Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Does Not Produce Righteousness

In general, I am not an emotional person.  I rarely show large amounts of excitement outwardly, and I hardly ever weep, even in sad circumstances.  There are exceptions to this, of course.  Unfortunately, I have been experiencing one kind of emotion frequently lately: frustration, impatience, annoyance.  Simply put, anger.

Now I did not act out in great shows of it, but my attitude was gruffer, my tone harsher, and my words much sharper than they should be.  I struggled against it in vain and could not figure out what I was doing wrong.

Then I started working on the first chapter of James. I love the book of James so much.  Every time I read it, it convicts me to the core. When I studied verses 19-20, I saw my own behavior flung in front of my face.

"Know this, my beloved brothers, let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God."

Wow.  I had memorized the first part long ago and I now repeat it to myself, under my breath, when I am tempted to become angry.  But it was the second part that truly struck me.  It is so simple and so true.  There is no time, even when I think that there is some injustice, or that things are not happening as they should, when my anger will produce His righteousness.  It just won't happen.  So if I am striving to "be holy as He is holy," I must push aside my petty frustrations and focus on Him.

He has been revealing lately that these things that cause me annoyance are perhaps to make me turn and look outside myself.  Whether it is running late for an event, or having people cut in front of me in line, or tripping over other people's messes, He can use the situation to shape me to be more like him.  When my family is late, God can teach me to overcome my perfectionism.  When I see people taking rights or privileges that are not theirs to have, He can teach me to overcome my selfishness and obsession with "fairness."  When I trip over the legos on the stairs or the life jackets on the pool deck, I can choose to thank God for the healthy body he has given me that enables me to be able to clean up the legos and the life jackets. :)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Narnia Video!

For all you who have been anticipating these videos, here they are!
These are the scenes from the Chronicles of Narnia that were filmed at Bible Quizzing Internationals this year.  The teams that participated were Pacific Northwest, Western Canada, and Ohio Valley/Central. (Please let me know if I missed someone :)

We had a lot of fun making these and I hope you enjoy them, but I apologize in advance for the poor video quality.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bible Quizzing Internationals 2013

I love it when I am with people who match my level of crazy.

The ones who will sing for hours in the car, just because we can.

The ones who skip across crosswalks and keep you going when you feel like you can't take one more step (literally).

The ones who will film Narnia videos in the woods in Montana and in Pennsylvania

The ones who will watch Princess Bride even though they have seen it half a million times, and will still laugh at all the jokes.

The ones you can vent to, the ones you play silly games with for hours on end, and the ones who can make even a flight delay fun.

These are the people I went to Internationals with.  Sure, we had some hard stuff we went through, and we definitely tested each other's patience consistently, but all in all it was a great week.

We went a lot of places and did many things, but I won't bore you with the minute details.

On second thought, the minute details are sometimes the funniest and the most memorable.  And this is my blog after all, so get ready for a long description of our week.

Day 1:
This was actually before we even went on the trip.  We practiced together and went to see Despicable Me 2 (Fairy Princess Gru, anyone?) and then got on our red-eye flight to Pennsylvania.

Since we never actually had a hotel or anything, this day kind of melds with...

Day 2: This was where we went into Pennsylvania.  We saw the Liberty Bell,
Independence Hall,

and Betsy Ross's House (also known as Betty Crocker's house).

Day 3:  DC all the way!  We left the hotel at 6 am and got back at 10 pm.  We first had a tour of the capitol building,

and took a quick trip to the library of congress.  Well, actually we walked through the library of congress on our way out, but it still counts :)
Next we went to the spy museum and developed our own spy identities. This was mine:

We tried to only respond to our spy names, but we thought it would be mean to all the kids at the meet, so we changed our plans. Also, we kept messing up and responding to our real names :) I still have my spy name on the back of my name tag though!

We visited the American History and the Natural History Smithsonian Museums for the next three hours. I particularly enjoyed seeing all the first ladies's dresses, and I was very glad that our team decided to stick together.  I became the "mother duck" and was constantly counting heads. (1-2-3-4!)

We got dinner and then went off on a one-mile trek to see the monuments. Sadly, the Washington monument was having work done so this was as close as we could get:
See way down there at the bottom?  That's my head

From there we set off for the World War II and Lincoln Memorials.  At this point, we were pretty tired. Correction: we were REALLY tired.  My friend and I were discussing how much we wanted to just sit down on the pavement.  We knew that these memorials are important and cool to see, though, so we walked on.  (It also helped that our coach promised us ice cream if we would stop complaining :)

I thought the Lincoln memorial was awe-inspiring, and it was nice that they included a bench at the top after all those stairs.

On our way back to the car, we stopped by the White House and took a few pictures, even though they have stopped giving White House tours due to budget cuts.
Tired Picture...

Happy Picture!

In the end it was all worth it, because we each got a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream and stayed up till midnight to watch Princess Bride.

Day 4: Now, finally, we actually got to the meet, later in the day.  First we went swimming and then we girls spent about 2 hours working on a hairstyle.  We did matching hairstyles on each other every day, and this one was our most complicated.

This brought about an ongoing argument with the guys about the merit of hairstyles like this.  In the guy's opinion, we might have as well done ponytails. But for us girls, it was a lot of fun and bonding time.  (And our coach went to beauty school so how could we not take advantage of that?)

