I’ll never forget the first speech tournament I competed in. I was a Jr. and scared out of my mind. I wasn’t exactly a novice when it came to competing because our school required all speech majors to be involved in the commencement contest each year. I don’t remember ever putting my whole heart into it. I was never really recognized in the speech department as being much of a talent, so couple my insecurity with that and I felt the full weight of imposter syndrome.
Looking back, I just don’t think I worked hard enough. I certainly didn’t walk up with confidence and I’m sure my insecurities hurt me when I competed.
After graduation, I taught Jr High and then High School Speech. Our school began to enter the Fine Arts Competitions and I began to encourage my students to enter and compete.
I don’t think I really understood the art of competing though until I worked under Randy Thaxton (who was in charge of the Bible Quiz team). I also began to learn from what Donna Reed (English and Speech Teacher) did to train each of her competitors. If I didn’t hold those secrets so close to my heart I could write a book! They taught me through their thoroughness, preparedness and spirit of excellence.
I used to tell my speech students that they had no idea how lucky they were to come from a school that had three speech teachers and people that wanted to invest in them. I’m so glad my own children had the chance to learn from both of them.
As I began to realize how important my role was in preparing the students to compete, I learned that my job was more important than just preparing them “to win”. It was a ministry and I LOVED working with each student. I have such great memories from humorous speech and reader’s theater performances and my favorite, duet acting.
Not every person that enters a competition can win. There is always a loser.
Are you a failure if you lose?
Babe Ruth once said, “Never let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game.”
I have learned so many life lessons from being involved with competitions. I really miss the times I watched my own children compete and I loved watching them win. The losing wasn’t as fun, but the determination that came after that was inspiring.
Ah! “The Thrill of Victory the agony of defeat.” There is nothing like it.
I hope you’ll watch the video below for the five benefits of competing! And then? Go find something to compete in!
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?
I’m basically a very happy person. I’ll admit though–the last couple of years have been rougher than normal. I used the COVID shut down to sharpen some of my skills and pursue avenues that I normally don’t have time for. In some ways it didn’t work out for me.
In trying to have a voice and encouraging others to “think for themselves”- I was attacked verbally for being in a “conservative bubble.” The person accused me of posting things that “weren’t true for the purpose of inflaming the population”. In the end, she unfriended me. I also had family issues that have not gone away. Why do I say all of that? Because in the midst of struggles you wonder what it is you are supposed to be doing in this world.
I am a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, child of God, teacher, director, actor, author, planner, encourager, motivator, speaker, founder of a non-profit, proud American…. is there more? Maybe. I have always had big dreams.
Do I want more? That is such a difficult question. I am content.
I’ve been able to work in a non-paying job for years and not resent it because I felt so strongly about my purpose and I guess my “why.” (Although I’ve never put it into those words before.)
Why do I exist? Why has God allowed my to have another day on this earth? Am I doing all that He wants me to?
There are times that I feel that I can never be enough. I am swiftly reminded that God doesn’t NEED me, but that if I am willing He can and will USE me.
So, do I want more? YES! Because somehow there is a need in me to KNOW that I am making a difference.
Is that what humanity is all about? Even though we don’t want to be proud or want attention, we still have something inside us that needs to have a little attention. It is an endless cycle.
At times I feel like I came to the party too late. Sometimes I feel that the people that can influence others need to be younger and beautiful. Yet, there is a wisdom that comes from experience and as I live more of life I know that my speech becomes more bold and more confident.
My message? It’s not too late.
I think I always knew what my purpose was. I think I just wasn’t confident to own it.
In this upside down mess of a world we are living in can you say what your purpose is? What keeps you going? Who do you have influence over? Did the last few years make you forget? Make you afraid?
It’s not too late.
My parents used to tell me that for each and every experience I had in life there was someone that could learn from me and my journey. Amazingly enough, the tough experiences have been shared time after time. I can hear the voices of wisdom in my head as I share. The same will be for you. Turn your worse fears, hurts, disappointments and failures into life lessons for all of us. For every fear you face there are 100 of us who can learn from you.
Could that be WHY you faced the things you did? Because one of us might NEED you?
That’s why I write. That’s why I have theater camps. That’s why I started Overshadowed.
I’m sure there is a girl or boy out there that needs to know their voice matters.
All you have to do is open your mouth and be willing to speak.
What is your why?
I believe in you!
I would love to hear your whys! Please take a moment to like, share and follow!
Until next time, this is just me, talking to you, from the wings!
“Wrong? What do you mean wrong? ” You might be asking.
I’d like to ask if you think she actually sinned by making the movie….but I don’t want to be side tracked by conversations about other people making their own choices.
The main point is this….even if you liked the movie, even if you could see that the movie is drawing people to God….is it RIGHT for a director to ask people to strip almost naked and act out sexual scenes for others to watch?
Yes, you are responsible for the choices you make. You alone have to decide where the line is. I remember being told as a teenager that I needed to decide what my dating standards were before I went on a date because in a car was not the time to decide if I would or would not…..kiss, make-out, have sex.
The same goes for actors. I actually asked a potential Christian intern last year what their” line was.” They looked at me in complete bewilderment so I continued. “For example, what do you believe is wrong for you to do on stage…like would it be okay to be naked?” Their response? “I guess I’d do that. Depending on the context and purpose.”
Maybe that is the root of the problem. What happened to us as Christians that some of us think it is not only okay to watch just about anything, but equally okay to actually be the one naked and “having sex.” ?
Is any of it sin?
I keep thinking of “Be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love.” and “never put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” or in Mark 9:42, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.”
So, was it wrong for Francine Rivers to allow others to be so naked (granted, she might have had a bandaid on) that to the world she APPEARS naked? In fact, she wanted us all to believe she is naked. Further more, was it wrong for the two characters to imitate having sex, complete with movements and well, more….?
Just in case you think that Francine Rivers didn’t have a say once she sold her script, this is from a recent announcement with Penguin Random House:
“Over the years with other options, the character of Michael didn’t come across the way it must. When Cindy Bond of Mission Pictures approached us, I decided to write a sample script of what I felt needed to be seen. I read a few books on how to write a script, loaded final draft onto my computer, and took a whack at it, never expecting they would use it. They bought it! When D.J. Caruso pursued the job of directing the movie, we worked together on the script. He restructured it and we strengthened scenes. It was a collaborative effort to bring a powerful redemptive story to the screen. I was also involved in the auditions and selection of the actors – especially Abigail Cowen and Tom Lewis, who played the leading roles. They are wonderful!”
In every other interview I’ve seen Rivers seems to be thrilled with the movie.
During Covid Overshadowed started an Instagram live. Rebecca Leland was our hostess and each week she would invite special guests on her show to talk about something behind the scenes at Overshadowed. We called it, “Spill the Tea.” She would add to the fun by sharing a tea or coffee recipe and other coffee trivia. It was a wonderful way to keep us connected at a time we couldn’t pursue live theater. Bonus: Rebecca Leland is a natural and such a joy to be around.
Recently, she had the chance to be part of the directing team at a local theater. I was curious to see if she learned anything as an actress from that experience–as my mom always taught me, “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you judge them.” Wouldn’t the world be different if we all stuck to that motto?
As we got together for the latest episode of From the Wings, I was fascinated to see what she learned and see if she could make me a better director from her experiences.
I think we both agreed that an actor walks into the audition process completely unaware of what is going on in a director’s head and heart. I wish there was a way to help make the process seem less personal to the potential cast member. For me, it isn’t personal–I am simply trying to put together the best cast for my vision. You may be the best singer, but if you are 20 years younger than the best option for the guy you might have to play opposite of–then the pairing simply may not work. It isn’t personal against you–it is just a fact that the age difference might make it uncomfortable for the audience to watch. It is difficult for a director to paint their vision for everyone, but trust me when we say, we really don’t want to hurt anyone and we want you to come back and audition again. I find it very sad when I don’t cast someone in the lead part they wanted for a particular musical and then they never audition for us again. They might be exactly right for the lead in the next show, but we will never know because they didn’t come back because they took it personally.
It is easy to “THINK” you know what is in the mind of the director, but unless you ask, you cannot.
Bad mouthing the decisions a director makes shows that you think you know better. Perhaps you do, but your vision is not the director’s vision and by tearing down the choices that a director makes only shows that you do not trust them and it tears down the whole experience for the rest of the cast as well.
The best productions are ones that the cast is unified towards making the production a once in a lifetime experience.
This episode allows you to see just a little of what a directing team might be thinking. Perhaps if we could, “walk a mile in each other’s shoes.” we might come together to make some pretty amazing theatrical experiences!
I hope you enjoy it!
I would really love it if you subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Rebecca Leland, thank you for joining me on the show and thank you for all of your work filming and editing it!
Please feel free to post and share and I’d love to hear what you think about our thoughts!
This past week I settled in to watch the movie, “Being the Ricardos” that is now streaming on Amazon Prime. I had seen trailers and was pretty excited to see it. Why?
Two Reasons- I love stories/movies based on real people. I think they are fascinating as much for the historical truth as well as the creative perspective. Secondly, I Love Lucy. Seriously, I have long been a fan. When I was younger I didn’t care how many times I watched Lucy and Ethel stuff candy in every nook and pocket of their clothes. I watched with great joy as Tennessee Ernie Ford guest starred along with countless other stars. It was hilarious to watch Lucy, week after week, conniving to “act, dance, perform, sing.” Perhaps I was inspired by her.
Later, I watched “The Lucy Show” and again was mesmerized by her flawless attention to detail and her incredible comedic timing. Her facial expressions are entrancing and again, I was inspired by her. Years later I found out that Lucille Ball was actually kicked out of acting school!
In her autobiography, Lucy tells that all the teachers praised a big-eyed blonde in class, yet never cared for her (Lucille). Well, I guess that was understandable because that blonde was Bette Davis!
The acting school said that Lucy didn’t have talent! They kicked her out saying that it was a complete waste of money for her to continue her studies! What would you do if your school wrote you such a letter?
Yet…this would- be actress, that was told she didn’t have talent, changed the course of American TV along with her husband Desi. There is a huge void in the world without her lighting up the screen. This became clear to me as I watched Nicole Kidman portray this icon. (By the way, Kidman did an incredible job she just was the wrong person to play this role.) However, to me, what I really saw was the brillance of Lucille Ball. There was a scene in the movie that Kidman is recreating a scene in “I Love Lucy. “You might be familiar with the scene where Lucy smashes grapes. I can almost see it in my mind even now. Lucy’s facial expressions communicated every emotion and thought that she was thinking in that vat. Seeing Kidman, I was struck with how incapable anyone is when trying to recreate what Lucille Ball did. It wasn’t even close. Sadly, she didn’t seem to have the energy that Lucille Ball was known for and ugh, I’m not sure if the prosthetics made her unable to move her face or if she just didn’t, but how can you play Lucy if YOU DON’T MOVE YOUR FACE??
Don’t get me wrong. I still really enjoyed “Being the Ricardos“, but I also learned why I love her so much. So here is what I learned from loving Lucy then and now.
You cannot copy comedic genius. You can learn from it, but you cannot clone it. There was and will always be only one Lucille Ball.
Don’t let someone else crush your dreams. If I had received the letter Lucille Ball received from the acting school I am positive I would have given up on acting. The world is thankful that Lucille Ball didn’t give up. So, a little known story… I was rejected pretty early at the college I attended. So much so, that I was afraid to really put myself out there. I caved and pursued speech education instead. I didn’t want to be told that I wasn’t good enough and at that time my advisor was trying to talk me out of theatrical productions saying things like, “How would you ever support yourself if you had no husband or he died?” (That’s a whole different discussion for another day.) Basically he frightened me into not trying. I wish I had known Lucille Ball’s story at that time.
Work the details of a scene. I loved the scenes that showed Lucille Ball thinking and visualizing each scene to make sure “it worked.” Details matter, and if you, as the director take the time to work on the details of a scene, it will be more believable to the audience.
You don’t have to be the star of the show. Lucille Ball was once called the “queen of the B movies.” She didn’t say no to parts because she felt that she could always learn something from each experience and that it was a good way to make connections and get her name out. I think many times we miss the best roles of our lives because we want to be the star.
You aren’t too old. Lucille Ball got her own show when she was almost 40. Sure, I’m older than that…but I’m no Lucille Ball…I can wait a few more years!
I’m not sure I can say it enough. Don’t give up, and don’t be lazy. Work hard on the stage and off. Maybe there is one more Lucille Ball out there…if so, I can’t wait to see what she gives the world to enjoy.
Here are a few moments to learn about Lucille Ball in her own words.
Did you watch “Being the Ricardos”? What did you think? Who inspries you?
I’d love to hear what you think! As always, I’d be so honored if you would take the time to share, like, comment and subscribe!
Until next time, this is just me talking to you from the wings–
It seems like a decade ago when the costumers and I were working away on the costume inventory at Overshadowed Theatrical Productions. Debra Schott (our engineer, researching
costumer) looked at me and said, “I fear this COVID is going to wreck our economy and when it is all said and done hundreds of thousands of people will die.”
In my innocence, I laughed and said, “We have modern medicine–we are going to do what everyone tells us to do and it will be over in a couple of months.” She looked at me and said, “I don’t know. It could be a couple of years.” I laughed again. Literally, I thought she was a prophet of doom. She couldn’t possibly be right. We were at a high point coming off of our most successful theater season ever. After 16 years of hard work it was exciting. I couldn’t imagine that it would all be over.
Here we are, years later. In Chicago, they are mandating that you must be vaccinatedif you are 5 years old or older to attend the theater or other inside activities. Of course, you still must wear a mask. You cannot take it off even to eat or drink.
The mandates aren’t the same in DuPage County. Yet, in my theater, I simply cannot make people happy. DuPage county requires masks if you are inside. So, we require masks inside. I constantly get letters asking me why I am not stressing it more? In my defense, it is on my website. I announce it on stage and I have ushers to remind people. Yet, I get letters from people asking me to please talk to the people who don’t have them on and “police” them.
Then, I have the letters from people that say that will not attend if we ask them to wear a mask.
I know, “you can’t please all the people all the time.”
So, what is a girl to do for the future of theater?
I know the restrictions of other countries. I know what happened in New York. I have friends that have died from Covid and I have others who have had a case of Covid that really wasn’t that bad and they recovered just fine.
I understand both sides.
But now what?
What is the future for theater? Will this be the new normal? If we sit in areas that are close together will we ever feel safe?
Honestly, maybe my rambling thoughts are more about my frustration that we simply are not able to respect each other any longer. Is there even a middle ground that we could meet? Part of the problem seems to me that we have redefined truth. The news, reports what it wants to report, with the slant towards what they want us to take away or feel from the report. To be honest, it reminds me of the Bible verse, “And every man did what was right in their own eyes.” That should frighten us all to the very core of our souls. None of us are capable of living in a land where sinful man without truth sets the standards.
Jesus said, “What is truth?”
Seems to me I remember a day in school when reporters were held to a higher standard. We were taught against propaganda, even citing examples of communism and how we didn’t want to fall into that.
Where did truth go? Where did love for my neighbor go? If those things came back would we be able to meet in a middle ground of respect?
Or do we need to be much more aggressive-defending our freedoms?
It is so much to think about.
Sometimes I just want to “do theater.” Make people laugh. Educate. Make the audience feel something that makes a difference in their lives.
I cannot imagine a world without theater. Theater has always made a difference in my life. Somehow, I’m going to keep navigating in a world that is constantly changing and remind myself of one thing: “Faithful is He who calleth you who will also do it.”
“God, lead my steps. Help me do what YOU want me to do. Keep the audiences safe at Overshadowed. Help us to continue to tell YOUR story the way you want us to do. One more thing, help us to realize that how we respond to each other is important too…both to the believer and unbeliever.”
Verses to ponder:
Isaiah 35:4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 94:19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
If this resonates with you at all, please like, share and subscribe!
Until next time, this is just me talking to you from the wings–
Megan and I had gone to see “Bring it On: The Musical.” It was packed with girls-all ages. The audience really seemed to love it for the most part. Megan and I–not so much. It was at that point that I felt like I needed to start a blog to be able to warn people not to spend their hard earned money on musicals such as that one. I also thought that surely Megan and I were talented enough to write a musical that was, at least, less trite and that would bring in the people. Full of ourselves you might think…nope…the musical was just really bad and we thought if we found the right topic surely people would come.
Last night, the memory of my vain post popped up on Facebook and Megan commented and said, “Look! Now you’ve done both..started a blog and we wrote a musical.”
I thought about that innocent facebook post all day.
Yes, I did start a blog. You are reading in right now. It is sometimes theater, sometimes reviewing other theater productions or movies or TV. Sometimes it is just my thoughts about life and faith.
It took me a long time to get up the courage to start the blog. I wasn’t sure my writing skills were good enough. I thought I might have plenty to say, but I wasn’t really unique enough. I find that in this culture people would rather follow young and beautiful and I am neither. Nevertheless, I finally started it. It took me awhile to be consistent, but I’m pretty regular at posting one time a week. I decided that I was going to write the way I talk. I want you to almost be able to hear me speaking to you as you read what I have written. I decided that would be the way I would be unique. I know I don’t follow all the rules. I don’t know much about SEO and other things that would probably make it so my posts would be found and be read. Somehow, I have 90 followers now. (That must sound crazy to those of you who have thousands of followers!)
To each of you, I thank you for reading so faithfully.
Would I like more? Well, sure! Who wouldn’t? But, I guess that isn’t really why I write. I write because I have something to say and here is a place that at least 90 of you will read and listen and sometimes comment. That is special to me because writing has been healing for me this year.
I didn’t know that it would take me nine years to grow my blog to 90 readers, but as I always tell my casts…you do it for even one audience member and so I write for even just one.
Now, for that other item, the musical? It was called, “I’ll Be Seeing You.” It is the best thing Megan and I ever wrote. The audiences loved it and people ask us year after year when it’s coming back. Did you know a writer is never happy? We need to do a few rewrites, but it will be back and we can’t wait.
So, what is the point of all these words? Make a goal. Then verbalize it. Then do it. It’s not too late. Find something that makes you healthy and happy and don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough.
Hmmm. Reminds me of a Carpenters’ song, “Sing, sing a song, make it simple to last your whole life long. Don’t worry that you’re not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing. Sing a Song.”
Over the years there have been things I liked about Facebook and things that drove me crazy. This time, I’m thankful for the memory.
Now, I think I’m going to go sing a song.
Until next year.
This is just me, talking to you from the wings.
Charity took another look around the empty room. It was void of decorations and furniture except for the cherished radio/CD player and one table and chair. She walked over and clicked the radio on. The static was loud, but temporary as she inserted a CD into the well-loved player.
The sounds of Bing Crosby crooning, “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” immediately filled the air.
Charity walked over to the window and peered at the pavement below. “Nothing white on the ground here.” She smiled. That was okay with her. She wasn’t fond of snow or cold and neither was her mother.
This was going to be her first Christmas without her mother. It filled her with an emotion that she wasn’t ready for. It had been months. Why did she still wake up every morning wishing she could call her mom? Mom always made everything all right.
She walked back over to the last box. Once she went through this box she would clean the apartment for the last time and turn the keys over to the manager.
“Over. I just don’t want it to be over.”
Bing stopped singing and Perry Como began singing,”I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” She couldn’t stop the tears that began to slide down her cheeks. Home? Where exactly was home?
She lifted the lid on the box. What was this? Letters. All unopened. She grabbed a few of them and thumbed through them. Some were addressed to her, some to her Grandmother, some to Dad and a few to God.
She decided to take the top one and open it. It was addressed to “Unknown”.
As she read aloud, the music vanished and she could picture her mom in earlier Christmas’. She was sitting by the Christmas tree at Grandmother’s house. Her sister’s were young and beautiful as they all laughed and told stories together. Dad was close by looking lovingly at her.
She shook away the memory and opened the letter.
“To whom it may concern. I’m not sure how long I will live or who will find these letters. Please don’t share them with anyone. You may read them and think what you will, but I never gave them to the people I wrote them to for a reason and I’d ask that you keep them to yourself as well. You may ask why I wrote them instead of talking it out? Writing is permanant. When you talk, sometimes you forget exactly what was said. I want to always remember. Now you say, but the letters are sealed! Yes, they are. That is a mystery you must discover for yourself, if you choose to. Happy Reading”
Charity stood. Why were the letters only written to the four of them? Her mother must have known that Charity would be the one to find the letters, why didn’t she just leave a note to her?
Charity was instantly filled with fear and excitement and worry all combined into one new emotion.
She closed her eyes, reached into the box and randomly pulled out a letter.
It was dated December, 1956.
“The year I was born!” The letter wasn’t addressed to her, or her mom or her dad. It was addressed to God.
I am a mother. Finally! All I can think of this Christmas is Mary. The girl you chose to be the mother of your son. I picture her holding Jesus. What must she have been thinking? ‘He’s perfect! How can this little one be a Savior to the world? How can I be the earthly mother to someone who knows all and sees all?’ I have such doubts about my ability to be a mother. Will Charity and I be close? Will my own mother be satisfied in what she sees in me? So, I’m writing you my deepest and darkest fears. I know that you know what is in my heart, but I feel that somehow if I write it here then I can leave it here. Safe with you. Help me to be more like Mary-more like Jesus.”
In an instant Charity knew that this box was a special gift. Just like Mary had pondered things in her heart-Charity’s mom had as well. She reached into the box again. “Thank you, God, for this special gift from the past that is for the future. Thank you, also, for Jesus and Mary and…my mom.”
She looked over at the box. What other secrets did it hold?
**Before you ask, this is NOT a TRUE story. I’m not sure why God puts stories on my heart, but I really enjoyed where this one took me. Let me know if you want to hear more about Charity!
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