Monday, June 25, 2012

Graduation!


Guess who just graduated from high school? Moi! I will now be going on to college at Liberty University Online. I'm not sure what semester I will start in though, and I may take some online classes or something first. I totally look forward to all the awesome classes I can take, but also nervous wondering if I will be able to keep up with everything.

I graduated with my home school group, and we had the ceremony in an auditorium at a local Christian school. It was great. I also had the opportunity to give a speech in front of everyone. Here I shall post what I said:


Graduates, right now, this day, is a turning point in our lives. Up until now, our parents have made a lot of our decisions for us- where we go to school, what we do with our day, where we attend church, et cetera. But now is when you have the chance, and the responsibility, to make your own decisions, to decide what you are going to make of yourself and do with your life. Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” So I ask you, what will you decide? Will you be one of the few? Really, what I am saying, does not just go for this day, or even this year. This goes for the rest of your life.

One quote from the movie Hugo stands out in my mind. Hugo says to his friend, “I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.” This profound thought, this truth, is what all of mankind needs to recognize. God put each and every one of us here on earth for a purpose, there are no extra parts.

So we know that we have a purpose, but what exactly is that purpose? Maybe you already know what you are going to do with your life, but I want to encourage you to keep your doorways open and let God direct you. Proverbs 16:9 says that “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.”

And remember that just because God has not shown you a definite calling, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an important will for your life. Do not wait around for some sort of “sign” to do something with your life, because, the fact is, God has already told us what to do through the Bible. The search for the meaning of life is up- we as Christians already know the answer. In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus says “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Essentially meaning, love God, love people.

All humans are born with a spiritual void. The sad thing is, even Christians suffer from this problem. To quote Blaise Pascal, "What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself."

You see, some try to fill this craving with earthly romance, approval from peers, money, an impressive career, and numerous other things. But none of these things ever really work, and the results are often disastrous. What does this mean? The point of life is not to get married, or have lots of friends, or have a lot of money to buy all the best things, or have a grand career. Though all those things are nice, wonderful even, they are not the most important.

Graduates of this homeschool cooperative are members of a select and valuable group. Though we may take it for granted, we are so blessed to have had been nurtured in a Christian homeschool; we have the foundation for greatness. We have the opportunity to do something worthwhile in this life- something lasting and eternal.

What does it mean to do something lasting? What lasts? Very few things actually. Your relationship with God, and your relationship with those who are in heaven with you. John 15:16 says, "…Go and bear fruit- fruit that will last." What sort of fruit is this verse talking about? Two examples are doing the work of Christ, and having the fruit of the spirit; love, kindness, faithfulness, and so on. These are not, of course, of much worldly value. However, 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” This is our mission. Maybe you say you are a Christian, but will you take the call to live for what is eternal?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it.” I think he has the right approach. I want to challenge you to aim high.

Trust God, he will direct you. I think what C.S. Lewis once said applies here, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” But do not be afraid of hard work- few things worth doing come easily. The easy fun life often ends up being the hard miserable life in a short time- don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ve escaped reality. If you want to live successfully, look at how others have made their lives good; by setting goals, working hard, and being committed.

But, you say, “Look at so-and-so they are way better than me. Why should I even try?” Wow, someone is better than you out of seven billion people? Maybe they are smarter, more attractive, or more talented. Guess what? That’s okay. None of those people can fulfill the plan God has for you.

Remember that being The Best is not a worthy goal, feeling second-rate or racing to be Number One is not serving Him. It is hard not to compare yourself to others, but you have to remember that your life is just between you and God. You just have to do your best at what God wants you to do.

Graduates, I would like to leave you with this charge, which Paul expressed to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young,” which is inextricably connected to part two of the verse, “Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

Deus Vobiscum. May God be with you.


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Oh! By the way, I finished my novel! Co-authored with my sister, of course. It ended up being over 90k words.

The next thing I am working on is writing a movie script. I have the demo-version of Final Draft but does anyone know of any free programs like it?? It really helps to get the script formatting right.

Sorry I've been somewhat absent! I've been busy busy busy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

North Carolina


We recently got back from a trip to North Carolina, specifically the outer banks. It's a beautiful state. There was even wildflowers and landscaping along the roadsides. On the coast of North Carolina the towns blend together on the long wisp of land, with ocean on both sides. It has different feel from somewhere like Florida, though today it’s just as hot as it would be down there. My fair skin stands vulnerable to sunburn in I stay out of souvenir shops for too long. Colorful warehouses selling t-shirts and bikinis, ridiculously overpriced shrimp dinners advertised on billboards, and a mix of old and new hotels line the main drag. Beach-umbrella colors, airbrushed surfboards, and lighthouse figurines adorn the shops.

Popular sports of the area seem to be surfing, hang gliding, fishing, boating, and parasailing. The water is no where near as nice and warm as it is in the Gulf of Mexico though most don’t mind- very few wear diver’s suits.

The style of the cities and shores are less parrots-and-palm-trees, more of long-docks-and-lighthouses. Many of the side streets are flooded with inches of water, but no one seems to care much. Tall wooden beach houses on stilts line the shores, many not more than 20 feet apart from each other, in colors like sea foam green and conch shell pink.

If you know your history, you know that Kitty Hawk North Carolina is where two Buckeye brothers made a name for themselves. We didn’t go up to the monument or the museum- you had to pay. But you could see the enormous obelisk monument from the road and I used the telephoto on my camera to read what the engraving on the side said..

WILBER WRIGHT

ORVILLE WRIGHT

Okay. Been there, done that. Another thing to check off. But somehow travel is more than that to me.

This was the land of Kitty Hawk- site of man’s first flight; and of Edward Teach- that is, Blackbeard’s final resting place. A land of rolling sand dunes held up by wiry grasses, rich history, and unique wildlife. Exotic plants like cacti and bamboo grow naturally on the landscape. There are many brown signs on the roads, signifying natural preserved areas, beaches, and campgrounds.

The long curving bridges remind me of island hopping in the Keyes. In some places they gracefully arch up to allow boats to pass. In the late afternoon fishermen bring in their catches and lay them upon the dock. The boats have names like Starbreeze, Pelican, and Tuna Fever. The fishing poles are at least twice as high as the boats themselves and look line enormous antennas.

Yellow machine’s plow the sand on the road- due to the almost constant wind that sculpts the dunes. The dunes are just high enough that you can’t always see the ocean from the car, but every now and then you can get a peak at the sapphire sea over the low-lying shrubs and coarse grass.

Once as we were crossing we rode congruently with a seagull. They are much bigger up close. White caps and fishing boats could be seen in the distance as Enya played over the stereo. Then endless horizon line, so straight it must have been drawn with a yardstick.