Tuesday, August 29, 2017

God's Billboard

Hello, friends! I'm sure many of you have at some point or another in church, etc., thought about who you are in Christ. That could be a whole other set of posts, but do you realize the influence you have on others around you as a Christian? Christians claim to have an almighty God, have access to His throne, and have Him living inside of us. No pressure, but those are a lot of reasons for Christians to be different from the world.

When I recently spent a week at Life Camp, a speaker mentioned an analogy how Christians are God's billboard. The image stuck with me, and I immediately saw a blog post in it. If you think about it, what is the purpose of a billboard? It promotes something. It shows the best part of a product and makes it appealing. It attracts people to the restaurant, etc. It makes people want whatever is featured.

If you're driving down the highway and see a poorly done billboard for a restaurant, with maybe a grainy picture and hard-to-read lettering, the chances are that your first impressions of the place aren't going to be great. You'll likely pass it by and find some other place to eat. Now, the restaurant itself might serve amazing food at fantastic prices, but you won't know if you don't visit it.

An attractive billboard, however, is much more likely to draw your attention—followed by your business. Isn't that exactly what we as Christians are supposed to be? When people know you are a Christian, but you act just like the rest of the world, why would they look into Christianity? Now, if you are different—a light in the darkness—they will eventually want to see what makes you that way. Even if people don't know you are a Christian, when they see you cheerfully helping a grouchy neighbor, or stopping to fix a stranger's flat tire, or handing someone the money he dropped and didn't notice, or forgiving someone who hurt you, or remaining calm and trusting God in a bad situation, they will wonder what makes you so different. They will want what you have.

Christians are God's billboard. Be a good witness; you never know when someone's watching. Most of all, you know that God is always there. Do your best to be a good billboard. Are you acting like you have the only all-powerful God living inside of you?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Summer Has Come . . . and Gone


Well, hello everyone! You may or may not have noticed my extended and unplanned absence from the blogging world. Rest assured that I have not forgotten about all of you, my wonderful followers! I'm dropping by today to recap my summer and attempt to justify my blog hiatus. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure how much blogging I'll be able to accomplish in the coming seasons, but I truly hope that I'm able to post more frequently. I still plan on posting my blog birthday Q&A which has been mostly written for a month, just not finalized. For now, and without further ado, here is a taste of my summer months:

Toward the beginning of the month, I was briefly reunited with my best friend from first and second grade. It was enjoyable to see her and catch up a bit. My grandparents came to visit one day, and we all were blessed to see one another.

I finished my sophomore year of high school midway through the June, and after that my family and I left on vacation to Lone Pine at the base of Mount Whitney, the same location where I attended the movie-making camp last November. I was relieved to finally have some time to relax and unwind after a hectic last month of school. We did a lot of sight-seeing, hiking in 110 degree weather, photographing, fossil hunting, and—of course—reading. :)

Horseshoe Meadows outside of Lone Pine. About 10,000 ft.
A creek near where we stayed while in Lone Pine.
The Alabama Hills where many famous westerns have been filmed.
The following week we spent focusing on cleaning the house, going through papers that have stacked up, etc. Near the end of June I had a marvelous time at my best friend's eighteenth birthday party. (Happy Birthday!!!)

The first week of July found me counseling at a Christian camp for kids aged 7-13. For five days I had a great cabin of nine and ten year old girls. I came back exhausted with lots of stories from my second time counseling. It was a fabulous week!

From there I had one day at home before I was whisked away with my sister to spend several days visiting my grandparents in Pacific Grove. The weather was lovely, (especially compared to the extreme heat back home) and we were able to participate in several fun activities. Whether playing in the sand, taking selfies, talking with my grandparents, going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or on a whale watching boat, I enjoyed my time immensely!
Whale watching. :)

The flag off the back of the boat.

