February 24, 2011

Random Musings...AGAIN!

I must get better at coming up with titles for my posts!  I think people are starting to learn my secret...I'm really not that creative!  I just grab hold of other people's ideas and run with them!  Ok, now you know!  Anyway, just a bunch of random things on my mind today, so I'll share, in no particular order!

--It's snowing again!?!?!?!  Seriously?!?!?!?  Bring back those 60* days we were having last week.  All the sledding and such was fun last time it snowed, but I am over that now.  Ready for some sun, capri pants, flip flops, and time spent outside with the kiddos!
--I am really enjoying the new book our small group is doing.  It's "Family Driven Faith" by Voddie Baucham (I may have spelled his name wrong...sorry!).  Good book for all parents to read.  But, hear me out, he's very opinionated and the chances of anyone agreeing 100% with what he says are slim to none!  I know Kevin and I haven't, but it's been great for making us think about what we do as a family (and a couple) and why we do them.  It has really made us become much more intentional with our children, especially in spending more time in the Word with them in order to have them grounded in the Faith.  We aren't even halfway through, yet, but it's been pretty convicting!  Can't wait to read more!
--We have been going without TV this week, and, not be prideful, but I am doing waaaaay better than I thought I would.  I mean, I love TV!  Especially in the afternoons while folding laundry and vacuuming, etc.  But, I haven't missed it nearly as much as I thought I would.  Really, the only time of the day I have wished I could turn it on is while I am getting dinner ready.  Usually I let the kids watch PBS Kids while I make dinner, but, of course, that wasn't an option this week.  Man, has our tiny little kitchen been full while cooking dinner this week.  At one point, I had to push everyone out just so I could move around in there!  I must admit, however, it was still pretty fun!  We're trying really hard to watch what the kids are seeing an hearing (especially Sophie since she seems to have a photographic memory at the moment) and this was just one way to do that.  Don't know if we'll keep up with no TV, but I know we will come up with some kind schedule (I was going to say restriction, but that sounds so negative!) in order to watch less of it than normal! 
--I discovered Pandora this week while abstaining from TV.  I have really enjoyed it!  I actually play it through the computer that runs the TV so I can get it nice and loud!  Ok, not that loud, Kevin's office is attached to the living room and he does have to work, but I can turn it up louder than I could the laptop, so it has been nice.  Anyone know of a similar service that provides an unlimited number of listening hours each month for no cost?  I know, I am cheap!  But hey, you gotta save money where you can, right?
--March will mark one year that we have been following the principles we have learned through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.  I have to be honest and say that we aren't super strict about it, but it has been good for us.  I think we are spending less in most areas than we were before, which is good.  And, we now set aside money for date nights, which we never did before....now...if we would actually ever have a date night!  ;) 
--One of the things I found convicting in "Family Driven Faith" was where he talked about carving out time just for you and your spouse.  He said it's good to get away once in awhile just the two of you, no kids.  Wow!  I have always thought that would be nice, but never thought about actually doing it.  But, it makes total sense.  How can you run your home together if you're totally out of touch with each other because it's been months since you had a real conversation?!?!?!  Anyway, Kevin and I will be working to have at least one weekend away from the kids at some point this year.  It's a must!!!!!!!
--Must.have.lots.of.dental.work.done!  Did  mention I hate the dentist?  Not looking forward to the visits or to handing out that much money!  I may need to get a job just to support my teeth!  ;)
--I just have to say it again....snow?!?!?!  Really?!?!?!  GO AWAY!!!!!
--Sophie starts school in the fall.  How is this possible?  Will she really be 5 in April?  It seems like just yesterday we were standing in Lauren and Kevin's bathroom in Austin staring at a pregnancy test, speechless over the fact that it was positive!  Where did the time go!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?  Honestly, I am scared to death about sending her to school.  I am totally worried about what she'll be hearing and seeing.  But, God is in control and I must place her in His hands at all times.  She's safer there, anyway!  I will, however, appreciate any prayers of protection over her and her mind in the next 12 or so years!
--I made a new schedule for the kids and I last week.  It's a very loose, easy-flowing schedule, and it's working really well so far!  Thank you, Lord, for helping me find a balance and being able to stick to it!  I've even gotten some exercise everyday!!!  Yay!  Amazing how much that makes you feel better and improves your mood, too!

Well, I guess that's enough for now!  I'll see you all later...if inspiration strikes again!

February 14, 2011

College Days, The Final Installment!

Well, as it's Valentine's Day and the best thing that happened to me my senior year, happened on Valentine's Day, it's appropriate to finish the story today!

My senior year of college was so different than any of the other years.  I was only involved in one theatre production, and then only because it was written and directed by one of my best friends.  I had switched from New Ed to Praise Song, and Weast was gone, not to mention that I was graduating and had no idea what I wanted to do after I finished.  But, God had a plan!  Who knew that making the move from New Ed to Praise Song would seriously change my life in such a huge way!  That's where I met Kevin.  He was a freshman that year (insert "robbing the cradle" jokes here.)  He was Praise Song's guitar player, but it was just as much God's hand that he was there as it was for my being there!  See, when Kevin first came to check out HLG he planned to try out for the baseball team.  By some fluke...ok, it was no fluke, it was God, when he was visiting his brother (who was an HLG student and pitcher on the baseball team) he found out about Praise Song and ended up auditioning for that instead of the baseball try out!  Boy, am I glad he did!  Thank you Lord, for changing our paths, even when it seems like it doesn't make any sense!

Anyway, throughout the year Kevin and I got to be close friends and would even stay up late at night instant messaging on the computer.  That year was the first year they had a date auction where they let girls participate (I may have that fact wrong, I didn't really attend the date auctions), and for some unknown reason, I decided to participate.  I have no idea what possessed me to do such a thing, but I thought, "Hey, Kevin Allen is doing it, I can, too!"  Just to ease your mind's, that is not the philosophy with which I live my life!  (Sorry, Kev!)  Anyway, that night became a turning point for us.  It turns out that some friends of ours (I think Marcus and Michelle Hurt, Jessica Bonvillianand maybe even a few others) bought both of us and told us to just go on a date together.  We had that date on Valentine's Day 2001.  That's the night we started dating and we've been together ever since! 

Of course, more happened to me my senior year than that, but it all pales in comparison!  I remember feeling very stressed and very worried because I had no idea what in the world I was going to do once I graduated.  The only thing I really had a passion for was acting, but didn't see anything I would be doing with that!  So, I graduated without a job and headed into the summer still clueless (and without that "ring by spring"....and no...I didn't get my money back!)  Two weeks before school started in the Fall of 2001, I got a job as a teacher's aide in a special ed class.  One week after school started, the teacher quit and I ended up as a permanent sub in the class (Yes, feel free to laugh or choke, either would be appropriate!)  I loved the kids, but believe me, teaching is not my gift, especially with 1-5 grade special ed students!  We played a lot of UNO (though, you'd be amazed the amount of social skills one can learn from that game) and watched a lot of School House Rock, and even the occasional Veggie Tales (if you cut off King George and the Rubber Ducky before QWERTY takes over, there aren't any Biblical references!), but they learned very little!  Then, in January I moved to Dallas to work at Prestonwood Baptist church, first as a welcome desk receptionist, then as a ministry assistant.  While there, I also helped out in the children's department where my friend Kevin was writing their scripts.  It was while I was at Prestonwood that I met Willie Aames while he was playing Bibleman.  Their children's minister hooked me up with them after the show and less than a month later I was out in Hollywood doing a costume fitting, then headed to Portland to film my first 2 episodes.  Of course, all this happened about a week after I had accepted a job as an admissions rep for HLG, so I had to go to Dr. Carty and ask him for two weeks off pretty much as soon as I started working!  Very glad that he said yes!

