26 December, 2006
Happy (belated) Christmas!
Since I’ve last written I have been enjoying a wonderful, glorious, restful, pampered, happy, sleep-filled week at home.
Remind me why I even go to school again?
The last week or so has been great.
Today is the day after Christmas and things are c-r-a-z-y around my house.
“Why” you ask?
“Wedding” I answer.
My sister is getting married this Sunday—aka New Years—aka 5 days from now.
The one I’ve known since birth.
The one that is two years older than me.
Virtually every memory from my childhood includes her.
And now she’s getting married. And this isn’t like other life changes we’ve gone through. Because going off to college, off to grad school, away for the summer, etc, always guarantees coming back. At least we’ll still have a normal Christmas, or Thanksgiving, or whatever.
Whenever we come home Ashli and I share the same bathroom. Our parents were smart and bought a house back when I was about 11 that had separate vanities (sinks, mirrors, cabinets) but an adjacent bathroom (shower, tub, etc). We’ve shared a bathroom for as long as I can remember. And the next time we all come home she’ll be staying in the guestroom with her husband across the house.
But obviously I should mention that all of this is good stuff. My dad has always said that when you have babies you never want them to grow up, but if they really stayed babies forever that would be tragic.
I suppose if we always lived with my parents and stayed in college and never got our own jobs and grew up and paid bills and got married and had our own kids—that would be tragic too.
So as bittersweet as our last Christmas with just us 4 was, I’m happy about change. My sister is getting married. She’s found someone she wants to hang out with everyday for the rest of her life. That’s pretty sweet. This May 19th, the day I am graduating from undergrad, she is graduating from law school, and Matt (her almost-husband) will be graduating with a Master’s. And then who knows where they’ll go. They’ve talked about coming back to Nashville, but they’ve also talked about going to Edinburgh. It depends on where Matt decides to go to get his PhD.
The whole growing up thing truly sneaks up on you, doesn’t it? One day you’re sitting in your senior economics 4th period class. And the next day high school is over. You’ll never have to battle that blasted 7:30 traffic again. And it’s not like it’s just over for a little while. You’ll never, ever, ever, go back to life like that. But then you meet college. And college is great. I mean GREAT. And you wonder why you ever even flinched and were sad about high school ending for a second. Life has continued to get better and better. And then you graduate college. And this is the first part of life that you’re experiencing that you’ve never really pictured ahead of time. It’s weird. You pictured high school ending. You pictured college. You pictured getting married. Maybe having kids…but you never pictured the part where you graduate college and you begin to have choices to make. Should you go to grad school? Should you go now or later? Where should you move? Should you travel? When are you going to meet someone worth marrying? Will you meet someone worth marrying? Should you move back in with your parents to save money? Or would that just be embarrassing? Will life after college actually be better? Or will you long for the days of freedom without responsibility? So far life has continually gotten better. But will that continue? Will it?
There’s all kinds of questions. Those that you ask yourself out loud. That other people ask you. And that your soul asks in the quietest, quietest part of you.
And they all deserve to be listened to. And thought about. And reasoned over. And then given to the Lord. For only “He knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you, to give you a hope and a future.”
So for me right now, life is one big—slow and fast—time of change. And I’m choosing to embrace it. Embrace it with faith that the Lord’s perfect will, will be done in the lives of those that are called according to His purpose. Remember that song that maybe you sang at church when you were a little thing? I was reminded of it a few days ago and it’s hope rings in my heart…
“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it, faithful to complete it, faithful to complete it in you.”
Merry Christmas and have a Happy, Happy New Year.
17 December, 2006
For my musical theater class our finals were performing.
Call it shameless self-promotion, or just showing you me doing what i love to do...but here's a video of my performance.
I also included two other great performances by friends of mine. Leslie is performing "Popular" from Wicked and Ashley is performing "I'm Not Afraid" from Songs For a New World. My song is considered a dramatic ballad, Leslie's is comedic, and Ashley's is contemporary. It's all probably a bit more technical than you realized...enjoy!
"Not A Day Goes By"
from Merrily We Roll Along
"I'm Not Afraid"
from Songs for a New World
07 December, 2006
Proud vs. Humble - Recognition
Proud people crave self-advancement.
"I've got to word this report in a way that sets me apart from the pack."
But humble people desire to promote others.
"How can I word this so that everybody gets the credit they deserve?"
Proud people feel wounded when others are promoted and they're overlooked.
"Why would they put her in charge?"
Humble people are excited when others are lifted up.
"Congratulations! Let me know how I can help."
Proud people are elated by praise and deflated by criticism.
"He's always shooting my ideas down!"
Humble people know that any praise for their accomplishments belongs to the Lord.
"It's just by God's grace."
What does recognition—or the lack of it—reveal about the condition of your heart?
06 December, 2006
Her statement to me: “My heart can’t handle it.”
My question is: how does him confessing that to her benefit anyone?
One common theme that I’ve seen in my friends’ relationships throughout college is the-relationship-that-just-won’t-let-go. The guy who is best friends with a girl, gets her hopes up, then promptly dates someone else leaving her in the dust, but coming back every now and then to string her along and get her worked up again…or the guy who pursues, but then let’s things go indefinitely unspoken, never solidifying any commitment…or the guy who breaks up with the girl only to turn around and act like nothing has changed in their “relationship.”
I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of it: feeling so inclined to say that one certain thing to get the rejected party’s hopes back up (however true it may feel in that moment), only inside knowing you will never give him/her what he/she is hoping for.
It’s very, very selfish.
It’s putting one’s own ego ahead of someone else’s heart. And it’s not right. I see this a lot in the male sex, but I know girls do it too. I know I’ve done it.
And that’s pretty shameful.
So all I’m saying is, sometimes saying less is more.
Instead of saying you care about someone, or that you were thinking about them, show them love by putting their needs above your own.
I really do try to refrain from using my blog as a soapbox but this was one that was worth stepping up, whatever ridicule it may elicit.
So I want to encourage you:
Take a step back and ask yourself if the words you are dying to say to that person (to elicit some sort of comforting, ego-stroking response) will benefit them in any way—or if it might just stir up hopes, desires, and feelings in them that you have no intention of fulfilling.
