"Season of change"

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"Season of change"

Going into 2019, I’m going to recap 2018. Due to the fact that we aren’t dead, none of us. Some of us are, however, moved around, moving up and growing up. The last year has been full of happy memories, sad changes and learning how to become the leaders.

Hi.

I’m Kelly O’Connor. I’ve been involved in XM since I was a four foot five inch seventh grader. This last year has been a crazy time. We performed at WinterFest, we travelled to Dallas, we performed at Sparks Youth Camp and we went back to Kingdom Bound. I, along with Kate Callery, have been learning to lead our team and keep creating new ways to spread the messages of hope and Jesus. Kate and I have been helping lead since a couple years ago, but recently some of our adult leaders have moved away. So we have taken on leading this team as we enter our last year of high school. We are excited to move into a new year with our veteran XM members and our fresh little sixth graders.

We hope to do cool things bros. Thanks for listening. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! :)

Pictures from 2018, during our blog hiatus, below.

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KB 2017 Travel Days

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KB 2017 Travel Days

Abby at Fuzzy's with her hot sauces

Abby at Fuzzy's with her hot sauces

On Sunday, we left Oklahoma after morning service. We drove all the way to Terre Haute, Indiana. It took a little longer than usual and we didn't make it to Terre Haute in enough time to go to our favorite restaurant there, but we had a good time on the road! 
We did get to eat at Fuzzy's though, which was delicious!

Monday morning, we woke up in Terre Haute and got ready to continue the drive to Buffalo. There are a couple of stops we always make along the way, including a breakfast of square donuts, some time at Grandpa's Cheese Barn, and Lake Erie. Due to the storms, we had to miss out on the stop at Lake Erie on the way here, which was sad, but it is what it is. We still got square donuts, cheese and fudge!

Tomorrow we head to Kingdom Bound to help set up! For now, here are some pictures from our trip today!

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It's a science #packing

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It's a science #packing

When you go on trips the way we do, you have to pack strategically. The way this starts is with lists. I naturally make lists, it's just who I am, but one trip with us and people who are not usually list makers become them.

The lists we make for Kingdom Bound are:
•One for each interactive
•One for each drama
•Camping supplies
•Things we still need to make, put together, or build
•Things we need to buy

All of these lists get written down in multiple spots(the main one being our big dry erase board) and get checked off as we go. 
We have learned over the years that this is the best way to do things for us. Every trip we take has a similar packing feel, Kingdom Bound just requires a little more.

For this trip to Kingdom Bound:

  • We planned to pack the trailer the night before we left(Saturday). We met at 5pm and everyone brought their costumes with them.
  • Everyone was assigned jobs and they set to work on those things.
  • Each drama and interactive had its own box for what is needed.
  • Everyone took a hanging bag and hung their costumes in the bag. These were checked to make sure everyone had what they needed and then sat aside to put in the trailer when we packed it.
  • Sunday morning before church, we loaded our suitcases into the trailer. Anything that didn't fit in just came on the bus with us.

The act of packing the trailer is a science. This usually varies depending on what type of things we have to pack. We have to pack what we will need last onto the trailer first. Then we work from there. We do always hang our hanging bags on a ratchet strap across the trailer, and suitcases go in last.

Packing is always an adventure for us and we have it down to a science for the most part. Unfortunately, we are still human and occasionally miss things...which is why it's good there are Walmarts everywhere. :)

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-Amanda

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Guest Writer: Tara

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Guest Writer: Tara

Tara was one of our youngest students last year and now she's back for her second year! Tara is a black belt, plays guitar, AND acts...talk about a triple threat! 

"Sometimes, roles can be hard. I had to learn that the hard way when the drama team cast me in a spot to where on stage, I had to act as if I was Bulimic. Let me just tell you that that's really hard to portray on stage when you don't do anything like that. The hardest part for me wasn't the motion but the facial expressions. It's easy to do the movement,  but from experience, that doesn't make you feel like you're actually in the scene, emotion does. That is why it's so hard but so important. It took me several practices to get it right, but in all, it made me a better actress and I'm just really glad that I got the opportunity to portray that character, and hopefully I get another opportunity soon!"

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Guest Writer: Carter

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Guest Writer: Carter

This is Carter's second year at Kingdom Bound and we're so glad he got to join us again!

"Hey this is carter bloss I've been a part of xm productions three years now and I love the Friends I've made and all the crazy things we do"

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Guest Writer: Ethan

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Guest Writer: Ethan

Ethan is one of our veterans, so if you've seen us before, you've probably seen Ethan. He is our resident daredevil and loves to longboard...haha! 

 

"My name is Ethan I joined drama around 5 years ago, my favorite part about this organization is how we get to travel and share our stories and experiences with the people we're performing in front of! I feel that we can do big things and help change a lot of people's hearts."

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Guest Writer: Sydney

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Guest Writer: Sydney

This year will be Sydney's first year at Kingdom Bound! She may be young but she never brings anything but energy and excitement to everything we do!

"Drama is very fun! Sometimes it gets very chaotic for instance the other day I looked at my phone for our group chat and I had 537 messages! Even though it is stressful, I love it so much! My favorite drama to work on was Heavy Dirty Soul...it is heavy and very relatable and I feel like it can help people. Making it was tiring, you had to make sure that it could still connect to peole and we spent many days at the church then it was finished and that is the best part because you can see everything come together and it's worth it...and just seeing that is amazing and performing that in front of people is an experience that you can never forget...and when working so close to people you become a family and this family is the best I ever had."

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Guest Writer: Tatianna

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Guest Writer: Tatianna

This will be Tatianna's first year at Kingdom Bound. She has been a part of XM for awhile. So ready to have a great time with her in New York!

"Hiiii! My name is Tatianna. I'm 13 years old and I have been in XM since the 6th grade. In the middle of 7th grade I took a break from drama and I missed being on stage and doing what I love. I love the people in XM and the amazingly fun times we have. I've realized that being in XM is a great way for me to show the gospel of God to people in DRAMA. This year, going into 9th grade, I performed my very first drama at camp. We had sooo much fun making this drama and although we had many ups and many downs it was all leading up to a great moment. Performing it on stage, in front of a lot of people? Nerve racking. Besides that, it was a great experience and once I got on stage, I wasn't nervous anymore because I knew that it was what God wanted me to do and he put me in XM for a reason. I have had so much fun these past 3-ish years and I plan to have much more fun as the years go by."

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Guest Writer: Abby

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Guest Writer: Abby

Abby was our youngest on our Kingdom Bound trip last year. Abby is a joy everywhere she is and always brings something crazy to our crew. She's getting to join us for her second year and it's gonna be so much fun!!!

"XM productions is probably my favorite thing to be apart of in my spare time. They are absolutely hilarious to be around. These people are my second family. They are more than just incredible teammates they are terrific friends! One of my favorite things about this group is we truly enjoy what we do. Although we sometimes disagree on what is best, we never let it come between our friendships our our ministry."

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Guest Writer: Zach

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Guest Writer: Zach

This is Zach's first year at Kingdom Bound and we are so happy he is getting to join us! Zach is great on stage and behind the scenes and we love having him in our family!

"My name is Zach, and I love being involved in XM Productions. The things I love most about XM is the family, the writing, and response. Everyone has a crazy uncle or something, but in the XM family everyone is crazy. I love them all in their own special way. Even if they get annoying or frustrating, they will be forever in my life...(I don't get an opinion).

The writing process is so much fun, I have written one drama and co-written another, the experience is a lot harder than you would think. It's fun bouncing ideas around, getting other's opinions, and explaining your idea. The best part is seeing all your hard work in a working and functional drama. With a perfected production comes the response from the crowds. That's why we do what we do, to visually spread the hope that Jesus has given us. After pouring in hours of work that is by far my favorite part of XM, is getting to see the response from everyone. Thanks :)"

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Guest Writer: Kelly

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Guest Writer: Kelly

Kelly is one of our writer/choreographer/performer people who also runs practice sometimes...haha. She is a jack of all trades and always kills it!

"Hi! My name is Kelly, I'm 15 years old and I've been involved with XM for 4 years. 

This year Emily, Kate and I have written many dramas, not all have gone through and been performed. 

One drama we wrote very quickly in maybe 30 minutes, but we had so many ideas it worked out well. 

That drama was somewhat complicated and confusing so we didn't perform it for camp. After camp, we narrowed the drama down to main points that would connect with the audience and finished blocking it a couple days ago. It looks really good, and it's different from everything we have done. I cannot wait to perform it and help people who struggle with these issues. 

 

P.S. YAY KINGDOM BOUND WHOO..!:)"

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Guest Writer: Briegette

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Guest Writer: Briegette

Briegette is going to be with us at Kingdom Bound for her second year! She is always fun to be around and we are so excited she's joining us!

"Fear. A four letter word that almost everyone deals with. Some fears are fears that are shared between a lot of people…like the fear of spiders, the fear of heights, and the fear of deep waters. Some of us face some more personal fears, like the fear of disappointment or the fear of judgment. Here at XM, fear is something we face and think about a lot. We pour our stories, emotions and fears into a 4 minute drama that is at the mercy of countless people. That can be very scary. But, at the end of the day, we know we're not alone. That girl that was sitting in the very back watching very intently? She faces the fear of not knowing if people care about her. The man who just thought he was at a different seminar but stayed anyway is scared that he won’t have a job by the end of the week. The mom sitting in the middle trying to keep her kids quiet is terrified that she's not adequate to be a mother. These stories and many more just like these are how and why we perform these dramas. Knowing that we can look out into the audience and know that we’re not alone and someone right then and there might be the slightest encouraged is how we press on. It’s how we can keep writing dramas and keep getting on stages. So, as you can see, we all have fears. And sometimes knowing that you're not alone in your fear is what gets you through them and onto the next day. Whatever you're fear is, you’re not alone. We all fear something whether we want to admit it or not. Keep going and know that one day, you’ll overcome this fear. You can do this.

 

-Briegette" 

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Guest Writer:Madison

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Guest Writer:Madison

Madison is loud and proud and ready to go pretty much all the time! She is such a great asset to our team!

"Being in XM is one of my greatest treasures.  I wish you could be at some of our practices or get togethers because we are CrAzY!!!  You learn a lot about a person when you see them every day of the week, spend 20 hours on a bus with them, stay up until 4 am making costumes or make shopping trips together.  Everyone has their own little role in our big family.  We all have our own creative areas and skills.  It's really cool to see everyone put their 2 cents into what we are creating, writing and building.  I'm the handyman.  You see, we don't have very many guys in XM, so Denton usually has me fix and build things because of my background.  I'm also one ofthe moms of the group.  Sometimes I'm literally cast as a mom, but for the most part - this means giving the other cast members food and trying to always be prepared. I guess maybe that’s the reason that I'm the one who usually stresses over everything that has to be done (and yes, yells too much).  And that's just me.  There's so much more to our group.  There are sound guys, writers, goofies, dancers, artists, musicians, longboarders, arguers, cubbies, and drivers. You get the gist. We are a rambunctious bunch, but I love our family.  I hope you enjoy what we've worked so hard on this season, and that you get to see some more of our behind the scenes action.  SEE YOU SOON KB! "

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Guest Writer: Katy

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Guest Writer: Katy

Katy has been with us since sixth grade. She has always helped us even when she wasn't going on a trip! She is a pro at recovering from embarrassing moments and great at knowing cues and the workings of all our productions!

"Hi guys! I’m so excited for Kingdom Bound this year and the awesome experiences I know are ahead of us. One of my favorite things that I’ve done this year is be in a new drama that we wrote to the song, Fake You Out! It’s a very technical drama, and I’ve fallen quite a few times as everyone knows lol. But my favorite part of the drama is the message behind it. This drama, in a very cool and dramatic way, shows someone struggling with depression and anxiety and it shows the way that these things can take over your life, hit you with it,and even become a very prominent part of you. But what Reggie had us do at camp was have the main person in the drama, who was struggling with depression and anxiety, yell “No, Jesus I’m all in!” and that was just to me the best way to end a drama, in offering a hopeful end in Jesus:)- Katy"

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Guest Writer: Emily

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Guest Writer: Emily

Emily is one of our artsiest ;) She is always willing to help us by drawing or designing something, but she has many talents and gets to use a lot of them with XM! 

"Hello, I'm Emily. :) In case you didn't already know, I LOVE being a part of XM Productions. It's so much fun practicing and performing with my drama family. Something that makes it such a unique experience is that everyone has a role to play. (Not just IN the dramas, but in the team itself) There are the mom friends, the carpenters, the dreamers, the I-don't-know-what's-happening-because-I-wasn't-listening people, and a LOT more. My role, however, is "the one who can art" lol. I love painting, drawing, and creating things, so I ALSO love seeing one of my passions being translated through the dramas. An example of this, wasn't very long ago. We were in the blocking process of "Heavy Dirty Soul" and we were trying to figure out how to create the ending sign... thing that says "SAVE US". We thought through several ways of portraying this.

1.) Painting the words (during the drama) onto the whiteboard that it's supposed to be on.

2.) Creating a graffiti font and spray painting it on ourselves.

3.) Designing and creating a vinyl sign that can simply attach to the whiteboard.

Denton asked me to design something that looks like graffiti, but can be turned into a vinyl. So I did. I was so excited when it was done and we could finally use it in the drama. I love what I do here at Xtreme and in XM, and I am blessed to have the opportunities that I do. The end lol."

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Guest Writer: Kate

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Guest Writer: Kate

Kate is one of our veterans who helps us to write, choreograph, and run practices. She is a rockstar piano/keytar player and an actor on top of that. We're so happy she is getting to join us again this year!

"Kingdom Bound 2017 is just around the corner and we are SO EXCITED. This will be my fourth year to go on this trip and I am so ready to go. The week before we leave for the festival is always kind of crazy, but we always make it fun (and usually productive). I am so excited by the dramas that we are taking this year, they are each so powerful in their message and I’m excited to see God use them to reach people. One of my favorite things about writing these productions in the group setting is you can see everyone’s fingerprint on the finished project. The stories that we tell reflect some of the struggles that we have gone through and it is evident in the way they are performed. After all, you write what you know I guess.

 

Something we have tried to do this year in particular, is really push ourselves creatively with the writing of these productions. At the beginning of writing this season’s dramas, we sat down and talked about how we wanted to break away from our ‘mold’ of how most of our dramas were written and go to some deeper plot lines. We wanted some pieces that were less surface level. We spent countless hours at Panera just brainstorming ideas, and most of those ideas ended up not being used. Each production has gone through countless rewrites from beginning to end and I know at least one of them is STILL going through some edits. I’m very proud of what we were able to come up with as a team and it makes me very excited to see where we let our imaginations go to for next season. We have really grown and matured as a team and I’m so excited to be able to show these to people and allow God to work. See you at Kingdom Bound!!"


 

 

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Guest Writer: Addie

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Guest Writer: Addie

Addie is another first timer to Kingdom Bound! She is so much fun to be around and we are so excited to introduce her to y'all!

"Hi, my name is Addie. I am 13 and going into 8th grade. I have been in drama since the summer before 7th grade and I didn't know if I would like it. So far I have liked it very much. The people in it are very nice and we have lots of fun making and writing dramas. My favorite drama is "Scars to your Beautiful" because we have come a long way with it. XM is a great way for me to share the word of God with other people. I love how I can do what I love while sharing that. The practices are fun but we also work hard learning the dances and how to make other people's ideas into a lot more."

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Guest Writer: Landon

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Guest Writer: Landon

Landon is in his first year in XM Productions. He has been thrown into some challenging situations and we are so excited he's joining us at Kingdom Bound! 

"I'm Landon and I'm 17 years old and this is my first year in XM Productions. Let me tell you that it has been a crazy adventure for me. When I joined drama I had no idea that I would be the lead of a Drama just 2 months into my first year of XM but I guess people think I've got that Denzel character in me. I wouldn't be able to do what I do without Jesus in my life because he's given me the confidence to perform in front of my peers which used to be my biggest fear but if you let God do work in your life there is no telling what he'll do.  I love putting on a show for people cause that's just in my DNA and also I like telling people I'm an actor."

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KINGDOM BOUND 2017

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KINGDOM BOUND 2017

This summer is going by so fast, and Kingdom Bound has just kind of snuck up on us. We have been working super hard to get everything prepared for this trip, and we cannot wait to be in New York! We leave Oklahoma in 11 days!

In June, we performed with Reggie Dabbs at Sparks Youth Camp in Oklahoma. It was such a great time! We love doing ministry with Reggie. 

Story time with Uncle Reggie!

Story time with Uncle Reggie!

Lean On run through before service.

Lean On run through before service.

Leading up to Kingdom Bound, we will be featuring some blogs written by our students that tell stories of being in XM, writing productions for XM, and their views on why we do what we do.

Stay tuned for these! 
So excited about where we are headed!

-Amanda

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Meet the cast: Kate

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Meet the cast: Kate

Name:
Kate

Age:
15

Favorite color:
Turquoise

Favorite animal:
CATS

Favorite dessert:
Brownies

Best moment(in XM):
Writing and creating with my best friends while impacting and inspiring people.

Anything else?
I'm half a KMO if that counts for anything.

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