Hello everyone, the moderator of our alumni book club wrote me an email a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share with everyone who may be interested apropos of current events.
“Books are a form of political action. Books are knowledge. Books are reflection. Books change your mind.” -Toni Morrison
In light of the current moment, many resources and books have been circulating that may promote understanding and facilitate meaningful conversations about injustice. As such, we understand that your reading priorities may be shifting directions. We support book club members in reading whatever literature speaks to them at this time. We will continue to send information and questions related to our summer reading period. Feel free to jump in to the Online Forum (http://tamusa.pbc.guru) whenever you’d like to engage with the group or to share and discuss some of the books you are reading independently this summer.
Additionally, we imagine our book club members are seeking books and other resources that speak to the preexisting and immediate conditions from which many communities suffer. Such topics might include justice, equity, equality, diversity, the systems that built, support, block and/or degrade these principles, how we got here, and ways in which we can be agents of change in working to build a better world. In line with this goal, we think you may find the following works to be of interest and of value on that journey:
When considering where to buy books, you may be interested in checking out this list put together by Lithub of black-owned independent bookstores that offer ordering/shipping options.
Similarly, we welcome members to share book recommendations in our Book Recommendations thread within the Introductions and General Topics category in the Online Forum (http://tamusa.pbc.guru). Please know that we believe in the importance of this community reading books from a range of voices and perspectives, and we sincerely welcome your input.
Just when I think I’m going to be doing haikus for the rest of the year due to my tight schedule…
Blogger “Normal Happenings” has tagged me in an interesting challenge that seems to coincide with a random daily horoscope I received a few days ago from a free Vedic astrology app called Yodha. (By the way, I like your new branding! It’s bold and glowing like a neon sign. 🙂 )
Happy new year! For those of you who are new to my blog, welcome! Thank you so much for following my blog, and I will be swinging by to read yours as well. I see a lot of new faces out there, and I just want to say hi! This is my fun, personal blog where I typically write about all sorts of subjects in a variety of formats: poetry, story, photo-story, music. I’m about to start another blog for school related stuff, but that’ll be shared on another post!
You may wonder how did I encounter Vedic astrology? Well! One day, I was chatting with a young lady about the staggering synchronicity in both our lives, and she told me about how she regularly talks to her Vedic astrologist for all sorts of decisions. She said that she made some of the best business decisions of her life with his guidance and that it is a lot more accurate than western astrology. I was skeptical because there are a lot of quacks out there as you well know, but intrigued nevertheless.
So, I downloaded the free Yodha Daily Horoscope app where authentic Vedic astrologists from Nepal share with you their insights. I started learning more about it. Apparently there are Indian universities that offer advanced courses in Vedic astrology despite scientists protesting about it being a pseudoscience. Jyotisha is the traditional system of Hindu astrology. Its etymology is from the Sanskrit term, “jyoti” meaning “light heavenly body”. The term Vedic astrology came about later around the 70s.
Below are the sort of messages I get. This is one I received this morning:
“Due to your nature, you are a rather positive person. You are someone who can find a silver lining in most of the situations. Perhaps you are aware of this gift and know how to implement it. At times, you can put a smile on your face even when the circumstances don’t naturally warrant it and in doing so you can spread good vibrations to others. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that not everyone has that gift and you may be dealing with someone who doesn’t. The planets are encouraging you to show how it’s done.”
Astrologer P. Bhattarai
Anyway, back to the horoscope that inspired this post! She mentioned how when time and money permits, I enjoy traveling to an exotic locale and experiencing new things. However, lately, I may be seeking a more spiritual experience which may not be a physical location: a journey to understand myself better, gain a deeper understanding of myself, be more conscious and aware. I thought Daily Inkling’s prompt might help me explore this arena!
“Write 24 talking points between current you and you from seven years ago. Consider teaching yourself something you’ve picked up since then.“
Seven years ago was the year 2013. A pivotal point in my life: the beginning of a lot of new things, drastic changes to my lifestyle. This is a rare occasion when all of my category boxes on my blog have been checked! I’ve chosen 24 random topics to discuss in no particular order: then vs. now!
2013: Grocery store cashier – Served a lot of people from all walks of life! I love to meet new people and listening to their stories.
2020: Technical writer for a cybersecurity firm & vacation business manager – nice balance between the two!
I read a lot of books during both years, but I’ll just mention two for now:
2013:Shantaram, an epic, philosophical tale of an Australian convict opening up clinics in the slums of India
“Some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. Some things are so sad that only your soul can do the crying for them.”
