Thursday, January 16, 2020

Muley's Birthday 2020

20 + 20 = 40.
1980 - 2020 is 40 years.
Muley is still 6 years old, and on January 1st we celebrated his 40th 6th birthday.
Or, his 6th birthday for the 40th time.

We don't do well with math, you do the work.
We're going to enjoy some cookies.
You enjoy the video.

Thanks for sticking around with us and keeping us inspired for all these years!


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy Birthday, Muley! 40 Years Young!!

Back in 1979, I created a dumb looking dog, and then let it start walking up-right.  There were two or three drawings for this dog - a buddy to an idiot dog named Spike.  At my Papa Roy and Granny Ethel's house over New Year's Eve leading into 1980, I pulled out my drawing paper, and drew the character, showed it to Papa Roy who said, "Well, he's Muley lookin', ain't he?"

Wait!  You mean, it's a 'mule' and NOT a dog?  Okay then.

Because this character got Papa and Granny's attention over the other drawings I showed that day, I decided this mule would become MY character, and I named him Muley the Mule, a perpetual 6-year-old (my age when I first drew him s a dog).  Then, I decided it was time to create a collection of characters and to do artwork and comic strips.

This is the earliest Muley art in my collection now: January 1, 1980
Over the years, he's appeared in comic strips, comic books, newspapers, online, and appeared in other publications of his friends and associations, either as a cameo or a background image.

Today, here's how his friends celebrate!  Around a table, snacking, and singing...

click to see larger

Happy New Year 2020

There are so many nay-sayers in the world - it's become far easier to complain than to appreciate.  Some people are writing online that they are doomed for 2020 even before the new year struck at midnight. 

Forget resolutions, but plan on what you can do to bring light, love, and happiness to - not only those around you - but also to yourself.  Find your happiness, find the positive people who bring good energy to your life and keep them close.

You are responsible for the joy in your life, nobody else.  So, with the new year looming over you, ask yourself this:

What do you want from it?
Your ruination, or love, light, and joy?

When you realize that negativity has no hold on you, then you can truly have a Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 29, 2019

Muley Speaks About God's Calling at First Congo 12/29/2019


Muley Sermon 12 29 2019

Well, I hope everyone had a great holiday.  Some of you got toys, some of you got clothes, and some of you got art supplies.  And for the third year in a row, I got coal and switches.  I’m not complaining, though.  At least it’s stuff that will get used – some of it on me!  And then there’s today, the last time I get to see you guys this year!  It will be next year before I get to see you guys again!

So, for my final message of 2019, I decided to do a short message. {pause} Okay, see you next year!
Kidding!  OK, let’s look at today’s reading:  1 Samuel 1: 1 – 20.  Wait:  1 – 20?  Forget it.  Okay, let’s look at this: 1 Samuel 3:4 – “Then the Lord called Samuel.  Samuel answered, “Here I am.”  Short and sweet, people!  Short verse.  Easy reading from the book of Samuel.  You know who Samuel is, don’t you?  I don’t.  Well, I didn’t.  But, I did some reading and I liked this particular story.

You see, his mom couldn’t have children, but prayed to God for a child, and then Samuel was born.  His mom promised God that if she had a child, she’d make sure he would be in service to God.  So, she delivered Samuel to Eli the Priest. Eli the Priest. That’s a name like Muley the Mule.  Anyway, Samuel lived in the temple with Eli.  While they slept one night, the Lord called Samuel’s name and Samuel goes to Eli and says, “Here I am,” but Eli just looks at him and says, “So? Go back to sleep.”  So, Samuel goes back to his room and tries to sleep, but hears the Lord’s voice again call, “Samuel!”  So, Samuel jumps out of bed a second time, goes to Eli, and says, “Here I am.”  And Eli just looks at him and says, “I didn’t call you, go back to bed!”  So, Samuel goes back to bed, he lays down his sweet head, and a third time, the Lord calls and says, “Samuel!”  Samuel got up and went to Eli a third time and said, “Here I am, you called me.”  And a third time Eli says, “Wait, it must be God calling you, Samuel.  Go back to bed and if you hear God call, say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”  Well, Samuel goes to bed, and just like before, he hears his name called and just like Eli told him, Samuel says, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.  Here I am.”

Look.  Last time I was asleep and heard my name called, I went to the bathroom.  THEN, I got out of bed to get my human involved!

Did you ever feel that tugging at your heart, that emotional feeling that you need to help someone?  The feeling that you need to help a friend with homework, or felt you needed to help your grown-ups clean house or cook?  Or feel a need to help someone get food or clothes? Did you ever feel that when it happens, it could be God calling you to do that good thing?

Anyway, God called Samuel, and Samuel became a prophet.  Did you know that God still calls on people today?  God calls us to love, live our faith, be holy, be faithful, and to serve others.  God calls grown-ups to do these things, and our church does it all the time.  But, when God called Samuel, you know what?  He was just a kid!  Well, not God; Samuel was the kid. And you know what that means? Samuel was just a kid, like us, so even WE can be called by God.  Whaaaaaat?  That’s cool!

God called a kid named Samuel to service, and may be calling you and me to service today. And parents, when your kid comes in and wants to do that “good” thing, let them.  It could be them responding to God’s call!  We just have to be quiet, be God’s faithful servants who are listening, and God will talk to us because God loves you, Jesus loves you, and your pal Muley loves you, and I’ll see you real soon!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Press 9 for Complaints - Muley @ Christmas 2019

You can try all you can to get a point across and information shared; but, sometimes the message still doesn't get across.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Friday, November 29, 2019

Commit 2 Literacy - Shelby County Schools 11/29/2019

With thanks to Ladell Beamon of the Heal the Hood Foundation of Memphis, Muley the Mule had an opportunity to read a book which will air on the Shelby County Schools' website for students.  Many other local celebrities participated as well.

Be sure that you read books to your children, too.  Supporting literacy will give us smart, inspired leaders!

Also, special thanks to my nephew, Anakin Wade, for letting us borrow his books!





Sunday, November 10, 2019

Muley celebrates Sesame Street with friends

Hi, Muley here.  I was sitting around drawing one day when I got a phone call.  "Hello?"

"Hi, Muley?" came the voice.

"Yep, is this Steve?"  I asked, referring to my friend Steve D'Monster.

"It is, and I have a great idea..."

Steve gathered a bunch of his pals from the internet to sing "Sing" in celebration of Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary and, well - here's what happened:  CLICK HERE


Muley Message: November 10, 2019 - Theme "Diversity"

Typically, during the kids' messages at First Congo, it's only Muley (there has been a visit by Missy Mule and Roy Duck), and I planned to NEVER use a non-MuleyVerse characters

But, with Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary falling on the same day as Muley's Kids' Message, something special had to be done.  So, we had a visit from a special fan-made guest star...

The theme was "Diversity," a celebration of which has been a theme of Muley the Mule and Friends since I was a kid, hence a mule, dog, duck, donkey, cow, and horse are all friends even with their differences.  Having seen that Sesame was also a big leap forward in celebrating diversity, I wanted to combine the kids message with a celebration of Sesame's 50th.


The beginning of the Sesame Street Theme introduced Muley's entrance, and he said:


Well, can you guess what show is celebrating 50 years?  That’s right: Woodstock! But, from the music you can tell that today, Sesame Street is 50 years old!  That means it started in 1969, back when Moses split the red sea so Noah cold get his ark across…or…something.

And today’s kid’s message is brought to you by the letter D.  D.  Do we all know the sound the letter D makes?  Duh. Duh. Duh.  That’s right.  It makes the sound: DUH.  Duh starts with the letter D.  Also, dog.  My buddy Buford is a d-d-d-dog.  It also starts the word dessert, and you know how I love my cookies!  D stands for d-d-d-different!  And you can’t get more different than First Congo!  See, one of the things I love about Sesame Street is that we can learn words.  Also, because they have puppets, and some of my best friends are puppets! 

But, what’s a cool place like Sesame Street have to do with a cool place like First Congo? Or even church for that matter?  Well, because it also teaches us about another “D” word:  D-d-d-diversity!  Say it with me: diversity.  I didn’t know what that word meant, so I looked it up in my d-d-d-dictionary, you know: Google?  Anyway, it means:  “the understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences in the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.”  Yeah, I still don’t know what that means…  Probably a long-winded definition to just simply say, “Diverse means different.”

Anyway, Sesame Street has always had diversity.  See, in 1969, it was the first kids’ show that included Caucasian people, African Americans, and Latino people all living on the same street, and even in the same building!  They had Gordon and Susan, Bob and Linda, Luis and Maria, a big bird and a grouch, a monster and a kid, a frog and a Snuffleupagus, they even had an Ernie and a Bert – and no matter how diverse, or how different, they were: everyone could be friends.  Everyone is welcome on Sesame Street!

And isn’t that just like First Congo?  Everyone is welcome here no matter how different.  Look around you at the diversity.  Everyone is different than everyone else, and isn’t that beautiful?  It’s just like in my circle of friends, we celebrate our differences because that’s what makes us interesting and special: there’s me, dogs, ducks, a cow, a horse, a donkey, and a Missy Mule!  Yeah, I put her in her own category because..well…Missy! 

To recap, I want to read our reading today because reading puts the fun in FUNdamental.  I add the “mental” part to that word.  The reading today says, “you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female.  For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  You know what that means?  No matter how diverse, or how different, you are, you are all one and the same to Jesus, and you are all worthy of his love and blessings! 

And Sesame Street is like that: you’re all welcome, you’re all our friends, you’re all special, and we celebrate the differences.  Also we…wait, did you hear that? I think someone’s at my stage door, I’ll be right back. Hold on…

ENTER COOKIE – (Humming)  Oooh!  Where dis at?  Oh, me KNEW me took wrong turn at Albur-COOKIE!  *gasp* COOKIE!?  Yeah, yeah, yeah!  Hmm, Should me eat dis cookie now or save it til later?   Yeah, me gonna eat dis cookie now! COWABUNGA!  NOM!  Oh, can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?  Dat OK, me think it back here somewhere.  OK.  Bye bye…

Photo by Julia Hicks
ENTER MULEY – Well, nobody was there. *sniff* Hey, anyone smell cookies? Or *sniff* copyright infringement?  Anyway, remember this word: Diversity.  Remember that Sesame Street teaches us, a lot like the Bible and a lot like First Congo, that being different is beautiful, and loving people who are different than us is exactly the way that God loves you, Jesus loves you, and your pal Muley loves you, and I’ll see you real soon!  Have a sunny day!


Linley Schmidt visits Muley and Kevin, photo by Julia Hicks.

Friday, November 1, 2019

HTH: Evolution Concert

Ladell Beamon of the Heal the Hood Foundation of Memphis called and asked would Muley the Mule and Friends be able to participate in a concert with the theme about anti-bullying.  Could we?  But, of course!



We've always been against bullying.  So, it became important to us to participate and share in the message of why bullying is bad.  Kevin L. Williams wrote the script baesd on some research, and DaMarco Randle rewrote lyrics for the song Shake It Off which the characters performed.



Enjoy the script below:


INTRODUCTION

               MULEY
Hi everyone!  I’m so glad to be here, and glad you are, too.  You know, today we’re hearing from my friends how bullying is bad.  Nobody wants to be the bad guy, do they?  I don’t.  Bad guys always lose.  Also because bullying hurts people and I don’t want to hurt anyone, and I don’t want anyone to hurt me or my friends, do you?  Bullying happens on the internet, at school, in the playground, and even at home.  You see, bullies are WEAK – they try to find someone weaker than they are to pick on them.  But, do you know it shows that you’re a stronger person if you help and take care of people weaker than you?  That’s what being a HERO is!  You can be a hero!  You know…



               ROY DUCK
Muley!  Muley the Mule!! * HEY, MULEY!!
                              (*Run up and bump into Muley, who almost falls over the stage, he looks back at Roy)
MULEEEEYYYY!!!  (In Muley’s face)

               MULEY
Roy Duck!  Are you okay?

               ROY DUCK
Yeah.  I mean, I am now.  But, I wasn’t.

               MULEY
Why, what do you mean?

               ROY DUCK
Well, I was just hanging out at the playground and minding my own business, I was drawing and had been playing with a toy, and you know what?

               MULEY
Not yet…

               ROY DUCK
Well, this bigger kid came up.  I didn’t know this kid yet, so I invited him to play with my toy and draw with me and then that’s when he…
                              (Pause and look away, sad)

               MULEY
It’s okay, Roy Duck, you’re with friends now.  You know, if something bad happens, you should always feel okay to talk to a friend or a grown-up.  What happened?

               ROY DUCK
There was some sand close-by, and he kicked the sand at me.  It got in my eyes and it hurt real bad!

               MULEY
Oh, Roy Duck, I’m so sorry that happened.  What did you do?

               ROY DUCK
Nothing much I could do, I had sand in my eyes. But, not my ears and I could hear what he said next.



               MULEY
Uh-oh!  What did he say?

               ROY DUCK
He told me if I didn’t bring him my lunch money tomorrow, he’d make duck soup out of me!

               MULEY
How RUDE!  I’m sure glad you told me this, Roy Duck.  You know, one thing about a bully is that they have no power over you unless you give them that power.  Having a good friend close-by is a good thing to do because bullies will pick on a single person while they’re alone; but, they don’t usually pick on a group of kids.

               ROY DUCK
What do we do now?

               MULEY
Next time that bully tries to do something to you, shout “get away!” and walk away to find an adult.  If you can’t find an adult come find your friends!  Let all of us know so we can help watch out for each other.  You know, bullies are really only looking for attention.  Do you know why?

               ROY DUCK
Not yet.

               MULEY
Because they don’t have the attention or friendships they need, or their parents don’t show them enough attention.  Because they have no power anywhere else.  Do you know that’s the one thing a bully needs?

               ROY DUCK
What?

               MULEY
Friends! 

               ROY DUCK
But, I tried to be friends with him, and I got sand in my eyes!  How can I be friends with someone like that?

               MULEY
I don’t know.  But, we have to remember:  Bullies seem tough and strong on the outside, but inside they are sad and weak.  Whenever I see a bully, I just remember how sad they are, and that I am a happy, valuable person.  And you know, Roy Duck, you’re a valuable person and a good person.  Don’t let anyone ever make you think differently.

               ROY DUCK
I won’t!

               MULEY
And you kids who hear this are good, wonderful people.  Don’t ever try to bully others because you’re better than that.  Be a hero, be super, be someone that others can look up to even if they’re bigger and older than you are.  I believe in you.

               ROY DUCK
Me, too!  Look around you.  Everyone around you could be your friend.  All you have to do is say hello.

               MULEY
After all:  strangers are only friends you haven’t made yet.  So, Roy Duck, you were picked on by a bully earlier, what will you do now?



               ROY DUCK
Hey, kids, stand at your seat and shake with me, like this!  (SHAKE) Because I’m going to shake it off!

               MULEY
You’re going to shake it off?  Oh!

               ROY DUCK
You remember that song I re-wrote about bullying?

               MULEY
I do! 

               BOTH
HIT IT!


(Then came the song...)