Qui Vive

Already, this year has been exceptionally trying, but I have chosen to serve and to give out what I need most – an encouraging word. My hope for you all today is that you do not become weary from expecting the good. I am so ready for the harvest that comes after the waiting…

Qui Vive by Ama Danesi

In whatever state we find ourselves

God is working out the opposite.

When we fall, He lifts us up.

When we are bound, He frees our souls.

In the face of certain defeat, He is working

out a victory that cannot be denied.

In our darkest nights and earnest watching – qui vive.

His love roars loud and clear above the taunting waves.

He calms our heartbeat to the rhythm of His breath.

He sent us a helpless baby as Savior of the world.

Once an alien in Egypt but rich in gold, silver, and myrrh.

The pain and suffering that He allows, ushers in

destiny and purpose. He plants in untilled soil, that the

harvest may be wild and unrestrained reaching to

the ends of the earth and places marked “x.”

In the face of sorrow, our hope & joy is His name –

Emmanuel, God with us.

 

Alert & hopeful,

AD.

Historical Fun Fact:

Even motor boats have a purpose and are remembered for their service. The USS Qui Vive (SP – 1004) was part of the United States Naval Fighting fleet from 1917 – 1919. She served as a patrol vessel then as a hospital boat in the 5th Naval District during World War 1. Originally built by the Hutchinson Brothers (Alexandria, NY) for Houston Barnard (Rochester, NY) she was chartered by the Navy until she was decommissioned and returned at the end of her naval career. Her current state is unknown but her work and service endure.
(Bio and image credit: NavSource.org /Wikipedia/Pixabay)

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Credit: Chuck Lorre Productions

Chuck Lorre’s Vanity Cards – Life Lessons and More

Credit: Chuck Lorre Productions

Never say never while you can still breathe. Don’t give up on a dream that still wants to live. I might be late on this bandwagon but sometime last year, I paused my DVR after an episode of The Big Bang Theory on CBS, like millions have done over the years to read  Chuck Lorre’s Vanity card #463. The last one. He succinctly explained, “It’s time to write the last vanity card. Which is what this is…All things that never should have happened in the first place must come to an end. Don’t cry for me Argentina. Or West Covina.”

I was sad…OK, a tad depressed. “What? After 18 years why stop now?”

For those living in a cult or under a rock, the unique vanity cards for Chuck Lorre Productions have become a “trademark” appearing at the end of nearly every episode of his acclaimed productions like Grace under Fire, Cybill, Two and A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mom, Mike & Molly and many others. They are usually editorial snippets, personal musings or random observations.

I considered launching a virtual protest march demanding that we, the viewing and more importantly, the reading public,  not be starved of the non-literary gastronomical delight of peering into Chuck Lorre’s brain. Then it occurred to me – Nah… maybe without this little distraction he could have more time. Time to volunteer at a nearby shelter, become a crossing guard at any school of his choosing, you know, do something more wholesome.

So, imagine my surprise at reading  Chuck Lorre’s Vanity Card #464 after the next episode. It was a short, terse card, written by a clearly pained Chuck who realized that nobody cared enough to protest or beg him to re-consider. All he got were a few, nonchalant “literary shrugs” that didn’t cross the ear threshold. Yes, the world would still spin on its awkward axis, pigeons will still desecrate hallowed Hollywood Boulevard where knock-off stars have obstinately ( I’ve always wanted to use that in a sentence) refused to twinkle, and people were far more interested in a YouTube video of a child falling asleep after 14 strokes of soft tissue paper over his cherub face. Yep! Nobody really cared.

Credit: EmmyTVLegends.orgBut I did. It would be sad to see these “self-congratulatory snippets of a mind, screaming for attention” end. They are at least are better than the deplorable selfies assaulting our  virtual spaces, (No thanks to the inventor of the selfie stick.) even as I wholehearted agree that Chuck’s Official Vanity Card Archives are nothing short of a “Herculean attempt at curating a set of pointlessly unique, haunting, very painful, also petty, most times personal thoughts.” (All quotations are his words)

Well, if I piqued your interest, you would be very pleased to know that at this time of writing, there’s Vanity Card #500 and I hope counting. For one, I am glad. Sometimes like Chuck Lorre, we have to pause and reflect on anything we’ve been doing maybe, mindlessly for a while –  like a marriage, a friendship, a job or the attempt to immortalize oneself (a.k.a. blogging) and ask yourself:

  • Does it matter?
  • Do I matter?
  • Will anyone even miss me if I stop?
  • Why? For sanity’s sake, why am I doing this?
  • How does this promote world peace (*_*) ?

Question everything. That’s what makes us human, but never say never or give up on something or someone you love. Don’t walk away if it still wants to live. Let it.
The 2.0 version might be refreshingly more meaningful, wiser as it matures just as Lorre’s post-463 vanity cards have become. Curious? Check out card  #482 , my new favorite.

Image Credits: ChuckLorre.com & Google Images.

About That Parable of Talents

Parable about talentAbout that Parable of Talents – People are Depending on Us!

I got a message from a family in desperate need and I was so sad that I couldn’t just write out a check for the exact amount to help them out. It got me thinking…how long have I been dancing around the bonfire instead of igniting my potential and letting the sparks fly? How long have I chosen job security and ended up with no ‘time’ to write? Did I say sad? I meant pathetic!

