Reviews, Books, *FAITH, Relationships

Just a (Royal) Thought: “Spare” by Prince Harry

So, I finished reading Spare by Prince Harry in just three days. Those close to me know that I’ve always been an Anglophile ever since I was young (I used to joke that I could pass as someone who graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in History, Major in Royal Studies – if there ever was one! LOL!) — mostly due to my childhood crush on Prince William, which then transitioned to my admiration for his wife, Kate Middleton… then I visited the U.K. in 2016 and somehow my Anglophilia subsided after that. Add to that binge-watching The Crown on Netflix and suddenly, my overall “fairytale” view on the British Royal Family faded slowly.

I realized that I became fascinated with the British royal family because on the outside, they were the epitome of living the ideal (if not perfect) life. Blame it on Disney for adding fuel to my already burning interest for princes and princesses while growing up! But if there’s one thing I learned about the royal family, they’re just like any other family – imperfect, with human beings (sometimes borderline “human doings”) as family members, and a little bit dysfunctional just like the rest of us. And I don’t mean this in a bad way because truth betold, we’re all “broken” in one way or another.

“They can’t break me, I thought. Is it, I wondered, because I’m already broken?”

from “Spare” by Prince Harry

And that’s basically the overall theme I got from reading this book: brokenness. Ever heard of the term “hurt people, hurt people”? It was obvious that Prince Harry has unresolved issues and trauma within his family (all the way back from his childhood), especially because of what happened to his late mother, Princess Diana (may she rest in peace).

Prince Harry is a hurt person (aren’t we all?) and writing this book is somehow a way for him to cope. But since that “hurt” isn’t completely healed yet, he somehow “hurt” others, too, along the way — especially his family, the royal family, unfortunately.

I picked up this book because as mentioned, I’ve always been interested in the British royal family (albeit not as interested as before). What I liked about the book is first, as Prince Harry claims it, the source is himself — straight from the horse’s mouth although ghostwritten by another author. He talked about his unresolved grief about his mother’s death, his military experience, his relationship with his family (current King Charles III which he calls Pa; Prince William which he calls Willy; and the late queen, Queen Elizabeth II, which he calls Granny — may she rest in peace as well), his love story with his wife, Meghan Markle, and their growing family, and of course, his unending anger toward the British press (referred to as “paps” in the book, short for “paparazzi”). I find everything in the book relatable — even though he’s from the royal family, Prince Harry definitely gave me a glimpse of how imperfect his life is, how imperfect being a royal is — and that’s okay because yes, at the end of the day, they’re still just human beings like the rest of the world when stripped off of those titles, wealth, and whatnot. Plus, I valued my status as a “private citizen” more after reading all about his horrible experience caused by the media (and yet many people still chase after fame in this day and age — be careful what you wish for!).

Then there’s the part that I don’t like: well, it’s basically the underlying (or maybe unconscious?) motive of revenge on his own family members through words. As a devout Roman Catholic striving everyday (you know this blog’s theme, right?), I truly believe in Sr. Lucia dos Santos‘ message that the “decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family.” Yes, MARRIAGE and the FAMILY. Just look at what’s happening in our broken world today. And well, Prince Harry sure did prove this message with the way he wrote his book. Then again, we already established the fact that hurt people have a tendency to hurt others in return; I can only pray for Prince Harry that his acknowledgment of his brokenness (see quote above) will truly pave the way for his healing — and despite a very challenging feat by the looks of it, reconciliation with his royal family members… eventually.

Okay, the aforementioned “battle” needs to be discussed in another post altogether. I suggest you read Prince Harry‘s memoir, Spare, with an open mind to get a glimpse on his struggles and whatnot. However, if you end up hating and even blaming him or any of his family members after reading the book (which is quite the tendency), maybe just offer a prayer for them. I’m not one to impose my faith and religion on another person because that is a unique and personal journey for each of us. This isn’t about taking sides nor supporting this and that because at the end of the day, who are we to judge? We all have our daily struggles to begin with. So if you can’t pray for them, maybe just remember that not. one. of. us. is perfect and just like us, Prince Harry and the British royal family have their own struggles to deal with. It’s just unfortunate for them that they’ve been public figures from the time they were born.

