All posts by dixonl2014

Because He Lives!

untitled

Perhaps during the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the gargoyles performed their duties well.  Though much was lost, much was gained and retained.  It brought the people out in large numbers as they cried, held hands and sang hymns in one voice.

Whenever the burnt-out interior was shown from Paris, the huge golden cross stood starkly for all to see.  During this Holy Week, I thought of the song, “Because He Lives , I Can Face Tomorrow.”  They said that even a well-known bee colony survived the fire.

The cross is still offering hope and serves as a silent reminder that it stands to address our wants and our needs.  It reminds us of our brotherhood because in times of great fear and sorrow, we cling to one another.

And as the gargoyles worked overtime, much was salvaged, and billions of dollars have poured in from around the world.  The towers still stand and much of the structure of this beloved building seems to be sound.

No matter how much we have gained materially, we still have a deep childhood respect for the church as a vital part of our community and civilization.  Some may not have sung hymns in years because we have allowed our busyness and social media to run rampant in our lives.

But this frightening event made us all pause and realize how far we may have ventured off course.  As we take things and people for granted, in times like these, we stop to reclaim our direction as we lean on what has proven to be tried and true.

Lynn M.                                                                  April 20, 2019

Advertisements

Compromised!

Thrown under the bus1]Though you may be set aglow,
With plenty of things in tow.

At night when no one is near,
Your pillow’s stained with a tear.

You have compromised your soul,
For glitter? A painted bowl?

You have sold those close-by out,
Climbed the ladder with a shout.

Woe, to you who are selfish,
Over time, you look elfish.

You threw some under the bus,
So you could ‘gussy up’, plus,

Hanging with those out to wreck,
Weren’t you thinking? What the heck?

Lynn M.                                                                                  April 13, 2019

Filling Up Space!

“… precept upon precept,
line upon line;
here a little and there a little.”
Isaiah 28:10

We can apply this quote as we wait on change.  The lull time between high activity and down-time presents a perfect opportunity to look around at our immediate surroundings. We may notice those things that have quietly fallen into disarray during our busy seasons.

So rather than worrying about the outcome of impeding situations, this is a good time to fill up those spaces with meaningful, mini-projects. We can start a to-do list of things that need to be done and not sit in one place adding more wrinkles to our brows.

Perhaps, those closets need extra attention.  Our wardrobes must be changed from winter clothes to spring wear.  Or are there boxes still sitting somewhere in our abodes silently waiting to be unpacked and discarded?  This is a perfect time to dig in and do some spring cleaning.

Many books are being written about becoming more of a minimalist.  We can use this special time to define what needs to be done.  It’s great chance to throw out surplus personal papers and organize whatever we decide to keep in our possessions.

As we stay faith-filled during our wait times, we can gain a tad of encouragement from John Burroughs’ poem Waiting.   He writes:

“Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more ‘gainst time nor fate,
For lo, my own will come to me.”

Amid the flying dust or the upheaval of rearrangement of our things, we might be distracted by a beep signaling an email or text or a ringing phone. We simply pause from our work to answer and hear that there is indeed good news. There has been a breakthrough! After taking the message, we can smile and wonder, “Wow! Where did the time go?”

Lynn M.                                                                              April 6, 2019

Oh, Freddie!

thRODGMBKC

If there is such a thing as a resurrection, I can safely say that Freddie Mercury has arisen.  Ever since the movie Bohemian Rhapsody came out, people cannot seem to get enough of this icon.  He is on the Internet everyday as people look into the many aspects of his life.

I saw the movie after The Academy Awards and since that time, I have been looking at and watching his interviews and concert videos.  He is both fun to watch  and listen to on  YouTube.  His energy level was up there, and few can ever touch his showmanship.

In one interview he basically said, “I don’t give a damn what people think.  We are putting on a show and each audience is different. I am a totally different person when I am not on  stage.”  Believe it or not, his band mates said that he was a quiet person when he was not performing.  How interesting!

I can’t seem to get some of his lyrics out of my mind.  Lately, I find myself in the middle of some task and before I know it, I am singing some of his tunes.  Take the line, “Nothing really matters at all.”  What a brave and cavalier attitude to have towards life!

As most geniuses, he seemed to understand that he was here to do something and then ready to move on.  In another interview he said that he did not know how much time he had, but he wanted to make music while he was here.  He stated that long before his illness.  He lived with a zest and at times, he lived like there was no tomorrow.

As a writer, I feel somewhat incapable of expressing what Freddie Mercury’s talent means to me.  He said that the words just came to him and I can truly relate to this aspect of his artistry.  He even had a keyboard installed in his headboard so that if lyrics or tunes woke him up, he could immediately commit them to memory.

I do the same by keeping plenty of paper and pens close by because I never know when the inspiration will drop from above.  I have written at stop lights and pulled the car over to jot down ideas as they flow; so, I totally understand.

I keep the rock station WXRT 93.1 Chicago playing softly in my kitchen to give me that little kick as I prepare meals.  Some of the songs that I have stopped to turn up were “Another One Bites the Dust, I Want it All or We Will Rock You.” I had no idea that these songs belonged to the band Queen because I had not heard of them until I saw the movie.

Freddie Mercury’s songs touch the heart and rejuvenate the dancing of the feet.  Any song that starts off with, “Momma, I killed a man,” will make anyone sit up and take notice.  Who is closer to the heartstrings than one’s mother?  It is an instinctive call even for grown adults when danger is near.  He goes on to say, “I wish that I had never been born.”  Wow.  What a deep admission of raw emotion!

Freddie Mercury died in November 1991.  Or, I shall I say that his body died in 1991.  Perhaps, he was spending time in purgatory talking and sorting out the details of his life.  We don’t know what happens in the afterlife.  But obviously, the angels gave him the green light and reset button because right now in 2019, he has returned to reclaim his position as true front man of the band Queen.

Queen is about to go on tour and coming here to the States soon.  I don’t know who will try to imitate Freddie Mercury but all I can say is “May the force be with him.”  And though we wish that brave soul well, we all know that there will never be another Freddie Mercury.  A humble thanks for allowing me to attempt to write the depth of my feelings and gratitude and  I give a hearty thanks to You Tube for keeping Freddie’s memory alive!

Lynn M.                                                                        March 30, 2019

Openess!

Lake 3-16-19

Waves crashing against the shore,
I sit here writing my lore.

Cool, sunny March Saturday,
Looking for the next best way.

Pensive thoughts- clearing the mind,
Clarity.  Not a in bind!

Lynn M.                                                                                      March 23, 2019

Understood!

th[7]

I left the theatre today feeling a sense of euphoria after seeing Bohemian Rhapsody.  The life of Freddie Mercury was masterfully portrayed by Rami Malek.  Malek was a perfect fit for the look and artistry of Freddie Mercury because Freddie Mercury was of Indian descent in a British setting and Malek is of Arabic and Egyptian heritage.  He fully captured the essence of the exotic-looking Freddie Mercury.

The band Queen’s lead singer had just quit, and Freddie offered his services to them.  He auditioned in an alley and he also let them know that he wrote his own songs.  He told them,” The words just come.”  They teamed up and ventured on a long journey together filled with its ups and downs.

The eccentric Freddie Mercury met a girl named Mary Austin who helped him develop his risqué style.  She worked at a women’s dress shop and let him try on some women’s pants that he liked.  She even added a scarf to add to his flamboyance and put a touch of make-up on his eyes.

They become confidants and lovers and he proposed to her as his career began to take off.  He gave her a ring and made her promise to never take it off. But over time, it became clear that he was drawn to a gay lifestyle and he finally admitted to her that he was bisexual.

She moved on with other men but their allegiance to each other was unshakeable and no one was ever able to take Mary’s place in his heart.  In real life, though he had lived with a partner for years, he left his house, large amounts of money and part of his publishing house to Mary.  She still lives in his house and it is said that Mary is certainly cashing in upon the success of this film.

She went on to marry two times and he had a long line of male lovers and one partner, Jim Hutton, who stayed with him until his death in 1991.  I digress.  This movie showed Freddie Mercury’s climb to the top of high success and an almost tragic ruin.  His lover, Paul, was not delivering his messages from Mary, his family nor his agent.  He ended up firing his manager, disintegrating his band and almost drank himself to death until Mary showed up at his house  She told him that he needed to go home when she saw the mess in which he was living.

He finally saw through Paul and put him out of his life.  He was able to contact his agent and book a last- minute slot playing The Live Aid Concert.  He asked his members to forgive him and after some tart remarks, they knew that they needed each other. They reunited, practiced and he told his band members that he had AIDS.   They were tearful; but when they saw his resolve to move on, they supported him and their performance at the Live Aid Concert at Wembley Stadium in 1985 was a huge success.

He went home and made peace with his estranged father who never understood him.  Freddie Mercury brought his friend Jim home to meet his family and the father finally accepted him as an openly gay  man.  We later see the father sitting down to watch his son perform on the television and we see tears of joy in his mother’s eyes during the telecast.

Bohemian Rhapsody was tastefully done, and the band Queen had us swaying to songs such as We Are the Champions, We Will Rock You and Another One Bites the Dust.  I had not heard of Freddie Mercury nor the band called Queen, but I certainly know these songs. As a lingered to view the movie credits, I noticed that another woman remained as well.  I told her that I had totally enjoyed it and she said, “This is my 12th time seeing it.  I answered, “Maybe you should just buy the movie.” She responded, “I already own it!”

We laughed and parted ways and I thought of Emerson’s quote, “To be great is to be misunderstood.”  Many people who have left the greatest gifts behind for us to enjoy were misfits during their lifetimes. I now understand why Bohemian Rhapsody won so many awards and nominations.

The script writers did a remarkable job by sharing this man’s genius without depressing us nor taking us through the pain of his final days.  This artistic piece remained focused on Freddie Mercury’s talent, energy and natural ability to electrify his audiences and bring them to their feet!

Lynn M.                                                                           March 17, 2019

March Sprouts!

untitled

Sprouting buds are bursting through,
Winter’s almost gone. It’s true!

March 20 for a start,
Snow and ice must fall apart.

The weather should lighten up,
Place those daisies in a cup!

Birds are singing. Trees turn green,
St. Patrick’s Day will be seen.

Women’s History Month, too,
Much info on which to chew.

Look up at the rainbow’s hues,
Collect gold. You’ve paid your dues!

Lynn M.                                                                        March 16, 2019

Straight & Narrow!

thIW7984UM

We have heard that the way is straight and narrow.  As we age in maturity and wisdom, this appears to be truer and truer with each passing day.

Think about traveling on an open highway and we approach an overpass that gives us the option to go in a myriad of  different directions.  If we have a map, we can carefully look for the proper exit in order to reach our destination.

However, if we are unsure of which route to take, we simply sigh, “Oh, my!”  We must make a quick decision and at our earliest convenience, pull over to a safe location and check our Map Quest.  Then, we can get on the road that we will take us where we are trying to go.

As in life, if there is only one narrow route, it’s easier to stay on course.  Yet, if there are multiple choices, chances are that we might lose our way.  If we find that we are indeed lost, we may have no idea of how to get back on track.

Recently in the news, two young girls (sisters) became lost out in the rough terrain.  The older sister recalled what she had learned from her 4-H Club. She was told that that if she became lost, she should stop and stop wandering.  Wandering could only make her more lost.  So, she and her younger sister, stayed where they were until they were fortunately found within two days.

This is such a great life lesson for all of us.  If we find ourselves feeling lost and off-balance, we need to simply stop like the young sisters. We should take the time to think things through and allow the fog to lift.  Eventually, we will see with a vivid clarity, if we don’t give in to despair.

We can graciously fall back into alignment with the natural order of things and trust the Holy Spirit to put things aright again.  Then, we can climb back onto our straight and narrow path as we make our way to our comforting home base.

