Crazy Idea

Caring Hands

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ~ Aesop

Ever since I wrote last week’s post, I’ve had this crazy idea. What if I created a hashtag on Twitter that read something like “#Cascade of Kindness.” I don’t even know how hashtags work, so I’ll need help with that. But it would be fun if I, or someone, created this hashtag and it went viral. I think most of us can agree that some good vibes right now would be welcome.

As I was thinking about that idea, I was entering the college library, I had quite a bit of time before class, and a bird started singing. It was as if the bird was singing just for me. I stopped to listen for moment or two. I then thanked the bird for its song.

There are so many good things that happen all the time that pass us by. For instance, the sky lit with stars that I get to see upon arriving home from teaching. I’m always filled with awe of the beauty of those tiny points of light. Or the birds at our feeder. Or the quality of the light at sunset. Life is filled with so many beautiful people and things. Those are what we should be focusing on.

Of course, some of the blessings we receive present themselves as challenges and we fuss and fret about them. However, if I pay attention, I’m amazed at all the good things that come my way because I faced the challenge instead of trying to ignore it. Maybe one of our tests right now is to be positive in the face of so many negative things happening.

And that’s why I want to create a movement of people who will be kind to everyone, no matter what’s going on. What do you think the social media hashtag should be? Since Ellen DeGeneres is the one who inspired my thinking, I’d like to include her name in the title, but other than that, I’m open to suggestions.

That’s all I have for today. Just that one thought. Do you think you’d be interested in spreading a cascade of kindness? I’d be interested to know.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. I hope you find someone to be kind to this weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered and she must find a way to put it back together. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

If We Really Want to Change the World …

Earth from the Moon

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” ~ Albert Einstein.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here we go again! Another controversy. Only it’s not about some dirty dealings by a politician or scandal about a celebrity. Nope! Ellen DeGeneres was NICE to George W. Bush at the Dallas Cowboy’s game! And she got a lot of online flack for that. Really!? One online news commentator said her behavior was disgusting. It was disgusting because George W. Bush, in her opinion, was a war criminal. I’ve never heard anyone say that being kind to someone was disgusting behavior.

Here’s what Ellen had to say about it, “When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean only the people that think the same way you do. I mean be kind to everyone. It doesn’t matter.”

That’s an idea and practice I can get behind. Now that doesn’t mean I’m perfect at it. I catch myself saying unkind things, even if it’s only to the TV, or the driver who cut me off. But I am getting better at recognizing when it happens, that when I send out nasty energy, it’s going to come back and stick to me at some point. So, I ask for those nasty thoughts and words to be taken back or transformed. One way I do that is to imagine what it’s like to be that other person. That makes it easier for me to be kind.

I want to only send out love and kindness because that’s how we change the world.

After hearing about the attacks on Ellen, I continued to think about why some people want to tear others down instead of build them up. My dad used to say, “Wounded people, need to wound other people. They think it will make them feel better.” I agree with dad, but I think there is something else going on. We come into this world with what Caroline Myss calls our “Sacred Contract”. And I think there are three basic categories of contracts or points of view when it comes to human interactions. There are the adherents to the Old Testament, eye for an eye, vengeful God, we carry out God’s judgment, kind of people. There are the New Testament, God is love, love thy neighbor as thyself, those who are without sin cast the first stone, kind of people. And there are those that mash up some Old Testament teachings with the new teachings of Jesus.

To be fair to people who are not of the Christian persuasion, maybe I should categorize these groups as those who think they have the mandate of the Divine Being to carry out His judgment, those who follow the path of pure love, and those who mix love with judgment.

I first became aware of these three points of view while I was getting my Religious Studies degree, though I couldn’t articulate the differences then. As I’ve done my own personal work, I’ve had time to think more deeply about what attitudes and beliefs make us who we are.

For millennia we’ve lived in a world that is clearly not in the love thy neighbor category. But that might be changing. To help good triumph over evil, maybe we should follow Ellen DeGeneres example and try to love one another, because I think we can all agree the world is a pretty messed up place right now. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not go on as we have been.

The thing that impresses me about Ellen is that she must have done a great deal of personal work to be able to show love to people who criticize her. I say this because she gives love so freely, and seems to let all the flack that comes her way roll off her back. She doesn’t let it shake her resolve to continue to show kindness to everyone she meets. That takes a strong person. It’s so easy to slide into condemnation. It’s harder, or maybe it takes more discipline, to show compassion, kindness, and love no matter what.

