Half-Empty or Half-Full?


And just like that, half the year is gone. Or I guess we can see it as half the year still ahead. Time to pause and take stock of the promises we made to ourselves at the start of the year.

When my 2016 started I chose a word to live out. That word is SOAR. I admit that’s not how I would describe how things are in my life at this point but I can say I have gotten off the ground. 🙂

Here’s to the next six months of flight.

How has your year been so far? 🙂

Ready Player One

Ready Player One

This was my first book read for 2016 but I never really got around to writing about it. This book was nostalgic! A blast from the past! In a world of suffering and chaos set in the future it looked back on the 80s with its songs, movies, and video games and somehow made that decade seem like one of the best times ever. And I wouldn’t disagree completely. But then in the 80s I was in elementary school and life was simple.

Ready Player One also told of a life where people did everything online. From the time they got up to the time they went to bed they were hooked to headgear that made them do everything online. It didn’t feel like such a preposterous idea. Kids these days know how to operate gadgets before they know the alphabet, and in some countries they are recognizing a phenomenon of young adults not even leaving their rooms anymore because they’re glued to screens.

I enjoyed this book and read it in just a few days. But it was also a reminder that there is a world out there that we should interact with. Oh, and that time moves forward. The 80s might have been fun, but I wouldn’t want to relive it. 🙂

Have you read READY PLAYER ONE? What did you think of it?

Last Year’s Book Challenges…and This Year’s Goals

I love, love, love reading books. Life just gets in the way of my cuddling in a corner and losing myself in pages for an entire day.

Last year I (officially) started my Century of Books challenge from Stuck In A Book. Started, but that doesn’t mean I’ve gotten anything written down. It’s actually easy to read a book, it’s the writing about it that gets me stuck and that’s another thing that I’m challenging myself to do…to write. So as last year ended I had 0 books in the bag for this challenge. But! This is a long-term thing and I’m just rolling it over to 2016. This year I hope to read – and write about! – 10 books for this challenge. 🙂

I also joined the Newberry Reading Challenge 2015 but wasn’t able to read any of the books on the Newberry Medal and Honor Roll list. And you should know me by now, I don’t give up, I just keep trying. This yearI’m trying again and I’m signing up again for the Newberry Reading Challenge 2016. I’m still only aiming for the L’Engle level…but you never know. 😉

Smiling Shelves

Do you have any suggestions of books for me to read? And what books are you planning on reading this year?

This year I will SOAR

For 3 years now I’ve stopped listing New Year’s Resolutions and instead simplified this tradition by focusing on just one word. This came about when I chanced upon One Word 365 from one of the blogs that I used to follow. The idea is to choose a word and reflect/meditate on that for the rest of the year. Live the whole year with intention, focusing on what that one word means for you.

In the last weeks of 2015 I have been praying on what my one word for this year should be. The words I had previously chosen were MOVE and FORWARD. Was I able to live the past years according to the words I had chosen? Honestly? Not entirely. 🙁 I chalk that up to forgetting about the part where I commit to living out my year with intention and focus on the word I’ve chosen. And I commit to making this year different. The word I choose is going to be my commitment to my God and to myself. Which is why I was cautious in making a choice for my ONE WORD.

And yet, no matter how I wanted to proceed with caution and choose a safe word (like joy or hope or faith) it was a different word that resonated with me.


Hmmm…Lord, SOAR? Are you sure this is what you want for me in 2016? I mean, I can barely run a 5k and you want me to soar?

My Father God believes in me more than I believe in myself, apparently. And I believe in Him. So SOAR it is. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for me.

How about you, friend? Do you have a one word for 2016? 🙂

Have a blessed and abundant year ahead. 🙂

Always with Integrity

I’ve started (and deleted) a number of blogs since 2005 but since 2009 I have always carried this badge…


What does this mean? That I will be respectful of everyone I engage with when I blog.

This is how the pledge goes:

By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge or signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me.

I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.

I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.

I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.

When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.

I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.

I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them.

