Caricatures at Paper Thread, Columbus, OH

I’ll be in Columbus, Ohio at the Paper Thread boutique in Polaris Fashion Place. I’m doing quick sketch caricatures ($8 per sketch) to help promote the store’s humor month.

Caricature of Rose

Caricature of Rose


Leo Buscaglia – Hero of Hugs

Leo Buscaglia, Miami Bookfair International, 1987

Leo Buscaglia, Miami Bookfair International, 1987

I’m such a Leo Buscaglia fan. I remember when I was little my family would watch broadcasts (when we lived in Canada) of his speeches. My favorite part was when he allowed the WHOLE audience to come up to the stage after his speech was over, and he would embrace every one of them, individually. What a wonderful man.

The first book I read by Leo was Living, Loving and Learning, when I was in high school. It made a major impact on me. It inspired me so much, I wanted to be a teacher… but felt it was an impossible dream because of my fear of public speaking.

Toastmasters has since cured me of that horrible fear which has prevented me from doing many things before. I need to read his book again and see what it inspires me to do this time, now that the shackles have been removed.

I wish I could go back in time and become one of Leo’s audience members, receive that warm hug after his speech, and give him a warm hug back.

Finding Faith in Pixar’s “Finding Nemo”

Dory & Marlin inside the whale

DORY: "He says, 'It's time to let go!'"

Am I really hearing and seeing signs from God everywhere these days, or am I crazy?
Even watching my daughter’s favorite movie with her these days, I find a message of faith.
Finding Nemo” is Rose’s favorite these days and we almost have the whole thing memorized. I come out of the kitchen to view my favorite parts: when the octopus squirts ink, when Bruce the shark makes his first ominous appearance, and when Marlin & Dory are in the belly of the whale.
The whale scene is where I noticed a profound reference to faith. Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks), Nemo’s dad, has battled the whole ocean trying to find his lost son. He literally bumps into a fish named Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres) who becomes his partner throughout the film and they experience numerous adventures and predicaments. One predicament they find themselves in is getting swallowed by a whale (I can’t ignore the biblical reference there). Marlin has lost all hope at this point and believes he will never see his son again (what can one do in the belly of a whale, after all?). Dory is convinced she speaks whale, but Marlin doesn’t believe her. As the whale makes noises, Dory acts as interpreter. Dory tells Marlin the whale is telling them to go to the back of the throat. Marlin says, “Oh, yeah! Of course he wants that – that’s called eating us!” Frustrated the fish aren’t doing what he suggests, the whale lifts up his tongue to try forcing the fish to where they need to go. Dory lets go, but Marlin hangs on for dear life!

DORY: (interpreting) He says, ‘It’s time to let go!’ Everything’s going to be okay!

MARLIN: How do you know? How do you know something bad isn’t going to happen?

DORY: I don’t!

Marlin pauses, closes his eyes and finally lets go… within seconds they are blasted out of the whale’s blowhole and safely delivered to the destination they’ve traveled so far to find.

There is SO much I love about this scene, but I’ll focus on one point.

TO ME: The whale represents God, of course.

The one point it might be easiest to miss in this scene is this: The whale didn’t just tell the fish where and when to let go. When the fish stubbornly refused, the whale lifts his tongue to PUSH them in the right direction.

The parallel I find in my own faith is that God not only opens doors of opportunity for us. I’ve experienced in my own life that if it’s important enough, God will also give us a push to say, “Come on, now. I’m serious!” Ultimately it is up to us to let go (that darned free will… we ARE stubborn, indeed, in our unwillingness to LET GO and LET GOD).

It reminds me of a little cartoon I drew in a letter to my mom one year when I was having a particularly tough time living the independent life away from home:

Sketchy doodle of God's struggle with me.

Sketchy doodle of God's struggle with me.

Good luck with whatever struggle you might be facing in your own life. You don’t have to try too hard to hear God speaking to you. He’s a whale of a god, after all — His voice is mighty. And with any luck you won’t need Dory as an interpreter.