So let’s all do the right thing—let’s put others ahead of ourselves.
“Love is patient; love is kind…love is not selfish.” –1 Corinthians 13.4b-5a
04 December, 2006
In other news, I threw a bridal shower for my friend Kristin last night and it went really well! It was so fun throwing a little party. I should do more of that in the future. Also, I am officially done with my 7th semester of college one week from Friday. Home. Stretch. And of course the reason why I'm writing right now is because I'm really working on a paper and I'm procrastinating. But I thought that was a great quote and worth sharing. Alright...back to the grindstone...
24 November, 2006
Be still and know that He is God. When you are lonely, too much stillness is exactly the thing that seems to be laying waste to your soul. Use that stillness to quiet your heart before God. Get to know Him. If He is God, He is still in charge.
Remember that you are not alone. “The Lord, He it is that doth go with thee. He will not fail thee neither forsake thee. Be strong and of good courage.” (Deut. 31:8) Jesus promised His disciples, “Lo, I am with you always.” (Matt.28:20) Nevermind if you cannot feel His presence. HE is there, never for one moment forgetting you.
Give thanks. In times of my greatest loneliness I have been lifted up by the promise of II Corinthians 4:17-18, “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” This is something to thank God for. This loneliness itself, which seems a weight, will be far outweighed by glory.
Refuse self-pity. Refuse it absolutely. It is a deadly thing with power to destroy you. Turn your thoughts to Christ who has already carried your griefs and sorrows.
Accept your loneliness. It is one stage, and only one stage, on a journey that brings you to God. It will not always last.
Offer up your loneliness to God, as the little boy offered to Jesus his five loaves and two fishes. God can transform it for the good of others.
Do something for somebody else. No matter who or where you are, there is something you can do, somebody who needs you. Pray that you may be an instrument of God’s peace, that where there is loneliness you may bring joy.
14 November, 2006
I really, really need to walk the streets of London and Paris, and eventually South Africa. I can settle with Europe as a start. I watch the travel channel and can’t believe I’ve never seen these places with my own eyes. It’s getting about time to go…
PERFORM—PROFESSIONALLY. (OR ATLEAST SHOW UP AT SOME AUDITIONS.)
I’m really ready to see if I have what it takes to perform in musicals and see if anyone is willing to pay me to do it. I’m not sure if they will…since I’ve never tried, how would I know? But I do know that the judges at VTA see some kind of casting potential…and I got callbacks from 8 companies last year at SETC…and I feel like I’ve honed my skills a great deal over the last year…ah! I want to try! It’s getting about time to try…
HAVE A FAMILY.
Ok, ok, this is more on the backburner, since it is #3 on the list and all. But I do so desperately want to be a mom. I know that may sound trite…but there are so many aspects of life that will be deeply fulfilling when I’m a wife and a mother. I know in committing to marriage and parenthood I’ll be giving up a lot of freedom but It’s getting about time to begin thinking like someone less selfish…
READ AND WRITE WHAT I WANT.
The more I do journalism/public relations style writing the more I like it. But I am so excited for the day when these are no longer homework assignments. What will I write when I no longer get a grade for it? And will someone want to hire me because they like the way I write? Who can say. It’s about time to see…
And, do all these for the glory of God, where true fulfillment abounds.
12 November, 2006
I’ll take that.
But after reading the rest of Austen’s lovely novels I have come to decide that I am not a carbon copy of Elizabeth. Unfortunately (I suppose that adverb is debatable) I found that I identified with Emma in some ways as well. So, ideally, I would like to think that I’m 99% Elizabeth, but I think its more like 60% Elizabeth and 40% Emma--with a smattering of Carrie Bradshaw mixed in--the TBS version of course.
01 October, 2006
Today was that blessed day for me. :-)
I slept in and put on a pot of coffee. It’s a good start to a day already. I knew I needed to at least begin on my paper that is due tomorrow at 5 pm. I purposed in my heart to at least write some of it. This afternoon I busted out three pages of it, and promptly finished the second half after I got home from AWANA tonight. I did no hanging out today. Sometimes I forget that I like days when I don’t hang out.
I really love community. I love friendship. I love spending time doing nothing with people. I love connecting, bouncing ideas and thoughts off of other people.
But sometimes you just need to be alone and get stuff done.
And when it’s done…it feels great.
Not that I by any stretch got everything done this week that I need to. I sure didn’t. I have to write the first six pages of a play by Thursday. I have only begun to tip the iceburg of the research I want to do in preparation. I’m not even sure if I’m a good enough writer to give the voice to this story that it deserves. So part of me is trying to ignore the fact that I need to work on it. It’s kinda overwhelming.
This is the first week of my semester that is rehearsal-free. Not that I’m done with theater for the semester. I’m in two theater classes, working on an audition for the Virginia theater association, and I still have seven performances of “Parade” left. But when you take out rehearsals from the mix it really does free up some time. And that I can be grateful for.
My friend asked me tonight what I’m gonna do with that time. My answer: make good grades, branch out, read, pass some clep tests, write a great (hopefully) play, put together a quality audition, and think and pray about what God wants me to do when I run out of Liberty. He also asked me if I’ve mentally “checked out” from Liberty yet. Since I know I’m going to be gone soon/eventually whatever…and I said you know, yeah I think in a way I’ve begun that process.
That’s so weird.
I wrote a cover letter for a resume today. I wrote it as if I was sending it to Playbill magazine. I think if I was a writer for Playbill…well, that might be the equivalent of a dream job…blending writing and broadway…wowwie…
Life for people in their 20’s, especially early 20’s can be a bit of a conundrum. And I’ve begun to appreciate that. It’s hard to plan for a life that is slightly out of your control. Especially if you’re a girl, you know? Like I know there has to be girls out there that would love to plan the next five years of their lives, and include marriage in there, but the truth is its really out of their hands. Like my parents, they can virtually plan the next five years of their lives. So could say a highschool Junior. But those of us in that stage where you’re leaving college and heading towards adulthood and wanting adulthood to eventually mean a family, but not in the near future…well, that just means you’re at the tricky stage. And some day we’ll all look back on it and smile. And for me, I’m already smiling. I bet God thinks its cute when he sees all these twenty somethings subconsciously frantically looking around for a life’s witness. He’s like, kid, I know how the story goes…why are you freaking out? And then the kid stops (even if it is momentarily, and sometimes it is) and says: oh yeah…You do. I preesh that.