It’s almost the weekend! Enjoy the days ahead. 🙂

On the Mat at Home

So a few months ago I decided to join D in yoga classes after she sent me the schedule and fees for the studio near our place of work. It was great! I was getting stretched in places that I didn’t know could be stretched and I was working up a sweat. I also noticed that I became more mindful of how I was breathing which led to my working on slowing it down during the day. (Apparently I have been breathing shallow, panting breaths.)

Unfortunately, when the girls started school I had a difficult time fitting the classes into my day. Too bad. But I wasn’t quite ready to give up my practice so it was off to the internet to find an alternative solution and lo-and-behold I find Do You Yoga, an online community that had online classes! And they have free classes too!

I’m currently doing the FREE 30-Day Yoga Challenge and it feels great! Although the challenge can be done by beginners, just in case you’re intimidated at the thought, you can start with their Yoga for Beginners. I have to admit though that nothing beats practicing at a studio with a teacher but for now this will do.

See you on the mat? 🙂

Upward Falling Me

I was about 8 or 9 years old when my parents brought me to my first Life in the Spirit Seminar with a Catholic Charismatic Community. There were other seminars and communities that followed over the course of the years. It’s been about 30 years since I became part of the renewal movement but it has never been easy. Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said that in following him we would have to pick up our cross. Mine isn’t light and it only gets heavier over the years.

The past few years have been challenging, to say the least. And there have been times when I’ve thought about putting down that cross and just living life the easiest way possible. But no matter how hard things get, there is still comfort in knowing that I have a loving God who will wrap me in his embrace and who will provide me with all that I need even before I know I need it.

Last week I was supposed to serve at a prayer gathering (I wasn’t able to but that’s another story) and this song was part of the line-up. I haven’t stopped listening to it since. It’s on a loop on my Spotify account. I’m sharing below the YouTube video of Touch The Sky sung at Lakewood Church.

And this is the story behind the song…

...I found my life when I laid it down…I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground…everything I am reaching out to surrender…

Really, that’s been His message for me all this time. Surrender. Surrender not as giving up but acknowledging that He is in control. Even if most of the time it doesn’t feel that way.

It’s only a Tuesday! The week is still ahead of us and whether you have it all planned out or are dreading the tons of things you have to get done just have a great week. God has you covered. 😉

Reading Challenge for 2015

For 2014, about half of the year through, I decided I was going to join two reading challenges. There was the Reading Bingo Challenge by Retreat by Random House and A Century of Books by Stuck in a Book, the first was somewhat manageable (or so I thought) and the second was a long-haul challenge so I thought I would be able to manage. Well, after 6 months I wasn’t able to get anything done. 🙁

But that’s okay! I am going to pick myself up and shake off the dust from this year’s reading challenge failure and move on to a challenge for 2015! (Because I can be very stubborn that way…)

I’m still going to work through the challenge of reading A Century of Books but I wanted to do one that had to be finished within a year. So I did a search of all the challenges being posted and I came across one that I think is just perfect for me as a mom of a 10 year-old reader (and two other soon-to-be-readers…I hope). When 2015 rolls around in a few days I am going to join…

2015 Newbery Reading Challenge

A Newberry Medal is awarded to authors with distinguished contributions to American Literature for Children. The Newberry Honor books, for lack of a clearer explanation, are the runners-up, but they are really good reads just the same. 🙂

Also, because No. 100 of my 101 in 1001 is to read a Newberry Medal or Honor Book for every year since it’s debut in 1922, this challenge is me hitting two birds with one stone. Oh, and I’m aiming for the L’Engle level on this one. Yes, the lowest level, but I’m being realistic for now. 😉

Any suggestions on what books to start with? 🙂

Is there still hope?

A post also known as CUKH Symposium on Sign Bilingualism Day 1

Ok so this is a very late post on the Symposium I attended back in June. My grand idea was to write about what was discussed during the daw when I got back to my room in the evening but my brain was crammed with so much information that all I had the energy to do was eat and sleep. (But I’m pretty sure I got some sightseeing and shopping inserted in there somewhere…)

I said in the first post about this Symposium that I would explain what sign bilingualism is and when the sessions started I was very confident that I had a definition for it that was universal. During the afternoon of that first day I realized that the symposium I attended had a different definition than the one I have. Bear with me as I explain as clearly as I can what our definition of sign bilingualism is over in the Philippines the definition of bilingualism as I know it, and the definition they had in Hong Kong as I understood it from the first presentations of the symposium.

