Saturday, April 27, 2013

it's so hard.

"We live by hope."

It's true. Hope of what is to come is what gets us out of bed in the morning, keeps us running when the going gets tough, and focuses our attentions.

The generations before Christ lived in hope that the promises that YHWH made to them would come to pass. It gave them courage to stand up to false gods, and kept them from despair. Now, that's not not saying they didn't doubt - we all do. But their hope of salvation united them as a people.

Now we live in hope of Christ's Second Coming. I had honestly never thought about this until a couple weeks ago when Pastor Sam preached on it. We live in hope of Christ's Second Coming. Our hope is that the promise that God, the Just, will be satisfied to look on Jesus, and pardon us. That is our hope.

Do you ever doubt that God cares about you personally? Do you ever wonder if He thinks of you, loves you, and wants you with Him?

He gave up His only Son to die for your sins. YOUR sins. He died. For you. His blood - the most precious thing in the universe - was required to wash your sins away.

And what do we do in return? We forget to read our Bibles first thing in the morning. We pray on occasion. We idolize things made by man. We throw His sacrifice back in His face and say, "Thanks, but I can do it by myself."

And now I drop the "we" and the "us". This is my struggle. I love my Jesus, and I want to be in His will. My joy does come from Him, my peace does come from Him, but it's a daily fight for me to keep my focus. It's so hard. And it's not even the "bad" things that get in the way - it's the good, the beautiful things, like music and family and art, that pull my mind away.

Yes, I know He forgives. Yes, I know He loves me even when I am unfaithful. Yes, that is a comfort. But shouldn't that knowledge spur me to pursue Him more…instead of sit here, content with my stagnant faith?

I hold to the hope that my prayers are being answered. That He is leading my steps. That my summer spent in sole pursuit of Him in a set-apart environment will bear fruit. That my efforts to wake up earlier and devote time to the Word will not be in vain. That the desire to have a greater desire for things of God is from the Spirit.

"I live by hope."

Friday, April 26, 2013

faces // meet kelly

I've been so thankful for the wonderful ladies of Phantom of the Opera who have taken the time let me interview them - y'all are lovely, thank you! Today we have another understudy/ensemble member who also worked on the Phantom US tour several years ago. Another unique and fun story! Ladies and gentleman….

meet: kelly jeanne grant
actress. madame giry u/s, ensemble in phantom of the opera on broadway.

To start, introduce yourself to us! Who are you and what do you do?
Hi There! I'm Kelly Grant (or "Kelly Jeanne Grant" - my full Actor's Equity/ Union name.) I am a member of the Female Ensemble and a Madame Giry Understudy in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.

How long have you been with Phantom Broadway?
I have been with Phantom for a total of 5 years. I spent 3 years on the road playing the role of "Christine" (as the "Alternate" - 2 shows a week and stand-by). And, I have been performing with the Broadway Company for more than 2 years now. First, as a vacation swing, and now as a permanent Company Member / Mme. Giry Cover and an "Internal Swing."

How did you get started in theatre?
I am from Portland, Oregon, and I began seeing plays at the Oregon Shakespearean Festival when I was 4 years old. Since then, I have always loved theatre and the magical art of telling a story to an audience. As I started playing musical instruments and singing, I fell more in love with all of the different ways to tell that story, and knew that I wanted to devote my life to doing theatre.

What was the first musical you ever saw?
First Play = The Tempest (age 4) First Musical = West Side Story (age 8). Both were life changing and transformative for me!!

You were on the Phantom tour - what was your favorite thing about life on the road?
I loved the challenge of telling this wonderful timeless story in different venues all over the United States and Canada. I really enjoy traveling in general, but it is even more fun to get to know other theaters and local audiences while getting a chance to make the story of Phantom come alive for them 8 shows a week. On a personal note, I am also a marathon runner, and I LOVED exploring all of the trails and running paths in different parts of the country. It was like a non-stop adventure!!

