Sunday, April 30, 2006
By the way, our participants did VERY well in the competition. We had competitors place first in categories such as classical piano duet, sacred piano solo, handbell ensemble, band, choir, reader's theater, choric speaking, string solo, brass solo, large and small vocal ensembles, and other things. Our school also got the first place plaques in Science, Academics, Speech, and Music.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
|You Are an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie|
On the surface, you're a little plain - but you have many subtle dimensions to your personality.
Sometimes you're down to earth and crunchy. Other times, you're sweet and a little gooey.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
1. You cannot list abstract ideas (i.e. love, truth, etc.).
2. You cannot list people (i.e. Tom Cruise).
3. You must have experienced each item on your list. If you’ve never seen Paris in the spring, then you can’t list it.
4. No commentary is allowed. Avoid the urge to explain why you think such-and-such-a-thing is beautiful.
5. If you post a list, you must invite at least one other blogger to come up with his/her own list. (There is no limit on how many people you invite to join you.)
6. When you post your own list to your own blog, you must include these rules.
So, here goes my list of the Top Ten things I have experienced as most beautiful:
10. Going home to a clean house after a long day and watching a good movie with a bowl of popcorn.
9. God's creation as seen in Glacier National Park in Montana.
8. The Keweenaw Peninsula (in Upper Michigan) in the fall.
7. Walking in the woods with a faithful dog/the sunrise from The Bluff in Ishpeming, Michigan.
6. Canoeing on a river in Canada/walking the sandy beaches of Lake Superior.
5. Playing games with my family at a campsite beside a crackling fire (providing there are no mosquitoes).
4. Singing at the top of your lungs with fellow believers in praise to God.
3. The wedding of a godly man and woman.
2. The funeral of a godly senior saint.
1. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, believing and knowing that He paid the penalty for my sins so I can be forgiven.
And here are the people I would like to continue this revolution, partly because I think their answers will be creative, and partly because I'm sure they always need topics to blog about!
1. Sarah Hill (of Hill's Flippin' Sweet Page)
2. Andrew Doerr (of My Blog)
3. Rob Summer (of A Day in the Life of Me)
4. Rebecca Thomas (of Once Upon a Time)
5. Betty Gray (of A Little Gray Matter)
6. And, of course, anyone else who wants to take part. (and of course seminarybeachbum should post something on my blog since he doesn't have his own yet)
Be sure to leave a comment on my blog if and when you decide to impart your worthy lists of 10 so we can track this growing phenomenon! Happy Blogging!
Monday, April 24, 2006
But then I think maybe I should be investing my limited funds in something like a piano. I've also been looking for a piano, too, seeing as how I don't own one. But I can be pretty picky when it comes to pianos, so I don't just want any piece of junk just taking up space in my house. And I've decided that if I found a baby grand worth getting, I would make room for it in my living room! But a good piano isn't cheap; in fact, the ones I 've seen are probably more than the laptop costs. So maybe I should save my tax refund for that piano...but I'm pretty excited about getting a laptop, so I think that will be the first purchase. Plus it's hard to know just how much I should be putting in savings and how much I should spend. You never know when an emergency might come up and you might need funds on hand (for a new car or whatever). Why does everything have to cost money? I guess it helps us to be good stewards of the resources God has given us.
Or else I could get a dog...
Friday, April 21, 2006
"This is irreverent, but..." When these words came out of a 5th grader's mouth during a piano lesson, I dreaded what was coming next. Then he said something totally unrelated, and I realize he had meant...irrelevant.
Wednesday night I was sitting nearby my friends Maggie and Jackson, who are approximately 5 and 7. Maggie was picking the meat out of her taco salad, and Jackson said: "She could be a veterinarian when she grows up." Don't you mean vegetarian??
I asked a 4th grade piano student to play something as slowly as a snail. True to her dramatic nature, she played it SUPER slowly, then concluded: "I played that as slow as a baby snail who was just born!"
Occasionally I let kids play with my keyboard, and eventually they discover the sound effects section: laugh, scream, machine gun, explosions. One 5th grade boy had fun playing with the fireworks. Then he said these very clever words about the fireworks sound effect. "But we can only hear them. We got bad seating."
Wednesday I had a 4th grade girl who was very frustated with her "C is for Cookie" song that she had been struggling with for about 4 weeks. I told her, that's why you come to piano, so I can help you learn the song. True to her very outspoken nature, she shot back with: "That doesn't really help, you know." We had a good laugh over that; I knew what she meant. (By the way, she DID pass the song.)
