July 31, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:01 am
Today, after I did the journal writing, I got myself ready and took the bus downtown to the Renaissance Court.  They showed the movie "The Book of Eli" today.  It was not what I had expected, but it was a good movie and Denzel Washington did a good acting job, as did the leading lady.

I had been called to come in for a second reading on the play I auditioned for and was cast as a security guard.  I was counting the lines I have and I believe it was 46, unless I mixed up the second security guard lines with mine.  (We don’t have names in the play).  That sounds like a lot of work but the lines are short, sometimes only one or two words.  They are in two scenes of the play though, near the beginning and near the end.  Another woman, who also sings in our chorus and was in "70 Girls 70" with me as one of the quartet, was cast as the other security guard.
A couple of people that Win, the director, would have liked to have cast could not be in it because they have health conditions that would prevent them from being there as often as they would need to be for rehearsals.    Most of the cast was in "70 Girls 70," last year.  On our first read through, we did not get the plot very well and were missing the humor of it but now we are getting better with it and it makes more sense.  Win’s son, who is a playright, wrote the play, so she is very concerned that it comes off well.  That was all I got done today, no other writing.

July 30, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:40 am
Today. I did not do my journaling in the morning as I do most often because I had to be downtown for the writing groups. I shared my blog entry from yesterday with the journal writers but I did not have a poem for the poetry group.

After that meeting, two of the people from the group who had taken Improv lesson at Second City, led a class on it. So far it is only scheduled for once a month but I am sure it will be expanded to probably once a week. We had 32 people signed up for it. Not all were there but most were. 

I knew a lot of the people from the poetry and other writing groups I am in, the Goodman workshop I attended early this year, or the talent show I was just in last week. It was fun to see them all together. There were a lot of other people I did not know too, but we all came to have a good time and we did.

Four people volunteered to play a talk show host and guest and anyone who wanted to could call in with a question. They did a great job. I couldn’t even think of any question to ask, but I will get more involved at other meetings.

Some of those who came today said there used to be an Improv group and the center years ago and that had been in it. I was not aware of that. I don’t think the people leading it this time knew that either, unless the director of the center told them, and it was before she got the position.

Not only are they saying we may have more frequent meetings, but they are also proposing that we include Improv in the talent show next year, or have a program of our own. That would pose a dilemma for me. Would I sing, dance again, read a poem I wrote like a couple of other people did, or do an Improv skit? I’d like to do it all but we can only do one act because of the number of people that want to take part. 

July 29, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:11 am
After I did my journaling this morning, I went to Family Dollar and bought some large manila mailing envelopes. Then I got my ICL lesson ready to put into the mail tomorrow. After that, I did a load of laundry at the laundromat across the street. We have no basement laundry in our building. The rest of the day was spent on the Internet and trying to complete New York Times crossword puzzles. I have a large book of 500 and I have gone to 136, but only completed one. I was amazed that I finished it. And it is number 13. 

At 7:00 PM, I went to Labor of Love for the Bible study. Pastor began by saying he has a vision to buy the house next to the church told us how much it would cost to purchase and renovate. He says the money will come as we evangelize the neighbors, bring them into the church and teach them to tithe and give offerings to the Lord’s work. We do not coerce people into giving people more than their tithe, we do not have fund raising projects or sell items. The church is supported by, as the slogan they recite each week says, "tithes and offerings, fasting and prayer." The Bible passage pastor spoke on tonight was Matthew 10:1-16 where Jesus sent his disciples out into the towns to spread the Good News. He made 5 points about the verses. 

1. You’re going. Jesus gave them instructions for what they were to do "as" they were going. He did not give them an option and pastor said that he will do all he can to get us to "go". 

2. We must meet people’s needs. If a person has a physical need, that must be met first before they will be receptive to Gospel and if we meet their need, they will be eager to listen to what we have to say to them. 

3. God will meet our needs. Jesus told the disciples not to take extra provisions but to rely on the hospitality of people in the towns where they came to preach. 

4. The results are not ours. He told them that anyone who would not receive them was to be left. Our responsibility is to get the message of salvation to the people. Their response is between them and God.

 5. There may be danger. They were being sent out as sheep among wolves. That is why on Monday, when we do our neighborhood walk, we go in a group. Pastor is upset that the group has been small and wants more of the church to get involved. 

I stayed for choir practice too, even though I do not know the songs they are singing now. Next week the director said she will begin teaching new songs, so I will be able to learn them and then I can be a choir member.

July 28, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:20 am
This morning I did my usual journal entry and got an idea for a book which I believe will take the rest of my life to write.  I don’t want to start sharing about it this early.  Once I do some work on it, I may.  I did tell one friend the idea and it did not sound crazy to him, which it will to most people.  I did a dummy sheet for the story I am sending in to ICL again and made all of the copies required.  Now all I have to do is get it into the mail.

