Trusting in the Providence of God

ef02dd43-84f3-465e-a5fc-20f40193b065MY HUSBAND GOT A JOB! MY HUSBAND GOT A JOB! WE’RE MOVING! TO THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE (but who care because…) MY HUSBAND GOT A JOB!

If you’re close to us, you know how challenging the last 6 months have been.  About a month and a half before we got married (10.10.14), Patrick quit his job and went back to school full-time to finish his degree in counselling. Nearly everyone we spoke to recommended he shouldn’t do it and we should wait because the first year of marriage is challenging (yep!) and we should really spend that time investing in one another and building a foundation for our life together. But Patrick was 31 at the time and we thought, “It’s now or never” so we went ahead and did it. I won’t lie, it definitely had its challenges, but it was worth it. Ultimately, our decision for Patrick to go back to school was building a foundation for our life together. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be where God has led us to now.

Patrick finished his counselling degree in late August 2015 and immediately started looking for work, but unfortunately, work was scarce in his field (maybe every field – boo the economy and stuff). Sure, he could have easily started managing a restaurant again, but we were determined to have him practicing what he just went to school for, and what many see as his vocation: counselling and caring for people.

Luckily I have a husband who desperately wants to support his family, and use his skills to serve his community, and not once did I come home to find him sitting on his butt, playing video games, pigging out on pizza (ladies, if you have a man like that tell him to “man-up”). He was constantly applying to jobs for hours on end, calling potential employers, meeting with other counselors to gain insight on the field, and frankly being my stay-at-home wife. We had quite the “role reversal”…

One day, I came home from work 1.5 hours late and he gave me the cold shoulder.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, annoyed.

“You’re late.”

“Work was really busy.”

“Why didn’t you call?” He asked.

“I forgot my phone at home. What’s the big deal?”

“Oh, nothing.” He bit his lip. “It’s just, I’ve been cooking you a meal for over an hour and it is very time sensitive and I had no idea when you were coming home so now it’s ruined.”

Well, that didn’t impress me. “Excuse me, but I am working day in and day out for this family. Can you just give me a minute when I walk through the door rather than jump down my throat about being an hour-and-a-half late? The food will be fine!”

We plunked ourselves down in our poorly made JYSK dining room chairs, and started eating the scrumptious dinner my husband made (he really is a tremendous cook). After 10 minutes of silence, Patrick said with a smirk on his face, “Can we just take a moment to realize how ridiculous that conversation was?” Yep. Major “stereotypical role reversal” sometimes.

As you can tell, the last 6 months took its toll on us. It is so disheartening to not see the fruits of your labour in the time frame you had hoped for. But that’s life, isn’t it? And that’s God too – whispering for us to wait, to press into Him, and hold out for His best.

When I was in Bangladesh with my friend, Danielle, we were speaking with some of the locals and one of them said, “It is so hard to be reliant on God sometimes. I mean, we pray and pray and pray for the desires of our heart, but if you do not have your prayers answered after a few years you think, ‘Okay, He is not hearing me, or it is not His will, time to move on.'” I immediately laughed. In North America, we have such a sense of urgency. A few YEARS? If God does not answer my prayers after a WEEK I tend to give up.  How ridiculous is that?

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6 months in the grand scheme of life is not that long, but for the present time you are in – it sure can be suffocating. But through all the insecurity, doubt, anger, frustration, and desperation, etc. both Patrick and I experienced throughout that time – both as individuals and as a couple – we learned how to cleave to one another, and support one another in our weaknesses, and ultimately how to be dependent on God and trust in His providence.

I had been the only financial support since August 2014 and silly ‘ol me had just started a low-residency Master’s program in Playwriting and Screenwriting in January 2016 (which I’m loving). As I worked full-time and did school full-time that January. I felt the weight of it all, and I saw my husband slowly slip away. We prayed and prayed and prayed, just as we always did. We were desperate – we needed God more than ever. There had been so many positive interviews, and second interviews, but then no job offer.

