Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Should Harp Lessons Be on the Bucket List?

 I’ve often wondered whether our critical or even abstract thinking will have a place in Heaven. (Or your choice of afterlife)
Will our brain cells be needed? How about our artistic touch? While it's understandable that "plotting" might not be necessary or could be deemed inappropriate, does that mean that horror, mystery and novelists of most genres will be stuck writing parables and songs of worship?
 Here’s a poem or perhaps just a simple reflection on this topic.

Where do writers go?

What do you mean—like when they die?

I played flute in high school and even some piccolo 
but I’m not a harpist.

You can sing. I've heard you.

Yes, but I don't play trumpet or lute.

Oh, but they sing and have lyrics to their songs.
 Who do you think writes those songs?

Writing angels?

Of course.

So they do have a place?



Yes, they’ll have a place 
and so will you.

Do you think there's a place for creativity and talent? Is it wrong to wonder?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Do You Believe?--(Two Poems & more)

I'm putting two weeks into one for a double-scoop of Intangible ice-cream on a waffle-cone post
 to wish you all a fairly sober St. Patrick's Day
 and a chocolate bunny-filled Easter.

I wrote this poem last year for something called
 Poem-a-Day in April of last year and thought it
 might make a nice Easter related post.

On the Secret Subject of Faith

How did that happen?
Can you explain it?
No, No, No, for the third time.
It’s a miracle.
No, it’s not.
It is.
I don’t believe it.

Forget it.
I will not forget it.
See? You do believe it.
Shhh! No, I don’t.
Yes, you do or you’d forget it.
Well something happened.
That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.

Well, how did it happen?
I have no idea.
It’s too weird.
I agree but it happened.
Maybe we shouldn’t tell anyone.
Why not, it’s amazing?

True that, but....

---------------Eve Gaal

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." Mother Teresa

Breaking News: Today from CBS
March 15, 2016- Pope Francis announced Mother Teresa, known around the world for her work with the poorest people in India will become a saint on the fourth of September due to two proven miracles that have been attributed to the nun from Calcutta.

"Intense love does not measure, it just gives." Mother Teresa

Please Don't Give Up on God!

We have some friends who don’t believe anymore. They have told us they flat-out don’t believe in God. While we respect their beliefs, it makes us wonder if they are grateful for the food they eat or the air they breathe and if so, who would be the one they show appreciation towards for the songs coming from the trees and the flowers blooming at the gate. Hard to imagine they don’t care to thank anyone for Monarch butterflies, hummingbirds and violets and are never thankful for anything. Oh well, The Doors had the right lyrics: "People are strange...."

Contemplating my own difficulties made me write this poem: 

Unanswered Prayer

You prayed on your knees.
You closed your eyes for emphasis.
You tagged along with others and felt like drinking the holy water.
You read His Word,
 in His Book.
You highlighted, shared, witnessed and
prayed some more.
and yet....
Something horrible happened
that seemed like He wasn’t listening.
But you know He heard you.
He listened to you before.
He answered other prayers.
This, however was a big request.
A doozy.
               He did what He thought was necessary.
              Things we can’t understand.
And yet. ...
Though your heart felt like it would fall out onto the dusty floor.
You retained your faith.
Kept up hope that someday you’d comprehend it all.
You worshiped more than ever before.
Even while assembling shredded pieces of your heart. 

The world is full of so many distractions that the least we can do is pause in front of the marshmallow chicks at the supermarket to contemplate the meaning of Easter. I hope your heart will feel lifted, renewed and filled with the spring promise of the Lord's resurrection. And for those who don't believe, for whatever reason, my repentant heart is convinced that God loves you too.
Do you believe?

A piece from a famous painting called The Blessed Path by Charles Dulac-See the entire picture here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

For International Women's Day

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. —Helen Keller

Every year, on March 8th there is a celebration honoring women called International Women’s Day and I wanted this post to reflect the importance of something that eluded me for many, many years. I hope it inspires everyone to take a good look at his or her own uniqueness and purpose in life. I also wrote this because of a humorous article I wrote about a cheating, lying boyfriend who strung me along for many years. Unveiling my shame seems funny in hindsight but the memories are still embarrassing. Fortunately, this relationship turned into a wonderful thing because it was the catalyst to changing my life. Read about The Scoundrel this upcoming Saturday in the Los Angeles Times. (Available at newsstands everywhere.)

