Sunday, November 18, 2007

More stress than sincerity: Should we reconsider the way we celebrate holidays


We should absolutely reconsider the way we celebrate Holidays. I capitalize Holidays, because of where the word hails from: Holy Days. We should keep these days Holy, and celebrate with our family and friends with a pureness of spirit. Holidays are a great opportunity to celebrate and give thanks. We need not get bogged down with commercialism and stress.

From Thanksgiving to Valentines day and on to Easter, you should look at what the days really mean to you and decide if they are even worth celebrating at all. If you find that you want to pay tribute to these Holy Days, then lets get to it. Don't compare yourself to what you see on TV, read about, or see in those around you. Just put your heart into it, and play hard.

For the sake of this article, let's only look at Thanksgiving and Christmas. These are the Holidays that are imminently upon us. And believe me, for many, maybe even for you, the stress and anxiety have already begun.

Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity to count our blessings. We have food on our table, a roof over our heads, and friends to celebrate with. Even if the food comes from your local soup kitchen, the roof is the blue sky, and the friends are those around you at the soup kitchen, there IS a reason to celebrate. Life. God has given us a rich gift, and he meant us to revel in it. His Word says, in Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice."

Christmas comes quickly after Thanksgiving for us adults. The children, who are excitedly counting down the days, may think the time seems to drag. For shoppers Christmas begins on black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving. The biggest shopping day of the year.

Since we are talking about avoiding stress and commercialism, and celebrating these Holy Days from our hearts and with our spirits; let me tell you this. You can enjoy a good black Friday without hurting your bank account. You can go, enjoy the crowds, get a bite to eat and an idea of what kinds of things you like, without even spending a dime on shopping. Believe me, it can be done. If that's what your budget requires, then do it. Enjoy the pleasure of being out and about, without the hassle of waiting in those long lines.

Christmas is the celebration of Jesus' birth. There are many ways to do it. Search your heart and decide how you would like to celebrate this Holiday. Whether you go to a party or two, a Christmas pageant, or sit around with a few friends and family talking and enjoying one another's company; there is much to celebrate and revel in. Jesus was born. God lived, breathed, and walked as a man.

And, think about this. In the Bible, Jesus said, "For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45) So, when you go out and celebrate Jesus' birth, however you choose to do it, remember, He came to serve us. How can you emulate Him? Who can you serve?

Saturday, October 20, 2007



I swallowed hard,
and found a prickly lump in my throat.
You got stuck in my pores
when I tried to flush you out.

It hurts,

and I realize
that somebody's got to toughen me up.
That's what you say.

Thinking that you want to protect me from pain,
you swallow me in your arms.

But, you're scarred – you're scared
and realize you can't.

I feel you're the only one I can tell
of the purple swells in my heart.

But, you push me away.

And, I resent you
for being able to get
under my skin
and for
into my bones.

Friday, October 19, 2007



Nikki, better known here as Ms. Lovelace, stood in front of the class. She felt very small and alone. I would even say that she felt fear. She was the substitute teacher, and this was shop class, fourth period, 24 freshman boys. They were swarming her. All she was trying to do was take roll. They wouldn't sit down. It felt like being stuck inside a popcorn popper.

Nikki couldn't help but think they resented her. They definitely resented being in school, having to be still, following rules, trying to learn. They resented being forced to watch a video about outdoor building projects.

The video itself was pretty interesting, though it was set in the early 90's and this was 2007. A couple and a friend were building a garage. But, only Nikki and about 5 of the boys noticed. The rest of the room was locked in combat.

A group of black boys were huddled at one end of the room around a large table. The white boys were huddled in the opposite corner. They were throwing things at each other throughout class. Apparently they resented each other too.

Nikki managed to convince them to stop, by threatening to call the office. But then the group of black boys started playing cards. She went over to tell the to stop. They immediately started whining, complaining and begging. Trying to wheedle out of her the permission to play, by saying they would behave better if they were allowed to play cards, because somehow, this would distract them from raising hell in her classroom.

One of them mumbled, "Man, we aren't allowed to do anything, what ARE we allowed to do then?" Nikki replied, "You can watch the video, do work for another class, or day dream." One of the boys retorted, "I'm going to day dream about you buck naked." Nikki walked away, she was furious, embarrassed, but what was she supposed to do? She wasn't even entirely sure which one had said it.

