Saturday, March 30, 2013

not nails.

…as my eyes welled up on Wednesday when we read the story of the passion to the preschoolers
…as the dull ache settled into my heart on Thursday
…as the weight of the guilt of my sin weighed me down on Friday
…as the lyrics of the songs from the Good Friday service resonated in my mind
…as Pastor Sam preached the sobering but joyful gospel from the pulpit Friday evening
…as we soberly watched the 26-28th chapters of Matthew last night
…as the brutality of my Savior's execution made my stomach churn
…as I wept unashamedly at breakfast this morning reading again the story of the Passion from the Jesus Storybook Bible
…as I contrasted my building excitement for tomorrow with the despair and grief His disciples must've felt that lonely Saturday night so many centuries ago
…as we lay out our Easter dresses and suits for tomorrow
…as I practice for playing and singing the prelude
…as I type this out, and read others posts from today
…as I try to picture the day when I will be *physically* resting in the arms of Jesus, touching His nail-scarred hands with my own unworthy fingers
…as the GLORY of gospel unfolds before my eyes

this is what I know:

My Jesus died an awful, horrible, excruciating, shameful death. He was brutally executed like the worst of criminals. But worse than that, His Father turned His face away from His only Son. Silence from heaven as the one innocent Man died in agony of body and spirit.

Yet He could've put a stop to it. He could've ended His suffering with just a word.

This is why I love Him. This is why I want to do whatever He asks me to do, or go wherever He calls me to go. This is why I want to obey Him.

He endured all that pain and torture and complete separation from His Father, bearing the full weight of my disgusting sin and guilt….

…because He loves me.

It wasn't the nails that held my Jesus on the cross.

It was love.

Friday, March 29, 2013

faces // meet abby

actors and actresses don't just *appear* on broadway - they have to have the vision first, then work to get there. they have to start somewhere…and for many, that means in school or community theatre or an acting academy. these folks are actors too, and since I myself fall under the category of "community theatre actress", they are near and dear to my heart.

I've never met Abby personally, but she and I have been online friends for quite a few months now, and she's awesome fun and uber talented. It's my pleasure to introduce this future star to y'all!

meet abby peek.
highschooler. actress.

To start, introduce yourself to us! Who are you and what do you do?
Hello, I'm Abby Peek and I am an actress! I study drama at The Culture House Academy Of The Performing Arts.

How did you get started in theatre?
When I was really little I used to love Annie and it was always a dream of mine to play Annie. My mom signed me up for some acting classes, but when I got there I was really scared. I cried during a small in-class practice audition and went and sat on the stairs. For some reason I never gave up though. I kept going back even though I was scared. Eventually my stage fright got the best of me and I took a 2 year break from acting. When auditions for Seussical came around I decided that I wanted to audition. Unfortunately I didn't get cast, but that didn't stop me. I auditioned for Sleeping Beauty next  and got cast as a pixie in the ensemble. Ever since then I've been doing theatre!

What are some of your favorites of the roles and shows you've been in to date?
This is a hard question! Personally, I love all of the shows I've been in, but here are some of my favorites! I loved playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Margot Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, and I'm currently loving playing Peppermint Patty in Snoopy! I think my all-time favorite show i've been in though is Godspell. There's something about that show that just gives me chills thinking about it. I really felt a huge connection with my cast and God during that show.

What are your dream roles?
My two dream roles are Katherine in Newises and Eponine in Les Miserables!

You have a very distinctive voice! Is that something you've tried for?
I definitely do have more of a belting voice than an operatic voice which is a blessing and a curse in musical theatre. Its definitely something I've worked on. Two years ago I definitely didn't have the singing abilities that I have now.

Who are your role models/heroes?
My role models are Bethany Hamilton (surfer) and Clay Thomson (actor). Clay is definitely an inspiration of mine. He's so kind hearted and caring. He's worked really hard to achieve his dreams and I really admire that. He's not that much older than me, but I really do look up to him. I hope  that if I'm on Broadway someday I can be as caring and thoughtful to my fans as he is to his. As far as I can tell he's a really genuinely good person.

How many productions have you been a part of?
I've performed in 26 productions! I've been on the technical side of 3 productions! I've assistant directed one, stage-managed one, and run spotlight for one!

Do you enjoy working behind-the-scenes as well as on stage?
I do enjoy working behind-the-scenes, but I prefer performing. I feel like unless you've worked behind-the-scenes you don't really appreciate all the work that goes into the show as much.

What do you do in your free time?
In my free time I take lots of acting and singing lessons. I enjoy modeling and photography also.

Guilty pleasures? Hobbies?
I love peanut butter and taking pictures. I love making videos and posting them on youtube!

