Friday, December 6, 2013

letting the Lord speak, second guessing, and animated movies because what post would be complete without them.

Where did we leave me last?

Frustrated with art in Michigan, I think.

I've been pretty darn frustrated with everything. See, I got a big enough glimpse at the secular world, and suddenly I see art, self-expression, in a new light: selfish. vain. meaningless. I've hated it. Hated the pursuit of it. Hated the fact that it's such a part of me.

I've tried to suppress it. It also bugs me, just devoting my life to art, because it's not practical. I've kind of kicked myself into a new direction. I'm considering nursing. It's practical. It's useful. 

It also requires a lot of math and science and Heaven knows my brain does not comprehend much in the way of sciences. But I'd like to try and work hard for something that I think I could be confident doing. You couldn't really be critical of someone taking care of people, right?
But I don't even need to look beyond myself to find a critic for choosing a life of creativity.

So it's actually ridiculous the amount that the Lord speaks to me through animated films.

I was just scrolling through facebook and someone shared this video. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I watched this clip and I didn't know why but I totally started crying and now the song is on repeat as I type.

You may or may not cry.



After showing it to my family, my mom pulled me aside and told me something.

She told me about someone who is a very creative person, but when she was 18 or 19 chose instead to try and be practical. And she never really amounted to much in terms of career. She tried to stem what she was gifted with and do something 'better.'

And my mom doesn't want me to do the same thing. Because if God has given me gifts and a passion, trying to do something else, in my own power, is be trying to be something I'm not. And I'm doubting Him, ultimately. I hadn't thought of it that way before today, but it's true.

As long as I'm abiding, doing what I know I'm supposed to be doing, I'm glorifying God through obedience. And if I am somewhere He doesn't want me, He will tell me.

So I shouldn't quench the things He's given me a passion for.

I'm still trying to find balance. Make sure I don't fall into meaningless art, self-expression that does not honor God. Filmmaking in particular comes with a lot of compromises and I don't know how to navigate that yet. With God's help, in time I will.

But the fact that the scene in the clip above moved me so much means fiction can't be totally useless.

In fact, I have an amazing friend who has been sharing things the Lord has been showing her through fictional stories. And it's been such a needed reminder. Because anything that can be called 'good' points to God in some way.

And heck, I guess God invented art.

Of course, if I am called to something like nursing, or teaching or something less 'creative', it'll be great. If it's what my Creator wants me to be doing, then doggone it, I'll do it to the best of my abilities and depend on Him.

But right now there's a fire in me that I'm trying to ignore and it's been making me miserable.

I suppose I ought to just let it go and stop trying to be perfect.

So.

Here's to using what God's given us and walking in His will; to not disregarding our gifts and being who we've been created to be.

(it's like Jack Frost too because he was searching for his purpose and was freed up once he understood his gifts and how he was supposed to use them see what did I say about animated movies)

If God's given you a fire for something, a gift- use it. It could be anything. Literally, anything. And maybe other people don't see it or don't get it. But when you're using what God has given you, when you are who you are, it's even more breathtaking than that ice castle in the sunrise.

Imagine if we all simply abided by the Spirit and let ourselves go and did the incredible things, big or small in the eyes of man, that we have been given the ability to do, working in harmony and unison as the body of Christ.

Wouldn't it be beautiful?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

because songs

(x)


Well last night I couldn't sleep
I got up and started walking
down to the end of my street
and on into town
well I had no one to meet
and I had no taste for talking
Seems I've been talking my whole life
it's time I listen now
Keep On Walking; Passenger



Was it a friend that I needed,
or a lie?
so I could make myself believe that
I
was 
fine
What do you think I was waiting for?
a sign?
No
I was waiting for someone
to call themselves mine
Can't you see my body's out
of time
Sometimes it's a sadness 
that won't fit
between your lines

(x)

Lay 
awake at night
cry you know it's
not alright
to feel like you're falling into nothing
you can learn to fly
just call 
His name
just call His name

Where do we go
call out His name
Lift up our hands
completely ashamed
Give it all up
dropping our pride
Rip us apart
Change us on the inside
we
cry
out
to
you
we 
fall
on
our 
knees
Now, change us now

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Long Overdue Hornblower Appreciation Post

 I have been waiting to make this post for years and the time has finally come.

I was foolishly procrastinating on some homework and decided to scour the internet for Hornblower, well, everything. 

For those ignorant, soon to be fully informed, Horatio Hornblower is a character created by the writer C. S. Forester. He is a Napoleonic Wars era officer in the British Navy, and throughout his entire career he has one sort of adventure after another. The series is 11 books long. And there is a miniseries created by A&E that is eight episodes long.

I hold all of them- books and episodes- very close to my heart.

The time has now come for me to share this beauty with you.

My internet scouring mainly resulted in photosets and a few amusing posts/cartoons. This is not a review post, it's more of a fangirl-gushing general appreciation, ah, thing.


If you already are acquainted with Hornblower, then glorious. We shall gush together. If you haven't read or seen Horatio Hornblower, then my friend, you must. 


This is quite long because there are so many photos, so I'm sticking the rest beneath a jump.

But here's a pretty photoset to lure you in.



