Recently a friend of mine updated her blog and started it with something like this, “I’m writing in my blog…is that even a thing anymore?”
I will admit, I’m slow to follow the crowd. I waited until people didn’t really read blogs anymore to start mine. I waited until the craze of YouTube died down to start my own channel…you name it…I probably waited too long.
In thinking about my weaknesses—I think I wait too long to stand up and speak out as well. I don’t like being attacked…I don’t like arguing (I’m bad at it..I could never be a debater because I don’t make my arguments well.) I don’t have confidence in the way I read the facts, so I hang back until I think I understand them. So I keep quiet.
How many of you are like me? We just want to get along. We want to show the love of God, even now, as we see the attack on Christianity growing stronger and the number of Christians speaking against the evils of the world growing smaller.
The power of evil. The power of hate.
Here is the truth: If we don’t stand up for ourselves no one will.
You might not agree with every Christian with every stance they make, but I hope you will applaud their right to do so.
Watch our video below…it is sad to see how many hate comments have followed Chad as he took this stand. What do you think?
Until next time-this is just me-talking to you-from the wings,
I believe in imagination, dreaming, and love at first sight. I love cheesy Hallmark movies– movies–eveneven if there is fake snow. But none of that really involves a miracle.
When I was younger, I believed that miracles were something that rarely happened. I thought that they occurred in Bible times–but rarely any more. The older that I get, I realize that sometimes miracles are all around us, but we don’t see them because we don’t realize how truly rotten our sin nature is.
What am I trying to say?
Left to our own selfish desires–we wouldn’t show God’s love; we wouldn’t look past our own goals to put someone else first;we wouldn’t be kind or take the time to give and care for others; we wouldn’t forgive.
He reached into this desperately wicked heart of mine and helped me to see others and sometimes helps me to forgive. I admit. I’m worse at it than I used to be…and that saddens me. I really don’t want to become cynical or stop believing that there is hope for this world. Sometimes the news and facebook posts, etc., just steal that hope.
Today though? I believe in miracles. Let’s continue to pray that God puts a hedge of protection around His children so that the dark doesn’t snuff out the light. Let us all remain faithful.
Take a moment to watch the lesson that “Miracle” teaches.
Thank you, Rebecca Leland for sharing the stage with me!
It would make my day if you would take the time to follow us and share!
Until next time–this is just me talking to you from the wings!
Why is it that I have stories dancing around in my head, but the process is so difficult to put down on paper?
They dance and swirl and, in my head, are so vivid and meaningful…and then I put my computer in front of me and all creativity stops. I read a little, dream a little, watch things on TV, and try again. Sometimes I repeat that step over and over until I can crank out one scene or chapter.
Such was the process of writing, Tuesday Morning #Neverforget. To make matters worse I still haven’t fully recovered from my heartbreak of last summer. I’m better, but at times it haunts me and I’m just plain and simply….sad.
A sad person researching tragic events? Ugh! Sadness enveloped me…I would cry and have to put away the story and yet it kept calling me. I really didn’t know WHY it was an important story? Why this story would be any different from the facts everyone knew?
And then it clicked. Where was God? Is it possible to see God in the midst of disaster?How do you hold on to hope when everything around you seems hopeless?
That one thought became the focus of my story. Yes, the story is about the four flights that tragically crashed that day. Yes, the story is about the last words of many of the passengers on those flights. Yes, the story is about the people who stepped up and rescued thousands of people in the World Trade Centers….many losing their own lives in the process.
But then the hope started coming through. Lisa Beamer focusing on Bible verses that she had studied and memorized in the past. Lisa Jefferson committing to “speak out” for God and not be a silent witness. Countless tales of people who prayed, sang songs, quoted Scripture to comfort and heal. In short, people holding on to hope that God has a plan…a purpose and His ways are better than ours.
I do believe that.
