Curtis Peter van Gorder

Curtis Peter van Gorder is a writer and pantomime artist and facilitator, living in Germany. See Elixir Mime website.

The Power of a Smile

Smiles are powerful. You’ve probably met a few gifted people, like I have, who radiate warmth and friendliness all the time. They smile so much that just being around them charges your spiritual battery. Babies are experts in this as well. Without saying a word, they lighten your day with their smiles.

Blind Spot vs. Sweet Spot

That blind spot! I’m not talking about the back of the retina where the optic nerve enters the eyeball, that place lacking cones or rods that causes us to lose vision at certain angles. I am talking about those unguarded moments when I miss something right in front of me. The other day, our event company calculated that we’ve lost over $1,000 worth of equipment over the years due to leaving bags somewhere we shouldn’t have. Then just the other day, while I was coming home from the gym, I forgot to zip up the side pocket of my backpack where my phone was, and … you can guess what happened.

Climbing the New Year

Even the best climbers need guides when they climb unfamiliar mountains. In fact, only a foolhardy novice would try to go without one—a novice like me. 

Years ago, I was on vacation in Switzerland, and on the last day, a friend and I decided to climb a nearby mountain. 

The Sand Clock

I went to my desk on Christmas Eve morning to find that our beloved sand clock glass had somehow broken. I threw it away, then fished it out again to take one last dramatic photo.

Sand clocks have always held a fascination for me, especially this one. It was a gift to my wife last Christmas, meant to represent “the gift of spending time together.” It also reminded me of a story and play I had written based around the symbolism of the sand clock.

Strawberry Fields Forever

It is said that our life hinges on four main decisions that lead us to become what we are: the career we choose, whom we marry, the friends we make, and what we believe in. I would say that what we believe in is the most important of the four, as that will largely determine what happens with the other three.

Paperclip Faith

Did you ever hear about the young man named Kyle MacDonald who traded a paperclip for one item after the other until he was able to get his own house? Surprisingly, it only took him 14 trades to achieve his goal one year after he started. His journey was: clip to pen, to doorknob, to stove, to generator, to keg of beer, to snowmobile, to trip to Yahk, to panel truck, to recording contract, to one-year rent of an apartment in Phoenix, to an afternoon with Alice Cooper, to a motorized snow globe, to a speaking role in a movie, to a house in Kipling, Sk., Canada. 

Fruity Lessons

I was recently fascinated to read how scientists learned how to make more effective waterproof products such as raincoats and airplane parts by studying the ridges on butterfly wings. It struck me that I also could learn something from nature, and I began researching fruit trees.

Butterfly Encounters

As I was researching material for a short story about an antique dealer who collected rare butterflies, I came across a website1 that revealed a rich resource of stories involving those fascinating creatures.

Why the Stable?

She brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.—Luke 2:7

The Lord of the universe could have picked anywhere for Jesus to be born. That raises the question of why God picked a humble dwelling where animals were housed and fed—possibly a stable, although it could have been a cave or even a guest room in a relative’s house.

One Man’s Trash

When we lack faith, we miss miracles that are trying to be delivered to us. Life is a lot about having the faith to see possibilities that others might overlook. Take apple seeds, for example.  Most people throw away the core and seeds as worthless, but someone with faith as small as that seed might see in them a world of opportunity. 

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