MY SCREENPLAY PERCEPTIONS CHOSEN OFFICIAL SELECTION FAITH AND FAMILY SCRIPT SHOWCASE

My screenplay PERCEPTIONS has now garnered 4 awards placing in 4 different screenplay contests! I am pleased to announce my most recent honor via Film Freeway and The Faith and Family Script Showcase 

Click on this LINK to see my logline and bio on their site!

I am gaining recognition in the hope of production and the realization of my story onscreen.

“LIFE’S MAGIC” DECEMBER 21ST, 2016 BLOG

December 21st, 2016 Blog

julie-and-lou-with-walking-dolls

Christmas in the 60’s with our “walking doll” gifts from Dis and Rudolph.

I love the Christmas season. I am one of those people who starts the holiday music On Dec 1st with no going back until New Year’s day. Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte, and Andy Williams, fill both car and home while visions of Jimmy Durante’s “Frosty” dance a jig in my merry head.

I am a child of the 60’s when life was a lot simpler and seemingly sweeter. Christmas was a time of great joy and warming anticipation. The worries of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War, or our parent’s grown up troubles slowly melted away with each forming icicle and frozen windowpane.

Every year my great Aunt Izola, known to us as “Dis”, would arrive with my Uncle Rudolph laden with enormous bags from Thalhimers. My sister, and brother, and I found it difficult to breathe as they carried the forbidden booty into our home depositing the bags under the tree and into secret places we dared not search out. Soon the smells of wine jelly cooking and Smithfield ham filled our tiny Virginia kitchen along with conversation and laughter as our family gathered for yet another season of Christmas love.

There were no I-Phones, pods, pads, or anything remotely “I” or Apple to distract us from one another and the leisure of our precious time. These were days of simplicity and focus never to be known in the same way again. Now don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t swap my I-phone for the finest corded Princess today, but I would trade the binding tether that seems to accompany our modern world of communication in 2016.

I marvel at how in a relatively few short years we have learned to stay “plugged in” from the moment our eyes open till the lights of our devices flicker over and out. The general complaint I hear is that there is no “down time” as we work more from home computers and conduct business while driving, walking, and riding elevators around town.

We instantly worry if friends and loved ones don’t respond within minutes of a text imagining the worst until the familiar tone signals all is well. The art of patience along with eye contact and verbal conversation is on the dying path of cursive and handwritten notes.

I imagine children must text or e-mail Santa Claus these days with nary a postcard reaching the North Pole. It is a little sad and worrisome to see stress levels rise and anxiety increase as we juggle more virtual born relationships and commitments than we can handle. Even as we complain of its superficial nature, posting the best photo is a national obsession as we feel the social pressures of keeping up with the Kardashians and their ilk.

I experienced a refreshing break from the media madness this month while delivering gifts and holiday cheer. I stopped by to visit a dear friend and his family in their valley home. Alex and his wife have a large piece of property hidden in the midst of our typical LA mansionization where “next-door neighbor” takes on new meaning as homes battle for the most square footage. My friends have a private gate that rolls back to expose an elegant two story Tudor with a massive back yard that I’m certain realtors and developers drool over daily.

Alex and Carolyn’s three children greeted me with the cherished love and affection reserved for grandmas and aunties. I had only met these babes a couple of times in their little lives, yet was smothered with coveted kisses. The next hour was spent with the children showing me their individually decorated Christmas trees, sharing knock-knock jokes, and displaying well-executed cartwheels. I held Ginger, the softest bunny alive as Carolyn gently showed me the correct technique. Her soft angel blue eyes glistened while her progeny flitted around like happy larks as children are meant to fly.

Alex tutored the capture of an alligator lizard. They effectively home school with Carolyn at the helm. In her is the patience of a mother who cares enough to discipline with direct consistency and love.

The neighbors are close friends so they built a gate between the properties. One of the girls slipped through and delightfully returned hand in hand with her three year old curly headed chum. The family attends church, and travels often, educating their children and building solid relationships. The only time I saw a child near a computer was in the school/guest house finishing lessons. I felt I was on a field trip of my own as both participating student and cast member in their theatre of life and learning. I was mesmerized.

There has to be a way to follow their lead staying connected without sacrificing our sanity. The Christmas season is a perfect time to take stock and let go a little of our technical binds. Surely Christ appreciates more interpersonal relationships. After all He was born into this world specifically for the sake of rescuing our relations with our Creator and God. He is the King of connecting.

I commit to check on my “likes” less and like people in person more. I plan to make more phone calls and follow through with real time visits. I want to ask more questions and listen better actually remembering the things people say instead of thinking about what I want to offer next. I will not allow my cell phone to share the same dinner table with me, and movies at night with my husband at home will be treated with the same respect as my local AMC. I will spend daily un-interrupted time with God in my devotions far enough from social media and the maddening temptation to check in.

I challenge you to do the same and see for yourself if there isn’t a lowering of blood pressure and resulting lightness of heart. It will be our experiment for the New Year and a lasting Christmas present that has the potential to benefit more than we can imagine. Let me know how it goes!

So on that positive note I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and joyous holidays for all.

Psalm 46:10

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.   

“THANKFUL IN ALL THINGS” NOVEMBER 21ST, 2016 BLOG

November 24th, 2016 Blog

Today is Thanksgiving. There is SO much to be thankful for no matter how you feel post election, and trust me I have loved ones who are zealous for either side.

I witnessed visceral tears in my Hollywood acting class Wednesday morning after that jaw dropping Tuesday.  A rat even died somewhere in the theatre walls leaving us with an unbearable stench reminiscent of the mood and the recent campaign antics.   In contrast I have friends and family who were elated and hopeful.   They were not so much Donald Trump supporters as they were truly fearful for our country and believed a change was necessary.

I am not a political person.  In most cases I consider it a necessary evil mistrusting the selfish agenda at the heart of many a partisan player red or blue alike.  The election this year was tough for a person who avoids conflict like a root canal with the plague.

I consider myself a moderate Republican. A term I’ve used without too much fear of my Democrat friends searching for their tar and feathers.   Frankly, there are certain things I support on both party platforms.  But in the end I couldn’t vote for Donald Trump … and I’m sorry, I went the libertarian route on Hillary.

This is the deal; with our equally divided polarization pretty much 50% of the people in our country are going to be upset all of the time.  Each side is just as frightened of the other.  Each side truly cares and has valid points.  I am a mix of both so you can imagine the turmoil I could be facing,  if I allowed fear to govern me.

My truth that keeps me sane is the fact that God plays no favorites in government.  God loves Democrats and He loves Republicans. God loves all races, genders, and ethnicities.  God loves people, and He will allow what He will, whether you favor the outcome at the time or not.

Since Trump has been elected by the system we currently have in place as our 45th President I will support his leadership just as I have with all his predecessors whether I voted for them or not.  He is now bending on some of his more inflammatory promises, as every president does when the campaign theatrics are over. Perhaps the gravity of the office will humble him while keeping him steadfast on the issues that strengthen our nation.  I’m praying for his success and the safety and well being of our country and every person living in it.  Time will tell what Trump’s true mark on history will be.

I come from a long line of mostly English Christian families originating as colonists in Long Island in the 1600’s and the Southern state of Virginia from that same period.  I had kin fight in the war against England for our American independence and in the Civil War on either side.  The late 1600’s Mulford House standing today in East Hampton as a museum, was used as a station in the underground railroad assisting slaves in their escape to Canada before the war.

My brother still has the Union sword carried by my Great-Great-Great Grandfather New Jersey surgeon for the army Col. William Cattell Mulford.  My northern relative Captain and later Major Samuel Mulford fought in the 4th Infantry.  Conversely one of my North Carolina cousins, Captain Edward Hall Armstrong lost his life for the Confederacy.  His family letters during the civil war became the subject of a UNCW thesis.  As a teen I was given photocopies of several of those original letters documenting his difficult experiences in the fight for their Southern lives as they knew them in that day.  I grew up in the south and my entire family branch was deeply affected by the pain of that war.

These were men and women with love, honor, family, faith, and convictions they felt compelled to fight for.  None were evil.  They were caught in a dreadful time of necessary change that the country was not equip to handle with peace.  I have empathy for them all.

Perhaps it is the blood of my ancestors that cries out in my heart for brotherly love between all men and women in the United States. My great-grandmother Bir, a descendant of the Harwood’s listed in Jamestown Colony, taught my grandfather to count to ten in Chickahominy and the knowledge then passed from my father to myself, and my siblings.  She had such respect for the Native Americans, which has led me to wonder what more untold stories rest in the fabric of my genetic past.

Today we celebrate all that we are thankful for in our American lives. I thank God that I am a blend of my past, present, and future. I am thankful that because of the sacrifice of others I live in a free country where we are allowed to worship our faith, vote our conscience, have opinions, and support or disagree without fear of torture or death.

I am thankful for my many friendships that cross party, gender, and racial lines.  I pray for patience, tolerance, and continued growth where needed.  I pray for judicial peace and the calming of tensions that produce radical extremism.  We are a big country with big problems that are forever changing, yet in some ways remain the same.

I am mostly thankful to God for being in control of my constantly out of control existence on this planet.  May you also find comfort in that knowledge this holiday season and be equally blessed. Happy Thanksgiving.

Luke 10:27

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

John 15:5

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

november-blog

“WHAT MADE THE BEE GO BAD?” SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER, 2016 BLOG

October 3rd, 2016

September/October Blog

I love honeybees. I’m constantly rescuing them from our pool after they nose dive for a little sip and get more than they bargained for.  I’m also fond of humming birds and run a bustling backyard bistro for our little omnivores.  They virtually own me in the summer months patronizing four feeders at a time.  Usually it’s a happy coexistence with the flora and fauna in our canyon life; until a few weeks ago.

I was watering the garden when a lone bee began darting at me.  At first I thought it was one of my nemesis yellow jackets, but closer inspection proved me wrong.  I sprayed him away only to be attacked with increased vigor.  Like a schoolyard bully he chased me inside.

A few hours passed and my husband and I decided to have a little snack outside.  Before long we noticed a group of bees swirling around one of the feeders.  They gathered tempo and volume as more bees joined the riot.  The swarm expanded in our direction as our typically docile bees turned Nazi-nasty and raided our food and us!  They won the squirmish and come morning, I relocated the feeder to safer ground.  New equipment with bee guards have kept them less inebriated, so they now share the territory more peacefully with their feathered friends and myself.

So what would make a lovely little bee with no pursuit in life other than pollinating our countryside and making delicious honey decide to turn rogue?  Was it the poison in the punch or the sudden power of the masses, or a little of both?

It made me think of our current worldwide dilemma and the responsibility that comes with large gatherings of like-minded people.  There is power in the wolf pack and with that strength comes accountability.  Unfortunately, there is disparity between the masses in what is considered “good”, “bad” or “in between”.  The internet has managed to shrink our world and expand factions at the same time.  In our country alone we are split down the middle by sharply contrasting ideologies.  Race relations are at an all time low.  Every day there’s a new story of a shooting or tragedy somewhere, and we see children casually massacre adults at the behest of their dominant leaders.  I repeat, what is it that’s making the bee go bad?

We can’t control the choices of others.  We are only responsible for ourselves.  We have to be conscious of what we consume and what we follow.  There is nothing new under the sun and mankind has been a mess ever since Eve gave Adam the apple and he savored his first illicit bite.  My prayer is that the innate human knowledge of what is truly good and right will overcome.  The syrup may be tasty and the crowd may have overwhelming appeal … but ultimately, whether we believe it or not, we will all have to answer to a greater authority.  Death of the body is the great equalizer and one day we will all know the same truth.  That’s a fact no one will contest.  In the meantime choose to love, accept differences in others where you can, forgive, and always be willing to grow.

Romans 14:10-12

“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister ? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.”

Galatians 6:9

“ Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

What Made the Bee Go Bad?

“What Made the Bee Go Bad?”  Bees conquering the hummingbird’s feeder in my backyard. 