2020:The Atlas of Happiness: The Global Secrets of How to be Happy – People worldwide share unique testimonials of what made them happy
Optimism isn’t frivolous: it’s necessary. If we feel hopeless all the time, if we’re always in crisis, the natural response is to give up and stop trying altogether. But we can’t let snark win. Problems are there to be solved. Challenges, to be met. We can be aware of the bad while also being mindful of how we can make it better. … Empathy is essential, and learning what matters to people on the other side of the world helps us all. Understanding how different nations view happiness can impact how we interact with one another going forward.
2013: Friends were there to lift my spirits, give me warm cup of tea when going through a new challenge, have fun in the cosplay contests at school. Really enjoyed checking out the Ghostbusters!
2020: All of the above still applies, but my friendships seem to have more depth and honesty. Also, true friendship has a way of helping me see things in myself that I didn’t think was capable.
2013: I took my family and friends to check out the Arboretum gardens in Dallas, TX during special holidays like Mother’s Day
2020: I hope to visit Vanderpool, TX sometime and bask in the warm glow of the “lost maple trees” during autumn
2013: Infatuated by a gentle young man I met one beautiful autumn day while feeding the birds at the pier down by the lake. A rather electrifying meeting, though the relationship never developed due to my fear of commitment.
2020: Enjoying a long term relationship of 4 years. Its been a dream come true filled fun adventures, humor, and passion with the normal ups and downs of life.
2013: Attended community college on a digital forensics academic track. The most memorable project was where I developed a website for a hypothetical geologist living in Colorado. He was studying various types of gemstones he found during his excavations. I researched stories of legends surrounding their origin.
2020: Currently working on an online masters program for technology and innovation management track. The most memorable project so far involved a hypothetical four million dollars granted to me to develop a civil engineering software application from start to finish.
7) Volunteer Cause
2013: I worked with a group of friends with Habitat for Humanity. Learned a lot about house building and painting!
2020: Currently helping a school teacher collect cans and plastics with the Rotary Club for a contest with Pepsi Co.
2013: Had a thing for barre workouts!
2020: About to do Hot Yoga with my cowokers!
2013: Back when Google+ was around, I heavily got involved with a sustainability discussion group for many hours. The discussions intrigued me. I wanted to learn how to be eco-friendly and be up to date with all of it.
2020: I’m itching to get plugged into community initiatives regarding sustainability issues. They’re looking for ideas, and I hope to contribute in someway!
2013: I fancied the idea of being a student blogger on campus. I applied, but was turned down for the position. It may have been because the writing sample I sent was about the sound of a lovely bell ringing off in the distance as I was walking around the campus lake to class. Maybe they want more samples about student life? 🙂
Below is the walkway of the lovely campus I used to walk by often.
2020: Didn’t matter! Here I am blogging my heart out on my own without anyone else’s approval! I don’t know why I thought of it sooner! 😉
Blogging my thoughts has been a freeing, exciting experience. Thank you to my readers for making the experience so worthwhile!
12) Fashion Interests
2013: Bold floral-print Sunday dresses
2020: Bandage skirts, Currently love them! Sorry no picture of me in them, but I love to wear them with leggings
2013: 30 Rock, CSI Miami, Supernatural, Glee
2020: Meteor Garden, Witcher, Miraculous Lady Bug
2013: Frozen, Iron Man III, Man of Steel, The Croods, Monsters University
2020: Star Wars (2019), want to see Mulan, Artemis Fowl, Sonic
There were a lot of news stories that deeply affected me and my path trajectory.
2013: Nelson Mandela’s death, Boston Marathon bombing, Edward Snowden
Nelson Mandela was a leader whom I was captivated by. Boston Marathon and Edward Snowden prompted my interests in security.
The news story above impacts me because it deals with one of my favorite childhood pastimes. My first major Lego project was a pirate ship. Always fascinated by adventure even then! Will be going to a Lego Brick Fiesta event with some friends this year to indulge in this interest!
2013: Followed Maria Sharapova tennis matches quite a bit since I practiced developing my forearm swing at the tennis courts!
2020: I might go check out some Spurs basketball players play! Matt Bonner signed my basketball. He was so down-to-earth and friendly!
2013: I was really curious about consumer drones. Always felt tempted to buy one to take awesome aerial photos and videos from the sky!
2020: Right now, I’m super curious about the Click and Grow smart garden!