On Sunday, February 7th Patrick and I talked about waiting one more week and if he did not receive a job by the end of the week he would apply to manage a restaurant because I couldn’t handle doing “everything” anymore and he couldn’t handle not working anymore. We prayed diligently and firmly that night. On Tuesday, February 9th I got a text (I actually remembered to bring my phone to work this time) from my husband that said, “I just got offered a job.” So, I left work 10 minutes early, rushed home, and we had a conversation that changed our life.

“YOU GOT A JOB?” I squealed as I ran into our apartment.

“Yes,” He said.

I stopped squealing like a squirrel. “Why don’t you look excited?”

“Oh, I’m excited.” He said. “I’m just worried you won’t be.”

“Why?”

“It’s in Wabasca, Alberta.” He smirked.

“Where the (beep) is that?” I swore. But don’t worry, I wasn’t angry.

(Now readers, if you google Wabasca — let me attempt phonetics…wha-bah-ska — you’ll see that it’s a tiny hamlet in Northern Alberta, although my husband and I live on the Desmarais side, which is a Native Reserve)

One of my favourite bible verses is Daniel 10: 12 – 14. Daniel receives a vision of an angel, who says he’s been fighting to reach Daniel for many days, and even received help from the archangel, Michael, to ward off the demons restraining him from reaching Daniel.

 “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me because I was detained there with the king of Persia.  Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

No, that’s not one I am likely to memorize, but I love the visual; that God hears our prayers right from the start and that he is fighting a spiritual battle on our behalf. He is our conqueror, our strength, our redeemer. And if we pursue God with a genuine heart, our desires, and His will, will align. 

Sometimes Patrick and I really sucked at pressing into God during this difficult season (okay, most of the time). Sometimes we really sucked at pressing into each other, or even being nice to one another (okay, most of the time).  But God delivered and he provided Patrick and I with an incredible opportunity, redeeming us, and answering our prayers entirely.

Looking back, we see God’s hand, guiding our every step.

I’m grateful for the times we struggled. It taught us to be dependent on our creator and trust in His providence. It brought intimacy to our marriage and in the end the wait was worth it. We’re where we need to be and we trust that this is God’s call on our life, for now.

Of course, there are a lot of cons to leaving the lower mainland (goodbye family, goodbye friends, goodbye theatre, goodbye luxuries such as reliable internet, movie theatres, etc.) but overall, this is the best, best, BEST news. We have such an exciting new adventure ahead of us.

And I share this news here, on my blog, which is primarily a platform to provide updates on my theatrical endeavours, because in a grand sense it is just that: an update on my theatrical endeavours, and how for a very long time I will not have very many opportunities to explore that part of myself. Well, not as a director at least. Just as a writer, which I couldn’t be more thrilled about.

God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good.

 

 

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Room Within (Working Title)

On Saturday, February 13th, 2016, five like-minded artists came together in my tiny apartment and worked on a short film together for 16.5 hours. It was a crazy, long, wonderful, exhausting, empowering, draining, and a creatively stimulating day.

About a year-and-a-half ago I reached out to Erik Michael deLange, an emerging writer like me, and asked him if he wanted to collaborate on a writing project together. I had recently seen a play of his produced and was in awe of his work. “That’s a man’s brain I want to get inside,” I thought. Luckily, he felt similar about my brain.

fish and husband

Although we had a very slow start and didn’t really solidify anything we wanted to write about for maybe 6 months – especially since we had so many other personal projects on the go – eventually we sat down around Christmas, 2014 and truly solidified things. We soon found a story we were both passionate about writing (and feel is a topic not commonly explored), and once we enticed other actors and filmmakers to get excited about the project as well, things really got rolling. I could not have asked for a better experience co-writing (first time too), and a more thrilling experience filming with these film-makers. These are the moments I love, love, love people!

Room Within tells the story of a young married couple struggling  to connect emotionally and physically as the husband faces demons from his childhood for the first time.

We’ll keep you posted on whether we choose to submit to film festivals in the future (here’s to hoping).

HUGE thank you to Dueck Right Productions (Jordan Dueck), Austin Bell, Jessica Tabak, Erik deLange, Tom Gage, Liz Squires, Nettie Hills and her children, Patrick Martin (hubba), and Herman the Fish, who unfortunately passed yesterday.

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Cause for Celebration

Lately my life has been in limbo. Limbo is not fun. Although I’m fairly good at adapting to change, not knowing “what’s next” is very challenging for me. I like to plan ahead. I’m honestly not someone with a 5-year plan, or at least I don’t think I am, but I generally have the next two or three weeks planned out – I think it’s the director in me.

Right now Patrick (my husband) and I are right in the middle of “what’s next” with a big fat question mark behind it. We have been for the last 4 months, and more if I’m being completely honest. It has been extremely challenging. It sucks. I won’t get into the exact details of our circumstances, but basically we’re trapped in the middle of some seemly simple questions, that actually hold a lot of weight: Are we moving to a different province, or are we staying put? Will Becky be working full-time during her Grad school, will Becky not be working full-time? Etc.

It has been a waiting game. I don’t like waiting. I never have. But I’m learning patience, to trust in God (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and seek out contentment – legitimately my biggest struggle.

One thing that has been really challenging through all this “not knowing”, is whether or not I will be able to fully commit to something I started last year. As some of you know, I launched a theatre company, Clockwork Theatre, with a good friend of mine, Phil Miguel, and we had a very busy Spring and Summer during 2015. Unfortunately, Clockwork’s advancement has been on hold a bit because of Patrick’s and my “what’s next” season. If we move, the company will take a different direction without me. If life doesn’t take us elsewhere, we will be taking a different look at Clockwork’s future regardless. Icky – but life. But I guess that’s the way it goes when you’re starting something new.

But today Phil and I received some very exciting news. Vancouver Presents, a company that covers the most theatre in Vancouver, released its 2015 Top 10 list of theatre productions and our inaugural production of Sam Shepard’s play, “Fool for Love” made the list in its #4 spot. We were utterly astonished and humbled to have made the list, with our first production, and share the list with such talented artists in Vancouver.

I’ve personally been in a trying season – again, waiting takes its toll on me – and struggling with whether or not I’d be forced to abandon what I started with Clockwork. Regardless of what lays ahead, and laying aside whatever disheartening news my family has continuously encountered  – this is wonderful, encouraging, and brings me some sort of peace. And ultimately, it is cause for celebration.

Read the top 10 List Here: http://vancouverpresents.com/theatre/the-best-of-vancouver-theatre-in-2015/ 

Congratulations to all those involved in our production of “Fool for Love”: Joel Butler, Patrick Dodd, Steven James, Kaitlin Williams, Becky Fitzpatrick, Sylvie La Riviere, CJ McGillivray, Phil Miguel, Tanya Schwaerzle, Rachel Zmak.

Whatever lays ahead for me and Clockwork Theatre, here’s to the future of Clockwork *raises imaginary glass* and to all those talented theatre artists.

 

Emmy and Ro

Sometime back in January, “Emmy and Ro” popped into my head while I was driving home from rehearsal, in the dead of night, and through a rain storm. Yes, it took me 10 months to finish a first draft, but that’s what happens when you work full time, direct plays, are still in your first year of marriage, and are a picky edit-as-you-go writer. But, I did it! To say I am excited is an understatement.

What I love most about completing a first draft is knowing that half of it is going to change. Sure that’s challenging at times (most of the time) because writers are in love with their words, but I love looking back and seeing what works, what doesn’t work, and filling my brain with new ideas and dreaming where the story can go. Like most things in life, I like digging deeper (just ask my poor husband about our 1am conversations).

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I won’t tell you much about the story yet, because I’m insecure (no shame) and am awful at coming up with log lines for the plays I write, as well as direct (I’m working on it!), but I will tell you this: It takes place in a run-down women’s washroom in a Korean airport, where Emmy and Ro unexpectedly run into each other for the first time in years. Things are tense. Things are messy.