Anyway, from there, I think most of you know the story!  Thanks for keeping up with me!  I know that I wasn't as good at outlining how amazingly present God's hand was at all times, but I hope you were able to see it anyway!  God is good!  He always has a plan, regardless of whether or not we can see it.  Thank you, Lord, for seeing all, knowing all, and never forsaking us!  And, Lord, thank you for that sweet Valentine's date 10 years ago that started a relationship that is still going strong today!  I haven't always been the best wife or mother, but thanks for the blessings you have lavished upon me, anyway!

February 12, 2011

College Days, Installment Number 2

Sophomore Year:
I have to be honest and say that I don't remember a whole lot about my sophomore year.  Maybe it just wasn't exciting enough or maybe I was just too busy, who knows!  The thing I remember most about that year is that Kevin and Lauren spent the spring semester at Harlaxton while they were filming The Haunting there.  We sure missed them, but, in the dorms, we were reaping the benefits of the group that left.  I lived on the 3rd floor of Pulliam that semester, which was a lot of fun, but got even more fun in the spring because 6 of the 7 students that went to England that semester came from our floor!  We ended up with like 3 empty rooms and only about 8 people living on that floor.  It was nice!  And even better, the room that now belongs to the RA on that floor was still a TV room then!  It's really the only time in college I watched much TV because no one was ever in there!  Q and I would sit in there and do homework on Wed. nights.  It was relaxing and fun!

One of the fun things I remember is that in New Ed, we all got Spice names that year!  (Yes, that is when the Spice Girls were popular and Heather Creeth was a huuuuuuuge fan!)  Let's see, we had Single Spice, World's Most Eligible Bachelor Spice, Scary Theology Spice (ST. Spice for short), Distraction Spice, and Old Spice.  I know there were more, but I just can't remember them at this moment!

I am sure there must have been some kind of drama happening, but I really can't remember any!  I guess God was blessing me with a slow year to prepare me for the next two crazy years!!!!

Junior Year:
This was Weast's final year at HLG and Katsion's first, I think.  It was a lot of fun and a lot of craziness all packed into one year!  One of the first great memories of the year comes right from the set of Schoolhouse Rock Live!  We were on stage and Weast was giving us notes while Dr. K was trying to give instructions to the lighting team.  Of course, we were being totally loud, so he was having to talk really loudly.  But, just as we went completely silent, he says, very loudly, "Go to half!"  I still laugh pretty hard every time I think of that story.  This was also the year of the set falling apart during The Curious Savage.  Man, that was soooo funny.  "Oh dear, I broke your door!"  Best.Improv.Ever!  Lauren Allen, you are my hero!

This was also a crazy year for trying to get things done.  Weast pretty much let the juniors that year take the reins of Schoolhouse, so we were doing lots of work during lots of late nights!  I spent the first 2 months of school very sleep deprived!  All of this was happening at the same time that we were doing our 8 week Stage Make-Up class.  Man, that was so stressful for some reason.  I know that on at least one occasion, I pretty much spent the whole class sitting in Weast's lap crying because the make up just wasn't working out the way I wanted!  Wow!  There's nothing quite like sleep-deprived make-up drama!

I also had my first, actual college boyfriend this year.  Started out great, ended not so well!  We were both Comm Arts majors, so we had every class together.  Ok, he wasn't in New Ed, but that's seriously like the only class we didn't have together!  So, while we were dating it was a good time for all involved.  Of course, with the horribly rough break up we had, life was miserable for all involved the next semester!  But, again, God is good and we were able to put all that behind us and get back to being human beings again!