We arrived at the camp and got to see our other team from PNW and our Canadian friends!  We watched the ever-popular coaches quiz! Then we hung out and played frisbee while the coaches had their meeting.

While we did make friends with some American teams, we mostly spent time with Canadian kids the whole week.

Days 5-6: The competition begins!  With our mascot, a small stuffed cow named Desperation, and our coaches to back us up, we were ready to go!

We had a couple rough quizzes, but had a nice winning streak the second day. On Thursday we participated in the talent show, where we performed five Disney songs that we had made into quizzing parodies.  Unfortunately, the keyboard did not work like I had hoped, so I only played piano for the first song, but we will hopefully be performing again at our first meet next year, so catch us in concert while you can!  Also, some of my Canadian friends asked me if I would sign while they sang "Ten Thousand Reasons." For me, this was another instance of God's provision.  I had wanted to sign a different song, but the equipment was not available for that to happen.  I am so glad it happened this way, and I was able to perform with my friends. There were some really funny skits, such as "Who's on first?— Quizzing style" and a skit about how ESV may have been chosen as the new Bible translation we are going to use next year.

This day was also the one where we went into the woods and filmed scenes from The Chronicles of Narnia. Where are those films, you may ask?  Well, the editing is taking a little longer than I originally anticipated, so that video will hopefully come in its own post later this week.

Day 7 (I told you this would be long): This day held our last two preliminary quizzes, and we waited anxiously to find out what our placement would be.  To our great excitement, we placed sixth after prelims, meaning that we had done well enough to go to Six Flags on our last day.  (We had an incentive system set up.) Since we had the rest of the day off, we drove to Baltimore to a harbor on the Atlantic ocean.  Now I can truly say I have been from coast to coast.

Day 8: This was our last day of the competition, where we participated in semifinals. Although it did not go quite as well as we had originally hoped, we did our best and truly worked together as a team.  After finals and all the awards came the real fun: the all-nighter! Okay, we only stayed till midnight.  But it was then that the crazy acting games, midnight frisbee competitions, and endless searches for the snack shack took place.

"The Smolder" from Tangled. Please tell me you recognize this. 

Day 9:  This was supposed to be our last day of the trip.  We went to Six Flags as a team and experienced crazy roller coasters, cool water slides, and incredibly overpriced food :)
In truth, I didn't experience very many of the roller coasters because I don't like roller coasters very much, and to be honest, I have a problem with heights. Thankfully, several other people on my team dislike roller coasters as much as me, and I had a few buddies to chat with while we waited for the others. The water slides were really fun though!

Since we had a week-long joke abut our coach being a cow, we took his picture by the cow ride that was sadly out of order :(

Afterward, we drove to the airport, but the trip took one hour longer than expected.  When we finally arrived, we heard that our flight had been delayed 45 minutes.  Soon after, their system broke down, and they lost all information about our flight.  Perhaps I should have mentioned that there was a lot of rain going on outside at this point.  We were hydroplaning even in the big bus on the way back from the rental car place.  Unlike those of us who live in the Northwest, for whom rain is as usual as breathing, it seemed to cause more of a problem there, both with the system and with the roof leaking.

Anyway, to pass the time we played the game "sausage." You know, where one person has to answer "sausage" to every question they are asked and has to keep from laughing.  We played it over and over and over.
Rocking out silently to music while we waited

About three hours later, the game got a little old, and we were told to move to a different terminal. That was where we found out our flight had been canceled.

Eventually, we were able to get a rental car to drive to the Baltimore airport and fly out of there in the morning.  When we got to the airport, we had to wait for a while because security didn't open until 3:15 am.  Never in my life would I have thought that something opening "that late" would be an issue.  In the end, we were able to get on the flight and get home by noon the next day.  And hey, since our flight ended up stopping in North Carolina, we got to go to four states on the trip, and now I can say that I have been in the south!

All in all it was an amazing trip with some incredible people.  I saw God grow me in relationships, in the competition, and in patience with the whole airport situation.  I am so thankful that God knew best and changed my plans, because if things had happened the way I originally planned, I would not have been on this trip.  He is good. He is above all things.  And His love endures forever.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Simply. Blessed.

Coming home from my trip to Pennsylvania, I am so thankful for all that God has given me.

More than the competition even, I enjoyed the community, getting to see old friends and make new ones.  From teaching one of the guys how to "properly" compliment, to staying up till midnight playing silly acting games and frisbee in the dark, we did it all.  To all my friends from my district, across the U.S., and even in Canada, thank you for your kindness and sense of fun.  I really enjoyed spending the week with you.

And for those of you who are as "cut off from civilization" as myself and do not have a Facebook, my team did very well and ended up placing ninth!  We had so much fun and truly worked together.  We came through some hard stuff and still like each other no matter how many insults or "cow jokes" were tossed around.  (See Anna's quote to Scott in this post for reference as to how all these jokes began.)

In case you are wondering, I will be posting on a grand scale about the entire trip, but it will take a little while. (I have some Narnia videos to edit in the meantime) I wanted you all to know that I did not fall off the face of the earth even though my flight did get canceled on the way back! (We eventually got another flight, but it was a long night :)