Wednesday, December 27, 2006

At long last, an update.

Yes. It is shameful the amount of time that has passed since I have last blogged. But I warned y'all that November and December would be INSANE and I spent what little free time I had during those months doing frivolous things such as...sleeping. But suffice it to say- we've all survived and for the most part, had a great time. Some of the highlights....

-It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play- opened to mostly great reviews. It's a warm and fuzzy show. Lessons learned:
# 1-Grant Goodeve is a great guy- but he has a seriously twisted sense of humor.
# 2-Although a fabric may be darn pretty and have pretty twinkly sequin snowflakes on it, if it's synthetic- it is also pretty darn prone to capturing body odor like nobody's business. Several trips to the drycleaner later- I have learned not to be seduced by sparkly snowflakes. My deepest apologies and condolences to Lisa- who had to wear the dress (she looked fantastic) and to Grant- who stood very close to her for much of the show.

-The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge- opened to good audiences and good reviews in Tacoma. Financially, TAG's proverbial bacon was saved- and the powers that be learned lessons in regards to- “Yes, Virginia, you really do need to have a full time person working in the costume shop so that guest designers do not have mental breakdowns.”
Lessons learned:
# 1- Problem children actors are still problem children actors a year later.
# 2- When it's blizzard conditions during tech and it's a 40 mile drive one way- it is always best to ride with a friend. (Thanks Scott and Pam!)
# 3- It's not as far as we think to a mental meltdown during the holidays. Thanks to God for grace and to Stephanie for saving my tush by doing all the last minute costume notes because I couldn't get to Tacoma.

-Four touring shows opened and were highly successful.
Lesson learned:
#1- Christmas touring shows are much easier than school touring. Merry Christmas to me.

-The Creche Collector- our play at church was awesome!
Lessons learned:
# 1- there really is nothing worse than a bad church play. Thank you, Lord, that this wasn't a bad church play. Thank you, Jeff, for holding the bar so high.
# 2- This is the second time I've been cast as a mean old lady....hmmmm....
# 3- I am very grateful for all the friends, memories, laughter and good times we've had.
# 4- I am also very thankful for all the people at church who are surprised that I played "Aunt Pookie" because I am "too pretty" in real life.
# 5- Playing mean old ladies is REALLY, REALLY fun.

Other lessons learned during the holidays:

#1- I have a great husband.
#2- Don't assume that when you see 7 of something in a store that you want to buy your great husband in November that it will be there when you go back in December- even if the same 7 items have been sitting on the shelf for the past year.
#3- Amazon is my friend. They always have the item, and can get it to you the week before Christmas- which makes aforementioned great husband happy.
#4- Not all fonts will willingly load to computers and print for a Christmas letter- plan accordingly.
#5- Buy Christmas wrapping and cards the year before. Less spendy.
#6- Cake and cookie mixes and canned frosting make people just as happy as making things from scratch. If it comes from an oven instead of a store, people think you are Martha Stewart.
#7- Seattle's monorail NEVER works.
#8- Enjoying downtown Christmas shopping in Seattle would be less stressful in early December instead of a few days before Christmas.
#9- Sometimes white elephant gifts are really a hoot. (see the Jesus/Mary clock on my husband's blog)
#10- Jesus is really the reason for the season.

Other things that have happened in the past couple of months:
#1- My parents moved from Illinois to Iowa. They are the "babies" in a senior citizen condo complex.
#2- The cats got sick. Max because, well, we don't know- but he's better and Mickey got sick for eating everything not nailed down that we were trying to get Max to eat. Little glutton.
#3- A visit to the Dead Sea Scrolls. It’s amazing how much the passages of these are so close to the ones in the Bible. Very cool stuff.
#4- A joyous Christmas spent with members of our new church family. Affectionately referred to as “The Festival of Gluttony.” A turkey dinner, snacks and a 5 course prime rib dinner were among the highlights.

….And a partridge in a pear tree……. So now I head into a more quiet couple of months. The first two shows of the season are small and easy. We are remounting one of last years touring shows- things won’t start getting crazy until March. Marty and I are hoping to go to Hawaii in February to visit his friend Karen and her family before they move this summer. It’ll be a nice way to celebrate birthdays and our first anniversary. This first year has FLOWN by- it’s still great being married! Well- that’s all for now- I wish you and yours a very blessed and happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

All apparition parts present and accounted for...

Found him- that pesky ghost of Christmas Future- of course, the box was in a very obvious spot with all the touring clothes- where else would it be? With the rest of the Scrooge costumes? Nonsense! That would actually be practical. OY. I am just thankful Future has all his parts now. It's quite the ordeal- he is about 7'6" tall with all his parts, and I don't really want to have to rebuild him. If you'll excuse me, I need to go do the happy dance.

I have lost the head of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come....

Seriously. And what a heckuva thing to lose. I've lost his mind, and his hands, and his shoulders. I know they are SOMEWHERE- but heck if I know where. This is a dilemma. I am up to my eyeballs in Christmas shows- I really need those body parts to reappear. They are in a box tucked away in an obvious spot, I am sure. Sigh. I pray that they appear in a timely manner.

Meanwhile, I've been playing Christmas music to try and get pumped up to get these shows done, it's a little funky listening to "It's a Marshmallow World" before Halloween. But we do what we have to do. So far, all shows seem to be going well (THANK YOU, JESUS!) with the exception of the stray apparition parts.

We are also getting ready for Halloween. We're participating in the Trunk or Treat at church- we're doing a pirate theme- and we're doing it RIGHT! I am quite excited, the treasure chest appeared today- the wigs are done, costumes pulled, pumpkins (to be dressed as pirates) purchased. I am looking forward to it.

And that's life. Christmas in October. Glory.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Christmas time is here....

Well, we survived Arms and the Man. And after miles and miles of trim, the soldiers look Bulgarian and don't look like they are fighting the war of Northern Aggression. The show actually looks pretty darn good. And that, as Martha says, is a "good thing." I'd hate to have gone through all that drama and have it all look like crap. So the show is up and running and life goes on.

