Thursday, April 30, 2009

Just incase I was in any doubt...

I've spent a lot of time doubting this last week. Not so much "any doubt" as "an awful lot of doubt that occasionally flickers in to certainty" (and not in a good way) And its mostly my own fault.

*backtrack* On my first day, I almost quit. 10 minutes in, I had so much on my plate that I just wanted to curl up in a little ball and cry What I didn't share at the time was the reasons why I didn't (apart from good old-fashioned pig-headedness and refusing to be beaten by something so mundane as not having the faintest clue about how to do anything I'd been asked to do)

*present day* for future reference, I spend a lot of my time (well, a little bit of my time) sitting in the foyer feeling exhausted and trying to blend in and look like I'm working really hard (which rarely, if ever, works, as sitting and doing nothing is not a part of my job description...)

*backtrack* so I'm sitting there on my first day wondering what on God's green earth I've got myself in to when some random guy walks in (on your first day in a new school, there are LOTS of random guys) and introduced himself as the pastor of Petersfield Christian Fellowship & told me that they book out The Studio once a month for a worship meeting and would that be something I'd be interested in working on. Affirmation that I Was Meant To Be Doing This After All Number 1.

*still backtracked but forward a little* to the first day of the easter holidays. Having gone through The Studio diary and realised just how many (few) free weekends I had this term to see The Drummer and just how heavy all the set seems to be, I was starting to have another major wobble. When the guy I'm taking over from ups and comes out as a Christian, leading to a long conversation about how to manage the job AND still get to church on a Sunday (answer...with some difficulty, careful arrangement and overcoming the tiredness to go out again after you're at home on the sofa) Affirmation that I Was Meant To Be Doing This After All Number 2.

*present day -2* with a very tired quite unhappy Beautiful Intellectual after a rehearsal where nothing had gone right, the lights were all over the place and The Boss had gotten mildly irate that we opened in 2 days and had still not done a full run-through of the play yet. I had a very long very tearful conversation with The Drummer when I got home where I was wondering how much longer I could cope with the job and he was trying to persuade me not to quit. He asked what had happened to all the confidence I'd had over the Affirmations That I Was Meant To Be Doing This After All, and that just upset me even more because I hadn't felt I'd had any in so long. I had a little grumpy "well I wish I could have some more" strop, stamped my foot a bit, and went to bed.

*present day -1* Literal staggered in to school. Seriously lacking the energy to place one foot in front of the other, let alone put in a full days work then have a Dress Rehearsal. Fired off a few txts to The Gang, not expecting a huge amount other than sympathetic noises (which was really what I was after) and instead got informed that they were having a day of prayer and would be praying for me all day. Yesterday, nothing could go wrong. The Dress Rehearsal ran (from my point of view) like a dream and I didn't feel so tired or so emotional (and if you don't believe me, just ask The Drummer. I was *definitely* in a good mood last night) It hit me like a hard-hitting thing (WHAT?! I've worked 112 hours in 10 days with no time off. Give a girl a break for not coming up with a more creative simile!) that that was Affirmation that I Was Meant To Be Doing This After All Number 3 - when I remembered to ask for prayer, God stepped in again.

It reminded me of something Mrs Shep always tells me - prayer works, but only if you pray. And just incase I needed reminding, today I got Affirmations 4, 5, 6 and 7 (The Drummer,'s patience and love and encouragement for me when I was having a pre-show meltdown, a perfect first run with the lighting, Little Miss Dance sorting out the slideshow for the event immediately following the matinee and a fantastic site team who totally picked up the pieces from my *small* error (setting of the fire alarms all around the site with the smoke machine) with no problems)

Four in a day. In case I needed reminding that all I need to do is ask.

Love, etc.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A mixed bag

I'm so tired today I can barely tell which way is up, let alone what day of the week it is. And even at the times that my brain registers it's Thursday, there's no point in thinking about the weekend, as such a phenomena does not appear in my diary now until the end of May. I don't think I need to have another Pollyanna Day, as even when I'm flicking through my diary bemoaning how full it is, the Drummer's visits are highlighted in bright yellow & jump out of the business to make me smile.

That hectic busyness means that, yes, I'm totally and utterly exhausted 4 days in to term - as if starting work wasn't enough, on my second day in the job, I had to direct lighting at Portsmouth Guildhall for Rock Challenge, which meant a 7am departure from school and a midnight return to Petersfield. BUT. It meant that I got to direct lighting AT PORTSMOUTH GUILDHALL. On my SECOND DAY IN THE JOB.

