Welcome to my world!

Come on in and make yourself comfortable. Friends are always welcome, so long as they're up for a little bit of adventure! When you're defying gravity, who knows how high you'll go?

Friday, September 2, 2011

September Already?? (Here's what I've been up to!)

Greetings, readers! My blog tells me that I've not posted to you since August 9th. Wow. I guess that means I've been busy! If you have been keeping up with my Facebook page, I do tend to update that more frequently. But the one nice thing about a blog is that I can give details here much easier!

 So let's see... what has happened since August 9th? Well, the farmer's market in Villa Rica has come to a close for the season. Thank you to all who came out and supported the locals! I started to sell freshly baked muffins there and will keep making muffins if I can find a good venue. You can also order from me online - I do ship!

I auditioned for CAST Productions' fall show, "The Marquis Crossing Ladies' Society's First Attempt at Murder" and was given the role of Beryl Overton, a somewhat dim-witted character. Rehearsals are already underway and we've finished blocking Act 1! Opening night will be October 29th, with a possibility of a special pre-performance on October 22nd at the Woodie Fite Senior Center.

About a week ago, I attended my first singing workshop at AMTC. I wasn't really sure what to expect, and so I came prepared with a song to sing but was rather uneasy about the whole thing. I'm still waiting for my coach to get back with me on my list of song options to see if any are brilliant or terrible ideas in his opinion. One of the main things we were told to remember is to make a personal connection to the song, and share that emotion with the audience. My song was "Big, Bad Handsome Man" by Imelda May, and once I heard that instruction, I started to panic! I mean, I don't have a man.. I never have. So the whole song really had nothing to do with me! I quickly racked my brain for some way I could connect this song to my emotions. Sing it about a fantasy man? No, I don't think so. About my Dad? The lyrics just didn't fit. OK... actor... someone handsome and famous that I could swoon over.

So I came up with Michael Buble. Yeah, I know he's taken now... but for a while, I imagined that when he sang "I just haven't met you yet" that he was singing about me!

So I went up there and sang about good old Michael as if he was really mine. My first reaction to my own singing was surprise at how loud and projected my voice rang out when I was SO nervous! I did run out of air a little, but fought against it and got through the song. My coaches liked it, and gave me some good pointers about how to present it in a way that was more like me thinking about my man, not teaching the audience about him, and how to use dynamics a little better. I think with practice, it will become one of my top two choices for SHINE. Watch for a video of me performing it soon!

I also was cast by ABC as a background actor for the new TV series, "Final Witness." It's a true crime show, with the stories reenacted and told from the perspective of the victim. There was a small group of us as background, so I'm sure I'll be in the episode unless they cut the scene completely. The best part? They needed someone who was familiar with line dancing and could teach it to the rest of the actors. Guess who got to play choreographer for the day? Yup! It was a LOT of fun, and very exhausting by the time they finished shooting that scene. I can't wait to see what it looks like on TV! At first they called me "Jazzercise girl" but shortly after everyone was calling me by name like I was one of the main characters. I loved that, of course. And there's a chance I'll be named in the credits, too. Not that anyone will likely see that, but you know I'll be looking for it! :-)

Tonight, I've been hired along with a group of fellow Jazzercise instructors to do a flash mob at a special event! I'm still looking for full-time work, but between these little paid gigs (which I absolutely love to do) and tutoring students during the week, I'm holding my own for now. I had a wonderful job interview a couple of weeks ago and am told that they have still not made a decision... so fingers are crossed for that.

Thanks for reading, my friends. August was a whirlwind, and in it came a lot of fantastic things. Here's to an equally incredible September!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Am Nanny McPhee (well... almost!)

OK, no, I'm not the next Emma Thompson. Not yet, anyway. But through a very long chain of events that only God knew to put together, I've got an upcoming paid role as a storyteller this winter! They're looking for an old, cranky lady with a cane and possibly some ugly warts... so I immediately thought of Nanny McPhee as an example for my costuming. Not that Nanny was all that cranky... she was very matter-of-fact and almost eerily calm... something I loved about her!

I don't have all the details just yet of what town legend I'll be telling about, but I'll be performing it for children and the parents that bring them, so the script should be too much of a challenge to write. I'm really looking forward to it, actually! I hope to have someone record photos and/or video of my performance so it can be posted here. Stay tuned, readers!

