Archive for July, 2014
As I look over my life, I feel like I’ve always been seen as a nice, sweet, quiet, peacemaking, obedient, innocent girl. Some things, like the “quiet” and “nice”, are easy to spot. Most or all of those may be traits of who I am or who I grew up as. I’ve never really gone through a rebellious stage of my life, never really wanted to “get into trouble” as Sleeping Beauty from Groovelily sings. Even though God has made me to be the sweet peacemaker, that doesn’t make me any better of a person or anything even close to perfect or sinless. Well, through New Life, as I spent my life interacting with strange and interesting people I barely knew and then got to know too well, I discovered something: everybody is so very, very human.
I am no exception. Of course, I’ve always known I was a sinner and have had issues over the years that God has helped me through. But there’s just something about having to travel in a van for 10 weeks straight with 3-7 other people who are all a mix of wonderful, terrifying, passionate, temperamental, young, visionary, stubborn, scared, rebellious, in love with God and sometimes even people on the teams that… well, brings out the good and the bad in each of us. And really gave me a chance to see myself at my most flesh-like.
Sweet, Innocent BAM
Evil BAM! (Aka, MAB.)
I have been selfish, petty, insecure, jealous, self-righteous, fearful, indecisive, worrisome, distracted, weak and self-pitying as a teammate and leader. I have spent hours holding a grudge over the tiniest little thing that nobody meant anything by. I have backed down from responsibilities that were mine because I was overwhelmed by them. I have made decisions as a leader that I then took back because I was scared of what other people thought about it. I have disliked people. (Gosh, that’s the worst. Luckily it never lasted long, as God helped me through it.) I have gotten easily annoyed and snappy at innocent teammates. I have lost focus of God and those we were ministering to, to focus on my relationships and on my fun. I have joined in the thrill of gossip. I have let guilt overwhelm me and let myself become so discouraged I couldn’t function in my role. I have focused on myself too many times to count.
Not always as “nice” as we seem…
But it’s not just me. It’s the whole church, the whole world. Every single person on my teams, no matter how long or how short they had been a Christian or been in ministry, has had their moments of losing their temper, getting snappy, being selfish towards each other.
One of the things I tend to do without realizing it is that I put certain people on pedestals. Generally they are leaders, or the “popular” people, or the experienced people… basically anyone who intimidates me (which is mostly everybody). My first initial reaction is to put them up high as someone I look up to and expect a lot out of. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. This means that I tend to have a lot of instant respect for people, particularly leaders, and I try to look for the best in everyone. But sometimes I forget that people are human, and then when they make a mistake it can throw me off.
That happened many times. I’ve seen people I look up to rebel, yell at each other, gossip, act selfishly, lose their tempers, not fulfill their responsibilities, and become overwhelmed with discouragement.
Sometimes you just need to ask for help. 🙂
Whenever that happened, I had to readjust my way of thinking about them. Not that I necessarily thought less of them, but their actions helped to change my perspective from a flattened mindset of simply “oh my they’re so awesome and perfect!” to a fuller picture of who they really were, the good and the bad. There may have been times that I was disappointed, but another thing that comes with being human is that nobody’s got it all together. Everybody, whether they are the newbie that just came off the bus or the founder of the ministry, needs prayer and encouragement. Everyone makes mistakes, and everybody deserves grace.
I found myself developing a strong loyalty to my teammates, to my leaders. Seeing them struggle with some of the very same issues that I have found myself dealing with always made me want to be that much more of an encouragement to them. Not that I personally did that much. But I tried to pray for them as much as I could. I tried to always ask my coordinator what I could do for them. I tried to always listen with my heart when our Vice President was teaching. When I looked past their mistakes and their failings, their struggles and their insecurities… that’s when their passion for God and for ministry was always so obvious. It showed up in different ways: some of my teammates have had strong passions for leading worship; others loved to train their teams how to be excellent in everything they did; still others found joy in devouring and discussing God’s truth through scripture, while other teammates found purpose in staying up all night with the host and being an encouragement.
Despite every team’s struggles, God always brought us together and used us to grow each other! (And poor Julia is the only one without sunglasses.)
While we are all human, with failures and flaws and all that good old stuff that just, you know, comes with a sin nature, God saw fit to bring us all together. He put clashing and clicking personalities together to grow, to learn, to work together and serve. Our humanness is something that each and every one of us can relate to. None of us is perfect; we all need second chances. We all need forgiveness. And we all need grace . And thanks to Jesus, we’ve got it.
So I’m sorry, y’all, that I haven’t blogged in ever. I’ve been getting adjusted to my schedule of working until 5 every day, so while I haven’t been exhausted, I have been busy, and tired on the weekends. Hehe, blogging was much easier when I did nothing all day. 🙂 And while it’s not like any of you are hanging on the edge of your computers (…….?) in anticipation for my next blog, I am going to try to be better at being consistent. Even if I just put up something that’s short and sweet.
So while there are still a few pieces I’m working on before I post them, I figured I’d get a blog done, as well as update you on my life, by writing down a bunch of things I’m thankful for lately! 🙂 So here goes!
1. Music! Music is all forms of awesome, beautiful, fun, catchy, silly, emotional, worshipful, and keeps me from falling asleep at work.
2. Patterns are fun. I’m listening through my MP3 player alphabetically, and I’ve been enjoying watching multiple Pride and Prejudice adaptations over the past few weeks. Patterns give goals and create accomplishments.
3. I love rewatching Babylon 5 while Joel and Elizabeth watch it for the first time
4. I have a full-time job that is helping me to get on my feet!
5. I have a part time job that gives me extra spending money for myself!
6. This one’s a bit random, but I like the fact that I feel more confident in my personal wardrobe than I used to
7. Singing! Whether it’s belting a loud ballad, singing through a musical with my siblings or softly humming a worship song to myself, singing brings me much pleasure and emotional satisfaction.
8. Organization is something cool that God invented, and I enjoy utilizing it
9. I’ve been connecting with some cool people and making some new friendships, as well as renewing a few with people I’ve known for a while, and it feels good.
10. I like ice cream! And I get it a lot because, guess what? I HAVE MONEY!!
11. Dancing! It’s an amazing way to enjoy music and express myself. I like to do full-on twirling and jumping when I’m by myself, or the more subtle leg-bob or thigh-clap when I need to not make a scene. Moving to music is something that I’m glad I discovered I like to do.
12. I’m very thankful for the supportive disciplers and Godly men and women around me that have been a strength for me this past year
13. I’m excited that I’m going to be helping out with D-groups again come fall. It’s been a while since I’ve worked with HTBC youth, and I’m very much looking forward to it
14. I’m so glad that God is still my best friend, and that He always will be. He most seriously (and most literally) makes my life.
15. And last of all, I’m thankful for my blog. Thanks to everyone who reads it, and to the person who invented blogs.
Today I present you with my very first “One Page Story” Blog!
When Hannah lived at home, she helped make up all kinds of fun games for us to play. The reading/writing ones were usually only participated in by Bekah and I. Anyway, Hannah downloaded this “Randomizer” on her computer, where she could enter in all kinds of information, and with the click of a button, pick something at random for us. She filled it with characters, settings and short plot synopses, which she collected from books, movies, or made them up herself (I’m assuming). We would then do “One Page Stories”, where she gave us one thing from each of the categories, and we would have to write a one page story that incorporated the setting, the character and the plot in an important way.
Hannah suggested this as a blog idea, and even supplied me with my synopsis, so here I am writing stories for you. I made sure that the font was big enough on my Microsoft Word that my one page there would be fairly equivalent to a physical piece of paper.
Here’s my first One Page Story.
(The Plot Guidelines)
Underground, a middle-aged London governess battles for supremacy of the sea
Supremacy of the Sea
Sabrina York waved her umbrella wildly at her students. “Come on, poppets, we’ve got a battle to win!” she cried in her most authoritative voice. The 3 children standing around her were Jeremy, Gwendolyn and Marcus Kissinger. They each had a weapon in their hand, ready to fight to the death for their cause. Twelve year old Jeremy tightened his grip on the pitchfork he had nabbed from the barn, nine year old Gwen held firmly to her butter knives from the kitchen, and little Marcus, who was six, had a rope in one hand and a hammer in the other. They stood in a dirty but large sewer underneath their home in Wallaby, Wisconsin.
“We have stayed in our house silently for too long,” continued the British lady of 45. “While teaching you the alphabet and your numbers, I have forgotten to teach you the most valuable of lessons… how to fight for freedom!”
A cheer went up from the children.
“Now, I know where the throne of the Mer King is,” said Sabrina. “And we can get to it from this tunnel. Follow me.”
She opened a door in the sewer wall and they followed it, her lantern lighting the way. Stealthily they crept along, until they heard the melodic sound of Mer Singing.
“Now, mates, it’s time to brandish your weapons,” Sabrina whispered. “When I say go, we charge! Remember our war cry?” The children nodded. “Ok, 1, 2, 3! Chaaarge!”
With a chant of, “We can spell and count to 3, but we want supremacy of the sea! We’ve learned our science and history, but we want supremacy of the sea!” they ran into the fray, and the battle was begun.
Feel free to write your own story and post it in the comments! How would you have the battle go? Would you pick a different underground? What are the secrets of this middle-aged governess? Can you write a sequel or prequel to this one?
So I know I’ve been a bit lax with my blogging (or lack thereof). But a few days ago I was inspired with another series idea. And now that it’s the weekend and I actually have time, I’ma post my first one.
I’m gonna spotlight, over time, each of my family members and write a blog about them individually. I love my family, as they are my best friends and have been for years. They’re the only people in the world so far who truly know me and get me, through and through, and so each of them deserves a blog post.
Today I’m going to start with Hannah.
