My Summer of Love

Santa-Catalina-Island-became-famous-because-of-a-1958-song-about-the-island-of-romanceSummer Memories (Part One)

Martha. An old-fashioned name for an old-fashioned girl. The moment I met her I admired her. She was one of three sisters. There was a “rebellious one,” a “baby-of-the-family,” and a “good one.” Martha was the good one. She was scholarly, respectful of others, a good actress (we met in drama class), and, oh, yeah, seriously pretty. 

So shortly after getting my driver’s license, I asked her out. I begged Mom for the car keys and blew all my paper route money taking smart-pretty good girl Martha to a romantic movie (Doctor Zhivago) and a French restaurant with an unpronounceable name. I just knew this was going to be it, my first Love With a Capital L!

But the date, unlike the movie, was less than epic. Our conversation was strained–Martha seemed uncomfortable the whole time (I wasn’t exactly Mr. Smooth). And then, during the final make-or-break “well, goodnight” moment… Let’s just say she kissed like my grandma. We didn’t go out again.

A year passed.

I’d spent the first few days of spring break with a friend’s voluptuous blond cousin, who was visiting from Texas, and the moment she left had booked a flight to visit her in Amarillo. I was deeply in lust. But the next day I drove to Newport Beach to hang out with our high school drama gang. One of whom turned out to be good-little-Christian-girl Martha. She was still smart, still good, still pretty; plus, she looked amazing in a bikini. But she wanted nothing to do with me. She’d heard about my infamous girl from Texas fling and decided I’d turned “shallow and worldly.”

Then the famous “Summer of Love” arrived. I organized a day-trip to Catalina Island for our drama group. Most brought dates. Martha came with a soft-spoken non-drama type named Ted. I was due to visit my fling from Texas next week, so I didn’t have a date. But Catalina (just 26 miles from the SoCal coast) isn’t called “the island of romance” for nothing. The beaches and bayside walks are made for lovers…

And for teenagers in love with love.

(To be continued)

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Free the Oppressed

Quote -Injustice

“Is not this the fast which I have chosen: To loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to free the oppressed and break every yoke?”

~Isaiah 58:6

Note: Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a founding member of Germany’s anti-Nazi Confessing Church and author of the theological classic The Cost of Discipleship. He was sent to a concentration camp, continued to resist, and was finally executed–just three weeks before Hitler committed suicide. Bonhoeffer won.

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Independence Day?


Today is Independence Day in my country.

Independence seems like an odd thing to celebrate at a time when we feel anything but independent, when so much of our independence is curtailed: The right to choose when and where we go, what people (and how many) we can be with, and whether or not to wear a mask when we are. Many Americans, in fact, have rebelled against these limitations in the name of the very independence first proclaimed on this date in 1776.

But true independence isn’t external. An addict whose drug is legal still depends upon it. A person who chooses ignorance over knowledge isn’t exercising their freedom, they’re limiting it.

St. Francis of Assisi was, in his youth (and by his own confession), a slave to sin and debauchery. It was only after his imprisonment that he found true independence. There in a prison cell he began to free his heart and mind from the lies and behaviors that had shackled him for years. There he a found freedom no one could take away from him, because no one had given it to him. No one but the Creator himself, the one who possessed the keys to Francis’s shackles. From then on Francis was free. And he used that freedom to set others free.

May we all learn to do the same.

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” ~Francis of Assisi 

“There is no gate, no lock, no bolt you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” ~Virginia Woolf

“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” ~Ralph Ellison

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” ~Toni Morrison

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

~John 8:32

Happy Independence Day!

(Now and Forever)

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I Miss the World

I grew up near the beach in Southern California. Honestly, I didn’t go all that often once I grew up. But the moment we moved away, I missed it. I missed knowing I could. This pandemic has made me feel that way about the whole world. I miss places I’ve never been. Here are a few locales that cry out to me, some spectacular, some quaint and inviting. I may never visit them. But I want to know that I can!

Click on any image to enlarge it, or to start begin show.

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I Hate Masks!


Note: Not an actual picture of me at a restaurant, but a very close facsimile.*

Last Sunday, my wife and I ate in the fabled part of a restaurant known as “Inside.” Except for while we were actually eating (the intake of “food” requiring access to a facial orifice called a “mouth”) we wore our DYSC (Die You Stupid Coronavirus) masks.

And then we went to an even more exotic place, an art museum–one of those “Indoor” kind! And as requested, we wore our DYSC masks the entire time. All told, we had the cursed Alien facehuggers on for at least four hours.

And I hated it!

I have an aversion to discomfort. It probably has something to do with my OCD or my ADHD. Or maybe my PTBCD (Preferring to be Comfortable Disorder). Also, my nose runs when I wear my DYSC mask. Which means I sniffle non-stop, creating embarrassing little wet spots and obscuring how otherwise jaunty I look in the mask.

I’m not alone. Other people hate them too. Women, yes. But especially manly men like me. In fact, only about 29% of men are choosing to wear the masks. And, hey, I hear you, dudes! Except that, ironically, more men are dying from COVID 19 than women. Oh, and even if you are as immortal as you think you are…

It’s not about you, chucklehead! (I’ve always wanted to use that word.) Whether or not you know it, there’s a real possibility you’re carrying the virus and spreading it to others, who are spreading it to others… Some of whom will die. Come to think of it, “chucklehead” is way too cute a term for a person who would do something like that.

So, here’s the deal: I’ll wear a DYSC mask so you don’t die, and I would really appreciate it if you wear one so don’t die. Deal? Oh, and (bonus point if you figured this out) the more we wear the nasty things now, the sooner the freaking virus will die (instead of us)…

And we can finally take them off!

*When I googled “facehugger” I discovered some enterprising entrepreneurs are actually selling “Alien facehugger” coronavirus masks online!

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Reflection of Light – Look, See, Pray

CaptureMy Featured Blogger this week is Richard the Baptist, a retired Sussex, England-based minister. Writer-photographer Richard loves “exploring prayer and spirituality.” He’s a cancer survivor and fibromyalgia-sufferer who actively supports others with this illness. “Life has changed,” he says, “but hope burns eternal,” and “faith has a deep relevance in good times and tough ones.” That faith and perspective are richly on display in this post about finding the good in ordinary things and people.

You’ll find good things here, I promise.

Look, See, Pray

Not every experience, photograph or person has to be outstandingly dynamic. Ordinary is good.

We have become addicted to the buzz of adrenaline. Bigger, better, faster, louder, brighter- and usually more expensive to us as “buyer” and to the ordinary person doing the producing. This is not, in my opinion, a “good thing.” We become greedy, and then dissatisfied when our latest “fix” doesn’t meet our expectations.

So today’s photo is distinctly ORDINARY. Reeds, grasses, water, colour, and a reflection. Not even a duck or dragonfly. It just IS. And that, my friends, is just fine.

Bellamy or Attenborough might get excited about the botany or biology. It’s a habitat but we don’t know for whom. Perhaps Ratty and Mole will pass by, messing about on the river…

Why have I bothered to post it? It won’t excite many people, naturalists apart.

Two theological reasons. First, the Creation narratives in…

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Addicted to Animals

“Hello, my name is Mitch Teemley and I’m addicted to animals.” It’s true, if I had a spare life I’d spend it working with and caring for critters. There’s so much more to them than we realize. The “did-you-knows?” are fascinating…and new ones are being discovered every day!

(Don’t miss the facts and quips under the photos below). 

Click on any image to enlarge it, read caption, or begin slide show.

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Two Movies at Once!

I never dreamed I’d have two feature films, as a writer-director, in release at the same time–and two such completely different movies, too! Our distributor decided that, rather than wait as originally intended, they’d release my new comedy Notzilla right away (it’s due within the next week or two)! Why? Because, as a result of the lockdown, people are suddenly having to hunt for decent entertainment. And also because my inspirational drama Healing River has been so well received (thank you!).

Here’s a brief never-before-posted clip from Healing River:

If you haven’t seen Healing River yet, you can watch or order it by clicking here.

P.S. If you’ve seen it, may I invite you to: 1) Leave a brief review at Amazon (the more reviews the more they invite others to see it); and 2) To rate the movie at IMDb? (link below) We’re working to counter a fake rating created by internet trolls (who hadn’t even seen the film) when it first premiered! Thanks and blessings. ~Mitch

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The Revolution to End All Revolutions

If You Abide in My Word

“Love your enemies.” Outrageous! No one had ever dared propose such a thing before. It’s called grace, unmerited favor toward those who don’t deserve it (which is everyone, by the way). And it’s at the very the core of Jesus’ teachings. It’s the most revolutionary idea ever put forth. So revolutionary that few have even tried it. But if we do, Jesus says, if we follow after him, allowing his Spirit to invade our lives, we become his disciples, are radically transformed, and gain the power to heal our broken world. Now that’s a revolution! In fact, it’s literally the revolution to end all revolutions. Dare we say yes?

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Small Things

“It’s a small thing, but people who consistently express gratitude develop a higher level of awareness for all the things in their lives they have to be grateful for.” ~Richie Norton

“The Lord likes small things best, especially those done with love.” ~Mother Teresa

Little Things

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!”

~Matthew 25:21


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