They're predicting another sunny day for the Farmer's Market @ The Mill tomorrow, so I hope my friends will come chat with me at my tent! I'll have lots of frozen chocolate bananas on hand to keep you cool.

Be blessed, my friends. I sure am!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Another Audition... Another Adventure

I participated in another audition today, and it went very well! It was at my new church. (Can I still call it new? We've been there since January...)

Our church has a really neat program for the children. The littlest ones (Birth through PreK) go to "The Farm" while the K-4th graders go to a big area known as "XKids City." (Our church is Crossroads and they just used the X instead of "cross" to keep it simple and cool. It's also how they did our church's website address.) There's a big stage that's nicely decorated with different doors that really work (for skits and such), a full sound system, lights, big screen... it's really great!

Anyway, I decided a couple of weeks ago that I was ready to become a part of all that. So I let the coordinator know, and was sent a lengthy script to learn for the part of the storyteller. (The storyteller is basically teaching the "main lesson" to the whole group each week. There are also sometimes skits, videos, etc. involved as well as the worship time and small group discussions & crafts.) But learning a storyteller script is hard! It's very different from learning a play, since there is no dialogue and no other actors to help things move along! Just me.

Anyway, I was able to pass the audition (whew!) and am scheduled to be the storyteller next Sunday. I'll be talking about God's grace and telling them the story of the lost sheep & lost coin from the book of Luke. I think this will probably be great stage experience for me... I've done the one-act thing, I've done musicals, and I've even handled short monologues. But a whole 5-6 minutes of speech? And being entertaining enough for K-4th graders while doing it? That's a new venture. You'd think because I'm a former elementary school teacher that it'd be easy for me... but it's not. Perhaps because when I'm teaching, the "monologue" or "speech" to my class is less planned out and more off the cuff? (Planned topic-wise of course, but not generally rehearsed). I'm eager to take on the challenge and know it will help me grow and prepare for opportunities to come.

~ Allison

Friday, July 29, 2011

You Can Help Me Fly!

For a $20 donation to my AMTC Fund (which goes directly to AMTC Atlanta, not me personally) you will receive a $50 gift certificate to Restaurant.com! I've used Restaurant.com before and LOVED it. Check it out!

Here's the link. Hope you'll consider this great offer! It's a win-win for both of us! http://apps.facebook.com/fiftygiftcard/?fund_id=193478

My First Modeling Workshop & Farmer's Market for August 3rd

Hello, readers! I went to a "bonus" modeling workshop at AMTC last night and it was fabulous! I learned quite a bit in those two hours, including a few things I want to remember for the next time I go in for any type of class:

1) Leave home early. It's a 35 minute drive if traffic is good... I made it OK but not early, and AMTC expects participants to arrive 15 minutes early. I'll do better next time!

2) Bring family. I think I was the only one who didn't, and while I thought it would be no big deal to do this alone, I found out that I really do need my support team. And my family is the best support team I've got!

3) Take pictures/video. I took plenty of notes, but if I've got a family member there to snap photos and/or shoot some video for me, I can use it for personal reflection and for updating all of you on how things are going! You can experience a little bit of AMTC along with me.

The whole workshop was about showcases, which are what I'll participate in at the summer 2012 SHINE event. Showcases are divided into categories like fashion modeling, acting, improv, dance, singing, etc. and the agents/scouts/directors attend the showcases that reflect the type of performer they're looking for. Cool, huh? I get to participate in 3 showcases as part of my tuition and hope to be able to raise a few extra dollars so that I can participate in more than that. The more I perform, the better my chances at a callback.

I worked with my fellow participants on how to do the photography showcase first (where they display photos from your photo shoot on the big screen while you walk the runway and introduce yourself on microphone) and then later on commercial runway. I tell ya what, getting the footing down is a little trickier than one might think! But thankfully my Jazzercise experience helped me know how to get my body to do what my coach was doing, and I think I did pretty good for a first timer.

They're going to be training the winter 2011 SHINE participants in the next few months, but I'm allowed to come to some of the workshops and to the dress rehearsal to get more experience. I can't wait! So stay tuned, dear friends.... more to come soon!

-- Farmer's Market Update! --
What a great week! I've made friends with some of the other vendors and we're bartering goods, just like in the good ol' days. I love it! The frozen bananas sold out in less than 90 minutes, so I promise to have LOTS more next time. I'm so glad they got such rave reviews!

I'll be making up some more sweet & tangy corn relish this week, due to popular demand, and the Memphis-style sweet BBQ sauce. I've had 3 requests now for pear butter too, so I may start working on a recipe for that. Feel free to send me your requests!

ONE last thing - I'm now on Facebook! Visit "Allison Wiener's AMTC Adventure" and like my page to get easy updates on how things are going, what'll be up at the farmer's market, and on my fundraising status. I've got some new ideas in the works, so I hope you'll join me there.

Thanks for reading!
~ Allison

Monday, July 25, 2011

Farmer's Market Forecast - Sunny!

Great news! The Weather Channel has predicted sunny skies for Wednesday, so I will be back at the Main Street Farmer's Market in Villa Rica, ready to offer my home-canned goodies and frozen chocolate bananas!

Also this week, I'll be headed up to the AMTC offices in Marietta for a "bonus" modeling workshop. They've opened it up to both fashion and commercial models, so I'm looking forward to a fun time and lots of learning. And working with those folks and others who are going through the same process is awesome anyway. I'm really looking forward to it!

The local production of "Hoodwinked and Hoodooed" has been postponed. We think that the new performance dates will be August 5-7 but I'll let you all know for sure. It's a great show!

Lastly, I'm auditioning next Sunday to be a storyteller in my church's children's program. The storyteller learns about a 5-10 minute script and then delivers that as the whole-group lesson during one of the Sunday services. Once I'm doing that, I'll also be eligible to participate in their dramas as well. I enjoy teaching kids and explaining things to them, so I think this will be fun! And it will give me another genre of performing to practice. Storytelling is very different from dialogue!

To those of you who are joining this blog as a result of meeting me at the Farmer's Market - please do leave a comment and say hello! You're welcome to "follow" the blog to receive regular updates as well. But I'd be tickled to know that you stopped by. :-)

Have a great week, friends!
~ Allison

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Farmer's Market Update for July 20th, 2011

Greetings everyone, and a big "howdy" to any new readers who have ventured here after purchasing something from my booth at the farmer's market!

This past sale went OK, though I'm afraid that the heat kept some of the shoppers away. I'm working on frozen chocolate-dipped bananas for this coming Wednesday to help everyone keep cool! It's a sweet treat I've always loved and I hope you all love it too!

I've also had a request for chow-chow, so I am going to work on a recipe for that. Please do let me know if there's something in particular you're interested in! I can't promise I'll be able to make everything, but I will certainly give all requests some serious consideration.

Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers and support. I'm still looking for regular work (although I've gained some new tutoring clients and Jazzercise Lite customers recently), so please also keep me in your prayers about that!

Stay cool, everyone!
~ Allison

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Welcome to My NEW Adventure!

Greetings, friends! I've decided to turn this blog (at least temporarily) into a blog about my experiences with AMTC - Actors, Models and Talent for Christ. If you remember a prior list I had, auditioning for AMTC was one of my "things to do" this year. I'm not sure how long it's been, but I've felt for a while now that God was calling me out of my teaching position to go do something totally different. And that "totally different something" was acting. My response, naturally, was "God, are you nuts?" Of course He's not... but really? Me?

And He said, "Why not you?"

I wrestled with the idea for quite some time. I mean, there are a lot of people out there who are very talented and would LOVE to become professional actors, singers, dancers, etc. and just don't seem to make it. Was this just an idea in my head that I was entertaining because I've always had a passion for it but never the real confidence to do much about it?

I have spent many weeks, perhaps even months or years if I really think about it, in prayer about the whole thing. I don't want to waste time and resources if this is not truly where God wants me to go. I do believe I received an answer. More than once. (It takes a while for God to convince me sometimes!) I prayed for an unmistakeable sign... something that I couldn't easily explain away as coincidence. I got it. So I auditioned.

