A Snicker of Magic


A Snicker of Magic


Natalie Lloyd

The Book (credits from Goodreads)

Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.
But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck’s about to change. A “word collector,” Felicity sees words everywhere—shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog’s floppy ears—but Midnight Gulch is the first place she’s ever seen the word “home.” And then there’s Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity’s never seen before, words that make Felicity’s heart beat a little faster.
Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she’ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that’s been cast over the town . . . and her mother’s broken heart.

Normally, this is not how I write reviews. But, I don’t have anything to say about this except that, I felt that I connected so much with the story. Not because I wander like the Felicity and her family but more because of finding a home. Moving to another country like me and my kids did recently is as overwhelming as it was stressful. The amount of adjustment not only comes with the miles we travelled or the time difference from home. There’s the weather too, the lifestyle, the currency and of course the language. To fit in with the community that we chose to live is quite a pressure. I am like walking under the sun where there is too much brightness that I have to squint my eyes shut to be able to see. There is so much to take in just to get started. My husband tried so hard to make us feel like we never left home and for that I am soooo grateful. Just like how Cleo accommodated Felicity and her family for them to feel that home is where they belong.  Like everyone else who is new to a community , I searched for fellow Filipinos in the area. Once or twice I spot a couple of Filipinos in the grocery. I made extra effort to be in their way and to smile extra sweetly hoping that it will strike a match to start a conversation. Apparently, I wasn’t that lucky. The best that I get is just a nod and a smile back.  Life must have been so fast and time is quick here that to stop for a light talk may cause a huge delay. Well, these are the times where I wish that beedles like Jonah Pickett are true,-just like in this book. Felicity was so blessed to find a great friend that easy and has made her feel welcome. Like Felicity, I will never let go of the hope. Because hope pushed people to do more and be better.

Anyhow, they always say that immigrating is such a huge move it will take away your every breath and it did. But, a good friend told me that when I feel down and homesick, I have to count my blessings.  The new house is perfect and the neighborhood is quiet and hopefully will continue to be safe. The next door neighbor is a man with a kid but he doesn’t have a wife, so that means I don’t have a lady to girl-talk with. However, he has a kid who instantly become my kids’ playmate. My family is complete and we don’t communicate over Skype or phone calls anymore from miles away. We can now sit and share dinner and talk on how our days went. I continue to pray that a snicker of magic will linger around us in our lifetime that these blessings will never end and for that I am always thankful.

Like Felicity, I will always value family… because family matters, family is everything and family is life.

P.S. – The ice cream flavors featured in the story sounds so yummy. I am always an ice cream lover and that book cover is colorful and beautiful.

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

The Truth About AliceThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished reading this short, slim and wonderful story all in one seating. I guess, I am not the only one who did this tho. I find it typical, specially that its setting was from a small town of whom residents knows each and everyone’s business. What I love from this story is that it is narrated by different voices of the characters. At first, I thought Alice, the main character would have been the one narrating from the start but what surprised me was her voice was the conclusion and somehow made the ending of the book a lot more sweeter. i can literally feel her pain and confusion from all the rejections that the whole town has given to her. Branded as slut and murderer for a teenager girl is way more than traumatic.

Usually, to be able to get to the climax of the story a long narration of how conflicts started comes first. Not this one. It gets straight to the point, presented the conflicts while carefully throwing in there flashback scenes. How I wish all teenagers will tread this book. their innocence and their hunger for attention and popularity that would result to gossip, lying, story-making and bullying can seriously harm a person’s life. This book offers so much learning and is highly recommended.

View all my reviews

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd


I was watching the Oscars 2014 the night before I started reading this book. Like I usually do when I see high-rated books like this, I dont come to read its reviews because I want to see for myself why it was rated as such. I swear, I can totally picture out Lupita Nyog’o for the movie “12 Years A Slave” in the character of Hetty “Handful” Grimke’.

I’m not really a big fan of stories prior to the Civil Wars and of those telling us about Slavery in the South. For me, that was helpless and painful. However, I admire the writers of today who diligently do their homework and efficiently can tell us the stories that happened hundreds of years ago in a very delicate manner. Sue Monk Kidd has taught me more than a student can learn in American History lectures. The injustice, the ugliness of this terrifying and horrible reality of slavery.

Sarah M. Grimke’ and her sister Angelina are among history’s first female heroes. The brave siblings who devote their lives to the abolition of slavery and to the women’s rights movement in the 1800’s. Sarah’s character has made me realized that in life, a person will feel empty not unless one will find the purpose of one’s existence regardless of the cruelty and danger that is waiting along the way upon achieving such purpose.

When I was little, my mother always tell me that the best wealth that a person can have is Education. My favorite part of the book was when Sarah teaches Handful to read.

