Grateful

by elaine on May 29, 2014

Please welcome Kelley Nettles, one of the cast members of LTYM, Southeast TX 2014 and her guest post about her experience with the show.  You can also find Kelley at her blog, Kelley’s Breakroom!

 

There are many reasons that I am so grateful to Jennifer Williams and Elaine Alguire, the two women behind the production of the Listen To Your Mother Show in Southeast Texas.  However, the primary reason  I am grateful is because they allowed me to connect with people across many different walks of life over one unifying, beautiful thing- motherhood.

 

Motherhood was something that I thought I may never know personally. Both of my boys were not easy to come by. There were many years I thought that I would never, ever have children. There were many years that my heart hurt over never having a baby of my own. I went through many peaks and valleys throughout that time. This is why Candy Mickels Mejia’s story about the miracle of her babies was even more touching to me than it would be had I not had those experiences.

 

This is Candy primping in the mirror with Sean Wilson and Jill Patir checking themselves out, too. Okay, well, Sean may have been texting but I bet she checked her lipstick when she got done. Also, I asked Candy to pose. She was a good sport.

 

Every story touched my heart for a different reason. I can still hear the voices of Howard and the women clearly in my mind. I can still feel the spring of the chair in the front row of the nostalgic Jefferson Theater in Beaumont, Texas. I can still remember Monica on my right and Dolores on my left as we nervously waited for our turn to climb the steep steps onto the stage. I can still feel the lights as I faced an audience mostly filled with faces I had never seen before. I can see the microphone looming from the podium.

 

I can still see the smiles in the audience.
I can see the kind eyes.
I can feel the presence of my family.
And I am grateful.
All of the stories were unique. Some were sweet. Some were serious. Some were sad. Some were inspirational. Some were funny. Some had a little bit of everything.
(Some even used funny voices.)
If we were all standing together at a party right now, I’d happily introduce you to each person and tell you what part of their story will always be with me. I wish I had the privilege of introducing you to everyone so I could do just that.
The first people I’d introduce you to would undoubtedly be Elaine and Jennifer that I am standing beside in the picture below.
They worked SO, SO, SO hard to put this event together. SO HARD. They smiled through it all, though. (Well, they smiled when we were watching!) They were encouraging and fun. They were supportive and great leaders.
(They provided good snacks and food, too.)
(Elaine also provided deodorant and hairspray and band-aids.)
(I had to use the deodorant and a Band-Aid.)
(Who forgets deodorant on such a big day, right? I know. It’s terrible. It was a spray deodorant and that deodorant is the subject of a whole other blog post. I will definitely tell that story soon.)

(Have you guessed by now that the story that I told for LTYM was not serious?)

 

I am in the white pants, Elaine is in the middle and Jennifer is on the right. This picture would be before the show but after I had sprayed the deodorant.

 

In all seriousness, THANK YOU, Elaine and Jennifer, for choosing all of us to be a part of the first LTYM show in Southeast Texas, especially at such a classic and historic venue! I know that we all feel privileged and grateful. It was truly a fun and uplifting experience that we will never forget.

You have given us all a gift.

 

 

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It’s a Listen To Your Mother Thing

by elaine on May 8, 2014

Here is a guest post from our cast member, Candy Mickels Mejia on her experience the day of the show… 

 

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It had been ten years since I’d been on a stage. Longer maybe. So much of my life has happened between then and now it’s hard to say exactly how much time has transpired. I’ve experienced some of the biggest, most important moments in my life since my last stage appearance — which is why I knew participating in Listen to Your Mother was something I had to try to do.

Getting to the theatre on that Sunday was the easiest part of the day, despite living two hours from the venue and hitching a ride with a fellow cast mate so my husband could take my (DVD player equipped) car to get himself and my daughters to the show later that day.

Kelley and I arrived just as everyone else was gathering their garment bags and beauty essentials and making their way from the parking lot to inside the Jefferson Theatre in downtown Beaumont. Even though the cast had only known each other a short time and only had met in person two times prior, hugs were exchanged as if we were all old friends.

Once our arms were free we made our way to the stage for a brief meeting before we did a cue to cue and set our sound levels. It was at that point it finally felt real. No more rewrites. No backing out. It was showtime.

