Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fall Filming

Okay, so filming was a while ago, but I just wrote this for the FA newsletter and thought I'd post it on here too.

We were on the bus again, and I couldn't believe it. Didn't we just finish our last project? How could we be filming already? Excitement started to build up in my chest as I looked at the friends around me. This wasn't just your ordinary filming project (not that a filming project is very ordinary), this was a senior filming project.

It was also a rather cold filming project. The last time I'd been filming was on the sunny beaches of Hawaii. Now we were filming in the fall colors of British Columbia, and when it looks like fall in BC, it feels like winter. I couldn't look at anyone without laughing: snow boots peeked out from under skirts and everyone wore coats and gloves. Even though most of us were wearing enough layers under our uniforms to make us look a whole 10 pounds heavier, earmuffs, wool socks, hats, and coats managed to make miraculous appearances from under stools and behind trees whenever we were done with a take.

We did jumping jacks, hauled equipment, rode horses, and played tag on top of hay bales. Violinist played cellos, and cellists played trumpets, all while a flautist played the glockenspiel. We sang, laughed, ate good food, and made many memories. One of my favorite memories is Craig's counting.

Did you know that Craig's favorite number is zero? At least that's what it appeared to be. Although he used a wide assortment of numerals in various orders to count down to the beginning of each take, I'm pretty sure the number he used the most was zero. His typical count down went something like this: "10, 2, 4, 8, 0...0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0!!! " He was certainly very enthusiastic about his counting, and it may have added more smiles to the film, but I think I'm glad that he teaches music and English and not math.

Each day unfolded its own set of miracles, from physical protection and perfect timing to sound and lighting staged by the Master Artist. Everything that happened not only contributed to the creation of a product that will touch the hearts of the world, but every experience strengthened my faith, and the faith of my entire class.

Looking back, we couldn't have filmed at a better time. It's like God picked a week and said, "This week will have perfect sunshine and perfect clouds. The leaves will be at their peak, and the wind will be just right". Things that to me appeared impossible were proven divinely possible. The Lord blessed us so much, and yet I know that we won't completely understand the full extent of His blessings until we see the results in eternity.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm a Tree

I'm a rather nerdy sort of person, and one of my hobbies (my definition of a hobby is something that you love to do but that is of little importance and therefore never gets done) is identifying trees. I like to be able to look at a tree’s bark or leaves and say, “That one is betula papyrifera (Paper birch),” or, “This one is prunus avium (Cherry tree).” However, when the tree has fruit on it, identifying it is a cinch. Anyone could tell you that a tree with pears on it is a pear tree. I mean, how could you help but know that a tree with apples on it is an apple tree, or a tree with bananas on it is a banana tree?

That’s how I want my life to be. When people look at me I want them to think, “Duh! What would she be besides a follower of Christ? How could someone who lives like that not be a child of God?” Just like a tree can be easily identified when it is bearing fruit, I will be easily identified as a Christian when I bear the fruits of the Spirit (they’re listed in Galatians 5, just in case you were wondering).

There’s a bit of a problem with that though. Even I can’t see the fruit of the Spirit in my life. How in the world are people supposed to recognize me as a Christian if I can’t even see Christ’s character in me? Sometimes I start to worry about this, and it gets me feeling down, but just the other day the Lord showed me something.

In Psalm 1:3, King David is describing a righteous man; a man that follows God. He says, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” There are several lessons in this verse. One is that a righteous person will bring forth fruit in his season. That makes sense, right? You wouldn’t want an apple tree to be trying to produce fruit in the dead of winter, it would kill itself. In the same way, Christ will produce in us the fruit of the Spirit in His time, when the time is right. Just having the promise that I will eventually produce the fruit of the Spirit is an encouragement to me, but did you catch the other part of it? Hidden in that last sentence is the thought that blew me away. Christ is the one producing the fruit. It is being planted by the rivers of water that causes the tree to prosper and bring forth fruit. The tree doesn’t have to worry, or even put in a lot of effort, to produce fruit. Bearing fruit is the natural result of being planted by the water.

So, what’s the water?

Isaiah 44:3 calls the Holy Spirit water, and throughout the Bible the Holy Spirit is described as being poured out on God’s people. Also, Christ offers us the water of life throughout the gospels, and when He returns to heaven, the gift He leaves behind is the Comforter, His Holy Spirit (read Acts 1 for an example). For me to be planted by the rivers of water, I need to be connected to the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is what feeds my soul, when it is the life blood of my spiritual walk, just like the tree nourished by the river, I will bear the fruit of the Spirit. It is that simple.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Silver Linings

I was just hopping out of the shower when my roommate told me to come outside. Now, I have to tell you that traipsing about in the cold right after stepping out of my steamy shower wasn't on my list of things to do this morning. Still, I slipped on my pink fuzzy bathrobe and followed my crazy roomie outside. Don't ask me why I went in bare feet. I guess I thought our wet, icy sidewalk was heated or something.
It took a second for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, but when they did, what I saw took my breath away (I promise that it was the beauty of what I was seeing that took my breath away, not the cold sidewalk. Promise).
The sky was still dark, and the stars were still out. Everything was really still, and even the scattered clouds appeared to be frozen in place. You could barely see the moon, but it's light shone through the clouds and reflected off of them. The light and wispy clouds were completely lit up, but even the thick clouds had iridescent edges. Peeking out here and there were flickering, icy-bright stars.
As I stood there under the street light, my roommate beckoned to me. "It's prettier in the dark." I stepped out of the circle of light and into the darkness and light took on new meaning. What before had been shimmery now blazed, and what had been dark was now inky black.
Before I had been in true darkness I could not see the true beauty of the light. I was blinded and distracted by other lights until they were completely put out and stripped away. I normally wouldn't choose darkness, but I will gladly lay aside any light that keeps me from fully perceiving His light.