You've gone to New York City quite a few times - do you have a favorite moment or experience from one your visits?
I have SO many great stories to share about my trips to New York. A good story to share is probably my birthday at Newsies! I saw Newsies again on my birthday, since it was my birthday I had front row-center seats! The ENTIRE show I was smiling; I was so happy  to be there! During intermission I got to go into this special room and apparently thats the room where they keep all of the understudy costumes! There were lots of pictures on the wall also! During curtain call when Andy Richardson came out he looked at me with this huge smile on his face and waved at me! Throughout the remainder of curtain call he was waving and making silly faces at me. I think the best part of this night was what happened at the stage door! The cast greeted me by name and everyone told me happy birthday when they came around to see me! I remember when Andy saw me, he did this skippy-hoppy-walk thing over to me. I remember the conversations I had with everyone so well! I got lots of birthday wishes and LOTS of hugs! They made my birthday so special:)

Have you ever gotten to meet one of your heroes/heroines?
I have not met any of of my role models, but I'm hoping to meet Clay next time I'm in NYC!

Do you have dreams or goals for the future?
My dream is to be on Broadway one day, then all of my dreams will have come true!

A quote that inspires you:
“Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.”

Anything else you'd like to share with us?
"You are enough, you are so enough, it is unbelievable how enough you are."

Thanks so much for your time, Abby...someday, when you're famous, I'll say, "And I KNEW from when she was only fifteen that she was going to be a star" and then this interview will be classic history. *grin* You're awesome, girl! And someday we'll meet in person...maybe in NYC. You never know....


Thursday, March 28, 2013

seder night.

- feeling absolutely miserable, but going to work anyway because you need the money more than rest.
- going to the dentist with a cold. Can't breathe through your mouth 'cause someone's got their fingers in it, can't breathe through your nose 'cause it's all blocked up.
- "sooo, you went to see the play twice in one weekend, then watched the movie?"….I just really like Les Mis, okay?
- random power outages during bedtime routine
- thinking for one awful second - as I'm sitting in the car in her driveway - that my voice teacher was on spring break, then realizing that it's NEXT week. whew.
- having a hard time matching pitch at said voice lesson because of said cold.

- the Les Mis DVD arrived on Friday. We watched it on Sunday evening, because…
- we saw Charlottesville High School perform Les Miserables on Friday night, and it was so good we went back on Sunday afternoon. Yes, we love this musical.
- Annie rehearsals coming along - I can't believe that after spring break we'll have only six full weeks before we start tech rehearsals
- our next show is Oklahoma! And even though I'll be in Colorado for nine weeks right during rehearsals, our director is working around me so I'll probably still be able to do it *yay*
- a lovely hour and a half visit with a dear elderly friend last night before church. It had been waaaay too long! Such a blessing.
- Atlas Coffee. I LOVE patronizing local businesses, and since Starbucks stands for so much that I don't, Atlas is a wonderful alternative. And it's two minutes from work. SCORE.
- Passover Seder tonight! I love that we celebrate it on Thursday before Resurrection Sunday…the same night as Christ's Last Supper. The significance is overwhelming.

talent of week:
I'm a Les Mis mood, so enjoy this audio of "The Confrontation" with Ramin Karimloo as Valjean, and Hadley Fraser as Javert. This duo is matchless.

Monday, March 25, 2013

in the kitchen: vietnamese.

you may remember when Alicia came and prepared a delicious korean meal for us back in january. well, not to be outdone, Dao cooked Vietnamese for us this weekend - completely different methods of preparation, but the result being just as yummy. Afterwards, we stayed up late hanging out and playing Settlers of Catan - a wonderful visit all around!

Dao taught us how to make the broth and boil the dumplings in case we ever wanted to make them again on our own.

Alicia's handy-dandy electric teapot kept us well-supplied with all the boiling water needed to cook the dishes.

spring rolls - these aren't fried like the ones Alicia made, but instead you cook the meat first, then roll it with lettuce and mint and cilantro in clear spring roll wrappers and then *presto* they're ready to serve!

dumplings. we had to put little spoonfuls of the meat mixture inside, then pinch the edges to keep them from opening when they were boiled. Sort of like mini-wontons. But not. 

The dumplings went on top of noodles, then the chicken/shrimp broth was poured over it all. WOW. Thanks SO much for cooking for us, Dao and Alicia! It was great fun. Can't wait for next time…. :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

blessed is He.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

against such things there is no law.

"But the fruit of Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
Date…March 23, 2013
Starting time…1:30pm
Mood…tired and a little tense, trying to relax
Outside my window…the weather trying to decide whether it wants to be winter or spring
I'm thinking…about theatre and how much I love it all *happy sigh*
I'm currently reading…Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
I'm listening to…one of my many show tunes playlists. I have several different ones - this is called [short] because it's only 75 songs, versus [favorites - OG] which has nearly 150, or the Master Les Mis playlist with all our LM soundtracks on one (over 200 tracks of just that epic show). ANYWAY. Now playing "Impossible!" from R&H's Cinderella.
I'm wearing…denim and flannel.
I'm looking forward to…a fun afternoon with Alicia and Dao making Vietnamese food. And evidently Dao wants us to do some kind of show tunes karaoke or something after supper….so that should be interesting. :P
I'm hoping…that my stomach will feel well enough to eat all the yummy food we'll be making
Yesterday, I…went to see Charlottesville High School's opening performance of Les Mis. WOW. I didn't know what to expect, and they were pretty amazing. Especially +Brennan Lee. Out of blue, quite talented. "Bring Him Home" was especially great. Well done, CHS!
I'm hungry for…hahahahahaha! absolutely NOTHING. The thought of the amount of food we're going to consume tonight is enough to keep me away from anything edible until then.
The song stuck inside my head is…well, since I'm listening to music at the moment, it's hard to say. Now playing: "Any Dream Will Do Reprise/Give Me My Colored Coat" from Joseph.
I love…theatre.
I loathe…that my throat is feeling really weird and swollen right now. I think it's a reaction to anti-biotic I'm on for my double-ear infection. *yeesh*
This week, my goal is…get Abbey and my costumes finished, or at least the main body of them finished.
Did I meet last week's goal?…haha….maybe I've learned one is changed for good after experiencing NYC and there's no going back to normal.
Picture(s) of the Week…because even though the weather is having a Smeagol/Gollum fight on a daily basis over whether to be lovely or freezing, spring really is here.

