goes my first haiku. I hope I made Soseki proud. It would have been an honour to call him Sensei.

10 Reasons Marrying A Christian is Your Best Bet to Happy-Ever-After

Okay, first let me make it clear that I am not saying you can’t have a happy life if you choose to remain single but I assume you’re reading this article because you believe you were meant to tread life with a partner. Whether that is true or not, I leave with you to seek God’s counsel on the matter, but I would like you to consider this when deciding:

An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord.But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. (1 Corinthians 7:32-33) But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. […] But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. (1 Corinthians 7:9,28)

While marriage is clearly not a bad thing, that last verse was more a warning than an invitation. It leads to the conclusion that marriage might not be the smarter, more practical choice between the two. But if your calling is indeed marriage then the most important decision would be choosing who to marry. It’s your lifetime of happiness (or misery) that hangs in the balance. So let me be upfront with you with this advice. Pick a Christian. Let me tell you why.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

1. A Christian will see you as a blessing, a wonderful gift that is NEW every morning. We often hear that after the honeymoon stage, romance runs dry and the once burning passion begins to fade. Many, especially those who experienced the pains of former break-ups, will see this as a deterrent to wanting to make a lifetime commitment to someone. The Christian perspective doesn’t view the world this way. Rain or shine, energised or tired, excited or bored; the fleeting mood of the day will not in any way thwart the way he or she sees you—a wonderful gift from God that he/she never deserved and should always be thankful for. The Christian believes that God never makes mistakes, and if you are from God, you will never cease to be her/his Mr/Ms Right, regardless of your day-to-day situations.

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:24-25)

2. A Christian knows what it means to lead and to submit—to give and take. There is no arguing with a Christian about who should be who. He/she knows his/her role when she enters into marriage. A Christian man will lead not to abuse or boss you around but in the same way God leads his people. Therefore, his leadership standards are very high. It means he is patient, loving and understanding. He will give you enough room for you to learn and grow and to play your own role. At the same time, he will be just, firm and strong. When it comes to the big ticket decision items especially, you will be able to rely on him. He is a good leader because he is first a follower and a servant of Christ. On the other hand, a Christian woman knows how to submit. It doesn’t mean she’s a push-over or is weak. It means she will respect you and your authority as God’s anointed leader of the marriage and your future family. She will support you, which doesn’t mean she will not have any say on things. Instead, she will argue with reason that she gains from studying God’s Word, and if need be, she will lovingly correct you towards what she knows is right in accordance to the Bible. She will not play tag-of-war with you about whom final authority belongs to. She will treat you as her king with faith that you do things out of your love and care for her.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

3. You will unlikely have problems competing with your in-laws for attention. A Christian knows, regardless of cultural background, how serious marriage is and how God designed it to be. He/she knows the principles of leave and cleave (that means leaving the parents to cleave to the spouse PERMANENTLY). He/she knows that when he/she vows to a life of being with you, he/she transfers all his/her loyalty to you and the family you are about to form. While it does not mean he/she will cease to respect and honour both sets of your parents, it surely will make you feel more secure knowing where to stand when it comes to his/her priorities. When you are not insecure, it will always be easier for you to give to and love your own in-laws more.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, (Proverbs 31:30) […] but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

4. You don’t have to worry about getting old, fat or bald, having wrinkles or being less attractive than when you first met. A Christian will always have high standards for living. But his/her standards is not the same as of this world. He/she will not take it against you if, years into the marriage, you no longer look like a super model as when the first time you two ever went out for a date. He/she will see you beyond that. He/she looks forward to seeing you become a more beautiful person in God’s eyes, not in men’s eyes. And as you grow together, he/she will celebrate and will be grateful for the person he/she will see you become as you let him/her influence you in following Christ.

In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:6)

5. No decision will be too bad and regrettable in your marriage as long as you go through it together. Your Christian spouse will know how to pray and if he/she loves you, he/she will teach you how to. Decisions, especially major ones, will not be made without lifting them unto God and consulting his Word. With that, even if consequences do not necessarily reflect your expectations or personal desires, you will believe that it is still the best and that, in the bigger scheme of things, all things work together for good. If you are not convinced, your spouse is sure to be. And with that, despair will always be far from your home. He/she will always be optimistic and will always believe God is in control, so that nothing can go wrong that God can’t get you through with or that God doesn’t intend for your good and his glory. You may go through the strongest storms together but he/she will keep bringing you sunshine until you, yourself, understand where he/she gets all her hopes from.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