And how does life go on? Why, it's Christmas time again. Yep, not quite October and it's time to break out the Christmas music to "get in the mood." We had poster shoots for It's a Wonderful Life Radio Play this week and next week, the show loads into the shop. Costumes are designed, patterns are ordered- stitchers are scheduled. Ta da. I went shopping last week and found some fabu vintage ties in red and green, of course. I think this show will be quite fun- and a great deal less complicated than the last show. But that's probably good because there are FOUR touring shows that need to be put together at the same time. We're also remounting The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge in Tacoma and just found out the lady who wears the most costumes dropped out. Not a problem except the director wants to cast someone half her size. Well, that just means a raise for me and that I will be "in tech" for about a month. Que sera, sera. I just love Doris Day.

I had visions of homemade Christmas gifts this year- but between all the shenanigans at work and the Christmas play at church- I am not sure that will happen. In the meantime, today is my day OFF and I really don't know what to do with myself. There are many projects that need doing, but somehow, I want to be a bum. Until next time...ttfn.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The uniform saga continues....

...Seriously. Will it EVER end? Today- I am madly sewing trim so those Bulgarian, Russian and Serbian officers don't look like they are fighting the war of Northern Aggression. Yep- we're making General Grant and General Lee look like they're from central Europe. I thought this nasty chapter of my life was over...but, alas, it is not. At this point- I don't even want to see the show- how is THAT for a terrible attitude? Bad Sarah. I am trying- but I am running on the pure grace of God at this point. Hopefully- I will have something other than uniforms consuming my life soon. TTFN

Monday, September 11, 2006

Victory over Bulgarian Officer Uniforms!!

Granted, this is not an issue most people face in their lives. But over the past couple months, I have been on a quest for Victorian era Bulgarian officers uniforms. Seriously. We need them for our production of Arms and the Man which dresses, oh, on Friday. As of last Thursday- still no uniforms. I was going crazy. Finding these stupid uniforms had pretty much taken over my life.

Back in beginning of August, I thought about trying to have them built. It would be great to have some in stock. That didn't work out since most uniform companies are madly building band uniforms this time of year. So we decided- renting it is. Ok- so I contact the 3 biggest rental houses in the US- one in New York City (which I used to frequent when I was in Philly) and 2 in LA- no luck. The people in other theatres in town SWEAR they got their uniforms from LA when they did Arms and the Man. And that may very well be, but the other challenge we are facing is that one of the actors we are trying to find a uniform for is 6'6" and another is 6'3"- for anyone who has ever rented or borrowed, they know that most uniforms are TINY. So this has been another...ahem... challenge(pain in my tush). And since I am not designing this show, there has also been a lot of confusing third party communication with our very busy guest designer. And to top it all work, our server crashed so I did not have access to any of the responses to the 20+ inquiries I sent out as of last week. Needless to say, I had the entire company praying like crazy- and I prayed, but quite frankly, I was too busy trying to find those DANG UNIFORMS!

Thankfully- on Thursday afternoon and into Friday morning- I began working with a wonderful group of people at a rental house in New York called "The Costumer." These ladies, Anne and Erika- have been a delight to work with. And while the uniforms are not the uniforms of our dreams, they are in the ballpark and they FIT and with a little strategic trim- they will be the uniforms of our dreams. AND (God is good- ALL the time) they turned out to cost much less than originally quoted- which means we won't go over budget! Huzzah! Suffice it to say- I've spent the majority of time over the past 2 weeks working on this project and if I never see another uniform, I'll be a happy girl. But that is a very unrealistic expectation in my line of work. I am just happy we found them, in fact, I feel like a 50lb. weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I have actually slept through the night the past few days.

I wish I could say I was calm and full of peace and grace during this process, but I think I pretty much flunked that. I am thankful for my husband, who was surprisingly patient and supportive and extremely thankful for God- who didn't love me any less during that time than He does when I am calm and full of peace and grace. I find that concept mind boggling and extremely comforting. I really tried to be full of calm and peace and joy- blah, blah, blah. But- sadly, the flesh won out in that battle. I have repented and moved on- but oh, how I hate it when I behave badly- especially when non-believers are involved. Oh well.

In other news- we auditioned for the Christmas play at Northwest yesterday. I actually had a great time. Poor Marty was very nervous- but I thought he did great- and I say that with my "director brain" vs. my "wife heart." There was a scene he did with another lady- a difficult scene- and there was so much beautiful subtlety in it- I was really impressed. Amazingly enough, the role I had the most fun with was "Aunt Pookie" who really is a mean old biddy- and I was the youngest to read for her. But she's a hoot to play. "I guess I should be ashamed that I didn't love him. But I'm not." She really is a mean old biddy.

I am intrigued to see what happens. The group of folks who auditioned look like a fun group to get involved with- they are big fun. And I am DELIGHTED to not be the one in charge, after directing Christmas plays for 5 years running (in addition to acting, designing and building sets and costumes and lights- egad) and then having to block the variety shows (snooze) for 3 more years after that. Running a drama ministry is exhausting and draining. Right now, I am just happy to be part of the team and leave the running, directing and managing to someone else.

So that's all the news here. Life feels pretty good today. Mostly because we have victory over those dang uniforms. Funny what makes you lose your peace, isn't it?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Touching base....

For the whole 2 people that read my blog... yes, I am still here. It is August and we in the Taproot Costume Shop are up to our eyeballs. This week we are still working on Arms and the Man (rehearsals start tonight) I have fittings for the new Road Company shows and the summer camps are doing the musical Jane Eyre. And that is just this week. But this too, shall pass. By December, I'll be sitting around eating bon-bons. Ha.

Over the weekend Marty and I celebrated our 6 month anniversary. It seems like no time and all the time in the world and I don't understand how that works. Marty made me a great video that made me can check it out on his blog- it's posted there. We ate a high priced steak dinner (excellent) and went book shopping. All in all, a very good night. I really appreciate my husband- he's a really great guy. He's going through some hard stuff spiritually right now, and I am plumb wore out praying for him until the wee hours for the past month or so, but he's worth it! I love him so very much. He's a trooper. His loyalty and faithfulness to anything (people, art, work) he puts his hand, heart and soul to never ceases to amaze me.

