The Magic of a New Year.

Posted: December 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

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When I was a kid, one of the highlights of my sheltered life was our cousin’s BIG New Year’s Eve bash. All of the parents would drop the cousins off at our grandparent’s small house in east Tulsa, and we would party like eight year olds!
WOO!!
Needless to say, it would get pretty crazy!
We would eat cookies and popcorn. We would build forts from furniture. We would jump up and down for no apparent reason. We would listen to Grandpa’s police scanner. Then, when it was getting late, around 8:30 pm, we would gather in the living room for a talent show.
Grandma was a champion for the creative, and every year she created space for us to shine.
Every year the big bash would culminate in the truly huge New Years Eve talent show.
It was an epic undertaking!
On any given year, you might find a marionette show, a ballet, or a ukulele solo, or some very impressive professional wrestling exhibitions.
I think there was a trained ferret once.
And, me…I always did a magic show.
It seemed I got a magic kit every year for Christmas.
The cool kind with…wait for it…24 actual mystifying magic tricks!!
This gave me a week to master the skills of illusion before the big show.
This usually didn’t work out.
The problem was, it seems, that to master sleight of hand, you really need actual motor skills and discretion. I still can not shuffle a deck of cards, that makes card tricks a little…well…tricky!
But, my obvious lack of skills didn’t stop me.
I was hopeful.
I had big dreams, I was going to be the next Houdini.
I called myself the amazing Languini, because I thought it sounded mysterious and cool.
I did not realize that I was actually calling myself a noodle.
Nothing says mystifying like pasta.
Each New Year’s Eve I would put on my felt top hat and tattered beach towel cape, and then I would put on, quite possibly, the worst magic show ever.
I remember trying to do the trick with the little red plastic vase and rope and never being able to do it right.
The only thing I managed to pull out of my hat was lint.
I destroyed a lot of completely innocent playing cards.
I poked myself in the eye once with my magic wand.
Luckily for my self esteem I had some very supportive cousins.
With each mediocre trick they gave me a second chance…
“That last one was pretty rough, but let’s see what you got now…”

There is great magic in second chances.
There is something so completely hopeful about a new year.
It’s freshly fallen possibility.
It’s untouched, unsmudged, pure potential.
You can pick it up and take it wherever you choose.
Technically, January 1st is just another day, right?
But there is something magical about it.
There is a strange magic in NEW.
The chance to start over…to begin again…a fresh start…a clean slate.
Last year was hard, but hey…you get a fresh start.
“That last one was pretty rough, but let’s see what you got now…”
It’s really good news…it’s the power of potential.
Hit the restart button.
It’s not too late.
It’s like every 365 days we get a Do-over.
It’s a built in time for reflection and renewal.
Hit the pause button and ponder your year.
There is power in pause.
Stop…What did I get right? What did I screw up? What is beyond my control? How can I start all over?
It’s strange magic…How can I make the ugly disappear and pull some new dreams out of my hat?
Maybe our lives got shuffled this year like a deck of cards…
Maybe I lost some precious friends, I will never stop loving them and telling their stories, but I will navigate a new normal now.
I will make new friends and live new stories.
That’s magic.
It’s a tangible opportunity to make offenses disappear through the power of forgiveness.
It’s a chance to forgive others.
It’s a chance to forgive ourselves.
It’s a new start, can you smell it?
I love that new year smell…
Each new year smells like the spirit of do-over. And THAT is downright magical!

Showtime!

Posted: December 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

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My Insignificant Days.

Posted: December 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

I have days….
Insignificant days…
When I feel
Invisible…
Insufficient…
Insignificant.
Maybe you do too?

I have days when I feel I contribute nothing unique to the conversation.
I am just a face in the crowd…
just a number in the book…
just a cog in the big faceless machine.
The art in me goes nowhere…
It is not invited to the table.
And I allow that to keep me from entering the room.
On my insignificant days, I am shaped by reaction and crafted by comparison.
I wait for validation, and I never recognize value.
I wait for permission to be me.
It will never come.

I have days…
Insignificant days.
Maybe you do too?

When will I learn that those insignificant days are truly insignificant.
They don’t tell me who I am.
They are all about feelings, not fact.
Those feelings have nothing to do with truth.

Truth…
I am more than number.
There is uniqueness in me.
There is art that needs to go where it is needed.
Even if I go unnoticed I am always seen.
You are too.
Truth, even when it doesn’t feel true.

I have days…
Days when I need to ignore the insignificant.
Maybe you do too?

When will I learn that those insignificant days are truly insignificant.

A Strange Christmas Journey…

Posted: December 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

Just a small town girl, living in a dark, dark world,
She met an angel who said “don’t fear, favored girl”.
Just a carpenter, thought it pretty odd,
Now, he’s gonna be the stepdad of God.
No vacancy in the hotel rooms.
So in a barn with animal fumes,
Hope was born that unsilent night.
It goes on and on and on and on.

Manger, shepherds consumed by wild devotion,
Their shadows searching in the night.
Find the baby, livin’ with brand new emotion,
Into the darkness, comes the light.
It goes on and on and on and on.

Don’t stop believing…
A virgin suddenly conceiving.
There’s a light, people.
Don’t stop believing,
Hold on to the hope.
There’s a light, people.
Don’t stop believing,
Hold on to the hope.
There’s a light, people.

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I was in 7th grade when my life was changed forever!
It was in a funky little one screen movie theater in beautiful downtown Collinsville, Oklahoma, that something truly magical happened…
I saw Star Wars for the first time.
The opening scene took my breath away and captured my imagination.
It was like nothing I had ever seen….the underbelly of a huge star destroyer accompanied by amazing music! I was transported to a place, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”
I was hooked! I was destined to be a Star Wars nerd forever.
I collected action figures, trading cards and stickers. I had a R2D2 lunch box. I made homemade light sabers out of old toilet paper rolls and duct tape. I still have toys in my office and I own a rather impressive collection of Star Wars shirts.
Star Wars changed my life. It made me proud of my name…up until that point, I had been the only Luke that I ever knew. It wasn’t a super popular name. I got called Luke the Puke a lot ( yeah, I know, REAL original!!) but, suddenly people were calling me Luke Skywalker (so much cooler than a nickname involving vomit).

Over the years, Star Wars taught me some valuable life lessons.
I narrowed it down to VIII:

I. Sometimes the biggest heroes come in the smallest packages. My two favorite characters in the Star Wars saga are Yoda and R2D2. Both of them are really short, judge them by their size, do you? That wouldn’t be wise. Don’t underestimate because of appearance.

II. Everybody has a part in the story, even Jar Jar Binks. The story is big and there’s room for characters and things that you don’t understand or like. Also, realize that life is all about episodes, some episodes are better than others. Some episodes are all about character development, don’t rush the story.

III. It’s easier to hate enemies who are faceless. There is a reason that stormtroopers wear masks. When you can’t see their eyes it’s easier to blast them. Darth Vader wasn’t nearly as intimidating when the mask came off. Unmask the people that you think are your enemies and you will likely find common.

IV. Most families are flawed. But, there is still good in them. If you look for the good, instead of focus on the flaws, family members might just surprise you.

V. Sometimes when people tell you that these are not the droids you’re looking for, they are messing with you.
Sometimes when people tell you that these are not the dreams you’re looking for, they are messing with you.

VI. You can try to change the past to protect your image, but the fact remains…
Han shot first.
Rogues need redemption, not rewrites.

VII. There is probably a good reason if you have a bad feeling about something.

VIII. Hope is contagious, it can make things new. And, it can be disturbing to live with a lack of faith.

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Pour yourself a big cup of warm cocoa and sit down. I have a cautionary Christmas story for you.
Remember the holiday classic “Santa Claus is coming to Town”? It’s a stop-motion animation story of an abandoned baby who is adopted by elves. He becomes part of the Kringle family. They all have rhyming names (Ringle, Dingle, Zingle, Tingle and Wingle) fortunately they decide to name him Kris. When he grows up, Kris hopes to restore the Kringle family as “The First Toymakers to the King”. He has a dream! He wants to bring joy to the world. He wants to make toys for the King and the kids.
He wants to make the world a better place.
Do you know anybody like that?
But wait…
There is a problem. Sometimes when you have a perfectly beautiful dream, someone or something crushes it like a glass Christmas ornament.
Kris encounters a dream killer.
The nemesis of the Kringle family and the villain of this tale was Burgermeister Meisterburger (which incidentally was also the original name of the George Foreman grill).
Burgermeister Meisterburger was the Mayor of a gloomy little town called Sombertown.
You might not guess from the name but Sombertown was not a very happy place.
One fateful day Herr Burgermeister trips on a toy duck (it was a fowl fall!) in front of City Hall. Evidently he breaks his funny bone, because he outlaws toys, No kidding!! Toys are declared illegal, immoral, and unlawful. (My office would get me thrown into the dungeon for life!)
Because of pride, the Burgermeister Meisterburger turns an embarrassing fall into an excuse to hurt others. He builds a prison out of his pain. He mandated his misery and made everybody else miserable. He had forgotten how to play, so he made fun an act of rebellion.
He threw others into a dungeon of his own design.
He made his misery mandatory.
He killed the dreams of those around him.
Do you know anybody like that?
But wait…
Wiggle my ears and tickle my toes,
Here’s some stop-motion truth…
You will eventually cry, you will eventually pout, I’m telling you why…
We all spend time in Sombertown, that’s life.
Bad things happen, we trip, we get hurt. We experience disappointment and heartache. We visit Sombertown, it’s NOT a nice place to visit!
It’s certainly not a nice place to take up permanent residence!
Don’t live in Sombertown.
AND don’t be the one who keeps other people in Sombertown. Don’t make your misery mandatory for the people around you.
Don’t be the Mayor of Sombertown.
But wait…
Wiggle my ears and tickle my toes,
Here’s some stop-motion truth…
Changing from bad to good’s as easy as taking your first step.
Take a step out of Sombertown.
Take a look at what you have instead of what you don’t have. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Build others up.
Realize that pain is temporary, scars become stories, joy is meant to last forever.
And never pass up the opportunity to dream and play and help others do the same!

Take a step out of Sombertown.
I recommend Joyland.
The property taxes are much cheaper.

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Image  —  Posted: December 13, 2017 in Uncategorized