Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Good Morning BALTIMORE!


Good morning Baltimore!  ...or maybe it was, "GOOD EVENING ATLANTA!" when Tracy Turnblad jumped out of her bed last night at Atlanta's Fox Theatre to a packed and cheering house.

Being a Hairspray "virgin," I had no idea what was in store for me last night.  My date for the evening was one of my best friends who has LOVED Hairspray since its first inception.

She knew all the songs and characters.  She asked everyone around us if they loved Hairspray as much as she did, and she sang and "seat" danced through the entire production.  She was not alone.

Many patrons raised their hands, hoot and hollered, cheered, sang, and seat danced along with the cast last night. And I will say that I loved the musical and became a fan myself last night as well.

As is the case with most Broadway musicals, the talent for Hairspray is off the charts.  I am always amazed at how these individuals can exert so much physicality - dancing and singing - and then belt out lines and solos with effectively no huffing or puffing.  Every time I leave a show, I say, "I cannot believe the talent I just witnessed!"

Last night was no exception.  Niki Metcalf is stunning at her portrayal of Tracy Turnblad, a classic figure in American cinematic and theater history.  Everyone knows Tracy, and Niki did not fail in bringing life to the character and carrying on the tradition started by Ricki Lake in 1988.

Please visit Niki on Instagram (link above) for some fun content and to see the talent this girl possesses! 

For more fun and to see the origins of Hairspray, check out this vintage movie trailer found on the internet:

What else can one say after that trailer?  This story is an American classic.  A story of race-torn Baltimore in 1962.  A TV dance show akin to Philadelphia's American Bandstand.  Picket lines, racial inequality, and a rousing happy ending where everyone comes together.

Our troubled times could stand to revisit Hairspray and learn how we can live together in today's modern era, accepting the differences between us and even celebrating them.

As I mentioned above a few minutes ago, the Cast for this tour are amazing, each in their own right.  Talent above par.

I'd like to highlight them all (because they ALL deserve their own shoutout), but time and space do not allow - so for now, here are two you must take note of and follow on social media:

  • Andrew Levitt (Edna Turnblad) - Lovely, just lovely.  Great portrayal of Edna Turnblad.  Wonderful and endearing.  Provides comic relief and emotion at one point with the duet, "(You're) Timeless to Me" with Wilbur Turnblad (Ralph Prentice Daniel).

  • Asabi Goodman (Motormouth Maybelle) - There are NO words to describe the talent Asabi brings to the table for ballads such as, "I Know Where I've Been."  I was dumbfounded there was not a standing ovation for her last night after this song.  We were truly taken to church.  I can't wait to follow Asabi and her future projects.  I am a new fan for sure!

Hairspray plays The Fox Theatre through Sunday, June 4th.  It is a great family event to attend.  No nudity and light sexual innuendos that would probably go over most kids' heads.  Profanity is low as well (almost nonexistant).

Our crowd last night consisted heavily of female groups seeing the musical together, but I also saw a lot of Mother-Daughter dates around me as well.  A truly feel good night out in the City for any family member.

Visit the Fox Theatre website to purchase your tickets before this amazing group of people leave town.  I would hate for you to miss the fun and experience of Baltimore 1962!

Thank you to Regions Bank and Broadway in Atlanta for making this event possible!

*I was provided with two tickets to opening night strictly for promotion purposes.  This review is my personal opinion and write up with no influence from the PR company, sponsors, or touring company.

Sunday, April 30, 2023



Good morning friends.

I didn't think I was going to write today.  Read God's Word this morning, and there it was.  Like it always is.

One sentence.  Seven words:

John 4:4, "Now He had to go through Samaria."

Seven is the number of completion in the Bible.  Did you know that?

And (yes, another mind-blowing moment here) that verse is seven words.  Wow.  Mind blown.  Again.

How does Samaria tie into our journey down the road of being single?  Well, let's look at it.

Scripture doesn't say why Jesus had to go through Samaria, just that He "had" to go.  Do you think it's possible He was planning all along to meet the woman at the well?

Scripture tells us the woman at the well already had five previous husbands (keep that number in mind) and she was currently living with man six, who was not her husband.  (Five plus one equals six.)

Then comes man number seven.  Jesus.

The number of completion.  Are you seeing what I am seeing?

Even the verse in Scripture that tells us where Jesus is headed is a number of completion.  Please don't ever think Scripture is not woven together beautifully.  It is God-ordained and perfect.  It is without error.  It is inerrant.

This small and so familiar story is again Jesus and Scripture saying, "You are SEEN.  You matter."

Again, Jesus focuses on a single woman, the least of the least.  So least, she went to get her water from the well when no one else was there.  She was looked down on by society for the number of men she had been with (and still with) over the course of her life up until this time.

Yet, we see our beautiful Savior approach her and single her out.  He is man number seven, and He completes her.

John 4:26, "Then Jesus declared, "I, the one speaking to you, I am He."

As a single, life just seems to be harder sometimes.  Like I wrote earlier, sometimes you think about what it must be like to have someone at your side to start and end your days.  You think about those times (such as myself last night) when you are so tired and sick you can barely stand up.  Can you take care of yourself?  Maybe.  But when you are single, you think about these situations and how having that partner in your life would help make life more palatable.

And then there's Jesus.  He comes along, very quietly, when we are in a valley and whispers to our soul, "...I am He."  Man number seven.

How amazing is this story?  A single woman, the least of the least - a person whom society had tossed aside as no good and not worthy - and Jesus goes to Samaria (think back to verse 4 above, "...He had to go to Samaria.") to complete her.

Yesterday, as I was pushing my (now defunct self-propelled) lawn mower up my front yard hill, the temperature was growing closer to 80 and my 57-year old body was growing weak.  I keep thinking to myself, "I can do this.  It's only an hour of hard work and then the front yard will look great and I'll be done."  (Cutting the grass is a great time for pondering thoughts and thinking and - well, as I was about to find out - listening.)

I found myself going up and down that hill, sweating - heart beating stronger - trying to maintain a controlled breathing pattern - taking one step after another and still thinking, "I'm almost done. If Arthur Blessit could carry his cross up those sand dunes and throw that snow storm, I can cut this grass."

As I climbed that hill and continued to work in the front yard, my mind keep wondering back to a current life situation and how I should handle it.  Suddenly, while cutting around and under an older and large apple tree, I heard God say, "You don't worry about (this person), I will handle (this person).  You look at me and focus on me.  Keep taking one step after another where I lead you."

If I'm being honest, I will say that I then had this brief conversation with God at that moment...  "Lord, I'm so sorry.  I just keep forgetting about you.  I am so focused on what I need to say or what I need to do, I just don't think about you."

If the woman at the well were being honest, she forgot about God too - or maybe she just never knew Him (although she did tell Jesus she heard the Christ was coming!)...

I love that the God we serve always takes the time to come to us where we are.  "...He had to go through Samaria."  Jesus is man number seven, and He completes us.  Never forget that.

Jesus SEES US.  We are SEEN.  Seven words.  Completion.

Remember, He is never late and is always on time!


Saturday, April 29, 2023

Singleness: Wait & Act in Obedience


Good morning friends.

Yesterday's post lead to lively discussion at my work place.  I think we stayed out in the parking lot after work talking about it for at least 30 min. (which is a long time when people are free to leave and head back home or out to finish their day with errands).

Friends even shared the post with single friends of theirs.  Thank you all for always reading what I write and for passing it along.  My prayer and hope is that this one little blog makes a difference in just one life, even if that one life is mine - writing out my thoughts and feeling cathartically.

Today, we are looking at Ruth and the example she might be to those of us that are single.

If you remember, Scripture tells us that Ruth's husband had passed away and that she voluntarily chose to stay with her Mother-in-Law Naomi:

Ruth 1:16-19:  But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

I love this synopsis from Dr. Christie:

"Oftentimes in our singleness, we may feel like the answer is always inaction and to wait on God means to do nothing. But Ruth shows us a different way. She listened to the mentorship of Naomi and won the heart and favor of Boaz. Because of her obedience, her courage, her action, and her faith: she was rewarded with a “kinsman-redeemer” in Boaz. His love and favor of her reflected the same love Jesus has for us. How can we learn from Ruth as we wait and act in obedience for the person God has in store?

This is tricky advice, right?  

We always want to look to Scripture to see how to model and live our lives - to the very best of our abilities.  Sometimes, our personalities, heritage, and surroundings get in the way and we get off track.

I'm so thankful we live in a Country where we can pick up Scripture and sit down for a few quiet moments to read and get re-centered to where we should be.

I'm not sure about you, but Dr. Christie's words above really resonated with me in this season of singleness in my life.

For the second time in the last ten years, I find myself in a relationship of about five years.  Both times, I felt I was with a man I would spend the rest of my life with.  But both times, the men I chose and allowed to share my life, my home, my kids, my circle of friends, and my family with both chose themselves over building a new life with me.

Of course, when these things happen, we have to turn inside ourselves and examine who we are and what we did to cause these things.  Did we choose the wrong partner?  Did we not see things at first that later, years into a relationship, were revealed to us?  Are our own actions causing that person to "nest" in their own lives and homes to stay where they are and not forge into a new relationship with us?

Introspective is wonderful.  It helps us see our faults and failures, and it helps us learn and grow - and heal.

But also, we need God and Scripture and prayer.  And this is where we tie into Ruth.

Of course, Ruth's situation is different than maybe yours or mine - she was a widow and singleness was put upon her.  But yet - I love reading Dr. Christie's words of how we can look to Ruth as an example of how to handle our singleness.

 "Oftentimes in our singleness, we may feel like the answer is always inaction and to wait on God means to do nothing. But Ruth shows us a different way."

I'm not sure about you, but I do know - this is how God made me.  I'm a "do nothing" kind of girl.

I come from a fully Italian background.  Every immediate mentor woman in my family has been broken, bruised, and hurt in their first marriage.  But every one of them dug in deep and kept persevering until either God called them home or they found success, love, and happiness.

So - I became the fruit of their labor.  And so did you.

Whether we caused our divorce or not or whether God hasn't brought your "kinsman-redeemer" to you yet, we often think - "I will keep walking forward.  I will remain quiet and still and keep moving forward until God brings my kinsman-redeemer."  (Using the term "quiet and still" theoretically of course - many, if not most of us, aren't actually "quiet and still!")

Quiet and still might mean not actively searching out that kinsman-redeemer anymore.  No dating apps.  No social media "flirting." No single bars.  It might mean quiet nights at home, for us older girls, making your way through your days - days at work, coming home to do what needs to be done at home, and then heading to bed to recycle that day and do it all over again the next.

We try to do the right thing - wait on God...whether that is patiently or not.  But then we read about Ruth who shows us another side to this single life:

She listened to the mentorship of Naomi and won the heart and favor of Boaz. Because of her obedience, her courage, her action, and her faith: she was rewarded with a “kinsman-redeemer” in Boaz. His love and favor of her reflected the same love Jesus has for us.

To be fair, we don't all have a Naomi in our lives to guide us in finding our kinsman-redeemer, and to be honest, I am still with the second man I mentioned above.  But I love the line that says, "Because of her obedience, her courage, her action, and her faith, she was rewarded with a kinsman-redeemer...his LOVE and favor of her reflected the same love Jesus has for us."

That's the key.  While we sit still and wait on God, we must also not forget to have obedience, courage, action, and faith.  I believe while we are sitting still waiting on God, we must still be obedient to Him.  We must still have the courage, the actions, and the faith to live out any life He calls us to.  And I believe while we are focusing on HIM, and not our singleness, He will bring our kinsman-redeemer to us.

I don't know what my future holds.  I love that Scripture tells me Boaz loved Ruth with love and favor that reflected the love of Jesus.  I believe that's what Jesus wants for us.

So while I say to you I am just sitting back and waiting, I am also at the same time moving forward with courage, action, and faith to the life Jesus calls me to.  I will no longer sit still or "go back home and wait for a match" for a kinsman-redeemer (as Ruth's sister-in-law did).  When we have faith that Jesus will bring a kinsman-redeemer into our lives that will love us like He does and we are, at the same time, moving forward, that is where the marriage of love and success will intersect.

I know it is scary friends.  How will we survive alone?  What happens if the car breaks down.  What happens if our homes need repair? What will happen when I am elderly?  Why isn't there someone here at our home with us in the quiet times of dawn when the sun is rising, the home is quiet, and breakfast is starting?  Why isn't there someone beside us when dusk settles a long day and the sun quietly slips down behind the trees? Why doesn't someone love me enough to change their lives to join mine?

So many questions, I know!  The longing for a kinsman-redeemer to join you in your walk each day - to see what your eyes see - to feel what your heart feels - to work toward common goals together - to listen to and share in their lives as well.

But Ruth.  But Jesus.

I am loving this study on Singleness from Dr. Christie.  She takes ordinary women of the Bible and turns their stories around to show us it's OKAY to be single.  That we are SEEN.  That obedience to God brings us care and answers.  Security and safety.

I don't know the end of my story.  I do sit still and quiet and wait.  But I also keep moving forward in obedience.  Digging deeper into stories of faith.  Digging deeper into introspective.  Digging deeper into Scripture.  Constantly trying to go where God wants me to.  Constantly trying to recenter myself and listen to what God is trying to tell and teach me.

I am far from perfect, as are you.  But the women of the Bible teach us that God sees us, He cares for us, and most importantly, He loves us oh so deeply.

Go and read the story of Ruth today and remember the lessons you can learn from her - obedience, action, courage, and faith!