Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vicarious Living! (and lots of exclamation points...)

Okay, I won't deny it. My life is super incredibly blessed. One of those blessings is getting to see all of the cool and incredible things that my friends/acquaintances/peripheral connections are doing and experiencing all over the world.

A confession: I am mildly addicted to Facebook. I can go a few days without it and did recently, but usually, one of the first things I do in the morning is check the news feed. Not because anything life-changing is going to be posted but because I like that feeling of connection, even when it's so loose.

Recent developments (in no particular order):

  • A local playwright has been invited to present his musical at the Midtown International Theatre Festival in Manhattan! He has a kickstarter page to help get the project funded. First thing this morning: $10 funded. Right now, just over an hour after I first saw the project: $670 funded. It's a fantastic way to support a person or a project. On the plus side of making a pledge, if the project isn't fully funded, you're not charged. I don't know this playwright really at all. We've met a couple of times. I haven't read or seen this show. So why did I make a pledge to his project? I saw him onstage in a local production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He was Rosencrantz or Guildenstern, and his performance stunned me. (So did the actor opposite him. They were quite a pair.) He's a remarkably talented actor and so I support his pursuit of the arts in whatever avenue he chooses. Right now, that's this musical. (You can learn more about his musical and the kickstarter project here.) Incidentally, as I was writing this, the funding total went up to $680.
  • A guy I met my freshman year of college just finished working on a Cirque du Soleil show in Macau!
  • One of my youth orchestra families is taking a vacation to Paris next week!
  • A family I know in Crestview, FL, upcycles found materials into art. See their work here and here and probably a couple of other places, too. They're frequently posting about where you can find their work in person, and they even have an etsy store.
  • One of my dearest friends got married last month, another is now engaged, and I can't even begin to count the number of Facebook friends who are posting ultrasound or baby bump or "My, look how my baby's growing!" pictures.
  • My mom, who, after much prayerful consideration, quit her job of three years back in January, was just hired as the Director of Development for a local hospital.
  • Another theatre director friend was hired as the Executive Director of a local theatre and will be moving back once he finished grad school. Among his duties: direct this summer's production of Bye, Bye, Birdie. Also, he's going to be my opera buddy.
  • A dance friend invited me to take a private lesson with a national instructor this Friday.
  • (Disclaimer: This is not about a friend but rather about an exciting thing happening in downtown.) Barnes & Noble is opening a bookshop a block and a half from where I live! This is both good (easy access to books, hooray!) and bad (my bank account will likely take a hit). Focusing on the good!
  • A gal from my church is going on a two-week mission trip to Brazil this summer!
Just look at all that happy! And that's only a small fraction of the happy that infuses my news feed every day!

As my mother would say, life is good!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Broadway Melody of 1940

Netflix brought me this today:


Connecting (with works by Kate Fridkis and Enuma Okoro)

The Huffington Post released a series of articles today by women in different decades of life, sharing what they've learned about beauty. Blogger Kate Fridkis wrote "What I Know About Beauty Now That I'm in My 20s." Like me, this author just turned 26. I really connected with this piece:

Speaking of connecting with things, I'm reading Enuma Okoro's Reluctant Pilgrim. Sometimes, while reading it, I feel like I'm reading my diary. Or, rather, what would have been my diary had I bothered to write things down instead of being afraid someone was going to find my diary and read it. So I guess it feels like reading my own thoughts. Which is comforting because it makes me feel connected.

I recommend this book, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey. (I'll even send you my copy when I'm finished unless someone else has already claimed it.) Okoro writes with stunning forthrightness, holding nothing back even when it comes to her own difficulties and pain. Her candor is refreshing. She blogs here.

Since moving back to the Ohio Valley after college graduation, I've struggled with connecting with actual people. There are a few, scattered hither and yon around the country, but finding community here has proven difficult for me. Lately, though, God has been opening doors for fellowship and opening my heart to being more "real" with people. ("Real" is not the word I want to use, but I'm not sure what the word is. "Honest"? "Open"? "Genuine"?) Letting people in means allowing the possibility of vulnerability and the potential for pain, and I've shied away from that for too long.

So here's to chasing "real". Even if it means disappointment or hurt or awkwardness. Because it might also mean bliss and the beginning of lifelong friendships.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Weepies - Be My Honey Pie

Cute song, cute video, adorable swing dancing . . . does it get any better?


Friday, March 23, 2012

Cash Mob Wheeling

On Tuesday, March 27, at 10:30 AM, the bakery at Centre Market in Wheeling, WV, will experience an influx of shoppers thanks to a new model of supporting local businesses--the Cash Mob. Here's how it works (briefly):

A cash mob organizer (sometimes with the input of mobbers themselves) chooses a local business, a date, and a time.
The organizer contacts the business to prepare them for the crowd that may invade.
Via social media, e-mail and other means, the cash mob is informed of their next "target."
At the arranged moment, a local business gets not only a bunch of new customers but also exposure and new connections in the community.
The mob moves on, but hopefully, mobbers will return to their newly discovered gem again and again.

For more on cash mobs in general, see this article: 'Cash Mobs' profit locally owned stores. If you're in Wheeling (like me), visit our local cash mob Facebook page.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

I am currently reading Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog (translated from the French by Alison Anderson). This evening, I was struck by this passage:
Personally I think that grammar is a way to attain beauty. When you speak, or read, or write, you can tell if you've said or read or written a fine sentence. You can recognize a well-turned phrase or an elegant style. But when you are applying the rules of grammar skillfully, you ascend to another level of the beauty of language. When you use grammar you peel back the layers, to see how it is all put together, see it quite naked, in a way. And that's where it becomes wonderful, because you say to yourself, "Look how well-made this is, how well-constructed it is! How solid and ingenious, rich and subtle!" I get completely carried away just knowing there are words of all different natures, and that you have to know them in order to be able to infer their potential usage and compatibility. I find there is nothing more beautiful, for example, than the very basic components of language, nouns and verbs. When you've grasped this, you've grasped the core of any statement. It's magnificent, don't you think? Nouns, verbs . . . (p. 158)
 Barbery's novel is a stunning example of the well-turned phrase. I am not quite halfway through, and I am torn between wanting to devour it all at once and longing to linger over every word. My current method falls somewhere in between, dashing through and then returning to pages and paragraphs to savor the language. Ah, lovely!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happiness Is . . .

. . . my loving family:
Labishak Family Portrait. August 2010.

. . . a thank you note:
Original artwork by Grace Thompson, age 7.

. . . making new friends:
Kelsey Benson, Shanan Stout, & Micah Labishak
We won't win the prince's heart, but we're all smiles anyway.

. . . my silly dog:

. . . a freshly painted room:
En route to covering the vicious red: primer in love

. . . laughing with friends:
Posing at PittStop Lindy Hop 2011 with my sister Julia.

Being downright fabulous at DCLX X (2011).

. . . celebrating my birthday with (almost) all of my favorite people ever! Thank you to everyone for the hugs and love always. Can't wait to spend the next four days dancing, eating, and laughing with you.

A Nice Girl

Ran across this article today. It speaks to some of my own struggles and triumphs in being "too nice." (Borrowed the image above from the article. It's cute, yes?)

Here's to being nice, in all the best ways!