6. A Christian won’t hold grudge against you. With him/her, forgiveness is not a very complicated idea. Pride won’t get the better of him/her when it comes to facing your shortcomings or your faults because he/she knows how imperfect and awful he/she is as a person. A Christian cannot be one without realising and having had to admit to him/herself how helpless a sinner he/she is and how desperately prone to sin all of us, humans, are. He/she is not self-righteous, instead is poor in spirit. With a self-image like that, he/she will find it relatively easier to forgive you for your sins as he/she knows he/she needs much more forgiveness from God for every day of his/her imperfect life. With him/her, past dramas are easily forgotten and readily replaced by new and better memories.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6) I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

7. A Christian isn’t perfect but each day, he/she strives to be better and will never lose hope for oneself and for you. No depressed moments, no suicidal tendencies, no emotional baggage is too heavy for him/her or too serious to last a long time enough to break him/her or your marriage. Your Christian spouse walks with Christ, and thus is his work-in-progress. He/she might have had a dark past or might experience phases of personal dilemma or may have a bad habit that annoys you which he/she struggles to overcome, but with Jesus in his/her life, he/she will overcome those in time. You will be blessed to witness how God transforms his/her life right before your very eyes. The good thing is, no matter how many times he/she falls, he/she keeps trying because he/she believes in his/her ability to succeed and overcome, with strength which is not his/her own but God’s.

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. (1 Corinthians 7:14a)

8. You will be sanctified through your Christian spouse. If you are not a Christian, it will be unlikely that you will look at this reason as a factor in choosing who to marry. But if you think of what you are signing up for in a marriage contract, an entire lifetime is at stake. So it will always be practical to be assured that you will be lead to a better rather than a worse version of yourself through living a life with your spouse. To be sanctified means to be set apart for God. Whether it is your original intention for marrying or not, that simply means you will be looked upon by the eyes of God in a special way because he will see you as one flesh with his child. God will set you apart THROUGH your spouse. If you share a life with someone who walks in the light, it is close to impossible that you will not be able to enjoy that light in your own life as well. Think about marrying an heir—there is nothing in your blood that makes you worthy of the inheritance, but by virtue of marriage you become eligible for ownership of that wealth. Think of how much more the kingdom of God is worth than any material inheritance this world can offer. Marry a Christian and you are one step closer to being co-heir with him/her.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

9. Your future children will be considered blessed. Christians lead, teach and discipline their children in accordance with the word of God. Nothing can teach better than examples shown to them and there is no doubt your Christian spouse will be someone you can rely on when it comes to this. You may even be more blessed if your spouse is involved in Sunday School or Youth Group Ministries, for he/she will already be experienced and trained when it comes to dealing with kids. He/she would know what it takes to raise kids who fear and love the Lord. They will value high moral standards and will seek a life of peace that pleases the Lord. Extra perks: Christian kids will be exposed to the bible and to other kids in Kids’ Church so they are more likely to become more sociable and comfortable with studying texts and understanding ideas than other kids their age.

“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel. (Malachi 2:16)

10. A Christian will not see separation, divorce or annulment as an option when the going gets tough. Unless you commit adultery (Matthew 19:9) or you insist on rejecting his/her Christian faith and decide to leave him/her (1 Corinthians 7:12-15), your Christian spouse will never think of giving up on your marriage. He/she will fight for you and continue to believe and pray for you no matter what happens. Even if the opposite has already become societal norm, he/she will never leave you and will honour the vows the two of you made as something sacred. Because to a Christian, that’s what it is and always will be—a sacred covenant with God. It follows that he/she will stick with you through thick and thin. And when he/she promises you “in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, ’til death do us part”, he/she knows how to keep them (asking God’s help to fulfil them). So with a Christian spouse, you can be sure that NOTHING, except the God who also gave, can take him/her away from you.

If you are not a Christian and you have been searching or waiting for your perfect partner, I hope you consider these things and that I somehow managed to give you a glimpse of how wonderful it is to be in a Christian marriage. My prayer is that God teaches you to come to him to ask him for your life partner instead of looking elsewhere or trusting anything else (i.e. signs, compatibility test, feng shui, fortune-telling, destiny, your own skills, etc.) when making that choice.

If you are a Christian reading this, pray with me that we do not disappoint the spouses we now have or are yet to have, with the great expectations set by the claims of this article. May we always live as the Godly spouses our Lord intends us to be, through his unfaltering strength and guidance.

Featured Photo taken from www.huffingtonpost.com

Broken

How do I unlove you?
And why do I have to?
Tell me what did I lack
What was, can’t we turn back?

