Friday, July 12, 2013

One Way I Am Not Like Beth Moore

I have a whole new level of respect for women like Beth Moore and Sheila Walsh.

You know who they are, right?  You don't??!!  Wow, you must not be an evangelical Christian woman of a certain theological stripe.

Ok.  Beth Moore is EVERYWHERE.  She's an author and speaker who writes and presents these powerful Bible studies.  She often presents her material to big crowds of people, and often this is recorded and sold in Christian bookstores and watched by women's Bible study groups or Mennonite ladies on a retreat at the coast.

Sheila Walsh is a singer, I think, whose ministry morphed into speaking after some major personal upheaval, and her stuff is also available in recorded form.

Now I have been blessed by both of these women, and they have some great insights into Scripture, but I **may** just possibly have imitated Beth Moore's southern accent and intense preaching speaking style in a **slightly** mocking manner, maybe once.

But after a few experiences of this week, I am bowing before Beth and Sheila and their ilk and wondering HOW DO YOU DO IT??

Not their amazing Bible studies so much, but their videos.

They look poised and polished every second, hair in place and garments never bunching up here or sagging there.

They do not use notes or forget what they were going to say.

There is no extraneous noise in the background.

There are no glitches in the video or audio.

The bouquets on the side are always huge and beautiful.

There are no bees buzzing around the bouquets.

Every sentence they say is clear and concise.

Next week there's an event scheduled in the Pennsylvania wilderness somewhere called Passion Camp for Girls.  It's for Anabaptist young ladies, and the focus this year is on technology and social media.

You should go, if you're a teenage Anabaptist girl.

I was asked to attend and to speak on "untechy parents" which is about untechy parents, and "viral faith" which is about using social media for good.

Sadly, I had to say no.  With Thailand in June, harvest in July, and probably visiting my parents in August, I didn't see my way clear for a trip to Pennsylvania in July.

Well, they said, would I consider videotaping two talks and sending them instead, since I was very intrigued with the subjects, and no other potential speakers seemed to be?

I said yes.

So we got back from Thailand and I fought jet lag for a week, getting very little sleep at night, which inevitably, for me, leads to getting sick with a cold, which inevitably leads to something like bronchitis or, laryngitis this time, with full-blown unspeakable asthma.

I also lost my voice.

Finally, down to the wire, we decided to go for it even though I wasn't quite well.  But I had enough voice that Steven said I could sing bass in a quartet.

Amy got her new camera ready.  I prepared a spot on the porch.

Now I am all about being real, but I was halfway through pressure-washing the porch, and I wasn't ok with anyone seeing a jumble of old wicker furniture or half-dead plants or the cobwebby unwashed sections.

So we put the round table in front of a clean section of wall, and put a nice black tablecloth on top.
 We hauled the wicker out of range to the east and the picnic table and garden hoses out of sight to the west.  The girls arranged flowers and Amy set her camera on a box on the porch rail.  I brought a teacup and a pot of tea for props and also to keep my voice afloat.

Amy pinched the ugly leaves off the bouquet and turned it around for the best angle.

Then she clicked the camera, said, "Action!" and walked away.

And I talked.

Every couple of minutes I had to pause because a big hay truck was passing.  Or a small plane was flying overhead.  Or I had a coughing fit.  Or the train was going by, honking all the way from Harrisburg to Halsey.

I shuffled papers and cleared my throat and the teacup rattled in the saucer when I got emphatic with my gestures, which I tend to do now and then.

Hair strands blew into my mouth and the cat walked across my feet.  Doors opened and closed.  My jacket scootched out of place and I yanked it back.  Jenny giggled in the background.  Bees buzzed around the camera lens.

I had to keep looking at my notes because at my age you can't remember what you just said or what you were going to say next.  I scrambled for words at times.  I said Um.

Combines the size of a county courthouse whined by like they had all day to get to the next field, and big John Deere tractors with windrowers roared by, faster.

Amy's camera card held only 15 minutes of material, plus her batteries kept dying.  So the recording got choppy.

We also recorded a few illustratory skits which involved shoving all of Paul's paperwork mess from around the recliner out of camera range, and shutting the pantry doors to spare people that sight in the background.

Finally we finished and Emily earned two stars in her crown in Heaven by spending many hours staring at the computer and editing out the truck-noise pauses and also the coughing, and splicing the rest together into something coherent.

Paul said that with the foreshortening in the video it looks like I'm leaning my elbows on a casket.

I mailed the DVD's to the camp's sound guy with a sense of relief but also a large sense of humility at their many imperfections.


If it was this complicated to record something very imperfect, how in the whole world do they do an hour of slick and polished from start to finish?

I have no idea.


  1. I'm sure the final videos will be great!
    And I loved the ones you posted today!

  2. My mom and I howled with laughter! The combine noise was the best part!

  3. They do it by paying thousands of dollars to someone who is "techy" to make them look good. ~merle

  4. That's exactly how I felt while doing speech competitions. Because my school is in the middle of nowhere, our speech team left the school sometimes as early as 4:30 am in order to get to the competitions on time. Many competitors looked (for lack of a better word) sparkly. I felt exhausted and grouchy. I did not want to speak in a perky voice to a room full of people. I just wanted to take a nap. I don't know how Beth Moore does it!

    P.S. I love your scarf!