Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Li'l Sum'pin for BOBBIE and Other De Kelley Fans

Click on the following links and feast your eyes on photos galore of De: (This is an Israeli website; you wil scroll down from the LEFT, not the right)

If you know of any others, please leave a comment and direct fans to the other websites with lots of photos of De. Thanks!

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Tomorrow night it's likely I'll be at my church showing other ladies how to create home-made greeting cards with stamps, stickers, and other stuff, so it behooves me to write something tonight, or you'll think I'm a flake. I feel like flaking tonight, but cannot countenance it since I'll be flaking tomorrow...


I shall blog!

Alison Winter is about to sally forth on her pilgrimage walk in Spain for a number of weeks. Let's all pray for her while she's away. She'll be on her own and the weather can get awfully hot (and cold, nights) where she'll be walking... so I'm sure prayers are greatly appreciated.

Rosie O'Donnell has left The View (I haven't watched the show in years, but the news is all over the Internet and therefore unavoidable -- like Lindsay Lohan's and Britney Spears' troubles) and I've decided I should be her replacement, if the show is out of Hollywood. (If it's out of New York, fuggettaboutit.)

Why? I'm sure that with just a little bit of effort I could become as big a pain in the butt and just as big a ratings booster as she was. :)

Why? Because I'm the opposite of an Elisabeth Hasselbeck politically . Does that surprise anyone? Probably, since I'm a born again Christian... but I'm a former Democratic liberal leaning more conservative but definitely nowhere near Republican (if Bushies reflect current Republican ideology, count me OUT!) as I get older... sorta wobbly, you see, but once I catch my balance, I think I will be in just about the right position to make some sense, at least to myself if not to others... (Don't I sound entertaining already?!)

Why? Because I would like to make a ton of money (which I will need in order to retire when I'm 70) so, why not a television gig?! I have an interesting background, a brain...

Okay, I'm joking. Really. About the TV gig idea, I mean -- not about the interesting background and brain.

I would just like to get off dead center financially in the near future. I now have a job I absolutely love -- why not also find something that brings in some real money? Sorry to disappoint, but being a copy writer in Tacoma does not allow many of us in this city to acquire substantial money toward retirement, which I seriously need since I'm 56. In fact, I could be making more money as an executive secretary than I'm making right now, but I have "been there and done that" for too many years already, so I will be a copy writer until... God only knows ... what... when...where... I only know it'll be in Tacoma near my family, because they'll always be based here and I came back to be near them!

The sky's the limit, really. "Bloom where you are planted." I realize now (belatedly) that I can do anything in the writing/presentation realm that I set my mind to doing. It took thirty-five years (and being born again, and this stint as a wage-earning writer) to realize I really can do this for a living, but now that I do realize it, I'm going to reach out for the brass ring! I need more money in order to retire for at least a few years before I croak, and my worth is superior to the compensation I'm currently receiving ... so... who's the only person keeping me from acquiring more money? (Surprise! It's not my boss -- it's ME!!! It has always been me -- settling for "good enough; barely scraping by is adequate as long as I'm happy.") No longer!!! I will say "Yes!" to more abundance in my life from this day forward and see where it leads!

"Do what you love -- the money will follow." Old axiom. It worked for Walt Disney, for George Lucas, for Steven Spielberg.. it even worked for (Tiptoe Through The Tulips) Tiny Tim and brainless George "W"! Why not me? Why not YOU!?

If you know of anyone in need of a good writer (part-time, telecommuting evenings and weekends), let them know about me, will you? I'm not eager to leave my place of employment, but am aspiring to work after hours and weekends to make extra money unless a better-paying full-time writing or presentation opportunity presents itself here in Tacoma (or virtually, in telecommuting fashion.)


"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Top O' The Morning!

...and boy howdy, is it ever TOP of the morning! I've been awake since before 6 a.m. Just went to H&L Produce for some fresh fruits and veggies for me and for a pound of cheddar cheese for Aunt Tod. Before that I went through all of her stored boxes (oh, joy..) looking for a few items she wants brought to her. I didn't find all she wanted, but found enough extra things that perhaps she will be satisfied.

When Wal-Mart opens (if indeed it's open today -- Memorial Day) I need to go there and get Equate and baking soda for her. This time I'm getting enough for three weeks and she will need to find a place to store it, because with gas prices the way they are, I am calling a halt on weekly trips. I shop strategically for myself for that reason and need to get her into the habit of thinking that way, too. (She hasn't driven in eight years and probably doesn't realize what it costs to go galavanting for two items every single week.)

I didn't sleep well last night -- at all. I think I'm experiencing a modified "dark night of the soul" -- MUCH modified from past years (pre-born-again) when I would get into a blue funk for weeks on end.

At certain times I will focus on what's wrong with the world (did you notice a change in my blogs recently? You can almost pinpoint the day!) and that will blot out for a time almost everything that is RIGHT with the world, which is really almost everything except for what human beings bring to it in their all-too-frequent unconscious/unconscientious moments. In these darker moments, I am always reminded of a quote by Mark Twain. In his early 70's someone noticed that his writings were becoming darker, more cantankerous, more gloomy than before. An interviewer mentioned the change to him and he later wrote, "People call me a pessimist in my old age, but I'm not. I am an optimist -- who did not arrive."

God, I pray I won't ever become what Mark Twain became! I want to arrive at the promised land (this side of heaven), not just always be headed there!

I always cut Twain a lot of slack that I cannot cut for myself. By his early 70's he had lost his entire family, and his entire fortune at least once in speculative adventures such as an early prototype of the typewriter. I'd say he had serious reason to be a little less chipper than he was as a lad when all lay before him and he was in love and had a family he loved who loved him...

Late in his life he wrote such things a WHAT IS MAN? (a diatribe against the human tribe, and quite instructive if you have the stomach for it -- although not entirely fair, I don't believe) and a few other things that really rag on humans for being as fallen as they are. I could do that... but it's going to get us nowhere. WE know we're messing things up royally. It is only through forgiving ourselves and others that we snatch enough strength back from powers of darkness to fight the battles that need to be fought. Every moment we sit and self-flagellate and condemn and criticize others is a moment we can be spending turning the world around by offering a kindness, a blessing, a moment of sanity into the environments surrounding us.

I have always been peaceable and joy-filled at base. I have often been driven (or allowed myself to be driven) into manifesting "righteous indignation" at the unfairness and callousness of some people or policies, but then I always return to "center" and realize I need to resign as General Manager of the Universe and send out what I WANT (shalom in its entire, truest form), not more of what I am so good at RAILING AGAINST: impatience, condemnation, bitterness, etc.

Accentuate the positive. "“Whatever is true…whatever is noble…whatever is just…whatever is pure…whatever is lovely… meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 In these things we find God. All else is chaff, and should be blown away with a breath of kindness. It's God's province to judge it, not ours.

I love MAN OF LA MANCHA. I am Dawn Quixote. I usually see what is possible, not what is. Robert Kennedy often quoted George Bernard Shaw: "Some men see things as they are and say, 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'Why not?'"

Why not try living and loving the way we want others to live and love -- with gracious attitudes and forgiveness evident in abundance? Why not mend fences rather than building higher walls?

It always seems so possible inside my heart. Why is it so hard outside? Is that because the Holy Spirit lives in my heart and the world is in enemy hands (powers and principalities of darkness), as the Bible states? It seems that way.

