The Gift of Improv–in Life and Love

Last week, I called our grown daughters. “Guess what? Your dad and I are going out Saturday night with our new friends Debbie and Todd!”

“Umm, that’s not really a big deal, Mom,” they said. “People go out all the time.”

But to me it was HUGE.

We were going to an improv comedy show, something we’d never done, with new friends, at the Aurora Theater in Lawrenceville, GA a place I’d never been.

Sometimes I’m a little slow to make friends. And when a new friendship forms, I let the other person initiate the first invitation. And Debbie had invited us! I was so excited!

I even looked up “improv” to make sure I understood.

Wikipedia:

“Improvisation or improv–a form of theater where most or all of what is performed is created at the moment it is performed.”

The actors can’t practice ahead of time. Holy cow.

Before the show started, the empty stage gave me goosebumps.

Nothing but three boxes and a couple of chairs.

Talk about faith–

To walk out on stage and not know your lines! 

Even getting coffee and M&Ms was exciting–the list of shows, the atmosphere. And $10 for our tickets, $4 for snacks.

After the theater company introduced themselves, they asked the audience to toss out clues.

The cast had to totally wing it.

Zero control.

Free falling. 

They nailed it, too! The show was hilarious, and clean :).

Laughing with new friends–such fun.

Sorry for the photo quality–improv phone pictures.

Todd and Debbie.

And us.

We talked on the way home.

“I had such a good time tonight,” I said. “I think I’m supposed to live more improv.”

“How so?” Rick said.

“Have more fun. Take more chances. Roll with whatever comes my way, even if I haven’t memorized my lines.”

“Yep.”

“Totally trust God.”

Have you been to an improv show? Live theater?

What about friendships? Do you trust easily?

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

Sometimes Faith Means Taking a Break

When you read this, you’re probably going to think, well, duh, what took her so long? The other day, I got stuck. It had to do with writing, but it could’ve been about anything.

Here’s my not-so-pretty pattern:

I try too hard. Drink too much coffee. Focus so intently on the problem, I shut out the rest of the world. Sometimes … even God.

A tiny thought came to me.

Why don’t you surrender this?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! That word again. Surrender was my theme for 2012.

For me, surrender means saying, “Help me, Lord.”

“Okay,” I whispered, opening my hands and lifting them. “I can’t fix this by myself.”

And then I got a crazy idea.

I decided to stop working, take a break, and make a cheesecake.

I shut down my computer and left my little loft office.

At the grocery store, I didn’t rush around like a madwoman. I smiled at small children and didn’t get annoyed because I got in the slow lane.

Back at home, the football game was on. I even asked the score. 🙂

(Use these cookies and your cheesecake will be gluten-free.)

Because I wasn’t obsessing, my mind was free to think gentle thoughts.

I didn’t lose count with my eggs. My meringue turn out just right.

I’m discovering (after 50 years!) it’s okay to have fun–even when your work’s not completely finished.

I’m finally beginning to understand …

It honors God when I let go  of my problem(s) and take a break.

The answer to my writing problem came a couple of days later, after I stopped trying so hard.

“Do the things that show you have really changed your hearts and lives.” Matthew 3:8 NCV

Have you ever struggled with pushing too hard like me?

What do you do to chill out?

Click here for the cheesecake recipe.

Love,

Julie

Having Fun…101

Some people just naturally know how to have fun. I love people like this. They don’t take themselves too seriously. They go with the flow. I’m going to become a fun person. Seriously. I mean it. I am! The problem is, sometimes I’m too busy checking things off my list to have fun.

Last week–and this was huge for me–I discovered the Countdown to Christmas | Hallmark Channel.

I’d always assumed light-hearted movies were a waste of time. If I was going to watch a movie, I wanted a complicated plotline–something deep, that made me think.

But late Thursday afternoon, I took a break and discovered this movie…A Very Merry Mix-Up | Hallmark Channel.

At first I felt sort of self-conscious. Maybe a little guilty.

Watching a Hallmark movie on a Thursday afternoon.

It wasn’t on my calendar. 🙂

But there’s something about these movies…

And Saturday, my husband and I were in the North Georgia mountains in a quaint little town called Dahlonega when I noticed a sign.

 

“Look at the small letters,” I said. “‘The Art of Having Fun.’” The words stole my heart.

 

We walked past a decorated wrought iron arbor.

Hmmm. An entrance. Maybe its welcoming me to a new way of living.

I asked a random teenager to take our picture.

I wanted to remember the spot where I decided to do something fun every day.

Even something as simple as smiling for a goofy picture.

Just like the sign says, having fun is an art–one I’m acquiring.

The new Julie…

1. Lives in the moment.

2. Doesn’t mind looking silly.

3. Doesn’t waste time worrying.

Does having fun come naturally to you? What’s something fun you do this time of year? Are you watching the Countdown to Christmas movies?

P.S. We’ve also watched Snow Bride | Hallmark Channel, Catch a Christmas Star | Hallmark ChannelHoliday Engagement | Hallmark Channel and A Princess for Christmas | Hallmark Channel.

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Marvin…Dr. Leo Marvin!

One of the things I love about my husband is his sense of humor. He’s laid back. Opposite of me. I tend to be a workaholic. Every morning we sit on the front porch for a few minutes and talk.

Our conversation from two Saturdays ago:

“What ‘cha doing today?” Rick said.

“Probably knock out a thousand or so words on my novel, work on some blogs, outline a story idea, catch up on emails–”

“Don’t you ever want to do nothing. Kick back. Relax.”

What kind of question is that? “Yeah, I guess.”

“Remember the movie What About Bob?” Rick sipped his coffee and watched a hummingbird flit toward the feeder.

“Oh, I get it. So you’re Dr. Leo Marvin and I’m Bob?”

“Something like that.”

I felt a smile starting. Imagining Bob, I see myself. Dr. Marvin gives Bob some wonderful advice. I love his response. He’s trying so hard to change.

My baby steps toward change:

1. No working after 5 p.m.

2. Do something fun every day.

3. Relax in the truth that my best is good enough.

4. Know that my best probably won’t be perfect, and that’s okay.

5. Remember that God loves me. He really, really loves me, even when I’m goofing off.

…I have loved you with an everlasting love…” Jeremiah 31:3 NAS

Thank you Dr. Leo Marvin and Rick.

Love,

Julie