Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Dog Ownership 101

Here is a compilation of a few things I've learned in the last 5+ years of dog ownership:

Dogs destroy things.
Dogs like to eat/chew.
Dogs love to rip the stuffing out of stuffed animals.
If you leave the garbage in a reachable place, it will be gotten into.
Dogs will chew anything plastic, including coffee cans and tupperware.
Powdered sugar, chocolate, muffins, cakes, cocoa powder, cookies--all should be kept out of a dog's reach.
Taller dogs can reach higher up on the counter.
Don't leave treats in a reachable location; they can chew through the box.
Dogs can chew the plastic lids off gallon bottles--even if they're full.
Dogs can find the gum in your purse.
Dogs can sniff out the granola bars in your purse, even if you forgot they were there.
Dogs are no respecter of purses: Coach tastes just as good as the next.
Dogs are expensive.
Heels taste good.
Pens taste good.
Plastic letter magnets taste good.
Checks taste good.
Bills taste good.
Napkins are meant to be eaten.
The favorite time to destroy things in the house is 2 AM.
& Dogs stink.

Yet I still love my dog! Having a dog has definitely taught me the importance of not setting your affections on things on this earth. (Col. 3:2) Material things are only that--material and temporary. Dogs also have a way of showing you what's in your heart and allowing God to change and mold you. "Only the Word of God and the souls of men are eternal."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Purdue Band Day

(this is a guest article by FCS Junior Natalie Henderson.)

Sun + Football + Music + Fun=A great day!

Many FCS band students look forward to Purdue Band Day, which occurred on Saturday, September 17, 2011. They enjoy the excitement and privilege of observing the impressive Purdue All-American Marching Band up close and personal—not to mention free admission into a Purdue football game!

Practice with the Purdue band and 27 other bands from around Indiana started off the day. The FCS band knew their three songs backwards and forwards. By the time they reached the final song, one they had been practicing since before school even started, they realized NONE of their notes corresponded with anyone else’s! Apparently they had memorized the wrong version of the song! Oops.

All the bands walked to Ross-Aide Stadium to watch the game and perform. The half-time show commenced and the FCS band learned the meaning of the saying “Fake it ‘til you make it!”

Overall the experience was very fun and enjoyable. And a win by the Purdue football team made the day even better.

Saturday, September 03, 2011


I remember the day that I realized my mom was not perfect. I was probably about 9 years old. Until that day I think I believed my mom could do no wrong. She could answer all my questions and teach me everything. If she didn't know it, it wasn't worth knowing. I probably idolized her. But one day I shared a fact with her. A fact I had read in the scientific journal "Reader's Digest." The little blurb had to do with some scientific evidence that warm water actually freezes quicker than cold water. I shared this interesting article with my mother as I filled up the ice cube tray for the freezer with hot water, rather than cold. She did not appreciate this; in fact, she made me use cold water instead of warm. I was stunned. And confused. And disappointed. My mom, who could do no wrong, did not believe the "Reader's Digest"!??

No one is perfect. Although I have to admit that I have (and probably still do) strive for perfection, whether overtly or subconsciously. In my life it's been easy to come across as being "perfect." I was my mom's helper. I wanted to please my parents, so I was happy to do whatever they wanted me to do. I did want to please God with my life. Grades came easily. Music came easily. Loving God was easy. I had it easy. But I never claimed to be perfect. Yes, I can tend to be a perfectionist. (I think I share that in common with my mom--also a hazzard of the music occupation.) And I think to some extent that I grew up thinking that there was a standard of perfection that I was being held to. After all, Jesus lived a perfect life, so shouldn't I strive for that? But I am not Jesus. I am a created human being. And no person is perfect. If we put our faith in anyone or anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ (even ourselves), we are doomed to disappointment.

Yet there is a point to be made for striving for excellence and wanting to grow in the Christian life. If someone points out a fault I want to be doing what I can to make that better (with the help of the Holy Spirit). I think that's the point I struggle with: I want everyone else to be wanting to grow in the same way that I do. If I see a fellow Christian who doesn't seem to want to change their actions, I want to HELP that person want to change. But if that is coming only as a result of changing behavior and not the heart, I can be setting them up to fail. God's goal is always to reach the HEART before the ACTIONS.

