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 March, 2015

Quotes

I recently read through a devotional entitled “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyers.  Found a few quotes that jumped out at me and have sort of stuck with me.  Sharing those quotes here!  (All quotes are to be attributed to Joyce Meyers.)

“If the enemy of your mind can convince you that you’re too bad or too worthless, he has set up a stronghold in your mind.”

” . . . Satan is never in a hurry.  All he needs is an opportunity to inject unholy, self-centered thoughts into our heads.  If we don’t kick them out, they stay.  And he can continue his evil, destructive plan.”

“That’s exactly how Satan works.  He begins by bombarding our minds with cleverly devised patterns of irritation, dissatisfaction, doubt, fears, and reasonings.  He moves slowly and cautiously (after all, well-laid plans take time).”

I also just completed a devotional entitled “Praying for Your Elephant – Praying Bold Prayers”.  The quotes below come from that study, written by Pastor Adam Stadtmiller.

“The boundaries of our personal prayer lives often have les to do with biblical restrictions and more to do with the limitations we place on them.”

“The Devil has no ability to contain prayer.  Prayer is spiritually nuclear in nature; it is the raw material of God and His people.  Prayer is out of Satan’s influence.  He has no power to warp or influence a prayer’s trajectory to God’s throne after it has been prayed.  Once a prayer is unleashed, it bounces around eternity in perpetuity, burning before the throne of God like incense.”

“When prayer is primarily about answers, our relationship with God becomes results focused.  When God says no or works outside of our time schedule, we desperately question why and are tempted to feel inadequate or unloved by God.  Be assured that as you grow in the area of asking prayer, the Devil will seek to shift the focus of your prayers from relationship to results.”

“When God answers your prayers in dramatic fashion, you will grow in the knowledge of His power and care for you.  When God works on His schedule instead of yours, you will come to know more about His sustaining power.  And when God says no and your dreams die or perhaps you lose someone close to you, you will come to know the God of all comfort who weeps with you.”

“Here is a truth.  Jesus did not die on a cross so that he could continue to speak to you primarily through some other person, movie, or book.  Christ came and suffered to be known intimately by you and to open up the lines of communication blocked by the fall of mankind.  He came that He might speak mightily and directly to you.  Scripture is clear when it says, ‘Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. (Heb. 4:16)’ It does not say that we are to approach the throne standing behind a human mediator.”

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The Lyrics Understand

One of the best parts of my job as the Choral Department Accompanist at Fort Dodge Senior High is the chance to pull out songs at this time in the year that were first performed in October.  Since the Acapella choir is getting ready for a short tour, it’s time to get those “old” songs polished up and ready for performance.  Yes, they are called “Acapella” and most of what they perform is sung without accompaniment.  But I do occasionally get to join in on the fun! Today we revisited a favorite from the fall.  The piano part is gloriously complex – almost another voice in the piece – which always makes it fun for me!  But, as a life-long musician, the lyrics on this one REALLY hit me in the heart!  The song is a setting of the poem “Listening” by Amy Lowell and the music was written by Dan Forrest (want to give credit where it is due!).  My recreation of the poem is based on the lyrics of the song since the poem was adapted – lines repeated, etc. – to work with the music. The message is simple – each musician brings a piece of herself/himself to the piece they sing. Words and notes on a page are just untapped potential until someone connects with the piece and breathes life, emotion, thought, and ideas into the pitches and rhythms. As the song title says, “You Are the Music”. Enjoy!

‘Tis you that are the music, not your song.
The song is but a door which, op’ning wide,
Lets forth the pent-up melody inside,
Your spirit’s harmony, which clear and strong
Sings but of you.

Throughout your whole life long
Your songs, your thoughts, your doings,
Each divide this perfect beauty;
Waves within a tide, or single notes,
Amid a glorious throng.

The song of earth has many diff’rent chords;
Ocean has many moods, and many tones,
Yet always ocean.

So is this one music,
With a thousand cadences.

‘Tis you that are the music, not your song.
The song is but a door which, op’ning wide,
Lets forth the pent-up melody,
‘Tis you that are the music.

Lets forth the pent-up melody inside,
Your spirit’s harmony which clear and strong
Sings but of you.

