According to the saying, March is either a lamb or a lion, but I think this time around it was much more lion than anything else. I mean, yes, the weather exhibited the kind of schizophrenia I expect of March: whiteout conditions one day and a balmy ten degrees Celsius on another. But life was consistently lion-ish.
LifeI gave my third speech in my public speaking class (yay!), met with a friend out from Mexico, went to a fun wedding show with my peeps from the creative ministry (in order to get décor ideas and stay on top of the trends), and went to another Business & Leadership seminar thingie where I learned about the habits of a great leader.
College had an info night, at which I got a chance to share my experience in the program and hopefully convince potential students to attend this fall. That was a great evening--from a spontaneous Olive Garden dinner with classmates, to standing out in the cold drizzle to welcome guests to the event, to the hilarity of cleaning up afterwards amongst laughter and friends.
Other than that, day camp pretty much swallowed up life! Planning and running that camp was my college class's final project--a chance to put everything we've learned about leadership, organization, people skills, public speaking, and relationships to work in an intense environment. We've been working on it since the new year, and this week it all came to a head. Sixty-some kids (grades 1-6) showed up for five days of fun.
It was a ton of work, and it meant giving up a lot of my free mornings/evenings/breaks this month. Being in an admin role was a very stretching experience, and I may have melted down once or twice, but I had an incredible safety net of people around me to pick me back up and remind of important truths. I honestly need to post about some of the things I've learned through this experience . . .
The camp itself was fantastic! So many precious kids showered me in hugs, giggles, artwork, and homemade bracelets. I loved doing lessons and skits, playing with the kids, and directing my team of fellow students. Waking up at 5:30 am and coming home at 7 pm was exhausting, but so incredibly worth it.
MoviesStill watching and rewatching various Once Upon a Time episodes, as well as going through season 2 of The Flash. There's not much more to add than what I've been saying for the past few months. (What can I say? I watch shows pretty slowly.)
I didn't watch any movies this month, actually. At least not full movies. I did see the first ten minutes of Transformers: Age of Extinction with a classmate, then had to leave abruptly in an attempt to beat the blizzard home. That was quite the drive.
I also saw the middle third of Trolls during day camp, but missed the beginning and ending. From what I saw, the trolls themselves were cute, but those Bergen creatures were just plain weird. I don't really have a desire to see the rest of the movie.
BooksSomehow I finished three books this month despite the busyness, so hooray for that!
Okay, folks, I LOVED this one. I've really enjoyed the whole Lunar Chronicles (despite the slight let-down that was Scarlet), but the conclusion? So good! Overall, I'd still say Cress was my favorite book of the series, yet Winter wrapped it all up wonderfully.
A small list of awesomeness:
- a barrage of problems and obstacles had me thinking "uh oh . . ." on multiple occasions
- the character interactions positively crackled with depth and sass
- Winter was such a fascinating POV character, what with her craziness (I adore loopy charries) (some people say she's an INFJ, which . . . gives me pause, heheh)
- Cinder + Kai
- Thorne + Cress
- seeing Levana lose control and get angry was so satisfying
- a revolution plot gave the story a dystopian flavor amidst the fairytale elements
- ALL THE CHARACTER INTERACTIONS (I had to mention it twice because Marissa Meyer is brilliant at this)
The Spirit Contemporary Life: Unleashing the Miraculous in Your Everyday World // Leon Fontaine//(college assignment book)
I've heard this pastor speak before, and it was so neat to read about a topic close to his heart. The Spirit Contemporary Life was a really easy read, but don't mistake the material to be fluff and stuff. It's challenging, in a good way. It challenged me to get out of my safe little bubble, and to live in a way that attracts people to Jesus.
Rather than some books that make evangelism seem scary and hard, this one reminded me of how natural and amazing it can be when I'm just open to people and open to God! The world is waiting for Christian's to rise up and live lives full of the Holy Spirit's power, in a way that's relevant and understandable to those around them.
Some quotes I loved:
Change always feels strange, even when it places you smack-dab in the middle of God's will.
Your personal story of how Jesus made a difference in your life is your most powerful tool for sharing the gospel.
Being Spirit Contemporary isn't about pleasing people so they will like you. It's about being so confident, strong, and secure in your identity as a child of God that people notice the different in your life and are attracted to you as you direct them to Jesus.
The Shack//William Paul Young
I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. It's almost like one has to split the book in half when evaluating it: there's the story, and then there's the sermon. I'm not interested in adding to the already-muddy waters surrounding this book recently translated to the silver screen, nor am I prepared to do that. Like I said, I didn't read it studiously at all. It was a quick book I used to unwind between all the rehearsals and day camp prep.
That being said, I do have a few thoughts.
First, the story. The writing is mediocre. The dialogue felt mostly stilted, which is a problem when probably 70% of the book is dialogue. I felt very distant from Mack, the main character, never getting a real chance to hear his thoughts or feel what he felt. The only reason I felt anything was because the concept of one's daughter being brutally murdered would tug at anyone's heartstrings. To me, the author missed a chance to dig into the messiness of that kind of pain.
Not only that, but the dialogue of the black woman representing God was inconsistent. Sometimes it was written like it sounds (you know, words like ain't, or jes' instead of just), but most of the time there was none of that.
Now for the sermon aspect. Rather than being mostly story with some sermon, it felt like mostly sermon with some story. Some aspects were powerful. Others were heavy-handed and contrived. I'm not going to spend a lot of time discussing the rightness or wrongness of the theology, but suffice it to say I fall somewhere between the this-book-is-wonderful-it-changed-my-life camp and the burn-this-sacrilegious-piece-of-heresy-to-ash camp. I don't agree with either extreme.
Some of the statements this book made could be interpreted multiple ways. Take this, for example. It's Jesus talking to Mack.
"Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don't vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved."
"Does that mean," asked Mack, "that all roads will lead to you?"
"Not at all," smiled Jesus as he reached for the door handle to the shop. "Most roads don't lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you."
That could be taken to mean that the author believes all religions are correct, or it could mean that Christians have come from all those different backgrounds and chosen to follow Christ (which is true). I'm not sure which meaning the author intended, and he didn't clear that up.
One of the biggest issues I see people debating is whether it's right for God to be portrayed as a woman. I believe the Bible refers to God as He on purpose. But male and female are both made in God's image, so He must embody the best masculine and feminine qualities. Again, it's a little difficult to tell where the author stands on this issue.
However, there were a small handful of things that I found thought-provoking, in a good way.
[Jesus] "If you try to live this without me, without the ongoing dialogue of us sharing this journey together, it will be like trying to walk on the water by yourself. You can't! And when you try, however well-intentioned, you're going to sink . . . It's extremely hard to rescue someone unless they are willing to trust you . . . That's all I ask of you. When you start to sink, let me rescue you."
Although this book has made a big impact on some readers, and although I liked a few aspects, I wouldn't hand it to a new Christian or anybody struggling to figure out their beliefs, and neither do I feel like rereading it. I may see the movie at some point.
Well. I was not intending to write a review, but it looks like I kind of did. Oops!
It was abysmally quiet on this front, thanks to everything else going on! I worked a little bit more on using the Snowflake Method to plot out The Brightest Thread, and that's it.
And now for a break . . .
Spring break, that is! I'm so happy to have a week to relax a bit, recover from an annoying cold, read some books, hopefully finish the abovementioned outline, and get back into proper blogging. Thanks for you patience, dear adventurers!