Overall, life is wonderful right now. Compared to where I was at a year ago, it’s like I’m a whole different person. I have changed and grown and learned so much in this past year, and through ups and downs, I have come out stronger.
The last few days though, I have found myself constantly whispering, “Lord, please carry me.” Juggling school, work, Mulan and my spiritual life has been a struggle this past week especially. The biggest struggle has been with my math class; trying to figure out what the heck is going on in that 90 minutes has been a little rough the past five weeks. On top of that, tests freak me out. To put it this way, I would rather write a 15 page research paper than take a 15 question test, (and I know how long is takes to write 15 pages).
While I’ve been creating the habit of getting in my bible every morning, I’ve found it a lot easier to just talk to God. Through the day, I find myself thanking Him for little blessings, and asking for little boosts of energy to get through the tasks at hand. It’s amazing how much He communicates with us through little whispers throughout day, whether it’s sending someone to say just the right thing or it’s finding 50 cents on the ground to help you pay for another cup of coffee. I’m learning more and more that God really is always there,we just have to put in the effort of building a relationship. And what’s really awesome is that He wants that relationship from all of us. He’s always ready to lift us up and carry us through situations in life, because He knows that we can’t make it through all alone. He’s already doing His part; we’re the ones who need to invest in growing a friendship with Him.
As I type, a pile of homework is sitting in a stack right next to me, waiting to be completed, and I am again finding myself pleading with God to carry me through my final study time before the day is over. I am so thankful that my God is a God that is alive and active in my life, and that He is the one that will never, ever, ever leave me hanging 🙂
I hope to be back to regular blogging soon! Stay tuned for new updates 😀
I am now in full swing at school, which means homework. It’s not super terrible stuff, but my literature class takes a little bit more time than other classes have in the past. So, today, I did my homework in the office of the art lab, planning to print it out there so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it at home. Well, due to the the annoying fact that school computers are the not the most reliable machines to store homework on, when I went to the library to print it out, the file was gone. Nowhere to be found, even though I saved it three times. Needless to say, I was a little less than thrilled.
Obviously, there’s a chance that I made a mistake when I was trying to save the file, but this isn’t the first time this has happened to me at school. Also,saving files is a habit now. I’ve been doing it since elementary school. It’s been engraved into my brain for the last ten years how to save a Word document, so I don’t know how I screwed it up on the computer at my college. Due to the file running away at school, I had to come home and redo the work, which was frustrating, since I had spent an hour and a half at school getting it done the first time. It’s done and printed out, ready for my class tomorrow morning, but as I reflect on the day, I have come to some conclusions.
My day was pretty swell up until 4:30 when the fiasco with my homework happened. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I have two art classes, and it’s wonderful. I had worked on two projects that day in Design and Painting, and had gotten some really great feedback from my teachers.
“After Paris” My line project for Design Project
“Peach and Flower Still Life” WIP of my first oil painting
I let lost homework almost ruin my entire day. Something that took me only 30 minutes to redo almost messed up six hours of awesome studio time and meeting new people. Often times, I let little things screw up the good things that are going on in my life, and that’s something I’m working hard to fix.
Sometimes, things go wrong. It’s inevitable. But the way that we choose to handle those situations is up to us. God doesn’t ever give us anything that we can’t handle, and through the sucky times in life, He is always there to carry us through them. He cares about every part of our lives, and He wants to helps us through our trails, even if they are smaller ones, like having to redo homework. He doesn’t get mad when we get upset, in fact, those are the times when we can draw closer to Him.
So, what have I learned from today?
I need to put a flash drive on my lanyard and use it all the time.
I need to take my laptop with me to school to avoid the school PCs.
Having to redo homework is not the end of the world (even though it really sucks)
Until next time,
Isaiah 41:10: Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you in my righteous right hand.
Everyone has dreams and goals. Some are smaller, like learning to juggle or beating a really tough level on a video game. Others are larger, like finishing college with honors or back packing through Europe for a summer. Dreams are awesome, and goals drive us to work harder to achieve them. Even though they may seem like something that we could never reach, we still have them in our heads, and imagine what it would be like if they really came true.
I’ve known Suz for about six years now, and she has come to be the big sister I never had. She’s one of those people that can light up a room and makes you feel special. At the age of 16, she started college at a school three hours away from home after being homeschooled her whole life. She has gone on a mission trip to Japan, ministering through musical theater, something that she has been doing for years, someday wants to return. Suz is one of the most godly women I have ever met, and one of the most driven people I know. She is also one of the biggest Disney Nerds I have ever met.
Tomorrow, she will be on her way to the Disney College Program in Orlando to work as a Character Actor at Disney World. Working for Disney has been one of Suz’s dreams for a very long time, and now, she’s getting to live out that dream. But she wouldn’t have gotten to start this adventure if she hadn’t done some work to get there. She had to have good grades throughout college, go through a long application process, and then attend an eight hour audition to be a character. Plus, she has to pack up her life and move across the country and not come home until January.
Dreams are great, but dreams don’t come true just by wishing. Most of the time, you have to work hard to reach them(just ask Princess Tiana).
But hard work shouldn’t scare you off from what you want to do, especially when you feel that it is your calling. A lot of the times, it’s going to be rough getting to the finish line, but you shouldn’t give up on your dreams just because it’s too hard, or it’s not “practical”. God didn’t make us to be lazy and just float through life; He made us to thrive.
With anything you do, use it to serve God and others. You were made for incredible things, so don’t be afraid to chase after your dreams. It may take a lot of work, and it may take longer than you want it too, but the end game will be worth it. It’s hard to see her leave, but I am so happy that my friend is getting to do what she’s wanted to do for such a long time. Suz, I wish you the best as you travel to Disney World and start this new phase in your life, and I can’t wait to see what you do down there. Thanks for being such a great role model and being the sister I always wanted 🙂
Almost positive that my director is gonna tell me to go to bed once he sees this. I apologize in advance for any confusing sentences as I am running on a slap-happy burst of energy.
Tonight was our final rehearsal of Godspell before we start our weekend run. It’s incredible how far we’ve come in the past two months. For those of you who don’t know, Godspell is basically Matthew 5-7, Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. (Go give it a read, it’s good stuff.) When I first saw the cast list for this show I was over the moon. I was in this show when I was 13 and was on stage for about 25 minutes of the entire show, while this time around, I am on the stage for about 95% of the show. It’s such a huge transition from being in kid’s chorus to being one of the disciples; there was a lot more pressure because all of us have a bunch of lines that can sometimes fly right out of our heads when we need them the most. But I don’t think I’ve ever felt this blessed.
When the rehearsal process started, I began praying that God would open my eyes to something bigger. I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was about three, and I’ve always grown up in a family that LOVES Him, so my faith sometimes feels mediocre. Don’t get me wrong, my faith is my own, but it often times felt so routine. It didn’t really hit me until last night (our Tuesday rehearsal) what was going through the hearts of the disciples while they were following Jesus 2,000 years ago.
My character (as most of my fellow cast mates would agree) is one of, if not the youngest disciple out of the nine of us. Now, imagine if you are a young child, and an extraordinary person comes who has all the answers that you’ve been looking for. He’s charismatic, he’s smart, and he’s zealous about his cause. You think that he’s the King that you’ve all been waiting for for many generations. If he hand picked you to follow him, it would be one of the most incredible things that had ever happened to you. But then, after a long time of following him, he is killed right in front of you: your King is dead. It’s confusing and heart-breaking and infuriating all at once. BUT THEN HE RISES FROM THE DEAD. Being a disciple is an emotionally roller coaster!
These feelings all really clicked for me completely tonight as we ran the show. I often try to be at Wes’s (the guy who plays Jesus) heels on stage, trying to soak in all the words he says. You know those little kids that always follow around that really cool big kid? Yeah, that’s me. It’s heart breaking when he “dies” in the second act of the show. Hearing my fellow cast mates scream and cry pulls at my heart, and I finally am starting to understand what the 11 guys who followed Him for 3 years felt like when their leader was brutally murdered. But oh man, when He rose again, they must have been jumping for days. I am so thankful that I am starting to be able to really empathize with one of the first followers of Christ, because in real life, I really am one. Anyone who is a believer in Him is a disciple, and as a disciple, we are called to proclaim His glory to the world.
I will forever be thankful that I got the opportunity to play this part. It’s been wonderful to act with some really awesome people. Big shout outs to my fellow disciples: Maggie, Hillary, Olivia, Regan, Ryan, Aaron, Caleb and Zach (Judas) and Wes (Jesus) who have been so much fun to work with. To the directing staff, thank you for leading us through the last few months and making us look great. To the parents, holy cow, you are rock stars and we could never do something like this without you. But most importantly, I want to thank God for opening my eyes to a deeper part of my faith in Jesus. The biggest goal of this show is not to always be in the front and in the spotlight; it’s to make people love Jesus more, and that goal as most definitely been achieved in me. My cup truly does run over with His many blessings. I hope that you’ll have the opportunity to come out and see it this weekend! You won’t regret it 🙂
I have spent a lot of my spring break doing some cleaning and going through a lot of old memories. While going through my hope chest, I found a stack of my old writing assignments from elementary/middle school. This little piece stuck out to me most:
It reads: My hands are the little colorful tools that help me express myself. My hands are, as Christian Youth Theater friends call them, fairy sized hands that build Lego castles and draw Star Wars characters. My hands are the things that grip a light saber as I battle the evil Darth Vader. My hands are a showcase of what not to do with sewing supplies and why you should wear gloves when you climb rock walls. My hands are the things that always get tangled as they dance across the piano keys. Sometimes I wonder if these hands will ever paint a masterpiece, build a skyscraper of Legos, climb Mount Everest, or play at Carnegie Hall. Who knows? My hands are me.
I wrote this for my first writing assignment of 6th grade where we had to pick a body part that best represents who we are. It’s funny to go back and read stuff that I wrote a long time ago, and what was important to me then. While I’m not as much of a Star Wars freak as I was when I was younger, a lot of what I wrote five years ago is still true. My hands are always covered in paint, they still play piano, and yes, they are still tiny. I still have a scar from a sewing project, and I’ve gained another one from a sword fight (stage combat can be rough). I don’t’ climb anymore, but my hands are calloused from guitar playing and my random tree climbing adventures.
One of my favorite passages in the bible is in 1st Corinthians 12, which talks about the body of Christ:
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
All of us have different talents. Some people are incredibly smart and do well in academics. Others are talented in the athletic field. Some excel in the creative fields with music, art or writing. There are a lot of people who shine in leadership positions, while others are good at being a support system. If we were all the same, the world would be extremely boring. The world wouldn’t be able to function if all of us were talented soccer players, or ballerinas, or math geniuses. It takes all different kinds of people to make our world work. God designed us to all have different talents, and we are to use those gifts to glorify Him.
I feel that my hands are my best tools for what I want to do with my life. I love making art and playing musical instruments. God blessed me with the desire to be creative, and I want to use that to reflect Him. You, reader, have been blessed with gifts too. You are a crucial part of the Body. You might feel that your life is insignificant, but you are so important. You just have to be open and willing to use the skills in your life to live an extraordinary way.
Right now, I’m in community college, but technically, I’m a junior in high school. In the United States, there is a lot of pressure on high school juniors to figure out exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives career wise.
And that’s freaking scary.
Let me get this straight America: You are asking teenagers to decide what they want to do for the next 50 years, and then put thousands of dollars into a place where they will get a piece of paper after four years that is supposed to make them successful. And this doesn’t sound kind of crazy?
Often times, we get caught up in things that seem extremely important now, and we forget the most important thing: Our identity in Christ. ACT/SATs, grades, college applications, after school activities, and jobs can take up so much of our time and fill up our thoughts. We forget that the only thing that truly matters is what God thinks of us. Our lives are supposed to reflect Him, not the score we get on a test or the college we get into.
I am currently in the process of nailing down my major and finding the college I will attend. It’s terrifying that within the next few years I’ll be out of the house living in a dorm or apartment. On top of that, I am getting a degree that is considered by others to be “impractical”. Art is a hard thing to make a living on. There’s going to be a lot of hustling and odd jobs in my future. But thankfully, my parents are very supportive and want me to do what I’m passionate about.
Here’s the reason why my parents don’t care what my major is: All they want for me is that I have a relationship with Jesus. Everything else is extra. Granted, my mom and dad want me to be a hard worker and to apply myself, but they know that I want to glorify God through art and writing. As long as I’m following Christ, they’re happy. Nothing else matters more than my eternal destiny.
Big changes are coming in my life, and while it’s freaky, I’m excited to see what’s going to happen next. God has opened so many doors for me, and I’m eager to see where I’ll end up in a few years. When you feel stressed about future plans, remember that the only thing that truly matters is my relationship Jesus. Everything else is going to fall into place, and it’s gonna be awesome.
Today was the first time in a long time that I got up and read my bible before school. And today was awesome.
Now, this isn’t a big promise that reading your bible will keep bad stuff away. Your bible is not a bubble that makes bad stuff bounce off of you. But starting my day by studying the Word and praying really set my course for the better. I had a good attitude about life. I felt that being closer to my Heavenly Father for those short 15 minutes really helped my mood and made me happier to be alive.
Christianity does not solve all your problems. A lot of Christians struggle with depression (me being one of them) and other crappy things, like illness, loss and doubt. But I have noticed that on the days that I really let myself be led by Jesus from the very beginning of it, I have a better day over all.