The only way to transform darkness is to switch on a Light. Darkness must flee when Light enters the room.

Let's do all we can to bring light into every life, into every room... Let's light up the world with God's Love!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dreams and Spankings...

Last night I had a dream I was moving back to a home I lived in when I was 30 (on my parents' property). When I walked in the front door and into all the rooms, I found all of Dad's work shop stuff stored in every nook and cranny of my house to a point where there was a small path leading through every room and no room for anything else!

Now, there’s a message! I was pretty miffed, to say the least, and going to require him to move it out.

I think what stopped me from moving forward for so many years was Dad’s “stuff” that invaded my life: his assertion that I would fall flat on my ass, etc. Had I insisted earlier on moving that crippling prophecy out of my psyche, I would have progressed faster (without as much fear and trepidation) toward the kind of life I am now living – in the spirit, with the muse – living the goal I always had for myself.

But even in the dream I had a hard time feeling mad at Dad for more than a few moments… In the dream, his shop had burned down and the only place he had left to keep anything was with me. That, too, was a metaphor of his life. He needed to have his stuff in our lives because his own life had pretty much burned down around him before he was ten. (He was an unwanted fifth child and photos of him even as an eight year old show a very sad-looking little guy who looked pretty lost and alone.)

I think my compassion has enabled me to forgive many unpleasant aspects of the way Dad lived and treated those he loved. If I had missed the experiences I had being raised under his roof, I would perhaps never have known emotional hardship, and without that, I may not have learned compassion for others and ultimately for him…

When Melody (Jackie’s best friend from childhood) was here last weekend, we were discussing birth order and she mentioned that the middle child is generally the peacemaker and peacekeeper. (I am a middle child.) Jackie looked at me and said, “Not in Kris’s case!”

I was taken aback, as was Melody. Melody insisted, “Yes, she was!” and Jackie said, “No, she wasn’t!”

I kept silent, since this was about other peoples’ impressions of me (which can be painfully instructive if you’re strong enough for it!). Melody said, “Kris was always peaceful, in her bedroom writing or out with the animals.” Jackie said, “No, she wasn’t! There were times when she was very UNpeaceful! The time she took ______ on for holding a knife to my throat, and another time when she almost pummeled ______ for being a tormentor.” And Melody said, “There you go! She was being a peace-keeper at that point. Peacekeepers aren’t always peaceable, you know!”

And Jackie got it. She looked at me, mouth a bit open, experiencing an “Aha!” moment.

Whenever I was belligerent as a kid it was nearly always because someone else had overstepped the boundaries of civilized interaction with someone else. (I will usually allow someone to trample on me pretty good before I’ll call a halt; I am much quicker to react when someone else is in harm’s way.) In childhood and teenage years I was usually in my bedroom doing my own thing (writing or reading) – engaging my mind in some mythological noble pursuit.

I used to wonder why solitude was so compelling to me, but looking back I certainly understand it now: Outside my bedroom door was utter emotional chaos! Dad was the personification of the Tasmanian Devil. Big sis was all too often engaged in calling her sisters “Fatso” “Retard" and the and other equally-negative appellations. Jackie, the baby in the family, hit both of us over the head with a wooden spoon when she was a toddler (with Dad’s help -- he carried her on his shoulders so she could catch and bash us) and developed a bossy attitude -- which I actually treasure most of the time these days! No one else can say "Kris" to me the way she does and make it sound like a reprimand! Any time she disagrees or thinks I'm all wet, I'll get a "Kris" that sorta corrodes the lining of my stomach... What she's saying is, "I am trying to be peaceable here, but you are so far off base you are on the moon!"

In the Smith family, Mom and I were two peaceable types existing in a tornado alley of related lunatics! (I say that with a laugh and a lot of love!)

(Mea culpa -- there were many times when I too engaged in cruel verbal jousting; but usually only because it seemed to me almost impossible to be truly heard in our family when I was peaceable and quieter. I remember thinking one time, "The only time Dad really listens to me is when I'm riled to the boiling point or so freaking upset I can hardly breathe I'm crying so hard...")

I love my sisters with all my heart, and I loved my mom and dad (and still do). None of this is intended to belittle anyone. It’s just amazing what looking back in love does to one’s perspective. We were all just “out of control” – the others all-too-often launching verbal assaults and Mom and me off in our little cocoons of stolen moments of solitude, temporarily escaping the stress of chronic emotional uprisings.

I just wanted to be left alone. I still do when people start to get dicey and unpleasant. That’s no way to live, really – at the end of two extremes: unmitigated tension and sublime meditation. But it was so at our place.

Yet other kids often told us they wished they lived in our family – so others had it much, much worse. I have since heard horror stories of other childrens’ lives. My childhood may have left scars but no gaping wounds that refuse to heal… There was no sexual or physical abuse. Oh, I was spanked a few times as a child, and swatted well once as a teenager, and deserved every one of them!

I don’t consider spanking abusive; sometimes it was the only thing that could capture my attention and make me STOP and LISTEN to what Mom was telling me! I think kids who are never spanked don’t realize that there are actions and activities that are wholly unacceptable. Spanking should be reserved for those moments: e.g, when a child is tormenting an animal or another person, or running headlong toward a busy street. “YEOWCH!” is a wonderful, effective way to instill vital lessons!

Matters of safety and decent interaction need to be enforced physically the FIRST time (and any subsequent times they occur) so that a child has a Significant Emotional Experience and SEEs that THERE IS A VERY SERIOUS CONSEQUENCE FOR DISOBEYING THIS PARTICULAR RULE. Time outs and time in the corner should be for minor violations (failure to put toys away, interrupting, having an attitude, etc.). Stuff that can get a kid killed or actions that willfully injure another living being (animal or human) should be met with the strictest form of discipline – a heated up hind end! In my opinion. I’m not trained as a child psychologist and I’m not a mother, but this is how I would raise up a child in the way he or she should go… My Mom did it for me (spanking), and I’m no worse the wear for it – and probably a whole lot better than I would have been without strict limits on the parameters she set for me.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mythology and Reality Are Cousins...

Last weekend I began working on the Las Vegas presentation. I'm about three pages into it and will worry it to death and resurrection before I feel it's just right. But now that I have begun to re-read THE POWER OF MYTH (by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers), I feel compelled to pull some mythology quotes from the book and add that to the mix. After all, for the Vegas audience, STAR TREK is perhaps its most prevalent and precious mythology…

In the book (and PBS television special, I presume) Campbell and Moyers explain the difference between two words that we often use interchangeably in this AMERICAN IDOL-addicted culture: celebrity and hero. There is actually a significant distinction between the two terms.

A celebrity does what he or she does out of a need to express him or herself and out of a need to be recognized for it. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that because the result is a blessing, regardless of the celebrity’s focus or intention (mainly upon self).

A hero does what he or she does for others, sometimes to the point of death (physical, emotional, or symbolic).

A celebrity can also be a hero -- but usually not simultaneously.

It’s when a celebrity truly transcends the limelight aspects of their creative lives and enters the realm of service, not for his or her own need for adulation or adoration (and, again, we all have that need), but because there’s a genuine compulsion to bless, support, help, or validate other human beings. Heroes are far larger than the egos and neuroses that inhabit them.. They truly believe that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

While it’s customary in our society to say that we believe in the Vulcan philosophy just quoted, our individual actions often betray our proclamation and reveal it as largely lip service. "If it ain’t about us, or ours, it ain’t all that important," is a common perspective out there in the world.