Monday, November 11, 2013

sometimes I wax eloquent on accident

"The Bible is, essentially, all about access. Mankind's access to God. From the Garden of Eden to the events of Revelation. 
From Adam's descent from holiness, from mankind's fall from perfection. To God's calling of Abraham, a heathen, to become the father of a nation. Proving His love and power and glory again and again to that nation, a beacon and testament to the surrounding peoples. To Mary, the birth of Jesus- God allowing Himself to be contained in a mortal vessel, living as one of us, sinning not, letting His creations mock and scorn and slay Him, making it possible for us to be with Him again by His blood and resurrection. Releasing us from the bondage of sin, allowing there to be peace between God and men. To His coming, which we look forward to not with wishful thinking or futile hope, but with a certainty stronger than a watchman on a wall awaiting the dawn.  

This world is a long poetry, an epic saga of God, the maker of this world, showing Himself to mankind, inviting them to join Him: to go places they would never reach on their own, doing wonders, defying sinful human nature by His Spirit; experiencing life, truth, understanding the mysteries of the world, dancing the ever enchanting spiritual dance of communion and peace with God, having the immeasurable hole that is carved in every one of our hearts, filled. And certainty of the future, of our passing from these mortal vessels to eternal ones, in the presence and unending fellowship of the One who loves us more perfectly than anything we can imagine. 
It is glorious. Utterly glorious. To sit in one's bedroom with an open Bible in your lap and know that God is there with you. To step outside and survey the trees, the sky, the clouds, and know that God placed them there. To know the Creator. To no longer struggle against Him, nor fight in our strength against our fallen nature, but to understand that we are filled and covered by the Almighty Spirit of God from whom all good things come. That it is not a boring, mundane, safe, or pain-free life we signed up for by asking Jesus Christ into our hearts and lives, but rather an adventure that will outlast our stay on Earth. To understand that we were made by and for God. That we will never truly be happier than when we are in fellowship with Him, learning more about Him, rejoicing and worshipping this great, boundless, perfect, unfathomable Being who is truly unmatched. Who spoke everything we know into existence, and sings over us. Who delights in you. Who bled for you. And who cannot wait to be in true, eternal fellowship with His bride.
And I, for one, cannot wait for the day when we shall experience Love in its- rather, His truest and most perfect form. "
~taken and embellished from my Bible journal

Thursday, November 7, 2013

some free verse poetry

i
cannot
even
think

also this planet is really stupid
i mean seriously
we're so far from the fall
the world seriously stinks
i just want to quit this planet sometimes

like now

um

i can't write.
i've been sick for like
three months

and i had a neurology appointment last month and i presented like i had adhd
yeah
no bueno

i seriously can't think
i can't do anything

i tried writing a serious blog post today but that didn't work
either

staying on top of schoolwork is ridiculous

i feel like my life is spinning out of control
it's wouldn't be so bad if i could just bloody think

but i can't

and besides i'm just sad.
because reasons

.......so yeah

i hope you all are doing splendid

this has been some free verse poetry

okay

kirk out

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dear Ender's Game Film Creators (A Review)

Dear Gavin Hood, and all of the cast and crew,

This story is very important to me. After I read "Ender's Game" for the first time, I couldn't let it go. I reread it and reread it, absorbing the story, wishing it was real, wishing I could be a part of it. Living in Battle School, feeling the pressure, feeling the isolation, confronting the moral dilemmas and trying to reconcile this mundane earth with the adventure I found in those pages, over and over again.

I've been excited, and very worried, about this movie since I heard about it, over a year ago. Today is its premiere, and I made sure I went to see it. I went alone, because this story has great emotional hold on me and I didn't want to embarrass anyone I knew. For months I couldn't even discuss the then-upcoming movie because I freaked out too badly. It's a precious thing to me and I've been both eager and quite a wreck anticipating seeing hat you've done with it.

I cried the whole way through. Not because it was terrible- because it made me feel so many things I felt while reading. From Ender's first clever, slightly smug glance while playing the computer game in the beginning to the final moments of the film, I was a total wreck. Because you did so much right.


First of all, your casting. I think it was phenomenal. I want to especially commend you for Bonzo. He was perfect. I believed in him and who he was, I was scared of him for Ender. And needless to say, Bean and Peter and Ender and Valentine and Mazer, the whole jeesh, the whole school, they were wonderful. You did a great job. I wish you might have taken a little more time with the acting- in some moments, dialog felt rushed. Unnatural, sometimes down to the tone of their voices. But overall it was quite good.

Your visuals. I didn't really know what to expect with the battle room or the mind game or the final battles, but it was gorgeous. There were countless moments that moved me to tears simply because of how real it felt. Phenomenal. There were a few strange cinematography choices, particularly in group dialog that felt disjointed, but that was a small part of the whole.

Dear Steve Jablonsky, the music was nearly spot on. You almost overdid Ender's cello theme! And I hoped for a different kind of melody, but I shall have to content myself with what you've created. It was not bad in the slightest. Not in the slightest. I especially loved the mind game music, the distortion, whatever sound effects or noises that were used there.

Gavin Hood, I commend you for the undertaking of translating Orson Scott Card's novel into a script (much less a movie!). I cannot even fathom all of the aspects going into that. Though many have said it felt rushed, and perhaps it may have been, in a way that's how the book feels too. Go, go, go. Never a rest for Ender, or the viewer. If one had to choose between an adaptation that dragged its feet and an adaptation that whisks us along, I'd certainly choose the latter. I'm tempted to complain about how few battle room battles we saw, but I know they were expensive. And you chose the right ones, the most important ones. And the big-ish details that you altered, I understand completely. They had to be more dramatic, different for the screen. But you didn't try to out-do the book. At least, it didn't feel like it. You handled this story extremely well.
I hope to shake your hand personally one day for including so much original dialog. It helped a lot. That is true respect to the source, finding places to use the book's own words instead of replacing them with your own.

What you did, what you have done, is create one of the most successful recent book-to-movie translations I've seen. Because it is an accurate reflection of the story. A fragmented reflection perhaps, but you captured all the parts that mattered. You respected the book, and you also respected what the book makes the reader feel. I cannot speak for anyone going into this film without reading the book, but I know as a faithful lover of the Ender books as a whole, it brought Ender's journey to life. And you did something few adaptations do: things that the book could never convey, you painted with bold colors; you completed the book in a way with stunning images. I commend you. I hope those who see the movie without having read the book are prompted to read it afterwards.

Thank you. Thank you for a glorious journey, for taking a story I've enjoyed in my mind and throwing it onto the vast canvas of the screen. It was stunning.

And now, more than ever, I wish it was real, and that I could be in it. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

After The High

No, I'm not doing drugs, this is a spiritual high I'm talking about.

Sure, I'm sure we've all had amazing, spiritually-high days. When you feel the Lord working, you can hear His voice, worship just sets your heart reeling in overwhelming happiness, you're learning and growing and you feel good, really good about where you are in your walk of faith.

What happens the day after that, when the glow starts to dim like Moses' face after he came down from the mountain? How about the week, the month after, when you try and tune in to the Lord and instead of clear words, it seems like radio static? Your faith isn't shaking, but your enthusiasm and energy are draining.

Those are the frustrating days. The days between 'revelation,' between renewing. The long valleys between mountains. What do you do with those?

I don't know.

Here's all I know. Do the next right thing. 

But what does that look like?

Well, for me, it means continuing to get my schoolwork done. It's my job to be a student right now. Study. Do my homework. It means continue to be a functioning member of my household, in obedience to my parents, loving and kind to my siblings. It means I continue to read my Bible and go to church and be encouraged by my brothers and sisters. It means apply the things I've already learned.

Wake up, do the things I know to do, go to bed. Wake up, do the things I know to do, go to bed. repeat ad nauseam.

Just. Keep. Plugging. Away.

This is the hard part. It's hard to blog about because nothing remarkable happens. You just keep going.

For me, it kinda feels like having received orders from my Commanding Officer, and having to dig in and get hard, grueling work done. Checking in is wonderful, but you're not going to get fresh new orders until the things you've already been given are accomplished. It's not a bad thing, it just means keep going. 

It's hard to remember, a lot of the time. It's easy to be frustrated. Imagine a soldier plodding through some unknown territory, or maybe plodding down the same patrol route he's been on for weeks. Maybe he thinks "I'm doing something wrong, nothing's happening!" Maybe he's frustrated because it's mundane, it's hard, it's boring.

And yet, if he's obeying his last set of given orders, he's exactly where his authority wants, and needs him to be.

Maybe that helps, and maybe it doesn't. But if you're like me and get easily discouraged after coming down from a spiritual place of awesomeness, don't you fret. There are mountains and there are valleys in this life, and we learn and grow as we climb, or plod, through each.

Walking in obedience sounds easy. So easy we might even blow it off. But trying doing it day after day, every day, not just when you "feel good."

That's gutsy. And we can't even do it without the grace of our Lord and Savior.

So here's to each and every one of you, wherever you are in your walk: don't be dismayed or discouraged! The Lord is on your side. Have a soft heart to obey Him. And even when you feel alone in a valley, you are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, brothers and sisters beside you, ready to cheer you along the course.

Endurance and Victory

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fresh Resolve

It's quite an eye-opener for a fairly sheltered, Christian homeschooling teenager to traverse from her home, without her family, and experience a tiny bit of the world.

I love film. I love watching movies, writing them and making them. I love the unique type of storytelling that film is. I love the camaraderie of a set, the vast amount of energy and creative collaboration that takes place.

But I see, or endeavor to see, everything I do through the lens of Jesus.

And in my happy, fairly small life, I forget that other people, so many other people, live with a drastically different worldview.

When an older artist stands before a room full of teenagers and says things like "Please only yourself." When art is displayed that reveals more of the human body, or intimate action than I would have liked to see.
When art, expression, is a general go-ahead to say "Anything goes, it's art."
When I can see that without God, there is no real purpose; to these artists, art for the sake of art is enough. But I can see the futility, the strife for nothing but a shadow of true beauty.

When things like this happen, a little girl like me is frustrated. And sitting, for an hour or so, listening to a secular artist say things that I know are not true, I felt waist-deep in an uphill battle.

I caught a glimpse of the rest of the art world.

And for the first time that day, I wondered, Is it worth it?

The finale of the day was a screening of a film called 'The English Teacher,' which was to be followed by a live Q&A with the screenwriters.

I had a brief conversation with an atheist and another believer before the screening. Nothing dramatic happened. I hope some seeds were planted, but I may never know.

The film was excellent. I was loving it. It was delightful. The writing was brilliant, the visuals efficient and smart.

Until two characters started kissing, and then did more intimate things. It wasn't an R-rated scene (well, I wouldn't know, I was looking at the floor in front of me by then), it ended quickly enough. But soon after, dialog/situations implied more such content.

I didn't want to sit through any more of that, no matter how promising the rest of the story was.

So I didn't.

My friend that came with me and I went back to our room and waiting for 20-30 minutes until we knew the credits would be rolling.

My brain was going at 200mph during those 20-odd minutes.

For the second time that day, I wondered, Is this worth it?

Are the things I love about this art form worth dredging through all of the junk that comes with it? 

Is my passion worth me being seen, labeled among these types of people, with these mindsets?

I hated movies and everything about them during those 20 minutes.

We headed back for the Q&A, which was delightful, though I didn't ask a single question, merely listened and tried to concentrate through the roiling of my thoughts.

The day wrapped with a quick announcement of the festival's winners.

It was the most surreal thing. I was frustrated, questioning my passion, asking God if I should just give it up. At the same time that I walked up to the stage to briefly accept my prize for "Best Screenplay."

I was literally beside myself.

After walking out of the screening I had huge convictions about this industry: because on the one hand I could be a light in it, but on the other hand, it's like walking through a mudslide and assuming you won't get stained.

The fun Q&A happened, and then I won. Which I didn't even really care about. But people were around me, supporting me; I met amazing people. Smart, funny, loving people. And that's a big part of what I love about film.

But is it worth my integrity? And could I withstand having to constantly refute 70% of the things I would be told?

That night, I felt like my head and my heart were being pulled in every possible direction.

I wrestled with a lot that night. Texted my thoughts out to a friend because they couldn't just stay in my head.

I didn't go to sleep with a solid answer. A "yes" to film or a "no."

I was left with Do the next right thing. Abide. 

I could take that answer.

I left with personal convictions. Like wanting to be able to articulate Jesus better to people. To walk more narrowly in holiness, that unbelievers would not see me as hypocritical.

Going to this film festival was kind of the culmination of a lot of elements.

......................


It all started when I watched The Dark Knight the other month.
I found I hated it. I've been very reluctant to say that publicly on the internet because I was afraid I would lose something. Possibly respect, possibly just common ground.
I've started to feel sick at the fake violence of movies. Sometimes. just sometimes.
And to feel uncomfortable hearing swearing.
To know that I probably won't watch any of the movies that my blogger guy friends tell me I just have to watch, because I'll love them.
I wouldn't love them anymore. Because it seems selfish, a futile waste of time, to put those things before my eyes for entertainment.
I'm not choosing to never watch a movie again or any nonesense like that.
But I want to be more prayerful, more discerning about the things I choose to watch and read.
To be above reproach.
I don't want to watch something because it would make me "fit in" with this particular group of people.
Half the things I do, I do so that I can "be one of them."
Be "understood."
Heck, even be cool.
But especially in the face of unbelievers, how could I explain that away without looking like a hypocrite? I can't. And the evangelist in me knows the priority.
...........................

If nothing else, this trip has given me fresh resolve.

Fresh resolve to abide and fellowship with my Good Shepherd, because in the gray areas in this life, in the uncertain places where I don't know which way to, He is the only one who can guide me in the right way.

Fresh resolve to hold my ambitions loosely. Fresh resolve to turn my eyes upon Jesus, to look full in His wonderful face, so that the things of earth will grow dim in the light of His glory and grace.

I may not have learned or benefitted so much from the film events. But the Lord used it to teach me greater things.
Just another tiny step towards holiness.

(gaaaaah and if this post made no sense, I am so sorry. I'm not very good with words these days, I feel like.)


An Actual Writing Post! Short, But A Writing Post

I've been bitten by the editing bug!

One of the best things a writer can do is find other people that love the craft. Bouncing your work and ideas off of other people is so stimulating for my brain, as is reading other people's work. No better way to revive half-dead, unfinished stories.

Here's what my notes look like right now, thanks to other people that have been kind enough to read my work and give my their opinions:

And Then I Lived: explain powers and voice in more depth. perhaps the woman he saves at the end is his mother?

The Clerks of Chesney Street: ballistics, not bullet analysis. Have Terence try and shield his wife from seeing Julian

Shadow Puppets: change telephone to radio

I think I love the editing stage better than the initial writing process. Because most of your ideas are already out on the page, and you get to make them better, see them grow and improve. Right now, I'm gearing up to open these old projects again and whip 'em into some semblance of coherency.

What's your favorite part of the writing process? And how is writing going for you these days?



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Michigan In 40 Minutes

Hey y'all! How are you, surviving?

I have lots to share, lots to type up for you, but before I hit publish on those, here's a video journal of my trip to Michigan!

In a nutshell:

It was crazy awesome, lots of traveling, and my friend that took me is one of the most reliable, handy-dandy people evah. It's very cold in Michigan, but it was gorgeous. Also I won Best Screenplay.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I'll See You All Next Week!




Yes, I will be vlogging the whole trip, but I'm positive that there will be room for a blog post or two when I get back, as well!

Thank you guys, my readership, for being awesome. Because you guys are awesome. Without this blog, so many of my scripts would never have been written! I can't wait to go on this little adventure...the Lord is incredible. I never saw this coming. *huge grin*

Take care this weekend. I'll be back with a yarn or two on my return. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Quest for Michigan!

I probably make zero sense, but could I take two minutes of your time anyway?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

being grateful

 for sunny bright days

 for cloudy days when the skies rain buckets

 for being sick, because it's slowed me down, and I've gotten to know the Lord better

 for PCC because seriously, college rocks

 for music and instruments- play one in public and you will make friends

 for the prayer shawl that was made for me that i had no idea about until it was handed to me

 for new friends and new places

 for awesome professors

 for driving

 for food because food

 for amazing friends. i say friends, but they're more like small gangs. posses.

 realizing i have been blessed with so many dear sisters in Christ
 
  to hear them pray

   to pray for them

    to fellowship and to love, and know that i am loved

 for hilarious family members

 for laughter

 for God, because God is good

  nothing but good

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Mini Ender-Rant Coming Through





I'm going to ignore the glorious atmosphere of Battle School.

I'm going to ignore Asa's American accent as Ender.

I'm going to deliberately point out the fact.

That Graff.

Pronounced.

"Bonzo."

WRONG.

It was explicitly said in the book! "Bone-so!" SO WHY?!?!?

Maybe the kids say his name right. Maybe it's just Graff who doesn't say it right.

But for a first clip, things are not going well as far as accuracy goes.

And they cut out his time in Rat Army.

>.>

<.<

Ok, rant over. Carry on. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Guest Post by Hannah Joy: Hero

Introducing Hannah Joy, my sweet sister-in-Christ who has a cascade of Godly wisdom to share with all of us. 

***



I just finished reading the Percy Jackson books.

I’m not sure how to begin.

There’s something about reading about a fifteen year old kid fighting demons. There’s something to those moments where you choke, shake your head, and realize you’re still sitting in your room. There’s something to that moment when you hear your own voice yelling cheers.

And there’s something about the end of a story, when you close your eyes, take a deep breath, and close a book. It’s done. The good guys have pulled through against all odds and defeated the evil. And you close your eyes and dream for a second.

Because there’s something inside you—inside all of us—that is gripping a sword and staring down the opposition. There’s a cold fear that runs down your back, but it’s not enough to make you back down. Because you see things. You see your friends at your back, their armor glinting like stars on a winter night, their eyes flashing brightly. In the back of your mind you know they’re just as scared as you are, but your fear only binds you together.

Last night, I lay awake in bed, like I have for the past month or so. I was thinking too hard and fast to even try to sleep. For school, I have been reading a book calledHow to Ruin Your Life by 30. The latest chapter was called, “Neglect Your Gifts and Strengths when Choosing a Vocation”. The point of the chapter is that God has given you certain talents and things you’re good at…and even things you are interested in for a reason. To say that they are not God-given…well, did He not form you in the womb, knowing what you’d be like at 1, 10, 16, 20 years old? He knew that Hannah Joy would be a geeky, curious, and frightened sixteen year old. He knew that I would murmur so many prayers of “Why?” and “What am I?” And, even stranger to think about, he knew that I would read Percy Jackson in September of 2013. He knew it would affect me, especially reading it alongside the aforementioned school book.

So what am I even getting to?

Well, when God formed me in the womb, He also knew that I’d be a hero at heart. He knew that not-so-deep-down, I wanted to change the world, to slay some dragons and save my friends from horrible fates.

So far, I have survived against all odds. I mean, think about it. We have a crazy angel who is bent on revenge and wants to turn all humanity to him so that God can lose us. So that we can go down with him (Satan) when he does go down. But the crazy thing is, he hasn’t succeeded. Some have been lost. But others have risen up, defied all odds, and stood firm to their ember of faith. And we aren’t half-gods. We aren’t, really, anything special compared to everyone else.

Except that we are.

Because I believe we are heroes. I believe that our story will have a happy ending because God has promised us that. I believe that our story is still going, and that every day we are fighting monsters.

Monsters like Doubt, Pride, Vanity.

We have weaknesses. We have fear. We have fatal flaws and Achilles’ heels. But we have Someone that is strongest where we are weakest.


2 Corinthians 12:9 :  ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Our fight may not look glorious from where we stand. But do any fights look glorious in the middle of it?

I believe there’s a reason that people write books about demi-gods fighting for Olympus, about seventh sons battling evil witches, about hobbits destroying rings of power, about children fighting for the fate of a world in a wardrobe. I believe there’s a reason people write books about dragon slaying, legend fulfilling, sword fighting. I believe there’s a reason people write books about heroes.

Because we are imitators of God, made in the image of Him. We love to create, each in our own way. And what we create are many times imitations of ourselves. Heroes.

It is easy to read a book and wish. It is easy to, in the middle of a story, close your eyes and imagine that you are someone else. Some hero, on an epic quest to save the world. It is easy to wish that you had magical powers and the strength to fight a million foes.

It is hard to finish a book and know you’re not in it. It’s hard to compare what you think are average traits to the extraordinary ones of the characters you just parted from.

