Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Filmodus Operandi on Facebook

 As I get ready for the premiere of Filmodus Operandi (imagine an excited squeal), I thought I would cue in The Pickwick Portfolio readers to an opportunity. From the start of making this film, it has been our prayer that our fellow Christian filmmakers around the world would be awakened to a "new" way of making films.

The theme of this project was born with an observation: so many Christian films today focus on good morals, but fail to point to Christ, the only true example and source of good morality. Too often Christians are simply portrayed as people of good character, rather than those who have been radically transformed by the Holy Spirit. As a result, the message of the film is dangerously close to one of self-righteousness, as the viewer can seek to bear fruit without knowing of the Vine, the only source of good fruit (John 15:4-5).

Our aim with this project is to suggest a higher goal; let’s use this powerful method of communication to preach the Gospel. Instead of heartwarming stories about kindness or forgiveness, let’s teach the world that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance, and that the only source of true forgiveness is Jesus Christ. Our audiences, Christian or not, do not ultimately need to hear of good character qualities; they need to hear the Gospel, for “…it is the power of God for salvation…in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith…” (Romans 1:16-17).

As filmmakers, we are storytellers. As Christians, we have a precious story to share. Let’s make the connection.

One way you can spread the message is through the internet. Our Facebook page is now live; feel free to share it with your friends.

In Christ,
~Micaela Marques
Producer, Filmodus Operandi

Sunday, January 22, 2012

of suffering

{I'd like to start posting more "personal" photos instead of the pretty ones I find online, 
so I present to you a portion of the montage of magazine clippings that grace 
the empty wall space in our bathroom. 
Isn't that so much more interesting than a google image?}

I'd like to first preface this post by calming your thoughts that I may be going through some kind of early-twenties crisis; don't fear, I'm doing quite well, praise the Lord, and have no tale of woe to speak of.

That being said, my thoughts do wander and stay awhile on the topic of Christian suffering, for a few reasons; mainly because I am blessed to know a circle of people who either have gone through or are currently experiencing seasons of trials and deep afflictions. Perhaps it is a result of this that I am drawn to books, talks, resources of suffering and dealing with its various forms; I'm very interested in investing in these people's lives and hearing what they have to say. Very much like the way I am interested in books on mothering and things of that nature; I'm not in that season or time of life but I am a Tia (aunt) as well as a traveling post-pardem doula (aka, Mary Poppins); and it's been my experience that one can glean much knowledge from people and resources that address things that I may not be experiencing at that time.
In the very same way, I'm interested in suffering and affliction, not because I have a difficult past or present but because as a Believer, I know that suffering, in various shapes and forms, will be a part of my life and through much prayer and trust in His sovereignty, I can look forward to that time.

I wanted to share with you a few excerpts from one of my favorite books on the topic of suffering, Surprised By Suffering by R.C. Sproul. I really enjoy reading Sproul and have learned much from him. This book takes a particular look at sufferings related to physical death but also touches on other areas.
One of the points I appreciated when reading this book is the simple, clear way Sproul explains suffering for the Believer, we truly are followers:
"We are followers of Christ. 
We follow Him into the Garden of Gethsemane. We follow Him into the Hall of Judgement. We follow Him along the Via Dolorosa
We follow Him unto death. 
But the gospel declares, we follow Him through 
the gates of Heaven...
It is because of Christ that our suffering is not useless. 
It is part of the total plan of God who has chosen to 
redeem the world through the pathway of suffering."

In my house, my Dad is the only male (especially now that the cats are gone) and as a result, we girls have come to learn some really handy skills (like blowing in insulation, using a drill, and some minor electrical skills to name a few). We're also expanding our off-trail biking abilities. My Dad loves to going biking for exercise and (when it's not too boiling hot) we often enjoy a good, muddy bike ride on the trails around our house.
My sisters and I don't mind sweating, we can stand the heat, and it's really not a big deal to fall down or nearly fall down really hard a few times; however, none of us like going down steep hills. Death by a bicycle is pretty pathetic not a very interesting way to die. All of that being said, for some reason, it's much easier to go down the steep cliffs if my Dad goes first; it's always so much easier to follow someone else into the gravity-pulling unknown than to go by yourself.
Sometimes I wonder about what my own "valley (or valleys) of the shadow" will look like, thankfully, we don't live in a "What-If" kingdom but my mind does sometimes go the wondering. It's my hope and prayer that through the death of a child/spouse, through an illness, through tragic and painful circumstances I will find my hope and strength in Him who has gone before me, who finds it good to lead me through The Valley. That I'll remember the ultimate answer to the "why" of my suffering.
"The man born blind was afflicted with blindness for the glory of God. This is the startling conclusion our Lord revealed. 
This is a crucial teaching for us. It serves as a warning for us not to jump to conclusions about the "why" of our suffering. 
God used the man's blindness for His greater glory...
We remember the dreadful suffering of Joseph at the hands of his brothers. Yet because of their treachery the plan of God for all of history was brought to pass.
Ultimately the only answer God gave to Job was a revelation of Himself. It was as if God said to him, 
"Job, I am your answer."...
God was asking Job to exercise an implicit faith, An implicit faith is not blind faith. It is a faith with vision, a vision enlightened by a knowledge of the character of God."