The next day, I received my callback, and the exciting news that AMTC wanted to work with me in acting, singing and commercial modeling. Don't worry, I did my homework on AMTC prior to auditioning and found that they are a great Christ-centered company, not a scam! So I attended my orientation and began to pray some more about all this. Part of AMTC (one of the biggest and most exciting parts) is their bi-annual SHINE convention, held in Orlando. There, participants spend 6 days attending seminars taught by industry professionals and performing in showcases before 50-100 top casting directors, agents, talent scouts, etc. (No pressure, right?)

To receive all of the training (online and in person) that I need to prepare for SHINE and the possible jobs to come afterward, it costs a daunting $5,000. This doesn't include travel expenses. I'll likely drive to Orlando, since it's only 6 hours away, but I still need to cover that AND my stay at the hotel while I'm there.

"So, OK God. You've got me this far. You know I can't afford this on my own. I'm leaving it up to you."

And so, I've been a busy little bee. Not only applying here, there, and everywhere for a new job, but also working on ways to raise funds. I've offered myself for odd jobs like computer repair and pet sitting, and have also started preparing and selling homemade goods.

It is on this blog that I intend on posting updates on my progress and asking for your continual prayer and support. It's going to be quite a journey... but I'm ready and excited to see what God is going to do! He's already shown me that He's got my back. Take a look at my fundraising thermometer. God has provided nearly $500 in less than a month! I have no doubt that He will take care of me, my family, and all our needs.

Thanks for hanging with me on this SUPER-long post. Future ones won't be so long... but I just wanted to update "ya'll!"

~ Allison

Friday, April 15, 2011

#11, 14, 33, 62, 70, and 95! (aka "I'm on my way!")

Well, dear readers, it appears that this GPS of mine has taken me on a rather wild and eventful ride through the last few months. There's so much that has happened that I can hardly blog about it all, but most of you who read me on Facebook know the major details anyway. So instead of dwelling on all the craziness, I thought I'd catch up on my list. I set out in January to do 100 things and thought the other day, "Man, there's no way I'm going to make it. I've done nothing since then!" But aha - I have. Makes me think that God probably had something to do with the making of this list. Neat, huh? Read on...

#11. Volunteer my time in a new way.
I could respond to this in two different ways. First of all, I've volunteered at church for Easter weekend. Not sure what I'll be doing because I told them I'd gladly go wherever needed... but I'm really enjoying this new church, and might just stick around as a volunteer if things go well!

Also, because of my mother's recent diagnosis of colon cancer and the major surgery that went along with it, I have had to spend some time living at my parents' house to care for her. My father is an independent contractor with no benefits, so if he doesn't work, the bills don't get paid. And, as you can imagine, the bills for this sort of diagnosis really add up fast! For the first 5 years of working in the school system, I maintained perfect or nearly perfect attendance, and thus saved up a lot of days of leave. I didn't realize that leave rolled over from one year to the next, but God did! And just when we needed it, it was there. So I'm on paid leave until mom no longer needs me home with her. It's been a lot of work and a bit trying at times, but I truly find joy in helping my family out.

14. Become a couponing queen.
I may not be a couponing "queen" just yet, but my parents just laugh and shake their heads at me now when I tell them of coupons arriving in the mail or the latest deal I've snagged for them... so I guess I'm close! Part of helping my parents out has become teaching my father (who does the grocery shopping and cooking for the household) how to do the Grocery Game to help us afford the things we want and need without breaking budget. (And actually, we should be able to be under budget eventually, which will help pay for all the other bills!) We've only been in on it one week and already they're skeptical... but I'll keep clipping and shopping and they'll be glad later I'm sure.

33. Surprise my Jazzercise customers in some way
There was a not-so-good surprise involved, but I won't go into details. But the good surprise for my Lite customers is that we've grown and expanded! Due to the number of people attending class, I had them keep their chairs (for the strength training portion of class) off to the sides and back of the room to create more space on the dance floor. They still say that it feels "weird" to them, but it sure does give them more room to move! Also, I've added new morning class times that will start in June. They're very happy about that. There are more surprises to come with the summer attendance game, but I may blog about that later. Don't want to give away all my secrets yet!

62. Re-organize the pantry.
I didn't actually re-organize my pantry... it was my parents' pantry. We needed it to be better organized so that we could see what was there and to make room for stocking up on deals as they come. I added an over-the-door shoe organizer (the kind with pockets) to the inside of the pantry door to hold little things like granola bars, extra spice bottles, popcorn bags, etc.) Pictures in a future update, perhaps?

