An Offering to the Wind – A Poem

An Offering to the Wind – A Poem
by Ama Danesi.

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Girl in boots – alone, unafraid.
Awaiting the chariot sure, delicate
neck arched, an offering to the wind.

The Art of Solitude – Finding Your Creative Space

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Credit: Pixabay Images

 

Can we create something meaningful and enduring from chaos?  In today’s social media hyped world – viral yes, enduring no. I find it easier to start outside then dive into the center and create from that space. That means finding the environment, the space, a ritual, an object that inspires, a scent, music that sets the atmosphere. Ease into that inner place then linger, you’ll be surprised by who shows up.

Maya Angelou was known for her eccentric writing habits. Every month, she books a local hotel room. No decorations or pictures on the wall. Her blank canvas. Locked away from 6.30am  to about 2pm with a Roget’s Thesaurus, a dictionary, and the King James Bible. She wears a head tie to keep from twisting her hair (one husband hated the twists).
Since the little mind needs to be occupied so the big mind can think deeply, she replaced the twisting with crossword puzzles and a deck of cards. She told the Daily Beast in an interview, “Will I write a sentence that will just float off the page? Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

Thomas Kinkade the controversial painter of light, also creates from what he calls  – an inner space that begins first thing in the morning, interacts with the world then returns to that nurturing centered solitude.  Meaning he wakes up, stays in bed meditating on a simple verse – The Lord is my shepherd…this is the day the Lord had made – then he goes to his private sun deck overlooking the foothills of Monte Sereno CA, where he has a wooden stand for his Bible, a notebook for ideas,  sketching tools and holds a “divine meeting.”

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Pixabay Images: Japanese Garden Arch

If you prefer to kick up your metabolism before your cerebral faculties, then go out in nature –  enjoy the sweet morning breeze, the melody of chirping birds, the scent and beauty of flowers during a quick run, a jog on the beach, sunrise gardening or even walking the dog. All excellent ways to get your creative juices flowing and clear your mind.

Ernest Hemingway, the master of dialog noted in his documents to the Wisdom Foundation in California, published in Playboy Jan. 1963, “I do most of my work in my head. I never begin to write until my ideas are in order. Frequently I recite passages of dialogue as it is being written; the ear is a good censor. I never set down a sentence on paper until I have it so expressed that it will be clear to anyone.” Hemingway called his style the Iceberg Theory: the facts float above water; the supporting structure and symbolism work out of sight. A concept  also called the Theory of Omission.

Roseanne Barr in judging a contestant in Last Comic Standing (NBC) after a bland routine, advised him to go “smoke something.” Writers, artists and even those listed here, have used alcohol in varying degrees, but that beast takes more than it gives. All I need is the sight of a mountain range. When I go to the library, I pick a seat looking out the windows. Good thing I live in a valley.

I’m drawn to those seemingly insurmountable peaks till I’m one with them, then I rise above. Because I know the answer to my mantra:
I will lift up my eyes to the hills,
where does my help come from?

 

 

Unsightly Edges – A Poem

Unsightly Edges – A Poem
By Ama Danesi

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There’s a knock, a hesitant rap on my nape
from pain that’s testing, peering over
my delicate collar-bone for a crack
in my steely resolve.
My need for more is a palmed heat.
I’m done with squatters. He can still smell me
in his nostrils. He lingers, a familiar high –

Every pain has a home, a coach, an itch
my arteries make poor hallways – C’est le vie
Inside me there’s a chisel, a hammer
and a chipping away.
Sandpaper the hurting, unclog the
bleeding, I pretend he feels the same – till I can’t
He’ll remain a lump, holding on to unsightly edges.

God’s Not Dead – This Should NOT be Headline news!

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The movie, GOD’S NOT DEAD by Pure Flix Entertainment featuring  Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) and Shane Harper (Spencer in Disney’s Good Luck Charlie), Dean Cain (Superman) and David A.R. White (Jerusalem Countdown) with special appearances by Christian super-band, Newsboys who perform — God’s Not Dead , Willie and Korie of the Duck Dynasty (which I do not watch)  opened today in theaters across America. There are plans to screen the movie in other parts of the world too.

The movie synopsis stems from the book by Dr. Rice Broocks  a highly respected senior minister and founder of  Every Nation  family of churches, which according to the website, “currently includes more than 1,000 churches in more than 60 countries …  is on hundreds of college campuses ….focusing on equipping college students around the world to defend their faith.” He also developed the 10 questions conversation – The God Test.

The book presents Nine (9) basic proofs of God’s existence and includes stories of the journey of faith, doubt, disbelief from people ranging from an atheist Harvard Professor to campus students having to defend His existence intellectually. The reality is that while God is evident to Christians, the rest of the human population could be completely oblivious or worse indifferent.

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The book tackles the arguments of atheists such as Dawkins, Harris, Krauss, Mahrer and explores the direct  impact that the teachings of Darwin and Nietzsche have, especially on the highly intellectual communities and shapes the minds our children and young adults. (Parents need to pay attention…our children have to learn to defend their faith.)