There is so much hope in suffering. Paul in 2 Corinthians informs us that just as we share in Christ's sufferings, we also share in His comfort, that being just as abundant; there is always leftovers. With that abundant comfort we are able not only to comfort ourselves but also others as well. We have the opportunity to share it with those who are going through any trial, pointing them to the God of all comfort.
I know I've quoted Spurgeon before and here is another excellent quote that adds much to this topic,
"I would go to the deep a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit.
It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary." ~Charles H. Spurgeon

"It is the hope of Christ that makes it possible for us to persevere in times of tribulation and distress. 
We have an anchor for our souls that rests in 
the One who has gone before us and conquered."

~R.C. Sproul

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

True Grit--The ending to the story

It's funny to think how last year I bought a book, made a new friend from that book (with whom I have kept correspondence with), learned how to sell that book, and now I finally sold that book at the end of November!
I was happy beyond words, cause I really didn't expect someone to buy it, and cause I bought the book for $2 and sold it for $55! I've just had to tell somebody.
Now I've been thinking of what else I could sell.

Does any one have any books that they're selling?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Past Couple Weeks

Nate and Naomi in the Hood's fairy grass (aka rye grass) of a backyard! The Hoods planted the grass in the early fall, then it will die in the spring and then you can harvest it as actual rye (like the bread, or the Poirot mystery, or like the gluten that Mica can't eat).

The watermelon had its last days mid December.
Alas, there was some gooey gross stuff on the outside of it, then when we opened it most of it looked bad to eat. But mom and I took a wee bit of the good parts; it wasn't extraordinarily sweet.
But, I actually grew something!

So, while the girls were in Dubai, Mr. Neal mentioned that he was going to ship a few things to our house, and we could open the boxes, put some letters and stuff in, and condense the contents into one box. So the first day, we got two skinny packages, I wasn't sure how we were going to a book and a bottle of Witch Hazel (for cloth diapers) into those packages. But every day we continued to receive more packages, and boxes, till three weeks later, we had 19 boxes! But, we managed to condense everything into three or four boxes!! Mica and I were very proud of ourselves. :P

This little field mouse was literally an inch big. We found it in the Hoods backyard.

A sweet friend gave me a mug!

We got to meet the Hood's Nonnie and Poppie!
[Note the impressive deer head, stylishly mounted on the wall, compliments of Mr. Hood.]

Dom with his sword, Mia with her hat.

Yeah, this is pretty much how we take pictures; that's why we can never take professional family portraits.

This scarf is the courtesy of Mrs. Mitzi.
Thanks a bunch!
Oh, we went shooting too!

To get to this "shooting range", we had to drive very, very far, past the sticks. But it was worth it because there was no one at the range to boss you about; just you, your guns, your friends, and other people with their guns and friends.

The family, well some of it.

Yes, we believe in child labor. :P

Nicole bought Elena, Mica, and Mom some special cupcakes-- from the best cupcake place in Austin-- for their birthdays which we had missed.

Caro :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

of Loving the Little Years

Everyone also to whom God has given 
wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, 
and to accept his lot and rejoice 
in his toil—this is the gift of God. 
For he will not much remember 
the days of his life 
because God keeps him occupied with 
joy in his heart.

It was a bright, sunny day when I was working in the schoolroom of the N family, most everyone was either outside or reading in the sunroom and Sampson was probably chewing on something in the living room, and as I was browsing through the bookshelf I came across the wee volume of Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic. Though I'm not a mother and have no brood of my own, I had heard many wonderful things about this book and thought I'd recruit it to be a part of my "bathroom reading", so I started. Just a few pages here and there throughout the day and very soon I was finished.

I loved it.

In my experience, there are many "encouraging" books and resources on mothering small children  that don't really encourage at all, mostly just expound on the struggles and lack of "me time" that women with small children have, it's very rare that I come across something that cheerfully shows the joys and trials of motherhood. There are many things I loved about this book, but probably what I appreciated the most was Rachel's insight and the wisdom she shared on raising little ones. It also made me reflect on the wonderful examples of this in my life and reminded me how grateful I am to have women who continually show me the good, bad, and true joy that can come with stickies, littles, children. 
It's a short, delightful read and I highly encourage you, whether you have little ones or not, to read it! 

