Friday, December 21, 2007

Beth's Christmas Letter 2007

(To save on paper, this is only being sent electronically. For a free, printed copy of this Christmas letter, just click “print” and enjoy!)

Friday, December 21, 2007
Dear Family & Friends,

A Christmas letter is generally a synopsis of the previous year, so I’m opening my calendar to see what went on this year. Oh boy, where do I start?

January—hmm, normal school stuff, making a DVD of Spirit Week, accompanying for Solo & Ensemble…

February—Colts win the Super Bowl! A week off for the Counseling Conference hosted by my church, during which we had the biggest blizzard in 30 years with 17 inches of snow. Thankfully my mom and dad came with a lady from their church in a 4-wheel drive truck, otherwise we would have never made it in because they barely plow these Indiana roads! And we only had to get out of my subdivision and across the street!

March—more school Fine Arts competitions, spring choir tour to lower Michigan

April— church Passion Play, Juju’s 1st birthday!

May—normal spring programs and graduation stuff, open houses, oh, and Mom & Rachel come for the weekend to surprise me for my birthday!

June—yay! Summer vacation starts! I do some piano things like the Monster Concert and teaching summer lessons. I hiked the Wabash Heritage Trail (about 15 miles round trip) with Juju. Vacation Bible School in Lafayette, during which we host 4 girls for the week during their Summer Missions Trip to help with VBS—and get TP’ed by the boys. My brother Tim gets married to Kristen Ahtila on June 23 in Portage, MI. Good family times!

July—Grand Opening of the Faith Community Center in Lafayette! Travel home to the U.P. for the 4th of July and for Vacation Bible School in Ishpeming. Back to Lafayette to run “hotel service” out of home: lots of friends traveling through: Stacy Quayle, Jeff & Debbie Parks & family, Warren Powers with my sister Rachel and her husband Matt who came to visit for the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis. We all went to the race then celebrated Matt’s birthday!

August—back to school! Start teaching piano lessons again (42 students), teaching Preschool music, accompanying for school functions, and doing PowerPoint. Buy new LCD HDTV for home.

September—busy school and church schedule with City-Wide Night of Worship, friends’ weddings, and a Teacher’s Conference in South Bend, IN.

October—Grandparents’ Day at school, more weddings, travel to U.P. to surprise parents for celebrating 30 years in Ishpeming, Fall Concert at school, school accreditation committee works very hard to get FCS ready for AACS accreditation, get a dining room table, and more company when Uncle Alan and Aunt Nancy come for the weekend!

November— Amazing Race (on CBS) starts and our regular AR company comes over on Sunday nights (Jeannie Wetzel). We take 22 high schoolers on a 4-day choir tour (to the U.P. so get to go home again), big piano stuff going on with the Elementary Fine Arts Festival and the Achievement in Music Festival, big Stewardship Banquet at church, celebrate Thanksgiving in Chicago with my friend Jackie and her family, another wedding, AND go to Chicago with Sarah to see Phantom of the Opera!

December—hmm, that just about brings us up to date! Three school Christmas programs, one choir sing at the mall, one church musical (that gets to be repeated once more next week because of the 10 inches of snow we got the day of), a 2-hour delay, a 1-hour delay of school, two piano recitals for my students, Living Nativity at church, and CHRISTMAS VACATION (which will mean traveling and getting to see family in Minnesota and Michigan)!

I am still enjoying my job at Faith Christian School, teaching piano, accompanying, and doing various and sundry tech/computer jobs. I also enjoy playing the piano with the Worship Team for church. My dog Juju (shepherd/chow/etc. mix ), who will be 2 in April, makes sure that I take time to come home for lunch and am home by 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening—and also that I get my nightly walk in! In my at-home time I enjoy watching movies (some favorites this year are Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Ocean’s 13, Ratatouille, & Bourne Ultimatum), reading, taking pictures, scrapbooking, or making DVDs or blogging on my Mac. Or taking the Never-ending movie quiz on Facebook.

For more highlights of the year, check out former blog posts--complete with pictures!

In the new year, Sarah and I look forward to housing a student teacher for about 9 weeks (Sarah Denney was one of Sarah’s roommates at Northland so she’s especially excited)! We like to have people over to the house, so we look forward to having more company in February and for whatever kinds of parties Sarah wants to throw again this year! Just give us a call before you come—we’ll put Juju on the welcoming committee, so be ready to receive lots of wet kisses and 55 pounds of loving sitting on your lap!