Okay, bye for now. Off to get started on Draft 2 and figure out what the hell is going on with Emmy.

Growing Voices

In one week the devised piece that the kids from Green Room Theatre Camp created will be presented at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. It has been an absolute joy working with these 14 – 17 year olds’ and I have continuously been surprised and impressed by the work they do, especially when it has come to their writing. It has been too long since I have laughed as I have over the past 6 weeks, and if you want to “feel the feels” come check out their play as there are some very powerful, genuine moments they bravely explored.

For their devised piece, the students have chosen to explore the topic, and their own personal experiences, of growing up. Because they believe many of the joys and heartaches faced in growing up are timeless and universal, they have also decided to explore the theme through different eras and different genres. It’s been a wild ride, but a fun and engaging one. These kids have gumption and I hope people can revel in the joy of young talent and young passion.

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Come check out “Growing Voices” September 10th – 20th at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. You’ll meet a young Victorian girl, determined to defy her parents expectations; an abusive and hilarious cop, who needs to stop playing with toys; a pair of Japanese sisters, trying to hold onto their childhood in the midst of WWII; and an off-kilter Santa Clause, who gives out mixed tapes instead of presents. That… and much, much more!

Green Room Theatre Camp

This week is the third week of Green Room Theatre Camp. What is Green Room Theatre Camp? Green Room Theatre Camp is , well, a theatre camp – but not any ol’ theatre camp as it was created specifically for inner-city youth in Surrey. The camp provides opportunities to high school students, who may not otherwise have the chance to be a part of a summer theatre program because of financial means, to learn about the entire life cycle of a production as well as devise their own piece for The International Vancouver Fringe Festival. Guys… it’s going to be great. Why? Because these kids are great!

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What’s been my experience?

First and foremost, as it is the most important, let me write that my experience thus far has been WONDERFUL. I am in awe of Nash, Jacqui (BlackJacq Productions) and Jason for starting this camp and am so honoured to be a part of it. I love the camp, I love this experience as a director, and I love these kids! I truly, truly do.

Before I said yes to this project I was feeling very anxious about directing and was hesitant to take on new projects. My past few experiences were wonderful, but I’ve been noticing myself fall slowly out of love with directing and have begun to feel inspired, or called (if you want to get fancy and vocational), towards other things. This does not mean that I will never direct again as I certainly do not wish that (Green Room is instilling this further), but that is my honest, current truth.

This project excited me far too much to say no though, and absolutely no part of me wanted to say no. I am unbelievably grateful I said yes. Even though I said yes, and even though this project excited me more than anything, my anxiety did not decrease. Unfortunately I had a massive anxiety attack the first day of camp/rehearsal and I spent a good chunk of time in the hospital, which prevented me from attending the first day of Green Room. Blech!

Since starting rehearsal, however, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my well-being.  This camp – these kids! – they’re seriously changing my life.  Green Room is opening up a passion in me for teaching, for mentoring, and for youth – something I knew was planted already but has grown tremendously. They’re healing my heart and my brain. And I love it!

I wanted to share the positive impact it has made on me, as a leader, as I believe Green Room is shaping and developing everyone, not just the high school students. Again, I am very grateful.

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Who knows what this devised piece will look like. But to be honest, I don’t overly care (at the moment).  What’s most important is these kids, this journey, and what this camp is producing (life-wise, not necessarily stage-wise). That said, I think they’re going to devise a pretty incredible piece. You won’t want to miss it!

What’s been the Parent’s Experience?

Here is an interview with one of the parents. This video sincerely touched my heart. It means so much to me, and the other leaders of Green Room, knowing that these kids lives are being impacted so positively, just as it is changing ours. If you ask me, this camp has Gods hand written all over it.

Support Green Room

If you want more information on Green Room, feel free to e-mail Clockwork Theatre at theatreclockwork@gmail.com.