Ending time…2:25pm

Friday, March 22, 2013

faces // meet elizabeth

anyone who's been in theatre for any amount of time is aware that while the lead actors do carry the story of the show on their shoulders, equally important is their ensemble and understudies, who keep the show flowing and are there as backup. this group of resilient actors often perform every show, can play multiple roles, and are ready to jump in at a moment's notice to save the day. these folks are my heroes, and it is my privilege to introduce you to one of these amazing actors this morning.

meet elizabeth welch.
actress. christine u/s, mirror bride, triangle girl, and princess in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.

To start, introduce yourself to us! Who are you and what do you do?
I'm currently in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway as an understudy for Christine Daae.

What is something you enjoy about being an understudy?
I love the excitement of never knowing when you'll be put on. I've gone on in the middle of the show a couple times, and it is so exciting! It certainly keeps you on your toes.

Do you have a favorite moment in Phantom that you enjoy acting/hearing/watching each night?
At the end of the second Managers scene Christine breaks down and sings, "Twisted every way." It's so short, but contains so much turmoil, love, gratitude, sacrifice and fear. And all in such a simple and beautiful melody that is delicious to sing. It's a beautiful moment.

What's been one of your career highlights?
My Broadway Debut as Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera. Doesn't get much better than that!

Do you have any warmup/preshow rituals you do to get yourself ready to go on stage?
Not really. Just coffee.

How did you get started in theatre?
I had my first solo in the 3-year-old choir at church, but my first show was Annie my freshman year in high school. I still remember that nerve wracking audition!

What are some of your favorites of the roles and shows you've been in to date?
There are so many - West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables, The Marriage of Figaro when I was singing opera. I have a special place in my heart for the show that gave me my equity card, The Taffetas. That one really changed the course of my life.

What's one of your favorite things about working in this industry?
I get to play! I'm making my living doing the thing I love most. I dress up, make music and share joy. It's a gift.

Do you have a dream role you'd like to play someday?
Fantine in Les Miserables

Who are your role models and/or heroes? 
Julie Andrews, of course! And, I must say I really admire my husband and his take on life. Everything is all play for him. He isn't afraid to fail so he has no limits.

The most challenging thing about being on Broadway?
Balance. Balancing work and family. It's my dream job and, as I mentioned, it's the thing I love to do the most. But it can't be everything. It's all balance.

Is there a quote that inspires you?
Let it be.

Guilty pleasures? Hobbies? etc.
My guilty pleasure is the Food Network. I love to cook. I also love making handmade greeting cards and crafty things. I love beautiful things.

Anything else you'd like to share with us?
Life should be fun! Do what you love and love what you do.

Thanks so much, Elizabeth! It was great fun getting to meet you on my trip to New York last month, you're a lovely person. I can't wait to get together again when I come back - 'cause I definitely am. :)

When we went to see Phantom, I was looking for you during Hannibal, since I knew for sure you were in that scene. Then later, my parents were whispering to me asking if the mannequin in the mirror was a live person or not - I said yes, and thought, "wow, she's doing a really good job". I didn't know it was you until you told me the next day :) You have so many unique talents!

Anyway. Thanks again or sharing a bit of your life with us…and sharing your incredible talent for so many others every night on stage. You're awesome! Break a leg!

all were pictures taken from elizabeth's website and facebook page and belong to her. used with permission.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

coasters, bingleys, darcys, and jack

"You admit that you were in the wrong?"
"Utterly and completely."
"Then... I have your blessing?"
"Do you need my blessing?"
"No. But I should like to know I have it all the same."
- bingley and darcy, pride and prejudice '95
- my Dad and siblings hiked the trail up to Monticello yesterday, and walked around the giftshop a little bit afterwards. And Maddie saw something that she thought I might like…or that they would like me to have. Either way. It's a coaster, a rather cute one that's in my favorite colors. *cough* Precious, right?
- something church-related that cracks me up. It's too much of an inside joke to share on here, but it needs to be commemorated. Excuse me while Katie H and I go off in a laughing fit…..*hahahaha* *snort*
- putting the car in drive instead of reverse and very nearly sending our voice teacher's car off a cliff. good thing our little Highlander can stop on a dime. *facepalm*
- realizing after I'd left the house that I was wearing the same sweater that I slept in. Well, well.
- driving around in circles downtown AGAIN. I thought I had this down. Apparently not. Doesn't matter. Guess it's natural to live a place your life and not know where the streets go.
- realizing that Caroline (who turned 12 on Sunday) will be a teenager next year. And then we'll have FOUR teenagers at once. Mindblowing. But here's the catch: only for six months. And then I turn 20. SAY WHAAAA??!?!?! Yes, I'm turning twenty next year. *passes out*

