Friday, June 25, 2010

The Fear of Looking Foolish

This week I have had the pleasure of being the make up artist for the show “Senior Follies” The show is down town San Diego at the beautiful Balboa theater. It has been an interesting week of tech and dress rehearsals. Last night was opening night. The cast is cramming six performances in one weekend! I have had the pleasure of interacting with the cast, doing make up, gluing on eye lashes, pinning wigs, running wildly backstage, bolting up a staircase helping dress a cast member and pinning on hairpieces backstage in the dark and hoping I get it on the performer straight. I have done this sort of thing for many years and for a variety of different shows. There is nothing more thrilling than live theater. However the amazing thing about this particular cast is that every performer is over 55 years of age. Most of them being in their 60’s and 70’s. The eldest cast member is 95 years old and you would never know it! I am inspired by these men and women. The perform for 2 hours straight without an intermission. They have 3 to 4 minutes for costume changes and I have never seen senior citizens hustle like these do. The women dancers have better legs than most 20 year olds, they tap and swing dance, and do the twist. The men croon like Frank Sinatra, and they serenade me while I am doing their make up!
I realized something about these people tonight. Although their bodies may be aging their spirits never have. Their spirits are as youthful as young teens. They have refused to quit. They enjoy their life and are living it out. They are not afraid of looking foolish, they didn’t let that fear rob them of the thrill of receiving their applause and standing ovations.
I believe that there is something in all of us that wants to do something crazy, but our fear of looking foolish keeps us from it. I like what Mark Batterson wrote about the fear of looking foolish in his book “In a Pit With A Lion on a Snowy Day” He said:
If you aren’t willing to look foolish, you’re foolish. Noah looked foolish building an ark in the desert, Sara looked foolish buying maternity clothes at 90. The Israelites looked foolish marching around Jericho blowing trumpets. David looked foolish attacking Goliath with a sling shot. Benaiah looked foolish chasing a lion. The wise men looked foolish following yonder star. Peter looked foolish stepping out of a boat in the middle of the lake. And Jesus looked foolish hanging half naked on a cross.
But that is the essence of faith and the results speak for themselves.
Noah was saved from the flood. Sara gave birth to Issac. The walls of Jericho came tumbling down. Benaiah killed the lion. The wise men found the Messiah. Peter walked on water, and Jesus rose from the dead.
Can I tell you why some people have never killed a giant or walked on water or seen the walls come tumbling down? It’s because they weren’t willing to look foolish.
God chooses the foolish things to shame those who think they are wise….Nothing has changed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ride along with Travis

Today was great! To celebrate the request for a full I will post another excerpt.

Travis jumped into his truck and sped down the highway. He, if anyone, knew the dangers of this storm. This storm was angry. It had come suddenly and unexpectedly, and was ready to take its vengeance. Travis knew not taking immediate shelter was an invitation to suicide. However, the risk of taking shelter was too high. He had seen what the presence could do. He knew he was powerless against the force. He could not stop it, but he would do all within his power to keep it from claiming another life. Especially hers. The wind pushed hard against his truck, as if it sensed the confrontation. Travis grasped the wheel. The muscles in his forearms bulged as he attempted to hold it on the road. The rain swept over his truck in sheets, blanketing his windshield and making it almost impossible for him to see. Travis strained his eyes as he desperately tried to see through the blinding downpour. Though flicking back and forth at full speed, his windshield wipers were of no use. The sky was dark; the only light came from the lightning that danced tauntingly around his truck.
Then a flash, a thought. Travis turned for the lake. He had been repairing a shelf in the storeroom of Gil’s market earlier when Bronwyn came in inquiring about the canoes. He hated to think she was still on the lake during this incredible storm. Never the less, deep in the recesses of his soul he knew that was exactly where she was. He drove through town at full speed, before connecting to the secondary roads that surrounded the lake.
The sky was completely dark. Storm clouds continued to boil over into the sky, blocking out any light from the waning sun or rising moon. Travis reached into the floorboard of his truck and retrieved a powerful flood light. He lowered his window. The rain blew in, soaking him instantly. Holding the light out of the window, he scanned the lake. Nothing! He reduced his speed and continued his search, the beam of light acting as a lighthouse tower on an angry sea…nothing! Moments later his light reflected off an object bouncing in the waters not far from shore. Leaning out his window, he aimed the light. It fell across the waters and landed on an abandoned, overturned canoe.
Travis’s heart sank. An overturned, drifting canoe was not good news. Travis practically jumped from his truck before placing it in park. He ran down the bank to the lake, his feet slipping in the wet mud. He ran into the rushing waters and made his way towards the bobbing canoe, keeping his light aimed straight ahead.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What Daddy Said....

Today was one of those days…you know a day where God gives you the grace to endure the day instead of the grace to enjoy the day. It started off about 5:30 AM with a very nice rejection letter. You see as an author trying to hook a literary agent I have submitted to countless agents. The majority of them in New York and the time difference between the big apple and San Diego is three hours. So, while I am happily dreaming of better days my phone alerts me that I have an incoming e mail. I can barely see, my eyes will hardly open, after all it’s five in the morning here. My pesky neighbor Bob the Builder and his son Handy Many still have an hour before they come outside and rev their engines and fire up the weed whacker and nail gun. I fumble with my phone and click on the email and start the day with yet another rejection letter. Who cares? The agent wasn’t one I was really hoping for anyway. Her rejection was very nice and she complimented my writing skills out the whazoo .She said she loved the title of my book, and the story was an amazing read, however she stated that she must pass for the oddest reason….she neglected to inform me what the odd reason was. Could it be my email was number 38 on her list and those two numbers frighten her? Or could it be she has no desire to earn anymore money and she knows my book is going to go so big that she just can’t handle that kind of commission? Oh well, I mumble a feeble prayer thanking God for the rejection because I know it’s his way of looking out for OUR book and making sure it goes into the right hands. As I doze off again, Bob the builder and Handy Many emerge and decide to rev the diesel engine in their work van parked directly under my bedroom window. So much for sleeping….and the morning got worse.
Yes I cried some today, I know most of you think I am a super hero, my body makes people automatically think that, and you think I am as tough as nails and I never cry, but news flash. I do and sometimes it feels good to open my mouth, distort my face and wail like Lucille Ball did on the I love Lucy show. I re did my make up and headed to work and decided today would be a good day to call daddy. After all it’s a 30 minute drive to work and of course the radio in my car doesn’t work, neither does the horn and unfortunately my middle finger makes no noise. The air conditioner doesn’t work either. My blue tooth quit working sometime ago so I have to put the phone on speaker. And you know what that means…windows up or it will be too noisy for daddy to hear me. So I suffered to be able to talk to my dad. And…it was worth it. I love the sound of his cheery “well hello Denise!” We talked and he asked how I was and I was honest and he knows times are hard, they are for him too. Then we started talking about Journey and what a joy she is and I told him how she lives in such innocence. She is the happiest person I know. She has no clue that times are hard. She doesn’t know the house is falling apart around us, she doesn’t know mommy drives a clunker, She thinks she has more toys than anyone in the world (I think she might) and she thinks her mommy is a mermaid. She believes she is an artist and proved it by scribbling all over my beautiful white vanity table. She is blissfully happy because she is loved unconditionally. Daddy responded and said. I think that is what Yeshua was talking about when he said:
"Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Maybe little children are still innocent and live from the kingdom toward earth. When we grow older we get wiser and sadder.
Kingdom thinking believes that anything is possible at anytime. It is activated when you and I with tender hearts surrender to the thought pattern of God. When we receive his imaginations and say “yes.” We want our minds to be full of kingdom leaven, kingdom influence. We want miracles and we want those miracles to have their full effect on us, changing the way we see and behave.
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another excerpt!

The cabin was dark now, save for a few glowing embers from the fire. Travis was fully reclining on his back. His head propped up on his arms, His eyes now fixed on the ceiling. Bronwyn lay on the couch and listened to the steady rain falling outside.
“Tell me about Mavis,” she said quietly.
Bronwyn had wanted to ask Travis that question for the past several hours, but for some reason could not drum up the courage. Now that they were in total darkness, it seemed easier to ask.
“What do you want to know?”
“How long have you two known each other?”
“Pretty much our whole lives”
“Really? Did you always like her?”
“No,” He was matter of fact. “She was really quite a tease when she was younger”
Bronwyn laughed, but remained somewhat cautious. “What happened to her? What caused her injuries?”
Travis took a minute before he answered. Bronwyn could see the outline of his body on the floor. As much as she wanted the answer, a part of her wished she had never asked the question.
“She was badly injured in a storm somewhat like this one. She didn’t take cover soon enough.”
Bronwyn remained silent.
“Do you love her?” Bronwyn surprised herself by asking.
“Yes, I do.”
An extended silence, except for the popping and crackling of a few dying embers. Bronwyn closed her eyes and began to doze off.
“You’re a good man, Asa,” she said, yawning, drifting off to sleep.
Travis lay there a little while longer. His heart pounded with intensity as he
stared at the ceiling. No one had called him by the name of Asa for quite some time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Secret Meeting....

From Chapter Seven:

Smoking man and polite man rode out the storm with the warrior. Neither had spoken for quite some time. There was extreme concern on the warriors face. Lighting his pipe, he walked over to the glass window in the roof of his deep woods home and stared through it. Taking a few puffs, he turned and walked back to his two guests. “No stars visible tonight,” he said.
The men remained silent. At this point, words were meaningless. Each knew, or at least sensed, what the others must have been thinking.
Finally, the warrior broke the silence. “After six hundred years it’s finally been
opened again. They know she has arrived. They came through tonight, this time with a

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Do you really know what you want?

I spent the morning floating on a raft in my pool and playing with Journey in the water. The rest of the afternoon I embarked on the futile task of cleaning out the garage. I dug through manyboxes, got a spider bite on my finger that burned like fire, and sneezed and scratched the entire time. Now for me, cleaning out the garage takes hours because as I dig through boxes I stop and look at old pictures, journals and letters. I try on out dated jewelry, laugh at my previous style of clothes, and hold close to me the baby clothes Journey has outgrown. As I was looking through some of the memories I picked up a photograph of myself standing with friends of my past. So much of my life has much water under the bridge. I barely recognized the woman in the picture as being me. That lifestyle I used to have doesn’t fit me anymore, and I don’t think I could go back if I wanted to. It reminded me of the lyrics of a song that says:The places that used to fit me can not hold the things I’ve learned and those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned. I also dug through boxes that belong to my daughters. I confess I read some of their journals. I know they wouldn’t mind and if they had been at home today helping I am sure we would have sat down and read them together anyway. That’s how close we are. It was very interesting to me that both Autumn and Brittany’s journals from several years past were prayer journals. (Did I raise them right or what?) As I read their heartfelt prayers I noticed that in both of the journals the girls were asking God to give them back the “guy” who they had recently broke up with. Both girls wrote of their undying love and their willingness to change or do whatever to be with the one they loved. Time has past and obviously God did not grant those requests. Brittany is now married to another, the love of her life and Autumn has moved on as well. I sat beside the boxes and cried at some of the things I read…. much too personal to share. What I realized is through most of our life we think we know what will be the best for us; we beg and plead for God to give us what we want. If only we could see years down the road that sometimes what we want in the here and now will not fit us later. God is a loving father who wants to give us the best. I am not trying to say that the guys weren’t the best. Both guys are great but maybe the girls wouldn’t have been the best for them either. God loves us all and if we will only trust and wait….good things will come.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

From Chapter Five

Another excerpt...

Today my mother, stepdad, my sister and her kids canoed down the Hiwassee river in Tennessee. They had gorgeous weather and a great time. So in the theme of their day I decided on an excerpt from chapter five. Except Bronwyn isn't having as great a canoe ride.... enjoy.....

Bronwyn looked into the sky; it had grown unusually dark. That part of her nightmare was real. A chill had fallen in the air, causing the wind to increase; it bounced the canoe about the water. Bronwyn shivered at the sudden change of temperature. Only a few hours ago, the lake had been a peaceful paradise. Now it was a sinister snare of deception. The trees that before had stood erect, pointing happily to the sapphire sky, now bent over, cowering in fear before the breath of the storm. The sky that had provided a playground for whippoorwill, warblers, larks, water thrush and an occasional hawk was now devoid of any fowl. The vexed howl of the wind replaced the delightful songs of the birds.
It seemed to Bronwyn as if all nature cowered in fear of the arrival of some hideous creature. She sensed an overpowering feeling of doom as if there were some foreboding secret of which all of nature was aware. She shivered uncontrollably from the iciness of the wind and the eeriness that penetrated her soul. Thunder sounded in the distance as smoky black clouds rolled violently across the sky. Bronwyn attempted to maneuver the canoe to the dock. The muscles in her arms burned and her hands cramped from the tightness of her clutch on the oar. All of Bronwyn’s efforts to slice the water with the paddle met in futility, as the tumultuous waves tossed the oar to the surface as if it were nothing more than a wooden spoon. The rain smacked the lake in a downpour. The heavy wind blew the torrential rain into her face impairing her vision and making it impossible for her to see. Her heart raced within her chest.
She knew her circumstances were not good. Bronwyn considered her situation. She guessed she was close to shore, yet uncertain as to how close. With the increasing wind, she could feel her tiny canoe pushed further back into the lake and the consuming waves. She contemplated abandoning the boat altogether, and possibly swimming to shore. She was a decent swimmer, and could perhaps move her body against the fierce waves, more easily than she could maneuver the canoe with a worthless paddle. However, as fatigued as she was becoming, she feared running out of strength and then having no place of rest. Bronwyn decided to continue her paddling and get as close to shore as possible before taking the eminent plunge into the angry waters.
A streak of lightning zigzagged across the lake directly in front of her. She realized her situation was growing dimmer by every second. She placed her drenched arm across her forehead, shielding her eyes in an attempt to get a visual assessment of her distance from shore.
Her heart leaped with excitement. She was closer than she realized! She eyed several trees growing out of the water, many of their branches extended farther out over the lake. Bronwyn tossed her oar aside, and reached out to grab a branch, to pull herself closer to shore. Her sudden movement, combined with the unevenness of the water and the overpowering waves, toppled her canoe, tossing her into the angry lake. The consuming waters rushed over her, the waves much stronger than she had anticipated.
Now disoriented Bronwyn tried to position herself toward the shore. However, the wind, waves and the torrential downpour teamed up against her. She desperately needed a focal point. If only she could get a quick glimpse of the shoreline, she could swim there with all her might. She dare not waste her last bit of strength until she was certain of her bearings. Swimming in the wrong direction would cast her deeper into the lake, resulting in inevitable death. Bronwyn’s legs burned beneath her. Exhaustion was setting in. She feared she could not tread the water much longer, yet certain if she stopped she would surely be overtaken by the monstrous waves.
The sky was almost dark now. Little light left. Dismal gray surrounded her on every side. She strained her eyes for one small glimpse of shoreline. Just one glimmer of hope and she would exude all her strength to make it there.
Another bolt of lightning hit nearby. The flash provided just enough light to point her way to shore. Bronwyn’s heart beat with excitement. With the last bit of strength she forced her way, fighting against the powerful waters. Each wave that rose high above her pushed her back, keeping her from the shore.
Bronwyn swam, determined. This is not how my life is going to end! Thoughts of her friends and family receiving the dismal news of her death invaded her mind. She pondered how the news would affect Ryan. She wondered if he would feel any remorse. More than likely, he would be delighted. With her death, he would be free to use the screenplay he was so desperately trying to steal from her. Her simmering anger gave her an added bit of strength and new momentum. She tossed him from her mind. He would not be her last thought.
Another wave washed over her, filling her mouth with water. She coughed, strangled by the sudden rush of fluid. The rain’s intensity increased, pouring over her along with the crashing waves. She was losing her last bit of strength at an alarming rate. She lowered her legs, to see if she could touch bottom. Nothing.
Her heart ached. She wanted to cry. Her strength was completely gone. Her heart pounded so hard it seemed to be marching from her chest directly into her throat, choking her, suffocating her. God help me! Please God, I’m not ready to die, not now, not alone, not here, not this way. Please don’t let this happen to me, Help me please. Her heart pursed into itself a desperate prayer.
Bronwyn felt a small tap on her back. She whirled around. The canoe! Although it had capsized, it was amazingly still afloat! If she could manage to hang on to it, she might have a chance to drift to safety. She reached for the canoe. The enormous waves pushed it toward her at the same time causing it to violently crash into her head.
The sudden rush of pain choked the breath out of her. Bronwyn gasped… all was growing dark and quiet. She felt her body go limp. With all her strength ebbing away, she attempted to grab the canoe. Her hand had no power to grip; it only slapped at the side of the boat before sliding down across the hull and into the water. All was dark, save for a bright piercing light that blinded her eyes as the swirling waters took possession of her body.
There was no rain, no thunder, no howling wind. No final thoughts. Only a bright light followed by a quiet cold darkness.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Another excerpt for your sneak peek reading pleasure…. Today is June 7th and it looks like it will be another hot day, so let’s take a walk with the girls…..
From Chapter Two:The Secrets of Moonshine

