Giving Art

writing

I really want you to know my art is my soul. If I give you a painting I’m giving you a piece of solid love. A story created for you is my heart forming words solely for you. A sculpture, a gift, a puppet, or jewelry are 3D versions of pieces of my soul given to the ones I love.

So if you give me your art I see your heart, or love, or soul intertwined in it. I see your love in art, and I am truly grateful that you trust me with it.

Art means a lot to me. I believe just like love, art should be spread around and given out. We should cherish it not only for its physical beauty, but what is behind it.

My Ring

writing

I started to wear a band on my ring finger of my right hand. It is a spinning ring with the following inscribed on the outside, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ” Inside it says, “Philippians 4:13” and “forgiven.”

I almost didn’t get it. I don’t wear jewelry on a regular basis and it’s pretty plan. It’s just a shiny silver band with a slightly less shiny spinning piece on top. That is it. There are no flowers, hearts, crosses, or faces. There is no quirkiness to this ring.

Still I got it as a reminder that God is with me and he is my strength. I also got it as a symbol that I will live my life fully for him.

I ordered it from Amazon in  a size I thought would fit and was really happy when it had arrived. I’m sure you realize by that wording, it did not fit. It was too small. I learned that day that you should not try to it a spinning ring on a finger if the ring is too small. It does not matter how excited and happy you are to have the ring. Do not force it to go on. I did not have fun trying to twist off the ring with it spinning instead.

I returned it and got a size bigger. This was a good thing, so even though it’s a bit big, even though it’s a bit plan, and even though I do not normally wear jewelry there has not been a day that I haven’t put this ring on.

I wear it as a reminder each day that God is with me and that I can lean on him.It’s also great as a fidget tool, so that I can focus on the ring instead of nerves or loosing my train of thought.

It is true that I don’t normally wear jewelry, but this ring goes on when my glasses do and stays on all day. It is becoming as needed as my glasses, too. It calms me and reminds me of my strength.

Thank you for reading and that is all about my ring.

Elevation

elevation

After my layover chat with the Mormons I realized I never write in detail about my church. I love it yet I’ve never wrote about it. It is so unique, authentic and loving that I believe our story should be told.

The story of Elevation has to start with the pastor, Chuckk (yes, spell check it has 2 k’s). I believe his openness to share his past, personality, and love is the reason everyone involved with the church feels safe to share and be themselves. It is a beautiful thing when a group of people can be authentically themselves as they journey towards a personal relationship with God the creator.

When there are no wall or barriers to break through you can then start to learn and grow with people on the same journey as you.

Chuckk’s wife, Andrea, of course needs to be spoken about. She is there every week setting up environment and loving people. She is encouraging and a strong Christian woman. She has become my mentor and one of the ladies who I look up to. She leads by example and makes sure everyone feels welcomed into our church.

I could go on about ever single person that is important to the church but that would fill a book and I am not up for that right now. I would most likely forget to mention the middle school leader or the grumpy guitarist. I’ll just leave talking about each awesome person for another post. Or maybe it would be another series.

I really want to focus on what makes Elevation, Elevation.  The people are what is important and what gives Elevation the unique feeling but that is not the only thing. People where I start when I think about Elevation.

We believe that Church is not about the building or even the weekly service. The Church is the people who make up the community of believers we hang out with. And most do hang out either after service, during the week, or at random events. It seems like lately there are a bunch of events that people are going to and inviting other members. Elevation also organizes events, because we know that there is only so much that can be learned from Chuckk and it takes community to really grow and help others grow.

We do have service each week which is important. This is where we can worship and learn about God from a smart dude who very obviously knows God and has a deep relationship with him.

We also get to express our love for God through music which, Jeremy leads. He is also a pretty great dude. I mean he was willing to leave his home in Colorado to move to an un-churched area for the worship leader position that can only pay him as a part-time position. If that isn’t trusting God I’m not positive what is. HE also has a wonderful talent for finding great musicians.