To find today’s heroes, you have to visit

  • a place of worship where people are working hard to learn, to absorb God's essence into the core of their own being , and then to step into the gap as the potent and merciful image-bearers that their God says they are (this is the environment in which De grew to adulthood; his father was a preacher)

  • or a police department

  • or a military base

  • or a home with a sick, feverish child -- or even a perfectly well one! -- find more than a handful of everyday heroes, people whose daily lives are being poured into others as a matter of intent -- as a goal, as a blessing, and for no reason other than to protect and serve.

If they receive attention or notoriety for their heroic deeds, they discount it. True heroes know that what they do should be the norm, not the exception, and so they don’t consider it anything unusual or extraordinary. It’s just "what they do" because anything less is just not enough…

Of course the rest of us recognize how blasted special most of them really are, but if we treat them the way we feel they should be treated they will have none of it.. not comfortably, anyway.

When I first met De, he was a celebrity to me. It didn't take many meetings with him before I realized that I no longer viewed him as merely celebrated -- he was absolutely heroic.

We - STAR TREK FANS - made De a celebrity. The Holy Spirit made him a hero -- a man to whom extending grace and blessing was second nature...

We all know how extraordinary we think he was... and he was... but he never "got" that, which is why he was able to remain as humble and unaffected as he was by the notoriety thrust upon him during and after the television series made "Bones McCoy" a household name.

What those of us who met or knew De remember most about the man is not that he acted -- but that he reacted.. he responded... He listened, and cared and blessed everyone with whom he came into contact.

I never, in all the years I knew him, saw him do anything other than accept and bless those with whom he shared moments: at a convention, at work, in the market, or in his home. He was the personification of the quote,"Everyone you meet is experiencing some sort of trial. Be kind."

He was an inspiration to me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I Have To Pass Tonight... Much More Tomorrow!

Jackie and I took Aunt Tod to IHOP tonight to celebrate her 94th birthday. She had a wonderful time and the servers at IHOP treated her like a queen -- free meal, free ice cream strawberry sundae, hugs all around. It was glorious. She was beaming like a kid.

Jackie brought her a lovely plant and I bought our dinners (had planned on getting all three dinners, but IHOP blessed Tod with hers, since IHOP is her favorite resaturant.) No, this is not a commercial for IHOP, but I do think we will be taking her there about once a month to watch her enjoy a meal. It really made her day, which of course made our day!

It's 8:30 and I just got home and have a headache (actually have had it all afternoon except during the meal -- or if I had it then, it was forgotten in joy), so I'm going to wish you all a good night and will resume this tomorrow.

Do something terrific for an elder who isn't accustomed to being fussed over if you want to find something to smile about. It's as big a treat to the giver as it is to the receiver!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"The Power of Myth" by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers

Terry Rioux gave me an autographed copy (autographed by Bill Moyers) of THE POWER OF MYTH several years ago and I got started on it but then put it away. Just pulled it out again last night and started reading it again. It is a truly remarkable book. I encourage you to read it.

The back cover of the book reads, "To Joseph Campbell, mythology was "the song of the universe, the music of the spheres." With Bill Moyers, one of America's most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit.

"The symbols of mythology and legend are all around us, embedded in the fabric of our daily lives, and the Moyers-Campbell dialogues are a welcome guide to recognizing and understanding their meaning." Cincinnati Post

"The Power of Myth" is a glittering explanation of a literary world of the spirit... Scintillating conversations and provocative ideology are rampant in this book, as they are in the broadcasts themselves." Pasadena Star-News

Newsweek wrote: Campbell has become the rarest of intellectuals in American life: a serious thinker who has been embraced by the popular culture."

It's worth the read and the wonder. Try it! You'll like it! Especially you creatives out there! This book should convince you that what you do is important to our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being in many instances.

Without our mythologies, we are aimless wanderers, understanding not where we are going or what the goal of the wandering should be.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Jamie Lee McNiven is THREE!

We will be celebrating the third birthday of one of my grandnieces' (Jamie Lee McNiven) this afternoon at her parents' home. Another grandniece, Elizabeth Foxley, turned nine on Monday and I still have her gift in my car, unable to get away all week to give it to her, so she will get her gift today, too!

I got Jamie Lee a couple of little things -- a 24-piece Care Bear puzzle and a Songs Of Jesus book with buttons she can push to play the songs as her mom or dad and her sing along and look at the words in the book. She is a music lover -- has been from the beginning (as if three isn't "beginning" enough!) so I think she will really love it. I'm glad there are eight or nine different songs on it, well-performed, or her folks might have to bury it under a pillow after a while!

Jamie and her family and Lizzie and her family attend (and serve in) churches regularly. A few years ago I also bought the Nest Publications cartoon Bible series (videos and cartoon workbooks/coloring books created by former Walt Disney cartoonists and theological Judeo-Christian masters) for all four grandnieces. Lizzie (nine), Casey (six) and Isabella (almost 4) have been enjoying them for some time now, but Jamie is still with Veggie Tales, Barney, and the rest of the junior set gang. This particular cartoon Bible series is probably the best legacy gift I can give the kids. They really dig them. They are equal parts Old and New Testament stories -- the history of the people who God claimed as His own, led, protected and blessed (and also disciplined strenuously at times for willful disobedience and for failing to live up to His most basic standard of holiness, the Ten Commandments).

I have watched several of the DVDs and have been impressed by how well they follow the Bible stories in language that expresses the awe and reverence with which people in Biblical times considered their God (or G-d, in Hebrew expression) to be. To the Hebrews, the name of the Almighty is, to this day, so holy and revered that they are forbidden to say the name or to write it in its entirety since even G-d's chosen are unclean (sinners) and unable to approach a holy (perfect, unblemished) G-d . That's how we got the universal praise word HALLELU-YAH -- HOLY IS THE NAME OF YHWH -- or YAHWEH.)

Our Judeo-Christian background is BEYOND fascinating -- it's CAPTIVATING when studied, adopted, and reverenced! It sure gives one a deeper sense of our origins and destiny than the thin theory of Darwinism (an "educated guess" appearing less likely every day as fossils and other archaeological artifacts come to light) that we came from apes. Everything everywhere came from God -- even apes, animals I have a great affinity for because they are so much like us mentally and physically (but so are elephants and dolphins like us mentally!) -- so I consider all animals placed under our dominion by God to be worthy of the protection and respect that God expects us to show toward them and our environment.

Mark Twain once joked, "I think God invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey." Nothing God makes disappoints Him except us -- and even we seem to exasperate Him more than we disappoint Him! Like a good parent of toddlers, he just keeps considering us unfinished, lost but running headlong with great joy toward a busy freeway with a razor blade in each hand! He seems to regard us as willing participants in our own unwitting self-destructive aspirations.

But He wants to redeem us because we were created to be his image-bearer and we are (it's obvious by now, isn't it?) incapable of reflecting him perfectly. Occasionally we see glimpses of Our Father in heaven in our mirrors or inside our hearts, but not repeatedly, not reproducably at each and every turn the way we were designed to be. That's why He sent His Son (a perfect reflection of Himself; "in Him I am well-pleased") to live the sinless life designated to (and failed by) us so that we would have a role model and a release (redemption, salvation) from our inability to get the job done right in our own strength.