How do I unlove you?
In all things I see you
Every night I just try
Say “this time, I won’t cry”

My efforts always fail
When did I turn this stale?
I didn’t see it coming
How long were you hiding?

How did you unlove me?
Will it please you, teach me:
How to not remember,
to love you forever?

What of your promises?
Just throw those memories?
Thought would never happen
But so far you’ve fallen

Have you really forgotten?
Were you that worn, that broken?
I’m the one, there’s no other
Would anything else matter?

Yet you still chose this path
To fill our hearts with wrath
Let go of what we’ve had
Turn good things into bad

Beautiful disaster
Indeed that’s all you were
I should have known better
You’d easily falter

I was worth fighting for
That’s what you saw before
Might you be in stupor,
Or have lost your valour?

One chance I tried to find,
But you just won’t change your mind.
________________________________

10,000 years later
You ask me how I were
You won’t get an answer
You’re still not self-aware

You said, “let’s talk again”
Dense like you’ve always been
You left me just like that,
Perhaps I’d rather not

If you’re really that strong,
accept that I moved on.

*I wrote this to participate in How Much Do I love Thee Poetry Party but I missed the deadline, so I’m just leaving it here.

Featured Photo taken from freedwallpaper.com

Five Faces of Love

“There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

1. The Best Friend. By definition, this is the guy I was supposed to “grow up” with, the one I never imagined I would ever have to part with. I used to talk to him over late night phone conversations and lose sleep over an exchange of text or instant messages with, on topics that weren’t really important in life. I didn’t mind sharing one plate with him when we ate, literally. We knew each other’s secrets and frustrations with love. When he was heart-broken, I was there. When he couldn’t sleep, I stayed up on the phone all night trying to get his mind off of what bothered him. He’s the guy I couldn’t hang up on the phone until he’s peacefully snoring even though all I really wanted to do was hit him on the head. We forged each other’s signatures on attendance sheets so we could cut classes. He is that guy all my closest girl friends once wished I end up with. The one who asked me to be his Best Maid and whom I promised would be my Man of Honour. The one I never intended to fall in love with.

Until that morning I woke up, I looked at him and it all dawned on me. I realised what I’d always known deep in my heart, he’s the only person I could entrust myself to for a lifetime. The one person rightful to have my heart. I saw a fleeting picture in my mind—we’ve both grown up, we’re both older, all burned out with the waiting and trying and failing in love. I am with him…and for once, I am at peace. So in that peace, I held my ground. I was never bothered with him falling in and out of love with all the different girls who crossed his path. Not as long as I was there beside him, the constant one. I dated other guys too but I held him in my heart. I kept him there believing that, a time would come when we’ll be all grown up and we will be together. That the promise we made that we’ll marry each other when we’re forty and still single was always meant to be fulfilled.

But life happened. And we didn’t just grow up, we grew apart.

2. The Soulmate. Serendipitous as destiny itself, I met him by the train station, at a bus terminal. There, in the midst of my lonely life as I waited for the rush hour to subside, he passed by me and smiled. “I know you,” he said. “I know you, too,” I answered. It was not the first time I saw him, but it was the first time I actually met him. We talked, of things I barely remember now. We stood there pretending to wait for the next bus as we tried to discover as much as we could about each other. We were surprised by how much we had in common: high school, university, village, our daily commute. It was the first time we talked and it felt like we knew each other forever. The buses came and left that night in front of us. We stood there, talking, refusing to leave. We sat down somewhere we could talk some more, ignoring pollution, the noise, commuters and the chaotic city all around us. We talked about our parents and our broken homes, of compatibility and working things out, of destiny and choices. We rode the last bus home that night with one thought in mind—we found our soulmates.

He used to wash his clothes at 2am, I used to cry my stress out ’til early dawn. We didn’t have ideal homes like others do but through exchanges of text messages, we were there for each other every sleepless night. Then, we’d each face the next morning acting like we’re normal. Our common struggles and shared pains affirmed our hasty conclusion that we indeed shared one soul. We felt we kind of rescue each other. WE made US forget. I’d call him when no words would come out. Without words, he would get it. In that secret world of ours, I found solace.

“There’s this girl I left hanging in midair. But don’t you worry, I will come back for her, I will just fix something and I will be back,” his text message read one night. I would later realise that the girl he was referring to was me. Someone taught me early in life that holding on to words as vaguely said as that is like holding on tightly to a block of ice, you’ll never realize how much pain it’s causing until all of it melts and you end up with nothing.

That someone was HIM.

