(I’m the kinda person who considers herself too good to be sponsored. Or maybe it’s that I’m not good enough to be sponsored. Either way, this isn’t a sponsored post, and it shouldn’t be a deadly blogging sin to promote good things for good reasons with no compensation. Ahem.)
My new obsessionrelationship with volunteering at concerts goes back to smack-dab in the middle of the past October. It was then that I learned two things:
tobyMac, my go-to musician, chef of Soul Sauce, king of CCM and crown prince of great graphic design, was coming to a venue not ten miles from my house.
I was not the only one excited for the concert.
By the time I got around to getting tickets, the entire house was sold out. Dang. I thought I had missed the Golden Opportunity Of A Lifetime™, but then God Himself opened my eyes to a very small banner at the bottom of my screen:
volunteer opportunities! click me please!
(Okay, I don’t remember exactly what it said but it was something like that.)
Before I could say Diverse City, I had signed my brother and I up and was ready to jump into things. Even though I had exactly 0.05246% of a clue as to what I would be doing.
Well, let me rephrase that. I had several misconstrued ideas as to what I would be doing. As it turned out, none of them were correct.
I was a little surprised to find out that volunteers don’t do door check, security, or any other services covered by the venue itself. And even though I kind of knew it would never happen, we were not allowed on or near the stage. Bummer.
However, what we ended up doing was very, very cool (and I at least got to watch them taking down the stage afterward, but we’ll get to that!)
I ended up helping the Food For The Hungry folks. FH is an organization that helps third-world communities get back on their feet through sponsorship and prayer. The whole concept wasn’t anything new – I’d been in the audience of another concert and heard their mission from the receiving end.
My job was to get packets from our tables to the audience. At a certain time in the show, we handed out packets to the people sitting in all three levels of this theatre. Lots of walking, lots of smiles, and lots of packets were filled out. We ended up sponsoring 150 kids that night!
Being an active part in the recovery process for 150 families was an incredible experience, but it wasn’t the only awesome thing that happened that night.
Besides the part in the show where we handed out packets, we were just working beforehand, during intermission, and afterward. This meant we got to watch the show for absolutely free – a “thank you gift” from the people we were working for.
But not only did we get to watch it for free, we also were allowed to stand in a box seat – the only place that hadn’t sold out. We were just 20ish feet away from the stage!
What. A night.
Oh, and I got to watch them taking stuff down. But I think I already mentioned that. I never knew there were cranes above the stage, but apparently they are, and subwoofers are heavy.
After that night of praise and worship and ridiculously awesome music, I knew I wanted to do this as much as possible.
Luckily for me, I joined Loop Volunteers’ mailing list.
Loop Events is an organization that crowdsources volunteers for CCM concerts. They look for people in the area, and whenever a Christian artist comes to town, they alert them and ask for help.
This led me to volunteering for Steven Curtis Chapman when he came in. This time, I worked at the merchandise table. We sold over $2000 of t-shirts and CDs, which pours itself into keeping the tour going and SCC’s charity, Show Hope.
I got a free t-shirt and got to see him in person. Now, I’m anxiously looking forward to For King And Country in April. Can’t wait!
Volunteer work is always awesome. Volunteer work with perks like free live music and supporting Important Causes™ is even more awesome. Even if you don’t get a t-shirt.
If it’s something you think you might like doing, you should seek out some opportunities. Who knows? You might end up having as much fun as I have.
Ever volunteered at a concert? Favorite bands? Let’s talk music. I’m listening.
oh, oh / somebody needs you more than you know / oh-oh, oh / ignite and watch it blow / beyond this world…
Before we start, please exit your reader. Thank you. I worked way too hard on my new blog design to have the formatting be messed up by that fool thing!
I spent a really long time redesigning Steeplechase.
How was I going to introduce my new design again? I think it had something to do with fanfares and drumrolls. Well, it’s too late now.
Are you on the site yet? Good. So maybe the snazzy new design isn’t the only thing you noticed. Did you see the aliens that just crash-landed in your yard? Psyche! Gotcha! Made ya look!
