ART AND REALITY – THE TWAIN HAVE MET

Every Halloween I brush off my little Ultra low budget sci-fi satire INVASION OF THE MONEY SNATCHERS.  In 2011 I had an idea for a short film.  I had dabbled in network marketing many times in my life actually immersing myself for two years in one of the bigger companies.  I enjoyed the products and the camraderie, but I absolutely hated what it was doing to my personal life.  I was one of those driven people who could not turn the prospecting off.  Every person I met was a potential customer or partner in my network.  I ate, slept, and breathed my business.  It was an obsession that made me feel like someone had invaded my body and taken over my personality like a character in the cult horror film INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.

I began noticing that our entire world was caught up in a trap of mass marketing based on either greed in the scams that plagued us or the inundation of people just doing their jobs.  I literally could not answer my phone anymore.

I wrote a comedic script including all the sales pitches, spams, scams and schemes I could think of.  As an actress and model, I had made my living pitching products on commercials and print ads. I included a bit on game shows in homage to my six years on NBC’s SALE OF THE CENTURY.  Ironically my entire film was financed by my residuals as an actress in my last big pharma commercial.  That particular spot was well over the average 60 seconds long so that all the accompanying disclaimers could fit into the time slot.  I found a way to highlight the absurdity with Dr. Bob and the film’s pharmaceutical spoof.

It was apparent to me that the art of the original horror flick and the reality of our human experience had not only met, they had married and spawned children.  Today my film is more relevant than ever. I’m sure you too have received the voicemails in Chinese and been snaked by Instagram ads that look American but when the cheaply made product arrives a month later in a worn and traveled box you know you’ve been snaked.  The total immersion of commercialism via internet, Iphone, social media and plethora of communications that invade our private lives has exploded exponentially.  We are all both consumer and pitchman.  Everyone is selling something, and one must buy to live.

So, if you have 20 minutes and can appreciate a little spoofing satire in the midst of the real-life terror of Covid19, and an election scarier than any horror flick conceived, pull up a chair and click the Amazon link for some Halloween fun.  Look at me trying to make a sale.  There is truly no escape!

Happy 2020 Halloween!

INVASION OF THE MONEY SNATCHERS

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Proverbs 17:22

 

PERCEPTIONS UPDATE

My screenplay PERCEPTIONS is officially in pre-production as of 2018

I have a director and the beginning of my production team. Making progress!

FINALIST Acclaim Scripts 2016

SEMI FINALIST 2017 International Family and Faith Screenwriting Competition

QUARTERFINALIST Cinequest Screenplay Contest 2016

QUARTERFINALIST Scriptapalooza Screenplay Contest 2016

OFFICIAL SELECTION Faith & Family Script Showcase 

OFFICIAL SELECTION Kingdomwood International Film Festival 2017

 

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BALANCING ACT, JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 BLOG

photo by Danelle Bohane Photography 

My oldest daughter was married in July of 2016. My youngest was married last year in May.  Cumulatively we spent two full years of great joy and celebration preparing for the separate events.  There were parties, showers, shopping, and general anticipation of the days.  The only euphoria that came close was the day each of my girls were born.  I birthed them.  My husband and I raised them, and we released them to their new lives with husbands we adore.

Life overflowed.  Then the scale tipped, as it so often does.  My elderly father left this world in August three months after the May wedding.  My elation melted into grief. I wrote my most recent blog about the many blessings in my experience those two weeks in Virginia as Daddy took his permanent leave.  It was an incredibly sad and confusing time, but not without gifts I’ll carry with me to my own departure date whenever God calls me home.

2017 was an insane year. One for the history books for sure with hurricanes, floods, fires, shootings, and storms both political and emotional in all American hearts.  There seems to be no end to the turmoil and chaos even as I write.  Our senses reverberate daily with the pervasive “information highway” of the internet shrieking from our desks, laps, wrists, and hands.  At times we cry a collective TMI!

Yet in the midst of all the lunacy there were weddings, babies born, jobs won, victories, and multiple moments of sheer delight.  We ride the see saw and manage, knowing that for every up there is an opposing down, followed by a ride back up again.