70. Refresh my resume.
I've only had one teaching job other than the one I'm currently in, and most of the information was straight from college. So it was time! It's nearly done.

95. Do something for someone that they couldn't do themselves
I've been my mother's roommate for the past 3 weeks, since she came home from surgery. For a while, I was here to help her get out of bed, to walk, to use the bathroom... to everything! Now she can get around OK by herself but still needs rides to appointments, care for her surgical wound, meals prepared, etc. and the rest of my family has needed the extra set of hands with keeping up with the house as well. And then yesterday, I had to whisk our oldest kitty, Dusty, to the vet because he seemed to be struggling to breathe. I was glad that mom hadn't been home alone then, because she wouldn't have been able to take him to get help!

So... you can see why I've been so quiet blog-wise these past few weeks. But God has been very good. I'm embarking on some new adventures, STILL in "Murder at Rutherford House" and absolutely loving it, and I'm looking forward to seeing what God has in store!

So there's much more to this story... stay tuned, dear readers. And thanks for supporting me through all this. You know who you are.

~ Allison

Sunday, January 23, 2011

God is my GPS

Ahh, the GPS. New-fangled and expensive technology for only the elite just a few years ago, now commonplace in most vehicles and even devices primarily used for other purposes, such as cell phones. It's a wonderful convenience, isn't it? No longer do you have to rely on hand-written directions and crudely sketched "maps" from those who think they know how to get you from point A to point B. You don't even need to have a navigator in the passenger seat to read off the step-by-step turns as directed from a website like maps.com! All you've got to do is tell that little rectangular device where it is you'd like to go (you don't even have to tell it where you are, isn't that amazing?) and in a matter of moments, you're on your way!

Now, GPS devices (whether they're a built-in feature of your vehicle, a stand-alone device attached to your windshield, or an add-on feature of your cellular phone) do have their flaws. Mine is of the stand-alone variety, and it sometimes has trouble finding a signal. Once or twice it has taken me to a dead-end or asked me to turn onto a road that would cause me to go against the flow of traffic. Sometimes it loses its signal and can't figure out where I am, let alone how to get me there. And there's that annoying little "suction cup" which is intended for securing my little GPS to the windshield in a nice easy-to-see-and-access location... which no longer has any sort of "suction" function. Thus I am forced to balance the device on my dashboard or on the passenger seat next to me, hoping I can judge by the verbal cues where exactly the thing would like me to make my next turn.

Why a sudden post about technology? Well, this post actually has little to do with technology, actually. It's more about the path I've found myself on in the recent weeks. You see, I've been spending a lot of time in prayer over my life and my future. I know that God has it all mapped out for me, but, unlike a man-made GPS, I can't take a glance at the turn-by-turn directions before I move forward! I feel like God is nudging me to make a lot of changes, and while I'm thrilled by the potential that I see before me, I'm also terrified of the thought that what *I* think is right could potentially be wrong. Very wrong. And unlike a standard GPS, I also don't get to be the one to plug in my destination. I can, of course, cry out to God about the desires of my heart and what my hopes and dreams are, but I also believe that God is the source of those passions, talents, hopes and dreams... and what He has for me is certainly going to be beyond what I could ever imagine.

Woah. That got pretty deep for a second, didn't it? Still with me? Good!

You've probably seen or at least heard of the bumper sticker slogan, "God is my co-pilot." But to me, that feels like perhaps we're sharing the road... you know, I navigate for a while, He navigates for a while... and that just doesn't sit right with me. Instead, I think a better way to think of it is "God is my GPS." No, the destination is not certain, but there are sure to be a lot of points of interest along the way. When I ignore my God-GPS and make a wrong turn, we may have to take a long detour, but I believe He can guide me back to the right path if I'll just listen. (And He won't make the annoyed-sounding statement, "recalculating!" like my father's GPS does!) We might go through some storms and hit some rough patches, but I know that if I keep listening, and keep trusting, He won't lead me to a dead end. Ever.

Lots to think about as I embark on some new ventures in my life. I hope you'll join me for the ride. It's going to be one heck of a road trip! I'll bring the snacks.