I didn’t like reading about Joseph and his brother’s betrayal and yet God put Joseph into a place that he saved a whole nation. Maybe God gave Lisa Beamer that as well. Her book, Let’s Roll, gave us a picture of Todd and his faith and Lisa’s hope even in the face of great loss. He was just a regular man, but Lisa’s story made us see GOD. It is crazy to think that Todd went from ordinary man to a hero that has caused many to know God because Lisa wrote a book that told his story.
He’s in my story too…not just Tuesday Morning #Neverforget…but my story...my pain from last year that continues. I know God didn’t CAUSE the pain, but I know He holds my heart and that He understands and that one day He will wipe the tears from my eyes.
I would love it if you would follow my blog and better yet subscribe to us on YouTube. If we say something either place please share….I keep thinking God has me writing for a reason…maybe there is a message that someone needs to hear!
Watch below for thoughts from our cast!
Thank you, Rebecca Leland for your work on this!
Until next time this is just me, talking to you, from the wings.
Did you ever say this prayer when you were younger?
“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should did before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
As a child I was full of worry and anxiety. My parents would take Bible verses and paste them on the doors and mirrors to remind me that God is in control and that worry is a sin.
Knowing that it is a sin doesn’t automatically help you stop worrying. The fact is you have to convince your mind and heart to trust that no matter what comes it’s okay, because you trust that God has a plan and that plan is perfect.
I remember praying that prayer over and over when I was young. Nighttime was always the time I was most fearful. I would lie in bed and pray that God would watch over me and protect me and that if I did die He would take me to heaven.
I was not doubting that He would take me–I was really asking that He protect me.
That was then.
Looking back, I realize that our world is far more dangerous than when I was a child. All around me are people who are afraid, people who suffer. There is no peace and there is certainly no unity.
Do you remember the questions you asked when you were younger? Am I pretty? Is there going to be another war? Do you think I’ll get married? What kind of job do you think I’ll have? Never once did I think that when I went to school that day that my danger might be that someone would come in and shoot me. I also never worried that someone would shoot my children.
And yet now, with yet another shooting tragedy we are reminded that our world is wicked. The drills children do in school are more than tornado drills–no–our innocents have to learn active shooter drills.
How do we have peace in this broken world??
I think of my mental image of Jesus. In my mind, He is sitting on the hillside and children are all around him–in his lap, by his side and His arms are wrapped around them. It is a perfect picture of Jesus loving us and especially the children.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
So many parents sent their children to school on Tuesday not knowing that it would be the last kiss or hug that they would ever get from their precious child. I am at a loss for words. What can we possibly do??
Pray. Pray. Pray.
So much to be afraid of.
And yet, I hear God’s voice whispering in my head, “Do not be afraid. Do not be Dismayed. Be anxious for NOTHING.”
I don’t know the answer, but I have to trust that my God will somehow bring peace to all of us and those who have experienced such devastating loss.
Tonight before I close my eyes I think I will pray…
“Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake.
I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
Until next time this is just me talking to you from the wings–
“Why, if you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you’ll never learn to see the country.”
“No, You’re forgetting,” said the Spirit. “That’s not how you began. Light itself was your first love: you loved paint only as a means of telling about light.”
“Oh, that was ages ago,” said the Ghost. “One grows out of that. Of course, you haven’t seen my later works. One becomes more and more interested in paint for its own sake.”
“One does, indeed. I also have had to recover from that. It was all a snare. Ink and catgut and paint were necessary down there, but they are also dangerous stimulants. Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him. For it doesn’t stop at being interested in paint, you know. They sink lower-become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputations.“
–C.S.Lewis. The Great Divorce (pp. 78-70)
And that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? We have to fight to still be interested in God. We rationalize and reason and the next thing you know we don’t even see the snare.
It is a very interesting world we live in . More opportunities and technology than you could ever imagine. Entertainment has been redefined and envisioned and is BREATHTAKING. What is your responsibility? Do we have one?
I say, yes.