Not long before Jesus ascended to heaven forty days or so after His resurrection, He told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Paraclete -- the One Who would come alongside them and give them power and the ability to resist demonic influences and be as He was on earth. Right on time, the Paraclete (Holy Spirit) came at Pentecost and since then there's been a spark of the divine taking up residence in our bodies, giving us spiritual insights and tendencies that we wouldn't otherwise spend much time paying attention to.

Those who come to know and to love the Living God did not get there by choice so much as they did by divine intervention. The Bible says, "You did not choose me. I chose you." Boy howdy, is that true in MY case! I was just stumbling through life the best I knew how until that week in early September 1999 when the Holy Spirit began to beckon me with the sweetest, most compelling, unconditionally loving voice I had heard since De: "You need to be baptized..."

I needed WHAT!? Weirdest interstellar communication I ever received in my life! Over and over again, a time or two a day, for over a week...




I made a card not long after and framed it. It reads:

"Father God... You spoke the universe into existence... and ... you spoke to me... Unfathomable... Incredible! AMAZING! I BELIEVE!!!"

I never, ever, ever, ever, ever want to "get over" that sweet sweet experience... that invitation to enter into His Kingdom,which God has been ushering and adopting His children into over four and a half millennia!

If He ever calls you.. if He has ever called you and you didn't respond... RESPOND!

He wants you! I know it sounds absurd... why would He care so much about one individual soul? BUT HE DOES!

The answer to all success in life is this: "Seek ye first the kingdom of G-d, and all these others [necessities and blessings if life] will be added unto you."

If you seek the cart (success) before you harness the horse (the power of God), you are going to be pushing that sucker yourself!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Apologies... I'm Blog-Challenged!

I got so wrapped up in a private email conversation with Bobbie Bobstein yesterday and today that I totally spaced on writing a blog yesterday... and here it is 4:36 Saturday afternoon and just realized I hadn't written one today yet, either! Hey... writing is writing! As long as I'm writing, I'm totally happy! I just have to remember that others can become totally UNhappy if I don't keep my commitment to blogging.

I hereby recommit!

It isn't like I have missed a lot of blogging days since I started this in February, is it? Perhaps three? That's pretty good!

This morning I took my 93 year old aunt to Wal-Mart, the Dollar Store and Safeway for some essentials and then my sis Jackie and I went out to drive by some duplexes a realtor friend told us about. We looked at four and chose two to actually make an appointment to see sometime this week. One was built in 1998, the other (a two-story converted home) in 1956. We both like both (to drive by). The yard is very small at the older place, so Jackie is not keen on it, although its location is just great commute-wise for both of us. The newer one would involve a commute, but not a too-hairy one... so we're going to take a look-see and make a decision: pick one of these two or keep on looking! We're in no hurry, but we are motivated to find something that will give us both grins and a feeling of "we're home!"

Anne from Australia called this afternoon. She says it's cold there (near Adelaide) today. It's cool and rainy here in Tacoma. Well, rainy off and on, as is usual with Tacoma-area weather this time of year.

I enjoy the variety of weather we receive. I got awfully tired of desert weather when I lived in North Hollywood for 13 years. There are self-proclaimed "desert rats" who love desert weather, but they usually weigh 99 pounds soaking wet and are thin as reeds. That does not reflect my characteristics. I am okay with 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but not much above that. And if it's humid and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, that's too warm for this kid... The fans go on and if I'm at home I'm in my underwear... Heat and Kris are not friends.

I've been praying for some people this week: Barbara Hendrickson, who (as you know) lost her husband Rick a couple months ago... Mark Ballard, a teacher in Texas who lost his wife several months ago... Alison, who is beleaguered in a number of areas... When I have what I consider a rough day, I think about people who are going through loss the way I was seven years ago when I lost my mom, DeForest Kelley, and my dad in a 14-month period and whatever is bugging me that day seems picayune and at times even childish. My mom was a great one for telling me, "If this (whatever I was going through at a particular time as an angst-ridden teenager) is the worst thing that happens to you in your whole life, you'll be lucky." At the time she said it, I thought it was a pretty indelicate thing to say to me, but you know what? That piece of advice has stayed with me and it works like magic almost every time I am in some kind of situation where I think life stinks or something isn't fair.

Even when Mom was dying of brain cancer she was counting her blessings: "I'm just so fortunate that I have this kind of cancer rather than so many other kinds. It isn't particularly bothersome [pain management worked in her case] and when I go in for chemo and radiation I look around at little bald-headed children or at bald-headed moms with young children at their knees and it's impossible to feel terribly sorry for myself. I've lived my life and my children are grown and on their own..." When you have a blessings-conscious parent like that, you are blessed! I am one child richly blessed by a Mom who always reminded me of the silver lining attached to every cloud.

Rick Hendrickson is being memorialized by Yuba County at Animal Control for his lifetime commitment to the well-being of animals. Barbara sent me photos of the reflection point where a plaque honoring her husband is displayed. There's an ornate bench there. Rick was truly Yuba County's Steve Irwin -- a truly dedicated animal advocate...

Mark Ballard's wife will be memorialized and remembered during the dedication of the Shelley Sullivan-Ballard Reading Center in Mark's (and Shelley's) school library soon. My Mom is being memorialized with a tree planting in the Holy Land very soon, compliments of Bobbie and Joel Bobstein.

The best thing about the above is that all of the people being remembered truly LIVED -- and not for themselves alone. Rick lived to alleviate and eliminate suffering in animals. Shelley lived to educate, inform and inspire students, as does her husband/widower Rick. My mom lived to serve and to come alongside people who needed grace, help and mercy (my Dad among them).

None of us have a clue what our ultimate legacies will be. We may think we do, but I have a feeling we're pretty far off the mark. We're really too hard on ourselves in some ways and not hard enough on ourselves in others! An example: My dad could be a real bear and as a result didn't like himself much (nor did we like him much on hundreds of occasions), but what we recall most, seven years after his passing, are the times he was sober, reflective, vulnerable and honest -- the times we recognized his woundedness and were able to fully and completely forgive him. Despite the damage a dysfunctional upbringing inflicted upon him, we know he would have given his life to save ours.

Our legacies are probably more secure than most of us believe -- and will be better than most of us believe we deserve. That's one very noble aspect of our humanity. Moments of love and connection are what's remembered after someone dies -- the rest, the chaff of their imperfect actions, is expelled from the memory while any essential, un-damaged goodness of the person remains. In the same way that a beautiful pearl is formed around a source of irritation (a grain of sand) inside the shell of an oyster, our legacies are formed... At the end, the grain of sand (the source of irritation) becomes invisible and impotent, safely sealed inside the pearl of great price and we treasure what was most real about the person. Their love. God's love made manifest in a human soul.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"Raise Up a Child In The Way He Should Go..." REAL MEANING

I was surprised and very pleased to learn that the Biblical passage, "Raise up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it" does not, as is usually stated, translate to, "Make your children aware of their faith background and when they grow up they will remain faithful." Oh, it means that, of course -- but it means more than that even though that is obviously of great importance in and of itself.

What the passage means in its essence is that parents are supposed to discern what it is about each of their children that uniquely energizes them. They should find out what their children are passionate about -- and as long as it is of good repute and beneficial to society, the child should be encouraged to pursue it and possibly even to make it a career.