It’s hard to believe that you are a hero, when the sword in your hand isn’t solid and the enemies you face hardly ever have form.

But, hero, listen to this. God gave you your body, your talents, your mind, your heart, your soul, for this very purpose that He has preordained. Where all these things will lead you, I don’t know. But it’s an adventure. It’s an epic quest to return Home, where all the heroes in the world will kneel down before our Lord. And it will be glorious. You were made with love and care. You were not an accident. The gifts bestowed upon you were not mistakes.

It’s good to dream. It’s okay to cry. It’s beautiful to laugh. Even if there’s only an ember of faith left, tend it. Let your eyes shine bright with passion for that which you love. Don’t despise the talents you have, but use them to the glory of the God who gave them to you. Invest them and bring back double

And don’t ever give up, hero. Because God never gave up on you.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

You ask, I deliver. The Price Of Tea In China

Remember this?





















Yup. 



I hope you 6 are happy now. 


"Chinese tea is a beverage from the leaves of tea plants (Camellia sinensis) boiled with water, which are ordinarily used for tea in China. Tea leaves are processed using traditional Chinese methods. The Chinese drink tea throughout the day, including during meals, as a substitute for plain water for health or simple pleasure."(courtesy of wikepedia.com)

While not a huge tea drinker myself, the vast majority of my acquaintances are. Tea is a common commodity, a soothing drink for any time of day. But what does this beverage cost, particularly in its country of origin? 

I did a little research, because that's how much I love my followers. 



According to TeaShore.com, these Oolong teas range from $15.90 to $20.90, and the premium teas are somewhere in the ballpark of $32. 

Maybe you're not an Oolong person, though. Is Green Tea more your thing? Bi Luo Chun Green Tea is $17.90 for 3.5oz. 

Also, Dragonwell Green Tea, hailing from the Zhejiang Province, is $10.20 for 2oz. 

The currency exchange from US dollars to Chinese yuan is: $1 = 6.12 Yuan. 

So, do a little math, and the average cost for our limited samples of tea, in Yuan, is 118.61.

"Now what's all this got to do with the price of tea in China?" you may ask. 

And with a straight face, I tell you. 

Everything. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

When the heck did it become October?!?

I honestly don't know where September went.

About four this afternoon I looked up with a startled look and yelled, "IS IT OCTOBER?"

I'm not sure I'm ready for September to be gone. It's been a great month. Here in Oregon, the weather has been gorgeous. Anywhere between heavy rain and blue, sunlit days. I've made somewhere around eight new friends this month. I'm in the midst of my junior of high school, and taking two college classes on top of that, and it's been absolutely nuts but fun. Forget spring, September is the month of new beginnings!

And it's oooveeerrrr and I don't know how.

I've been sick since the beginning of August, as well. I'm sure that didn't help with making the last month seem like a blink. I've spent half of it in bed with a fever!

I love fall. I really do. But it also means:

the sunset is earlier
the nights will be colder
schoolwork's gonna get harder (not like that's really a bad thing, but hey)
I'm probably gonna be tireder (I know that's not a word. Case in point. I'm tireder.)
my writing brain is going to be inspired by the dreary beauty of fall and I have too much homework to have that problem.

and now's the time when the novelty of new things wears off, you gotta dig in, and just do it.

Am I ready? I have no idea! Guess I'm gonna find out.

*shrug*

This has been an impulse post courtesy of October 1st. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Critique Group

I posted something on facebook, but for my friends exclusive to the blogosphere: who wants to be on an email list of people that I can send my script drafts to for critique?

This means messy drafts, more input and helping me with ideas occasionally. *waggles eyebrows*
 
If you're interested in participating in a critique group for me, please email me (my email is located in my 'about' page). And let me know! I would love to have you on board :D

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What Does It Take To Make A Movie?

I'm sure some of you have checked out this post which addresses a new script and, Lord willing, my first (real) production. I'm sure your interest is piqued, at least a little bit! Why on earth am I waiting until next year? What does it take to make a short film?

I will tell you. At least the very beginnings of it.

First off, I'm just going to tell you (if you haven't gathered this already): I don't do anything by half measures if I can help it. So if I'm going to make a short film, then dangit, it's going to be a beautiful short film and as high-quality and professional as I can make it.

*stubborn nod as often found on three year olds*

Secondly, I plan on working with as few friends as possible. Because film sets get intense, I get intense, and I don't want any of my friendships ruined over a film. Thus, when I'm working, I would prefer to keep as many of my relationships as professional as possible. Which means I need to find people for the crew, audition actors, work out their schedules, all that.

Thirdly, if you're gonna make the picture look good, decent equipment is preferred. There are loads of rental places for films. However, they do cost.....*cough* moolah. And then there's the cost of feeding people and covering stuff like duct tape and costumes and gas. On top of that, location scouting. I have to find the place(s) I want to shoot, and obtain permission to do so, which can take ages. And possibly more money.

Basically, I need to befriend a very rich person who has a taste for the arts.

Fourthly, planning. Obviously, I don't need a year to plan a simple, five-odd page short. But if we make allowance for life in general, school, holidays, and other people's schedules, that's a lot of time I don't have at my disposal to work on this. So I need to set this project a bit farther out in the future so it's not a mad rush to plan it and get it done.