Before I forget to mention it, the IRS resolved that mix-up with my tax return and I received a nice refund check in the mail yesterday, or it may have been Saturday.  I put it into my account today, anyway.
I met with the writers in our bi-weekly writing group Write Right.  I shared what I called Plant Parable, which I had written several years ago.  I relate that we can learn how we should relate to our creator and to one another by observing plants and how they grow.  I posted this on and already received a positive comment there about it.  My fellow writers in the group, although not of my faith, also felt that it was well written.

July 27, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:56 am
Well, today, for a change, I stuck to my plan.  i did my journal and wrote in it what I wanted to do today, as I usual.  I said I wanted to take a large bag of clothes I had shrunk out of, (not outgrown). to one of those boxes where they collect clothing donations.  It is next to a Popeye’s down the street from me, so I said to myself that I would stop in there for lunch.  When I got back I was going to work on my ICL lesson.  I forgot about a course on World Religions I had signed up for and, when my phone began ringing the reminder, it was too late to get there.  I don’t remember how many sessions there will be, but I do hate to miss the first of anything.

So, I read the material telling what the requirements for the lesson are and i began retyping my story incorporating the suggestions the instructor made the last time.  I have been so busy on it, I did not eat another meal this evening.  I talked to my friend for awhile, but otherwise I have been at this assignment all afternoon and evening.  When I saw how late it was I realized that I need to get the blog done, so I stopped trying to make a Dummy Sheet for the story.  I can’t get it the way I want on my computer so I will have to do it freehand, but I traced the boxes on the sample sheet they had in the book.
I believe I forgot to mention the men’s choir which sang at church yesterday.  There were 10 men and 4 boys.  When was the last time you heard 10 men sing together and how long has it been since you saw 10 men involved in one church that is not a mega church?  That really impresses me.  If we can get men grounded in the Word and setting the example in their families as they are supposed to do, then we can put a stop to many of the problems we have in our society.

July 26, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 2:34 am
I began this morning writing in my journal and then got ready for church, after I spoke with my best friend on the phone.  People were late getting to Sunday school, so we started to have one session and then when other women arrived, we split the men and women’s classes.  The lesson was on repentance being the first step toward God.  Coming to church regularly, even joining a church, doing good works, being well educated and having all of the wordly qualities of success, does not get one to God.  We can’t even truly repent without the Holy Spirit moving in our hearts.  Without Him, we can say we want to change and make promises that we will, and still go back to our old ways.  The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and gives us the power to turn away from it.  Too many churches don’t even teach that now.  People leave the church just the way they entered with no change in their lives.

Pastor’s message was from II Kings 4;8-16 about the woman who made a room for the prophet Elisha to rest in when he came through the town.  He asked her what she wanted as a repayment but she did not make any request.  She was childless, however, so Elisha prophesied that by that time next year she would have a child and she did.  Pastor Williams titled his message "There’s a Miracle Coming Your Way."  He pointed out that if we make room for God in our life, He will do miraculous things for us, granting our heart’s desire, even if we haven’t asked Him for it.  But, we have to make some sacrifices for His sake.  When he gave an alter call inviting people to give their lives to Christ, several people came forward and others came up for prayer and anointing.  A woman, a girl and two boys were baptized today.
We celebrated our pastor’s birthday downstairs with birthday cake after the usual Sunday meal.  It was the last Sunday of the month and there is usually an afternoon service on that Sunday, but we did not have one today.  I came home very tired.  I laid down to take a nap at about 5:00 PM and did not get out of bed till almost 9:00.  I was thinking that I would just get something to drink, and get back in bed, but I decided that I needed to do this blog.  So, that is all I have done today.  If I am too wired up now to go to back to sleep after this, I may type up another essay I wrote several days ago.     