Just like God has given us responsibility and wisdom to take care of our earthly world and nature to perserve it while we are here–I think-He wants us to redeem entertainment for Him as well.
How do we do that? Where is the line on what is Okay to see and portray if it is done for Him?
Join the discussion here:
Thank you Rebecca Leland and Katie VanderKooi for being such wonderful guests!
Many of you know that the catch phrase of Overshadowed Theatrical Productions is “Theater With a Difference.”
There are many things that make us “different.” At the top of that list is that we don’t produce and perform primarily for entertainment. We perform because our God is a creator and has given us the means to tell stories. Some of these stories entertain, but many of them inspire or point others to Christ.
At the heart of being “different“, we also want to treat others with love and kindness and show them what it would be like to be in Christ’s family.
This month I had the chance to sit down with Darren Lawson, Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication at Bob Jones University. To say that I was treated with kindness and love would be an understatement. True to their educational philosophy, they loved on me and shared wisdom and education to both Rebecca Leland (From the Wings editor and videographer) and me.
Have you ever wondered what kind of student you would be if you could go back and do it again? Or how great it would be if things were like they are now–back then? Or maybe even wondered if you should have majored in something different?
Darren answered all the things I have always wanted to know.
There are many reasons you should watch the video below, but I’ll start with this one–
If you have ever wondered if there is a place for you in the arts and what that would look like on many different levels…start here.
I am so humbled to have had Darren, David Lurtey, and Kathryn Gamet take time out of their busy schedules and encourage us, insprire us, and teach us. Thank you all for pouring into, not only your students, but us old grads and friends as well. It was an amazing experience.
I hope you will all watch the video below. Remember to follow us on this platform as well as YouTube.
Dean Discussions | Interview with Darren Lawson Pt 1
Until next time–this is just me talking to you–from the wings.
Everyone of us has a reason that we do or do not go see a show or concert or recital.
That’s fair. Time is precious. Why waste it with something that you have no interest in seeing?
Is it possible, though, that we miss rare opportunities to better ourselves or to learn something that will make us better people by removing a prejudice and seeing something that we thought might not interest us?
I think the answer is yes.
Covid has left us battlescarred all around. Not only were we taught how to stay indoors and veg in front of the TV, but we learned to judge and hate and condemn those who don’t agree with us. We saw cities destroyed. We saw people lash out with hate towards any political figure that they didn’t agree with. We saw condemnation and judgement. Did we see love for our fellow man?
So now that we are out and about more…what is your criteria going to be?
Recently, Jeremiah Dew told one story that really stuck out to me during his question and answer time after his show at Overshadowed.
He told of a young boy who was taken into captivity as a slave. He was taken from an area of Africa that had never seen water. He spoke a different language than the other captives and had never seen a white man. He couldn’t communicate and actually thought that these white figures must have been demons. He saw many African people who escaped and jumped overboard in fear of what was happening to them. Imagine what they must have felt when they reached the shores of America to be treated as animals in many cases.
I tell that story not to cause you all to think–“that’s not my problem“…”stop the political message.” I tell the story because I think we need to learn that we each come from a different perspective. We need to stop and think about which perspective might be different from our own and how God wants us to react to others around us because of it.
For more of my thoughts please watch the video below:
How did it get to be March…well, not just March but the end of March?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m LOVING the warmer weather and the sounds of birds and the anticipation of a fantastic summer, but TIME IS FLYING! I need a few more hours in every day and just cannot seem to catch up. I’m not sure if things are just crazy busy because the world has come out of hibernation or if I got used to a slower pace for the two years I had nothing to do….maybe it is a combination of both. Whatever the reason, I am once again behind on my reading goal.
In the month of February I read three books. Here are my thoughts.
Book #1 All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle
From the Cover:
In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment.
But Hubert Bird is lying.
The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul.
Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on.
Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out. Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . .
Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?