There was another big ruckus at the table, so Nikki went back over. "Guys I'm going to have to ask you to move, move away from the table into one of these two rows." But they wouldn't do it. She started back to her desk. "If you don't all move by the time I get to the phone, I'm going to call the office."

Nikki called the office, but she wasn't entirely sure what she was going to say. Lucky for her, right at that moment, another flying object flew past her head. So she said, "Hi, I'm a sub, and the students are throwing things at each other." Nikki was assured that someone would be down promptly.

The boys all moved, tying to look innocent, for their impending doom. One of them tried the age old ploy, "Your racist." Yes, they definitely resented her, Nikki couldn't help but wonder what race had to do with it. But, then it was clear, the white boys were on one side of the room, the black boys were on the other side of the room. There was an imaginary line of war. The kid said, "It's 'cause we're black." Nikki retorted, "It's the black boys over here, and the white boys over there."

To Nikki, it was clear, both races were included, so it wasn't at all racist. But somehow, to the boy, this comment confirmed racism. He jumped up and went to make his own phone call. Nikki managed to get the phone away from him, and quickly hung it up.

It took quite awhile for one of the disciplinary faculty to arrive. Nikki kept walking to the door looking for her savior. A lady, Ms. Rouse, finally did come. She apologized for taking so long. Nikki told her that the boys were throwing stuff at each other, that they had been playing cards, that they wouldn't listen to her, that she had asked them to move, and that those five boys weren't at all involved.

Nikki almost started to cry when she said, "That one said he would dream about me buck naked, and then one of them said he was going to get me pregnant." Ms. Rouse went around and took names. She left with the boy in blue, who had been outspoken about his personal fantasies.

But, Nikki was still alone with these hormonal, young, strapping boys. They started fighting. Throwing each other across tables. Nikki had to put her body between them. She said, "Look, the period is almost over. I don't want to hear anymore out of you guys. Tomorrow I'll gladly hear it, but today we are through."

The bell rung, and they all raced out of the room, bottlenecking at the door. The room was still thick with resentment. They resented authority, they resented Nikki, they resented each other. Who knows why? Nikki trudged home with a headache, for which Nikki resented her students. All of them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Not All Who Wander Are Lost


Not all who wander are lost. Although, I'm sure I often seemed lost to the people around me. I would cry, scream and bang loudly. I would jump, laugh and dance. From early fall 1995 until June 13, 2005 I did not stay in the same place for longer than five months. I was a gypsy and a vagabond. Most of the time I was in a different place every day.

What was I doing? I was pursuing my dream. I was an actor. I worked for the Hampstead Stage Company, the Georgia Shakespeare Festival, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, the Virginia Shakespeare Festival and the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival. Just to name a few.

I toured the South East, the East coast, New York and Pennsylvania, the Pacific North West and Texas and Louisiana; all these with just one company. It was a blast. Though the fast food really did catch up with me quickly, and PMS can be wicked bad on the road, I never did get tired of hotel rooms. They were my surrogate home, probably more comfortable to me than my mother's womb.

I remember times, when I was settled, temporarily, in Louisville, Charlotte, or DC, when I would pass a hotel in my car and get home sick. I'm serious, wanderlust for me is an illness. I have a gypsy's heart.

Was it worth it? Yes, it was worth it, every minute of it:

Louisiana in the height of spring, with all it's marshes, is the most lush and beautiful thing. It has so many depths of green, your eyes can barely stand it.

The Redwood Forrest is my favorite place in the world. I feel so diminutive among the forest's enormousness, and the color there, is like nowhere else.

The Shenandoah Valley in Spring, was absolutely glorious with all it's Dogwoods and color to beat the band.

The Shenandoah Valley in Fall, my partner and I were convinced that we missed a turn, and were somehow in Ireland.

Driving into Portland, Oregon with cliff's and waterfalls on my left, and a huge river on my right, and then boom, city in the distance. It was magical, like driving into Oz.

Being convinced, no one can be in a bad mood in the Pacific North West, you could try, but as soon as you walk out into the majestic beauty, all is wiped away.

Having a child ask me, after a performance, "Do you have a baby?" I replied, "Do I have a baby, is that what you said?" And, she grinned like a Cheshire cat, and responded, "That's what I said."

Taking mini-vacations in between jobs to NYC, the city of all cities, was a bit opulent or gluttonous. I don't know the right word, let's just was all grand,

and yes, it was worth it.

I did finally decide to settle down. Why? I was desperate for a family. I had yet to find my life mate among the theatre tribe. I desperately wanted to be equally yoked with a man and bare his children. To be equally yoked, I would have to find a Christian man, with a bit of wanderlust. A tall order, I know.