July 25, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:53 am
This morning there was a very severe thunderstorm going on when I woke up.  I thought it would be sure to keep maybe half of the people who were auditioning for the play from returning.  The rain stopped though and most of use showed up.  We all took a turn reading parts again.  At first only one man was there so he had to keep reading the male lead, while each woman got to take a turn reading the part of his assistant.  I don’t expect to get that role, but I am pretty sure I could get a smaller part of a security or delivery person.  Win has started considering various people for parts, but that lead female character is tricky.  Each of us had a different reading of her and Win is not sure yet which she prefers.  She has to be comical, but not in an obvious way, and she has to be smart too.
Anyway, now we have to wait for a call from her or one of her helpers, to know if we are to come in next Friday.  She said she will let us know either way.  It would be difficult for me to cast a play or program and it would be hard for me to turn people away.  I would always worry about their feelings being hurt and them being discouraged from ever wanting to make such a venture again, because that is how I would have responded at one time.  I think it would be hard to be responsible for making any hiring, or firing decisions, especially the later.  I would not want to be in such a position.  It is hard enough for me to take responsibility for myself, I would not want to be responsible, (or feet that I was) for anyone else.  I know that the other person would be responsible for how they respond to being hired, promoted, demoted, or fired, but people are too quick to blame anyone else, but themselves, for their misfortunes. 
I am able to take rejection as an impartial decision by the other party now.  It is still disappointing when it was something I wanted badly and looked forward to, but I know now that being turned down does not belittle me.  It just means that I was not the best person for what were limited openings with an abundance of applicants.  Also, people can choose someone they think is the best candidate and regret their decision later. They may feel that they made a mistake, (we are all human and do make mistakes).  Someone else may have suited the job or role better, but they have to be fair to the one they picked and work with that person.
Oh, before I forget, since this is supposed to be about my writing, I need to tell you that I submitted some poems to a magazine I heard about through SCBWI.  They were even willing to take ones that I have posted online.  They will make their decision about what poems they want to include by mid September according to the email I got confirming my submission.  I hate having to wait that long, but if I keep busy the time will go by quickly and I will be in for a nice surprise if they do accept any of my poems.  I believe my Smory will be online then too.
That is a program in which children are recorded as they read stories.  There is no payment, but I will get to see a boy or girl read my story "Bring on the Food Fight."  I look forward to that.  I got the information about them from the ICL newsletter.  Belonging to writing organizations and subscribing to writing magazines and newsletters does help me locate possible markets for my material.  I would never have heard about these opportunities otherwise.

July 24, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 3:40 am
I forgot to mention in my blog entry yesterday that I did get my article into the mail to The Raven Chronicles. This morning I went downtown for the movie at the Cultural Center.  They showed Alice in Wonderland, the new Tim Burton movie where a grown up Alice returns to Wonderland and Johnny Depp played the Mad Hatter.  When I saw previews I was not sure I wanted to see it.  It looked too much like one of these films they make just to show off special effects and I thought the Mad Hatter would be too ridiculous.  I found myself liking the movie though.

After the film ended, I got a light lunch and went to the audition for the Primus Theater play.  This is the group directed by Win O’Reily, who last year had done the musical "70 Girls 70."  Several of us who were in that decided we liked it enough to want to try out for this play, which is a comedy, but not a musical, and only has a cast of 9 characters.  Besides those of us who got bit by the acting bug in "70 Girls 70,"  there were also people who have been in several of her plays already, so she is going to have tough decisions to make to narrow down about 20 of us to 9 cast members.  We all took turns reading a few lines from the main characters of the play and then someone suggested we read through the whole play so we got a feel for it and we took turns just reading the characters as they came up.  There were some people who had made arrangements with Win to come tomorrow to audition so she wants all of us to return so she can hear us again and see how we would match up with the ones who were not there today.  Win’s son, who teaches playwriting at the School of the Art Institute, wrote the play.
From there, I went to Hyde Park, got something to eat again and went to 57th Street Books for the SCBWI (Society of Children;s Book Writers and Illustrators) event.  Four local area authors were there as a panel to talk about their experiences getting their books published and publicized and what they do when things go wrong.  It was pretty interesting.  
This morning I had prayed for safety for the day and God even kept me out of the rain, (although I did have an umbrella).  It rained while I was in the book store and had stopped by the time I left.  Now, I am safely home and hear thunder, so it may rain again and if so, I will again not be in it.  There were no unpleasant incidents all day, so He did above what I asked and thought.  I did not ask to not get caught in the rain. 

July 23, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 4:56 am
This was the second and last day of the talent show, but before our final rehearsal of the opening and closing songs and pep talk from our director, I met with the journal writing group.  I shared with them what I wrote last night about yesterday’s performance and our church service.  The leader of our group has been a devout Catholic and at least one other member was brought up as a Catholic and even went to Catholic school but has turned against the church, as many have and now considers himself an agnostic I believe.  I think he still has a basic belief in God, but not the way the church has presented Him.  Both of them were interested in my experience with the church and commented about that.