The skill of musical people and other creative people are part of the culture of Elevation. This is also one reason I fit into this church. We are weird creative people who love God.

The mission statement of Elevation is, “Elevation exists to worship God, reach the unconvinced and together grow to be more like Jesus.” The 7 guiding values are, “Scripture-centric Teaching, Cultural Relevance, Missional Living, Engaging Worship, Authentic Community, Transformed Lives, and Focused Simplicity”

Oh yeah and we must be cool because we meet at a night club/ bar. You see we believe the actual locations doesn’t matter. We just need a space to meet in regularly. Plus, more people may feel alright going to a night club and not a cathedral or other church building.

For more information about my amazing Church you can go to Elevation’s website.

Let me know if you have any questions about Elevation or church in general; and all feedback is welcomed.

Meeting Mormons

I met 3 Mormon missionaries during my layover in LA, while I was going to Virginia on my family vacation. They were going home after being on a mission for 2 years in LA. I wasn’t going to talk to them. I figured that since… well they are Mormons and that seems like a large ritualistic church with unfamiliar believes.

Still I did talk to them and it was a good conversation. We talked about how Jesus is Lord and savior, the importance of the Bible and relationship verses  religious rules.

We even talked about what is done during their missions and what I’ve done when I went on a mission trip.

At first it seemed like we were trying to convert each  other and explain how our way of doing it was better. LEaving though I realized that as long as our hearts are pointing towards a growing relationship with God, focus on learning the Bible and believe we cannot save ourselves (it takes the creator to fix his broken creation) then isn’t that the same? I know there are differences and I know they have an entirely other book that they use, but talking with them it seemed like a weird addition.

They did give me a copy of the Book of Mormon and I am going to at least look through it. If I find anything that pulls me away from my relationship with Jesus then I will put the book down and write about it.

Don’t worry though Jesus and God’s love comes first.

I am curious to learn what they believe and how it differs from only believing and reading the Bible.

After they boarded their flight I had a bunch of other questions for them. I might as well ask them here right?

1.)Sister Scott mentioned that she was raised and taught by her church and prayed for a relationship with God. It appeared to me that it seemed like a struggle of conformity and not a desire for relationship. My question to the 3 I meant is: Have you met or know of anyone who felt like God was pursuing them?

2.)This actually ties into question 1. While on the mission trip did you see any fruits, such as someone converting/ choosing a life focused on Jesus, a growing sense of peace, patience, love, kindness, or self-control?

3.)Going off the mission trip question. How does your life at home differ from being on the mission field? Do you act/ behave the same and still focus on the mission to grow your relationship with Jesus and become like him?

4.) Is a 2 year mission trip a mandate for a system within the Mormon church or just appears to be? Also, is the placement forced or if you feel led to a certain area of the world can you set up a mission trip there?

5.) Finally, Why was it sister Scott and elder Hash (I think that was one of the names)? Shouldn’t both genders be elders or men be brothers?

Please, know that I am asking out of curiosity and because the questions came to me after our conversation. That being said I hope you read the questions and write-up as a loving pondering from a human that does not know Mormonism, but  does loves the God of the Bible.

UPDATE: Okay, so I didn’t even publish this, but instead of re-writing everything I will put this note down here. I had given the missionaries my card, because sister Scott and the elders seemed pretty cool. I was thinking that we would have an open conversation or at least an email. My card also has my website on it, so hey maybe one of them would read it or look at least. Instead I guess she gave it to someone at her church. My curiosity was smashed by that. That made it seem like I was actually just a number to her. I did not give her permission to give my number away and that erased the good conversation about relationships. It also makes the Mormon church look like a machine rather than a place where relationships are important.

I am still curious about my questions though, so if any one knows any answers please let me know. If not, oh well.

Tomorrow’s post will be about how I do church and my church, that I love and never feel like a number.

Guarding The Ladder.

Otis 004Do not let the picture above fool you. Otis is not an ordinary cat.  He is a fierce feline focused on protecting the one who feeds him. He bravely takes on this role every night. What is this hero of a cat protecting me from? Well, I am actually not entirely sure, but it may be from falling off my bed, or it could be the window. Whatever the danger he protects me from it every single night.

Let me explain how he protects me. His heroism primarily entails walking the perimeter of my bed, making sure that the only exit from the loft bed is still the ladder. He then makes sure that I am safe by sniffing my face. Finally he is ready to buckle down in his post. He stretches out as he lies down right at the opening for the ladder. He will bravely stay at his post keeping watch, unless he falls asleep, until my morning alarm goes off. Most days he will even stay pass the alarm going off and it will take me nearly throwing him down the ladder for him to move.

Now, since I am the one being protected I cannot be the first one out of the bed. He cannot and will not simply move aside. He needs to clear the area or at least the ladder. He makes his safety check by climbing down part way, stopping at the window for  a moment, and then going out the window onto the roof.

His reward for being brave and protecting me all night is his breakfast that I pour him usually while I am still asleep.

At least, that is what I am telling myself. In all honesty he most likely is just being a butt and blocking the ladder, because he knows it annoys me. I will keep trying to convince myself that he is protecting me, because murdering a cat is frowned upon.

 

My End Goals And Dreams

dreamer

I mentioned in this week’s DreamWard Bound post that I was going to sit down and revise not only my goals but my dreams or end goals. I wanted to start from scratch and figure out where I actually want to go from where I am.

I have done this at least one other time and I do not believe I shared the entire thing that I wrote about my goals and dreams. I have big dreams and sometimes I wonder if I share them if that will hurt my  chances of getting them. Well, more and more I am realizing that dreams are just goals without actionable steps being taken. My dreams might be larger than my life, but I do have small steps to walk towards them. I am creating goals for my life to bring me to my dreams.

Since my ideas of dreams and goals have changed, I would like to share with you my end goal and what I imagine my perfect life to be. I am not saying that my life will be perfect. It will just be perfectly suited for me. I know there will be hard times and sacrifices that I must make along the way, but it will be worth it.

Here you go.

Goals and Dreams:

Where do I start? In my dreams I am a happy artist.

My main focus is writing and acting. I wake up early most days and work long hours when I am on set. I am warm and friendly to both cast and crew. People Enjoy working with me. I work on either faith-based of sci-fi/ fantasy based movies or television shows portraying strong women, dorky side kicks, independent women or other roles that break false images of women or Christians. My main focus with acting is to shine the light of God’s love and the strength he gives his daughters. I want mainstream media to stop putting down or giving a false image of Christian women.

I want to be a part of a movement where we bring Christian morals back to entertainment and art. I want to help people see that Christianity is about loving each other and God’s love. I want to show and teach people that religion for religion’s sake is wrong, but a loving relationship with God is the way to live. He is the one who can save the world and he is the reason for love. Jesus came to the world not to condemn it but to save it and the world should know that. I want to help the world learn that kind of love.

Sorry for that little rant. Let me continue with the other areas of my future life.

I have a fan base that feels comfortable around me and who I actually help. They find support along with a distant friend in me.

I am more than an actor though. I also write and publish books. I have my blog, but my books are my main writing focus and means of income as far as writing is concerned.

I also work towards crossing 1 item off my bucket list each year.

When I am not writing or acting I want to be training BJJ or even another martial art. I want to be able to learn from every aspect of my life and use it towards acting, writing or any other art form I may take up. BJJ helps me prepare for fight scenes and give me confidence and friendship. My end goal with BJJ is to be physically healthy, able to protect myself, and perhaps even become a black belt.

For my family I imagine that I am close and talk often to both my real family and my church family. I know that they will always be there for me and they support me the best way they can. I want to be able to support them also with the needs they have. I also want to become as open as possible with each and every family member, creating relationships with no walls.

I know that I can do all this because I am focused on God. He is the only way that I will stay on track. I will grow my relationship with him daily either by prayer, podcasts, books, sermons, audio-books or conversations directed towards God.

My goals that I have are as follows:

Spiritual: In order to focus on God more fully I will not watch tv or YouTube, unless with friends or it’s teaching on God, for the next 3 months (until September 13th) and with that extra time I will listen to a podcast or read a Biblical based book. This time will be focused on growing my understanding about God and exploring where he might be leading me.

 Relationship: I will tell one person that I love them every day for the next month (until July 13th) and try to start a conversation with them. I am doing this to strengthen my relationships and spread my love.

Physical: I am going to train BJJ at least 3 days and do bed-room workouts 2 other days every week. In addition I am going to eat 1 organic meal a week and at least 1 healthy meal every day. I will do this for the next month (until July 13th).

Editing: I will spend 30 hrs in the next 30 days editing my book (July 13th), keeping in mind that my new deadline for the second draft is November 1st.

Acting/ Writing: I will write 1 monologue a week and record at least 1 monologue a month. I will post every monologue that I record to YouTube to help grow my audience and receive feedback. I will do this for 3 months (until September 13th).

My Challenge To Myself

success

Yes, I usually use this picture for my DreamWard Bound posts, but I felt it fits this post. I have a challenge that I challenged myself to and I accepted that challenge. This challenge is to create an exercise routine that I can do everyday for 100 days.

I got this idea from a friend at work who is doing a 100 day challenge for herself. She has her 15 minute routine that she does every day. She found this “century” challenge first from a sword fighting challenge she heard of or did. It was basically 100 strikes for 100 days. She took the idea and made it into a workout challenge.

I am now taking that idea and making it my own.

Now I usually am on the go, so I might not get to do this all at once. However, I need to make sure I do it all.

Here is my challenge.

  • 10 Squats (and hold for 10 seconds after)
  • 10 Russian Twists
  • 10 push ups (hold in plank for 10 seconds after)
  • 10 crunches
  • 10 shrimp/ hip escapes (each side)
  • 10 hip switches
  • 10 shoulder rolls
  • 20 bicycles
  • 10 leg lifts
  • 10 Cross-body mountain Climber (That may not be the name, but I know what it means)

If you want to know more information about these exercise, please let me know. I may still expand on the exercises, but that is the list so far.

The catch with this challenge is that I will do these exercises for 100 days and if I miss a day I will reset the day count. This means if I am at day 66 and miss a day I reset the day count, so the next day I will be at day 0 or 1 depending if I actually workout.

The only exception to the set back day count is my class days. I want to be able to focus all my energy on the training and class. Plus, I will be doing more than 10 sets of most of these exercise during class.

After the 100 days I will increase the exercise numbers and do another 100 days.

I will also be keeping or trying to keep a log of my challenge. I am not sure how I will do this, but will be keeping track some where, some how. Stay tuned for the log of the challenge.

Finally, let me know if you are taking this challenge too.

Realization

success

I’m realizing I want to be an actor, but I cannot not be an author. I will write even if no one reads. I will create stories even if a pen and paper are not near. Characters come into my mind and I see stories without trying. The only real hard part with writing is getting everything written so that others can understand the things I find beautiful.

That is why this year I will be focusing on my writing. I will still try to post videos, but acting and media will be on the C/ last tier of goals. Writing either this blogs or my novel will be A/ first tier and the most important goals this year.

I want to get this draft done and polish my novel up to get editors or friends to give me their input. Plus, the deadline for this draft that I set for myself is fast approaching.

As it stands now God and my family (both blood and tribe) are the two most important things.  I’m going to be trying to find different more effective ways to connect with them this year and build stronger relationships. I haven’t written that down all nicely, though.

Next will be my Novel, which means I may not get all five posts published every week. I will try hard to do that, but my main focus will be the whole reason why I write as much as I do. I want to get better and get a book I wrote into readers hands. I don’t care about having a publisher’s stamp of approval now. I just want people to read my stuff.

And I would love people to read my book. I love the story and characters. I just hope the people who will read the book, well books (it is a series), will love them just as much. I mean I see them so clearly and the story is so real to me, but I’m still making it readable and well written.

Well, that was a bit of a ramble.  Basically what I’m saying is I will be writing more and acting less. Acting will go on the back burner until I finish editing my book. I need to focus on one dream/ goal at a time.

Starting Evaluation for BJJ

220px-BJJ_White_Belt.svg

I have read 3 books on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) in the past week or so. They were all aimed towards white belts and were all introductions to the sport.  In every book they talked about how much they learned and changed, while being a white belt.

I have decided to do a self-evaluation for each belt. I am starting this before I even have my gi (the sport’s uniform). I have had two classes and fell in love with this sport, which is a first. Besides dance I have not found any physical activity that I would think of doing on a regular basis.

There is just something about going into a class knowing nothing, jumping in and finding that everyone in the class is willing and able to help everyone else learn. It is a team of sorts, only the teammates are trying to test their other teammates joints, strength, and abilities.

Now, here is where I am starting. I am 180 lbs, with a little stomach and I would say on the border of hourglass and full figure. At least that is how I see myself. I will be taking a picture to compare new white belt self with my blue belt self once I actually have my gi.

I started BJJ for self-defense and as a workout. I nearly passed out the first class I took, which made me realize I do need to have a group workout because I do not push myself when it is just myself.

After my first class I came back because of the community, new art form, new way of moving my body, and found a new journey that will last my entire life. I am excited for this journey as I am sure you can tell if you read my other posts. I will leave a list of the different writing I have written, so far on BJJ.

I am just starting out but I have learned a few things. The most important thing I feel I have learned is the fact that I can do BJJ. I have also learned what to look for in a gi, of course that was mostly online research and not in a class. Still I did learn how to shop for a gi. Another thing I learned in BJJ is that fighting and fighting sports does not mean injury. Actually if you are training you don’t want injury either to yourself or your partner. Finally I learned that BJJ is a community and team sport that focuses on everyone improving techniques and welcoming any one will to learn in.

That is what I have learned so far. I am sure I will be learning more and more as the weeks and months go on. Now here is what I have written so far about BJJ.

Start of a Journey.

Pain So Good (A Poem)

Rush (A Poem)

Crush

writing

I do have a crush. It is a crush with the knowledge that the name of it is coming. Like an attack on my heart temporarily wounding my soul.

If there were real dating leagues he would be one higher than mine. If you write him on paper he would be the perfect of husband material. I could ignore the league and rip the paper. Yet, I cannot ignore the melting of my heart when he smiles.

I want to be safe in his arms, nuzzling close to his heart. I want to invite him into my world to see the serious turn silly, which I’ve seen glimpses of. I want to join his world and learn how strength feels.

I would invite him, let him know that my heart skips a beat when I see him; tell him that his smile melts my heart. I would tell him anything and everything, except my insecurities creep up. The voice I promised myself I would ignore shouts that he is on a pedestal to high for me to get. The voice of my insecurities and fear yells that I am not worth his love and I think him so grand that I believe it. I won’t let him decide how he feels. I will wait until I can’t take the waiting, worrying and fame of what ifs, become more than I can bear. One I am convinced one way or the other I will buckle down and confess in a way that does really give him a real choice. That is when my heart will be crushed and my feelings will bleed with salt water from my eyes.

Yes,  my heart will be crushed or maybe there is another way. Perhaps this time will be different. I don’t know how to flirt or read subtle signs, but I can be bold. I can ask for advice.  I can request help in understanding my real options. There is a way to be open in the middle of my fear.

I will try this time and if my heart is crushed than my friends can help me glue it back together. Yes, I will go into battle to fill my heart’s desire with a medical kit if it breaks.