6 Lessons I Learned from Little Fighter, Chika Jeune (perhaps a book review)

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Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by  Mitch Albom

Chika Jeune was born three days before the devastating earthquake that decimated Haiti in 2010. She spent her infancy in a landscape of extreme poverty, and when her mother died giving birth to a baby brother, Chika was brought to The Have Faith Haiti Orphanage that Albom operates in Port Au Prince.

With no children of their own, the forty-plus children who live, play, and go to school at the orphanage have become family to Mitch and his wife, Janine. Chika’s arrival makes a quick impression. Brave and self-assured, even as a three-year-old, she delights the other kids and teachers. But at age five, Chika is suddenly diagnosed with something a doctor there says, “No one in Haiti can help you with.”

Mitch and Janine bring Chika to Detroit, hopeful that American medical care can soon return her to her homeland. Instead, Chika becomes a permanent part of their household, and their lives, as they embark on a two-year, around-the-world journey to find a cure. As Chika’s boundless optimism and humor teach Mitch the joys of caring for a child, he learns that a relationship built on love, no matter what blows it takes, can never be lost.

Told in hindsight, and through illuminating conversations with Chika herself, this is Albom at his most poignant and vulnerable. Finding Chika is a celebration of a girl, her adoptive guardians, and the incredible bond they formed—a devastatingly beautiful portrait of what it means to be a family, regardless of how it is made.

Whenever I was asked about the book that has changed my life, my answer has always been Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. It will be followed by the story of how I have read it twice when I was 20 and jobless for almost a year despite my medals, and when I was 25 and drowning in the river called a quarter-life crisis. Both times I have discovered lessons and have found strength on Morrie and Albom’s wisdom.

Fast forward to 2019, after reading all his books in between, Mitch has announced his latest one — Finding Chika. It was launched November last year, but I did not buy it until my husband gave it to me as a surprise gift for his birthday last December. (Yes, it was his birthday and he gave me the gift. HAHA).

Almost a month after I first held this purple-coloured paperback, I found the courage to open it and finally read the story of Chika.

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(Photo from https://www.mitchalbom.com/)

I know how special Chika is for Mitch Albom as I follow him on social media (being the fangirl that I am). I have also read about this little girl’s courage and bravery fighting a cruel tumour inside her young brain. Knowing these made me doubt if my heart is ready to read the inside story of their little family. But before Chika’s birthday, which is today January 9, I finally opened its pages and allowed myself to laugh, melt, learn, and weep, for them and with them.

Instead of reviewing the book, how it was written, how the story unfolded, what language was used, I choose to share the six life lessons I have learned from Mitch’s raw and honest anecdote of him, of Chika, and of their family with Janine. I believe they will move you and stir something inside you just like how they did to me.

Before that, if you may, please purchase a copy of the book as proceeds will be for the Have Faith Haiti Mission.

Here are the six lessons from the story of the birthday girl, the little fighter, Chika:

Lesson #1: There are many kinds of selfishness in this world, but the most selfish is hoarding time, because none of us know how much we have, and it is an affront to God to assume there will be more.

Lesson #2: The most precious thing you can give someone is time, Chika, because you can never get it back. When you don’t think about getting it back, you’ve given it in love.

Lesson #3: Everything in this world is music if you can hear it.

Lesson #4: One of the best things a child can do for an adult is to draw them down, closer to the ground, for clearer reception to the voices of the earth.

Lesson #5: There is no affliction like hopelessness. I believe it is worse than anything that strikes the flesh.

Lesson #6: What we carry defines who we are. And the effort we make is our legacy.

Happy birthday, dear Chika. I may not have known you but your story have touched and inspired me. I am sure you will never ever be forgotten. ❤

 

 

 

 

 

Poems for S: Book Cover Reveal

… my third baby book is here!!!

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Do you also believe that long-distance love is tough and scary? Do you also believe that relationships, the romantic ones, require so much of bravery?

This book of poetry believes so.

Containing over 100 poems written for several years, this collection features the unsure and the blurry beginnings of a relationship made possible by Instagram. Yes, you read that right. Instagram.

Beyond physical attraction, it was and still is a soul connection between a poet and a musician/photographer parted by mountains and seas.

The poems carry a true story of how the everyday calls between two artists turned from friendly to something more. How it took them both by surprise. How they were both afraid and unsure.

With four chapters, swinging from certain to uncertain, from happy to sad, from loved to hurt, from longing to glad; this book covers the mosaic of feelings all hearts go through when “in love”.

More than the poetic forms and the metaphors used, this book is first and foremost a gift from one heart to another.

From a she to her “he”, wrapped with a prayer for their love to be blessed be.

Pre-order available here: https://amzn.to/2CSrGAU
©2019 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.

Book Quotes: Rain in the Mountains

Rain in the Mountains: Notes from the Himalayas

Rain in the Mountains: Notes from the Himalayas by Ruskin Bond

      Rating: ❤❤❤❤


As I remember that this blog is A Reading Writer, and as I want to fuel my reading pace again, I’ll start to post quotations and wise words I loved from my recent reads, starting with Rain in the Mountains by India’s very own Wordsworth in prose, Mr. Ruskin Bond.

This book holds a special place in my heart as it is a gift from my beloved. He gave it to me on our first trip in the majestic Himalayas. The first few pages were read during our 12-hour night-shift train ride going back to Kolkata.

It made me laugh, cry, grimace, scared, blush, think, laugh, and think some more. Here are the best words, the top five quotes that I would like to share with you:

  1. “A Quiet Mind Lord, give me a quiet mind, That I might listen; A gentle tone of voice, That I might comfort others; A sound and healthy body, That I might share In the joy of walking And leaping and running; And a good sense of direction So I might know just where I’m going!”
  2. Some people become an integral part of our lives; others are ships that pass in the night. Short stories, in fact.

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  3. “When the earth gave birth to this tree, There came no sound: A green shoot thrust In silence from the ground. Our births don’t come so quiet— Most lives run riot— But the bud opens silently, And flower gives way to fruit. So must we search For the stillness within the tree, The silence within the root.”
  4. “I am still on my zigzag way, pursuing the diagonal between reason and heart.”

  5. “Little one, don’t be afraid of this big river. Be safe in these warm arms for ever. Grow tall, my child, be wise and strong. But do not take from any man his song. Little one, don’t be afraid of this dark night. Walk boldly as you see the truth and light. Love well, my child, laugh all day long, But do not take from any man his song.

©2018 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo via Unsplash & Giphy.com

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Rating: ❤❤❤❤

What is it about: At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. 

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir. 

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.'” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

What I Love: Die with dignity.

It’s the clarion call of Paul Kalanithi’s words carried in his posthumously published book, When Breath Becomes Air.

I ended up sobbing, with eyes swollen but it is a worth it less-than 200-page journey.

Travelling inside the mind and heart and soul of a dying doctor, who had always searched for life’s meaning is enlightening and moving.

Reading about death has always woke up the mortal in me. This is maybe why I am so fond of Mitch Albom’s books. Books about dying breathe life back to my purpose. My life’s meaning.

Why am I here?
What am I doing?
What makes life worth living?

What I Don’t Love Much: While the ending made me cry, it’s moving. So I have nothing to not like about this book.

Wise Words:

“I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” 

“You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.” 

“Life wasn’t about avoiding suffering.” 

“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.” 

“The main message of Jesus, I believed, is that mercy trumps justice every time.”

©2018 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photos and Story Summary: Goodreads and Unsplash

 

 

history and poetry

“Among other things,
you’ll find that
you’re not the first person who
was ever confused and
frightened and
even sickened by
human behavior.

You’re by no means alone on
that score, you’ll be excited and
stimulated to know.

Many, many men have been
just as troubled morally and
spiritually as you are right now.

Happily, some of them kept
records of their troubles.
You’ll learn from them—if
you want to.

Just as someday, if
you have something to offer,
someone will learn
something from you.

It’s a beautiful
reciprocal arrangement.
And it isn’t education.
It’s history.
It’s poetry.”

—  J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye


This is originally a quote from this infamous classic book (which I am ashamed I haven’t got my hands on yet). I chopped it into some phrases and lines to make it look like poetry. It is a technique (I forgot the name, unfortunately) I learned from an online poetry course which is about the use of a quote / paragraph from a book and breaking it down into lines to transform it into a poem.

This quote spoke to me. Isn’t it nice and true? 🙂

Happy weekend my dear friends!

FLYLēF turns 2!

And the baby of my darling Lonna named FLYLēF just turned 2! To celebrate, an amazing group of bloggers and I have planned posts for you to enjoy, all centered around the theme…

FRIENDSHIP

Please make sure to visit them, and perhaps make a new friend along the way.

 FRIENDSHIP 

I am delighted when I learned the theme of Lonna’s anniversary blog tour is about friendship. Why? Because I value friendships a lot. 

In as much as I want to think, I am not so good in making friends, but I am good in maintaining them. I have kept some friends from my elementary, high school and college days. I can also say I am still friends with my co-workers from my two previous jobs. And I intend to keep them.

I know there is strength in living alone. In doing things on your own, but I find it comforting to have souls to share, experience and learn with. 

My upcoming book, Between My Bleeding Lines, is a product of friendship. If not for the great writers here whom I become friends with, I would never be the writer that I am today. I would never be able to be brave and be courageous and write my own book. Got to give some shout out for them:

Between My Bleeding Lines and this blog exists because of them my faraway best friends.  That I think is enough proof of how valuable friendships are for me. 

 TESTIMONIAL  

And of course, Lonna is part of the WordPress community who showered me with love and fueled me to write and write some more. 

I remember seeing her blog for the first time and falling in love with her graphics and her book reviews. She writes so well that she can make you run to a bookstore and go check out a book. She balances the good and the not so good part of the book in between beautifully crafted yet truthful lines. 

