How do you like my new background? I thought it was more cheerful and spring-ish than the last one...So I changed it =)
Anyway, the Lord did it again, He performed more miracles at this tournament than I could ever list. I am constantly amazed at how very different His plans are than mine...and how much better His are.
My family had been fighting the stomach flu for a few days before Regionals. We were all praying that we would be fine until after we got home again...yeah, God had something else in mind. First Johnny got sick, then Kaity, my dad, Becky and then Joe. Needless to say, none of them were coming, and we made some hugely last minute (as in, the morning we were leaving last minute) changes to "the plan" and I got a ride up to Portland with the amazing Scott family.
About half way up to Portland I realized that I was not entirely well. We got there, I checked in and got past the dreaded script check and visited people. At that point I didn't want to infect anyone with "the plague" so when people came up and tried to give me hugs they would get responses like, "Don't touch me! I'm sick!" Sweet Sarah Anne, Devin and Mrs. Paul were, I think, the only people daring enough to hug me anyway...I wouldn't have been!
God sure does work in strange and mysterious ways, doesn't He? If it were up to me everyone would be healthy at every tournament and everyone would make it to Nationals and everyone would get first in at least one event at at least one tournament...wouldn't that be so predictable, though? Man, life would get boring if I were in charge!
For those of you who don't know, Regionals is generally a four day tournament. The first day is almost always exclusively Illustrated Oratory, Extemporaneous and Debate rounds, along with check in for everyone. This meant that I didn't have to speak at all on Wednesday, and that was perfectly fine with me.
Around the time of announcements and worship (sometime after 4) I really started feeling ill. I found a nice, somewhat quiet hallway and curled up against the wall. In not very much time at all I was begging God to let me throw up...and He let me throw up =P Sarah Anne and my amazing duo partner, Ariel, stayed with me almost the whole time and were praying right along with me.
I ended up spending that night with the fantastic Strom family, who risked their health and happiness and welcomed a girl with the stomach flu into their hotel room. Tianna and I stayed there during the dinner cruise (they generally have a special dinner event the first night of Regionals) and watched "Risen" and "Revenge of the Risen" of Snowtop Studios. They were both amazing. We watched some other stuff also, but nothing like those.
The next morning (Thursday) I made the decision to drop my Dramatic Interpretive speech. It was a bummer, but I really just needed to rest up and have one less thing to worry about. I was feeling quite a bit better by that time, but you know how the flu is, and if you don't I envy you. So I spoke twice on Thursday, my persuasive and our duo each once. My mom, Kaity and Johnny drove up to Portland that afternoon (they were all feeling better) and we got a hotel room of our own, it was wonderful to have my mommy there!
Friday I was feeling pretty much all the way better which was marvelous. Speeches went well the first round, much better than Thursday, and I had a great time visiting with people. Debate octa-finals were scheduled for 2:00 that afternoon, but, for some odd tab thing that I didn't quite understand, they didn't end up needing octafinals at all. We then had two hours to kill... So naturally Tianna, Ariel, Sarah Anne, myself, Raymond, Jared and Hannah of Snowtop Studios, along with a few other speechians found an empty room and had some fun with duos. Ariel and I did an over dramatized, super funny version of our duo, and then we swapped characters. Then we had a few people do impromptu duos and some odd duo renditions of movies or books...It was pretty much awesome =)
The next speech pattern I had my persuasive scheduled 6th and our duo scheduled last (which was 7th or 8th). I gave my persuasive and then a few people met me in the hall and said that Ariel was waiting for me and that it was our turn to perform our duo. Now, you must understand that the duo room was not right down the hall. It was down a hall, down a flight of stairs, down another hall, through a gym, up a flight of stairs and down another hall. So I took off my heels and sprinted. That was our best duo round. We had so much fun! We had a large audience and they laughed at every even halfway funny line we said. Ariel and I both had a blast.
The last day, Saturday, my family was running a bit late so I got there just in time to hear that I had broken to semi finals in my persuasive! I was scheduled to go first, so my prayer warrior, Sarah Anne, prayed for me and I gave my speech. I didn't make a single mistake, God gave me a perfect round! The judges were quite responsive and they looked like they got the message, and that's what this is all about. Turns out one of my judges was the younger sister of Alex and Brett Harris, who I mention in my speech.
I didn't break to finals, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that God used my speech to touch hearts, change lives and help the homeless. That was what this whole speech was about from the beginning, that's why I did it.
I got eighth place with my persuasive speech, a couple of slots away from qualifying to Nations. Yes, I'm sad that I'm probably done with it. The whole time I gave this speech, at the Clarion tournament in January, the Emerald City tournament last month and at Regionals it was like a treasure hunt. At each of those tournaments at least once God performed incredible miracles through this speech, it became something that I looked forward to, that I hunted for, the next miracle that God would choose to do. Yes, I'm sad, but I know that God used that speech to touch the exact people that He wanted to touch in the exact ways that He wanted them touched at the exact tournaments that He wanted them touched at. On top of all that, He used this speech to draw me closer to Him in drastic ways. I will never be the same.
There is still a chance that I could get an at large slot to Nationals, or I could compete at the Stoa Nationals, if God wants me speaking there He will open the doors, but if not, so be it. I'm just grateful that He helped me to write this speech in the first place, and that He chose to work in such amazing ways through it. My simple little speech... What a humbling experience. Thank you, Lord, for everything.
Over and out,