February 25, 2011


After a warm late-night shower (by scented candlelight), I am cozy and relaxed in my jersey sheets. Wrapped in my favorite worn grey hoodie with the sound of rain lazily dropping on the window, why would i want to be anywhere else?

Because taking a walk in the rain sounds like fun.

Nevermind that it’s after ten o’clock and a mere fifty-four degrees out there. Forget that I have wet hair from the shower already, and our neighborhood is not exactly peaceful suburbia. I want to go for a walk in the rain, and that’s all there is to it.

And though it takes all my rational thought, I won’t do it. I don’t have time to get sick. I’m rehearsing a show, there’s school and work, various other upcoming plans…. “it’s not a responsible decision,” i repeat to myself as I fight the urge to dance in the frigid raindrops.

And thus is mania.

February 15, 2011

mountains of things

Sometimes stacks are a good way to organize. Things can be ordered by priority, sorted by whatever means appropriate. As my life seems to be divided into varying categories, i’m a big fan of the stack system. That is, until the stacks grow and surround me, imprisoning me in an out-of-control task list.

But i’m never overly dramatic (insert sarcasm font here).

As the school semester begins this week, there are many stacks to burn through (hey, that’s not a bad idea. well, quicker at least). Many stacks hold the same priority level. Sometimes I imagine these priorities pointlessly color-coded like airport security levels. Just as I have no clue if “orange” is more or less urgent than “yellow”, perhaps looking at the stacks chronologically makes more sense. Let’s pick up from my last entry, shall we?

Stack One: Car and accident
Merely four days after the actual incident, I found myself in a new car. Perhaps this was deserving of an entry of its own, chronicling my first vehicle purchase on my own (without ANYone along to make sure i didn’t screw it up!). This was both liberating and a little frightening, in addition to the remaining cloud of “overwhelmed” that refused to leave my still-shocked self. But as we all know by now, “on my own” never truly means “alone”. I found my car at Enterprise, the same place that supplied my insurance-provided rental. My payments and interest are low, and they deferred my down payment until the insurance issued the check from my totaled Cavalier (may it rest in much-deserved peace). Warranties and roadside assistance are included, and they gave me seven days to drive it and change my mind if needed. That seven days was a HUGE nerve-calmer for me as it removed some of the decision-making pressure! So now I have a little Hyundai Accent, much newer and lower in mileage than I expected. My favorite thing is that I can plug in my ipod. :)
Other related items in this stack include insurance, physical therapy to ensure no lasting back and neck injury, and other details that only make for boring reading. And it took an entire week of handling all these logistics before emotions caught up with me. Thank goodness for a supportive roommate who made me stop trying to work, and just go to my room to cry. Once that was out, the difference was incredible.

Stack Two: Job
That’s Job with the long “o”, as in the Biblical dude, not an occupation (that’s another stack). This stack is one part the actual project of working on the script and the rest the challenges of God letting me walk through trials. Though perhaps these are intermingled. I’ll spare you the mundane details, but besides the aforementioned wreck, there has been various financial challenges, conflicts with friends, and many changes of my “best-laid plans”. I counted on my usual tax refund to be much smaller than usual with the changes of 2010- but i did not expect to actually owe the government a little bit of money (thus changing my source of eye exam and new contacts for the year). Sallie Mae- who we lovingly refer to as “dear aunt sallie” with every possible ounce of sarcasm dripping from our tone- decided this was a good time for some student loan-related drama. All of the phone calls between insurance company and dear-aunt-sallie and who knows what else resulted in my phone bill doubling this month. Yesterday, due to a rough, sleepless night on Sunday, i missed my first swim class. This means I was dropped from the roster for absence on the first day. Then there was the whole spacebarwon’twork fiasco that prevented me from completing necessary work. There's other stuff, but you get the idea. This kind of list is pretty long for such a short period of time.


Yes, there’s a “but”, because this IS the Job stack, after all. For every crappy challenge, there’s been some kind of victory. Some of these successes seem grander than others, some are still waiting for resolution. That’s the faith and trust part, I suppose. Yesterday, for example, God reminded me in a still, small moment that I have a LOT going on and a swim class for fun was a little unnecessary. Also, I would save gas (translation: dollars) for driving to campus less. Meanwhile, a phone call to verizon to determine why my bill was so large was met with the kindest customer service rep I have ever met. Maybe she picked up on my slightly bitter chuckle when she greeted the call with “happy valentine’s day”. Or perhaps compassion hit her when i realized just how many minutes i had gone over and i held back tears and said something about, “oh, crap all those calls about the accident”. But she kindly credited my account $20 just to help. Not solving it, but making a difference- in more ways than just dollar amount. At the same time, some supportive theater friends fixed the space bar that now works. There's other stuff, but you get the idea. And this kind of list is pretty long as well, for such a short period of time.

And it goes on. I walked into the first day of this semester’s production class today to see a few familiar faces from previous classes- friendly faces that said “hi” with a smile. What a change from feeling invisible on campus this past year! (not that this was a horrible thing, it’s just part of being new and having little in common with most of my classmates.) After class, one man stopped to say hi. He sat behind me in Screenwriting in the fall, where we exchanged the occasional hello or laughed over something in class. Somehow, today’s very brief conversation revealed that this was a “divine appointment”- those odd meetings that can only be God-arranged. He has been seeking the Lord a little lately, and dealing with some difficulties- some even car-related, ironically. Some of these recent “Job” circumstances really seemed to impact him. And I would’ve never chosen to share these things with a near-stranger without prompting from the Holy Spirit. After, as I walked back to my car, I knew that I wouldn’t have been much use if I hadn’t experienced all of this other stuff. If my life were perfect and easy, how could I relate to anyone? I don’t think this is the complete key to understanding human suffering or anything. But I do believe it is an important point, a key piece in the larger puzzle.

Stack Three: The Daily Grind
It never stops. I’m so glad it never stops, those regular events that keep me (us?) moving forward. WorkChurch is in full swing, with a Fun Day next week full of games, crafts, and activities while the kids are off school for President’s Day. Outings and programs and Easter services loom cheerfully on the horizon. Then there is theater. We’re preparing for our Easter show, rehearsing and creating the set and reviewing music in the car (i’m convinced that we ALL use the car as rehearsal space). If you’re interested, I’m blogging through the production here. I know, as if this post wasn’t long-winded enough…
And there’s school, of course. A couple production-related classes should keep me pretty busy. I’m already looking forward to the one I started today. I had more hands-on time with the camera today than my entire fall semester combined. This equates to happiness in my world.

So on THAT note, I suppose I should return to the actual stacks of tasks calling my attention. Challenges remain and threaten to distract me from more important matters. But either I trust God or I don’t. Do I believe the words that come out of my mouth in good times as much as when seasons become darker? And just because things are not the way I planned or how I think they should be, does that mean that life is horrible? Of course not. When the adventure has ended and stories are told, the best moments come from the trouble and challenges. This is my adventure, and from the beginning, I knew it would not be easy. Remember that cheesy remake of “The Haunting”? Lili Taylor says she can choose to either be a victim or a volunteer, and she would rather be the volunteer and plunge into the adventure of the ghostly mystery instead of plagued by a haunted house. She had a point. Either I’m going to freak out when I hit “white water rapids” of overwhelming challenges, or I’m going to strap on my helmet and enjoy the thrilling adrenaline of the ride.

And I’m pretty sure you know me well enough by now to guess how I feel about such adventures.

February 01, 2011


A month and a half is a long time to be away from the theater. While rest is much needed between shows (not to mention in preparation for such an intense season), a girl starts to miss the stage after a couple of weeks. So it’s almost needless to say that I was highly anticipating the first rehearsal for the Easter show, “Risen”. It was the first thing I thought about when I opened my eyes in the morning, and I was glad to be so busy at WorkChurch so that the afternoon would come quickly.

The rainy day did not dampen my spirits at all as I drove from San Pedro to the theater in Anaheim. As a seasoned driver from the weather-worn roads of Ohitucky, I know how to be cautious on a rainy freeway. Though I maintained a safe and reasonable speed with every other driver, a deep patch of water still caused my car to hydroplane. I struggled to regain control and prayed that I wouldn’t hit the cars near me. In seconds, my car spun toward the concrete wall that separate the east- and west-bound traffic. Once I hit that divider, the force caused my car to spin in the opposite direction until I hit the wall again. I came to a stop right against the concrete, in the carpool lane, facing oncoming traffic.

Though shaking, I prayed that God would handle the cars speeding toward me on the wet road, while I tried to find my phone (Note: the little holder that was supposed to keep my phone handy in such situations failed. Also, while we’re on that subject, my air bags didn’t go off. thanks for nothing, safety precautions.). The 911 dispatcher was most helpful, telling me to keep my seatbelt and hazard lights on, and “stay where I felt safest” (Um, how about NOT sitting on this freeway?!). The highway patrol arrived in minutes, and proceeded to shut down the freeway.

Since I couldn’t move my car, CHP was ready to spring into action. From the car loudspeaker, he said, “Imma move ya”. And instructed me to put my car in neutral and steer. By pushing my car with the patrol car, a few fancy maneuvers had me turned around and on the safer shoulder of the road. If I had to keep all the folks from their destination by stopping traffic, at least they got a show out of it….

We got my car off the freeway and towed away, to enter the realm of insurance claims and the like. For some strange reason, the first words out of my mouth to the officers were “Hallelujah, Holy Shit!” (I am just as bewildered as the CHP guys about that subconscious nod to Chevy Chase.)

Meanwhile, I was not hurt. I didn’t hit any other vehicles. Of course, my neck and back are aching, but I didn’t hit my head or break any bones. There are no visible bruises, cuts, or scrapes on my body. I am beyond grateful for such incredible divine protection!

I was stranded in North Long Beach with no transportation. All of my local friends were in Anaheim, at rehearsal. I hated to ask anyone to drive all the way out there, but they did in a heartbeat. I arrived to rehearsal and my dear castmates, whom I love so much. Still in shock, I was so glad to be near them and felt a little bit safer.

Now, I attempted to focus on the material for “Risen”. This is the same show we did last spring, so much of it was familiar. Of course, tweaks and changes will be made, including the addition of two more members of the ensemble. At last year’s table read, we marveled at the introduction to powerful music and the original concepts of the production. This time, we recalled the emotion of each scene and its meaning. I made it through the first act by directing my focus from the accident to the show. But once we began act II, the shock was starting to wear off. The beautiful and intense truth in some of the songs released tears that had been well-contained until that moment. Lyrics about being saved took on a more immediate meaning and the impact hit my heart with some kind of emotional force. I struggled to sing through my parts between sniffles and tear drops…. and was so glad that, unlike my usual preferred crying situation, i was not alone.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with hugs, prayers, and encouraging reassurance. As always, Masquer extends beyond the production to be a ministry of love. In times like these, I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness when He gave me the gift of my theater family.

Now I deal with the aftermath… sore muscles, a totaled car, and trying to keep up with WorkChurch and theater responsibilities when nothing sounds more inviting than another nap. Yet, I will not forget how fortunate I am to walk away from the crash with virtually no injuries- and, more importantly, I did not hit any of the other cars that were driving near me. All of my needs are being met, and I have no doubt that the rest will work out well. After all, God is in control of the details. He is sovereign, and He is good. And He won’t let me forget it.