Here’s what I’ve learned doing my own personal work. When I get upset with someone, I’m not really angry at them. I’m angry at the ugly part of myself I see in their actions or attitudes. What others do, holds up a mirror in front of my face and shows me something I don’t want to acknowledge about my own foibles.

So, if we really want to change the world, we have to take a good long look at ourselves and accept that we’ve made some pretty big mistakes. We have to realize that no one who has ever lived, except maybe one or two, have lived a spotless life. We have to acknowledge our mistakes and love ourselves anyway, because only then can we love everybody else. And this may be difficult to wrap your head around, but God doesn’t judge us. She/He loves us no matter what. We all go to heaven.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Have a fun weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered and she must find a way to put it back together. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Women’s Stories

Working Mom

“And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.” ~ Mark Anthony, The Beautiful Truth

This week I’ve been immersed in stories. Dave, my acting friend, had auditions for Twelfth Night on the weekend. I was there since I am, as one of the cast members labeled me, the “Producer”. It was a long weekend, but watching actors bring characters to life is an exhilarating experience. Twelfth Night has a female protagonist who must dress up like a man so she can survive the loss of her brother and all her possessions. And just now as I write this I’m putting the dots together, that I’ve been immersing myself in women’s stories for quite some time.

Also in Dramatic Structure class this week, we watched the movie, Easy Virtue, which has a female protagonist played by Jessica Biel. She’s recovering from the trauma of the terrible illness and death of her first husband when she meets a fresh young man and falls in love with and marries him. He takes her home to his family’s estate, and there, as an American, she has a difficult time fitting in. Living in the English countryside with people who are, for the most part, close minded, almost ruins her. But she’s a survivor.

When I was choosing the movies for the class, I realized almost half of them had female protagonists. At first I thought the young men in the class might not be able to connect with these movies because of that. But, I think I underestimated them. They seem to have enjoyed the female driven movies we’ve watched so far as much as the male driven ones. It’s encouraging to hear their insights when we discuss the movies.

This desire to immerse myself in women’s stories started several years ago. I realized that I was reading books that were almost exclusively by and about women. And that the stories I love the most are about characters who find themselves in unusual situations in which they must learn to adapt. The other stories that speak to me are the ones where the characters have unusual relationships that lead them to profound self-discovery.

Maybe I’m drawn to these kinds of stories because they are personal. I’ve had to navigate new situations often because I’ve moved a lot. Taking the lay of the land and how I can fit into the new situation is a skill I’m glad I’ve developed. And self-discovery has been a lifelong theme for me.

Immersing myself in the stories of other people has been beneficial for me in some profound ways. Even though I was born with empathetic skills, I’ve developed them to a higher degree because of analyzing the stories I watch and read. I understand human behavior and motivation better now than I did when I was younger. That helps me be more tolerant but also makes me want to dig deeper into what makes up human nature. I love it when I get aha moments that allow me to get new insights about who we are and why we’re here.

Stories are food for my soul and I love sharing the meal with others.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. It’s a lovely time of year. I hope you get to go out and enjoy nature.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered and she must find a way to put it back together. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

The RLDS Seal of my childhood
New Community of Christ Seal

“I speak not for myself but for those without voice … those who have fought for their rights … their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” ~ Malala Yousafzai

I grew up in a relatively obscure church with the unwieldy name of The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Whenever I was asked about my church affiliation, I cringed a little for two reasons; the name was so long, and everyone always assumed I was Mormon.

The church changed its name a few years back to Community of Christ, which, even though I no longer belong, made me happy. It describes their mission so much better than the original name.

I could go into a long history lesson about why the church originally adopted that long name, and how they are related to the Mormon church, but you can look that up for yourselves. The thing I want to write about is my love of the church seal pictured above.

Even though I chose to leave the church for wider spiritual horizons, the seal of the church, has always had a special significance for me. After I was baptized at eight years old, I believed that I was going to live to see the prophecy of Isaiah, which the seal symbolizes, come true. The lion WOULD lie down with the lamb and A LITTLE CHILD would lead us to peace. And I’d be there to see it all happen. Maybe even help it happen.