~ Allison

Friday, January 21, 2011

#80 - Audition for something (the continuation...)

Great news! Well, at least I think it's great news. It's great, and a bit terrifying at the same time. I've been welcomed as the newest member of CAST! (That stands for "Community Alliance for Stage and Theater" if I've never told you. Or you forgot. Either way...)

I wasn't totally sure I'd get in. I mean, yeah, I was the lone ranger at my audition. And they did tell me I did a nice job. But it was an awfully awkward script for me, and... well... these people don't know whether I can act! I read quite well, if I do say so myself. Been doing that since I was 4. (Thanks, Sesame Street!) But anyway... the way I was welcomed wasn't exactly the way I'd envisioned it.

I figured I'd get a phone call. I didn't. But I did get an email from L, urging the recipients to come to an audition to be held this coming Monday. (I guess they didn't get enough folks to audition this past Tuesday.) Curious, I wrote L asking her if the group had considered starting a Facebook page. After all, Facebook is everywhere... and that's where all the cool stuff happens, right? The place for people in the know! (And also those who have WAY too much time on their hands...) I told L all about how wonderful a FB page could be for the group, not only to reach potential actors and actresses, but also to advertise upcoming shows.

L loved the idea, and thanked me for volunteering to set it up. (What? Should have seen that coming.) I did, all in a couple of hours, and sent it to L and the director. He replied to me that he was excited about the FB page and having me on board, and looked forward to working with me on the upcoming show as soon as a cast list could be made.

Here's the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/CAST-Productions-Douglasville/123045564431474 Snazzy, eh? I hope I get a nice, professional-looking photo to put up on there with MY bio someday!

So... that's it! I'm in. I'm honored, excited, and terrified all at the same time. I've never done interactive theatre before, so it should be interesting. But you can bet that I'll be the first one to sell you all tickets to the show! :-)

~ Allison

Monday, January 17, 2011

#80 - Audition for something

Check this one off of the list, ladies and gents. I did it! I almost chickened out...

During the ice-in last week, I received an email from the local community theatre group (C.A.S.T.) about auditions for an upcoming mystery dinner theatre. The play is called "Murder at Rutherford House" and will be held in late March through early April.

So... it's been a good 6 years since I've auditioned for a part in a play, and I have never done dinner theatre. (Attending one doesn't count, even if you know one of the cast members!) But I have always had this love/hate relationship with watching live stage performances. I love it, because it's great entertainment... but I hate it, because I'm always wishing it was *me* up on that stage!

Well, I may not have to wish for much longer. I admit, the "audition" was a little different than what I'm used to. I met the director and 2 of their regular members, but I was the only one there to read for a part. They're having another audition tomorrow and are expecting a few more people, they said. I'm welcome to come back tomorrow if I'd like, but I probably won't.

The script was ordered and has not arrived yet, probably due to snowmageddon last week... so I had to read from a different script. It was a romantic comedy, and I admit it was a little awkward doing a cold reading in a role that is trying to seduce another character... but I did my best and they seemed OK with how I did.

Now, I wait. It sounded to me like I'm "in"... but of course I don't even know what the roles are so I'm not sure what kind of part I'll get! We shall see, and I will certainly keep my readers posted.

Thus begins a new and exciting venture in my life! Today, Douglasville... tomorrow Broadway! OK, maybe not tomorrow. But I *would* love to at least see a show there if I ever get the chance. Even if it means stirring up the whole love/hate thing. :-)

~ Allison

Monday, January 10, 2011

#26 - Random Acts of Kindness (aka Blizzard of 2011, Day 1)

Well, folks, Georgia has basically been shut down for the day. They're saying on the news that this is a bad winter storm, at least as bad as the "big blizzard of '93!" I wasn't around here for that, but I know what it means... NO SCHOOL!

On Sundays, I always spend the afternoon and evening with my family after church. They live a mere 15 minutes from me, but on days like this it's too dangerous to drive over those winding roads toward my apartment. So I'm camping out with my parents and sister. No complaints here, really! I was able to get my "100 things in 2011" list done, and even tried a new recipe! But I think I'll save that for another blog post.

So today I accomplished one thing on my list. It felt so good, I hate to cross it off! So I guess I won't... I'll put a little check mark or something beside it for now. What was it? Well as you might have noted, my title read "#26 - Random Acts of Kindness."

