Too Cool for School


God works in mysterious ways. That is such a cliche, but so true. Like my friendship with Shirley, my neighbor. My parents met her when she first moved in next door to me, because they were waiting for the tow-truck to pick up my car. (I was at school.) That gave me the courage to meet her, and she instantly became my friend. We couldn't be more different, it seems, but maybe we're a lot alike. We're both single, we both like eating. I'm sure there's more. At any rate, I didn't mean for all of this to happen, but now we're friends, she goes to church with me, and she took me and all of our small group to dinner tonight, which was not my plan when I invited her to go with me. Sometimes I think I'm going to bless her life and she ends up blessing mine. Shirley had a cd with some songs on it that I hadn't heard in a few years. One of them was TobyMac, "Irene", and she kenw all of the words. There is a line in it, "Blessed is she, Irene, who seeks my face." And Shirley yelled it out. Then she started car dancing (which reminds me of Lydia Jackson!)...then I started car dancing because she was. It was so fun to hang out with Shirley, who's 18 years older than I am but makes me see how truly uptight I've been about stuff that doesn't matter.
On the other side of God's blessings are the blessings that seem like curses. These blessings come in packages like "failure", "loss" and "disappointed hopes". All of the above came to our theatre group this weekend when we (who'd gone to state in One-Act Play last year) didn't advance past the first round of competition. There's a lot to say about how unfair it is, that the opinion of one person and their theatre preferences are what really determine who gets to advance. Only two schools from each district move to the next round. And of course, it's a bit painful that round two of the four-round competition is going to be held at our school. It's even worse that the kids actually did awesome--the best we've ever seen them. But I know--I just know that God is going to bless us in this. I can't possibly see how. That play was our lovechild! Anybody who's ever been in the playoffs of any competition can probably feel our pain. Please keep this in mind. In two weeks, I will have something good to tell.

This is what we've been studying in church:
"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him..." Philippians 3:8,9


What Am I Afraid Of?

For some of us, there are things we want so badly to do that we’re afraid, and we run away. Jonah was one of those people. We think of Jonah as running away from God, but I was thinking: God didn’t force Jonah. He’s never forced anybody to be his servant, that’s just not who God is. He calls us, but we don’t have to answer. To me it makes more sense that maybe Jonah wanted to serve God. Maybe he’d served God before. Maybe Jonah had preached faithfully in other cities before, but just like I’d rather teach in Highland Park than in South Oak Cliff, Jonah didn’t want to dirty his hands with the salvation of Ninevah. Maybe he didn’t feel safe, since as I recall, the Ninevites had been warlike barbarians. Maybe he had a past with these people, and he had seen the true evil of what they had done, so thatsalvation for the Ninevites didn’t seem justified. “God, you’re not fair!” I can just hear Jonah saying it. God really had to give him a spiritual spanking to get his prideful heart where it needed to be, and even then it didn’t happen right away. And here God is, saying He’ll have mercy on whom he’ll have mercy. God asks us to do what we desire to do at first, but do we stop desiring it when we see how just hard it will be?
I do!
I did. I’m running from the very thing I started out to do. Acting. Let me say that acting is not my true calling, at least not now anyway. But it is a part of my calling. I can’t direct if I can’t act. A director has got to be able to think like an actor because you have to speak their language. As an actor, you put yourself out there in the most revealing kind of way. You may as well come out onstage in your underpants, because that’s exactly how it feels. And if you fail, well, it’s the same sensation of baking this perfect soufflé and then watching it deflate as you try to remove it from the oven…I think. I’ve never made a soufflé.

Last night I sat down on the rug in front of a very insecure young actor and surprised myself by confessing, “I’m scared of acting. It’s easier to direct, because acting is so hard.” In tonight’s performance, that actor wasn’t flawless, but he had improved greatly, which made me want to throw him a ticker tape parade. There is nothing more beautiful than watching a person break loose from their fears and do something brave. He really put himself out there. He made me proud.

I’ve always thought I wasn’t afraid of anything, but really I’m less afraid of death than I am of living life to the fullest. I don’t regret teaching or directing. I want to do those, too. But it’s always good to do something you’re afraid of.

A list of things I’m afraid of.
Being totally alone
Serial Killers & Rapists
Dark, empty theatres
Figure Skating
Amusement park rides that spin in circles
Buildings that seem haunted
Driving a stick

Stuff that I am not afraid of:
Performing in front of people
Looking like a goofball
Big, dangerous power tools
Homeless people


Early Babe

Steve & Rachel's baby came early! Wow, what a surprise. If you didn't get the e-mail from Nathan, Rachel's brother, here's his website with lots of pictures of the new bebe.

I tried to pick a favorite, but it's like choosing an ice cream flavor at Baskin Robbins...impossible. Also, I think Nathan boobytrapped his photos somehow because I couldn't get them to upload!



Hey guys you know what? My nephew's basketball team went to the National Junior College basketball Division III championships...


Here's a little blurb from the website:
North Lake College, Texas is making its second appearance in the national tournament. The Blazers earned their berth in the nationals with a 19-14 record, upsetting third-seeded Richland College 78-69 in the Region V championship. According to Coach Tim McGraw, the team is led by sophomore talent, enabling North Lake to win their last six games. "We like to think of ourselves as the Princeton of junior colleges," said Coach McGraw. "We pass and cut to get our looks."

This is Kevin, nephew #2. Don't worry. My Dad took a lot of pictures, mostly of Kevin looking sweaty at the free throw line. I'll try to post some in the near future. In the meantime, keep watching March Madness.


Spring Break Discoveries

Life never ceases to amaze me. Here are my newest discoveries about my friends, family, self...

-My mom cares deeply for Phalange, her beta fish. She has me fish-sitting all week while she and Dad are in New York at Kevin’s basketball tournament.

-Adam Brown makes blogging promises and then doesn’t follow through.

-Just because a parade is held in a large metropolitan area, that doesn’t mean it can’t have random people riding on flatbed trailers entered as “floats” just like they do in small towns.

-St. Patrick’s day is just an excuse for people to get drunk at ten o’clock in the morning.

-Thrift stores will sell anything that is donated, evidenced by the fact that I found a sealed jar at one thrift store that apparently contained three small tumors and an appendix preserved in formaldehyde.

-I’m a much nicer person when I haven’t been at school all day.

-Shopping online is not fun. You cannot touch or smell what you’re about to buy.

-The Fray is a really cool band. Thanks to Elasha for introducing me to them.

-Lauren is now very decisive at the video store. Way to go, Lauren!

-My Mom buys candy, puts it in a jar on the coffee table, and then tells us that only the grandkids are allowed to eat it.

-About 50% of the time, my Dad is only pretending not to hear what my Mom is telling him to do. He told us, “I thank God for being hard of hearing!”

-For the first time in a very long time, Texas A&M’s basketball team is actually good.

- Too much sleep has the same effect as not enough!

-Kim Perkins runs a 10-minute mile.

-I am always patient in Dallas traffic jams but impatient behind one slow-moving vehicle in Burleson.

-My apartment stove has this annoying oven timer on it and I bumped it by accident cooking dinner. The only way to get it to stop is to reset it and let it go off again fifteen minutes later!


We're Going for Ugly

If you haven't heard from me, it's because I've been deep in the heart of the Burleson Goodwill Superstore (did you know they had those?) digging for all things 70's. Our UIL One-Act play, The shadowbox is set in 1975, so everything that hits the stage--costumes, hairstyles, props, sets--all have to be from that period or it kills the magic. You don't want to be looking at a set that's all 70's and then see a dude with a mullet. That's 80's! Every child in the audience would go home disappointed in our lack of research on the time period! So we go to Lowe's and pick out paint. After much deliberation, we decide and take it up to the counter. I ask the cashier what she thinks of these colors. "Those are nice!" She offers. "No!" I sigh, "I wanted you to say that these are ugly. What we're going for is ugly." And the cashier laughs. "Those are ugly," She said, "I was just trying to be nice."

This is one of those times when I am so thankful to have a mother who never gets rid of anything. Just today, she and my Dad loaded up their trailer and brought me a yellow swivel chair and several amber-glass canisters that look like they were ripped off the set of The Brady Bunch. My parents moved back to Oklahoma in the early 70's and built a house, and naturally, decorated it in the fashionable shades. Harvest Gold. Avocado Green. Vermillion orange. Light Brown. Dark Brown. Psycadelic peach. Shag carpet. Vaulted ceilings. Wood panel. Ahh, the 70's. Even though we sold that house years ago, we still have those recliners somewhere in storage, just in case they ever come back in style.
This all makes me think of that house and wonder why it was so unnecessarily huge. Four Bedroom, three bath, sewing room, living area, and two dining areas. My parents just had four kids when they built it, and since my oldest brother was in college, they saved money and didn't build him a room. They built the kids' rooms all on one side of the house, and put their room on the complete other side. By the time I came along, all of the older kids were in college, so naturally, they gave me the largest, most spacious room for me and all of my toys. But I would have nightmares and would have to go to my parents room. I'd trek across the house led only by the faint light from the VCR. Then I'd go to school the next day and tell all the other kids, "Our house is a mile long!"
Anyway, that's off the subject. What I'm trying to say is, donate your ugly stuff to a theatre somewhere. It'll save them some money and time, since other theatres sometimes buy up all the ugly stuff before we can get there. Have you ever seen two theatre teachers brawl at the Salvation Army? It ain't pretty.


Olde Pictures

My Dad just got a new camera and gave me his old one. I realized I have pictures of absolutely nothing since I left college. I don't know if I can handle this pressure! Now I have no excuse.

In honor of taking more pictures, I wanted to post some of my old ones. My, how things have changed.

Freshman year at the Sprout. Little did we know that all these years later, Josh still wouldn't be able to pose naturally for a picture.

I found this picture and showed it to my students, who then lost all respect for me. Why do I have a Mommy-haircut?
Lauren was out of town and Allison, Greg, Lindsey and I were bored and broke. We took a life-size poster of Lauren (age 9) to various locations and photographed it. Here we are in Chili's.

Kim hasn't changed that much. She still smiles exactly like this.

Awww, Cheeks! Quotes