Here is where the inspiration for the seal came from: “The coming of the virtuous king.” Isaiah 11:6 – 9 The Jerusalem Bible

“The wolf lives with the lamb, the panther lies down with the kid, calf and lion cub feed together with a little boy to lead them. The cow and the bear make friends, their young lie down together. The lion eats straw like the ox. The infant plays over the cobra’s hole; into the viper’s lair the young child puts his hand. They do no hurt, no harm, on all my holy mountain, for the country is filled with the knowledge of Yahweh as the waters swell the sea.”

I must have been dreaming about young people like Greta Thunberg, in fact, I must have been dreaming about all the recent events on the teeter totter we’ve been going through lately, because this morning when I awoke, I felt I was seeing the beginning of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. The animals and young people of this time are leading the way to peace just as the Community of Christ seal shows.

Just for fun, before I even got out of bed, I went to YouTube and searched for unusual animal friendships. I’ve been seeing these kinds of videos with increasing frequency lately and I wanted to know if it was a trend, or if I was seeing isolated video stories.

I didn’t find a video about a lion/lamb friendship, but I found lots of other unusual friendships, including a tiger and a goat. If I’d wanted to I could have spent the day watching the videos that popped up, including unusual animal/human friendships. The list of videos was long. I would still have plenty more videos to watch for perhaps days to come if I wanted to.

But the idea for this post was really prompted by Greta Thunberg’s visit to the U.S. this week. She is one in a line of amazing young people who are shaking up the world with their demands for action on everything from taking care of the environment, to curbing gun violence, to cleaning up our oceans, to finding cures for cancer, to spreading love even in the face of terrorist control, to the little four or five year old boy who got his parents to agree to make sandwiches for the homeless in his community.

There are days when I’m exhausted by what pops up in my news feed. I want to crawl into bed, cover my head and sleep until the world has changed for the better. I’m not alone in feeling this way. I saw a news story this week that pointed out a trend of people experiencing bad news fatigue just like me. And yet, there are so many great things happening all around us if we take the time to look.

The idea that one way to heal our wounds by helping others is not a new one. A couple of weeks ago I showed the movie, Now Voyager in my dramatic structure class and was gratified when one of my students said, “I could watch that movie every day.” It’s a 1942 Bette Davis movie in which her character, Charlotte, has a nervous breakdown. She gets better, but just when she thinks she’s going to have a second one, she meets a young girl who reminds her of herself at that age. She decides to help the girl and that opens up a whole new world of love, joy, and service for Charlotte. Meeting and helping this girl completes her healing.

Though I get overwhelmed sometimes juggling teaching with writing and recording my audiobook, because I’m not a good mult-tasker, teaching is one way I can help bring about a peaceful future. The young people I meet are amazing. And I’m thrilled that I get to live to see us moving toward peace. I’m grateful for those young people who are brave enough to speak up, march, and do what they can to change the world for the better.

Maybe I’ll even march with them one day like the 90 something man who was arrested at the large rally held last week. He said he was thrilled that so many young people are rising up to change the world and he wanted to support them. It’s as if his heart is as young as theirs, even though his body isn’t. That’s inspiriting too.

Greta Thunberg
David Cameron meets with Malala Yousafzai at the Syria Conference

Welcome new followers. Thank you for your likes and comments on my posts. I hope you all have a restful and joyful weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Inspiration Comes in Small Doses

Caring Hands

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Sometimes I just need a positive story or two to lighten my spirits or help me get a new perspective. This week there were three that inspired me.

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks online news network posted a personal video essay on YouTube this week that reminded me of something similar in my own life. The title of the post was “Sexism is Worse Than I Realized.” He relates a couple of personal encounters with men who stated that they voted for men in recent elections because they didn’t want to vote for a woman. In one case, the person was kicking himself now.

Cenk acknowledges that sexism is worse than he realized. He stated that he grew up in rather sheltered and privileged surroundings and that’s why he just assumed women were getting their due. But he uses poll numbers to support his case that they are not, to which he said, “Really, in 2019 we’re still wondering if a woman can run a country? Look at the guys we’ve had running the country. Especially the Republicans. You should be wondering if a guy can run a country.” He went on to encourage people, mostly women, to be deliberate and educated and vote for the candidates they think are best irregardless of their gender.

