Maybe I Should’ve Been a Nanny

Film school is amazing. It’s perfect. It’s everything I’ve dreamed it would be. It’s even better than I imagined…True. It’s also hard work. Running back and forth. Getting dehydrated. Choosing between eating and sleeping. It’s stressful. Do not build any type of emotional attachment to anything you plan to film, attempt to film or actually end up filming. A number of things can go wrong and will and that’s not even a joke. It happens.

Last night, my team of four set out to film a scene which was assigned to us as homework. I was in charge of sound. Before we even got started, the sound equipment was down. We set up lighting and camera while we waited for the other team in our school to finish with sound so we could use their equipment.

The other team took so long that our staff suggested we just go to the office, learn how to use the older version of the mixer, and go from there. I got to the office and was greeted with bad/good news. The other team was done so I could walk back and use the new sound. All the way back.

When I got back to set, we had to set up the sound. I vaguely knew how to use (read: I didn’t know how to use) it from our brief session in class . One of our crew members showed me how to do it on set and I started winging it from there.

Everything was ready, except we didn’t have one of our main actors. We didn’t have time to find someone, it was already past 10pm. We were meant to start filming at 9. We began to film and our first take didn’t have sound because I said “Sound speed” and forgot to press record. Once I realized, I started pressing record every time I was required to. Ah, the first day. Our sound cord would give off a strange static noise if I moved the boom mic in even the smallest way.

The next few shots seemed to go well. Then a fire truck pulled up right next to the shot. It was outside of the frame, but it cast red blinking lights onto the front of the car we had in our scene. Amazing. It eventually moved and we continued. Rain kept starting and stopping so we were constantly praying against it.

While doing my best to capture sound, a group of about twenty goats started casually walking by next to the fence behind our set. They were loud enough to be picked up on the mixer. I just laughed and recorded the sound because there was no way we were gonna get anything finished if I waited for those goats to go.

Part way through the production, I realized my director was calling “Roll camera. Mark it. Sound.” This doesn’t make any sense. The whole reason the mark is there is to sink the audio with the video. It should be roll camera, sound, then mark it. I told the director and he said I had a good point. He only ended up doing it once more.

One of my favorite parts of the night was when our DP (Director of Photography, Cinematographer) was trying to get a handheld shot of one of the actors. He was walking low to the ground, and one or two of the other crew members  would get shadows in his shot. He told them to keep their shadows out of the shot and they agreed to stay out. Next take, they were in again. He turned and said, “You guys have one job, and that’s to not be shadows!” He was kind of upset but it was funny because we were all stressed anyway. He ended up apologizing afterward because his own shadow was in the next one.

We had been filming for a few hours at this point. It was about 1am when we realized the rain was going to start. Director called for the last shot and once he said “That’s a wrap,” the sky released a downpour. We rushed to the equipment and tried to get it all safely to dry land. We were able to rescue it all by the grace of God.

We have to finish this project tonight. Now we have the actor that we were missing for one of our main roles. Our sound should work fine. Hopefully it won’t be raining. We learned a few good things last night. Our director still has to edit everything sometime between when we finish shooting tonight/tomorrow morning and… tomorrow morning at 8. He doesn’t plan on sleeping.

Welcome to the beauty of filmmaking. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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Hi, I suppose I’m back (unedited)

I seem to have failed the blog a day challenge. Or as Edison would say, I found a few ways to not do the challenge. Does that mean I’ll be an expert at doing it right? I think not. And I don’t even feel like editing because I haven’t written for days and it’s almost 12 am again, which is tomorrow. And I haven’t been writing my novel either. And I feel like I’m actually in control with my life, but something is off…

I got excited about a job yesterday, and now I’m not so excited; I don’t want to do it. It doesn’t seem right for me. And I’m getting more excited about becoming an actress, but is this what God wants? And is it my dream? Should I really just stick to writing? And the funny thing is, I want to be writing right now. I feel like these last few days, I tried to be someone and I enjoyed it, but I love words and the ability they give me to run around and have fun and do things I never would have dreamed of.

I watched a comedy movie today… It wasn’t incredibly profound, it was just funny. But it spoke to me. It made me believe in talking to people, and seeing that life is short and I wanna make movies, I wanna act. I want to build friendships that I never would have had. I think this is my calling. I’m already famous. That was me in Cambodia, I felt like I was already famous. That’s how strong it was when I was there and I feel like now, it’s just God and between me and him. It’s him giving me these prophetic dreams and maybe they are supposed to happen soon or now. Maybe they are. But what I also learned to day was that life is short… And people are cool. They’re there to be your friends, some at least. So find those friendships, don’t run from them. Come alive when you’re with them, because you don’t get that same moment anymore. That was a recurring theme through my whole day today… be in the moment and say what’s on your mind if it’s kind and it will help someone. Be a light.

