It’s The Simple Things

“Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. And if you don’t collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don’t really mean anything.” ~ Norman Lear

I’ve been feeling very discombobulated lately. I’m tired all the time. When I try to think of what I want to accomplish during the day, the list I hold in my head fragments and I can’t make a decision about which is the most important. I didn’t want to admit that after all these months, I’m wallowing. I don’t want to teach any more. I want to concentrate on my writing and podcasts because when I’m teaching that takes up most of my time. I was complaining to almost anyone who would listen about having to go to the campus to teach online from an empty room. Why couldn’t I teach from my home office? It’s what I did last spring. I had to admit I was in a rut.

Finally, one day in meditation I heard this clear message. Slow down. Rest and reflect. So, I did. Yesterday I was re-reading the sixth book in The Circle of Ceridwen, series, Silver Hammer, Golden Cross in preparation for the seventh book launch of Windswept this past week. These are historical fiction books by Octavia Randolph about the Danish invasion and subsequent settling of Northern England in the 9th century. The segment I was reading was about two of my favorite characters. They were participating in a Summer Solstice celebration and something about the joy the characters were taking in the simple pleasure of being together as a community made me cry. And I knew that for the last few months, I have rarely focused on the simple pleasures of life. Since gratitude is one of the most important spiritual tenants, I thought I’d share with you some of the simple things that bring me joy. These are in no particular order.

Many people enjoy a good cup of coffee or tea. I’m not one of them. I get my caffeine fix from a large cup of hot chocolate. I make the mix myself with baking cocoa and Cadbury Drinking Chocolate. I add a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil and some almond milk, blend it then savor every sip. The day is always a little bit better after my cup of chocolate.

As you may know, we live in the country. One of my great joys is watching the wildlife in our yard. I gain the most pleasure from watching the large quail family come out to drink and eat the birdseed we put out every day. There is something so comforting about the coos and calls they make to each other. In fact, I won a screen print, the photo at the top of this post, of quail at last year’s Cochise Writer’s Celebration. I’m sorry the artist didn’t sign it because I’d like to give him or her credit. In any case, I love having it in my office. 

Another joy is watching the woodpecker hang onto the bird feeder, gather seeds in it’s beak and then transfer them to a branch on the same tree and store those seeds in the hole s/he has made there. Other special moments are visits from the deer, javelina, and even coyotes and bobcats that occasionally stroll through. Oh, and I mustn’t forget the roadrunners. They are fun to watch too.

This time of year, I’m comforted by the moon rises on my drive home from teaching. Last week the appearance of Mars just above the horizon as I got home was a rare treat. I understand it won’t be this close to Earth again until many years in the future. 

Living in Southern Arizona, where we don’t have much light pollution, is a true gift. We get a clear vision of the stars and most of the celestial phenomenon throughout the year. The only time we’re hindered is during Monsoon when the skies are often shrouded by clouds. But after living the Portland, Oregon where we rarely got to see the stars at night, I’m grateful to be able to see them most of the year round.

Covid-19 has brought another blessing. Barry has been working from home since the middle of March. Our offices are right next to each other and I love hearing him talk to himself as he’s working on projects. We get to share lunch together, and step into each other’s offices for a quick kiss. He also has great taste in music which I sometimes hear wafting my way. I think the thing I’ve appreciated the most about Barry being home is that we get to practice what life will be like when we both retire from working at jobs outside the home and get to create our own projects.

I’m extremely grateful for the leisurely time in the mornings to meditate, write in my journal, and stretch. I’ve never been comfortable rising early so taking time to ease into the day is a wonderful blessing.

Conversely, I love reading in bed before I go to sleep. It’s a routine I’ve maintained for many years and if I don’t read, I don’t go to sleep easily.

Finally, I’m so grateful I had the courage to start my podcast, Story~Power. I love everything about the process from recording the conversations with my wonderful guests, to editing, to uploading for publication. It’s been a blessing already and I’m looking forward to preparing the posts for 2021.

There are so many things to be grateful for, so many little things to take pleasure in every day. What are the things you’re grateful for? What things bring you joy? I’d love to hear from you.

