Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Olive Branch!

Gifted

I recently saw the movie Gifted which I chose after careful consideration.  I wanted to see a reflective film that I would remember and later ponder.  I was not disappointed. It was about a six and half-year old mathematical genius named Mary (McKenna Grace).

When the movie opens, she is attending school for the first time after being home-schooled by her Uncle Frank (Chris Evans).  He is raising her after her mathematical whiz mom took her own life.  She left Mary in her brother’s care and he wants to make sure that Mary doesn’t follow down the same unbalanced path.

In spite of her exceptional math talents, he wants her to  have good social skills and live as normal a life as possible.  When, she starts going to a public school, problems ensue because she is lacking in the people department.  She provokes the principal, breaks an older bully’s nose while protecting a class mate and generally causes an uproar in her second grade class.

In the midst of the upheaval, her estranged but wealthy grandmother steps in and wants custody of Mary.  She has never shown an interest in her before, but she has her own private agenda.  She wants Mary to help her solve a mathematical equation that would give her a long-desired fame.  She also went to school to be a mathematician, but had to put her career on hold to raise her family.

The movie takes a lot of twists and turns as the court battle plays out between the uncle and the hard-hearted grandmother (Lindsey Duncan).  Roberta (Octavia Spencer), his landlord, is supportive and acts as a surrogate to young Mary on a daily basis.

This sensitive movie shows the uncle fighting for Mary’s chance to have as normal a life as possible.  He is haunted by his sister’s suicide and remembers her lack of personal happiness. He wants to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to his niece even if she does eventually attend a gifted school.

For a while, he plays along with the court’s rulings and lets Mary live with a foster family.  But he finds out that all is not well and that the grandmother is still privately working her plan to exploit Mary’s gift.

He finally reveals a long withheld bargaining chip and plays it like a winning chess piece. It makes the affluent grandmother back down and give him full custody of Mary.  See Gifted and discover what illusive olive branch he extends to save Mary’s life!

Lynn M.                                                                                                May 20, 2017

Characters Choose!

“Character is who and what you are in your essence, after much that is transient and superficial is stripped away.  It includes your inner and outer life but is best revealed in the many things you do -especially those little things that you do without much thinking.”   (The Healing Power of Stories by Daniel Taylor)

Healing Stories b

When I think of character, I think of Shakespeare’s plays where he lets his characters reveal themselves through their private thoughts and outward actions.  They inevitably show themselves and do as Taylor says, act without thinking.  It shows what is truly in their hearts.

When we, as writers, create characters we show them making decisions which may sometimes be quick or even rash in nature.  From their actions we may deem what type of persons we are dealing with in a variety of situations and under different circumstances.

We ask ourselves a host of questions about a character.  Are they honest?  Are they sincere?  Or are they deceitful or underhanded?  Are they trustworthy?   Do they make sound decisions?  Or do they flip-flop and appear to be wishy-washy?  Is this person a gossip that carries tales? Or does this character protect others’ private information like sacred scrolls? Would we feel safe in this character’s company? Is this a person that we would trust in life-threatening scenarios?

I am currently reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and war has just broken out in France in 1940.  Young Isabella has to quickly decide if she can trust a young convict named Gaetan whom she met on the road.  All of the people are walking and in motion and she has to be a quick judge of character to see if this is a man she can trust.  He subtlety reminds her that if he wanted to do her harm, he had every opportunity to do so.  He offers her food and shows that he is concerned about her safety and she decides to trust him during this time of great peril.

Characters mirror real life and the decisions that they make speak volumes.  There is an old saying that says, “Who you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.”   More simply put, “Actions do speak louder than words.”

Do you agree?

Lynn M.                                                                                                       May 13, 2017

The Thought!

PNGPIX-COM-Rose-PNG-Transparent-Image

The true thought behind something makes it either a blessing or a weight like an albatross around the neck.  This thought came to mind the other day when I lost or misplaced an expensive estate ring.  I bought it at Macy’s but the saleswoman told me that it was considered to be an estate ring upon purchase a few years back.

After losing it, I had to work through the process of letting it go.  I wondered whether the original owner would even want me to wear it.  Perhaps I was sporting something that was not indicative of well-wishes.

However, I enjoyed its beauty for a few years; but in all honesty, it had been slipping off my finger quite frequently in the past few weeks.  Like anything else, it was subtly saying that it was time to let it go.

With a little more wisdom, I could quietly release it and ponder the spiritual lesson being taught in this situation.  I thought about the whole notion of gift giving and realized  that if something is given to us in a begrudged fashion or in a sense of indebtedness, it probably will not fare well for long.  Eventually, it may become a source of remorse.

Yet, a child  can give us something as simple as a picture of a flower on a post-it note and that picture can light up the home like a candle.  That is because it was given from the heart and in a spirit of love.  The thought behind a gift can make all the difference in bringing on tears of sorrow or smiles of joy!

