Sunday, April 27, 2014

AM~Erica's Lit'l Playwright

So anyway...

If you remember, Teen Girl had been selected, just over a year ago, to be on the Coterie Theater's Young Playwrights Roundtable. (reminder of it HERE) They are on it until they graduate. And they get some great feedback & inspiration from each other! It's a pretty awesome & big deal! It is quite an honor to have the opportunity to get your original work read & accepted by the theater to be a part of this group!

This group also uses each other to bounce ideas off of & to be able to hear their work verbally acted out by other playwrights in the room. This is so the playwright of the piece can hear how it sounds out loud, as well as get feedback from the room.

Along with this is a goal to have an original piece done on the Coterie stage! This opportunity can come during the Young Playwrights Festival at the end of the season. Even though there are around 20-ish on the roundtable, only 8 or so pieces of submitted material are selected to be performed at the festival. And, it is done on the Coterie stage.
big-Big-BIG deal! BIG!

Here's kind of what goes down:
If the playwright's piece is selected, there is a casting director that actually casts the play from the Coterie master acting classes & some of the playwrights (who are familiar with the pieces anyway). There is a director appointed to the piece. The playwright gets to be in the 1st rehearsal for the read-thru so they can give their notes to the actors of their vision. There is a bit of blocking that can take place. There is not much for memorization, so it becomes a glorified readers theater...with some props & costuming. Some of the stage directions are read aloud from another voice.
This basically becomes a rough draft for an audience to get a feel of what the piece might be like on stage. And, yes...there is an audience. The Coterie sells tickets for the festival.
Did I mention that this is a BIG deal? Just checking.

OK...I told you all of that to tell you this:
Teen Girl had a material submission accepted into this year's festival!!!

There were stacks & stacks of material submitted, and only 8 pieces accepted to be performed on the Coterie stage!!!

So, she got to sit in on the read-thru of her piece, with the cast & director, got to give her vision on parts of her piece, and was in tears of overwhelment (yes...I just created that word) witnessing a cast & director at work of her original piece.

She is a playwright. She will have a piece done ON the Coterie stage. It's a big deal, yo.
A big-Big-BIG deal! BIG!

Even more exciting? She will also get to perform on the Coterie stage! That's right...the casting director placed her in 3 of the 8 pieces being done! And she is not in her own work. So...she is involved in half of what is happening on the stage!

We've known about her piece being accepted for about 2 or 3 weeks now. We've had time to process it. But word is now getting out quickly, and the newness of all of this has kicked up all over again...

This past week, Teen Girl's theater teacher told the theater class/group that there was a big announcement that needed to be made. The whole class was making guesses about what it could be. The were asking him if it was good news or bad news. He did let them know it was good news. Then the guesses started up again...and they came to the conclusion that he was probably adopting a kid. Instead of telling the group the big announcement, he told them to, "...just read this." He, then, put the official email he received from the artistic director & head of the roundtable of Coterie about Teen Girl! She wasn't expecting it. The group freaked out & started congratulating her! She got very emotional. She wasn't prepared for it. And now her ITS (International Thespian Society) troupe is getting a group together to see it as one of the official shows they take in for the year!

It's funny...her piece is called "Anxiety." I don't want to give too much away about it right now, but the title says it all. Basically it's how anxiety can mess with an individual's head. It would be considered a drama, but there's no tissues needed. It's more intense & thought-provoking. It left her fellow playwrights mesmerized. But it's a subject she has dealt with in her own head...and it will be out there for all to see. And now, several of her fellow actors from school, whom she does look up to &/or sees their talents (which she compares herself to, sometimes), are now speaking to her by name. Ones that haven't willingly spoken to her in the past. And, even though she keeps her guard up about it, she is really blown away by these others who are coming out of the woodwork to express their congratulatory greetings & expressing their excitement to come see her & her piece.
Interestingly enough...this is causing her...uh...anxiety.

She is suddenly more accepted into a group by these great efforts than for who she is. Even after her large rolls in the dramas the last couple of years. (lead role posting HERE from last year, plus a large role this year, too) It's nice. She's thrilled...but she finds it weird that she has been such a wallflower & now she has an overwhelming amount of people vying for her attention. But she knows her true friends...and she is grateful for the support she's received to get to this point. She is a bit weirded out by her new semi-celebrity-type status.

