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Showing posts from 2023

Augustine's encouragement for accountability

Confessions by Augustine is one of my favorite books, recommended to me by an agnostic professor, but one that brings delight to my soul each time I read it. As with most great books, rereading allows me to learn something new I hadn't realized before. In the passage below, Augustine revisits his motive for testifying to the work of God in his life—a heartfelt and encouraging argument for church accountability. Would they share my joy when they hear how close, by your gift, I am lifted up to you, and share my prayer when they hear how far, by my own dead weight, I fall off from you? If so, to such I will open myself. For it is not a trivial help, God my Lord, to have "many give thanks for me or for many to pray for me.' I hope that a brother in spirit will love in me what you show him is lovable, lament in me what you show is lamentable—a brother, not a stranger, not 'a race of strangers, the speech of whose mouth is void of meaning, the work of whose strong hand is b

Restoration

Repairs fascinate me. So do people who attempt them or make them possible. In his newest blog post, the writer of La Vie Graphite meditates on restoration . I read everything in this blog. I may disagree with his theology, but I love the elegance of his writing and the quietness of his life. I’ve always admired restorers of objects, structures, and historic artifacts. Gratefully, my speed-dial numbers include my typewriter repairer, fountain pen restorer, camera technician, and auto mechanic. These individuals are also esteemed friends. When any of us talk shop, we’ll often note the parallels between their crafts and mine as a bookbinder and conservator. The purposes of our respective restorative work is to keep things in fine operational order.  The part about pen repairs resonates me with me.  Pens present their own forms of mechanical puzzles. While rinsing a much-loved Reynolds fountain pen from one of my many sojourns in France, I watched the ring from the nib section roll across

Monogrammed pen case

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The pens I take for the day—usually a fountain pen plus a ball-point or pencil—are housed in an elegant leather pencil case, monogrammed with my initials. The gracious and kind Nikki Gonzales-Ho, my co-faculty in Biochemistry, gave this to me. Many thanks to you, dear Nikki! 

Lovingkindness

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I praise God for Matt Redman, Matt Boswell, and Matt Papa—all Matts !—for composing this joyful anthem about God's lovingkindness ! A blessed Sunday, dear friends.  Let praises now awake the dawn We’ll greet Your mercy with a song  Your people stand and sing for all Your lovingkindness  You’ve carried us in faithfulness  Upon the paths of righteousness  Our gracious King  You’ve crowned us with Your lovingkindness

Wingsung 699

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I ordered a Wingsung 699 through Amazon, hoping some parts could be replacements for my Pilot Custom 823 Amber. The Chinese pen closely resembles the Japanese Pilot: the same size, feel, and elegance. The main difference lies in the nib quality: Custom 823's gold nib is superior to the 699's steel. But I was surprised how fantastic the Wingsung is. It's worth every peso! A wet writer that carries a substantial amount of ink, I've decided to use it as an everyday pen. The nib glides smoothly, albeit with minimal friction on rough hospital paper. I don't mind that, at all.  Because Wingsung 699 is a great pen on its own right, I've decided against swapping its parts with the Custom 823. (If you're curious: swapping is possible.) Pilot Philippines hasn't responded to any of my emails. If I happen to be in Manila, I might drop by Cosmos Bazaar to check if my Custom 823 can still be repaired. Here's how I write. This is the first "writing video&q

Faber-Castell Loom

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Grateful for the gift of my high school classmate Greggy Granado and his wife Joanne: a new fountain pen. It's Faber-Castell Loom, in medium nib. The piano black variant looks so elegant.  It's a smooth writer, as most German pens are. The ink flow is perfect. I like how it fits perfectly in my hand. I'll include it in my every-day-pen rotation.  ( No response yet from Pilot regarding the Custom 823 . I ordered a Wingsung 699 through Amazon. I'll try switching the barrels and see if Wingsung's can replacement the cracked 823 barrel.)

A pestilential presence in your library

David Bentley Hart, in The Lamp Magazine , writes about the elegance and evolution of language and, in doing so, offers a tongue-in-cheek, hilarious critique of Strunk and White and George Orwell, known to many of us as the go-to book references for English grammar and style. (In the blockquotes below, the emphases are mine.) In fact, if you own a copy of The Elements of Style, just destroy the damned thing. It is a pestilential presence in your library. Most of the rules of style it contains are vacuous, arbitrary, or impossible to obey, and you are better off without them in your life. And the materials on grammar and usage are frequently something worse. Some of them are simply inherited fake rubrics—“however” must always be a postpositive, “which” must not be used for a restrictive relative clause, and other nonsense of that kind—all of which are belied by the whole canon of English literature. Others, however, are evidence of surprising ignorance. It is bad enough that the manual

Reflective Writing for Internists

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If you're an internist and have some time to kill this weekend, join us for a few hours via Zoom. I'll be with Dr. Joti Tabula, poet, author, and publisher. It's going to be fun and worth your while.  I don't know how to divide myself because there's a university research workshop that will happen simultaneously, as well. Ah, the things I get myself into!   You are invited to a Virtual Workshop! The Philippine College of Physicians in cooperation with the PCP Medical Humanities presents: Reflective Writing for Internist: A 55-Word Story Writing Flash Workshop (Session 5) When: 14 January 2023, Saturday @ 10:00 AM Via Zoom meetings Register for free: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcpdeiprzsqGNMcczJ92dG3xFrwHnc6mnWh

Hairline fracture

I refilled my Pilot Custom 823 (Amber) with ink early this morning, but I noted that the ink wasn't seeping through. On close inspection, there's a hairline fracture in the barrel, likely causing the problem with the piston-filling mechanism. I'm reaching out to Pilot Philippines for this. This is an on-going saga. I really love this pen and hope it gets repaired.

"I dream of letting the wind / accede to my whims..."

I celebrate the start of the weekend by reading Dr. Elvie Razon-Gonzalez's poem, Toxic Positivity , which appears on her collection, Vignette of voyages by Kasingkasing Press. Her words take me to a quiet, meditative place.  Here's an excerpt.  I dream of letting the wind accede to my whims, to take me out of this disquietude nestle in the warmth of the Alps into her maternal expanse that lead to praying hands.

Friendships and getting older

On friendships and getting older , an excerpt from Rethink Ageing: Lessons In Ageing From the Bolder and Older Generation by Nidhi Chawla and Reshmi Chakraborty, a book I hope to read soon. When we ask Chandrika Desai how she stays connected to people, she has a hearty laugh. “It’s my personality,” she says. Desai is a jovial 74-year-old who epitomises how important social engagement could be. But like she tells us, passively becoming part of a group is not the only way to do it. You need to be active at your end, too. Every morning, Desai sits with a list. She has a large network of family and friends, and each morning she calls different people. “I make an effort to reach out,” says Desai who lives on her own, leads her own life but is deeply connected to her two children who live overseas. This article cites the Hold-Lunstad study on the power of human relationships. While pursuing a PhD in Health and Social Psychology. Holt-Lunstad tried to find the answer to the question, do soc

Where do you find yourself today?

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Meditating on Luke 2:7-20, Dr. Berry Bishop invites us to quiet introspection . Where do you find yourself today? Are you in a season of desperation or sadness? Or are you in an equally, if not more, vulnerable season of joy? What does worship look like for you? Is it loud and excitable like the song for today, or is it full of longing and wishing like the poetry reading for today? Is the season you are in inviting you to a posture like the images we are looking at? Or, is it moving you to your knees, or even a fetal position? I ask (and will ask) myself the same question this year. I'm grateful to the Lord for so many things, and may the year 2023 be a year of worship and prayer.