- practicing for the talent show tomorrow. Catherine and I are singing a song from Newsies with our dear Sarah accompanying us, I'm playing piano for the Case children (singing "Come Thou Fount"), and then our bible study is doing a skit called "Got Love?" Full schedule, I'm telling ya.
- spring is practically here! I spent a good hour or so outside on Tuesday just enjoying the sunshine and hiding out on top of the slide so I wouldn't get dog slobber all over my journal.

- there was an extra coloring sheet during art center activity yesterday. so I colored a Newsie Bugsie. Because I'm super cool like that. My students were rather impressed. *chuckle*

 - watching through "The Long Pride and Prejudice" with my sisters. Folks, there really is not a better movie on the planet. Other than Les Mis. Anyway. I had completely forgotten how utterly brilliant this film, this story, these actors are. Watching everyone figure themselves out never gets old. We like draaaawwwwinggg it out so we can enjoy it longer - it's been a week and we're finally on the last episode - but just about 1/3 way through that. I know, we're pathetic. But isn't it just the best spring movie ever? *sigh*

gahhh can't even handle the pictures <3 <3 <3

- that wonderful feeling when you complete a project and think, "Yes. I did it."
- rehearsals for Annie in full swing! Two a week for me - yay for being single-cast. Actually I have one tonight. This show is actually quite fantastic - never been one of my favorites, but it's super fun to do, and I'm glad that now I can say, "I have been in Annie."
- going to see Into the Woods at Four County Players on Sunday afternoon before rehearsal, and then Les Miserables at CHS next weekend. Both should be quite entraining…in their own way *grin*

And your talent for the week…the super talented JackJack Scott, who is currently on Broadway as a swing in Newsies, singing Bobby Darin's classic "Beyond the Sea."

Hope everyone is well, and adjusting to daylight savings….I'm still feeling extra sleepy and thrown off. It's just an hour…how hard can it be? Golly. But I'm enjoying the longer days, the sunrise on my way to work, light in my window at 7pm, everything. Spring, I'm ready when you are!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

on the shelf: fly away home

today I'm quite pleased to introduce a new authoress to y'all, and a story that has quickly become a favorite, and one near and dear to my heart. I love stories that are written by my friends, and I especially love it when I get to watch the process from start to finish. this one's a keeper, and I wouldn't be surprised if one could find it happily resting on a shelf in Barnes and Noble someday.

old nyc

fly away home by miss rachel heffington

This is the story of Calida Harper - an young writer working in a less-than-satisfying job with undesirable office mate and boss. She has a sense of humor, but life and the world have turned her cynical. Her big break comes unexpectedly one hot afternoon (as she's writing an especially difficult obituary) in the person of Mr. Wade Barnett. He's interested in starting a new periodical for families, and he wants Callie to help get it off the ground. And after that…well…

It's a story with many unexpected twists and turns, and kept me hooked and thoroughly entertained from start to finish. Rachel has a true gift for writing dialogue - it reminded me very much of Oscar Wilde or O. Henry's work. What makes her characters so believable is the references to everyday things, example:
"Mr. Barnett stopped playing with the purse-tassel and looked at me with his head to one side. I averted my gaze and ran my fingers through my hair. Drat—that nail was still snagging." - Callie Harper
Fly Away Home is set in the 1950s - such a rich time period for culture and fashion and all that jazz. I felt like I was in a time machine. The subtle references to the distinctions of the day as refers to appliances, cars, style, popular figures, etc. really set the stage so that you don't even have to think about it.
Stork Club

And, because this IS Rachel Heffington, there are multiple Dickens references thrown in. *wink*
“Be prepared, Miss Harper—I want you to meet some of my friends.” His eyes twinkled and his voice strained as if he struggled not to laugh. Knowing Mr. Barnett—or not knowing him, as the case may be—I wasn’t sure whether to prepare myself for Attila the Hun or Ham Peggotty. - Callie Harper
And the characters….each one special in his or her own way. From the gentle humor of Mr. Barnett, to the blunt, witty Callie, to the lovable, straightforward, Italian Annamaria, the sickeningly slick and arrogant Jules, the amusingly sweet and pathetic Jerry….they all carry the story.

I did not find it hard to relate to Callie. While we are two very different personalities, I found our thought processes are very similar, and found myself thinking, "yes, yes, I would totally say that…wait, I DO say that…" Callie's past have hardened her to love and joy, but she isn't a lost cause. With the right touch, she blossoms and her true personality comes out. That, to me, was one of the most beautiful parts of the story.