In other news, well, there really isn't any other news. I have lots of thoughts rolling about in my head spiritually. I finally finished "What's so Amazing about Grace?" by Philip Yancey- and it's a darn good read. The final chapters had some very interesting things to say about the church and politics- very thought provoking and truthful...and balanced. I had a bit of a "glimmer" of revelation of where and why "the church" has gone wonky. I started his book, "The Jesus I never knew" this morning and I am looking forward to another good tushy-kicker.

I've been very challenged as of late to really start taking care of people. I am not sure how this will manifest- but I want to look past myself and my own and start taking care of those who need help. I don't know what opportunities will present themselves, but I am watchful. I have been pondering "adopting" some AIDS orphans in Africa, $25 a month to keep someone alive and schooled doesn't seem like now, it's a matter of how many? I just don't know- but I feel very challenged to get down off my soapbox and start living as a christian should. I still have my "issues" with the church, but I am tired of thinking, analyzing and re-hashing all of it. I'd rather be the one who changes people's minds about Christ and christians than one who just gripes about the church all the time. I am sick of listening to myself. I just want to be the person Jesus died for- the person He wants me to be. I have no idea how to do that- I feel pretty far over my head- but I am going to try. And make mistakes. And try again. And try again. And trust that His mercies are new everyday- because I think I am going to need it even more than I already do now.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Insanity ensues...

Well, it suddenly occurred to me that I haven't blogged in awhile- and it's because the August-November/December insanity at Camp Taproot is in full swing. It's amazing- but I bet I do about 70% of my job in this time frame. Currently, we're working on building costumes for Arms and the Man- set in 1870's Bulgaria. Let me tell you- ordering clothing from Bulgaria is not as easy as it sounds. Nope- not a bit. I must confess I am enjoying working with our guest designer, Carisa- she's one of the first people who befriended me when I moved to Seattle and we just have a grand time being girls together. It makes the process that much more enjoyable. We had a grand time shopping for fabric in Portland in spite of spending about 9 hours in the car during that day.

I am also getting 2 new Road Company shows together that need to be done by the first week of September- always exciting- the Road Company shows. Next year, we're hiring someone to do the Road Company so that I can devote myself to designing and building the Importance of Being Earnest. Big Fun. We are also extending the run of Smoke on The Mountain (check out Marty's blog for details) so that's usually got some work involved on a daily basis. Suffice it to say, I am certainly not bored. Smoke has been getting great audiences- who sing through most of Act II and great reviews. My personal favorite review comes from the Seattle Gay News- and I think it's brilliant that it comes from the Seattle Gay News- they actually reviewed the play instead of doing a plot summary (do those kind of reviews drive anyone else up a wall?)

As if that weren't enough to do, we start pre-production for Christmas next week. Yep. Christmas. At Taproot this year- we are doing "It's a Wonderful Life Radio Play" starring (yep- get ready for it) GRANT GOODEVE as George Bailey. Admit it, you watched him on Eight is Enough and Fantasy Island. We're all pretty excited about it. Usually, we can't afford him- don't know what changed about that- but he's in the Christmas show. Hard to believe I'll have the delight of taking his inseam measurement. Wahoo. Seriously though, I have worked with enough "names" to know they're just normal folk- some are very nice, and some aren't. I hear Grant falls in the former category. Now I am just 2 degrees separated from BIBLE MAN. Rock on!

We are also remounting The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge at TAG in Tacoma this year- should be fun- hopefully not too much work (we have mostly the same cast) and the extra paycheck at Christmas will be welcome. We also have 3 touring shows that need to be ready to go by the first week of December. If you see a quivering heap in the corner of Taproot's Costume shop around Thanksgiving, no worries, it's just me. Actually- I am sure it'll all be fine- just have to take it a day at a time and flow the best you can. Still, it's a lot of plates spinning and "real life" continues as well.

We're not sure what we're doing for the holidays- might go to Florida if we can swing it- time to start the "family holiday juggle" that accompanies marriage. Thankfully- we have very understanding parents- so hopefully, it'll all work out.
So that's about it for us-for me, if you don't hear me blog for awhile- now you know why, my husband is pretty good about blogging the highlights of our lives- so check him out. He's pretty darn funny too. We'll be married 6 months on the 19th- feels like forever and it feels like yesterday- still love him big bunches.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The church I am looking for....

So my husband did this HUUUUGEEEE blog about the kind of church he's looking for. It's pretty interesting and I am in agreement with him- but that got me thinking- what am I looking for in a church? So here goes (this is an ever changing process so bear with me....)

1. A Church where Christ is Lord. Everything points to Him always and amen.

2. A place where culture doesn't have equal footing with Christ- seriously. Been there- done that- it's idolatry. I think this push towards "relevance" can cloud issues- not that it's not important to meet people where they are- it is- but Jesus did that. It is the Holy Spirit who touches people's hearts- not how trendy we dress or how cool our music is.

3. Cool music, I know, I know- I am contradicting myself. But I love to worship. I love worship teams who worship instead of singing songs. I think if people were more concerned with meeting God and ushering in His presence than with the mix in the monitor...well, interesting things would happen.

4. A place of outreach- concerned with more than us four. Seriously- a place where people are welcome no matter what. I, for one, am thankful Jesus didn't expect me to get all shiny and happy before He let me accept Him- or before I was accepted. I am seeking a place that looks to the community and the world- not to bang them over the head with a Bible or condemn them- but to take care of them. I find it fascinating that the Seattle region seems to have a consistent heart for Africa- it's pretty amazing. I want to see missions- local and international.

5. A House of Prayer. If this is a top priority.... Wow. God shows up. 'Nuff said.

6. A place that is genuine. I won't get on my soapbox of "shiny happy christians"- but I want to be somewhere where it's ok to struggle and be in process and for other people to know it's ok too- a place of extreme grace.

