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.