One of the challenges of being on tour?
The hardest thing about being on tour was having to be away from my husband. Long distance relationships are one of the occupational hazards of show business in general, but it is particularly challenging when one partner is on the road. We tried never to go more than 6 weeks without seeing each other. Between travel expenses, and scheduling difficulties, let's just say that for those 3 years, we really had to prioritize our relationship in order to make it work.

Being in the ensemble, you're on every night. That takes stamina! What's something
you do to keep your voice in tip-top shape for each performance?
Stay healthy!!! Plenty of exercise keeps my lungs open and my energy level high. A healthy diet and staying hydrated helps as well. In terms of vocalizing, I try to warm up each day... Even if it's just in my shower!!

I'm jealous that you can pull off an Irish accent. How did you study/learn the different
accents you know?
It depends on the accent, but I have taken some dialect courses. Occasionally, I have also gotten private coaching if I need a dialect for a specific play or role.

Your favorite thing about living in New York City?
The amazing energy of the city. I am pretty well travelled, and I know no city with this much of a "pulse" or "buzz." It's pretty cool to feel like you are at the center of it all…

One of the difficulties of being on Broadway?
The schedule. The eight show week plus rehearsals can be challenging enough, but add in all the things that New York has to offer, and you are pretty swamped! For example: I also teach many classes and workshops to visiting students, shoot commercial and episodic television, perform in Off Broadway readings of new plays, and sing on demo recordings for new musicals. It makes for a very FUN, but very FULL calendar!!

What's one of your dream roles?
Ironically, I am extremely fortunate enough to have already DONE many of my childhood dream roles. How incredibly lucky am I? It was always my dream to play Christine Daae in Phantom, and I got to experience that on tour. I have also done a bunch of others including Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Lucy in Jekyll and Hyde, and Peter in Peter Pan. (That last one includes getting to take, arguably, the best "bow" in show biz while flying 25 feet in the air and spraying handfuls of pixie dust on the audience…GREAT fun!! :) In terms of roles I have yet to do, I would love to tackle Mother in Ragtime, and, of course, Eva in Evita.

Who are your heroes/role models?
I have many actors and actresses that I admire professionally, Annette Benning, Meryl Streep, Helen Hunt, Robert Deniro, William H. Macy, etc... But, my real heroes are my parents. My Dad, who is a doctor, and a marathon runner thought me everything I know about perseverance, strength and true kindness. And my mother, an amazing woman who saw our family through good times and bad, has spent a lifetime showing me the meaning of the words "generosity" and "loyalty." They made me who I am today, and I owe them everything.

Do you have a quote that particularly challenges or inspires you?
It sounds weird, but the old chestnut "carpe diem" has always rung true to me, because life is too short not to reach for your dreams. You never know how much time you have, so I like to think of living each day to its fullest. Work hard, play harder, and spread love far and wide wherever you go, and you won't go to sleep at night with regrets in your heart!!

Anything else you'd like to share?
To all of my young friends who are contemplating a life in show business, the greatest advice I can give is this: BE HAPPY!! It sounds simplistic, but find other interests, hobbies or relationships outside the business that fulfill you and make you happy as a human being. Our business is not one that gives you  a lot of self-validation, but if you come to the table as a positive already satisfied person, there is no end to what you can do!!

Thank you so much, Kelly! You've got me excited and inspired :) I'm looking forward to meeting you in person someday! Keep up your great work, and thanks for sharing a bit of your life with us.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

everybody needs inspiration.

- blue skies

- white way of delight

- cabins on the ridge

- shadows

- the road not taken

- the road taken

- fishing

 - streets all lit up
everybody needs inspiration. and a rest from crazy life. I found both in the mountains last weekend. It was such a sweet, precious time with friends - a blessing. And now I'm home, jumping back into all the busyness of the next seven weeks before I leave for Colorado. But I'm refreshed, and ready. Bring it on! ;)
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.
- psalm 121, NIV

Friday, April 12, 2013

faces // meet satomi

GlassesI don't know about you, but I love hearing understudy stories. Last minute saves, covering multiple roles, wide ranges of talent - what a job. I love it. I'm sure y'all remember the lovely Elizabeth, understudy for Christine on Broadway. Today, it's my pleasure to introduce you to her cast mate, understudy for both Carlotta and Madame Giry. Pretty wild.

Ladies and gentlemen….

meet: satomi hofmann
actress. carlotta and madame giry u/s, 
wardrobe mistress, confidante in phantom of the opera 
on broadway.

To start, introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do?
Hiya!  I'm Satomi Hofmann and I understudy Carlotta Giudicelli and Madame Giry in Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera.  When I'm not performing my understudy duties, I appear as the Wardrobe Mistress and Confidante.  Let me explain who those characters are.  The Wardrobe Mistress chases Carlotta and Christine around, dressing them whenever they have a costume change onstage (mostly in the first act).  No, I am not part of the wardrobe staff- it's a real role and I'm singing and acting with everyone else ;-)  The Confidante appears in Il Muto, the opera that is performed during the show.  I wear white make up, a huge dress, a very tall wig and I am blessed to have the only singing solo of the ensemble women.  Oh- and I giggle a lot and point and scream at the chandelier.

ConfidanteWhat was the first musical you ever saw?
Oh my goodness.... I honestly don't remember!  I grew up around music, going to theater, symphony, opera...  I was so fortunate!  But the musical that drew me to pursue theater as a career was Sunday in the Park with George, by Stephen Sondheim.

How long have you been with Phantom?
I started out in the Broadway company four(!) years ago.  I then left to join the Music Box Tour (of Phantom) and spent 15 months with them.  I then returned to the Broadway company and have been here ever since!

What are is something you enjoy about being an understudy?
Ooh, I love saving the day!!  I've gone on many times mid-show and it's just so thrilling to be thrust into the role unexpectedly.  Big fun.

As Carlotta, how does it feel to sing the first note at the opening of the show? 
Hmm….when I first started covering the role, well, terrifying.  You are completely exposed, there is no orchestra under you, and you are responsible for this tremendous change in energy.  But now, I just ADORE it!! It feels like I'm some wild animal biting into some juicy prey I've just run down:  triumphant!

Your career has been quite a ride, and you've done lots of different gigs.
Yes it has!

I have to ask: what was it like working with Michael Crawford and David Cassidy on EFX?
I adored them both, though for very different reasons.  I LOVED Michael's professionalism and attention to detail.  He demanded the same level of focus in every performance from himself as much as he did from those around him.  David was SO much fun- we spent a lot of time laughing!

You play a lot of instruments - which is you favorite?
Well, I started out on piano, so I can't help but favor it.  We don't have room for one in our current apartment and I miss it so much- it's always been a part of my life!  But it's a requirement for our next place, for SURE.

GiryOut of curiosity, how long did it take for you to learn to play spoons? (I'm wildly jealous)
Ha!  Well, I do love playing them too!!!  I learned from one of my dearest friends, the wildly talented Beth Mullaney, when we were playing in the all-female Celtic Rock band, Killian's Angels (they're still going strong in Las Vegas- check them out!).  Learning the basics was a cinch.  Gaining dexterity took some time and practice... of course;-)

What's your favorite thing about living in NYC?
I love that you ask this because I JUST had this conversation with some friends!  We were walking through Herald Square and saw that the Macy's Flower Show was going on; we immediately popped on the line and, within minutes, were surrounded by sheer beauty!  What I love about New York is that any given day, you can simply stumble on the most amazing source of unexpected joy:-)

What have been some of the challenges you've overcome as you've worked in this industry?
Trusting myself.  One hundred percent of the time, if something doesn't feel like it goes well- an audition, a note, a performance, a rehearsal- it's because I wasn't trusting myself.  Every time I have a wild success- I trusted myself and followed through with that trust.  It's kind of a hard thing to explain- you just have to feel it.

Who are your role models/heroes?
I have so many and for so many different reasons!  Interestingly enough, one of my favorite things I've learned about my role models and heroes is that they are flawed.  Sound odd?  Lemme 'splain:  all those people that I have idolized or admired at some point in my life- they are just as flawed as I am; they've messed up royally, they've made mistakes, blown auditions, put their foot in their mouth, questioned their judgement, disappointed other people...  Oh my stars, THEY'RE JUST LIKE ME!!!!  So maybe I'm not so bad after all ;-)

What do you enjoy doing on your days off?
As I'm writing this, I'm relaxing after the Cherry Blossom 10k race.  Sounds like a good time to me!

Anything else you'd like to share with us?
Nope!  This has been fun:)  Thanks!

Thank *you*! I loved getting to know you through this interview! Time for another trip to NYC so I can meet your in person. :) And now I have this irrepressible desire to learn the spoons. Family, watch out! Haha.

Thanks again for your time, and break a leg next Saturday when you go on as Carlotta (!!!!)

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Pretty much every business, every person with any kind of cause, every organization, every political candidate, every one wants your money. They want you to invest in what they do. Sometimes the returns are monetary, other times it's your conscience that gets rewarded. Sometimes it's physical satisfaction, like when you buy food from the grocery store. You pay for food that you need to live, and in turn, they stay in business. Think about it. That IS our society. The exchange of goods. Money. Products. Advice. Services.

But have you stopped to think about what it would be like to invest in a person? Not giving them money, or even advice or services. Just your time. Stepping back, sacrificing time to bless someone else. Someone who maybe you don't normally talk to. Someone who might be a lot younger or older than yourself. Someone who just needs to hear what you have to say, or someone who needs to be listened to.

I was blessed that way last night. What started out with five or six others on the playground turned into just two of us on the swings. And rather than get and find something else to do, I felt a little pinprick and a little voice in my heart said, "talk. tell her your heart." So I did. Forty-five minutes later, I knew it was the right thing to have done. I don't know how she felt afterwards, but I know that I was immensely blessed, and learned so much more about this lovely young lady that I knew before.

When you feel that voice, that urge, to just invest in someone else - don't ignore it. You don't know what you're missing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

i think we skipped spring.

It's been in the seventies all day - I think we skipped spring. But honestly, that's fine with me. It did my tropical blood good to feel the heat and humidity and blazing sun today. :)

Today was truly wonderful in many ways. It started with a bright, early morning, a lovely dip into God's Word (prov 9 and john 2), prayer, a shower, and a new spring-y outfit. Then work, which was lovely. I do love my job, but sometimes the morning seems to drag.

Not today!

And to make a happy day better, my little crush, Sam (I know, he's four. but if i could just wait for him….pleeeeease…), came bouncing up to me, "are you my teacher today?" "no, I wish, but I'm not." "oh. I was hoping you were. I like it when you're my teacher." Watch this girl cry - I wish he wasn't going to be in kindergarten next year and leaving me *sobs* love my Sam.

And then as I cheerfully bounced around the room, I started singing this song from the classic Charlotte's Web film from the seventies. In a lull in the song, I heard a pretty little voice say, "that's Charlotte saying 'chin up'. I like that movie." It was my little Isla - kudos to that sweetie pie for knowing that movie!

And then I had lunch with Hannah and her little ones.We played outside for an hour afterwards and got nice and warmed and rosy and tired. I love that family so much.

And *then* I picked up Maddie from school, and we went and picked up Alicia and went shopping for supper tomorrow night - making Korean for church on Wednesday night. It's also free cone day at Ben and Jerry's, so that was a must 'cause we were in the same shopping center.

And now I'm home, babysitting younger siblings so Mama and Dad could take Josh out for his half-birthday dinner. We just ate supper outside on the back porch (lovely), and I've been periodically going outside to check on our six rather unintelligent chicks who keep flying out of their pen. They honestly don't know their mortal danger, with a reckless eighty lbs male puppy on the loose.

It's been a beautiful day, folks. A truly beautiful day.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you. - proverbs 9:10-11

Thursday, April 4, 2013

a&a. 4.4.13

Because I took Josh out the other day and took a bazillion pictures of him being a farmer boy, of course Zanna wanted her turn. So the pictures in today's post are from Photo Shoot #2 starring The Farm Girl With Her Cowgirl Boots on the Wrong Feet.

- burned my fingers on a cookie today. not the oven, not the baking sheet. THE COOKIE. Welcome to my world, friends. Welcome to my world.
- my costume. and i'm the one making it. maybe once I get the sleeves on it'll look better….I've just never been a huge fan of mustard.
- stalking someone on instagram and thinking for one horrible moment you'd favorited one of their pictures from like 24wks ago but all you did was hit the comment button *cue huge sigh of relief*
- planning on skipping out on the last half of a mandatory tech dress rehearsal in May to go see the touring cast of West Side Story. Ssssshhhh….don't tell.
- the fact that I'm also *completely* missing an important rehearsal in two weeks to spend the weekend with friends-who-are-more-like-family
- most of these "awkward"s are about Annie. awk.
- chickens are awkward.

- Spring Break from Preschool! Yes, I love my job, but macaroni-and-CHEESE how I love being off this week!
- the spring weather that has finally decided to stay. yes, it's still a bit nippy out, but at least it *feels* springy in the air. no more snowy wetness.
- West Side Story is coming to town. And I'm hyperventilating.
- I'm having ice cream with my "other mom" on Saturday to catch-up and talk about what God's done in both our lives since last time we hung out. Yay for folks who invest in others' lives - love you Mom W.
- planning the care package that Abbey and I are sending to our counterparts in the NYC cast of Annie. We're so sweet and creative - right?
- Andrew's coming home on Sunday after six weeks in a foreign climate. I'm looking forward to hearing his oriental stories. Maybe he'll have a Hudson Taylor ponytail. *snort* Sorry, Scott. Had to.
- chocolate caramel matzoh.
- listening to Susannah sing her little heart out. She loves Les Mis, and can enter into that story with every fiber of her being. She sings it unconsciously - often narrating her life with her own lyrics set to the tune of "the Confrontation" or "Little People." She makes a killer Javert, by the way.

Happy Thursday, everyone.

"So, Senator, so, Janitor/So long for a while, remember/You're never fully dressed/without a smile!" - Annie: The Musical

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


The past few days have been major fails for me in many ways. I'm feeling icky, to start. Getting over a nasty cold…and other uncomfortables. And a tummy ache most likely from the amount of food I consumed over the weekend. Feeling heavy and greasy. Breaking out. Then Monday night I dropped my liquid foundation on the countertop five minutes before leaving for bible study and stained the front of my favorite shirt, cardigan and skirt in one fell swoop. (thankfully the stains came mostly out this yesterday evening)

Yesterday I was out of it still, time spinning too fast. Trying to work on costumes, feeling not the best, unable to get my hair and face under control. And our room looked like a pig sty. I lost it. Not verbally. I cleaned *everything* up…even the clothes and nastiness that wasn't mine. But I was complaining to myself. And then I snapped at Dad, who was just checking in. And Catherine, who didn't know what I was talking about. Deep down, it didn't really bother me that I was cleaning up. But I wasn't doing it as unto the Lord.

At all.

It was day of failure. I did not pass Go, did not collect to $200. Did not honor my Savior. Did not exercise self control. Or gentleness. Or patience.

It's spiritual attack, I know that. We just celebrated the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It follows that our adversary is trying to disillusion us. 

But that's not an excuse. I've put the old man (girl) to death. How can I then live in the old way? But even when I fail, that's not the end of the story. It's because of that very story of resurrection that I can boldly claim this:
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9
Today is a new day. Fresh. And we know His mercies are new every morning.

Holding onto that.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

an april morning

a six year old boy. his eighteen year old sister. a camera. a sunny, cool april morning. twenty chickens. a broody hen. two hyper great pyrenees. a couple thousand bees. a garden starting to turn green again. and lots of free time.