After sleeping in (at my parents' house) and delighting in the fact that my Dad is working from home today (yay!), I went downstairs into the kitchen and decided to clean out the refrigerator. It was full as full could be, and you couldn't really tell what was good and what wasn't, except for a few obvious (but unidentifiable) vegetables in the bin. It's been that way for a while, and I know that my parents are both quite busy... and cleaning out a fridge is a necessary but very UGH (for lack of a better word at the moment) task!

So I did it. Just like Mommy showed me when I was little (she'd clean out the fridge with a bucket of soapy water & baking soda and a rag while I'd do the same in my Little Tykes kitchen with one of my plastic bowls and a little washcloth) I moved things around, tossed stuff out, and scrubbed it all, shelf by shelf. And you know what? I actually enjoyed doing it! Not that it wasn't a bit gross... of course it was... but doing it and doing it well for my family as a sort of "gift" to them made it worthwhile!

Dad says he hopes that the snow lasts all week long. I don't think he should press his luck! ;-)

Stay warm, my friends!
~ Allison

Sunday, January 2, 2011

100 Things in 2011

As mentioned in my first post, I've decided to take on the challenge of creating a list of 100 things I'd like to do in 2011... and then accomplishing them! And as I do, I'll blog about my experiences.

Now, I don't expect to be able to think up 100 things to do in one sitting... that might take a while! But as things come to mind, I'll add them. Completing them will happen in no particular order, but I hope to be able to do them all by the end of the year.

1. Begin my own blog.

Oh wait... did that one already. Hmm...

OK. For reals, I'm going to make this list happen! Of course, I'm open to suggestions and inspirations from you as well! Some of it will be serious, some will be fun... all will be do-able.

1. Re-build emergency fund.
2. Update the look of this blog so it's a lot cuter!
3. Purchase canning equipment.
4. Learn how to safely can homemade foods.
ü5. Participate in a church drama or theater group.
6. Compile a repertoire of freezer-friendly recipes.
7. Travel to another state with friends/to visit friends.
ü8. Back up all my important files.
9. Post unwanted books on Paperbackswap.com
10. Donate clothes I won't wear anymore.
ü11. Volunteer my time in a new way.
12. Get to know my neighbors.
13. Go on dates!
ü14. Become a couponing queen.
15. Read the entire Bible.
ü16. Chase professional ambitions.
17. Save up for an AMTC workshop.
ü18. Donate hair to Locks of Love.
19. Get kitties to lose weight!
20. Eat fewer processed foods.
21. Lose 30 lbs.
22. Mentor a new Jazzercise trainee.
23. Learn to skate on quad skates again.
24. Go swimming at Boundary Waters.
25. Post a video to YouTube.
ü26. Random Acts of Kindness
27. Read a how-to book.
28. Go cosmic bowling.
29. Spend a day at the Mall of Georgia.
30. Go to the beach.
31. Fly a kite on the beach.
32. Stargaze (preferably with a telescope)
ü33. Surprise my Jazzercise customers in some way.
34. Teach Hannah to drive a stick shift.
35. Indulge in a spa day.
ü36. Re-organize storage space.
37. Sell unwanted teacher stuff.
38. Earn enough Swagbucks to buy a cool new toy.
39. Visit the Dekalb Farmer's Market for goodies.
40. Get involved in a new ministry.
41. Shop with a cash budget.
42. Pay off credit cards.
43. See a Broadway musical.
44. Teach Personal Touch session(s).
45. Meet Idina Menzel (ha! OK... dreaming on that one...)
46. Learn to make a gum wrapper chain.
47. Go to a Braves game.
48. Go to a Hawks game.
49. Have apartment carpets cleaned.
50. Care for a houseplant without killing it. :-)
51. Start a container garden.
52. Attend a cooking class.
53. Take a Yoga class.
54. Blow bubbles with a child.
55. Decorate a cake.
56. Eat something I've never tried before.
57. Make a homemade pizza.
58. View something from a new perspective.
59. Go ice skating.
60. Flip on a trampoline. (I've never dared!)
ü61. Raise caterpillars to butterflies.
ü62. Re-organize the pantry.
63. Spend a day with just me, God, and a camera.
64. Attend/Host a game night.
65. Turn balcony into comfortable/functional space.
66. Make a recipe "scrapbook"
67. Get bicycle repaired.
68. Purge old files/documents no longer needed.
69. Organize important papers.
ü70. Refresh my resume.
71. Create something new out of something old.
72. Laugh till it hurts.
73. Indulge my inner child.
74. Visit a museum or historical landmark.
75. Pack/organize out-of-season clothes.
76. Enjoy s'mores with someone
77. Raise $3,000 for Susan G. Komen for the cure
78. Write product reviews
79. Play a new game
ü80. Audition for something
81. Have my violin bow re-haired/replaced
82. Play aforementioned violin
83. Attend a concert
84. Start a "hope chest" (or tub... since I don't really have room for a big wooden chest!)
85. Take a drive to "wherever"
86. Eliminate a habit I dislike
87. Start a new habit I like
88. Write "Thank You" notes
89. Transfer memories from Mini-DV to DVD
90. Figure out how to transfer VHS to DVD too!
91. Assemble a puzzle
ü92. eBay, Facebook, Craig's List or yard sale to get rid of stuff!
93. Dress up for a special occasion
94. Celebrate my 30th birthday (November 20) in a special way
ü95. Do something for someone that they couldn't do themselves
96. Paint something
97. Learn a new dance
98. Sing karaoke
99. Share my faith with others
100. Put God's "to do' list for my life at #1, and enjoy the ride...

WHEW! Can you believe I actually had to use the "find" feature on my browser to make sure I didn't duplicate anything? Well duh... I'm sure you can believe that. Let me know if I missed anything, but I can't wait to get started on my list now that it's finished! Stay tuned, dear friends... it's going to be an amazing year!
~ Allison

The Beginning

Welcome, reader! Please feel free to make yourself at home. I hope you'll want to stick around a while!

Since this is my first blog, and my first blog post, I figured it'd be a good time to introduce myself. If you already know me well, feel free to skip ahead... although you never know when you might learn something new!

My name is Allison, and I'm a 29-year-old single gal living in a suburb of Atlanta. Life is comfortable here in many ways; I'm blessed to have my parents and sister living nearby, I have 2 sweet kitties that provide me a neverending supply of snuggles and soothing purrs, I have a network of friends and coworkers that I can always rely on for support and for fun, and best yet - I have a Creator that has big plans for me, and has never let me down yet! I work full-time as a 2nd grade teacher, and part-time as a certified Jazzercise instructor. Both jobs keep me very busy, but I love what I do!

So here I am, at the start of a new year. A year that, I am convinced, will be one for the record books. Or... at least worth blogging about! You see, dear reader, I have recently begun listening to the soundtrack from the Broadway musical, "Wicked," and have been greatly moved and inspired by one of its best-known songs - "Defying Gravity." (It doesn't hurt that I'm a HUGE Idina Menzel fan, either!) :-) I'll post the lyrics for you in a bit, perhaps. But I believe God has used this song to stir up in me a fresh desire to seek out the life He has planned for me. Changes are brewing, and a new confidence has been born. But I can't reveal everything in my first post, now, can I?

This is the start of something new and exciting. I can feel it! God has always worked things out for me in ways I would have never imagined, so I rest assured that as long as I keep Him in my sights, I'll be soaring higher than I ever dreamed. And who knows what shenanigans will happen along the way?

My first task for the new year is inspired by a post from a stranger on Facebook. She said she was going to create a list of 100 things she wanted to do this year. While this seems a bit daunting as a task, I am challenging myself to do the same. And guess what? You'll get to see what happens, because I'll be blogging about it as I go!

So that's me in a nutshell... if you stick around a while, I'm sure you'll learn a whole lot more. Welcome to the adventure!

"Defying Gravity" - Music & lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
And you won't bring me down

I'm through accepting limits
'Cuz someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!

I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you won't bring me down

My future is unlimited
And I've just had a vision
Almost like a prophecy
I know - it sounds truly crazy
And true, the vision's hazy
But I swear, someday I'll be...

Flying so high!
Kiss me goodbye!

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
"Everyone deserves the chance to fly!"

I'm defying gravity!
And you won't bring me down!
Bring me down!
Bring me down!

~ Allison