It was during my time in summer New Ed before this year began that God began moving my heart in another direction.  I am not kidding when I say that every camp we did that summer was studying Isaiah ch. 6.  God was really trying to get a message to me, but I didn't catch on until almost the last camp.  At that camp, I was really struck by the fact that, before he really even knew what he was getting into, Isaiah responded with, "Here am I, send me."  His instructions didn't come until after he said he was willing to do whatever he was asked.  I knew that I had pretty much put God in a box and already told him what I was and wasn't willing to do for Him.  He really opened my eyes that I needed to be willing to do whatever He asked, to use whatever gifts He had given me, regardless of my opinion of how much of that gift He had given, for Him.  It was shortly after that I felt Him leading me to audition for Praise Song.  This was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone!  I love singing, but I'm not that great, my voice isn't very strong, and I've never studied anything with music or singing, so I wasn't really sure what He was up to.  Even more, that meant I had to go to Weast and tell her that I was planning to audition for Praise Song.  I remember being so nervous to do that!  I had no idea what her response would be, but she was very supportive.  So, I began preparing for the audition, went, and had no idea what the outcome would be.  As most of you know, I made the group and prepared myself to leave the comfort of New Ed and head into the new world of Praise Song!  That decision would change my life forever...in a great way!  But, you'll have to wait until my senior year to hear all about it!

February 10, 2011

College Days

So, as I was thinking of my time in college, I was really shown how much God really took care of me and provided for me.  He had a plan all along, even though I couldn't see it and at times wanted nothing to do with anything other than my plan, regardless of how dumb it may have been.  Just so you know, this post is very nostalgic and if you weren't there, will probably bore you to tears.  You may not want to waste any more time reading further down the page!  I won't be offended at all!

Freshman Year:
I entered college in the fall of 1997.  Yes, it does seem like it was a millennium ago!  For the first two weeks it felt like church camp, but then reality finally started setting in.  I was an education major (yes, let out that chuckle, I think it's pretty funny, too!), but also on a theatre scholarship, so I was in Players, Acting 1, and College Theatre Studio.  My days were filled with lots of drama, as I was even more the drama queen then than I am now (imagine Sophie, only 18!)  I met some of the best friends I have ever and will ever have.  They truly seem like family.  I've never been so stupid and dumb about boys in my life.  I have no idea what happened to my brain.  I mean, I've never been super smart, but I was never boy crazy or willing to shut off common sense for a guy....well, not until I started college anyway!  Praise God He gave me friends with wisdom beyond their years and a heart for me that still doesn't make sense!  God kept me out of what could have been some scary situations, and I thank Him for that.  I think the best part of freshmen year was the "saga of the Acting 1 journals."  You see, in Acting 1 we were required to keep a journal of things we observed  or heard, or whatever, that could help us as actors later.  As an actor, one of your greatest assets is the skill of observation.  Well, as most of us did with Bible journals, we saved up all our journal entries until the night before they were due.  So, we spent half the night at Country Kitchen (those cinnamon rolls were to die for, right, Kevin Allen?) and the other half at Steak-N-Shake writing them.  Of course, we didn't stop to think that we were all writing about all the same things, and telling quite the story of the "illegal" relationships currently going on or just ended (those in the same ministry teams were not allowed to date)...and of course...when Weast read them, was able to put the whole story together pretty quickly.  I'll never forget the warning she wrote, directed at all of us, in my journal.  "Remember, you are not allowed to date within the group."  I was terrified she was going to kick me out!