As I was listening to Cenk’s video, I remembered something about a time I was confronted with my own prejudices. I had just begun my Master’s in theatre at Portland State University and had met some openly gay guys there. I felt weird and didn’t know how to relate to them. I mentioned this to a young man Barry and I knew at church. He tilted his head at me as if to say Really? You feel that way? What he said to me was, “You talk to them like any other person you know. They aren’t that much different.” Well, of course, I felt dumb. That young man was right. Each person is much more than their sexual orientation, gender, background, behaviors, and prejudices. There is, after all, something inherent in each of us that comes from the same source.

That was a great lesson for me. I needed that little wake up call.

Just last night a couple of other stories reenforced my point of view. I was awake during the night with insomnia and was flipping through my news app. A story popped up that made me cry. Ellen DeGeneres’ show today, as I write this, features three boys who learned a great lesson. One of the boys, Micheal, was being bullied at school because he wore the same clothes day after day. Two other boys, Kristopher and Antwain befriended him. Kristopher admitted that he had also been laughing at Micheal, but after reflecting about the incident at home, he wanted to apologize and give him something. So, he and his friend gave Micheal some clothes. Meanwhile, someone caught the surprise on video and when it was posted it went viral. That was when Ellen invited them to the show.

But the boys were surprised when Will Smith showed up to praise them. “What you did felt small to you, but I promise you that is exactly how human beings are supposed to interact with one another. It’s not more complicated than that. Somebody is having a hard time and you help them. It’s that simple.” Then he proceeded to honor their kindness with gifts.

The final story that made me cry as I was attempting to get tired enough to go back to sleep was from CNN. It’s about a nurse and a biker club she helped and how they paid her back.

A year ago, Daryn Sturch was driving with her daughter when they came across a terrible accident involving several motorcyclists who were part of the Milwaukee Iron Biker Group. Some were severely injured and in need of immediate medical attention. Sturch attended to them until the paramedics arrived.

Over the year, she got connected with the group on social media in hopes of finding out how the injured were doing. The bikers thanked her for helping them on that terrible day and they formed friendships.

A year later, Sturch’s young daughter wanted to make some money by opening a lemonade stand, but unfortunately it got rained out. When the bikers found out about the child’s endeavor and what had happened, they encouraged her to open her stand again. On September 15, 30 bikers showed up to buy lemonade from Sturch’s daughter. Among them were some of those she helped the day of the accident. Sturch said, “I think it’s a perfect example of how just because you don’t look the same way or dress the same way or have the same hobbies or interests doesn’t mean we don’t have the same values inside us. We shouldn’t make assumptions about people we should just love each other.”

This last story reminded me of the time I was teaching drama at the local high school. The members of the International Thespian Society wanted to attend the convention held every year during the summer. We needed to do fund raising for such an undertaking. One of the students got the idea to approach the local Biker group. The students prepared a presentation and we were invited to pitch our idea. The group pledged a large amount of money to our trip if we would help them with one of their events. The students and I agreed. It was a wonderful day. We met so many people who looked different than we did, but who supported our love of theatre and the arts in general. It was a great lesson for all of us. Underneath all of the outer differences, we can find common ground.

This post turned out to be longer than I intended. I tried to find links for the Ellen show, and CNN posts, but they may be too new. In any case, I am encouraged by positive stories like the ones above. They are a testament to me that love is stronger than hate and that we can find common ground with anyone we meet if we only take the time to do so.

Have a fantastic weekend. Blessings.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Revelations and Realizations

Bending Time

It’s been a discombobulated day. I seem to be having lots of those lately. I think the universe is trying to see how dedicated I am to finishing my audiobook and my second novel, Time’s Echo.

Even though unexpected things keep getting thrown in my way, I have managed to do some work on Jenna’s story in Time’s Echo. It’s interesting how ideas come at unexpected times. Thank heaven for them. It’s a terrible feeling to be stuck.

Autumn is always a difficult time because I’ve had to suspend my personal work to prepare the classes and then get used to the new routine of teaching them. We’re in our third week of classes and I’m still getting used to the new schedule.

But this feeling of disorientation is more than just having to do the work that teaching requires.

The other day after I meditated, I was writing in my journal asking if there were any beliefs, attitudes, or habits that I needed to clean up and clear out and something rather nettlesome came out my pen. I had to acknowledge that this idea was correct. I tend to get bored in the middle of a project and all kinds of tantalizing new project ideas come to my mind. They’re shiny, new, and enticing and I’m tempted to drop what I’m doing and chase these new ideas. However, the message in my journal was, “stay the course.”