So! If a kid loves building things he might decide to be a builder; if she likes to take things apart, she might decide to be an analyst or a fixer of equipment and machines; if s/he likes to sing and dance and make people laugh, s/he might decide to become an entertainer. WHATEVER a child finds joy and personal expression doing, parents and elders are advised to encourage them to keep doing it! It is when we are passionate about something that we dedicate extensive time and heart so that we become excellent at it.

Words can bless and they can curse. God created the universe with his words. We create ours with ours, too. Out of our mouths and hearts come life and death. Do you think that's an exaggeration? Consider this:

How many children have been given a morbid sense of their place and worth because an adult carelessly placed into their minds (in moments of frustration or exhaustion) that they are slow, sloppy, unattractive, lazy, a dreamer, stupid? Far too many!

Just because a child doesn't want to be a mirror of his or her parent as an adult does not make him or her "stupid" or "lazy." Nor does it suggest that the child is going out of his or her way to show disdain for a parent.

It is simply a matter of "Which life do I want to live -- the one God gave me a passionate vision to do, or one my parent or someone else thinks I would be a better fit for, to satisfy their criteria rather than my own?"

We are the only people we will spend our entire lives with. Who would we rather disappoint at their end of our lives, people who are out living their lives the way they see fit, or ourselves?

It's a no-brainer.

Life the life God gave you the passion to live. He gave you life that you might live it abundantly. Don't squander it wondering what other people think of your vision.

They're so busy with their own visions for themselves that you very rarely enter into their thoughts, anyway. That's a fact of life!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"The Wisest Follow Their Own Direction." Euripedes

Alison wrote an email earlier today to thank me for last night’s blog. She is very sensitive to others’ worries for her, as I was. I need to help shake her loose from her sensitivity to it; it isn't good for her. We are not responsible for other people’s mental states.

Her sister sounds quite dear. She also sounds like a micro manager. Sis needs to let Ali go. She’s 27 years old.

Yes, she will make some mistakes but she has a good head on her shoulders and needs to depend on her own intuition and God. She will probably never be rich since money and the things it buys don't float her boat (any more than they float mine) so she might as well be happy. (Lots of people are rich and terribly UNhappy, and that stinks, too. Perhaps their ladder to success has been leaning against the wrong wall and they are just finding out. Sad.)

God doesn’t make junk. Actors are just as valuable as any other profession – they make people think and make them laugh and feel things. They inspire and inform. They are like teachers in many ways – and teachers aren’t paid very well, either, but no one smacks them down for doing their job.

Because artists love what they do, the rest of the public considers it frivolous. Many people all-too-often bust their butts at jobs they don’t enjoy as much. Some of the flak against artists is jealousy, I think. “How dare they enjoy their work!”

Everybody should be enjoying their work! We as a society have bought into the “No pain, no gain” ethos – not just in exercise but in so many areas! Work is probably bigger into this than exercise is. Exercise is backing away from the saying.

What we do forty hours a week should not hurt. It should feel good and it should bless others. (Not all jobs are feel-good jobs but all are vital!!)

It bothers me that creatives are supposed to “get real” and live the lives the rest of society is living. NO, THEY SHOULDN’T! They should live lives that energize them and give them a feeling of fulfillment.

Nothing feels better than creating (unless it’s procreating)! Creating feels powerful and important and is necessary for the vitality of the planet.

I do get tired of people thinking actors, writers and musicians are taking up valuable space and ought to get real jobs. I can’t imagine life without books, music and dramatic and comedic seasoning! I would prefer to die if all one could expect is all the rest that life has to offer.

Creatives help us take a break... how important is that?!

Was De's life frivolous because he was an actor?

Alison and the rest of you creatives out there, LISTEN UP! You have your marching orders! God gave them to you. Don't let anyone tell you that what drives you doesn't matter. You are probably more driven than most people, in fact, because you'd gladly do what you want to do 24/7 if your eyes didn't snap shut at night!

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I feel that perhaps Alison needs to go to Ireland to live -- or Hollywood (Ireland is less expensive)-- to get with the many creatives who live there and find out it isn't fairy dust the way her sister tends to think it is. It wasn't until I took a tour of Paramount that I truly realized, "Hey, regular people work here! There is nothing other-worldly about them. They aren't sporting wings. They're regular working Joes..."

Getting thick as thieves with other creatives may be just what she needs to stop worrying about what her sister is going through because Alison wants to create magic. Someday her sister will be proud of her -- but not if she succeeds in extinguishing the spark that animates Alison! Big Sis needs to turn her loose to fly. It isn't showing off; it's intrinsic to who she is, who God made her to be. She's an I (in the DISC Personality Insights world) -- she needs to be seen and to express as an actor or God wouldn't have made her want to be one! It's all very clear to me.

She won't be happy as anything else unless her passion segues into some other form of service that allows a full expression of her actor to flourish. (And there are jobs like that, but there's no need to fall back on them yet!)

People (family especially) need to live and let live. No one has anyone else's answers.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Busy Day!

What a day! Didn't even have time to do my arm/neck exercise more than twice today. My neck is getting better so I can claim that the exercise Alison gave me works. Try it if you have neck problems. Instructions are found in the comments section a few blogs back where I mentioned having a sore neck... Go hunting! She explained it perfectly. I'm not sure I can do it as well.

I just took a half hour or so and caught up on Alison's blogs ( Gads, she has more experiences in a week than I have in a month!

Youth has its rewards -- lots of adventures. But alas, it also feels terribly unsafe and insecure. And if I had lost my mother at age 25 instead of age 47, as Alison did, I can't even imagine what I would have felt or done. Can the world ever feel "right" again after something like that?

Yes, I suppose it can, and will, but not in the short term. Looking back from years hence, it will all make some kind of spiritual sense (I pray), but from where she stands at this time, it seems as though the rug has been pulled out from under her and sent her sprawling...

I wouldn't want to be 27 again. I have learned to live with the uncertainties of life now -- I just give it to God and let him handle the details -- but when I was 27 I was still under the bizarre impression that it was all up to me to make my life go the way it "should".

I totally empathize with Ali's sense of not wanting to live a life of quiet desperation; I was and am the same way. It has only been recently that I have achieved the kind of job I always wanted, and I'm 56! I wasn't sure it would ever happen -- but there was no way I was going to just roll over and give up the quest for it, because communicating (writing or speaking) is what gives my life meaning. I'm passionate about communicating the deeper (and some of the sillier) things of life. (On the other hand, I'm hopeless and unmotivated when it comes to small talk -- the day-to-day nodding approval and strokes that we give to others in our orbit is not native to me, although I have learned to do it so people don't think I'm a desolate loner.)

Ali is learning that another's dreams for her (home ownership, etc.) are not as fulfilling as her own dreams for herself. That's a great lesson to learn at a young age. I waited almost too long to go after my own dreams because my parents told me they were so unlikely to happen.

I didn't have any Biblical training back then and wasn't aware that if you are passionate about something that isn't harmful to yourself or others, and sincerely ask God for help in attaining it, He will open the way. He doesn't want any child of his living a life of quiet desperation. Life is meant to be lived with a passion for something that you can share with others.

Taking a job simply to make ends meet is necessary at strategic times in life, but only for a season, and for gosh sakes even then make it something you enjoy (which will probably translate to providing a service of some sort to other living things)! God doesn't want us to "settle." He wants us to shine! When we do take jobs as a necessity to stay afloat financially, we need to put a deadline on them and we need to spend a few hours every day (before or after work hours) working on our REAL goal: taking steps to segue from the "necessary" service to the "sublime service."

I didn't do that until just last year. As was my habit, for 35 years I spent 105% of my available energy serving on the necessary jobs to the best of my ability. I wanted to do a good job, and to impress. I can live for a week on a compliment and there isn't an employer in my past that didn't give me a glowing letter of recommendation as a result -- a glowing assertion that I could and would provide the same exemplary service to a future employer in the same or in a similar service sector. (Compliments and kudos certain to continue to remind me I was great at THAT and could make a living at THAT, but what about my REAL goal? Satan works in countless ways to get us to doubt ourselves so that we won't risk reflecting God's light -- enthusiasm and joy -- too brightly.)

But the downside of energetic dedication to others' goals is that I didn't hold enough energy in reserve to pursue my real objective (to write) after the work day ended! Even worse, I let my parents' poor prognosis about the likelihood of succeeding over-ride the prognoses of the many teachers, writers and actors who assured me that I had what it took to make it as an artist! I had passion. I was a bulldog. I never stopped writing! 267 journals of several hundred pages each over 40 years attest to this fact but all too few article submitted for publication. The old tapes, spawn of Satan, kept running in my brain, reinforcing doubt: "Why bother? You're no James Michener!")

And it's true! I am no James Michener. But James Michener was no Kris Smith, either! And there is no other Alison Winter on this planet who can offer what Senorita Invierno has to offer.

In her pain and struggle -- and ultimate success -- is a story that others need to hear.

If the creatives ever give up, the world as we know it will not be worth living. We're the people most madly in love with what could be. What is, is not enough. It can always be better.

God wants us all creating something special. And we all can! Put that in your pipe and smoke Satan right out of your life!

We are all here to be a blessing.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Almost Mother's Day...

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I miss my mom most on Mother's Day. Those of you who "met" her in DeFOREST KELLEY: A HARVEST OF MEMORIES or FLOATING AROUND HOLLYWOOD can imagine, to a degree, what an amazing mom she was. She and De Kelley were two of the finest people I have ever met in my life... I so want to be like them when I grow up.

Today I picked up Aunt Tod (Evelyn) and took her to Wal-mart, Lowe's and Office Depot looking for small items she wanted. We found and purchased most of what she wanted to make her new abode (residential care community) seem like home to her. I put up her new curtains (bought at a real steal of a deal price -- $3.97 each instead of the usual $14.79), then put together her new Dirt Devil electric broom, and then visited with her until it was time to get her across the street to dialysis. As soon as we got there she got hungry so I dashed across the street to Baskin Robbins for what sounded good to her: a pineapple milkshake. Then I went back to Wal-Mart and bought her a new radio/CD player combination because the one I got her several years ago was skipping and misbehaving - she said she has been playing it almost non-stop since receiving it from me, so it has certainly earned its retirement! I will swap it out when I go pick her up at 5:20 to take her back across the street to Maple Creek.

She is a dear lady -- very appreciative of all that people do for her. Jackie has carried the lion's share of getting her to critical first medical appointments and banking issues arranged weekdays because she has been in her job for 30 years and has lots of vacation time she can take to drive Tod around and get the preliminary (paperwork-intense) appointments squared away. I am at a new job and have no time accrued, so I've designated myself the weekend warrior: I make sure the list of things Tod wants gets purchased and try to visit at least an hour and a half as well. She so enjoys the company of family.

I've been really listening to her. She says she feels almost like a refugee: taken out of her home without so many of the things she had around her for so many years. I had to bring her a needle and some red thread today so she could sew a rip in a sweater. "I used to have everything I needed, like a needle and thread, right at hand... It's the littlest things you miss when you don't have them anymore, even if you only use them twice a year."

It must be an awful feeling to have to rely on others when she has relied only on her late husband and then herself for seventy years. Her memories are often poignant. On the drive up from Oregon, she was telling Jackie and me about her dear Johnny: "He was such an innocent, innocent man when I met him..." I was driving when she said this; she was sitting behind me in the back seat. I joked over my shoulder, "So, then you corrupted him, right?"
and she said, "Oh, I tried! But he was such a sweet, sweet man. He was incorruptible..." (Sounds like a young man named De Kelley... also described as an innocent young man by his wife Carolyn when she first met him.)

I remember another time when Tod was talking about John's last days in a nursing home. She was at the end of her rope emotionally, and has never been terribly easy to live with, I guess, and she asked him, "I bet there are times when you just hate me for things I say or do, don't you, Johnny?" John looked at her with immense love (as always) and told her, "I adore you, Evelyn." Those were the last words he said to her, and she treasures them in her heart, because she knows he meant it... and that he completely forgave her trespasses and remembered them no more...

Now that I know her a little better, I know why he adored her. Smiths (our branch, anyway) aren't always the easiest people to like, but once you get inside their well-fortified walls of self-protection, it's pretty darned hard to avoid loving them. My dad's (and aunt Tod's) father was a verbally and physically abusive alcoholic, so their upbringing was horrendous. Of course they carried scars and buttresses against further harm into their adult lives, which at times made them seem brusque or callous or self-absorbed (self-willed and self-directed to the detriment of others in their orbit). But like so many of us, they were living in fear and wondering if good people actually existed in this world, people they could trust who would love them despite their emotional disfigurement. Dad found Mom and Tod found John. Carolyn found De. It's almost poetic how people attract into their lives the people they need to heal them...

I'm glad Aunt Tod is close now. It has been eight years since I have been in a position to truly bless an elder as I was able to bless Mom and De and Carolyn. It feels wonderful to be someone's strong right arm again.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pastor Alan Meenan's Teachings In Streaming Video Now!

From Pastor Alan Meenan at Church For The Nations In Studio City...

Dear CFTNers,

Ever blown an opportunity that you will never have again? Have you ever lost your "cool" when antagonists push you to the point of retaliatory anger? And when you do explode and people point their scrawny fingers and pontificate that you are just as bad as they imagined, when you provide them with the ammunition they were looking for, when life sucks so much you want to crawl into a hole...then Sunday's message is especially for you as we continue our series on the Acts of the Apostles, Being Real in an Unreal World.

Arguably at the lowest point in his life, the apostle Paul experiences an incredibly splendid thing. His dark prison cell is transformed and his life refocused. Sunday's story is about prisons becoming sanctuaries and dark nights being shot through with the golden glory of the dawn. While he does not escape his imprisonment, God's Word tells us that the plots, the protagonists, the peril, the pettiness and the uncertainties of life are not the last word for those of us who follow the Christ. Ours is the way of glory and of grace. Chuck Swindoll has put it well: the grace of God can overshadow any guilt within us, and the power of God can overshadow any plot against us. I have found that to be exquisitely true in my own life.I want to encourage you to come and be part of our exploration this Sunday. As you know, we will be celebrating Mothers' Day during our time of worship and the children who have graduated from the BEAT class will be presented with Bibles in their own ceremony as part of the Church service. It promises to be a very special day.

