Outside my window
green palms glory in an azure sky --
change is coming. 

I, Risa, am wife to a lovely, God-fearing man, and mother to two beautiful little boys. I am also a teacher who is currently up to the ears in event planning and cultural management in the school I work at that I barely have time to prepare for classes. I teach in Sunday School too because I have a yearning to reach out to young people. I talk nineteen-to-the-dozen when I am given the chance, but I believe I am a good listener too.

The Next Chapter is where I blog about my faith and about bookish things.

Of the first, you will learn a little more should you be interested to read further. Of the second, I have been reading since I could read. Well, that is obvious. What I should say is that I have enjoyed reading from the time I could read. However, until a few years ago I was never inclined to pick up books that were not fictional. I also tended to stick to homely classics, romance and plenty of fantasy. Then I discovered the book blogging community a few years ago, and found myself diving into book zones I had always been too afraid to try. Some of these I stumbled onto quite by accident. One of these accidents was Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat. I had no idea, at the time I picked this one up, that it was a personal travelogue of sorts. Had I known so I would never have given it the time of day. So, unsuspecting, I began to read it; I laughed so much. But what I enjoyed most was Jerome's poetic descriptions of spots along the River Thames, and I knew I had discovered a genre I would like to explore further. From travelogues I am trying my hand at memoirs, biographies, political and literary history. I can't say that I have read a lot, but that is because my reading in general has slowed down a bit due to other commitments. However, I find that I prefer non-fiction to fiction these days. It makes more sense to me to read of real people and real events. Fiction leaves me cold now, especially contemporary fiction that lacks what the fiction of yesteryears had running through them -- the vein of something to believe in. 

And so I come now to my faith. 

I must have been around ten or eleven years old when I watched Lady Hawk, a fantasy movie from the 1980s. The story was of a pair of star-crossed lovers cursed to never see each other as man and woman while one turns into a wolf at night, and the other into a hawk during the day. I liked it. But my absolutely favourite parts of the movie were of the side-kick monk played by Matthew Broderick. He was in there for comic relief, but he played a sincere young monk who looked up to the heavens constantly and conversed with God. He talked to Him when he was frightened; he talked to Him when he was excited; he talked to Him when he was puzzled and bewildered; he talked to Him when he was happy and full of gratitude; he talked to Him when he felt angry or upset; he talked to Him simply because he wanted to. Bottom line, he spoke to God all the time. And my little self watched this actor-monk in awe and in envy while thinking, "I didn't know you could talk to God like that! Wow!" And I learnt to talk to God any time, anywhere, and it is beautiful! No-one can give you the kind of joy and peace that comes only through Jesus Christ who promised in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  His peace passes all understanding, and the joy He gives surpasses description. Through times of trouble, of decision-making, we, as a family, know not to worry because we learn everyday to depend on His strength and guidance, and it is a lovely feeling to be led, knowing we are being taken care of by the One Person we can never not trust. 

So this is me, Risa. Hello, and welcome to The Next Chapter!

P.S. - I enjoy writing haiku. I love the picturesque brevity of the form. You can see an example of my haiku in the caption of the photo I took at the head of this post.

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Hello! It is always nice to know someone has stopped by and read something I have written. It is nicer when they choose to comment. It is the nicest when they choose to comment encouragingly and constructively.