06 September, 2006
"Prudence is a cognitive orientation to the personal future, a form of practical reasoning and self-management that helps to achieve the individual’s long-term goals effectively. Prudent individuals show a farsighted and deliberate concern for the consequences of their actions and decisions, successfully resisting impulses and other choices that satisfy shorter term goals at the expense of longer term ones.
Enjoying life’s staples—marriage, careers, raising children, enriching the spirit, keeping healthy and enjoying life—requires planning. Prudence is unattractive tabloid fare, but it quietly leads to a lifetime of happiness."
The article was a telling reminder of how to go about getting that which we really want in life. For me personally, those “staples of life” listed are eons more important and desirable than the momentary payoffs of ditching responsibilities in college. A few weeks ago I read an article written by a psychologist. She said that whenever she is facing a dilemma she asks herself 3 questions: What will be the effects of this in 10 days? What will be the effects of this in 10 months? What will be the effects of this in 10 years? The writer pointed out that for every decision the answer to the 10 year question might not be the crucial answer you need, but in most cases, you realize that your choices may or may not affect your life for the long haul, and we should act accordingly. Just food for thought…ok, back to studying. :-)
11 August, 2006
This isn’t a question. This is a boldface statement. I think some people are of the mind that if one is passionate about something, perhaps an interest, a hobby, a cause, or a person, then they must be passionate for life.
Today I have had multiple encounters that beg to voice the opposite opinion. I was reading (don’t. judge.) Dr. Phil’s advice column in Oprah’s magazine. A parent was attempting to get the Doc to sympathize with her, as her daughter was "wasting away" her college years, deciding to transfer to a state school near her boyfriend, and not taking up the prestigious liberal arts school on their offer of a music scholarship. The mom said ‘I just don’t want her to give up her dreams' (one might replace the word ‘dreams’ for ‘passions’). Dr. Phil, not-so-tactfully-of-course, told the mom that these were obviously not her daughters dreams anymore. Her dreams had changed. And mom needed to accept that.
Later today, well I guess it was tonight, I was talking on the phone to a friend who had watched an amazing drum corp do their thing. Once upon a time this would have lit his fire. He appreciated the talent when he watched it tonight. But he realized something. The passion was gone.
How can such an honest thing as PASSION change?
I think about myself. Who I was one year ago. What my passions were. What(who) I was passionate about.
Things are different now.
Maybe not earth-shatteringly different. But CERTAINLY different. UNDENIABLY different.
Once when my friend was leaving for college and I was beginning my senior year of high school I was sort of crying a little and pouting about change. I wasn’t ready for my friend to go. She was one of the few logical people left in my tiny world called highschool. And my friend Shaunna told me the wisest, truest thing that I’ll never forget…that I always come back to…
Life is a series of seasons. Life is full of seasons. God loves seasons. He thrives on change! If there was no winter there’d be no spring….if there was no summer there’d be no fall…
In life we grow. We change. We become passionate about things. Our passions change. Grow. Deepen. Take different shapes.
I guess at the core, the thing I desire to always be passionate about is my relationship with Jesus. Everything else hinges on that pretty much. (can I use a flippant tone to communicate how intensely serious I am? That may not work on a keyboard…)
My passions, and feelings, and desires, and growth, are all somewhat in my control, and of course somewhat out of my control. But the one thing I know above all life experiences, above all feelings and emotions, above all circumstances, is that my soul is at peace with God. My life is in his hands. And I am more grateful for that than I could ever really communicate.
I was reminded of these lyrics I heard for the first time on a Ginny Owens album yeeaaarrsss ago (back when I listened to Christian music). The song is much older than that. And the lyrics are more profound than any I’ve heard in quite some time…
Be still, my soul: The Lord is on your side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain
Be still, my soul: Your best, Your heavenly friend
Through stormy ways leads to a joyful end.
27 July, 2006
That was totally me last night.
I talked to my friend Aaron last night (see link ‘aaron bennett’ over there….) and we talked about all kinds of stuff. Friends, relationships, futures, figuring things out, past experiences, dreams…etc etc.
And when I hung up the phone, I just felt better about life. Better about everything. It’s so great to hang out with (or talk to) those friends that sharpen your lenses of clarity a bit more. People who are seeking after Jesus, and really living by faith in Him. Aaron also pointed out to me that in regards to me in a relationship there are two key elements that can’t be missing: I have to be challenged, and he’s got to make me laugh. One without the other just won’t work.
I really thank God for friendships like Aaron’s. I want to be purposeful in investing in those this year at school. Since it’s feasibly my last at Liberty…I guess this is me making it a point to have a real conversation (at least one, heh) with each person that I spend any length of social time with regularly. I’m not making up a rule for myself or anything…just a beneficial idea…
I have some rules though that I think I’m gonna perhaps lay to rest awhile. These are just personal rules…not black-and-white straight from Exodus type rules. I think I’m gonna experiment with going-with-my-gut and living freely. Or something…That’s inspired by Aaron too…and a tree.
19 July, 2006
In a week and 2 days I will depart for a fun-filled weekend visiting my friend Leslie in Washington D.C.
I'm flying in to Baltimore and taking the train to Union Station, only blocks from Leslie's sister's apartment (cool location, eh?)
Leslie is interning in Senator McConnell's (repub from kentuck :) office and is going to take me on a tour of the capitol!
A little 4 day excursion never hurt anybody...
Especially when you get to stay somewhere for free and you get a cheap flight through southwest. :-)
I also just found out today that my fam is going to take a cruise in August to Mexico!
Ashli's fiance is going.
Which means that we Sutton's will officially never ever vacation, just us, again.
That's kind of dramatic, don't you think?
I guess most every family goes through it...
This has been a great summer. And shall end greatly.
I'm sitting in Panera right now b/c of the free wireless. I just met Bonnie for lunch at another restaurant here and she brought the 18 month old Olivia kid she is nannying for all summer with us. Our waiter treated us different cause I think he thought Bonnie was a mom...even though she was wearing a pink chi-omega t-shirt...
A cute stranger just smiled at me.
Last night I cleaned out my closet of all dated, unworn, or wrong size clothes. I have piles and piles of clothes that I'm gonna take to plato's closet. I'll let you know how much money I get from there.
My friend Chad is coming through town later this week b/c he's moving from Lynchburg back home to Abilene, TX, and I guess Nashville exists somewhere along his route. I know it's really a normal/healthy thing for people to graduate and move elsewhere...but its still weird to be the person still at school...I have a list of friends who won't be there when I get back in the fall:
3. Josh and Jenn
And those are just like, my really close friends that are gonna be gone for the first time...weird...
Ok, random thoughts done. As is this post.
16 July, 2006
May 14th: Mother’s Day. I arrived at Pigeon Forge. Watched a performance of Fixin 2 Rain. Felt slightly mind-boggling that soon I would be expected to have the show memorized.
May 24th: Opened Fixin 2 Rain. Performance #1. Teared up a little during the finale because I really felt I had accomplished something. 10 days of 9 hour a day rehearsals left me tired. Especially when I got assigned the task of not only being a performer but also being the tech assistant to the guy in the bear costume and operating the remote control mouth. Had finally gotten over not getting to be in 3 numbers because I was the bear mouth girl. Had survived learning the show and actually came out with a good attitude about it. Whoot.
June 5th: My boyfriend and I decided to stop dating. We both happen to be in the show in Pigeon Forge. 6 more weeks. How Lord? What are You doing? I don’t get it.
June 9th: Go home to Nashville to sing at my friend Britney’s wedding. Contemplate staying. Don’t understand why it would be beneficial to come back to Pigeon Forge. After a conversation with Hannah, one with my mom, and one with God, I feel certain I am to go back.
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same thing.
Somewhere around 2 or 3 weeks after that: Things are looking up. Beginning to remember and claim the promises of God. Remembering that in order to be dependent on the Father there has to be hard things. Thanking God for the hard things. Thanking God for a promising future. My friend Joel tells me about how God answered his prayer to get money for school. I begin humbly realizing the magnitude of God and how I am stupid to forget how provisional He is. I start praying in faith, and believing God.
(Still) Somewhere around 2 or 3 weeks after that: Moved from the Annex (ghetto old motel) to the cabins out in the Smoky Mountains. Thanking the Lord for amazing digs (own room, kitchen, cable tv, big comfy couch, and a hottub) and loving my new roommates.
Last week of June: I watch an episode of mtv’s MADE and get inspired to be a life coach or something. I’ve figured it out. The two things I love and must do in life: invest in people and express myself.
Sometime around the end of June/beginning of July: All four of my roommates come to me separately and confide in me (and/or) ask for advice. I am reminded of when Beth Moore spoke at the Passion Conference and first got me thinking about how counseling is a life changing profession.
First week of July: Eat dinner with my friend Lacey. She tells me about the faith journey God has had her on. I feel more encouraged and more sharpened than I have in months—maybe a year. She tells me I have a real knack for asking questions. She tells me my interest in people is rare…unique.
4th of July: Go home and have a good time with family.
After 4th of July: Come back to Pigeon Forge to enjoy time with friends and finish the run of the show. Find out LU theater is doing my dream show, Little Women at Christmas time.
July 15th: Complete show #58. I actually finished the summer. I completed it. Begin tearing up in finale once again because I’m in awe of God’s faithfulness.
Lyrics from “Rain, Rain, Rain” (from Fixin 2 Rain)
We have so many things to learn
of God and all His ways
Of right and wrong a simple song
of faith and hope and praise
But God in all His mercy
reaches out to love us still
A gift from Him our debt is paid
and on to us His blessings laid.
Rain Rain Rain
Mercy drops are falling
You can hear the angels calling
Calling from above
Rain Rain Rain
Heaven’s Highest Glory
Reminding of the story
Covering with Love
03 June, 2006
I know it’s kind of weird for me to not post something-I mean anything in over 3 weeks, but this has been one of the most unique sets of 3 weeks in my life. Since Mother’s Day I’ve been on lock down at the Governor’s Palace Theater in Pigeon Forge, TN where I learned a show in 9 days and was promptly thrown into the professional theater setting. It has been crazy. And hard. And fun. And challenging. It’s been good folks.
But I don’t really want to take the time right now to tell you all about it, for you see, I’m currently in Nashville for a ridiculously short weekend to spend time with the ones I love. I did however want to post some great lyrics that perhaps you’ve heard before…
Basically, throughout the past year or so I’ve evolved into the quintessential wedding singer. I mean, I’ve been asked to sing at quite a few weddings. The next one is Britney Barkley and Adam Swor’s. They are getting married next Friday night. Britney is one of my oldest friends. I have memories of being friends with Britney since we were approximately 4 or 5 years old.
I love friendships like that. Aren’t they a bit irreplaceable?
Anyway, she asked me to sing a pretty typical wedding song, “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman. I just downloaded the lyrics because I’m gonna need to learn them in the next few days. And they are really quite profound. I’m learning a lot about love these days. It’s so much more than a feeling…
Tomorrow morning if you wake up
and the sun does not appear
I will be here
If in the dark, we lose sight of love
Hold my hand, and have no fear
'Cause I will be here
I will be here
When you feel like being quiet
When you need to speak your mind
I will listen
And I will be here
When the laughter turns to cryin'
Through the winning, losing and trying
We'll be together
I will be here
Tomorrow morning, if you wake up
And the future is unclear
I will be here
13 May, 2006
Second: I should really go to bed. I have to get up for a flight at 7...
Third: Is my bed tomorrow night gonna be comfy? I'm living in a church-owned old motel. I should pray that I get enough sleep and that it doesn't make my neck sore.
Fourth: I can't believe I actually finished that song for today. My friend Heather got married today and requested that I write a song to sing at the wedding. Without ever hearing it, Heather put my name on the program and trusted me with a portion of her wedding. I finished it today...about 2 hours before the wedding. Here are the lyrics:
You Are the Love of My Life
We started out as simply friends
Didn’t think it would be more
But now today we join our lives
This is the day we have waited for
And Now I stand here
Gazing at you
I scarcely believe my eyes
After all of this time
I am yours and you are mine
2nd ending: You are the love of my life
This is a love that some dream about
This is a life that we will share
This is more than a feeling
But a commitment
To serve and care
Generations have come before
And we will not be the last
And now we come before God’s throne
Requesting to be blessed
Fifth: It really is wild to think about when you're in college and you meet hundreds and hundreds of new members of the opposite sex that at some point you will choose one.
Not that the others are faulty, or that it couldn't possibly work out, but at some point you choose one. One best friend of the opposite sex. One person to be romantic with. To live with. To have children with.
To share life with.
And yet so amazing. Marriage is an incredible concept. And one most people on earth have the opportunity to experience. Our God is indeed amazing in his intricate plan of habitating the world and creating community and fellowship. I am so blessed to get to take part. And you know what else? I'm so glad the whole choosing a mate thing isn't completely up to me. I know God knows me better than I do. And I'm trusting Him to work out the details.
Trusting in God is indeed a peaceful place.
Can I get an amen?
05 May, 2006
You know how I have this interest in passionate people? Well I do. I'll tell anyone, if you're passionate about something, I'll like you. (And if you're funny, well that's just an added perk.)
I was just reading in my writing book and this excerpt reveals that I am not the only one who finds an interest in passionate people. Zinnser says that passionate people make boring things interesting things. Here's what he has to say:
"Get people talking. Learn to ask questions that will elicit answers about what is most interesting or vivid in their lives. Nothing so animates writing as someone telling what he thinks or what he does--in his own words.
His own words will always be better than your words, even if you are the most elegant stylist in the land. They carry the inflection of his speaking voice and the idiosyncrasies of how he puts a sentence together. They contain the regionalisms of his conversation and the lingo of his trade. They convey his enthusiasms. This is a person talking to the reader directly, not through the filter of a writer. As soon as a writer steps in, everyone else's experience becomes secondhand.
Therefore learn how to conduct an interview. Often you'll find yourself embarking on an article so apparently life less that you will quail at the prospect of keeping your readers, or even yourself, awake.
Take heart. You'll find the solution if you look for the human element. Somewhere in every drab institution are men and women who have a fierce attachment to what they are doing and are rich repositories of lore. Find these people to tell your story and it won't be drab."
Don't you love it??? This proves the point that at the heart of everything is humanity. It goes to show that no big institution, or company, or university, or church is simply that--but they are all made up of people. Individuals with their own stories, personalities, passions, and spirits. And the even cooler thing?? Jesus Christ died for each of them. The one with the most boring, day in day out, monotonous job. And the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military in the world. The grandma who has been virtually forgotten and watches soap operas all day, and the vagabond 22 year old traveling the world.
This world is made up of millions, well, billions of individuals who have their own stories. And they are all passionately loved by a creator savior.
That is something worth writing about.
01 May, 2006
"It's a fundamental question, and it has a fundamental answer: You are writing for yourself. Don't try to visualize the great mass audience. There is no such audience--every reader is a different person. Don't try to guess what sort of thing editors want to publish or what you think the country is in a mood to read. Editors and readers don't know what they want to read until they read it. Besides, they're always looking for something new."
Books on writing are fascinating. Did you know most published authors go through 5 drafts before a copy editor ever even sees a page?
Hello hello and hello.
It is now MAY FIRST. Can you believe it? This semester has literally flown by...and with the help of my digital camera that I got for Christmas, I have been able to keep a photo-journal of my semester. Though every semester here at Liberty has its unique and fun aspects. This semester has been especially enjoyable. I feel like every semester here I gain one new dear friend, make wonderful memories, and learn new things. Oh how weird it will be when I go on to the time of life where it is no longer my job to learn every day...that's all I've ever known...
Highlights of this semester are as follows: Pirates of Penzance, helping backstage with Into the Woods, Going to Orlando for SETC, Spring Break in Chicago (&Nashvillekinda), learning in theology class, learning in basic acting class, writing tons and getting inspired for magazine class, Traveling back to Nashville for dad's anniversary, my birthday, and
Smoke On the Mountain.
Smoke opened this past Friday night. And would you believe how nervous I was? We (somehow) put this show together in only 2 weeks. And it went off without a hitch. Duties regarding my role include playing guitar (see above, haha :-) acting and singing. The synopsis of the show goes a little something like this: 'Smoke On the Mountain' is a show that takes place in 1938 at a little mountain church in North Carolina, "Mount Pleasant Baptist Church." The preacher is trying to help the church (which is played by the audience) progress along and thinks that bringing a family of singers in on a Saturday night would help. So the Sanders family are booked for the first Saturday night sing at Mt. Pleasant. There are 6 Sanders. I'm Denise, the younger girl who is twins with (who else?) Dennis. The whole show is a little bit tongue in cheek, poking fun at some baptist traditions, with stirring and sobering monologues by each family member throughout the show. So, for this show not only did I have to learn and memorize dialogue, music, and a monologue, but I also had to learn how to play southern gospel/bluegrass music, learn how to act like a TWIN, and learn how to blend with 5 other people as if we have genetically similar vocal cords and have been singing together for our entire lives.
It's been interesting.
Oh, in addition, we have had to perfect the appalachian mountain dialect of the souther accent--which you can not confuse with anything like what one would hear in Nashville. It's a different thing. And kinda hard to do, surprisingly enough.
AND not to mention that my boyfriend is playing my DAD! And I have to refer to him as "daddy" about 4 times throughout the show...now, THAT is not easy. but it is kinda funny...
So, the past few weeks have involved alot of time and focusing of energy. But have been a lot of fun. I have a few days off before we do the show again on Thursday. Hopefully in the next few days I will begin to finalize my living arrangements for next year. Which is easily the most annoying aspect of this whole college experience. Anyway, so basically things here are good. And I leave to go to Ocala in a week and a half. My mind really hasn't wrapped around the fact that this semester is practically done. That this is the last week of classes. I sure am grateful for the way my life is going these days...I'm definitely a very blessed girl.
20 April, 2006
So I went for it.
I committed to a summer job last week.
I will be performing in a professional theater setting in Pigeon Forge, TN, in a show called “Fixin’ to Rain” at the Governor’s Palace Theater!
We start rehearsals 2 days after graduation.
It’s gonna be a doozy.
So week of finals will go something like this:
Tuesday and Wednesday-No finals
Thursday-2 finals and drive alllll the way to Nashville (500 miles)
Friday-Morning fly to Orlando, go to wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
Saturday-My friend Heather’s wedding where I’m singing an original song (I’ve still yet to write it,but don't worry heather :-)
Sunday-Fly back to Nashville from Orlando, drive 3 hours to Pigeon Forge, watch a performance of Fixin’ to Rain
Monday-Start rehearsals at 9 AM
10 Days Later…Start performing the show!!
This summer is gonna be great. I have about 7 or 8 friends from here at Liberty that will be at the theater all summer with me. I’ll be working from May 14th-July 31st. Then I’ll have about 3 weeks before we get back to school. I’m so excited!! This summer is gonna be a great test drive for professional theater. I’m gonna find out if I still love doing shows after I’ve done the same one about 50 times. I’ll keep you posted… So for the next month my goal is to finish well in classes. 1 week from tomorrow our show “Smoke On the Mountain” opens. Things are crazy right now but I love it!
10 April, 2006
Who knew that turning 21 would really affect how old I felt?
It certainly has. I do feel older.
Makes me really wish my boyfriend's birthday would hurry up and get here...
19+21 is just awkward.
Well it is for me.
Anyways, if you're reading this and have a chance to say a quick prayer on behalf of my summer plans I'd really appreciate it!
I am in the process of choosing between a carefree summer at home or a musical theater filled summer in Pigeon Forge.
What to do...what to do...
Last night I went to T-Road to hear Dr. Caner speak about why he is not a "hyper-calivinist." It was a great sermon. I think I'm really starting to understand the difference between calvinism and armenianism and I think I understand and agree with aspects of both. But here's what I have come to believe as truth: God has all foreknowledge (He knows what's gonna happen, and what I'm gonna choose, simply because He knows ME) and yet He has given me all the free will and choice in the world; so i have the final say on whether I will commit my life to Him and believe what He says is true. (btw I've done that)
So there ya have it...Hil's theological thought of the day. :-)
Only one more month and then its summa time...and that sounds great to me.
"Patriarchs" by Beth Moore
"An Actor Prepares" by Stanislavski
My Smoke On the Mountain script (show opens 2 weeks from Friday)
Also Currently Enjoying:
My new be-a-u-tiful leather bound journal. I love it I love it I love it.
I think I'm going to get a subscription to Writer's Digest.
I read it the other day and it had some amazing good advice and some inspiring quotes.
And we all know how I feel about quotes...
(i love them)
Angela Hunt spoke in my magazine class on Friday. She talked about how she first got into freelance writing b/c she wanted a job she could do while her kids napped in the afternoon. I mean, that sure does sound convenient...
Not that I have kids, but at some point I would love to...so sign me up.
If you called me on my birthday THANK YOU! (Especially you Shaunna, I do love you. I do I do.)
03 April, 2006
But as of today....
We have 3 music rehearsals next week and then go straight into blocking and rehearsing more.
The show opens three weeks from this Thursday.
So we'll be rehearsing for 2.5 weeks.
And this Thursday is my birthday. 21. Whoot.
01 April, 2006
March 1-5 I traveled down to Orlando, Florida to the Southeastern Theater Conference. Hundreds of college students from the southeast go to SETC every year to audition for professional theater jobs, whether they be only for summer commitments or year-long contracts. The exciting thing about SETC is that you have to be passed through a state screening to even get to go. So last fall we went to the Virginia Theater Association to audition to even GET to audition at SETC. Thankfully I got passed through so I got to go audition at SETC. SETC was a total learning experience for me. One big thing that I really clued in to is the fact that casting directors are on your side and want to see you at your best. There's no need to be intimidated or nervous at an audition because these people are dying for you to be their next Jean Val Jean or Belle! Noone is hoping you do not succeed. Secondly, I learned how important it is to really be a triple threat. (That's a singer/dancer/actor for those not familiar with the term :-) And if that's absolutely impossible for you, you need to have atleast 2 competing strengths. Be a singer/dancer. Or a singer/actor. But never just be a singer. or an actor. or a dancer. Not if you want to do musical theater. It's just not an option. I mean, not if you want to get jobs anyway...
So, I auditioned on March 2nd. I certainly wasn't at my best but at least 8 companies seemed to think I had something that they might want. So I got callbacks from theaters in Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Montana. It was exciting. Exciting to think that they might want to pay me to do what I love.
So as for this summer, none of these jobs will work out b/c in order to graduate in May '07 I have to complete an internship for communications this summer. Which means, I'm 95% sure I couldn't commit to one of these theaters. But for next year, WHO KNOWS. I'm excited to see where the Lord might want me next after college. Because I certainly have no idea.
Ok, then a week after I got back to Lynchburg from SETC 3 of my friends and I (see pictures below) trecked down to Nashville to catch a flight to Chicago. What a fuuuuuuunnn week. I count myself so blessed to have godly, fun friends. These are people that I can do nothing with and still feel like I've had the best time of my life. And they're all people that I'm excited to see God use in the future. Justin is a psychology major and feels totally called to go into counseling. I can't wait to see how God will bless those efforts and his passion for people. Leslie has already interned in the office of Kentucky Senator McConnell and she's headed back there this summer. She's graduating next May and is totally committed to the idea of committing herself to causes in Washington. She, for one, is a person who is not scared to peace out from the comfortable, often lazy, college life. She knows that there is life to be lived outside of college. And that's just cool. And as for Josh, he's bound to either stumble into stardom on Broadway or be a brilliant communications officer for some big company...either way I'm certain he's going to be a successful, dependable father and husband. He totally looks forward to the opportunity to be a dad one day. I thought i was the only one who got excited about parenting at an unnaturally early age...but alas no. But don't get worried...no rash decisions aaaannnyyyy time soon. :-)
This past weekend we flew home (Ashli, Matt, Josh, Me) to help celebrate my dad's 20th anniversary at Two Rivers (see link "church where i grew up in"). Friday night there was a really nice dinner at the Springhouse golf club (not sure what its called now) and dad's friend, Jay Strack, mc'd it. There were videos from all kinds of accomplished men that my dad is friends with. It was pretty neat. Among others, Paige Patterson, Chris Matthews, and Senate Majority Leader Frist all sent their congratulations. Saturday, Josh and I ventured down to the Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville to watch a matinee of the musical, the Fantasticks. It wasn't a stellar performance by any means...but it was fun to see the stage version of the show. Sunday there was more celebrating and Sunday night Dr. Falwell preached. The fun/exciting/slightly ridiculous part is that after the service was over the 4 of us got to fly back with him and his boys in his jet. Like, private jet. It was sooo fun and silly feeling. We made it all the way back to Lynchburg in 50 minutes. The longest its taken me to get back here was about 10 hours. The shortest to date? Was 3 hours (due to layovers and such). This was definitely a record and sooo fun and glamorous feeling. I think we giggled the whole way.
In addition to all my globe-trotting I've also signed up for classes for next year and been trying to secure an internship this summer. The classes are: Jane Austen Seminar (sooo exciting), News Writing, Musical Theater, Playwrighting, Economics, Voice, Newspaper Practicum. It looks like the one that is most likely to work out is a marketing internship with Fee Hedrick Entertainment in Pigeon Forge, TN. I'm also gonna be editing transcripts of two of my dad's sermon series and turning them into books to be published. In addition to that I'm going to be taking an online Biology course so that I can complete my 3 minors upon graduation. A little over-achievingish? Nah. A little indecisive? Definitely.
Sidenote, my job is going great for libertyu.com and it's so fun. Its great b/c it totally works within my schedule and time constraints, and I get to do what I enjoy. I wouldn't be shocked if I end up working for the Residential Marketing office for a bit after I graduate. It'd be a greeaat way to pay for grad school. Ok, ok. We'll see.
5 weeks left in the semester. Crazy...
23 March, 2006
20 March, 2006
06 March, 2006
"The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn't, matters not a jot. The possibility is always there."
*Sidenote: I would love to do professional, non-cheesy, Christian theater.
24 February, 2006
I had an amazing conversation with my director last night. A conversation that surprised me, inspired me, and spurred me on to think about things more deeply.
I got cast in a show! Smoke On the Mountain. I am resolving to not 'care twopence' how people have played my character in the past. Maybe I'll make it an original. :-)
One thing Mrs. Cooper told me was that her parents raised her in a deeply spiritual, Christian home, but it was also a home where she had all the freedom in the world to be creative and expressive. "Bohemian" is what she called it. I think I want to have a home like that one day...
Life is never perfect is it? So many aspects of life can be going so well...but there's always some aspect of reality thrown in there. I'm thankful for that though...reality is what we learn from...not perfection...
12 February, 2006
10 February, 2006
I'm learning more and more that acting has so much to do with expression. You may believe you're in the story 100% but if the audience doesn't see it on your face, it doesn't communicate. And 99% of the time, when we think we're being really expressive, we're not being as expressive as we assume we are. I also observed tonight the importance of always believing in your character and what's going on with them, 100% of the time. There were moments where there were 19 people on stage, and I guarantee you that the random girl in the back didn't really think about anyone watching her...but I sure was. And you know what else? When there are a handful of people going all the way in their commitment to a character, when they're thinking about every lyric they're singing and every movement they're making...and the rest of the cast is simply singing the words and thinking about the blocking that is coming up, it shows. The few SHINE. And you know what else I'm learning? That you can never do excellent musical theater, without experience in acting, without studying it. There are a million beautiful voices out there. But out of those voices, who can act? Who can become a character? Not many people. In order to do excellent musical theater, you have to be able to act. And the idea of growing in that art, that craft, sounds exciting to me. I'm up for the challenge.
Oh, why have I figured out so late what I would have loved to major in? If I could go back today I would double major in English and Theater. Easily. Oh well. I guess not many people do what they majored in anyway.
To be honest, I just want to do what will really bless the Lord. And He gave me certain passions and talents for some reason...what a humble blessing it would be to be able to use them in the future...
04 February, 2006
I knew I liked her when I first met her. I was mildly intimidated by her because she seemed so poised and well-adjusted to this whole college thing…but I also knew she was one of the few people on that weirdo hall that I actually saw that I might have something in common with.
And did I.
Lindsay has been one of those rare finds of a friend that I can talk to about anything. She’s transparent, vulnerable, and real with me, no matter what’s going on. We’ve made some stupid decisions together, cried together, had a million analytical conversations, and laughed together more times than I could count.
These days our daily routines don’t really include one another. She lives in a house with 3 other girls, is a family and consumer science major, and works all the time waitressing. And me, well I live with a girl that she doesn’t even really know, I’m a communications major, and I’m involved in things like music and theater at Liberty. It’s sort of weird, because we used to have allll the same friends, hang out 24/7, and be ridiculously socially involved with one another.
But today it was really cool. We verbally acknowledged the fact that our lives have changed. We have different friends, are headed in different directions…But, our friendship, our appreciation for one another, our understanding…hasn’t changed one bit.
She even took a moment and thanked me for being a “constant” in her life. A friendship that never changes as far as depth and appreciation…even though time together has become more scarce.
The older I get, and the more life I experience, I’m starting to recognize and embrace the fact that situations and relationships are ever changing and evolving. And rather than hang on to the past, or be depressed about life changing…it’s better to simply smile on that time of life, and be thankful for it. Recognize the fact that someone has walked through your life, and changed you for the better…or contributed to memories that you’ll treasure for life. Life changes. I’m thankful for the blessings of memories and real moments. I’ll not soon forget even one of them.
01 February, 2006
- God is teaching me an old(er) lesson in a new way. I never really thought that all of a sudden in the Spring of my junior year of college I would not get cast in a musical. But the Lord is really using it to give Himself more glory. What sometimes feels like sorrow just strengthens my affection and dependence on Him.
- I just finished my first voice lesson of the semester. I haven't taken voice since last Spring, and I have a renewed focus and passion. Singing is a beautiful treasure that the Lord blesses some with. I need (and want) to make the most of it. What if I practiced consistently? What if I actually put effort into this fun thing?
- As I was casually strolling through Barnes today, I happenned upon a book that I instantly knew I needed. It's called "Letters to a Young Artist" by Anna Deavere Smith. Ms. Smith has won Tony's for playwrighting and acting. She actually has done a series of 1-woman shows where she plays up to 50 characters in one evening. Enchanting, no? The book is a series of letters to "BZ". "If youare an artist of any age, if you are learning the ropes of your art form, and if you want to learn more about the rules of the road in the business of making and selling art, BZ is you.
Therefore, I am BZ. I guess.
- In addition, I bought a membership to the Writer's Market website today. This is a website that has the inside scoop on marketing and selling writing.
I still haven't narrowed down what I want to do in life...but the longer time passes...the more I feel like I don't have to. :-)
That's all for now...
22 January, 2006
--David Huddle New York Times Book Review
Huddle was quoted in my textbook for my feature writing class. Call his take on editing idealistic...but I like it...I wish that theater and vocal performances could be revised like writing can...but I guess once you put it out there, you can't take it back...
21 January, 2006
Well, it is now Friday morning of the first week of class. I’ve been back in Lynchburg a week now. It may have been one of the fastest weeks of my life! I’m very excited about going back to classes again today. Does that sound nerdy? Basically, I have an infatuation with all my professors. They all have incredibly qualifying credentials, are all well-spoken, and are all thinkers. Like, my grammar class (that I thought was gonna be bo-ring) my professor, Dr. Muller had my attention wrapped the entire time! Not only is he knowledgeable about grammar, but he made tons of references to operas, artists, and philosophers. He is obviously a person who never let his education end once he finished taking classes. I love that!In other news, we had opening night of “Pirates of Penzance ” last night. It was so fun! The whole operetta is a comedy, and though I thought there were funny moments, I had no idea the audience would crack up as much as they did. You really never know how a show will go until you have an audience before you. And they seemed to love it! So I hope if you’re in the area, you come J Oh and a final thought, to help with my make straight A’s goal, I came up with a theme-type thing for the semester. Ready? Where effort meets intelligence. This means that I’ll try just as hard as I am intellectually capable. I think the moment we are disciplined enough to engage all of our efforts, that is when we achieve excellence. Until next time…
17 January, 2006
When you ask? Tomorrow.
When did I decide, you ask? Today.
I’m so excited!! My new place is in Holly Run townhomes, off of 501 North (“7” minutes from Liberty apparently) where I will enjoy nice new carpet, cable tv, wireless internet, a kitchen big enough to do cartwheels in, and a backyard.
Plus one roommate—which equals 75% less trash and dirty dishes.
I’m so excited!
It’s all quite random how it worked out. So random though, I feel the Lord must have worked it out.
This may indeed be the last place I ever live in Lynchburg.
No more moving in and out of dorms and apartments here??
I’ll take it.
More to come…
10 January, 2006
Not because I'll be in the burg, but I digress...
I'm so excited! Every semester proves to bring new surprises and be completely different. What will this semester bring? For that matter, what the heck will April bring? Usually I have a month-by-month idea of what my semester will be like due to shows and trips and such...but this time, there is no show in April, so what the heck will be going on?!?
Time will tell.
Here's what I know will be going on this semester for me, for sure:
- Pirates of Penzance (the first two weekends of school)
- A Valentine's Day worth celebrating (heck yes...)
- Watching Josh steal hearts in "Into the Woods"
- Learning alongside Mel
- Hanging out with Jenn (for it is her last semester in Lynchburg)
- Hanging out with my sister (for it is her last semester unmarried)
- Voice Lessons
- Acting Class
- Auditioning at the Southeastern Theater Conference (for over 100 companies, yowza) which segues into the next thing...
- Taking a trip to Orlando with 10 or so of my friends to go to SETC
- Spring Break in NYC
- A trip back to the Nash for my dad's 20th anniversary at our church (falwell's gonna come too i think...maybe we'll carpool...whoot.)
- Taking a magazine writing class...which hopefully will help me determine if I'd ever want to do that for a living
- Turning 21
Hopefully this semester will include the following: deepening relationships with those important to me, lots of learning and growing, GREAT grades, more money, improved acting chops, and an abundance of traveling.
Let adventure part 6 begin....
03 January, 2006
I've figured out this perfect christmas break schedule for myself to get things done for my new job at libertyu.com. I generally stumble out of bed between 9 and 10, go pour myself a hot cup of coffee, flip on the tv and get to work here on our family's computer. It works great for me. Then I don't miss the blessed "View" (back off, I don't even have a tv at school) and I still get the things done that I need to do! Lately I have been writing 100-word(ish) summaries for some different aspects of Liberty life. I've written about convocation and student life so far. Right now I'm working on commuters (I mean, what is there to say really?) and soon I'll be working on "drama/theater" (that should be a bit easier :-) and the Career Center. Have I mentioned that if I could have an adult version of this job in a couple years, I would love life? There's something great about not having office hours...or an office for that matter. :-)
This week I was supposed to go with Bonnie down to Birmingham to visit with friends and eat at one of my fave restaurants--California Pizza Kitchen. But alas, I guess it was not meant to be as the plan included coming back on Friday and I have to work all day Friday and Saturday. But would you like to hear the good news??
My friend Mel is in town for the Passion conference and found out that her group has an extra band (the thing you have to wear to get in) and so tomorrow I'm going to go to the thing all day (I think) and get to hear some great bands and great preaching, and for the low, low price of nothing. yessss.
So ya know, it all works out.
In other news, my friends Laura and Dar are getting married Saturday in New York. I so wish I could be there. They are such a sweet couple. But you know what's weird? Laura and I are basically the same age. And she's getting married. Forever. Like, hello the rest of your life, here it is...I'm not sure I'm ready for that...