Life Lessons from Mr. Magorium: Death & Change

There’s quite a few lines from the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium that have stuck with me over the years. If you haven’t seen the film, I highly recommend it. The script doesn’t blanch at the realities of change and death. The characters frequently toss out clever lines and understand what it means to laugh and to struggle. It’s a simple plot, one that revolves around a magical toy store, but it’s powerful. I think I like the simple, magical stories the best.

One of the more poignant lines, one that is towards the end of the film, goes like this:

Molly: Are you dying?

Mr. Magorium: Light bulbs die, my sweet. I will depart.

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Be Still: Setting Up My Writing Office (Collage Ideas)

“Be still and know that I am God” is one of my favorite scripture verses.* As an introvert who needs approximately four hours of alone time for every one hour of interaction with others, these words are balm on my soul. It reassures me that peace, quiet and solitude are necessary. I don’t need to seek after worldly things until I burn myself out or to prove to anyone that I’m “worthy.” Jesus died for me–I am his treasured one. This is my compass.

Is it weird that I’m a horror author who is also Christian? I don’t think so. Christianity, once you get past the baby milk and sugar, is actually filled with terrifying ideas and creatures–demons, angels, martyrdom and Hell being just a few. “Be still and know that I am God” are ringing bells of power in the cemetery of death, the world of lies and illusions we navigate before rejoining God in Heaven. Evil lurks behind the tombstones waiting to distract us or to push us off course. Few things about this are fair and the journey is sometimes filled with horrible things. But we get there. With God, we get there.

But let’s step back onto the main path for now. It’s foggy and cold in the cemetery, but the full moon is out and there’s a dry patch under the elm. Let’s talk about my main subject: setting up my writing space.

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Like a Stone (Audioslave) & The Hobbit: Writing Resets

I’ve been listening to Audioslave’s “Like a Stone” song on repeat over the past few weeks. My guess is the melody helps my brain reset and settle into a meditation of sorts. I am enamored by the lyrics of this song and I find myself thinking of the rabbi with dusty sandals I follow.* I also can’t get over the fact how the vocalist is sitting in a chair during the first minute of the music video, belting out those beautiful, passionate lyrics. That is incredible talent and I remain steadfastly in awe.

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Summer Poetry Contest Entry: The Chair

My entry for KaylaAnAuthor’s Summer Poetry contest. Click here for details on how to join in and to check out the other entries.

Thanks for reading.

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Church Through an Introvert’s Eyes: More Thoughts on America’s Warped Christianity

As an introvert (an INTJ to be exact), I find American society at once demanding, garrulous and worshipful of charming extroverts. This perception of the perfect American finds its way into churches, bleeds over the pews, stains the carpets and infiltrates the very verbiage and conversational rhythms. Modern churches exemplify this particularly with stage lighting, booming mic’s, catchy tunes and coffee bars. And suddenly church is about working and collecting merit badges at warp speed. If you have lots of energy, bright eyes and agreeable conversation–you’re in!

If not, you’re a problem.

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Labrador Lessons III: Pace Thyself, Human! (Our First 10k)

There are gulpers and there are chippers in this world. I am a gulper. There are no stages, no stepping stones of graduated achievements with how I proceed. There is simply the goal and myself, whatever it may be. Everything between me and the goal must be overcome. And now, today, this very instant in fact! Definitely not tomorrow or a wishy-washy “sometime later, honey.” I will stay the course, finish strong, even if doctors and nurses hurry behind me with a crash cart and tranquilizer darts. Reality be darned!

All this I thought today during my first 10k, walking at a steady pace with my saintly husband* and tolerant Labrador. And then my Lab, during mile six, laid down in the middle of the road during a water break. She peered up at me and my so-called goals.

“Go ahead–try to move me, human,” my Labrador taunted me from the ground. “But you’re going to carry my 55lb butt back to the air conditioned car. And then I’m gonna pee all over your azaleas you just planted so lovingly…”

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Giving & Giving Up: One INTJ’s Perspective

INTJ’s are often described as cynics in Myers Briggs write-ups. If the article is being fair, this innate cynicism is framed around an INTJ knowing how things should be–aka, not like the current state of affairs. As an INTJ, I observe this trait within myself. I’m often skeptical of nonprofits, charities and other agencies with grand, doe eyed missions. I once heard someone share about an agency that planned to eradicate poverty entirely through money–and fairly quickly. I scoffed. Whenever was poverty just about money–particularly generational poverty? If the problem was that simple, wouldn’t it have been solved ages ago? That’s like saying cancer is just about radiation—so much more goes into combating such a crippling disease.

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Changing of the Winds: Mary Poppins

I’ve always been entranced by a line in Disney’s original Mary Poppins movie. Julie Andrews says this line very quietly to the children at their bedtime when asked how long she’ll stay.

“I’ll stay until the wind changes,” she announces delicately to the children. As a child, that means only one thing: she’s going away. Mary is not permanent.

This perplexed me as a child and still rattles me a little as an adult. How brave Disney was to keep this element of the story, of change and letting go. Waiting periods and change are two of the hardest things for kids to understand. I’m not sure adults win the blue ribbon, either.

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Disenchanted: American Christianity

Sometimes I feel as if America has “signed on” Jesus at the White House to become their spokesman and undersigner–their “yes” man. This Jesus is Caucasian, always Conservative Republican, is allowed to have an “acceptable” beard, and goes around in sandals and a billowing white tunic, shaking hands with politicians while flashing a Crest sponsored smile. He hands out little medals to those who oppose abortion and easily excuses marital affairs, vulgarity and any covered up sex or child trafficking. He gives flowers to women wearing Gucci and busily writing out checks to avoid taxes at tax time. He kisses white babies and applauds business owners for forming jobs and trickling down a meager sustenance to the undeserving, wretched poor.

And then, if he has enough time in his daily itinerary, he hops onto a book signing by any number of white evangelicals in the blessed world of Christian Marketing and Business. He sits proudly behind the desk and recites pitches dutifully, saying “Yep, buy this book for $29.95. Don’t bother talking with me too much or accepting pain and trials–I sure don’t have the time when there are Senate seats to be won! American Christianity is pain free, pleasure filled with blessings upon blessings–but only if you buy this book and decide you’re worth it. Say, have you seen the latest Hallmark movie? They’re all white–just like me. White, blue eyed and blonde haired, mostly…Reminds me of growing up in the Middle East…”

Is it a wonder I feel disenchanted? It’s enough to make anyone gag on their Chick-Fil-A Coke…

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The Impermanence of Legacy

I walked my Labrador this evening. Over hills, through mud, grass, gravel and turf we went, smelling, sniffing and eating things of questionable nature before I could issue a stern “Ka kah!”* Upon our walk, we came across a memorial for local fire fighters. In the sidewalk ambling up laid worn bricks with donors’ names etched. Most of the names were erased by the elements, faint letters visible sporadically, leaving nonsense to be deciphered and speculated.

We lingered only a moment, as my Lab was undertaking a smell inventory. In the pause, I became aware how short human memory and legacies are, despite salesmen’s promises. We are born with nothing; we die with nothing. As a stumbling follower of Yeshua, this doesn’t bother me. I chose to place my trust in him and his words, something I don’t consider transient. This speck of dust does hope to leave some books behind, like the Brontës did in their century.  If anything, someone can use the novels to prop open a door for another. Or level a wobbly table or two on the Enterprise. It could happen.

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