Sometimes it is so busy that we (I) neglect to remember that nothing is possible without the grace of God. Everything (our time and talents) truly is His and we are to be faithful stewards of what He has given. I am so thankful that Sunday comes once a week so I can be regularly reminded to keep my focus up on Christ. Pastor Viars spoke recently on heaven and there are so many trivial things in life that often take us off of that focus. I am so thankful for all that God has allowed me to have—including family and friends like you!

Hope your holiday season is truly amazing as we honor Christ’s birth.

Merry Christmas!

Beth Hill & Juju

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (or like it did in February).

We had 10 inches of snow Saturday into Sunday. I had time to shovel out Sunday morning since we cancelled the 8 AM service, but the 9:30 and 11:00 still went on as scheduled. Thankfully most of the choir and orchestra made it in since it was our presentation of the church musical on Sunday. The audience wasn't all that big, but apparently we may get the chance to do it for one more service this next weekend...

Juju & Donkey

Juju made some new friends the past couple weekends. Our church holds its annual Living Nativity for a couple of weekends before Christmas. Even though the weather wasn't the greatest (lots of rain the first weekend and snow the next) we still had 5 out of 6 nights as regularly scheduled. Since I had to take Juju for a walk anyway those nights, I made it a goal of walking through the 12 scenes every night it was open--which I accomplished! I was one of the first ones through the 1st night and saw them tearing it down the last night!

Juju loved the live donkeys and the sheep. In fact, on the Monday night after we had gone the last 3 consecutive nights she STILL pulled to go see the donkeys--even though they weren't there, of course! The picture is of Juju licking a donkey's face (apparently the donkey was named "Titus").

Monday, December 03, 2007

Worst Case Scenario Weather Weekend

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Sarah and I had an amazing time getting to see Phantom of the Opera in Chicago Friday night! We were able to make such good time getting to Chicago after work on Friday that we were able to check into our hotel before the show...yes, that's right. We actually got a hotel DOWNTOWN Chicago! That was because our original plans of staying with our friend Jackie fell through... I talked to Jackie Friday morning and she said that everyone in her house was down sick with the flu, so it probably would not be the best idea for us to stay there. Because we really wanted to spend some time downtown, we ended up splurging and getting a hotel room for the night. So Friday night was FANTASTIC.

Saturday morning was great, too, as Sarah enjoyed the workout equipment and I enjoyed the cable TV (gotta love TLC)! I had heard that there was supposed to be some severe weather (snow/freezing rain) that afternoon, but, hey, we're used to winter weather from being from the U.P., so why ruin a perfect Chicago day by leaving early?? We had a good time window shopping and trying Thai food from Wow Bao before it starting REALLY snowing! So we thought we'd head home. Worst case scenario? It might take an extra hour to get home, but since we were leaving at 3:00 p.m., we should be home by 6:00 or 7:00, right? I mean, how bad can the roads be? Ha ha ha. Ok, so we made it to I-65 in 2 hours (not too bad) and had about 7 miles to go until our normal exit for gas. Then traffic completely stopped. I mean, put-the-car-in-park-get-out-a-book stopped! So, 4 hours later, we made it past the icy spot and made it to the gas station. Then thankfully we had mostly clear (at least only wet instead of icy) roads for the next 2 hours home!

The next weather event took place Sunday afternoon at the Lafayette Christmas parade. I had been looking forward to taking Juju and my little friend 2nd grader Carter Knolhoff to the parade for a few weeks. So when they predicted warm weather but the possibility of rain, I thought, worst case scenario: it will be pouring. What's the chance of that? Okay, so it WAS pouring down rain, but they still had the parade and we still sat through most of it, although we had to leave early to be at church on time. The poor people with floats in the parade had to make do the best they could! Oh, and as I was getting up I forgot that the camera was loose in my lap, so I dropped my camera--uh, my SISTER'S camera--into a puddle of water (sorry, Sarah--it still works fine!) but everything dried out fine (I think). (It was hardly raining when our school marching band came through, thankfully.)
So despite all of these weather scenarios, I still had a fabulous time seeing Phantom of the Opera, staying in a hotel, being downtown Chicago, and adventurously attending the Lafayette Christmas parade!

Pastor Viars was traveling back from O'Hare on Saturday as well and it also took him 8 hours to get home. He made a good point in his sermon on heaven that, humanly speaking, in any big event or tragedy, from a human perspective, we tend to think of the worst case scenario as being death. But even in this worst case scenario, we as Christians can know that this isn't really all that bad, because we'll just be going to heaven! Is that the worst that can happen?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cyber Monday

I dont know if it's true or not, but a friend told me that today is "Cyber Monday," the largest INTERNET shopping day of the year. So I decided to celebrate the holiday and checked out my shopping cart at The prices were lower on the new digital camera I've been considering, along with a 2G memory card, so I decided to just get it for myself for Christmas (thanks Mom & Dad for the extra money)! It's a Canon PowerShot A720 IS. Since I ordered it today, it should arrive in 5-9 days with FREE Super Saver shipping!

Top 5 Things For Which I'm Thankful

1. Sanctification. God doesn't just leave us where we are; He gives us the opportunity to grow and change. (And plenty of opportunities to practice it.)
2. The Bible. Although I don't open it as often as I should, God gives us His Word as a tool to help us in our quest for personal holiness. He didn't just leave us empty-handed.
3. My amazing family. I am SO thankful that I have a wonderful Christian family that is always there for me and has given me such a good foundation. This includes my parents, my brother Tim, my sisters Rachel & Sarah, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins!
4. My church family & friends (including those with whom I work), without whom I would be tempted to remain nice and cozy in my own little personal bubble. They keep me accountable to grow and change.
5. My dog Juju...of COURSE she made the list!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Congratulations to the Boysens!

Congratulations to cousin Kristen Helfinstine (now Boysen) on her gorgeous October 5 wedding!! Here's the Helfinstine family that was able to attend.

Monday, November 12, 2007

FMT Tour Fall 2007

Here's a write-up I did for the school newsletter about tour...I'm finally getting around to posting!

The Faith Ministry Team enjoyed a great time of fellowship and ministry on our annual Tour. This year tour was held in the fall instead of the spring. We left Thursday morning, November 1st, with 13 girls and 11 boys (9th-12th grade), Pastor Leffew (bus driver) and Joan, Jack (director) and Joy Heim, and Beth Hill (accompanist). Our first stop was Covenant Christian School in Demotte, IN where we did our program, which includes singing, testimonies, and instrumental music for their chapel time. We then crawled through Chicago traffic to get to Union Grove, WI, home of the Shepherds Home, an institution for the mentally disabled. We really enjoyed our chapel time with them, getting to meet quite a few of the residents afterward. Then we traveled another 2 hours or so north to Green Bay, WI where our host church (Bay City Baptist) had supper ready for us. Bob & Joan Leffew enjoyed getting to spend the night with their daughter Michelle and her family!

Friday morning we sang for Bay City Christian School’s chapel, then got to visit Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, before driving another couple of hours up to Northland Baptist Bible College, near Pembine, WI. We sang at Pioneer Christian School, a K-12 grade school run by the college, before bunking at the college for the night. That evening we enjoyed a memorable tour of the campus and a time of fellowship with some of the college students.

After brunch on Saturday we traveled our last leg of the tour, reaching our farthest point north, Ishpeming, MI—which is located in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula! Our host church, Bible Baptist Church in Ishpeming, arranged some activities for us to enjoy. Pastor & Mrs. Hill (Miss Hill’s parents) took care of us. Pastor accompanied us on a tour of some of the scenic spots in the Marquette area, including a climb up “Sugarloaf Mountain,” which gives you a great view of Lake Superior! We then spent some time at Presque Isle point trekking out to the lighthouse there on the breakwall and catching sight of an ore boat as it was docking. Saturday evening we enjoyed a time of fellowship with the church family at their annual Harvest Party, then split up into homes for the night. Sunday morning we shared in Sunday School (probably quadrupling their entire Sunday School attendance!) then did our whole program for the morning service. After a lasagna dinner, we said goodbye and headed home to Lafayette. We pulled into the school parking lot around 10:45 Sunday night, November 4th.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Mr. & Mrs. Mathew Eliason!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Sarah & I carved pumpkins Tuesday night. I would NOT recommend trying to carve a pumpkin designated as a "pumpkin pie" pumpkin--at least one that has been sitting out for a month or so, as they happen to be thick and VERY hard!

Juju loved all the Trick or Treaters--and then she realized that they had candy in their bags, which of course she thought they were bringing to her. So while I was doling out candy to the taller members of the family, Juju would be sticking her nose in the bags of the smaller visitors and stealing their candy. In fact, she took one kid's bag of animal crackers right out of his bag. The mom thought it was hilarious as she explained to her son, "See, the dog knew they were ANIMAL crackers, not PEOPLE crackers!" I also fished Smarties and jawbreakers out of her mouth!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Aunt & Uncle Break In

...the new dining room table. Unc A and Aunt Nan visited from Minnesota (on their way down to visit their son Mark stationed in Georgia) and we were able to break in the "new" table by having the first meal there: breakfast Saturday morning!

We were able to share a lovely Saturday lounging around in the morning (well, Sarah worked out at the Community Center), enjoying chicken noodle soup for lunch (also at the table), then touring the area: Community Center, Purdue University, Riehle Plaza & the Pedestrian Bridge, Tippecanoe Battlefield Museum, and the whole Faith Baptist Church complex!

We ordered Papa John's pizza for supper then had fun playing games: Apples to Apples, Scattergories, and Fargle!

Alan & Nancy came to church with us in the morning then took us out to Fazoli's before they had to head off to their next stop on the way down to Georgia!

New Dining Room Table

Woo-Hoo!! I'm so excited to have finally found a good deal on a dining room table! And it only took 2 years!
For posterity's sake, I am going to record the whole story here. So grab that cup of hot chocolate and settle in...
I have been keeping my eye out for an oak dining room table and chairs with removable leaves for a good price. I wasn't ACTIVELY pursuing every garage sale ad, but if I saw one I'd look to see if they happend to have a table. But nothing popped out at me. Then they started including items for sale in the church emails. A couple of weeks ago someone was selling a table and chairs, so I thought I'd at least email and see what it looked like. But it wasn't quite what I was looking for. Then another email came out Thursday afternoon at 3:00 saying an OAK table and chairs were available for $250 OBO. So, since I was still at work teaching piano lessons, in between lessons I emailed for a picture--it was exactly what I was looking for, but it looked really big in the picture and I couldn't tell if there were leaves that came out to make the table smaller, and the lady said she was also sending the picture on to 7 other people, so if I wanted it I'd better act soon. So I emailed back ASAP that if there were leaves in it I'd be interested in making an offer. She said that I was in luck, because there were 2 removable leaves, and the bids were up to $190 by that time. So I offered $200. Then she wondered if I wanted to see it before making the offer because there were other people planning to stop by to see it. (When I got home around 5:00 I even held up the picture on my laptop in the kitchen and thought it looked wonderful!) I figured by that time there probably wasn't a chance of my getting it if there were so many other people interested, and it didn't really fit into my evening plans of grocery shopping and cleaning to make an extra trip. However, I said I definitely wanted it for $200 and I could even get help to pick it up as early as Friday night because I could use the table right away for my company coming this weekend! I was so excited when (around 7:30) she said that I could have it!!

So I called some friends from church that have a truck and made arrangements to pick up the table after their family's birthday party and after I played for a recital at 7:00 (around 8:30 Friday night). This would HOPEFULLY be before my aunt and uncle arrived for the weekend (or even after they arrived would work--more help to move it)!

When we went to pick it up (it was only a few blocks away in the next neighborhood), the lady said she could have sold it 40 times over. I am so thankful I was able to be the "early bird" on this deal! The couple had had the table for about 15 years (apparently it was made in Pennsylvania) but she was getting a new country-looking table. So we picked up the table--David and the truck arrived just about the same time as Uncle Alan and Nancy. It is so wonderful to have an actual table now!


Thursday, October 25, 2007


I've amassed a few quotables to share.

Choir Member, referring to a Coda in the piece: "I ain't never heard of a quota before I got here. [aside] Is it a quota or a coda?"
Choir Director's Response: "No, a quota is what you put in the pop machine."

Me: "You know how sometimes you just have those 'bad piano days'?"
Student: "Yeah, I have one of those every Wednesday at my piano lesson!"

I was getting ready to make sure I had the Christmas song written down correctly for one of my precocious 2nd grade piano students and started to ask her what she was playing. I said, "You are...?" and she readily filled in "Beautiful!"

Is That Your Mother?

So, my SISTER was asked after church on Sunday (by a couple sitting nearby), "So is that lady playing the piano your mother?"


Friday, October 19, 2007

30 Years of Ministry

Donna Carpenter gave Sarah and I a good excuse to go home last weekend when she told us that the church was planning a SURPRISE party during Pastor Appreciation month to honor Mom & Dad for having served at Bible Baptist in Ishpeming for 30 years!

So when Mom & Dad arrived at church Sunday morning they learned that we were having a special service to commemorate their 30 years at Bible Baptist, including a fellowship dinner after the service. We had come up with an entirely new order of service, so Mom & Dad had the "fake" bulletin with what they THOUGHT was the order of service, when in fact the deacons had staged a coup and had printed off entirely new bulletins which changed the songs, Scripture reading, and even the speaker! We had a guest with us from Continental Baptist Missions, Tom Logsdon, so Dad didn't even have to preach!

We sang songs of God's faithfulness, had a moving time of testimony where several members shared what the ministry had meant in their lives through the years, and I put together a PowerPoint slideshow a "Walk Down Memory Lane" that Rachel & Sarah narrated with pictures of the last 30 years (thanks to Rachel for raiding mom and dad's photo albums). We sang a song as a family, Sarah sang a special, and we even had a special "virtual Tim" visit with a video testimony that he had mailed to us!

It was a special day for the whole family. During dessert we even pulled out some slides on the actual SLIDE PROJECTOR (thanks again, Rachel!).

I think it is good to have "stones of remembrance" of how God has showed Himself to be faithful in the past and will continue to show Himself faithful. It was a nice time to celebrate our ministry in Ishpeming!

Ephesians 4:11-12 "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ..."

Mom & Dad during testimonies:
Singing as a family:
A prayer time and also a special presentation of a plaque:

Rachel & Sarah during the PowerPoint presentation:

Little Dog Lost

So much has gone on in the last week or so it will take me a couple of blog posts to catch up, but I'll try to make multiple short entries out of it.

Sarah and I were able to go home (to Ishpeming, MI) this last weekend and surprise my parents. We left around 3:30 on Friday and I called Dad just before we pulled into the driveway around 1:30 AM (someone asked if that was to make sure he didn't answer the door with the shotgun...). So we surprised them! :)

Saturday we were able to go to a friend's (Melissa Hedberg's) wedding in the morning, and the afternoon was so gorgeous that I decided to get outdoors and take the dogs for a hike through the woods. Since my sister Rachel and her husband Matt were at the wedding reception with Mom & Dad, we also had their dogs at the house, so I had 4 dogs to take: Mom & Dad's Tippy, my Juju, and Rachel & Matt's 2 dachshunds Reeses and Baruch.

You might notice in the picture, however, that there are only 3 dogs in the picture. When I took the dogs off of their leashes as we reached the trail (around Baby Lake) the girls were pretty good at waiting for me to catch up, but Baruch (the littlest at just barely a year old) apparently just likes to run as fast as he can without looking back. I put him back on a leash but then decided to give him a second chance and see if he would stay closer...nope. So when he had run on ahead I thought I'd teach him a lesson by "disappearing" so I turned a corner (the rest of the dogs followed me) and hiked a different way for a while. However, Baruch never did join us. So when 10 minutes went by and he still hadn't rejoined the group I began to worry. I retraced our whole path, calling his name, then circled back to the next lake, thinking maybe he had continued on ahead after all. Then I thought maybe he had followed Sarah (since she had been jogging the same direction) so I tried calling her on her cell phone. I really didn't want to go home before doing my best to locate the puppy, as I really didn't want to have to explain to my sister how I had lost one of her dogs! When I was running out of options (probably at least a half an hour later), my cell phone rang, and it was Sarah. She asked, "Did you lose one of the family?" Thankfully Baruch had found his way all the way back home and was waiting for us there when we returned. But at least the "girls" and I had a nice long walk!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Grandparents' Day 2007

Whew. (Big sigh of relief.)

We've made it through another Grandparents' Day at FCS. It's quite a production! I'm not generally involved in the picture taking, food preparation, registration, or any of that stuff that goes on, my "baby" is the Grandparents' Day Program! We had a packed auditorium for our program this morning. The theme was "Raised to Praise," and each class is given an opportunity to present a song or skit or whatever else their class (i.e., teacher) wants to come up with. Then I get to make up the PowerPoint, help run the sound, and play the piano for it! Oh, and I found out about 2 weeks ago that we were bussing the preschool kids over from the Community Center across the parking lot so we had to have a song for them, too! (They're the only music class I DO teach now.) (In case you're wondering we sang "The Butterfly Song"--that a lot of them knew from last year--and did "Grandma's Glasses.")

The program went quite well, and thankfully I had an aide (thankfully) to help run sound. I was able to find the right pictures for the PowerPoints and all, too. And find enough piano kids (of mine and other teachers') to play for a 15-minute piano prelude. Before the prelude, I put a few pictures together for a presentation and threw in some quotes from a forwarded email. I'll share some of these with you.

These are on the theme "What is a Grandparen?"--taken from papers written by a class of 8-year-olds:
1. Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of her own. They like other people's.
2. A grandfather is a man and a grandmother is a lady!
3. Grandparents don't have to do anything except be there when we come to see them. They are so old they shouldn't play hard or run. It is good if they drive us to the shops and give us money.
4. When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars.
5. Usually grandmothers are fat but not too fat to tie your shoes.
6. They wear glasses and funny underwear.
7. They can take their teeth and gums out.
8. Grandparents don't have to be smart.
9. They have to answer questions like "why isn't God married?" and "How come dogs chase cats?"
10. Everybody should try to have a grandmother, especially if you don't have television because they are the only grown ups who lke to spend time with us.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Stay Away from the Edge!

So last week I was asked to speak in 3rd-6th grade chapel today. We've had a couple of chapels where each teacher was asked to give a brief testimony of her life and her salvation testimony. So when the original speaker fell through for today I was given the opportunity to share some of my life! I was excited to get to show pictures of my growing up years, my family, my summer, and my dog! I started with Proverbs 22:6, saying how I was thankful for the training I had as a young child (related a little to training my puppy). I came up with an object lesson on "A Lesson from Juju," too. I told a story from this summer of when Juju came really close to falling down a steep slope into the Wabash, and then again when I was afraid she would fall off a cliff. So that was my example for how we should "Stay Away from the Edge," imagining our Christian walk as an uphill trail, and as we climb the Mountain of Godliness we can be tempted to walk (or stand or sit--Psalm 1) near the edge and fall into sin. So we should stay as far away from the edge as possible (from temptations with friends, TV, drugs, drinking, gambling, purity)--and "If it's doubtful, don't do it." So we should stay as close to the "mountain" of godliness in church attendance, reading the Bible, and friendships as possible. That was basically the gist, although of course I made it go longer and more in depth, which I'm sure you don't want to read about. But I have a PowerPoint of about 70 slides if anyone's interested, although sharing with kids is a whole lot easier than talking to adults! It was fun...but I would be ok with waiting another year or so to do it again.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Happy Fall!

Yeah, right. With temperatures forecast for 91 degrees today, it sure doesn't feel like the start of autumn!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An Open Invitation

If you live anywhere near the Greater Lafayette area, I want to personally invite you (well, I guess this is as only as personal as a blog post, but consider yourself personally invited) to a City-Wide Night of Worship at the Long Center THIS Sunday from 7:00-9:00.

It will be a night of praising God with singing, and even though you might not know all of the songs at first (as I didn't but I've learned them now), I'm sure there will be quite a few that you do know and can sing out heartily on. (It will be very similar to the format of the June 10 N.O.W.)

If you are hesitating because you want to know what songs we'll be singing and who else will be there, let me better inform you. Titus Curtis will again be leading, and vocal members from FBC include the talented Annette Benson and our very own Steven Sturm. The bass player (Kurt) from ECC is amazing, and with Steve Mellema on drums how can we go wrong? There are also other extrememly talented people (from our church and others) involved in making music in praise to our great God. We have been in rehearsals for this over the past week or so (some nice long rehearsals, in fact we will have probably spent about 12-15 hours in rehearsing for this before all is said and done) trying to make these songs sound like they do on the CD recordings.

The songs include (but are not limited to):
"Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble"
"I Am Free"
"Nothing But the Blood"
"I Will Sing of My Redeemer"
"Grace Like Rain"
"Strong Tower"
"Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting"
"In the Secret"
"Take it All"
"From the Inside Out"
"Fairest Lord Jesus"
"Alive Forever Amen"
"My Savior My God"

Hope to see you Sunday night at the Long Center from 7:00-9:00. Come ready to sing!! (And hey, if you are not a singer, you can come and listen anyway!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Overheard in the Girls' Restroom

Some days I finish getting ready for school after I've already taught a piano lesson or two (translation: I sometimes get up too late to put on my make-up at home). So this morning found me in the women's restroom putting my make-up on right around 8:00 AM, right when the kindergarten students are using the facilities before school begins. There were about five 5 year-olds with me in the bathroom and I overheard them as they debated whether to use a particular toilet or not.

"We have trouble with that one."
"You might get locked in." Then she proceeded to demonstrate (quite a few times in much detail) to her fellow student how to turn and then shake the handle once and that should free you from imprisonment in the stall.
"But sometimes I have to kick the door."
"Yeah, I think I have to kick it."

Then they started talking to me. As one little girl talked to me and watched me put on my eye shadow, she told me how she has make-up at home, but that it's only for dress up. "My mother says that only big people are allowed to wear it outside the house like to school and stuff."
"Yes," I told her, "your mother is right. She taught you well."
The reply: "My mother doesn't teach me ANYTHING."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tom Clancy

This summer I decided to branch out into a new reading material: Tom Clancy. Even though it took working at it most of the summer (reading it off and on) I finally finished "The Sum of All Fears" by Tom Clancy. My cousin Mark was actually the impetus behind this, because if you will remember this spring that Sarah and I went to Chicago to visit my Sailor cousin, and while we were in Borders he said that he loved to read Tom Clancy, so I thought I'd give it a try. I like the action movies, and I know I'd seen the movie "The Sum of All Fears" at some point, so I got the book from the library. I did enjoy the story line, although I wasn't used to all of the swear words that could have been omitted. I ended up getting the movie after I read the book, and I have to say that the book WAS better than the movie. I can't believe they changed so many characters in the movie--and that Tom Clancy let them do that! Anyway, I'm always looking for a good read and have to thank my cousin Mark for getting me started on Tom Clancy.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Juju's Friends

The neighbors behind me got a puppy this summer--Chi (short for Malachi). Juju missed Chi as he was gone with his family camping this weekend. I went over to their house to feed their cat each day over the weekend and Ju came with me, still looking for Chi. At home, she would stare out the door, hoping to see him out in his backyard. When he's out they can usually greet each other at the ends of their ropes. At the end of last week, as Juju was playing with Chi, another neighbor dog Odie wandered over and all 3 of them were in the backyard romping around. Juju loves spending time with her "friends"!

Harry Potter

I had big plans to do yardwork and cleaning on Labor Day, really I did. However, on Friday, a book I had put on hold came in to the library for me to pick up--the final installment of Harry Potter: Book #7, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So, although I did spend some time this weekend going to the mall, enjoying the Golden Corral with my sis, doing laundry, and changing some decorations for fall, the majority of my time was spent in bed or on the couch--reading. If you are a Harry Potter fan, and you haven't followed the series all the way through yet, I would highly recommend the last book. (I know, most of you have probably already read it, since I go through the library instead of the bookstore, I'm usually a little behind--or else you are just waiting for the movie to come out.) It was vaguely reminiscent of The Last Battle from the Chronicles of Narnia. I was thoroughly satisfied with it. The best Harry Potter book ever, in my opinion. Without spoiling anything, I believe I can say that all the loose ends are finally tied up. 759 pages. Three days. Great read.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Juju's Allergies

A Juju Update
I took Juju to the vet last week to get her annual vaccinations and heartworm medication--and also to ask about her scratching, which had seemed to escalate in the last week. For the most part she is in great shape as a full-grown, 55.6 pound 1 year old shepherd mix. Just sick with allergies. The vet said she almost hoped it were fleas or mites because those are treatable--unfortunately, it's just allergies ('tis the time of year, I guess) for which there is no cure-all. So she gave me a spray for the severely itchy areas--like her paws, which she has chewed bare spots on almost all of. I gave her an oatmeal bath. Then she suggested some various over-the-counter medicines to try (like benadryl).

If you know me then you may know that I am not big on taking medicine. I very RARELY take even an aspirin for anything. In fact, I have to be feeling pretty miserable indeed to try something other than drinking water or sleeping to cure a headache. So I felt out of my element in the drug aisle at Wal-Mart trying to figure out where the allergy medicines were. I was looking for things like diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine--I even feel more intelligent just writing those words! Did you know that there are a lot of different types of medicine out there? Thankfully I was able to find Equate brands of each of these different drugs and have been trying them with Juju. The "benadryl" (diphenhydramine) seems to possibly be working, but Juju's still scratching. I guess we have to wait for the weather to turn colder for the final "cure." I guess it's good practice for being a mother??

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Power Outage

We survived about 6 and a half hours of school today without electricity! About 8:40 this morning all of a sudden all of the lights in the building blinked then went out...and didn't come back on and didn't come back on and didn't come back on. It didn't take us long to figure out that an excavator working on the road construction on State Road 26 had somehow severed our power line...whoops! They originally said we should have power restored by 11:30. Whatever. We had some mighty creative teaching going on in the building as teachers found ways to have light in their classrooms. All the candles came out of hiding for those who didn't have windows, or else class was moved to an area of the building where there were windows (like the MRC or church foyer). For myself, thankfully I only had about 3 piano students during this time--and there was no way to actually teach in my room, because even if I'd had a candle it would hardly have been enough light. So for 2 lessons we just sat by the outside door and talked through what to do. For my third, beginning student I used the music suite (with the door open to let in light). It was HUMID outside, too. I noticed this because Mr. Heim had FMT, Junior high choir, and Senior high choir in the music suite with the door open to let in light, which also let in all of the humid air, of course! My music pages were starting to get all soggy and the piano bench was sticky! Thankfully, though, it wasn't pouring down rain like yesterday so P.E. classes could be outdoors. And since there was no way to prepare lunch without electricity we ended up with a hot dog cookout outside for lunch, which I'm told went fairly well. (I went home for lunch and enjoyed the comfort of air conditioning.) My sister and other secretaries were left with not much to do as most of their work revolves around the computer, which doesn't work so well without electricity. The phones worked on battery backup for about 4 hours but then died as well. Thankfully the power came back on--just as school was being dismissed at 3:15!

As a spiritual illustration, I was reminded how much I try to do on my "battery backup" power without plugging into the source of daily renewal of God's Word! I was reminded again of my dependence on Him as the Source of all power. Just as I am extrememly thankful for the electric power I often take for granted, I need to spend time plugging into my Source of spiritual power. Okay, I need to go read my Bible now and have my "God and I" time for the day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

For Mom

Mom, here are the pictures of Tim & Kristen's apartment (and one of the ring and one of the honeymoon hot air balloon) that you wanted to print off!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Windy City

My "last hurrah" before in-service started on Monday was a day in Chicago on Saturday! Sarah and I left around 7:00 a.m. and drove up north and picked up my friend Jackie Maronic (who lives in the suburbs) for a day downtown!

The first thing we did was take an 11:00 a.m.-12:00 architectural boat tour from Navy Pier. (Well, actually we ate breakfast at McDonald's at Navy Pier first.) Then we walked up and down Michigan Avenue, just looking at various shops on our way to lunch. The above picture is Centennial Fountain, which shoots out over the Chicago River for 10 minutes at the top of every hour. (It shut off before we reached it so we didn't get wet.)

For lunch we splurged at the Grand Lux Cafe, where we had a pretty nice view from the second story.

Then we walked up to the Water Tower place and had dessert at the Cheescake Factory, which is at the base of the John Hancock building. We decided to go ahead and go up to the top and see the view. So we paid our fee and waited in line to get on an elevator to the 94th floor. It was worth the trip--it was an amazing view!

Looking North


South (Sears Tower in the background)

By the time we got back to the car it was almost raining, but we decided to make one more detour: Gross Pointe Lighthouse in North Chicago. We visited the beach briefly (that's when it really started raining) then walked around the grounds of the lighthouse before driving back to Jackie's house. Jackie said she had never been close enough to TOUCH a lighthouse before so we had to get a picture of that!

We had a quick bite of pizza and a visit with Jackie's mom Kathy before driving the 2 and a half hours home to Lafayette. We didn't get home until past midnight but it was worth it!