At the end of it all, it all comes down to LOVE. That’s all we seek, really. It just so happens that in our imperfect and broken world, we search for love without realizing that we’re looking in all the wrong places and outlets. Hence, the vicious cycle of brokenness across generations. So help us God. *hint, hint*


TO GOD BE THE GLORY ALWAYS AND FOREVER!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue; those who choose one shall eat its fruit.’”
-Proverbs 18:21

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Books, Reviews

Book Review: The Tale of Juliet by Jhet Torcelino-van Ruyven

Title: The Tale of Juliet: You Have the Power to Change Your Life

Author: Jhet Torcelino-van Ruyven

Format: Paperback

In a nutshell
This is a self-published book about the “rags to riches” life story of Juliet “Jhet” Torcelino-van Ruyven on how she overcame her struggles as a poor girl in the province of Batangas, Philippines when she was still young, worked hard and studied, achieved her dreams one by one, which led to her eventually becoming one of Canada’s successful female entrepreneurs. Add to that the fact that she’s also now a bestselling author and sought-after motivational speaker, having the likes of Mark Victor Hansen (of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series) as one of her mentors.

My thoughts
This became an instant page-turner for me! Having the author as one of my kababayans (we’re both from the Philippines; although she’s now Filipino-Canadian), it was easy for me to relate to her storytelling. Sure, I have to admit that I haven’t experienced the “extreme poverty” she mentioned in the book during the early years of her life, but it opened my eyes more on the plight of some of my fellow Filipinos and really made me appreciate more what I have.

The writing part of the book is done in a very simple way, and those who are after the writing style won’t really be impressed (I actually saw one negative review on an online book store, and I was like, “why would you be after the writing?!”). But what it lacked in the “writing style” department, the book very much made up for in content and inspirational message. Heck, I even witnessed the author twice in a live speaking event, and I really love her humility in admitting that grammar isn’t really her strongest suit that’s why she left that for the experts (editors, etc.) — what she has is a really big message that inspired, inspires, and will continue to inspire the world! And isn’t that what a book really is for at the end of the day? To share a message! To inspire! And the author has done that. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “my life is my message” — and the same rings true for Jhet. Her life story on how she turned her breakup into a breakthrough, her mess into a message, her struggles into successes — that’s what will make you buy and read this book. That’s what you’ll remember (and will inspire you to take action in achieving your own dreams and helping others) even long after you read it.

With this book, you can’t help but also be motivated to turn your life story into a successful one too! 😉

Rating: 4 out of 5

*BONUS!* I was able to meet the author herself, Ms. Juliet “Jhet” Torcelino-van Ruyven with her husband, Mr. Ted van Ruyven. They were such a very nice couple and down-to-earth people! May God bless them both more! 🙂

with the author and her husband (P.S.: don’t mind the bandage on my chin; I had an infected zit but that didn’t stop me from pushing through with my day’s activities! haha)

Have you read “The Tale of Juliet,” too?
Share your thoughts by sounding off in the comments section below!

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*FAITH, Books, Gathered Thoughts

What are Your Core Values?

Even though a little late, since this is my first post for 2018, I think it’s just apt that I write about something that can guide you in knowing yourself more this year. Whatever that means! Haha! 😛 After all, in life, there are things we value and then those we don’t. But even the things we do value also have different levels of “importance” or “significance,” depending on our background, character, personality, etc. As we go through life, we continuously change — and through this, hopefully we grow and mature. As I transitioned last year in a new “season” in my life, I realized that it gave me a lot of lessons, including being firm and fighting for the things I value overall. And of course, in order to understand other values, I had to put importance first to the one I ought to highly value:

MYSELF. ❤

It’s also helpful that I’ve been reading some books that help me understand myself and others more. I’ll make some time to share with you the books that helped me in my journey, but for now, I’ll share with you these two:

This book speaks more about my professional life. I was able to read this because my (dream) workplace supplied it to me and my colleagues. We were given a copy each (yay!), and we were required to read it and take the exam in the end to assess what our strengths are. Basically, the book teaches people to focus on our strengths instead of wasting a lot of time trying to make a strength out of our weaknesses. Simply put, it’s like me focusing on my passion for the written word more because that’s something I know I’m great at, rather than getting frustated at endless numbers for something when I know I can just hire someone to do the job for me (I hate math, and the feeling’s mutual for math! Haha!).

My top five strengths (based on the exam) are 1) Connectedness (relational), 2) Input (strategic), 3) Context (strategic), 4) Belief (executing / executive), and 5) Positivity (relational). So I’m like half relational, half strategic, with a sprinkle of executing / executive. When I understood what each strength meant, I wasn’t surprised. It’s sooo me! Then again, if you want to know what these strengths really are, I highly suggest you also get a copy of the book and take your own exam. 😉

This book speaks more about my personal life. I’ve heard about the “five love languages” since time immemorial, but it was only in 2015 when I first took the quiz. I took it again after more than a year, and if there’s one thing consistent about my results, my primary love language has always been 1) Quality Time. Next are 2) Acts of Service, 3) Words of Affirmation (this used to be my second, which just means that people change! haha), 4) Gifts, and 5) Touch (I really am not a touchy person! Wahahahaha!).

my love language/s

The book was originally written for married couples, so I’m glad that the author, Gary Chapman, wrote a version for singles like me. Aside from being helpful in romantic relationships, understanding the five love languages also helps all kinds of relationships — family, friends, and even God (there’s another version of the book that’s about God and the love languages!). Interestingly enough, the author also has other books and quizzes about one’s apology and anger languages! I also read and took them, and I can say that they’re really, really helpful!! So thanks, Mr. Chapman!!! 🙂

After reading and even taking assessments, the hardest will always be the application IRL. Having knowledge is one thing; acquiring wisdom is another (I’m a firm believer in the saying, “Intelligence without wisdom is destructive.”). When I reflected about what my core values are as a person overall (as in not just me as a professional or lover, but more of me as a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, etc.), I came up with my Top 10! Hahaha! Sure, I came up with that list on my own, without any company-certified tests, but I believe that aside from the One from up above, the only one who knows me best is yes… ME. 😀

But of course I won’t share with you my entire Top 10 for brevity’s sake! If you’re close to me, I can just share it with you in person some other time! (To my best friend and tesh, Nour, are you ready?! Mwahahahahaha!)

Anyway, I’ll be sharing only my Top 3 Core Values. They are:

1) Love – Love in all forms, not just “romance.” This includes love for my family, my friends, and yes, myself. Most especially, this core value of mine speaks about the kind of love that’s like Jesus‘ — the most difficult one to follow, yet the most fulfilling one at the same time as well!

2) Faith – I’m a devout and practicing Roman Catholic Christian. I was born one, and I’d die one. But no, I don’t claim to be perfect — in fact, I’m far from being one! That’s why I need Jesus. That’s why my faith is truly, madly, and deeply important to me. This also includes my advocacy on chastity / purity — which I already wrote here.

3) Hope – My description of this core value can be summed up in four words: positive. outlook. in. life! Those people who really know me can testify that I have a very positive outlook in life despite all the setbacks/trials that come my way. Even my strengths showed “positivity” in it! Need I say more?

Love. Faith. Hope. Sounds familiar? Well, yes. Just read the book of 1 Corinthians in the Bible, and you’ll come across those words in a different order. Those are my Top 3! I can only hope and pray that I’ll be given the strength to always execute these in my life properly, and if not, be humble enough to never stop learning from my mistakes and shortcomings. 🙂

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13:13

How about you? Do you know what your core values are?
And are you willing to be firm and fight for them?

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