Why fear God?

Earlier in the week, while listening to a Christian song on the radio, I heard the word, fear,. It reminded me of the fact that in the Bible that is says that we are supposed to fear God. Fear God? To me, that sounds contradictory. Why fear him? Didn’t it say we are supposed to love God. How can we fear God and love God? I am puzzled by that. That is puzzling to me.

It makes more sense to me to fear the Devil. He is the one who tempts us. He is the one who make us do bad thing. He is the one who makes us sin.

God is the one who loves us no matter what. He forgives us no matter what. Fear- why fear God. I don’t think we should fear God. We are supposed to truly love God. How can we truly love God if the Bible says fear God? Love is more powerful than fear alone. Fear shouldn’t get in the way of our love for God.

What are your thoughts?

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Spiritual Gifts-Being Spiritually Gifted in an Area you may not be Skilled in

Is it possible to have a spiritual gift in something you may not be skilled in? That seems to be the case for me. According to an inventory I took during a Spiritual Gift Sunday school, it shows I have a Spiritual Gift in the Arts.

The Arts, an area I barely have any skill in. I can’t sing, dance, or draw well. The only type of art I seem to be good at is writing. So what does it mean to be spiritually gifted in an area you may not be skilled in? In terms of the arts, I can appreciate and support them. The Musical Theatre World combines various types of arts into one. I attend a musical, and I tend to lose myself in the show. I forget that what I am seeing is not real- I feel like all the events are actually real. The combo of dance and spectacle is such a delight to watch- it adds something special to a musical’s plot- that is why they are part of my vision of musicals. I can see the beauty in the musicals I love- some of the musicals I love are tragedies. Still, the only art I am skilled at is writing, but I always need some help- with writing, I am good with coming up with ideas, but always struggle with putting them together. Still, it is crazy to have a Spiritual Gift in the Arts, but barely being skilled in that area.

My Favorite Things Tag

I was putting this off for a while, but I was tagged not once, but twice for this. You just have to put a picture for seven of your favorite things, but because I was tagged twice, I will put a list of fourteen things.

Who was I was tagged by?  Chelsea and The Story Sponge

1. Kanuga has been a favorite place of mine. Now that I think of it, it is home. More than one place is home to you. Kanuga is a “thin place”, which is where you find God. You always have that place where you first see God. That place was Kanuga: it was from the grades 3rd-8th grade where I saw that at Kanuga.

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2. Hiking- these two pictures represent my love for hiking. It may be hard to get up there due to the steepness at times, stepping over roots, and climbing over rocks, but the view at the top makes it worth it. You are surrounded by nature, God’s creation.

3. Snowglobes- I collect snowglobes. Whenever I go to a place new for vacation, I get a new snowglobe. But why do I love them? I never really know why I love them so much? Something appeals to me in them so much. Sometimes, a friend or a family friend gets me one from a place I never been to. Most of them are places I been to and bring back memories when I look at them. It is fun turning them upside down and look at the flakes. IMG_1941

4. Les Mis Piano Book- Ignore the colored pencils. Just think about the piano book. It all represents my enjoyment of playing the piano. I am not good at singing or dancing or drawing, but I do think I am good at playing the piano. I am in particular really good at Les Mis: after I really know these songs. At the moment, very rusty at them; so they do not sound the greatest so I have to kind of relearn them at the moment. This book just in particular represents my enjoyment of playing the piano. IMG_1583

5. Musicals- Having four playbills in this picture represents my love for musicals. It represents my range of musicals I love. From Music Man to Les Mis. That is a wide range we are working with. From the light-hearted and purely happy Music Man to the deeply tragic and highly emotional Les Mis- that is a lot to work with. The reason why those four represent my love for musicals is due to the fact that I saw all four in just one year- 2015: plus in three ways: Gardner Webb, Tour, West End. Gardner Webb: Music Man. Tour: Pippin and Sound of Music. West End (that felt like multiple musicals): Les Mis- a dream fulfilled.

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6. Queen’s Theatre- Yes, still musicals. Queen’s Theatre is a special theatre. It is a special theatre for several people- audience, actors/actresses and crew. Seeing that theatre, it seemed like it wasn’t real- it seemed like a dream- even seeing the souvenir stand, even in the auditorium itself, even seeing the set. Nothing seemed real to me that night. But the first note told me, Yes this is real- this dream is no dream- it’s real. So the Queen’s Theatre is a favorite of mine- the cast I saw is very very very special to me- they always will be. However, the casts I will see after them, I will never compare.

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7. Eponine Bear- there is more to one reason why this bear is important. First, I made her. Second, I made her at Gardner Webb, an university that I call home, that was home to me for 3 and 1/2 year. Third, her name is Eponine. Who is Eponine?

Well, any Les Mis fan knows who Eponine is. Eponine is a tragic character, who is unloved and alone in life. Her parents, the Thenardiers, raised her to be a thief and criminal. She is basically a watchdog for the law and is living extreme poverty. She is unloved by her parents. On top of this, she fall in love with Marius due to the kindness he shows her, but the tragic part of this, he is the only person who shows her kindness. He is the only good thing in her life. What makes things even worse is that the love is destined to become unrequited since he falls in love with Cosette. She will anything for Marius and she does have a tragic end, but her fate is beautiful in many ways. She is brave, loyal,  and strong.

She is one of my favorite characters in Les Mis and one of my favorite characters in musical theatre characters. Why is the bear named Eponine? First, the bear has a brown-color scheme, the same colors Eponine wears in the stage show. Second, the bear has heart-shaped patches representing the love triangle and her loving nature. Third, there are stitch marks around the patches. The stitch marks to me represents both the unrequited love and her broken life.

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8. Summer Outdoor Pops Symphony- This is one of my favorite things to do in Charlotte. Each symphony, there is a different theme. It can be anything from Jazz to Movie to Broadway to Celebrate America. 36456988_10216130191748184_3757020593476599808_n

9. Snow- I love the sight of snow and playing in it. I love sledding and making snowman. That is part of why Winter is my favorite season. Yes, it is so cold, but why should the weather play a part in your favorite season. I love seeing snow fall? I love warming up with hot chocolate after playing in the snow? So, I do love the snow. NC Asheville UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3b11

10. Classics- These are not all my classics, but it represents my love for them. I, in particular, love the classics from the Romantic time period. Why do I love them so much? I love the challenge. I love how the Romantics focused on the emotions. A lot of it evolved from my obsession with Les Mis. I started with reading the abridged, but after reading it, I realized the abridged versions do not give you a full experience. So I will always read the unabridged versions of books. I just love the classics- they challenge, and those characters: there is something about them- I don’t know what it is that makes the classics enjoyable to read

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11. Dogs- this dog in my picture is my family dog. It represents my love for dogs. I love dogs. I am a dog person not a cat person. Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted a toy black poodle to name Laci: don’t know why. Just did. I think dogs was just wonderful.

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12. New York City- Favorite City of mine. Honestly, how can any musical theatre fanatic not love NYC? In the picture below, I am 12 at the Gershwin Theatre. So I been to major theatre districts: The West End and Broadway. I love New York City. I been to American Girl, Central Park, Times Square, Natural History Museum, and Broadway. I saw Wicked on Broadway- that was when the love was sparked. I need to go back to NYC- when you live in the United States, but don’t live in or near NYC, it is hard to go back there

Next time I go, I want to plan it all around theatre: what about one show at the Met Opera and about three to four shows on Broadway. Two will pre-planned, and the rest will be picked the day of. It has been 12 years.

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13. Charlotte- I love my hometown. Do you know how I said I don’t live in or near NYC: well Charlotte is a popular touring destination plus it is home to Central Piedmont Community College. What does CPCC have to do with anything? CPCC does not do weak productions: it does well-done productions- it combines students with professionals. It calls downtown uptown. It has a lightrail to get to uptown. It has everything basically: two malls, shopping centers, Greenways (one of them inspired the children’s fantasy I am writing).

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14. Volunteering- here I am volunteering at Loaves and Fishes. I have a passion for helping those living in poverty. I want to work in Nonprofit for that community. I have been volunteering every Friday with my dad at my churches Loaves and Fishes pantry. I am a co-packer by helping the clients pack. I have a similar passion for volunteering as I do with musicals. Some people do not believe me that I have a passion for volunteering when I say I do just because I talk about musicals more: I honestly do. I developed my passion for volunteering in high school. I grew up helping with Room in the Inn and other volunteer type areas. In high school, I went to a Diocese (it is part of the Episcopal Church) Event called Outreach: at one of them was a poverty stimulation, which gave us an idea of what it was like to live in poverty.

It was the second Outreach even that struck a chord with me: it was at dinner: I noticed on one our name tags that some had stars, triangles, and some (like mine) had nothing. At dinner, the star people, only four had silver plates and silverware and were served. They represented the wealthy. Only ten had the triangles: they did buffet style: still no me. Then I was stuck with the vast majority: I had to eat rice and beans in paper cups, bowls, and silverwares: we were those living in poverty: that was an “aha” moment: I was like the vast majority of the world was living in poverty: I was like I got to do something: I knew I was meant to help those people. Volunteering is one of my passions: it always will be something meant to me.

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My Labor Day Weekend at Kanuga

As some know, I recently wrote a post about the importance of Kanuga, an Episcopalian Conference Center, up in Hendersonville, NC. Over this Labor Day weekend, my church was up there for a Parish Weekend. Kanuga was a stunning lake, trails to hike, outdoor chapels, and a feeling of peace. It is where I first saw God: that is how special it is. I had to take two days off just because Gardner Webb had class on Labor Day so going to Kanuga this Labor Day weekend for the Parish Weekend was extra special. You can either stay at the inn, a cottage, or a guest house.

My family stayed up in one of the Guest Houses, which was odd to me at first. Usually my family stays in one of the cottages, but this time it was a Guest House. The Guest House is much more in the woods. You do not just stay with your own family. You end up staying with others. The Guest Houses are much better than I thought. It was enjoyable being surrounded by nature all the time.

The Parish Weekends always have a particular program planned plus free period. The free period is where you are free to do what you what. In the free period, there is also planned things, but you can choose the activity.

1st day: Songs sang: “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High”, “Sanctuary”. We did some outdoor activities and art. I ended up doing some archery and walked a little bit of a labyrinth. In terms of art, everyone played with alcohol ink. Everyone had to do a small tile, which will be put together at church to form a mosaic, which will be hung somewhere at church. There is one project where we put the ink on a rectangle shape and, it was lit on fire (well that one, got lost, the one I did, but I loved doing it anyway). That same day, I did a bigger square tile, and the one I did looks like rainbow feather.

Later that night, the church participated in Square Dancing: it is amazing how much exercising Square Dancing is: it is so much fun. As a matter of fact at Perry Pavilion, where the Square Dance took place, I saw a phrase called “The Bog”. Guess what “The Bog” was inspired me for: a location in Graysloup: it is going to be a location for My Fairy Frogs and Toads Story. We ended the day with a nearby outdoor chapel with compline.

 

2nd day (that is the full day): After breakfast, we had our Eucharist at Kanuga Lakeside Chapel. This is special. We got to have it outside and while sitting down, you look out and you see the lake, which is called Daisy Lake and you see a White Cross. The Band is a Blue Grass. It is special this kind of service: I mean how often can you do Eucharist outside? After lunch, was our Free Time. My dad and I were in charge of leading the hike. We choose Long Rocks, which is moderate, it is both flat and steep, it is flat in some areas and steeper in others. The group was about 24 or so. The best hikes are the ones with a view. I can never imagine going to a Parish Weekend without the hike. We did the hike just in time because like one or two hikes after, it started after. Afterwards, I made one more of those tiles, which was inspired by “Phantom of the Opera”: I made that one for a friend, whose favorite musical is “Phantom of the Opera”.

After dinner, it was time for the Hoco Late Show. We sang first: “Servant Song” and “Dance Then Wherever You May Be”. The HoCo Late Show: a skit, jokes, this or not: they put lines up and we had to between a group decide is it from the Bible or is it is a Shakespeare line, challenged the vestry to our rector.

3rd day (more like half of half of day): We had a short little service.

 

The songs, “Lord I Lift Your Name on High”, “Servant Song”, “Sanctuary”, “Dance Then Where You May Be” were all songs I first sang in my earliest Parish Weekends at this same church. Then at some point, the singing somewhat stopped. So it was nice being able to sing them. The Parish Weekends are a wonderful way for fellowship, to relax, to have a feeling of peace, and to connect.

 

 

The Importance of Kanuga

In case any of wondering, Kanuga is an Episcopalian Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. Kanuga is not just a place. It is not just a place to visit. It is very special. But why? There is always that place where we first see God. Kanuga was that place for me. But how? From 3rd-8th grade, our Parish Weekend’s music was led by Fran McKendree, and the songs we sang was part of why I started to believe in God. Kanuga is home to a number of hiking trails. The combination of the songs and the trials is why Kanuga is why I knew God was real. But why did I start going to Kanuga?

Kanuga serves many purposes. I have gone there mostly for Parish Weekends. I have been there with three churches. Most of my Parish Weekends have been with Holy Comforter, my current church. I have been with that church since 3rd grade. Parish Weekends are a place of fellowship, peace, bonding, fun, hiking, and singing. There are programs we do. I have been there for one Thanksgiving, where I made a hiking stick and two baskets. I have been there for Winterlight 35 and 36, a high school youth conference, which gives you a break from the stresses of high school, and it is at that conference where I found a love for contemporary Christian Music.

For the past two years, I have had to skip two Parish weekends; they were over Labor Day Weekend; Gardner Webb had class on Labor Day, and this Labor Day Weekend I have been able to go. It has these cottages we stay in. Kanuga will always mean something to me. It was how I knew God was real.

Below is a picture of Daisy Lake at Kanuga.

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Some of my favorite Hymns

I decided to make a list of some of my favorite hymns. Two of these hymns were created specifically for my church. My church has two hymnals, and at one point, we used both. But for now, we just use the red one.

1. All are Welcome

2. Call to Discipleship

3. Seek Ye First

4. Let Us Break Break Together

5. I, the Lord of Sea and Sky

6. On Eagle’s Wings

7. Be Thou My Vision

8. Joy to the World

9. Silent Night- this is my favorite moment of Christmas Eve’s candlelight service

All are Welcome and Call to Discipleship are the ones that were written for my church. I know I love more hymns that what I listed, but do not know the names.

Finding Your Spiritual Gifts

We all have a spirit. We all have spiritual gifts. But do you feel like it is sometimes hard to feel them. Starting last Sunday, I started taking a Sunday school class that is about finding your spiritual gifts. They are ones you are naturally born with or they are developed over the time. We might all have a spirit, but each of us have different spiritual gifts.

Below is a definition of spiritual gifts

Also called charisms, and partially listed in 1 Cor 12:4-11, these are graces granted by the Holy Spirit to empower the faithful to perform specific tasks. Called gratiae gratis datae (freely given graces) by the scholastics, they are at the service of charity (1 Cor 13:13). Given over and above the fundamental gift of faith and friendship with God (or, gratia sanctificans, sanctifying grace) they are neither necessary nor sufficient to salvation, but they characterize the specific call of God to each believer.

-Episcopal Church Glossary

So Spiritual gifts are a part of make us who we are. Spiritual gifts are not the same things as some of the talents we have.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interoperation of tones. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines

-1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Found in that passage above shows a sample of various spiritual gifts we can have. So spiritual gifts are different from one person to the next. All of this gifts are necessary. Is there a purpose for this gifts? Yes, there is. They are there to remind us that we need each each other and to glorify good.