Lynn M.                                                                                        May 6, 2017

Phoenix’s Poem

Excerpt from:  Boston and Beyond: Tyre and Phoenix

One day, Phoenix was in an artistic mode so she decided to write
down one of her favorite poems called Waiting by John Burroughs. She
went to get her blank canvas from the closet along with her charcoal
pencils and pastel paints.

She was about to copy the poem and then, she paused. She thought,
“Why not create my own poem on Waiting?” She relied on her muses
and the first line flowed with eight beats. The others had to be in eights
as well, she thought.  She wrote,

“As I wait, I busy my hands,
No time for playing in the sands.

Things happen underneath the seen,
Until it appears, I stay keen.

I cannot force it to spring up,
I must wait on the fountain’s cup.

When the time is right, it will pour,
Like salt spread on the ocean’s floor.”

Boston and Beyond 2

Lynn M.                                                                                                                      April 29, 2017
#National Poetry Month

April Flow!

yellow tulips

April makes me think of the color yellow and it means wisdom. Wisdom reminds us that  life moves in cycles.  There are many beginnings and endings during this time.

Winter has drawn to a close. Flowers bloom, dogwood trees show forth their colorful beauty and lawns of green are spread across the earth’s floor. Birds sing sweetly as they coax us out of bed in the morning with their heavenly songs. Woodpeckers tap away on some private project and mourning doves make low, sad woeful sounds. We are made aware of the newness and freshness of life after long periods of silence and dormancy.

April also signals the end of things. There are many memorable dates of passings during this month and both President Lincoln and William Shakespeare immediately come to mind. Their missions were complete and they left a host of footprints in the sand. The pebbles that they threw upon the path make it that much easier for those of us in search of our own individual purposes.

Everything moves in cycles and just like entering into a revolving door, timing is essential. We must learn to synchronize our movements so that we can flow into the right spheres and land in the right place at the right time.

The scriptural verse from Ecclesiastes gently reminds us:

To everything there is a season,
And a time for every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted…
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance.”

Flow with ease!

Lynn M.                                                                                                      April 22, 2017

Fruits of Our Labor

Fruits of laborThe other day, I saw my students that I taught a year ago.  I checked the calendar and the classes began exactly a year ago to date.  Time flies and I realized that we had not seen each other in a  year.

Their reactions ranged from OMG to I miss you.  They were happy to see me and I was equally happy to see them.  The reunions were brief and in passing, we said our Hello’s and How are you’s?

I heard a couple of them tell others, “She gave me an A.”  I silently thought, “No.  You earned an A.  You followed my directions and you fulfilled the bill.  You adhered to the guidelines as you walked the walk and talked the talk, so to speak.  You stayed the course and you crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s.”

But I just smiled in acknowledgement as they discovered their own potential and self-worth.  They had followed my lead and as an educator, I can inaudibly sigh, “Mission Accomplished.”

When we are given a task to do, we often have private feelings of uncertainty as well.   We educators also get butterflies in our stomachs the night before we meet a new group of students.  We hope that we can successfully usher the train of students into that final stop which is the end of the term.

Once, we have all safely arrived, will those that have been transported be filled with resentment?  Will they hate to see the conductor coming? Or will they disembark and leave the train platform filled with joyous memories?

Fortunately for me, I saw waves and smiles which symbolized fond remembrances.  I was warmed as I celebrated the fruits of my labor.

I then saw the teacher who had been out on maternity leave. She had entrusted her students to me last year and when she told me that her daughter is now a year old, all I could say was, “My, my, my.”

Lynn M.                                                                                     April 15, 2017

Digital Marketing

The other day, I further stepped into the 21st century by using another facet of digital marketing for my books.  I had joined Twitter, obtained an author website and regularly blog through Word Press but I had not figured out how to use the popular site You Tube.

So, I finally did a little research on how to make a video with my limited equipment.  I saw that I could use the camera and microphone on my Smartphone or tablet. Then, I sat up a display showing the cover of the book.  I propped it up and used some fabric as a backdrop.

The biggest challenge was holding the phone or tablet focusing on the cover and speaking into the microphone.  Then, I had to use the other hand to hold the book from which I was reading.

I felt like The Cat in the Hat when he was riding a bike, balancing a fish bowl and an umbrella.  He finally fell but I was fortunate enough to balance it all as I made seven audio readings.

They are not perfect but life is not either.  So, I accept the imperfections and it is a start in the use of You Tube. It is the beginning of my use of another form of media that is wildly popular today. Baby steps, baby steps, I reminded myself.

After recording, there was the task of uploading.  I looked up a how-to video and my teacher was probably about ten, but she gave good instructions.  Even though each reading is about two minutes, it took about two hours to upload one video.

Yet, each was well worth the wait.  It was rewarding to hear myself read my own works.  Only the author knows exactly how certain conversations were intended to sound.

There are no perfections, shortcuts nor pat answers in life. It’s just one brush stroke at a time like a painter takes until there is a finished product.

Push play and listen to my reading from A Golden Leaf in Time Revised– the first in a series of five about Tyre and Phoenix.

