Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Why Tonight of All Nights?

The opening scene of “The Chains”


  • Can’t talk Muse show in 2 hours okay bye.
  • We couldn’t get into the theater space for a dress rehearsal.
  • Seriously. No dress rehearsal.
  • I’m running the sound booth and I forget the above scene comes first every single time we run it! 
  • That big gap is because a guy didn’t show up to the performance, but instead came and sat in the audience. 
  • I have given myself an ulcer. 


  • Show last night didn’t suck . . .
  • Thank God.

Let My People Go: A Poem from "The Chains"

Muse Creative Arts Ministry is in the thick of rehearsals for our first-ever show, “The Chains.” We’ve created a synthesis of poetry, drama, dance, and music that really blows the mind in terms of just how much unseen bondage there is in the typical human experience.

I’m so proud of what we’ve made together. I wanted to give you guys a preview of all of our hard work. 

This particular piece is by yours truly, and it will be concluding “The Chains” on the nights of November 28th and 29th.

Let My People Go

My people are in chains.

They grovel in prisons that look like homes

Dungeons that look like farms and plantations

And jail cells that look like souls.

Everywhere I turn, I see the ice-cold links dripping from their limbs.

I hear the solemn, rhythmic clang of metal against floors and flesh

The frantic shouts of child soldiers forced into the fray of battle

The midnight sobs of women caged to provide pleasure for a price

The muffled heaving of bulimics behind closed bathroom doors

The breaking backs of boys who will never escape their country’s caste system

The cursings of widowed fathers who swear they will never love again

The silence of wives loyally suffering at the hands of their husbands’ rage

The strangled wails of depression

The stifled screams of hatred

The grinding grip of a crippling grudge

The judgmental stares from you who have never known anything but freedom

I follow the chain gang to work

To school

To church

Slaves, one and all

Enslaved by others like them

Enslaved by darkness itself

Or enslaved by themselves, blind to their self-imposed oppression

But the chains are always the same.

The chains . . .

They dig into our wrists and ankles

Into our hearts and minds

I . . . I am in chains.

I watch my people suffer as I waste away on my own

Alone in the company of a million more captives.

I reach out to ease their suffering

And fall back on my own weight

Snapped to a stop by chains around my neck

My arms

My legs

My spirit

My people are in chains.

If You won’t show me how, I beg You

Show Yourself to me, and let my people go.

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‘Freud’s Last Session’ Should Last Forever

Kenneth Tigar and Ron Menzel in Geva Theater’s production of Freud’s Last Session

I’m a theater fan to begin with. I don’t need much encouragement to get a lot out of a quality play. 

I’m also a C.S. Lewis fan. Any combination of great theater and great literature is bound to be a Jessi-pleaser. 

I also love theology–respectful; debates about the existence of God, to be exact–and all of the inspiring words and art that can come out of it.

So imagine my delight when my trip to go see a play at Rochester’s Geva Theater in order to write a college newspaper article about the show turned out to be a perfect synthesis of the three!

Set on the turbulent cusp of World War II, Freud’s Last Session is a story of a meeting between C.S. Lewis, a soon-to-be renowned author and Christian, and Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis and an atheist on the verge of death from oral cancer. What results is a genuine, compelling, and witty exploration of life, death, war, sexuality, God, and much more.

I was not only delighted by the content of this play by Mark St. Germain. I was also floored by the quality of the particular production. The casting was quite superb, and both actors were equally convincing. Their portrayals of each character was at once honorable and imperfect. Every time that Lewis’s voice cracked as he recalled his days in the French theater in World War II, my heart broke a little bit. Freud’s calloused crankiness hid a soul tortured by illness behind his white beard and well-executed Austrian accent.

In a true theater snob moment, I bit my tongue while a few of my friends and even a professor who had seen the show mentioned that they thought Lewis’s accent sounded “weird” and “muddled.” I resisted the urge to say, “Well, the actor obviously knew that Lewis lived in Ireland for a few years after he was born and was trying to incorporate that into the accent.” Hah, I didn’t think interjecting that into the conversation would have made me any friends.

It was really an incredibly effective show, and I liked it so much that I took Josh with me to see it again the next week. I was just as moved the second time. Josh was equally impressed and in love, and we spent the next several hours discussing how it had impacted us. Josh told me towards the end of the evening that it was inspired conversations like these that reminded him why he fell in love with me in the first place. Wasn’t that sweet of him?

Find an opportunity to go see it somewhere. It could save your relationship. Haha 🙂

From Braveheart to Booritos

Oh, the things I choose to do with my “free” time . . .

Josh and I weren’t really planning on celebrating Halloween when we first got married. Halloween meant costumes, and costumes meant money, which we didn’t have . . . so when I surprised my hubby with two matching Braveheart costumes made completely from scratch (materials totaling $20 for both), he was tickled. Embarrassed as I’m sure he was, he agreed to sport the outfit like a man to show support for his artsy and frugal wifey.

We wore our DIY costumes proudly that first Halloween together, even putting in a good 45 minutes to paint Josh’s face blue like the film icon he was emulating. We headed to our first ever Halloween party that Saturday night–and proceeded to get locked out of our car in a Walmart parking lot in costume. I texted my friends to let them know that we would be late, and received an unsympathetic “you do know the party is tomorrow night, right?” in response. We didn’t go through the ordeal the following night in order to attend the party.

Fast forward to year 2 when we excitedly donned the costumes yet again (no one had seen them the year before) to walk through our first ever haunted house. On the one hand, this was a terrible experience, as we quickly realized that the adrenaline spike created by being severely startled every 15 seconds is not our idea of fun. On the other hand, several of the very talented and highly creepy actors in the haunted house even took a moment to moan or shriek (still in character, mind you) “Nice costuuuume . . .”

That year, All Hallows Eve proved an interesting and memorable experience all around, but as we quickly ripped off the uncomfortable get-ups the moment we got home, we realized in horror that we had no photographic evidence of our two-years-in-a-row charade!

Here I called myself a blogger and an amateur photographer, and I had documented neither of our family’s Halloween experiences (both of which just so happened to showcase my own creative handiwork).

Note the wallet ad cell phone tucked under his belt. He is too cute!

Well, this year, after spending all of yesterday resigned to the fact that we would not be celebrating Halloween after all, we found out from dear friend Kristen that Chipotle Mexican Grill was offering $2 meals to anyone who showed up in costume!

William Wallace and Princess Isabella made their final appearance, this time immortalized forever in digital form.

I wonder what creative DIY couple’s costumes we’ll be donning next year?