Elijah and Elisha lessons: An outsider’s perspective

The castle and tower with the rock wall that took a beating yet somehow survived six performances.

The recent flurry of reflections written by many members of the cast and production team of the musicals put on recently by our church got me thinking. I am the first to say that I am not a key player in the success of the musicals, nor am I a major factor in terms of help, and, as you would guess from my advanced age, am I not able to have a part (and for many reasons–from the fact that there are already 200 kids taking part to the knowledge that I’m not exactly ‘on stage’ material), but this was the first year that I felt a part of the entire process. In years past, basically I dropped off the kids who were old enough to take part, said goodbye to Todd for at least the week before the performances (a time period which has expanded directly proportionally to the size and breadth of the sets), and showed up on performance nights ready to be entertained. This year that was not enough, and I am so thankful it wasn’t.

As we find ourselves in post musical withdrawl, here is my humble list of thoughts from this year, from someone on the outside looking in:

1. To be in the thick of it–even if it’s just corralling kids and keeping them on task–was so much more entertaining than just showing up at the end.

1.5 To be in the thick of it also made me realize (and still not fully) how much time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears go into every musical–from Jeremy, Kendra, Brooke, Kara, Victoria, Anna, Karen, Todd, Kathy, Katrina, and others I didn’t even see. Amazing beyond words.

1.501 The Tighe family LOVES Pastor Jeremy.

2. Listening to the CDs and songs 853,627 times between the end of May and the beginning of August doesn’t compare to watching the difference between a really rough dress rehearsal on Monday night and a brilliant opening night on Friday.

3. Learning the dances so I could dance with and spend time with my kids and chide them when they complained of being tired (“Hey, if I can do it, you can do it! Stop your bellyaching and get up and MOVE!” they often heard me say, along with “Miss Brooke, Miss Kara, and Miss Victoria have been dancing for THREE days straight! You don’t get to gripe until you’ve done that! Now, let’s do ‘Eat that Funny Loose-Lipped Snide Boy’ one more time and I’ll meet you at the end!”) was so much more of a workout than I originally thought it would be. If I’d actually repeated them every time, it would have been a very effective weight loss program.

4. Dancing while Dave White is standing behind you is more painful than having a baby in a foreign country under the care of a doctor who only spoke English when it was convenient for him. I’m sure it will please him tremendously to know that.

5. Even though you may have listened to the CD hundreds of times, God chooses very select moments to let you hear the message He has for what seems to be just for you. “Is this what God has for me? Doing laundry and taking care of kids?” What a huge reminder that what others may deem small things can really make an important impact. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

6. Karen White can do it all, and I’m honored to have been able to work alongside her just a litle bit this summer.

Prophet Man strikes a pose

7. I’m so thankful that my kids had the opportunity to perform in parts they enjoyed. To give them a shot at dancing, singing, and acting like a superhero and an evil king are things they won’t soon forget. And neither will I.

8. Working with a budding actor (and mecurial peronality) is really challenging and exhuasting. To have said actor run through his lines repeatedly at home with no expression or emotion scared the pants off of me on his behalf, slightly panicked about how he would perform on stage. I shouldn’t have worried: once the lights were on him and he was mic’d, he took on an entirely different persona, and it cracked us up.

The evil king can't believe he has been defeated once again...but he's also captivated by his face on the big screen...

9. Hard work and perserverence pay off. The Can’t Top God dancers proved that. Props to them for the many hours of extra practices they logged to make that dance outstanding. And extra props for wearing those pants!


10. The saying goes that "the devil is in the details," but I think musical time proves just the opposite. There are so many details that go into making these musicals come to life, and no matter how charasmatic you are, how talented you are, or how little sleep you need to function, they would have failed miserably if not for God's hand and favor over the entire production. Watching the entire summer unfold but especially the week before opening night was more than enough evidence that God was in the details…the seemingly overwhelming number of details.

10.5 Great musicals beget great musicals. The talent that has been drawn to these productions could be put up against most others. Scene after scene and song after song the audience was treated to talent in all areas: singing, acting, and dancing. And excellence attracts more excellence. What will future years bring because of what was done this year?

11. It's amazing how long the summer seems at the end of May and how quickly it flew by at the beginning of August!

12. Costume organization and creation is a true art form. I had no idea how many hours it took to plan and sew the costumes (and in several cases, create them out of little more than thin air). The minor part that I played was enough to result in complete respect for that huge undertaking in and of itself! I started to take ownership of those costumes-in-a-kroger-bag and hanging shirts and began dreaming of hanging them up and matching them to their numbers!

12.5 Swing dance numbers rock. More, please, Lynsay.

13. It was great to spend time with Patti Smith and get to know her more. She is one of the few people to see a need and fill a need. Her help backstage was awesome.

14. Jeremy has more patience than anyone I’ve ever, ever met. If I ever feel that I can’t control my tongue and or just don’t have the patience to deal with six kids, I need to remember how he didn’t ever lose it despite having over a hundred “reasons” to do so. Big lesson.

15. The sets are just plain astounding. Every year I think they couldn’t possibly get any better than previous years, but they do. I’m proud to know the guy who carries the power nail gun and isn’t afraid to use it for good.

16. Tears are tools.

17. If you don’t know how to help, just make yourself available. And then when there’s a job, just do it. It may be a small thing that no one ever knows about, but being available frees up others to get the big stuff done.

17.5 Next summer, I’m going to feed you all even more. I wish I could have done more this year.

18. Enjoy EVERY MINUTE. Enjoy it when you’re tired. Enjoy it when you don’t want to do the dance moves even one more time. Enjoy when you’ve lost sight of why you even wanted to do it in the first place. Enjoy every practice, every challenge, every minute. The memories will be among the best you will ever have.

19. Long live summer!


Oh, beloved tomato plant, what hast happened to thee?

I’m rather ashamed to admit that this is the first year I’ve even attempted to grow any sort of garden, and one plant at that. Still, realizing my limitations in follow-through ability, and not wanting to start something and invest many upfront hours only to lose heart halfway through, I’ve been hesitant to even try. This year was different, though. We snagged a Topsy Turvy planter at a sale and I reasoned that certainly one plant’s care and feeding could not be out of my reach. Right?

Next, I bought a tomato plant from the local grocery store, and even though I got a late start at the end of June, my dad and I planted it in the Topsy Turvy and hung it in a sunny spot on the corner of the garage, and waited, expecting great things from a tiny plant.

It didn’t take long for my small experiment to blossom into a larger one. I watered it daily, watched over it, even said nice things to it whenever I went outside to feed it. Verily, I may have even grown overly attached to and protective of my tomato plant. At first, it seemed to respond and even thrive under my watchful eye. After two weeks, it looked like this:

I was delighted and kept up the same royal treatment. My plant responded with increased growth and the addition of about ten yellow flowers scattered throughout its branches. Flowers meant fruit and I began planning all the delicious dishes we would be able to enjoy with my bountiful harvest.

It didn’t take long for the flowers to yield tiny tomatoes…

Slowly but surely, the tiny tomatoes continued to grow–about ten of them at first. As they grew, new flowers bloomed and I started thinking of the people I could share my overflow with. Who doesn’t love a garden fresh tomato? More loving care of my plant followed, especially as the summer heated up and the rainfall decreased. Pleased as punch, I made sure my tomatoes were taken care of every day.

But then inexplicably, something changed. My beautiful plant, once full of life and flowers, seemed to stop growing. No new leaves or expansion of size. The green tomatoes appeared to be doing well, but almost all of the next batch of flowers dried up without producing any new fruit. At first I was in denial and assured myself that I was just expecting too much too fast. But soon, however, it was undeniable: something was wrong.

The next three pictures show what my plant looks like today. The leaves are yellowing and have spots and there are no new flowers at all. The original ten or so tomatoes continue to ripen, which is good news, but it appears that those are the only ten we’ll get. So far I’ve picked three and they’ve been delicious, and for that, I’m thankful. Looking on the bright side, with the price of produce this summer compared to the cost of getting my plant started, I still come out ahead if I only harvest ten tomatoes. And yet, after having tasted the first few tomatoes, I’m left craving more and more. What could have gone wrong with my plant?

Because after all, really, this is why I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing.

What have I been doing wrong?!?!

In the middle of the tough stuff, a laugh…

Since the musical came to a whirlwind of an ending (har har) last weekend and school started in earnest this past Monday, I’ve been kept from my blogging opportunities. There weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything necessary done, let alone time for the things I really enjoy doing, so my posting has suffered. Even though I’m years behind on the things that need to be done before today ends, I had to take a moment and record this so I would remember long into the future.