But aside from that, I adore her bubbly personality and kind heart. ❤ She never fails to make me smile and warm my heart. Cheers, darling, for more years! ❤ 

  TOUR SCHEDULE  

❖ May 15th – Bookfever: Spotlight / Giveaway

❖ May 15th – A Reader Writer: Spotlight / Giveaway

❖ May 16th – Milky Way of Books: Spotlight / Giveaway

❖ May 16th – Lisa Loves Literature: Spotlight / Giveaway

❖ May 20th – A Kernel of Nonsense: Spotlight / Giveaway

❖ May 21th – SUSANLOVESBOOKS: Spotlight / Giveaway

❖ May 23th – fallxnrobins: Spotlight / Giveaway

❖ May 27th – Utopia State of Mind: Spotlight / Giveaway

❖ May 28th – Book Briefs: Spotlight / Giveaway

❖ May 30th – Foxes & Fairy Tales: Spotlight / Giveaway

❖ June 1st – The Caramel Files: Spotlight / Giveaway

  ABOUT FLYLēF  

Lonna Yen the creative mind behind FLYLēF (pronounced like flyleaf) who enjoys reading late into the night to satisfy her insatiable addiction to mostly young adult and adult novels: romance (contemporary and historical), fantasy, and paranormal (especially vampires). She believes in the magic of spellbinding words coming together to build breathtaking worlds in our minds’ eyes. Happiness is just a book away, find it at FLYLēF.

Lonna also the host of FLYTIP and Book of Choice Giveaway Hop, and co-host of The Comment Challenge.

TITLE REVEAL: Between My Bleeding Lines (My Debut Poetry Book!)

And this is it, beautiful souls! 🙂 Revealing the title of my debut poetry book:
Between My Bleeding Lines.

Will be available on May 2017!

Cover reveal soon! 🙂

Have a blessed week, everyone! ❤

Background Music: Breathe Again by Sara Bareilles
No Copyright infringement intended.

Coffee Date: November Edition

Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat until you calm your restless heartbeat.

Hi! I am glad to finally be able to seat with you again. Order your coffee now, or maybe tea, or maybe beer? 🙂 Lend me some of your precious minutes and let’s talk. 🙂

Time is fleeting. 2016 is now down to two months. (can you believe it?) So… as usual, let me tell what I did last month and what you can expect from me this month. 😉

OCTOBER

I was able to…

It was a packed month and if you will ask me how did I do that, I surely don’t know. HAHA

NOVEMBER

november-notes-4

  • I am also doing Sunday Songs with my dearest sister Stella where we share inspiring songs every Sunday. 🙂
  • I am not sure if I will be able to participate in other writing prompts this month because there is a major client event coming. 😦
  • I am also cooking something “heartmelting” with a dear friend. 😉 Announcement soon! 😀

BOOK UPDATE

Lastly, the book title will be revealed SOON! 😀 😀 😀 Book cover is on its way too!!! YEEEE! 😀

By the way, please do get a copy of two of my best of friends here on WordPress who are both EPICALLY talented novelists! Their books are:

Cheers to an awesome NOVEMBER my dearest friends! ❤

– Rosema

Book Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

My Heart and Other Black Holes

46th – My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Rating: ❤❤❤❤ (Good read, definitely!)

What is it about: Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

What I Love: I love the characters because the writer was able to make them both relatable. You feel them, their pain, their hopelessness and even as they fall in love.

The struggles of the two main characters are revealed in a heart tugging way.

This book will make you smile, it will make you laugh, and it will make you feel for more sensitive for teenagers who may be depressed.

What I Don’t Love Much: Nothing.

Wise Words:

“Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape.”

“Sometimes I wonder if gravity is the problem. It keeps us all grounded, gives us this false sense of stability when really we’re all just bodies in motion. Gravity keeps us from floating up into space, it keeps us from involuntarily crashing into one another. It saves the human race from being a big hot mess.”

“Maybe that’s what love really boils down to-having someone who cares enough to pay attention so that you’re encouraged to travel and transfer, to make your potential energy spark into kinetic energy. Maybe all anyone ever needs is for someone to notice them, to observe them.”

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo and Story Summary: Goodreads and Unsplash

Book Review: A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie

A Murder is Announced

“It’s what’s in yourself that makes you happy or unhappy.”

45th – A Murder Is Announced (Miss Marple, #5) by Agatha Christie

Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤ (BEST, GREAT read!)

What is it about: Villagers expect a fun game after a Gazette announcement of murder, but when lights flash off, shots ring out, and a masked burglar falls dead, the Inspector and vicar’s wife Bunch call in expert Miss Jane Marple. Was Swiss hotel clerk Rudi framed? Miss Letitia Blackstone houses scatty Dora, cousins Julia and Patrick, gardener widow Phillipa, and paranoid cook Mitzi.

What I Love: Madame Agatha Christie is one beautifully twisted writer. You can never ever know who kills who. She is the best example why I love mystery and crimes. The tension, the suspense, the revelation! Geez!!

What I Don’t Love Much: Nothing!

Wise Words: “…what people do see at a moment of intense excitement and nervous strain. What they do see and, even more interesting, what they don’t see.”

“…if you have pain, you know how to enjoy the exquisite pleasure of the times when pain stops.”

“One is alone when the last one who remembers is gone.”

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo and Story Summary: Goodreads and Unsplash