Thursday, May 19, 2005

Adult Conversation

Adult Conversation: any conversation that involves discussing things that you don't have to worry about until you live on your own and pay your own bills; i.e. utility bills, water bills, broken anything in the house, etc.

We're adults now. How did that happen? And how can I make it stop?
--Meredith, Grey's Anatomy

Adult conversation reminds me that I am an adult. I've been an official, out-of-college adult now for almost two years. It's been a pretty crazy experience sometimes. Most of the time I avoid the adult conversations and stick to movies, books, and what are we going to do on Friday night discussions. It's just easier. There is no responsibiltiy there.
But life calls for responsibility. It asks us to take control and make decisions. Sometimes that road to decision making is more difficult than others.
I recently had a conversation with my dad where I (almost in tears) poured out what was on mind. He then told me he loved me and that I wouldn't like what he had to say. Then, in a way only my dad has, he told me to grow up. He said a few other things, but the jist was GROW UP. I guess it kind of hit me then that living in this "I'm an adult but pretending I'm not" world was just not good. Not healthy in fact, because how can you truly be who you are supposed to be if you are stuck in the middle of being one thing or the other. I realized that being an "adult" doesn't mean I have to change, it's just a different mindset and sometimes a different approach to the difficult things of life.

Since my dad's kind, but firm reminder of what I needed to do, life's been pretty good. Maybe the adult thing isn't so bad after all.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Bragging Rights

Hey everyone! Check out this article written a couple weeks ago in Akron, Ohio where the fantastic tour of Mamma Mia! starring Bekah Nutt was published! I always knew she was a star and now you can read this review and see it for yourself!

Massillon native Bekah Nutt shines in the pivotal role of Sophie in musical

`Mamma Mia,' she does very well

By Kerry Clawson

Beacon Journal staff writer

The current production of Mamma Mia at E.J. Thomas Hall proves that one strong characterization can bring the musical's lightweight story beyond mere fluff.

Massillon native Bekah Nutt (a Baldwin Wallace graduate) brings plenty of heart to her role as the young engaged Sophie, who is desperately searching for her father in an effort to be a ``proper bride.'' The diminutive performer is not only a likable actress, she's also a sweet singer and dynamic dancer -- a big improvement from the underwhelming vocals and cardboard characterization of Canadian Kristie Marsden, who played in the 2002 Northeast Ohio premiere of the musical in Cleveland.

In any compelling musical, the heroine has to offer an ``I want it'' song early on to make us care. Nutt's Sophie does that well, creating the thread that weaves together 22 ABBA songs from the 1970s into a new, modern-day story on a tiny, mythical Greek island.

In this story, 20-year-old Sophie learns from her independent-minded mother's diary that her father could be one of three men. She invites all three to her wedding, unbeknownst to her mother, Donna, a former rocker.

Lauren Mufson's Donna is understated -- more melancholy than feisty. Mufson's not a rock power like other Donnas have been, but she proves she has a big set of pipes in her show stopper, The Winner Takes It All.

On opening night Tuesday, the show's energy was slow to pick up in the first act. Some of the cutest staging occurs with the antics of groom Sky's scuba-diving buddies, who sneak in during an intimate moment between Sky and Sophie to literally steal Sky away. The dynamics become intense during a bachelorette party scene, where emotions run high as Sophie confronts possible dad Bill (Milo Shandel) in The Name of the Game.

In other clever staging, the three dads fawn over Donna in bed and an ominous-looking chorus of scuba divers surround Sophie during her second-act nightmare. Talk about wedding jitters.

For the most part, the show's singing is energetic and joyful. But at times, ensemble harmonies from offstage sound booths don't sound as richly layered as the cast album's.

Northeast Ohio is well represented in this show: Akron native Blake Ginther, a 1999 Firestone High School graduate and 2003 University of Cincinnati grad, joined the tour as an ensemble member right after Christmas. He's the son of Dr. William and Sharyl Ginther of Akron. Ginther, 24, is all boyish cuteness and muscular trimness as he throws himself into the fun-loving choreography.

As Rosie, the comedic Laura Ware is the biggest card in the show. Possible dads Shandel as Bill, Ian Simpson as Harry and understudy Rod Weber as Sam also are charming and lovable.

The show's big disappointment is Lisa Mandel's poor vocals as middle-aged siren Tanya. Mandel's statuesque height and elegance can't change the fact that she ruins the perfectly cool tune Does Your Mother Know. Equally mediocre are her solo lines in Dancing Queen.

Memorable lighting by Howard Harrison bathes characters in a dreamy blue aura. The story is set in designer Mark Thompson's rustic, versatile taverna.

The show, most appropriate for those high school age and older, has some double entendres, a sprinkling of profanity and adult themes. It also contains some tasteless male bashing.

The ABBA music is the true star of this show. Once again, the audience was most enthusiastic after the curtain call during the mini-concert, which in itself is nearly worth the price of admission.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Ruth: Great because God made her Great

This weekend at Southland we studied Ruth. Since I got to go to both morning and evening services (which were completely different), I got a double dose of Ruth. I learned a lot though.

Did you know that Ruth is the 8th book of the Bible and that the number 8 is significant when used in the Bible because it signifies something new?
Did you know that Naomi means "cheerful one" and she changed her name to Mara which means "bitter one"?

Other life lessons from the two sermons include:
1. Leave and Go
The Christian life is all about change; if you are resistent to change you are not fully living the Christian life
2. You are either changing people or people are changing you.
3. If you want a Boaz, live like a Ruth; if you want a Ruth, live like a Boaz.
4. God's definition of Great is different than yours and mine
5. To live a life God considers Great is within my reach
6. In life, we will all go through times of trouble (see John 16:33)
7. It is in the little things that we prove ourselves capable of the big things
8. When God develops our inner qualities, he's never in a hurry.

Obviously lots of things to think about. Please note that when I post notes from the sermon on Sunday, I'm not making statements of fact. I am relaying what someone else has relayed to me; most of which I agree with and can back up with Scripture. But more and more I am realizing that there are a lot of things I don't have figured out. A lot of things that my opinions waver on, or that I don't know what Scripture says one way or the other. So I'm open to discussion.

Happy Monday!

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Past, The Present, and the Future

Since I have about 5 minutes before my work day officially starts I thought I would take a few moments to share some thoughts on last night's 608 service.

Yesterday we began a new series at Southland, True Biblical Stories. We began with the story of Abraham. Well, first we began with the reminder that our Bible story heroes are just like us. I guess deep down we all know that. That our favorite Bible characters made some pretty major mistakes and yet still God used them in great ways. But we forget...especially when we want excuses as to why God can't use us. But here is a quote from how we started service yesterday:

"The next time your past tries to keep you from following God, remember you in good company."

Meaning, if you let your past stop you, it's YOU stopping you, not God. Because God will use you if you let him.

So, here's the key truths that Brad shared with us last night:
1. God's way is ALWAYS the BEST way:
Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 55:8-9

2. Your past does not and will not ever disqualify you from being used by God
To go from the PAST to the FUTURE you have to remian in the PRESENT because you have to meet God in the present

3. God is ready and willing to use you right now.
God is looking for somone with an open and willing heart--the only thing that can disqualify you from being used by God is an attitude of unavailablity.

Number 2 struck a specific chord with me. Too often I find myself living in the future and making decisions based on the past. But if I want my life to not be about me and to be all about him, then I have to start living in the present because the present is where God wants to meet me. Sure, God was with me in the past and he'll be with me in the future. But today is what matters right now because God wants to be with me today. Right now.
So if you were not at Southland last night, I hope you enjoy my notes (and no comments about how I am a nerd because I take notes during sermons.) And if you were at Southland, hopefully this is a good reminder that today is the day to meet God; cause he'll be there tomorrow, but he wants to be with you today.