7. A place of friends- to be genuine and seek God with- and to laugh a lot.

Well, that's the short list. It's out there somewhere. We'll find it. I gotta go- I am late for church.
God Bless.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I know, I's a link- to a very interesting essay on "health" of the spiritual variety- I just find it fascinating and I am relieved to find I am not the only one pondering this issue in our culture of megachurches and "beautiful people." Seriously- read the essay- here's a glimpse....

Dallas Willard writes, "So we must see from our heart that: Blessed are the physically repulsive, Blessed are those who smell bad, The twisted, misshapen, deformed, The too big, too little, too loud, The bald, the fat, and the old- For they are all riotously celebrated in the party of Jesus."


"Picture again the coffee-clutch: twelve beautiful people sitting in a comfortable room talking about God. A group of twelve healthy persons who are only healthy because they purposely exclude any persons with messy lives is not a healthy community. The cliché is that “the dead sea is dead because it has no outlet.”


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The truth about 4 letter words....

I read this yesterday, and it had the quite profound impact on me. The speaker is Tony Campolo and he's speaking at a Christian College, probably several years ago...

"The United Nations reports that over 10,000 people starve to death each day, and most of you don't give a shit. However, what is even more tragic is that most of you are more concerned about that fact that I just said a bad word than you are about the fact that 10,000 people are going to die today."

And, ain't that the truth with most church folks? Sadly, he did get several letters regarding his bad language- and not a single letter addressing the issue of people dying.

Seriously, in my past, there have been times that this kind of attitude has been very prevalent with me...and I deeply repent those times. I'm thankful that God is making me more aware of what is truly important than the petty issues we all seem to get caught up in. This statement got me to pondering legalism. The interesting thing about legalists is that they don't think they are being legalistic- seriously. They are earnest and sincere. (I was) And I thought about the lure of legalism. It's extremely seductive. Philip Yancey says that "legalism disguises our need to receive grace." He also states that the opposite of sin is grace, not virtue. Interesting. I think legalism, in whatever form it comes in, don't drink, don't chew- don't go with girls that do, etc. etc.... is very comforting. There is a set of guidelines to follow and you know what to do to be "righteous." For instance, my legalism took the form of: read at least 3 chapters of the Bible everyday, journal, pray for an hour, submit to authority without question, dress a certain way, you can drink- but not too much, you can't be alone with a person of the opposite sex, etc. etc...and that is what defined my christianity. Some of these things were actually good things- but if you missed a day or screwed up-you felt like you were a bad christian...well, there's no life in that. I think many people get sucked into that kind of thinking because the concept of grace is SO mindblowing and legalism is easier to wrap your brain around. There are little checkpoints that you have to make sure you're doing everything right.

Philip Yancey also states, "By it's very nature, legalism encourages hypocrisy because it defines a set of behavior that may cloak what is going on inside." How true is this? We've all been taken aback by the news that someone's marriage is falling apart or something horrible is going on- and we had no idea that was happening. That-serial-killer-seemed-like-such-a-nice-fellow-syndrome. I think that shiny-happy-christianity is a perfect breeding ground for legalism. You know what is expected of you- and you can make the outside match-up even if the inside is a disaster. Thank God for His infinite mercy and grace- even for we recovering legalists.

My dad once called me "self-righteous"- I think it's probably the most hurtful thing he has ever said to me. And I think, he was right. I was self-righteous- with the best intentions. Legalism is such a clever trap- so seductive- so easy to fall into.

Right now, I don't feel righteous at all- and that's probably not a bad place to be. I think the confusion that I've been dealing with recently finds it's roots in legalism and religion- not in Christ- not in my faith in my Abba Father- but in things that man has twisted out of whack. Currently, we are not tightly involved in any particular church- we do have a church we have been attending regularly- but we haven't been there long enough to know the culture or anything like that. I feel like I am flailing about like a fish out of water. But yesterday, I had the revelation that - at the moment- there are no "legalistic" pressures around me. And subconsciously, I think I've been seeking that- something to tell me that I'm ok- that I'm doing what I am supposed to be doing. There are no expectations really placed on me- so I don't know what to do. I've been going crazy trying to meet expectations that don't exist. It's exhausting. So now, I really just need to pursue God and find out what HIS expectations are- and I have a pretty good idea about that- it's all in THE BOOK.

I am not sure, but I don't think I am the only one who gets off track once in a while, or more than once in awhile. But I am thankful for the revelation of Holy Spirit to get me back on track and renew my mind.

I believe every denomination has it's own brand of legalism- no one is immune. If you think you're immune, you might be legalistic. Legalism pulls us away from the truth. It pulls us away from intimacy with Jesus and pulls us away from what God has called us to do...The Great Commandment and The Great Commission. It's much easier to get all indignant about a cuss word, tattoo or hem length and puff ourselves up with self-righteousness than it is to love and bless that person who cut you off in traffic or held up the grocery checkout line forever. Legalism also creates division in the Body of Christ- which is tragic. I guess it's a lifelong battle- one I choose to keep fighting.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Confusion runs amuck in my mind....

