Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

cause i……’m movin out

with 2 comments

(you know you wanna sing too)
duh duh duh daaaa da da da dop
duh duh duh daaaa da da da dop

Ok, that’s enough – come back from your Billy Joel sountracked trip down memory lane, and pay attention – I’m moving!

Don’t worry, it’s not out of my house or anything (although recent extended family time – and I mean that in both senses of the phrase – time with extended family, and extended time with family) could possibly bring both you and me to that logical conclusion. No, dear friends, I’m only moving in the most virtual of senses – out in the vast world of the internets.

You see, my husband, in his worldly wide webwise sort of way, gave me a Christmas present of my very own dotcom self – It’s very pretty and I like it a LOT.

The perfectionist, control-freak side of me (whatever do you mean? I hear you asking – I know, I hide that personality trait well behind the lateness and stacks of papers everywhere) wants to wait until I understand how to work all the bells and whistles and have everything set up the way I exactly the way I want it. Realistically, though, that may be sometime in the next century since at this point I can do NOT MUCH over there until Bryan helps out. And the explanations? Are mostly along the lines of if you can’t understand how to do this (whatever it is that I’m currently attempting), maybe you should get a free account at

Really, that’s it. So I’ll be bugging Bryan to death for awhile. Like forever, probably. Good thing he’s used to it.

So – basically what all this means is that I have switched from hosted site, which is wonderful, and completely free, and which I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone who wants to try blogging out – to an independently hosted site powered by wordpress.

Just to give you an idea of my level of understanding – I had to ask Bryan how to write that last sentence. What it means to me is that I have lots more flexibility in how my site can look, and what it can do. Actually, it means that Bryan has much more flexibility, because I’m pretty sure that if I try to do anything other than post at this point, I will blow the whole thing up. Better get over there quick and have a look!

So – in closing – a few thoughts:

  • I’ve exported my whole blog over there, so if you suddenly feel the need to remember the beach or alternate uses of Windex, you can!
  • Please update your bookmarks, links, blogrolls (yes, I’m flattering myself on that one), etc…
  • Finally, get a Gravatar already, so I can see your little faces over there. C’mon, it’s free, it’s really easy, it’s free, they work EVERYWHERE, it’s free, you don’t have to have a blog to get one, and it’s free. Plus, it’s free!

Can’t wait to try it all out – see you soon!


Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

January 2, 2008 at 11:24 pm

Posted in bryan, funny, life, writing

a note about my mental state

with 9 comments

Well, at least my mental state as it relates to the internet situation in my house. I don’t want to overwhelm you or anything. So, just to clarify:

Some of you might take the fact that I posted yesterday (for the first time in a month) as a sign that our current cable internet issues are behind us. A logical thought, given that we live in a world where things like this generally happen quickly, as long as you are willing to stay in your house for the better part of the day awaiting the magical visit of your handy cable repairman. Sadly, though, this is not the case. The five little green lights are still not blinking. One, on the end, stares at me forlornly, like it’s giving me a tiny green evil eye. For a month. Nothing. Has. Changed.

Although I do have this exciting news to report: we have been moved up to a 7 day ticket!

Which means what, exactly? Well, I don’t really know. But since that news broke last Friday, we’re hoping that it means we will be fixed by the end of this week. Keep your fingers crossed!

Now, I’m sure you have questions. I will try to anticipate and answer them here.

  1. Why haven’t you dumped them? What are you waiting for? Are you just that lazy/willing to be taken advantage of? Technically, that’s three questions, but I’m feeling generous. We have not dumped our cable people yet because we have always been happy with them up until now. Their service people came out promptly to our house, but apparently the problem resides elsewhere (we’ll come back to this in question #3). Also, our decision is possibly affected by the fact that for the last couple of years we’ve somehow been granted access to a few more tv channels than we’re actually paying for, per se. Let’s just say we really don’t want anything to interfere with Season 4 of Project Runway. Perhaps this month long break from our home internet is really some kind of cosmic payback. And yes, we are pretty darn lazy.
  2. So why/how are you blogging now, when you’ve let it go for that long? Well, like I said, laziness is a factor. But things are getting desperate, people. Rumors of kidnapping and boycotting abound. Others around me feel compelled to share stories of their own cable mishaps. I can’t take it anymore. So, on Tuesday morning, I skipped my wonderful free yoga class, came to work instead, and blogged. And didn’t count it as work. I think the fact that I gave up both free stretching and getting paid says everything you need to know about my current mentality. And surely the world is a better place for me sharing that mentality with you.
  3. Do you really think I could possibly have any more questions about your internet? Well, I do think it’s polite to at least pretend to show some interest. But in lieu of further questions, I will just offer you some free advice. Whenever the cable guy comes to your house and apologizes, be afraid. When he says the problem is not at your house, and then begins to utter random phrases like “down the line,” “maintenance department,” “we really have no control,” and “I’ve turned in a ticket,” be very afraid. Because you don’t know what those words mean right now, but I do. It means you will have no internet for a very, very long time.

