Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Productivity or Mediocrity?

The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind of camp planning. This past week was staff training up at camp and then we spent the weekend at camp-meeting. Now I'm home again helping with the house and continuing to work on the camp program. Here's a few things that have been on my to-do list:

1 Mount Nebo
1 Abraham's Well
1 Passion play (7 pages)
1 Pharaoh costume
1 Egyptian Princess costume
1 Egyptian Prince costume
1 Passover doorpost (thanks Teddy!)
1 Moses' Staff (thanks Teddy!)
2 Angel costumes
2 Passion play rehearsals
2 Daily skit rehearsals
3 Pyramids (4 ft, 6 ft, and 8 ft - thanks P. Dan and Amanda!)
4 Pharisee headdresses
4 Egyptian servant costumes
4 Amelekite costumes
13 Moses skits (22 pages)
+ countless other props, casting lists, and schedules.

In the works:
1 small chariot (thanks Teddy!)
1 red sea (thanks Jen and Caitlin!)
1 Staff Intro
1 Egyptian Banner
7 one foot high tables for Egyptian teen night (thanks Teddy!)
10 ten-commandment activities
+ a host of other details

(And that's just programming! That's not counting CPR re-certification, the hours in staff meetings, waterfront drills, and so many other staff-training work assignments.)

Seems like I've been pretty productive lately, right?

Yet, have I really? Or have I been hovering in the life-draining bog of mediocrity? Have I really been pursuing excellence for my King?

What you don't see in that list is the time I've wasted; the times that I have just wanted to do nothing. The times that I knew I should be working on something but didn't. Like right now, for instance.

No matter how successful or productive I may appear, God and myself are the only ones who accurately know the true measure of my achievement. It matters not what others think; if I know that I could have done better, what satisfaction do I really have in what I have completed?

How much more could I have accomplished if I had pursued excellence in everything, at all times!

I want Camp Cherokee's program this summer to be the BEST! But not so that I may gain glory. I want it to be great because God deserves my best, my all, my everything. He deserves excellence! When I give Him that, my other goals will fall into place:
1. Campers will gain a better perspective of God and His incredible, personal interest in their lives.
2. Others will be able to see God's strength in my weakness.

Are you pursuing excellence? Or are you doing less than you could, even though everyone else thinks you are doing amazing?

Your King knows.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Extravagantly Simple

Rain is tapping on the roof. Loons are calling far off across the lake. The evening’s sky is gently darkening from one shade of blue-grey to the next. I am about ten feet away from the lake, where the sky is reflected on the placid waters. No, I’m not sitting on the cold clammy dock. I am sitting on my bed.

Yep, that’s right, my bed is 10 feet from the water. I am staying in the premier nesting spot at camp (at least in my opinion. Fortunately for me, not everyone agrees with me.) It’s a lean-to that opens right out to the water. I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am every time I come to my “room.” I’ve been sitting here grinning at the gloriousness of it for going on 10 minutes now!

Tonight I am going to bed with the sun and tomorrow I will rise with the sun. Life is extravagantly simple here in this lean-to next to this incredible lake. Simple because I am unencumbered by the clutter of life. I have what I need: my sleeping bag, my water bottle, my Bible, my guitar, my webbing, my backpack, and a few other odds’n’ends. Only what I need is here. Simple. Yet incredibly extravagant because I feel so wondrously blessed to be here in this place, surrounded by such majesty. Extravagant because my God is here with me. He is so big and so deep and so wide, that He fills every piece of nature in my sight with messages of His boundless love.

Now, I will sing a hymn, climb into my cozy warm sleeping bag, and go to sleep, acknowledging my God’s infinite goodness. Good night :)

**Note: Now, two nights after I wrote the above blog, I have discovered two down-falls to my still-incredibly-awesome resting place. 1. The mosquitoes seem to be attracted to my hair conditioner. My solution: wear a hoodie to bed. 2. I just killed a rather LARGE spider that crawled out from UNDER MY PILLOW! Yeah, um, not so cool. So then I decided to shake out all my blankets. I was not at all consoled to find another spider (thankfully it was only a daddy-long-leg) hiding beneath my sleeping bag. Solution: ???. I guess I’ll just have to deal with the spiders. *sigh* But that’s OK. I am still incredibly psyched with my little house!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I've really enjoyed this project. It is a collection of my thoughts expressed in an artistic format. I've been adding onto it for about two weeks now but I figured I'd better post it before it becomes obsolete! I'm heading to camp tomorrow and a shift in thought patterns will often accompany a change in scenery.


(Click the image to get a larger view in another window.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just As Moses Lifted Up the Serpent in the Wilderness...

This week I've faced a hard task. On Sunday, I finished writing all the Moses skits for camp. That just left the Friday evening program: the Passion Play.

Today I faced an even harder task. It was time to write about the crucifixion.