The house was completely empty except for our LTYM team as we took the front row seats we would occupy during the actual show. One by one we carefully ascended the steps and made our way to the podium to read the first and last paragraphs of the revealing essays we were about to share in front of an audience. To hear only the beginning and the end of the stories we’d only heard a couple times before left us wanting more. We knew the stories already but still wanted to hear them again. We’d already grown to love them.

With two and a half hours left before curtain, it was time to fuel up, change clothes, and get our (game) faces on. Though we came into that theater and started our show day already feeling the bond that comes with sharing parts of our lives with each other, this downtime enhanced that connection. We had a photo call once we were all in our Sunday best, which again allowed us to connect.

Now as we were enjoying the downtime, I think Jennifer and Elaine, who produced and directed the show, may have had a different experience. I doubt they had much time to think about sharing their stories that day with all of the details they had to take care of. If there were any glitches, the rest of us never saw them. They ran the show as if they do this all the time.

We were about 30 minutes from showtime when I had a flash of panic and felt woefully unprepared. It struck me that I used to know how to do this. Not read my own words to an audience, but be on a stage. In that moment, my old life and my new life were awkwardly crossing each other. I found the green room downstairs. It was there that the old me and the new me embraced with deep breaths and a few vocal warm-ups. And it as at that moment that I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

 

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We all arrived at our Listen to Your Mother adventure by different routes and with different experiences in tow. We all had different reasons for writing the stories we wrote. Each of us was motivated by something different to put ourselves “out there”. But as the show began and we took our seats, as each of our new friends stepped up to speak, we all felt the same pride. We all were cheering in our hearts for each cast member to do well, even as we were calming our own nerves. We all came away with a greater understanding of what it’s like to be a mother. A daughter. A son. A granddaughter.

And we know our audience did, too.

 

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Rehearsal Magic

April 27, 2014

On Saturday I drove to Beaumont for our 2nd and final rehearsal. I was more nervous than the first time for a couple of reasons but I was also excited to see our cast again and to hear their stories again. Jennifer brought fresh baked chocolate chips cookies, per my request, so that made it extra awesome! What happened on Saturday was this:  Jennifer and I truly realized how well our twelve stories weave together and just fit. We have been told of the magic that can and most likely WILL happen with each LTYM show by the veterans but of course you cannot really know it until you experience it yourself.  Well folks, I experienced it on Saturday.  I had chills and tears and laughs and this was JUST at the little library where we held the rehearsal.  I can ONLY imagine how it’s all going to feel on Sunday when were […]

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Meet the Cast! Debbie and Sean

April 14, 2014

This week we wrap up our “meet the cast posts” – our show is less than 3 weeks away and we are beyond excited (and nervous, and trying to get everything done)! So last but most certainly not least… Debbie and Sean…   Debbie Slaughter has been married to her husband David for almost 25 years. She has two boys, ages 21 and 15 and is wrapping up her 16th year of homeschooling. She has been writing since she was a young girl and blogging for the last 8 years at www.a-million-skies.com.  You can find her writing from her heart about family and life, but mostly writing to encourage other women to enjoy their lives on a daily basis. Debbie has been published in Lifeway’s Journey magazine for women, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, The Texas Homeschool Coalition’s Review Magazine and THSC Online as well as, Crosswalk online, and SETx Church Guide online. When she is […]

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Meet the Cast! Kelley and Jill

April 7, 2014

We have two more cast members to feature today! First we have Kelley!   Kelley Nettles is the creator of “Kelley’s Break Room“, a humor blog meant for everyone: mothers, fathers, single women, single men, teenagers, the elderly with good eyesight, highly developed infants and your neighbor on the left. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post and she has written sponsored content for Bravo’s Top Chef, Target, Chevrolet, Green Giant and MSN. She has been a NickMom contributor since 2011 and is a co-author on the popular book, I Just Want To Pee Alone. She was named in Mashable’s 2013 “17 Funny Moms on Twitter” and has appeared in the Huffington Post’s “Best Parenting Tweets” list several times. She has also appeared on Great Day Houston and Houston’s Fox 26 Morning Show. She will be presenting at the Blog U conference in Maryland in June 2014. During the day, she […]

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