This week is going to be crazy! Rehearsals are running rampant & we have a lot of driving to Crown Center & back...
...but it means she will get to put on a resume' that she has had original work performed on the Coterie stage, as well as performing on the Coterie stage.

(information about the festival HERE)

It's a big deal, yo. A big-Big-BIG deal! BIG!

And we are so proud of our abundantly talented playwright-actress-singer-performer. So proud! And she is learning to be proud of herself, too. Can't wait til it hits the stage!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Friday, April 25, 2014

AM~Erica Ran for Pi

So anyway...

Things have been supercrazybusyhectic lately. In the midst of so much this spring, as well as wrapping things up for the school year AND planning out the summer. I can hardly keep anything straight.

In the midst of all of this, I've picked up this running thing. And I'm actually keeping up with it so far! (read my journey HERE)

As I continue this adventure, I have tried to push myself a bit, keep eating the right way (as best as I can), and witnessing the changing of my body...especially my legs!

*Stupid Side Story*

Several days ago, I was sitting on the couch & had an itch on the back of my leg. I reached under my leg so I could scratch the back of my thigh for relief...then I felt something weird...
I felt a swelling on the back of my leg. It was like a large growth had appeared! I was a bit nervous about it. Before I freaked out, I thought I'd check the back of my other leg to get a good comparison...but I felt the same thing on the back of my OTHER leg!
Uh...I figured out I was getting muscles. My hamstrings were growing in the process!
(giggles & a face palm were in order)

...back to our regularly scheduled programing...

As I am on this journey, I am figuring out a few things.


~ I definitely run better in the morning
~ I am pretty happy with my playlist
~ The first mile stinks!
~ So does the second.
~ I keep telling myself that tutus & medals will make this worth it!
~ Fellow runner & fitness folks are an incredibly encouraging bunch!
~ I may, apparently, be considered a runner.

A couple of my encouraging friends made sure to share this with me.
Yep...just imagine this while you're out.

What I have accomplished in the last nearly four weeks has amazed me. And I'm gearing up to do a test run (yes...slight pun intended) in just over a week! Why this one? Why now? Because I can get in the 5k distance & it's free. If I screw this one up, I won't feel as bad.

I have been close to hitting the 3.1 miles while training. There are days when I just don't have it in me. But my recent "bad days" are far greater than a good day 4 weeks ago from right now. It's perspective, I guess...

However, when I finally went the 5k distance, I cried about it. A lot. It was very emotional for me! Even though I walked part of it...I still did it! My next goal was to RUN the whole time. I wanted to know that I could run the whole distance...

Well...that day came. That day was today. I ran the whole 5k distance...and a little extra...

If you want to be all nerd-technical about it, and even though I'm not a math kind of gal...I ran for pi.

I. Ran. For. Pi.

That's 'e'. I went the mathematical number of ∏! A whole 3.14 miles...and I ran it. I RAN IT!

(check out & keep up with progress HERE)

But let me tell sure wasn't easy as piE! Today was a hard run. HARD! I pushed myself...HARD! I was hurting...and I got mad at myself for having a body that hurt...and I began to angry run. And after I shook that off & knew how close I was...I began talking to body...out keep it moving. And you know what. I did it. I DID IT! Did I mention that I hurt?

Today was definitely a long-hot-shower, gee-I-am-going-to-need-Advil day.

But you know what else? Thru the pushing, the pain, the talking it thru (oh my sounds like being in labor), I can say I did it.

I ran a whole 5k.

I ran for pi.

image via Alpha Lambda Delta of University of Minnesota 2nd Annual Pi Run 2012 (link HERE)


And it's not even Pi Day! (read my Pi Day celebrations HERE)

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, April 17, 2014

AM~Erica is Different

So anyway...

Things have been so busy lately, I've hardly had time to think!!

It's Maundy Thursday of Holy Week. And during this Lenten season, some things have taken place that made me think & realize I'm a very different person.