So when I say, "I'm thinking about making a movie," the list in my head isn't just actors and a camera. It's costumes. It's crew. It's locations. It's storyboarding. It's buying equipment. It's auditioning actors. It's figuring out where to even find these people. It's wondering where on earth I'm going to get money. It's a gazillion factors that I have to juggle. Every director/producer, ever, has dealt with juggling a pile of tasks like this. And lots of the time, even bigger ones.

Making a movie, even a short one, is a tall order. But it's worth it when you love it.

In a few months, I'll be able to document more pre-production and production. Lord willing, of course. Hope this shed a wee little light on the process!


Friday, September 13, 2013

Little Lights

God bless Hannah Joy, y'all. She has a beautiful soul.

Something she said to me the other day over an email sparked a fire of inspiration.

And well, here's a little something I made. To all of my brothers and sisters in Christ that I have never met (or met only once!), you still matter and you still shine even over something as paltry as the internet. I can't imagine the blessing it would be to know you all in person.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Script!

I can't believe I didn't blog this when I finished it, but I wrote a short script a bit ago, called CRUX.
And, Lord willing, I plan on shooting it in the summer next year.  (Now that will be blog post fodder for sure!)

However, there's no way I could lock in the script without my oh-so-trusy blog audience to give it a once over! So here it is, and if you have loads of critique, please email me at acertainjedi[at]gmail[dot]com. But do feel free to just comment, too :)

And I'm kind of sorry for the watermark. It should still be readable (though you may need to zoom your screen a bit), and I just really don't want this stolen by some random bloke off the internet. Heh.







Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Updates and New Poll!

I don't have access to a laptop these days, so all of my school papers are being handwritten.

And according to my mom, my handwriting is so minuscule that she needs a magnifying glass to read it. Unfortunately, my sense of space/paper conversation is more important to me than ease of reading. Which may be backwards priorities, but tell that to my poor writing hand.

Anyway, this generally led to the idea that perhaps I should blog my school papers, since blogger is the only format on our family computer that gets my writing brain going.

So, prepare to be slightly bombarded by school papers. Don't worry, they'll be beneath a jump so you won't be bored by them. I'm just letting you know that they will be magically appearing periodically.

Oh, and while we're talking of new stuff on the blog, what do YOU want to see more of? Poll is here at the top of the blog, right beneath my about. It's been so long since I've blogged in earnest and I've changed so much that I almost don't know what to post about. Please share your opinion. I kinda sorta need it!

Hope you all are doing well and that you are growing every day in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Putting the Pieces Together

This is a warning. I'm quite tired and my brain isn't operating at 100% capacity, so this is going to be an interesting read. Bear with me, if you will.


I was out for the weekend at an oasis in the midst of this miserable earth that I've blogged briefly about before.

The Lord doesn't ever waste a thing. If there's one thing I want you to know, that would be it.

Allow me to ramble a bit about this weekend.

My family and I sojourn for many hours into the east, into Mordor, every Labor Day weekend with a local university, because my dad volunteers as camp doctor for them while they're there. The fun of it is, for the last ten-odd years we get to spend three days in an immaculate and gorgeous camp in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by college students. And twice a day there's a session in an indoor auditorium where there's worship and a teaching, from profs and/or guest speakers.

While being totally fun, it's also a place that I look forward to being inspired (it was on the way on our first or second drive there that I got my first inspiration for a novel), and spiritually filled up at.

I don't know if I've mentioned this yet on the blog or not, but my life verse has been Proverbs 3:5-6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Wanna know why it's my life verse? Because I struggle with it. It's something so simple, something that is very hard for me to do, and therefore something I need to be reminded of regularly.

I was born and raised a church-going kid, in a Christian family. My spiritual academia isn't lacking in any of the essentials. Trust God? I could rattle off twenty reasons why you should.

Because He's God! Because He's all powerful! Because He created you and He knows what's good for you!

*taps skull* It's all in there. The great and lofty facts about God. I know all of the right answers, and honestly, it's incredibly frustrating. Just because it's in my head doesn't mean I truly believe it. Lots of things get stuck in my thinker and don't make it the last twelve inches down to my heart.

Back to this weekend.

It was incredible, all four sessions were Holy-Spirit-orchestrated to fit perfectly. Together they wove the most amazing tapestry of truth.

I want to share with you some of my notes, a brief paraphrase, from Saturday night's session. It was called "God In A Box." The title alone had me incredibly dubious, but it ended up being nothing like what I supposed.

  • Walking with or walking like a person is how you get to know them.
  • The last verse of Exodus is about the Tabernacle. The point of Exodus is about God wanting to abide with His people.
  • He loves you. And He likes you. 
  • In Leviticus, the dimensions for the Tabernacle are repeated twice. Boring stuff. And yet it's repeated. It must be important. 
Why is is important? You may already know the answer.
  • The Tabernacle is where God chose to be to abide with His people. 
  • It's a gold and purple box in the middle of a desert.
  • God is infinite.
  • God. Doesn't. Need. A. Box.
  • And yet He chose to dwell in one to be with the people He loves and likes. The people He delights in. 
Do you ever doubt that God understands how ugly and filthy you are? Do you ever feel like God doesn't realize what a mess you are? Do you ever feel pressure because you know He sees the new creation that you are in Jesus, and so often you still act human and imperfect?

