Contentment Challenge

It’s October…how did we get here already?

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Oh right. First Sean was a two-headed cow and tuberculosis (From Orchids to Octopi), then we were Iago and Desdemona (Othello), then we were Mollie Ralston and Sgt. Trotter (The Mousetrap), now I’m Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie (Steel Magnolias).

I love theater, always have, always will. It’s how Sean and I met, and a passion we share. And this has been an incredible year for roles. But it never seems to fail that I allow a show to bring discord into my home. I’m gone 3 nights a week. My home falls into disarray. We eat like crap. I feel like I’m always kissing my daughter good-bye as I head out the door. Natalie now mimics me, purse over her shoulder, waving bye and blowing me a kiss. I ask her where she’s going, and she says she doesn’t know. Now, as a daycare provider, I’m with her all day, it’s not like I’m an absentee mother. But for some reason this strikes a chord somewhere in me. Looks like I’m the one with separation anxiety issues, not the toddler. We’ve been constantly on the go, so much that it feels weird and I get antsy if we don’t have anywhere to be. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to just BE.

So I’m calling a time out.

Ok, maybe not a time out…a sabbatical?

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Something has to change. I read about a Contentment Challenge first on photographer Nancy Ray‘s blog, then on my friend Lara Casey‘s, and I thought ‘maybe this is what I need’. But I decided that, instead of throwing myself into it immediately, I’d pray about it. Ask God if this is what he meant for me, if this is what I truly needed. I prayed for 2 weeks, and the pull never left my heart. Then, sitting in our friends’ apartment last Friday for our first Financial Peace University class, Dave Ramsey talked about how people forget about true contentment.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 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 this through him who gives me strength.  (Phil 4:12-13)

Ding Ding.

My life is over run with STUFF. Clutter. Both physical and mental. Natalie’s incredibly impressionable, and I want to provide the best environment for her as possible, because this is her foundation.

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The Contentment Challenge : October, November & December 2013

We will give up shopping for clothes, accessories, household decor, and “stuff” for 3 months, to focus our hearts and minds on the root of true contentment. We will actively pursue fulfilling activities that will replace our addiction to material things.

The Guidelines:

• For the next 10 days, your homework is the following: prepare your heart, organize your closet, and make any necessary purchases that you might need during these months. (This is not a last minute shopping spree! This is one final trip to the store for items you will need, and the opportunity for you to say your goodbyes to Target.)

• Choose 1-3 inspiring books to read during this time. There are so many great options at your local library. I will be choosing Love Does by Bob Goff and Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge

• Gifts are okay! If someone gives you a new dress or piece of decor during that time, receive it graciously! If you need to buy someone else a gift, by all means, do so. The point is not to be rude, but to learn more of ourselves and the Lord. Personally, I have a gift card to Ruche from my birthday that I am savoring  and will be utilizing at some point, but it will be for an item that is needed to .

• Necessities are okay! If you drop and break your phone, please go get a new one! If you lose your glasses, buy a new pair. Just don’t start justifying new purchases for items that you already have. (“I really NEED this bathing suit, even though there are 8 in my closet already.”) My exceptions to the challenge include a few extras for Natalie’s birthday (maybe some balloons to surprise her in the morning) and a Christmas tree.

• You must actively pursue something – anything – that replaces your tendency to buy stuff. Begin thinking about something you love or a hobby you’ve always wanted to do, and make preparations to actually do it. I will be focusing on creating, simplifying and creating memories. Gifts for Christmas, planning my garden for 2014, purging our home and having a yard sale.

So, who’s with me?

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Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark

After an audition on Monday, Sean and I got the calls that we’d be playing Hamlet and Ophelia in Stageloft Repertory Theater’s upcoming production of Hamlet. I can’t tell you how excited we are. I’m excited for the challenge of portraying Ophelia’s journey into madness, but Sean? Sean has been wanting this role since he first read the play in high school. As he so lovingly told me yesterday:

“I am going to destroy you!”

Only in theater can that be a good thing.

Actor’s Itch

It never fails. I can only go so long before I’m itching to get back on the stage.

Some shows you never want to end. Others you wish were over before opening night even comes. Sometimes, we can be so burnt out that we look forward to the end of a show so we can have a “normal life” again. Do mundane things like laundry on a week night. Ok, I’m kidding there…we’re more likely pining over the fact that we have so many shows on the DVR that we’ve run out of space (who watches shows live anymore???).

But what no matter how ready we are for a break, it’s only a matter of time before our feet itch to tread the boards again.

That itch turned nasty for me this weekend. Friday we went to see a friend in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a production I had auditioned for myself, and Sunday I saw Mamma Mia at the Hanover with my mother- and sister-in-law. Sean’s currently in tech week for his show that opens this weekend and me? I’m filling my time, but with this infusion of performance energy I’m twitching in my seat. Luckily I’ll be auditioning on Monday for Hamlet. I’ll keep you posted.

A Little Bit of Everything

In the photography world, I actually was in front of the camera the weekend before last, when my fellow photographer friend and I swapped photo shoots. She finally posted some of them on Facebook and I like most of them! There are a couple that I actually love. Which is HUGE for me. I also am now on a diet thankyouverymuch.

In the theater world, we had our first full cast Christmas Carol rehearsal last night. Swarms of kids everywhere, and our saintly (and I think slightly insane) costume mistress in the middle of it all, shouting “All Crachits on stage NOW!” or “Where are my Fezziwig dancers? I need my Fezziwig dancers!” My costume won’t be ready til next week, but I saw the pattern and fabric and I’m going to have the prettiest dress in the whole show. This makes me happy. I am a total princess, I know.

In the NaNo world, I’m managing to hit my daily word counts which is fine for now, but will run into problems when I have days when I can’t dedicate any time to this fuzzy plot bunny of mine. Bad news is that the plot still isn’t crystal clear in my mind, things keep shifting. Good news is that I’m not frustrated and lost and ready to hand over the bunny to be cooked for Duello…yet.
4,022/50,000 as of this moment.

In the Home Improvement world, Sean hasn’t blown anything up yet. The banister is stained, but the “stainable wood putty” we bought? Bull pellets. Maybe it’s just because we are using light stain, but it doesn’t blend in at all. The downstairs bathroom is still in shambles, everything is in flux (aka piles) because the office is not yet an office/craft room and we have company arriving in less than 48 hours.

And finally, in the San Francisco world, I have booked my hotel. I have a king sized bed to myself for 2 whole nights! No hubby, no kitties, no disturbances. I love my boys, but a night free of London pawing me in the face…yeah I’m almost as excited about that bed as I am for the Intensive. I fly out Monday 🙂

Where did October Go?

So I’ve closed the book on Prescription for Murder and have jumped directly into Christmas Carol. As close to literally as possible without physically jumping.  I drove like a madwoman after the last show to my first rehearsal.

I missed being on stage.

For the first time, I’m working in a show with kids…and there are a LOT of kids. I leaned over to my dear friend ‘Mrs. Cratchit’ and whispered “We’re outnumbered”. But while I was prepared to loathe a swarm of screaming brats (as a couple of other friends had made it seem), these kids are great. They are well behaved, eager, and wicked cute. I am smitten with our Tiny Tims, who are more like Tiny Tinas, or Tabithas, or…well, you get the idea, they’re girls. Both are teeny little things that elicit an ‘awww’ from all watching after saying their lines. I want to stick them in my pocket. Freaking adorable.

In other literary news, I’m tackling NaNoWriMo again next month. Yes, I’m insane, and will be yelled at once my mother finds out I’m putting something else on my plate, but there are a couple of plot bunnies hopping around my brain that are dying for some attention. I’m hoping to trap one of them and fatten it up. I do love to write, and I have some long plane rides in the near future.

And lastly, Duello is fast approaching. I went over and helped Rozi make little chess pieces on Monday. I have a blister to show for our hard work. I’m excited to be deputy since I’m not a fencer and I can’t even tell the chess pieces apart (although after cutting them all out, I’ve almost got it down). Perhaps I should just give in and let Sean teach me the game.

Ok, super lastly, San Francisco in less than 2 weeks 🙂

I am a Zombie Widow…

I was not aware that in our vows, they meant “til undead do us part”…

This week Sean is in tech for Night of the Living Dead. I get a kiss as he’s out the door to work, a kiss as he’s out the door to rehearsal with sad excuse for a dinner in hand, and a bloodied shirt at 11:30pm when he gets home with a “Can you throw this in the wash while I jump in the shower? Thanks babe.”

It’s a good thing he’s so cute…