Lynn M.                                                                         March 9, 2019

Free Art!

Image result for reading ebooks free imagesI regularly receive an Early Bird Books list in my emails.  Oftentimes at the bottom, there is a free book that I can immediately download and have sent to my device.  Who would not act on this and have a host of free books sitting in the cache?

I enjoy reading both hard copy books and books on my Amazon Fire.  If I don’t have a book in hand that seems to be calling my name, then I simply check my e-library and see which author is beckoning me.  I enjoy studying different authors’ writing styles and I certainly learn a lot about how they saw what was happening during their lifetimes.

The list of books always includes a short synopsis, and this helps me to decide if I am interested.  If a well-known writer’s work is there, I normally download it.  I remember some of the famous names from my college days, but I was too immature to appreciate the depth of their messages.

I recently read The Narrative of Sojourner Truth. Her friend Olive Gilbert told Truth’s story as it was narrated to her.  I also read the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass with introductions by William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips. Douglass tells his own story from his childhood to his escape from slavery.  He wrote his account from Lynn, Massachusetts in 1845, many years before his death.

Here is a list of some of my other free art:

The Pit– Frank Norris

Land of Little Rain – Mary Hunter Austin

The Dubliners– James Joyce

Wives and Daughters– Elizabeth Gaskell

Agnes Grey– Anne Bronte

The Diamond Master– Jacques Futrell

The Lady with the Dog and Other Stories – Anton Chekov

The Turn of the Screw– Henry James

The River– Rumer Godden

Each book changed me in some way.  Each book transported me to another location and setting.  Each book offered me new ways of seeing life.  Each book was free, eternal and waiting for me to scroll to the beginning and feast on a new adventure!

Lynn M.                                                                                  March 2, 2019

Anna Karenina: A Ballet

Anna Karenina.jpg

How do you pack an 800-page Leo Tolstoy novel into a two-hour ballet? Well, The Joffrey Ballet was able to pull it off in a unique fashion in their World Premier of Anna Karenina. It is the longest novel that I have ever read and vastly unforgettable in so many ways.

The ballet opens with these huge train wheels on a screen and lots of fog.  When things clear, a train guard has discovered a man who has been hit by the train. Anna and Vronsky are on the platform and have witnessed this tragedy together. It is prescient.

Anna Karenina is married to Karenin, a statesman many years her senior.  She has met a young, handsome officer named Vronsky and an affair quickly ensues between them. It is an openly known fact as they travel around Russia together.  They even live in Italy for a while as a couple.  A live opera singer sang during the ballet for a couple of scenes.  Her voice in the background during a steamy love scene left us all spellbound.

Anna slips back home on a couple of occasions and we see her husband, Karenin sitting in his office.  He realizes that she has returned home when he looks and sees her in their son’s room.  Both times, he blocks her interaction with the child and has the governess take the boy away, much to her dismay.

Anna, Vronsky and Karenin are entwined in one dance which reveals the pain and struggle of the love triangle.  Anna is overwhelmed and becomes very ill.  We see both Karenin and Vronsky standing over her sick-bed. Vronsky realizes what the affair has cost her and finally pleads for Karenin’s forgiveness.

Ultimately, after being given morphine to numb her pain, Anna Karenina sees no way out of her dilemma.  We see these huge train tracks being laid down and we see a light coming from an approaching train.  Anna walks towards the light with the wind fiercely blowing her hair. She dies like the man did at the beginning of the ballet.

Towards the end, there is a gravesite with many crosses as all mourn Anna‘s death. I saw one father in the audience consoling his young daughter because she was trying to understand why Anna threw herself in front of the train.  Personally, I think the story was a little too advanced for young eyes.

Some liberties were taken with the novel’s plot and there was some buzz about that during intermission.  One woman shared this with me so I relaxed and stopped fact-checking on my phone to compare what I was seeing to the book, itself. The ballet closes with a young, married couple dancing because they are so in love. They were fortunate enough to find happiness with each other, unlike the tragic Anna Karenina.

Lynn M.                                                                    February 24, 2019