Author Archives: joythayer

Letting Go

Letting go. 

When you have fought with all your might, when you have altered your entire life, letting go is more than a cliché. It means you have to give up your desire for control. You must consciously chose to live in the discomfort of process. You willing decide not to ruminate on feelings of powerlessness.

Letting go is finding a place of peace amongst the pain. It is not closure. Letting go means you live in the present without seeking after escape fantasies. It means fully accepting the situation without constantly wishing it would be different.  While the heartache can be unmeasurable the fear begins to dissipate. You begin to accept yourself and your circumstances.

Letting go is focusing on areas you do have control and dismissing worry. As tragedy is apart of our world, we do not have to embrace it as a friend. You can live in the moment and find joy in gratitude. It is an internal process and requires participation. 

Letting go is about riding yourself of all of the guilt and shame you both knowingly and unknowingly hold onto. It’s about sharing with those who care about you. It’s about vulnerability. It’s about being honest with yourself and those who are around you. It’s about not hiding every deep dark thought. You may need to forgive yourself, other’s, and even God for how you perceive the situation.  

Letting go is no longer obsessing over the details. It means not holding onto grief, anxiety, and resentment. You must replace self-loathing with compassion. You have to force old narratives and insecurities out of your subconscious and into the light. 

Letting go is not about running from your problems. It is about acknowledging they exist, validating your feelings in the midst of them, and being mindful of what meaning you are attaching to your journey.  

Letting go is not typically a one step process. It is a constant choice and a continual reminder that you are alive. While letting go can be difficult to do, it creates a space in your heart to be able accept love where there trauma once clung on like a cancer. 

Letting go is not accepting defeat, it is embracing healing. 


Shirtless, gum chewing! 

My father was the most generous and self-sacrificing human I have ever personally known. 

He made everyone feel known, seen, heard, and genuinely loved. He was present, attentive, and helpful. My father would give his last dollar away to someone in need. He would go without so others could have. He was the type of person who would literally give you the shirt off of his back during a blizzard.

I admired these qualities in him. Oftentimes, I felt like I couldn’t hold a candle to his standard of loving people. When I was a young, I remember he always carried around a pack of Double Mint gum. I had asked for a piece for myself and a friend. Sure enough Dad pulled out the pack in his pocket and gave us the very last piece. When I split it in half one side was larger than the other. My father leaned over and whispered in my ear. “Give the larger half to your friend.” 

This was such a pivotal moment in my life. I did just as he asked and remember feeling really good about myself. 

I find myself drawn to selfless acts of kindness. I enjoy books like “People Over Profit.”  Over the years I have been incredibly generous with my time, money, resources, food, and more. What I have also found is I tend to put myself last. I find myself in a regular state of lack. I am giving for a variety of reasons. I have a need to be needed. I have a strong desire to be liked. I like easing people’s pain, suffering, and discomfort. 

Up to this point, I have never thought of this a negative thing. I have viewed this as kindness and have aspired to achieve “saint-like” or “savior status” in my efforts to care for others. It was not until physical and emotional burnout slapped me in the face that I began to question these “selfless” acts.

I take on far too many of the responsibilities belonging to others. Why do I use the word “selfish” when I take care of my needs? This is taking a lot of exploration. 

After some processing, I remembered: my father died of prostate cancer. One the world’s most curable cancers. Why was this? By the time the doctors discovered my father had cancer, it had spread to his pelvic bone and lymphatic system. My father didn’t want to be bother. He did not tell people about his pain and discomfort. Other people and their needs were more important. He waited to get help, and by the time he did the cancer was past the point of no return. He sacrificed himself to make sure everyone else’s needs were met. So much so, he is now no longer here to take care of anyone. His life was cut drastically short because he was selfless at his own expense.

I now have to forgive him for not taking care of himself. For not putting his needs first so he could remain and continue loving others. He didn’t kill himself, but I have to forgive him for leaving me when he could still be here today. I have to forgive him for not taking care of his finances. I have to forgive him for not being responsible for himself. I have to forgive him for leaving his kids burdened by the traumatic events surrounding his death and paying for the cost of his death. 

I also now have to apply this truth to my own life. I have to start having boundaries like never before. I have to protect my self, listen to my needs, and not over extend myself. I need to be here to love those who benefit from my life in their world.  I have to cut off the generational puppet strings telling me all of my capacity belongs to those around me, and I am selfish to save any of that capacity for myself. 

I can still admire, aspire, and adhere to the ideals of loving kindness and self-sacrifice. However, I need not die on a self-made cross. There are times when caring for others means keeping my shirt on and chewing an entire piece of gum!


Heart Scars & Makeup Stains

via Heart Scars & Makeup Stains


Heart Scars & Makeup Stains

How do you process pain without crying? How do you keep it all together with your eyeliner dripping down your rosy cheeks? How do you pull yourself up off of the cold floor once you’ve found solace there? 

It has become apparent to me it is more courageous to process pain than to avoid it. Though my threshold and tolerance levels are high, they have breeched my capacity. 

Having lived through several traumatic events, I have developed many coping mechanisms. These instincts have been faithful tools. They have allowed me to be level headed and think in situations in which others may have completely panicked and collapsed under the stress. 

It has been a little over three years since my hero, my daddy passed due to cancer. And, today marks the one year anniversary of the passing of my beautiful son. He was the light of my life. His smile drew people in and filled their hearts with happiness. His almost 21 years on this planet were a blessing to me. I spent more hours with him than anyone else in my world. From the moment I conceived, to the moment he died, he depended on me for his very existence. Even now, I feel an odd satisfaction in keeping his memory alive. I want his legacy to continue to touch people and make an impact.

While I typically practice pain avoidance to survive, I am diving head first into the emotions I have suppressed, fully processing and really feeling. It is uncomfortable for me to move on in a healthy way. I find comfort in holding on to the sadness which grips my soul. It makes those I miss feel close to me. I am afraid to view my life without them. My personal resistance tells me I do not need to explore these feelings, nor do I need to open up this Pandora’s Box. Why would I? I show up everyday. I keep my obligations and responsibilities. I work hard and make sure everyone’s taken care of. 

What if I cannot come back from this process? What if I am completely unable to function? What if I get so overwhelmed, I end up in shock or completely catatonic? 

My friends and family are now continually expressing concern for my health & well-being. While I do not feel lonely, I feel alone. I am personally struggling. I no longer find satisfaction in life. I do not feel euphoric when something positive occurs, nor do I experience a state of joy anymore. I have gotten by this year by merely waking up and “doing” what needs to be done. My dreams tainted by a thick, dark fog. They have become goals to achieve rather than a passion and purpose for living. 

I am able to talk factually about these things while detaching myself from the emotions of the event. Many people view this as strength. Up to this point, I have viewed it as necessary. However, these methods are now no longer working. 

After reluctantly going to trauma therapy & grief counseling, I am working to fight for my own life. 

First, I was asked to mourn the fact my father can no longer be a part of dreams we at one point shared together. We always laughed fondly as we dreamed of the day I win an Oscar. My father was going to be my chauffeur and carry my hand bag down the red carpet while I got my pictures taken and did press interviews. I have always adored this whimsical thought. This was the kind of bond we had. We did so many things together. To think of winning an Oscar and not having him there grieves my heart. The vibrant fantasy goes dark and dreary in my mind. I do not relish the thought of celebrating without him. My therapist warned me if this event truly does occur, and I do win an Oscar, without healing, I will be depressed during a true highlight of my life. 

As I begin to let this fantasy go, my eyes fill with tears. My mascara smudges my face. I am torn. My heart aches. 

I hear my father whispering to my spirit, “I can’t be there in person, but I will always be with you.” He continues to remind me he has always been my biggest cheerleader and will be leading the angelic celebration when this momentous moment does occur.

I am struggling to believe this and let go. I am afraid I will forget him. I miss him sooooo much! 

As God as my witness in this quiet hotel, I give up my dream of having my father with me at any occasion, but especially those grand events I imagined he would have attended with me. 

The second thing I was asked to do was process my life. 

For twenty plus years my world revolved around my severely disabled son. His needs were my priority. His wellbeing was paramount. While I believe I did a good job making space for myself in his world, I definitely did not put myself first. 

Now he is gone. So many things are easier. It is like taking leg weights off and going running. I can take a shower without removing a bathchair for the first time in my adult life. I can run to the grocery store without getting a caretaker or hauling in a heavy wheelchair. Yesterday I was able to go hiking in the Hon Rainforest with friends and discover places I would have previously sacrificed to attend to my son. 

Don’t get me wrong. We had a wonderful life together. I was able to experience so many things because he was here. He had a massive impact on my character and my outlook on life. My current dilemma is now: how I do plan what I want to do and not feel selfish? How do I express want, need, expectations, and hope without considering previous constraints? How do I not get discouraged or frustrated if things do not work out as anticipated? 

This may sound odd to some. For me this is painstaking and hard. Imaging my future and getting excited about it causes me guilt. I feel shameful for enjoying the freedom I now have. I love my son with every part of who I am. I don’t want to plan a future without him. I want a future with him in it. 

I resist imagining my son in heaven – whole, having fun, free from pain, and experiencing things like never before. I end up focusing on the absence of his presence here. I fear casting vision without him. Even now, I never want him to feel like a burden, a bother, or like someone holding me back. Maybe I fear this because at times I did subconsciously feel that way?!? All I know is, this is challenging for me now. 

As I sit here I have to open myself up to the idea my son might actually be proud of me. I completed college, mostly as a single mother. I created a fun and adventurous life for my family. I started a production company in the most unlikely of places and it not only provides jobs, but creates meaningful content for companies and entertaining stories for mass global audiences. I am a leader in my region and proficient in my line of work. I sincerely love people and foster meaningful relationships. 

Maybe my son wants me to be happy. Maybe he cares about my dreams just as much as I cared about his. So we go together…

What does the future have in store for Joy?!?

To be honest, my head is spinning at this moment. I feel like I am going to vomit! 🤢🤮

My husband and I have dreamed of making feature films ever since we met. While we have both been able to work on a few, our company has not yet produced one on its own. 

We are in Washington State so I can take this time to heal and connect with loved ones. We are also here working on a project with a producer friend of ours. I would like to see this project filmed this fall. I feel the pressure to raise the needed $1.5 million to film the project. I know the weight is not entirely on my shoulders. However, I have a hard releasing that dream to heaven. I have so many what if’s that roll around in my brain. I have worked so hard and diligently over so many years to get here that I do not want to be disappointed. What if the stars do not align? What if people do not follow through on their promises? What if, what if, what if?!? The list goes on. Rarely ever do “what if’s” turn into the positive when I get in this mode. 

I am going to try —-

What if God is on my side? What if I have established meaningful and trusting relationships?  What if my son is commissioning angels on my behalf? What if, our company has what it takes? Not only to see this through, but do it with quality and excellence? What if, this film launches us into the next chapter of our lives? What if we have all the connections and resources we need?

What if none of this happens, we don’t die, and life simply continues on as it already has been?

Lastly, my therapist made me aware of meanings we humans attach to dates. My father passed away on my wedding anniversary. Each anniversary since has been difficult for me to celebrate. My son passed the day before my birthday. I don’t have many fond memories of my birthday, and this event just exacerbated that issue.

However, armed with new perspective, I am going to choose to see these dates in a positive light. I am going to see my father dying during my anniversary date as a significant event where he celebrates love, commitment, & covenant. I am going to view my son passing the day before my birthday in an entirely different way. Sawyer’s birth into the afterlife provides him with new opportunities and also gives new opportunities to my life. I plan to celebrate the days they were born and honor the days the left this earth. I expect this is easier said than done.

I feel this may be all I can get out at the moment.

This process is requiring true strength from me. It is demanding communication and agreement between my brain, my heart, my spirit, and my soul. I have never been one who easily cries or purges though tears. I must not fear the utter feeling of weakness I tend to associate with pain.  I have always seen scars as reminders of traumatic events rather than the body’s miraculous self healing abilities. Embracing the beauty of my heart scars requires the vulnerability of staining my face as the makeup drips down my cheek.

It is my sincere prayer that those reading about my process find the courage and strength to begin or continue their own journey. This is not for the faint of heart. It is for the healing of it.


Georgia on my mind!

At 16 years old I was fourth-two and a half weeks pregnant. I had gained 54 pounds and stretched my petite frame as far as I could. I knew it was all worth it as the little person I carried inside of me was bringing me so much life already. I was keenly aware that I was not in an ideal situation. I understood my opportunities would look different. I also was mindful of the many challenges taking care of another human would have. Despite all of the "realities" I was about to face, I held on to a truer reality; I was about to embark on the greatest love journey of my life.

Everyday leading up to delivery felt like the longest day of my life. I was so excited to stare into the face of this precious being. On top of that, I was as big as a house and ready to feel normal again. Baby and I almost did not make it through the eighteen hours of excruciating labor. While trying to go through my small and titled pelvic bone, baby's head got stuck. My very large and gentle father had to literally pin me into the fetal position so I could receive an epidural. The doctor said they had nearly lost baby and I all together. My body finally relaxed enough for her head to drop down and pass through the birthing canal. And just like that she was here…

Georgia Ann, the most beautiful human on the planet. She weighed 8lbs 6.5oz and was a whopping 21 inches long. She had a full head of black hair and was perfectly healthy. I may have been utterly exhausted, however, I was experiencing extreme bliss. She was everything I could have ever hope for.

She was worth adjusting my sleep schedule, my ability to take long showers, and my overall routines in life. Even the most basic things like running errands were suddenly a time management strategy game. Do I go when she is sleeping in the hopes she will sleep through the whole event only to realize she will wake up and not sleep for the rest of the afternoon? Or do I attempt to go before she naps hoping she will be in dreamy rest on the way home and I can unload the car with both hands in an organized fashion, only to discover she is out of her element and screams the entire time I am shopping? Or lastly, do I wait until after her nap? She would theoretically be rested, fed, and ready for our outing… At this point I am passed out on the couch with no energy to do anything while she smiles at me in sheer ignorance of my dilemma. During this season, I just did my best to accommodate her needs and learn how to meet my own at the same time.

By the time she was 5, Georgia Ann's jet black hair and turned into gorgeous red locks. She had also become a child fashionista. Stubborn and headstrong, she would argue with me about what mixed matched outfit she was gong to wear to kindergarten. She knew her own mind and would not be convinced otherwise. I was both a proud momma, and frustrated. I did not want to raise a spoiled brat, yet, I also wanted to allow her to be her. I found myself in this tension a lot over the course of Georgia's life. She challenged to grow, mature, and sacrifice beyond what I knew I was capable of. She showed me that I could love her with my whole heart and also be there to guide her through life.

Soon she was a tween. She wanted to wear makeup, have boy friends, and voice her strong opinions. Her clothing style would change drastically based on who she hung out with. She was really trying to find herself. She changed and developed almost daily. It was hard for me to keep up with her taste at this time. Did she like zebra stripes or rainbows today? Does she like pizza or hot dogs tonight? Is she into hoop earrings or flowers??? At times I felt like I was walking a tight rope trying to get to know my daughter who didn't quite know herself. I had to develop strong roots in my own personal identity so she would have an anchor to tether her wavering being to.

Teenager, beloved teenager. Georgia Ann was very normal over these 6 years. By normal, I mean she had her ups, downs, breakdowns, breakups, and came out the other side as if she just went through the birthing process all over again. Hormones and emotions brought fresh fire to the turmoils she had experienced – a severely disabled brother, her father and I's break up, an abusive stepfather and subsequent divorce, and her father's periodical attempts at being a part of her life. When I ended up falling in love with my best friend, Georgia felt like she was no longer the center of my world. To make matter's worse, Georgia's father passed a month before her eighth grade graduation sending her into a spiral of self doubt and destructive choices. She finished high school barely hanging on to life.

Through all of this, I have never met a more courageous, strong, intelligent, and phenomenal person as Georgia. Despite being overshadowed by sorrow for many years she fought her way out of it's dark and painful valley. Today she has two beautiful and thriving children, a successful business, and empowers people to be the very best versions of themselves. She is absolutely stunningly gorgeous inside and out. Her fashion style is now one the people envy. She has turned her headstrong stubbornness into determination and perseverance. She embodies grace and elegance. I am eternally grateful I get be her momma. She is the light of my life and makes me very proud. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew I was changed by a love I would never experience the same again.

Happy Birthday Georgia, you are on my mind every sec of every day. Thanks for being you!


I’m Sorry

I’m sorry for sabotaging my relationships.

I’m sorry for agreeing with fear.

I’m sorry for suppressing my voice.

I’m sorry for viewing vulnerability as weakness.

I’m sorry for self-protecting.

I’m sorry for hiding my heart.

I’m sorry I reject being loved.

I’m sorry I run when I should press in.

I’m sorry I have turned anger into manipulation & intimidation.

I’m sorry I have sought out my worth & significance in others.

I’m sorry I searched for affirmation rather than entering into praise.

I’m sorry I didn’t receive a compliment.

I’m sorry I focused on my flaws.

I’m sorry I wallowed in self-pity.

I’m sorry I purge my emotions rather than develop a renewed mind.

I’m sorry I let guilt in the driver’s seat.

I’m sorry deception stole the wheel.

I’m sorry I let hurt build up walls of resentment.

I’m sorry my aversion to pain became flaming arrows launched at those I love.

I’m sorry I kept people at arms length.

I’m sorry I searched for identity in what others thought of me rather than anchoring my spirit in truth & hope.

I’m sorry I didn’t say sorry sooner.


I Forgive You

To those who have hurt me over the years… I forgive you!

To those of you who made me feel small & inferior… I forgive you!

To those who made me feel ashamed of my femininity… I forgive you!

To those who made me feel unworthy of love, respect, & appreciation… I forgive you!

To those in my life who did not live up to their own standard of strength & courage… I forgive you!

To the ones who feared my opinions & personality and projected on me their own feelings of inadequacy… I forgive you!

To the many who felt threatened by my intuition & fluid nature, who shut down my ideas & rejected my methods… I forgive you!

To those who would make crass & vulgar jokes at the expense of my sexuality… I forgive you!

To those who entertained fantasies & avoided being present… I forgive you!

To those in my culture who have reduced me down to simply aesthetics or purely productivity… I forgive you!

For allowing you to devalue me in any way… I forgive myself!


I Have No Sandwich To Give

sandwich    Fourteen years ago I pulled away from our church parking lot following a van full of zealous Christians. Our mission was to save the lost and feed the hungry.  We met with a team to set out on the streets of San Francisco. When we arrived I was as excited and eager as was the rest of the crew. They separated us into little groups, armed us with socks, sandwiches and a few guidelines to follow, and sent us out to change the world.
It all sounded so epic. I sincerely thought I was going to be someone’s light in a dark place. I felt I carried significance, purpose, and vision to the “blind”. We walked the streets of Height and Ashbury. We painted a mural in a crisis pregnancy center. We ministered in the park. We worshiped in the city square. It was a rush to experience the heart of God for a city. I wasn’t even put off by the homeless lady taking a pee in the street as we shared the love of Christ with her boyfriend.
However, something caught my attention after a long night of providing essential items to those in need: I found most of them believed in Jesus. They were open to prayer. They quickly took our socks and snacks. They would say “Amen” and “God bless you”. Suddenly there were moments I felt like I was being manipulative. I was offering them something they needed (food and clothing). In a sense, they felt obligated to listen to my shpeal. I searched my heart, asking the Lord for clarification. Many of those to whom I was ministering sincerely believed in Christ. They were simply trapped in addiction, self destructive behavior, and brokeness. They didn’t need to say the sinner’s prayer again. While these thoughts were rolling around in my mind, I looked across the street where I saw the polar opposite of social status.
Beautiful women in long flowing gowns were getting out of limousines draped on the arm of good looking men in Armani suites. They were walking into fancy clubs, paying cover charges that would make my overpriced coffee blush. While they caught the attention of everyone around them, I found myself staring at them for longer and longer periods of time. My heart grieved. Who had their sandwich? Who could offer them a relationship and an experience with a loving God who cared for them? Who’s mission field were they? I broke inside. Money they had. Food was not an issue. Socks may as well have been disposable as far as they were concerned.
Yet like everyone else they hungered for something more. They were successful in every sense of the word. They had it made in the eyes of a material world. Yet, they were the poor in spirit. They could eat all day long and never be satisfied. They to are sad, depressed, and alone. They also battle addictions, self destructive behavior and brokenness. They too long for a love they haven’t known, a feeling of belonging, and a genuine acceptance beyond performance.
I went back to the hostile that night and balled my eyes out, “Lord, I have no sandwich for them.” I have nothing to offer them. Why would they listen to me? What do I have that they do not? They pity me, as if I am the one in want and need. I don’t remember sleeping that evening. I spent the whole night crying out to God.

His response to me was simple… I was their sandwich. He told me to be myself, do what I love, and work hard at developing my craft.  He reminded me of the words spoken over me my entire life, beginning when my mother was pregnant with me. She saw my name up in neon lights like a Hollywood sign. God told her I was going to be a girl and to name me Joy and that I would bring great JOY to this world. He reminded me of when I was an infant and the prophetic words my parents received about me saying, “Open your mouth and I will fill it.”
God then took me back to my childhood where my parents were on staff at the YWAM base in Maui. It was the performing arts base. Christians from around the world gathered there to collaborate on projects that would impact the world. I remember learning to sing, dance, perform on stage, and entertain a crowd. It was at that place that I learned to talk to God. At a young age He became my best friend.
As I grew up in the church many shunned my dreams, claiming my head was in the clouds. As both a child and a female I was taught to be seen and not heard. I suppressed my voice and my calling. I tried being a good Christian evangelist. I told everyone I could about the love of Jesus. I became a youth pastor and served as a small group leader. I put my heart into everything I did, yet God kept reminding me, I wasn’t fully alive unless I was being 100% who He created me to be.
After my experience in San Francisco I went back to school and got my degree in media communications. I began to take acting classes. I got an agent and I tried out for Esther in “One Night With The King.”  I cultivated relationships in the L.A./Pasadena area and I have been a faithful tortoise ever since, persevering in the belief God intends on using me to be a sandwich to those in the entertainment industry.
After my husband Matt went to ministry school, he and I have now served as volunteers for five years in the church teaching an overview course in film along with a good friend of ours. We have produced over two dozen short films and have held three film festivals highlighting the students work. My husband Matt has also illustrated 3 of Danny and Sheri Silk’s children’s books and Kris Valloton’s latest children’s book “The Ways of Royalty.” He also works at Bethel Media as our main source of income.
All the while we pastor about 75 people in the growing film community in Redding out of our house. We have continued to build relationships in L.A. and be actively involved in our children’s lives. Our personal short films have won multiple awards nation wide, and now we find ourselves at precipice. We are gearing up for the new rung of students and plan on taking their craft to a new level. We intentional teach them to be Daniel’s and Joseph’s called to serve those in Hollywood by making them look like geniuses. We teach them to not promote propaganda, but to become good at being visual storytellers.
Our goal is to make feature length films in the Northern California area. We intend on providing sustainable jobs and resources to those in our community. Though we do not feel called to faith based films, we do feel called to partner with the church to bring entertaining and meaningful stories to life. We focus on co-creating with the Holy Spirit, operating from an identity in Christ, and living as examples. Our company is called speropictures. The word spero comes from the latin term which means “hope.” Our brand is the tree of life. Our desire is to plant seeds of hope that reproduce wholeness.
We have made connections with our county’s development department, our local Film Commissioner, a performing arts studios, and several others who are partnering with us in this journey. We have also been building relationships with professionals in their field from sound, music, color grading, editing, acting and much more who feel the call of God to be doing their craft from Redding.
What we attempting do at the moment is seek investors, donations, sponsors, and other financing options so we do not have to be over extended by volunteering, working, doing family and making a films. Plus, some of what will be funded is equipment that our students would then have access to, thereby taking their projects up a notch as well.

– Joy

 


How do you think it went?

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In my mind the event was a huge success. Though the sound was off, the lighting cues were spotty, and the videos had a slight delay, we accomplished a major feet on May 3rd, 2014. As a community of people, we were in good spirits. We joined together and chose not to be discouraged. We had fun. We were entertained, and we laughed at the technical difficulties that we faced.

Not only had I poured my life into the 3rd Annual BSSM Film Festival this year, so many others did so as well. We all had high expectations. Some of which were let down.

So what happens when you put your heart and soul in something you believe so deeply in and things don’t turn out quite the way you hoped they would?

Such is life. Oftentimes we get so hung up on the pictures in our heads we forget to focus on all the things that go right. I volunteered countless hours in planning and preparing for this event for almost a year. I had meetings galore, emails in abundance, classes and deadlines. With all the organization and grace I could muster, I still lacked a certain amount of know how and structure. If I got anything out of this last season it is what not to do, from the numerous mistakes I made along the way. My personal failures have become a great teaching tool and therefore can be viewed a rewarding success.

When you have such huge aspirations and high standards, all you can do is dust yourself off and keep going. We are in the middle of a learning curve. I myself need to get better at learning to delegate to those with the gift and ability to take it on. So many people caught the vision I have been carrying and came under me to support it and bring it to fruition. I have had enormous amounts of grace and favor. There is no way I could have pulled off such a grand event without the passion of those who came along side and carried the burden with me.

I have been overwhelmed by the amount of love, encouragement, and belief people have in this vision. There have been countless numbers of those who desire to bring to life, excellence in the realm visual storytelling. All they have needed is a platform in which to jump off of. It has been my hope to be apart of raising up and equipping filmmakers to go into the marketplace and become successful.

We are accomplishing that goal!

The day after the event when I was feeling tired and deflated a good friend of mine who is a professional in our field said, “You guys are ambitious in trying to model your film festival after the most prestigious film festival in the world… “the Oscars””. You guys are doing an amazing job. Since then I have received tons of positive feedback as well as constructive criticism. What encourages me the most is the amount of people who have come up to me already hoping to be apart of next year’s track and festival.

Acknowledging that perphectionism is overrated, I understand we still have a lot to learn. I am also grateful that we are in an environment where we are safe to make mistakes and grow.

I can list so many things that went right this year: the musical performers were stunning, the motion graphics were awesome, the director interviews were outstanding, the student projects turned out so well, and the community of people grew as a whole. However, my favorite part was that we stood together and made the best of something with what we had to work with. And that my friends is all we can ask for.


If I were a super hero…

20140331-134856.jpg     If I were a super hero I would be able to fly. If I were a super hero I would be able to play with fire. If I were a super hero I would live in a palace in heaven. If I were a super hero I would be myself.

When my daughter Seraphim was required to come up with a super hero costume for a school project she and I began to dream together. We let our imagination free to create worlds, powers, and abilities that were limitless. However, it wasn’t until the night before the project was do that things got real. Panic set in as she realized we hadn’t actually put practical effort into the costume. We came up with all these ideas, but how to implement them was another thing.

Problem solving 101… I had been working on the computer when she interrupted me with the urgent news. No big deal, I thought to myself.  I am trying to be intentional about getting our kids to solve their own problems. I totally got this under control…

“How are you going to handle this?” I questioned, placing the responsibility on her to find a solution.

“We need to go to the store and buy a costume.” she looked at me with a “DUH” face.

“Cool, where are you going to get the money?”

A melt down began to proceed, whining and all. “How am I suppose to do this then? My costume is going to suck.”

I felt my insides unraveling as my impatience with her immaturity became apparent. Pushing aside my desire to get back to work, I knew I could use this as a teaching tool for growth. It was an opportunity to walk her through the process and allow her to take ownership of her homework.

“What things do we have around the house?” I responded with the utmost sincerity, again allowing her to own the problem.

Without saying a word, off she ran up the stairs. My eyes rolled as I felt irritation rising up. A few minutes later she returned to the office with a red sequined shirt in hand.

“I can be captain sparkle.” She said as she tossed it in the air allowing it to fall on my paperwork.

“What else are you planning on wearing with that?” I questioned with a snide tone.

“My jeans,” she replied.

I began to become frustrated with myself that I had allowed myself to become frustrated with her. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and respond the best I could.

“That is not a super hero outfit. What would your super power be if you were captain sparkle?”

Troubled by my response, she blurted out, “I don’t know. I don’t have anything to wear. We just need to go to the store.”

“I feel like that is the lazy answer. I need you to put some effort in here. What else could you do to make the costume more official?” I saw lights go on in her brain.

“We can look up outfits on pintrest.”

I started to feel relieved. At last we are getting somewhere. However, my stress levels returned quickly when I discovered the pintrest app on my ipad had been deleted and the battery was also about to die. GRRRrrrr. My hope was for her to be looking up ideas beside me while I continued to work on my computer. Now I was having to stop doing what I was doing altogether and help her out. The last thing I wanted to do was to make her feel like a bother, but she could feel my impatience growing as we sifted through the website.

“We can’t have logos either.” She popped off as we recognized some iconic emblems.

“That’s okay, you can make you own logo.” I attempted to explain.

Feeling misunderstood Seraphim took the opportunity to correct my ignorance by arguing that the teacher did not want any logos at all. My brain began to hurt as I fought off feelings of discouragement. I was going to use the initial intrusion on my time to become a teaching tool and now I was failing at everything. I am not getting work done, I am not empowering her to solve the problem, and I am causing more confusion than clarity. Instead of continuing on this route I simply gave up and was just going to call the shots.

“Please get out the craft paper.” I told her in angst.

“What for?” she replied, walking to the closet.

“Because I want you to.” I demand.

“Isn’t it alright for me to wonder what you are doing?” she said as she questioned my motives.

About that time, my husband who was also working in the office chimed in, “Why don’t you let her handle it Joy? It is her project after all.”

That was it. That was the straw that broke the camels back. “I am the worst mother ever. I am failing miserably. I suck. I can’t do this. I don’t know what I am doing. I am done.” all went through my head in a nano second.

“Seraphim, I need you to go out of the room while I gather my thoughts.” I said out loud.

My heart was crushed. I wanted to help. I wanted her to know she was important. I wondered why I had become so angry inside. I came to the conclusion… she is not a waste of my time. What the heck am I working so hard for anyway? I am working hard for her, for all our kids. I am working hard so they can be taken care of, because they are all important. In that moment I chose to stop worrying about work and focus on how to communicate “I love you” to her with my words and my actions.

First thing I did was look my husband in the eyes and share with him my heart. After he and I got on the same page I asked Seraphim to come back down stairs. I told her I was sorry for my shortness with her. After she accepted my apology, I asked her several questions trying to get her to come up with a super hero idea we could construct into a costume.

Finally, we decided on one. She was going to be the greatest super hero ever: A Seraphim is a fiery angel that reside in the throne room of God. They have six wings total. Two wings to fly with, two wings that cover their eyes, and two wings that cover their feet. They have the ability to see the glory of God and proclaim His holiness. They also have the ability to handle hot coals and cleanse the unclean. We decided she is already a super hero just by being herself.

Three hours later, one cut up old tee shirt, twenty sticks of hot glue, and countless paper feather cut outs, and viola. She had the coolest and most unique super hero outfit ever. She traced and cut out the stencil while I maned the hot glue gun. She and I laughed, bonded, and felt accomplished as we worked together.  It was time well spent. And while she ended up with her homework project completed, ironically, afterward I was the one that felt like a super hero.

 


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