Thursday, December 17, 2015

I made it to 2016!

... Well, almost. 
Unfortunately, it isn't 2016 YET, but that doesn't mean I can't be super pumped for it! The new year is bringing along a lot of change, and, if you know me, you know that I love change. 

This year is the year I finally, FINALLY graduate from high school! Now, I know people are always telling you, High School is the best four years of your life, but that wasn't quite the case for me. I guess I've never been a fan of high school because of all the drama, and all the peer pressure and the bullying, and just that life of the typical teenager. 

I have been waiting for 2016 since I began grade nine and it's finally here!

So, for this Blog Post, I thought I'd outline some of the amazing things God blessed me with, and I thought I'd write down my 2016 Bucket List! I have a friend who has her own bucket list, and she actually managed to check everything off of it in 2015, so i was inspired to create my own bucket list, and you guys can join me on my attempt to get through it! So, here we go!

God's Blessings This Year Included;
  • Friends. Okay, this may be the most cliched thing ever, but how can I deny that God blessed me with so many friendships this year! I got to meet a lot of new people from different parts of the world, while also re-building old friendships. God really worked in my life this year, because as someone who finds it very difficult to make friends, made many!
  • My Sister! Last year my sister made the ambitious decision to move out and live with some of her friends, and, while I supported her and all, I honestly did not want her to leave. I didn't think I'd miss her so much, and geez louise I'm happy she's back home. I just wasn't ready for that yet.
  • Alaska. Aha, I've probably talked about this enough, but this was a huge blessing and I will always be so grateful for getting the amazing opportunity to serve my Lord in the Last Frontier!
  • New Phone. Okay, this is probably not that important, but if you've ever seen my last phone, you will understand why getting my new Samsung S4 was such a blessing.
  • The West Region. The big decision of moving from the Toronto Church to the Mississauga one was, yes, a little difficult at first, but now I'm super grateful to be there. I've been building amazing friendships, and I've been constantly challenging myself to be out of myself and giving.
  • The Band. This year consisted of many performances, and although we may have gone through some rough patches together, we've always managed to keep our heads and perform the best we can for God.
  • My closest friend got baptized! Yes, after centuries and millenniums, she finally got dunked!
  • Many more blessings that I'm probably missing, but let's be honest, God is constantly blessing me when I don't even deserve it. At. All. Thanks God :D
So, bucket list time. I thought I'd include some unrealistic ones in there, which I have italicized, but it's always good to dream! Here goes my 2016 bucket list, and I can't wait to get started on it!!

Get A Job
Go to Anime North for the first time
Sing a solo on stage
Sing with someone on stage
Go to a different country (besides USA)
Live on campus
Take a beauty/fashion risk
Face your fears this year
Skip school once to hang with friends
Go to Nunavut or Vancouver
Volunteer somewhere
Have a long conversation ... with a stranger
Pick up a sport this summer
Try a complicated drink from Starbucks
Attempt starting a YouTube channel
Go to Montreal and have first drink (Their age restriction is 18!!)
Walk around Toronto with friends
Camp outside of a store to buy something being released
Go on a boat this summer
Finish editing novel!
Become fluent in Spanish
Share for a devo/church service
Host a party for no reason
Get 100% on a test/assignment
Learn the entire Beat It by Michael Jackson dance
Learn how to skate board
Meet a celebrity
Go to a spa
Go scuba diving
Audition for a Musical/Play/TV Show/Movie

That's basically it. 30 things to do in 12 months! I'll be updating this post every time I complete something on my bucket list. You'll see on of the things crossed out! I'm actually too excited for this year, and I just know God will be constantly blessing me. I'll keep you guys updated, don't worry! 

I hope you guys start thinking about your bucket list too. While New Year's Resolutions are good ... do we ever really follow them? Bucket lists are great ways for you to actually get up and do something you've never done!

Stay posted for more posts that are super duper festive in the next week! Thanks for reading, and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Years dudes and dudettes :D

band life


Thursday, December 10, 2015

About half a year ago, the band and I had been asked to prepare a set for the upcoming Worship Concert being held in New England that summer. Having preformed at the camp there a year earlier, we knew what to expect. The first thing we discussed was which songs? The previous year, as less experienced, we had chosen songs that were generic and well known by everyone. Basically sing-a-long songs. This year, however, we decided to add three new songs that weren't so much sing-a-longs and instead were powerful and impacting.

The one song that was the talk of the camp was when we had performed 'Everything' by Lifehouse, accompanied by an old yet amazing skit.

I stumbled upon this skit many years ago during my search for God, and the skit had affected me in ways that I couldn't quite understand. I was mesmerized and in awe of my Lord as I watched the portrayal of him going through the pain and agony, to just keep us - represented by the girl - safe. We could see the girl going through the trials of life only to find how deeply she needed God in her life, and does all she can to get back to him.

The goal of the band was to get to everyone's heart. We wanted everyone to see themselves as the girl and watch as they go through the pain that life - Satan - throws at everyone, and to get them to see how God is always watching over us, waiting for us, and when we can't do it, he's there to fight our struggles, fight our enemies, fight Satan for us.

We had been asked to perform this skit twice after our performance in Boston, and in both our performances, there was never a dry eye afterwards. People were so affected by the skit and we were reminded of how important it was to everyone that we performed it.

Obviously, it's one thing to be sitting in the seats, looking up at the stage to see Jesus' love being portrayed, but what did the skit and the overall experience mean for the band? We didn't get the chance to sit down and watch the skit as everyone did, we stood behind the skit, playing the music. So how were we affected?

To me, as I stood behind the group, I found myself feeling sorry for the girl who was standing alone on the stage, as she was being introduced to all this new sin, and as I would watch her accept the sin and continue to build that wall between her and God, I would shake my head. The poor girl who was so tricked by sin that she had to go through all of that.

Pretty ironic, huh? There I stood thinking all that, only to realize that it was actually me who the girl was representing. Me. You. All of us.

To me, this skit is a perfect reminder of Jesus' love for us, and how rewarding it is to knock down those walls and get to him. While I didn't quite get to watch the skit from the front, I think it was better to have watched it from behind. It felt as though I was standing in the back watching me go through the pain, watching me go through the suffering, and watching Jesus calling for me, and yet I don't listen.I wasn't watching it as a skit, I was watching it as a ... a flashback. It always reminds me of when I made the decision to follow Jesus, but even now as a disciple, it's a great reminder for me when I sin everyday (I am human after all).

Plus, playing music always finds a way to connect me to God in the best ways. How can I ignore the very words that they sing in the song: And how can I stand here with you, and not be moved by you? Seriously, there I stood watching God's work, how could I not be moved by that? Anyway, God is just amazing, so yeah.

I asked a few of my band mates, and even the leads in the skit about how it felt for them as they performed.

It was interesting to hear what some of them had to say. The common theme between all of us was how great of a reminder the skit was for us, and how amazing of a feeling it is to be reminded of how much God loves us, despite being on stage and not a part of the audience.

But for some, it was really the words that got to everyone, the words You're all that I want, you're all that I need were, for some, were all they needed to really get into the mood of the song and really feel it in their hearts. And how true it is, because the words of the song are so wonderful, and so true.

And others were simply reminded of themselves, and could easily place themselves in the spot of the girl, only to be broken when the girl was running back to God, and how He put himself in between her and the sin, to keep her safe.

And how amazing it was to hear from the two leads, and how playing Jesus and playing the girl was a very important part for them. The lead recalled the first performance we had back in Boston, and how everything she did, and every expression she made was because of the Holy Spirit. It was as if the Holy Ghost was making all of her movements, and she only needed to trust and follow as it lead her through the skit. This only gave her the chance to fully put herself into the character and really connect to the role. And when she drops the pills and runs to Jesus, the hunger and thirst she felt just to be in Jesus' arms was what led her. Being in the role made her to go down deep into the challenges that she as a disciple faced everyday.

"I am constantly fighting against my temptations and desires to get to Jesus. But the best part and most hopeful, amazing part is the fact that I don't do all nor any of the work.. But Christ himself holds my burdens and helps me to deny my desires and temptations that are harmful to me."

Amazing. And what about our Jesus? What did he have to say? Well for him, it seemed easy enough to get into the role, when the girl was played by his - basically - little sister, of whom he loves. He was actually put into the role of Jesus, where he learnt to understood how God feels when we go through the temptations and sin, only to want to be reunited with us by fighting for us, and basically doing anything to keep us safe.

I guess not much would've have been different if we were in the audience. We got to perform on stage to help people worship God, to send a message of His love, and, to use our talents for Him. God really blessed this skit,even with the minimal practice we had, God really helped us get through it effectively.

Thanks for enduring this really long post guys. If you wish to watch what we did, the video is down below :)    

Peace guys!