ASL and the ‘Performance’ stigma in the pulpit.

I attend a Deaf Inclusive Church. Hearing of course are welcomed and many are our family members and close friends. However, when it comes to how sign in forms of ASL or Sign English is done, there is pretty much a split mostly down the middle as to how much ASL Expression is used in conveying the readings or music. I am one of those Deaf people who is known for my expressive talents. However, I have also been scolded by being too expressive and there by turning it into a performance. Au contraire (on the contrary) I must dispute this. For one thing, I have NEVER performed at my Parish. No one has ever SEEN me performed. There is a very visual difference between someone performing a piece from say, Shakespeare to doing a reading in the proper expressive language of American Sign Language. Signing with a dead pan face that is so often accepted as the normative norm is simply killing the reading and music. For those of you are hearing, I must ask you when you have attended readings in a hearing church, is the voice mono-toned? Or do you have the natural vocal range? Have you attended Mass/Church where a person has practice and delivers a well toned reading?

My argument would be, that most of you who hear will say ‘Yes’. May I also be so bold as to surmise that upon hearing a well spoken reading verses a panned, awkwardly spoken one, leaves you feeling wanting and a well rehearsed one with the tonal expressions in the right place, uplifted and learned?

American Sign Language and indeed ANY signed language depends on facial and body language to give out the tones one reads. One writing expresses this about performance of ASL very well. Most Deaf do not really “get” music. Unless you have someone who knows what they are doing. Say what “Half and Half” do. In their case, they perform music to a very satisfied customer right here. I just saw them for the Christmas Music spectacular. Want to see a performance in ASL, the Interfaith Gospel Choir as done by Half and Half had me getting out of my chair! That a lot to say for a woman who still has 100 pounds to lose. What they do is perform, but they also do not over take the music. Especially if they are sharing the stage.

A reading and performance of music in a Deaf Church can be a touchy topic. I do not think it needs to be. What I think needs to be, is how we are reaching the people. Do they understand what been said in the reading? For the most part, very sadly, I am told no or they have no memory of it. (***SIGH***) in other words, utter fail. We need to KNOW for real how ASL works as a LANGUAGE. If there is no expression, you are not expressing the language only half empty gestures.

Nancy Louise


Writing outside of NaNoWriMo.

IMG_3916 copy“From The Grasp Of Time.” is a novel I am writing now to the tune of 50,000 words minimum. It is a YA novel and frankly a very Catholic one. I will be aiming this one at religious publishing houses for YA books. Like in the vein of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Others also have written in that vein so its not an unusual method. This is also not my first novel. I have one that being edited now that was written during the 2013 year. 2014 I decided not to write a new book, but work on the one I already had. I then shopped for an editor for it. I would have been done with it by now, but took a six month pause, while saving up for a new computer after my old one (and two others) were stolen from  our home the Morning of December 26, 2014. I was in agony while waiting and of myself writing by hand again. Something I used to figure it was waste of time and energy because I have to re-write thing to get them digitized. That when I realized I was mistaken. In many way, sketches by writing or drawing actually made the book better. I am after all an Visual Artist  Storyteller. Something that only typing the words out the first time, often misses things I see in my minds eye, but not always have the vocabulary ready to describe it.

Writing is a labor of love and occasional exasperation. It is also at times, an ego trip. I also find, I actually do more walking and exercise when I write regularly. If only because ones backside can only sit for a certain amount of time before feeling flees the flesh.

Heres to all in your writing adventures. Just make sure you take plenty of stops to stretch and drink healthy water to keep your inner ink fluid. you later writers!

Nancy Louise

Dancing in the wind…

Autumn happens in California. Seriously it does. We might not get the spectacular colors of the north east United States. Some places do get nippy though, especially in the farther Northern parts of the State and in the mountains. We have mostly evergreen trees rather than the ones that shed their leaves. What is more, is the evergreens are more able to tolerate drought than deciduous trees. This website shows drought tolerant trees of Northern California, most of them are either a variety of Pine, or Oaks.

Drought is part of the natural cycle of California. Media says its the worst since California became a state in 1850. I disagree. What makes it “worst” is the population that lives here using water that was never really meant to be used for other things like Fracking, and water heavy dependent aquaculture and water heavy farming, like rice. Growing up in the Valley, I used to see large fields of rice growing and thought nothing of it, till my Father pointed out how this was not natural. I could understand if we had regular flooding in that area (seasonal) that one could use it to grow rice. But not all the time, as droughts are a regular occurrence in California. As the larger type of seasonal things happen, the “season” over decades of droughts WILL happen. What it requires is more long term thinking of how to use water not just on a year by year basis of seasons, but decade and even Century or a thousand years looking at water usage and water obtaining from rain to snow.

This means not only what we do on the ground, but how we effect the air as well. Frankly we should live always as if we are in a drought to keep water flowing at realistic rates for our population.

Nancy Louise

How to be unique.

Trying to come up with a YA (young adult) story that can sell these days is not easy. I needed to write something I wanted to write, yet also something that could sell. My story uniqueness has to do with the audience I feel is underserved. Children and Young Adults who have disabilities. No I am not talking about people who are ‘different’. Those who have slight disabilities but can ‘pass’ for regular folks, I mean someone who has a real disability that can be a major character.

I am taking a major risk here, writing a book, and planning a series without a publisher’s OK on the whole thing. It could end up being a waste of time. But I  am taking a leap of faith that it won’t be. Why? Because I believe there are enough people out there who want a hero that like them, that live everyday with something that is common to them. The need to put on parts of a body in order to function in everyday society. Or some other method by which one choses to function. In my story she is not one to be pitied and is spunky.

The unique aspect comes simply from the simple fact of circumstances that placed her to be in a place most people would not be, and survive. What makes her a hero, are her choices. After all, isn’t that what we all want to be deep down. Good enough to be seen as that at the end of any day?

Nancy Louise

Urgent: Missing Cousin, please help!

A Wonderful update! She been found ALIVE She had a stroke while on the train going home and was taken to the hospital but was unable to communicate anything to contact family. The hospital never contacted anyone. She is still in intensive care so will have a ways to go before she is well. But she is ALIVE~! Thank you to everyone who prayed, thought good thoughts, and spread the word to help. Thank you!!!


Posting by her friend Maria De Ocampo

Maureen McCormick
Age: 54
Height: 5’6″
Weight: 135
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Hazel Green
No known health or mental conditions

She’s a good friend of mine and she has been missing since Wednesday, December 17, 2014. She was on her way to work that morning but never made it to work. She takes BART Del Norte stop in Richmond/El Cerrito area. She lives a short block away from the BART station. If you know where her whereabouts please contact Richmond Police Department @ 510-215-4400

The Hesitant Hand

I live in America, I feel safe. Or rather, I used to. Perhaps it is because I read the postings of too many electronic news now, concerned only with those of the latest hour. Anything over seven hours is considered stale to me, unless I am doing something investigative. As I sat to have a bite to eat and drink a lovely chi, I said a small prayer and prepared to cross myself as I came to the end of it. Nothing showy, just my usual quiet prayer. I hesitated. Images of someone coming and departing my head from my body suddenly filled my mind, screams of how dare I bluntly show my religion in secular surroundings. I made a very soft cross, a cross between what might be seen as shooing away a fly or sloppy cross. My head bowed a bit more in shame. What ever had come over me. The day was beautiful, I live in an area if different faiths. There was no real fear here. Yet I had wonder, how much longer will this freedom last? When will we become invaded? If Israel falls, will we be next? Is the fall of Christianity in the Middle East meaning the fall of Christianity and Judaism everywhere?

Do you think my fears extreme? I ask you, would you have thought the bombing in the twin towers garage would lead to the Jets of 9-11? We must not hide, we must not be shy. It is time for us to be bold and kind, and proclaim in action who we are. We will not stand for terrorism. We must help our neighbors, and know them. They also need to know US. Don’t hide, get to know people, their faith, their beliefs. War makes beastly animals of everyone. Peace is made by making humans of one another. Let us fight our own beastly natures and bring out our humane best.

In Christ our Lord, Amen.
Nancy Louise

A Mortal Sin Finally Absolved, The Murder Of A Small Soul

Sewage Cover
Sewage Cover

This is not written in mockery, nor is this some kind of Onion copycat against the Catholic Church. I am Roman Catholic and I do write this in all seriousness. I murdered a slug.

Now that some of you have either stopped snorting or simply changed the Internet channel. Let me give you the drama that lead to this whole misfortune. It was summer in the Northern California Valley, the kind people like to tease about cooking eggs on asphalt. Thing is most don't seem to show cooking one on an iron manhole, those get hot too, really hot. I also was cooking a hot temper that August. Ready to head back to school packing my pocket knife which had a blade just over 3 1/2 inches long. I was ready to start using on a few people who been hurting me for so long and who were going to follow me from one school Junior high to High school. I spotted a slug, innocent in some grass that had been watered. I focused on a face of some I hated and fixed it on the slug and placed the slug on the iron manhole baking in the afternoon sun.

I relished for a bare second then realized it was a slug and cried no! I grabbed it and desperately tried to help the creature. It died and it suffered by frying to death. Something inside of me broke and I cried for years. When I became Catholic wanted to be absolved. No one wanted to absolved me over a dead bug. I finally asked to be absolved of the anger to the people I pretended was the slug. On that I was, but I still felt for the slug. Until I had a dream.

In this dream I met another Catholic who been brought up in China and whose world view was very much one of seeing thing like Buddhist do, even if you are not. In his hand he presented to me the still dead slug.

This soul, do you not realized it was a small sacrifice for you?
What do you mean?
You had wished to do bodily harm to others. You carried great pain, anger, and hatred in your heart. You were already killing.
Yes I know.
What happened when the slug began to die?
I felt great anguished for making it suffer. It had done nothing to deserve this.
Just as Christ did for us. Yes Did you feel Compassion?
And the hatred?
Much anger and hatred was there but it was blunted. I suddenly remembered again that life is sacred.
Imagined if you had used your knife even once or even attempted it. How things might have been different for you?
Oh yes. So in a small way, that little soul died to help you save your soul so God can use your time here on Earth in better ways.
I turned to body in my hand. I am so sorry little one. Forgive me. Thank you for teaching me.
The slug healed then turned to its own kind of Earth soul and left.
I understand now. I am absolved at last. I thank you my brother in Christ for you help in this.
I thank you my sister in that I can be of service. Until in Christ we meet again.

When I awoke another puzzle fell in place. The sin was greater that I wanted to hurt the people yes. But it took a small innocent creature to sadly remind me, that while I am capable of causing harm, it is not the way of the cross which I hold dear. And it took a slug acting the part of Christ to remind of that. Two days after the slug died, my Parents stumble across a Catholic School in our neighborhood they never heard about. It was the answer to all their problems. I was mad about not being able to confront my enemies. God by then was moving things to put me in his service... As for the knife, I still have it. But it only cuts salami and pine branches for s'mores.

For the Contact Form, I am sorry. I tried hand coding and all that and I still can't get it right. If you want to use it, bear with me to delete my names and put in yours. Smile... Thanks...