That hectic busyness means that I seriously feel like I'm neglecting my friends, I feel cut off from Egham and, when I'm having a serious pity party, I feel neglected and like no-one is even missing me. BUT. The hectic busyness means that the days are flying by. I'm learning TONNES and each gig I get offered is more exciting than the last (slight lie there because nothing has yet beaten Rock Challenge, but that was pretty much a one off) (apart from when I get to do it again at the Southern Finals at the end of May) (and again at the Sheffield Arena at the beginning of July if we place in the top 6 in the Southern Finals) (Yes, directing lighting at the SHEFFIELD ARENA at the end of my first term. Yes)

That hectic busyness means that the Drummer is getting quite a lame deal of a girlfriend at the moment. Today he called me at lunchtime "just to hear my voice while I was awake," because all I've done for the last 5 nights is fall asleep on the phone to him. Literally (which has apparently made for some very interesting conversations that I have no recollection of...) (I totally get my own back every morning though while I GET TO WORK at 0745 and then call him to WAKE HIM UP. Yes. Exactly) The lame deal extends to having to sit and watch while I pack down the set when he's come to spend the weekend after a show week...the lame deal extends to a lot of "I miss your face/hugs/voice txts...the lame deal extends to him being almost as sleepy as me as he sits up waiting for me to get to bed and call him just so he knows I got home ok. But he gets to see me grow and thrive in a job we both know I was made for and was called to do. So he's ok with that.

As am I.

Love, etc.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I got asked the other day how I manage to juggle work & a social life in Hampshire with a social life in Surrey along with a boyfriend and a small but growing freelance career in both counties.

Answer?? Bang goes the social life. The boyfriend is getting increasingly used to seeing me sleep since by the time I get to him I'm normally shattered.

Sensible answer?? Like this:

My life is split across that stack, and calls on my best OCD tendencies to make sure nothing overlaps and clashes and that nothing gets missed. At any one time, making plans involves at least 2 of the above, if not more, with my PDA (mostly home & freelance use) and Work Daily Planner (obviously Work) being the 2 most essential items. If I lost either, I think the world would end. Its not a chance I'm willing to take! But then my jotter is always within a few feet of me to scribble down things I need to do, blog ideas, shopping lists, adresses and phone numbers etc, and my freelance book & work notebooks are never far behind incase the phone rings with bookings and/or changes of plan. So really, all 5 are never far from my grasp.

Sanity, however, is retreating rapidly. And I'd quite like it back! Routine, feel free to emerge, any time you feel good and ready. I'm waiting for you.

Love, etc.

p.s. you know you've MADE IT in my life when you're a social arrangement highlighted in yellow in my work planner because you are immovable. Aren't you the special ones!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Family Matters

Yesterday I had the loveliest day - lunch with my big sister, hot chocolate with my mum and a quick chat with dad about how his morning show had been while he fixed her computer, then cooked dinner with my little sister & had family film night with mum & dad and my little brother and said sister.
And the best thing about all of it?? Not one of them is actually related to me. My big sister adopted me when she was a finalist and I was a little Fresher dead scared of her and most of the rest of my Alpha group (I believe the bonding moment was the moment where we both collapsed in uncontrolable giggles at her phrase "well that's just a whole nother can of baked beans" Shep got mildly frustrated, and we just laughed more) My hot chocolate mum was one of my babysitting parents until we bceame prayer partners & now I come and go from their house as and when I'm free. The computer-fixing dad isn't married to my hot chocolate mum - he's actually one half of my original university parents who took me under their wing during my first year, feeding me and lending me their very gorgeous little ones whenever I wanted to play on the swings. And as for Mum, Dad and my little brother & sister - they've become my second family in the last eighteen months.
And where did I get all these extra family members from?? You've heard me say on here before that St Johns chanaged my life. These people adopted me and haven't looked back since. They've taught me a lot about myself and the world; they've looked after me and built me up and taught me to stand on my own two feet; they've given me love and support so totally above and beyond friendship.
They are truly the embodiment of the ideal church. One of my friends is struggling at the moment with the concept of church - feeling on the outskirts; not being looked after; not seeing the lauded ideal of "the family of Christ" and everytime we talk about it, I realise how lucky I am to have fallen so hard and so solidly on my feet that I have a home away from home & second third and fourth families to look after me.
There is a verse that goes something like,
"in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others"
Romans 12v5
I want to make people feel that welcome - I have work to do with some people, lots of work to do with others. But we're all called to work that out in our lives, so I've realised its about time I did.
Join me?? Because family matters.
Love, etc.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I saw this..

