Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Come to "The Cord of Courage!"

Thanks to Rob Pace for designing the graphic used in the flier, and for the Burton family for overseeing publicity! God has blessed me with great people to work with.

Monday, July 26, 2010

"The Cord of Courage" Rehearsals

It's hard to believe that we're already starting the 4th week of production! Rehearsals are going well, and the characters are really taking shape. Songs and actions are being learned, and we're almost to the point of going off-book with the lines. No script are allowed on stage come Thursday! :)

There have been a lot of people to arrange in the group scenes (this one is a small group scene - the others are bigger!), but they're coming together. As each person starts remembering their spot on stage, my job gets a little easier.

Please continue to pray that God brings everything together well for His glory! I am thankful for all of the people and help He has brought together so far, and am continuing to pray for wisdom and strength to lead them all.

Picture credits: Rachel Russo

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Building the set

My dad has been so amazingly generous in giving of his time to work on the set needed for "The Cord of Courage." He's spent hours planning what to do, buying materials, and constructing them at the church building. We're using the baptistery area for Rahab's house (the baptistery is almost like a balcony above the stage, facing out to the audience), so he constructed a floor to cover the baptismal pool (we don't want anyone falling in!), and yesterday he built a railing over the opening to make sure no one falls out.

I am so blessed to have wonderful help with each aspect of the production. In addition to costumes and set help, I've had enthusiastic people gathering props, a dad and daughter team up to organize publicity, a dad (and my assistant director) designing the flier, another dad brainstorming what to do for the Jericho wall, and others who step in and help wherever needed. It's truly a blessing to see the body of Christ working together in a beautiful way!

Organizing Costumes

I had some great helpers as we began organizing costumes for "The Cord of Courage" last Friday. 5 girls and I spent over 5 hours at the church building sorting types of costumes into piles, going through measurements, and trying to find the best costume for each character.

We took time to have fun too - like trying to find the craziest costume! Don't worry - I don't think we'll actually put anyone in that tunic, but the turban may come in useful for a certain character... ;)

With a cast of almost 60, we need a lot of costumes! Thankfully we have many on hand from previous productions, and through generous fabric donations and sheets found at thrift stores over the year (I stock up when I see good ones - $2/sheet is the best price for costume material!), I have enough to make the 40+ tunics, sashes, and head coverings needing to be created for this production. Thankfully, I have good help in doing this as well!

I spent another 6 1/2 hours at the church building yesterday as well. Much as the group was a great help, I needed quiet time alone to go through and make sure each costume was what we wanted. Now I have everything planned out - so let the sewing begin!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Looking Back... God is Faithful

As one who likes to plan ahead, it’s always hard when I can’t know the future. If I could look down the road a few years and see what my current experiences are preparing me for, it seems like life would be a whole lot better! But then, if I knew the future, I would have no reason to trust God. My times are in His hands – and it’s in the daily trusting, taking one step at a time as He shows me the path, that I learn to follow Him without reserve.

Looking back over the years, I’m amazed at how God planned my life and prepared me for the things ahead. I never would have woven my story in the way He has, but slowly He is creating a beautiful tapestry. I’m in awe of His faithfulness in giving me experiences and lessons at just the right time to prepare me for what He knew I’d be facing later.

When I started to write poems before age 9 – short and silly as they were – I never imagined that many years later, at age 19, I would sit down to write lyrics for songs for an original musical. But God knew; He gave me an enjoyment of words that rhyme, and used my silly poems that matured over the years to prepare me. Those poems prepared me for the task of counting syllables of rhyming lines that would be turned into a song by a friend whom He gave the gift of composing.

I still find it hard to believe that at age 8 I wrote a play to practice and perform at my birthday party, and then did it again at age 10. God gave me an enjoyment of theatre even back then... and little did I know where it would lead. At age 14 He allowed me to go to a drama camp, where, as I learned about the various jobs associated with the production process, I declared that I would never be a director. He must have laughed when, exactly a year later, I directed my first musical. It was truly God that turned this shy girl that didn’t think she could lead into a director working on her 7th musical and a teacher going in to her 4th year of ballet classes. I’ve learned to “never say never” when God’s involved.

At age 10 I learned to use the sewing machine to sew doll clothes, and by age 13, I had sewn my first dress. Over the years, God granted me an enjoyment of sewing, as I crafted skirts and dresses for myself and friends and matching clothes for nieces and nephews. I never expected that at age 17 I’d start sewing costumes for musicals, or that the skill would continue to come in useful to sew and alter dance costumes, be a valuable asset to the costume crews at college, and now oversee finding and making costumes for a cast of nearly 60, training other young girls to sew in the process. In the future, I hope this skill will come in useful as I establish a home and family of my own.

I could go on; there are people who have shaped who I am, things I studied that I never thought would be useful, only to find myself needing that knowledge, and experiences God’s given me – extremely hard at times – that prepared me to walk through the next thing He had planned. Some of those have helped me to relate to and reach others.

My God is a big God. He knows what I need when I don’t. Even now, He is preparing me for things I could never imagine. I may not know right now why I’m walking the path that I am, doing what I’m doing, and learning what He’s teaching me, but my faithful Father does.

Life is such an adventure with Him. I look forward to looking back in a year… five years… ten years… or even at the end of my life, and seeing how He used this time. Maybe then, things that are dim now will suddenly become clear.

My life is not a series of random events; it has a purpose – I have a reason for being where I am right now. It’s an amazing thing, to know that the God who created this universe created me for a purpose, and is involved in my day-to-day life.

With each day, He is preparing me to serve Him for His glory, and though things may not make sense now, I am learning to trust Him with each step. Do I do it perfectly? Definitely not. But with each lesson and each test, God always proves Himself faithful and trustworthy. It’s my prayer that I will continue to follow Him… no matter where He leads.

"The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O LORD, endures forever - do not abandon the work of Your hands." - Psalm 138:8

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pictures from "Life in 10 Minutes"

Last night was a great evening of drama as we presented "Life in 10 Minutes!" A fair-sized group came out on this Friday summer evening. Many mentioned how blessed and encouraged they were, and everyone enjoyed themselves, even staying past 10 PM at the reception.

The four oldest in this sibling set presented speeches they'd used in competition for NCFCA this spring.

Ben (age 18) presented a dramatic interpretive and open original speech, Emily (age 16) a dramatic interpretive and persuasive speech, Katelyn (age 13) a thematic speech, and Bethany (age 8) a humorous speech.

Miriam and I presented "Family and Friends" written by Dee Sand. She portrayed Mary, and I, Martha, in this powerful double monologue contrasting the two sisters.

It was a great group of actors and storytellers! In addition to what's mentioned above, Rob Pace and Kevin and Candi Morton shared a monologue/skit humorously looking at what a "perfect Christian" should (or shouldn't) be like, and my dad told stories from growing up as a missionary child in Africa.

Praise God for bringing this great evening together! It was definitely the easiest production I've put together... no rehearsal as a group - just making sure the building's reserved, schedule confirmed, programs printed, and that each one knew when to present.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Cord of Courage - Auditions

Tuesday, July 6th was auditions for "The Cord of Courage." 23 families (55 actors) showed up, which was more than I expected! I'd planned for 19 families, but had thankfully printed extra forms and guidelines, though still not quite enough for everyone.

It was a busy and long evening, trying to organize that many people! We went over the production schedule and guidelines, had each family introduce themselves, and played a warm-up game.

Then it was into auditions. It was so hard to decide who should be which character, for there were so many to choose from (girls especially)! I lost a lot of sleep and went through a lot of turmoil trying to decide late that night and the next day. Thankfully, Mr. Rob (assistant director) and Miriam (vocal director) gave valuable input.

The cast is now decided, and the first rehearsal is this afternoon. It's been a hard start-up, with so many details to sort through, but I'm praying for God's peace and strength during this entire process. The presentations on August 13-15 will be here before we know it!