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

October 10, 2007 at 6:07 pm

sunday morning

with one comment

what’s shaping your life?
what’s shaping mine?

i could look around the room and try to recite
all the unwritten rules that guide our lives

don’t oversleep
go to church
comb your hair
press your shirt
marry the right one
don’t go into debt
keep everybody clean and fed
live on a nice suburban street
it never hurts to keep things neat
so tidy up your little life
keep all that messiness inside
yourself – we don’t really want to know
how you struggle with all those things

like staying with your husband
reaching for a drink
looking at that picture
lying through your teeth

no, all that’s better off ignored

and while we’re ignoring, might as well
ignore some other things too

those messy ones outside our walls
we pretend they don’t exist at all
those ones with addictions and wrecks of lives
unpaid bills and nothing to drive
they live in apartments, trailers, on the street
children with not enough food to eat
dirty clothes, torn up shoes
if only they looked more like me, or you
it’s really their fault
the choices they’ve made

we say to ourselves
in a thousand different ways

now there’s a situation where you turn the other cheek
look the other way
walk right past the weak

because these rules we live by don’t include the messy parts
the parts that look like failing
and we’re not about to start with anything that doesn’t fit or meet the status quo
we’ve shaped ourselves
and shaped our lives
to fit the world we know

and as long as we’re surrounded by good Christians in their pews
basketball for Jesus
the Fox nightly news
as long as we can sit within this bubble we’ve created
and not look in
and not look out
well then, looks like we’ve made it

but –

there still is one more question that should be pulling at our souls

when did Jesus ever say that all of this would make us whole?

if we’re going to live by rules, shouldn’t the rules be set by him?

he says – repent
and – you must be born again

surely you’ve heard that one before
oh, but wait, there’s more

come to me
believe in me
love me
listen to me
abide in me
take up your cross and follow me

these are all too familiar to me
they bounce off the surface and skip away
maybe i’ll change another day

we think we’re doing what’s good and right
what Jesus said to do
but are we?

my life will never change
just stay the same

until I listen, until I choose

to worship God in spirit and truth
rejoice and leap for joy when hated
always pray
do not be anxious
about anything – any thing at all
love my neighbor who doesn’t mow
love my God with all my soul
love even my enemies
hold on to mercy instead of anger
cherish the truth – say yes or no and mean it
do not store your treasure here
but humble yourself through sacrifice
let your light shine for all to see
do this in remembrance of me

these things these things he said to us
and though i’ve heard them all before
it needs to make a difference now
there could be so much more

so i ask
what’s shaping my life?
what’s shaping yours?

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

September 10, 2007 at 9:44 pm


with 5 comments

This whole blogging world is full of funny things. Yes, I know that’s a brilliant observation and I know that technically, I’m only on the very farthest edge of this world ,as evidenced last night when I was trying to figure out Site Meter and Technorati, things that apparently anyone who knows anything can figure out. I think I finally got Site Meter working, but I joined Technorati and I still don’t really know what it does. But “all the things I don’t understand” is a post for another day. Or many posts for many other days. On with the story…

Yesterday I went to the park with 3 other moms, 2 of whom I’ve known for a long time. The third I’ve met only recently; first through her blog and then in real life. She’s a little more experienced at this whole thing, and yesterday she told me that she tagged me. I had a small anxiety attack once I figured out what it meant, because I now am supposed to tell you seven weird things about myself (yikes, that brings all kinds of scary things to mind), and then tag seven other bloggers (I don’t even know seven! Really!). What to do?

Then I woke up this morning and visited a new blog I’m loving by a woman who lives in Africa – and here you go, she’s been tagged today, too, and she’s excited about it! I have to say it was slightly inspirational to me. So I’m in, Jerusalem – although I’m going to have to go about it my way…

1. I can’t stand the way popsicle sticks feel on my tongue. Or teeth. Love the ‘sicles, hate the sticks.

2. At least half of the clothes in my closet formerly belonged to Local Style Maven and Shopping Guru, Melany Shelton – who has great taste and, lucky for me, likes to clean out her closet often. Pretty much if I’m wearing it and it’s cute, it came from La Casa de Melany, my favorite store.

3. I adore the tallness of my husband because it makes me feel small and petite. Of which I am neither.

4. I am almost prouder of my children when they are able to be truly witty than of anything else. I know it should be grades or character qualities, but I really love it when they can make me laugh.

5. Bad clip art drives me absolutely crazy. And there’s so much of it out there.

6. Multiple clashing fonts on a page drive me even crazier. Pick one and stay with it!

7. I am absolutely addicted to LOST, and even played The Lost Experience last summer. Yes, me. Totally nerded out. Don’t ask me about it, or I will start talking and you won’t be able to shut me up…it’s dangerous…

Ok, so that’s my part! Now, as I understand it, I should tag 7 more bloggers. But, as mentioned earlier, I don’t know that many. So, I will tag Bryan, and Millie.

And the rest is up to you. Post your 7 weird things right here in the comments – and next week, we’ll work on you all starting your own blogs. So we don’t have this awkward moment again.

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

May 24, 2007 at 2:16 pm

Posted in relationships, writing

not the post that was previously planned

with 4 comments

But then again, these things never are. These things that cause us to stop mid-sentence, hold our heads, and cry.

I was going to do fun today. Interactive. I don’t want to be too reflective, too serious, all the time. Wears people out – I know. It wears me out sometimes.

But then something happened today. So if you’re not in for serious, it’s time to stop reading now. My apologies…

When I got to work this morning there was an email from a list I belong to that sends out news about Ted and Lee Theater Works. It’s a team of two men, Ted Swartz and Lee Eshleman, who write and act together. They tour, mostly churches and church-type events, and perform their stuff, which is largely Biblically based. Their most well-known show is called “Fish-Eyes,” and looks at the life of Jesus through the eyes of Peter and Andrew, who were brothers and also disciples.

That paragraph – the one I just wrote – sums up many of the reasons why I can’t stand telling people what I do for a living. When I tell people that I work with drama, with theater, that I write, direct, and act; well, that’s enough for many nice people to start looking at me sideways. “Oh, really? Well…that’s interesting…” they say. But when I throw in the little fact that I do all this as part of a church staff, I can watch the big Religious Wacko Cornball Warning Light go off in their head. They’re thinking Biblical costumes, bad writing, directing, acting – bad everything – and they try to control the impulse to either laugh out loud or pity me directly to my face. And why wouldn’t they? Who hasn’t been in a few too many Christmas pageants in their life? As I see their face change, ever so slightly, I’m almost tripping over myself to explain… “no, you see, my church uses drama regularly, you know – real life situations – like something that probably just happened to you, and then it ties into the sermon, and, I mean, it’s all right now, not like Bible stories or anything…REALLY, I’M NORMAL. REALLY!”

See what I mean? Some of you have quit reading already – just at the retelling of my poor explanatory skills. What I mean to say is that life, truth, grace, love – are often best understood in the context of story. That we are stories. That if I can somehow speak to your heart, you will open yourself to more – and what greater gift could I give you?

Ted Swartz and Lee Eshleman would agree. Granted, we often come at it differently. They have no problem with Biblical characters, stories, and costumes. As we have seen, I have a bit of an inherent paranoia about it all. But we agree that art done in the church ought to be every bit as excellent as art done anywhere else, if not more so. That acting, done well, is worth so much to the audience and to the performer that it’s worth pushing through all the misconceptions. That stories, even Bible stories, are the gateway to our souls.

Knowing all of this makes it all the sadder that Lee is gone.

The email I got this morning was not their usual bits of news, tour schedule, etc, but a short, sad statement:

It is with deep sadness that we send this email to you, our friends. If you have not yet heard, Lee Eshleman died on May 17, 2007. Lee took his own life after succumbing to a long battle with depression. We have heard from so many of you already, and are grateful for the prayers you’ve offered up for Lee’s family, Ted, and the rest of the people who loved him dearly. You can find out more at, and you can also post your own messages or memories about Lee in the Guestbook.

I sat at my computer – oh no, no no no… My heart has grieved today.

It’s sad for so many reasons. Lee was a great writer, a gifted actor, a genuinely funny person. The characters he played were open-hearted, full of warmth, Gracie to Ted’s George. He had a great smile, a lifelong writing and acting partner, a wife and three kids, a church he loved. People all over the country have been touched by his work – both in live performances and by others performing his scripts. And somehow, in spite of it all, he lost to a depression that he could not overcome.

I emailed them once, just hitting the “contact” link on their site, and Lee was the one who answered. We ended up going back and forth a little, having a conversation of sorts, and I felt that somehow, I had met a friend – you know, in that crazy internet sort of way, when someone writes you back and says what you were trying to say in exactly the way you wish you could have said it.

