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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“MY SOLE SOUL ID” JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 BLOG

January/February 2017  Blog

Snapshot roles lived and played 1956-2016

My husband and I wearily arrived home from our post Christmas vacation last month.  After tucking away the last of my packed items, I climbed into bed with the satisfaction of an organized life and a new day ahead.  My eyes flashed open.  I had left my IPAD on the plane!  I could see my hand neatly tucking it into the seat pocket in my typical nesting fashion.  What had I done?

48 hours of high anxiety passed as I contacted the airlines, learned about locking apple devices, changed every pertinent password I could think of, and agonized over the message flashing on my computer that someone was attempting to use my Apple ID.

Bottom line I was freaking out because some unscrupulous person was trying to steal my identity and I had allowed them in the door.  It wasn’t fun.

The next night we watched “LaLa Land”; a film about an actress and a musician, love lost in the timing, and L.A.  Emma Stone played an identity type I could relate to.  As an actress in Los Angeles since 1978, I have personally experienced almost everything portrayed in that film, with the exception of dancing on the top of a car while stuck on the 405, and becoming famous.  My mind was reeling.  I have spent a lifetime immersing myself into the identities of others as I audition, workshop, relate, and professionally share their lives.

I was majorly obsessing about my identity and then the next day at church our Pastor taught a sermon titled: “Sacred Roots: Reclaimed Identity”: https://vimeo.com/199219553

I was mesmerized.  “God, what are you trying to tell me?”

I have spent the last six weeks contemplating this query and the truth of what Pastor Ramin shared.  Human identity is a fleeting, ever changing, multifaceted concept.  We wear our ID as labels of relationship: husband, mother, daughter, neighbor, friend.  Our moniker is also our profession or interest: athlete, doctor, influencer, teacher, waiter, cat lady, artist, fan.

We can have a variety of identities often worn at the same time.  They may be our own choice or epithets subjectively assigned: beautiful, fat, gossip, hipster, idiot, atheist, loud, Christian, intelligent, activist, introvert, gay, straight, Republican, Democrat, liar, hater, survivor, winner, guilty, innocent, rich, poor, loser, hilarious, sincere.

People wear their labels with pride, shame, or futile resignation. The hanging albatross or scarlet letter emblazoned on their forehead can give them a sense of belonging: criminal, gold-digger, victim, predator, womanizer, addict, racist, bully, whore.

Deep within every soul there is a common denominator of need to know who we are and why we are here.  As human beings, we intrinsically know that our condition, choices, race, worldview, or gender don’t truly identify us.  My DNA, and my fingerprints are uniquely mine, but they still beg the question.  None of these markers define me.

Even our physical bodies, organs, and minds alter, mature, and morph with age.  I am not the woman I was a year ago, or yesterday. My desires often change in tandem with wisdom or fleeting opportunity and I remain content because I choose to be, and because of the strength I find in my faith.

I believe God is telling me to fully accept who He has made me to be, not who I think I should be, or what I believe others expect me to be, rather His vision alone.  I, quite literally, am the clay of his artistry.  When I allow him to do His sculpting with no resistance, the final result is overwhelming satisfaction.  If I insist on hanging my hat on the elusive labels of beauty, performance, and social approval, I will be forever chasing it down a disappointing road.

It’s true, “My identity in Christ” is a Christianese term I’ve struggled with.  I am called a Christian, but my identity is not in the phrase, or a philosophy, or even in behavior that appears religiously acceptable or not, but rather in the steadfast person who walked the earth bearing the name.  It is a heady subject to wrap your head around.  God does not change…ever.  While the world repeatedly turns on its axis, and for better or worse, its inhabitants, circumstances, and cultures, incessantly reinvent themselves, the Creator remains blessedly the same, and I know my Creator is good.

Jesus was also provocative.  His life on earth ignited a reaction of startling rebellion and violence in the midst of His message of pure love and peace.  He was an advocate of equality between women and men and all the races.  He chastised the religious hypocrites, elevated the poor, and healed the suffering.  He was not interested in approval or status.  His sole purpose was to reveal the nature of, and His identity as God, to restore our relationship with Him, and bring justice on earth because of the inordinate crimes of mankind.  He took His seat for us in the “electric chair of the day”, and terminated our guilt for eternity.  Three days later in the ultimate drop the mic moment, He exited death and the tomb to bring His point home.  The only catch is to believe that He did.

God’s love and forgiveness cannot be earned, only accepted.  Sometimes I think it’s too simple and overly complex at the same time. The Holy Spirit, given to us the moment we believe, is the gift within that illuminates, communicates, and guides us.  People always told me how motherhood would change my life, and they were right, but I had to experience it to fully understand.  The indwelling of the Spirit of God through that 1st leap of faith in Christ is much the same.  One enters the providential learning curve of the ages.

To know who I am I have to know Jesus first and be in relationship with Him.  Who was He really, and who am I because of Him?  Will I be, selfless, forgiving, honest, faithful, patient, empathetic, generous, kind, non-judgmental, and open to relationships with people who are different from me?  Am I willing to listen and relax my defensive posture?  Will I honestly share what I believe, tempering it with compassion and respect for the other person and their point of view?  Will I be willing to grow?  Will I think before I speak saving my anger only for the appropriate righteous moments?  Will I be willing to swallow the last morsel of my fear and pride and get out of the way so God can complete His work in me?  Will I choose to live a life of surrender and love?

The verses in 1st Peter 2:9-10 sum up the identity in Christ that every single human spirit alive, at any given point during their time on earth, are freely offered:

you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (NIV)

With all its reality TV turmoil and genuine terror, life is still an amazing journey and I am thankful to participate.  I am thankful for my passion for Jesus and His for me since I was a young girl.  He clasped my open hand and embraced my broken heart during a night of unbearable grief over my parent’s divorce and has never let go regardless of my failures to reciprocate.

The other side of 60 draws me away from futile striving and closer to those closest to me with a glorious backdrop of my eternal home in sight.  I’m desiring to serve the person in front of me as opposed to the one inside of me.  No agendas.  It is remarkably freeing.  My blogs and desire to publically share my faith and musings are a result of this process.  I pray I’ll be of service to the reader on a similar path.

“16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2nd Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)