Bronwyn half listened to Bethany and Lillian’s conversation as the three continued their trek into Moonshine. It was nearly one in the afternoon; the midday heat was beginning to take its toll. However, the heat wasn’t the reason Bronwyn was disengaged. Nor was it the fact that not one car had passed during the entire half hour they had been walking. It was the image Bronwyn was certain she could see following right long with them, masking itself in the gargantuan trees that provided a shaded tunnel over the winding road. Had to be the same-cloaked figure that had followed her in the storm. With every curve, Bronwyn desperately hoped to see some hint of a town ahead. However, every turn proved more of the same.
Bronwyn did not intend to alarm Bethany and Lillian of their stalker. She was certain that one word of impending danger would result in a wave of hysteria from Lillian and a barrage of questions from Bethany that she could not answer. Her best defense was to be aware of the person without them knowing. Bronwyn continued walking silently, blocking out the conversation and lending her ear to the woods on her right. Casually glancing over her shoulder, she could see that the dark cloaked figure was moving alongside, in rhythm to their steps, like a long shadow. Her mind traveled back to the bridge and the knife she saw gleaming in the moonlight, followed by the figure jumping into the river. A cold chill tickled her spine.
“Bronwyn!” Bethany’s exclamation interrupted her thoughts.
“You promised you’d be fun, but you haven’t said a word since we left.”
“Are you certain we’re going in the right direction?” Lillian’s voice was a whimper. “We’ve been walking forever and there’s no sign of a town anywhere.”
“Mavis said it was this way.” Bronwyn was beginning to wonder if there was indeed a town ahead.
“I’m wondering if there even is a town,” Bethany said, plucking the thought off Bronwyn’s tongue. She nudged Bronwyn slightly in the ribs, her secret way of informing her friend that she was planning on frightening Lillian.
“I mean think about it. We just trusted a couple of strangers. We know nothing about them. And, for that matter, why are there no other guests at the inn? In the height of summer? Only us?”
Bronwyn could see that Bethany’s words were taking their toll on Lillian, whose facial expressions of impending heatstroke changed to full fright.
Bethany used her foreboding voice to emphasize a certain mood. She had the uncanny ability to make the most mundane sentence sound thrilling or terrifying. “Do you realize no one knows where we are right now? No one. Not even us. We can’t call anyone because there is no cell reception and the phones at the inn are supposedly out because of the storm last night. We’ve all heard of people who just disappear never to be seen or heard from again.
I wonder if this is how it starts. We all saw our bus being towed away, but to where? They could have been removing evidence that we were ever here.”
Bethany’s last words fell hard on Lillian.
“Stop it! I refuse to be the victim of your outrageous stories.”
The three continued walking without conversation each thinking of the direst circumstance that could possibly befall them.
A rustling from the woods shattered their silence.
“What was that?” Lillian gasped.
Bronwyn decided it was time.
“I didn’t want to say anything, but I’m pretty sure we’re being followed.”
Bethany smiled smugly, believing Bronwyn to be playing along with her attempt to spook Lillian.
“We are?” Lillian nearly yelled. “How do you know?”
Bronwyn hushed her. “Don’t make a scene, Lillian, but something or someone has been following us the entire way.”
“How can you tell?”
“If you look over to your right, you can see it moving along with us, over in the trees.”
Lillian glanced over her shoulder. “I don’t see anything.”
“Keep looking” Bronwyn kept her eyes fixed on the road ahead.
“My God what are we going to do?”
“Just keep walking. Don’t run”
Lillian picked up the pace, turning the girls’ casual stroll into a brisk power walk.
“What if it’s a bear?” Bethany suggested.
“Or a mountain lion? I’ve heard about mountain lion attacks they’re horrible. My god, I don’t want to be mauled! What should we do?”
Bethany almost laughed. “Climb the nearest tree.”
Bronwyn knew it was not an animal following them. However, she decided to keep that bit of information to herself, to avoid frightening Lillian any more than she already was.
Too late. Lillian had broken into a full-on run. Bronwyn and Bethany were forced to keep pace with her.
“Slow down, Lil,” Bethany said. “Dang, I’ve never seen you move so fast! Don’t get too far ahead. There’s safety in numbers.”
The loud sound of a snapping tree branch met their ears. Bronwyn turned her head just in time to see a hooded figure move between two trees.