Monthly Archives: April 2011

There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame!

We’re back!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Our family has just survived musical season (this year we did the Rogers and Hammerstein classic South Pacific) and the week or two that it takes to recover from it.

During production week for the musical I spend more hours at the school than I do all year, but I would be content to stay even longer than I do.

I am a teacher, but my job is unique.  I teach high school choir.  Many teachers do not get to see the results of their work aside from grading homework and tests.  Even then, you don’t always know for sure if they “got it.”

When it’s performance time, I get to see if they “got it.”  I get to watch 60 kids pour their heart and soul out on the stage using the skills I taught them this semester.

All semester, the theatre teacher, the fabulous Melody Allen, and I have worked, stressed, obsessed, prayed, and fretted over teaching our students how to be excellent actors and singers.  We have pushed them, prodded them, and sometimes provoked them to go the extra mile to live up to their full potential.  We get frustrated, we get angry, we see them try things and fail.  We wonder why we ever decided to do this to ourselves.  Wouldn’t it be easier to just teach math?  Your emotions don’t have to get wrapped up in equations.  (Ok, maybe they do for my friends in the math hall.  I just don’t see it.)

About three weeks before any performance I experience the most doubt about the show.  Every year, I just know that they’re never going to get it right.  Then I get to pitch a big fit about their work ethic.

How many of you actually practiced at home this week?!  (Very few hands raise.)  That’s what I thought!  It’s obvious you have not been practicing at home!  Do you care about your show?  I’m not the one that’s going to be on stage…it’s going to be you.  Is THIS what you want to look like?  Is THIS what you want to sound like?  

One of the little perks of being a teacher of the arts is that, for some reason, you get a free pass to pitch the occasional fit.  These fits of rage become legendary.  Seniors have learned to sit there and take it and then push the underclassmen to pull it together.  Freshmen are horrified, but come back after the show is over and thank you for getting mad because they know they really weren’t performing to their potential.  My family loves to compare war stories about infamous choir directors who have stormed out of rehearsals, thrown shoes, and singled out people for making the same mistake over and over.  (One disclaimer:  my wonderful choir director from college…the shoe thrower…taught us that you don’t have the right to throw a shoe unless you have an even bigger positive reaction when they get it right.  These fits aren’t to hurt them, but to make them realize that after months of working on the same music or scenes, there is still work to do.)

And then…it’s production week.

The makeup goes on.

They're ready to perform.

The frustration is gone.  The anxiety is gone.  Our work is done.  It’s up to them.  We get to see the same students who couldn’t get their lyrics right or their entrances on time rise above themselves and become a family of seasoned performers.  There’s nothing quite like live theatre.  Anything can and does happen, but they, people who may not otherwise be associated, take it all in stride.  They face the challenges together, lift up each other, and cry like babies when it’s all over.

I love my job!

Oh yeah…I almost forgot…this blog is about not going out to eat.  Since I got to school all week at 7:45am and didn’t leave until 11:00pm most of the week, it would have been so easy to go and pick up fast food between school and performance.


crock pot


over and over


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Filed under How It Works, School

Eating In At Seminary

My biggest concern when we agreed to not go out to eat for a year was what Matt would do on seminary weekends.  He is attending Asbury Theological Seminary, and does most of his classwork online.  He does have to go to the campus one weekend per month to do intensive coursework.  His schedule is packed, and I thought eating in would be impossible.  In fact, we decided to start this challenge later than we had planned in order to avoid one of these seminary weekends.

When he goes, he leaves at 3:30am Friday morning, and has a 3 1/2 hour drive to Kentucky.  He sits in class from 8:00am-5:00pm, and then goes back to the dorm to work on homework for the other classes he is taking.  Class on Saturday lasts from 8am-12pm.  He gets back in the car and drives home another 3 1/2 hours.  Usually, there is something going on Saturday afternoon or evening that we have to do, so he is totally wasted by Saturday night.

I, being the obsessive compulsive planner that I am, spent a lot of time trying to decide how we were going to do one of these weekends.  Do I buy a cooler and prepare meals ahead of time that could keep without a refrigerator?  Does he only eat peanut butter sandwiches for five meals?  I even told him at one point to make sure to stay somewhere where they had a kitchen, and he could cook meals for himself (like he’s not busy enough…see above paragraph).  How nice of me.  We briefly entertained the idea of giving him a pass for seminary weekends, but we didn’t want to give in since we have been doing so well.

Our solution turned out to be much more simple than anything I agonized over.  Thank goodness for already prepared food at grocery stores.  Duh…  He loves Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts, so that takes care of breakfast.  During the break for lunch, he went to Wal-Mart and got a few things from their deli, and a salad for dinner.  Now before you get all legalistic and say that this is cheating, keep in mind that we decided to not spend money eating in restaurants.  I consider him picking up a salad from the deli the same as buying a Lean Cuisine.  On his drive home, instead of driving through somewhere, he usually gets through lunchtime with Combos, and eats something real when he gets home.

I’m so proud of the work he is doing and how he manages all he has to do in order to be successful in Seminary.  I’m so blessed that he also cares so much about our goals as a family even when he is taking on so much in his own life.

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Filed under Eating In While Traveling, How It Works