The Whistler's Dream

Everybody needs a dream...
Mine is to go to Oklahoma and play whistles for The Pioneer Woman. (Having been invited, not in a "creepy stalker" kind of way, for the record.) Heck, I'd play in a pup tent in the backyard for the joy of the cows and critters. What can I say? I'm a fan.
Everybody needs a dream...

Random Fluffy Foto!

Random Fluffy Foto!
Writing in bed, and Beka editing by ear. Really. The ear typed some letters. Really.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Phabulous Photo Um... Phriday-NOT! Anniversary Edition

This is a tribute to something I hold dear to my heart...

You're correct - I do hold her dear to my heart... But in this particular case, I speak not of Herself...

Once again, you are indeed correct - it is a well-documented fact that I loves my nieces to pieces. And my nephypoohs, just for the record. But, again, in this case, they are not of whom I speak at this time...

Wow - you do know me pretty well. Yes, my rolling companion for many miles, Big Blue, is dear to me. But again, we're not speaking of my amazing TerraTrike just now, or of my infatuation with the Musketawa Trail, or that sort of stuff.

Now you're just being silly...

*ahem* "I believe, and rightly so, that the big guy is referring, as is just and proper, to ME. At least, he'd better be if he expects to have any unshredded underwear..."

And, as she is on the rare occasion, BekaV is correct. She is whom of speak do I.

"Ta-DA! Here am I, of whom speak did you ever so obliquely and laboriously. Long-winded are you, but strong in the Force am I. Amateur Yoda wanna-be you remain."

Um... thanks.

A year ago, the day after Memorial day, we bid a VERY sad goodbye to our beloved Ezri, having loved her for 12 years. And yes, I still miss her...

But, just at the right time, we happened to be checking out the puppies from Lake Haven rescue. And just happened to pick out one, only to have him be adopted before we decided. And so...

"Good heavens and great gravy bones, man - will you just get on with it!! The folks are waiting to bask in my cuteness, and you're prattling on and on. STUFF A (shredded) SOCK IN IT!"

Um... Sorry.

So we came across another puppy, and that was pretty much that. Her name was...

"Hey hey HEY! Icksnay on the old aim-nay! I've got a contract - no naming the old name. No no no no! Bad Cal - BAD Cal!!"

Deal with it, Fuzzface. Her name was...

"DON'T DO IT!!!"

... Ziva.


Um, Beka?


Unpaw my Proofreader, or you're never getting doggie bacon strips again... EVER.

"Oh... Well. Sorry. Um... Really. Don't know what came over me. Really. Doggie bacon strips? Had no idea what was at stake. My bad. Really. Sorry. Please continue with your tale, dearest doggie daddy...

No more doggie bacon strips." *shudder* "The very thought chills me tail..."

Within 24 hours, however, her name was changed from Ziv... Um... the artist formerly known as something ELSE....

To Beka Valentine. Named after a character from Gene Roddenberry's "Andromeda." And living up to the feisty nature of the original Beka Valentine. Yup - we picked the right name.

"Let's roll that beautiful puppy footage, shall we?"

Adoption day - June 16, 2012

"My peeps had NO idea what fun I had in store for them..."

"But I knew... Hee hee hee. And they thought I was the one that needed rescuing... Silly peeps."

Obviously, at 7 weeks old, we had NO idea what we were getting into... and yet we did and were ok with it.

"I'm sorry - were you still talking? I dozed off a bit..."

No biggie - you just take a nap right here, little girl.

And so, our sweet rescue puppy came into our little family...

And into our hearts.

And no, I still don't understand this whole leg thing...

"I told you - the leg joints weren't due in for another week. It's all good - they just were backordered. No biggie."

And our girl grew, showing us that she wasn't at all what we expected... not an Australian Cattle Dog...

"Hey - you guys never asked. I could have TOLD you right up front, but no... you never asked."

You're right - it really didn't matter. We were smitten.

"All part of the plan, man."

We went on vacation...

"No, peeps - I did NOT travel in there. Just bein' clear. But it rocked for naps!"

And discovered that she really REALLY likes outdoors... green grass... backyards...

And getting us in trouble with the In-Laws.

"Did you have any idea what was down there? Seriously! I never find stuff like that in YOUR... I mean, OUR... I mean, MY yard!"

And so, our homegirl began to share her surprises with us...

Like the ears.

"Yes, they were leaning on each other... Hey - they were just getting started. I had to get them babies in shape before they could stand on their own!"

She showed us her crazy personality...

And crazy legs.

"Surprise!! Go look up "Ibizan Hound." Now sob quietly into your hankie. Now take me for a walk! Oh, and hand over a couple doggie bacon strips, STAT!"

And so, her true nature was revealed. Sweet, FAST, TALL, and claiming us as a part of her pack.

Including dear Auntie Hannah. She LOVES Auntie Hannah... especially her couch.

She politely informed us that the bed that was "our" bed is now "OUR" bed, which is translated as "HER" bed.

And is teaching us to get off our tushies and get outside... with her... often... like right NOW for example.

She's a companion, staying close to her packmates.

She's a cuddler, giving us all the fur therapy we need.

And her amber eyes melt my heart.

Happy anniversary, BekaV. Thanks for rescuing us.

"No problem, peeps. And, for the record, I love you. Thanks for rescuing me."

Thanks to the wonderful folks from Lake Haven Rescue for being an advocate for those who don't have a voice, for bringing 5 little puppies found in a box on the side of the road down south up to West Michigan, and for introducing us to our packmate. We're trying to honor the trust you placed in us when you let us bring Beka home.

Thank you.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

When I Become Real, Round II: Fearless

Yup - that's me. Young, carefree, fearless. Or something like that.

So a while back, I wrote something called "When I Become Real." And yes, that is inspired by the amazing story "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams.

*sniff sniff* I love that story...

*sniff sniff*

WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! *insert sound of honkin' schnozzola being emptied into soggy hankie*

*sniff* Ok... I'm better now...

Nutshell version: When I'm using my gifts, being who I really am and doing what He really intends me to do, I become the most real that I will ever be in this world.


So on Sunday, June 2nd, I got to be really real once again, telling a story as part of our morning worship at First Cov. And any morning you cause your pastor to say, "I've never had to follow anything like that in my life," well, you know it's been a good morning.

What story, I hear you ask?

The one, the only, the most excellent...

"Tacky The Penguin" by Helen Lester!

(And, for the record, it's not the only... there are a series of books about Tacky the Penguin, but I told the original Tacky the Penguin story.)

I truly, truly love that story. It lets us all know that sometimes being an odd bird is the best kind of bird to be. And, as all the world knows, I are an odd bird.

In fact a member of a choir I directed gave me my copy of Tacky the Penguin, and wrote in the front, "To Cal - an odd bird."

Truer words were never spoken.

And I'll admit - I was a little surprised at how "all in" I went in the telling of it. The movements became a little more exaggerated, the facial expressions were a little bigger, and everything seemed a little more intense.

(Including my "Tacky face," which Herself says she doesn't remember seeing before, but it's the same expression I always use with that part, when Tacky greets others with his quirky smile, leading me to believe that it was always there, but it was buried under a little too much me to be seen...)

(*pause here for a moment for those who are still giggling over the use of the phrase "Tacky face" to catch up with us...

and...... there ya go. Welcome back.*)

As if all that wasn't enough excitement, I spontaneously added a jump.

As in, actually leaving the ground and becoming airborne for a moment. A whole whopping inch or so above the stage. Both feet.



And I discovered something... Something I never realized... Something that really surprises me...

When I'm real, I'm fearless.

Whoa. Again.

When I step out of the way, allow God's good gifts to flow through me, employing them as He intended me to, there is no fear. There is no hesitation, no wondering "What in the world will they think of me?", no feeling inadequate, no questions, no baggage, no regret.

It's on like Donkey Kong, baby.

(As for "What in the world will they think of me?", let's face it - my peeps at First Cov have known me for many years, they love me for some strange reason, and if anyone in this world knows just how odd of a bird I be, it be them.

Word to yo goldfish.)

But this realization really startles me... When I'm "real," I'm fearless.

When I'm a storyteller, letting go of everything else, there's nothing in the way - it's all about the story, about blessing others with the wonderful way a story can touch people. It's a heartfelt desire to get out of the way and just be a conduit for a story, and a huge sense of wonder when the room gets quiet and the only thing being heard is the story itself.

I call it the storyteller's gift - when a whole room of folks get caught up in a single tale and leave everything else behind for a while. And it stuns and humbles me every time God allows me to see it in action.

Fearless and filled with wonder - pretty much my gig as a 'teller.

- BUT -

When I'm a writer, um, wow. Can I say I'm fearless?

I guess so. I hope so. I'd like to think so.

After all, when you only have 3.78 readers, it's easy to be fearless.

I jest. I kid. I ha ha ha.

It's a tough one, tho - am I fearless when I write? This one cuts closer to the bone, because most of my writing is on this blog, my personal journal and the best way for me to work through the mental chaos to clarity. To be real here is to be really real - transparent, visible...


(And now we pause to wait for those who had to go use a little eye bleach, trying to ban some mental images that will haunt them to the end of days...
...  Never mind. They aren't coming back. Let's roll along, kids.)

But when I write, most anything is fair game. The ups, the downs, the weird, the crude, the wondrous. It's all on the menu. Fortunately, it gets passed through filters like decency, appropriateness, common sense, and TOO MUCH INFORMATION, MAN!!!

Cmd-Z is my friend. That's Ctrl-Z to you other folks out there.

When I look at the various and sundry stuff that I tend to pursue, the ones that God makes it clear that I'm gifted in and am to be active with, my premise holds true... When I become real, I'm fearless.

- BUT -

When I say that becoming real makes me fearless, I'm not saying there is no fear.

"Nice. You've once again headed the wrong way down a linguistic cul-du-sac, tried to make a U-turn, and ended up in some poor lady's begonias. Way to go, fearless writer boye."

Thank ya. Thank ya very muchhhhh. Uh HUH!

No one in their right mind (which usually leaves me out) isn't nervous, apprehensive, or a little afraid when hanging everything out there for others to see, observe, and pontificate upon. Stand up in front of a whole bunch of others and tell a story. Write about how your digestive track has been redecorated. Do something that you're gifted in, under the scrutiny of others - a couple others, a group of others, a crowd of others, or a whole honkin' boatload of others with the power to LIKE or UNLIKE you at the click of a mouse!

It's like painting a bullseye on your tuckus.

(Don't bother with the bleach - it's much too late now.)

When I say that when I become real, I'm fearless, it means that although I have the same butterflies in my tum-tum that everyone else would, when I'm real those little things don't stop me. They don't freeze me, intimidate me, make me second guess myself, or wonder why I'm even doing this.

Being real, doing and being exactly what God designed me for, so that His gifts flow through me without hesitation, well...

That's when I'm fearless.

And, perhaps you are too. Only one way to know - get out there, dive in where He's gifted you, swim as He designed you to, and watch the familiar shoreline disappear...

Be fearless.