When I was a kid, I had trouble seeing the chalkboard. Once I received my thick, not so attractive glasses that I didn’t want to wear, my grades improved but my confidence level suffered. Life is like that. We go five steps forward only to take two and a half steps backward. Our lives get muddled when we make amazing inroads in confidence and self-esteem only to forget that there’s another multiplier called self-respect. Personal achievement, accomplishments, awards and even attractiveness will fall to the wayside leading to various problems that begin with unhappiness and depression if there’s no self-respect. How you think about yourself is the most important quality of all. By being honest with ourselves, we can accept and love who we are.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know any of that.

Though I wrote a restaurant column, earned my diploma and wrote stellar ad copy, there was still something missing; something no accolades, rewards, bonuses and even kind comments could help me overcome. I had to learn about self-respect. What did that mean? After all high school theater gave me, a false sense of confidence and many people told me they thought I was great. Great—nah—average maybe. You see, I didn’t buy into the kind and well meaning compliments and spent most of my twenties acting the part of a confident coquette. Then one day, I decided to make a change by learning and going back to school for my Master of Arts degree.

Hitting the books helped me stay away from negativity and reading inspirational articles filled me with the desire to help others. I set my standards higher and accepted my limitations. I let go of those people who manipulated me or tried to take advantage of me and slowed my life to a crawl—or at least the speed limit. I smelled the flowers and set examples. I volunteered, developing a sense of humor along the way and went outside to exercise. My inner value blossomed and attracted real love. Without being selfish, I could still love myself and in turn be much better at sharing my heart.

Additionally, I’m grateful for my friends and followers. Thank you so much for reading this and sharing my ideas with those who might need a little help "seeing" things along the way. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Lying Monkeys

It starts out innocent enough, beginning with a lie and ending in a quagmire of polluted runoff. In some ways, due to our cultural mores, we’re all guilty and perhaps the best way to change our future is to be aware of our flaws. Remember the Aesop fable about the Monkey and the Dolphin? When the ship sinks and the dolphin comes to rescue the drowning monkey you’d think the monkey would be humble but instead tells a bold-faced lie to the dolphin and ends up in deep trouble, thus the moral of the story is: don't tell lies. 

 I unintentionally practice lying on my dogs. “Sure, you go outside for a few minutes and I’ll give you a snack.” An hour later, they wonder where the snacks are and they look at me as if they don’t trust me anymore. When I go somewhere, I tell them I’ll be back soon, even if it’s hours and hours later. They know when I’m lying. I’d make a horrid politician. We can’t help it. Lying is part of life and yes, even honest, churchgoing angels have complimented the inedible church casserole or the funny looking little bundle of joy. There are no ugly babies, right?

After a while, we begin to believe the lies. Soon we’re immune to our friend’s lies and we accept their lies as sweet-talk wrapped around kindness. We call them white lies.

“My butt is curvy, not fat.” (Sentiment shared by a famous reality show star.)

“He loved my book.” (A very short review-probably didn’t finish reading the entire book)

“Nutella is made of nuts. It’s good for you.”(I’ll never dispute this.)

“We have unbiased reporting.” (Really? Media equivalent of a used Yugo salesperson saying, ‘trust me’.)

“You paint better than Monet.”(Overly friendly and slightly suspicious assessment of your first painting.)

“That color looks good on me—sometimes.” (Probably never.)

“Mohair sweaters don’t itch.”(Said, the holiday-help at the department store.)

“That’s a nice hairstyle.” (Is it? From which angle?)

“I thought my emails are private.” (And you believe in Santa?)

“I did a lot of research before buying that lemon.” (Auto ads don’t count as research.)

“Bacon is better for you than fruit. Think of all the sugar in that fruit.”(Proteins and fruit carbs are both necessary and this argument can go on for hours—believe what you want to believe.)

“You sing better than Adele and Mariah rolled into one.” (I was told Celine, but okay.)

“These pants look good.” (Sorry, they don’t look good in any light—okay, maybe in the dark-pitch dark.)

Recently, we’ve heard some doozies such as the finger-pointing Senator who said small hands meant another body part is also small. Uglier still was the other candidate retorting and oversharing, as if it mattered to the world.

Don’t elected officials know that there are much worse things to worry about than their personal image issues? Who are they lying to anyway? Lest we forget, even the rescued monkey had to lie!!! By the time November rolls around, I’m afraid voters will have collective trust anxiety, exactly like my two skeptical Chihuahuas!