So a few years ago (possibly a good few years ago) the Royal Mail ran an ad campaign around the idea of "I saw this and thought of you" Obviously you were to then send said thing to said person via Royal Mail. The cynic in me saw this for what it was - a blatant plug to get more revnue for the Royal mail as email and other forms of virtual communication were on the increase. However, the increasingly (vomit-inducing) soppy side of me actually loves the idea. How many times a day do you see something that makes you think about someone, or reminds you of a situation with a person, or a memory of a certain time? Answer - often. Daily. More than daily. Very regularly at least.
Yesterday alone I had the following:
  • reading a magazine to be confronted with a double-page spread of turquoise dresses and accessories that made me think of Blue Eyes.
  • playing Top Golf with The Drummer & being reminded of going to play this time last year with my Littlest One & the now infamous "BUT THAT'S NOT MY BALL" incident.
  • Watching Family Guy and hearing someone pity the fool, Mr T style & feeling the need to txt (soon to be) Mr Bean & remind him of our afternoon of bonding while he got his (Mr T) outfit for Bean's 21st.
and I'm sure there were many more.
BUT. How often do you then do something about it? It doesn't have to be to send the thing to the person, but to acknowledge it in some way? A txt. A message. Opening your mouth and telling them. Its not that difficult to make the effort & make them smile. And it might just make their day.
Love, etc.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Annnnd relax...

Last weekend, The Drummer took me home to meet his parents. I have to admit, I was utterly TERRIFIED at this prospect, despite all his reassurances that they would love me, if only because he did, let alone any other reason. He very nearly had to drag me out the car when we got there, but within literally minutes of arriving, I was curled up on the sofa teasing him about how proud he'd been introducing me to his parents (seriously...was so CUTE!)

Mummy J & Daddy J couldn't have been more welcoming or put me more at my ease & I don't think they could have spoilt the two of us much more than they did, both with the amount of time they spent with us and with the FOOD! Bacon & Pancakes for breakfast, a HUGE chinese takeaway for dinner (with the MOTHER of all Pancake rolls) and a truly delicious roast on Sunday. OH, and an Easter Egg each to bring home with us. They could not have loved on us any more if they had tried!!

It was an amazing weekend, not just because of the welcome I received, but also because of this:

and this:

Weymouth is a beautiful place. and I seriously cannot wait to go back and spend some more time there. The weekend was SO relaxing - totally stress-free & so peaceful. I didn't go near a computer once, and left my phone at the house for the whole time, mostly turned off. It was a total retreat from my crazybusy life and was SO good for me!!

I will return. I *will*.

Love, etc.

p.s. Mummy J & Daddy J - this one's for you

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Working Girl.

10 months of unemployment sure does stew your brain cells. A challenge 2 months ago used to consist of rewriting my CV to tie-in with any given job spec three or four times a day. A challenge now means "here's a lighting plan from Debs (who's on maternity leave) can you rig it for me. Oh, and Rock Challenge is on the second day of next term - can you start work on a lighting plan for that. And get the diary dates for Place of the Pigs in your planner because that needs to be rigged at the end of the first week of term" And that was just my first five minutes on my first day (I kid you not...I've never felt more like curling up in a ball and sobbing than I did after that "induction meeting")

Hitting the ground running understates what is looking like a marathon between now and half-term. Now and the summer really, as my diary is full right up until then, culminating in my first "outside broadcast" in the last week of term. I swing between thinking I'm absolutely crazy for thinking I can do this job and being so very very excited every time I open the doors and see *my* theatre.

There have been many panicked messages to The Drummer & frequent questioning of Sound Man & RJ as to whether the wanting to curl up in a ball & cry/crawl into a hole & give up/hibernate will go away, but each and every time I've been met with an overwhelming response. Sometimes (mostly) earthly - a well-timed txt, or our lovely caretaker making LUSH chocolate cake & leaving it in the staff room, or finding the right person on site to answer my question, but at the times I've been panicking worst, God has turned round and just smacked me right back into place. These instances include being introduced to the pastor of a local church who meet in the theatre once a month right at the time I was txting The Drummer wondering whether I'd made a mistake accepting the job, or chatting to the guy I'm taking over from about the anti-social hours, getting upset and changing the topic to just passing the time of day and discovering he's a Christian & then getting an opportunity to chat about juggling the work and going to church. Its made me realise all over again that God won't be giving me more than I can handle (but that, since its me, its more than possible I'm severely underestimating myself)

A day at a time, as I do more things and realise that a) I do know what I'm doing for most of it and b) what I don't know, I can quickly learn, I'm calming down, relaxing slightly, and even today, for the first time, enjoying it.

Maybe by next Easter, I'll have settled down!!

Love, etc.