Blessings to all of you. I hope you are safe and happy.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

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.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$1.00
$5.00
$10.00
$5.00
$15.00
$50.00
$60.00
$180.00
$500.00

Or enter a custom amount

$
——

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

From Basketball to Theatre With A Little Romance Thown In

I have been privileged to have so many wonderful students over my years of teaching at Cochise College in southern Arizona. David was a student who wanted to try acting after having a sports career in high school. I’m so happy he walked into my acting class. It was a pleasure to watch David’s work on his scenes and in Twelfth Night. Since he graduated from Cochise College he’s off to new adventures at a new college to finish up his degree. I hope you enjoy our lively conversation.

David Featherston is a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic. He is infatuated with movies and adventure. Some of his hobbies include basketball, and almost any other sport. But his favorite hobby is acting, which has a very special place in his heart. He plans to continue his acting education and perhaps one day make it his career.

David and I talked so long that I had to cut out a few segments, so if we refer to something you didn’t hear previously in the conversation, it’s because of the cuts to shorten the episode.

Plays and Movies 

The Moors by Jen Silverman

Language Archive by Julia Cho 

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Will Smith Movies and TV

Hitch (2005)

Seven Pounds (2008)

Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990 – 1996) 

I am Legend (2007)

Independence Day (1996)

I Robot (2004)

Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

More Movies

Castaway 

Mark Wallberg

Favorite Genres: Drama, Romantic Drama

Movie Resource: IMDb

Mission Impossible (1996)

Star Wars series

Avengers, MCU

Netflix Series and Movies

Love is Blind (2020)

All the Bright Places (2020)

Even More Movies

Sliding Doors (1998)

Othello by William Shakespeare

The Mountain Between Us (2017)

Star Trek: Beyond (2016)

Thor etc. as Heimdall (beginning in 2011)

Dark Tower (2017)

Intersteller (2014)

Cloud Atlas (2012)

Jordan Peele’s Work

Us (2019)

Get Out (2017)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Invasion (1956, 1978, 2007)

Dracula (Original title 1958 Hammer Studios)

John Krasinski’s Work

A Quiet Place (2018)

The Office (2005 – 2013)

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (2018 – present)

Suggestions

Bicentennial Man (1999) 

The Sixth Sense (1999)

Die Hard (1999)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Turner Classic Movies with Ben Mankiewicz

Christmas Movies by Jeremy Arnold

“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.” ~ Roger C. Schank, Cognitive Scientist

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$1.00
$5.00
$10.00
$5.00
$15.00
$50.00
$60.00
$180.00
$500.00

Or enter a custom amount

$
——

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

What The Words Mean

The election deadline in the U.S. is three weeks away and I have to say, I’ve never seen any election like this one. It’s indescribable. And since I’m a writer and am sensitive to how words are used and what they really mean, I thought I’d write about some words that are being used in the campaign.

Political campaigns always give new meanings to words for use as propaganda. That’s nothing new. But that means we have to be vigilant about what the politicians are actually saying. We have to examine the words they use, and their motives for using them.

The word Socialist has been shot at progressive and even moderate candidates hoping that the emotional charge it carries will cause fear in the hearts of the voters. But what is Socialism? Here’s the dictionary definition: “1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, capital, land, etc., by the community as a whole, usually through a centralized government.” (Dictionary App)

Okay, I get why this word is used as a weapon and sticks in some people’s craw. People hear the word socialism and think of Communism, which is based on definition #3. “the Marxist theory that socialism is the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collective principles.” (Dictionary App) 

Well, we know how well Communism worked out for most of the countries that subscribed to that form of government. Not so well. But Socialism has worked out well for most of the European countries. For the most part their people are happy and prosperous.

We, the people of The United States, have socialistic programs. We own The White House, The Capital Building, The Supreme Court Building, and thousands, if not millions, of acres of public lands. We share them and are responsible for maintaining them with our tax dollars. We also share roads, bridges, and lots of other things. We also have social programs like, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and a whole slew of other programs for our people from Vets to school children. Many citizens benefit from these programs. In my opinion these programs help people live happier, healthier lives and that makes our country stronger.

I think moving toward socialism and away from capitalism, is a good thing and I base that on the definition of capitalism: “1. an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.” Okay, that right there tells me, I don’t want our country to operate on capitalism any longer, because the top 1% who control everything don’t share well with the rest of us. And the bottom 99% are getting poorer all the time. Let me give you a personal example. 