Hannah the Oldest, Blogging and Brilliant
Hannah is gonna be 28 in October, and she’s my oldest sibling. She has been a part of my life ever since I was born (duh), and in the course of that life she has been:
1. The creator of all kinds of nonsensical games for us siblings to play
2. My polite “slave driver” (even though I am not one) who also tells me lies
without thinking I would believe them so earnestly
3. My intimidating yet brilliant older sibling who is fascinating to get
into conversations with or watch debate
4. A close friend (who I wish was closer physically) who I can trust
with my life, my secrets, my emotions and myself
My older sister is a fantastic human being. She is creative, intelligent, hilarious, and someone I’ve looked up to for a very long time.
Though our early teen years might have included the usual “older sister wields her power over her younger sister” drama and the year of fighting when I was 13 (she fought with each of us when we were 13), I have always been in awe of her determined opinions and her creativity. For years, she helped entertain us by coming up with all kinds of crazy games for us to do. She helped direct and write numerous plays for us to perform. She initiated the several year long fun of “Doing Movies” where we turn down the volume and speak nonsense for the characters. (Golly, that stuff was ridiculous.) She is always up for a half an hour of reading “Top Bottom” in a book, and will gladly supply me and Bekah with a character, plot and setting to write an entertaining one page story. She introduced us to NaNoWriMo, and encourages us in our creative endeavors. From the nonsense of our “Baby Wayney” titles and her fantastic speed stories (“I’m an archaeologist! I don’t know anything!”), she has been the forerunner of many of our family’s quirky ways of entertaining ourselves.
Hannah’s creativity has continued into her adult life. She is a great writer, and writes a blog which is far more interesting and consistent than mine. In it, she writes often about depression, introversion and movies, all with honesty and openness. (UnpublishedforaReason.) She has been doing a movie challenge this year where she watches 5 movies a week that somebody ELSE recommended to her. Because she is just that cool.
My oldest sister loves theater, writing, music, books, TV shows, movies, meaningful dialogue, fresh perspectives, introversion blogs, playing games, respectful debates, unrequited love songs, self- sacrifice stories, and travel. She has always been to me a model of someone who sticks to her beliefs, no matter what anybody else thinks or how much they disapprove. I know she has her own story, and that she may not always feel as if she’s as fearlessly her own person as I’ve always viewed her. But I see her as a brave defender of who she is, and a defender of those who feel like they’re being pushed away from who they are. She roots for the underdog. 🙂
Hannah is very passionate about the things she believes, but she has a humility and a willingness to hear other perspectives and adjust her thinking as she mulls and talks things over. She knows how to speak with graciousness, and even when she believes strongly, she never forces her opinions on others. I’ve seen her get into Facebook debates where she phrases her response civilly and kindly, even if inside she’s probably ranting and raving. She also doesn’t look for arguments, but values meaningful conversations and will back out if she feels it’s unprofitable. She has always been one of my top examples of somebody who is both reasonable and intelligent.
Hannah went off to New Life, and then to college, and then she decided to go and get married and move away. She married a fantastic man who is just right for her, and I am so happy for them. But as our relationship has grown from squabbling teenage silliness to a genuine adult friendship, I am missing her more and more, and so grateful for every chance I get to talk with her.
I’ve gone through some crazy experiences in the past several years. I followed in her footsteps and joined New Life for two years, I recently went through a serious relationship that ended, and am now in the workfield and am embarking on a journey towards independance. Through all my emotional ups and downs, through each experience, whether good or bad, she has been there for me over and over if ever I needed it. AND she knows how to give me space when I need that, too!
I know I can talk to her anytime I need to, whether it’s to share a funny story or open up about some deep personal issues. I am finding her to be a very good listener. When I talk to her, I don’t feel judged or blamed. Hanna is kind and understanding (even though I just spelled her name wrong), and yet she is always honest and straightforward. Many a time has she leveled with me about her thoughts, but always coming from a heart of love and treating me with a tenderness with which she views me.
I wish I could write a blog as well as she does or more so, so that I could better explain how awesome she is and why I love and value her so much. But alas, my skills fall short. My sister is fantastic, and I love her to and miss her to death. Thank you, Hannah, for being an amazing sister and a wonderful friend.
HOW WE ARE ALIKE:
1. We’re both introverted at heart, gaining our energy from our alone time
2. We’ve both always loved reading, writing, and putting lots of names into our stories
3. We are both big believers in a balanced view and understanding where people are coming from
4. We are the only two to have lived away from our family
HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT
1. Her introversion is a lot more definitive for her than it is for me; read her blog and see how much! 🙂
2. I enjoy some typical domestic things (like cooking and cleaning) while Hannah would be perfectly content living in a body that never had to eat in a house that was always comfortably cluttered
3. It is extremely hard for me to say no to anybody, while Hannah has a much better grasp on being firm and making decisions
4. I want a bajillion kids, and Hannah doesn’t want any