The 2015 Southeast Texas LTYM Videos are Here!

by jenniferwilliams on July 14, 2015

A Listen To Your Mother Season is never finished until the videos are live, viewed, and shared. Welcome to our 2015 Southeast Texas LTYM Show! (Click the photos or links to see the videos.)

Betty Davis Pruitt reading Sink or Swim. Betty was not a teenage mother. She was eleven years old when she learned she was expecting a baby. Her story is one of survival and triumph over one of life’s toughest challenge.

Betty Davis Pruitt reading Sink or Swim at Listen to Your Mother Southeast Texas 2015.

Christina Morales reading Milestones. Christina tells a heartwarming story about her children’s first day of school, one in kindergarten and the other starting high school.

Christina Morales reading Milestones at Listen To Your Mother Southeast Texas 2015.

Tassie Kalas Hewitt reading First Dance. Tassie takes us on a hilarious ride as she narrates driving her daughter home from her first dance. With a date.

Tassie Kalas Hewitt reading First Dance at Listen To Your Mother Southeast Texas 2015.

Tiara Little reading Journey to the Center of Myself. Tiara tells the story of how giving birth to her daughter helped her find herself and become a stronger, more confident woman.

Tiara Little reading Journey to the Center of Myself at Listen To Your Mother Southeast Texas 2015.

Nicole Huffman Hollins reading Hugs and Kisses. Nicole, a sexual abuse survivor, never intended to be a mother, but learned to embrace motherhood after her son was born. Until post-traumatic stress almost derailed their relationship.

Nicole Huffman Hollins reading Hugs and Kisses at Listen To Your Mother Southeast Texas 2015.

Lauren Van Gerven reading My Favorite Fruitcake. Lauren’s mother is her favorite fruitcake. She recounts their adventures in these humorous stories.

Lauren Van Gerven reading My Favorite Fruitcake at Listen To Your Mother Southeast Texas 2015.

Summer Lacy reading Control Freak. An almost tragic, freak accident caused Summer to question her faith and ask the question, “what if we lose control?”

Summer Lacy reading Control Freak at Listen To Your Mother Southeast Texas 2015.

Andy Coughlan reading The Yardstick. Andy shares about his often volatile, but perfectly normal to them, relationship with his “mum” and how stubbornness is possibly an inherited trait.

Andy Coughlan reading The Yardstick at Listen To Your Mother Southeast Texas 2015.

Due to technical difficulties, the last part of Andy’s reading was not recorded. His story is not complete without the ending.

I eventually married an American and decided to emigrate to The States. On Mother’s Day, a couple of months before leaving, I presented my mother with a yard stick, a full three-feet long, wrapped with a big red bow. She smiled and hugged me and we both laughed. My father just rolled his eyes. “I will never get you two,” he said. And as usual, my lovely mum and I looked at him confused. He was probably right. He just didn’t get it. But to mum and me, it made perfect sense.

Donna Gail Ellis reading How to Raise a Criminal. Donna shares the story of how her son became incarcerated and how she learned to forgive herself.

Donna Gail Ellis reading How to Raise a Criminal at Listen To Your Mother Southeast Texas 2015.

Jennifer P. Williams reading Learning to Drive. Jennifer takes us on the journey of when her mother taught her to drive and gave her the freedom to fly.

Jennifer P. Williams reading Learning to Drive at Listen To Your Mother Southeast Texas 2015.

Also due to technical difficulties, Elaine’s reading did not record. We are emotional (lots of them – angry, frustrated, sad, disheartened…) about this occurring. Please read Elaine’s story, The Sunday Evening Call, on her blog. It is beautiful.

Elaine Alguire reading The Sunday Evening Call at Listen To Your Mother Southeast Texas 2015.

Or you can view the show in it’s entirety on YouTube – LTYM – Southeast Texas 2015.

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The Power of My Story

by elaine on May 26, 2015

“Thank you.” Exit stage right.

I did it. I bared my soul to the audience and did minimal crying. Listen To Your Mother is everything I wanted it to be and more. The variety of the stories in the show, the many facets of motherhood all get a chance to be heard and I love that.

My story was hard to tell. I couldn’t even get through the first rehearsal without sobbing each time I read through the story. It hurt. The story was my life, and it hadn’t been that much time since we moved from Austin. It was just about a year ago. Not doing LTYM was not an option, however. I knew that I had to do it, that I needed it. I had a draft completed by September before I even knew the audition submission deadline.

The day I received the email congratulating me on being selected as a cast member, tears of joy and fear ran down my face.

“Okay, this is happening. It is really happening. Oh, shit. Okay.”

The first rehearsal day left me emotionally exhausted. I cried and I couldn’t believe that my story was good enough to be amongst the other stories in the group. And just sharing my story for the first time left me feeling completely exposed. For several weeks after that I really questioned myself and my story and what I was doing.

The second rehearsal felt completely different. I had practiced, I had gotten over the insecurity of my words and story. I looked forward to it. It was raining off and on, which added another level of comfort to the day. I was also wearing my sweet jean jacket that boosts my confidence. (I don’t know what it is about the jacket, but everyone should own one.) I left feeling completely confident and ready for the show.

The day of the show, I couldn’t stop sweating. I stuffed napkins in my armpits to help soak it up. I wore wedge shoes that I could actually walk in. I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I thought I would be. I knew that the possibility of me crying was real and that that was just fine. I knew I’d have support from my fellow cast members. I knew I’d have supporters in the audience. I knew my husband, who lived all of this with me, would be there for me.

Once it was over, I felt liberated. The next day I felt a little sad that it was all over. Listen To Your Mother made me realize how much I enjoy writing and how powerful it is. I keep thinking, “What’s next?!” because I enjoyed my experience so much. Being in the presence of accomplished writers and accomplished individuals has encouraged and humbled me. I want to keep writing. I want to write about everything. I want to bring the power of writing to everyone. I want to make people laugh, cry and think. I want everyone to realize how important their story is, even if they don’t think it is.

As I continue to figure out my next writing venture, I want to say a million “thank you”s to Elaine and Jennifer for bringing LTYM to Southeast Texas. My life is better for participating and I am honored to have been a part of the show.

 

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Listening for Common Ground

May 21, 2015

On Saturday, May 9th I stood on a stage in front of more than 100 people with nothing but a podium, a microphone, and some words I had written separating me from a room full of strangers. Blinded and a bit disoriented by the harsh stage lights, my words came slow at first. Hands ice-cold and clammy, voice caught in the back of my throat, I silently repeated the mantra taught by my college public-speaking professor: It doesn’t matter that you’re nervous. Just pretend that you’re not. Three or four sentences in, I found my pace, hit my stride, got lost in the telling of my very own story. The more I talked, the more it became clear that I was actually being heard. A room full of people listening to my telling: A story of my fears and inadequacies, culminating in a loss of control and ending with a hard fought resignation. Heads nodding, breath bated, […]

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Set Free – Donna Gail Ellis

May 18, 2015

One of the things I love most about doing the show is sitting in the wings on show night while each reader stands at the podium and pours her heart out to the audience. As she reads, you can feel her words grow power. You can almost see the weight drop off of her as she lets her burdens go. That’s how I felt watching Donna. Today Donna shares what the experience of being in Listen to Your Mother meant to her. The walk to the podium that night was the longest and hardest I think I’ve ever made with the exception of a day in court a few years back. With a couple of stumbles but quick recovery, I put my secret “out there”, wherever there is, for eventually anyone who follows me and watches YouTube to see. I knew I had Elaine and Jennifer’s full support and that they would stand […]

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People Listened!

May 12, 2015

I have a hard time believing it is over.  I keep saying that these shows are kind of like a wedding – so much preparation for one night of amazing-ness. But of course, it’s all worth it. I felt electric all night.  First, while making sure my lipstick was just right, back in the dressing room, then, toasting with my cast mates and my wonderful LTYM partner, Jennifer.     However, most of that feeling came while watching our cast from the wings, as they told their individual stories.     I was up there too but that went really fast and since I was first, I was done before everyone else.  Of course that doesn’t mean I wasn’t full of excitement the entire time.  I got chills over and over even though I had already heard these stories three previous times. That did not matter.  There our cast members were, finally telling it to others, to an […]

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