To be honest, I haven't spent much time in the New Testament in the last couple months. But today I spent the whole day thinking about the most pivotal moment in our world's, no - our universe's, history: the death of Christ.

My life was changed.

Submission. Humility. Surrender. It is written all over the scenes of Calvary

Now I understand why EGW says that we should spend time each day reflecting on the Cross. From now on, I'm going to begin my devotional time with Calvary.

I went out to the back field this evening. I found my favorite rusty metal chair that sits abandoned in a thick patch of grass. The sun warmed my skin and rustled the tall grass. And all I could do was worship the incredible God who counted it a joy bear my shame. My selfish prayers fell away in light of what He did for me. I could not think of myself when all day long I had been thinking of Him.

Solemn Joy. It filled my being. It begged to be expressed in some tangible form. I began to run and twirl, just for some visible way to show God the wonder that was spilling forth from my soul.

Darkness falls now and the creek is loud in my ears. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this. I want so badly to convey to you how wonderful, how wide, how deep, how fathomless Christ's love is for you. But my words fall short. Words will never do justice to Love itself. So please, from the bottom of my heart, stop whatever you're doing and go read the story of Christ's death. For He is infinitely Holy. So go, and

Behold the Lamb

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Sabbath rain
to my skin
Sabbath must
to my nose
Sabbath savor
to my tongue
Sabbath dove
to my ears
Sabbath green
to my eyes
Sabbath solitude
to my soul

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose trust is the Lord.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7, 8

Sunday, June 07, 2009

As Promised: My Blog Recital

Welcome to my Blog Recital! Thank you so much for coming! Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable. It is kindly requested that you turn off all cellular devices and refrain from the use of flash photography. The program will begin momentarily.

Program Notes:
  • I didn't dress up for this recital. I had just come in from working outside and I figured that since it was my blog recital, I could dress however I wanted. Hence, the casual attire. :D
  • Our piano is slightly out of tune. Sorry!
  • I didn't have a pianist for the cello piece. So I'm playing it without the accompaniment. Sorry, I know that's not very recital-like but I hope you enjoy it anyway :)
  • If things go flat (lol), you can always press mute or turn the video off completely. I will never know!
  • My piano goal was just to become a better sight reader. Therefore, I did not decide what song I was going to play until just before I videoed myself playing it.
  • It is with great trepidation that I am posting this blog knowing that many of my readers are quite accomplished musicians. I do not even claim to be half as good as you guys. Treat me like you would treat a 5 year-old Suzuki player playing Twinkle at their very first recital.
  • Reception to follow located in your kitchen. I hope you enjoy the yummy smoothie that awaits you. (After you make it, of course!)


Thursday, June 04, 2009

2009 Spring Semester Playlist

For the most part, I grew up as a classical music kind of a girl. First violin, then cello, piano, voice, handbells, flute, an eensy-weensy bit of harp, and most recently, guitar. In the past several years, however, I've enjoyed a widening taste in music. I still love classical and more than half of my music library is composed of this genre of music. But there is another spectrum of music that has grown to appeal to me greatly. I have found that acoustic contemporary Christian music can have a lot of depth to it . Let me define my terms:
  • Acoustic - Mainly guitar or piano based that is simplistic in instrumentation with minimal unnatural computerized sound effects. A high emphasis is placed on tonal quality and lyrics.
  • Contemporary - I do not mean contemporary to imply excessive drums and a deafening volume of sound. I say contemporary only because this music is definitely not old-fashioned. It appeals to a younger audience but I have shared several of these songs with my parents and even grandparents and they have enjoyed them as well. And in case you were wondering, both my parents and grandparents have pretty conservative music tastes.
  • Christian - Reflecting God's character in both lyrics and sound
I won't turn this post into a long expose' about my views on Christian music. If you would like to hear what they are, then feel free to call or e-mail me and we'll talk. Also, if you would like a larger list of really awesome songs and artists that I enjoy, I'd be happy to share.

The following is a list of songs that have meant a lot to me this past semester. If you listen carefully, you might notice a trend. No, I didn't plan that, but it's there. It tells you a lot about my semester, if you want to know.

I've provided links to the lyrics because I've found that you grasp more of the meaning if you read the words while listening. Enjoy!
  1. Psalm 42:6-11 - Sons of Korah (This is an AWESOME Australian group that plays only the Psalms. For lyrics, open your Bible :> To find out more, visit their website. I would highly recommend their commentaries on many of the Psalms.)
  2. To Be Like Jesus - Matt Minikus (SDA Musician)
  3. Only Love Remains - JJ Heller
  4. The Altar - Nichole Nordeman
  5. Times - Tenth Avenue North
  6. Let That Be Enough - Switchfoot
  7. If I Flee on Morning Wings - Fernando Ortega
  8. Fill Your Lambs - Billy Otto and Gaea Chapman
  9. Equally Skilled - Jon Foreman
  10. Gabriel's Oboe - Yo Yo Ma
  11. Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90: III. Poco allegretto - Brahms
  12. Deconstruction - Justin McRoberts