I spent last week with friends from my past. It's been quite the experience. We had lots of fun- but I got nervous whenever discussion turned to anything "spiritual." These discussions sent a lot of things that I have sorted out in the past year back into the windmills of my mind- and they're spinning very fast.
I came from a prosperity/abundance church culture- and I've been really examining my thinking in regard to what God means by prosperity and abundance. Things started seeming a little wacky to me- and I began to wonder about it- so I began to think, and read my Bible, and think some more. And I believe there were some things in my old way of thinking that were off track. I have come to believe that having "life abundantly" means something different than it is usually preached. How about abundant struggles? abundant character building? abundant prayer? abundant sacrifice? You don't hear too many messages preached about that sort of thing- it usually comes back to material goods and being successful- as the world sees successful. Those kind of messages make folks feel warm and fuzzy and hopeful. But the Bible says you cannot serve Jesus and mammon- and I think that particular line has been blurred quite a bit. Messages that preach that kind of abundance and prosperity seem to me to be more self-help motivation talks than actually studying the Word.
I have nothing against having money. Really. In fact, I much prefer to have money than to not- I have been on both sides of the fence in that regard.
I don't know how to respond to messages of that kind of prosperity anymore. Truly. Sometimes, I get fearful that I am missing something or am missing out on what God is doing. Am I in rebellion? That is a question I often ask myself. Am I apathetic? I think I probably am- a little- just as a response to all the "church culture" and hullabaloo- Or am I guilty of ACEDIA- another word closely related to sloth- that involves not being obedient to what God has called me to for any number of reasons (excuses). AM I OFF TRACK??????
The desire of my heart is to know what truth is- to be intimate with God, to be intimate with Jesus and the Holy Spirit and to be obedient. I find that I don't need to do GREAT THINGS FOR GOD (oh dear, is that apathy? sloth? acedia?) and yet, I don't want to miss out on my potential either- it's all terribly perplexing sometimes. Everyone has an opinion. Am I tapped into the right ones? Should I be living life just on a daily basis, taking things as they come and doing my best to be obedient and glorify God in that moment? Or, should I be prophesying, evanglizing and attempting to do GREAT THINGS FOR GOD? I just don't know.
Sometimes, I feel like I am quite capable of doing great things for God, I have many wonderful and amazing stories of Him and of His faithfulness in my journey. But there seem to be so many people wanting to do GREAT THINGS FOR GOD- that I wonder- who is doing the small things that still need doing? They are probably just as important to Him. But that seems to counter a lot of what I have heard and have been taught. Am I missing something? Many people think these big fancy "prosperous" preachers are all that and a bag of chips- and I am very skeptical. Am I on crack? Am I crazy to think that God's blessing is something more than the American Dream with Jesus and a side of fries? That I think that God's blessing is the privilege of being created and cooperating with Him to get His purposes accomplished here on earth? That I can trust Him to take care of me no matter what? That my walk with Him is about making me more Christlike in my character than it is in being rich to "advance the kingdom of God" or in my owning real estate? Am I crazy to believe what the Bible says about the best things are yet to come? I get tired of the "name it and claim it" mentality- I believe in standing in faith on the promises of God- but do I have the right to make demands of Him- like He's Santa or something? I believe in the authority given to me by Jesus- but sometimes, I don't know- that privilege seems to be abused and used in weird ways. It's a pity that WWJD became so cliche- so watered down- because sometimes, in daily life- that would be a good thing to ask ourselves. Really, what would Jesus do? How would He treat this particular person? What would He say or give in this particular situation? Grrrr- excuse my rambling- my thoughts are all topsy turvy this week.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

And so it begins.....

That's one of my favorite lines from The Lord of the Rings- spoken by one of my favorites, Theoden (for the record, I find his moments with Eowyn some of the most beautiful in all the movies). In this case, the "it" is the insanity that begins in June and won't end until well after Thanksgiving. It's so odd, the first 6 months here at the theatre aren't exactly quiet- but it's not crazy, it's steady. Now, as we approach the end of June, we're getting ready to strike The Foreigner, get Smoke on the Mountain up (mid- July) start Arms and the Man in July and somewhere in all that we will keep the Acting Studio summer camps dressed, mount 2 new touring shows and start production meetings for Christmas (2 shows) and get the 2007 season decided, planned and budgeted. And that's just before September. In September we will be finishing up Arms and the Man, starting production on 2 Christmas shows (It's a Wonderful Life Radio Play here at Taproot and The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge at TAG) and getting ready to send out 3 touring shows, all of which will be completed by Thanksgiving. Seriously- it makes my head spin just thinking about it. We survived last year- so I am sure we'll sail through this year no worries. I am a little worried that we have no summer intern in the costume shop- whose primary responsibility is the summer camps- we had a fabulous intern last year. She raised the bar and went way above and beyond the call of duty- those kids and directors had a great experience costume-wise. This year? We'll see what happens. I don't know that there's enough of me to go around. So...I pray to not become overwhelmed and to be able to keep everything moving forward with as much joy as possible.
In other news, my friend, Debra Parker, is coming to visit next week. We shall enjoy traipsing about Seattle having a great time. I also have some extended family coming to visit who we'll be dining with next Wednesday. It's a pity that there's nothing to do....
I'd love just a few minutes of boredom.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I was laying in bed the other night- praying, unable to sleep and had this revelation- which led to some repentance- the boohooing variety- about how arrogant I have been in the past in regard to prayer. I had wrong thinking that knowing Jesus gave me the right to go to God and demand what I want. I think I misconstrued that "boldly before the throne of grace" thing and I left out the grace part. We can come boldly- but with humility- if that makes sense. I guess I just keep thinking about what Randy Rowland said about churches that teach holding God to His promises- Randy said he didn't recommend that kind of thinking. God is sovereign. That stuck with me. I have had some teaching to that effect. And I realized that it's so presumptuous. And I realized that I have been presumptuous. God is sovereign. I keep coming back to the image of the parent with the whiny teenager going, "But you promised!" What good parent would give in to that?
I don't know- I am still trying to figure it all out. The more I seek, the more I see it's all about grace. Everything is grace. We went to see Les Mis last night at the 5th Ave Theatre. It was wonderful. As a play and as a story. I didn't realize how much God was in it. Les Mis was so much about grace- it blew my mind. It was so beautiful. The grace given to Valjean and that he proceeded to extend to others was gorgeous. And was he perfect? Hardly. A flawed human being walking in grace. It was...words fail me. But we are flawed humans walking in grace. How often do we extend it?
And I think- Jesus was grace- not making demands of His Father, but cooperating with His Father's will. "Not my will but Yours, Father." That is what Jesus wanted. And He had all the authority and power in the world. I think there have been times in my life- that I have been so proud and arrogant about being a christian- and I see the damage that arrogance does- to people, to the reputation of Christ- and I think- how awful to have been a part of that. And I was a part of that. I don't want to be a wimpy christian- but I don't want to be religious and militant either (and I have been both) I guess I am learning what the balance is. Sometimes, it feels like I am going crazy. I think the whole "good christian" thing is ingrained in me as a performance thing- and I don't pray enough, read enough, give enough, care enough, love enough.... and I don't know what to do about it- in my own strength- I just can't. So I am choosing to trust God. He knows who He created me to be. He will be faithful to walk me through this crisis of faith. I will do my best to be faithful to Him. And because of His almighty GRACE- I trust that it will all be alright in the end.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Grace in a busy world.

Grace. What is it? Heck if I know. But I am determined to find out. Philip Yancey's book, What's so Amazing about Grace? has some excellent examples of grace and some interesting commentary about how grace and christianity relate to each other. In theory- they reality...not so much. I am on a quest to get a handle and a revelation of grace. That is my goal- why? So that I can "share the love" if you will. How can I, as a christian, extend grace if I don't "get it?"
Salvation is grace. It's probably the best example there is. Jesus took all my crap on himself and paid the price for it. Wow. He wrote His name over mine for all the bad stuff I've ever done. That is AMAZING! He loved me at my most unlovable. Wow. And believe me, there were some VERY unlovable moments along the way. I guess in my quest for "truth," I discovered that truth, Jesus style, goes hand in hand with grace.
I am tired of "performance christianity" where every denomination has it's own set of spoken or unspoken rules of how to be a "good christian." Really- what the heck? The set of rules I come from includes: be at church every time the doors open; give more than your tithe and if you don't double your giving (at least) every year-you lack faith; get your nails done; wear trendy clothing; drink coffee; be "relevant" (I think I am too much of a geek to be "relevant"- I just want to be truthful and true to who God has created me to be) set aside a specific amount of time to spend with God every day to pray and read the word (seriously, what a way to set yourself up to fail) never question authority (even if there's something morally questionable happening)- if you question authority, it's rebellious and dishonors those God has placed above you...and the list goes on. Anyone who doesn't think this way- well, they may be christians, but obviously, they are on the JV team.
Sad to say- I really used to think that way. Seriously- my mind got so small. And God's grace is so very big. I think that's how grace disappears- you get busy trying to be good- even doing good things. Then- there is no room for grace in your life. I don't want to live that way. I have friends who are overwhelmed with their lives and if God wanted to talk to them, well, short of a burning bush, He couldn't get a word in edgewise. What I've realized is this. He is SOVEREIGN. He is ALMIGHTY. He is EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME and if we'd just be still- we'd recognize the grace that is all around us and in us. This is the longing of my heart. Jesus personified grace- and I am not giving up until I really have a revelation of what grace is. I'm done being busy.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

In whose image?

I've been reading Gregory Maguire's Son of a Witch. Today I read a section of it that struck me as a profound comment on popular Christianity and trends that we see happening in churches...
"In our house, we profess to believe that the Unnamed God has made us in it's likeness and its image, and this should have enlarged us to be like the Unnamed God. I fear in the Emerald City, they have remade the Unnamed God in their image, and that has belittled and betrayed the deity. Can the Unnamed God be belittled, you ask. No, of course not. But the deity can go unrecognized, and return to mystery... The Unnamed God retreats into mystery, and is not especially localized in my heart, my dears. Nor in the Emporer's. The mystery is as equally in your heart as in mine, and in...the spirit of the trees and the...the music of water. That sort of thing. In the memory of our elders. In the hope for the newborn."
I don't think Emerald City is the only place with this problem. We have a tendency to try to make God more like us- to like the things we like, to approve of the thinking and behavior we approve of, to be religious like we are religious...and we've got it all wrong. There is a reason that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. I am thankful for that. And I am pursuing my quest to find out His ways and thoughts and walk it out the best way I know how.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Salvation vs. Embarrassment

This is a topic that I have been pondering this week. We went to church at Northwest Passage on Sunday night- I enjoyed myself immensely. The message was based on Romans 1- where Paul talks about how he is not ashamed of the gospel. The preacher went on to talk about that Paul didn't think of the gospel as "the good news" but as the person of Jesus Christ. The gospel wasn't an "it," it was a "He." I just thought that was interesting. I don't know that I have ever really thought about it from that perspective. It got me thinking, am I ashamed of the gospel? Are we as Christians ashamed of the gospel? Have we become too relevant for the gospel? I struggle with the self- centeredness of many churches and the quest for "their best life now." I have been reading and noticing that I am not the only one picking up on this. It's become more about us than it is about Jesus and what he instructed us to do. As we visit churches, the one thing I ask myself is this- does everything that is going on point back to Jesus? If it doesn't- if it points back to "self"...Houston, there is a problem. I think the reason churches hurt their "children" is they lose track of Jesus and who He is. When churches get more caught up in who they are instead of who He is- then the balance gets thrown off and people get hurt. I think it's the same on an individual level as well. Isn't it interesting that we don't need to be taught to be selfish? Why are we more interested in a gimmick or a theme or a program than we are in the true gospel- the person of Jesus Christ? If we truly know Him, and His love and His power- wow. The power of the person of Jesus Christ and our salvation- it is stronger than anything- but how often do we forget that? How often do we get caught up in programs and culture and being seeker sensitive? There are several questions like this that swirl in my mind. And I am tired of them swirling. It makes me tired. Tired of catchy slogans and programs and culture. all this noise is crowding out my knowledge of the gospel. I just want to know Jesus.
The preacher also talked about how Romans 1:17 talks about how the righteous live by faith. Righteous meaning right with God, live life abundantly and faith. And he said something in passing that really hit me- faith is trusting God...with EVERYTHING. Trusting Him with my life, the lives of those I love...trusting Him with the state of our unjust world. Trusting Him with His imperfect Bride that He loves so much- even though we don't understand why. It's a pretty big concept to wrap your brain around. I'm still wrapping....Well, my beloved husband is here...'tis time for groceries.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Still Moving....