Tomorrow isn’t promised. But if you are blessed enough to hold it, don’t throw it away by sitting in your room alone, even if that’s what you like doing. Go out and make mistakes as you try not to. Go and be real, be 100% you. You are gonna fall in love sometimes and that is going to hurt you if it doesn’t work out. But I don’t regret it. I feel more alive thinking about how I was hurt than I do by thinking about relationships where I didn’t care and I never tried. I tried. I didn’t win. I’ll move on… But I am comforted the most by the fact I tried. It gives me hope that we could start again. Even if we never do.

I’ll Open the Window, by Anna Swir

“Our embrace lasted too long.
We loved right down to the bone.
I hear the bones grind, I see
our two skeletons.
Now I am waiting
till you leave, till
the clatter of your shoes
is heard no more. Now, silence.
Tonight I am going to sleep alone
on the bedclothes of purity.
Aloneness
is the first hygienic measure.
Aloneness
will enlarge the walls of the room,
I will open the window
and the large, frosty air will enter,
healthy as tragedy.
Human thoughts will enter
and human concerns,
misfortune of others, saintliness of others.
They will converse softly and sternly.
Do not come anymore.
I am an animal
very rarely.”
-Anna Swir

I Don’t Dance

As promised, today I’m writing a post that has nothing to do with NaNoWriMo.

I’ve been listening to Lee Brice a lot recently. I absolutely love the song “That Don’t Sound Like You.” And I enjoy “Hard to Love,” “Drinking Class,” and “I Don’t Dance” as well. I was listening to a few of his songs on repeat and a thought came to me about I Don’t Dance. He’s saying that he hates dancing and will avoid it as much as he possibly can. Or maybe just that he doesn’t like it, but still the point is the same. He doesn’t dance. But the girl he loves dances. She loves to dance. So he dances, too. She wants to marry, but he likes keeping his options open, maybe. He said he was that kind of man. But in order to pursue her and be hers, he decides she’s worth it to give up the life he’s used to. To marry her, to dance with her, to make sacrifices for her. He loves her as much as he loves himself.

That’s something so incredible that I always missed from this song. The song sounds so simple until you really hear the words, and feel the words, and realize we all want to have someone sing this way about us. We all need to be wanted so much and we need someone who’s going to show us we’re worth it. We’re worth the sacrifice, and worth enough for someone to give up their comfort.

I think God is like this song.

He doesn’t dance. He was fine before he created us. He didn’t need to be loved by anyone. He had a perfect union in the trinity; he lacked nothing. But he wanted us. He chose to create us as people with a need to be loved and a need to be filled. He knew us in advance and he wanted to be the one who would fill our emptiness. Of course, he wants many of us to marry and to be blessed with people like Lee Brice. But he wants to be first in our lives and he wants to be our father.

Much of my feelings of not being good enough stem from my childhood. It was unintentional on part of my father. He wasn’t very emotionally involved with my sister and I, and it wasn’t his fault. He had been adopted as a baby and he never even met his biological father. He wanted to be better at being a dad, but he couldn’t give out what he didn’t have. My dad lived a lifestyle that wasn’t as courageous as it could’ve been and he didn’t really stand up for me or acknowledge my accomplishments. I felt like I wasn’t worth it to him to face the pain it takes to change and step up to the plate. So I had this bitterness against my dad that I didn’t even know about. I was so angry but I had hidden it so deep that it wasn’t even a thing I questioned. I thought I had forgiven him but no, I was still living life out of a place of hurt.

But God said, “You were worth it to me. You were worth the cross. Every bit of pain I endured on the cross, it was worth it for you; especially you.”

And that’s how God feels about you. About everyone of us individually. He doesn’t play favorites, so you aren’t more favored than another Christian, but you are 100% favored. It’s all for you, but God is not limited to that. He is able to give that same love and favor, 100% to someone else. He loves you. You’re worth it.

No matter what you’ve faced in your childhood, if your parents got divorced or they fought or they were just normal, broken, sinful humans. Regardless of if they were intentionally trying to hurt you or not, it doesn’t matter. You are first in God’s eyes. You are worth the effort and the work it takes to pursue you, and love you, and care about you.