“LAVISHLY LOVED” JULY/AUGUST, 2016 BLOG

July/August Blog

The past couple of years have been fraught with increasingly annoying, at times potentially dangerous health challenges. I thought my warranty was up ten years ago. I didn’t have a clue. I’ve had to have surgery to correct surgery. I’ve endured imploding aches and pains in parts of my body I never knew existed, suffered weakened immunity, and within the past two months a ridiculously sprained ankle, a locking knee (the good one, not the one with the replacement) and basal cell surgery on my forehead leaving me with a very fine scar in the shape of an L above, and inside of my eyebrow. My sister playfully reminded me what the L on my forehead stood for. I could picture her on the other end of the phone forming “LOSER” with forefinger and thumb invoking her sibling right to tease. Ha-Ha.

I have taken it all with as much humor and grace as I can muster, but the humiliating straw that broke the camel’s back simultaneously injured mine.  Last week a rocking sneeze sent a lightening bolt sprain through the ligaments in my lower torso.  Later my husband asked me, “Were you in a torqued position?” “Yes, I was just slightly leaning over the trash compactor when the sneeze hit.”   “Oh you never want to be leaning when you sneeze. I always brace myself if I feel one coming on.” He instructed.

Seriously? This is a thing? Somehow I managed to miss this crucial bit of health education in the past 6 decades. I told my chiropractor that somebody evil out there must have a Lou shaped doll and a healthy supply of pins, plus hammer.

You may wonder how I can laugh in the midst of such unraveling.  First of all, suffering is relative.  It can ALWAYS be worse.  I am humbled by the strength I see in those with greater difficulties.  I am also thankful for the good, as well as surviving and growing from the bad.  I’ve cultivated the ability to accept both as twin partners on my journey.  I find satisfying relief in my ongoing prayer life, specific supplements, and occasional treatments.  I’m actually doing really well at the moment and truth be told I have every reason to dwell in a higher stratosphere.

My oldest daughter was married in a fairy tale wedding mid July to a man who nurtures and adores her.  We love him as our own and I now have an official son for the first time in my life.  My husband is praising the Lord, and the kindred testosterone having been surrounded by girly-girls since 1988.  Even our dogs, and probably our fish, have always been females.

There is nothing quite like watching your daughter celebrate the most joyous time of her life to date, embraced and supported by truly loving friends and devoted family.  Her face radiated like all her Christmas mornings packed into one glorious day.  It was the happiest 24 hours of my life so far.

Adding to my elation, her younger sister is engaged and marrying an equally splendid young man next May.  I get to be a back-to-back M.O.T.B. and do it all over again!  If that weren’t enough jubilation for one person, my engaged daughter and her fiancé recently moved from San Diego and all four kids live in our city and have great jobs nearby.

A few years ago I played a “crying mother” in a silly Verizon Mother’s day commercial that spoofed separation anxiety.  I had to grieve over my daughter’s move to her new apartment “4.7 miles away”.  It was comedic but the director wanted real tears the entire ten-hour shoot.  It wasn’t hard for me to conjure memories of my baby girl’s precious angel faces staring up at me with that adoration only an infant owns.  I imagined every lullaby sung, flower sniffed, and syllable proudly uttered first time.  The waterworks flowed.  Acting and writing are my lifelong passions, but I was born to be a mother.

Knowing that a perilous sneeze, or something painful, even tragic, may lurk around the corner must not stifle the joys and highs that are rightfully ours to embrace.  I commit to exorcise the phantom shoe that threatens to drop like a leaden boot on my heart and head when life seems a little too good to be true.  I encourage the reader to follow suit.

God blesses us mightily in every season and I know without a doubt that I am covered and protected spiritually regardless of what may come.  That eternal faith is my cozy quilt of comfort.  Surely, the recent “L” branded on my forehead stands not for loss, but for “Lavishly Loved”.

Erin and Julia July Aug 2016 blog

My beautiful girls as maid of honor and bride in the bridal suite pre-ceremony.  I took this photo in a private moment with just the three of us on the cusp of a new and wonderful chapter in our lives.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19