February 17, 2014


The past month and a half has been overwhelmingly challenging for me.  It has been one bad thing after another.  I hinted it at it a bit in a previous post.  (February has not been any better, unfortunately) And while I won't go into details here (some things just need to stay private), I've realized once again that it is the hard times, the extremely stressful and overwhelming times that I see Christ most clearly and feel His almost tangible presence.

I feel so blessed to have had a truly intimate time with the Lord over these last few weeks.  It's something that I had been praying about all of last year.  Last year was spiritually quiet for me overall.  Have you ever had times like that?  You are doing everything that you should be like reading the Word and going to church and attending Bible studies and praying and all those lists of things that are "the things" to do.  But God still seems far and there is this wall that seemingly in between the two of you.  It's frustrating.  You begin to doubt God and ask questions.  There is no big life altering "thing", just a constant feeling of disconnect.

I've gone through periods of life like this before.  It can be so disheartening.  Most of the time I can look back and see that God was trying to get my attention.  He was pointing out some sin that I had not acknowledged.  I am always thankful that He is so patient and merciful towards me.

I have been doing a Bible study with the ladies at my church that I just know the Lord planned at exactly the right time.  There are multiple checklists of things to evaluate yourself and see where you are in your relationship with Christ.  So many things that reveal my prideful heart and sinful nature.  So many things that I must confess and ask forgiveness for.  It's continual and feels so very exactly what I need at this time.

Aren't you thankful for a God who loves you enough not to leave you where you are, but constantly whispers to your heart that He has more for you, if you will only take His hand and follow?  He reminds me to be courageous and fear not over and over (also doing a study in Joshua with my camp girls).  How amazing to be loved like that?!

I am constantly reminded that just because I work in ministry full time, in no way (NO WAY) means that I have all the answers, nor do I have a perfect relationship with God.  I struggle.  I fall flat on my face.  And I get back up and again and again and reach out to take His out-stretched hand once again, squeezing it tight and looking up into His face with tear filled eyes.  This walk with Christ is messy and hard and so exactly where I want to be because He loves His messy kids.  He LOVES them.

And that is worth all the mess and hard times, isn't it?!

February 15, 2014

Sundance 2014

(still never seen a film at this theater, but it's just too pretty not to walk by at least once)

My Sundance Film Festival 2014 trip was quite a fiasco and a bit of a long story...

I bought plane tickets to Salt Lake City way back in July of 2013.  They were super cheap and I immediately began getting excited about my third trip to the festival.  My brother works for the Sundance Institute and lives in SLC.  This is why, after years of dreaming about attending the festival, I have been able to go 3 times now.  He and I have been big movie nerds since birth basically.  

It doesn't disappoint.  Ever.  If you love movies and filmmakers, then you must try to go at least once.  Don't be discouraged by the crazy high prices of ticket packages and long lists of films.  To me, it's similar to a trip to Disney World, in that you can choose to make it as expensive and overwhelming as you want it to be.  The fact that I have been able to go 3 times now on a very limited budget should give you some encouragement.  It's possible on many different budgets.

Anyway, the fiasco came when we (my roommate and I were going together) were scammed out of our place to stay about 2 weeks before the festival began.  It was a big, old, ugly mess.  We lost hundreds of dollars and she ended up not being able to go after all.  I decided at the last minute that I was going to go anyway.  I finally decided "it's just money" (one of my mom's favorite sayings when things end up being more expensive but worth it) and I didn't want to lose the chance to go to the festival and spend a few days with my brother.  I changed my flight to come back earlier that I had planned (more money...cough...cough) and just went.  And I'm so glad I did.

(the brother got me fancy credentials this year)

I stayed at his house in Salt Lake City (for free) and he graciously let me use his car the entire time I was there (for free) and use his parking pass (for free).  Do you see a trend here?  My brother is awful sweet.  He had also bought me a bunch of tickets as Christmas presents so I only paid for one movie the entire time I was there.

It's not the way I had dreamed I would spend my time there.  There was a lot more driving.  Salt Lake is about 45 minutes from Park City where the festival is held.  But I got to go.  The movies were everywhere.  The snowy mountains were just as spectacular.

(on the highway headed back down to SLC)

There were celebrities every where.  Main Street was like a who's-who of TV and film stars on Saturday afternoon.  I must admit that I have way too much fun just walking up and down the sidewalks and inwardly freaking out as Elijah Wood and William H. Macy and Hurly from "Lost" walked right by me.

(quaint little Main St. jam packed on opening weekend.)

I got to see 2 fantastic movies.  One "okay" movie and one awful movie in the 3.5 days I was there.  That's like a perfect festival experience in a nutshell.  You have to see at least on awful one to truly appreciate the festival, in my opinion.

The awful one was highlighted only by the director during his introduction and Q&A at the end.  Oh and seeing Jesse Eisenberg, who is a shorty like me.  The director was hilarious.  I could have listened to him talk for an hour and a half instead.

