Soul Surfer Movie Review (well, sort of review)

I watched the Soul Surfer movie last night with my daughter and love it!  When I came home, I was curious to find out what others are saying so I Googled “Soul Surfer Reviews”,. I saw the Rotten Tomatoes review page.  Interesting how the movie critics there gave it an average rating of 51% while the viewers gave it 87%.  

Many of the critics think the movie is bland.  They think it lacks excitement.  One of them said that the shark biting scene wasn’t “scary” like that of Jaws.   But this movie is not really about the shark, is it?

Another interesting critic comment is that Bethany is almost eerie in her optimism.  Here’s the quote:

The flaw in the storytelling strategy of “Soul Surfer” is that it doesn’t make Bethany easy to identify with. She’s almost eerie in her optimism. Her religious faith is so unshaken, it feels taken for granted. The film feels more like an inspirational parable than a harrowing story of personal tragedy.  – Roger Ebert review

Reading R. Ebert’s comment reminded me of the Phil 4:7 verse in the Bible when it says  “.. and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus”.  I think, that almost eerie optimism is that “peace that passeth all understanding”. It’s hard to understand, but that is what is it, that is what happened, and that is what they portrayed.  Oh I am sure there were many times of struggles and crying and agony, but the real heart of it ll is trusting their God in this difficult circumstances. 

I love how the movie is bold about sharing Bethany’s faith in God and yet it is done in a subtle way, not a “believe or go to burn in hell” kind of way.   I love how their family was portrayed, how they are all so supportive to each other.  I love that the movie does not have provocative sex scenes and does not have too much gory violent scene; I love that the language use are decent and does not contain a lotsof F word that is so common in most movies nowadays.  I love that  “loving others” was emphasized; I love that  the “not giving up in times of hardship” is taught.  This is the kind of movie I want my kids to watch and it’s hard to find movies like this nowadays.  Even the Disney animated movies these days are so full of sarcastic jokes that kids  learn to be too sarcastic instead of using courteous and kind words.  Ahhh, maybe I am just an old fashion mama, but this is how I feel, and since I have a blog I thought I might as well give my 2 cents worth of review of this film.  If you have not seen the movie yet, go see it.  It really is a simple movie that is worth watching.  Don’t  expect spectacular, expect a good.  And since most review pages give star and points, I might as well give it a 5 starts out of 5.   :)   

Wish There’s a USB Port In My Head, And I Can Easily Download My Thoughts As A Blog Post …

… but then again, maybe not.

So many things in my mind lately.  If I don’t dump some of it out into my blog (or journal),  I would have an overload …

There is a radical decision I am contemplating on doing this weekend.  No, I am not committing suicide.  I believe God gave us life to live it abundantly. I love my life – with all it’s joys and challenges.  Suicide hurts, not only on own body and soul, but it hurts our loved ones even more deeply. It makes the people who loves us most and we love most suffer.  If you Googled the word “committing suicide” and this post came up and you are reading it, take it as a sign that you should not do it. Enjoy life. E-mail me and I’ll talk story” with you..

There is a radical decision I am contemplating on doing this weekend.  No, I am not divorcing my husband.  I believe in honoring my marriage’s commitment of “till death do us part”.  Sure there are ups and downs.  And maybe romance is slipping away a bit and needs improvement.  Bottomline, I love my husband and he loves me. That is fine. “Romance” (googly eyes on the cartoon as my kids would describe it) and “that lovin’ feeling” come and go.  Commitment is the key.  Life is busy, very busy at this stage in our life.  That gooey feeling of romance will come back, when we find the time to bring it back.  For now, we need to find time to be sane and not get caught up with the “hustle and bustle” of this world. To make the right decisions. And to be happy on where we are at.  One of my best friends is moving out of their home next month.  She and her husband are separating.  I do not judge her. I love her so much.  I know both she and her husband are wonderful people and the decision did not come lightly. But I am still sad.  It’s just sad to see such a great marriage back then lose it’s bond now.  I still am hoping things will be worked out.  I am not giving up hope.

There is a radical decision I am contemplating on doing this weekend.  I do not have the details about it. I have to study every step of the way.  But I am confident it will work out for good.