You will also want to be aware that Sunday's messages are available, not only on iTunes, but a video recording is accessible now through our website ( It is not the same as worshipping with us, but in the event you are unable to attend for whatever reason, it may represent the next best thing. Sunday's message is always up and available for viewing within a day or two of Sunday's worship. Thanks for being part of our advance of the gospel.

For the Nations,

Pastor Alan

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Do You Own a Business? Why You Should Consider On-Hold Concepts...

I have been asked by business owners what are some measurable benefits of having on-hold advertising of their own products and services on their phone systems for callers to listen to while on-hold. And I'm always delighted to explain, because there are so many measurable benefits.

Consider being put on-hold yourself. You don't like it, right? You especially don't like it when there is nothing but dead air to listen to while you wait, because you never really know for sure if you are still connected. Time seems interminable when you are just waiting... waiting... waiting... for someone to come back on the line and answer the questions you need to ask.

Music on-hold is okay, but it's still impersonal and sometimes jarring...

And if you hear a radio station on-hold where you consider doing business you have to wonder, sometimes, why the business you're calling violates re-broadcast laws (and will they violate other laws pertaining to your interests in the same cavalier manner any time it suits them?) or you wonder why they would place a radio station on their phone system that may at times advertise their competitors' products and services...

If a business is running CD's they are probably violating the rights of the artists and musicians whose CD's they are playing, because getting ASCAP or artist approval is very expensive...

But WHEN a business uses On-Hold Concepts (and thousands do) they are being legal, astute, and practical, because the service costs just pennies a day and the messages target the people most likely to listen, to learn something new, and to come to an appreciation of all they have to offer as a business.

Consider this:

It's cheaper to license music through On-Hold Concepts than it is to pay the appropriate licensing fees to the various agencies that are required.

Music that's 'out there' for public use which does NOT require music licensing is generally of poor quality and typically doesn't sound as though it belongs to the contemporary age. Why would any business want to put poor-quality, out-dated music on their phone system? To save a buck? What does that say about their consideration for the people who are calling in to find out more about them? "We're too busy and cheap to make you feel valued and welcome as you wait. We just hope this pathetic attempt at entertainment will keep you from hanging up on us until we can get back to you..."

Some unscrupulous companies simply steal music, assuming (incorrectly) that if it's on the radio or on a CD they purchased, they can use it. Not so. Fines are steep for stealing music and/or for not paying appropriate licensing fees. Why would any reputable company take the chance? Wouldn't a bust for copyright and ASCAP violations and the accompanying heavy fines look dandy on the "local business" page of your newspaper? Gadzooks... NO!

Most companies that purchase music from an artist (i.e., bring a guitar in and record their own music) usually end up with an anemic result or with a short, repetitive program that irritates a frequent caller after a very short time. After all, can an "in-house" person create music that sounds like it belongs to this generation? If so, they're probably making their own music and licensing it through ASCAP and BMI, and don't have the time or inclination to make you a powerhouse on-hold musical recording that will mesmerize your on-hold caller.

Music, advertising, anything you have running on-hold should be changed frequently to keep things fresh and vital--just like your business!

How many businesses create on-hold music and advertising programs themselves? And those few that do: Does it really save them money? What are people's time worth? What is the business owner's time worth?

The bottom line is: Why lose any sleep over creating a professional, welcoming result on-hold when you can have On-Hold Concepts -- a company that specializes in the whole thing -- do all the work for pennies?

Go to and take a listen. We can create a program for your business that will throw a spotlight on your products and services and that will create for your on-hold callers an experience that reassures them that you know their time is valuable, and that they are valuable to you. You can address their needs even as they wait. Perceived wait time is much shorter; and perhaps best of all, the caller is happy and already quite well-informed when you get back to them...

So -- really -- what's NOT to like about being placed on-hold by a business that uses On-Hold Concepts as its on-hold service provider?

Oh, we also offer sparkling, contemporary all-music and mostly-music on-hold programs, as well as offering Music Choice and DirecTV to businesses with public waiting areas and showrooms.

We make a customer's waiting time feel wonderful and well-spent, so there are fewer hang-ups and there is much less annoyance. Wouldn't that make your day as much as it makes your customer's? All for just a few cents a day.

I'm sold on the products and services we offer. In my opinion, there is none better, which is why we have been in business for twenty years. We're the great granddaddy of the on-hold industry but still as contemporary and cutting edge and tomorrow's headlines.

Don't take my word for it. Read and hear the testimonials on-line at

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Walking and Thinking...

Vernita Porter and I walk four days a week at the Tacoma Mall just before I head off for work. I sometimes also walk at lunch time, as was the case today. The weather is just right for walking now -- not too warm, not too cool -- here in the Pacific Northwest. The temperature at 7 a.m. is about 52 degrees and by noon warms up to 71 or 72 many days, so I take advantage of it! (Usually. Some days I just roll down the windows in my car, push the seat back and take a half hour nap in the warmth of the sun. Either way, my lunch hour is a lovely time-out during the day and I can pray, read or nap, whatever my spirit seems to require most...)

My sister should be calling any minute to tell me what she found out about the resort hotel I won a weekend trip to yesterday. The plan is to see if Big Sis can get away at the same time we can so that we can have a sister weekend, I think. If Laurel isn't available (which is probable; it's very hard to blast her out of her law practice), Jackie's trying to decide if Phil and Wendy and she and I and the grandkids can all get into the resort for the $500 in lodging I won. If we can, we have to go before July 1st or lose out altogether - and the weekend freebie isn't available during Memorial Day.

Freebie. I use the term loosely. We will need to cover all the other costs -- food and gas, but we have a system: we'll pack food and take it along and share gas costs. So it should be a lovely weekend sometime soon in the next two months. I'm looking forward to it -- especially because this time I get to be the bless-er instead of the bless-ee... It has been many, many years since I could do something "big" for my family. Finances just haven't allowed it.

Does that surprise you? I wonder if it does.

You may think that since I'm the author of four books and have a full-time writing job I'm just rolling in dough, but boy howdy is that a fallacy. If you've been with this blog all along you know I was down to $38 in liquid assets in January when I landed my present job. The past four years since leaving Warner Bros. have been very, very lean and I had been going steadily backwards in available (non-retirement) savings. So this job was a real God thing!!!

My book about De came out just weeks after 9-11-2001 so there was zero interest in it as far as mainstream media was concerned -- and to tell you the truth, my own heart was so devastated by the events of 9-11 that the debut of the book, while a thrill momentarily (the first week I was able to hold it in my hands and thumb through it), didn't last long. I was hurting, as was the rest of the country. Except for a few TREK websites that expressed interest in the new book, there was not a frenzied rush to my doorstep to find out more about my thirty year association with DeForest and Carolyn Kelley. The book finally broke even (from its publishing costs) in February, 2006! It was a very long four and a half years waiting for that to happen, especially since I was so underemployed during most of it. But sometimes one's investments take time to become a blessing. This was certainly the case with DeFOREST KELLEY: A HARVEST OF MEMORIES. (Not that I wrote it for the money, really. I wrote it because my first book had to be about De, the man who encouraged me to believe in myself. I owed him that book... and every second of help I was able to give to him and Carolyn during the last months of his life and the first several months of hers as a widow. That book is my ode to a man whose life lit up all of our lives in a major way, whether we ever really met him or just cherished him from afar.

