Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Night Before Day 33



Sunday night...grading and preparing for the perfect storm that is October. The musical goes up in five weeks and there is still so much to do! Leaning into my community and playing the new teacher card often. Apologizing for rookie moves left and right. I think a lot of my co-workers see me as a sad puppy and so I just try to play that angle as much as I can. Yip-yip!

So far the biggest thing I have learned is the how essential it is to be flexible. I am doing pretty well at it.  One word...teens. Also there is so much you can't prepare for and you just have to throw your hands in the air and enjoy the ride. It is a roller coaster.

This is my diet: Keep going. Be flexible. Sleep when you can. Try to have some sort of a "normal weekend." Don't take yourself too seriously, and take it all with a grain of salt, knowing that next year it will be so much better, and even after the musical the light will burst through the clouds.

One of the hardest things has been this new pace of life and its affects on my relationships. I feel like I have been ignoring God, my wife, my friends and family and my dog, Toby! This makes the stress feel worse when I don't feel connected to the people that bring me joy, energy and who add value to my life. If you are in the above mentioned group, I am sorry. I will do my best to reconnect soon!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, it is possible to burn the candle on more than two sides. I am literally burning five sides. Wax everywhere. Big mess.

I hope this snap shot of my life doesn't make you feel sorry for me or seem too complacent. I really just want to be honest and document my progress through this awkward new patch of life. October will be particularly intense. Prayer is appreciated.

Cheers.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 28



I can't believe it has been 28 days! Time has more than flown by and seems to be gaining speed. 

I don't have any major complaints, and generally I would describe my time at Oak Park as...fun. 

I sincerely hope that continues. 

Having fun at day 28...so much to do and so little time. Back to work! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 11




Here I am at 6:30am on Day 11. The emotional high from the first week has dwindled. My sleep schedule is wonky and insufficient. I feel like I am constantly working and yet never quite where I need to be.

Teaching. Is. Exhausting.

But...

I still love coming to school everyday and I am still overjoyed to be working with such wonderful students. I am learning so much and having a blast!

Stay tuned for more video blogs. Auditions for Legally Blonde will be finished this week and we will begin rehearsals after Labor Day...then the REAL work begins!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day 1



This is my first installment of a new series i'd like to do called: 2 minutes with a first year teacher. Doesn't that title just roll off the tongue like a sweet and buttery nectar?

Well thanks.

I teach at Oak Park High School and I am a first year Theatre teacher. Today was my "last first day" as a teacher...EVER!

Here are just a few of my thoughts for your viewing pleasure. I am now going to go collapse in on myself like a dying star. By that I mean lock myself in my office and keep planning like a beast.

Playtime's over...time to go to work! Do it for Johnny!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday: The Most Offensive Story Ever Told

As a writer and make-believe player, I believe in the transformative power of stories. I believe in fairytales. Magic. 

Here's a little story. One I borrowed. It is the most offensive story ever told.

Once upon a time there was a God. A God full of love. Overflowing with it, really. In fact, He had so much love to give, He decided to create an entire universe just to love and reflect His love. Through some serious magic, He created all sorts of amazing things. Mountains, black holes, and even things too small to see like oxygen. He also created these funny little animals that resembled Himself. He loved them the most. He called them people. 

He hung out with these people for a while and really enjoyed being with them in the space He crafted out of nothing. It was beautiful and the people He made were, in every way imaginable, free. Except for one thing. They weren't aloud to eat from a certain tree. A special tree...

Why He created a special tree they weren't allowed to eat from, I don't know. Maybe He was testing them, maybe He planned it all out, or maybe it was a bit of both. Whatever it was, He just did. 

The people He made were a curious pair. Curious enough to color outside the lines and do the thing they were told not to do. They were deceived and couldn't believe that hanging out with The God was good enough. There had to be more...or so they thought. 

One day, as the story goes, they dropped the proverbial ball and ate from the forbidden tree. The God wasn't very happy. Especially after He had given them everything and they still chose to rebel. To reject what He had for them and want something more than Himself. 

The God banished them from that special place, and gave them a new home to live in. A place that wasn't with Him and the separation made them miserable.

For whatever reason, because of His excellent love, or because He planned it all out, or maybe it was a bit of both, He devised a plan to give them a second chance to get back to that special place and have their hungry hearts satisfied once and for all. 

Because this God was so worthy of allegiance and because His people's rebellion was so big in His eyes, He required an equally big punishment for the offense. A sacrifice. Death. 

Instead of demanding this sacrifice from the undeserving guilty ones, The God provided the victim Himself. For whatever reason, because He planned it that way or because He loved them so much, or both, He decided that the only perfect sacrifice to cover the offense was if He himself became like them and marched willingly to personally pay the debt.  

Magic happened. He transformed Himself into one of them. And in the greatest demonstration of irony and love, on a very special tree they killed Him. A tree they should have been on because they thought enjoying a tree might be better than enjoying the Creator of it.

After He had been pierced on that very special tree, one He had created Himself, He was laid to rest in a grave. Dead.

Then the most magical thing happened. After three days of being fully dead, The God came back to life! The people set free from their banishment!

The God did what He came to do and covered the offense, giving His little people a second chance to be with Him in that very special place. The only thing He asked was for them to trust Him this time. To trust that He was enough for them. That satisfaction was found in Him alone. 

And many of them did. A fairytale ending.

They lived happily ever after in a very special and magical Kingdom created just to celebrate that Great God, and to be together with Him for eternity and so much more...

Wanting us to live, God was killed on a tree. 
And now we are, in every way imaginable, free.

Foolishness, utter foolishness, I know. Not just foolishness, and magical, and childish, and crazy, but offensive. Completely offensive. 

The Gospel is the most offensive story ever told and, if you're human, you ought to be offended.

How dare God claim that I cannot be Him. How dare He say that I need more than just myself and empty idols to get by. How dare He say that I am the problem and that He is the solution. I am the master of my universe!

Dear reader, as foolish as it sounds, I stand happily offended and confess that I am in need of Jesus. I can't do this on my own and when I try, I make a big mess of things. I confess that the trees I run to for comfort, power, approval, and control leave me striped naked, cold, and all the hungrier. I confess that I am not God and can never be enough to satisfy myself. Neither can you.

On this Good Friday I am reminded of the foolishness of the Gospel. The offensive doctrine of Christianity. The backwards, illogical, magical story of a loving God and His Redemptive heart for us that continues even now.

I look at myself in the mirror and find i'm wanting with desires nothing can satisfy. I feel alone. I do not believe I was made to. Articulated better than I am able, C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”


May the utter foolishness of the Gospel crash hard down upon the little lives we spin. May it transform our hearts, communities, and our world beyond our wildest dreams. And may we be, in every way imaginable...free.

Come, friends and let's be fools together.


Cheers


Saturday, January 26, 2013

We Are Here: Fail Blog 2012 A Year in Review

Well readers, it’s a new year and we survived the apocalypse. Good job with that. A lot happened in 2012 and I feel it is worth recapping. So here is the obligatory year in review and a snapshot at my life as is circa 2013. Discipline and Muse-willing, I will write more than I have in the previous years. Here’s what I got for now.

Professionally Directing:
In the Spring of 2012 I had the wonderful opportunity of directing a regional premier at the Corbin Theatre in Liberty, MO. It was challenging and stimulating getting to engage in theatre outside of my comfort zone of the Jewell Theatre Company. I learned a lot and I was humbled in the process.

The Lonely Beat of Mr. G:
Substituting for North Kansas City Schools was a great experience and towards the end of the school year I had more than enough work to help provide for Katherine and I. However well it was going, my loving wife pointed out that I didn’t really have any community at work being the Lone Ranger guy bouncing from school to school. It was hard to begin and maintain relationships when you are all over the place and with different classes everyday. It was very lonely at times. I needed to be part of a team. To do what I do best. Enjoy being with people and to encourage all to have fun while we work. At the end of the year, I had a better understanding of what to look for in a teaching job for the Fall. If I couldn’t find a Theatre position, I ought to look for something that would be in the same place everyday and to be part of a team. God answered that need in the summer with a position at Liberty Oaks Elementary School working with severely autistic students. More on that later.

One Year of Marriage Celebrated:
At the close of the school year, Katherine and I embarked on a brief expedition to luxurious Omaha, Nebraska for a one year anniversary getaway. Before returning home, we made a detour across I-80 to Iowa to pick up a little baby Corgi we named Toby as a finale one-year gift. Katherine swooned as she held the little guy the whole way back
One year of marriage? Me? I still don’t know how I got so lucky to be with such an amazing woman. We are working on 2 years now and I am loving every minute of it more and more.

Buying a Freaking House:
During the long days of summer being teachers with plenty of time on our hands aside for my acting classes with The Coterie, we realized we had the desire to plant some more permanent roots in our little college town of Liberty. Being an Army brat I wanted a place I could be for a long time and somewhere familiar that I could invest in.  However, we are not super rich living off taxpayer dollars and we knew virtually nothing of what it meant to buy or own a home. We stopped by Remax in Liberty to sit down with my friend Paul from Crepes on the Square to inquire about the process. He encouraged us, with interest rates super low, to start looking and that we qualified for more than we originally thought. I didn’t like the idea of flushing rent down the toilet anymore and so we dove right into looking for a home in the area. We found a steal we could afford and got the keys at the end of October.

Special New Job with Special People:
Working at my new job has been more than rewarding. I never imagined I would work with such great kids and with such a great team of teachers. I think I have grown up more in the past few months than I have in a long time. I’ve learned a new meaning of patience, gentleness, and how to build relationships with students and coworkers. I don’t know how long I will work at Liberty Oaks, and I am still sure I want to teach Theatre full time, but while I’m here I love what I do and it is providing more than enough for Katherine, and Toby and I to live on in our new house.

Shakespeare I am Not:
At the beginning of December I had a play produced at a community theatre just south of downtown KC in Shawnee, KS. It was a surreal experience watching something I conjured up in my imagination take place before my eyes. My family and in-laws got to enjoy it with me.

We Are Here: Dead on Arrival:
Finally, in mid December the global flash-mob idea I had a year ago flopped big time. I think I knew it would but the process of trying to get it to happen taught me a lot about leadership, my own heart ,and the more about how the world works. I’m glad it failed because the world doesn’t need a global flash mob to make it a better place. I truly believe it just needs more hope in the only place hope can be found. In a hero who did more to make the world right than I will or can do. He redeemed an entire people to the only God of the universe. He is big enough to save me, you, and the rest of us. This is the only thing I’m standing on, the only source for any joy I have, and the only thing giving me life.

The Big 25:
I’m about to turn 25. I used to be afraid of that number because it’s a quarter of a century. I don’t mind anymore. I say bring it on. I know life is short, I know where I’m going and what I care about. Why can’t life and people be like wine? It should get finer with time. The best is yet to come. Maybe not circumstantially because I know I will face hardships that may bring me face to face with the carpet. I may lose all that I have. But the best is yet to come no matter what.

Community as a Theme:
I’m still trudging through the post college no-man’s-land navigating what it means to be in community and how to stay in touch with friends and family when it feels like myself and everyone around me is in a state of flex and transition. Please help me do that. I want and need friends and family in my life. This is where I’m at. 

Thanks for reading. 2012 was great. 2013 will be better. More to come. Lots to write about in greater detail.

I may not know you by name or know everything about you, but I love you. If I have been unloving to you, I am sorry. To love another person is to see the face of God. That’s all I’m seeking.

May you love somebody with all that you have. And may you see the face of God.


Cheers.