I'm just a wife and mother who earnestly desires to grow in my faith and it's demonstration. DISCLAIMER! I have absolutely no problem with women in the clergy. As a matter of fact, I have several female pastors who I consider friends. In my home, the pastor is a male so the pronouns I use to refer to a pastor tend to be male. This is not a statement of any kind. Just a reflection of my every day life!

Archive for February, 2014

The Importance of Words

Proverbs-25Words matter.  They matter more than we sometimes realize.  In my case, they are HUGE.  Ever read “The Five Love Languages”?  My primary love language is Quality Time.   Words of Affirmation and Gifts tied for second.  Words of Affirmation.  In other words, sincere praise, compliments, words of thanks . . . I THRIVE on them!!

Don’t try and flatter me.  I mean it.  Don’t offer me empty flattery.  Insincerity drives me nuts.  But if I have done something right/good/helpful . . . you get the idea . . . and you offer me sincere thank/praise/encouragement then you have made my day.  Maybe my week.  Heck, maybe even my month.

It’s no secret I am a theater geek.  Hardcore and not ashamed!  I currently have the privilege of serving as rehearsal accompanist and pit pianist for the local community college’s production of “All Shook Up!”   Yes, I get paid to do the job.  But the truth is I would volunteer my services.  Not only do I love what I’m doing, the show’s director and the pit director have offered genuine, authentic praise and thanks for my work.  I would go to the moon for those two if they asked.

Ironically, I was chatting with my hubby about that very fact just before walking into another one of my jobs where I never receive any affirmation or praise.  As a matter of fact, the vast majority of my conversations there are based on what I’m doing wrong or should do differently.  No paycheck in the world is enough to replace sincere appreciation for the effort I am in putting.  I’m not getting much (if any) appreciation and I’m fairly certain – after months of being in the job – that the situation will not improve any time soon.

Before you get the urge to scold me – I’m not trying to garner sympathy and I’m not looking for “coping” suggestions.  I’m sharing a lesson learned – words matter.  They matter more than you realize.  Paychecks are a necessary part of life.  But money isn’t always enough to motivate people, to build loyalty and for me at least, it never feeds my soul.

So I will seek chances to offer authentic praise and encouragement whenever possible.  I’ve seen how much it touches me.  I need to do what I can to pass that on to others!

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What’s the Goal?

Every so often, I meet people who claim to be Jesus followers and after a brief conversation I have to bite my tongue because I really, really, really want to ask them to please never tell anyone that they are a “Christian.”  No, I’m not perfect.  I freely admit that I am a work in progress.  And I will screw up and hurt people’s feelings from time to time I know that.  But the news is full of stories about churches that are more focused on hate than they are the 2 greatest commandments – Love God with everything you have, and love your fellow man like you do yourself (my paraphrase).

A local church sent out letters to the homes in the area stating that the street-side parking by their building is theirs and they will tow any vehicle parked there.  We happen to be one of those homes and got the letter yesterday.

Um . . . what?!

downloadThis church has a small gravel parking lot that is very definitely on their property.  It sits rather empty most Sundays.  In the summer, our church doesn’t do Sunday School and holds the morning service at nine (no theological reason – it was started by a previous pastor who wanted to get an earlier tee time!)  Frequently, on summer Sundays, I come home to find that I cannot park in front of my own house because church-goers across the street have filled not only the angled-in parking spots, but also the other side of the street.  And their lot?  Almost completely empty.

Hubby made a few phone calls after getting the letter from this church and discovered that the parking spots are within the public right of way and the church has no right to tow the vehicles that are there.  Then my hubby did the pastor of that church a favor and called him to let him know what had been discovered.  He even passed on the name and number of the person he (hubby) spoke to so this pastor could follow up on the conversation.  Then the pastor said something that made me sigh – “If you are right then we are just going to stop plowing those parking spots.”

Here’s the problem.  If my hubby’s information is correct, these parking spots are like a sidewalk – you cannot tell people they aren’t allowed to walk on there and you MUST keep it cleared of anything that might cause a slip and fall accident.

This whole thing saddens me.  This church is surrounded on ALL sides by homes.  What impression are they hoping to leave with their neighbors?  Will they sit in their building and scratch their heads, wondering why no one from the neighborhood attends?  They really shouldn’t.  They take up most of the on-street parking – leaving their private lot virtually unused – and have been known to throw outdoor parties with loud music into the night (great for the families with little ones or those who need to get to bed early because of work schedules!).  Just what kind of message are these people trying to send?!  And how can those of us who disagree vehemently with the behavior undo the damage?!

Finally There

Wordless Wednesday!When I am a part of a theater production – whether I am directing, onstage, in the pit or whatever – there is the moment when I walk into the theater (ANY theater) and it’s as though the air whispers, “Welcome home.”  It is in that moment that who I am and what I am doing are most perfectly aligned.  But when I try to explain that to others, they think I’m crazy!