18) Favorite Hang-out spots
2013: White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX
I enjoyed walking sections around this park almost every day. Seeing the scenery change with the seasons is a great beauty. I once walked around the whole park which took four hours! There are some incredibly beautiful views, expansive hiking trails, fishing spots. There’s also a well known ghost story as well about the Lady of White Rock Lake! One of my favorite memories is sitting on a wooden bench on top of a hill and seeing the sunset as the breeze is blowing the tall grasses.
2020: Riverwalk & Pearsall Park in San Antonio, TX
I enjoy walking downtown and checking out the riverboats with curious spectators gliding by in this river. At night, it’s bustling with tourist activity. Families and couples are dining in the restaurants. Some of my favorite memories here was when my brother visited me and we got to listen to a beautiful mariachi band singing a lovely serenade and when my boyfriend and I celebrated Christmas slow dancing in the island platform.
I love to go jogging here with my exercise buddy early mornings! The fields and the hills are incredible. Breathing in the fresh cold air is refreshing.
2013: I was trying to continue my Spanish studies on Babbel
2020: Duolingo’s mascot, a little owl, has been guiding me in learning Spanish and Vietnamese basics. It’s been fun learning from their podcasts too!
2013: For an English literature assignment, I had the opportunity to watch a live Shakespearean comedic play, Taming of the Shrew.
2020: Curious about the Miss Saigon musical in town!
2013: Fascinated by Google’s chart that compiled deforestation rates by country
2020: Currently checking out Mongobay’s environmental snippet summary
2013: Learned about Healthcare.gov’s crashing website as millions of Americans tried to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. Stress is relative though!
2020: Everyone around me is getting the flu! Got my flu shot. Learning about personalized AI medical care innovations
2013: Played Juice Cubes a bit!
2020: Curious about Smash Hit and Megaman Zero!
24) Quote I lived by
2013: Eleanor Roosevelt impacted me from an early age.
“Do the thing you think you cannot do. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
2020: Right now, these below! More to come later!
Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
That was fun! See you soon everyone! Hope you enjoyed it! 🙂
My life before simple A linear path filled with a fairly predictable routine Then, one hot summer day… The library presented an irresistible challenge Itching with anticipation! Waited for what seemed like eternity! The mission was to read 20 books! The reward? A yo-yo! The latest spinning craze Allowing gravity to unwind the string Lighting up the world of so many participating children Embarking the reading journey while “walking the dog around the world” 😉
Years later Just when I think the yo-yo has disappeared into the locked vault of yesteryear’s fads My serious concentration questioning employers at a cyber job fair was broken!
Genuinely smiling Filled with overwhelming nostalgia A blue yo-yo! Gleaming against the black tablecloth Idaho National Laboratory “You made my day!” Your motto? The energy of innovation! Indeed! 🙂
Sarah Josepha Hale is widely known for her nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, and she published a collection of poems called, “The Genius of Oblivion” . She campaigned for the American holiday of Thanksgiving by writing letters to five U.S. presidents. Abe Lincoln was the one convinced enough to support legislation to make it a national holiday. She also had correspondence with Matthew Vassar to offer educational opportunities to women. Her first novel, Northwood, was an anti-slavery work that established her literary reputation.
Hope you are enjoying your Saturday morning! For those of you in the U.S., hope you enjoyed Independence Day! You ever had one of those days where you wake up, and all of the sudden you wondered where did the past two months have gone? I’m sorry I’ve been out without warning! Life just took me up in a whirlwind of events & activities:
Family reunion – Lots of fun times reconnecting with family and enjoying delicious food
Brother’s car accident – Thankfully, he’s fine though initially had neck strain
Purging my space of clutter – Primarily having a difficult time throwing away my lecture notes and things of sentimental value
Master’s program classes – Fun to imagine myself as a CIO making decisions
Hello everyone! I first saw this challenge on Winnie’s blog in which I enjoyed the beauty she explores. Sadje at Keep it Alive has found this scavenger hunt, and she invited her followers along. So, I decided to tag along as well!
Find something that makes you happy
Currently I’m feeling good as I am building a website for a church while listening to an enjoyable tropical deep house playlist. I’m learning so many concepts! I love coding with a programming language and creating something beautiful out of the lines of characters.
Something to give someone else to make them smile
I recently helped fund raise to help a friend build his own computer by selling books. It was a lot of fun to help him build it from scratch and a fantastic learning experience! It’s a tight squeeze, but slowly getting there. Once the zip ties are in place, we’ll wrap it up. 😉
Find one thing that you love to smell
I enjoy visiting the Pier 1 Import store. Colorful, bright, with a peaceful ambiance. I came across a lovely scent “Pink Champagne” as I stopped by the candle section.