Sue Monk Kidd has written in her notes, at the end of her novel that the words of Professor Julius Lester has inspired her a lot. It said-“History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.” The stories of Sarah and Angelina Grimke, together with the courageous Handful and her mom Charlotte of which Kidd, has delivered to us readers with great full amount of respect and admiration. This novel has touched me in so many ways and more than I can imagine.
<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/6727884-cel”>View all my reviews</a>

If you can’t say something nice, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING AT ALL!!

Such a pity or should I say, such a shame???. Netizens keep on complaining and criticizing on how things are going on with the Typhoon Yolanda victims. What’s worse?- the very people who are so LOUD with their complains are the ones who haven’t been to the site. Some who are not even here in the country. The ones who hasn’t help with the relief goods operations and hasn’t even touch/sorted/repacked/distributed a single bag of relief goods. To donate cash or in kind really helps, but, please do not forget that the cash and in kind donations can’t make themselves reach the mouth and hands of the victims if not for the LGU/NGO and volunteers who does the dirty work of sorting,repacking and distributing. Clearing operations of road and typhoon debris is not an easy task. “Quit your yackin’ and whinin’!!!” You don’t have robots and machines as your fellow countrymen. You elected “HUMANS” as government officials and volunteers. So, expect us to be slow, or, you might as well come out and help! An additional manpower from you might speed things up!


A Nation’s Prayer

As I am writing this post, our province is under alert for Tropical Storm “Zoraida” Signal#1. Detected within the Philippines’ Area of Responsibility right behind the super typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. No words can ever express the grief and sadness that my beloved country is facing. To hear the creepy sound of the whistling wind and the loud rain that never seem to stop falling is leaving a picture in my mind that even words of comfort can never calm, except of course, -a prayer.

I would like to share with you all a prayer written by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, as a call to every Filipinos to our faith and be strong as one nation. This prayer was first recited by Ms. Kris Aquino during KrisTV.



By: Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas


Lord we are in great need. Like infants we cry to you, do not abandon us in our distress.

We kneel in disbelief! How could you, dear Lord,

have allowed this to happen to us, who call on your holy name.

Have you abandon us Lord? Are you punishing us for our sins against you?

We have been crying for days and our eyes have run dry.

But, our grief is still very deep, our wounds keep bleeding

and our hearts are confused and anxious.

Our tears are not enough to wash away our sadness.

Tama na po! Hindi na po namin kaya!

Lord, we believe in You and we trust in You in the midst all of these.

Today, we renew our faith and hope in you, Lord.

The super typhoon was strong but our faith in You is stronger.

Houses have been blown away; lives have been swallowed by raging waters;

Winds have brought us havoc leaving many orphans,- but we will stand from the rubbles,

and change this nightmare into a new day of new hopes and new dreams and new visions.

Marami mang bahay ang nawasak, buhay na nilamon ng nagngangalit na tubig..

Marami mang naulila… muli kaming babangon mula sa pagkalugmok,

At mula sa isang bangungungot ay gigising sa isang bagong araw,

Dala ay bagong pag-asa, bagong pangarap at bagong tingin sa hinaharap.

You can command the winds and the rains to cease.

Please Lord, spare us from more typhoons and storms and earthquakes!

We feel bruised from all sides, battered from top to bottom and beaten inside out!

Please consider our suffering more than we can face.

Tama na po!

But, if it is your will that we endure all these calamities so that we may be cleansed and

strengthen as a nation, we bow down to accept your holy and mysterious will.

The only grace we seek is for you to assure us – that You love the Philippines;

That you will never leave us orphans.

Your love is more than enough for us to face all storms.

With You dear Lord, we will look at the face of death and remain steadfast and unafraid,

Because, love is stronger even than death.


Pero kung kalooban mo Panginoon, na malampasan namin ang lahat ng kalamidad na dumating sa amin, para kami ay maging malinis at mas matibay bilang isang bansa….

Buong pananalig namin itong tinatanggap.

Ang tanging hinihiling namin Panginoon, naway patuloy mong mahalin ang Pilipinas,

At kailanma’y wag mo kaming pababayaan at uulilain.

Ang pag-ibig mo Panginoon, ay sapat na para makayanan naming harapin anumang bagyo.

Kasama ka Panginoon, anumang pagsubok, kami ay magiging matatag,

Hindi matitinag, dahil alam naming’ ang pagmamahal mo ay higit na mas makapangyarihan,

Kahit pa sa kamatayan.

Amen. Amen.

May Your will be done. Stay with us.


Sign the Petition Now!