I cannot tell you yet what that radical decision is.  And honestly, it might seems radical to me but minini to you.  Don’t get too excited about it. Don’t get too intrigued.  It’s just me…. me and the many things that goes on my head that keeps me awake in the middle of the night.  It’s just me and my never ending ideas and possibilities. Really, it’s not that radical for you, but for me it would be.

I hear my husband’s alarm clock going off.  Time to log off the computer. Aloha and a hui hou!

The Serenity Pray and I

The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
– Reinhold Niebuhr
As I am sitting here with a struggle in my mind, I was reminded of the prayer above.  It does capture the cry of my heart. But the quest for “the wisdom to know the difference” is so great.  I doubt I can ever truly achieve it.  Even with all the “trusting, surrendering, casting of my cares” that I am doing (or so it seems I am doing), I still struggle with the question “why” on some areas of my life.

There are days when I think my struggles are a test of faith that makes me closer to the Lord, but there are also days when I doubt if I am doing things right.  And then I get worried that one day I would just break and get off track.  “The wisdom to know the difference“. I need that.  I need the wisdom to know the difference on which things I should accept and which thing I should fight to change, to make the difference. There are days when I think I am doing well, and there are days when I think I am not …

OK, the days when I feel “I am not” fall about right within the PMS zone and the “why the heck am I not refilling my thyroid pills when  know I should” days.  OK, enough introspection.  It’s time to start the day and do the  chores…
Search me, O God,
and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and
see if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Ps. 139:23-24 

Visiting My Family In The Philippines

I am going back to the Philippines!  Ok, don’t panic.  It’s not permanent.  I am actually going back there for an emergency visit. Only one week – Dec 15 to 22.  My uncle who we are very close with, suddenly died from a stroke while visiting the Philippines (from New Jersey).  That was the incident that made us decide I really need to go back to the Philippines for a visit. The other day my oldest brother who are taking care of my parents told me that my mom’s dementia is getting worse.  I wanted to visit her before she forgets who I am …
It’s been nine (9) years since I last visited the Philippines.  I am soo excited that I am going back there at this time.  I know one week is very short, but that’s all we can afford and am very thankful for it. I know I won’t have much time to visit friends, as I would like to spend much time to be with my mom and dad ( yep, one week is short!).
Seeking your prayers for safe travels, and for my family here on Maui while I am gone. Hubby with be with the kids. I’m sure they’d have lots of fun.
I will be blogging about my travel here. I will also post a lot about “Christmas In The Philippines”.
Mahalo and aloha,

When #FAIL comes your way, #ENCOURAGEMENT is an anti-dote

I am amused whenever I see a failwhale photo flash on my screen.  Not that I would like a failwhale to happen.  I am a Twitterholic, and I really don’t like it when Twitter is down.  However, the failwhale logo represents something more, something worth talking about. But before I get distracted talking about a Twitter  failwhale, what I really want to talk about is our life’s failwhales and how to overcome it. Let me use my recent life’s failwhales as examples:

1. FailWhale No 1:  Fundrasing for Blogworld2011 – since I started blogging in 2006, one of my dreams is to be able to attend the blogworld conference.  I thought that this year I will be able to do it though a fundraising campaign.  But just as I launced the campaign on my blog, I got the news that my mom passed away. I flew back to the Philippines and stayed there for 10 days. The campaign was put on a back burner.  When I came back to Maui, life got so busy that I didn’t have the time to work on the campaign.  BlogWorld2011’s date is so close now that I don’t think I’d make it.  #Failwhale! Am I bummed? Of course I am.  I had been wanting to attend this for a long time.  And  aside from the fact that I wanted to go to LA to attend Blogworld, another desire is to go to LA to visit my brother there while I am attending Blogworld.  It’s a long story, but it’s  a #fail for now.