What I liked about this book:
In truth, it took me a little bit of time to “get into” this book. The dialect and way that Hubert kept referring to himself as, “Me just couldn’t do it today.” The constant “me” was distracting. But then, I fell in love with the heart of Hubert. I saw that his life had not been easy. He had loved and lost and still managed to turn the other cheek and show kindess and forgiveness to those who caused him great pain. As Hubert begins to escape his lonliness, I couldn’t help but think of my mom and how many years of loneliness she felt living without my dad. I began to relate to Hubert and cheer for him from the sidelines. I’m not sure how a book can be heart-breaking and uplifting all at the same time, but this one is. Mike Gayle has written a touching, beautiful book and I can’t wait to read another of his books.
Gayle crafted such believable characters. He formed them so that you could picture them and almost hear them speak, thus thrusting the reader into the heart of the story. You can’t help but love Hubert. He is a true gentleman, but not without flaws. You recognize him and cry out for the injustices that befall him, and cheer for his victories. I seriously miss that the story is over. I miss him.
I also love that the story–even though it isn’t recent–made me think of the plight of so many others that are treated badly because their skin is a different color.
I also loved the sense of community that Hubert was able to establish. It was inspiring to watch a community of people who needed someone come together and create friendships and family and were no longer alone. I wish we would all be more aware of those around us that might need someone. Pardon me while I go cry some more.
Who should read this book? Fans of family stories. If you are interested in multicultural or diverse characters. Read if you like thoughtful books with a touch of humor.
“After all, it was always easier to meet new people if there were two of you. It gave you confidence and made you feel at ease.”
“And that’s the funny thing about life. Extraordinary things can happen to ordinary people like you and me, but only if we open ourselves up enough to let them.”
Book #2 In The President’s Secret Service by Ronald Kessler
From the Cover:Never before has a journalist penetrated the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service, that elite corps of agents who pledge to take a bullet to protect the president and his family. After conducting exclusive interviews with more than one hundred current and former Secret Service agents, bestselling author and award-winning reporter Ronald Kessler reveals their secrets for the first time.
What I liked about this book:
Hmmm. Difficult question. I did find some of the stories quite interesting. I found that I would find one chapter interesting and then the next would be technical and super boring to me. Unfortunately, towards the end I didn’t even enjoy the personal stories. I found myself wondering how much of the story was true and if some of these tales just came from people who didn’t like the Presidents they were called to serve. On the other hand, I started to wonder if there is anything good about any of the familes we have put into the White House. It was interesting to think about what each agent has to go through and how much we take them for granted. For me though, the book doesn’t put them in a good light. Instead, it makes me think less of them for the sour attitudes they seem to have developed.
Who should read this book? Lovers of history. Read this book if you are interested in government and politics and learning more about the people who have served our country.
“Boys will be boys,” he said. When the door of the elevator shut, Reagan said to Hresko, “But boys will not be president.“
Book #3 The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
From the Cover:
An unforgettable and heartwarming debut about how a chance encounter with a list of library books helps forge an unlikely friendship between two very different people in a London suburb.
Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in Wembley, in West London after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading while he spends his evenings watching nature documentaries.
Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before. Intrigued, and a little bored with her slow job at the checkout desk, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she’s facing at home.
When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list…hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between two lonely souls, as fiction helps them escape their grief and everyday troubles and find joy again.
What I loved about this book:
Everything? Sigh. How could a book lover not love a book that is about reading books? This book centered around a library and a list of books that everyone that finds the list begins to read. This list seems to be magical as each person reads the book at exactly the right time in their life to teach them or help them through life’s newest journey.
This book reminded me of so many wonderful hours I spent in the library with my mom. It made me wish that I had spent more time there with my own children. I loved the way Adams brilliantly connected the characters and stories. Seriously, how does someone plan and craft such heart-felt, real, flawed, needy, loving characters? I love that the book also pulled me in so deep that when tragedy unexpectedly happens it broke me.
I can’t say enough about this book. If you love reading and you haven’t read this book yet, you simply must find it and put it on your TBR list.
Pardon me while I go spend time in my library–please, God, don’t ever let the world close them down.
Who should read this book? Lovers of reading. Everyone.
Anxiety, Cancer, Death, Depression Grief, Suicide
“Please try to remember that books aren’t always an escape; sometimes books teach us things. They show us the world; they don’t hide it.”
“…sometimes when you really like a book, you need to read it again! To relive what you loved and find out what you missed before. Books always change as the person who reads them changes too.“
“…books, they had the power to heal.”
“There was something magical in that—in sharing a world you have loved; allowing someone to see it through the same pair of spectacles you saw it through yourself.“
That is all for this time! Have you read any of these? I would love to know what you thought! Also, If you choose to read one of these because you read my review, please let me know! That brings me a great amount of joy!
Until next time-this is just me-talking to you-from the wings!
This past week I had the wonderful experience of spending five days in Southern California for a planner convention.
No, I didn’t say planter. No, it isn’t for event planners.
It was simply for this wonderful society of people who love planners,stickers,markers and….well, PLANNING.
My journey/love for all things planners started about five years ago. Things were growing at Overshadowed and I knew I needed to be better organized and needed to plan further ahead. I made a trip to my local Michael’s and picked up a Happy Planner and promptly fell in love. Since that time, I now have two planners and have been to two “Go Wild” for planners conventions.
You might be thinking I have lost my mind, but let me just give you a sample of what inspired me this time.
Our first speaker was Stephanie Fleming. Have you heard of her? She and her mother started a sticker company called, “Me and My Big Ideas”. They then went on to create Mambi which created,The Happy Planner, in a tiny garage-based business. The products are supposed to inspire customers to live creatively and to plan a happy life. She has written a book, started a podcast, retired, and now has gone back to school.
Yep. You read that correctly. She RETIRED and then went back to school.
She titled her workshop, “Change of Plans“.
Here is how she began:
“You are not powerless. Change is inevitable–and it’s important to create a life and an environment that allows us to deal with this change!”
It is a message I really needed to hear. You all know that my past year has been full of change. Change isn’t what caused the pain, but it still has been difficult to get over the change.
When it comes down to it we will always have some sort of change in our lives. Friends move. Jobs end. Parents die. And sometimes the world stops with a pandemic or war.
Change is inevitable. The question is-how do we respond to it?
Stephanie went on to give several points.
Be flexible and resilient. Understand that you are a work in progress. Embrace that fact instead of embracing the art of staying the same.
Expect the unexpected. If we aticipate the curve we will have a plan that will help us face it.
Have a growth mindset. George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
In other words, by preparing (planning) what you will do when change comes, you will handle it better. You will be better equipped to adjust.
What makes us equipped?
Control the controllable and adapt to what you cannot control. Don’t waste your time on trying to change something that you cannot change!
So what happens when there are changes that hurt you to the core?
Reflect on that change with purpose. Write your thoughts out. Journal. Pray. Seek counsel. Reframe the change so that you can find something to show gratitude for. Things that are negative might still be bad and hurtful, but we can REFRAME it in our minds so that we can grow from it instead of hiding in our rooms hoping it will go away.
In closing, she gave a quote by John Maxwell:
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”
So the question is….How will you respond to CHANGE in your life?
As I reflect on all the speakers I heard last week, I am filled with motivation, determination and strength….all things I needed to refuel with after last year.
Pardon me while I take out my planner and give gratitude for planners and what they continue to teach me.
How do you adapt to change? I’d love to hear about it! Hey, I’d love it if you would sign up to follow this blog!
Until next time-this is just me talking to you from the wings!
This week’s blog is by Kelly Zea. Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your love of theater and God with
us both now and on stage!
One of my earliest memories was at the church my grandfather preached, watching the kids rehearse for their Christmas program. I remember adult’s encouragement to participate, but I shied away and just watched them sing, quietly and inevitably learning the lyrics. I remember the fear mixed with excitement as the window of opportunity neared its final moments to perform alongside the other kids. I remember my shy, single-digit aged, watch-from-the-sideline self was the bravest it had been as I took the chance and joined the chorus of cardboard costumed Christmas presents on stage. That small act of being present gifted me the value of being brave – both on stage and off.
Fast forward to my formative teenage years when our Pantherettes Poms team was cut from the school budget and eliminated, freeing up time to audition for my first high school play, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” Disappointment of dancing off one stage turned into walking onto another, a blessing in disguise which would become the most memorable part of high school and lead to where I felt I truly belonged: the theater.
That first show quickly revealed an irrational insecurity when its only song required us to sing. The director accommodated my fear of singing by gifting me the shortest solo and single word, “Flush,” and also a nickname I’d bear the rest of my high school theater days. I later even purposely tried to get the role of the Wicked Witch to spare myself from having to sing. It was the summer going into my senior year when I decided to face my fears so that I could attempt to obtain the lead role in what would be my last high school show. I bought the cd to memorize the songs, took a choir class and extra lessons from my generous music teacher, and was more determined than ever. Earning the role of Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun” meant everything to me and required a growth spurt like none before to rise to the challenge. Thanks to my directors who believed in me and took the risk casting me and coached me throughout, I gained confidence and it reinforced the decision to continue to pursue acting by becoming a theater major in college.
While my time at Columbia College Chicago was a different story, my story with the stage thankfully did not end there and as I faced more fears. My bravery was a building block to more blessings of opportunities such as: Second City’s Music Improv program, working as an extra in Chicago’s film and tv industry, and the sweet suburban community theater the scene which ended up changing my life the most). Community theater became the space to stand up for faith and ultimately grow in faith.
I once again fought through fears in front of everyone auditioning for Overshadowed’s “It’s a WonderfulLife” in 2013 and resisted the growing urge to leave before it was my turn. It didn’t take long to realize that God kept me there for a reason. Overshadowed would soon become one of the most crucial places of my faith journey. It was a ministry, unlike any theater experience I’d had, and became a place filled with prayer and desires to glorify Him. Not without growing pains, of course, but thankfully alongside grace-filled believers valuing the power of prayer and God’s Word, I continue to experience healing and sanctification.
I’ve been blessed that theater has been a constant in my life and a home away from home. Theater has encouraged growth through habitual risk taking, generated creativity and more joy than I could have ever dreamt, and, most importantly, fostered community and brought me closer to God in so many ways. Although my trajectory went in a different direction than I dreamt as a little girl, I am so grateful that God was with me each step and led me to the places I’ve been. I’m grateful to the building blocks of bravery which led to so many amazing opportunities and memories that continue to form to this day.
Just as children learn to stack blocks when they are children, building blocks can be used in many areas of our lives. You can’t run before you learn to walk. You learn the alphabet before you learn to read. Is there something in your life you need to pursue step-by-step?
I encourage you to see that our biggest blessings are just beyond our fears. Is there a fear that’s been stealing your joy? Are excuses keeping you from trying something you’ve always wanted to? I pray you experience God’s peace and bravely follow His lead into adventures you couldn’t imagine, touch lives you don’t yet know, and become more like Him through all of it.
Isn’t it sweet of the Creator of the Universe to bless us with creativity and ways to glorify Him through the arts? Be brave and blessed, dear friend.
Kelly Zea is a Christ-following, theater-loving northwest suburbanite who works as an Instructional Assistant in a high school. When not professionally bantering with teenagers, she can be found pet sitting, capturing moments, indulging in theological discussions, dreaming of and missing Africa or running, punning and dancing through life, Zeabunking the lies of the world one reminder of God’s truth at a time. You can follow Kelly at@Kelifornialove28
We’d love to know how God is using theater in your life? Or what building blocks are helping you grow?