This video has earned tons of reactions. Some agreed and helped by spreading the video and sharing it online, while some Filipinos felt they were being disrespected by using a Filipino girl as computer model. I, on the other hand, focused more on the goal of catching these Webcam Child Sex Tourism criminals. The end justifies the means. I am signing the petition now!

Terre des Hommes of the Netherlands with Avaaz.org, has created an online petition to make governments to have a  proactive investigation policies in order to protect children against webcam child sex tourism. The petition starts today and can be signed through Avaaz or via youtube.com/sweetie.




(video credits by YouTube)

KLM Airlines’ denial of Filipino WYD delegate’s flight hit

I am sharing this article published by Philippine Daily Inquirer, written by Niña P. Calleja. I have my own share of discrimination from other nationalities in the past but there is nothing that is more hurting and disrespectful as this KLM Airline staff did to Miss Arjean Marie Belco. To be an airline employee, one should be expected to have high respects to people regardless of nationality, gender, ethnicity,appearance or social status. Everyone has the right to travel. We can’t deny the fact that not everyone has the chance or opportunity to. I hope the Philippines Commision of Human Rights will eventually look at this case instead of them defending criminals/kidnappers who were shot dead, as in the recent shoot out in Davao City.

Please take time to read the article below and tell me what you think.


KLM Airlines’ denial of Filipino WYD delegate’s flight hit

By Niña P. Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—An 18-year-old indigenous Filipino woman who was en route to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for World Youth Day was denied boarding on her onward flight on July 20 at the Kuala Lumpur airport, because personnel of KLM Airlines said she appeared “not ready to travel” even if she had a folder with full documentation supporting her trip to Brazil.

The incident involving Arjean Marie Belco of Bukidnon’s Talaandig tribe was posted on the social networking site Facebook in a letter of complaint from Goodxorg, the sponsor of her Brazil trip.

According to the Facebook post, Belco went through immigration in Malaysia without incident but was not allowed to board her connecting flight to Rio de Janeiro by a KLM employee identified as Mr. Shawa who said that Belco appeared “not ready to travel” and “that he was doubtful” about her trip, “even if she had a folder full of documentation.”

“Arjean was denied her right to travel. This could also be perceived as a possible case of discrimination based on appearance, gender, ethnicity, nationality, age or social status,” Goodxorg said in its post.

Belco’s Brazil trip was shouldered by Goodxorg and its partner Cartwheel Foundation.org., which pooled donations from all over the world to send the BS Education student to the Catholic event.

The airline employee allegedly barraged Belco with questions casting doubts on the legitimacy of her trip. She was asked, “Why is your passport so new?” “Your ticket is too cheap and purchased yesterday.” “Why (are you) flying through Malaysia if there are flights from the Philippines?” and “How much money (do) you have?”

The Brazil trip is Belco’s first outside the country, according to her sponsors, which explains her new passport. They also explained that the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Rio de Janeiro was approximately $1,000 cheaper than KLM’s Manila to Rio flight.

Belco showed airline personnel a bank statement from Cartwheel Foundation showing sufficient funds. She had $100 and P3,370 on her for emergencies and meals before her connecting flights to Brazil. She was also carrying clippings of media stories published in the Philippines about her trip.

But Goodxorg lamented that the papers and calls from the group were not enough for KLM.

The airline employee, Mr. Shawa, told the staff of Goodxorg over the phone that there was nothing he could do and that another ticket had to be bought. The group was required to get in touch with the Dutch Embassy in Malaysia, the Facebook post said.

“He was even laughing while listening to our side. We believe this is unacceptable,” the group said.

The nonprofit group Goodxorg (Good X or Good Exchanges) is led by Luis Petzhold, a Brazilian filmmaker and youth advocate, and Risa Halaguena, a Filipina lawyer and writer. Sending Belco to Brazil to attend World Youth Day, an international Catholic event to be held from July 23 to 28, is a pilot project of the group.

According to its Facebook page, Good X is “all about experiential learning. We believe that travel, culture and creativity should be appreciated and nurtured at a young age.”

In its letter posted on Facebook, Goodxorg said Belco showed the KLM staff the address and contact info of her host family in Brazil, and that she requested the airline staff to contact her sponsors in the Philippines to verify the information she gave. But the KLM staff denied the request.

The student also showed her folder of documents, which included her proof of enrollment in Pamulaan College and the University of South Eastern Philippines, and certification that she is a Cartwheel Foundation scholar being sponsored by Goodxorg and Cartwheel for the trip.

The Facebook post also said that Goodxorg contacted KLM reservations for pertinent information on the trip to Brazil before purchasing the ticket.

Read more: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/81153/klm-airlines-denial-of-filipino-wyd-delegates-flight-hit#ixzz2ZpE8ej6x

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