Nov 14, 2017

Lessons from Tech Week

Dear Readers,

I promised today to update you on life, but I can't seem to.  I'm still struggling to get over post show depression (PSD).  It's a real thing.  It hurts when you leave your cast friends after being together for so long.  Even knowing that you'll see them again doesn't help.  So many "lasts."  I miss my Anne of Green Gables family.

But I don't want to sit here in tears.  This week was crazy.  It was emotionally draining, painful, and stressful.  But it was also exciting, joyful, and beautiful.  Even in the rough times, God was there.  So here's what I learned this week, despite the hard moments.

And, for those of you who weren't able to travel up here for the performance, I'm including some cast photos.  I hope they give you a little glimpse into the amazing people I was able to be with during this fall production.

Me, Anne, and Marilla

God's Ready to Encourage Us

Before the performances started, I was becoming nervous.  I'm not a natural actress.  I don't like audiences, I don't like performing, and I'm afraid to mess up.  But at one point I randomly read a passage in the Message Bible that was such a source of encouragement.  And it came from a very unappreciated passage.  If you're struggling, I encourage you to read the entire chapter.  What a precious reminder.

I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all - oh, how well I remember -
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
His merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
- Lamentations 3:19-26 MSG 

Schoolboys (including Moody, Gilbert, and Charley)

God can do Miracles

Our Monday practice ended up with us setting the stage and props.  Basically, I spent the whole time putting up wallpaper with some other friends.  The next day, all the wallpaper had fallen off.  And then our practice was terrible.  We missed entrances, forgot props, and basically ruined everything.  My family got home around 11:00 PM, and I was ready to give up on the play altogether.

In the morning, I didn't even want to wake up.  I was drained.  Discouraged.  But I asked an online group of Christian girls to pray for us, and, right before the practice, I grabbed a friend and a little sister to pray together with me.  God worked!  The practice wasn't perfect by any degree, but things weren't stressful like they had been.  We enjoyed it.  And, when the shows came along, prayer continued to make a huge difference.  The entire cast would hold hands and pray together.  It was beautiful.

Me as Mattie Cuthbert

God Works in our Weaknesses

I'm a naturally quiet-voiced person.  All the vocal projecting began to wear on my voice, and every day it got a bit worse.  When our second performance came along (Saturday), I was at my limit.  I stepped on stage for one scene, and my voice almost completely left.

When I finished squeaking out my lines, I went backstage in a panic.  My emotions were everywhere.  The show would be ruined because I couldn't even find a voice!!  I was nearly in tears, asking God why this had to happen.  Why me?  Why now?

But when I felt torn apart, He held me together.  Our sweet backstage helper offered cough drops, and I made it through the show.  Even though my stress levels were flying, we did it.  No, God did it.  It was a great performance.  Because when we are weak, He is strong.

Diana, Anne, and Gilbert

People are Deeper

When we see people, they only show us the side they want us to see.  But in Anne of Green Gables tech week, I was able to see some of their true sides.  We were like family.  I saw them when they were stressed and ready to give up.  I saw girls who smiled and offered constant encouragement.  We laughed together.  We nearly cried together.  We threw baby-powder in each other's hair to make us look like old ladies.  We teased each other in the mess-ups but only loved more.  Because we all messed up.  We were all stressed.  But it was like family.  It showed me that people are more than strangers or friends.  They have problems and mars, and they mess up.  But they're beautiful too.

So yes, I miss what we had.  I miss my Anne of Green Gables family.  But God showed me so much through the long, tiring week.  I could go on and on about each show, the special moments, the many things that touched me.  But instead, I'll pause here.

Embrace every moment because they slip by so quickly.  And if you're struggling, remember that He's always strong.

Even when it hurts
Even when it's hard
Even when it all just falls apart
...You steady my heart.
- Steady My Heart by Kari Jobe


Nov 7, 2017

Quick Thoughts

Dear Readers,

As I'm writing this on Monday, it's the first day of Tech Week for the play I'm in.  For you non-theater people, Tech Week consists of practices every day until performing the final showcases.  So yes, lots of work, make-up, costumes, mess-ups, laughter, relationships, and memories in the making.  I'm so excited (and a little nervous).  =)

But, because of that, I'm going to keep this post short, and I won't respond to comments until next week.  I'll see you back next Tuesday for some updates in life and maybe photos.

I'll miss you all.  Remember that you are loved and treasured.  God rejoices over you with gladness and quiets you by His love (Zephaniah 3:17).  Life's hard, but He's bigger.

If you haven't noticed, I took some time last week to redesign my blog, as it's been more than a year since I last did that.  (thanks to my friend Alea who helped me immensely!)  If you haven't seen the new look, here it is.  =)

I'll leave you with some challenging words from Oswald Chambers that seem to add onto Project Love.  Keep running the good race, my friends.