Bilingualism among Deaf learners, as I know it, refers to Deaf people being able to communicate in Filipino Sign Language (FSL) and in a written language like English or Filipino. Over at Benilde we say that our Deaf program adheres to bilingualism because we attempt to develop the communication skills of our students in FSL and in written English. (We also teach them written Tagalog but I have to admit this is more difficult than teaching English…and that is already tough as it is!)

Here in Hong Kong bilingualism refers to signing in Chinese Sign Language (CSL) and speaking in Cantonese. Being able to write in Cantonese is referred to as Chinese literacy. I have to admit I had a hard time wrapping my mind around this but that’s just because back in the Philippines the signing schools don’t teach students to speak and the oral schools don’t teach students to sign.

The first day of the symposium was a half-day session that focused on the theme of Language Input.

The first two presentations of that Day One were a bit hard for me to follow…

(Note: The speakers are the people at the podium. Those standing conspicuously under the PowerPoint presentations are the sign language interpreters.)

Bencie Woll talks about why sign language is good for your brain...mostly in the context of Deaf children with cochlear implants.
Bencie Woll talks about why sign language is good for your brain…mostly in the context of Deaf children with cochlear implants.
Does early sign language input make a difference in deaf children with Auditory Brainstem Implants? This is the question that Chris Yiu answers in his presentation.
Does early sign language input make a difference in deaf children with Auditory Brainstem Implants? This is the question that Chris Yiu answers in his presentation.

It was the last two presentations that got my attention and, in a way, left me disheartened.

The third presentation was by Rachel Mayberry who talked about how infant language prepares the child’s brain to read. The lecture was a bit technical with images of the brain being presented in various scenarios like when a Deaf person who learned sign language early was given a question to answer versus a Deaf person who learned to sign late, at about 7 or 8 years old, answering the same question. (Let me just say how grateful I was to be seated beside Rochelle who is a science teacher. I believe I understood most of the presentation because of the explanations she would whisper to me when I probably looked perplexed.) Basically what I got from this presentation is that Deaf people who learn to sign at a later age have a harder time with reading comprehension in adolescence and even later in life. And that is the same for their comprehension of signing as well.

Rachel Mayberry presenting how infant language prepares the child's brain to read.
Rachel Mayberry presenting how infant language prepares the child’s brain to read.

I teach at a tertiary-level institution where the majority of our Deaf students learned to sign late…later than the age of 7 and 8. So the whole time I was listening to this presentation I was thinking, “So what the heck are we doing? If our students are at such a disadvantage why in heaven’s name are we working so hard when whatever we do won’t bring them to the level acceptable in society the workplace?”

The fourth, and last presentation for the day was by Qun Li, Gladys Tang, Chris K-M Yiu, and Scholastica Lam and they discussed the literacy development of their students in the co-enrollment program (SLCO). What I got from that talk is that the receptive vocabulary ability of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children are similar to that of hearing children but their expressive vocabulary ability is different. That means that I can expect them to understand words from what we have them read in the same level as hearing children but they will not be able to express themselves using words of the same level. Which is a bit hard for me to believe because the students that I teach have great difficulty in reading at the same level as their hearing peers. Or is the SLCO Program able to develop receptive vocabulary ability because the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students have hearing classmates? If that’s the case then I think this way of teaching is worth looking into.

So is there still hope for our Deaf learners to read and write and learn at the level of their hearing peers? How much work will it take for them and for us who teach? What are we doing wrong? And what should we be doing to teach them right? So many questions that left me a bit disappointed, and a bit frustrated, but I’d like to thank that I also felt hope, and inspiration, that we can still make a difference in Deaf Education, albeit we need to work much, much harder than the norm.

And that was it for our first day. I hope I can still post about the sessions after because it was a jam packed Day 2 and insightful Day 3. That’s what happens when you put writing off for months and months. 🙁