Favourite Quotes for Today

"I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse."
- Philip Yancey

"Adversity is another way to measure the greatness of individuals. I never had a crisis that didn't make me stronger."
- Lou Holtz

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This is a paper I wrote for Bible class. It's vaguely about baptism.

When I think back as far as I can, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love Jesus. From infancy I was introduced to Him through pictures, songs, and stories. If my friends didn’t know Him, I would try to tell them about Him, and I loved to sing His praises, but I was still a human little girl.

One experience that really stands out in my childhood happened when I was just four years old. At the time, I was attending a private preschool and like most preschools, we had nap time. Every day, when the teacher would tell us to go get our mats and take a nap, I would place my mat next to my favorite shelf which held several boxes of sparkly things, pieces of ribbon, little figurines, and my very favorite: strings of plastic pearls.

Of course, I didn’t get much napping done when my mat was next to this shelf. Whenever my teacher would look away I would quietly slip my hand into the box of pearls and steal a small strand. Then I would lie still for the rest of nap time, slowly and carefully twisting the strand of pearls in my fingers until each pearl had been separated and the individual pearls could be slipped into pockets, seams, and socks.

My teacher never caught me. It wasn’t until my mom found my stash of pearls at home that my project was discovered. Then everything changed. When my mom explained to me the evils of stealing and how sad it made Jesus to see me taking things from my teacher, my little heart was broken. I loved Jesus so much and I couldn’t bear hurting Him. For several weeks I would pray and cry, begging Jesus to forgive me. I apologized to my teacher multiple times, but I couldn’t seem to rid myself of my burden of guilt.

Not long after this, when I was five, my family started attending an evangelistic series. I listen to every meeting, and I learned a lot. One night the pastor talked about baptism. He spoke about how we were to follow the example Christ set at the Jordan River, he spoke about our death to sinfulness and our new life of righteousness in Christ, and he spoke of the cleansing of sin. This was what I needed; I wanted to be baptized. When there was a call for baptism, I went forward, and a few weeks later, I was baptized. In baptism I found freedom from a life of sin and a deeper relationship with Christ. Not only was I cleansed of my guilt and sin, but I was covered in Christ’s righteousness. Just as it says in Galatians 3:27: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

I wasn’t a perfect girl before baptism, and I’m not a perfect girl now. In being baptized, however, I have shown that I have chosen to put on Christ’s righteousness like a garment (Is. 61:10), and now, through Him, I have the power to be perfect, just as my Father in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48).

Monday, November 7, 2011

For You are With Me

My last post was a short essay about one of my very best friends. It was an assignment, but it was a joy to write, at least at the beginning. When I was halfway through writing it she was in a tragic car accident.

It was my morning off and I was sitting on my bed trying to do my homework when I heard the whispers outside my window. "Did you hear?...It happened a couple minutes ago...Amaris..." I sat still. I felt cold and my body tensed. O God, be with Amaris. What had happened? I didn't want to be nosy, but it didn't sound good, and it sounded like it was about my friend. My roommate opened the door and came in. She didn't look good.

"What happened?"

When she told me, it was as if someone had set my body on fire. She tried to convince me not to go, but I couldn't stay. The last time one of my friends was injured I hadn't been able to be there for him, and I wasn't about to let that happen again. I was on my feet and out the door before I knew what I was doing. I started to run, but I didn't really know where. My roommate's words replayed through my head. "Ten passenger van rolled at Corrigan's..." Surely it must've happened at the back entrance since that one is so treacherous. I headed up the hill. "They're sending an ambulance..." Would I get there in time? I forced myself to run faster. O God! Ease her pain! Let her be O.K!

Finally, I crested the hill and came in site of,...of nothing. Where was she? Was I too late? I had to be there for her, but how could I find her? Try the other entrance, Katie. I recalculated my direction. The frosty air tore at my throat, but I was desperate now. I picked up the pace and pounded down the highway toward the main entrance. A rescue truck passed me with flashing lights and a blaring siren.

There! It was all laid out in front of me: the totaled van on its side; the police cars and trucks with their lights flashing; a couple small groups of people huddled together; the heavily weeded field that spread between me and the silent, organized energy of an accident scene. I stepped off the highway and skittered and slid down an embankment. As I crossed the field a friend ran to meet me. I hadn't even realized how shaken I was until he hugged me and told me everything was going to be alright. I was choking on my tears and shaking from a mixture of fear, shock, and exhaustion.