We grew a massive heirloom tomato plant in 2017. It was a glorious vine with thick verdant stalks that intertwined and meshed like the company of Pilobolus dance. The bright green leaves were hearty and full.  Eventually tiny yellow flowers opened allowing the fruit to emerge.  As the tomatoes pushed their way into the sunlight the leaves around them dried up and died a brittle death.  They had to die to allow the fruit to receive all the nourishing rays.

We cannot have life without death.  We do not have growth without pain. This contradiction can soften our attitude towards suffering as well.  The lessons birthed from adversity are invaluable.  Additionally, happiness intensifies with the stark contrast of peace after seasons of despair. Living in harmony with this paradox is a simple reliance on our Creator who absorbs our trauma with the whisper of His name.  God is good.  He is also just and will judge every deed with a righteous perfection.  With eyes rightly focused there is always something to look forward to and be grateful for.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”    Matthew 11: 28-30 NIV

 “You turned my wailing into dancing;  you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.”     Psalm 30:11,12 NIV

 

 

 

 

 

LOVE’S REWARD, Ralph E. Mulford November 20, 1927 – August 9, 2017 AUGUST BLOG

My favorite photo of Daddy and me taken in the 90’s

My sweet Daddy passed away Wednesday August 9th 2017. He went peacefully with no trauma. The Lord chose to take him one day before my flight home to Los Angeles. Daddy knew it was to be my last day. He told me how happy he was that I had come to visit and our last words to one another were “I love you”, accompanied by our traditional good night kiss.

I had a full two weeks to say everything I needed to say and we had a wonderful time together. I’m thankful he went no sooner and no later. He was ready to go. I had asked him if he was and he said yes, but that it was up to God. The timing was perfect and God’s hands were all over the entire experience.

The day before Daddy died he rallied with a newfound energy. He showered by himself and looked so handsome. Although he was too weak to join us, he treated my sister, brother, niece, and me to lunch. My siblings and I then visited the mountain destination where he had requested his ashes be scattered. He wanted to fertilize the trees and be stable in one place where we could wave up to him and know where he was.

That same night I posted a picture of the inexplicably tame deer that appeared on my sister’s and brother in law’s property around the time of Daddy’s latest heart failure early July. My sister was convinced the doe was sent by God as a spiritual presence to give us, and Daddy peace in his journey. We named her Angel and she literally walked up to me only one foot away as I snapped her photo the night before his death. You can see the posted photo on my Instagram August 8th.

Daddy always loved to make us laugh. Julie and I found him in fitting form that fateful Tuesday night donned in sunglasses as he sat in front of the TV. He was legally blind so we were amused and perplexed. Perhaps the light from the lamp was too bright for his slight peripheral vision, or the glory of heaven was already creeping into the room. Julie asked if he was going somewhere. He said, “I think I’ll go to Florida.” We all laughed. Daddy had to leave Florida for the mountains 5 years ago when my stepmother Joy died and we moved him to Julie’s so she could care for him. He hated leaving the ocean and his beloved coastal home.

At 9:00 AM the next morning Julie witnessed a lone deer racing across the farm. She believed it was Angel. 30 minutes later Julie went into the guest cottage and found Daddy peacefully lying on his side on the floor with his cane resting between his arms, eyes closed, like he was taking a sweet nap. He was not yet cold. She called for me moments later and I bade my tender farewells.

The following day one of our nieces reminded us that His death fell on the exact day of Joy’s passing five years ago Aug 9th. This was no coincidence. God also ordained my perfect arrival by allowing me to crack a molar that delayed my trip 2 weeks while I waited for the crown to be made. If I had left CA. a day different I would not have been with him in death and able to travel home on my appointed date.

My brother who recently retired as a Methodist minister had chosen Tuesdays as his day to visit Daddy on a regular basis. Tuesday Aug. 8th was his first official visit before we went to lunch.  Tuesday Aug 15th, was the day the crematory arbitrarily chose to perform their services. My brother said his final Tuesday goodbye to Daddy only one week later there in Richmond.  Richmond was also my father’s birthplace.