People are depending me, on us, generations are depending on what we do today. With our gifts and talents, we can change the fortunes of our families first, then cities and nations…and why not? I am preaching to myself and the choir because every “what ifs” can be replaced with “here’s what”. These are the two main excuses we give ourselves:

FEAR

cartoon-44575_150Fear is as natural as scratching an itch, it’s there to trigger a response either to flee from legitimate danger or to recognize an opportunity to stretch ourselves.
Fearful thoughts or a twisted mindset makes people abdicate the responsibility of developing their talents. Many ‘babies’ have been starved to death or buried alive. Like the lazy servant did in the Bible parable – he hid his one talent and incurred his master’s wrath.

His defense was:
“I was AFRAID so I went and buried the talent in the ground.”

FEAR. Enough said.

Or not… the master called him wicked. He called the lack of his growth, wicked as in – capable of harming someone or something or allowing an extremely unpleasant situation to exist.We are created for good works that inspire, evoke emotions, expose injustice,  or use our resources to feed an extra striving child etc. and our gift is the vehicle that takes us to unbelievable destinations.

Fear strolls in with its posse  or an extended family of uncles, aunts and cousins who insist on coming to the party, you might recognize them as procrastination, anxiety, worry, agitation, apprehension, timidity, cowardice and grandpa funk!

“You do not need to shrink difficulties and act as if they do not exist. Just don’t magnify them.” Dr. Eric R. Maisel, Ph.D.

Pursing goals and dreams can be scary and gut-wrenching hard work. Fear uses lies like – Nobody cares, Who do you think you are, You are wasting your time, and on and on…to defeat our purpose and keep us small.
Instead of bolting or perpetuating the lies, we can reign in our thinking, meditate, be still for a moment then keep moving – be the peace within the chaos. Like Steven Pressfield advises, recognize the resistance for what it is, but go ahead and  do it anyway.

DEVALUATION

We esteem the gifts and positions of other people and devalue ours thinking that they are mundane and not as special. I can’t win a singing contest to save my life, but I can write. But I’ll revere a voice like Celine Dion’s and not think much of my innate ability to structure, plot, and craft a story.
Just like Esau, when he despised his birthright trading it to Jacob for a bowl of stew when he came home famished. He said, “Look I am about to die (of hunger), what good is the birthright to me?” That’s how people reason: this —- (fill in your blanks) cannot possibly sustain me!

“…All who make wages will be troubled of soul” Isaiah 19:10 ; “…And he who earns wages, earns wages to put in a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:6

There is nothing wrong with wages, It has its place. It should be for seasons and transitions, not for life because it is never enough! I know God wants better for us than a dead-end job with fixed income, so we’ve got to define our “works” and not just work to pay bills and barely survive. And I think that’s why creative people with regular jobs have “hobbies”. Our hands and minds are wired to be creative and our imagination is always reaching for what we are too scared to say out loud.

My parable about talentI mentioned my love for writing to a senior manager in my former office and the response was, “Good for you, but how will that put food on the table?” What is it with food? The norm is full tummies but malnourished souls.
Until success comes, everybody else puts on blinders but we have to doggedly believe in ourselves.

The acorn doesn’t worry if there will be enough room for its humongous trunk and wide-spread branches, it just shoots up without a care, catching a breeze here and there. So should we…day by day,word by word, page by page.We have to believe that the talent was given for a purpose and that there are people waiting and depending on us to show up.

Query Ready

imagesI am holding on to this truth that ..”my gift makes room for me and brings me before great men and women…” (Prov. 18 v 16 paraphrased)

Everyone has a calling, a purpose and sometimes, even when you know exactly what it is, the realization and embrace of our dreams takes longer than anticipated, because it’s sometimes about seasons.

I subscribe to Writer’s Digest magazine because I get inspired and encouraged by Chuck Sambuchino’s “Breaking In” column highlighting notable debuts and it’s amazing to read the many pathways and very unique stories of how each first book came to life.

Getting and staying query ready is the main take away, because if my gift makes room for me, then I want it ready for “presentation”, packaged in a pretty gift box, and because I can afford it, adorned with Martha Stewart ribbons, pretty bows and delivery tags with elegant calligraphy …no one likes a gift in a brown paper bag. Ok, let me correct that, most editors insist on the standard brown package, but crave the thrill and  exhilarating feeling of unwrapping the unexpected treat words can deliver. In my mind, I see my words as shiny stepping-stones leading into a place, you dare not go alone…allowing me the privilege of walking with you, and together explore  and experience something new.
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I love it when a book, a story, a song, a new entrée at my favorite restaurant or even a new handbag does that to me. Our gifts and unique talents were given and meant for sharing and gives special joy to others, the reward comes to us because we cared enough to share the Creator in us.

We should not live as “weeds”, but as trees planted by the rivers of water, fruitful in our season. Psalm 1 v 3. This post is as much for me, as it is for anyone reading this…Our seasons will unfold, because I know that God creates moments, people and the perfect opportunity for every gift seed He has planted. We just have to get ready to answer the questions, or call and be inspired to take the first step, get out those rusty tools…Now is our time to shine!

Getting Query Ready,
Ama