Well, in addition to our new martian friends, maybe you also noticed that…
The Real News
steeplechaseblog.wordpress.com is now steeplechase-blog.com!
I’m so excited to finally have my own domain! I can’t describe how it feels to get to this milestone. It’s something like ecstasy and curiosity, with a dash of anxiety and terror. But I can’t wait to fully use my new powers as a Real Domain-Owning Blogger™.
Which brings me to the scary, beautiful talk of PLANS.
I’m not really a natural planner. Usually, I find that it cramps my style. Nevertheless, I’m a dreamer, and as I like to say, dreaming is planning without logistics.
Psyche, the actual Real News
Up until this point, Steeplechase has been an “end-of-the-pipeline imagination dumping ground”, as I think I’ve said in several old posts. And it’s been fun to post mediocre art, unfinished stories, and general bedlam.
I’m not saying that it won’t still be general bedlam, but I’ve known for a long time that I’ve wanted Steeplechase to be more.
But the Big Question™ has been rolling around in my head for months now: if it isn’t a scrapyard of abandoned creativity, then what is Steeplechase?
I don’t think it will ever be a successful inspirational blog, because I barely know what makes me feel inspired, let alone hundreds of followers.
At this point, my art isn’t good enough to treat this like a portfolio. And besides, where’s the joy in that? The day my blog becomes a resume builder will be the day it’s no longer fun.
I’m not a bookish person (yes, I’ve come to terms with it). I don’t really care for photography (despite how necessary it is to blogging). I have no tips to share, no pseudo-sage advice to impart to you guys.
Over the past few months, I’ve considered almost every single blog “category”, but none of them have felt like me. I shouldn’t have had to be shown that I don’t fit the mold. To be honest, I haven’t ever fit the mold of “successful homeschooled teenaged girl blogger”, mostly because I’m somewhat lazy and kinda stubborn.
And then – eureka!
After all this consideration, I finally realized why I blog: because I’m different.
Because the things I like doing are delightfully weird.
Because my escapades are relatable and maybe people see a bit of themselves in me.
I’m always looking for adventures, and I love making a big deal about things that aren’t that important. (Who doesn’t?)
I live for living, and that’ll probably kill me off early, but I don’t it’s a bad existence.
My blog is about adventure – finding adventure – inspiring adventure. Big adventures, teeny stupid adventures. Creative adventures. Destructive adventures. They’re all part of a healthy life experience, and I feel like I’m the only blogger who talks about them regularly.
This could mean I’m strange and different. Or it could mean I’m good and different. I’ve decided to be optimistic and say that my deviation from the norm makes me special, even if the former is more accurate.
So even if I’ll never be an uber-popular teen blogger, I can fill this weird niche I’ve created for myself.
I can entertain people with my adventures in hopes of inspiring them to follow suit.
I can tell people that it’s okay to be truly weird. As in, not the kind of self-aware weird most people think they are. I mean the kind of weird that isn’t aesthetic in any way, that makes people wrinkle their noses and swear you’ll let go of it in a few years.
I can entertain. I can encourage. I can inspire.
I can do pretty much the same thing I’ve been doing for nearly three years, just with more gusto and a more regular posting schedule.
So? In the end, nothing has really changed, but also everything has changed.
This is the intro post I never made.
Welcome to the Steeplechase.
In other news, I had a birthday! I’m sixteen now, aka older than sliced bread and Internet Explorer. I feel like I’m ancient, for some reason.
In other other news, I never did my birthday choose-your-own-adventure. Which you might have noticed. Or probably didn’t. I owe y’all one, okay?
In other other news, I’m going to make another promise. I would promise that I won’t make any other promises, but isn’t that another promise?
Sheesh, I really need to stop promising things.
Tess’ Unofficial Posting Schedule
My high hopes are to post three times a month, to begin with. If, by some miracle, I start being able to manage that, we’ll go to once a week. What it’ll probably end up as is twice a month, though. See what I mean?
If I fail, I fail. If I succeed, it will be the first promise I’ve ever kept true to.