Today we had more people at the performance and a much more enthusiastic crowd.  There were more men too.  A couple of our people were not able to make it, one for her own health reason and the other because her husband is very ill.  Some singers forgot some words of there songs again, but most did better.  A problem we had yesterday with a CD jumping from the early part to almost the end of the song and causing the dancer to have to start over, did not happen today.  I had left my CD there, so I knew it was ready and wasn’t about to panic like yesterday, so I think I performed better.  The enthusiasm of the audience makes a big difference too.  We also had people taking our pictures today.
Before we began the dress rehearsal, we did have individual pictures taken.  They were enlarged enough to fit the middle of a flowered paper plate, which they were pasted on.  Those were hung on the curtains of the room.  There was a flowered trellis with flower lights strung on it, flowered garlands draped over the top of the black back curtain and four pots of artificial flowers on the stage.  The piano had green construction paper on the back and construction paper flowers and our reserved seats on the sides of the room had construction paper flowers as well.  They were also on green folders the backup singers had.  It was the garden we sang about in our opening number.  The theme of the show was “Joy, Joy, Joy”. 
We alternated being on stage and being in the side chairs between the first and second acts except for a few of us who came on stage from the back.  Almost all of the first act people had seats on the stage and the second act people (which I was one of) came into the room from the outer room and went to the side seats after we did the opening song.  At intermission, the second act people were on stage and the first act people were on the side chairs, except for those few exceptions.  I was one because I had to put on my costume during intermission and we didn’t want to audience to see it before I came on.  Did I mention that I did a belly dance?  I surprised a lot of people,  who had no idea that I would be so daring.
I returned my DVD’s after the show and came home so I had a chance to eat a little and relax some before going to church tonight for the second of our anniversary services.  Besides our speaker there were a couple of other ministers there tonight and two were on the platform with our pastor when then came in.  I like the way the church stands to welcome the pastor when he enters or goes to the pulpit and stands for the Bible reading and prayer.  Too many churches do not show that respect anymore.  Also, our people believe in wearing your best clothes when you go to God’s house.  Not that we turn people away because they may not be well dressed when they come in, they are welcome to come as they are.  But, then they are encouraged to show their respect for God by dressing well and modestly if they continue to come.
Our “Sunshine” (the young children) and Youth Choirs (12 and older) sang together tonight.  They sponsored the evening.  One of the ministers sang and the Praise Team from one of the guest churches sang.  The minister spoke from Acts 4:31 about how Jesus’ followers were gathered together and after they prayed the place they were in was shaken, they were filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke God’s Word with boldness.  He described the power we can have if we are united in prayer.  No one responded to the invitation to be baptized before dismissal, but last night pastor said someone did after we had gone down for the refreshments, and that man was there tonight too.  Maybe there was another such late baptism tonight.

July 22, 2010

It’s Never Too Late!

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 5:19 am
The first day of our two days of the talent show is over.  It went pretty well.  I am really impressed, as I was watching the shows before I got into it, at how smoothly it goes.  We pass from one act to another with only the briefest of introductions.  There is a 15 minute intermission.  The staff at the center said they issued all of the tickets but, in that case, there were many no shows.  Since it was free, people would not be as hesitant to not come as they would be if they paid for a non refundable ticket.  A couple of people who had not registered did get to come in today and there were still empty seats. 
My aunt came.  I knew she was planning to come either today or tomorrow.  I sent her a ticket for each day, because she was not sure when she would come or even if she would feel well enough to come at all, but I told her to not tell me what day she was coming.  She had a front row seat.  See really enjoyed it.  The woman who directed the whole thing said she felt that we had put on the best show of any she had directed and she has done many professional shows in her career as well as the talent shows of the past years.  She was even moved to tears talking about how well we worked with her.
After the show,  my aunt and I went to get something to eat and I walked with her to her bus stop and waited till hers came.  Then I went to a ticket machine in the subway to add more money to my bus card and got on mine.  I went straight to church, because tonight was the first of three services celebrating our church’s 6th anniversary, (of course I was not coming 6 years ago, but I did see the work being done on the church).  
Tonight, pastor shared that they started with 20 members.  I don’t know what the total is now but the sanctuary is getting pretty full on Sunday and every week we are seeing people get baptized.  Not all stay, but many do become members.
After the guest pastor gave his sermon from Revelation about reviving the dying church he gave an altar call and most of the people came up to be prayed for and anointed with oil.  Many were falling down and some fainting.  There were people around to support them, so no one would be hurt.  Other than on television, it was the first time I had witnessed anything like it that close.  Many years ago I probably attended at least one service where that was done, but it was at a big rally and I was not close enough to really see it like I did tonight. 
I didn’t go up, because I have a good relationship with the Lord now, but I am curious about what it feels like and I do wonder what would have happened if I did go up.  I did see one lady who did not fall or faint.  I doubt that I would have either, but then the Lord has worked on me in unexpected ways at unexpected times.  If He deems it necessary for me to have such an experience, whether I think I need it or not, I believe I will have it.  So, either I do not need it or the time is not right yet.   
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