In Christ Alone,

Obedience or Independence?

If you love Me, keep My commandments.    John 14:15

Our Lord never insists on obedience. He stresses very definitely what we ought to do, but He never forces us to do it. We have to obey Him out of a oneness of spirit with Him. That is why whenever our Lord talked about discipleship, He prefaced it with an "If," meaning, "You do not need to do this unless you desire to do so."  "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…" (Luke 9:23). In other words, "To be My disciple, let him give up his right to himself to Me." Our Lord is not talking about our eternal position, but about our being of value to Him in this life here and now. That is why He sounds so stern (see Luke 14:26). Never try to make sense from these words by separating them from the One who spoke them.

The Lord does not give me rules, but He makes His standard very clear. If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself. Jesus Christ will not force me to obey Him, but I must. And as soon as I obey Him, I fulfill my spiritual destiny. My personal life may be crowded with small, petty happenings, altogether insignificant. But if I obey Jesus Christ in the seemingly random circumstances of life, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God. Then, when I stand face to face with God, I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed. When God’s redemption brings a human soul to the point of obedience, it always produces. If I obey Jesus Christ, the redemption of God will flow through me to the lives of others, because behind the deed of obedience is the reality of Almighty God.

 from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Oct 31, 2017

"The Giver" movie review

The Giver centers on Jonas, a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Yet as he begins to spend time with The Giver, who is the sole keeper of all the community's memories, Jonas quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of his community's secret past. With this newfound power of knowledge, he realizes that the stakes are higher than imagined - a matter of life and death for himself and those he loves most. At extreme odds, Jonas knows that he must escape their world to protect them all - a challenge that no one has ever succeeded at before. The Giver is based on Lois Lowry's beloved young adult novel of the same name, which was the winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal.


97 Minutes
By the Weinstein Company
Directed by Phillip Noyce
Rated: PG-13
Released 2014

Negative Elements:

Well, first of all, I didn't realize that this was a PG-13 makes me feel a little less inclined to share it.  I personally didn't have a problem with anything, but there were some elements you might find uncomfortable.

Some of my family members don't like The Giver at all.  They say the plot and story-line is weird.  This movie is either a completely like or dislike story, I suppose.  =)  We're still debating who's right.

But there are no bad words, and the main "iffy" content is violence.  (spoilers in white)  One character sees scenes of war, gunshots all around him, and death.  Someone beside him falls dead with his eyes open, and the character looks down, not realizing what death really is.  Yes, it's kinda gruesome.  (just one quick scene though.)  The movie also shows people shooting at a elephant.  The last violent thing to mention is a quiet scene.  The community has a practice of euthanizing too-small babies and older adults.  One scene shows this discreetly as a man puts a needle into a baby's head (not knowing that the "sleep" is actually death).  Another girl almost gets the same fate.
End of spoiler.

So yes, there is violence and death.  And while I don't appreciate that part of the movie, it did help me fully realize the truth of The Giver:  Despite the pain, the sorrow, and the hardness of the world we live in, life is beautiful.

My Review:

Our family has some controversy about The Giver. =)  Most of us will readily agree that it's one of our favorite movies. The others say that it's just weird. So...feel free to choose where you stand. But because I'm writing this review, I give it at least 4.5 stars.

The Giver isn't a Christian movie. It doesn't mention God at all. But the theme of this movie never fails to make me at loss for the beauty God has made. Let me see if I can explain without too many spoilers.

The elders of the land have decided to make a perfect world without pain, famine, war, and jealousy. But as they took those qualities out of life, they also took emotion, beauty, color, music, and love. The world is left with a black and white land of ordinary people doing ordinary things in a world of sameness. The world is better because of these improvements...right? But as one young man begins to receive memories of the past, he sees things in a new way. For the first time, he sees the beauty in life.

After watching The Giver, I'm always amazed. I can't look at the world the same. We have color! We have music! We have emotion and love and joy and friendship! Of course pain hurts and life is difficult. But look at the gifts God has given us. Seriously. We are so very blessed. The day after watching the movie, I always see things differently. I can't help but praise God for everything. Creation displays His glory. I'm so thankful.

Although this is a very unique story-line, and some might consider it "weird", it's one of my favorite movies. It's sad and shows the real pain of life, but it reminds me of the splendor of creation.  God is always good.  We are so very loved.

Other Notes:

If you're considering watching The Giver, I would recommend glancing over this review.  Plugged In is a great site to get honest reviews for movies.  They may have mentioned some things I didn't because they didn't stand out to me.  (or they weren't prominent in the movie)  Because this is a PG-13 movie, be aware of the violence and negative elements.

But I do look forward to seeing it again.  The Giver helped me see the beauty of life.  It's not a Christian movie, but it helps me see His love more clearly.  I hope it does the same for you.