Wait, wait...I know, I know. Actually we should ALL know that I am, in fact, a very different person! That's not a fact that can be hidden. But that's not what I'm talking about...
My different is different. My different is different today than it was 20 years ago!

Let's see:
* 20 years ago, right now, I was in the midst of a breakup. A very bad relationship that went on way too long. I was not in the right state of mind, and certainly did not want back in another relationship for a very long time...if ever. Yes. It was bad. Little did I know that I was just a few months away from meeting my soul mate.

* 20 years ago, right now, I had very long hair! After a series of years of crazy awful perms & haircuts...I made the decision, in 8th grade, to grow out my hair. And I did not let scissors touch my hair until I was out of high school. I was on the verge of chopping my hair off into a bob...because I could & I knew I needed a change!

* 20 years ago, right now, I was finishing up another dance competition season & getting ready for recital. Dance was my life. I lived & breathed dance...and probably should have been one who could have used dorms at the studio...if it had dorms attached.

* 20 years ago, right now, dance was my only means of being in shape. And I was! But that's about all I knew. I mean, I did some acting stuff at church & was only kind of involved there, but that was it. So that meant that if I wanted something to eat, either I wait for my mom to make it...or throw something in the microwave. Seriously.

* 20 years ago, right now, I was also working in the banking business.

* 20 years ago, I had no idea how to do housework. Well, I could do some laundry...but not much else besides that. No vacuuming, dusting, cooking...I mean, if I was forced to because company was coming, I might. But other than

* 20 years ago, right now, I'd already made up my mind that I was probably not going to have kids. Why? A high school birthing video messed with my head! I already stated that after I'd come home that day. So I had no thoughts of kiddos. When it would come to mind...I'd remember that video...*shudders*

* 20 years ago, right now, I still didn't have fashion sense. Oh...I tried...but I have seen pics of me from around then. I've come to realize it was a, "...bless her heart. At least she was trying," kind of thing.

* 20 years ago, right now, I could not find my own way around the KC area on my own! Someone had to take me or I'd freak out! I knew my way around my hometown, but not much outside of that. I had been known to pull over & cry after I nervously took a few wrong turns. Not good.

* 20 years ago, right now, I was going thru the motions of my faith. I went to church & claimed to be a Christian because it's how I grew up. No matter how busy I was (notice I didn't say "involved"), I was truly clueless. Truly.


So much has changed in this 20 years since then. I have since met & married my soul mate (my Prince Charming story HERE), had 3 kiddos, become a SAHM, not nearly danced as much, not nearly performed as much, figured out how to bake AND cook...and have even written my own recipes (cooking blog HERE), can clean only a little more, became lazy except for a few dance ministry things here & there, took up yoga & quit yoga (because I loved my instructor & realized they are not all created equally), found some fashion since, cut off my hair, and have figured my way around the KC area, oh...and became the wife of a pastor when he received his calling (my thoughts on this HERE). And I have moved out of my comfort area for a little while...but got to come back.

These are huge steps! I've been a soccer mom, a flag football mom, a theater mom; I've written a couple of plays (for kiddos), and in the midst of taking on a bigger project right now (more on that in the future). I have prepared scripts from scripture & narrated for cantatas. I've also taken on serious costuming & life celebrations, too! (read about some of those HERE) I've started dance groups & have done musical choreography. I've directed dramas & dramatic sides of church productions. I've gotten to teach dance. (my blog post about dancing HERE)

I am now a coffee snob with my hubby & grind hubby's & my favorite beans (read about it HERE). And I enjoy a glass of antioxidant-fortified Jesus water from time-to-time with my hubby. Even though I drank coffee a little bit when I was 18, and I certainly never thought I'd enjoy we are.

I have ridden in a NASCAR, I've gone white water rafting & horseback riding in the mountains. I have gotten to watch my kids stand in the ocean...

And I am much stronger in my faith & in my Christian walk. Not in the religion...but in my beliefs & my own personal testament. I can become overwhelmingly emotional just by reading a line of scripture or a hymn that hits me deeply.

I have gotten to see my kiddos accomplish so much. They are very different children with their own interests...and I love watching them excel at the passions they have! I have been moved to tears so many times when I get to witness them do what they do best...on their own.

