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!

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?

I would have what I want, but I wouldn’t know “Him”

waiting = knowing more of Him

Wait

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said,
“Child, you must wait.”
“Wait? You say, wait!” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is Your hand shortened? Or have You not heard?
By faith, I have asked, and am claiming Your Word.

“My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and You tell me to WAIT?
I’m needing a ‘Yes,’ a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘No’ to which I can resign.

“And Lord, You promised that if we believe
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And, Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
‘I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!'”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting… for what?”

He seemed, then, to kneel
And His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign,
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun,
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.

“All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be,

You would have what you want —
But, you wouldn’t know Me.

You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You’d not know the power I give to the faint;

“You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there;
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me;
When darkness and silence were all you could see.

“You’d never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You’d know that I give and save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of my heart.

“The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have last.

“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee,’
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true,

But, oh, the loss if I lost what I’m doing in you!

“So, be silent, My child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me,
And though oft’ may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, “Wait.'”

(This poem originally appeared in
Wait: A journey to discovering the heart of God by Russell Kelfer,
and was excerpted from
Emotional Purity: An Affair of the Heart by Heather Arnel Paulsen)

Thanks to my friend, Tin, for sharing this excerpt (which eventually made me read the actual book! haha). Anyway, I believe you’ll agree with me when I say that the poem was so beautifully written, it’s unfair not to share it!

So yes, if you’re waiting for an “answer” from God, whatever that may be, I hope this poem somehow “answered” you for now. After all, nothing worth it ever comes easy in this life, so if you’re being “pruned” right now, just remember that you’re in good hands — God’s hands!

In the meantime, while you’re still waiting, take advantage and get to know more of Him. Talk to Him. PRAY! What is He trying to teach or tell you? And then LISTEN — through your heart.

I wish you well, my friend. Stay patient and strong, and God bless!!! ❤

“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
-2 Peter 3:9