Friday, December 17, 2010

Resolve.

I’m sitting in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport at 5:30 AM. Starbucks isn’t open yet and I can’t find an internet hotspot anywhere. I've just gotten some of the worst sleep of my life, tossing and turning through a red eye flight. And strangely, for the first time in a very long while.. I can actually focus on some of the thoughts that have been bubbling in my head lately.

I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

I turn 25 next month. I don't have a steady job. I'm beyond single (and a half dozen of my best friends are getting married this year). My family and friends are strewn across the country. A quarter-life crisis seems like a completely reasonable turn for my life to take, right?

The truth is, I miss JMU. I miss being on the same page with all of my friends and not feeling inadequate because I didn't move to the big city they moved to or because I didn't go the traditional route with my career or because I haven't met "the one." I miss constant socialization. Salsa nights. Dhall dinners. Football games. And honestly, I miss studying. The library. Having books to read (even if I never finished most of them) and, better yet, papers to write (because I'm a dork like that).

But I'm not in college anymore. So I need to figure out how to rejoice in the life I have now.

So, since the new year is almost upon us, I've written up a list of resolutions. I have discovered this year that for me to reach my creative potential, I need structure, goals, and planning. I hope this is a start.

-Start every day by reading a psalm aloud.

-Set some "office hours" every week in which I get out of my bed, walk across the street to my neighborhood coffee shop, and write lesson plans, answer e-mails, read, and journal.

-Hit snooze 5 times instead of 10 (baby steps.)

-Read one new book a month. I will stop checking out multiple books at once, starting them all and never finishing them. I will read one book at a time. And when I am done, I'll write about it.

-Discover more music. Write about it.

-See more movies. Write about them.

-Blog weekly. Journal daily.

-Initiate at least one intentional coffee date/brunch/happy hour a week.

-Get people together more. Plan some social events.

-Cook one new recipe a month. Preferably with/for friends. I've only busted my crockpot out once since moving to my house. That is not ok.

-Stop letting facebook/twitter suck away my life. I will only log on once a day for no more than 15 minutes a day. Period.

-Stop watching trash tv. Friday Night Lights is obviously the exception. (but it's no trash, anyway).

-Join a gym.

-Do more Yoga.

-Hold all goals & resolutions with open hands. Give God room to change my plans.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dear Santa

Now that I've purchased myself Mumford and Sons "Sigh No More" as an early Christmas / music to listen to on my cross-country flight present, all I really want for Christmas is a man who plays banjo.

Seriously. Make this magic happen, big guy.

I Believe.

Love,
Sarah

p.s. I've included video evidence here just in case you need any more convincing.

Monday, December 6, 2010

FaLaLaLaLa!

Every Christmas, instead of Christmas cards, I send out a mix CD of Christmas music. Starting in November, I hunt my personal arsenal of carols and search the internet for new and exciting holiday tunes that will make my friends and family feel merry and bright without driving them to the brink of insanity.

Up until this year, only a limited few have had access to the coveted annual mix. But this year, thanks to the wonders of the world wide web, my Christmas Mix is available to all!

Just click the link below, enter the password HoHoHo (capitalization does count), and download your very own copy!

The 2010 Christmas Mix

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Song of the Day: "Home," by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros



I'm headed back to Virginia tonight. For four days, I will not think about my future or my past or any of the stresses that seem to weigh on me every day I'm out here. Instead, I'll hug my brothers and kiss my dad and snuggle on the couch with my mom. I'll eat barbecue and drink sweet tea and watch lots of football.

Of course, I know that when I fly back to Seattle on Monday morning, my heart will be aching and my head will be spinning with thoughts of home, and I'll still be wondering if I'll ever find my place in the world.

So what is it about home that means so much to me? I've written about this before.. but it's something I've been thinking about a lot over the past year.

I've always envied those people who've lived in the same place their whole lives. Who have all of their family in one place. Whose friends have known them since they were babies, because they're the children of parents whose friends have known them since they were babies, and so on, and so on..

But then I look at Jesus, who was essentially homeless, who was rejected by his hometown, who in Matthew 10 tells me that if I love my mother and father more than I love him, I'm not worthy of being his.

That's a hard pill to swallow.

Isn't this the same guy who just one chapter later says "Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest for your soul."

I've been stuck on these passages for a few days now, trying to sort this all out.

This is what I've got so far: I think Jesus wants to be our home, our comfort, our family. And that home can be anywhere, because he is everywhere. Not only that, but he also calls us to love others like family, to open our hearts and lay down roots with everyone, not just those we've known since birth.

Does that mean I won't cry when I step off the plane tomorrow morning and see my brothers and parents and grandparents waiting for me? Absolutely not. My family is a blessing that I've learned not to take for granted. But I'm also learning that family is not my God. So when I fly west again on Monday, maybe I'll be able to hold back the tears and trust that in Christ, home comes with me wherever I go.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ingrid.

I've told you more than once about my love for Ingrid Michaelson.

But seriously.

I think Ingrid is my musical soulmate, at least for this season of my life. Her music was an emotional touchstone throughout my transition to Seattle, and her words do much better than mine to express the angst and frustrations that a creative, independent woman feels in her 20's. I can't count the number of times I've listened to "Maybe" or "Are we there yet" while thinking about the uncertainties of my future and the people and places I've let go of over the past few years. Or the times I've sung along to "Be Ok" and "Winter Song" on the verge of tears because in those songs I can hang on, knowing that someone else feels what do.

So, I'm kind of a big fan, ok?

And tonight, I finally got to see Ingrid live.

Since it's almost 1am and I have to telefund from 10am-5pm tomorrow (awesome life, right?), I've reduced my review of the show to a Letterman late-night top 10... except I'm tired, so it's going to be reduced to a top 5. Without any further ado:

The Top 5 Reasons Ingrid Michaelson is even better live than she is on my ipod. (Alternate title: Top 10 Reasons I want to be Ingrid's BFFAE)

5. She quoted bon-qui-qui. No joke. In her intro to "once was love" (which she dedicated to lee-anne rimes, fyi) she said that if a man doesn't treat a lady right anymore he "GOTS TO GO."

4. She's really funny. Watching her live was like watching a variety show. Stand-up comedy, music, and.. of course, dance numbers (see #1)

3. She covered night swimming by REM with just her voice and a looping pedal. And told a really funny story about the first time she did the song at Carnegie Hall and then got drunk and embarrassed herself in front of frontman Michael Stipe.



2. She totally mocked the whole encore tradition by hiding with her band underneath a sheet onstage while everyone clapped. Then, when they actually performed the encore it was a 90's punk-rock version of "The Way I Am." I felt like I was on the set of 10 things I Hate About You.

1. The last song in her set was Toxic by Britney Spears. Which was then followed by a glee-style choreographed dance/bow to the original. Complete with a secret handshake.



All in all, a fantastic night out. Next up: Sufjan Stevens on Saturday. Get jealous.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Freelance

Life in Seattle has gotten crazy busy. Which, given the weather these days, is probably a good thing.

For the first time since graduating from college, my schedule hasn't been dictated by a full time internship, which is both liberating and terrifying at the same time. I'm officially a freelance teaching artist, creating and working on all sorts of projects and classes around rain city. Being that a freelance career is a tough one to build (especially in this economy) my newfound job title also means that I'm a part time telemarketer, nanny, and house manager.

I am learning a lot these days about free-time and productivity and how to make the most of a schedule that is ever-changing and ever-confusing. I can't say that I've mastered the to-do list, yet but I am getting good at making them for sure. I'm also becoming a master networker, which, it also turns out, means I can write off about 200 bucks worth of coffee dates when tax time rolls around (what's up self-employment!?)

But besides setting up meetings and drinking coffee and qualifying for food stamps (still), what does a "freelance teaching artist" do, you ask?

Good question.

Well, if you simply split up the word, you've basically got two jobs wrapped up into one.

Basically, I'm an artist who teaches, and a teacher who creates. These days, that looks something like this:

I'm an "apprentice" (read: barely paid) teaching artist at Seattle Children's Theatre. This quarter, that job breaks down into a few specific roles:

-Assisting on an advanced acting class on Monday nights at SCT. The kids in this class are the cream of the crop. Most have been taking acting classes since they were in elementary school, and they're smarter and more dedicated to developing as actors than most of the theatre majors I went to college with (myself included). Needless to day, I'm learning a lot just by observing scene work and curriculum in this class.

-Assisting on a residency that SCT is doing at a failing elementary school in South Seattle. This is a completely different experience than any other class I could assist on at SCT. The kids are largely non-white and very few have had the exposure to theatre that the typical SCT drama school student has had. I'm there two afternoons a week, once with 3-5th graders and then with K-3rd graders. Again, I'm learning a lot about teaching theatre and how to engage with students of all levels and economic backgrounds.

-Assisting and observing one-day workshops and short-term residencies in schools. Assisting on break camps.

Starting next week, I'm teaching drama once a week at Union Gospel Mission in downtown Seattle. UGM is a men's homeless shelter, and the whole project is daunting to me. It's a volunteer gig, completely unpaid, but it's also the type of work that I've always wanted to do, and I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking, reading, praying, and planning for this. I'll let you know how it goes.

There are also several projects coming up for me in the spring. A production of Pinocchio I'm directing at a local elementary school, a professional show I'll be acting in, a few (paid) classes I'll be teaching by myself for local theatres, a two-person grown-up play I'm directing. So I'm spending a lot of time this fall planning and getting excited for those things, as well.

Right now, my "work life" is very far from average, and I expect that it might always be that way. I'm constantly aware of the divide between myself and the "normal" people around me, the non-artists who work consistent schedules and who have benefits and some measure of job security. The people who don't have to work a night job to pay their rent while they get on their feet as an artist. The people who can go to church on Sunday and don't have to rush out after the service to make it to a 10 hour shift at a third job. The people who know how much they'll be making in 6 months and can plan vacations without worrying that a job will come up that might prevent them from traveling. The people who can actually go on a date or join a bible study because they have free time after 5pm every day. I could go on, but I'm starting to cry in a coffee shop (my "office" these days).

It's a hard life, this one that I've landed myself in. But, despite all of these worries and frustrations I've articulated, I know that I really am in the right place. I LOVE teaching at lots of different places, working with adult students and teenagers, and kindergartners, and breaking down a good script as an actor or a director. I don't want to do anything else right now, and I'm blessed enough that I don't have student loans, that my rent is cheap, and that my parents' healthcare plan covers me until I'm 26 (which is sooner than I'd like to admit).

So to sum things up up, I'm taking life a day at a time right now, remembering that each season of life has it's blessings as well as its curses, and choosing to rejoice in the good rather than dwelling on the bad.

I think that's enough of an update for today.

Friday, September 24, 2010

One Year Ago Today...

I was moving into a new apartment in a strange, new city. I only knew one person in Seattle, my now ex-roommate (though definitely not ex-friend) Sarah, and I was scared silly but crazy excited about the year ahead of me.

Now, 12 months, 2 leases, 2 internships, hundreds of cups of coffee, and countless raindrops, tears, and laughs later, I'm as terrified and thrilled as ever about the path ahead of me.

Things are different, to be sure. This time last year I had no idea who my friends would be here, or how I'd get around the city, or even where I'd buy groceries, but I had an internship to go to every day and a guaranteed (albeit tiny) paycheck to count on at the end of every week.

Now, as I embark on the daunting journey that is the life of a freelance teaching artist/actor/director/badass, those questions of friends and traffic and groceries are less daunting. I have my crew, I don't need the GPS most days, and I even have a favorite check-out guy at the Queen Anne Trader Joe's. What requires my trust and prayer now are those bigger questions of how exactly I'll get by month to month. Where will work come from? Am I always going to have to scrape pennies together to pay my rent? Am I going to burn out on juggling so many jobs that I won't have energy left to actually enjoy the thing I'm working so hard to practice? It's definitely a scary and difficult place to be in right now, but somehow I know It's exactly right for me in this time and place... and someday all the growing pains will pay off.

I've always joked that I won't be a grown up until I start sleeping in something other than a twin bed. How fitting, then, that today of all days I should trade in my exactly one-year-old Ikea twin bed for a full mattress and boxspring, left behind for me by a generous friend who had to leave Seattle a few weeks ago.

Hi, Adulthood, I'm Sarah. Nice to meet you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I think my grandma wants me to become a hooker...

So, I was going to write a lengthy, depressing post about my job hunt and how ready I am to have financial stability and long-term employment. And then I checked my inbox to find this suggestion from my Granny (In all caps, of course, because to get a message all the way from Florida to Seattle requires some yelling.)


HI. SARAH,

FIRST OF ALL, I HEARD ON TV THAT JMU BEAT VA TECH IN FOOTBALL….RAH!!! AN UPSET!

NEXT, I HAVE BEEN THINKING THAT YOU WOULD BE GOOD IN ANOTHER CAREER…….AS A NEWS PERSON, REPORTER, ETC.

FIRST ALL, YOU WOULD NEED TO BLEACH YOUR HAIR TO A VERY LIGHT BLOND…..NEXT, BUY A “RED” DRESS…..MAYBE SLEEVELESS….BUT AT LEAST LOW CUT ENOUGH TO SHOW YOUR CLEAVAGE.

THEN, WHEN OR IF YOU ARE ON TV …AND SITTING….BE SURE TO CROSS YOUR LEGS AND LET THE DRESS CREEP UP PRETTY “FAR”.

YOU HAVE THE OTHER ABILITIES NEEDED….JUST HAVE TO FOLLOW THE ABOVE….LIKE ALL OF THE CURRENT WOMEN WHO ARE REPORTERS, ETC.

GUESS I’M NOT UP ON THE LATEST….BUT NOT SURE WHY SOME OF THESE PEOPLE ARE DRESSED LIKE THEY’RE GOING TO A BALL. ONE LADY ON FOX IS GOOD.

WE MAY GET TO SEE YOU IN NOVEMBER IF AND WHEN YOU COME .

LOVE YA

GRANNY

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Changes.

This week:
-I finished my internship at the Seattle Children's Theatre drama school.
-I started my new (temporary-- don't get too excited) job, in the Seattle Children's Theatre phone room. (anyone want to buy a subscription to the upcoming season??)
-I moved out of my old apartment.
-I moved into a new house.
-I painted my bedroom.
-I bought a new dresser at a garage sale (and painted that, too).

Next week:
-I will start looking for a real job (or at least one that will guarantee that I can pay my rent every month).
-I will reapply for food stamps.
-I will find a dentist in Seattle (and pray, pray, PRAY I don't have cavities because I waited this long).
-I will find an eye doctor in Seattle.
-I will finish nesting and acknowledge to the world that I am a real-life resident of Seattle, Washington.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Lovin'

Ok, so lately I have been stinking it up as a blogger.

Life has been CRAZY busy but in a good good way. Here are the bullet points:

-My internship at Seattle Children's Theatre has been AMAZING! I get to go to work every day and play pretend with adorable kids. For example, in last week's classes I was a pirate named Captain Sassypants McGee and I made the kids all talk like pirates for the day. I've assisted on drama classes with kids from ages four to twenty and have loved every minute of it. Now, if only I could find a way to make more than 120 bucks a week doing this...

-At long last, it's sunny in Seattle! While the rest of you have been sweating your faces off in the hot hot heat, we've had highs of 75-80, cool breezes, and sunshine until 8:30 every night. All winter, people told me that the summers here would totally make the awful weather the other nine months out of the year worth it, and, while I'm still not entirely convinced, I must admit, I wouldn't hate a few more summers like this.

-With summer weather has come amazing summer adventures. My cousin visited this past week and we had a blast seeing all the sights. We made a trip to Vancouver. We kayaked on Lake Union. We almost got hit in the face by a fish at Pike Place. We were wined and dined by a kindof big deal Seattle chef. It's been a good week. And this weekend, I'm headed to Mt. Rainier National Park with some of my favorite interns. Woo hoo!

-Despite the lack of fireflies (which you ALL know I'm still bitter about), it turns out summer nights in Seattle aren't so bad, after all (no fireflies = no mosquitoes, for one). I shouldn't go into detail about my evening escapades here, but know that I recently managed to find good ways to fight the chill in the night air. (Um.. new, cute sweaters, obviously! Get your minds out of the gutter, people!)

-Finally, I feel like I've hit my stride in Seattle. Of course, I may very well be singing a different tune in October when it's raining again and I still don't have a job or a boyfriend or any family anywhere nearby. But for now, I love this city and I love my life. I have made some wonderful and FUN friends here, and though I'm still a long way from being where I want to be career-wise (in an income bracket that doesn't qualify me for government assistance, for starters) I'm definitely starting to make a lot of connections with other teaching artists and theatres where I see good potential for at least another year (Possibly more? Who knows?) of life and work here.

I'll work on posting pictures from my adventures soon. But for now, this shot of the view from the SCT west patio will have to do... (have I mentioned that I'm loving my summer??)


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Oregon Trail: The Highlights

..so from the tone of my last few posts and the length of my absence from the blogosphere, many of you might be assuming that I've fallen into a deep deep depression, never to be seen or heard from on the world wide web again.

Never fear, loyal readers. Though the summer started out rough, things are on the upswing and I'm back to keep you posted on my summer(ish) adventures in the Pacific Northwest.

Starting with... MY TRIP TO OREGON.

It has already been a month and a half since I toured Oregon with my wonderful west-coast buddy, Antoinette. And the two of us made too many memories to feasibly retell here...so since pictures speak louder than words, I figure it's best to hit the highlights with a little photo slideshow from the trip. Enjoy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hope

It has been a long week and my soul is tired.

My heart aches for my cousin's parents and siblings.

And now 3,000 miles away from home once again, it longs for my own family.

But though I hurt, I choose to hope.


Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again--
My savior and my God!

Psalm 42:5

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sweet Olivia

Most days I can find more than a few reasons to be excited about life.

Today is not one of those days.

I got some awful news this weekend that is finally starting to register. My dear cousin Olivia was hit by a car and killed crossing the street to her bus stop Friday morning. She was just 14 years old.

I keep thinking about what an awkward, unsure little thing I was when I was 14. About how much of my life hadn't even begun yet. About the experiences I'd have missed if I hadn't lived to see 15 or 16 or 18 or 20.

There are just no words for something like this. I know that God is good and that his plan is perfect. But even his word tells us that there is a season for everything. And this season is for heartbreak. There's no way around it.

I'm headed to Tampa Tuesday night to be with my family and attend the funeral. With it being 50 degrees and still rainy in Seattle, a surprise trip to Florida would be a welcome escape under any other circumstances. But this is never the kind of thing you want to go home for.

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers this week. We'll need all the love we can get.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Oregon Trail : A Preview

Got back yesterday from my whirlwind tour of Oregon and I must admit: no matter how scenic the roads may be, 1,300 miles in 7 days will wear a lady out.

Needless to say, I'm a bit too exhausted to post much about the trip just yet.

But to keep you entertained in the meantime, here's a little taste of our PacNW adventure, video blog style! Enjoy!


video

Friday, May 21, 2010

Next Stop: Oregon!

Ever since last summer, I haven't quite been able to shake the road trip bug. But now that I finally have a few weeks off, I'm happy to report that I'm hitting the road again. Tomorrow, my friend Antoinette and I embark on a week-long trip down to Oregon!

Here's what we've got planned:

Saturday, May 22: Portland
Since Portland is a pretty easy day/weekend trip from Seattle, we're not spending a ton of time here. We actually won't arrive until late afternoon on Saturday. Just in time to take on a brewery crawl (we'll take the downtown route) through the neighborhoods near our hostel. Holler.

Sunday, May 23: Mt Hood/Bend
From Portland, we'll head east to Mt Hood by way of the Columbia River gorge (Oregon Trail, anyone???) following this brilliant route from National Geographic Traveler then head south to beautiful Bend just in time for dinner and a soak in the soaking pool at McMenamins.

Monday, May 24: Bend to Ashland via Crater Lake National Park
National Parks Rock. And this is the only one in Oregon. Enough Said.

Tuesday, May 25: Ashland/Oregon Shakespeare Festival
It pays to know people. Or to know people who know people. Either way, we've got two tickets to a 2 pm matinee Pride and Prejudice at OSF. Though I've never read the book (I know, I know), I watched the whole 6 hour BBC version this year and swooned the whole time.

Wednesday, May 26: Grants Pass to Newport
After taking our time driving up the west coast (my first visit to the Pacific!!), we're crashing at this adorable (or maybe slightly terrifying, the jury is still out with some) seaside hotel in Newport. Rooms named after famous authors and free breakfast for 70 bucks a night?? yes, please!

Thursday, May 27: Seaside
We'll continue on the 101, stopping, of course, in Tilamook for cheese and ice cream, and generally just enjoying the ocean views and little towns until we finally arrive at our final destination for the day: my grandmother's friend's cottage.

Friday, May 28: Home, via the Bainbridge ferry.
I have been living next to the Puget sound for 9 months now and I've yet to ride on a ferry. Seems like the perfect end to a great trip, to me.

All told, it should look something like this:



View Larger Map

Saturday, May 15, 2010

BABY!!

I'm in Indiana this weekend finally visiting the best friend who had a baby this November.

I must confess. This baby is cute. Really cute. So cute I don't even know what to say right now.

So I'll just show you a few pictures.

But please be advised. The cuteness in these pictures may overwhelm some viewers.

Peek-A-Boo!


Oliver and his Mama


Cue the Lion King theme song, please.


Please note: he does have a wee wee. I just don't think it's a great idea to put pictures of said wee wee up on the internet for all to see-- thus the blurring of the crotchal region.


A blurry picture, but it pretty well sums up how much auntie rock loves this boy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!


I love this beautiful lady so very much and have made so many memories with her in the past few years.

So in honor of her day today, here's a little "greatest hits" photo album of the lovely lady and her babies.















Happy Mother's Day, Leslie! If i were in VA today, It would look like this:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Commencement

On May 3, 2008, I donned a purple robe, walked onto a stage in Bridgeforth Stadium, and said goodbye to four years of friends and memories.

In the two years and two days that have passed since, I have grown up more than I can even believe. I've lived in four states, worked at three different theatres, and figured out how to be an adult (sort of). But no matter how old I get, I'll always remember my four years in Harrisonburg with incredible joy. I won't say they were "the best years of my life" because I'm sure there are wonderful years yet to come.. but they were special, that's for sure.

This year, I have only a few friends left at JMU, but for them, I want to share the same words of wisdom I gave my fellow graduates 732 days ago, when I was blessed with the amazing opportunity to be the senior speaker at graduation.

Congratulations to the JMU class of 2010! I'm proud of you all!

Ambition.

Ardent desire for rank, fame, or power, desire to achieve a particular end, desire for activity or exertion.”

As I look out on the sea of purple that makes up my graduating class, JMU’s Centennial Class, It’s all I see.

I see it in fellow theatre majors who’ve spent hours in an old turkey hatchery directing and designing, building and rehearsing their shows. In tour guides who will walk backwards through driving rain just so that one prospective student can have the best possible visit to JMU.

I see it a nursing major who spent more of her senior year driving to and from a hospital in Charlottesville than she did in her own apartment. In roommates who stayed in on weekends to write lesson plans, case studies, and theses. In friends who’ve poured their last year of college into fundraising and planning, working together to build a school in Uganda.

You are ambitious people. Not only dreamers, but movers and shakers too. If I can be really cliché for a moment, I’ll even say that you “are the change.”

However, as I’ve pondered what the future might hold for us ambitious folks, I’ve found a surprising new definition.

Since, next to a cheesy dictionary definition, every graduation speech needs an inspirational quote, bear with me as I read you a bit of wisdom I recently stumbled upon. A mantra, if you will.

“Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, so that your daily life will win the respect of outsiders”

You who know me are already laughing. The last word anyone would use to describe me is “quiet.” If you don’t know me… You’ve probably heard me. Whether screaming the fight song at football games or standing by Chip’s, harassing cars to “honk for Choices” … I can get a bit loud. I was barely allowed to walk at my last graduation after a suspension for “inciting a riot” And yes, I was that girl dressed like Britney Spears on the commons a few months ago asking random strangers, “Y’all seen Sean Preston??”

A “quiet life” has never really been my goal.

Yet this quote says it should be my Ambition.

“Desire for rank, fame, power.” The original Greek used here is Philotimeomai. Love of Honor.

This we pursue with quietness? Is anyone else confused?

I recently finished a book called Velvet Elvis, weird title, I know, but an inspiring work nonetheless. Anyway, after recalling the story of a woman who moved into the inner city & bit by bit fed and clothed her new neighbors, the author, Rob Bell, makes a great point:

“It is the quiet, humble, stealth acts that change things,” he says, “The kinds of people who change the world… they improvise & adapt & innovate… they don’t make a lot of noise and they don’t draw attention to themselves”

Class of 2008. I challenge you. Be these kind of people. Let’s stop talking about change and live it with “quiet lives” of great significance.

Some of you are going on to graduate programs, some have jobs lined up, others plan to travel, see the world. If you’re a theatre major like me, you have no idea what’s next. I leave you all with a word of caution: as you set off with your huge dreams and plans, your high hopes for worldwide change, don’t forget about the smaller world around you.

You may never get out of suburban America.

That’s O.K.

Wherever you end up: whether it’s New York or London; Uganda, Africa, or Harrisonburg, Virginia. Change your world.

Love your neighbors. Your co-workers. Your family. Work hard at whatever you do and look for opportunities to quietly fight injustice whenever you see it. Live a quiet life. A life of humility, service, and love, and you will see change.

Thank you. And go get ‘em, Dukes!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Where have I been all your life??

Ok Friends,

I have been getting some grief from many of you for not posting in such a long time. My apologies. I had no idea how many of you actually read this thing until I got so busy I couldn't post any more.

So what the heck have I been up to these days??

Lord, where do I even begin.

Well, for one, I was in a play. The Miss Firecracker Contest by Beth Henley. It's a horrible script that probably shouldn't be produced ever again. But the movie (which stars Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins) is apparently a cult classic among the gays. And it gave me an excuse to talk in a southern accent for a month and dye my hair the most obnoxious shade of red I've ever seen (the first few days, my retinas hurt every time I looked in a mirror). So that was fun(ish).

My mom flew out to see the show (and me) and the day she flew back home a friend of mine from FCA camp came out with her boyfriends and stayed for a few days. And the day after firecracker closed, the three of us went to Vancouver for the day. We also have 9 student matinees happening in April and May at Seattle Rep, so work has not exactly slowed down to accomodate my busy extra curricular schedule. As you can imagine, with all this on my plate I haven't had too much time to blog.

Forgive me?

I promise I will post pictures and stories from all of these exciting events very soon. But for now, rest assured that I am still alive. And doing very well, if just a little busy.

And just so you know, the Northwest is pretty gorgeous this time of year-- and my schedule is wide open from May 20-June 13... Not gonna lie, I'm a pretty excellent tour guide.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

10 things to be happy about today! (And a bonus SOTD!)

1. The sun is shining in Seattle and the forecast says it's going to be in the 70's by the afternoon. Picnic, anyone??

2. One of my favorite people in the world, Miss Laura Macfie, turns 24 today!! Happy birthday, Macfie!! If I was in DC, I'd definitely be raising my glass of firefly & lemonade to you!

3. Speaking of birthdays, my friends Liz and Kim are celebrating theirs this weekend with a Havana-themed celebration. And I'm making this cake. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

4. Mom is coming to visit in 15 days! I can't wait to hug my momma!

5. Speaking of mommas, I'm about to book a flight to go visit my sweet nephew Oliver and his momma, Chelsea. Seriously can't wait.

6. My bracket still has its national championship picks in place. Hang in there Kentucky & Kansas State! I need this money to pay next month's rent.

7. My tickets just came for the Conan OBrien "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour." So excited to see CoCo!

8. I just got an internship for the summer at Seattle Children's Theatre! Three months making plays with kids? Yes, please!

9. I'm going to one of my favorite Seattle favorite restaurants, Toulouse for happy hour tonight to celebrate yet another birthday (July 1985 was a busy month, apparently). Happy Birthday, Norah! Can't wait to eat fried chicken gumbo in your honor!

10. She & Him's new album Volume 2 is streaming for free this month on NPR's First Listen. And I'm going to be seeing them on Memorial Day at Sasquatch. Which brings me to today's Song of the Day (and my new favorite music video): "In the Sun," by She and Him. Oh Zooey Deschanel, you are adorable.

She & Him - In The Sun from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Great is thy faithfulness.

I've been trying to control my life in a big way lately, but to no avail. The harder I work to keep things together, the more things fall apart.

Monday was my breaking point. The carpet in my apartment was covered in a mountain of dirty laundry, junk mail, and all the other things I haven't had time to sort in months, and my brain was equally scattered. I was supposed to have my lines memorized for that night's rehearsal and every page was a blur. And then my Mom called. Naturally, I burst into tears. And collapsed on the nearest pile of clothes. And wailed for two hours. And like he's done over and over again in my life, God met me there. On the floor of my bedroom. Using a dirty t-shirt to sop up my snot.

But the amazing thing about God is this: though he brings us to the edge sometimes (and I do believe that the edge is where we have to be to really meet him), he never just leaves us there. Time and time again, he picks us up off the floor, wipes the snot off our face, and wraps us in his loving arms. And every time his embrace feels a little stronger.

Through all this, I'm learning that at the root of my control-freak-ness is this mistaken belief that God doesn't know better than I do. That the things he wants for me are not as good as the things I can get for myself.

But the truth is, God is not out to get me. He's out to bless me. And his blessings, though they're never what I expect, are richer, better than anything I could have ever come up with on my own.

I'm living on 200 dollars a week right now. Plus food stamps. And in two months, I start yet another internship (only for the summer, though--then I swear I'm kicking the habit!) where I'll be making even less. To the naked eye, my life doesn't look very blessed. But "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13)

And he is strengthening me.

In so many ways.

I came west to grow, to find how far God's arms could stretch. And almost a year after making the decision, I find myself floored by the height and depth of his love for me.


"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."


Ephesians 3:16-19

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fist Pump

Usually I like it when I see my alma mater getting some press. But from Perez Hilton?? Lord have mercy. I think my degree just got downgraded.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oh, Canada

So.. if you didn't get it from my photos last post, I guess I'll go ahead and spell it out for you. Bright and early on Sunday morning, four of my fellow Seattle Reptiles (that's employees of Seattle Repertory Theatre, for those of you not down with the lingo!) and I piled into my car and drove two and a half hours to Vancouver, BC for the final day of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

The trip was a pretty last minute idea. I'd been watching bits and pieces of the Olympics and wishing I'd made plans to go up, but I figured that since all of the hotels were completely booked (and I'm too poor to afford a hotel stay anyway), I'd missed the boat. But then it occurred to me: given Seattle's close proximity to Canada, I could totally make a day trip of it!

So I e-mailed a few friends and we all dragged our butts out of bed at dawn to get on the road by 6:30 (note the sunrise in the foreground of the picture below).


After a pit-stop at McDonalds (where they no longer serve southern style chicken biscuits apparently!! RACISTS!) we crossed the border and landed in the 'couve by 9:30.

For those of you who weren't following the Olympics this year, you should know that Sunday was the day of the USA vs. Canada gold medal hockey game. And since hockey is pretty much Canada's national sport, people were already lined up outside of every bar in town, staking out a spot to watch the game. We picked a line on Granville street (the major nightlife thoroughfare) and hoped for the best.


At around 11, the bouncer at the Olympia Bar and Grill (how suitable, eh?) started letting people through his velvet rope. Unfortunately, we were not in the chosen few and were stuck standing wistfully at the patio railing.


Which brings me to the most ridiculous/amazing moment of the whole trip. On the drive in, while blaring some Party in the USA, we'd made a nice little sign to hold in the window...


My friend Antoinette had pinned the sign to her bag and was showing it off/using it to heckle a table of Canadians (all in good fun, of course..) when all of a sudden a (very attractive) Canadian man runs out of the bar, steals the sign, runs back into the haven of the bar patio (where we are not allowed to follow) and proceeds to LIGHT OUR SIGN ON FIRE.


In the meantime, someone (wink wink) was busy smooth talking the bouncer, and managed to score us three coveted seats in the patio. So the five of us rotated in and out of the bar for the duration of the game, taking turns drinking beer and avoiding fire code violations.


I'll be honest and say that I've never been much of a hockey fan. But the game and the spirit that surrounded it were both pretty amazing. And when the U.S. scored that second goal with 25 seconds left on the clock, my heart was racing (though that could be because of the fact that I was starting to imagine myself being ripped limb from limb by a mob of bloodthirsty Canadians). When Canada won, the whole city erupted.

video

After a chorus of Oh, Canada (note the slightly embarrassed, slightly amused, and slightly tipsy expression on my face in the above video), the victors took to the streets and Vancouver became a sea of red.


Honestly, I was happy that Canada won the game. The US definitely didn't just give the win away, so we could still walk around with some pride, but if we had won, the atmosphere in the city would not have been this exciting (and I may not have made it out alive).

The rest of the day was full of so many random adventures and hilarious moments that it would take way too long to run through them all, but I'll at least give you a top 10:

1. The company. I could not have picked a better group of girls to travel with.



2. A Bobsled Photo Op. Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme...


3. The Olympic Cauldron! (and the gorgeous mountain range behind it):


4. Canadian flags EVERYWHERE!





5. The most delicious (and expensive) crepe I've ever had in my life. (9 dollars for a skinny pancake! Seriously, Canada?? If I weren't so addicted to Nutella, I might put up a fight on that)


6. Canadian Beer. Yes, please.


7. Canadian Men.


8. This Sign.


9. The closing ceremony fireworks --LIVE. Please ignore the fact that when I get excited I end up talking with a lisp.

video

10. The best (and most frightening??) souvenir i have ever purchased in my life .
Yep, those are moose. As mittens. Jealous?


All in all, it was the trip of a lifetime. Hooray for spontaneity.

Monday, March 1, 2010

You'll never guess where I was today.

Ok, I'll give you a few clues...





And now I am out like a light. Details to come very soon though--I promise!

Monday, February 22, 2010

If only...

there were some kind of machine that could wash and dry all of my dishes for me.

Ah... wishful thinking.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My pastor is smart.

So I kinda had a breakdown today. I won't go into all the details behind it (though many of them are completely legitimate), but if you know me.. you know that my emotions aren't always on a perfectly even keel. One day I feel like I've got the world on a string and then the next I'm sitting on the grass in Seattle Center blubbering on the phone to my mom about how I'll probably die alone so she should give up on grandkids now. (Oh how I wish I were joking).

Basically, 2 years of making less than minimum wage coupled with the harsh realization that even the best in this field are barely scraping by most of the time.... it will drive a girl crazy. crying-to-mom-on-the-phone-in-a-public-place crazy.

When I got home tonight I saw that my pastor had updated his blog. "Breaking the Stress Barrier" is the title of this week's post. Perfect timing, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Blame it on the Baptist upbringing, but I've never really been one to practice the discipline of giving something up for lent.

But after making the realization that I spend about 70 percent of my waking hours in front of a computer screen, I've decided that this year it might be good for me to put away some distractions and focus in on Christ.

So I'm giving up Facebook, Hulu, and any other internet time sucks that I'd otherwise allow myself to veg out on (the blog doesn't count). My hope is that this will give me the opportunity to be more intentional in both my relationship with God and with my friends. No more can I rely on a status update or a passive wall post to forge connections with the people in my life. I may have to actually pick up the phone and call people to make plans or (gasp) send snail mail to tell someone I'm thinking about them.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Choose Life

I'm well aware that my blogging habits lately have been sporadic at best.

It's not that there hasn't been anything to say. There has been too much. Too many thoughts swimming around in my brain that to sort them into any form of reflection has just seemed too large a task for me to even begin.

I guess one thing I can share is that I've decided to stay out here another year. Or until I run out of money/jobs. Whichever comes first, I guess. (Such is the life of an artist, I suppose). It's a terrifying thought, since I am unemployed as of June 5 (though there are a few prospects for summer work..). Not to mention the fact that I still miss so many people and places back east and have no immediate plans to return even for a visit. But I've now come to the point where I have a life here, too. And to leave this soon would be just as difficult as it is for me to stay.

As can be expected with such major life changes, my emotions are a roller coaster right now. When I moved here, I had great peace that though I was walking blindly, this was the next step I was supposed to take. Now I've been here almost half a year, and, in keeping with the Seattle weather, my heart is clouded with doubt. Why did I move here again? What exactly was your plan for this move, Lord? I'm insane for ever moving in the first place, aren't I? These questions keep playing over and over in my head-- turning me into a weepy, moody mess. But then every couple of days the sun pokes its way through the clouds and I just know that this is where I am and where I'm supposed to be for this (albeit rainy) season of my life.

So I'm doing my best to leave it at that and give any shreds of worry, isolation, and desperation to the only one who's got any control anyway. But that, of course, is always easier said than done.

This weekend UW put on one of my favorite plays, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. The premise is basically this: Judas is on trial in purgatory, but as he has fallen into a catatonic state of depression and cannot speak for himself, various figures from biblical and church history sit as witnesses, testifying for or against him. Ultimately, Judas himself refuses grace, choosing indignation and self pity and blaming Jesus for ever allowing him to betray him in the first place. It's a pretty devastating conclusion, mostly because it rings so true about the nature of despair and denial in all of us.

One line in the play is a quote from Thomas Merton:

"Despair is the ultimate development of a pride so great and so stiff-necked that it selects the absolute misery of a damnation rather than accept happiness from the hands of God and thereby acknowledge that He is above us and that we are not capable of fulfilling our destiny ourselves."

Right now, living alone in a dark, damp city, It's too easy to slip into moments, days, weeks of despair.

I don't want to be Judas.

I don't want to wallow in my failures.
or hang onto my regrets.
I don't want despair.

I want grace.
I want hope, and joy, and love.
And life.
Abundant life.

But these things are far from my nature. My nature is to wallow.
To subsist.
I have to choose more than that.

I have to choose to live.


"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So C H O O S E L I F E in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying his voice and by holding fast to Him for this is your life and the length of your days."

Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Recipe for the best birthday weekend ever:

1. Arrive home from possibly the greatest Karaoke night in history (when it ends with two gay men belting "Defying Gravity" you know it's good).

2. Open mailbox to discover a package from best friend.

3. Open package to discover an anthology of poems by John Donne!! (Yes, I am aware that my passion for metaphysical poetry qualifies me as a complete nerd)

4. Sit around in pajamas reading sonnets for half of the day Saturday.

5. Go out for barbecue and beer with the coolest girls in town (If I had to choose between barbecue and John Donne, I don't think I could do it. I have mildly erotic dreams about pulled pork sandwiches sometimes.)

6. Dance all night.

7. Stumble home with the girls for a sleepover!!! (Yes, I'm turning 24, not 13... but let's get real. Slumber parties never get old.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"The Foodie Five Second Rule"

Saw this on Seattlest this morning and thought it was too funny not to share...


Monday, January 18, 2010

Proof that the best things in life are still free.

Like a warm, sunny day off of work in the middle of January.


And a good friend to adventure with.


And gorgeous mountain views within miles of your apartment.


If only my camera could capture the beauty of days like these... (that's for you, Jimbo)

Things I'd buy myself if I didn't have to spend my Christmas money on rent.*

As I fast approach the ripe old age of 24, one of the grown up life lessons I'm learning is that usually you have to choose between having a job you love and having a mediocre job that pays well enough that you can do the things you love in your free time.

My job (and its 200-dollar-a-week stipend) falls under the first category. And for the most part, I'm satisfied with that.

But just so I can get it out of my system, here's a list of things I would be buying myself right now if I didn't have to be responsible and stuff.


1. A wall-mountable spice rack. My apartment's white walls are starting to drive me a little crazy.. This one could totally "spice up" the boring wall space above my stove. I suppose a kitchen table would be nice, too. But for now dinner parties around the living room coffee table are proving to be quite quaint.

And while I'm on the subject of cooking...


2. Ever since I went on food stamps (no, seriously. details to come on that one.) I've been cooking a lot. One of my favorite places to find recipes is The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I'm pretty sure Ree Drummond is next in line to inherit the throne of butter from Paula Deen (and we all know how I LOVE me some Paula). And I've been dying to get my greasy hands on a copy of The Pioneer Woman Cookbook. But I'm a girl who knows it's important to eat healthy foods, too. So to keep myself balanced, a subscription to Cooking Light wouldn't be so bad, either.


3. I love love love snail mail. And wish I had the money to send out adorable, hand printed valentines like these ones. Next year, my loves. Next year.










4. Speaking of valentines, I'm pretty sure I could score myself a hot date on V-day if I owned this dress. (Now on sale for the low, low price of a week's wages.) You know I'm a sucker for polka dots. And that cut on my hips? Even Joanie would be jealous. (I'm a size 6, by the way...)


5. Tickets to the Sasquatch Music Festival in May. Last year's lineup was amazing (Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Explosions in the Sky, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Avett Brothers to name a few.) and this year's is sure to kick booty as well (it won't be announced until mid february). But alas, the curse of the starving artist means there's no money left to spend on art.


6. Single Ladies dance lessons. Seriously, how could anyone have ever doubted that Seattle was the city for me when classes like these are happening just down the street.


7. A rain hat to keep the frizz away on nasty days. My hood doesn't quite fit over all my hair, and an umbrella is just too much for Seattle mist. This hat from bloomingdale's is outrageously expensive. BUT also kindof the most adorable thing ever. And it comes in black to match my raincoat and oh-so-adorable boots.




8. A trip to San Diego to get away from the rain and visit my friend Carrie, who, by the way, works at The Old Globe where Duncan Sheik is premiering his new indie rock musical. Oh how I'm kicking myself for not being impulsive enough to buy that president's day flight I saw for 150 bucks last month. Now tickets have jumped up to well over 200 bucks and the trip is no longer feasible. :(


9. A Canon Rebel digital camera. Oh wait. My dad has an extra camera laying around that he's not even using. (cough cough, nudge nudge, Jimbo).


10. A flight to Indiana to meet my godson. It kills me that he is this cute and I still have not even held his chubby little body in my arms.


Still, all these wants aside, life in Seattle remains pretty amazing. Sure, I'm pinching pennies. But day by day, my needs are being met. How blessed am I to have a roof over my head, food in my belly, and good friends to eat it with. All the wish lists in the world couldn't match up to that.

*Alternate title: Things Sarah wouldn't mind finding in her mailbox on January 31. Which happens to be her birthday. Just so you know...