The two good ones were Last Days in Vietnam and I, Origins.  Both equally fantastic for completely different reasons.  They are the kind of movies that make you love movies and stories and the art of film.

Last Days was a superbly, well done documentary that made me tear up about 15 times and Q&A that gave everyone in the theater (including Rob Reiner and Wayne Newton) goosebumps.  Highly recommend it.  One of the best doc's I've seen in years. It's about the last few days that Americans were in Vietnam after almost all of the soldiers had been pulled out.  So emotional.

I, Origins was on the must list for me and The Brother because the director had made one of our favorite festival films a few years ago, Another Earth.  I, Origins didn't disappoint.  Mike Cahill has such a lovely, distinctive voice in film with such fantastic, original sci-fi ideas.  And I've become a huge fan of Brit Marling.  She is mesmerizing to watch on screen. Oh, and Steven Yeun was in the film AND at the Q&A.  Since I'm a big Walking Dead fan, you can bet I was freaking out.  He was adorable, taking photos of the audience and just genuinely excited to be there and involved with this director that he really loved.

The "okay" movie was most likely ruined by my ridiculously high expectations.  I'm a big Zach Braff fan.  I Kickstarted this particular movie because I had such high hopes that it would turn out as fantastic as Garden State did (a personal all time favorite).  And while it was beyond exciting to see it and be in the same room/just a few feet away from Zach (and Donald!), the movie just wasn't that great.  There were great moments and the soundtrack will definitely go into my collection when it is released, but the movie was a little too long and jumbled for me.  Oh well.  The experience was worth it.  So fun to be involved from the beginning through Kickstarter and see all the behind the scenes videos and then be there for the big premiere.  That was super fun.

There are lots of other fun things like the beautiful town of Park City being all snow-covered, yet perfect temperatures for walking around outside.  The always entertaining (and free!) public transit bus system that is so much fun to use.  The time I saw Jerry from Parks and Rec across the street happily taking photos with people and being sweet and charming.  The new waitlist system that could be so frustrating because it was all done by the Sundance app this year.  The times I held my brothers laptop while standing in lines for movies, so he could work even though he was supposed to be "off".  The half-pipe events going on in Park City at the same time as the Festival creating a traffic nightmare on Saturday night.

It was a fun time, albeit quick.  I'm so glad that I decided just to go for it.  And thanks to my brother for hooking me up with all the freebies.

Here's a few more pics....

(the view from The Brother's Sundance condo)

(Sunrise at the bus stop.  8:30AM movies meant early wake-up calls to leave SLC in time to get to the movie line by 8AM)

(Zach Braff and cast at the Q&A.  You can see the back of Goldie Hawn's blond hair in the middle section near the isle.  She was there supporting Kate who was Zach's wife in the movie)

(arriving in Park City just as the sun came up and the moon said goodbye)

(a blurry Steven Yeun [because I was so excited] and the crazy/cool Mike Cahill talking to his cast)

(the best Sundance weather I've experienced.  cold and snowy and beautiful)

February 02, 2014

January happy moments

(Wind from the Sea by Andrew Wyeth - hanging in the National Gallery of Art)

January is over.
I must say that I am very, very glad to see it go.
Restart that monthly clock, please.

January was full to the brim of moments that were just...well...not good.
Big not-so-good things and little annoyances that added up rather ridiculously.
A friend was saying that he found himself muttering "I could have done without that" way too many times in the last 30 days.

I tend to lean strongly to the pessimist side.
VERY strongly.
It is something I am really trying to work on.
No one wants to be around a Debbie Downer; am I right?!

So in claiming joy and positivity over grumpiness,
here are a few things that are happy from this month...

This video that was posted by someone I follow on Twitter. I think I watched it about 25 times in a row.

I definitely do NOT agree that Harry should have married Hermonie.  I think Ron is good for her.  She needs someone happy and carefree to balance her out.  And I love that Harry and Hermione were just friends.  I think Harry probably changed a lot after the whole Voldemort battle was over.  Ginny was a good match for him.  Kind, easy going, brave and strong.  Plus, they all ended up family and that's much better.  Sorry, J.K.

It was Big Block of Cheese Day on Wednesday.  And I had just watched those West Wing episodes last week.  It was like my TV world was coming to life.  And that was awesome.

Not too sure how I'm feeling about the trailer for The Fault in Our Stars.  I loved the book and am nervous the movie won't have the same somber yet joyful tone.  But I really love Shailene Woodley, so at least there's that.

My whirlwind trip to Sundance.  I suppose I should at least post a tiny bit about that.  It was so very nice to spend a weekend with my brother even if it was rushed and not exactly what I had planned.

I am loving every single minute of journalling every day.  I actually look forward to it.  It doesn't feel like a chore.

New episodes of Downton Abbey AND Sherlock.  Yes.

I'm in the middle of two Bible studies right and loving having lots of "Bible homework".  God is really using it to wake me up and refresh my soul after a long dry time.  So very thankful that He is patient with me.

Oh, and I posted more about my CA road trip.  You can read about it here.