We began our homeschool group on Monday, and as usual, I didn’t feel prepared. Even though this is my third year as a tutor, I’m starting to get the idea that I’ll never feel ready, but that’s a different story altogether. In any case, I have the privilege of leading Andrew’s class again this year, and we have the blessing of three girls with us instead of an all-boys group. I was hoping that my youngest son would have matured over the summer, allowing him to sit for periods of time longer than required to take a deep breath and to keep at least some of the thoughts that entered his head from spilling right out of his mouth. Alas, since I had spent the summer with this child, I should have known better. We still have a long way to go. I’m OK with that. Still, there are some rules of the classroom that should be followed during our class time, and for Andrew, that just didn’t happen on Week 1. Even though I was mentally exhausted after returning home later that afternoon, I knew that today’s neglected behavior nuisances would surely balloon into next week’s behavior train wrecks, so I told Andrew to go sit on our bed so we could have a “discussion” about the day’s activities.

A few minutes passed between me sending him to the room and me going back there to talk to him, but when I finally did, I didn’t find him where I expected to; instead he was lying on his floor completely covered in a blanket. Figuring that he had fallen asleep waiting for me, I walked back out and set the timer in the kitchen for twenty minutes. If he felt anything like me, I reasoned, he was exhausted and a cat nap would do him good. While the timer ran, I tried to get little jobs done in the kitchen. Imagine my surprise when just a few minutes later, I found an awake Andrew sitting on the floor in the family room with all the other kids. He saw my raised eyebrows and mouth opened (ready to ask what he thought he was doing out of the bedroom where I’d sent him), and immediately jumped up and exclaimed, “It’s OK, Mommy. I smacked myself on the butt on the way out.”

He truly seemed surprised (and more that a little disappointed!) when I explained (while trying really hard not to collapse into laughter) that it didn’t work that way and sent him to the back once more.

Oh, that boy.

Juice 23 key limes!?!? 23+ reasons why I don’t love you as much as Martha Stewart evidently must…

One of my favorite dessert flavors is lime, though I must admit it’s sorely neglected in my repetoire. I’m not sure if the lime intimidates me or what the deal is, actually, but it is hardly ever found in the house. When I jumped on the opportunity to make a dessert for tonight’s Latin/Dessert fellowship with the moms and tutor of Hannah’s class, lime something immediately came to mind. After a quick search online (thank you, Al Gore for the Internets), I found a recipe on a blog with gorgeous pictures of the blogger’s creation. A key lime bar, without the hassle of a pie crust–because let’s face it, I volunteered to bring something as a way to procrastinate all the other things I need to be preparing for right now–seemed like the perfect summer choice.

After scrolling through all the beautiful pictures, however, I started reading the recipe in earnest so I could compile my grocery list. She credited Martha Stewart Living with the original, and that was my first clue that this would not be an ordinary recipe. Then I came upon this little doozy: 2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice , (about 23 Key limes total) TWENTY THREE LIMES, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!? Add this to the fact that I needed to double the recipe, and the thought of juicing 46 limes sent me into peals of laughter. Seriously. I don’t think so. My intention was to procrastinate tackling my other projects, not die juicing close to 50 tiny limes and leave my family with the mess to clean up. Thankfully there are products for lazy, non-Martha-Stewart-types like me: bottled lime juice. I have no shame in admitting that I proudly bought 2 cups of the time saver. I don’t even care if you tell Martha Stewart about me. She’s probably too busy constructing her own solar-powered hair dryer right now to care.

Decisions, decisions…. Bottled lime juice vs. a juicing fest….

I encourage you to do the same should you choose to make this recipe it home. And I do encourage you to make this recipe at home. It’s delightfully tart with a crunchy graham cracker crust, and looks so attractive when served in the muffin cups. Hopefully the moms at the dessert fellowship will enjoy them tonight, and not feel bitterness towards me, even though I must not love them as much as Martha Stewart would…

Key Lime Bars
Martha Stewart Living

1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice , (about 23 Key limes total)
1 cup sweetened condensed milk, (14 ounces)
2 Key limes, thinly sliced into half-moons

Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.(Leave oven on.)

Make filling: Put egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes.

Reduce speed to medium. Add condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise speed to high; mix until thick, about 3 minutes.

Since I wedged the sweetened condensed milk cans inbetween the mixer and the bowl, I was able to let it pour in a “slow steady stream” while I went downstairs to switch my loads of laundry. You don’t suppose that would put me back in Martha’s good graces, do you?

Reduce speed to low. Add lime juice; mix until just combined.

Spread filling evenly over crust using a spatula. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until filling is just set, about 10 minutes.

Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).

Cut into 2-by-2-inch bars. Garnish bars with whipped cream and a slice of lime.

One of my favorite pictures. Notice the small finger print in one of the squares, lovingly pressed by one of my boys (who shall remain anonymous) who was admant that “it was an accident!”

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