We are getting ready for a graduation even.


Now is a reason why I reflect on so much of this: the where I was at to the where I'm at now...

This will be a HUGE step for me to even say...but yes...I did hit a milestone recently. When I talk about 20 years ago...well...that's when I was newly 20. I'll let you do the math from there...

Even though that day & weekend were completely filled with so many other things, and I'm not a big celebrator of me, it was fine that it was just another day. No big whoop. And I'm serious when I say that! I get really weird about it... My hubby was just hoping to work in some dinner after a very busy day. And I had to pick. Bleh...

So, on the way home from having Teen Girl's last Coterie meeting of the season (about that HERE), I decided on a dinner place, called hubby to tell him...and continued on home...
...just to find cars parked up & down our street...and I realized they were for our house!
Oh hubby & Teen Girl (and the boys) are SO sneaky!!

When I realized they were, in fact, for our house...I just looked at Teen Girl. She looked at me, semi-smugly, and said, "Ummm...just look surprised. OK?"

But the fact was, I recognized only 1 car at a quick glance. Truth was...I had no idea who was waiting on the other side of that door! But it was a lot like Romper Room (who remembers that show?) when they pulled out the magic mirror:
I started pointing out all the sweet friends, life group members, family that were there. I really had NO idea what was happening! And dinner was not my restaurant choice! But that was not a big deal as I was only trying to pick a place. It was buffet style. And I got to have shrimp!

And they were all, at least seemingly, very encouraging & supportive of my new endeavor.

I know putting it this way might sound like denial of sorts...but it's not. As you many know, I have taken up running. Now, here's the denial that's not really denial, but more of a mindset change: it's NOT a mid-life crisis! It had nothing to do with age or where I'm at in life. It literally started with this motivation, HERE!

My first post run after less than a mile. But I made it!

And I've been sticking with it for 2 & a half weeks now. I've signed up for a race at the end of August. It's the Blacklight Run 5k in KC. And as I hit that button to make the registration official...I knew I was in for sure. No turning back. Keep moving forward...
And? I get to run on a team with someone who got me I'll see another of them out there! I know there's others I know doing this & hoping to get some more onto the GLOWden Girls team! *shameless plug*

I was also told about the free 5k here! It is to be happening WAY before I figured I'd be ready, but I thought that I could make it a "test run" (yes...slight pun intended). Well, I've already hit my goal of 3.1 miles now! I can't believe it, myself! So...I signed up for it. I know I won't beat myself up if I walk any of it since it's a free run. And I won't feel bad if I end up laying on the side for a while. Did I mention it's free?

After 2 weeks...this was taken post run.
It was emotional...I surprised myself hitting the 3.1 mile mark!

I have gotten running shoes, a great tracking app on my phone, assembled (and still assembling) an empowered playlist for when I'm out there.

My awesome Saucony running shoes

Never have I gone running on my own...nor have I ever thought running 3 miles would be OK! Even if it was Rule #1 for Columbus! (that's a Zombieland reference, folks)

It's the first time I've ever been motivated to run! I would be graded on the 1 mile in school. But that's really it, I think. I've done a couple other walks & things...but I was still in high school when those happened. For the 1st time, I'm OK with this. I have goals, I have motivation. I also have incredible support! Like from my hubby. That's a big deal! He & a couple of friends have been serious boulders for me in these last couple of weeks...

Even if the encouragement comes with a little bit of ribbing, probably even 3 weeks ago, that you would not see me running. However..."something has changed within me. Something is not the same..."

These last 2 & a half weeks have been quite emotional as I keep hitting landmarks in my journey. And I'm looking forward to more goals being set...maybe even Race for the Cure. I've been wanting to do this one for years. This may be a bucket list thing I can finally cross off the list.

And I want to thank all of you for the support you've given...whether you're a runner or not.

Here's what's going on:

I am different.
My kind of different is different.
My kind of different is different than it was 20 years ago...

What will the future hold?

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

AM~Erica's Journey on the Pavement Continues

So anyway...

After getting inspired & finding motivation (reminder HERE), I have kept wanting to keep going!