From a preschooler: "Did you comb your hair today?" (Remind me not to try THAT hairstyle again, apparently.)
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
So, anyway. Enjoy the anticipation, and keep focus! It's on those hard-to-focus days that we really need to make sure our priorities are right. And I know from experience that when our focus is on pleasing God and pleasing others it turns out to be so much better than we try to please ourselves. (Rabbit trail: I had a birthday like that once. I wanted to do all MY favorite things and have everyone serve ME and it was the worst birthday ever. Since then I've tried to focus on serving others and the whole experience is much nicer.)
So don't give up! Don't "check out" and go fishing. It's when we're tired and worn out that it's easy to give into temptation, but DON'T! Take one day at a time, and make it a priority to spend time with God and keep your focus up! (I'm talking to myself here, too.)
Here's an old poem that's been around a long time. I memorized it when I was in grade school, I think, but think it fits the occasion:
When things go wrong as they sometimes will.
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill.
When funds are low and the debts are high.
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about.
When he might have won had he stuck it out:
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems so far:
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
- Author unknown
Monday, April 17, 2006
So much has gone on in the last few days, I don't know where to start. The Passion Play was incredible this year. Trey and Deb Garner are awesome (they rewrote the whole thing)! The crucifixion in Scene 1 was very exciting (loud) and theatrical and was actually kind of scary with the earthquake and running off stage screaming and all. And the other new theatrical item with the paralytic man(equin) being lowered from the ceiling and then the switch to a real-live human being was pretty cool, too. The message was clearer than ever, with cleverly-woven writing and humorous points along the way. I'd never given much thought to how the disciples had reacted when Jesus had died...why weren't they at the cross? Why didn't they believe Jesus could rise from the dead as he had predicted? It just shows so much how we human beings truly just don't get it at times.
We had an almost-packed house each night, and the Long Center seats almost 1200, I believe. They said Friday night we had 1090. I don't think there was an open seat on the floor. We had 16 people who filled out the response cards saying they had made the choice to accept Christ as personal Savior! And about 17 more who wanted more information on accepting Christ. Praise the Lord!
From my perspective, I thought Saturday actually went the best. The music seemed to gel more and there seemed to be less stumbling on the actors' parts. Not that any night went really badly, just Saturday seemed to have the smoothest seams, I thought. It's amazing how God can use us in spite of ourselves, though. Friday night was the night that we had huge thunderstorms and the tornado siren actually went off in the middle of the production. But the show must go on! Pastor Viars and Arvid Olson made some announcements at the end about the status of the tornado warnings for the area, and I was thankful I brought my umbrella, but thankfully where I live there were just strong thunderstorms and that's about it. They preempted all the local programming with weather information, so I guess it was a pretty big deal. I watched a movie instead.
Easter Sunday I spent with my good friends the Rausches. They are so thoughtful--they even gave me an Easter basket! I got to color eggs with their youngest (Daniel--4th grade); that was fun. And they even let me have an afternoon nap! We had a great meal of ham, mashed potatoes, and asparagus, and I made this chocolate cheescake stuff for dessert. Then Marney and I got to play a game similar to Skipbo (which she won, but BARELY), we had eggsalad sandwiches for supper, and by then it was 8:30 and time to go home. It was raining and there were tornado watches out again.
Anyway, so that was my Easter weekend. Yup, a pretty boring post, I know. Maybe I'll come up with something more creative next time.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
This week my church puts on a big production--The Lafayette Passion Play--at a theatre downtown. This year's new script focuses on the time between the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ through the eyes of the disciples. The church choir is most of the "extras" in crowd scenes between their musical numbers. We have a pit orchestra, and I'm playing the piano with the orchestra as well as for various scene changes. In fact, our church music guy Titus Curtis wrote some transition music so I was busy Monday trying to transcribe it so I could replay what he'd created! (Sibelius is a really cool music program for that.) The last two nights (Monday and Tuesday) I've been downtown at the Long Center in rehearsals until at least 10:00 p.m., so it's going to be a long week! I haven't been home (except to change clothes) until 10:30 each night. Tonight is the dress rehearsal and then we have 3 performances--Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. (Thankfully we don't have school on Friday, though!) There are a lot of new elements this year--new music, new script, the paralytic coming in "through the roof," but overall I think it's been coming together.