2. FailWhale No.2: Applying to be a speaker at TEDxMaui 2011 – I don’t know what possessed me to think that I am even worthy of applying to be a speaker at TEDxMaui.  But the thought never left my mind when I first heard of TEDxMaui,  so I did it.  I knew that if I didn’t submit my “half-baked” application on the deadline, I would forever be wondering “what if”.  I submitted my application the day before they announced the names of some of the speakers.  The next day, when I saw thelist of speakers, I was so embarrassed that I had the “delusions of grandeur” to apply to be a speaker at TEDxMaui.  What medication I was on, I didn’t know! Right now, it’s a  #Fail. But then again, maybe not.  You want to know what the “big idea” I had for TEDxMaui? I wanted to speak about “ENcouragement” (the  TEDxMAui theme is “Courage To Dream”), which lead me to the conclusion of this post.

#ENCOURAGEMENT. – “When life thows you a #failwhale, #encouragement is your anti-dote.

Since I illustrated what a #failwhale is through my life’s example, let me also illustrate what #Encoragement (or #EncourageWIN as I’d call it) is through my life’s example.

1. #Encouragement -When I woke up this morning, I got a notification from KLOUT saying that Liz Strauss added me to her KLOUT list under GREAT MOMS.  Now if you know me well, you know that’s one of the greatest compliment you can ever give me.  I love being a mom. That really is a my passion. And for someone like Liz Strauss to include me in a list of great moms is a huge encouragement to me. This made my day today which made those #failwhales easy to take.

Going back to the FAILWHALE – what I love about it is that it’s the “little birds” that carrying the whale.  There’s an insight to that. Think about it.  Those little birds are the encouragers in my life.  When the feeling of  “I am a huge failure (huge as in a whale)” comes to mind, the encouragements of  little birds can carry us along until we arrive at a #WIN.  Gotta love those birds!

So one more time: When life thows you a #failwhale, #encouragement is your anti-dote.

This Mama Blogger Is On A Roll!

It’s 5:23 in the morning. I have already been up for an hour and been tweeting, e-mailing and FB’ing. Now I am writing a post for this blog. Yeah baby, this Mama Blogger is on a roll!

Truth is I should be writing a post for A Maui Blog right now. But I thought it would be fun to visit here first. Afterall, this is my first love, my first “blog love”.

There are a lot of things in my mind right now. The upcoming Thanksgiving, my kids’ schooling, the business blog I will be resurrecting, plans for my work as a Social Media Director at Premiere Mortgage and Aloha Luxury Properties, and not to forget our daily dinners, etc.

My life is busy. Crazy busy. But I have learned to take it day by day so I don’t get stressed out by it. But there’s one thing I am a bit concern. I am noticing that our “life with friends” is being affected by our busyness . Recently we had been neglecting spending time with our “old friends”. We just don’t hang out with them as much as we used to. That is not good. Yesterday we were supposed to go to a “first birthday party” of our good friends’ son. We planned on attending but bailed out the last minute due to some complications in “the home front”. This year’s Halloween, instead of spending it with our best friends up in Waikapu which we’ve done in the previous years, we decided to stay in Kihei. Hmm…

Speaking of “this Mama Blogger Is On A Roll” I better get rolling writing my posts at A Maui Blog. Need to. Exciting things are hapenning at A Maui Blog – I need to keep up with the momentum.  It was nice stopping by here for a quick visit. And if you are still reading this post up to this point, I salute you, and love you. Yep, this post is so quick and random. Thanks for reading!

I Am A Vagabond Christian

Last night as our family and I were watching a Swedish movie titled “The Christmas Story” the term vagabond was used.  I had seen that word before – one of the travel blogs use it as a a name of the blog.  Somehow, the term vagabond resonated with me….
This morning I am thinking of attending Hope Chapel.  It’s hard to explain why.  I don’t think I am ready to go back there.  Feelings of stress overwhlem me just with the thought that I am going there this morning.  (And I might even back out by the time I finish this post).  I love being at Calvary Chapel South Maui.  I feel at home there.  I feel secure there.  But my husband somehow do not have the same enjoyment I feel there.  Not that he does not like it, but my guess is he misses our former church, Hope Chapel…

I guess this is the reason why I feel I am a vagabond Christian. A Christian with no permanent church.  Aside from Hope Chapel and Calvary Chapel South Maui, I also love Kumulani Chapel.  I love their Pastor Ricky Ryan (Mr. Super Encourager) and if it’s not for the distance (I know, it’s not that far, but it’s still far from us) we would probably be going there regularly and might settle there as a home church….

