Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness , knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess in equal measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins

-2 Peter 1:5-9

What does it mean to put the cart before the horse? At yesterday’s Gathering, the sermon was about that. It basically means you cannot do anything in the wrong order. If you put the cart before the horse, then nothing will happen. That is because the horse has to come before the cart because the horse is the action that drives the cart. The same concept applies to spirituality as well. Instead of the horse guiding the cart, it is faith guiding our spirituality.

Everyone all has this deep desire to have an effective and growing relationship with Christ. That deep desire is the Holy Spirit calling you. That cannot happen if you don’t have faith and faith is the key to starting that relationship. No matter how small that faith is, put that faith in you and us it to your advantage. Yes, at the end, everyone desires mutual affection and love, but you will not get there right away. Before getting to the end, you need to do everything else this scripture says. Once you have the faith, the first thing to do is practice goodness. Everything in life takes determination. We struggle do to the design that the Lord has set before us, but that is the way it is supposed to be.

Some of these steps seem harder then others. It seems easy to get to the knowledge part. But everything else seems quite difficult to get to. Sometimes you end up having perseverance before self-control, but that is in the wrong order.That seems misleading because I fee like you can easily have determination why before you can have self-control. I wonder if it counts if you little self-control and then head to perseverance and end up having a larger amount of perseverance then self-control.

In order to truly love, you most have all of the other qualities that the Lord has given you. You just need to find it deep down in yourself and that is where the Holy Spirit lives and that is where you develop your spirituality the most. Struggling is part of what it means to be human. We need determination to get through dark and challenging times in your lives.  We need determination to get through our education and eventually accomplish our dream job. Everyday, we will always be struggling with something and that is just what life is. So just never put the cart before the horse.

If we don’t have any of these characteristics, then we have forgotten everything that Christ did for. Christ did say that faith is the size of a mustard seed. If you have that, that is better then nothing. Yes, we might even struggle with our relationship with Christ, but as long as we have the faith in him and faith in ourselves, then we will never forget what Christ has done for us.

Things I learned at Gardner Webb

I have been at Gardner Webb since Spring of 2015. It has taught me so many things. Listed below are some of the things I learned and discovered.

  1. Importance of doing things outside of my comfort zone
  2. How to be a leader
  3. How to be more open-minded
  4. How to see things from a different perspective
  5. Showed me how to become a better person
  6. Independence
  7. How to truly understand who you are
  8. To truly explore and nurture my strong spirituality
  9. Showed me what I eventually want to do with my life

College is a wonderful way for you to discover who you are as a person. You get to learn many valuable skills later in life. Some of the things I learned still need lots of work. I am more open to who I am as a person and have a bigger spirituality. I learned more independence from living in the dorms. I will continue to try to practice some of the skills I learned. I know I am always growing each and every day. Gardner Webb is the perfect place for me to truly become who I am as a person. Being more open-minded can be challenging especially when you want to stay true to yourself. It is very easy to make assumptions before giving something a chance, but at least I am not doing that as much as I once did.

Expert Quality of Les Mis

One of the things that comes to mind when I think of the word, expert, I think of Les Mis. As shown through this blog, you may have noticed that I talk about Les Mis a lot.

I say that because I am literally a walking talking Les Mis encyclopedia. I know a lot about that musical. What I know about the musical ranges from Victor Hugo, the Time Period, the “brick”, the movie and the musical. I still don’t why I am so obsessed with the musical, but I know why I love it so much. There is just something about Les Mis that truly moves you at the deepest part of your soul.

Victor Hugo wanted a story that would reflect 19th century France. He based his book off of things that he witnessed and incorporated himself into some of the characters. The love story of Cosette and Marius was based off of his relationship with his first love. He actually prevented a prostitute from being arrested after she was assaulted and that made him create Fantine. He actually witnessed the June Rebellion, which is the forgotten, but known uprising in the book. He wanted the book to represent the outcasts, the fugitives, and the underdogs. His book is covered with so many emotions, which perfectly is reflected in the musical.

I  think the emotional impact is what sets Les Mis apart from other musicals. It takes you on one of the most powerful, epic and inspirational emotional roller coasters. It takes its emotions very seriously and makes you feel so many. Yes, it is heartbreaking, but through experience, I really learned what is truly at the core of Les Mis. It is ultimately a story of love, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, humanity, hope, and redemption. That is why the show is so inspirational. The songs are so brilliant and truthfully and soulfully reflect the storyline and the characters. The songs are filled with so much heart and soul, which is why I am always moved by them.

I really love the characters in this show. They are so strong, complex, and vulnerable. They may live very difficult and tragic lives, but they manage to thrive. These characters teach you that you can become a better person and that you can rise above from where you come from. They teach that that if you are in the middle of a dark time in your life, that there still is hope and that you can get through it. Most of them may die, but they will always live in your heart and soul. You end up caring for every single one of them even the ones you don’t like. Having an emotional connection really matters in musicals and the emotions hit me like a wreaking ball, but I feel the emotions in a good way including the negative emotions. The emotional nature of Les Mis is so special and I cannot describe that experience at all.

It is such an epic story. I don’t know how to describe its epic quality. As far as I know, it takes place during a time span of seventeen years. When time passes, you are always introduced to a brand new character. The story is so complex and I always find myself discovering something new about either the characters or the emotions. It has the conflict between Valjean and Javert, the tragic tale of Fantine, the love triangle between Marius, Cosette, and Eponine, and the June Rebellion of 1832. One of the most clever things about the storyline is that it is full of coincidences, which is what connects the characters.

So, what your thoughts on Les Mis? Why do you think this tragic and inspirational musical  is so successful?

Expert

Learning from Mistakes

Why is it in humans nature that we make mistakes?

I think mistakes are there to help us grow. Yes, we sometimes can be very closed-minded to certain things such as genres, classes, etc. Sometimes we learn to appreciate things that we thought we would strongly dislike. I know I have learned from that even though I still can be close-minded to many things, but at least I have improved. I feel like a more open-minded person compared to the more close-minded person I was in high school. Mistakes are usually where some of the greatest life lessons comes from. Sometimes one of the best ways to fix a mistake is to learn to forgive. Doing things outside of my comfort zone can be challenging, but are worth it. Sometimes you don’t know what mistakes you made until later in life. Sometimes we learn to love things that we were close-minded to, but something allows us to appreciate those things. Usually as we get older, we continue to be a better person then who we were a year ago or five years ago. If it wasn’t in human nature to make mistakes, I don’t think there would be a place for learning or growing. As long as God forgives, making mistakes is not the end of the world.

Mistake

The World Will Know

It has now been officially two weeks since I first saw the Disney musical, Newsies. This musical has proven to be one of the meaningful musicals of my life. One of the biggest reasons why I love Newsies so much is because it is based off of a true story. It is still hard to believe that the Newsboy strike of 1899 actually happened. I think it is wonderful how a group of underdogs stand up to Pulitzer and Hearst.

As for any musical, it is always the songs that make me decide whether or not I love a musical. Then as you fall in love with the songs, you find yourself falling in love with the story. In my opinion, if you fall in love with the songs, you also are falling in love with the emotions. These songs are wonderful and very addicting. I am starting to find some real truth and insight into some of these songs. I tend to prefer musical scores that have both joy and sad and Newsies is one of them. My favorite songs are the songs sung by the Newsies, but also love Jack’s solo, Santa Fe, and his love duet with Katherine. Since Jack is one of the Newsies, it counts as one of the Newsie songs.

Even the dancing adds to my love for the musical. All of the flips, sliding under each other, jumping over each other, and dancing on newspapers are just mind-blowing. The dance helps strengthen the plot and the songs. I have always associated musicals with dance and am so glad the dance shows are continuing to increase.

I know why I have an emotional connection to the material. I can relate to the character of Crutchie. Crutchie has a special relationship with Jack Kelly. Ctuchie has a bum leg and has to walk around with a crutch. Despite his disability, he still shines through on every scene he is. Cructhie is not the only reason why I have an emotional connection to the material. I even have an emotional connection to the other newsboys because they are truly the heart of the musical. Jack Kelly is the leader of the strike and treats his friends like family. He is especially compassionate towards Crutchie. Jack wishes to have a better life in Santa Fe because he is tried of the hardships he has to face by selling newspapers and living on the streets.

Because I love Newsies so much, I want to own the soundtrack eventually.

What was I Called to Do?

God’s plan can be a puzzling thing. Sometimes I wonder what parts about my life were part of God’s plan and which were part of my own creation. That can be difficult to know what God has in store for you and what experiences were meant to become a part of your life. I realized what I was called to do in high school, but I didn’t know how to take part in my calling. My calling was to give back to those living in poverty and homelessness. I have always known I had a deep connection to them and I still can’t figure that out.

It wasn’t until last semester at college, I figured out what I can do to help. I realized that I eventually want to start a nonprofit, which sounds very risky. My nonprofit idea is so far away, but I know that any dream job can take a long time to get to. I want to somehow incorporate my strong love for musicals with my strong love for volunteering. I thought of a wonderful way to use both in one job. I know how much benefit theatre has done for me, but then I began to wonder how much more benefit theatre would do for those living in poverty and homelessness. That is when an idea clicked. I thought of developing a theatre for the homeless and those living in poverty, which will them the chance to perform plays and musicals.

I have no idea how to get a nonprofit started. I don’t have much knowledge about working in nonprofit either. I am not going to start this idea alone because a musical or a play takes a lot of work and uses a lot of employees. One of my teachers suggested that I start out by bringing actors to a shelter and have the actors perform scenes from plays and musicals. One of my ideas was to have enough fundraisers and actually take that community to the shows. Then afterwards, we will discuss their experiences, which will help them learn about theatre. This nonprofit is a long way away, but I know that it just takes one small step at a time. Landing my first job gave me some work experience and another step will be graduating from college. I feel like working in nonprofit is the right way to go. I have had such a fortunate life and I want to help those less fortunate then I. Yes, employees generally don’t make a lot of money in nonprofit, but I care more about doing something I love then how much money I make.

Designed for You

Encouragement for College

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As a college student, this prayer gives encouragement to those who need it. College is so demanding and challenging. Not only are the classes and assignments really difficult, so is the time management. In fact, you get the most out of your college experience by making new friends, attending events, joining clubs, etc. I believe this prayer will be really helpful for those who need it.