I have noticed, though, that in the midst of "productions," it's easy for me to lose focus on the big picture. Sunday afternoon I watched Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" again to be reminded of what Jesus went through on His way to the cross. Even then it's easy to get caught up in the movie elements and not realize that this actually happened! Jesus died on the cross--for ME! I've also been trying to read through the gospel accounts this week to again be reminded of what Jesus did for me. It's so easy to get caught up in the story, though, and not realize the truth of how important this sacrifice was. Jesus was beaten, bleeding, and bore the sins of the whole world--so we could have fellowship with Him and gain direct access to His throne room and live forever with Him in heaven. I pray we are able to communicate that effectively this week.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Monday, April 03, 2006
We had a unique bus stop on the way down when we were able to see a shoplifter getting arrested! (See Emily's blog for more details.) And we also had a unique experience on the way back driving through lots of rain and lightning and a tornado watch area! And let me just say that Rebecca is The Woman.
We were able to see the Liedtkes again in Columbus, GA They moved there last year to work in a church and school. Mrs. Liedtke's sister is the senior pastor's wife, and I was able to get to stay in their house (with Emily and Courtney). We got to see Sam again. We sang in their church Wednesday night and at their Christian school for chapel on Thursday morning. Our program consists of testimonies, singing, playing instruments, and usually a memorized speech by Sylvia (this info. is for people who don't get to see us--like my mom and siblings). We also got a tour of Fort Benning in Columbus, GA by a missionary to the military there (HOO-ah!). We didn't have much time, but we got to visit the infantry museum and see some parachuters training! Fort Benning is also where "We Were Soldiers" was filmed. Friday night we saw a drama class's play at Shiloh Hills Christian School (in Kennesaw, just north of Atlanta) before being split up to stay in various homes. (We had a little extra time to hang out when we got there so Joey made the most of it and earned $2 by eating a worm. And Luke rolled down the hill.) It is part of tour to get to fellowship and hopefully be a good testimony in the homes of people from the churches and schools we visit. Then Friday morning their chapel was our last performance before the long ride home.
I agree with what Justin said in chapel this morning, that it is often easy to get caught up in the "fun" aspects of tour and forget about the reason we are going out: to minister to others and hopefully give them a better view of our GOD, not necessarily of us or our school. I was guilty of that this trip, I know. It's easy for me to get caught up in taking pictures, making sure I have documented everything so I can make a good movie at the end of the trip, and it's easy to make that my focus instead of the service. So I hope I didn't let that get in the way of my ministry opportunities on this trip. I know since I've been back my focus hasn't been on thankfulness to God for what He allowed us to do, but on "will I be able to get the pictures together for the movie?" or "that was such a fun trip." My focus the last day or so has not been on God and thanking Him for His strength and provision and safety, it's been on "will people like the movie I put together?" and "will I get the right pictures together?". Then it's also easy to get discouraged when things don't turn out exactly right (or when you don't have any pictures of Robbie and Al wall-climbing...sorry, guys). So I need to get my FOCUS UP!
"Draw Me Nearer" is probably my favorite song from tour, and it is so powerful when I have the right heart attitude in it, it almost makes me cry. That's how I need to be every day...drawn to God, doing nothing apart from Him. One comment I heard from a girl at Sam's school while eating lunch with her was that she almost cried during that song. It encouraged me to know that the message was going across.
Another neat thing was Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, where we stopped on the way home. Unfortunately my focus there was also taking pictures instead of focusing on God's marvelous creation. Especially being able to sing "Almighty and Everlasting God" in the cave. How cool! Especially if you are able to focus on the words. Actually, our tour guide saw me taking pictures and asked if I would send him one or two so he could put it up on their bulletin board (I think), so I am looking forward to doing that and maybe sending him some information about our school and such. He seemed to be impressed with our group. You never know how God could use even this to be a witness for Him.
So, FMT "kids" who read my blog (and apparently you're the only ones who do because I had absolutely no comments from anyone else over the break), thanks for a great tour this year. I was sorry to have to come home; I wish we could have been away longer. But my challenge for you would be what it is for myself, to keep going with that servant's attitude and looking for ways to be good testimonies and living examples of God's love, even here in our own backyards.
Getting "chased" by a tank at Fort Benning, GA:
Outside the Liedtke's church (Grace Baptist) in Columbus, GA
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky:
FMT outside Mammoth Cave: