Friday, March 31, 2006
The “guapa” phenomenon: Everyday in Spain is a good self-esteem day. Whether you are a super-model or the homeliest thing on two legs, a woman walks into a room full of friends and is greeted with, “Hola, guapa!” (“Hello, good-lookin’!”). How can that not put you in a good mood? The best part is that it wouldn’t always stop there. Women friends would dote on each other, complimenting, talking about the things they like about one another (quite sincerely). Spanish people just love to share the spotlight! Their emotional generosity, in that respect, shed a lot of light on that dark place in my heart that simply isn't accustomed to the degree of humility that it takes to regularly get over myself long enough to look a friend square in the face and tell her how valuable she is. Thanks for the lesson, mis chicas!
The “tranquila” effect: “Tranquila” quickly became my favorite Spanish word. Living overseas, trying to function in a culture that isn’t yours, and speaking a language that is, well…foreign, can make for some pretty stressful moments. Sometimes those moments came more often than others, but any time I got my knickers in a twist, there was inevitably a kind-hearted Spaniard there to say, “Tracy, ¡tranquila!” (“Be tranquil,Tracy!). It was never said in a condescending tone…not at all. It always felt like someone offering me a tall, cool glass of lemonade and inviting me to recline on a chaise lounge. Ahhhh.
Guapa. Tranquila. Now, imagine those two words used in one sentence together, spoken to you on a regular basis. I’m feeling better, already! No wonder Spain is known for it relaxed vibe and good times!
Guapas, I hope your weekend is muy tranquila!
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Being a newcomer, who often feels like a stranger in a foreign land, it is so nice to have a friend in D. And so nice to have a weekly lunch buddy. We happily refer to the forth day of the work week as “Wahoo’s Thursday”! Love it!
Thank you for your friendship, D! Wahoo!
"In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, for in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed." -Kahlil Gibran
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
I'd like to share two short passages from Scripture that have encouraged me when I’ve felt overwhelmed or anxious:
The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. --Philippians 4:5-7
I love that God WANTS us to tell Him our requests. And I love the peace that He gives us in return, when we trust Him. It truly does transcend all understanding!
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. --(The words of Jesus) Matthew 11:28-30
I’m so thankful that the God of all creation wants me to bring my weary, burdened heart to Him. Isn’t it amazing that the Supreme Being of the universe describes Himself as gentle and humble in heart? He is my Hiding Place, where I find rest for my weary soul.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
For example, when I first signed up for eHarmony, I was a little nervous about eDating because I had never done it before. Would it lead to eHappiness or would I grow old as a sad eSpinster? Or *gasp!*, what if I met an eCutie, fell in love with him, and was then faced with the inevitable eBreakup? eHeartache would be awfully hard to take! Thankfully, I have had a good eExperience, and for a short time, even had to multitask with more than one match, thus rendering me (according to my roommate), an eHooker. Last week, things got a little dicey when I realized that the two matches I was corresponding with both go to the same church and seminary. Yikes! Could these two eMales actually be friends? That was too much for me to handle, and since one of them had already become a definite front-runner, I had to throw the other one back (fishing terms come in very handy in eDating, as well.) Sometimes a girl has to catch and release! Ya know? I am hoping that my multitasking days are numbered because my eSuitor of fondue fame has definitely captured my attention. He may soon be upgraded from eSuitor to eHottie status, and maybe one day, we can do away with the “e” altogether, and he will be my real, live boyfriend.
Hmmm. That sounds good. It’s still too early to tell what God has in store in that department, but I can tell you this much, I am utterly eHopeful!
Monday, March 27, 2006
Friday, March 24, 2006
I have been working a “day job” to support my acting habit for the last several months. I am uber-thankful for it, as it pays the bills and keeps me from being a starving actress. But sometimes I feel like such a fish-out-of-water! Kinda the way I felt in high school algebra class…I’m making the grade, but it feels so unnatural! I mean, seriously, does the woman pictured above look like she has any business doing analysis on home loans? Trust me, she doesn't. It is only by the sheer grace of God that I am working in this capacity.
I am a creative, right-brained person whose soul longs to express itself through artisitic mediums—acting, singing, writing, and photography. That’s just how God hard-wired me, and I feel most alive when doing those things.
I guess I’m just feeling grateful in this moment for my blog! Over the last couple months, it has been my principal place for creative expression, my little corner of the world to sound off and be heard--which leads me to the next thing I’m thankful for…YOU!!!…for being there to hear me. It’s nice to know that my thoughts aren’t just landing in the silent ether of cyberspace, but that you friends who stop by to take a look at my daily posts are there to hear me. What a gift! Thank you.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Monday night was no exception. One eInterest has risen to the top of the proverbial heap. Last night, he took me out for an amazing dinner at The Melting Pot in Old Town Pasadena. Yumza!!!—both the food and the company. Both were lookin’ pretty delish!
Anywho, I was treated to a four course meal that I must recount for you, because, Holy Yum, it was sooooo good!
Course one: Cheese fondue—a mixture of beer, cheddar cheese, minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and cracked pepper. Bread, raw veggies and Granny Smith apples for dipping. Are you salivating yet, because I’m just getting started!
Course two: A mixed field green salad topped with sliced tomatoes, gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.
Course three: Chicken and beef tenderloin fondue. No frying in peanut oil for us! We cooked in a mojo broth with fresh citrus fruit juices and cilantro to add some flava!
Course four: And here’s where you’re really gonna have to sit down, because you may momentarily loose consciousness. Dessert—Chocolate fondue with crunchy peanut butter mixed in. Items for dipping included strawberries, pound cake, cheese cake, pineapple, and Oreo-covered marshmallows. The feeding frenzy was a total delight for the senses, but not as delightful as sitting in our corner booth for two getting to know the remarkable person I shared the meal with.
Many thanks to my eSuitor for taking me out on such a cool date. It was way fun!
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
The main character is Elle Woods (played flawlessly by Reese Witherspoon), a college coed who gets her heart broken her senior year by her hunky boyfriend. In an effort to win him back, she decides all of a sudden one day to apply to the law school where he has already been accepted for admission for the upcoming year: Harvard. After a lot of dedicated studying for the LSAT and a rockin’ video she submits to the application screening committee, she is admitted to Harvard Law.
When she arrives on campus to start school, it becomes clear that Elle Woods is out of her element. She’s a California bottle-blonde Barbie type who just landed herself in Preppyville. Making friends is hard. Earning the approval of her teachers is hard. And getting the attention of her ex-boyfriend is the hardest of all, especially considering that he is now engaged to a country club queen who also goes to Harvard Law.
Much of the rest of the movie is seeing Elle realize just how smart she is. She begins to believe in herself. She embraces her uniqueness, even when those around her criticize her for it. She becomes fiercely “Elle”, and grows into the person she was meant to be. She follows her instincts, and as a result wins a huge court case and graduates valedictorian of her class, grabbing the attention of the hottest hottie on campus along the way (a man who far outshines the ex-boyfriend she followed to Harvard). Seeing Elle exit the court room after winning her big case was truly inspirational. Even her walk was distinctly “Elle”.
I think the reason that Legally Blonde spoke to me as loudly as it did is because I saw it at a time in my life when I had nearly lost myself. I had fallen into an approval trap of trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be, instead of being the “me” that God created me to be. When I think about the people in my life who inspire me, they are distinct, unique, independent thinkers who are not trying to please. It is their authenticity (there’s that word again!) that draws me to them. Elle Woods made me want to be me again, and for that, she will always be one of my personal heroes.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
One day, when I was living in Houston, I was REALLY STRESSED OUT!!! It was one of those days where everything was already going wrong. I was working a job as a costume assistant on a show that was playing at the Astro Arena. I drove down and arrived at the entrance of the arena only to be told by the attendant working at the gates that I cannot drive through to the parking area without a permit. Already up to my eyeballs in stress, I tell him that I was never given one, but that I WORK THERE!!! We can’t let anyone in without a pass. Didn’t I just tell him that I WORK THERE?!! Sorry, ma’am you’re going to have to pay. Oh, yeah? Watch this! I put pedal to the medal and drove right through. Soon I was being followed by a cop with flashing lights. Note to self: Don’t EVER do this again. P.S. This is scary-cool! I park my car and get out. Thankfully, one of my co-workers ran and got the producer who assured the cop that I do indeed work there. Phew! No trip to the county jail for me (thank You, Lord, for saving me from my own stupid stupidity!).
That’s just one example of what can happen when you don't keep your impulses in check. Police come out with lights flashing and sirens on telling you to hold it together, woman, or we’re takin’ you downtown!
Still, it’s fun to ponder what I might do today if I threw the rules of polite living out the window and let my inner-self come out to play. I would most certainly have already turned up the volume on the CD playing on my computer to levels that would distract my coworkers, and got up on my desk to shake, shake, shake my booty to the awesome music of the Legally Blonde soundtrack. (Elle Woods is one of my heroes, but that’s a story for another day). Then I would put in one of my musical theatre soundtracks and have a karaoke moment in the style of Ethel Merman. That’s right…mama likes to sing loud…real loud! I might write my eInterest an e-mail and ask him if he wants to skip all this polite get-to-know-you stuff and just smooch me already. And finally, I would go to acting class, where any and all of the above impulses are not only acceptable but encouraged.
Ahhhh…acting class. My three hours a week where I am invited to just be me. The most authentic, full me that I can bring to the table is exactly what is expected. The three hours of my week where sitting on impulses is grounds for criticism, and squelching emotional life is just plain WRONG! Thank You God for acting class! Maybe the reason we love the movies and theatre so much is because we are drawn to people (characters) that are living raw, authentic lives. Lives that we can relate to. Lives that we remember we might be living if it weren’t for life getting in the way!
Alas, I am not in acting class right now. I am at work. So for now, I’ll have to save the booty-shaking and the Broadway moments for my brief trips to the ladies room, where the tile walls get to see my daily Tony award-winning performances. Great acoustics in that bathroom. I’d like to thank the Academy….
Friday, March 17, 2006
At the end of our time together, each person shared their answer to one final question: What are five dreams you want to see fulfilled in your life? It was truly moving to hear the dreams that God has put in the hearts of my friends. And it felt good to share mine as well. There was a real sense of knowing and being known. And isn’t that what we all long for in this life? An intimacy in our relationships that is mutually accepting and lets you know that you are not at all alone in this world.
The desire to know and be known begs an age-old question that is addressed in one of my favorite movies, Sense and Sensibility: How vulnerable should we make ourselves in our relationships, and how soon? In Sense and Sensibility, there are two sisters—one is all heart and passion and “out there” with her feelings. She gets burned bad…real bad. The other sister is incredibly guarded and nearly loses her chance at love because she holds her feelings so close. Both sisters eventually do find love and true intimacy, but their journeys to get there were so different, and perhaps equally painful for different reasons.
Writing this weblog has definitely made me examine how open I should be with the things that I share. Understanding that certain things need to be kept “sacred”, I still lean toward a more open approach. During my journey on this earth, I want to let people in. It’s a lot less lonely that way. And when I go to meet my Maker (How awesome will it be to be in that relationship?! Knowing and being known 100%! *), at least the loved ones I leave behind will have really known me, and I hope they will know just how much I love them and how very much they mean to me!
* “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Oh yeah…life is good!