The other three books have not come even close to breaking even. I may let them lapse at the end of this year , so if you are thinking of getting any of them for yourself or for others as gifts, now is the time. Don't delay. If they don't find an audience the way the De book has, there's no point in keeping them "live" to buy at Authorhouse. The title of the other three books can be found in the heading at the top of my blog and you can access the website to purchase them here:

To those of you who have bought any of my books, THANK YOU! If you enjoyed them (and gads, I hope you did!) please write reviews at Amazon and other on-line retail outlets. If you hated them, please be a wee bit more circumspect (kinder) than the few others at Amazon who trashed me and tried to trash my reputation at the same time! I was so touched to see happy readers rushing to my defense in tags whenever a vitriolic review would appear. It took the edge off the sense of having failed a few readers. No writer ever wants to fail a reader, but I suspect no author can escape that... People are either looking for the book you wanted to write and finding it "everything they hoped for" or they find it disappointing. Most of those who seem disappointed in mine were looking for De's biography (FROM SAWDUST TO STARDUST) and thought mine was it. My book fails utterly as a biography of De because it was never intended to be a biography -- I left that one to a pro, Terry Lee Rioux! My book is the faithful recording of the evolution of an acquaintanceship that became a close friendship and then a lifeline for all three parties involved (De, Carolyn and me). Comparing the two books are like comparing lions and leprechauns. They are different "animals" entirely.

It bothers me to have disappointed some readers. Luckily, based on the preponderance of 5-star reviews at Amazon, it seems likely I DE-lighted many more fans than I disappointed, so I consider the attempt a success.

Which reminds me:

I am extending the deadline of my next Kelley book, THE ENDURING LEGACY OF DeFOREST KELLEY: ACTOR, HEALER, FRIEND to March 5, 2008. I haven't received the number of submissions I expected to receive. Pass this blog along to all your De/TREK friends and associates: This next book will be at least half filled with other fans', friends' and colleagues' reminiscenses of De as an actor, healer and friend. If you are in touch with any of the TREK casts, give them my email address (KRISTINEMSMITH@MSN.COM) and let them know I am looking for personal memories of De to place into this book as a keepsake tome for De's newest fans who never had the chance to meet him up close and personal. Put De's personal-to-you legacy in writing and send it to me. And don't worry if you're not a writer. I am and will edit and get the final draft to you for your approval.

Be aware that these submissions must be contributed without any expectation of monetary reward. You will receive a by-line stating your name, city and country and your work will always belong to you, but in order for it to make it into this keepsake book, it must be a freewill offering without expectation of financial reward.

When you submit your reminiscense also submit (at the bottom) the following: "I grant Kris Smith the publication rights for this original work for her book THE ENDURING LEGACY OF DeFOREST KELLEY without any expectation of financial reward. I retain all other rights to this document" and sign your name and date it.

If you have any questions or comments, email me.

Oh, by the way: You do not have to have known or met De personally to write something for this book. And of course be aware that I have final say when deciding which essays or reminiscences will be published in the book.

Fair enough? Ready -- Set -- GO! Tell the TREK folks and fans you know that the deadline has been extended to March 5, 2008!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Abundant Blessings... Mini Bothers...

My Mini Bother:

Hello, I'm back again despite a sore neck. I can't figure out if the new soreness/tiredness is because I moved so much stuff last week (my aunt and myself) or if it's because I re-arranged my work space at work to place the monitor and keyboard on a higher part of the desk. I need to find out, because whatever it is, when I get home at night my neck wants to do anything but sit in front of a computer monitor some more... and I love blogging! So I need a cure, pronto!
Evening is my only time to blog, so my neck must co-operate!

Blessing One:

My friend Vernita gave me a delayed gift this morning after we walked for a half hour. I love it beyond words; wish I had found it to give to HER and others! It's a daily devotional calendar in full color and has a passage from the Bible each day. I read all the way through it at lunch and thought, "I will start today and memorize each passage that appears.

Today's passage is from the Book of Job: "As long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils... I will not deny my integrity." To the uninitiated, Job sounds like one arrogant dude, doesn't he? Not so. Job was a good guy whom God allowed Satan to wreak havoc with for a season in order to show Satan that Job would not deny God no matter what happened to him. He lost his prosperity, his family, and his health during the test but refused to curse God -- although he sometimes cursed his own birth and his rotten "luck"! Three friends came at first to commiserate with him, but after a week of wailing, sackcloth and ashes they undertook to educate Job on where he must have gone astray in order for God to have forsaken him the way He had. They went through the list of common sins and missteps and temptations that many people succumb to, but Job assured them that he had fallen victim to none of them and that his integrity was still intact -- hence this quote from the Bible.

The end of the Job story is --- hey, if you don't know it, I'm not going to tell you about it! Go get the Bible and read it for yourself. Heavens, that's what any devoted child of God would suggest. The Bible is a treasure trove. Dive in!

Blessing Two:

This afternoon I was creating my third-ever Production Sheet at On-Hold Concepts ( which meant I was F O C U S E D!!! I had to be to get it right so that I don't cost my company money -- and I had to do it all within one hour... not a lot of time when there are 20 on-hold programs to place on the production sheet (including all the written copy, a.k.a. scripts for the voice artists to rehearse this evening) and when other clients keep calling in to finalize their programs. Thank God (and I mean that!) I wasn't frantic in the least -- I was simply FOCUSED, because without focus I would have created utter chaos...

Marlene came into my office and smiled, "Congratulations!" Still focused, I looked up briefly, startled, and asked her, "What for?"thinking perhaps she had just found out about my STAR TREK gig in Las Vegas in August. But that wasn't it. She said, "Read your email!"

So I briefly (and I mean briefly!) opened up Outlook and found out that I had won a luxury weekend at an Ocean Shores resort from the owners of On-Hold because employees had been asked to do some research they had requested and I had come up with the best (or most) ideas after researching the topic.

So there I was, trying my darndest to create an error-free document (and hallelujah! I did it, too!). Every few minutes someone else would read their email and come in to proclaim, "Congratulations!" "Thanks!" (Now, where was I?)

One of the bosses came in grinning and said, "Congratulations! Why aren't you dancing? This isn't like you! You're usually so energetic!"

I told her, "If I focus on that right now, I will cost you a mint! I will dance later. Okay?"

I think they were a little disappointed that I didn't whoop and holler and carry on like a banshee. (It's so unlike me not to, you see, over any good thing that happens at On-Hold!)

By the time the production sheet was finished, and I actually read all the way through the congratulatory email, everyone was back at their desks, it was the end of the day, and whooping and hollering would have given them all heart attacks, so I decided to send an email instead: "Thanks! Congrats to the runners-up..."

Sometimes I think I am out of step with the whole world! I'm always focused on the thing at hand even when I should take my focus off it and dance while people are dancing!

I never will get the socialization thing down pat... My shyness and desire NOT to be pointed out or made a fuss over trips me up every single time.

And Vegas is coming up... More notoriety. If I were a drinking woman, this would put me in my cups!

Oh, God, have mercy on this wallflower in Vegas, who cannot even look up from her task when people are wishing her well...

And now, I owe an email to Bobbie Bobstein and I WILL write it before my head hits the pillow tonight... I wrote one to her about ten days ago that was at least an hour in the making -- answering one of her terrific emails -- but cyberspace gobbled it up and sent it into oblivion just as I was hitting, "Send."

I cannot tell you how that frustrated me. It takes time to write the perfect hour-long email....