As of today August 22nd Angel the deer has not returned to the farm for 11 days.   She was last seen walking into the brush of a neighbor’s property while I was on the phone with my sister 2 or 3 days after Daddy died.  Angel was visiting the farm almost daily the entire two weeks of my visit.  When Julie told me about seeing the deer running across the field that morning she had to sit down and gather herself.  I said, “If we don’t see that deer anymore, we are going to know for sure.”  I now have no doubt of Angel’s purpose.  God wanted us to know of His great love for our family.  My father did not have the easiest life.  There were tragedies in his past, but he never complained.  He retained a private but steadfast faith, and in his old age carried such strength and grace.

Daddy wore his sunglasses dreaming of Florida that Tuesday night, but God chose Heaven as his brighter most perfect final destination.

I have fallen in love with my Daddy all over again and I miss him something awful..but I am extraordinarily blessed to have been his daughter. Life is a blend of joy and grief… Our relationship could be complex at times, and no one is perfect, least of all me… but our love was a true bond that I’ll always cherish.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  1 John 4:8  

 My sister photographed Angel first seen in July after my father arrived home from the hospital.  She sent this picture to me then so I could see Daddy’s “Angel Deer”  Stanardsville, Virginia

 Angel walked directly up to me August 8th, 2017, the night before my father passed away.

 

Loretta’s photo of Angel Aug 9th, 2017                             
Julie’s last photo of Angel below.  She was sited August 25th, 2017 at a distance.  She was a regular presence for a month with almost daily visits the two weeks of my visit.  As of April 2018; she has disappeared from the farm completely.  Her job was done.
                

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“BE THE BRIDGE” WEST SIDE LOS ANGELES

In February of this year I attended a Christian women’s IF GATHERING conference at my church.  I learned of a group called BE THE BRIDGE  This group has a mission for racial unity and a bridging of the great divide that comes from lack of relationship and understanding between the varying races and their cultures.  I have always longed for more diverse friendships in my primarily white world.  I crave peace and brotherhood in our common humanity.  My Christian brothers and sisters understand we are all one in our faith, no matter our skin color or family of origin.  We embrace our differences and cultural diversity as God’s unique artistry. His crayon box and array of sculpting tools is mightily full.

I’ve written blogs on the subject and was moved  to lead a group myself.  We want to be examples of peace and reconciliation not just in heaven, but here now on earth.  Past and current injustices are a heart cry for healing now.  We want to be the generation that honestly listens, speaks with respect, and binds the wounds of past, present, and future.

I felt lead to begin a hiking group because women love to share their hearts while walking. We use the “Be the Bridge Discussion Guide”  and are forming strong bonds. We discuss the “elephant” in the room and are learning that there are many ways we can bridge gaps and be all inclusive in our church and in our lives.  Beginning in July we will have our 1st group pot luck with family and significant others.  I am so thankful to Latasha Morrison and Be the Bridge for creating this beautiful and much needed ministry.

Our numbers have grown since our 1st hike Feb 25th.  These are images from our past 8 hikes on the Santa Monica Beach path and Canyon trails together. We are sisters! I encourage you to look into the organizations, make a donation to help their cause, and lead or join a group yourself.

May 27th we experienced what I like to call a “God Thing”

Mid hike in Mandeville Canyon at the NIKE tower base, two of our women asked if we could hike up the tower itself and take a photo overlooking the valley below. Imagine our surprise when a large group of racially diverse Christian brethren were quietly sitting up there praying!!!! It was nuts! We stopped immediately and prayed with them, and then asked them to take a pic of us..then they asked to take a pic WITH us. It was so cool I can’t tell you. They are THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH NORTH REGION. They meet at the Hilton Hotel in Woodland Hills and they hike once a month going to different areas each time. What are the odds of us running into them up in that tower? We were so blessed we had chills. We stopped to pray again, just us, as we progressed on the path afterwards. Such amazing affirmation that God approves! We are ONE in Christ!

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