And that’s the feeling I kept having this spring, when we decided to use scenes from the play about Peter and Andrew, “Fish-Eyes,” on Sunday mornings this spring. Yes, their stuff, their Bible story stuff, is that good – good enough that we would do the very thing we have avoided for so long. Each time we came back to those brothers, each time we heard a story that we’ve heard a million times before – it was new, and it felt like real people, like you just know that’s how those guys were, not these flat feltboard cutouts we learned about in Sunday school. And oh yeah, now that’s the way I wish I could have written it.

My husband played Andrew, Lee’s part in the show. Just weeks ago I directed him and another dear friend in the final scene of the play, in which Andrew has the final line. Today, reading this tribute to Lee, I came across those lines again. It all feels so very close, the losing of this faraway friend.

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

May 22, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Posted in acting, art, church, loss, writing


with 4 comments

I have a friend who says the best things in life happen spontaneously, almost by accident. This is funny because she is a planner. She can take great joy in planning, having something to look forward to – she counts on that in many places of her life. However, in spite of all that, she firmly believes that most of the best times of her life – nights out, parties, trips – are those ones that happened on the spur of the moment.

Sometimes I agree.

Not too long ago, I had a night with that friend and her husband, and my husband too. We ate, and laughed, and the evening seemed to flow like water in a clear stream, like a glass of good wine. Several small things happened that surprised us, but they only seemed to serve to make the evening better, funnier, more enjoyable.

We ended up at one point walking down the street to see another couple as the evening light faded, glasses in hand, the air shining with spring around us, our kids running back and forth. They were lost in their own world, one of those wonderful moments where they are so into their own play that they really don’t want the parents to interfere.

There are such evenings, where the snappy comeback is always on your lips. Or somebody else’s. And you’re somehow not worried about what you have on. You wouldn’t mind dancing in front of other people, if it came to that. There is enough for everyone, enough room around the table for whoever shows up, enough room in your soul to take in and give back – your heart is open to the world.

And what does it mean? I want to say.

Why do such things seem few and far between? Why do I spend so much of my life…grasping?

I’m not in any way going to say that everywhere, all the time, there is enough. One has only to look around the corner, much less across the world, to know that. I also would never say there is not terrific pain, heartache, and loss to be lived through and dealt with as we walk through this life.

But if you could look inside my head – listen to the voices and many arguments that take place there, you would come away with the impression that I am much more left out, put upon…unloved than I really am.

Anne Lamott says it wonderfully – that in her head she knows that there is enough pie for everyone to have a piece, that there is no need to stab someone else with her fork. That she is mature enough to lay down her fork and smile at everyone else at the table. This she knows.

But she will go to her grave grasping her fork…

Me, too, sister! Back off from that pie!

And I don’t know, why, completely. I only know that some of it has to do with the way that I look at it, the lens I use to see. And that my summer self, loving this late May, on the cusp of summer June, finds it easier to see the abundance. Finds it hard to remember or even understand the wintered soul that sees only scarcity.

Maybe if I write it I will remember…

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

May 20, 2007 at 10:53 pm


with one comment

The wind blows this way and that, today
like it can’t make up it’s mind
whether to stay or go
give me a yes or no
warm and bright, or cold at night?
Don’t tie me down, it seems to say
you can’t predict just how your spring
will feel today.
Sometimes it blows this way, and then
The blooms and twigs around me
pop like fireworks
like little stars
you can hardly drive your car
for all those flowers shouting look at me
this technicolor can’t-you-see…
And children dress in pastel hues
matching shoes
colored bows tie their hair
it’s in the air – the hope the giddy joy of spring
infusing every single thing.
And then the wind blows back again…
this time the rain falls down in sheets
and grey surrounds my windows
the cold it snaps your breath away
the muck and mire – so uninspired
Spring turns its back
and breaks your trust…yet hope we must
Spring is full of new and green
but also full of mud
you can’t get life without the mess
without the death
of something old
that needs to die
to change
to live again.

I wrote this about a month ago, for our new community service, and meant to post it then, but haven’t. The funny thing was that then, our spring was uncommonly sunny and bright – I wrote this to fit the theme of the night, to speak of predictable unpredictability of this season. But I remember thinking – so far it’s not really that way, this year.

Now that spring seems almost over, June just around the bend, this poem rings truer in my heart. The weather is playing with us, change is in the air, and my heart can feel unsteady.

Sometimes my own previously written words flip back around like leaves on the wind to reassure me. Like Madeline L’Engle, sometimes I am better in my writing than in reality.

“hope we must…” Indeed.

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

May 2, 2007 at 10:46 pm

Posted in writing