Well, the great mighty move across the hall continues. I spent the morning scrubbing the bathroom and working on the kitchen. The tiny old lady who used to live there wasn't very tall, and everything she couldn't reach is very dirty. Actually, things in general are quite grimy and taking a bit more scrubbing than anticipated at first glance. Thankfully it's just the bathroom and kitchen that need a good scrubbing and the bathroom is done. This is the part of the move that I DON'T enjoy. I am a bit overwhelmed in trying to keep up with all the paperwork of the move, legistics of dealing with the manager, calling everyone to get addresses changed, trying to get help with the move and whatnot. The physical moving is not a big deal- but I find all that legistical musical chairs very stressful and frustrating, especially since it usually involves spending several hours on the phone. I think it's harder this time- since it's been a whopping 10 days since we decided we were moving so everything has been a bit accelerated. So today, I need to get all the utilities moved and changed over and get the kitchen finished so that we can move in. I am feeling quite overwhelmed today. But I am sure it will be better tomorrow.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

In Transition....

Well, if you read my husband's blog, you'll know we're in the middle of moving. Part of me really enjoys moving. I love "nesting" and fresh starts and making a big empty space seem like home. I do not, however, enjoy all the chaos that you live in during the transition. It's a totally different kind of move this time, I've never moved with another person before. Now it's all figuring it out and having to work with another person's opinion as well. It's quite an experience- but that's ok- it's a good experience.
Last night I was working on the linen closet. I feel terribly grown-up to have a linen closet. Somehow, over the years, I have accumulated many linens. I love antique printed table cloths from the 40's and 50's and have acquired more than I thought I had. It's nice for all these linens to finally have a home. We had a linen closet in the other apartment- but it served as the "studio" storage- so I had sheets, towels, tablecloths and various and sundry linens stuck in the oddest places. I am very happy they have a home now.
While I was working on the linen closet, Marty brought the cats over. The older one, Mickey- was THRILLED to have such a grand adventure. In fact, he meow-yelled at me when I took him home. And he hollered all night to go back. Booger. However, Max, the younger- doesn't change living spaces well. He gets freaked out. So there he sat, in the middle of the big empty living room- looking pitiful and crying until Daddy took him home. I hope he survives the transition well. Those poor cats are 14 and 13 years old and have lived in 4 states and moved about 5 times, once all the way across the country, they are troopers.
SO that's taking over our lives at the moment. Moving. It's exciting- but like all change- challenging. Why is it that even good change is hard? And sometimes it feels like it sneaks up on you and everything changes at once. I think we're in one of those times now. Our home is changing, our art is changing and our faith is changing and growing. I guess if it happens quickly- you just have a tendency to flow with it instead of analyzing and fighting it. Well, that's all for now. I hope to be a better blogger in the future.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

And after a couple whiles.....

Yes, it's been a "couple whiles" since I have last blogged. "Couple whiles" is a phrase coined by one of my favorite little people in the world, Summer Ledford. She used to say "I'll go to bed in a couple whiles Miss Sarah Jane." She said that when she was 3. I think she's 9 now. Heavens, how time flies.
So, now Marty and I are married. And yes, I finally got the flowers sorted out. $120 at Costco for fabulous roses the morning before the wedding. It was nerve-wracking, but they were beautiful....for the rest of the details, I highly recommend checking out my husband's blog- he's done an awesome job documenting our adventures pre and post wedding. And he knows how to post photos, which I don't. Needless to say- it was a BLAST! We really had a great time- and I LOVE being married. I'll love it even more when we really adapt to sleeping in the same bed, my friend, Rebecca, tells me she heard it takes 3 months. One down, two to go.....Have mercy. He's a thrasher and I hog covers- quite a combo.
And now we settle in for the long haul...and go straight into tech rehearsals for Taproot's next show- Voice of the Prairie. It's not a big show- but it's proving to be quite technically challenging in the costume department. Today will be the third time I take apart and put back together the garment I affectionately call "the dress from hell." I think this time will indeed be the charm. But let me tell you- this will be the LAST time I get an authentic pattern from the 1920's- the darn thing had instructions in ancient Mayan or morse code. Egad. Other than that- it's been nesting and shopping. Which has been fun. Marty is happy that he finally got his ginormous TV back into the house. I feel a little like I live in a bachelor pad- since our living room really isn't big enough for the TV- but I do admit it's nice to watch movies on and when we get a bigger place- it'll be brilliant. Well, I will hopefully do more blogging later- so my husband won't give me a hard time- but now- it's back to the dress from hell. God Bless.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Less than 2 weeks to go, and flowers....

Two weeks until the wedding, and still... no flowers. I guess every bride has her proverbial "thorn in her side" and mine seems to be flowers.... Working against me: a tight budget and jacked up priced due to Valentine's day, time and the fact that I used to be a florist, so I don't trust anyone to do as good of a job as I know I can do. Let it go, let it go....Every morning, I lay those flowers at the feet of Jesus-and usually, I pick them up again at some point during the day. Oh well, all I can do is laugh at myself and trust God that everything will be brilliant.

I find it interesting that I do trust God so much... I don't feel particularly like I am doing things "well" lately in the spirituality department. I have a gift of intercession that is rusting for lack of use at the moment... I am not doing everything I was taught- the disciplined hour a day in prayer and in the Word, warfare.... I don't know. I feel like I have a better understanding of being in Christ and the authority that comes with it- yet I feel like- I am not doing anything with that authority? But I am still trying to open myself up to more creative expression, meditation, time with God- less restrictive- and I am praying that it's not just me being lazy. I want to be fruitful... It's a goal of mine to live a life of prayer instead of having a prayer life. I like what Oswald Chambers once said,"I never pray more than a half an hour, but I never go more than a half an hour without praying." How profound. It's so hard to be utterly dependent on God, and yet that is what He wants.... He knows the number of hairs on my head...but yet, we (I) can't trust Him with the flowers? What is up with that?

