Monday, July 14, 2014

VBS, Photo Contests, and Other Randomness :)

Well, I'm back to the normal, slightly-less-hectic schedule. :)  Sorry I didn't pop in before this.  The weekend was spent recovering from last week. ;)

VBS was really wonderful.  As always, I learned a lot and felt blessed to be a part of things. I think my main lesson this year was humility.  

I'll admit it...I'm pretty much a spotlight type of person.  I rather enjoy being the center of attention (in some circumstances...unless you're asking me the answer to an algebraic equation or something). ;)  For several years, I was in charge of the opening and closing programs, as I've already mentioned.  When that got to be a bit too much with Hubby's busy summer schedule, I passed the responsibility on to another, but I still have been involved.

At the beginning of this week, I was feeling as though there was really no need for me to be there.  I wasn't in charge, I wasn't in the skits, I was basically just another singing voice.  Maybe they didn't need me anymore.  Throughout the course of the week, though, I realized that this insecurity was basically because I wasn't the center of attention.  "A" is a great leader and has a magnetic personality, especially when he's around children, so the kiddos flocked to him.  Our other helper up front was young and pretty and helping in the classroom. so she was adored.  I felt like an old, boring background voice that no one cared about.  Not that I would have admitted this highly unspiritual attitude to anyone!! :}  It was honestly how I felt, though.  And then, I was convicted of my selfish attitude.  I wanted more attention while still having less responsibility.  And good grief, VBS is never about the person up front anyway, or at least it shouldn't be!  It's always about God, about glorifying Him, sharing His message of salvation, and pointing others to His truth.  

I felt a bit sheepish about my inner attitude, especially when I thought about the theme of this year's VBS:  choosing "God's way" instead of "my way".  Hmm, which way was I choosing?  Apparently you're never too old to learn. ;)  I think that's one disadvantage of being involved in a ministry that is more visible (such as singing or public speaking).  It's very easy to make it all about you, even when you tell yourself you're doing things "for the Lord".  

Once I got over this silly and immature mindset, I was able to focus more on why I was there and Who it was all about.  And when I moved the focus away from myself, I was able to really enjoy the week.  

One of the major blessings from this year's VBS was being able to see so many of the young people I'd watched grow up taking part in VBS as helpers or leaders.  Many of them were children I'd taught in Sunday School or VBS when they were little.  One of them was a boy I used to babysit.  Now they are all young men and women, and it was so encouraging to me to see how they have grown and matured.  I saw their genuine love for the kids, their willing servant's hearts, and their eagerness to please the Lord with their lives. 

There were even a couple of times during the week when the Lord very graciously helped me through my insecurities, even though they were based on a selfish need to be noticed.  Once was when I was able to add an ad lib at the end of one of the skits to bring out the spiritual application of what the boys were saying a little more clearly.  And once was at the end of the week when another young man I've watched grow up specifically thanked me for singing up front.  

All of us have a part to play in serving the Lord.  We may not think what we're doing makes a difference, but  no matter where we serve, we can be used by Him.  And when we keep our focus in the right place (on Him and not ourselves), the "size" or "importance" of our job won't even matter to us.    

I know I probably seem really shallow, but I like to keep it real here on the blog.  I think as Christians we're often afraid to show our faults and failings.  But the truth is, we make the same mistakes everyone else does.  We're no better than anyone else, and the more we remind ourselves of that, the better.  Nothing we do has any merit in itself.  It's only by God's grace and through His power that we can accomplish anything worthwhile.

But I digress.  You probably didn't stop by for a sermon. ;)

I thought I'd share a few pics from the stage where I spent the last week.  Several of our church members did a fantastic job decorating it.  We were supposed to be on a tropical island this year.  (Next year, we'll be in outer space!)

As you can see,  Mermalade came along one day to capture a few photos. ;)  This was the "God's Way", "My Way" sign that we used to remind the kiddos of the theme of the week.

Cuddling with one of the many monkeys that graced the stage.

Here's the music stand I used all week.  (For those of you who are curious, the microwave in the background was used for one of our skits.) ;)

Mermalade testing out the music stand.

All of the workers were given this cute little card wrapped around some candy. :)

And in another complete bit of randomness, I present to you:  TARDIS bread!!  Mimi made this for me, and it made a great snack during VBS week when I was low on time. :)

In other news, I've joined the Miss AGPT photo contest on AGPT.  I've really missed being involved on the forums there.  Somehow, time keeps getting away from me and the forums I've been a part of have had to go by the wayside.  (I lurk more than anything.) :}  I thought that being involved in the photo contest would be a fun way to plunge back in.

I decided to use Emma as a contestant this time around.  It's been a while since I've done photos with her. :)

The first round was "Patriotic".  I actually completely spaced the deadline and didn't realize it until about twenty minutes before I had to have the picture in!!  I grabbed Emma and a few things I had lying around, did a quick setup, took a few photos, added some edits, and sent it off...with three minutes to spare! ;)

This photo was for Round 2, due yesterday.  The theme was "Forever".  I couldn't help but think of the new "BeForever" title for the Historical line and the new "choose your own adventure" books where characters from our time will get to meet the AG historical characters.  I added some softness and faded the color a bit on Felicity to make it look like she was traveling through time...or something. ;)  Unfortunately, this may end up counting as too much image-alteration (which is mentioned in one of the rules), so I have a message in to the moderator of the contest to see if this one needs to be disqualified.  Moral of the story:  Reread the rules before each round of a photo contest. :}  Come to think of it, my first photo had a vignette around it, so maybe that one shouldn't have been used either.  All I know is that I'll be sure to cool it on the editing with my last two rounds. :}

I think that's about it on the updates.  I have quite a few comments to publish and respond to (on ALL the blogs), but I probably won't get to those until tomorrow.  We're meeting my sister-in-law and her daughters this afternoon for some swimming, and then I have my writers group meeting tonight.  Plus, it's supposed to be 110 degrees today, and it's already unbearably hot in our little swamp cooler-cooled house. :}

I have more to share and more to post (and yes, Maggie will be posting on her blog by the end of the week...I promise!), but I'll save that for another time.  My daughters are chomping at the bit to leave, and I still need to take my shower. :}

Until next time!!  Hope you all have a wonderful week. :)


Carol said...

Today is my first day to visit your blog and it is all due to the Miss AGPT competition. My contestant is Lori. I just wanted to say that I salute your transparency and your testimony. Really awesome growth last week, I would say. Blessings, and I hope they don't disqualify your pictures. I have already posted as much on AGPT5121. I would think that they would not put them up for voting if they had a problem with them.

Maureen Magee-Uhlik said...

I'm not a christian but that was incredibly touching

beastsbelle said...

Carol, thank you so much for stopping by and for your words of encouragement. :) Your pictures have been some of my very favorites in the Miss AGPT contest. I especially loved the beautiful staging and coloring of your Patriotic was just lovely! :)

I think it's so easy to only want to show our best side, especially online when we can choose to share what we want to about ourselves. ;) It's frustrating that even after years of being a believer, I still struggle with these basic things. I know, though, that there are others who are probably struggling with the same things. I want everyone to know that I'm a human that messes up just like them, not some paragon of virtue who has it all figured out. ;)

Thank you, Maureen. It's not always fun to admit when I've messed up, but if it helps even one person here, it's worth it. :)

Paige said...

Thank you for your post. I so appreciate your openness. <3 ~Lisa

beastsbelle said...

You're welcome, Lisa. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Nina said...

Your post was very inspiring:) I've been dealing with the same types of thing lately. I'm in The Little Mermaid, and today I got cast as Carlotta, the palace headmistress. While I was excited to receive the largest role I've ever had, I really had hoped for a different part, especially because the leads were the same people who had the leads last year. But then I realized that Carlotta is just as important as Ariel, and if God meant for me to play this part, I'll do it;) So I completely get it. I love the spotlight too;)

Addy and Emma said...

Wow! Sounds like you had a blast!

Elly Boldizar said...

I nominated you for the Beachy blogger award!


beastsbelle said...

Nina, I understand your initial disappointment. Every part is important, though. I'm sure you'll make a wonderful Carlotta. :) That was a great way to look at it, too. God has a reason for everything He allows in our lives. I'm glad we're all on this journey learning together. :) Hope your play goes well!

Thanks, Addy and Emma...I did. :)

Aww, thanks Elly. I've got at least one more nomination for a different award. I completely flaked the last time I was awarded, but I'll try to be better this time! :}

Nina said...

Thank you!