Why is this important and Who needs this?

  • The Seekers – those wondering, what if God REALLY exists? It’s not a sappy movie, but a serious INTELLECTUAL, CEREBRAL discourse around the question that plagues our hearts.
  •  The Hungry – people feeling empty and searching for more in life. C.S.Lewis said, “If you are hungry, that points to the existence of food.”
  • Christians  who have always wanted a non-preachy way to articulate and express their faith. The Spirit convicts the heart, we cannot do His job, but we can offer plain intellectual and logical answers to questions about our faith and belief in the Lord.
  • Parents who want to fortify their children with information that is powerful in the face of dogmatic philosophies that run rampant in colleges and schools.
  • Anyone who is still alive, breathing and just for Pete’s sake, wants to know the straight forward truth
Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 2.04.54 PMI entered college as a Christian, got carried away, flunked a few (OK, a lot) of courses, got angry with God for “failing” me and basically ignored Him for a good chuck of my early adult years. That decision cost me dearly.
Without a solid foundation and core understanding of WHY we believe, by the time we get through college, most us will suffer a crisis of faith.

Here are some questions from the Dr Broocks’ book to ponder as you head into the theater or order the book:

  1.  Why would you believe that there is nothing rather than something?
  2.  Where did life come from? Evolution doesn’t explain where the first self replicating mutation came from.
  3. Where did our unseen conscience come from? Across cultures, nations and creed, why are we moral, how do we innately and universally know right from wrong?
  4. Who can you trust? A being who demands sacrifices from you or one who became the sacrifice?

Sites like RatioChristi and PoachedEgg provide apologetic resources that shakes us out of our comfort zone, so that we learn to give logical reasons for our faith.  Some one said, “We are not salt-shakers but real change agents when we engage our world.”

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So get out there, get some organic popcorn (*wink*), grab a friend, your child or loved one, pay for a stranger to go see the movie and  if you stumbled on this post after it’s gone from theaters, please get the DVD and read the book. In the indelible lyrics of the Newsboys, “Our God’s not dead, He is surely alive!” (And this should NOT be headline news.)

*All image credits from God’snotdead.org site.

Prompt: How far would you go…to defend your belief in God?

A Rude Awakening to Gratitude.

Credit: Pixabay Commons

Credit: Pixabay Commons

At 6.25 am today, between trying to hitch a ride to the library from an old friend who turned out to be a snitch and trying to catch the giant baby, Beyoncé dropped on its head, I was rudely awakened by the after-shock of the 4.4 magnitude earthquake that hit Westwood CA  and  sent shock waves through San Fernando Valley, Orange county and Santa Barbara.

Is it bad that my first thought was about my laptop? Anyway, as the shaking continued, I mentally checked for noise from my son’s room, the pantry and prescription medication levels for the family because this is Northridge. Apartment managers, realtors and agents don’t advertise the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, which was a 6.7 magnitude with strong ground motion felt as far away as Las Vegas, Nevada, about 220 miles (360 km) from the epicenter of Reseda and had a death toll of 57, with more than 5,000 injured.

That earthquake-caused property damage estimated at over $20 billion, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history, affecting everything from television, movie, music productions, schools and universities, homes and hospitals and came with an outbreak of  coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever). In all my research before moving to Northridge, I totally missed this crucial piece of information or maybe it was hidden from me.

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Google Image: Northridge

Hidden, I believe because if I had known, I would not have moved to Northridge. But then I would have missed the blessings and special grace I have found in this city. The friends, the neighborhood, the Rite Aid pharmacy that gives us  advance medication when the insurance company is acting constipated, the Ralph’s Deli that’s a quick walk away, where every Tuesday, we line up for the freshly baked  sweet wheat & oat boule, a dark hearty loaf with a slightly sweet chewy crust and soft interior, rolled in oats…yum! What’s a neighborhood without Starbucks? Well, just around my street corner, we’ve got two!

In this neighborhood, my son’s education could not have been in better hands, he blossomed in Stagg St. Elementary and now is in Holmes M.S. one of the best middle schools in California. Everything I need, except a next-door-library (which explains the hitch-hike in my dream)  is close-by.

Here is a checklist of earthquake survival tips from the Red Cross.

  • Develop and practice your family disaster plan.
  • Stock up non-perishable goods and have an emergency preparedness kit.
  • Get someone in the family trained in First Aid and CPR/AED.
  • Most importantly, don’t forget to learn the Drop, Cover and Hold On technique.

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It’s been quiet in California and this earthquake was just a rude awakening, to appreciate what we have, a home, family and the promise of God’s care and protection. As my building did a little rumba this morning, I prayed, ” Jesus… please keep us save where You have planted us.”

I am thankful that no-one got hurt and I went about my day…deeply conscious of grace, knowing that in any moment,  life as we know it, can change.

…He has made from one blood, every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings. Act 17:26.