Find one thing you enjoy looking at
I enjoyed viewing this fun pillow with flamingos. 🙂
Find something that’s your favorite color
Stopped by this dream of a store called Sam Moon’s! I was “window shopping” as I enjoyed checking out these fun, unique accessories. Tassels and pineapples are trending!
Find something that you are thankful for in nature
I bought two bonsai plants at a nursery for my brother’s college graduation and mom’s mother’s day gift. They both really enjoy plants.
Find something that you can use to make a gift for someone
It’s teacher’s appreciation week and my last day volunteering with the youth literacy group this year. I made gifts for the teacher and the two boys. Hopefully they’ll enjoy it!
Find something that is useful for you
This book caught my attention while hanging out at a friend’s place. The title stood out to me on the shelf, and my friend let me borrow it. According to Amazon, Mr. Kahneman’s book explores how we think and our cognitive biases in a nutshell. Something I will skim to explore why I make the choices I do! 🙂
Well that wraps it up! Much gratitude to all of you for stopping by! Hope you find pockets of gratitude in your lives! See you in a bit! 😉
“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.”
Fueling the Desire to Rise Up to the Challenge
This past school year I have been volunteering with a local youth literacy group helping improve the reading levels of two second graders. It all started when I was listening to a young girl I encountered while helping sell books and other types of media at a local flea market with my friends. She told me she hated reading and as a teacher’s pet, she only reads during school.
I have to admit that her statement stung a bit. The love of reading has been instilled in me ever since I was a young girl. The library is my second home and it was where I felt the mental freedom to explore. Even if it wasn’t hers, there are so many stories out there that I think she would enjoy!
At my school, there was a research symposium at my school where I read the poster about literacy research. According to its community profile, San Antonio has the 2nd highest illiteracy rate in Texas. According to the US Census 2005, even though it ranks 7th among US cities in population, it is 60th in literacy. (Source: City of San Antonio Planning and Development Services Department. Statistics and Map Book. Rev. February, 2010. )
After catching up with a former colleague who is now the youngest state representative in our state legislature and listening to his teaching experiences, I felt inspired and decided to sign up to be a volunteer to understand the common problems that these kids were facing.
Reading Buddy Experience
“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.”
I was pretty excited to learn more about the two students I was assigned to. I enjoyed learning about the boys’ families and friends, what they love, and what they want to be when they grow up. It was difficult at first because they didn’t like the books that the program had selected. So I invited the boys to browse the shelves for a book they would like. They introduced me to the world of Mo Willems. Apparently, they already treasured the adventures in any book written by Mo Willems.
“If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.”
I showed them an atlas, and they seemed really excited to learn that there was a world outside their bubble. They enjoyed following along the words of my origami book. I read them stories from RL Stine and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I really enjoyed this experience, and come to deeply care about these kids.
“Fairy tales in childhood are stepping stones throughout life, leading the way through trouble and trial. The value of fairy tales lies not in a brief literary escape from reality, but in the gift of hope that goodness truly is more powerful than evil and that even the darkest reality can lead to a Happily Ever After. Do not take that gift of hope lightly. It has the power to conquer despair in the midst of sorrow, to light the darkness in the valleys of life, to whisper “One more time” in the face of failure. Hope is what gives life to dreams, making the fairy tale the reality.”
Good morning everyone! Tales from the Mind of Kristian tagged me for Rory’s challenge on creative writing a few weeks ago. Thanks Kristian! He wrote about what he learned in a creative writing class he took which I found thought provoking. Here are my two quotes that I wanted to explore!
“Time passes, as the novelist says. The single most useful trick of fiction for our repair and refreshment: the defeat of time. A century of family saga and a ride up an escalator can take the same number of pages. Fiction sets any conversion rate, then changes it in a syllable. The narrator’s mother carries her child up the stairs and the reader follows, for days. But World War I passes in a paragraph. I needed 125 pages to get from Labor Day to Christmas vacation. In six more words, here’s spring.”
I thought the above quote was interesting because it made me think of two books in particular: “Airframe” by Michael Crichton and “The Glory Field by Walter Dean Meyers. Both have roughly the same amount of pages, yet the entire story of Airframe takes place in roughly 3 days whereas The Glory Field covers the lives of several generations of a family line! Fellow writers, you can be a time lord! 😉
“Evocative memories seared onto the writer’s unconscious mind forms the essential cadence that brokers a writer’s telltale, shadowy light. Floundering in the commodious darkness, the writer’s seeks to discover a ray of lightness that inhabits the darkest recesses of their fitful humanity.”
Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning” came to mind after reading Harper’s post. I read this book during my early college experiences. He survived 4 concentration camps and somehow found purpose and meaning behind these experiences.
“What is to give light must endure burning.” ― Victor Frankl
Wow! Again, I feel humbled and honored. Thank you! I have been nominated by Laura Bailey who posts about her musings, adventures, hiking, a love of Ireland, and other experiences. 🙂 I enjoy her poetry! I’ve been grateful for her prompts which were a guide in several of my stories here on this blog. She’s a resilient woman who “wears many shoes” which inspired the title of her blog, “All the Shoes I Wear“. She’s been a supportive, encouraging influence on the blogosphere. We enjoy her sense of humor and her presence!
What is the Sunshine Blogger Award? The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to bloggers by other bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring.
Sunshine Blogger Award Rules: -Thank the blogger who nominated you. -Answer the 11 questions asked. -Nominate 5 other bloggers and ask them 5 new questions. -List the rules and include the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.
Who is your best friend and what do you have in common? My best friend’s name is Rose. We met when we were teenagers in the cafeteria of the middle school we both attended and 18 years later, we’re still friends today. We’ve been through a lot together. We also supported and encouraged each other to reach our wildest dreams! Recently attended her wedding! Though we have our differences, we also have quite a bit in common!
Avid readers & curious, questioning minds
Long distance runners on the track team
Enjoy the arts such as singing & painting
Love to sew & design our own fashions
Traveled to France when we were kids
Enjoy Celine Dion’s songs
Compassionate & sensitive personalities
Come from big families with varied personalities
Christ followers though different spiritual backgrounds
What is your favorite place to go and why? Tough one to answer because I’ve traveled to many places that I love! So, I’m going to go with a favorite location nearest to me: the Riverwalk. I love walking along the path next to this man-made river in the city at night. I love how it’s crackling with activity at the restaurants and bars! I enjoy listening to the mariachi bands that occasionally play their romantic ballads on stage. I love watching the cosplayers walk around in their unique, hand-made outfits during anime convention season.
If you watch television, what is your favorite show? Again, tough one to answer because I’ve watched a lot of engaging shows in the past! I like a lot of stuff! So I’ll just go through a FEW here. 🙂
Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt is hilarious!
Chuck is also a funny comedy I enjoy!
Just finished watching “Haven” which totally caught my attention with its sci-fi mystery and connection to Steven King’s story “The Colorado Kid”.
Also, I have a fascination with Korean dramas! I finished “Strong Woman Do Boon Soon”, “Man to Man”, ” 12 Years Promise”
Life does not feel complete without the Star Trek Voyager crew!
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an exciting tale of the aftermath of two brothers trying to revive their mother from the dead.
What is the book that you would recommend that everyone read? Difficult to choose because it depends on the person! The bible has impacted my life… “Teachings on Love” by Thich Nhat Hanh
What is your favorite thing to do on a daily basis? I’m a tactile person. I love messing with these two-toned glitter throw pillows! Rubbing my hands back and forth over the sequins helps me relieve stress. It’s oddly satisfying… 🙂
Share an interesting fact about your life. I once built and programmed a Lego robot that could push small balls.
What is one word that describes you best? Explain. Broad-minded. 🙂 My posts have demonstrated this quality.
If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be and why? I’m very blessed, and there’s not much I would change, though I want to change jobs eventually. I would like a job that would pay me for what I deserve, allow me to develop my talents and interests, and open up new avenues for exploration.
What do you consider to be the priority of your life? Family, Faith, Learning
Tell us your favorite author and why. These questions have got to be more specific! There are so many favorites that I have in each genre:
Michael Crichton: Love his advanced, fast-paced, sci-fi worlds
Dan Brown: Enjoy how his characters explores esoteric research, also action packed
JK Rowling: Childhood favorite- I stood in lines outside the store just to get the next Harry Potter book.
Douglas R. Hofstadter who wrote Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid in which the density satisfies my mathematical inclinations.I enjoy stories that have a detective as a protagonist. Rex Stout sums it up!
What is one thing that you wish everyone knew about you? Sometimes, when people first meet me they might find me boring on the surface. I feel like people have pegged me to be a certain way. Yet, I have such a wild imagination and fantasies that I’ve always wanted to pursue. 🙂
Again you’re welcome to respond. If not that’s okay! Just wanted to recognize you today! 🙂
Questions to Nominees
1) Where do you get your inspiration from?
2) Where do you draw your strength from in life?
3) Is there a meaningful book you’d recommend to your readers?
4) What is one experience that has changed the direction of your life?
5) What is one song that resonates with who you are?