I have only recently come to realize that this goal of perfection may become an idol which may cause me to live in such a way that I am not extending God's mercy and grace to others. Subconsciously I may have been thinking this: "I have it all together." After all, I'm trying to live a "perfect" life, so shouldn't I expect that of others? Hang on a second! I know that even though I have been blessed to have had some good habits in place for a long time, I am definitely not perfect--especially in my thoughts. We are all flawed human beings, and we won't be perfect until we reach our glorified bodies in heaven because of the shed blood of Christ. Any good thing I have is only because of God's grace in my life. I fail to love others as Christ does. I sin daily. Yet the more I come to know God, I see how forgiving and gracious He is.

Because I've done things right in many areas of my life I can tend to be proud--and like the prodigal son's older brother, I can think I deserve more. But God loves us equally. I should not be expecting other Christians in this sanctification process to be "perfect." We are not called to be perfect; we are called to be growing. I need to focus on doing my best with what God has given me, but exhibit lots of God's sacrificial, forgiving love and grace to others. And that's an issue of the heart.

Phil. 3:12-14 (NASB) "Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Men are from...?

So here's another post I've been thinking about for a while...the differences between men and women. Please take this in the humorous spirit with which it is intended.

In my profession I work with a variety of men: the head of the fine arts department, school principal, school administrator, and co-teachers are men. Also in the music ministry at church I'm surrounded by...well, guys. And I do a lot of work for the school in the sound room, again, with men. But I also have quite a few fellow teachers who are women.

So over the years I've noticed a few differences that have helped me to relate, especially when big events like program days come around.

Men=military. They understand chain of command. You are only required to do something if you are assigned to do it. If it doesn't get done it is not your fault because it wasn't assigned to you. When the big event comes (like program day), you do just what you are assigned to do--nothing more. If something goes wrong we will evaluate the timeline and see what needs to be revamped for the next time around.

Women=nurturing. We want to do our jobs and help everyone else do theirs too. Not only do I want to know where I'm supposed to be and when but also where everyone else needs to be so I can help them get there. I require lots of information. I have a hard time trusting that all the details have been covered unless I can see it for myself.

In coming to understand this, it has helped me to relate to co-workers in a (hopefully) helpful manner. I try to find that fine line between asking helpful questions to see if a task will be taken care of and where I need to butt out and say "this is being taken care of and it's not my responsibility." There's a balance between overstepping my bounds as a teacher and not overruling the authority in place. Hopefully in figuring this out I can be more helpful to those around me and find out what I need to know to make sure things happen...and what I don't.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer Vacation Part #2

I renewed my passport this summer so I could take an international trip! At the end of July I took a 9-day trip with 3 friends around Lake Erie to New York then Ontario, Canada.

We drove in my car, and an hour down the rode one of the brand new brakes I had put on the day before fell off (apparently it hadn't been installed correctly, thank you Bob Rohrman Hyundai), but God provided a mechanic in Gas City to fix it, and it only delayed us about 2 hours.

My friend Melissa Eikenberry was in a friend's wedding in NY, so while she attended to wedding duties, Brittany Bowser & Beth Hopper & I stayed with a family from the bride's church: the Fillions, who were very hospitable to us and even made us personalized pancakes for breakfast!

We then made our way to Canada, stopping at Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake on the way.

We spent the first night in Canada in Toronto with one of my best friends in the whole wide world: Jeannie Schafer & her husband Markus. We were also introduced to their 2-week-old baby Ferguson. They gave us the grand tour of the city that night. We even rode all major forms of public transportation: the streetcar, the bus, and the subway. And we experienced the wonder that is Ed's ice cream & gelato.

Then we headed to our main destination: Collingwood, Ontario and our Mountain View Villa Resort. Melissa had a time share that she was willing to share with us, so we had our own little room, kitchen, 2 bathrooms, cable TV, fireplace, and pool/grill access for 6 days.

We spent quite a few hours at Wasaga Beach, the longest freshwater lakeshore in the world on the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron. The water was great! (So much warmer than Lake Superior.)

One day we drove up to Parry Sound and took a 3-hour cruise on the water.

We spent one morning exploring and hiking in the woods near Old Baldy.

And our last evening was spent at Village at Blue with a free movie under the stars.