I am a Vagabond Christian – at least I am for the moment.  I trust God will lead us to the right church, as a family, one day.  I know where I want to be but my family is also a high priority for me, and I think it’s important to go to church as a family… One day I’ll find out where….

But in the meantime, I am a Vagabond Christian – at least for a while.  Thank God Christianity is not based on church or religion but on our relationship with Jesus Christ….

vag·a·bond (vg-bnd)


1. A person without a permanent home who moves from place to place.
2. A vagrant; a tramp.
3. A wanderer; a rover.



1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a wanderer; nomadic.
2. Aimless; drifting.
3. Irregular in course or behavior; unpredictable.


intr.v. vag·a·bond·ed, vag·a·bond·ing, vag·a·bonds

To lead the life of a vagabond; roam about.


I attended Hope Chapel and had a wonderful time.  It’s hard to tell why I feel  stress and anxiety with the tought of going there (they are all very nice there, it’s more on my part), but I am glad I overcome it, went and had a blessed time there.  It was a very nice visit.

Happy Birthday Nanay

I was browsing Facebook the other day and saw this post. I am not fond of the posts that asks me to re-post it on my wall but this one caught my attention.  Looking back, I know I have gone through all these stages …
Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday (Maui Time) – and actually in the Philippines, it’s already her birthday.  This is her first birthday in heaven. This is the first birthday of her that we are going to celebrate without her.  I miss her so. Oh, I totally know she is in a better place – and actually I wouldn’t want her to come back here on earth in the condition she was in before she passed away – but I miss her just the same.
The other day I was thinking of how I am so much like my mom – especially in my parenting to my two wonderful kids.  Funny how that happens.  In my teenage years there were times when I thought I would not want to be like my mom when I become a parent, and yet now I do a lot of things that she did that I thought didn’t make sense when I was young.  I think she will be happy to know that she is my hero when it comes to motherhood – even with all her weakness and idiosyncrasies, I think she’s the greatest mom and loves her very much.
Happy birthday Nanay …

Fighting The Invisible War …

… put on the full Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Ephesians 6:10-18
New International Version (NIV)

There She Goes Talking About Boobs Again

The last time I posted about my boobs, my blog traffic went to the roof! Got tons of traffic from people googling the word boobs! I guess here it goes again! LOL!

I started with that intro to let you all know that I am doing well. No melancholy here.  The doctors’ visit went well although it was confirmed that there definitely is a lump in there.  Dr. Kenny ordered an ultrasound and biopsy.  We will know more after that.  It may very well be just fatty tissues lumped together or simply a benign lump.  We will not know the answer until after the tests. Either way, the lump has to go so I would need a surgery to remove that. Most likely I’d go to Oahu.  Maybe we can hold a Tweetup at the hospital Oahu Peeps? :)

I wanted to write this post to share with you how I ended up discovering the lump in my breast. There could be a lesson here. This may be of help to somebody someday.

A few months ago, we found out that @MrsHawaii was diagnosed with a breast cancer. She started a blog and I read it to know how I can pray for her specifically.   A few weeks later, I felt some itchiness in my boobs. No rash, no mosquito bites, just some random itchiness.  Then I remembered that Mrs. Hawaii said that’s one of the first things that happened that led them to the discovery of her breast cancer.  So at that time I thought I better get my yearly mammogram done since it’s been almost 3 years since I last had it done.

However, I am the kind of person who always procrastinate on doctors appointments.  I know I needed to get a mammogram but  I wasn’t motivated enough to actually call and schedule an appointment. I’d rather go to work or stay at home with my kids.  Besides, I didn’t want to be “psycho-somatic” on this. I just kept on thinking I am fine.  I did a quickie check on my boobs while in the shower and I didn’t feel lumps at all.  So everything was ok. Some occasional random itchiness still happens but just totally ignored it.

Now, about a week ago, we heard that one of our friends was diagnosed with a pancreatic cancer, Stage III, and he had to go to the mainland to be treated. We knew it’s fatal and we hoped for the best.  Yesterday, Father’s Day, we got a text saying that he died.  One week! One week from the diagnosis, he died.

We started talking about cancer. How some types of cancer can easily be treated when caught on an early stage (like breast cancer) and how others are just fatal, and when you’re diagnosed with it, you better get the life of your family in order.  And so we talked about the importance of being diagnosed early.

Last night before I went to take a shower, I did another self-exam on my breast. This time I did it carefully, and systematically, just like what some of the brochures on self exam teaches. And that when I felt the big lump on my right breast.  I told my husband about it, I showed him where it is and he confirmed that the is a lump in there.  First thing in the morning I scheduled a doctor’s appointment.  No. correction: first thing in the morning, I posted on Facebook. yep, posted about it on Facebook and asked for positive thoughts and prayers.

Holly molly, you guys rock! I got hundreds of likes and comments. What a supportive family and friends I have! I am truly blessed.

Now here is the  question – am I worried? The answer is “no”. I have the peace that passeth all understanding. I am positive that everything is gonna be alright.

I have to be honest though, I do not have the “name it and claim it” kind of faith. I am more of “whatever God’s will is, I will abide because I know He knows the best for me”.  I did think ahead. I did ask myself serious questions like, “what if it is cancer and I’m gonna die, will I be ready?”. The answer is yes and no.  Yes, I am ready in a way because I know that I will go to heaven because of Jesus Christ. But no, I am  not.  In a way I am not ready because I want to stay longer on earth. I want to see my son get married, I want to see my daughter get married, I want to be able to take care of my grand kids.  There are still a lot of things I want to do in life.  I know.. I should not even be thinking about death – but taking into consideration the fact that we just got a word that out friend just died, i couldn’t help but think about life and death.

Now back to my boobs, cancer or not, the lump will be taken out and I will go on with my life.

This little “incident” of a lump made me appreciate my family and friends, and life,  even more. Oh sure many of you I only see on Facebook, but really I can feel your love and support.

So on to my little boob adventure. I hope KLOUT does not make me an authority on boobs after this :)

I will probably do another blog post after the test and once we get the results. Then we can all party to celebrate the fact that it’s just a benign lump, right?

A hui hou!

* I am not doing a grammar check or spelling check. Not even proofreading as I am ready to go to bed. Will proofread tomorrow. Let me know if when you find the typos as I am sure there are :)

Lesson Learned From The Lump – There Is Power In Being Open

Today I received a negative news.  Usually we don’t like hearing the word “negative”, because it’s ummm, negative, you know what I mean.  But this time the “negative” news is actually a positive.  The biopsy result of the lump in my breast came back “negative” – that means there are no cancer cells! It’s just a lump, a cyst that we don’t have to worry about.  The negative was a great news!

There are many things I learned though this “lump in my breast situation”. There is one that I want to emphasize right now, and that is about openness.

There is power in being open.  Allowing others to others to support us and encourage us during a crisis or a difficult situation enables us to go through that situation with much confidence.

I won’t be able to fully describe the tremendous encouragement I got from family and friends right after I announced on Facebook that a lump was found in my breast and my concern that it might be cancer.  Hundreds of  replies. I read every single like and comments and I appreciated of them.  The prayers, the positive thoughts, the love, the notes, messages and phone calls – all poured out on me and soaked in them throughout the process.  It kept me from being anxious, stressed or discouraged while I went through mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy.  Had I kept this “lump in my breast situation” to myself, I wouldn’t have been able to receive such outpouring of love.  This is indeed a lesson to learn.  When one goes through difficulties in life, it is good to be open to allow others to bless us with their love. 

Speaking of being open, I am also glad that I am very open about my faith in Jesus Christ, and that I give God the glory for the negative result of my lump.  I am always careful about doing this (calling it answered prayers) because I want to be sensitive to others who receive a different news than what I had.  When one gets a news that they have cancer, that does mean that their prayers were not answered and they have lesser faith than I do?  Absolutely not. It just means that God has another plan for their lives.  It is quite a complicated subject that can only be understood through the eyes of faith.

Once again, I want to express my deepest appreciation for all the support I got.  The prayers and positive thoughts I received from family and friends from various faith and beliefs made this “lump scare” not so scary at all.

So much to talk about, so much to share…..  until next time …