Sunday, August 16, 2015

What I Did on Summer Vacation: Being an Extra in a Movie

In honor of school starting next week, I am writing an essay on what I did on summer vacation and I am doing it kid style...low effort on editing.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

The most unusual thing I did on my summer vacation was be an extra in a movie.  My friend Lisa is my daughter's former drama teacher.  She invited me and my daughter to be extras in a movie that her friend was directing.  We love watching extras in the background of TV shows and movies.  Our favorite extras to watch are in Gilmore Girls.  Try watching them sometime, it is very entertaining!  Being weird extra watchers, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to be extras ourselves!  

In preparation, I read acting websites that gave do's and don't's for extras.  Pretty much an extra's job is to be a prop and not bother the real actors.  Sometimes extras get to do a little reacting to the main scene.  

We had to bring extra clothes in case we needed to film different days during that one day of shooting.  During that week of shooting, we each got to be in two scenes.  My daughter got to sit in a restaurant setting with her teacher while the main character was arrested.  It took several hours for that scene to be filmed and they did get to react to the drama taking place.  We, along with my son, got to be in a crowd scene during a very emotional scene between the main characters.  We were in the front row right by the action.  The actors were so convincing that I literally got a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes on the first take.  Amazingly, the actors were able to emote like that over and over for hours.  I, on the other hand, wasn't that amazing.  I am hoping that the camera wasn't really on me!  It was outdoors and I was hot and my feet hurt.  I don't know how they were able to keep it so fresh and real.  Lisa and I, along with two of her family members, were also customers in a liquor store scene.  We had to react to the main character and clerk having a very tense exchange.  Because it was an escalated situation, it wasn't too difficult to react/act...or at least I think I was acting.  I hope it wasn't all in my head and I wasn't just standing there not doing anything!  I have no idea what I looked like but thankfully, this movie isn't about me.  Either way, I had a great time and can see why some people love acting.  

The movie is called 2nd Greatest and is based on real people and events.  You can see the real life people that inspired the movie in the trailer at  I believe it is coming out in December 2015.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Body Story

About 8 years ago, I had an spontaneous thought to go to Walmart and buy school supplies.  At that time, I lived about 13 miles away from the city so usually I planned these trips with other stops.  I had no previous plans to go and no supply lists.  Also it was 7:00 on a Saturday night which was not a normal errand running time for me.  I just decided to go.  It was unusual.  Also unusual, my husband didn't question it.

So as illogical as it appeared that night, I just knew I needed to go to Walmart.  So I went and I bought some school supplies that were in the "back to school" sale.  On my way out, I stopped in front of the Missing Person Board that was in the entryway of the store.  I had a habit of silently praying for the missing people in the photos.  As usual, I prayed for them but then followed it by the thought, "I don't know why I bother.  No one ever gets found."  From there, I walked out into the parking lot.  While I was inside, the sun had gone down and it was now night.  I loaded my bags in my van and went on my way.

The ramp onto the highway that would take me home was newly constructed.  There were no light poles erected yet leaving my van's headlights to illuminate the road.  Half way along this very long on ramp, I noticed something on the right side of the road.  For a moment I thought it was a body.  No, I thought, I am sure my mind was just making shapes out of trash on the side of the road.  As I got closer and my headlights could fully light the object, I saw that, yes, it was indeed a body.  My mind was not playing tricks on me!  I pulled over quickly and left my lights aimed on the person crumpled on the shoulder.  I immediately called 911.  The operator told me she would send someone but that I could leave the scene.  I was appalled. I told her that I didn't think that was right and that I was staying.  It was dark!  What if someone ran over the person?  What if the police never came?  The operator said she would send someone and hung up with me.  It was pitch dark, on a highway ramp and I didn't know if the person was dead or injured.  Maybe they were just faking and waiting for an innocent victim?!  So I sat tight with my headlights shining on them so as to alert other cars if they were to come by.

After a few minutes, the body sat up.  The person was alive!  He move over to the guard rail and sat down on it.  Then he flipped over it backwards and disappeared down into the ditch below!  I was justified in my decision to stay.  No one would have know where he was at all now except for me.  I was anxious for the police to come.  After a few more minutes, the man climbed up out of the ditch and somehow over the guard rail.  He staggered in the direction of my van.  He was walking unevenly into my headlights. I knew he couldn't see who or what he was walking towards.  Even so,  I was afraid to deal with him on my own.  I slowly backed away as he got closer.  I think he realized he wasn't closing the gap and just decided to have a seat on the ground.  Whew!

After a few more seemingly long minutes, a police car pulled up behind me.  Both officers stopped to talk to me through my window.  I quickly explained what happened.  One stayed with me while the other walked ahead to talk to the man.  We watched him talk to him as stayed seated on the ground.  It didn't take long for him to come back to tell his partner, "He is the man missing from (name withheld)."  The officers offered me no explination.  They thanked me for helping and immediately drove their car up to the man and helped him inside.  Just like that, he was gone and I was free to go.

I was charged up with adrenaline and slow to process what had happened.  I didn't recognize the name of the place from which they said the man was missing.  It slowly dawned on me as I drove the 13 miles home that someone missing had been found.  God had heard my prayers and my cynical comment.  I was wrong that no one was ever found.   I had witnessed someone being found!  I even got to help!  God had heard my prayers and they mattered.  Praying was not a waste of time.  Missing people matter to Him.

 Later I looked up the name of the place that the officer had mentioned.  It was a nursing and assisted living home.  I am so glad he was found.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Peanut Butter Story

I am a homeschool mom.  If you are not a homeschool mom, please keep reading.  This story works for everyone!

When my kids were younger, I always had a plan for the day.  Usually it involved a down to the minute schedule of regular bookwork and detailed unit studies with hands on projects and thematic books.  One day, I woke up and had nothing planned.  Nothing.  This was very unusual.  I laid in my bed and looked up at the ceiling.  Nothing!  So I prayed, "God, show me what you want me to do today."  Then I got out of bed in a very bad mood and got ready for the day.  I made breakfast in my very bad mood.  I was not happy with myself.  My then tiny daughter asked if we could make homemade peanut butter.  We had bought the ingredients a few days before but I just hadn't wanted to make it.  No reason why.  Now today I was grumpy.  I didn't have a plan for the day.  I didn't like it.  She begged to make homemade peanut butter just as she had done the two previous days.  I grumpily said fine.  I grumpily made peanut butter.  It was pretty easy to do and the kids enjoyed it.

I decided to roll with the peanut butter theme.  I printed out simple diagrams of peanut plant parts to label.  We found online biographies of George Washington Carver and learned all about his life.  He had found over 300 uses for the tiny peanut.  His research turned around the economy of an entire state. One topic kept leading to another.  By the end of the day, we had had an amazing learning experience.  We covered history and botany and science!

Towards the end of the afternoon, I was so interested that I continued to research George Washington Carver just for myself.  I came to site which explained his faith and that each day he got up very early in the morning and prayed.   During that time, every day,  Mr. Carver asked God, "What am I to do today?"  I was stunned.  That was exactly what I had prayed that very morning.  We had an incredible day together.  What if I could do this for life?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman Review

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” 
Matthew 11:28-30 - The Message

Emily Freeman's book Simply Tuesday is an invitation to live in Matthew 11:28-30.  She gently leads her reader through the process of recognizing some of our common burdens and relationship barriers and ridding them from our lives.  Her honesty and venerability make this a safe experience that offers relief and hope and rest.  There are so many nuggets of wisdom in each chapter that I am still contemplating the content.  I believe it will be a book that I return to every so often so as to remind myself or learn to a greater degree how to live in the small, the simple and the easy yoke.  

I was fortunate to receive an advanced reader copy to preview.  The book is available for pre order at a discounted price at the time I am writing this.  Distribution starts August 15, 2015.  Here is the link to Amazon if you are interested:  I highly recommend you read this and that you do it slowly.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to Quit Scrapbooking

My first child was born in the beginning of  the Creative Memories Era.  Some how I missed the memo that scrapbook had become a verb and was invited to a "party" to do just that.  Having just become a stay-at-home-mom, I was excited to go to a party.  I knew we were doing something crafty and had been told to bring a couple of photos.  I had no idea that all good mothers and every other woman in the world not only knew what scrapbooking was but had a huge album for each child filled with perfectly designed pages complete with journal entries.  I also had no idea that it would cost me $10 to make one page at the "party."  I sat there with some curly scissors wondering how everyone had known about this and were already amassing special totes full of crazy scissors, stickers and acid-free markers.  I can't even put into words the confusion and surprise I felt as I watched them pull out their supplies and then ooh and aah over the products the hostess was presenting.  I am not much of a joiner unless it is something I really want to do.  I am also very thrifty and $10 per page for a scrapbook seemed pretty steep.  Finally, I felt very stupid for not knowing this activity was a thing when clearly it was common knowledge!  At some point that evening, I quietly decided with myself that I wouldn't become a scrapbooker.  Also at some point that evening, seeds of guilt and inadequacy as a mother were quietly planted in my psyche.

Those seeds reared their little ugly heads about 5 years later.  We now had two beautiful unscrapbooked children and were setting off for a two year adventure of travel as a family.  My husband asked hopefully if I would make "one of those scrapbooks" of the places we would go.  I thought to myself, "Gosh, even my husband wants me to make one of those things. They must really be important."  So I decided to do it but as cheaply as possible.  I found a scrapbooking store that wasn't Creative Memories brand but sold similar products at a lower price.  During nap, I spread out all of the photos from our trip so far, cut them up into fancy shapes with fancy edges.  I agonized over the layouts, glued them down and added meaningful journal entries.  I didn't mind doing it because obviously it was the long over due right thing to do and my husband wanted it.  I was finally a good mother.  It was a labor of love. When my husband came home from work, he looked at me sitting in the middle of a giant mess and asked what I was doing.  "I am scrapbooking.  Like you asked, remember?"  Apparently he hadn't gotten the memo 5 years ago either and had no idea what I was talking about.  I said, "You asked me to do this so I am."  He answered, "I just wanted you to put the photos in one of those books with pockets."  It was a classic miscommunication.  To my husband, a scrapbook meant a photo album.  To me, a scrapbook meant the thing that I hadn't been making like all for the good moms and wives.  Since I did have all of the supplies, I went ahead and filled about half of an album with pages from our travels.

Fast forward to twelve years later.  We now have three beautiful unscrapbooked children and a box full of photos, beautiful papers, scissors, stickers, empty album pages and stencils.  I can't even imagine trying to "catch up".  I googled "how to catch up on scrapbooking" and "what to do when you quit scrapbooking".   Apparently quiting completely is not an option.  There are ways to catch up and restart but nothing out there for quitters like me.  So for those of you who want it, here is your "Get out of Scrapbook Jail Free"card.  It is okay to quit.  You aren't a bad person or mother.

Here is how to do it.

Step 1.  Get rid of your supplies.  Give them to your kids to make cards or whatever they want or sell them at a garage sale or donate them to a teacher.

Step 2.  Go out and buy a decorative box, folder, regular photo album or whatever you choose to hold the photos.  The dollar stores have lots of inexpensive options.  Load up your containers.  If you have the energy, you could write any special memories or info on the back of the photos.

Step 3.  Enjoy your new found light-heartedness.  You are welcome.

*Special note to scrapbookers! If you are one of those awesome moms that kept at it and made gorgeous albums for your families then please high five yourself.  I have seen some beautiful books filled with memories and admire you for doing it.  This article was not for you.

*Special note to new parents! If you are new mother or mother-to-be, please go buy a Baby's First Year sticker calendar at Hallmark.  It is a calendar that comes with stickers such as "first tooth", "special visitor" blah blah blah.  Some have a spot for the height and weight each month too.  Hang it somewhere like by the changing table and keep a pen handy.  You can jam on a sticker and add any comments in seconds.  It is way easier than a baby book and definitely easier than scrapbooking.  I used this for all three kids and had a great record of their sleeping patterns, doctor visits as well as all of the fun stuff.  They make great reference tools for doctor's questions about health too.  You are also welcome.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Begin Again

A few months ago, I decided to remove all of my old posts.  While I only had 3 official followers, I found a couple of my projects on Pinterest and had a slow but steady number of views.  This was fine with me as I am just a pretend blogger.  I just felt like having privacy and wanted to take a break.  

Furthermore, the original purpose of  M.a.D. Merriement was to share Mother-Daughter activities and also be the partner blog to my then young daughter's Sweetpeas and Other Good Things.  Well, Sweetpea is older now and wanted to rethink her blog and also removed the old content.  So I have been trying to determine a new focus.  I don't know exactly what that will be yet.

I do have lots of stories to tell and that may be what I do.