It all went by so quickly and so slowly at the same time. I tried so hard to get close, to comfort her, to let her know I was there for her, but the police were an impenetrable wall. I saw her face, but it wasn't her. There was too much blood, too much swelling. How could that really be my Amaris? Her clothes were covered in blood. The paramedics were clumsy and inadequately trained. Why can't I help her, why can't I go with her? I know her so much better than they do; I love her so much more...

I stood and watched as the ambulance pulled away. I couldn't believe it. Father, why? I ran down the hill, grabbed my Bible from my room, and ran down to the pond. It was cold, but even as the wind froze my tears the sun warmed the top of my head. I looked up at the parted clouds and felt the warmth on my face. Blue sky, snowy mountains, wooded hills. Yellow leaves floated on the water that gently rippled because of the gentle fountain and the soft breeze. I was surrounded by beauty, but the weight of my heart pulled me to the ground. I bowed my head, closed my eyes, and wept.

Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord’” (Job 1:20-21). Peace flooded me as I began to read. In the story of Job I found the voice of God to my soul. Job’s cries of anguish were mine, his questions and his doubts were mine. And God’s promises to him were God’s promises to me.

Reading my Bible didn’t make everything better. My friend is still in the hospital, and my heart still aches. Reading my Bible simply assured me that God does care, that He is in control, and that all things do work together for good (Rom. 8:28). It gave me courage. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me” (Ps. 23:4a)

Amazing Amaris

All you need to identify this cheerful flautist is her handwriting. Whether she’s using her flowy cursive or her font worthy print, her writing is always neat. That’s one reason why she’s such a great secretary. Another reason is her strong work ethic. She does everything quickly, efficiently, and with alacrity. Leaping off the auditorium stage, she hits the ground running, a stack of papers in her hands. She tapes one to the door, puts one in the cafe; gives one to Craig, another to Mr. Lemon, smiling all the while. Then she runs up the stairs to English class, because, as usual, she was working during class.

She makes it a habit to run up the stairs, and two at a time at that. She’s very athletic. One activity she loves is running outdoors, especially when she’s with her running buddies. Really anything outdoors is fun to her, and you’ll often find her on the lawn outside the cafeteria at lunch time. At 2:15 on a Sabbath afternoon you’ll likely find her at the boy’s dorm, however, she won’t be there long. Pretty soon she’ll be at the front of a hike up some of the most strenuous and steep trails with only her water bottle and a hair tie (She’s the minimalist type, no hulking packs or suitcases for her. Well, at least most of the time).

What amazes me about this girl is that her strength isn’t only muscle deep. Her strength of character compels me to look up to her. As a result of her obvious, vibrant relationship with her heavenly Father, she frequently does anonymous acts of kindness (I know that she does them because whenever she gives a card her easily identifiable handwriting incriminates her). Also, self-sacrifice is natural to her, and even when she has been slighted she thinks of others. Although I have never seen her cry because of physical pain, she has a very soft and sensitive heart that is easily touched by emotional pain, and I have often seen her cry in sympathy for another’s suffering. Her broad, happy smile; contagious laugh; and quick humor have brightened many lives. Often times when her own day was not going the way she had planned. An example of her irrepressibly upbeat spirit happened just the other day. Not long after a couple of quizzes on human anatomy she was in a car accident. Afterwards, as she was being checked over, our science teacher asked her where her head hurt. After a seconds pause she replied with an attempted smile "on my lower occipital bone." This elicited a chuckle from our science teacher and the others who were listening although she herself was prevented from showcasing her usually broad smile because of her swelling and injuries. In spite of her awful circumstances she still tried to buoy the spirits of others with a small dose of humor.

Overall, I think this beautiful woman can be rightly compared to the woman described in Proverbs 31. She loves deeply, cares genuinely, works diligently, lives responsibly, and fights valiantly for what is right; she is the strongest girl I know. Truly, “Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come” (Prov.31:25).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Summer Morning

Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I roll over and look at the clock. Six thirty AM. Thank you for waking me up early again, Father. I really appreciate it, I’m just tired right now and don’t feel like getting up. I lie in bed and look out my window instead. Everything seems extra still and quiet this morning. Where are the birds? They’re usually up and chirping by now. The sun is just starting to slant in through the trees and turn everything golden, especially the grass. Ha, there goes my lazy cat, trying to catch his break-fast…wait, I don’t think Rusty’s nose is that long. I prop myself up on one elbow to get a better look. A fox! It must be a fox! It’s so red and its nose is so long and…no, I think… I crane my neck, trying to see the red and gold animal stalking through the golden grass. It’s a coyote. Its movements are fluid and appear soundless. Long nose sniffing in front, tail in the back for balance, it walks stretched out, long and low, almost invisible in the tall swaying grass. But it’s so close to the house! I’m surprised it would be out in the open anywhere when it is so light out, but so close to the house? Wonderingly, I shake my head. The coyote appears to lose its catch. Standing tall it looks around. A few steps this way, sniff…look, a few steps that way, sniff…look. Slowly the coyote meanders down our driveway and off into the woods. My cat watches in silence from the garden steps.