The sad fact is, it’s taken me until recently to get to the point where I can say that I love being involved in the world of theater and feel no measure of shame.  In our “results obsessed” society, we tend to devalue those activities that don’t provide the main source of our income or serve to advance us professionally. People have  asked me questions like, “Are you ever going to give up this theater nonsense?”  or “Will you ever outgrow your theater hobby?”  The shortest, simplest answer? No.  My involvement in the theater predates my roles as wife and mother.  Now, I LOVE my man and my kids.  Like, “I-would-take-a-bullet-for-them” kind of love.  But holding on to my theater involvement allows me to hold on to a part of me that has been uniquely mine since before my life was abundantly blessed by marriage and motherhood.

People tell me that theater productions take lots of time.  Yeah.  I know that.  I’ve kind of lived it repeatedly.  But I am most authentically “me” when I am involved in a theatrical production.  My God-given design hums with joy every time I walk into an audition, a rehearsal or a performance.  I get lost for hours on end when I am working on my staging/blocking plans for a new show.  Even the exhaustion of tech week is a happy experience for me.  I know.  I’m weird.

So at the ripe old age of 45, I am putting this out there as a general announcement:  I LOVE every part of being involved in a theatrical production.  Even the frustrating moments.  I will continue to “go and play” as long as I am physically able and I refuse to justify it any longer and I CERTAINLY will not feel guilty anymore!  If that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s okay.  It doesn’t have to.

A Heart Full of Joy

Spending the next five hours or so in my happy place! True theater geek at heart!

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What’s Yours?

Webster’s dictionary defines passion as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something”.  In our world, we sometimes become so focused on the “reward” for what we do that we forget to listen to our passion much less tap into or pursue it.  We get focused on the final grade, the recognition, or the paycheck attached to what we do.  Somewhere in all of that “focusing on the end result” we lose sight of something that matters just as much – passion.

IMG_20140124_073351_767My eldest child can tell you just about anything you want to know about the Tudors.  She can list all of the wives of King Henry the VIII and tell you who their children were, how they died, etc. I mean, she even bought one of those “coffee table books” (pictured to the left) on the subject and has read it cover to cover.  I mean, most people buy those and put them on a coffee table as a decoration!  When she gets interested in something and wants to know more she doesn’t waste time.  Lately, she became interested in learning the whole story behind “The Manson Family” so she headed to the library and checked out “Helter Skelter” (well-written book, I recommend it!).  As a mom, I love watching her chase learning just because she wants to.  Her passion kicks in, and you cannot stop her from learning.  She buries herself in books or movies and won’t stop till she’s satisfied she knows as much as she can learn.

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With hubby, it’s golf and woodworking.  He spends time on Youtube watching “how-to” videos when planning his latest wood working projects.  If it isn’t woodworking videos, it’s golf tutorials.  The weird little tool on the desk in the picture to the right is apparently something to help improve his swing.  I don’t golf so I don’t understand how it works.  Whether it’s a new woodworking project or trying to improve his golf game, hubby isn’t satisfied with “good enough.”  He loves putting in the time to improve his skill with power tools or his score on the golf course.  I’m pretty sure the guys in his golf league appreciate his hard work too!

IMG_20140221_204710_438For me, it’s the theater.  Directing, music directing, acting, . . . whatever it is, I LOVE being in the theater.  I have some cherished memories of shows I’ve directed – a couple of favorites that jump immediately to mind – but each time I get a chance to direct another show, I work to improve the last experience by preparing well ahead, carefully organizing my rehearsal plans, continuing to “tweak” my procedures, etc.  Leave me alone with a new script and a blank legal pad, let me get to work planning the staging and blocking, and I am in my happy place! I am very proud of the shows I have directed in the past, but I know I can always be a better director.  As an actress and pit musician I get chances to watch other directors and I learn from what they do with their shows, borrowing their best ideas and strategies and tweaking those that have potential but don’t quite match my style personally.

Why do I share these seemingly random hobbies with you?  Because they all have one big thing in common – passion.  Not a paycheck. Not the ability to become famous. Not the chance to change the world.  Just the chance to improve our knowledge or increase our skill level at something.  I can say this with confidence – none of us regret the time we’ve invested.  Not even a little bit.  Feeding the passion we have is enough of a reward.  Nothing more is needed.

Education

As I look at the current stated of education – specifically the meddling of government in education – I’m more than a little distraught.  Education is the only field I personally know of where we use untested, unproven strategies and have no idea if they will actually work or not!  From the way the day is structured to the way students are divided by age even to the time of day that school starts, none of it is based on any reliable research.  And yet amazing educators are called to persist in a system that is very broken.  If only there was some way to allow educators to do what was truly best for the students instead of what was most convenient for the money people.

Chasing a Goal!

The first step toward becoming a certified Google Educator. After that, I can focus on becoming a Google Trainer!!

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