Ya know, those things we all make, but I never seem to keep up with. Even though I have a chronic inability to complete my goals, I still want to make some. But instead of doing it by month (I’ve learned that I’m not the kind of person who pays attention to dates), we’re going to do it by Macro – Mecro – Micro.
I also was nominated for the Liebster Award, so we’re going to do that. How do you even say Liebster? Leeb-stir? Lib-stair? Lie-b-stehr?
And finally, I want to talk about improvement. Again. I know I talked about it during APADO, but that was 31 posts ago, so I think it deserves another post. Improvement is big deal with me.
*clap clap* let’s just get into it
The Liebster Award
I’m so glad that Jewel nominated me for the Liebster Award! Jewel is one of my good friends, and I love both of her blogs to death. Thanks, Jewel!
So, with acknowledgements made, here we go.
What do you want to accomplish by your next birthday? Gah, I can’t spill my goals yet! But I want to accomplish surviving for an entire year. Hehe, just kidding. I’d like to be more fluent in Hebrew. טס עדיין לא טובה בדיבור עברית.
What needs to be invented that has not been invented yet? A bed with spikes that makes getting up in the morning significantly easier…>:)
What is your favorite song? DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE. Can I make a top ten? Hello Future (tobyMac), Take On Me (a-ha), Wolf Bite (Owl City), Love Song (Royal Tailor), Right On Time (Aaron Cole), WaveWalker (Citizen Way), Pompeii (Bastille), The Wolf (SIAMES), Get Down Get Down (KJ-52) and Transformed (Shonlock). And like, thirty million more.
What is your favorite movie? The original Thor. But my favorite thing to watch is Batman: The Animated Series. Like, I’ll pick a few episodes of that over a movie anyday.
When people are told to guess a number between 1 and 10, which do you think is the most common answer? I think…7. I can’t really say why. This is a cool question!
Do you have a bad habit? If so, what? Shhh…I bite my nails. And use the eraser on the end of the pencil when I’m drawing. *cowers*
Soft Pretzels or Hard Pretzels? SOFT PRETZELSSS they always make me think of Six Flags. And they’re amazing.
Would you rather own a fish or a snake? Definitely a snake. They’re way more interesting, and wouldn’t it be neat to own a potentially deadly creature?
What is something you know how to do that you could teach? I feel like I could teach anyone how to be socially awkward, but I don’t think anyone would want to know how to do that. 9_9 So let’s just stick to beginner horseback riding skills, because I do teach those on a regular basis.
If you could be famous for 1 thing, what would it be? I’d want to be famous for making a circumnavigation, possibly because I want an excuse to buy a campervan.
What are the 3 most important qualities in a friend? Loyal (because who wants friends who never back them up?), sensitive (able to tell when others are having a problem), and fun (wanting to do fun stuff instead of just sitting and talking).
11 Facts About Me
(that realistically no one wants to read but i mUsT fOlLoW tHe rUlEs)
I have a bunch of Assorted Unstable Jobs: babysitting, cleaning my dad’s work, mowing lawns in the summer, and professional weirdo.
I only drink diet sodas – not because of health reasons, but for some reason I find regular soda really bitter…?
I have a really strange obsession with commercials. They fascinate me.
I can’t do monkey bars because I have Chicken Arms™.
I have four sisters and two brothers.
I really, really, really love peaches. I’m not kidding. Get me a peach and I will squeal.
I don’t like documentaries. They’re kinda boring.
I can’t stand it when someone is raking leaves and they scrape the tines of the rake on the concrete. It’s like the sound of nails on a chalkboard except three bazillion times worse.
I have a lot of t-shirts, but most of them are black.
I used to want to be a doctor when I grew up. Now I’m leaning toward illustrator…but who knows, I may still do medical work. Or culinary arts. I’d really love to have a food truck. The only problem is, I can’t cook to save my life.
What was your favorite TV show/movie when you were a kid?
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
What do you think is the best way to start the day?
What is one of your favorite smells?
