Candy and Grace

 Bittersweet

Bittersweet

I've been on a reading streak recently and though I'm not even halfway through Shauna's Niequist's beautiful essay collection I can't help but recommend it based on the passage below.

So these days, I'm on the lookout for grace, and I'm especially on the lookout for ways that I withhold grace from myself and from other people. At first, showing people grace makes you feel powerful, like scattering candy from a float in a parade -- grace for you, grace for you. You become almost giddy, thinking of people in generous ways, allowing for their faults, absorbing minor irritations. You feel great, and then you start to feel just ever so slightly superior, because you're so incredibly evolved and gracious.

But then inevitably something happens, and it usually involves you confronting one of your worst selves, often in public, and you realize you're not throwing candy off a float to a nameless, dirty public, but rather that you are that nameless, dirty public, and that you are starving and on your knees, praying for a little piece of sweetness just one mouthful of grace. -Shauna Niequist from "Grace is the new math" in Bittersweet.

Posted on August 10, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

The Carwash

 The Carwash

The Carwash

When my son was younger he was afraid of the carwash. Young toddlers , they freak out about everything. They are so cute, but also... unpredictably unpleasant. I like spending time with him a lot more now that he is almost five. He has so many fun things to say and his sincere enthusiasm for running errands with me never fails to brighten my day. Now that he is older he LOVES the carwash so the other day I took him there as a special treat for him, me and our car.

As we pulled in he exclaimed "Oh mommy, I'm so exciting!"

To which I replied. "Yes sweetheart, you most definitely are."

Posted on May 27, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

The Scales

I learned about the Jewish concept of "weighing the scales" in someone else's favor a few months back from a book I read with my Bible Study. "Weighing the scales" is basically an enhanced version of giving someone the benefit of the doubt, looking kindly upon their actions before assuming the worst. It comes from the practice of rounding weight to the customers favor when selling something. I have always liked the idea even if the cynic in me does not. This video reminded me of weighing the scales. It is a more beautiful way to go about your day.

Posted on May 13, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.

Fail Big

photoComedy Improv classes are a strange thing. On the one hand it is a total blast. After a strenuous day in the office, and a crazy evening getting dinner on the table it’s both surreal and wonderful to spend the night pretending to be part of a machine that speaks Russian hip-hop (for example). On the other hand it is also rigorous. There are lots of rules to keep in mind. For example, in improv you should never asks questions. Asking questions slows down the energy of a scene. You should also always say YES or to be more exact “Yes…. And”. It’s the most famous rule; whatever someone says, you say yes to and then offer up your own suggestion. Did someone just suggest you are Charlie Chaplin reincarnated as a frog? Then get down on the floor, start hopping and maybe decide that you are also currently living in space. I mean, why not? It’s comedy improv. Anything is possible. The world is your oyster. It’s freeing and also terrifying. There have been days that I’ve struggled a lot during the classes. The overachiever perfectionist in me wants desperately to be A+ good at comedy improv, immediately of course.  I wish to be the GATE student of comedy improv. Unsurprisingly, I am not. The best way to get good at comedy improv is to totally commit and go for it. FAIL BIG they tell me!  Its another rule and one that I have trouble achieving. I fail a lot, but small style. Failing big is hilarious. Failing small is embarrassing for everybody involved. During comedy improv classes I try to get it through my thick skull “You are supposed to fail. They TOLD you to fail.” I think this has been the best lesson of all, that failing and taking risks is imperative to success, both on and off stage. I’m learning it slowly, one scene at a time.

Posted on February 26, 2013 and filed under Mighty List.

Leaving the MumbleCorps

drop-the-micUnlike many people I don’t fear public speaking. I’m generally happy to take the mic and start bossing (ahem) directing people. The problem is the mic doesn’t help if you mumble (check), speak too quickly (double-check) and have a smallish voice (three strikes-I’m out). Despite all this I’m still a relatively good public speaker, when I concentrate I can control all of those vocal issues but concentration is tricky when 100 people are staring at you. I’m a fairly good public speaker, but I want to be a great one. I want to facilitate large rooms of people with ease instead of frustration. I want to pick up a microphone with Kanye West-level confidence. So logically I'm creating a self-designed “run the room like a boss” course. First up are Comedy Improv classes. Have you ever seen people trained in improv comedy? They are amazing. They assimilate a suggestion and then immediately start performing with commitment and swagger. Rolling with the punches, fearlessness and communication with the audience is imperative for improv and if that’s not good training for running a room I don’t know what is. I’ve been doing the comedy improv classes for a little while and hope to blog about them eventually but until then I’m interested in hearing what else I might add to my coursework. Suggestions? Does anybody want to come over and yell "You have a voice!" at me King's Speech style? Be bold. :)

Posted on February 9, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.