Thankfulness in the midst of everything going wrong

God spends more time humbling me than I like to admit. These past few days have not been easy ones. Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. This morning I felt so dejected and frustrated with the impossibility of all the wrong things happening. But this whole time God has been brutally- though lovingly- showing me that the things I want aren’t always what I need.

I am ashamed at how consumed I can be with petty issues. I am constantly reminded how unlike Jesus I am. This week, I have been beyond ungrateful. But thankfully, I serve a God who chased after me in the midst of my wandering, and continues to do so. I can’t begin to describe what it feels like to know that I am loved so unconditionally.

He’s proven to me that miracles do happen and renewal is possible and that every bad thing, from the most trivial to the most traumatic, will work out for our good and for His glory. There is so much tragedy and evil in this world. There is so much healing and renewal in this world too.

Sadly, we tend to only focus on the tragedy. As I have spent this afternoon and evening baking and preparing for Thanksgiving tomorrow, I have been convicted deeply of how ungrateful I truly am. I don’t say this to put myself down, but I say this because I spend so little time looking inward to see the brokenness in my soul. It’s why one of my favorite prayers is, “Lord, help my unbelief.”

I then watched this video where the Eagles of Death Metal recount what happened at the Bataclan.  It is painful to listen to. Yet after finishing the video, I have never been so thankful for the fact that I am still breathing. That I will wake up tomorrow and have a happy day with friends. That I am not mourning the loss of a loved one or trying to make sense of experiencing tragedies that so many, in Paris and around the world, are working to make sense of. I will never understand evil. I will never be able to make sense of why I get to sleep safe tonight and others will not. To be honest, I never want to make sense of it- it is senseless by nature. But renewal is the very nature of the Gospel. In everything, God makes things new. You see that evident through the members of Eagles of Death Metal.

I am so thankful for things I can’t begin to describe. I hope to never forget this.

Why movie adaptations of books are a really good idea.

As a future librarian I feel like I might be struck by lightning for that statement. But this realization came to me yesterday as I actively sat on my bed staring at my TV absolutely riveted at the story unfolding in front of me. That story, was Ender’s Game. And before the diehard Ender’s Game fans come to skewer me, let me explain a bit.

I can’t stand reading science fiction. I almost never enjoy the process because science fiction tends to be set in the future and involve technology that doesn’t exist or concepts that are easy to visualize, and I lose the story because I spend most of the book slightly confused and not able to see what I’m reading. There is one sci-fi book I’ve enjoyed which is The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, but even that book I didn’t feel compelled to finish.

On the other hand, I love watching science fiction. I grew up on Star Wars and highly enjoy Doctor Who and starting to get more into Star Trek. I love these stories because I can see them. I have a picture in my head of futuristic technology that I otherwise would not have understood in a book form. Sci-fi is a better visual genre (to me) than literary. By no means does this say that Sci-Fi isn’t good in book form, but it’s less understandable for me.

But.

As I sat watching Ender’s Game yesterday, I was absolutely in awe of the world and circumstances of the story that was unfolding in front of me. The ending surprised me. I wasn’t expecting that ending but it also made me slightly happey because I love literary endings- the ones that aren’t necessarily happy and whole.

More importantly, the moment I finished the movie, I wanted to read the book. And before more Ender’s Game fans skewer me. I am aware that the book is different from the movie. I am aware that some of you absolutely hate the movie and others think that it was okay. But here’s my honest opinion… I don’t really care about your opinion. (Actually my honest opinion was a little more blunt, but I thought I should refrain.)

Ender’s Game (the movie) was very well-made. It took concepts that I hadn’t thought of before and made them real. What this means now, is that when I do read the book, I will be able to picture what before would have frustrated me. I will be able to see the book. I’ve had to learn over the years that it’s really not worth it to get super mad all the time about movie adaptations of books. 

I will say that there are sometimes that it is okay (Ella Enchanted and City of Bones to name a couple), but it’s also important to recognize that these movies are creating opportunities for a person to read a book that they might not have picked originally. Since I haven’t read Ender’s Game yet, I can’t say that this is one of the movies that people shouldn’t get worked up about. But, it wasn’t a waste. It served a purpose. 

And tomorrow I plan on watching it again because even if inaccurate, it’s still a wonderfully made film.

Yeah, hi, I’m going to… um… to write about something

Hello there. 

It’s been awhile. Hasn’t it.

I don’t like posting something that I don’t absolutely feel driven to post here. And lately, every post idea I’ve had feels way too “motivational speechy.” And I don’t want to mislead people here to think that I’m just always full of happy and semi-philosophical thoughts. I’m not. I find that people really cling to the outside of a person without considering that they may be drastically different on the inside. I’m not going to get all philosophical about that. I also can’t spell the word philosophical… both of the previous times had to be fixed but spell check. I also can’t spell Presbyterian that well either (though I did just now). 

But I should say something informative right?

One reason I haven’t felt like writing here is because I have an idea for a book. It terrifies me (in a good way) but it’s been on my mind more than anything. The characters have at least. Though don’t hold your breath for it because for all I know it’ll be crap. It’s also terrifying to think that someone could possibly read it because I find writing to be personally impersonal. At least that’s how I view fiction writing. Everything you write are thoughts that have crossed your mind even though they aren’t necessarily thoughts or convictions you hold. But you’ve thought about them nonetheless.

But I kind of hate writing fiction. At least I can never seem to have the patience to develop a story, or to make the plotline more complex and interesting to avoid being a “cookie cutter” story. So I found a book called “642 Things to Write About.” It’s probably one of the most self-explanatory titles on the planet because it’s a book that has 642 writing prompts. Some of them are a bit personal while others ask you to write about the greatness of sandwiches.

My goodness, you’d be surprised how many words I have misspelled while writing this post.

 

Holding my thoughts.

I think that we are all well aware of the phrase, “Hold your tongue!” I don’t know if everyone else hears that in the voice of an aristocratic elderly British woman or if that’s just me. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of being conscious of what I say. Of not letting my words put others down or negative. I’ve realized, though, that this shouldn’t stop with just what I say. 

If the majority of people could hear a running transcript of my thoughts, I would be utterly ashamed. Though I try to not be mean in my head, it’s not something I succeed at. I have mean thoughts. I have judgmental thoughts. And while it’s honestly not possible to not think something before you think it (that would be paradoxical and a little creepy), I can be more aware of my thoughts and stop negative or judgmental ones from continuing. 

A lot of this trial and error consists of me asking God for forgiveness. I don’t think I’ve ever sat through a church sermon on forgiveness in which the pastor talks about asking for forgiveness for the things we think that are wrong or mean. Sure in the Bible Jesus says that thinking lustfully about someone is committing adultery in your heart (and you hear that a lot in church), but I think that admitting that your thoughts are worse that your actions is a super personal and vulnerable thing. 

I’m really bad at knowing when something is too personal (some of the time). One example is that I don’t really understand the taboo of asking about people’s salaries. I know that some people don’t want to seem like they are better or are embarrassed, but when I want to know, it’s because I have a scientific curiosity- and I say scientific, but I have the tendency to view interactions with others in a very logical and “left-brained” way. 

I think that if we (by “we” I kind of mean Christians) viewed our internal thoughts the same way we viewed verbalizing those thoughts, we would be more honest about our desperate need for saving. And I think that would reflect in our interactions with others even more so than only outwardly seeming like we are being kind or loving… I think the world would notice that difference. 

A blog in which I tear apart a movie.

When I saw the movie Ella Enchanted for the first time, I was appalled. I had loved the book and read it multiple times. It was not a hard story to translate into film and it had a wonderful ending. The movie sucked. Sure Ella had to follow every command someone gave but where did the singing and dancing come from? The talking snake? The droves of screaming girls over Prince Char? And, spoiler alert, her curse wasn’t broken because she had to kill Char and she didn’t. The real story is that he asked her to marry him and she said no… even though she wanted to say yes. That would have been a wonderful movie.

I bring this up for a reason. I thought that movie was awful when compared to the book, but on it’s own- I enjoyed it. It’s cute, and funny. However, that is still not the reason why I bring it up. I bring this up because I just watched The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie.

Now some back story. In high school I came across this book called “The City of Bones.” Instantly I fell in love. It was funny, the characters were interesting, the story was pretty good, and the world around them, oh the world around them was enchanting. Quickly I became a fan and eagerly awaited the series… and still am waiting for the sixth and final book of the series.

Naturally, I was generally excited when I learned that it was being made into a movie. The books have a lot of moments that would translate well onscreen. When I saw what actors were playing the characters, I was slightly disappointed but didn’t want to make any judgements. I saw a trailer… and I became worried. There was little int he trailers that made this movie seem accurate.

Now, when I say accurate, I don’t mean that it has to be word-for-word to the book. It needs the main elements, but most of all the movie must capture the essence of the book. A great example of this is the movie Hugo, based of the book, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick. Sure there were elements that were different between the two, but overall, the movie managed to capture the magic and wonder that the book invokes.

When City of Bones was released, I heard awful things. Reviewers hated it. I don’t put a ton of stock in reviewers, but when the majority hate a movie, there has to be something wrong with it. Then, a good friend of mine saw the movie. I had introduced the books to her and she enjoyed them. She said the movie was horribly inaccurate and I completely lost hope.

Now the movie is on iTunes and because I am impatient, and to be honest, today hasn’t been great, I decided to see for myself how awful this movie really is. If I thought Ella Enchanted was grossly inaccurate then, well, this movie is an abomination. There are a few bright spots though and here they are in list form: 1. Simon- he was one of my favorite characters in the book and I think the actor captured him well; 2. one-liners- the book is full of them and they always made me burst out laughing, thankfully some of them exist in the movie; 3…. I thought I had a third one, but I guess not.

Oh they did have one of my favorite scenes. Here’s a paraphrase:
*Clary and her mom are arguing and Simon bursts into the room.*
Mom: “Jesus!”
Simon: “No, it’s just me.”
End Scene.

Sadly, the rest of the movie did not follow suit. Besides attempting to make the set and the music sound like a Harry Potter ripoff, they made it so that every single creature in existence is after the Mortal Cup (a thing that does a thing… look it up on Wikipedia). Also, Simon gets turned into a RAT at Magnus’ party… he isn’t stolen by the vampires and then strung up in their Hotel Du Mort as bait. (Once again, just look up the synopsis and then enjoy the rant even if you don’t follow it.)

That leads me to another thing. Magnus Bane. He is a warlock and probably my other favorite character (second to Simon) in the book. He’s hilarious and unique and quite colorful. In the movie he’s reduced down to the robot who fills in all the background information so that the audience can find out what’s going on because it wasn’t already obvious. 

Now we get to Clary. Clary is the main character, and like all main characters, she is obliviously gifted and has some legitimately awesome moments in the book. One such moment is when she throw a knife at a werewolf as they’re running to safety and it manages to stick… in the movie adaptation, she asks for a knife so she can throw it at the wolf from three feet away. It’s so anti-climatic that I just wanted to bury my head in the sand. (By the way, this blog post is being written in conjunction with watching the movie. Every time I get overwhelmingly annoyed at the awfulness, I have to pause in and write… I have an hour left at this point.)

So, rather than bore you with longwinded descriptions, here’s the rest of the movie in Tweet form. Use your imagination for the rest:

  • That line was not delivered well.
  • Why must his hair look so awful?
  • There is no portal in the Institute.
  • Now that’s just weird… I know this is fantasy, but…
  • She just put a burning candle on the stairs beside her and turned away.
  • The music is just too obvious.
  • The apple disappeared… I guess it’s okay since they’re eating each others’ faces.
  • This movie has the “Twilight” effect, lines that were so wonderful in the book just aren’t as great said out loud.
  • Poor Simon.
  • Please. Put. Your. Shirt. On. Jace.
  • Apparently Bach was a Shadow Hunter… They pulled that from left field.
  • WHAT. JUST WHAT? I’m so confused… That scene was better in the book.
  • I like his hair better when there isn’t product in it.
  • Valentine’s hair. What is with the random braids. It’s like Padawan gone wrong.
  • Valentine was insane, yes. But he wasn’t psychotic, he was calculating.
  • Really? This is, like, dumb. (This is a direct quote said out loud.)
  • Please people, don’t see this movie. Read the book.
  • I just don’t understand what’s going on and I’ve read this book five times.
  • Apparently demons are Japanese?
  • Now Jace has a block on his mind? He didn’t know who his father was? Is this Star Wars or something? I just, I just… I…
  • This is one hot mess of a movie… But it’s oddly enjoyable in its awfulness.
  • Simon is still wonderful.
  • Well I’ve become more progressively lost that I am beginning to make sentences incoherent.
  • And Clary had an epiphany so we go to slow motion where the weight of the epiphany manifests itself in a blank face. 
  • They really didn’t build that up well enough. 
  • Nooo, this is bad.
  • Horrific, absolutely horrific.
  • Gah! This confrontation was so much better in the book…
  • I give up, I’m so confused, I don’t know what to think. The portal just turned to ice and now it’s not.
  • It’s snowing!
  • This movie sucked all the charm out of the story.
  • I have no good words.
  • Simon saves the ending! He just said the Star Wars line and it didn’t sound bad.
  • NO. JUST NO. SHE IS NOT MAGIC.
  • UGH.

{Now figuratively slamming computer into the wall and throwing my hands up in disgust.)

Well that just happened. 

I slightly kind of really enjoyed how awful that was. 

That moment when your head is about to explode.

I definitely have the mind of a public relations practitioner. I want to be a children’s librarian, but I am not a scholar. I don’t thrive in academia and theory. I prefer to see a problem, learn about it, come up with a plan, and then put it in place. I have one class that just infuriates me because it’s all theory with little practical use for me and the career path I want to take. I feel like  some of my classes are more of a “means to an end” rather than a useful resource.. which is sad because I’m paying for them. 

But I’m mostly ranting because there’s about a month left of school and I hate busywork… of which most of my classes seem to love. Thankfully, though, in just over a week, one of my bestest friends, Kimber, will be visiting for Thanksgiving and I can’t wait. I’m ready to play tourist here in Pittsburgh and to watch iceskating without being looked at like I’m weird. 

However, motivation to get ahead on my homework is severely lacking. I’ve said before that this semester has been a learning curve and the main thing I’ve learned is that I need to get as much done as possible in the front half of the semester. I feel like this post is very boring. That’s because it probably is. Maybe someday soon I’ll have something interesting to say. 

An update and a thank you.

Hello world! 

Today is a beautiful crisp autumn day. Sadly, I must be inside, but I did walk to the Starbuck that was further away, just to get some time outside. I love this weather and I truly can’t believe that it’s already November 11. Where did this time go? This also means that I only have 5 weeks (really I should take Thanksgiving week out, so 4 weeks) until the semester is over and about 7-8 projects and papers left… oh boy. Next semester I’ll be more diligent in getting work done at the beginning of the semester. However, I think I’m on a good track to passing my classes for this semester. 

Since I haven’t posted in awhile, I thought I’d give a quick update! 

I got a job. Most of you already know this, but I absolutely love it. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed working in a library and how the job isn’t stressful to me. The branch that I work at is small and pretty much only the members of that community use it so it has the feel of a small town library, while being connected with all the other libraries in the county. My coworkers are also really great. They have been super welcoming and helpful! There can be a bit of downtime during the day, which is nice because it allows us to talk and hang out a bit. (While still being diligent and paying attention if someone needs help.) Working here has re-affirmed my desire to be a librarian. It’s also helped me look past the classes that are more frustrating than helpful. 

I also found a church. I have to say a huge thank you to my Uncle Wayne for messaging me one day about a church that his friend was a pastor of. It’s only two blocks from my house and meets at night (which is good because my body doesn’t like to wake up early on the weekends.) It’s a small community, but from the moment I started going I was immediately welcomed. It’s so wonderful to have that, especially when I don’t know anyone very well here. I’ve been struggling (off and on) with just missing familiarity, whether that be having close friends nearby or completely flat land. I knew that this would be a part of moving 1,000 miles away, but that doesn’t make it easier. I just have to constantly remind myself that it took a year or more to develop good friendships with my friends in Nebraska. But, back to this church. I think it’s exactly what my heart needs and I truly enjoy the service structure. I’ve never really been to a presbyterian (this is the first time I spelled that right) church before, but I think it’s a great fit for me. 

I get to babysit. I love kids, and I love hanging out with them. (If you’re reading this Sam, I think your kids are absolutely adorable and I would enjoy watching them anytime.)

School is still there. Like I said earlier, it’s getting busier every day, but I think I have a good plan of attack for the remainder of the semester. Even though I’m procrastinating a bit right now. I just registered for next semester’s classes and it’s going to be interesting. I’m taking four classes and they are all once a week… three of them all in a row from noon until about 9 p.m. one day. The fourth class is online because I thought I would get sick of class for the rest of the week after that day. But I’m still really excited for some of them. It should be an interesting semester!

And because I haven’t said it yet, I just want to say that I am so grateful for our men and women in uniform, those who have fought and those who just signed up; those who lost their lives in battle and those who came safely home. You all made the decision to sacrifice your lives to protect this country. I am so honored to know the men and women in uniform that I do. Even though today is just Veteran’s Day, I still find it as a day to honor all who serve past, present, and future.