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Monday, February 19, 2018

Being a Part

I'm sitting here half asleep. The background music to my dreams is the sound of saws, the pounding of hammers, and the increasing hum of voices. This is how I have spent my evening the last couple of weeks as part of the cast in The Wizard of Oz. Prior to moving into the theatre, we rehearsed in churches and local businesses.... Pretty much any place we could find. When I menationd to my new boss the other day that I had rehearsals every weeknight, she gasped and said.... "Do they pay you?" She couldn't grasp why I would commit to something so intense without compensation. The reasons I started doing community theatre is convoluted at best. The reason I continue doing it is simple. It is an amazing feeling to bring a group of people together, many who have never met, and create something magical. Be it a comedy or a musical, it is an experience that builds a unique bond between others you would not normally meet. It is a process that on the outside may look simple, but behind the scenes, it is nothing short of a miracle considering all of the moving parts... Literally and figuratively. I may be in a bit of a daze from exhaustion as is every other member of the cast, but nonetheless,  i am excited for the curtains to rise Friday night. Yes, the monkeys will absolutely fly. The Witch make you shrink back into your chair, and Dorothy will melt your heart with her gentle spirit and songbird voice. Everyone from Toto, to the Munchkins will magically transport you to the land of Oz. If you blink you might miss my breakout performance as the fence that is caught up in the tornado, or you might not recognize me as an Ozian with Green eyes and wild hair. You will probably never see my name headlining a play, but that isn't the point in local theatre. The point is bringing together a hodgepodge of  hearts and creating something that is captivating and entertaining. "Build it and they will come." I assure you that if you do, you will not be disappointed, and who knows, you may just catch the bug yourself and next year you may be one of those of us on stage. It gives a whole new meaning of "having a part". Whether it's behind the scenes, building props, or helping Munchkins get dressed, everyone is needed and together we create the magic on stage. I'll have to warn your though.....  It's going to be an amazing show and you just might get blown away. Hold onto your seats... We hope to see you there. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Reasoning with a Three Year Old

From the moment I dropped my purse by the door, Levi offered one of  his two make believe guns fashioned from limbs of a tree.... "You wanna play wiz me Lolli?" He asked. "Of course I do."  I exclaimed!"  "We got a lot of competition." He told me. "We are going to sneak up on bad guys.".... We began our hunt for the bad guys and around and around the table we went. This was before Mom and Dad had left for the hospital to see Baby Girl. If I ran around the table looking for bad guys once, I ran around it a 100 times. We climbed make believe steps, we went up a make believe elevator, and climbed through make believe holes in the ceiling. We patrolled the house like our lives depended on it. We read books, played with star wars men until he rubbed his tummy and informed me his tummy really needed a snack. We sat for a quick lunch and then he was up and ready to roll again. "Levi, you need to give Pops a kiss cause it's nap time. His face quickly fell into a pout that could crush the hearts of kings....."But I don't need a nap." he said.... "Oh, I beg to differ with you little one, I can tell by the way you're batting your eyes, that they are ready for a nap." "But I don't like naps." He whined... "You don't like naps! I love naps. Look Pops has already started on his... Explain to me exactly what you dislike about naps." I asked..... "He splayed his hand against his chest and said with complete conviction .... "I don't need naps, I'm getting to be a big boy, and look, my eyes are being still."  As he held them as wide open as he possibly could." Okay Levi." I said,  "If that is the truth I need you to explain one thing to me."... "What?"  He asked."  "Okay, you say you are too big for naps, but Pops is way bigger than you, and he still needs naps. And Lolli is way bigger than you, and I still love my naps. If that is true for LolliPops, then how is it possible that you, being much smaller than we are, don't need a nap?" There was a long silent pause, as if he was trying to find a rebuttal to the logic of my question. Then he kind of shrugged his shoulder like he knew this was one battle he wasn't going to win. "Go give Pops a goodnap kiss and all three of us will take our naps, then get up and play some more." Without fuss, or muss, he kissed Pops goodnap and I carried him to his bed. He snuggled right under the covers and said.... "lolli, will you tell me a story?" "I sure will" I said as I sat beside his crib. I spun a tale with dramatic flare that's usually saved for the stage. When I finished the story, I wished him sweet dreams and quietly shut the door. Not another peep was heard from him as he fell fast asleep. As if on cue, Pops and I took our nap as well, wishing it was a daily part of our routine. It's funny that some of the most precious moments in a parent or grandparents life are those sweet moments of tucking them in and whispering "Sweet Dreams". It may be true you can't argue with a three year old, but sometimes logic works wonders, or maybe I just got lucky. But lucky isn't all I got, I also got a nap, so it was a win, win situation.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Facing Your Fears, The Best of Both

Exactly 8 years ago New Year’s Day, I had a freak accident which  resulted in a TBI. Although the accident was terrifying for my family and friends who saw it happen. The most difficult part for me was the recovery. For months, or to some extent years, I felt disconnected not only from myself, but also from those around me. While I tried to pretend everything was normal, things most certainly were not. I had lost myself and the journey to finding myself was a long lonely road. Having been plagued with a fear of trying new things all my life, I was suddenly not afraid of anything. In a way it was a blessing because fear is crippling. During my recovery, the trepidation I usually felt when faced with something different, wasn't there. This wasn’t necessarily healthy. During that time, I'd try anything. I'm surprised I didn't join a traveling circus. I did things I would have never thought of doing before the injury. As I began to recover, the fear slowly return, although not as severe.  The last couple of month of 2017 was a difficult time for my family. My husband and dad both faced health issues, some of which were scary. I had/have work stresses that were and new peppered with anxiety. At the end of December, I decided to try something totally out of my comfort zone. At first, my family thought it wasn't a good time. My thought was maybe a challenge is just what I need to take my mind off things I can’t control. Having made the decision, it is very apparent that I am no longer living in the “Wonderland” of no worries. I have battled the decision with the conversation sounding like this.

"You can't do this!… You need to do this… You don’t belong!… This will be a great experience… You are a fish out of water!… It will be fine."

This is the first time I’ve had this much trepidation since the TBI. I liked it much better when those nagging little doubts were silent and I floated past my insecurities into unknown territory without a care in the world. Apparently, I had come to appreciate certain aspects of my “Alice in Wonderland” mentality. My husband calls me Jac 2.0. The “Alice in Wonderland” side was fearless and fun loving. She was an up for anything kind of gal. Who would have thought there was a “good side” to having a TBI. I start 2018 hoping I can face my fears, conquer them, and come out better on the other side. Maybe it will be the best of both worlds.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

I'm Thankful for.....

I was talking with my daughter tonight. A friend of hers is moving to another state. After being in the Navy for 10 years, my daughter is familiar with long distance and sometimes temporary relationships. I think it makes her guarded. I lost a dear friend almost 4 years ago. Knowing I'll never hear her sweet voice again, makes my heart ache. What am I thankful for this month of thanksgiving? I'm thankful God allowed friends like her to grace my life (grace being the key word). I am thankful for those I love, and those who love me back. They are to my heart, as air is to my lungs. To love others is to be completely vulnerable, because they hold your heart in their hands. Your heart in the hands  of others is a fragile thing indeed. Loving others is a dangerous journey, but the risk offers rich rewards. Choose, but choose wisely. I'm thankful for the times I did.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Catching some Z's

Sleep has been an illuisive friend for the years. It's a trait I inherited from my Dad. I can usually tell when it's going to be one of those nights, but instead of getting up and doing something productive, I lay there waiting for the magical moment I fall unconscious.  Occasionally, I get up and go to Planet Fitness which is open 24/7.  As odd as it seems, my system is so used to it, that I almost feel better when I only get a few hours of sleep as opposed to several hours of deep sleep. Its like my adrenaline gland kicks in when my body knows it's been sleep deprived and I usually function great. But still I long to disengage my brain for several hours just to escape the stresses of life. This week my insomnia has been in hyper drive and today I was a walking Zombie in heels..... Maybe it's the time change. The tried and true hypnosis recording I call Sandman, can get me to sleep and keep me relaxed during what would be a sleepless night, bit the dust last week. I got him up and running after work today, so tonight night I'm  looking forward to catching some much needed z's. I'm hoping tomorrow I'm less Zombie-ish, but still wearing really cute heels.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Better Man

Do you ever wish life would throw you a pleasant curve ball instead of a curve ball that knocks you on the ground?  I have.  I avoid the news like the plague. Just when you think the world can’t get much worse…. It does. As if that’s not enough, sometimes the reality of life itself can be harsh. Mike and I took a day off to get away to enjoy the beautiful weather and to sneak in some much needed alone time outside our normal environment. We didn’t go far. We went to Lake Murray which is a hop skip and a jump from Duncan.  We got to Ardmore mid-afternoon. We had our usual lunch debate…. “What do you want?”…. “I don’t care, what do you want?” We parked at Chili’s and as we were getting out, I said…. “You know, if we wanted to eat at Chili’s, we could do that in Lawton. Why don’t we mix things up and try something new?”  Lucky for me, he was willing to think outside the box, so we decided to try Two Frogs which we had never been to. Before we sat down, he was in hog heaven. Autographed guitars and pictures of famous musicians lined the walls. A small stage was in the front. My husband loves nothing more than live music, but it was too early in the day for the music to have started.  To top it off, the food was great. We were both glad we had stepped out of our familiar box and tried something new. When the waitress brought our ticket she asked if we had plans for the evening. I told her we were just spending the night at the lodge.  She then explained that Clint Black was in town for a concert and would actually be showing up at the restaurant for an after party. She had two free tickets to the concert and wanted to know if we would be interested in going. There was no debate needed about that choice. I thanked her and thanked her (and left a big tip). She said…. “I had these tickets and I said to myself….. That couple doesn’t look like they’re doing anything tonight, I’ll see if they want to go.”  When we got in the car I asked Mike….. “Do we actually look so boring that people can take one look at us and  know we got nothing going on??” Actually, I think she took one look at us and thought…. “That couple looks like they are up for an unexpected adventure.”

The concert was at The Heritage Hall, a small venue. It was a general admission concert so we got there early and had seats 13 rows from the front. We’ve been fortunate to have seen groups like The Eagles, James Taylor, Elton John, Billy Joel, Vince Gill, Martina McBride and many others in concert. I’ve always like Clint’s music, but I was aware he hadn’t had a hit in several years so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I can honestly say that it was one of the best concerts I have ever had the pleasure of attending. I love his music, but in addition to being an outstanding vocalist and musician, he had an amazing rapport with the audience. His smile is infectious and you can tell he genuinely loves what he is doing, and loves his fans. The majority of his band has been with him for 30 years which means they are tight. Their musicality is impeccable! Such longevity tells me that he is not just a great musician, but also a great man. I don’t know this for a fact, but I think his career intentionally took a backseat when he married, which is admirable. Whatever the reason, I can promise you he is a top notch musician and entertainer which is a direct result of being him being "A Better Man”.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Quiet Light

When I heard that Tilt-a-Whirl Joe, a man well known in our community for operating the tilt-a-whirl at Kiddieland, had passed away at the age of 93, my heart immediately broke and warmed at the same time. When I think of influence, I think of someone or something that is larger than life and hard to ignore. That isn’t always the case. Joe was a small unassuming man. He faithfully operated the tilt-a-whirl since 1986. He didn’t just operated it…. He owned it! He owned it in the sense that he put his whole heart and soul into each ride, carefully watching the faces of the tiny tots who giggled and squealed with each turn of the cart. When my kids were small, I loved watching as he pulled the stick that made the carts whirl with a wide grin, ride after ride, after ride. He seemed to take the joy of each passenger personally. He closely monitored each face to make sure the tiny tots were having a good time. He didn’t hesitate to stop the ride when a wee one became overwhelmed. He was the epitome of Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatsoever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.” His image is etched in my memory and the memory of my community. My husband and I work the Welcome Desk at our church, and every service he would come to the desk to get one of the hearing devices made available. He always had a sweet smile and a kind word. On more than one occasion, I remember thinking to myself….. “I want to be just like him when I grow up.” I never had a conversation beyond pleasantries, but that doesn’t change the fact that he had a lasting influence on my life and the life of others. He was and will always remain, A quiet light.