There's a passage in Leviticus that the speaker didn't understand for the longest time. This is the passage:


Leviticus 21:16-24 

16 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “Speak to Aaron, saying: ‘No man of your descendants in succeeding generations, who has any defect, may approach to offer the bread of his God. 18 For any man who has a defect shall not approach: a man blind or lame, who has a marred face or any limb too long, 19 a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, 20 or is a hunchback or a dwarf, or a man who has a defect in his eye, or eczema or scab, or is a eunuch. 21 No man of the descendants of Aaron the priest, who has a defect, shall come near to offer the offerings made by fire to the LORD. He has a defect; he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. 22 He may eat the bread of his God, both the most holy and the holy; 23 only he shall not go near the veil or approach the altar, because he has a defect, lest he profane My sanctuaries; for I the LORD sanctify them.’ ”

24 And Moses told it to Aaron and his sons, and to all the children of Israel.

(this has been courtesy of Blue Letter Bible)


It sounds really mean, don't it? Sounds awful. Why would a God who wants to be with His people say something like this?

Here's why. This is what's written in the margin of my Bible next to this passage.

  • This is a living metaphor for how holy God is. So that we know how filthy we are to God. 
  • He's letting us know that He sees us for what we are.
  • And Exodus is still true.
He sees us, guys. He knows our filth and our impurity and our failings and the way we're wired.
He still likes us. He still loves us. And He still wants to be with us. 

In fact, He likes us so much that He not only consented to living in a box to be closer to us, He took on the form of a man and walked among us. 

This is the God who needs nothing. He didn't have to do any of that. He just did it because He delights in fellowship with us.

And to top it off, God died.

So that we could be with Him.
  • He knows us better than we know ourselves. He sees us through the lenses of the Cross because He knows what's behind it.
***

I am grateful to have intimate friendships in real life. I have people that I invest time in, and they likewise. People who are gracious enough to see my point of view, and I try to extend them the same courtesy. We know each other well. We spend time together. There's a closeness that comes from doing things together and learning about each other.

You know what? I trust those friends. I have as much trust in them as I can have in any flawed human being. 

After the speaker concluded, there were a few songs in worship. This was the first one.




Thank You for the cross that You have carried
Thank You for Your blood that was shed
You took the weight of sin upon Your shoulders

And Sacrificed Your life so I could live
Now nothing is holding me back from You
Redeemer of my soul
Now nothing can hold me back from You
Your Love will never let me go

These are just the beginning lyrics. I would have sung along, but I was sobbing. Not the sweet church-crying with the tears silently rolling down your cheeks so that you look serene and holy.
Nope.
This was the kind that, if the music had been but a fraction softer, the entire auditorium full of college students would have heard. I had one hand raised in worship and the other clamped over my mouth to stifle the noise. My nose probably started running too but at that point all the liquid on my face was equal.


At first I wasn't really sure why I was crying. I had felt a pull at my heart during the teaching, but then the song started and for some reason it just hit me like an avalanche. Like something has released. Like I finally understood something. 
And then I realized it.
I. Trusted. God.
He was revealed to me as The Almighty God and Creator of the Universe, but, in the same moment, as an intimate friend. 
Not my bro. Not my buddy. Not my bff. My friend.

There isn't really a word beyond friend in the English language that I can think of to sum it up. 

But in an instant, He wasn't just a great and majestic and, yeah, kind of distant God. He was someone who needs nothing, but chooses to humble Himself, put Himself in a box, because He enjoys being with me. He enjoys being with you.

I've had trust issues for as long as I can remember. Are they gone now? Probably not. But the reality of who God is and the fact that He is trustworthy finally dropped the twelve inches from my head into my heart. I know that truth on a whole new level now.

I'm learning to abide. I'm learning, like a toddler to walk, to trust God. 

Because He is Almighty. He is great and awesome and powerful. And He wants to be my friend. And He did whatever it took, everything it took, to ensure that there was nothing between us. 

I love God. I love Him so much. Tears of gratitude are welling in my eyes as I type that sentence. 

I am by no means perfect now. Ha! Far from it. But this weekend granted me another piece of the puzzle of being sanctified, of understanding who God is. 

I love that He reveals things to us just as we need them. I love that if we stay faithful even during dry seasons of our faith, there comes an overwhelming flood of His tangible love and truth. 

Because it has been a relatively dry season for the last few months. I've done my best, albeit a very poor best, to not disconnect from spiritual things even though they were largely unrewarding. 

When I look around now, I see the world, see my life with a new dimension. I see new truths about my God and Savior. I see new ways that I can love Him. I see new ways that I can grow in my walk with Him. And that is a blessing beyond compare on this earth.

I've often wondered why it's so hard for me to be to obey Him. I've blamed it on loads of things.

But there's this song. And the order of verbs is so true.

Trust and obey
For there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey

The trust comes first. And like faith, like anything, He is the only one who can work that change in you.

I am eager to wake up every morning and, with trust in my heart, practice obeying Jesus Christ my Lord.

Neither you nor I will do this perfectly until Heaven. 

But I'm grateful for this piece of the puzzle that I could put together.

I'll leave you with another song we sang that evening. Thank you for bearing with me through this very long post.