I've just spent the last 2 years pondering that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. I cannot shake that concept- or the fact that I believe none of us really have any inkling what it really means. We use that scripture to explain the unexplainable- good and bad- and leave it at that. But I don't think that's even the tip of the iceberg. I think it's a paradiem shift. I think things we consider important- God doesn't- and things we don't even think about- have profound affects on everything. It saddens me to see the church's definition of "success" become very like the world's definition of success....and as a "shiny happy christianity" emerges where everything is always swell, full of faith and "Praise God, brother!"- it makes me wonder- how can the unsaved in our lives see the working of our beautiful and wondrous Savior in our lives if we never need Him? I have looked and looked in my Bible and I cannot find that scripture that says, "Follow Jesus- you will be happy, healthy, problem free and able to abundantly finance the kingdom of God. You're successful as a christian if you have a problem free life, and can give financially and serve the church with your gifts." Yet, that's what I see being taught in some churches. Where is serving God with our gifts- in and out of church? Where is taking care of people who aren't in our little church kingdom who need help? For that matter, where is taking care of people in our little church kingdom who need help? Where is the reality of life here and now can be hard and it's ok? Why is it so hard for christian people to admit life is hard? People smile and raise their hands- but there is darkness in their eyes as their marriage falls apart and they are alone...they are afraid to admit doubt and fear because then they feel as if they lack faith and are bad christians. They are afraid to ask for help- to admit things are less than peachy. But that's why God wants us to be in community- to walk through the darkness with one another. We are supposed to support friends as character is built. I don't think God is threatened when we question and doubt- because when we question and doubt- we seek- when we seek- we find. And there is grace. I pray that I can extend the grace given me by God to others. I think the church would be in a lot better shape if that were a priority with it's members. Grace instead of judgement (not compromising character or truth- but letting go of opinion and personality) - there's a concept. And I think a lot of grace is allowing people space to go through their process and journey. I've had such a lesson in grace over the last two years- and I am so thankful for it. So very, very thankful. As I have doubted and questioned and grieved my faith- God's constant presence and faithfulness and love have covered me. It has set me free from expectation and performance christianity. And while I have not arrived, by any stretch of the imagination, I feel as if I am on track in a way I have never known in my faith- and this is the richest wilderness I have ever walked in. I look forward to the future, to the changes in attitude, thinking and love. My prayer is to be aware, discerning, open and teachable. I desire the truth of who Jesus is to flow through me and I have to trust Him for that as most of my walk with Him has been so immersed in "culture" I really have no idea what true walking with Jesus is. But it is the desire of my heart- and I trust Him to fulfill that desire.

This kind of thinking has emerged as I have had "religion" ripped out of my soul...a painful healing process. It was a process I requested, I prayed for....and as when one usually prays such a prayer- I had no idea what I was asking. "Lord Jesus, I don't want a shred of religion left in me, not an ounce. Whatever it takes." It's a scary thing to pray "whatever it takes"- because sometimes, it takes A LOT.... It's especially hard to pray it for those you love, at least for me, it's easier to go through hard things myself than to watch others go through it. I find that's true with Marty. He's been going through such a tough spiritual wilderness for the past two years, I don't know what to pray.... But I know this. The call of God is a mighty one on his life. It's strong- and he's called to be a revolutionist- and to bring change...and change is always hard no matter how good it is. And we always have to change before we can bring change- so our character gets worked on...and it's painful. But I can see prophetically the potential in him- and I know what's in there- even if he can't see it right now. And so I pray "whatever it takes, Lord" because I know people need him...they need what he sees and what he knows... they need his creativity- and mine. And we're called- and it will ALWAYS be a big battle, a fight- because what we see- we see as artists see- raw and true...and people don't like to be pushed out of their comfort zones. We just need to know what our venue of presenting Jesus is- how do we do it? Where do we do it? I am not one for being offensive for the sake of being offensive- but I also don't shy away from challenging people to think for themselves. I want to see people pursue Jesus for themselves- to not take someone's word for who Jesus is but to seek the Man himself....then to obey Him. Period. Jesus is where life is. Religion confines and kills. It especially kills creativity- even when it says it embraces it. Michelangelo said, "True art is but a shadow of the divine perfection." How true it is. I want to be a shadow of the divine perfection- I want people to catch a glimpse in the shadow that is so intriguing- they look for the source.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

And so it begins.....

My fiancee seems to love the blogging thing- so I thought I would give it a try and let the world see my own path unfold and unwind. I'm not really sure how all this works- but here's to giving it a go. So what is happening with me? I am getting married in 3 weeks and still have no flowers....and I'm stressed. I am tempted to hire a kindergarten class to make some flowers for me. You would think that I could handle the wedding planning- I've done it at least a dozen times before for other people- but egad, I'm just a wreck. Oh well. It'll all be good in the end. It always is. I just have to remember that it really isn't about the wedding, it's about the marriage and that I've got myself one wonderful guy. He's full of integrity, faithfulness, love and creativity- and while he does chap my fanny sometimes, I just can't imagine being with anyone else....amazing where life takes you sometimes.

This time last year- I was working in a craft store in North Carolina, packing up my home to leave Marty and drive myself and the cats in a U-haul all the way across the country. People are always amazed that I did that. To me, it just needed to be done. But I find that a lot in my life- people tell me I'm "brave" because I just will go when I need to go...I can't imagine being any other way- it's just how I'm wired... I mean, why not go live in Poland for a summer? So what if I don't speak the language- I'll learn..... oy, the things I've done.....ah, but I digress....

The show I've just designed costumes for is currently in the middle of it's first paid preview- seems to be going well as I listen to the audience reaction from the monitor in my office. I should mention I am a Costume Designer and Costume Shop Manager- it only took being out of graduate school for 10 years to actually get a job doing what I trained for and actually make enough money to live on. It's nothing short of a miracle- seriously- God opened a door, I walked through it- and drove the Uhaul across the country. I am constantly amazed at how interested He is in the details of my life. There will be more pondering of my faith and revelation in future blogs- but I am going to publish this to introduce myself and see what TTFN