Family

Hamilton!

Last night, I finally got to see Hamilton.

I remember the day I learned the show was coming to Charlotte. I immediately contacted my husband and told him we needed season tickets to the Broadway shows, just so we could get tickets to this show. That was 3 years ago. We bought 6 seats for 2 seasons, just so we would have the tickets last night.

While we were driving uptown, my daughter Taylor called. “Would you, dad and the brothers like to go backstage after the show?” Of course we wanted to go backstage. Several of the cast members have been taking a fitness class she teaches, and one of her new friends offered to show us all around. Could this get any better?

The show was amazing. I have studied the lyrics, the books, and watched every video on Youtube, but finally seeing it in person was worth the wait.


After the show, the 6 of us walked to the stage door access behind the theater building. There were security guards and a dog guarding the exit. After a few minutes, Kristen Hoagland came out of the door and took us past the barricades and the guards, into the theater’s backstage area. She showed us where the actors changed wigs, where each actor kept their props and costume change items. She showed us all of the costumes, hanging to allow the accumulated sweat to dry before the next performance. Each actor has their own set of cubbies and drawers to keep their shoes, hats, and other costume items neatly stored.

The stage itself has a turntable, with an outer ring that sometimes turned with the center, and sometimes turned opposite the center. The turntables allowed the illusion of walking, or distance on the stage, and allowed the actors to change position on the stage without actually moving themselves. It gave a 360º feel for the audience at times as the stage itself turned so the audience could see all angles. Just standing on the stage was surreal.

The different furniture props were suspended above the heads just off stage, so the pieces could be lowered when needed, but out of the way other times. There were cubbies filled with different papers and items the actors used throughout the show. It was all extremely neat, with everything immediately accessible as needed.

Kristen was such a sweet host. She told us a little about her time on the tour, and answered all of our questions. She took our picture on the stage. I imagine she was tired after such a long performance, but she didn’t show it. We got to say hello to other cast members as they walked by, each going to their own home-away-from-home here in the city.IMG_0925

Thank you, Hamilton cast and crew, for such a great night with my family. That was one to remember for a long time.

 


 

Changes · Family · Life with kids · Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving for Change

Last week in Sunday School, I taught my students the story of Balaam’s donkey. In this story, the king of Moab asked Balaam to curse God’s people. As a prophet of God, it would not have been a good thing for Balaam to have cursed God’s own people, but the king was offering a fat paycheck for Balaam’s service. Balaam knows it is the wrong thing to do, but he sets off with his trusty donkey to talk to the king, and the assumption is that he intends to take the money and curse God’s people.

As Balaam was traveling to see the king about this request, and God sent an angel who stood in the roadway, scaring the wits out of poor Balaam’s donkey. The donkey first walked off the road, then lay down in the middle of the road– wanting to do anything but cross the angel standing in the path. Balaam couldn’t see the angel, didn’t understand the donkey’s behavior, and responded by beating the poor animal. He basically threw a hissy fit because his plans were being changed and he didn’t want to adapt. The story ends with the donkey receiving the gift of speech, so he could explain his behavior, and Balaam’s eyes were opened to see the angel standing in their path. Balaam realizes that he was on the path to sure destruction, and his donkey’s behavior was protecting him. The lesson, I explained to my class, was that sometimes our plans are blocked by situations we don’t understand, and sometimes it is God blocking our path to keep us in His path and not on our own path.

I thought about this story as I prepared for hosting Thanksgiving this week. This year, for the only the second time ever, I hosted Thanksgiving. Originally I was not pleased to have my traditional Thanksgiving changed. But it turned out to be very nice.


Thanksgiving is about more than just the food. It is about family and getting together. It is about life and love and surviving another year and being thankful for everything that happened in that year. Normally, my family’s Thanksgiving is loud and messy. We gather at my parents’ house — 3 children, a couple sons-in-law, 9 grandchildren, a few dogs and significant others, and most recently a great-grandbaby to enjoy. It is a giant slumber party, with football at the local elementary school fields, and long walks and talks, football on TV, jigsaw puzzles in the living room. And of course, my mom’s cooking. I love it.

But this year is different. We aren’t having our normal, crazy family Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. My sister will be with her family. Only two of my four children can come this year. My parents are staying at their house with my brother and his family. It will be quiet, less stressful for sure — different.

My mom says that change has to happen, that it is the normal way of things. But to be fair, I don’t like any change anyway. I’m quite change-averse. I set out on my path, like Balaam in the Bible story, and I get very frustrated when something makes me change my plans. I have spent the last few weeks being upset that Thanksgiving is different this year.

But as the day arrived, I realize how much good is in this change. I was relaxed with no long drive to mom’s house, no packing of the dogs, making sure Sugar got her car-sick medicine an hour before we left. As much as I love my mom’s house and her wonderful kitchen and greenhouse to just sit in, it was nice to enjoy extended time in my own home. It was fun to watch Taylor setting out her pre-dinner snacks and to get out serving dishes that are rarely used. We were able to include a friend who didn’t have any place to go, and Taylor’s boyfriend was able to work and enjoy family Thanksgiving. And I got to watch Moana for the first time, while lying on my favorite Lazy-Boy chair under a cozy blanket.

I still don’t like change, but I’m trying to embrace it. Change can be good.