My sister and her family live in Renton, Washington. When they moved there, they had to rent a house because of some financial set backs. They’ve lived in this house for five years. It is falling down around their ears. It’s owned by a huge corporation that owns many rental properties all over the country. They pay almost $3000 a month for this trashy house, which they have a hard time getting repairs for. When the Covid-19 virus hit, my sister was working as a massage therapist. They needed both incomes to make ends meet. However, because she takes care of my 88 year old mother, she took the option to stay home and receive unemployment benefits so that she could protect the family, but most particularly my mom. They are caught in the trap of a huge corporation that charges any amount of money they want for substandard housing. 

I know of young people who work, but can’t afford to rent apartments, or to buy houses, so they live with their parents. And of other people who can’t afford the medicines they need. I’m sure you do too. It’s obvious to me that we need to make some changes so that everyone can have a roof over their head, a good education, meaningful work, and proper health care.

Perhaps getting rid of privately owned businesses isn’t the answer. Maybe we need to come up with a new financial system that benefits all the people and allows for financial innovation. I’m not an economist but I bet there are some creative people out there who could come up with something great.

To compare our system of government to socialism here is the definition of a Republic, which the United States is currently: “1. a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them. 3. a state in which the head of government is not a monarch or other hereditary head of state.” 

I would like to point out that that the people having a say in running the government applies to many Socialist countries as well. They have constitutions, they vote for their leaders. Even countries, like England that have a Monarch, are not ruled by that Monarch alone. It’s the Prime Minister and her or his coalition of elected officials the run the country in tandem with the Monarch.

It seems to me that we’re getting all hot and bothered by words that have been used as weapons to sway voters to particular candidates for so many years, we’ve stopped taking the time to examine just what the catch phrases mean. That’s why I did some research for this post. I wanted to be sure I knew exactly what I was talking about and voting for.

But ultimately for me, this election is about which candidates care for his or her fellow citizens? Getting to the bottom of that isn’t very hard. It’s said that actions speak louder than words. So we should be looking at the actions of all the candidates running up and down the ballot. What is their core driving intent? What kind of character do they have? I’m not going to answer that one for you. You have to drop all the rhetoric and look at how each candidate running for office treats people. Have they learned anything from their mistakes? Are they willing to put the people they govern first? If not, I’m not voting for them. You are free to make your own decisions about who to vote for in this election.

Welcome new followers. Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. I hope you stay safe and well.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

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.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$1.00
$5.00
$10.00
$5.00
$15.00
$50.00
$60.00
$180.00
$500.00

Or enter a custom amount

$
——

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

What A Week

Roller Coaster at night, Seaside Heights, NJ

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Reinhold Neibuhr

Last week’s post is still eerily appropriate after the roller coaster week we’ve just had. The negative energies flying around have been so intense that I have not slept well. I’ve been exhausted, jittery, out of sorts, bemused, and confused. What the heck is going on? It feels like we’re living in a nightmare. And yet, sometimes you have to make a mess before the closets are cleaned, or the meal is made.

It’s been so hard this week to keep my balance and stay positive. I’ve spent so much time each morning writing in my journal, meditating, and sending Reiki that I haven’t accomplished as much as I would have liked. Yet it feels like an important time to be taking care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Here is what I do when I’m feeling as if everything in my world is changing so rapidly that I can’t keep up.

Meditate. I’m not a champion meditator, but taking my mind off of shattering events for a few moments is enormously helpful. You may choose to spend time in prayer, listen to soothing music, or read inspirational material. It doesn’t matter. Do something that disconnects you from the craziness going on around you.

Write in my journal. I’ve been keeping a journal off and on for forty-three years. I’ve found it to be a tremendous comfort to pour out my feelings onto the pages. Sometimes I get answers to my questions, but I always receive comfort from writing my emotions. In a way it’s like turning on the faucet and letting all the negativity and confusion flow out my pen.