I also loved the Christian thread. It's not overpowering, doesn't detract from the story, it *enhances* it. Just like a relationship with Jesus Christ should enhance our daily life, not detract from it. Mr. Barnett's quiet, yet strong faith adds a beautiful level of depth and redemption to the narrative.

“Course she does.” Mr. Barnett put one hand on my shoulder and another on the woman’s. “Annamaria, of course she does her best. None of us is perfect. I’m not half as good a ‘boy’ as I ought to be, so help me Lord Jesus.”
Curious, I cocked a brow and watched him, expecting to find an expression of mock piety on his face. There was none, and my stomach clenched. Annamaria’s gaze descended heavy upon me and if we’d been on a see-saw I would have gone sailing from the sudden weight. 
Of course, because I have been keeping up with this book since Rachel began posting her progress on her blog, I also have stood by and watched as she developed the characters…and both of us have this irreplaceable image of our beloved Gregory Peck as Mr. Wade Barnett. I must say, he does fit the character rather spectacularly, so it doesn't hurt to have that mental image. *grin*

Aww...dear Mr. Barnett :)
"If you would put in a prayer or two for us, I would be very grateful. No offense intended toward you, Maralie, but Tobias: how on earth do you handle a woman? They don’t think in any logical pattern that I can see." ~ Mr. Wade Barnett
Did I mention this book is quite quotable as well?

Honestly, I'm not sure what else to say without giving away the story. And believe me, you will want to go into knowing as little as possible in order to enjoy it fully the first time. Besides, I can't even summarize the plot…it just is what it is. I'm pathetic, I know, but there it is. I've always been a terrible summarizer/narrator anyway.

I believe Fly Away Home is a classic-to-be. How it could not be is beyond me. It's brilliant. It's engaging. It's humorous. And it's a beautiful picture of God's love for us, and the redemption He sent in Christ. I can't recommend it enough.

Guess all that's left to do is give it a rating, and leave you all to mob Rachel, begging her to publish it so you all can read it too *grin*

giving this 5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, March 11, 2013

the crafty side // the dorm bathroom

It has been said that our bathroom and bedroom resemble a college dorm. *cough* And I do not believe it was meant as a compliment. Oops.

That said, it is true that with four teenage/tweenage girls sharing a room, the amount of clothes and makeup and hair products and washcloths and toothpaste and shoes and purses and school supplies that accumulate on the floor and in the closet on a daily basis is pretty staggering. I, for one, have a little shelf in the bathroom to store my jewelry and hygiene supplies, and it's also home to our nail polish…and more often than not, I can barely find anything in the jumbled mess that's there.

Over the past couple months, Maddie and I have used Pinterest and google searches to find efficient ways of keeping the chaos under control. Here are some of our more successful projects:
earring storage - via pinterest
we used burlap mounted inside old picture frames - no painting required. my assorted studs and earring backs are in that itty bitty clear glass bowl on top of the set of drawers.

i received this adorable little chest of drawers for Christmas when I was eleven. the bottom drawer is completely broken and therefore is just decorative, but the other drawers are handy-dandy for storing all sorts of thing (not always as labeled, but hey.) my makeup is in that floral travel bag to the left - just the easiest way for me to keep it all together.

for medicines and hygiene products, i use a office drawer organizer, much like this one so that all the bottles stay standing up. If I need something, I can just slide it off the shelf without knocking everything else over *not that i would…*

my shelf. the basket was on sale, $3 at Michael's, and holds all our nail polish perfectly. plus the basket adds character to an otherwise boring shelf.

a sweet little vintage candy plate is the current home of my necklaces. ehhhh….here's to hoping they find new accommodations soon. *wry grin* looks pretty, but prone to tangles.

this shallow drawer in our bathroom drives me NUTS 'cause it's not deep enough for anything but toothbrushes, and random assorted flossers and soap dishes, but I did find I can store my new curling irons and borrowed flat iron (thanks Bekah) there.

our bath tub rack is lovely - vintage and pretty. see those things on the second shelf from the bottom? that was another DIY project - bath fizzies I made for Caroline for Christmas *grin* and to the right is the full shelf view of everything i just went through so you can see it in context.

What have you used to help keep your bathroom in order? Any successful DIY projects to share?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

all i have is christ

Spring Landscape by John Otis Adams
I once was lost in darkest night 
Yet thought I knew the way 
The sin that promised joy and life 
Had led me to the grave 
I had no hope that You would own 
A rebel to Your will 
And if You had not loved me first 
I would refuse You still 

But as I ran my hell-bound race 
Indifferent to the cost 
You looked upon my helpless state 
And led me to the cross 
And I beheld God’s love displayed 
You suffered in my place 
You bore the wrath reserved for me 
Now all I know is grace 

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ 
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life 

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone 
And live so all might see 
The strength to follow Your commands 
Could never come from me 
O Father, use my ransomed life 
In any way You choose 
And let my song forever be 
My only boast is You 

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ 
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life 

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ 
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"always do what you are afraid to do." - emerson.