Well, this is just the brief overview. (There are quite a few more pics on Facebook.) I could keep going on and on about how the people in Canada were very friendly, how their milk comes in bags, and how no one drives the speed limit (which is in km). But I will refrain. I had never taken a vacation with friends before, but it was very relaxing, and I really enjoyed getting to know these friends better!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Vacation Part #1

Part of my summer was spent visiting the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I've decided to share the Top Ten reasons why I love the U.P.

10. The nature/woods/wildlife
9. The weather--not too hot
8. Water (lakes/rivers)
7. Relaxing atmosphere/more slow-paced life
6. Red necks (like Da Yoopers Tourist Trap)
5. It feels like home/good memories
4. Hiking trails galore
3. People I get to see at Bible Baptist Church
2. Did I mention the nice, fresh water (& scenery)?
1. My family is there!

I really enjoyed getting to spend time with my nephews being Auntie Beth--and getting to sleep in!

"Playing" with Grant on the playground

Lake Superior at Presque Isle

Chapel Rock, Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks Lakeshore, Munising

Family Together on the 4th of July

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Understanding My Role

(I decided it was finally time to start blogging again, so you're going to start being bombarded with a few journal posts I've been mulling over for quite a while. This is a good place to start.)

Who am I? What is my purpose for existence? I'm sure we've all thought this as we've matured. But those of us who are older (30s) and single sometimes have a harder time finding our places in the world.

Since I was little I've dreamed of being a wife and mom (and teacher, which I am), but when you find those roles in life unfulfilled you start to question everything. It's easy to think you don't matter since there's no one special that would truly miss you if you were gone. You start to think maybe you aren't smart enough or attractive enough or put-together enough or there's something wrong with you. Who am I? What is my identity?

I am a church pianist. I was at my parents' church from age 13-22. But when I moved away they found someone to replace me. I eventually found a niche in Lafayette, but even then there were times when it seemed that if I stepped away from it no one would miss me. What am I wanting? I'm wanting to feel needed. This is not who I am.

I am a sibling. My sister & brother found spouses and are now parenting, and, sure, it's great to be an Aunt, but I'm not necessarily NEEDED in their lives. This is not who I am.

I am a piano teacher. I love my students and I think some of them love me, but if I moved away from the area they could find another teacher. I'm not NEEDED. This is not who I am.

I am a daughter. But I live 10 hours from my parents, so they are able to manage on their own without me (at least for now!) just fine. This is not who I am.

So who am I? Does God have a role for me? I can share this now because I've struggled through it, and have come to the realization that I AM needed. No, God Himself doesn't NEED me, but He wants me. He has created me and put me on this earth for a special reason. I have a role to fulfill; I am an instrument in His hands. Just as a composer orchestrates a piece of music and hands out the different sections, God has assigned me a part to play. If He has assigned me the percussion role, I don't have to know what the trumpets are playing at all times. I don't have to know why the flutes or violins play and I don't. I just have to do what He has assigned me to do.

"My role is not to question why, it's but to do or die." I just need to do whatever it is He has made me for. My role is to love others, be a help to those around me, do my job to the best of my ability, and be a witness to Christ's name so they can see Jesus in me. "For such a time as this." I am a believer and therefore a child of God. That's who I am.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Micah & Wesley Visit Indiana

While their parents attended the February 2011 Biblical Counseling Training Conference here in Lafayette, Micah & Wesley hung out with me. We made a little video...Link to YouTube Video

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dissonance & Resolution

The last two days in piano I've tried to teach a piano student or two about dissonance and resolution. You know, dissonance: the part of music that seems to clash and not make sense--especially when you are playing it slowly. I tell my students that that is a "dissonant" part of the music; it may not sound good at that particular moment, but if you look ahead you see where the chord progression is going, and it will all make sense eventually. Sometimes we just need to look ahead to the point of "resolution," where the music resolves and it doesn't clash anymore.

God reminded me of a spiritual application I can draw from this. Sometimes God gives us trials in life, where the "bad things" tend to happen--the "dissonant" parts of life. In the middle of it we can wonder why God is allowing this bad thing to happen. But He knows the big picture. He can see where it's going. And he promises that He will work out all things for good, that we will become more like Christ (Rom. 8:28-29).

"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11