 

Lynn M.                                                         April 8, 2017

Stay Upon the Wall

painting

Have you ever found yourself running your race with such a sense of purpose that you lost track of the miles?  Perhaps you were so busy laying down the tracks that you did not realize what you were accomplishing.

And then you reached a destination or a pit stop and you paused and turned around and said to yourself, “Wow!”   You could not believe the body of work you produced nor the abundant fruits of your toil and labor.

It reminds me of a children’s book called  Anansi the Spider.  Anansi often got into trouble and  his seven sons would go to his rescue.  Each had a unique gift and they combined their efforts to save him on several occasions.  The son Road Builder comes to mind because he had to build the road so that they could travel to help their father.

Review some of those pet projects and you too may find yourself saying, ‘Aha.’  Pause and take a look at what you have already done. Whether it is painting, writing, carpentry, speaking or teaching, to name a few, you should never totally rest on your laurels. However, it never hurts to give yourself a pat on the back and acknowledge what you have been able to get done.

Like Nehemiah in the Bible, you should stay upon the wall because there is too much work to do.  You don’t have time to lose focus and come down and hang out with the naysayers.  Keep your tempo, pace yourself and run your race like no one else.  Create what you can and leave those footprints in the sand by staying upon the wall!

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12: 1

Lynn M.                                                                                                       April 1, 2017

 

Autobiographies

MeGoodreads often asks its members, ‘What are you currently reading?’  I just finished reading Me: Stories of My Life by Katharine Hepburn.  There is nothing like an autobiography.  No one says it better than the person who actually lived the life!

I always admired Katharine Hepburn when I was growing up.  She was one of my role models and I liked her spunk, her pants outfits and her self-assured knowingness.  She had her own unique style.

In the book Me, she talked about her childhood years in Fenwick, CT on through her college days at Bryn Mawr. She showed the great influence her loving family had on building her strong self-esteem.

She was often in the midst of famous people as she climbed the ladder to fame as an actor. Her father managed her money. He never believed that she could really make a living in the field, but fate proved him wrong.

It was a great journey as she shared many highlights of her life and bared her soul. She added a host of photographs that helped the reader feel even closer to her, her friends and her business associates.

And then, she devoted a couple of chapters to her beloved Spence, Spencer Tracy. He seemed to draw out the best in her and they enjoyed each other’s company immensely.

Autobiographies, like poems, give readers a peek into a writer or poet’s soul.  Poems do it quickly and in a few words, whereas autobiographies take us on a long, slow walk through the woods. We eventually arrive at various destinations with the narrator guiding the way.

In elementary school, I often visited the biography section of the library.  There was a series of little blue books on the lives of great people. I liked to read their stories and discover what events shaped them.

Yet, nothing can touch the fascinating autobiography itself. There are no battles over whether it is  Authorized or Unauthorized.  It is a bonafide account and the story just rolls along like a river.

Here are a few  memorable ones:

In The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Franklin shared his humble beginnings in Boston, his move to Philadelphia and later on to England.  As life would have it, he came back to the States and did his greatest work in Philly.  He assisted in the founding of public libraries, fire departments, and in the wording of the Constitution along with many other accomplishments.

Ida B. Wells’ autobiography, Crusade for Justice, showed how she fought for other’s rights in the Deep South.  I felt as if I was in a room with her, witnessing what she felt, saw and experienced through those challenging times.

And then there is Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk.  He wrote a touching account about his childhood as a Jackson, his musical journey and his savvy business acumen at the young age of 19.  Reading it was like reading a long tender-hearted letter.

Autobiographies are truly personable. It takes the candid voice of the owners of the shoes to walk us down their paths of splendor!

Lynn M.                                                                                              March 25, 2017

Flashlight on the Good!

flashlight

In every experience just like in a room, there is light and dark.  Even in the darkest room, there is always a glimmer of light.  We should let up the shades, let in the light and not focus on the dark corners of gloom.

Think about any place, person or thing -notably the definition of a noun.  What do you remember about a particular noun from your past?

If it was a relationship that eventually ended, what are your dominant thoughts about that time?  If it had longevity, obviously there was some good.  Did it produce a child, some laughter, a few special keepsakes or a host cherished photographs?

If it was a job experience, ask yourself what remains?  Are there memories of fun office parties, friendships that were formed or possibly promotions to the next level?

Maybe it was a thing, like a couch or old car?  How many hours of usage did it produce?  Did you finally get rid of the couch because it  became saggy from use?  Maybe that old car had so many miles on it that the speedometer stopped working.  Perhaps, you even extended its life by dropping a new engine in it before saying goodbye.

All scenarios have lights and darks.  It is what you choose to remember about that experience.  From which vantage points are you viewing those persons, places and things?

Shine the flashlight on the good that remains. Extinguish the darkness and turn up the candle to see the overflowing blessings.

It’s all in how you look at it,” from “Angles” Traveling Streams- Lynn M. Dixon

March 18, 2017                                                   Lynn M.