Imagine my surprise when I woke up early on Monday, which was Day 2, wanting to get back into the running shoes & try again. I hurt. Just so sore...but I wanted to work thru it!

So, I had some coffee & was getting myself together, looking into some good energy foods for breakfast & drinking plenty of water...I got those shoes on, did a few stretches, got one an app prepared on my phone...and off I went!

Before & after of the Day 2 run. I wasn't excited about how I did...but I still got out there!
Tutus & medals, people!

I have discovered a couple of apps to help me out (of course there's an app for that), and what a great help to get that kick start going. I have also gained awesome support from friends! The avid runners & not-so-avid runners. I appreciate it SO MUCH!!

I will have to say that Day 2 was rough...I still got out there! The wind was strong Monday morning & in the 60's. And I felt the soreness. I still went a tiny bit further than last time, but I did walk about half of the distance. Still not a mile. My goal, at this point, is just to conquer a whole mile, while still moving, by the end of the week. I went just short of a mile today. It's within my grasp...

However, I'm already wrung out. I took a nap late in the afternoon to help get dinner going.

Just after dinner, the family was watching 'Wheel of Fortune.' One of the contestants is a gal from KC. She does some charity work for Girls on the Run (the same charity the tutu runner from the SELF magazine debacle donates to & promotes), and she had finished a 5K & is training for more coming up.
Needless to say (but I will anyway), I got the message. Sounds like I need to keep going. Sounds like I'm gonna wear those tutus!

And? One of my Saturday inspirations brought up a Blacklight Run happening on August 29th. Sign up NOW for $20 registration (April 2nd deadline) before it bumps up to $60. heart is racing to think that I'm joining the "GLOWden Girls" team for the Blacklight Run!
I have some 5Ks that I want to take part in...but this is for real now, yo! I'm in!

People...pray for me...
Any one else wanna join in?

But it will involve glowing & tutus, yo! That's some of the motivation...and it will be with some of my inspiration. I'm nervous...but STOKED! And I'm emotional right now. So I'm gonna take some ibuprofen & cry it out...


Now I'm on Day 3. I just finished.

I woke up more sore & less motivated. I'm feeling drained. Take note: not dejected or done...just not as with it.

But I got the kiddos up & out the door for school...and then was trying to get my self focussed...

But the shoes beckoned...

And so, I got my coffee in me (otherwise that would be REALLY bad), and then slipped on my shoes...

I ate a decent breakfast...

...and after I got properly fueled, glanced at my motivation Pinterest board (HERE), and let it set while getting dinner going in the lazy cooker, I decided to try the C25K app that several friends recommended. I like it as a training app! My other app I used, which was recommended by another friend, is Runtastic. I like it since it shows how far I went.

I'm thrifty...and I really don't want to pay for either app, so I have the free version of both. But I do wish I could get both worlds together in one app! I would love the training part along with letting me know how far I went. But I digress...

For all you runners/walkers who get out there in 30 something degree're insane! I just want to put that out there. But guess what. I was out there in 30 something degree weather this morning. I went out and just did it! And I felt pretty good about it today...know why?

I know...I KNOW...I got my mile in today! I went for nearly 30 minutes & I definitely went further!
Woo Hoo!! Between the walking & running with the early stages of training...I hit my first real milestone!

And this is no April Fool's joke. I'm focussed. And I am getting so excited!! The GLOWden Girls team is growing & I am overwhelmed by the support! Thank you everyone!!

I'm a beautiful emotional wreck. I've never had this with walking or running before. I never got it. I'd try it, but was miserable & believing I just need to do it...*sad trombone*

But I am going to be doing the Blacklight Run WITH some of my inspirations! I'm going to see some inspirations! And when someone else joins because they are motivated now...I start crying again.

Wow...this is a lot to take in. A whole lot. I really had no idea.

I have even more motivation now. But it's still about the tutus & glowing & colors & bling. Just to keep things clear.

OK...I have other great things to focus on now, but wanted to keep anyone who cares up to date on my progress. Still grateful to my inspirations. And even more grateful to the myriad of encouragement!

Beautifully overwhelming.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica