Drama

Discover. Play. Build.

Drama in Middle School is a given.  Hard working, dedicated, expressive, amazing students in Honors Drama, put “drama” in a category of Art!  I am celebrating some amazing middle school students and their Drama performance at the state Theater Conference.  Thanks to Ruth Ayers who invites us to celebrate and share our celebrations on her blog in a blog link up.

Earlier this week, I witnessed my oldest child and her Honors Drama school ensemble perform one evening at their school.  Their drama called “Ths Phne 2.0:  The Next Generation” has multiple acts where the actors depict how phones play an important and sometimes, a way too important part in a teenager’s life.  The shortened form of “This Phone” in the play’s title is indicative of the shortened spellings in text messages.  It was written as multiple vignettes to have monologues and ensemble acting which highlight how cell phones, cell service, ring tones, texting instead of face to face talking are changing how people communicate and not always for the better especially when it comes to letters that are left out of texts and the overuse of emoticons in emails.

I sat expectantly today at the NCTC (North Carolina Theater Conference) for their group to act.  During the morning session while I was present, the middle schoolers at this special Saturday gathering acted their hearts out.  I began to feel butterflies knowing that my own child was about to perform a monologue and an ensemble scene.  When it was her school group’s turn, they rose from being watchers of other school groups to being performers.  I admire them and their willingness to not only memorize lines, but put the vignettes together through months of before school practices.  It was their moment to shine and shine they did!  I made an Animoto movie of their scenes and placed it here.

I liked how the two judges came on stage to give verbal feedback to each group after they had been seated in the audience.  One group, who performed a Robin Hood comedy before my daughter’s school, was given the following feedback:  The group was complimented on their style and group timing.  They were told that everybody has to push and at no time can the energy drop.  The judges said, “Wherever your energy starts, you have to keep it going to the end.  You embraced the style.  There was a lovely range of vocal and physical expression.  You trusted people on stage.  If you were to continue to work on this, I would say that the more you believe it, the more the audience will remember it.  What I will remember is the ensemble.”

When our group sat in the first two rows immediately following their performance, their feedback from the judges included these words:

The first judge thought it was a fun show.  It made him feel old because of him being around when he had to go outside to get a signal and raise the antenna on the first cell phones.

He loved the music at the top of the show and the energy it brought during the setup.

He loved their colorful tee shirts with icon pics on front.  (These icons are ways that we identify apps.)  He liked that the icons were painted on boxes and used on the entire stage.

His suggestion was to tighten up transitions and perhaps have ringtones in between transitions.

He told them to work on comic timing.  “Don’t feel like you have to punch everything.”

He suggested that they continue to work on projection and diction.

The other judge loved the use of space in parts that used everybody on stage and thought their costumes were effective being a variety of colors.  Their ensemble work was really good.

Her suggestions about Monologues were this:  “Know to whom you are talking.  Talk to someone specific and it will help you make choices and help you find dynamics that will give the nuances.”

She continued, “Watch out for extraneous movement.  You can fill space with voice.  When you are still, you are magnetic enough to bring us in.  The most powerful you can be is when you are still.”

I am celebrating each child today and their amazing drama teacher.  They worked to prepare and accomplished not only a memorable performance, but can now look back and see how much that their individual work matters to their team effort.  I saw some kids project more than they did when I first saw the performance last Tuesday.  They were determined and focused.  Their dramatic skills, amazing talent and their effort are to be commended.  Each actor or actress had their own style which will only continue to develop.  The audience was engaged and laughed or clapped throughout the performance.

I’m happy and honored to see what I saw today.  At the end of the Conference, the cast won an Excellence in Ensemble Acting and were all called on stage for a picture and recognition.  Their group members also won a couple of other awards.  Ultimately, the teamwork made it all possible!

Sitting and Spinning

Dizziness.  It’s a bad place.  It’s a place filled with “what if” and “when will it stop?” moments.  For the last few days, I developed a dizziness accompanied with nausea right on the heels of a sinus infection and a throw up virus.  So today, the world became steady again.  The doctor gave me medicine to treat the dizziness and medicine to control stomach acid to help with the nausea.  They have both seemed to work.  I am beyond happy as I needed the stability.  I lost five pounds in the last week because I couldn’t eat.  Just sipping on chicken broth today and becoming rehydrated has made all the difference.  This has been quite a journey from my hilltop experience of winning a special award two weeks ago to the dark cave of sickness.  

When the dizzy moments came and all I could do was hope the room would stop spinning, I couldn’t think beyond that moment.  I would pray or sleep when all I could do was lay around, feverish and chilled.  Upon getting up from laying down, I had to give myself the grace to go slowly.  Thankfully, the view of my surroundings would stop being blurry and come in focus after a few seconds.  My progressive lenses sometimes make me have a one second blurry moment while my eyes are adjusting into one of the three zones, but the clarity that came after sitting and spinning for a few seconds gave tremendous relief.  My purpose could be accomplished like getting up and walking once I became steady.

David, in the Bible, also had a moment of clarity in a cave on a steep hill by the Dead Sea one day.  His clarity came after a big moment of overcoming Goliath with a sling and a stone. His comrades had encouraged him to kill his enemy, King Saul, who was chasing after David to kill him.  David and his boys were hiding from Saul in caves in Israel.  All 600 of this band of disgruntled men, some of whom were under a death sentence by Saul,  and him had hidden in the back of one particular cave.  Their words, no doubt, caused David to be confused and have swirling thoughts of “Shoud I?” Or “Should I not?” do what they want me to do which was to kill Saul.

It is my opinion that God allowed King Saul to choose the same cave where David and his men were in to relieve himself so that David would have to stop the swirling of questions.  While Saul was going to the bathroom in the cave, David got so close to cut off a corner of Saul’s clothing/robe without Saul knowing it.  Once Saul had left the cave and was returning to his 3,000 soldiers, David came out of the cave, waved the corner of Saul’s robe which he had cut off and announced to Saul that he could have killed him but he chose not to do so.  David honored King Saul at the very moment when he could have killed him.  He didn’t kill him, but he did confront him later.  David said, “I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the LORD’s anointed.” 1 Samuel 24:10

David’s conviction became clear when he was in reach of his enemy.  Wow.  After all of the dizziness, he didn’t lose his balance.  The cave stopped spinning.  His circumstances had produced nothing but dizzying confusion.   It took a few minutes, but the moment he decided not to kill, he showed that he honored God more than men.  He did later have a problem with guilt over cutting off the king’s robe which could have indicated a transfer of power from one king to another, but he did not force his way into power.  He realized more than ever that God has a time frame.  Just because God allowed Saul to wander into David’s cave didn’t mean that it was time to kill.  Instead, it was time to trust God to guide and develop David.

David proceeds to tell Saul and his soldiers that Saul was trying to kill an innocent man then calls on God to act.  The next verses say this:

1 Samuel 24:12-13

“May the LORD judge between you and me.  And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.  As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.”  

David’s comments make the point that Saul would have been dead if David were an evil doer.  

David announces that he is the innocent one and calls on God to clear him from accusation from Saul.  Here’s how Saul responds in 1 Samuel 10:16 – 22:

16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice,David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,”he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands.21 Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”

22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.

I continue to be amazed at how clarity came in the moments as David approached Saul quietly.  Sometimes, it seems that we have to be at a point like David where God brings us to a choice in order to allow us to be clear on his purpose.  Ultimately, the choice will please God and honor him.  He is the one who brings justice and will clear up the misconceptions and misunderstandings.  We, like David, have to allow God to move on the heart of those who are against us.  God will make a way just as he did for David on that hill in a cave.  

I thing it interesting that David says he’s not an evil doer which is why he doesn’t kill the king when he had the chance.  I know that David needed this moment in his life to recognize that at that moment in time, his heart aligned with God’s purposes.  When I look back over my life, I can recall moments when I needed “that moment” to also realize that I could have acted one way, but was glad I didn’t.  I appreciate how God still lets us have moments of clarity after days and weeks of sitting and spinning, not knowing how to respond, wondering how to handle a situation.  His timing is perfect.  We aren’t.  But, when I seek to honor him instead of succumbing to what seems right, I will learn and grow into a deeper trust relationship with Him.

By the way, the hill that David was on dropped off into the Dead Sea.  I think it is a picture of how we can sometimes be in a place where the circumstances around us are steep and lead to a lifeless solution, like the Dead Sea which supports no life due to its salinity.  David chose to not stay in the dizziness of despair brought to him by his 600 men, but relied on God to provide the work around.  God will allow encounters with those who may be against us which is all the more reason to think with clarity of mind.  His timing and his ways are always the best.

Sitting and spinning, wondering and waiting…the resolution will come when we remember that God is in control of every situation and moment.

What we do matters.  What we say matters.  

Who we are matters.  

Who God is matters most.

Food, Family, Faith and Perseverance

Tonight as I was cooking dinner, I snacked on raw broccoli.  The smell of it sent me back decades ago when my mother would cut up raw cabbage to snack on while she was cooking dinner.  Suddenly, I remembered those moments of the brisk and flavorful raw cabbage satisfying my hunger.  Tonight’s broccoli seemed to hold me over until dinner was fully prepared.  We ate grilled chicken, steamed broccoli and four cheese ravioli.

I have been tracking what one of my girls has been eating to allow her to see not only calories consumed but to determine carbohydrates, protein and sodium intake.  Her nutritionist encouraged us to walk down this path to track food using www.myfitnesspal.com.

After four days of tracking food and exercise, my daughter has been able to see some interesting data.  For example, the syrup on her whole grain waffle this morning accounted for 210 calories.  Her egg substitute, waffle and milk were great ways to start the day with protein and carbs, but the syrup added a lot of calories.

It has made me think that I also eat things that don’t add much nutritional value but pack on the extra calories.  I think that it doesn’t matter at the time of consumption, but really and truly, it does.  I see my doctor next week for my A1C blood check which he checks every three or four months.  Last summer, my number had dropped to 5.9 then in December it had risen to 6.4.  I had added 10 extra pounds from July to December.  From March to July, I had lost weight which was the reason for my lower A1C which had begun at 8.6 in March of 2015.  If the A1C number stays below 6, then it is considered in a prediabetic state which is better for my body than a number above 6.  My type of diabetes is reversible if I will lower my A1C by losing weight and making healthful food choices.

So, the question becomes this:  “At what point will I commit to lowering my A1C to a prediabetic or even non diabetic state?”  I have been on a rollercoaster journey since discovering my 8.6 A1C last March and getting diagnosed with diabetes.  This journey has meant that I have changed my diet from March to July of last year only to allow weight to creep back on through December.  I went to the doctor today due congestion and a weak voice.  I am being treated for a sinus infection and bronchitis.  As always, though, I had to weigh.  I am the same weight as I was in December.  Hurray!  If there is one good thing, it is that I haven’t gained weight since visiting the doctor in December.  On the flip side, I haven’t lost weight.  As a result, I am expecting my A1C next week to still be in the 6 range.

I have been exercising more as a Girls on the Run Assistant Coach and walking at the gym or using equipment for the past month.  I have had to limit exercise while my left foot was in a special boot provided by my podiatrist.  The foot gets fairly sore and it is truly a reason why I can’t exercise as regularly as I’d like.  It has been feeling better, but I realize that it has an issue for which I am still seeking treatment from a new Orthopedic group.  I am so glad that Spring is coming so that I can walk/jog with my family more and as my foot will allow.  Limiting calories and exercising seems to be my way to lose weight.  I want to continue the journey of becoming a healthier me and encouraging my daughters to make food choices that promote a healthful lifestyle.

For so long, I have allowed myself to eat when I was sad, eat when I was stressed, eat when I wanted something sweet, to name a few times.  Unfortunately, I have rarely framed my food choices as ones that would affect my health.  Now that diabetes is a part of my life and I check my blood sugar by pricking my finger, I am all the more aware of how food choices will determine my future and my family’s future.  I am excited about my daughter’s progress in making food choices.  She has had better choices because we brought home the right stuff from the grocery store!  I have asked for her input on what we buy, but ultimately it is my husband and I who are responsible for the groceries that we buy.  Our fridge is filled with berries, grapes, tomatoes, broccoli, sweet peppers and cucumbers.  We haven’t been buying the extra snacks that we used to buy because we have to give an account in my daughter’s food journal for everything she eats.  It is a reflection on us as to how she eats.  I have realized that in the past, I would allow a bowl of ice cream, a bag of popcorn or a cookie for a treat or dessert for my girls.  I will still allow them to have healthful treats a couple of times a month, but I now see that I made a mistake in the choices that I provided to them in the past.  I needed to provide them with the best choices.  I am providing those choices now.  We can only look to the choices that we make each day and know that we own our outcome as far as we can control.  My daughter likes to examine her data at http://www.myfitnesspal.com by screencasting it from our computer to the TV each night to celebrate successes with her dad and me and to set goals for tomorrow.

 

Not only is this journey that we’re on a natural one, but it is a spiritual one.  I am paralleling the journey, or battle against diabetes, to the David and Goliath story.  In 1 Samuel Chapter 17, the story is recorded of when David encountered a giant of the Philistine army called Goliath.  I am also facing a giant.  It is not easy to make healthful choices.  I get hungry.  I will call my giant “diabetes”.  It is clear in 1 Samuel Chapter 17 that God chose David to be the one to fight the giant.  Eliab, David’s eldest brother, was not qualified because he was filled with fear and anger when confronted with the giant. I have been like Eliab at times feeling angry about my diagnosis which has done nothing but bring on excuses and more fear about the complications of diabetes.   David, unlike his brother, looked beyond the giant and saw God and was not overcome with fear.  If I focus on the giant, then I will be fearful.  I have to focus on God and his ability to give me the necessary mindset and abilities to overcome my giant.  

David said to Saul, “Thy servant will fight the giant.”  David shared about how he had been faithful in smaller battles which qualified him for the battle against Goliath.  He told Saul, “I went after the enemy lion and bear who came after my sheep.  I will do the same to the giant.  The Lord who delivered me out of the hand of the paw of the lion and bear will deliver me from the hand of the giant.”

I have seen God help others to overcome and lose weight.  Last year, I dropped 10 pounds so these past victories give me confidence for present confrontation.  It takes planning and commitment to the plan. I know that God will help me to be victorious over little stuff before I can be victorious over the big stuff.  

In addition, David didn’t rely on armor that was placed on him.  He relied on God to provide the help and laid aside the armor.  I also plan to depend on God because my battle, like David’s, is the Lord’s.  God will help me overcome this giant.  He will equip me with the tools.  I’ve heard at this site that the slingshot was not a child’s toy.  It had the precision and stopping power of a .45 calibur handgun when slung properly.  It had a devastating effect on the one at whom stones were thrown.  I also know that I will have to be laser focused and act with precision as I buy food and make food choices.  Mama ain’t playing.

 

In Hebrews 6: 11-12 we are given another precious nugget which is my new favorite precept: It is through faith and perseverance that we inherit the promises of God.  My battle will require faith and perseverance but I know that victory is certain.  I will remind my family that it will take faith and perseverance to get us through to our goals of optimal weight and health without diabetes.  Our faith and perseverance will inherit the promises of God.  We will have to pray and ask God for His sustaining grace and support.  I know that he holds and helps us also from Psalms 139.  

Like David, I come to this battle in the name of the Lord.  David had to sling the stones.  I plan to keep slinging, keep making best food choices, keep recording food choices in http://www.myfitnesspal.com and keep seeing pleasing results.  I believe that God is reliable and will help us.

The battle will be long but I know that victory is certain.  Faith and perseverance inherits the promises of God.  Faith and perseverance.

 

Image Credit:  https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2918/13941717722_d011af6a9c_o_d.png