Also, in my quick research of Rachel's writings I came across this post from Desiring God.org ; in it Rachel shares her thoughts on motherhood as a missionfield, these are excellent and thought-provoking.

"Lay yourself down. Sacrifice yourself here, now. Cheerfully wipe the nose for the fiftieth time today. Make dinner again for the people who don’t like the green beans. Laugh when your plans are thwarted by a vomiting child. Lay yourself down for the people here with you, the people who annoy you, the people who get in your way, the people who take up so much of your time that you can’t read anymore. Rejoice in them. Sacrifice for them. Gain that which you cannot lose in them.

Offered with thankfulness, your work at home is only the beginning. Your laundry pile, selflessly tackled daily, will be used in the hands of God to clothe many. Do not think that your work does not matter. In God’s hands, it will be broken, and broken, and broken again, until all who have need of it have eaten and are satisfied. And even then, there will be leftovers."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Behold the Lamb of God 2011

So, quite a few weeks ago, Dad, Mom, Lizzie (again), and myself, paid an overnight trip to Austin, for Andrew Peterson's concert, "Behold the Lamb of God". We left decently early on Sunday morning, and drove to the Webb's house, where we caravaned to church. I confess, that by the end of the sermon, my stomach was speaking louder than my attentive face [embarrassed smile].
After church, we relaxed at my Aunt's house, while the kids napped. For dinner, Nicole brought over some leftovers, and we had a crazy, but fun, time eating, after which we (Mom, Lizzie, Sophia, and I) had to scramble over to the concert. The church where the concert was held is our old stomping ground in Austin. We used to have many people (and still have a few) that we knew who attended that church; Elena and Mica used to do AWANA there--do I see any former AWANA kids?-- when we lived in Austin.
Okay, I thought that because Andrew Peterson wasn't incredibly well known that there wouldn't be a lot of people there....well, there was. Quite a bit of people. We even ran into some old friends, which were great to see again.
While we were waiting for the concert to begin, I had the same feeling of anticipation as I do when I go to certain midnight showings of movies, but this was better. :)
The first half of the concert, all the people that toured with AP--which were Jason Gray, Andrew Osenga, Andy Gullahorn, Jill Phillips, and Ben Shive--took turns singing two songs from their own albums. Without having ever heard any of the singers --except Jason Gray-- I really appreciated and enjoyed them thoroughly!
They were all very witty and relaxed on stage and weren't showy, like other singers.
A few of them played songs from albums that have not been released yet, including Andrew Osenga and Andrew Peterson. We had the privilege to hear one of AP's songs that he had literally finished an hour and a half before the concert!
After everyone finished singing their songs there was an intermission, then they all sang the actual album, "Behold the Lamb of God". But before, while everyone was still coming, AP got everyone already in the sanctuary to sing It Is Well With My Soul, which was neat. All the songs that they played I wouldn't have necessarily liked, if I had not heard them live or heard the back stories to them. Then at the end, they had everyone singing part of O Come, O Come Emmanuel and they left the stage with everyone singing the Doxology! Thus they put the focus away from themselves and on Christ!
It wasn't like a rock concert, neither was it like a praise-and-worship band; it was different. A refreshing different.

But now, I think I've talked too much.

[These are really all the pictures that came out, all the other ones were blurry]

Lizzie and I, after the concert.


Now if I could say anything to make up for my "overly-giddiness", it would be this:

Dear Mr. Andrew Peterson,
Thanks for indulging two very nerdy and ecstatic girls with your time and pen.
If you ever come back to Texas, I'll do my best to--instead of bringing a pile of books--bring friends and family!
Your books are fantastic!
Continue on with your publishing and recording.

P.S Is there any way I can entice you
to come back to Texas and come visit the small
group of fans in Houston?

Afterward, Lizzie and I rushed to buy CD for me and a book for her. Then, with quaking stomach and giddy head, we went to get our books signed (I already had some books with me). I blubbered words that were supposed to be sentences, as I handed my books for him to sign. I said "books" because...well, I had more than one book...I had four. :). So I got three books of the series signed and an extra one especially for my friends, the Hood girls, to whom I had read the books.
So, all in all I enjoyed the concert and especially going with a friend.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I am so pleased to announce that the film I worked on this summer, Filmodus Operandi, just released its trailer! You can watch it on our homepage or on Vimeo. The film is set to be released in February.

In Christ,


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