Sunday, August 25, 2013

Willow Chicago- Welcome Home

Today has barely started and already I've had an utterly amazing experience. Truly, I am amazed and awestruck.

What happened? You might ask that question- and I will answer!
I went to church this morning.

No before I loose half of my readers due to religious differences, please stick with me and read this post. I'm not going to preach at you, I'm writing about a much needed experience about something that is important in my life.
Chances are, if you are friends with me, my faith will come up in conversation. I'm not looking to shove my faith down anyone's throat, but my beliefs are important to me and shape how I act and view the world. The most important aspect of my faith that I try to live out (imperfectly, because I am human) is to love everyone. That itself is a tricky concept that I could and might try to explain another time, but that's not this particular story.

During the summer months, I don't really get to go to church. I'm performing at Bristol and that takes up my Sunday time. I do try to read my Bible during the week (not really good at the every day part, but several times a week is my low end of the goal), and sometimes listen to sermons (maybe once every few weeks or at most twice a month because I'm really bad at going online to listen to a free podcast). Even when I would go to church, I would often struggle with being there. Not because of any crisis of faith or because I didn't get anything out of the sermon.

I simply didn't feel like I belonged. Now, the church I had been going to is a wonderful church. They do so many good things and they are full of good people. Their sermons are often geared towards those who are coming into church as "seekers" (aka people curious about what this is all about). That's fantastic! However, as someone who was apart of the faith since I was 13, I always was left feeling like I wanted a little bit more.
Now- that church I spent age 10-present age at had a solution for those who were past the seeking phase! Small groups during the middle of the week and on Sundays. I tried. I really did. Midweek college services were not welcoming. I sat by myself and felt alone in a crowd of people who had already found their group and while they were friendly towards me, I didn't really feel like they wanted me around. This was made clear by the point that they kept giving me half of their attention and really didn't care about what I had to say.
I'd already gone through much the same experience in the High School small groups. I left because I never connected with anyone and my group was split up and I was set with another leader who I really didn't connect with. I wasn't going to do that again.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a neat person. I'm a mess. Every human is a mess, we're just really good at hiding how messy we are from 99% of the world's population. My faith gives me a foundation and a relationship that I don't have to worry about hiding myself from. For years I've longed for a place where I can be myself among people who share my faith and I won't be too much, or too messy, a place where people would believe in me and the things I could do. A place where I could be that weird mix of liberal and conservative and it didn't matter how far I went one way or another. I wanted a place where I could be imperfect in a world that labels me as a "trying to be perfect hypocrite." Because that's what the media says about those who follow Christ. I know that label because I've given it out, and that's not right. That's not what my faith is about or who I should be. I have no right to judge others when I have only to look into my mirror to see someone as equally broken as anyone else.
Unfortunately, I've been judged. Most of the time I've been judged by those who share my faith. There's a reason I like hanging out with people who don't share my faith because most of the time they are accepting of me and my mess. I was amazed last year when I went to Bristol and saw the love these people show each other and wondered "what if the people who shared my faith treated each other this way?"

I digress from my rant. I'm still working through a lot of the bitterness and hurt that I've amassed. I'm trying to put that behind me as a bump in the road in my journey. I'm trying to forgive, and it's not always easy when you feel that stabbing pain of being alone in a room full of people who (you're told by the pastor) are supposed to love you. Now, my whole experience was not all bad. I've had wonderful times at Willow Creek Barrington. It's just been a severely mixed bag and I've gotten a few vomit flavored Bertie Bots Jelly Beans along with the toffee and watermelon flavors. 

I've done a lot of growing over the past two years in my faith. I love where it is taking me. It's not easy and it's scary some times, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. My faith brought me to where I am today, and I want to know where it will take me tomorrow.

Today I decided to give Willow Creek Chicago a try. I was hoping that it would be a little bit different from Willow Creek Barrington. I was hoping that as a performing artist who thought a little differently from the suburban crowd (generally speaking), that I would find at least one person who was like me. Plus, I missed church. I really do like going and learning about the Bible. It's like a history class that has practical application.
I didn't go with any of my new classmates, and my roommate was still fast asleep when I left at 9:45 for the 10AM service. It's kind of nice to live that close to church.

I walked in through the doors and was greeted with a "Good Morning." from the welcome staff. I like the welcome staff at churches because they are genuine, so I always try to say good morning back to them. Then I found out that there was free coffee. I hadn't had any breakfast so the free coffee was fantastic and it was good coffee too, and you could bring it into the auditorium! 

The songs that we sang for worship were a bit older, but I like them better than the slightly more obscure songs I've been learning and singing back at WCB. The vocalists were outstanding, but that's not really what I was focusing on. The people there made it really easy to focus on praising my God.
The best part was what I heard during the songs, in that still, quiet, voice that can ring more clearly that any bell.
"Welcome Home."
I have to tell you that I almost started crying. Here I was in a church were I knew nobody, but I felt at home and accepted right off the bat. I didn't feel like I was dressed to shabbily, or to fancy. I didn't even feel like it mattered what I looked like.

The pastor who spoke today was preaching on Romans 12. Years ago, my little sister and I had to memorize Romans 12. I can't remember all of it, but Romans 12:2 is still one of my "life verses" that I try to emulate and dwell on. Today I got to listen as the pastor unpacked the entire chapter about what Romans 12 was about. I wrote four pages of notes in my journal. I've never written more than two about any sermon before. There was just so much for me to take in and I could feel my heart soaring with all of the information and understanding I was gaining.
During the service I was made aware of some people who I need to be kind to, even if I'm having trouble dealing with them right now. That's part of my faith, is being kind and loving to everyone. That doesn't mean letting everyone walk all over me, because that's completely wrong. However, just because someone is trying to tear me down doesn't mean I do the same to them.
We took communion today, and I honestly can't tell you the last time I took communion. When I started going to WCB, we didn't take communion as much. I've missed communion and the symbolism that goes along with it. 

I went up to the pastor after the service and thanked him and let him know where I had come from and how much this service had meant to me. I know WCC is smaller than WCB, but I've never talked to any pastor at my other church before after a service. They always seemed a bit removed.

I think that's what the trouble was. Everything always felt a bit removed for me at WCB. I didn't ever feel like I really connected. Something was always slightly off and tilted at the wrong angle, a bit like a picture frame that hangs 97% straight. It's almost there, but just a hair or two off.

To me, WCC was a place where people admitted that we are messed up. We are broken humans. We are not perfect. We are loved and called to love others. We do not have enough words to thank our God for what he's given us, or have enough words to convey the love He has for us and us for Him.
It's been very rare that I've had such a full feeling in my soul. It's like feeling the most alive you can feel and then some. You can feel the energy inside of you moving. I've never had that happen in a circumstance where it was simply meant to tell me I was in the right place and Welcome Home. I'm hoping that this continues and I'm able to really make a small place for myself at Willow Chicago, hopefully with the community. I want to get to know these people and I can't wait to go back.

Thank you, those of you who stuck with me while I shared this. Normally I don't post too much about my faith, but it is important to me, and this particular joy needed to be shared. It's definitely given me the strength I need to go forward during the next week of full fledged classwork.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

College- Week 1

I can officially say that I have survived my first week of "sleep away" college. I'd like to think that I've done a little bit more than just survive (although I'm feeling a bit exhausted). I've already learned a LOT and the bumps have been very small so far.

So here are the things that I have learned so far

1) Walking everywhere will make your legs hurt a LOT. Basically I'm walking as much as I am at Bristol every single day. I'm guessing that's about 6 miles a day. That's the "easy" setting for walking distance on the Oregon Trail computer game I played (obsessively) when I was younger. I'm hoping that I will soon adjust. It isn't going to get easier once I'm dancing almost every day.

2) I know this is where I need to be. Over the past week I've been hearing things from my professors that have confirmed that this is the place I need to be. I had a moment where I was reflecting on where I've come from to get to this point and I realized something huge. All of those people who said I wouldn't make it as a performer and shouldn't pursue theater were wrong. I've proven them wrong already and now I'm just continuing to do so. There's a little bit of smug satisfaction in that, I will admit. However, I think the better part of that is that I haven't let the nay-sayers drag me down. Also will note that none of those people are going into the performing arts and I'm not really in touch with them anymore.

3) I will make friends, it does take time, and the people who I invest in are important. I've been slowly connecting with some people and I've fallen in with a bunch of the students who are closer to my age (since I've spent the past two years at community college), and a few others. I'm able to respect everyone in my class, but I'm glad that I am connecting a bit more closely with some of them. I'm looking forward to seeing how those friendships (and hopefully others) develop.

4) When something big comes up, people will be kind. My Papa (paternal Grandfather) passed away the day before I moved in, so Thursday night and most of Friday I was back at home for the wake and funeral. The faculty and my classmates were sincerely kind and generous during this time. I'm handling things well right now, but I know that if something comes up down the road that I have people who will be gracious and understanding.

So that's a little bit of what I'm learning that isn't really academic. If you wanted a play by play, I'm not sure I could have given you one. I've been doing so much and hanging out with so many people!
I suppose a few highlights would be.....

- Seeing Book Of Mormon for $25.
- Taking a boat tour around the city.
- Freshman Showings when I got up and sang and monologue-ed in front of my classmates.
- Researching the hauntings at the Congress Hotel (which I can see from my window)
- Today's afternoon at the Lincoln Park Zoo with a group of friends.

Tomorrow I am looking forward to going to church and then showing my Aunt and Nana my dorm room. Then I get to throw myself into a crazy week of classes and then labor day weekend back with my Faire family (one way or another).

-Until next time

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

if just One person believes in you (or it takes a village to raise a child)

Even though this post is about the Ren Faire, I felt like it belongs here on my personal blog. Unfortunately, my Anne-Drew blog has gone without post for a few months and while I'd love to write something for it, now is the time to focus on what's going on in my life and not my character (even if this post really could have been posted on Anne-Drew's blog).

This year as the Faire season started with rehearsals and classes through BAPA, I knew that I wouldn't be able to stay the entire season. This Friday I'll be moving into a dorm and starting a new chapter in my college journey. The thought of leaving Bristol early would make me feel sick and torn up inside. Like someone had walked into my sanctuary and smashed it to pieces.

Bristol really is like a home to me. I call it home. It was and always has been a sanctuary for me. Especially this summer, as I got more and more worried and stressed out about college and various other things in my life (that shall not be posted on the internet because the internet is forever), Bristol gave me a place where I had friends and a place where I belonged and was supported.

Last year, Bristol taught me that I am not alone in my weirdness. Growing up, I always felt like I was too much in one way or another. Bristol also taught me that I have gifts and can do much more than I thought that I could. It gave me healing from some of the baggage I was working through. Bristol gave me laughter and I learned how to feel again. This year I've worked really hard on working through feelings instead of shutting down and going numb. I lived in a strange sense of numbness for several years of my life and then was slowly coming out of it, only to be slammed back in full force. Bristol really helped me through the kindness and friendship shown me that first year.

This year, Bristol has taught me that I have family (more than my biological one) that love me and support me and will continue to do so, even outside of Faire. I gained an 'older sister,' who calls me mei-mei. Any of you Browncoats will understand the reference.
During the week leading up to my last weekend at Faire, I really was mourning the loss before it happened. I felt like I was about to leap out of one of the safest places I know into a world of strange uncertainty that was both exciting, but deeply terrifying.

This past weekend I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who came up to me and made a point to tell me that they had a couch open if I need a night away from college, or a homecooked meal, or just some familiar companionship. The amount of people who said "We're going to have dinner, or lunch, or tea, or come to me when you need help- with anything." made me realize that these are people who won't let me drown. Not that I ever doubted them, it just took me a while to realize that I'm counted as friend and family to these people. The compliments about how well I'm going to do at school and the kind of performer I am almost brought me to tears. The surprises and bits that I was able to perform with people amazed me and had me laughing all day. Heck- I was GIVEN a really nice printer and some ink!

I really owe my onstage acting work to two people in particular. The first is my drama teacher from my homeschool co-op whom I've studied under since 7th grade. She pushed me and held me to standards as an actress that stretched me and helped me grow in my character as well as in my acting.
The second is my Captain and now Director of Street Cast. He has been the best mentor and friend I could have asked for to teach me how to work in the streets of Bristol. From pushing me out on my very first day and forcing me to start interactions, to giving me ideas for bits that really had nothing to do with my character but made fantastic patron interactions (and I still managed to slip Anne in there somewhere).

I was anticipating to be a wreak after closing gate on Sunday. However, I found that my eyes were dry and I was at peace. I will not be forgotten or abandoned by these people who I have gotten to know and have come to love like my family. Even if I can't make it back for Labor Day weekend (and I'm going to do my damn best to make that happen), I'm going to be okay. The hugs and well wishes made me feel like I can face this next part of my life and have a shot at excelling beyond even my dreams.

I feel like I'm ready now. I'm sure that feeling will ebb and flow, but I feel much more sure of myself that I did last week.

"And one day we'll meet again, it shall not be long
And I will remember when we both sang this song
Of a place called Bristol 
Upon England's shor
And there we will sing our farewell song once more"
~ Dan the Bard's Farewell to Bristol

Friday, August 9, 2013


Tell me I'm going to be okay.
Tell me I'm going to make friends and people won't think I'm odd and awkward.
Tell me that leaving my comfort zone, my home, my family, my Bristol, is going to be worth it.
Tell me that it wasn't a mistake that I got into this school.
Tell me that I might have a shot in hell at making it in this business.

I started packing for college today. My best friend is moving to Texas for school today. I'll be moving into my dorm next week.

I have my last night at work tonight. 

This weekend I say goodbye to Bristol until next year. I keep tearing up and hurting inside at the thought of leaving before the run of the Faire ends. My Faire family has been so supportive and caring to me this past year and a half. Even the thought of not playing with patrons on the weekend is heartbreaking.

I'm a little bit stretched, a little scared, and I don't like the unexpected upheaval that's happening inside of me right now.

I have an awesome roommate/suite mates for my dorm. I will have my Bristol friends living closer to me because I'll be in the city. I have a lot to look forward to, but I'm still terrified. My family will only be a train ride away, and I can come home when and if I need to.

I need to breath and trust that God's got his plan and it's going to work out for me to keep going to Roosevelt for these next four years. My family is taking it one year at a time, but it would be beyond amazing to be able to stay there. Right now, I need to make it past the first semester.

And packing....

Back to packing....

The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales), Or the Shameless Plug

HEY EVERYONE- my friend Danielle Shipley wrote a book! WAIT A PAR BOILED MINUTE- she wrote TWO books! 

Due to unfortunate circumstances (Cough*College*Cough) I haven't been able to dive into either copy of the story. However, I have read Danielle's work before and she's brilliant. This means that you all need to BUY THIS BOOK after reading the blurb below. This girl is awesome and I know you'll love her story just as much as I will. It's at the top of my reading list, once I have time to read good literature again. For now I have to hit the plays and critical essays! However, you should read The Wilderhark Tales and The Stone Kingdom. 

Love and prince,
Both true, wed rose of white in realm of stone;
For blood begins,
But naught can be put right by blood alone.”

One thoughtless act is all it takes to bring the curse threatened
on Rosalba’s christening day to pass. Now the princess must combine
her desperate determination with the service of benevolent tailor Edgwyn Wyle
to find the second half of the key to her kingdom’s restoration.

The Stone Kingdom
Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales

<> ~ <> ~ <>

An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast;
A princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell;
Bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk –
All within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.

You’ve heard the stories –
of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist
the tower-bound damsel; of gorgeous gowns
appearing just in time for a midnight ball;
of frog princes, and swan princes,
and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea.

Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.

Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales.
Know them now as Wilderhark’s.

About the Author:

Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. …Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing young adult novels, she’s probably blogging about it at

Book Details:

Full Title: “The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)
ISBN: 978-0-9891846-1-8
Genre: Young Adult Fairytale
Length: Novella (179 pages)
Release Date: September 20th, 2013
Future availability: Paperback ( and eBook ( and

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Being Patriotic

July 4th, the official day that America declared that they were independent from Britain. Our day as American citizens to show that we're proud of our country and our government and our freedoms. We celebrate with hot dogs and hamburgers and fireworks. Oh, and apple pie, who could forget the apple pie?

Actually, until recently I counted myself in the "I don't like pie" group. For some reason (maybe some friends who are AMAZING cooks and bakers) my taste buds seem to have expanded and I now like pie. However, this is not a post about my journey of finding out that I like pie! It's about my personal patiotism and how I feel about my country.

Since I'm a citizen of America, I get to say what I want about how my government runs my country. A group of remarkable men set down in writing a list of rights that every man is entitled to in this country. Unfortunately they are all dead, so we can't ask them what they think of the country today.

Last week I took a vacation to Colorado Springs. I got to hike around the mountains a little bit, and wondered at how those pioneers made it through the Rockies and all the way to Oregon in their covered wagons. Granted, they were a lot hardier than we are today. Those mountains are beautiful and breathtaking. I could see why people are proud to be apart of this country just because of the land. Unfortunately, some days, I think that's all I'm proud of about this country.

It's no secret that our schools are failing when compared to the rest of the world. I'm continually disgusted and flustered when my little sister talks to me about what she's learning in school. I've read a few of the books she was required to read throughout the year, most of them are good, but there should be more of them. There is so much "busywork" that I'm not sure what purpose is served by those packets other than to take up time and drill test taking skills into my little sister, who forgets the information she learned as soon as she's done with the test. Her brain space needs to be filled with new information to spit back out and forget once another test is done. I'm worried for the future generations of school children and what exactly they are going to come out of school knowing about their country and their history.

Then there is the government. I don't follow politics enough to fully understand what's going on all the time, but when I do start reading about what's going on, I start to fear for what might happen. I respect that running a country this large is difficult and I would not want that responsibility. Each president inherits the problems and flukes that the previous president had to deal with, and in some instances, created. Then there are the political parties, so obsessed with their own agendas that they would rather block the other party from making a difference than work with that party for the good of the people. I'm not referring to any party in particular, just making an observation about the parties in general. There are some great things that people are trying to accomplish through our government. They are imperfect, but at least there is groundwork being laid down. Then again, there are many rights that people try and take away though pushing agendas and egos. 

But then there are the people that I meet along the way who just ordinary people. They're living their life just as I'm living mine. Making it day to day, reacting to what's going on in the capitol. These are hard working people. These are kind and generous people who have their hopes and dreams and are entitled to those dreams.
Unfortunately, America seems to promise fame, fortune, and power to anyone who wants these qualities. Not everyone will be famous, rich, or a CEO who wields great power over a company. I don't really care about being famous, rich, or a CEO. Not every little child will get to be president. Not every child will go to the moon. I might not make it on the stage.
My "American Dream" is more about being stable. I don't want my name plastered across magazines for what I'm wearing on any particular day, or what drama is going on. The idea of not having any privacy, like many celebrities, it appalling. If my friends know who I am, and I'm able to have a decent network among my coworkers and professional world, that could get me along just fine. I don't need a million dollars (even though that would take care of my college tuition), but being able to pay my bills and keep above debt would be nice. I don't need to influence thousands of employees, but being able to mentor a young woman or two as an "older sister" has brought me joy.

America has a history just like any other country. We've had our very proud moments of success and being able to lend a hand. We've had our very bad days of surrender and meddling where we shouldn't. We've brought people to our land, and we've tried to annihilate other people as well. So we're a mixed bag, which country isn't? We've got a lot of problems to fix, which country doesn't?

Back to that pioneer thing. Some days I have trouble feeling patriotic because of all of the troubles that I see going on in America. However, looking out over the mountains, I could see why people are proud of this country. Driving in the car on the way back, I saw towns and farms pass by and thought about my country. It is a beautiful and varied landscape to be sure. I can see why people would be wiling to fight for this land if that's where they felt they had a home and a life. I'm grateful that I live somewhere where I can write these opinions without fear of retaliation (other than from internet trolls and the like). I get to live where my gender does not (directly) limit me in my vocational choices and quality of life. I get to practice the religion of my choosing without worrying about being jailed or killed for what I believe.

So today I'm wearing blue, my hair is already red, and I'll figure something out for the white. I'm proud of the progress my country has made over time, and pray that it will continue to progress for the greater good of the people who inhabit this vast nation. I'll go dancing and celebrate our founding fathers writing the Declaration of Independence. I will remember the women and men who have died forming this country, and the members of the armed forces who have defended us.

Today, I'm all right with being American. It's not a bad thing to be.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

AT&T Scholarship Essay- Internet TV

 Has the On Demand revolution and shift to consuming media online affected you positively or negatively as a student? How?        

   For me, growing up during the late 1990s and early 2000s, watching TV was a pastime done in the living room with my family. If I wasn’t watching TV on our living room set, I was watching some funny clips and music videos on YouTube.
Now I’m finding that with the shift to Internet viewing of TV shows and movies, I am spending less time in my family room and more time in my bedroom to watch any and all of my TV shows. Since TV shows are so easily available to me, I often played an episode of The Twilight Zone, Modern Family, or Once Upon a Time while I did my homework. Or at least, I used to. There are several reasons why I have stopped playing movies and television shows in the background while I work on my school subjects. Three of the most important ones are that I have better focus without the distraction of TV, my grades improve, and when I do choose to watch a TV show I enjoy it more because I’m able to focus only on the show itself.
            I used to play music and listen to TV shows in the background as I worked on homework. What I discovered within these recent months is that I had a hard time focusing on my assignments because I had so much noise going on around me. If I was listening to a TV show then I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was writing for class, but when I was writing I hardly heard what was going on in the TV show. Sometimes the silence is too much for me, and I play instrumental and classical music, but without the TV noise in the background I'm able to focus on my schoolwork and get it done more quickly.
            I also observed a distinct rise in my grades once I cut out the background noise of TV. While I was a B student on average for my homework, it frustrated me because I knew that I could be getting As in my classes. I understood the material and thought that I had completed my assignments well. While it didn’t occur to me outright that I should cut out TV while doing homework, I found that it was an added bonus to my improved focus and memory retention of my classes’ material.
            Now when I want to focus on watching a TV show, I’m able to enjoy the entertainment and give more of my attention to watching the shows I like. I’ve never been a TV addict, and I often miss a few weeks of my favorite TV shows and have to catch up. However, now that I have the time to catch up because I’m not doing double duty with my homework, I don’t feel guilty about spending time watching TV!

It's not where I am, it's where I'm going.

To be honest, I'm frustrated with myself. I'm frustrated with my circumstances. I'm frustrated by people who normally don't tick me off.

I am listless, lazy, unproductive, impulsive, and probably a few other choice words that aren't usually in my arsenal of "describe yourself" answers.

Usually I answer those words, "describe yourself," with words like the following: Productive. Responsible. Fairly Organized. Motivated. Healthy. Inquisitive.

Those words up there ^......not me right now.

I've been getting several wake up calls to this, and I've actually seen this process happening over a long period of time. It started a little while back in the most recent school semester. I would have trouble working on assignments until it was two days before they were due. Or the night before. More often than not I forgot to write a journal entry for a class.
I mean, I still pulled As in all my classes, but that didn't really feel good. I felt like I had coasted through the semester.

The same with dance classes. I had to miss a LOT of classes due to school (when I was being responsible about my assignments). Then there have been some weird schedules at work, so dance took a back seat because I need to earn cash. Ergo, I'm out of shape and not happy about it. However, I'm having trouble finding motivation to work out at home.

At work, for the most part, I'm okay. I'm a little weary but I'm okay, I guess. I've made my peace with staying at my job through the summer instead of trying to find something different that will work with my family's vacation and Ren Faire. It's paying off and I'm getting good hours. So long as I keep putting my paychecks in the bank I should see some profit and a money cushion for the fall and college. I'll need to work out a plan for how to (not) spend my money, but that will be a budgeting lesson that I need to learn anyway. Still there are many days were I resign myself to getting into the car and driving to work.

Most of this stems from the fact that I'm stressed. Or at least, I'm going to say that it is. I'm worried. I'm worried about how I'm going to pay for college. I'm worried about a few of my friends. I'm worried about the stupid tick bite that I got up at Faire this past weekend. I'm worried about how I'm not getting any scholarships. I'm worried about how I'm not motivated to do anything. I'm worried about how I'm always craving really really sugary salty bad for you foods.

And this stress is really affecting me. I can't think straight without starting to get on myself about how I have 10 billion things to get done. Instead of doing things, because I'm tired, I take naps and watch Hulu. Not anymore. I'm starting to change things.

Daily Bible Study (which, ironically, seems to be the only thing I manage to be halfway consistent on even in my non motivated state). No more junky food. I've got to exercise once every day at the least. I have to spend an hour on scholarships every day. I want to read/write everyday, even if it's the newspaper I'm reading or only one sentence that I'm writing. I will continue to focus on kindness at work. I will get everything in order so help me or else I'm going to turn into someone that I don't like. I'm trying really hard to be someone that I do like. Liking yourself is sort of important, or it should be.

So what have I found since I've been trying to turn myself around? Well, I've been swimming. That's helped. In the few days that I've cut out fried crap I have felt (and looked) much better. I will continue to be a klutz and injure myself constantly, but the bruises fade. I will grumble about scholarships but get them done.

I've learned that I have to be an optimist or else things get ugly. I don't like asking why things are the way they are, or looking back and seeing what I could have done differently. It gets annoying. Most of the time I try to muddle through as best I can.

One really positive thing is that I am back at Faire. I've been hanging out with people I love and admire and have been getting to know a lot more people this year. I like getting to know different people in the different casts. I like getting to know the newbies. I like being able to help get the site ready for when the gates open. I like being outside for 48 hours straight. Even though it's pretty taxing physically and I come home exhausted, it's restful for me. It feels like home to me.

What I've enjoyed the most is getting to know people. That's really what's been the best part of this summer so far is just being in touch with people and talking to people face to face. I've already had some fun with people who I didn't really know before. I'm hoping that it will continue. If my experiences at Faire so far are an indication of how the rest of my summer will be in general, then things are going to be okay.

Plus, right now, it's not really about where I am. It's about where I am going.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Looking to the Horizon

Today my brain feels like it will explode. Just one of those days where it is one thing after another, never ending.

So what did I do? I took a walk. That was probably the best thing I could have done today. Simple physical exertion. No ipods, cell phone turned on silent, a bottle of water to keep me hydrated. It was more than just "nice." It was needed.

Things are (in general) looking up. I've managed to navigate some stressful situations that I'm not necessarily through, but God is keeping me going. He's always there for me. I'm forever grateful for that. I know there is a plan He's laid out for me. He's shown up in amazing ways of late.

For instance....
I've been accepted into my dream school, Roosevelt University, into the Chicago College of the Performing Arts for a Musical Theater (Dance Emphasis) major. I've toured the campus, and it's so beautiful. It feels right to be in the city. I know that it's where I want to go. I want to go so badly. In my opinion, it's a bit of a miracle that I even made it into the program.

Now I'm praying and looking for a way to finance my education. All I can say about Roosevelt is that it's $$$. I'll have to take out loans, do work study, save all that I can from my part time job paycheck, and apply for a million scholarships.

I'd be lying if I said that I'm not afraid that I won't find the money to fill the gap between me and school. I will be heartbroken. I don't say or use that word lightly.

I know that if God wants me at Roosevelt, my family and I will find the money. He will provide for me wherever I need to go. He's already provided for so much in this journey. I've been well cared for and am learning to give over control. It's not easy. I have to constantly give up control of something that I have very little control over. It's simply my way to want to try and control things, especially when I want something so much.
 Still, I have faith that the money will be there. I will do my part in applying for scholarships and finding ways of saving what I can. Just one year at a time. That's all my family is focusing on right now, because we don't know if I am able to go to school this year, if I'll be able to go next year. It's a sobering thought. It adds a lot of stress to all of us. I don't like the idea of being in debt for 10-15 years after school. I'm crazy because I'm going into a field that simply doesn't pay. Why? Because performing is like breathing to me.
I'll find some way. The biggest hurdle yet was putting down the deposit and saying that I'm going to do my best to go to Roosevelt this fall.

"Live like no one else so you can live like no one else." Right, Dave Ramsey?

I hope that this is just the sun coming up and not the sun setting for me. I have my plan B, going back to Harper and finishing an associates in either Arts or History and then going from there. I've just got to trust God that He's going to come through. Because it's His will over mine. I've learned that in extraordinary ways this year. I've just got to keep learning this lesson. I'm not perfect and it's a process.

Now back to the crazy land of papers and scholarships and community college assignments.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

On My Own, but not quite anymore.

Second time I've used a song title as a post title...might need to nip that in the bud soon. But for now we shall carry on!
Ready to hear a not-so-secret secret? You sure? All right, well, I'll tell you.

I house sat for a month in February!
Seriously, that's the secret. I actually didn't advertise this particular experience for several reasons.

1) It was safer to not advertise that I was a young woman living by myself in a friend's house for a month.
2) It was kind of nice to have a place where I could just hide away and I wanted to see if I could live on my own without making a big fuss about the whole thing.
3) I did not plan on having any parties or mass amounts of friends over. Actually, BestieBomba came over twice, and some friends picked me up for a handful of events, but other than that no one came over.
4) I just didn't want a bunch of people asking about how I was doing.

At first I was a little bit concerned about how I was going to do being away from my family and not sleeping at home for a whole month. I knew I'd be fine taking care of the cute little dog I was taking care of (he was a small little white sweetheart).
It did take me a few days to figure out a few things, like the dog would let me sleep more than 4 hours if I gave him the blue blanket. That was marvelous to get more than 4 hours of sleep after a week.

The thing was, as the month went on. I found myself adjusting to being by myself very well. I mean, it's not like I was actually living on my own. I didn't have to pay bills at all, I bought my own food but that was about it for the expenses I had to take care of. I missed my folks, but at the same time, I think I've proved to myself that I've reached a point where I could actually live on my own if I had the means or need.
Sometimes the house did feel a little bit large for just me. A few times I did get a bit lonely, but I had friends that I could call or chat online with that made things a lot easier. Plus, I had Parade rehearsals, work, school, and not one but TWO college auditions that I went on during my time at the house.
I did go home to visit from time to time, and my puppy was adamant about sniffing me and snuffling in protest that I was around another dog so much. He also gave me the dreaded puppy eyes every time I left to go back to the other dog.

Needless to say, my puppy has been very happy to have me home. 

So overall, what did I learn about myself and how did I grow in a month? Well, let's go over a short list.

1) I can live on my own and I feel okay about moving into a dorm for college (two TOTALLY different things linked by the idea of living outside of my house).
2) My introverted self likes having a space to myself (but I knew that ((mostly)) already).
3) I dyed my hair all by myself! Usually I have my mom help because she's really good at the whole "home dye" process, but I proved to myself that I can dye my hair and not make a huge mess out of everything.
4) I can cook! I can't really bake that well (yet) so I decided that I would try cooking, and I'm actually a decent cook, thank goodness.
5) After auditioning for Bristol, no audition has come to even been half as scary. Even auditioning for Roosevelt wasn't half as scary. :-P
6) When I had more room to put my stuff, I was a much better housekeeper. I also do not need as much stuff as I have and am working on downsizing my possessions to the things that really matter to me (like books, never giving up my library).
7) I grew a lot in my spiritual life. I can't really put it any more simply or elaborate any more (because even a step of growth in spiritual life could take a book to explain).
8) Made new friends, and grew in my current friendships.
9) Missed a lot of people a lot. I am really looking forward to the coming Bristol season and seeing everyone SOONER THAN JUNE...Now that Parade is over and I am not house sitting any more I'm going to try and remedy some of that problem of not seeing people in general.

That month was like a whole season in my life. That nine item list doesn't cover half of the stuff that I figured out for myself or just grew into over a month. I am very grateful that I was able to have that experience of living on my own (tehee, Les Mis!). I think that it was during the time I was house sitting that I have somewhat owned up to the fact that I am a young woman, not a girl anymore. I'm still less than 6 months into being twenty and I often play younger characters, but by living on my own I've noticed the differences in my character and how I handle things. Even last year I wouldn't have been able to say that I am a young woman. Yeah, I am still *little* compared to a lot of my friends. I'm not going to negate that fact. I'm also not saying that I've got everything figured out and I'm going to be totally prepared for when I actually live on my own, because I know that would not be true. Last month was simply a time where I was able to prove to myself that I can do that one day and I will be fine.

So now, I'm back on my blog (sorry about the hiatus for anyone who really cares, it was needed). I'm thinking about what I want to do next for some of my posts and I'm sure there shall be another post soon about any changes or expansions for what I write about.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Old Red Hills of Home

For a while I'd write half of a post, then circumstances would pop up and say "haha- you're not going to finish this right now" and then I'd save a half finished post, and forget about my blog for another week and a half.

However, this time I know that I want to finish this post before I do anything else.

When I auditioned for Parade, I had little idea of what the show was about. I listened to the soundtrack once or twice before auditions, but with the stress of auditioning, I listened only for the parts that I could possibly be called back for.
I didn't get a call back, and I got ensemble, and that was okay. Right from the start I was okay with being ensemble. After all, this was my first stage show outside of the theater group I performed in while growing up. I was just happy that I made the cut into a cast of 36 people.

I only knew a handful of people in the cast, and the first few rehearsals felt awkward because many of the cast member knew each other already and I was sure I was intruding on already developed social circles and inside jokes. As time went on though, I found myself developing inside jokes and being included. Everyone in the cast is so kind and wonderful. I've been blessed to spend time among such talented people.

I think a show like Parade, which deals with heavy material and a lot hatred on the part of the characters, needs a cast who really care about each other offstage as much as on. I had a very hard time coming to terms with the character I was playing. I was playing an anti-Semitic southern teenager who wanted an innocent man to die. Except, as time went on through the show, I realized that although that was one look at the character I was playing, Bettie-Jean had more to her than that.

Bettie-Jean is a sixteen year old girl from Gerogia, proud of her state and her heritage. She loves her family and loves her friends as if they were her family. She likes teasing and flirting with the boy she has a crush on who works at the police station. When her best friend, Mary, dies, the only information Bettie Jean has to make sense of the situation are the newspapers that paint a picture of a northern Jewish man who came into Atlanta with the intent of killing Mary. So, in Bettie-Jean's mind, it's almost like another Civil War. The north is trying to take over and abuse the south again, and this time, she swears that they won't get away with it. In the end, Bettie-Jean just wants the nightmare of all of the events surrounding Mary's death to be over so that her family and friends can have some peace. The only way for it to be over is for Leo Frank to hang.

I think it's safe to say that I learned a lot about motive and objectives and perspectives this show. It took me more than half the show to figure Bettie Jean out and understand where she was coming from. There's a lot of pain for each character in this show. There are a lot of flaws in each character. That's part of what makes the show so amazing. Even with all of the struggles I had in the beginning with the show, I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. I've had the best re-introduction to stage performance and I don't think I could have chosen a better show or cast. I've made some amazing, hysterical, mind-blowingly talented friends who I hope to stay in touch with.   

So this is my "thank you" note to the whole cast. Thank you all for making me apart of the Parade cast and family. Thank you all for this experience. I love you all and will miss seeing your faces every week. Thank you- Kevin, for casting me in this show. It's been an honor to work under your direction.

I will miss all of you. I will miss the pre-show hilarity in the make-up room while curling my hair (and other people's hair). I will miss the heart to heart conversations I've had with a few of you, and the general conversations I always seemed to stumble in on (at the WRONG times). I will miss the laughter and the quips and the blunders backstage. I will miss the warm ups and looking like an Easter egg.  I will miss my wig for the Governor's Ball. I'll just simply miss everything.

I know I'll be singing "Old Red Hills of Home" for weeks to come. I'll probably have a few tears this week too when it hits me that I won't be coming back to perform this show again. However, I think it's time to find the next adventure. We closed on a fantastic note, and it's better to leave this particular production that way.

Trying to figure out a way to end this post isn't working, so I'm just going to have to stop writing before I start crying.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Every time I try and think of something to post, and sit down to write, something gets in my way! Or the topic is something I don't/can't write about in the internet, because the internet is FOREVER!!! Plus, I don't need to post every single little thing about my life online. I've been *trying* (with varying degrees of success) to cut back on what I post on Facebook. No one needs to see the amazing dinner I just made that is growing cold as I take a photograph of it and spend the next 5 minutes trying to upload to my profile.

However, a written post about my discoveries as I forge ahead into the world of making my own food is another matter entirely! Cooking is a life skill after all and I'd like to become a good cook.

So last night Best-Friend-Bombalurina came over and we cooked *sort of* Asian food. Or more like we made rice and vegetables and a sauce from the Mongolian Beef recipe off of the PF Chang's website (it's really yummy!). I also discovered that I bought way too much ginger (if it is possible to have too much ginger), so there shall be lots of ginger tea later. I also have an abundance of Green Onions, Garlic, and Eggs. No, eggs were NOT in the recipe, but I think combining the eggs with the garlic and onions could make a very good breakfast. Also could make for very smelly breath...let's check how much toothpaste I've got in stock right now.

Fact- I prefer savory flavors over sweet. Ice cream is nice, but I'll take a pickle over ice cream any day. I even ate pickles and ice cream together when I was really little. Yes, I know that's pregnant food. Didn't say that I still ate pickles and ice cream that I think about it, might have to take a trip down memory lane...or not. Where's a York patty?

So things that I now can say I can cook-
Frozen Chicken in a toaster oven. We're going to branch out into fancy chicken soon.
Eggs (a few different ways)
Mongolian Beef sauce
Normal non-fancy vegetables. In other words, I can boil/bake/steam most things.
Quesodillas, cooked properly, in a pan with a little bit of butter and taco seasoning for some kick.  
Various toasted sandwiches, if that counts. 

I know the list is actually longer than this, but considering that most cooking I've done has been with pre-prepared food that comes from the frozen isle of a store, I'm very glad that I can actually cook something from scratch. I wish I knew how to cook more things. 

Therefore- over the next month I'm going to try and learn a few (relatively simple) recipes, and make up a lot of my own based on "What do I have in the fridge that I think will taste delicious when put together?"
Why you ask? Because it has occurred to me that I'm going to probably live on my own at some point in my life and I want to be able to cook yummy things and not just pop Trader Joe's orange chicken (although I do LOVE their orange chicken) into the oven every night and call it homemade cooking. Besides, cooking is fun. Maybe I'll try making my mom's honey-mustard curry chicken. 

I'm now going to go onto pinterest and make a ridiculous amount of pins to my pretty much non-existent cooking board.
Whoever came up with pinterest is evil and wants to take over the world by making people procrastinate while looking at pretty shiny objects. It's about as time consuming as browsing Etsy or (in my case) a half price bookstore.

Bookstore you say? Cookbook you say? hmmmm.....

Until next time! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pushing through

Yesterday was an "adventure" to say the least. One of such epic proportions that I'm choosing to write it out.

I started out the day with an ipod playlist of music, a set of directions from Google Maps, and a desire to see some people whom I miss very much (and still actually do). Most importantly, though not really, I had a cup of coffee for my breakfast.

Everything went fine, I was even on time, until I was supposed to find some road by the name of "Oakwood." The reason that I am naming the road is because It. Does. Not. Exist. Nope, doesn't exist at all. Maybe the road was once called Oakwood, but it's definitely not anymore.
Ever drive around for 40 minutes within 2 minutes of your destination? Yeap. That happened to me. First time that I've ever been so frustrated that I almost started crying. Getting false directions from a gas station, calling three phone numbers, and being stopped by a freight.

Lessons learned, get the number of your host and double check your directions with them. Also thinking about getting a GPS. Also- Google is a Dirty Rotten Liar.

I was able to sit among my friend's company for an hour. Reason for the gathering was a production meeting. One of my friends was working on my back and kept telling me to relax. Sad to say, I didn't actually start relaxing until it was time to go.
All of the frustration and loneliness that I had felt on my way to the meeting came rushing back, plus the fact that I had not eaten a single thing (coffee being forgotten in the midst of the getting lost). Many thanks to the dear Tea Lady who supplied me with a generous piece of lavender shortbread for my "provisions." Also thanks to Captain A, who looked up my route to  my Parade rehearsal for me.

So what do I do in my current state of emotions? I miss my turn and spend the first ten twenty minutes of my drive turning myself around. Thank goodness the directions I got at the grocery store were right.
From there I had to call a cast mate to make sure that my director knew that I was on my way, and traffic (as I labeled it) was being horrible. I also got lost AGAIN! This time it was by turning off the wrong road. Luckily within 30 seconds I'd realized my error and got myself back on track within another 5 minutes.

All of this caused me to be 30 minutes late to a rehearsal. There is nothing I despise more than being late for a rehearsal. I feel like it is irresponsible and it has always ticked me off when people came into rehearsal late. I got to be one of those people, but I found a great amount of grace from my cast mates, and most importantly my director.

I finally got to eat at 5pm when I went into work for my 6pm shift. There was enough to do for closing that I was able to focus on that work instead of being overwhelmed by my day. Also, I was able to talk to a friend who cheered me up. Sometimes lighthearted teasing about things that have no consequence are the best medicine. It reminds me that I can smile, because I think I etched a few frown lines yesterday.

The sting still is there. I was talking to a coworker on my break last night and explaining how I feel that we shouldn't stifle our emotions, but we shouldn't wallow in them either. Emotions have a time and a place and after their time and place is gone we can move on. I by no means have perfected this art. I am far from doing that. Right now I think it's more important to not give my anger and frustration too much hold. This is a work in progress. I'm not pleasant to talk to or be around when I'm this way. Many thanks to Professor Propitious for putting up with my gruff attitude over text until I began to simmer down.

So overall, what did I learn yesterday? I have awesome friends. Strangers directions can be either good or bad. I have an awesome director. Work gives you a purpose and taking our your anger with cleaning is better than taking your anger out of people. Humor in life is a must have thing. Patience is a virtue that I don't seem to possess much of, or it just happened to be pushed to the limit yesterday.

Today we are going to take things one step at a time and not worry too much. At least, that's what I'm aiming for. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Before I Go Crazy

This is my last week before the new school term starts. Yet, many of my "Normal" activities start this week. Where did break go, and did I really get one?

Work has picked up lately because we've lost two workers, much to my dismay, and therefore I've been getting more hours. More hours means more pay, and at the moment my life isn't so crazy that having more work hours is going to impact my life too much. We will see how that works out in the weeks to come, or at least until my manager hires some more employees.  I pulled my first 8 hour shift this week (which is unusual, I average 5-6 hours a shift with the occasional 4 or 7 hours), and it went by fairly well. Then came a 6 hour shift that seemed to take 12 hours. It really just depends on the business level. You can only do so much in a coffee joint when you've cleaned the whole area and are waiting for someone to come and buy gelato or espresso.

On a brighter note- dance starts up again this week! I'm a bit scared that my Ballet class will kick my butt tonight. However, I need to go if I want to be in shape for any college auditions, or any auditions in general. I had a moment of panic a few weeks ago when I realized that most of my Parade rehearsals (that starts Thursday!!!) are on Tuesday/Thursdays so I wouldn't be able to attend half of my dance classes. Then I remembered that the studio that I go to in the 'burbs has a drop in rate that will be less expensive than paying for two classes and missing almost half of them. Huzzah for saving $100 bucks! We'll put that in the tea/coffee fund because I have a feeling that I'll be drinking a lot of that stuff in the weeks to come.
Related to dance things: I really want to get fit this semester. WAIT- before you say "You're already fit you little silly." Keep in mind I haven't been dancing for about a month and have never been to a workout gym. What I mean is, I'd like to be in End of Season Bristol Shape as my normal, maybe even more so than that. I felt great this summer and I'd like to feel good all winter too. So to the gym, the indoor pool, and dance classes it is!

Now onto my writing endeavors.

Writing is going so many directions. I've got Anya clammering about a dress I just designed for next Teslacon (and have NO IDEA how I'm going to make it...or rather I have several ideas and need to write them out). I just finished an exercise in self-made deadlines by writing A Very Bristol Christmas (12 Days of AnneDrew). I was two days behind because life got in my way a couple times and I couldn't write cause I got sick and then had to cover some shifts at work. I still am very proud of myself for sticking to my project and getting it done.
My novel on the other giving me fits. The characters won't say what I need them to say and they aren't behaving and I don't know what a room looks like and I think I need to go over to UnassumingAzure's house and have a writing day so that she can help me. After all, we started the story together and she's always there to set me back on track when I get flummoxed!

All of that aside, I've got a few projects for writing that I want to accomplish on this blog. Aside from my "I haven't fallen off the face of the earth and discarded this blog" posts (like this one), I'd like to write more pointed posts about aspects of life. Case and point- a post on motivation to go to dance class with is something that I struggle with funnily enough. Will probably tackle that sometime soon. I'm going to try and make this blog more into a "personal essay" blog. I guess my "don't waste as time on the internet" resolution is now going to be "If you are on the internet for long amounts of time- Make It Worth It for Pete's Sake." Whoever Pete is...

So here I am, trying to wrap up this post so that I can stop the ranty laundry list postings and start essay posting on things that actually matter, like life lessons and books. Books are good. I like books.

Until Next Time-