Most of July was jam-packed with many smaller activities, so that looking back now I'm seeing that I was away from the house much more than I was home all summer; this has probably been the first year I've been away from my family this much in a summer. Of course, all the activities were good ones, like finally getting to go to the beach with my best friend and that family. (I had the best time! It was the first real time I'd gone to the beach all summer.)
Panorama of the beach I went to
To cap off my month, my family and I went back to my grandparents' and hiked around Jack's Peak. Then my parents went home and my sister and I spent a few more days there finding treasures at garage sales (I got a really nice tri-pod for a dollar!) and watching fireworks (it was my sister's first time seeing real ones).
The view of Monterey from Jack's Peak
My family and I on the trail
That's me. :) Always with my camera.
This was the first time I tried the fireworks setting on my camera.

Day one of August brought with it a new experience for my sister and me. We rode both our horses down to a neighbor's arena and, as much as I enjoy riding in open areas, the confined space gave us so much freedom. I absolutely loved our time together and with the horses out in the middle of God's beautiful creation!
I'm riding Baylie, my sister is on Dream.
Then . . . my mom made the "dangerous" mistake of leaving to go visit her family in Los Angeles. That left my dad and his crazy awesome ideas alone with my sister and me who pretty much go along with his insane ideas. Thus was born the newest addition to my family's collection of home movies. We planned and filmed a ten-minute western complete with Indiana Jones music, horses, explosions, and chase scenes. It is truly . . . epic. And didn't have to leave our property to create it. Hours upon hours were spent with planning, filming (in trenchcoats and 100 degree weather), and editing. We had it finished by the time my mom got back and surprised her with it. She decided to never leave us home alone again. :) It was such a fun time!
Lights . . . camera . . . action!
The day after my mom returned, my sister and I left again, this time for LIFE Camp! It is always one of the top highlights of my year, and this week at camp was no exception! I was part of the high school group which did additional amazing activities and had fantastic classes that I thrived on. We studied the incarnation of Jesus Christ, in addition to how we can share our own testimonies to bring others to know God. The activities included watching The Nativity, painting Christmas sweaters, and making gingerbread houses. (Guess the theme—Christmas. :P) Non-Christmas related activities were traveling to the beach with the other high schoolers and best of all, just hanging out with my amazing friends. My sister and I recreated the Battle of Wits scene from the Princess Bride for the talent show. I was Westley and she was Vizzini. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to watch the movie! :) My cabin became the prank cabin of camp, and that was incredibly fun. I already can't wait for next year!
The Battle of Wits from the Princess Bride
Being in the high school group, I only got about five hours of sleep a night, (part of that was because the latest I got up was 5:30 and we didn't go to bed until around midnight) so I came home utterly exhausted. Two days later I began my junior year of high school. Yes, my junior year. I can't believe I started the second half of my high school years. So far, school has been going well. This semester, I'm taking Physics, PreCalculus with Trigonometry, American Literature, and studying worldviews and world religions. I am truly looking forward to the rest of this semester. I have a feeling it's going to go great!
And that brings you up to date! Now maybe you'll understand why my blog has fallen to the wayside over the last few months. I truly hope that I'll be able to get some more posted in the coming weeks. Stay tuned, and thank you for sticking with me through my crazy busy life! God bless you all!

P.S. I updated my both my written profile as well as my profile picture. Let me know your thoughts!

I just recently made this from a picture my sister took.

I am an aspiring teen writer with enough ideas alone to fill volumes. I enjoy living in the country where I have many scenes to photograph and hardly a car passes all day. I love reading and blogging. Interacting with horses is another hobby. My newest interests include screenwriting, cinematography, and making movies as well as operating my amateur radio. I adore The Princess Bride, and if you don't that's truly INCONCEIVABLE! My imagination is one of my best qualities, and I'm definitely an introvert.

Most importantly, I seek to honor God in everything I do, say, think, and write. Thanks for stopping by and I'd love to have you join my wonderful group of followers! You all mean the world to me!


Another note: An idea I've been mulling over in my extended absence is possibly doing some posts regarding defending the Christian faith. It's a subject I've studied and my family is passionate about. The Bible says to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us, and I would love to share some of my knowledge with you. The Bible is true—from Genesis 1:1 to the end of Revelation—and there is evidence. It's not a blind faith. Please let me know your thoughts. I'd enjoy knowing who is interested, and if you have any specific areas that you would like more information on. Thank you!