God has been showing me this today. I was thinking about how James Franco’s over there in New York City today, about an hour away from me. I had a chance to meet him in Cleveland this past July, and I got there late and saw him walk by to leave. I kind of wanted to go today to try and meet him again, but I had a dream last night that changed my mind.

James and I were talking somewhere and the setting was before the NYC event, but I was in Jersey or something like that. He gave me a side hug and told me something like he respected me and our friendship cause we had been in so many movies together. It was so short and real. It made me think about how I tried to go to Cleveland and meet James in my timing, but this dream was like God telling me he has a time for us to meet, and meeting now wasn’t good enough. God cares so much about my desires that he gives me dreams about spending time with people I care about, even those I don’t know. God doesn’t ignore us. He doesn’t forget our desires.

God cares about the things you care about. And he really does keep your tears in a bottle. He doesn’t do it to say, “Look how much you cry,” but to say, “Look how much I care. I don’t forget you. I remember everything you say and pray for and I set times and dates and put it on my schedule. Just trust my timing, trust that I marked it on the correct day.”

I saw this first hand on Sunday when God gave me the healing and the breakthrough I needed to forgive my dad. I had known in my head that it wasn’t right how I kept trying to find fulfillment in guys, but it wasn’t until God really spoke to me through the Holy Spirit that I was changed. And He told me in a few months in advance that he was going to do that. He said on November 1 I would let go of all insecurity and I would be 100% Ruby, and not get offended by what everyone else thinks of me.

He scheduled it in.

His timing is so perfect and I don’t see why I won’t trust him for every single thing in my life from this point forward. He is the answer that I’ve been searching for to fill my emptiness and I want so much just to be the light that shines for his glory. Look how much he cares. When I was standing in line last July, thinking I wouldn’t meet Franco, God said, “Remember who you are. You have the favor of God.” And he was right. Then James came down the line. And maybe I didn’t meet him that day, but even to see him was more than I expected in that moment. Grace.

And the future is ahead of me, I see that God knows what he’s doing. I had a prophetic dream of meeting James and his brother Tom before and then I may have only seen them in person but still, I could never have guessed that myself without God revealing it to me. The same with this dream. I had pretty much given up on being friends with James but I kind of wanted to meet him at the bookstore. But God said no, this isn’t what I have for you. He cared enough to say something so I wouldn’t be disappointed. I am forever in awe.

Keep dreaming and keep asking questions of God. And always keep worshiping him. I started worshiping God every day sometime last month, and I just do it to be in his presence and talk to him and listen. It’s about our relationship and remembering how much God loves and cares. It’s about him giving me all he does and me serving him. True love at it’s finest and best.

Oh, For the Love of Words

I’m going to make movies. I’m going to write books. I’m going to act, sing, be famous. You’re going to know my name. These words were said by someone who is currently a nobody in the eyes of the world. Zero achievements of notable status to her name. Certain things about her that seem to disqualify her from having hope or a reason to believe that the future holds anything good.

Fear.

The thought of writing makes for a gripping, tangible fear that says, “Please don’t put me through this again. I’m not good enough to be one of the greats.” But once I shake it off enough to get the words down, my whole outlook changes, as well as my life. It’s a definition of beauty. And I’m in love. Words are my children. They’re my friends. They’re beauty, and I’m the beholder.

I’m in love.

I heard about Emma Stone. I really like her as an actress. She’s a gorgeous, funny, talented woman. She’s great. I found out that she struggles with anxiety. That sucks, but it gave me hope. She started acting as a form of therapy. She’s in movies. She goes to award shows. She’s changing the world in her own way. She isn’t stopped. She keeps going. That’s how I wanna be. I don’t wanna have anything stop me from being me. No fear. And I wanna change the world.

I heard about Kim Basinger. She was so scared, she couldn’t say her speech at the Oscars. She had it memorized. But still she changed the world. And still she lives her life to the full, in the face of fear. I wanna be brave like her. And brave enough to shake it off.

I heard about James Franco. He says he’s shy. I suppose, but there is something incredibly beautiful to me about what he does. For someone who isn’t very comfortable in social situations, he sure puts himself in a lot of them. Movie after movie he either produces, stars in, directs, etc… Being an artist, author, teacher; all of it. He’s changing the world. That’s how I wanna be. Doing every single thing that I’m passionate about, regardless of any fear. I wanna be brave like that. I wanna be creative like that. I wanna be artistic like that.