3. The Intellectual. I met this guy while pursuing a rightful, brainy endeavour. As is usual with this type, he is shy and unassuming. Precisely the reason why we only got to talk to each other by way of other people teasing us, actually more teasing him about me. We, women, subconsciously know early on whether a guy somehow likes us. The test is whether the guy works towards affirming or negating this natural instinct. That’s the basis how we decide whether we let the idea cross from the subconscious to the conscious. Some guys give us a hard time. They send mixed signals that confuse our senses. The Intellectual is not one of them. He is easy to read and had I been inclined to assume, I would have gotten right away that he liked me. But smart as he is, he fought his natural tendency to be too obvious. Perhaps because he always wants to be sure about everything before acting upon it. And because he’s the smart one, he is aware of his own weakness so he continued to work against his nature and tried hard enough to be non-transparent. He might have been, to my thinking, too insecure and unused to failing that he dared not risk rejection, neither direct nor implied. And he won’t dive into something he don’t know much about, and there’s only a few of those things. Unfortunately, romantic love is at the top of that list. So technically, our story never really came to be. He was that asymptotic curve I’ve kept encountering in my Math classes—approaching ever nearer, but never really reaching to cross the line, satisfied with his space for the longest time until the perpendicular reached the line and the asymptote’s chance was blown away…

to an infinity of unreached, almost surreal tangency.

4. The Passion. Passion was only meant to be strong, it never needed to be right. And that’s how he is from the start, that burning desire that almost always precedes chaos. He is the star of an action film who got transported to reality, but one who lost that Hollywood attractiveness in exchange for the enigmatic appeal of what is real. And as in the movies, I met him in the midst of a riot, a chaotic event that disrupted my normally boring life. He was the closest I had to seeing the dark parts of this world that normalcy refused to shed light on. He is the bad boy who I knew was never really going to do me any good from the start but got myself involved with, nonetheless. Why? ‘Cause refusing to give in to such ardent passion is like depriving yourself that can of Coke after eating pizza. Even if I initially fight it, I knew I’d still give in to it at a later time lest the craving persists. And as in any vice, the experience was extraordinary, every moment was new. He’s always got something I’ve never had before, never tasted before. Darkness has never been so addicting. So it didn’t really matter if it’s good or bad, once I tried it, I wanted it, and every bit of it. More than once I had the chance to get out, run away and forget he ever happened. But I kept coming back. There was something in him I couldn’t compose myself to turn my back from. Maybe it was the thrill, the excitement, the rarity of a chance that a life like mine would collide with such of his. Maybe it was the heat only a burning passion can make me experience and the apparent unlikelihood of getting another of such intensity ever again. So I stayed for as long as I can, I stood the heat until I burned. I drowned into the fire and lost my mind.

And then he left.

5. The Book. He has always been there. He’s the collection of bound sheets securely covered, the one that always sat on the shelf but I won’t pick up ’cause it didn’t look exciting. I was then too active, outgoing and adventurous, I won’t really stop to open a book. Besides, I can never really appreciate a book when I was embracing darkness. Had I reached and opened it at that time, I would not have seen what beauty lies on those pages anyway. It required light which I refused to accommodate. So I went on with my usual ways and left The Book untouched.

Then, some time in the middle of my long, uphill run: pain lead me into a halting stop. That’s when I felt the pounding of my blood raising to my head to the point I thought my heart’s going to burst. In that moment, I felt the exhaustion. I needed to sit down and find shelter. I was thirsty for comfort and security and warmth—the kind that doesn’t burn, that soothes the soul. Something I never knew for a long time. And when I took that rest, allowed myself to immerse in the quiet, the peace, that restful state; my wounds were healed. At such perfect time, I remembered The Book on the shelf. I stood up and found it still there. Finally I opened it and it didn’t withhold from me the wisdom it’s kept all these years which have long waited for me to take in, as if all of it was written solely for me. Every page told me what I always ought to have known from the beginning. Away from all the distractions, The Book finally spoke to me and I understood it. And as I read, it started building the story—one with ME in it.

You know how when we’re young we long for the day we get to retire? How much we dream we could retire at a young age? And when we picture that retirement, regardless which place we’re in, travelling the world or staying home, don’t we picture ourselves comfortably clad in a nook reading a book? Well to me, he is The Book. He’s the one I never imagined I’d one day open, but can’t put down when I started. And if I could read only one book my whole life, I’d still reach out for him. He’s the ONE good book for me. When you find something like that, you vow ’cause you know you’d never want him in you past. ‘Cause you’re sure…

The Book is nothing I thought I wanted but everything I always needed—the one I’ll keep reading for the rest of my life.