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Lesson Learned (and still learning)

At some point in the past couple years, a thought entered my head. I'm not sure if it was a piece of advice that someone gave me or if I read it in a book. Or maybe its only stimulus was my own experiences and a God who takes personal stake in each of our lives. Regardless of how it got there, it did. It is the one piece of advice that I have shared the most. That is probably because it is the one piece of advice I have had to apply the most. Are you ready? Here it is:

Time does not hurt a relationship that God has orchestrated

If God truly is in control, than He can bring two people together or pull them apart as easily as He causes the sun to rise each morning. Therefore, the passage of days, weeks, months, or even years is of little consequence when God is in charge of the clock.

In my experience, additional time has without fail been a blessing. Take it from someone who knows. Time clarifies and sharpens. It gives time for emotions to settle and logic to crystallize. Time can ripen, enrich, and refine. It can also dry out, spoil, and tarnish. What is so incredible is that either one of these can equally be God's answer to your prayers, even those options that don't seem as pleasant.

Let me explain. If it is God's will that a relationship end, giving it time will do just that. Time will reveal the wider plan that God has for you, the one you couldn't see from the inside looking out. As time passes, your relationship, in a sense, will dry out. But if it IS in God's plan for the relationship to one day continue, time will only enhance and enrich the friendship. That's where the ripening comes in. In the long run, what at first appeared impossibly painful is looked back on as being the best thing that could have happened.

I've reminded myself of this truth over and over in the past several years. It has never failed me yet. It always proves true, even when it compels me to make decisions that are at first agonizing and incredibly difficult.

Time never hurts relationships with people whom God intends to be there for the long haul. Because it is those types of friendships, with people who resonate with you at your deepest level, that transcend time, place, and circumstances.

Notice that there is a caveat - God has to be in control. If you're involved in a relationship, romantic or otherwise, in which God has not been given free reign, than success cannot be guaranteed. Additionally, you might have given God control in the past, but if the light He has given you has not been applied, than again, you're on the rocks. He cannot bless a relationship where His revealed will is being ignored. And yeah, just in case you were wondering, I've tried that one too. It doesn't work.

The hardest aspect of this whole concept is the part that we have to play. God has His part under control. But for some reason, we humans have the hardest time just letting Him do His thing. Complete submission is our solo line. Waiting on God. It seems like it wouldn't be too hard, right? Yeah, not true. We are always wanting to run ahead and try by our own power to fix what we see as problems. We get impatient; God's just not working fast enough! So we struggle and we fight. We manipulate and plan. We do everything but wait! But that is exactly what God wants us to do.

He desires that we be still. That's right, stop. Be still and know. Know what? Know that God is in charge. You can stop all you're struggling. Because God is. No more excuses or bargains. No more pleading. You can stop all that. You'll just be struggling in your own blood. It's pointless. Believe me, I've done it enough times to know.

Oh, one more thing: While you're waiting, strive after God. Seek Him with everything that's left inside of you. If you're not careful, you'll forget that you are supposed to be waiting and you will fall back into old habits. But if you are constantly seeking God's light in every decision, in every word you breath, and in every heartbeat, than He will be free to work in and through you. It is only when we completely place self on the altar that godly change can begin.

Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
Psalm 62:5

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
to the person who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:25

**Disclaimer: While I wrote this as if from an experts point of view, I have by no means mastered this lesson (despite multiple opportunities). I don't want to post blogs that are not intimately applicable. And yes, I realize that this is rather personal. It is a deliberate attempt to be genuine and transparent with what God has taught (and is teaching) me. I don't want my faith to ever appear unreal. I want it to be tangible, applicable, livable. I am a human. I make mistakes. But I have a God who is mighty to save. He takes the blame for MY mistakes. But those truths are worthless however if they do not extend farther than myself. If my Christianity never touches others, than you should question my Christianity.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Hurricane Friends

The 2009 Hurricane season officially begins today. I think it's really awesome that the hurricanes are given names. They recycle them every six years (too bad). Here's the list for this year and also the Western North Pacific storm list. Some of them are really funny.

I was searching for my friend's names and found quite a few.

Atlantic Storms:
2010 - Alex
2010 - Danielle
2010 - Nicole
2011 - Don (that's my dad's name, in case you were wondering)
2011 - Emily
2011 - Sean
2013 - Andrea
2013 - Barry
2013 - Erin
2014 - Teddy
Eastern North Pacific Storms:
2009 - Carlos
2009 - Felicia
2010 - Zeke
2011 - Adrian
2012 - Kristy
2012 - Paul
2013 - Barbara

Oh, and in the Philippine region in 2011, there just might be a hurricane named Zigzag!

I'm getting tired of looking at hurricane names but if you want to look into it more, click here.