Did I find him? Yes I did. We've almost hit our one year anniversary. It has been one hell of year. Much has been learned, and we've been renting the same house for twelve whole months. However, I don't think our wanderlust has been squashed.

We still dream of living in NYC or New Hampshire or Baltimore or Seattle. We still talk of traveling when we find our next money tree. And, we still pray about mission work in Burundi, Africa, or wherever our Lord might send us.

"Not all who wander are lost." This is a wonderful quote from the end of Julia Roberts' film, "Mona Lisa Smile." Kirsten Dunst's character spoke it, in voice over, while writing it into an article for the school paper. She finally came to terms with the teacher figure, Julia Roberts, and even learned something from her as a person. Just because the teacher was different from Kirsten's country club set, (I mean she was the Jones' of "Keeping up with the Jones'" fame, aren't we all different?) and even thought the teacher seemed to bounce around in relationships and life, did not mean she was lost. It meant she had a wonderful grip on her own life and a taste for discovery and freedom.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Song of Solomon 1:2-4
Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth
For your love is better than wine.
Because of the fragrance of your good ointments,
Your name is ointment poured forth;
Therefore the virgins love you.
Draw me away!

Genisis 2:9
And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The Tree of Life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledgeof good and evil.

Genisis 3:22
Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever."

John 16:21
A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.

I Samuel 1:20
So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked for him from the Lord."

I Samuel 1:22
But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, "Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever."




Happy Birthday Helium! And, many happy returns.

You have been such a blessed gift to me. How can I even begin to sum up in words alone, what a God-send you are? I will delight in giving you a virtual hug and kiss on this, your very special day.

I discovered Helium, in the midst, or shall I say the ending of, a very horrible seven month depression. I was desperate for a way to drag myself out of it. One night, I thought it might be fun to take a creative writing class. I imagined such a class might be a necessary creative outlet for my starved soul, as well as a way to get out of the house, and meet new potential friends.

So, I Googled it. The first thing I fell upon was Helium, and I immediately joined. My first article was a poem for the title "Voices." It was a poem about suicide, though honest, it was very bleak and pathetic. The writing wasn't even very good. Next I wrote a slightly better article about "Weird Friends." Then came the grand slam. The article that made me remember who I am, the one that began to battle, with a vengeance, the voices with-in my head. It was a short story, for the title "Writing." It was about a young school aged boy, who wanted to be a writer when he grew up. I am proud to say, it has faired quite well in earnings and ratings.

My point is, in my depression, I wrote one bleak, depressing poem, and it was all up hill from there. My spirits lifted with each new word penned, with each day a world of possibilities opens before me. Because of Helium, I have also created a blog, and joined My Space, in order to market my work. Helium has cast a wide net of opportunities for me. Helium has given me a reason to get up in the morning and an outlet for my artistic personality. Helium has given me a voice and an audience.

Helium is such a supportive and positive environment. The staff are nothing short of miraculous. I have virtually met some people, and have found true friends. One lady in particular, has been a great mentor and confidant for me.

I will be forever grateful to you. May God bless you, Helium, as you have richly blessed me, on this your very first birthday.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Picture of a Pessimist


He sits before us on
his stool
with his small frame
salt and pepper hair and
small blue eyes
with large bags under them
conservative dress
and two hands that seem
to have a mind of their own.
Dr. Drum holds his hands firmly
in his lap.
They start to
He rubs them together
holding their composure.
Dr. Drum's excitement for
Infectious Diseases
pops out of his fingertips
his animated head
and the tips of his ears
while his legs and feet remain
they remain still, together and
"If you eat the fruit
in the Cafeteria You WILL DIE"
he tells us with his serious face
wrinkled forehead
from too much thought.
Now his hands are no
longer in his lap
they flap around wildly
on the verge of explosion
then still
small smirk
cynicism is now bursting the
seams of his viral infected nose and throat
with excitement.
The pessimist stares at our
bored, blank faces
He tells us of a new virus
that we read about
last night.
He knows better than to trust
OUR academic integrity.
"If you go to Africa you will
get a mosquito bite and die."
The corners of his lips turn up
as he talks.
He stops mid-word
mouth open.
I'm sure he is going to bust
out laughing at
himself and our indifference to
the severity of death and dieing
like the calm little hands held firmly in his lap
he stifles the laughter
and continues...