I’ve been thinking a great deal about that ever since. In one way, I have learned to keep slogging along even though I feel bogged down at some point along the way and not sure where my novel is headed. One completed novel has taught me the joys of continuing to put one word behind the others until I get a rough draft completed. Then the fun begins. Well, I think it’s fun, shaping the various elements I’ve written and arranging them into an interesting plot form. I tend to write in scene segments which then must be revised and assembled later.

As with The Space Between Time, I’ve had a more difficult time hooking into Jenna’s story in the present than I’ve had with Morgan’s in the past. I wish I knew why that was, but this week, new ideas have come to me. I feel renewed interest in what’s going to happen to her, which makes me more determined than ever to keep writing.

Something fun happened this week, which might have something to do with the new ideas for my novel. Barry and I watched the movie The Bookshop on Amazon Prime. We’d never heard of it before, but it had some British actors in it we like and so we took a chance.

The story takes place in the 1950s and is about a widow, Florence Green, with a small inheritance who moves to a small town on the British coast and proceeds to make her dream of opening a bookshop come true. She does this in spite of the objections of the townspeople led by Violet Gamart who has decided the town needs to use the old run down building Florence has spent six months purchasing and renovating, for an arts center instead.

The shop is a great success at first, which annoys Violet so much that she makes plans to be rid of Florence and the bookshop. She uses various legal tactics, but in addition she poisons everyone in the town against Florence, all except Christine, the young girl who comes to work in the shop in the afternoons. The very first day at work, Christine declares she hates reading, but as her friendship with Florence grows, she changes her mind.

Florence has another ally an older reclusive man, supposedly widowed, named Edmund Brundish. He’s the only great reader in the town. He sends requests via a young boy for Florence to choose books for him to read. The first one she sends him is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This begins their friendship, as Edmund asks for more books by Bradbury.

The thing that I found compelling about this story is how even in the worst of times, love can be shared with lasting positive effects. This is another one of those movie – book connections for me. The Bookshop is on my night stand waiting to be read. If I love the book, Penelope Fitzgerald may be one of my new favorite authors.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. If you are so inclined, invite a friend to read my posts.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

My Five Things

Northern Cardinal

This week’s podcast “What Should I Read Next” hosted by Anne Bogel was extremely thought provoking. Anne had Tara Anderson as her guest. Tara hosts the NPR podcast Five Things. Here is the description from the NPR site: “How do the objects we love define us? What can we learn from the things we treasure? And how can we discover a life story through those objects? Five Things, from 89.3 WFPL and Louisville Public Media, explores those questions and more.” As you might guess, I subscribed to that podcast right away.

I was grasped by the idea and began thinking about what five things I cherish. It was a little hard to identify things that I would be sad to live without. Years ago, when we were in the midst of the Monument Fire, I came to the conclusion that if the fire took everything we owned, I’d be okay even though there are things I would miss.

The first thing that came to my mind was my wedding ring set. Barry and I were poor college kids when we got engaged. We decided to go to Des Moines, Iowa, the closest big city, to select our rings. We put all three rings on lay-a-way. Each month we’d pool our money for the payment and I feel like that says a lot about our relationship. I love my ring. We selected a pear shaped diamond for the engagement ring and the wedding ring has two rubies and a diamond hugging the big stone. The only thing I wish now is that I’d chosen emeralds instead of rubies. Emerald is Barry’s birthstone. Maybe one day I’ll switch them out.

The second thing that came to mind was my autographed photo of Gregory Peck that I won in a silent auction at an International Thespian Festival. The photo hangs in my office right above a photo of my father. Gregory Peck is one of my favorite actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Part of the reason I love him so much is because there is a kind of goodness that shines through from his real personality to almost all the roles he played. And I love him because his most famous role, Atticus Finch, was very much like my own father.

The third thing is not just one item but a whole raft of original artwork on our walls and shelves by friends and acquaintances. None of the artwork is by anyone famous, but it gives me pleasure every time I look at each one. Two of the works are by Barry. One, “Toucan Snail”, we’ve tried to give to various family members at various times, but it always comes back to us. This makes me happy, because I love that painting. The other is a pointillist drawing called “Elepot”. It’s a coffee pot with an Elephant trunk for the spout and hoof foot, a human ear for the handle and an eye as the nob on the lid. I told Barry some years back that I was claiming it and he didn’t object.

The fourth thing, again, is not just one item, but all of the books we possess. Okay that includes all our movies and music we own as well. I know that one day soon I’ll have to go through and weed out books to get rid of, but that thought pains me. Even though I haven’t read all of the books we possess, The Great Ideas series for example, it’s somehow comforting and maybe a little weird that I feel the accumulated knowledge and experiences they hold enhances my daily life. It’s as if I’m supported by all the wisdom gained throughout the ages.

The final thing took a while for me to come up with. Again this is not one thing, and it’s not even mine. It’s nature and it belongs to everyone. We live in the country and I love going out to feed the birds every morning, then watching them out our back windows. I love watching all the wildlife, the deer, bobcats, javelina, and hearing the coyotes howl at night. There are times when I wish I was a great hiker and nature enthusiast, but just living in the country and watching the wildlife from my front or back porch is so nurturing that for now that is enough for me.

What are your five precious things? Are they items, or something more etherial or not tangible?

Welcome to my new followers. Thanks for all your thoughtful comments. I appreciate them. Have a fantastic weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

What is Love?

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

“Real love is a permanently self-enlarging experience.” ~ M. Scott Peck

Lately I’ve been faced with the fact that I don’t understand all the aspects of love. About thirty years ago I read The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. A certain passage in the book confused me. He said that love is not a feeling. Wait. What? Then, as I recall he went on to write that love is commitment to accept people as they are, faults and all. It took me a long time to even partially understand what he meant. I don’t remember what started me thinking about this recently, probably some news story.

There are always people in our lives who are easy for us to love. But the true test of loving is caring for individuals we don’t understand, or even like. I want to love everyone unconditionally, but I find myself calling people names and then I remember, oh, yeah, they deserve my love too.

M. Scott Peck and other teachers have pointed out that we don’t have to like everyone we meet. But we do need to treat everyone with respect. We need to see past their behaviors. I’m not very good at that part of love. I call drivers who cut me off, or politicians, or people at work, idiots. I judge them for not acting or behaving the way I think they should. That’s not love.

The other day we got a message from my cousin in Vermont that his mom had died. She was my father’s sister and though I didn’t see her much throughout the years, when I did the encounters stuck with me. She was a quiet, contemplative person with a light that emanated from her being. She was kind and loving.

Twenty-three years ago, Barry and I took a side trip to Vermont to visit my aunt, uncle and cousin, as part of our trip around the world. People in town greeted my aunt and uncle with such warmth. That kind of response is only given to those who are highly esteemed. I want to be like that, leaving people feeling good.

Of course, I’ve encountered people who leave me feeling yucky. And though it is counterintuitive, those are the people who need love the most. My dad used to say that. I think that’s what M. Scott Peck was getting at. When I encounter those hard to love people, I feel an inner resistance. And it’s that resistance that I have begun to question. Why do I feel it, and how can I let it go so I can just love those hard to love individuals?

Maybe the resistance is a learned thing. We think we have to build walls around ourselves for protection. What would the world be like if we all tore down our walls and allowed ourselves to be vulnerable. Whoa. That’s a bit of a scary, yet intriguing thought.

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of internal shifting in my thinking and emotions. It’s a signal to me that perhaps I’m not the only one whose world view is being challenged. It’s exciting and unnerving at the same time. Lots of my long held beliefs are crumbling and falling away. The future is not as set as I thought it was. It’s time for some cosmic closet cleaning and personal recalibration.

I’m not sure where I’m going with these thoughts and emotions. I just wanted to note that I’m beginning to feel different about my fellow humans in recent weeks. It’s an exciting new state of being.

If you’re in the U.S. I hope you get to spend time with your loved ones this Labor Day weekend.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Love and blessings to you all.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Sometimes it’s Best to do Nothing!

The Duke and Isabel from a production of Measure for Measure.

“The sage acts by doing nothing.” ~ Tao Te Ching chapter 2

The fall semester has begun which means I’m busier than ever. It’s hard to believe that I’m beginning my twelfth year of teaching at the college. Where has the time gone?

Needless to say after all those years of teaching the same subject, I was getting burned out. I needed new ideas, a fresh perspective on how to engage with my students and help them understand the basics of theatre. Which is why, looking back I don’t really understand my decision to put extra work onto myself by directing a play. This was back in the spring of 2017. Remember THAT spring, the spring the Harvey Weinstein case broke leading to so many other revelations. The reverberations keep going. Ironically the play that kept nagging at me the previous fall was Measure for Measure, Shakespeare’s version of a MeToo situation.

To be honest, I was in over my head. I’d never directed a Shakespeare play before, not to mention the way the college had the performance class set up. There was not enough rehearsal time. I knew I was beating my head against a brick wall but something kept egging me on.

Then out of the blue, Dave Dahl contacts me. He’s a 25 year theatre professional, and he had done Measure for Measure seven times. What was even better, he’s a student of Shakespeare, and had a shortened version of the script. He wanted to help me with the production.

If that’s not serendipity, I don’t know what is!

The students and I felt blessed and grateful for Dave’s help. The play was a success. This began our professional collaboration. I asked Dave to be a guest artist and work with my acting students both semesters last year. Not only did the students love him, but I got that boost of new energy I’d been looking for.

As the year progressed, Dave and I talked about the fact that the area where we live is a kind of black hole for theatre. There are non-professional theatre troupes, but none of them have a permanent home. It’s a struggle for them to get funding, space to rehearse and perform, and even to get actors. But in the last few years there has been a new enthusiasm for the arts. It’s small, but growing. Dave and I wanted to help nurture this trend. So, we made plans and then went to my department chair to pitch our ideas, beginning with revamping the class schedule to make room for more rehearsal time for the performance class. Dave had enough education and experience to take over that class. A position was opened for him before the end of the spring semester, he applied, and then we waited. And waited.

The position closed sometime in July, but no word from the college. Then Dave got a rejection letter. I panicked and contacted my department chair. There was a mix-up. Dave resubmitted his paperwork, but it was one week before the beginning of the semester and I was wondering if I would end up directing another Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night, with little time to prepare.

Fortunately play rehearsals are not scheduled to begin until October, but still, with one week before the beginning of the semester and no word about whether Dave was hired or not we were getting antsy.

I had done lots of work, plotting out rehearsals and performances, checking out the rooms needed. Spreading the word about the changes to the theatre offerings so we could do one play each semester. Barry created a flyer for auditions, which we distributed. Dave had worked all summer on cutting the play and the musical and technical aspects required to produce it. If I had to direct, I was way behind the curve.

The day of the associate faculty convocation came and still no word. I couldn’t meditate that morning, nor concentrate on my work. I was so agitated. Finally, I stopped and asked the ethers for help. This is the message I got, “Do nothing.” In my inbox that day, my daily inspirational message from Neale Donald Walsch was just that. Sometimes, his message reminded me, it’s best to sit back and allow the universe, or God, or Spirit, to do the work for you. This idea of non-action was not new to me. It comes from the Eastern faith traditions. I’ve used the technique before, but I certainly needed a reminder that day.

So, I comforted Dave and said, we should sit back and wait. My dean told me he’d look over Dave’s paperwork when he had time. I knew he was busy getting the semester off to a good start.

Yesterday, on the fourth day of the semester, Dave got word from the college that he is hired! The background checks and paperwork process has begun. Whew, are we ever grateful.

Before I met Dave, I was ready to quit teaching and just concentrate on writing. Meeting him has presented me with a new direction. I’m definitely not giving up writing, but in a way, it feels like I need to give one last effort for theatre in my town. I don’t know where it will lead, but I’m willing to help the theatre program at our college grow. Maybe our efforts, Dave’s and mine, will help the administration see the value of all the art offerings at the college. After all there is more to life than making money to live on. We all need some kind of creative outlet to make life worth living.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. Enjoy the end of summer.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Love is in the Air Everywhere

Wedding Photo

As I write this it is our wedding anniversary so I’ll keep this post brief. I want to spend as much time with my fella as possible.

Today it feels like love of all kinds is in the air everywhere, we just need to turn our attention away from the news and social media feeds focused on the negative. Since I decided to make this day all about love, I turned to one of my favorite feel good videos to begin my day.

The video is by Matt Harding from 2012. It’s one in a series of videos titled, “Where the Hell is Matt?” with Matt dancing and spreading love with people all around the world. Sorry if there are ads. But I hope it brightens your day.

Thanks for following, liking and commenting on my blog. Find someone to share the love with this weekend. It will chase away those news blues.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.