If you don’t know where to start, I highly suggest Pslams and Proverbs. One or two a day can start you off right. Let me know your favorite passages/studies you have done, and how God has worked in your life 🙂
Today, I plead for prayer for my precious cast. This has been one of the most wonderful shows I’ve been in, and I am so thankful for this great group of people. Prayers would be greatly appreciated as we get ready to open Thursday morning: *One of our lead cast members is very sick. Please pray for healing, and that any sickness will be swept away from the cast now and stay away. *Costumes are hard. Pray for the costume ladies to have wisdom and bursts of inspiration the next few days as they problem solve. Seriously, these women are awesome. *Sets can be scary sometimes. Pray that they will all be safe for the cast and crew. *Pray for the parents: that they feel love from their kiddos and that they are lifted up after all the work that they’ve put in. They have seriously done so much amazing work for us. We CANNOT do shows without our parent VOLUNTEERS (as in, no money for countless hours of work). *Pray for the crew. These guys are volunteers too, and they make the magic really come to life. Pray that they get everything learned quickly so that they can do their job safely to make the show look Incredible. *Our directors are rock stars. Pray that they get lots of sleep, have clarity and are able to get joy from all the work they have poured into us. *Pray for the hearts of the cast. Keep them joyful and obedient, and ready to perform for the Lord. Pray for physical, emotional, and spiritual strength to carry them through the next six days. *Pray for the audience members who are coming to see the show: that they are blessed by the performance and see Christ on the stage. *Lastly, this is a a big one from our director: Pray that everything that can go wrong in the show will go wrong tomorrow or Wednesday night. We want to get all of the mistakes and problems fixed now so that we can have major-error-free shows. There is much work to be done, but Cinderella goes up Thursday morning! Tickets are still available online at http://www.cytkc.org/tickets! You don’t want to miss this beautiful, magical show! Until next time, Abby
Matthew 1:22-23 “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means God With Us.”
I love my church family. I have grown up in my local church, and these past few years especially, I have felt that I have been growing deeper in my faith while learning from our Pastoral Staff. Our lead pastor, (Bob) delivered a powerful message this past Sunday leading up to Christmas that really impacted me, and I thought I would share my thoughts with you.
That’s a powerful phrase. It gives the idea that the Almighty Creator wants to be with us: flawed, sinful people. We as humans should have nothing to do with God, but in His grace, He sent Jesus, His Son, to be on earth with His creation, to live among us, to die for our sins, and three days later, rise again to seal the deal.
You hear Christmas songs this time of year with Immanuel and God With Us throughout them, but what does it really mean?
Well, think about this. If I went to Comic Con in San Diego, I would be with about 100,000 other people at one large event, but was I really with them? No. I didn’t travel all the way to California to be with 100,000 strangers; I went with my best friend (Watson, it’s gonna happen someday ;D) to be with her, and grow our relationship as friends as we brave the war zone that is
San Diego Comic Con. I also can’t send out a tweet saying, “Was with @TWHiddlston in Hall H today! #besties” without looking like an idiot, or my friends giving me flack about it. My tweet would have to be more like, “Saw @TWHiddlston dressed up as Loki in Hall H today! #fangirling”. I (sadly) don’t know Tom Hiddleston personally, so though I was in the same hypothetical room with him, I wasn’t really with him. (Now, if I had gotten a back stage pass to hang out with him and the cast of Thor, that would be a different story.) There is a difference between be with a huge crowd and being with a close friend. In a crowd, you’re just going through the motions, trying to get to the next booth and probably trying to have as little contact with them as possible. With a friend, you want to be talking and growing closer together through inside jokes, memories and heart to hearts. With a true friend, you put an effort into the relationship. If you don’t talk to your friend for weeks, you’re missing out on stuff in their lives which can cause you to drift apart.
This is the same concept with God. You can know in your head every verse forwards and backwards, word for word in Hebrew and Greek, but if you don’t have a personal relationship with Him, He isn’t really with you. There’s a huge difference between knowing about Jesus, and knowing Him as your Savior and constant companion. One is the way separation, the other is the path to salvation. If you are a Christian and have a relationship with Christ, you can still grow apart from Him by ignoring His word and not putting an effort into growing closer to Him. Jesus is like any other friend; if you stop talking to Him, the relationship is strained. God is always there, but it’s up to us to choose to be with Him.
I hope that is this Christmas Season is in full swing this week, you’ll stop to really look at your relationship, or lack there of, with God. It’s easy to get swept up into the motions of this season: presents, family, friends, decorations, baking, and traveling can take up a lot of our attention. These are all great and fun things, but our attention really should be on the amazing event that happened in Bethlehem thousands of years ago. I’m guilty of it! I’ve been stressing out about getting commissions finished up, while working on gifts for my friends and family, and just wanting to ignore everything else. I’m thankful for Pastor Bob’s message yesterday that gave me a big wake up call, and that God is gracious and forgives me when I lose sight of His amazing love. All it takes is believing that Jesus came down, died for all of your sins, and that He rose again to accept His wonderful gift. It’s the Greatest Christmas Gift you could ever get; better than all the toys in the world or Badge for Life to get into Comic Con 😉
Three days and counting till the big day! Spend this time with the ones you love, and remember the Greatest Gift that was offered to you on that night so many years ago.