If you were suddenly put on a stage and told to deliver a speech, what would you talk about?
Do you think Wikipedia is a reliable source?
What’s the worst advice you’ve ever received?
What age would you like to live to?
What do you want carved on your gravestone?
Have you ever saved someone’s life?
Opinion on chow mein?
Okay, realistically, that took much more than I thought and I could honestly make a post with just that. But I feel obliged to actually fulfill one of my promises. For once.
*clap* next topic *clap*
The Stuff I Need To Do And Get Better At (2019 Edition)
As I start to think about goals, I’m wondering if it’s too late to talk about goals, seeing as we’re already a week into January…but let’s say that it’s for the next year. So I’ll open these…next January 7th?
(translation: goals that are really huge and untangible)
Get better at managing my time. Work with, not against, myself. Use the precious days I have in this season of life wisely.
Unlock the motivation I know I have and banish the laziness that cripples me.
Be unafraid to speak my mind and talk about important, serious things in all my mediums (writing, art, blogging, etc.)
(translation: goals that are still huge, but actually physically achievable)
Write three 50k novels in April, July, and November (Nanowrimo ftw!)
Come up with a good comic concept and illustrate ten pages of it.
Relaunch Steeplechase (!!!)
Post at least twice monthly on both of my blogs.
(translation: very achievable, given I don’t procrastinate too much)
Buy a copy of Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards.
Stay on top of schoolwork.
Make myself like photography. Ugh.
It may not as complicated as last year’s goals post, but considering how many I failed, I think simple is best.
I feel like this blog is a never-ending Hallmark drama. Will Tess ever do anything she promises she’ll do? This year might be the year, but that’s what I thought last year, and what I think every time I make a promise…
*exits stage left with an existential breakdown in tow*
I Talk About Art For 500 Words And You Inevidably Scroll Past
I go through a specific cycle with all my work, but particularly with my art. I’ll get semi-okay at something, and be proud of it for approximately three days. Then I’ll realize it needs improvement. But as that realization turns into bitterness and I try and try over and over again without seeing change, I get to a point where I wonder if I’m ever going to get better.
Then, right as I think I should just stop doing what I love to do – clink! The penny drops, as Richard Williams would say.
And then, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, the cycle repeats itself.
It’s no secret that I battle self-esteem issues, that I feel inadequate a lot of the time, and that my depression takes over my motivation if I let it. I think this happens to all creative people, to be honest. Without the right kind of encouragement, it becomes a monster that controls both your creativity and your confidence.
Every time I get to that part of the cycle, I have to force myself to keep pushing. To keep trying. To make one more crappy drawing in hopes of making a good one next time.
And then, after too much headache and heartbreak, I finally get through it.
In this particular episode of Tess’ Life Gets A Little Bit Better, it all got started with an Action Bible. I got one because I am completely in love with the art. It’s so dynamic and detailed and the shading and it’s pretty much a Masterclass on drawing cloth.
I wouldn’t say I felt inspired, because the feeling is closer to jealousy, but I decided to copy some of the pictures.
In past, I’ve discounted copywork as a viable form of learning to draw. I had previously thought it was cheating. Or something. Or maybe it’s just that I never found anything that was what I wanted to draw.
But after doing some copywork, I’ve seen drastic improvement in my artwork. I’ve since branched off from copying again, after these studies I did. But the lines I made, the shading I did, all that – it stuck.
Here’s a little redraw of the piece I made for an APADO post in October.
I’ve even been drawing in my journal before bed. I think I’m back on the right track.
So if you’re feeling down – if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel – if your feet are dragging in whatever it is you do…
…don’t give up. Relief is coming. Give it one more push, even though you think there’s no hope for you. Try just one more time. And one more time after that. And still one more time after that.
If everything was easy to learn, there’d be no value in it, right?
So prove that you have what it takes. Go give it one more try.
You’ve got this.
Thus endeth the Conglomeration Of Half-Post Ideas.
Although it changed gears faster than a 21-speed bicycle, I hope you enjoyed. I’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment! Pretty please?