I think the worst, non-guy moment (and there were plenty!) happened either just before or just after the start of the spring semester.  Weast decided to move 4 freshmen up to New Ed, and I was not one of them.  Truth be told, New Ed was really the only reason I wanted to attend HLG, and that I ultimately chose it over other schools.  I had been watching New Ed perform since I was in elementary school and loved them every time I saw them.  I wasn't totally sure what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew that I wanted to be in New Ed.  I was crushed when she chose those 4 for two reasons.  One reason was that I was just starting to be good friends with the two girls she moved up and now I would hardly ever see them because they would be gone pretty much every weekend.  The other reason was way more selfish.  I just wanted to be in the group!  I wanted that spot!  That was, after all, why I came here!  Why were they chosen and not me?  I knew I wasn't the best actress on campus, but I also wasn't the worst and I just didn't get it.  I moped for weeks, trying to hide it so no one would know how terribly selfish or hurt I was.  I still don't know exactly why I wasn't chosen that year, but that turned out to be good, too, because talk about a group of personalities!  Pretty sure they would have eaten my lunch and I would have been totally miserable.  In fact, the summer that group traveled together is "lovingly" referred to as the summer from Hades by anyone who knew even one member of that group!  Thank you Lord for unanswered prayers!  He knew what he was doing all along.  Thank you for Weast listening to you and thank you for sparing me a lot of pain!

This post is already too long, so over the next few weeks I'll fill you in on my other years (not that you asked me to!)

Time Flies, Kids Grow, One Chapter Begins Where Another Ends

So, last night as I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep, I realized that this May I will be able to celebrate that I graduated from college 10 years ago!  That made me feel pretty old!  Then, I realized that it was 14 years ago this fall that I stepped onto the HLG campus as a first-time freshman (that's FF-FA97 for those of you in admissions, registrar, financial aid, or the business office!).  I am just amazed at how time flies!  And, I am amazed at how good God is, and was in that time.  College was one of the best, craziest, silliest emotionally draining times of my life and I can't imagine having survived it without Him, even if most of the time I wasn't really thinking much about Him or I was wondering where He was...He was there all the time. I am so thankful He led to a Christian college.  I never would have survived in a secular school.  Don't get me wrong, I do think God calls some Christian students to be salt and light on secular campuses, but I was not one of them.  I was so young and naive and trusting that I would have been eaten alive before the end of my first semester!  Yes, God is good and is always in control!

This week, for the first time, Sophie made her own lunch all by herself (well, I heated it in the microwave, but she did the rest.)  She made a pepperoni and cheese "pizza" on a tortilla.  I went to change Ethan's diaper and came back and she had it ready to go in the microwave.  I wasn't sure if I should be proud that she was able to do it all on her own, or sad that there was one less thing she needed me to do!  Ok, I was both!  She is just growing up too fast!  I can't believe that she will be 5 this year.  Where, oh where, does the time go?!?!?!?!

Well, I guess I should let you all know: I am hanging up the cape (which, according to The Incredibles, is safer for me, anyway) as Bibleman has come to an end.  Though I don't really know all the details, the company that owned Bibleman closed down the portion of their company that produced all the Bibleman videos, etc., last fall.  As far as I know, there are no plans to make any more videos.  It's kind of weird, a year or two ago I think this would have had me sitting in tears for at least a week and I would have been doubting that I was ever supposed to do anything with theatre or acting again. (Ok, I can be a bit of a drama queen.)  But, again, God's timing is perfect.   After spending many months praying about what God wanted me to do with this gift He's given me, I have been so blessed to be able to do quite a bit at church, even though Bibleman will be no more.  Even more, I have two wonderful children and an amazing husband and I feel more fulfilled and joyful now than ever before.  God has truly made me content where I am and blessed me beyond measure!  I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been part of such a unique ministry and with such sweet, God-loving people.  But, I am just as excited to see all that lies ahead and how God will continue to move in all our lives, with or without Bibleman!!!

 Old School Summer New Ed in San Antonio (I think) summer 1999.
 The HLG Valentine Banquet my senior year.
Bibleman in Germany!

February 02, 2011

Pics

Kevin is working on some stuff, and I am trying to be supportive and keep him company down here, so I've been playing a little with Picnik.  Granted, I am far too cheap to pay to be able to do the cool stuff, so it's really simple.  Anyway, thought that I would share those pics with you!  Love these kiddos and and love these pics.  We've had quite a bit of fun during our "snow days".  Of course, snow days for us aren't really all that different from a regular day, we just can't get the care out to run errands and we play in the snow after lunch!