i want to do big things. big things for God, big things for the world, big things for other people. i want to travel everywhere, do everything there is to do, meet everyone there is to meet, eat all the crazy exotic foods you read about in books and see on those travel television shows. i want to take pictures with all the famous landmarks and monuments and natural wonders of our world. i want to have a picturesque home somewhere and decorate it like a pinterest board. but i also want to live in a dirty, smelly hut and make do with nothing. i want to marry a man who's on fire for the Lord, and we will fight for the Kingdom together. i want to have a dozen children, all super intelligent and talented, and tell them all my stories, teach them about our savior, teach them to share their faith, take them around the world. i want to get muddy in the nile river, tell bible stories to groups of smiling brown faces, braid and bead hair in africa, sing praise songs in spanish in the jungle, breathe the smoggy air of beijing and shanghai, sing to orphan children in india. i want to be too hot, too cold, hungry, muddy, wet, tired, uncomfortable, and sick for the sake of the least of these. and i don't have to have anything holding me back.

i'm not there yet. not anywhere close. it's overwhelming thinking about it. and i know myself - would i even be ready? how could i serve adequately elsewhere when it's hard enough staying focused right now? how can i possibly expect to be entrusted with much when i'm failing with the little? the answer is i'm trying to do it on my own and it's not working. i'm trying to make myself into the christian i want to be, instead of relying on the power from above. and honestly, that's stupid. He is *so much greater* than I am - how could i even begin to think that i can do a better job than He can?

i don't know. maybe i'm afraid of what will happen if i let go of the reins - give Him total control. because yes, i am content. yes, i *want* to be where God wants me to be. but i am afraid of what i might lose. and i can't even think of what that would be - i don't know. i think it's time i spent more of my day on my knees, and less of it wasting precious moments with mindless activities.

i will not be afraid.

"...but of POWER and of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND."

Friday, March 8, 2013

"It's been many years since I had such an exemplary vegetable."

According to my little bloggy schedule - which is supposed to keep me on topic and more organized - today I get to write whatever I want. So you're welcome. *evil chuckle*

life right now: just stepped off the treadmill for a little while. the craziness that was NYC is just settling down, and i was getting back in the groove of work and chores and chauffeuring again when we had the epic snow day and lost power. so that shook things up again. but such is life, and i guess "normal" is relative, si o no? i've played piano in church for the past three weeks, and have one more to go before i'm off for a little while. also rehearsals  for annie have started up - i'm single cast as sophie (hooverville) and cecile (housemaid). super cool. especially 'cause both roles are actual roles on broadway. and i'm single cast. good times comin'.

coming up: spring break from preschool first week of april. still don't know what i want to do…maybe drive somewhere for a spontaneous visit? any of you all free within a six hour radius? *grin* my violin teacher moving away *crying* at least we can Skype lessons. no joke. ellerslie prep is gearing up. i should probably start reading the scottish chiefs…it's recommended reading and weighs about ten pounds. also been shopping for summer clothes that will fit dress code. not too difficult, but requires thought.
Jane Porter's The Scottish ChiefsThe Chapel at Ellerslie

in other news: saw Mr. Smith Goes to Washington for the first time last night (thanks Dad!). just as relevant now as it was in the 30s. if you haven't seen it, go watch it. and if you love Newsies, go watch it, and you'll be singing "once and for all" during the filibuster part when the little boy scouts are printing the paper on the "one press [Taylor] doesn't control". Anyway. Great film. Jimmy Stewart in one of his best roles. we've also been re-watching pride and prejudice. it's been too long. and it's just as good, if not better, than i ever remembered it to be.
James Stewart, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.   Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice 1995

this week also marks "coming home day" for two dear little might-as-well-be-siblings friends of mine from church. Three years ago Wednesday! WOW. It's been an infinite blessing getting to know these two precious children, so thankful. Hugs and kisses - love you both! *mwah*
so that's life for me right now, and i'll leave you with those cute faces.  *grin*

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” ~ Romans 8:15
In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. ~ Ephesians 1:4-6

Monday, March 4, 2013


I've never thought of myself as a city person. Richmond, Chicago, Atlanta, Arlington, Boston, Pittsburg, Cleveland, Denver - even San Antonio and D.C….all places I've been to and enjoyed my visit, but would never ever desire to live there. I thought NYC would be the same way - nice to visit, not to live.

Let me tell you, NOTHING about ANY of those cities I just mentioned prepared me for New York City. I am in love with this place, and am willing to do just about anything to get back there. And if somehow, Lord willing, I got the opportunity to live for a time in this crazy, high-strung, city, I would.

I am not a photographer. Neither is my mother. Or my father. Or anyone in our family, for that matter. Also, it pretty much rained the whole time we were there, so for fear of destroying the precious camera (which was already not really working in the first place), we used it sparingly and I resorted to my iPod. And we were only there for 24 hours. So I apologize for the lack of pictures, and for the…interesting quality of the ones I do have, but they are all special to me in their own way, because they capture the frantic rush and surreal adventure of my trip. *gotta love it*

We arrived in New Jersey about four-ish in the afternoon after driving all morning, and spent a lovely hour meeting/catching up with my parents' friends from college and their children. After some confusion with schedules, we ended up missing the train into New York City, so we drove in instead, and made excellent (actually *beating* the train we would've been on). Garth is a wonderful navigator and tour guide (he oughta be - he's been working in the city for nine years). 

my first view of New York City…wow….right? Ha.