Random Thoughts

Every so often I have those days where a number of thoughts chase one another around in my brain.  None of them overly profound, some of them just general thoughts, others related to specific events.  Today has been such a day.  This may be one of my more disjointed posts, but I would like to eventually sleep tonight and getting those thoughts written down somewhere – even if that somewhere is the internet! – is usually a good way to get my brain headed in the direction of quieting down.

Sometimes, at work or in a volunteer setting, you find yourself inheriting a “system” set up by someone else.  This system may be extremely complete and efficient or completely a mess.  Doesn’t matter.  You have to make sure the system works for you.  And sometimes that means re-working the system – throwing out what doesn’t work for you, tweaking the organizational system, etc. – and that’s okay!  Doesn’t mean you don’t respect what came before – just means you want to do the job well!

Occasionally you find your opportunities changing.  Sometimes the change doesn’t feel too good.  There are times that such a feeling doesn’t ever change – sometimes it stinks from start to finish.  But other times?!  What seems to be a negative thing, opens the door to possibilities you hadn’t thought of before.  It’s not that you didn’t love what you WERE doing.  But you can quickly learn to embrace what WILL be happening!

Self-doubt is never productive.  Ever.  Everyone has bad days, everyone wants a do-over every now and then.  But starting to focus on the goofs and the screw ups is never a good way to spend time. Admit mistakes, learn from them, make the necessary changes to move in a more positive direction – but don’t get mired in negativity.  It isn’t good for you or those around you.

Regardless of age, we all need that one place we can go, walk through the door without knocking and say, “I’m here cuz I’ve had a lousy day and I need a hug.”  We were never meant to do this circus called life alone and it can get to be just a bit too much to handle from time to time.  It’s important to find that small circle of super-close friends/family/adopted family that will be there with a hug, some tissues, and your favorite ice cream flavor.

Being a Grownup

For most kids, there are those “exciting” birthdays – the 16th, the 18th, the 21st – and we often find ourselves counting down the days.  As parents, we also get focused on 5 (ready for school), 10 (double digits), 13 (a teenager in my house, what?!) . . . you get the idea.  And many a child or teenager has said, “I can’t wait till I’m a grown up and I can ________________”.  You can fill in the blank for yourself.

But sometimes being a grownup stinks.  Let’s be real.  Paying bills, going to work, car repairs, insurance costs, home maintenance . . . you get the idea.  Despite the belief of children, adults don’t get to do whatever they want.

The toughest part of being a grown up?  Controlling your mouth.  Using tact and diplomacy.  There are times that we simply want to call another person out and let them know EXACTLY what we think of them.  We may even have really juicy weapons/evidence to use against them to advance our own cause and foul up their agenda.  But a grown up doesn’t do that.  A grown up controls his or her tongue and even sometimes has to choose to be the bigger person.  James 3:2 says “We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths.  If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.” (MSG)

It’s not fun.  It isn’t easy.  But it is part of growing up.  Yes, there are times when we need to speak up.  And it’s best if we are diplomatic, tactful, and constructive when we speak.  But there are other times – and in my experience it’s the majority of times – when we must simply keep our mouths shut and let the other person “win”.  And it’s SOOOO hard.  Believe me.  It would be so much easier – quicker, immediately more satisfying, etc. – to simply lower ourselves to the level of the other person and venting everything we know or feel.  Easier, yes.  But wrong.  And immature.

So here’s the lesson learned – love on those who need it, keep a civil tongue in your head even when other’s don’t deserve it, and in the end every piece of truth that is necessary will come to light and those who REALLY matter will figure it all out.  In the process, you will keep your integrity intact and be able to continue loving on those around you.

It’s All Wonderful

Just finished playing for one production.  Performance week is always the big adrenaline rush.  Right up to the bittersweet final performance when a few tears are shed, extra long hugs are given, and you snap a few pictures with your favorite people.  That’s the culmination of all the work.

I went right from that show to directing the FDSH Spring musical.  I’m at the very beginning – teaching choreography, confirming music cuts (if and when they are necessary), giving out the blocking, etc.  It feels like I am forever away from polishing, taking/giving notes after a full run of the show, giving make up and hair the thumbs up (or thumbs down!) . . . the thrill of performance and the stress of tech week seem so far off in the distance.  But I know it will all be here sooner than I think.

Today it was reviewing staging/choreo for tomorrow night’s rehearsal, confirming the assignment of some minor speaking parts, and tweaking music cuts to make a song work just a little bit better for the pit and the actors.  That kind of work can be time-consuming.  And it NEVER gets applause.  But I love even the “tedious” stuff like that.  Teaching the choreo and the blocking can be repetitive but I love to see the progress.  Even when that progress is a baby step forward.  I absolutely adore getting to work with new faces as well seeing how much familiar faces have grown since last year.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, I have had some paperwork/planning to take care of for the summer youth theater program I direct.  Scheduling rehearsals, creating the audition packets, etc.  We are still several weeks out from auditions so the fun is nowhere near beginning for that just yet!

This part isn’t fun.  To most people.  And it definitely isn’t glamorous.  But it is thick with possibility!  With the Senior High show, the pieces are starting to come together.  For the summer program, we are putting some tools in place to increase parental involvement AND we are growing the program in some fun ways!  To an outsider looking in, this is the boring stuff.  But to a theater geek like me?  The excitement has already begun to build and the possibilities of what will be are still in front of me.  To some, this phase of production is seen as a “necessary evil.”  To me, it’s just a different kind of wonderful.

An End . . . And a Beginning

Shows end.  It’s a fact.  Kind of a “duh” statement.  And to be brutally honest, every once in awhile you run into that show that . . . . well, . . . is more of a toil than a treasure.  When that sort of show ends, it’s almost a relief!  But for most of them – for me, anyway – the end of a show is rather sad.  It’s the knowledge that this specific group of people will never be assembled for this exact purpose again.  Oh, you may work with some of those same performers again.  But not on this specific show in this specific time and space.

Such is the story for me right now.  The last performance of “The Drowsy Chaperone” is over and done.  It was my fourth show with Iowa Central Community College.  I’ve loved all four experiences and there have a been a few tears shed as it came to an end tonight.

But I can’t mope for long.  Music rehearsals for “Damn Yankees” have already begun and Saturday morning gave me my first chance to run a rehearsal with some of the cast – choreography, to be specific.  I will miss “my” kids from “Drowsy” – some of them I’ve worked with before, some will be moving on to other experiences next year, and for others it was my first time working with them.  But as much as I will miss the cast, the production team, my spot in the pit . . . it’s time to move on!

“Damn Yankees” rehearsal will start to occupy my time and I couldn’t be more excited!!  It’s my sixth show with Fort Dodge Senior High and it’s the largest cast I’ve worked with at FDSH.  Choreo is underway, music rehearsals have been held, the parent volunteer meeting is set for Monday . . . while I say goodbye to one show, it’s time to turn my focus and energy to another.  Not much down time really . . . and I wouldn’t have it any other way!!

Eyelids Propped Open

It’s that time of the year again.  The cast of “The Drowsy Chaperone” performed this morning for a large group of middle schoolers.  That means no rehearsal tonight.  Trust me, that isn’t a bad thing.  One last “dress rehearsal with an audience” during the day instead of running late into the night right before we open?!  Kind of brilliant for resting some worn out performers.

I’m tired.  I mean, “I-can-barely-keep-my-eyes-open-and-I’m-not-sure-how-I’m-still-holding-my-head-up” tired.  This night owl may find herself in bed surprisingly early tonight.

But, as I say every time a show gets to this point, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.  And by “it” I mean . . .

. . . getting to work with some of “my kids” again.

. . . pushing myself to conquer those difficult musical passages.

. . . hearing the positive comments from the audience members about how well the actors did.

. . . hearing the same jokes and laughing just as hard as I did the first time.

. . . that moment near the end when an amazing young actor brings tears to my eyes.

. . . the hugs, the smiles, the words of encouragement from both cast and audience.

. . . the knowledge that even if this particular show is done a thousand more times in a thousand different places, it will never be exactly THIS show with THIS pit.

Yes, this crazy theater life wears me out.  Yes, I would have more free time in my evenings if I stopped doing shows.  But I wouldn’t be nearly as content as I am right in this moment.

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