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?

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