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
My favorite section of any grocery or drug store is the cosmetics aisle. Rows and rows of possibilities. I expect that most of my male readers have already closed their web browsers by now, so girls…let’s get down to business and discuss our favorite cosmetic and hair products, shall we? To achieve the desired “look” I want when I’m needing to look like my inner 21 year old, here are the essentials:
For the hair: Chi Ceramic Hair Straightening Iron – This flat iron has the best reputation. Use with care, it gets HOT! The Chi gets my wavy locks stick straight when I’m wanting to channel Cher.
TIGI’s After Party – If I could only use one product on my hair (gasp!), this is the one I would choose (although cocktailing products does the best for my tresses). It eliminates frizz and adds shine. Use on wet or dry hair.
Skin Care: Mary Kay’s TimeWise 3-in-1 Cleanser and Age-Fighting Moisturizer – I have been using Mary Kay skin care products since high school, and I imagine I will for life. They are wonderful. On more than one occasion, I have referred to the moisturizer as “mother’s milk for the skin”—so nourishing!
Lips: Loreal Colour Juice. If you want your lips to look like glass and have a touch of color, this lip gloss is my favorite! It comes in a variety of colors. I’m partial to “watermelon crush”. Economically priced. On lazy days, when I just don’t feel like putting on makeup, a touch of Colour Juice adds some spice with zero effort.
Eyes: Mary Kay’s Charcoal Eyeliner and Lash Lengthening Mascara – The eyeliner goes on easily, and the mascara washes off easily. Both will make your eyes rival those of Cleopatra. Grrrr.
In the comments section, I’d be interested to hear about your favorite “secret weapon”. (Jeff G., if you post a reply to this, I will have serious concerns….)
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The problem that accompanies knowing about a surprise for such a long time is that you get comfortable with the secret and occasionally forget to keep it that way…secret! In an act of complete and utter carelessness, I copied my sister on an e-mail telling about an eInterest that called to ask me if he could pick me up from the airport on Monday. Bless my heart. Am I really that much of a bubble head? ‘Fraid so.
My sweet sister wrote me back saying: Okay, first of all I didn't know you were going out of town this weekend. What up? Where are you going? So much I'm missing out on. We need to catch up.
Imagine my horror when I saw THAT in my inbox. Thank the Good Lord that we weren’t on the phone! At least an e-mail response would give me an opportunity to formulate the best lie I’ve ever told: Crazy story...this has all transpired in the last 24 hours. Remember when I did that musical at that theatre in Utah? Well, I recently sent them an updated headshot and resume and they called and said that they want me to come out this weekend to audition for another show there! So I'm flying out after work on Friday to audition on Saturday and stay for callbacks on Sunday (hopefully I'll get one). I'm gonna stay with that sweet Christian family I met when I was in St. George, and fly back to LA on Monday. It's gonna be a total whirlwind, but at least it will end with a date!!! And hopefully, I'll get a show out of it! Wouldn't it be so much fun to work there again?
I love you,
I’m so pathological! As soon as I fire off that e-mail, I call both parents to inform them of the BLT (Best Lie I Ever Told), so that they will not freak out when Jill tells them that I’m going to Utah this weekend (and then have them think that I’m not really coming home). Mom and Dad are both informed. Mom tells me that she almost spilled the beans that morning, but made a smooth recovery.
My Dad and sister had made plans for Dad to drive over to have a birthday dinner with her on Friday night. Dad and I later planned that the two of us would meet up and then knock on her door together, and that’s how I would surprise her. The day before I fly home, I get this e-mail from Dad:
Tracy: This is too funny! Your sister is excited about her birthday as you know. She phoned yesterday about my arrival time and in further conversation I asked her if she wanted me to bring a special bottle of wine for her birthday dinner. She mentioned a few things and I said “well what about some Riesling Wine for you and Tracy”. She laughed and said “Dad, Tracy lives in Los Angeles not here.” I said “oh, I forgot that”. We laughed. It will make for a laugh when you show up with me.
Are we a family of airheads, or what? (Don’t comment on that!!!)
Friday, March 10, 2006
In thinking about our last thirty years together, here are some of the things that come to mind:
- My earliest memory is with you! Having our picture taken (ha!) by Mom when we were playing in the sunroom on the floor back by the planter.
- Playing and camping out in our tree house that Dad built us.
- Me wishing and hoping that one day I would be able to be as good a dancer as you were! I was so relieved a few years ago when you told me that you felt the same way about me and sports! Phew!—It’s a two-way street! ;)
- Riding bikes to Hidden Forest with the Greenwoods.
- Jumping on the Palmieri’s trampoline.
- Practicing acrobatics in our backyard.
- Toots Johnson Dance Studio.
- The bitter-sweetness of moving from San Antonio to Houston. I’m so glad I had you that summer!
- “I’m not touching you!” “Do-int!” “Stop i-ta!” “I’m drawing a line down the middle of the back seat, and you are not allowed to cross it!” Of course, I was the instigator of most of these events! (I’ll never take responsibility for all of them! The older sister ALWAYS gets blamed for EVERYTHING!!!)
- Being really proud of you for all of your accomplishments and just for who you are. I always felt so proud when you would make cheerleader every year, and I was so sad for you that one icky year (but still so proud of how you handled yourself with such dignity and class). So proud of you when you performed with Encore, graduations, working for YL, working for Dad (you go, girrrrl! A strong woman in a man’s world!), for being the wonderful daughter, sister and wife that you are!
- Surviving our parents’ divorce together. I think it was during that chapter that we really became best friends. I don’t think I would have made it without you.
- Being Baylor Bears and sorority sisters together. I remember how fun it was to meet you for lunch or dinner in the cafeteria. Even though we were away from home, I felt blessed to have you nearby.
- I’ll always be grateful to you for your support during one particularly difficult relationship I had. You really helped me by being a non-judgmental listener and by offering your unconditional love and support to me. Thanks for that!
- Seeing that huge smile on your face when you came bounding across the yard and down the aisle to marry G-Dawg. Getting to be your maid of honor.
- Eating the cinnamon toast that John would make us and enjoying how spoiled we were by him! John’s address to us at Mom’s wedding. And being with you and Mom when he went to be with God—singing and crying together.
- Our road trip out to Los Angeles—the triumphant trio on the road! I couldn’t have made this move without your help. You and Mom were awesome!
- Your most recent visit here that was so fun!
These are only a few of many wonderful memories I have of “us sissies” over the last thirty years. You are a tremendous blessing in my life, and I love you soooooo much. You bring joy to everyone you know. May God rain down blessings on you!
Happy 30th Birthday!
All my love,
Thursday, March 09, 2006
The thing that brought me the most encouragement during that season of waiting was a cassette tape (thanks, Mom!) that I had in my car. It was a tape of Bible verses set to music—sung Scripture. Songs have a tendency to get stuck in my head, so it was a total blessing to have God’s word playing constantly in my mind during that time.
Some of the verses that really encouraged my heart were:
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13
Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5
Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make straight your way before me. Psalm 5:8
I hope they encourage you today, as well, right where you are in your journey.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Being two healthy, all-American girls, we daily have conversations about boys. Amanda has been intrigued by my eHarmony experience, and enjoys hearing about my eSuitors. The other day, I let her know that for the first time in my life, I am multitasking. That’s right, people, I am communicating with more than one guy at once! This is a first for me. (A girl’s got to get her money’s worth from this service!) Amanda calls me an eHooker.
Truthfully, the multitasking feels a little weird. Dr. Phil assures me that it is a good thing, and my mom assures me that when she was dating, she never knew any other way! Go Mom!
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
I am only a little ashamed to say that I am on the verge of polishing off an entire box.
God Bless the Girl Scouts of America!
Monday, March 06, 2006
To understand more about the nature of poots, I highly recommend the book The Gas We Pass by Shinto Cho. Related recommended reading: Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi.
“Pardon me for being rude. It was not me, it was my food. It just popped up to say hello, and now it's gone back down below.” –Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery, after belching during a romantic scene
Friday, March 03, 2006
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Good, clean fun! Nine years after this movie came out, I saw Matthew Broderick in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying on Broadway. I waited by the stage door after the show to catch a glimpse of him, along with several other star-gazers. After much waiting, he emerged. The star-struck gazers just stared. No one said anything, so I shouted, right out loud, “I love you, Ferris Bueller!” to which he responded, “Uh, thanks.” Was I a dork? Oh, yeah! Would I have done that moment any differently if given the chance? Heck, no!!!
Life is Beautiful – Roberto Begnini is brilliant in this amazing movie that mixes comedy with tragedy to tell the story of a loving Jewish family sent to a concentration camp.
Sense and Sensibility – Ang Lee’s beautiful movie rendition of Jane Austen’s much-loved novel. It adeptly explores the age-old question of how to find the balance of keeping both a guarded and a vulnerable heart in matters of love.
The Princess Bride – A touching and hilarious fairytale. Too many funny moments to mention. Watch out for the R.O.U.S.es! Best line from this film: “No more rhyming! I mean it!...Anybody want a peanut?”
Mary Poppins – This movie is sheer joy! I started watching it as a child and I continue to watch it as an adult. It is so much fun to watch this movie with kids! Great singing and dancing. I still fall in love with Uncle Albert every time I watch the “I Love to Laugh!” scene.
The Parent Trap (original version) – Disney really found a gold nugget when they discovered Hailey Mills. She is great playing identical twin sisters separated as infants when their parents divorced. They meet each other at summer camp and we get to sit back and enjoy their pranks as they scheme to get their feuding parents back together again.
Legally Blonde – If you are ever having a bad day, and need a wakeup call to tell you that YOU ARE FABULOUS, this is the movie for you. It’s got a great sound track, a fun plot, and Reese Witherspoon’s comic genius. If you haven’t seen this movie because you thought the title was stupid, you are in for a real treat! True confession: I would consider naming my daughter "Elle" after the main character of this film. I'm telling you...she's an inspiration!
Bridget Jones’ Diary – I love movies that give you a flawed character to root for. Bridget Jones is just that. Genuine to the core and on a quest to find Mr. Right, you’ll love her vulnerability and root for her to the end!
The Passion of the Christ – This is a wonderful and sad movie about Jesus Christ’s journey to the cross starting in the Garden of Gethsemane and the triumph of His resurrection. Most of the movie depicts His suffering on behalf of us sinners. Be warned—it is very difficult to watch. One time was enough for me. Seeing what Jesus was willing to endure to save me was a moving experience. It made a personal impact on me when I was watching and thinking that he would have endured all of that just for me if I were the only human on the planet. What love!
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Sometimes looking Mr. Dreamy Eyes right in the pupil reveals a shallowness of soul and will help you remember you are better off without him. Remembering the smell of urine on the sidewalks of Manhattan may make Anytown, USA seem like a much more bearable place to live (and it won’t detract from the splendor of the Empire State Building a single bit!). Our tendency as human beings to see the grass greener on the other side of whatever fence we are on can become a paralyzing temptation. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t make change in our lives. Change is a necessary part of our growth. I am saying that sometimes our longing for a greener pasture is so great that we squander the opportunity to frolic through the green, green grass of our own backyard.
So frolic on, shepherd boys and girls! It’ll be fun! As I take a walk through my own backyard, here are a few of the things I am so thankful for:
- My wonderful family and friends that love me.
- An apartment that feels like a peaceful place that I can call home.
- A nice roommate.
- A "day job" that pays the bills.
- A date on Saturday night! WOO-HOO!
- A great acting class where I am growing in my craft!
- My God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who knows everything about me, and loves me anyway…unconditionally!
I am so blessed!