Beautiful.

See, the only truly painful thing in life isn’t really bad things happening to people. It’s people letting bad things happen to them and refusing to live in spite of it.

Seven Signs That You Need to Read Another Book

YES, this is love:)

Bethany House Fiction

Readers, we face a dilemma: not everyone understands our love for books. You know it’s true. There are those skeptics who will look askance at the piles of books on our coffee tables and say things like, “Didn’t you just finish a novel by that author?” or “Don’t you think you have enough books already?”

too many books

In case you have experienced this, you might be wondering if you really need to start another book. Well, I’m here to help. Here’s a handy list to help you evaluate that very question.

You know it’s time for you to read another book if…

One: The last book you read ended too soon. Or if it ended sadly or—hopefully not too often—throw-it-across-the-room badly. Or if it ended on a cliffhanger and the sequel isn’t coming out for a year. Or if it ended at all.

Two: There is housework to be done. As anyone…

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How “Junk Mail” Changed My Life.

In December of this year, something new is about to happen in my life. If everything goes according to plan, I’m off on a missionary team to Thailand and Cambodia. That’s new for me, and very different from what I’m used to. Consider a girl who used to be so afraid of herself that she wanted to do whatever it took to keep herself bound. Yup, that’s how it USED to be. That’s before I realized the power that I possessed inside of me from God Himself. The amount of power that was necessary to combat my fears was the amount that I held inside, I was just completely unaware of it.

So how did that girl who was scared almost every time she stepped out of her house get to be this girl who is all in for going to Thailand and Cambodia? Great question. I’ve traced this answer back to a day two or three years ago when I was sitting on the couch in my house sorting out advertisement cards that came in an envelope for homeschoolers.
Out of all the cards, the one that struck me as most interesting was: buy one “Christian Heroes Then and Now” book, get one for free, no shipping. These books were about famous missionaries, and the proceeds even went to helping fund missionaries. These were YWAM (Youth With A Mission) books, and my mom approved.

I read those two books and wanted more. I didn’t end up getting more until the next year, but they seemed to change my life. I knew I was being called into missions, but I figured I’d just do it after I grew up and had a family so that I would be settled before I left the country.

In 2012 my mom passed away all of a sudden, and if you either know me or have read my other blogs, you know that it was super hard to lose her. You are also likely aware of how upset I was and how I thought that I would die without her. And the long complicated story can be summed up to me one month later, walking into a house that was about to slowly become my new home, and gaining a new family. This was a breakthrough. Everything inside me said not to go there. Everything but a still small voice that said, “Trust Me.”
At the time I began slowly transitioning to becoming a member of the family, Sara, my new sister, had just went away to do a school at YWAM Los Angeles. So I got to know the family pretty well before I met Sara. God was moving a lot in my life, because He slowly began to remove fears that I had always held onto growing up. It seemed that more and more often I was given opportunities to go to different places I had never been to because of fear. Places that were more than half an hour away seemed to far to go, but I knew I should be willing to conquer fear if I wanted God to make use of my life.

For a time, I was completely unaware of the power that God has, as well as the power that we have as Christians. If the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives inside of me (see Romans 8:11), I should be taking a stand against fear and anything else that is ruining my life because I want to, I can, and God is glorified.

I met Sara in July, when she came back from YWAM. I hadn’t known her beforehand and so when I was told she’d changed, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. She told me a lot about YWAM, and how great it was to do a DTS. In October, I believe it was when some of her friends that she had met there came to our house to visit. They all would talk about how great YWAM was and how God did incredible things in their lives during their DTS. I wanted to do it. But I honestly resolved in my head not to do it, because it was too unknown. It was too scary.

I said I’d pray about it, and I did.

A couple months later, Sara asked if I’d prayed about going. I ,of course, had, but I hadn’t really seriously considered it as an option. I prayed without even checking the campus out online and seeing what was offered. So I decided to go on the website so I would actually know if I felt God calling me to the school or not. I found out that there were a couple more schools at the base than the Winter DTS my sister attended. The Justice DTS is the one that truly spoke to my heart more than anything else. This is where God has called me; this is where I am.

I’ve been here since September 13th and I have seen God move. Everything that was told to me by other people seemed legit and real, and was clearly real and obvious in their lives, but it wasn’t real in mine. I knew God wanted me here for different reasons, and the number one might’ve just been so I could know Him better, which is very important (John 17:3: And this is the way to have eternal life–to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.).

I know that God has called me here, and it is life changing. Before now, I wasn’t sure of a lot of things about God, but now I’m sure. I know I still have a lot to learn, but when I get back home, there are many things I can see myself doing by the power of God that I was never previously able to comprehend doing. Like initiating conversations, making more time for God and treasuring every moment.

This is the work that God is doing in my life through Justice DTS. Praise God.

“And the sunbeams clasp the earth. And the moonbeams kiss the sea. What are all these kissings worth if you kiss not me?”-Percy Shelley

Four Great Father’s Day Movies

(Author’s note: Originally posted on Yahoo Voices, which closed down in July 2014)

Father’s Day is a great time of year to watch movies with your dad. Many times, the hardest part of this process is finding the right movies. Here are a few movie picks that should be loads of entertainment for you and your father.

#1 Grace Unplugged (2013)

Grace is an 18-year-old whose father is an ex pop singer with one hit under his belt from many years ago. He has become a Christian, turned from drugs, and now he and Grace lead worship at their church. Grace pursues a singing gig that requires her to leave the state, and sing mainstream songs against her father’s wishes.

This movie is realistic and shows how fatherhood is not easy, but something that creates a forever bond between a man and his child.

#2 Everybody ‘s Fine (2009)

In this story, a father, played by Robert De Niro, travels different states to each of his grown children’s houses. He asks each of his children if they are happy, and they say they are, but something seems off. One son isn’t home when he visits, and his children have to learn the importance of telling the truth.

This movie is a nice pick that points to the importance of honest communication in family. A great film to watch with your dad, on any occasion.

#3 The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

A father struggles to find a way to take care of his son, with the job of selling medical products that very few people want. He goes on a journey, in search of something that will make him happy. He wonders if happiness is an illusion, and tries to find a better childhood for his son than he had. Based on a true story.

This relates to fathers who have had to sacrifice things that were important to them for the sake of their children.

#4 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

The story of a lawyer named Atticus Finch and his son and daughter. This classic movie was based on the classic book by Harper Lee. Atticus proves that he is a good single dad; from shooting a rabid dog, to talking nicely to a rude old woman. This movie is great for opening eyes to what the south was like over 50 years ago.

It’s wonderful for you and your dad to see, because it focuses on being a man of honor and dignity, even when everyone else disagrees with you. There is something any person can take away from this movie.

Does God Give Answers to Our Prayers?

(Author’s note: Originally published on Yahoo Voices, which closed down in July 2014)

God answers prayer, and it’s sometimes in ways that we never expected. One of the things that comes as a surprise to some people is that God doesn’t always say, “Yes,” when He answers your prayer. Sometimes He says, “No.” Here are some things to think about the next time you go before His throne.

God is a Good God

We as humans aren’t naturally good, but God is naturally good. When we ask Him to give us a specific answer to our prayers, and He says, “No,” it’s because He has a plan that is better than our own. God knows the future, and to be honest, some of the things that I expect from Him are at the top of my list one day, and the bottom of my list the next.

At Least it’s a Good “No.”

Why do we often look at God’s “no” as if He says it to punish us, when He actually does it for our ultimate good?

A couple of years ago, my mom was in the hospital due to pneumonia and a heart attack. She could barely breathe when she got there, but the doctors managed to help her get her blood pressure down to a normal level, and helped her get her healthy breathing back.

Our family prayed for Mom. The next couple days we talked to the doctors on the phone, and they kept saying she was doing great. But then a call came in that she was struggling to breath. I went to the hospital with my grandparents, and when we got there, they told us she had passed away. She was 50. God had told us, “No,” but He didn’t stop writing our stories there.

Yes and No: Both Answers Can Benefit Us.

At the time of something tragic, it’s hard to even think that God is going to work it out for good, let alone believe it. But just because He says, “No,” it doesn’t mean He’s mad at you, or that your prayers are faulty. It’s because He has a better plan that isn’t visible to you yet. When you’re walking somewhere, you can’t always see the destination up ahead, but you’ll still get there if you persevere. It’s the same with God’s perfect plan for your life.

After a month, I was already starting to see God’s plan unfold before my eyes. He heard my cry and answered with a, “yes” to my prayer for someone I could love like my mom. He even went further than that, and changed my whole life through relationships with people I never would have known if my mom was still here. And the greatest thing that came out of this, is that Mom is in Heaven with Jesus; her dream has come true. Never underestimate the power of God.