Otherwise, please check out the Camp’s Indie GoGo campaign (only 9 days left to support). If you feel inclined to financially support – Woo! We love you. If you can’t, or don’t feel led to – Woo! We still love you.

Click here for the Indie GoGo Campaign

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25 Things You (maybe) Didn’t Know About Me

Tomorrow I am a quarter of a century old. Is it sad that I feel old? Well, I do. Maybe I’m just tired.

A part of me feels like I haven’t done anything with my life and another part of me hears Angela Konrad’s voice telling me to shut up.

But rather than compare the haves and haven’ts, I thought I’d be self-indulgent and post 25 facts about myself that you may not know. This is what happens when I have a night off from rehearsal/performances and my goddaughter refuses to leave her car seat as I watch her for the evening. So, bare with me…

25 Things you (maybe) didn’t know about me for my 25th birthday!

  1. I love cheese but I am not overly fond of cheesecake.
  2. My favourite TV show is The Walking Dead.
  3. Every day is a constant battle with my hair.
  4. My first official job was at La Senza when I was 16.
  5. Being “present” is often a difficult concept for me to grasp. My mind is in a million places at once.
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    The Birthday I had an 80s Prom (2012)

  6. I really like vacuuming my car.
  7. Every time I drive over train tracks I tense up because I’m convinced the train from “Back to the Future III” is going to magically appear and plow me over.
  8. Another irrational fear of mine is that whenever I am waiting to enter or exit an elevator someone is going to shoot me as soon as the door opens.
  9. My favourite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
  10. I am missing a tooth on the left side of my mouth and I am exceptionally self-conscious of it.
  11. My husband asked me once if I could direct three male celebrities and three female celebrities in a play, who would it be. My current answers are as follows:
    1. Male: Sam Rockwell, Christoph Waltz, and Joel Edgerton (or Paul Dano)
    2. Female: Meryl Streep (duh), Emma Stone, and  Jessica Chastain (or Frances McDormand).
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      The Birthday I was in Bangladesh (2011)

  12. Speaking of Frances McDormand, did you know that I am distantly related to her?
  13. I have a love/hate relationship with directing.
  14. I love writing – stage plays and screenplays – and am intentionally trying to make more time for this.
  15. I could spend hours in home furnishing stores.
  16. Although I desire to look good, or at least presentable, I have no interest in fashion what-so-ever.
  17. My grandmother passed away when I was 9 and I still miss her; I still cry when I think about her.
  18. Patrick and I danced to Ed Sheeran’s, “Tenerife Sea” for our first dance.
  19. My favourite movies include: Fight Club (1999), The Fall (2006), American History X (1998), Inglorious Basterds (2009), Singing in the Rain (1952), Copenhagen (2015), and Fargo (1996).
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    The Birthday I got Engaged (2014)

  20. Photos of beards with flowers in them, and other unnatural things, FREAK me out.
  21.  I absolutely detest writing director’s notes. It literally takes me hours to do them, and I just sweat and swear the entire time.
  22. Speaking of swearing, I swear… a lot. I’m a cursing Christian?
  23. If I know of someone prior to meeting them, I am exceptionally awkward when I finally do meet them – it’s dreadful. So much so that one time I even introduced myself as the other person’s name. “Hi my name is ___. *beat* No, wait, you’re ____… I’m Becky”. It was embarrassing. I’m usually pretty calm and collected when I meet complete strangers though.
  24. You know how some people are grossed out by feet or eyes, etc.? Well, I get really grossed out by backs. Probably because of that damn frog video I watched that one time. I gagged just writing that.
  25. I would like to live abroad at some point in my life. Preferably in the UK.

Alright, self-indulgent moment over. And my cat is hissing at my goddaughter now, so… time to get off this blasted computer.

Oh, and if you want to give me a birthday gift, which I know you all do, you could go check out “Fool for Love” at the Havana Theatre. I directed it and the cast and crew are amazing (especially that Phil guy, who I started Clockwork Theatre with). Show runs til Saturday, May 16th.

www.clockworktheatre.org