Send Reiki. For those of you who don’t know, Reiki is one of the laying on of hands healing techniques, though it can be sent at a distance. When I send Reiki, I feel like I’m actually doing something to calm the waters of a situation, or to help someone heal. And since Reiki practitioners are like a conduit for healing and positive energy, I get the benefits too. I think of Reiki as focused prayer. But if you don’t do Reiki, you can pray or do some other healing technique. Focusing on healing for ourselves and others is highly beneficial. It’s like throwing a rock into the water and watching the ripples expand to the opposite shore.

Talk with family and friends. I talk mostly with my husband and sister, but there are other friends and family I talk to as well. It’s always good to get another perspective on what’s happening.

Telling myself “I love you”. This one may sound weird but I just started doing this and I do feel better when I do it. I mean how often do we send ourselves love? For me I’m mostly criticizing myself. But if God loves me just the way I am, who am I to argue with Her?

Deep breathing. I find that when I’m stressed I do not take deep breaths. I clench up my abdomen which is not only bad for breathing, but bad for my digestion as well. Just taking a few deep breaths helps me feel as if I’ve put down a heavy weight.

Exercise. Okay, I’m not good at this one, but my husband goes for a two mile walk almost every day. When he does, I can tell a difference in his mood. I do stretches, and a few Tai Chi movements and I do feel better after doing them.

Other people swear by going out into nature. I go out and feed the birds upon occasion and since we live in the country, I enjoy watching the wildlife in our yard. Seeing the quail families, the other birds, or the deer come and drink from our bird bath is always a treat.

Writing about the ways I try to keep my equilibrium when I’m feeling unsettled has helped me feel better. 

I hope you are surviving and maybe even thriving during this extremely tumultuous time we’re living in. I’d love to hear any suggestions you may have of how to stay calm when everything seems to be blowing up around you. 

Thanks for following. Take care of yourselves.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

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.

Musicals to the Visual and Aural Arts

I have been privileged to have so many wonderful students over my years of teaching at Cochise College in southern Arizona. Melissa is one of them. I love her enthusiasm and drive to make her dreams come true. We had some internet issues in the beginning of the podcast. I hope you will excuse them and keep listening because Melissa had some unexpected suggestions for me, and you.

Melissa Villanueva was born and raised in a small Mexican town close to the US-Mexico border. She is 19 years old and a Musical Theater major. She came to the United States when she was 15-years-old and began her college education at 16. She currently works as a Freelance Illustrator and Concept Artist on Instagram and Youtube. She has taken singing, acting, and dance lessons, and plans on pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Musical Theatre. She has played the lead roles in classical Shakespeare plays including Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure. Additionally, she has performed various musical, classical, and popular music numbers in singing recitals and choirs in diverse venues. She is currently building her musical theatre repertoire with songs that range from the classics including The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables to much newer musicals including Anastasia and Hamilton. She hopes to one day star in a Broadway Musical.

Disney Movies especially Anastasia, (1997) Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, Directors (animated)

Anime: Kicki’s Delivery Service (1989) Hayao Miyazaki Director, Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) animaated, Hayao Miyazaki, Director, Studio Ghibli animation company, 22 movies, 20 TV titles. The first: The Take of the Princess Kaguya, (2013) Isao Takahata

The Rainmaker (1956) by N. Richard Nash, both play and screenplay Joseph Anthony, director

Melissa’s YouTube channel

Stage Musical Anastasia, Darko Tresnjak, Director

Classic movie with Ingrid Bergman, Anastasia, (1956)  Directed by Anatole Litvak

Favorite song, “In My Dreams” from Anastasia, Music by Stephen Flaherty, Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Antigone by Jean Anouilh

The Midnight Gospel (Adult animated series directed by Mike L. Mayfield and Pendleton Ward)

The Caretaker – Everywhere at the End of Time – Stages 1 – 6 (Youtube, vvmtest)

Polish Artist and Sculptor, Zdzislaw Beksiński

Hammer Studios Horror of Dracula (1958) Terrance Fisher, director

A Quiet Place, (2018) John Krasinski, director

Get Out, (2017) Jordan Peele, director and screenwriter

The Blair Witch Project (1999) Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, Directors

Midsommar (2019) Ari Aster, Director

Good Night Mommy (2014) Severin Fiala and Veronica Franz, Directors

Alfred Hitchcock films

Bride and Prejudice (2004) Gurinder Chadha, Director Bollywood Films

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen