Friday, March 22, 2013

Does Holy Week Prep Count as a Lenten Discipline?

This has not been my year for a super-meaningful Lent.

But it's okay.

The one practice I've been keeping up is the daily devotional Jesus Calling. I've been reading each daily paragraph twice, morning and night. Such an encouragement to pull away, to look at the bigger picture.

"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." It's the answer to so many problems, great and small.

The between-time hours, though, have been so full. And as I write, I realize that lately, what life has been full of is many joys and fun challenges! In addition to routine labors and responsibilities, of course. But so many exciting things in the works.

Let me count them.

Aladdin! Yes, it's over. But the photos remain! Papa Rooster was the professional photographer this time, and one of the things he offered to parents, besides a cast photo and the usual groupings, was a souvenir photo book of photos taken during performances. He's been teaching himself InDesign so that he can create  each page as a photo collage, and I've helped him a bit with layout for some of the pages. It's going to be a beautiful book! I've also helped him organize the parents' orders, tally them, order them, and organize the prints to hand out. We also created a production disk of photos from the show, with B22 on the job of burning those and creating labels with the Aladdin graphic. I have a new appreciation for how many hours go into photography besides just snapping the picture!

My One Act class!  Two weeks ago, all 14 students "auditioned" with a monologue and then we did cold readings from the script. My teen aide and I cast the show that night, and the next week, we passed out scripts and did a read-through. We discussed the characters' personalities, relationships, ages and motivations. Next week we'll start blocking it. We have two hours a week to rehearse until our performance on May 21. It's called "The Taming of LaRue," and it's a comic Western loosely based on "The Taming of the Shrew." The kids have lots of potential and it's going to be fun to pull it out of them!

Tom Sawyer! Auditions were last weekend and rehearsals start tonight. B14 was cast as Judge Thatcher, Becky Thatcher's father. He's about the tallest boy in the cast this time, so it seemed inevitable that he would end up in an adult role. Chicklet10 is Ruthie, a School Child, and B8 is Boy 2, also a School Child. (He was the "Child" in Aladdin, so our little joke is that he's moving up the ladder, since as "Boy 2," he now gets a gender and a number!) We haven't seen the script yet, but since they are named characters, they probably each get a line or two, and B14 will have quite a few. I will not be on the makeup committee, as usual; I asked to be on tech, so I can learn more about those aspects of directing. Now that I've been an intern director, I'm eligible to be on a directing team "for real," and I want to keep expanding my knowledge of all that goes into it!

Easter Vigil! For the past four years, I've been the director of all readings for Easter Vigil, plus the Passion reading for Palm Sunday. At our Easter Vigil, these readings are rarely just straightforward reading; we add music, dance or drama to accompany them. (See photos from last year's Vigil.) I wasn't really up for doing another year, but found myself in the role again, being urged to simplify as much as possible. So we are repeating several things from last year, performing two readings as songs, and using fewer kids. It's a bummer, really, since we have so many kids at Light of Christ, but it does simplify things from a rehearsal standpoint. (Next year, I want to take just two or three of the readings, not all nine, and then I will have time and energy to better incorporate more children.) The other thing we did to simplify was to cut--gasp!--one of the optional readings, Isaiah 4:2-6, God's Presence in a Renewed Israel. I had no inspiration for it, and when I saw it was not listed on The Lectionary Page for this year, we all agreed we could let it go.  I also delegated the Passion reading this year, which we always do as a reader's theater type choral reading. So thankful for Abbi, who took that on, and for Mrs. A, who created a schedule for sound checks for Saturday morning. (And for John, who gave ideas to get me going, and Lisa who is Master Coordinator for all of Holy Week and forced me to set helpful deadlines!)

Holy Week! Now that the administrative elements are over--emailing people to ask for involvement, creating rehearsal schedules, more emails, creating "scripts," sending followup emails--what's left is what I'd call the fun stuff. (Although as I type that, I wonder if I'm going to enjoy five rehearsals back-to-back from 3:30 to 8:30 or 9 on Monday.) Besides reading rehearsals, I also am singing in one music rehearsal, and then there are nine final run-throughs/sound checks on Saturday mornings.

Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday! It's the big week of our church year, and our whole family is psyched! Blondechick is singing for several of the services, and B17 is running sound at all those rehearsals and services, and learning a new sound system we just purchased because we are meeting in a new location now. We had a minor calamity of sorts when we learned that the Kemper Chapel, where we normally hold all our services, had been rented out for a wedding on Holy Saturday. Because of the impossibility of moving everything on Saturday night to be ready for a Sunday morning service, we had to find a new location for all of our Holy Week services. The best option, after we tested it out by meeting there on Sunday mornings, turned out to be the Simmons Gymnasium at the other end of the Kemper Center, and now we are considering meeting there permanently on Sundays. Although it's a gym, it's beautiful. Stay tuned for pictures!

Homeschooling! What's new about that, you ask? One by one, we've ended up withdrawing kids from the virtual schools they were enrolled in, until now only B17 remains laptop-based in his lessons. The younger three are now spending a lot more time reading, and we are all loving it. More on that in a post to come.

Spring Break! Friends from our old stomping grounds are coming up for a day next week, or maybe we'll meet them in Chicago, if it's good weather. We have passes and Groupon deals to several museums we are going to visit after Easter, with friends, and I think we are going to take a day here and a day there and call it spring break.

Summer plans! They are a-percolatin'. Not fully brewed yet, but fun and exciting to think about.

Thank you, Lord, for all these joyful, enjoyable things to plan and do and think about. Thank you for my kids, husband, friends, church, and theater group to do them with. A couple nights ago, I dreamed that I was working in a maternity unity in a hospital, and there were all these babies there in the nursery, and being born in other rooms, but there was a hurricane or tornado on the way. Do I fear that something will happen to wipe out the joy and excitement I’m feeling? I pray for your protection for all these new things; like all children, they are Yours.


genamayo said...

I really enjoyed reading your update. I think I need to get Jesus Calling. :)
Ben made Godspell, so the only time we can see Tom Sawyer is on Friday morning. We'll try to make it! Hope you guys can come to Godspell the 2nd weekend.
Looking forward to getting the Aladdin pictures!
--Gena at

At A Hen's Pace said...

Hi Gena-

I have your pictures, and yes, I hope you get to come to
Tom Sawyer! We will be at Godspell for sure.

Say hey to Ben from all of us!


Hen Jen said...

oh wow Hen, so much going on with you! It's been a while since I checked in here at your blog. You sound busy, but incredibly blessed.