We got in in time for him to get to his evening show, and for us  to get to our hotel in time to change quickly and head off to Phantom.

Right as we got the hotel {Marriot Marquis on Times Square *eeeeekkkk*}, Garth called out to my mom "be right back" and whisked me across the street, between two gift shops, and then PRESTO. Times Square. And from that moment, I knew that this was a special city. 

 For the the rest of the trip, I was not myself. I was Someone Else living in Another World. Not me. 'Cause little Liza from Charlottesville couldn't possibly be standing in Times Square with a real-life Broadway actor looking out at thousands of people moving in masse to wherever they're going, taxis and cars careening around and honking at everything that moves, crazy pedestrians weaving between vehicles, music playing in every shop, billboards flashing from every corner, and the constant noise and buzz of the city. Not me.

Welp, I hadn't seen nuthin' yet. Our hotel room view was this:

And I only had thirty minutes to admire it, since we had to be at the theatre for the 7pm show…and it was 6:10. I only had thirty minutes to let Times Square sink in, and get my mind in the right place to see Phantom. And not just any Phantom of the Opera performance. The original Broadway production - with sets and costumes and choreography pretty much the same as it was back in 1988. And not just any cast either. Still can't *really* wrap my mind around the fact that I saw Sierra Boggess as Christine. But I've got a picture and an autograph to prove it, so it must be true, right?

Before it started, Mama tapped my shoulder and said, "I have tissues in my purse if you need them." I love her. But I didn't think I would actually want them until later.

When the prologue ended ("Sold! Your number, sir? Thank you.") and the notes of the overture exploded into every corner of the gorgeous Majestic Theatre, and the blazing chandelier began its ascent to the ceiling, I lost it. I frantically dug around for the tissues so I wouldn't smudge my makeup. I sat there, watching that chandelier, watching the drapes being ripped off the set, watching everything, with tears spilling over so fast I did end up with streaks on my face anyway.

The Phantom's chandelier at the Majestic Theater
phantom's chandelier via pinterest

It's hard to explain what Phantom means to me. It's hard to explain why seeing it at Majestic was so important. It was the fulfillment, culmination, of six years of dreaming. Six years of wishing and hoping. Six years of listening to that Overture and thinking "someday." It's hard to explain that even though other shows are more fun, more interesting, and more exciting to me, Phantom will ALWAYS be MY musical.
.Kyle Barisich and Sierra Boggess
25th anniversary Broadway pics via pinterest // sierra and kyle

Of course Sierra was stunning. Our Phantom was the young understudy (u/s), Paul Schaefer, who's usual role is the Marksman in Act 2 ("Not now, you idiot!"). He's been with the show for five years, but it was his first time "Phantom-ing" with Sierra…so he was kinda tense in the first act. But by Act 2, he was INCREDIBLE and I'm really glad we got to see him. And Kyle Barisich played a great Raoul - different in many ways from Hadley Fraser's (which I love) but still wonderful.



And yes, I did meet Sierra at the stage door. She did sign my playbill. She did sign Catherine's 25th Ann. CD case. We did take a picture. She did give me a hug. I'm not a fan of fangirling - I like to think of actors and celebs as normal people with special gifts who can be respected and appreciated but shouldn't be idolized - but it was pretty darn COOL to meet her.

Needless to say, I was in no mood to go to bed, so back to the hotel we went, changed into warmer clothes, and went out to eat and explored Times Square a little. After all, it was only 11:30pm in the City That Never Sleeps. Things was just getting stahted *grin*

this is called the Freezing Cold Picture *grin*

awkward photo - but I was thinking of you, +Brianna Wachter <3

I finally did fall asleep…around 2am. After all, we had a big morning ahead of us, and I wanted to stay awake through Newsies.

The next morning, Dad had an all-day conference, and Mama and I went out to explore. It was raining still, but we made good time, and hit Macy's, Forever 21, Loft, and various other shops. Darting from awning to awning, walking under scaffolding, stepping into random souvenir stores - all to escape the rain and cold. New York from the *inside*.

in front of Madame Toussauds….you couldn't PAY me to go in there. Waxworks are NOT my thing.

We met up with Garth about halfway through the morning, and met a friend of his, the LOVELY Elizabeth Welch (@ewelchtweets), who is Christine's u/s, the Princess, the Triangle Girl, and the Mirror Bride in Phantom of the Opera. She *really* wanted to give us a backstage POTO tour, but there wasn't time. But she and I decided we'll be getting together again - soon - and with Catherine too :D Anyway, she was sooooo sweet and she's very talented and I'm so glad I got to meet her!
Garth, Elizabeth, and Yours Truly

Cool Fact: Garth was in the Original Broadway Cast of The Drowsy Chaperone in 2006, starring Sutton Foster. He's currently in an Off-Broadway show. And he's got a great sense of humor, and the trip wouldn't have been the same without him. Yup, he's cool. Thanks, Garth!

Mama and I were running on a bowl of fruit and a coffee - but neither of us were hungry. So we said goodbye to Garth and Elizabeth, both of them had matinees to get to, and headed off in the direction of the Nederlander.


What to say.

I have a weakness for musicals. I have a weakness for newsboy caps. I have a weakness for dancing. I have a weakness for romance. I have a weakness for witty characters. I have a weakness for Disney. I have a weakness for big band scores. I have a weakness for New York City.

When they're all thrown together in ONE SHOW - it's called….ummm….Newsies.

Remember what I said about fangirling? I don't do it. But let's just say that I GREATLY appreciate the incredible TALENT of this absolutely WONDERFUL cast and the BRILLIANCE of this AMAZING show.

yes, I got to see all three Newsie swings! Missed the other boys, of course, but I was still excited :D

This musical has a new favorite of mine since my Pandora station played Seize the Day last summer, and the boys are great at interacting with their fan base, so between the dozen or so hilarious twitter accounts they write, Andrew Keenan-Bolger ("Crutchie"…but only for one more week *sniffle*)'s YouTube channel, I felt like I'd already seen the show somehow….boy was I wrong! There's a HUGE difference between knowing the soundtrack like the back of your hand, knowing the actors' names better than their characters' names, and watching all the behind-the-scenes videos and ACTUALLY seeing it IN PERSON. It's incredible.

I'm going to try to show you what I mean. See this video? It's from Newsies's early days on Broadway back last March with all of the original cast. It's probably my favorite of all their videos. Anyway, starting at 0:41, there's a funny little thread that runs through approx 1:30 that has Ben Fankhauser ("Davey") warming up with one of his more challenging lines from the show. I first saw this video in August…and last week, I got to see him actually sing that line for real. Which is just the COOLEST thing. I don't know why, but it is.

Anyway. I'll spare you anymore of that craziness. *grin*

One thing I was bummed about was one of the original cast members, Ryan Steele, famous for his dancing abilities and his unique portrayal of "Specs", left the show to join the new Broadway production of Matilda last month. I mean, when it came down to it, it wasn't terribly disappointing, I just would've liked to see him, since he was such an iconic member of the cast for so long.

After the show, we definitely stage doored (if that's a word). Garth was there waiting for us, and while we were waiting for the cast to come out, I was looking across the street at the Mary Poppins theatre. And then this guy walked over to the steps and sat down and started looking over at the Nederlander. He looked familiar, and my brain said, "That's Ryan Steele." I felt like a terrible stalker/fangirl *moan* but I was pretty positive that's who it was, and if it really was him, I didn't want to just say, "cool" and move. So I left Mama and Garth to hold my spot on the rail, and, feeling pretty self-conscious, crossed the street.

yes, mama took a "stalker" picture of me. :P just added to the awkward coolness of this moment.

Well, of course it WAS him, and he was really sweet and signed my playbill and we took a picture with my iPod. My one pathetic fangirl moment….and it was actually really cool and was probably one the main highlights of the whole trip. I love it when little things like that happen. And I don't think it's chance. :) Yay for NYC and "homesick" newsies who come to wait for shows to end he can go in and hang out :P
And I did get to meet a handful of the others too. We had to leave earlier than I would've liked, but we had something else cool to do, so it was okay. :D I did meet Corey ("Jack") but didn't get a picture. He was moving pretty fast :P

TL: Ben Fankhauser (Davey) - by far my favorite character
TR: Jack Scott (Race) - Jack's one of the super talented swings :D
BL: Andy Richardson (Romeo - and soon-to-be Crutchie!) I think we look like siblings. 
BR: David Guzman (Sniper)

The cool thing that we got to do (which would've been even cooler if I hadn't been thinking about Newsies the whole time - one thing at a time, peoples!) was go backstage for The Lion King. Garth's friend Tim has been with the show for nine years, and is the standby for Pumbaa and Timon. CRAZY, right? The sets and costumes are….WOW. This show costs a heap of a lot of money to produce, and just one look at the trailer tells you why. All the animal puppets, how they work, how light they are, and all the study and research of African culture that went into EACH character - main, secondary or ensemble - is a little mind-blowing. And all the costumes have to be maintained, since they all sustain quite a bit of wear and tear during the show.

I also met Timon, Pumbaa, and Zazu - all still in full face makeup since it was a double show day. And there lots of lions in makeup and other various creatures around *grin* Downstairs in the "lobby" of the backstage, the young Simba and Nala were entertaining the stage crew. It's a crazily upbeat set…definitely want to see the show when I go back to NYC. Which is soon. Just because I said so.

We had supper out with Garth, and wandered around the theatre district some more. I bought my last few souvenirs, and took my last few pictures.

when i come back, Matilda! I promise.

Then we hit the road, drove to D.C., spent the night. Dad stayed in the capitol for another day, and Mama and I headed for home. We stopped at Fair Oaks in Fairfax - they have the best JCPenney ever - got lunch, then picked up the younger siblings at my grandparents' house.

And so ended my 48 hours New York City Adventure. Now that I've been there, I won't be the same. Hard to believe it's only six hours away, and it's in the same country. Such a different world. 

Oh, New York…

I will be back.